Feminist authors Silvia Federici, Angela Davis call for freedom for Kurdish politician Tuğluk

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Feminist author, philosopher and scholar Silvia Federici and feminist author, activist and Angela Davis have announced support for imprisoned politician Aysel Tuğluk.

Tuğluk was arrested when she was the co-deputy chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and has been held at the Kandıra No. 1 Type-F Prison for over five years. She was diagnosed with dementia in prison.

Federici and Davis called for the immediate release of Tuğluk.

Federici: Tuğluk deserves our solidarity

“I am here to say that I am in solidarity with the 1000+ women who have expressed their indignation for the continuing incarceration of Aysel Tuğluk, whose only crime is to demand a peaceful solution to a decades-long conflict.

“And I’m in solidarity with a new generation of Kurdish women and their allies who are now in prison for seeking nothing more than to live as free people in their country, their ancestral land.

“We cannot accept women like Aysel Tuğluk to be kept in jail because of having the courage to oppose Erdoğan’s regime and [the cancellation of] the so-called peace process.

“Aysel Tuğluk was a democratically elected member of the parliament and is proven to be a leader of the Kurdish people. And it’s really a scandal that she is put in jail. And what makes her incarceration particularly painful and objectionable is that she is terminally ill and her health is rapidly deteriorating.

“Like many other terminally ill people who are now incarcerated in Turkey’s jails, Aysel Tuğluk has to be immediately liberated and allowed to be reunited with her people and to be in the care of her friends and family.

“We can’t accept a woman who was an inspiration to hundreds of thousands of people to be treated like this. Aysel Tuğluk deserves our admiration and respect. Aysel Tuğluk deserved to be free.”

Davis: A cruel and inhuman punishment

“I want to express my support for my sisters in Turkey who are persecuted for seeking justice for the Kurds and for calling for a peaceful resolution for the violent conflict in the region.

“We cannot accept that hundreds of Kurdish women are imprisoned for their non-violence political actions. These include former members of the parliament such as Aysel Tuğluk, who was tried and sentenced for a statement she made while she was the elected representative of her people.

“She is her party’s first co-chairperson, a human rights advocate and a peace warrior. And now she is condemned to deteriorate in prison, suffering from an irreversible disease that is rapidly claiming her life. She is kept behind bars on the pretext of bogus medical reports while it is clear, according to humanitarian principles, she should be released so that she can return to her home where she can take leave of this world in her own bed and in the care of her loved ones.

“This cruel and inhuman punishment targets her because Aysel is a non-violent peace warrior and she is part of the wave of new and courageous Kurdish women leaders. She is my sister and I always stand with my sisters.”

You can support the campaign

The Thousands of Women for Aysel Tuğluk group released the following statement:

“We, as thousands of women from countries around the world such as the US, Germany, Finland, India and Lebanon and every corner of Turkey, we reiterate our call for freedom for Aysel Tuğluk.

“We demand the reports that say ‘she cannot stay in prison,’ which authorized health institutions prepared about Aysel Tuğluk’s severe disease be taken into consideration, a verdict in compliance with the law and human rights be given about Tuğluk and it is ensured that she is immediately released and treated.

“The release of ill prisoners is a requirement of national and international legislation and conventions. Everyone has the right to live and receive treatment at their home, together with their loved ones. Obstacles to ill prisoners’ right to access healthcare should be removed.

“Right to health is one with the right to live and we embrace the right to live. We remind that it is imperative that the Ministry of Justice and the Forensic Medicine Institution act not on political motives but based on scientific reports and in accordance with the law and human rights.

“Each day Aysel Tuğluk stays in prison causes her disease to take a more severe course and her health to be irreversibly damaged. We, women, are sending petitions to remind all institutions, particularly the Ministry of Justice and the Forensic Medicine Institution of their legal and ethical duties and responsibilities regarding the life of Aysel Tuğluk and we are continuing our struggle to make this unlawfulness more visible. We are calling on you to be part and supporter of this process as well.”

CLICK – ‘Even the prison administration says Aysel Tuğluk is not in good health’

CLICK – Alaattin Tuğluk: We are seeking justice, not begging

What happened?

On December 29, 2016, when she was the Vice Co-Chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), Kurdish politician Aysel Tuğluk was arrested along with seven other politicians from the Democratic Regions Party (DBP) and the Democratic Society Congress (DTK).

The indictment filed against Tuğluk, who was the DTK Co-Chair till September 2014, brought her statements to the press as well as the funerals that she attended as criminal evidence against the politician.

On March 16, 2018, the Ankara 17th Heavy Penal Court sentenced Aysel Tuğluk to 8 years in prison as per the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) no. 3713. Increasing this prison term by half, the court then gave a 12-year prison sentence to the politician. Lastly, it has decreased this prison sentence by one sixth and ruled that she shall be sentenced to 10 years in prison.

As Aysel Tuğluk’s appeal to the Ankara Regional Court of Justice was rejected, her file was sent to the Court of Cassation.

Her mother’s funeral

Aysel Tuğluk’s mother Hatun Tuğluk lost her life in 2017. Upon her last will, her deceased body was brought to the İncek Cemetery in Ankara. Aysel Tuğluk left prison by permission and her mother was laid to rest; shortly afterwards, a group of 5-6 people gathered to protest the funeral.

The ones who attended the funeral said that this number gradually increased and they tried to attack the grave.

As the attacks continued, the deceased body of Hatun Tuğluk had to be removed from the ground and laid to rest somewhere else. One of the people who attacked the funeral turned out to have a picture with Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu at the police station.

Health problems

Aysel Tuğluk’s elder brother Alaattin Tuğluk said that his sister had a memory loss after their mother’s passing:

My sister didn’t look fine. She asks the same question 3-4 times. She doesn’t remember some things. For instance, when she wants to ask about someone from the family, she says, ‘Who was that, who?’ They are close people, it is impossible for her to not know them. I am concerned that this will come to an irreversible point and that we will lose my sister… I want treatment before it is too late. Let another committee examine her and give a decision accordingly. She is given 1-2 medications now. It is not enough. She will go [to jail] after her treatment ends.

About Aysel Tuğluk

Politician and lawyer.

She was the founding member and Co-Chair of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) and elected Diyarbakır MP in 2007-2009. She became the Van MP of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in 2011-2015. She served as the Vice Co-Chair of the HDP responsible for Law and Human Rights.

Aysel Tuğluk was also a member of the Society and Law Studies Foundation Executive Board, a member of the Human Rights Association (İHD) and the founder of the Patriotic Women’s Association.

Born in Elazığ in 1965, she graduated from the Faculty of Law of İstanbul University and worked as a self-employed lawyer.



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