UPDATE: As of 20 March, most of the people arrested in this raid have been released, including the Greek comrade. Those who remain detained are: Ali Ercan Gökoğlu, Halil Demir, Hasan Kaya, İsmail Zat, Anıl Sayar, Burak Agırmış, Harika Kızılkaya, Hazal Seçer, Şadi Naci Özpolat and Sinan Oktay Özen. We reiterate our call for the immediate release and the dropping of all charges against these comrades and freedom for all political prisoners in Greek and other European jails.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses our utmost concern for the dozens of people arrested in raids and attacks by the Greek police against the Anti-Imperialist Front in Athens. While stating concern for public health as a top priority to shut down most social interactions in Athens amid the very real threat of coronavirus, police nonetheless engaged in a large-scale raid on Thursday, 19 March on offices and apartments in Athens’ Exarcheia neighborhood, targeting the Solidarity Committee for Political Prisoners in Turkey and Kurdistan and the Anti-Imperialist Front.
While the Greek and Turkish states continue to engage in warmongering, nationalist rhetoric that puts migrants and refugees at severe risk and instrumentalizes their search for safety, they continue to collaborate on “anti-terrorist” policies that target left and progressive organizations. Instead, we see the Turkish government making more agreements with Greece to repress politically active migrants at the same time that prisoners in Turkish jails are conducting a growing hunger strike against repression.
At least 26 people and up to 35 were detained in the raid, including a Greek comrade from the Anti-Imperialist Front who was arrested after she approached the area and made a video (below) as well as a number of Turkish and Kurdish activists. As she said, “Our comrades always struggle against capitalism and fascism and that is why they are targeted, by the Turkish government, the government in Greece and by imperialism.”
Police invaded two offices and one apartment of Turkish Kurdish leftist political refugees, some of whom are suffering from Wernicke-Korsakoff due to hunger strikes in Turkey. All of those arrested are still detained, including people with serious physical disabilities.
These attacks come just weeks after the Anti-Imperialist Front organized a large forum on political prisoners and anti-imperialist struggle in Athens, in which Samidoun activists from Greece and the Netherlands participated. The forum emphasized the cases of Ahmad Sa’adat and Georges Abdallah alongside those of political prisoners around the world. The activists have also been engaged in active campaigns to highlight the cases of political prisoners in Turkey, especially Mustafa Koçak and Grup Yorum band members.
The “anti-terrorism” framework has repeatedly been used to harass, detain and deport Turkish and Kurdish leftist migrants and refugees, many of whom have suffered severe political persecution in Turkey. These attacks have taken place not only in Greece but also in Germany and elsewhere throughout Europe.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses our deepest solidarity with the arrested and targeted comrades in Greece and we join the call for their immediate release. We demand freedom for all of the political prisoners in Europe targeted for their commitment to justice and liberation.