Press Release on the Murder of Tahir Elçi

Translated from Turkish by Translators for justice

November 28th, 2015


Press Release of Boğaziçi University Performing Arts Society on the murder of Tahir Elçi

Whoever Is Afraid Of You Is As Vile As You

The president of Diyarbakir Bar Association, Attorney Tahir Elci was murdered recently shortly after giving a press statement demanding a ceasefire and drawing attention to damage done to the symbolic Four-legged Minaret* during recent conflicts in Diyarbakir.

Contrary to certain media statements describing the shooting as taking place in the middle of an armed conflict, eye witnesses state that the attack was directed at Tahir Elci.

If these accounts can be accorded credibility, what occurred was nothing less than the assassination of a Kurdish intellectual.

Is the state – which has filed a lawsuit against Tahir Elci for expressing his thoughts, threatened him, made him a target and subsequently decided on pending trial without arrest – associated with this assassination? Moreover, can this association be brought to light as long as the current administration conceals it?

The answer is not just hidden behind the assassination, and its aftermath, of Hrant Dink.

A new conception of war, applied in areas where Kurdish political activism is powerful, involves a “Palestine-isation” of those areas: rights, law, justice and freedom are all suspended for an unspecified period, and a state of emergency becomes the status quo.

Women in their 40s are shot in front of their homes, the bodies of deceased militants are dragged behind armoured police vehicles, children die under cross fire and intellectuals are assassinated while issuing press releases: such events are the commonplace consequences of this new conception.

As BGST**, we call all democratic power structures to act together against the direct fascism implemented in Northern Kurdistan. We condemn the murder of Diyarbakir Bar Association President, Attorney Tahir Elci with sorrow and rage.

Translator’s notes:

* The Four-legged Minaret is a part of the historical landmark, Sheikh Matar Mosque, built in the 16th century. The four columned legs of the minaret symbolise the unity and peace among people of the four sects of Islam (Hanafi, Shafi, Maliki and Hanbali).

** BGST is a performing arts society founded by the Bogazici University alumni.

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