We will speak out for Emin Şakir

February 21, 2018

Turkish socialist Emin Şakir remains behind bars since his arrest three months ago on false charges that he is promoting terrorism.

CHRISTINE BUCHHOLZ, Andrej Hunko, Zaklin Nastic and Tobias Pflüge, lawmakers in the German federal parliament from the left-wing party Die Linke, have demanded the immediate release of Emin Şakir, a political prisoner who was arrested by the ruling government of Turkey for publishing an archive of the country's left-wing history.

The MPs have stated that basic human rights are being systematically violated in Turkey while highlighting Emin's case as a form of protest. The allegations against Emin were made under the auspices of the ongoing state of emergency imposed after the attempted coup.

The basis for Die Linke's protest is the slogan that Turkish socialists have raised for his case: Journalism is not a crime! Freedom for Emin!

Emin was arrested on November 28, 2017, and has been held in Istanbul's Malatepe Prison ever since.

He was born in Bulgaria in 1987 and moved to Izmir, Turkey, with his family. Prior to being arrested, he worked as a computer programmer in Istanbul.

Authorities continue to justify his detention with a claim that he is a "flight risk." His case will last for two years, and he will be charged with "producing propaganda for a terrorist organization."

Socialist activist Emin Şakir
Socialist activist Emin Şakir (Devrimci Sosyalist İşçi Partisi | Facebook)

The so-called crime attributed to him is the result of his position as "the founder and editor of the site Solyayin.com." This website is nothing more than an open archive making available to the public all sorts of publications from the left to liberal wings of Turkish politics and history.

Libraries, including those from well-known institutions like Princeton University and George Washington University, have even included subjects within the archive as options available to their users. Even mainstream media in Turkey have recognized the valuable contributions Solyayin.com has made.

Emin is a member of the Revolutionary Socialist Workers Party of Turkey (DSİP) and an editorial member of Socialist Worker newspaper in Turkey. As a journalist and socialist activist in Turkey, he has placed an immense amount of work in making Solyayin.com a resource for the left.

In addition to the charges against him with his publications, he is also accused of being one of the organizers of the Gezi Park uprising in Istanbul in 2013. Therefore, his arrest can also be seen as an attempt to quell mass civil disobedience.

SO FAR, his case has not been transparent or fair. He stands accused of being in contact with individuals in Gaziantep (a medium-sized city on the Turkish-Syrian border). However, no names have been released. During the course of interrogations, not one question had been directed at Emin concerning these specific individuals in Gaziantep. This makes it impossible for any defendant to prepare for a case.

Despite two months of detention and the possibility of a two-year trial, it remains unclear when his first hearing will be. The legal basis for this unjustifiable situation is the state of emergency, which is still eliminating basic rights for a large number of victims, including Emin.

The claim that Emin is a "flight risk" is flimsy. Even though he has left Turkey on many occasions, he has so far complied with all requests for interrogation since the beginning of his case.

Many people in Turkey and across the world have shown solidarity with Emin and more information will become available at the site eminsakir.org.

We, like the lawmakers of Die Linke in German parliament, will continue to make our voices heard against the violations of basic human rights in Turkey.

We demand the immediate release of Emin Şakir! We demand that the case against Emin Şakir be dropped!

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