The internationalists detained and mistreated by the Turkish police talked about what they witnessed during their travel through Turkey and Kurdistan and described especially the strength of the Kurdish movement.
After 15 internationalists on their delegation travel in Turkey and Kurdistan got arrested for participating in a legal press conference by the Green Left Party, they were in police custody for three whole days. On the 14th of October, they eventually got deported back to their home countries.
On the 18th of October, the 5 young Italian students and workers gave a press conference about the delegation and their detention in Turkey.
Journalists from various national newspapers (ANSA, Corriere della sera, L’Espresso, il manifesto,…) and a lawyer who is known for the case against Abdullah Öcalan took part in the press conference.
The internationalists talked about what they witnessed during their travel through Turkey and Kurdistan and described especially the strength of the Kurdish movement. Lucia, a young woman who participated in the delegation described how impressed she was by the Kurdish society that they were able to meet: “We saw the strength of a people that never stops building up democratic structures even though facing a state that continuously tries to destroy them. They are unstoppable.”
Another participant condemned the ongoing attacks of the Turkish state against North and Eastern Syria and Rojava.
The delegates described their detention in a Turkish police station and detention centers, narrating the violence and abuse to which they were subjected. One young woman described it as follows: “They used different kinds of violence against us, not only physical but also psychological violence. While interrogating us, they once pretended to be psychologists, but they were police. They said that they wanted to see our mental health but in reality, it was an interrogation and they tried to get information about us.”
The journalists asked a lot of questions about the violence. One of the delegates said that for her the worst thing was to see her friends getting abused and beaten up during the numerous body searches or while they were alone in the bathroom. They also described how the Turkish state always abuses people in a way that it does not leave a lot of marks on the body. Still, all of them have bruises and scratches on their bodies.
The delegates made one thing clear to the Italian press: what happened to them was just a fraction of what Kurdish people, journalists, and political activists have to deal with every day in Turkey. They told how the Turkish police and state abused them exposed the truth about relations between Turkey and Europe.
Delegation member Luigi said that in the deportation centre, a European and a Turkish flag were flying side by side and there was a sign saying, “Funded by the European Union”. The young activists declared that they would continue their commitment with determination to publicize the fascism and violence of the Turkish state in Italy.
Lawyer Gianluca Vitale stated that what happened to the internationalists in the last few days is very explicative of the systematic violation by authorities towards who is demonstrating or simply informing people.
“No convictions were given, and procedures were not followed. The gravity of this is related to the violation of the freedom of speech, in the context of a legitimate and ordinary event, coherent with a democratic system,” he said.
The lawyer pointed out that: “What happened after is that these young people didn’t have the opportunity to really understand what was happening. They were brought from one corner of the country to the other. They immediately lost contact with their lawyers, who were the only ones who could inform and protect them.”
The lawyer noted that international pressure from Italy, France and Germany was very important to understand what was going on and to obtain their immediate release.
“I think it is important to continue to keep attention high and to demand the respect of rights of people, internationalists and locals. It is the only way through which we could get to a normal management of the situation,” the lawyer added.