The tragedy that has struck Turkey is also the product of an authoritarian policy

The tragic earthquake that has just struck Turkey once again highlights the repressive nature of the regime and the muzzling of fundamental freedoms. The collectives in solidarity with Pinar Selek express their full solidarity with all the people affected by this disaster. They strongly denounce the Turkish state which, in order to consolidate its authoritarian power before the next elections, does not shrink from any lie or despicable gesture. They welcome the fact that the Pen Club of Turkey’s Duygu Asena prize has just been awarded jointly to Gülseren Onan, a great voice of feminist resistance, to Haluk Levent, who has become a hero in helping the victims of the earthquake, and to Pinar Selek herself.

No, it was not just « the hand of fate » that struck Turkey, contrary to what President Erdogan repeats in order to clear his name for the tens of thousands of people who died under the rubble of the double earthquake on 6 February 2023, in south-east Turkey and neighbouring Syria. This terrible tragedy, which plunged entire towns into mourning, was the result of the policies of an authoritarian state. In a moving text, Pinar Selek expresses her anger and her demand for justice for all the victims:
« Our country is condemned to death. To terrible, paralysing pain. But we are not paralysed. We are mobilised by the energy of solidarity. Our anger is great. So great that it cannot be imprisoned or exiled. The last eyes of our dead stand firm in the face of lies, corruption and hypocrisy. They want justice. Our dead will always be part of our lives. We will not forget. So that their eyes are not left open, we will bring justice to life.

In fact, repression has become even tougher in these times of catastrophe. One appalling example among many: the day after the earthquake, the government shut down Twitter and other communication tools for 12 hours to silence criticism of its handling of the crisis. In doing so, it deprived the victims and the emergency services of any means of communication during the most crucial hours. The scale of the damage and the number of victims are linked to the fragility of the new buildings, caused by a whole system of mafia-style agreements between the political authorities, the judiciary and contractors. They all turn a blind eye.

The relentless legal harassment that has sought to break Pinar Selek for 25 years is the fruit of this same repressive, unjust and anti-democratic policy. The campaign that we are continuing to wage in solidarity with her is part of the essential collective effort to loosen the general stranglehold that is suffocating the people of Turkey. The stakes are high. What is at stake is the freedom to think, to write, to exercise one’s critical faculties and to live in a country that takes care of everyone.

The Coordination of collectives in solidarity with Pinar Selek

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