Saturday, January 07, 2006

Greeting in Kurdish Acquitted

Caglayan, who has been acquitted, argued that the ban on using a language other than Turkish for political parties not only limits freedom of expression and organization, but completely does away with women's right to elect.
BIA News Center

26/12/2005 Ayse DURUKAN

BİA (Sanliurfa) - Handan Caglayan, who stood trial for saying "My Dear Sisters" in Kurdish at a demonstration during a local election campaign, has been acquitted. The Supreme Court of Appeals had overturned a local court's decision. The local court in the southeastern province of Sanliurfa had sentenced Caglayan to seven-month in prison and had fined her 513 new Turkish liras (USD 380).

The Supreme Court of Appeals asked for Caglayan's retrial on grounds of the amended Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

Women's organizations had launched a signature campaign to protest Caglayan's conviction for greeting the demonstrators in Kurdish during the demonstration by HADEP in the Yukari Goklu neighborhood of the Halfeti region of Sanliurfa.

Caglayan, who attended the demonstration as the DEHAP deputy head, said she used that expression because most of the demonstrators were women who did not speak Turkish.

Women representatives from women's platforms and bar associations in the neighboring provinces, members of the Human Rights Association and women's rights activists attended the hearing.

"Mine was not a propaganda speech," said Caglayan following the acquittal. "I was just a greeting. The court ruled this does not constitute propaganda."

"The provincial head has been penalized again for speaking in Kurdish. I believe it's very important that we already have the positive outcome of women's solidarity in such a short period of time. Long live women's solidarity," said Caglayan. (AD/EA/YE)