Press release by anarchists from the Turkish territory.
Originally published by Anarchist News. Translated and edited from Sosyal Savas.
Note: Enough is Enough is not organizing any of these events, we are publishing this text for people across the US and Europe to be able to see what is going on and for documentation only.
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Turkey: Kurdish Anarchist Caught up in Gülenist Purge
The pro-government press reports about anarchist İshak Tayak are full of lies!
Our friend İshak has been arrested as a member of the Islamic, pro-capitalist Gülen movement. In the pre-dawn hours of October 2, special ops police raided his Istanbul home, where they beat him before taking him into custody. İshak, a Kurdish self-identified anarchist and atheist, was later charged with downloading a messaging app used by the movement called Bylock in 2014.
Ishak denies the charges, as well as any ties with the Gülenists, and allegedly, the state has yet to present substantial evidence supporting its claims.
“I am an anarchist, an atheist, a person who defends the rights of nature, people, and animals,” Ishak said in a statement. Under the state of emergency, he says the rule of law has been suspended and any semblance of justice discarded: “I’m being tried as a Gülenist—despite the fact that I’m an anarchist and have no connections [to this or any organization].”
The Turkish state accuses the Gülenists, led by the US-based Muslim cleric Fetullah Gülen, of orchestrating a July 15, 2016 coup attempt and considers it a terrorist organization. In the months after the coup, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has aggressively attempted to link dissidents—left and right—to the Gülenists, an effort to both consolidate its power and justify heavy repression of the opposition. Over 50,000 people have been jailed in post-coup purges.
In the days after Ishak’s arrest, pro-government media dubbed him “the most secret civil Bylock user,” making unsubstantiated claims about his alleged links to several opposition groups.
“If you look at the news, you would think he’s James Bond,” Ishak’s brother told Turkish news site OdaTV.
The press says Ishak, an anarchist, actually infiltrated the anarchist movement and spearheaded a 2012 May Day action. At the same time, it made unfounded claims about his supposed connections to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKP-C). By claiming a Gülenist has infiltrated the anarchist movement—and trying to link that person to other major dissident movements—the state shows it is prepared to carry out operations against anarchists, as it has against Gülenists, PKK, DHKP-C and opposition political parties.
But İshak’s personal history makes it equally clear he has no ties to any organization, let alone a religious one. He was imprisoned for two and a half months after the 2012 May Day action, and the case was dismissed in June for lack of evidence. As a university student, Ishak found himself constantly in conflict with pro-Gülen/religious students as a result of his atheism, according to testimony he gave during his arraignment. In 2011, he even successfully applied to have “Islam” removed from the “religion” box on his ID card.
İshak, who works fifty-plus hour weeks as a bartender and has time for little else, says his lifestyle is incompatible with a conservative religious organization whose members tend to be the well heeled and powerful. İshak, aside from being an atheist and anti-authoritarian, has long hair and beard. He also drinks alcohol and has tattoos and multiple piercings, all prohibited by traditional Islam. As his brother told OdaTV, “All of Ishak’s beliefs and ideas are fundamentally opposed to [the Gülen movement].”
Ishak is being held in Silivri Prison, a high-security facility, alongside others accused of links with the Gülenist movement. While in custody, he has been harassed by prison personnel demanding he cut his hair or else have his visitor rights revoked.
After two months of waiting—during which his lawyers were unable to see the contents of his case file or learn the exact charges against him—Ishak has been given a February 13 court date.
In a court statement, he says was not taken to the hospital for rib pain resulting from the beating he received from police.
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