Kurdish defense crisis recurs at KCK hearing in Diyarbak?r

At yesterday’s hearing of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) trial in Diyarbak?r, suspects’ demands to submit their defense in Kurdish left its mark on the session.The trial of the KCK, the alleged urban extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), began last month with 151 suspects, including Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) mayors and politicians and approximately 300 lawyers, along with many local and foreign observers closely following the case. The Diyarbak?r 6th High Criminal Court, which is overseeing the case, last month rejected a demand by KCK suspects to defend themselves in Kurdish. Despite the court’s rejection, one of the KCK suspects, Selma Irmak, said in court yesterday that she intended to submit her defense in Kurdish. Speaking in Kurdish, she said, “Ezê parastina xwu bi Kurdi buxînîm, [I will make my defense in Kurdish].” Following this, the presiding judge, Menderes Y?lmaz, said, “The suspect has submitted her defense in an unknown language, which I assume is Kurdish.” When Irmak continued her defense in Kurdish, Menderes ordered her microphone be turned off and instructed the defendant to continue only in Turkish. One of the lawyers for the suspects, Sedat Yurtda? said the trial had hit a deadlock over the use of Kurdish and this had gone beyond the content of the trial and the charges directed against the suspects, which he said has been prompted by wrong decisions made by the court. Noting that Turkey has overcome its problems against the use of Kurdish, Yurtda? said: “The ban on the use of Kurdish was abolished. TRT ?e? broadcasts in Kurdish 24 hours a day. The court needs to give up its insistence on not allowing the use of Kurdish and resolve this deadlock.” Another lawyer, Mesut Be?ta?, said the suspects are members of a certain party and that the court feels cornered between the prosecution and the defense, so the case dossier should be presented to a panel of experts. The case was adjourned until Thursday.

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