Two Turkish radicals on trial in Italy


Bush´s "anti-terror" blacklist spreads internationally

by Monica Hill
reproduced from "Freedom Socialist", Vol. 26, No. 4, August-September 2005

All over the world, governments have now eagerly passed repressive laws modeled after the USA Patriot Act. As South African journalist Iqbal Jassat comments, "From Australia to Zimbabwe, via Colombia, India, Russia, the United States and Uganda, politicians have rushed to raise the standard of anti-terrorism´ against their political opponents."

To Jassat´s list, add the European Union. At the behest of the U.S., the E.U. has put 71 individuals and 71 organizations onto a formal blacklist. Under E.U. law, states are required to freeze bank accounts which may be linked with organizations on the list. All financial transactions with these groups are outlawed and there is no mechanism of appeal once a name is on the list.

Civil liberties activists in Europe call these blacklists "criminalizing solidarity" because the favored targets are immigrant communities and leftists who are often political refugees aiding struggles in other countries. The case of two Turkish radicals now on trial in Italy is a good example.

European witch-hunt. On April 1, 2004, using the March subway bombings in Madrid and the upcoming Summer Olympics in Athens as pretexts, European police agencies spread a dragnet that had little to do with terrorism in Spain or Greece. Hundreds of cops in England, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Turkey launched early morning raids, arresting 100 people in Turkey and 63 in Europe. The nine detained in England were British citizens born in Pakistan.

Most of those arrested in continental Europe were Turks, suspected of being connected to the Revolutionary People´s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C). According to the Taipei Times, "Turkey has been pressing Europe to crack down on the DHKP-C and other groups, and the Europeans want Turkey to seal its porous borders so that Islamic militants do not sneak into their countries."

The witch-hunt, in short, was a mutually beneficial arrangement among police agencies.

The Italian cops concentrated on the city of Perugia, which has a university for foreign students. The police bragged that they had tapped 56,000 hours of private phone calls during the 18 months before their arrest of three Italians, later released, and two Turks. All of the five are involved with the Anti-Imperialist Camp, which educates and organizes around support for Iraqi resistance against occupation, among other issues.

Resisting the police state. The two Turks, Avni Er and Zeynep Kilic, are accused of membership in the Maoist DHKP-C. The group conducts political and armed struggle against the Turkish government (never civilians), and calls for its socialist overthrow.

As well they might. Turkey is a military-police state with a parliament that follows army orders. Torture against political prisoners is systemic. Hundreds have died from hunger strikes to improve conditions in the prisons, where thousands have been massacred. And in its war against Kurdish independence, Turkey has killed or jailed tens of thousands of Kurds and evicted hundreds of thousands of peasants from their land.

In their legal defense efforts, Er and Kilic have fared better in Italy than they would in Turkey but not by much.

On the opening day of trial on June 10, the judge ruled it irrelevant that none of the prosecution papers were in Turkish and banned any testimony dealing with Turkish government atrocities.

It is impossible to provide a trial update because, as of this writing, the Anti-Imperialist Camp website, www., has been disabled by WestHost, a Utah internet provider with links to rightwing Bush supporters. A WestHost representative now claims that the Department of Homeland Security issued a court order requiring WestHost to provide the group´s log files beginning in March 2004.

Despite this recent setback, the Camp has organized impressive support for Er and Kilic. Hundreds of leftist organizations and individuals from every corner of the globe, the Freedom Socialist Party among them, have endorsed the fight to free the two.

And no wonder. It is, after all, an inalienable right to speak out for justice and life anywhere on Planet Earth be it in Perugia, Italy; or Falluja, Iraq; or Fortress Bush, U.S.A.