Cumartesi, Haziran 3, 2023


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The request of 11 revolutionary prisoners from Turkey, who started an indefinite hunger strike on 7 October 2022, to be tried without detention was accepted at the appeal hearing held on 10 January 2023. On 11 January 2023, Ali Ercan Gökoğlu, Şadi Naci Özpolat, Burak Ağarmış, Halil Demir, Hasan Kaya, İsmail Zat, Anıl Sayar, Sinan Çam, Harika Kızılkaya and Hazal Seçer were released. Of the 11 revolutionaries from Turkey, only Sinan Oktay Özen remains in captivity. The prisoners won the victory with an indefinite hunger strike resistance that lasted 97 days.

The released prisoners held a press conference on 14 January 2023 at 18.30 at Popular Front Greece building, describing their 97 days of resistance and the victory they won.

In addition to the 10 revolutionary prisoners who were released, their lawyer Thanasis Kampagiannis also made a speech at the press conference. Apart from journalists, representatives of the Greek left and democratic mass organisations and friends from the prison of the freed prisoners attended the press conference. Hazal Seçer, one of the released revolutionary prisoners, was unable to attend the press conference due to the illness she suffered as a result of diet-feeding after the hunger strike.

The press conference started with the opening speech of Konstantina Kartsioti, the representative of the Anti-Imperialist Front, who fought for the freedom of 11 revolutionaries from Turkey for 3 years and campaigned for the freedom of prisoners.

After the opening speech, Halil Demir took the floor first. Halil Demir said the following in his speech:

“First of all, I would like to welcome everyone who came here today. We won an important victory with our hunger strike resistance and were released. It is very nice to share the happiness of this victory with you, to be among you, to be able to be together again in marches, rallies and struggles. I would like to start my speech by welcoming you all with feeling this joy.

As you all know, on 19 March 2020, 26 of us were detained in a raid carried out by the Greek police on our associations. Afterwards, 11 of us were arrested on charges of “being a member of a terrorist organisation”. This raid was an attack carried out by American imperialism, Turkish fascism and the Greek state against us at the same time. The aim of this attack was to brand our anti-imperialist and anti-fascist struggle as “terror” and to isolate us.

The first trial hearing took place in accordance with this principle. In the first hearing, we were sentenced to a total of 333 years of severe imprisonment without taking into account any rule of law, without evidence and with an unlawful trial. From the beginning, we stated and explained that this trial was unlawful and that the decisions made in the case were political decisions. What happened in the courtroom confirmed what we said. We were tortured by the police in the courtroom with the decision of the court panel. Throughout the trial, our defences were constantly prevented, we were not allowed to speak. All our demands were rejected without any debates. Even our lawyers were not allowed to speak. The police witness did not present any evidence to the court to prove his allegations. With the logic of “I am the police, what I say is what I say, accept what I say as it is”, he declared us “terrorists” without the need for evidence. Although we proved the lies of the police by presenting evidence to the court that refuted the allegations of the police against us, the court panel decided that we were “members of a terrorist organisation” based on the false allegations of the police instead of our evidence and sentenced each of us to up to 33 years in prison.

What happened in the first hearing reminded us of the courts of fascism in Turkey. It reminded us of court panels that make decisions based on government instructions.

In this case, the verdict was taken not by the judges, but by the government, read by the prosecutor as an opening statement, and then recited as the verdict of the panel without changing a single word.

We could not accept this. After all this, we decided to resist and started an indefinite hunger strike.

Why did we go on hunger strike?

Because there was no other way for us but to resist in a place where the imperialists attacked our revolutionary ideology and revolutionary ways of life by calling them “terror”. We could not think of anything else. Under conditions of imprisonment, hunger strike resistance is the most powerful form of resistance. That is why we resorted to this way, to resist with our bodies and hunger.

We were sure that we would win victory with this resistance. We know this both from our own history and from the history of the peoples of the world. There is no other politics stronger than a resistance that is determined to resist to the end, there cannot be one.

We resisted, we resisted together with you, we resisted together with our comrades and friends.

Two of the main demands of this resistance were accepted by the panel of judges. One of them was our demand to be tried without arrest, and the demand was accepted and fulfilled. The second was the removal of the obstacles in front of our right to defence. In this regard, the court panel promised several times that our right to defence would not be hindered. No obstacles were placed in the way of our right to defence during the court of appeal. We won our freedom with this resistance and today we are with you.

With this resistance, it has once again become clear that the only way to win rights and end injustice is to resist. Resistance is the only way to gain victory. Of course, this process is not over yet, the case is still ongoing and one more of our friend is still in detention. Our campaign continues, our campaign will continue until our case is removed from the scope of terrorism and our last friend Sinan Oktay Özen is free.

However, we have already won an important victory in this case. This victory has both political and concrete elements. Our friends will tell you about them.

Finally, I would like to thank you all for supporting our struggle and embracing our resistance. As it is said in Greece, “Forward People, Head, Resistance and War is the Only Way!”

Long Live Resistance, Long Live Victory!

Thank you.”

After Halil Demir, Şadi Naci Özpolat took the floor. Şadi Naci Özpolat started his speech by introducing himself and summarised as follows:

“We are in Greece as revolutionaries from Turkey, as political asylum seekers. We are sensitive to the problems of the people of Greece. We continue our struggle against imperialism and Turkish fascism in Greece. We are engaged in democratic struggle. With this attack, they aim to criminalise our work and struggle in Greece.”

Şadi Naci Özpolat, while describing the political victory of the resistance, said: “The attack organised by imperialism and fascism through the reactionary government of Greece was foiled.” And he continued as follows: “With this releases, it has been recognised that revolutionaries are not terrorists. It was seen that it was the revolutionaries, not imperialism and fascism, who were strong. The resistance increased the peoples’ belief in victory and the power to resist. With the victory of the resistance, imperialism and fascism accepted their injustice and bowed before the struggle for justice.”

Şadi Naci Özpolat concluded his speech by saying “The real terrorists are imperialists and fascists. We are fighting against their system of exploitation and massacre. We are revolutionaries, we are the people and we are right. We will win.”

Ali Ercan Gökoğlu, who took the floor afterwards, explained the concrete gains of the resistance in his speech. “Deciding to resist is the victory itself.” Ali Ercan Gökoğlu said, “Since the first days of the resistance, many great and minor victories have been won. First of all, the belief that the gains can be achieved by resisting in Greek prisons has been restored. The threats of some prison administrations to confine the resistance fighters to solitary confinement were soon defeated by the determination of the resistance fighters. A strong solidarity with the resistance developed even among ordinary prisoners, 271 prisoners from various prisons went on hunger strikes in support.

The latter put strong political pressure on the Mitsotakis government and the Court of Appeal.

In the hearings held on 2-19 July 2021, it was promised that, unlike the court that sentenced 333 years in prison, the appeals court panel took into account the demands of the resistance, that the right to defence would not be hindered, and that a fair trial would be conducted.

In the hearing held on 10 January 2023, the most fundamental demand of the resistance, the demand for a trial without detention, was accepted and the resistance declared its decisive victory on its 96th day.”

Gökoğlu said that one of the most concrete victories of the resistance was the destruction of the walls of isolation that were intended to be built around our revolutionary activities and institutions, which were intended to be condemned by anti-terror laws.

Taking the floor after Ali Ercan Gökoğlu, Burak Ağarmış said the following in his speech:

“Hello everyone!

I would like to say a few words about international solidarity.

International solidarity is the blood fraternity of peoples.

International solidarity is the most powerful weapon of the peoples fighting against imperialism and fascism. These slogans are not just words. Our resistance-victory is the most concrete example of this.

We won this victory;

1- With resistance,

2- We won with international solidarity.

Our resistance grew and strengthened international solidarity.

And international solidarity added strength to our resistance and gave strength to us, the resisters.

Greece, Turkey, Belarus, Donbas, Italy, Ireland, England, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France, Austria, Switzerland, Mexico, Peru, all over the world, the peoples, our comrades, our friends; They embraced 11 revolutionary prisoners from Turkey, the revolution and revolutionism. They defended the legitimacy of revolutionism. They stood by the revolutionaries. They fought for the freedom of 11 revolutionaries from Turkey and we won the victory together.

Since the day we were arrested, dozens of solidarity actions and events have been organised.

What has been done in these 3 years?

– Support hunger strikes were organised in Greek prisons and outside. In Greek prisons, 205 prisoners, 68 women, a total of 441 people went on hunger strike in support.

– Support videos were filmed, support messages were sent to prisoners, letters and cards were written.

– Long Marches were organised in 10 European countries.

– Protests and demonstrations were organised in front of the Greek Ministry of Justice, Greek Embassies and Consulates and e-mails, letters and faxes were sent to these institutions demanding our freedom.

– Marches, panels, concerts were organised.

– International symposiums were organised.

– Press statements and meetings were organised.

– Revolutionary, progressive-democratic people, institutions and organisations were visited and informed and their support for the resistance was ensured.

– Over 5 thousand signatures were collected.

– Over 100 thousand leaflets were distributed.

– Thousands of posters were displayed.

So much so that, in a period when investigations were opened against our comrades and friends who sent money to 11 revolutionaries from Turkey for their daily needs in prison, the walls of isolation tried to be built around us with solidarity were broken down.

The legitimacy of revolutionism was embraced more strongly.

In these conditions, that is, in these conditions where embracing revolutionaries requires risking to pay the price, where revolutionaries are isolated and attempted to be surrendered, dozens of our comrades-friends embraced revolutionaries materially and morally by risking to pay the price.

Without such a strong international solidarity, we could not have won the victory so quickly, our victory would not have been so strong.

We thank all our friends who embrace us, who embrace revolutionism and revolutionaries.

Long Live Resistance, Long Live International Solidarity!”

Harika Kızılkaya said the following in her speech:

“After 96 days of indefinite hunger strike resistance, we are free, we are with our comrades.

These 96 days have been a long and lesson-filled process.

We were determined when we started the resistance. We knew that many difficulties awaited us on this journey, and so it was.

When we announced that we started the resistance in Thiva Prison, we were attacked. Isolation and solitary confinement were imposed. Hazal Seçer was threatened with forced intervention and attacked by guards. We responded to these attacks with our determined stance, our Free Prisoner attitude and the embrace of our comrades outside. From the beginning to the end, from prisons in Greece and from outside, we were constantly told “This is not Turkey, no one understands the resistance you are doing. There will be no result in difficult cases like yours, especially in terrorism cases. You cannot win under the Mitsotakis government.” We blocked our ears to all this and said ‘We will resist and win with our belief that we will win. Our resistance will speak.”

We were told by the Greek left and the prison administration: “You will have health problems in the future, maybe you will die… is it worth it?”. And we told them: ‘It is worth it. It is worth both dying and being crippled. Our struggle for justice and freedom, our demand for a fair trial is more important to us than anything else. We did not decide on an indefinite hunger strike resistance out of the blue. It is the policy of imperialism and its collaborators to attack revolutionaries that forced us to do this.’

During the process of resistance, people from inside and outside saw our determination and started to respect us. In Thiva Prison, some female prisoners went on hunger strike for us for 20 days, some for 2 weeks, some for one day each.

In Koridallos Prison, 60 women went on a one-day hunger strike on the 50th day of the resistance and 68 women went on a one-day hunger strike on the 90th day. They went door to door themselves and collected signatures.

It is the power of our resistance that made them do this. Our resistance was won with the struggle and support inside and outside. When the decision was made for us to be tried without arrest, all the women in Koridallos prison lined up and waved farewell to us. They banged pots and pans and shouted “We won”. Yes, we won. And we showed that those who resist with faith and determination will win victory.”

Hasan Kaya, who took the floor after Harika Kızılkaya, said that they took their power to resist and their belief in victory from the death fast resistance and victories won in Turkey’s prisons in 1984, 1996, 2000-2007, 2019-2020, 2021-2022, and from the hunger strike resistance in German and Greek prisons, which resulted in victory against the One Type Prison Uniform attack and extradition decisions. He said that they have traditions of resistance and victory.

Lastly, İsmail Zat took the floor and said that the court process continues; Sinan Oktay Özen is still under arrest; after explaining that the court will continue on 30 January, 1-3-6 February, he called on everyone to attend the court.

After the prisoners, their lawyer Thanasis Kampagiannis took the floor and said the following:

“The decision to be tried without arrest emerged with the resistance of the prisoners. It emerged with the belief and determination of the prisoners. The prisoners resisted at every stage. The trial is not over, it continues. Sinan Oktay Özen is still under arrest. We must ensure a strong participation in the hearings. We must fill the courtroom.”

After the press conference, the prisoners posed for a victory photo. Victory dessert was served to the participants. Then a victory celebration was held in front of the association building. Halays were danced together and the event came to an end.

50 people attended the press conference and victory celebration.


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