Austrian citizen Sandra Bakutz remains in Turkish prison – EU adopts the Turkish junta´s democratic standards
On February 10, 2005, Sandra Bakutz was arrested upon arrival on the Istanbul airport. She had flown to Turkey in order to observe a political mass trial of about 80 activists accused of being terrorists. Among those arrested on April 1, 2004, in a concerted operation with several European governments are artists, lawyers and journalists working for legal associations also according to Turkish law. The evidence produced even led the regime press to voice severe doubts (1).
For several days the Turkish authorities did not give any explanation for the arrest. Only after repeated interventions of the Austrian diplomatic representation the accusation was revealed: "membership in a terrorist organisation". But the evidence given is even more adventurous. Sandra Bakutz should have taken part in a protest action in Brussels against the visit of the Turkish foreign minister back in 2000. An article carried by a Turkish daily is quoted where Sandra Bakutz is NOT mentioned. Actually she did not participate in the demonstration as she was meeting European MPs, which can be testified. Furthermore she is accused to have held a press conference for a Turkish prisoner in Germany who had gone on hunger strike to ameliorate his penal conditions. According to the prosecutor both activities have been carried out by the Turkish "Revolutionary People´s Liberation Party - Front" (DHKP-C) which should serve to provide evidence for Sandra´s membership in that organisation (2).
However, regardless whether these claims are right or not, the incriminated activities are no criminal offences. On the contrary, it is an elementary democratic right of a European citizen to freely express his views and coalesce with others – even more on the territory of the European Union.
Furthermore the DHKP-C, a liberation organisation established in the struggle against the NATO military junta, has been at that time legal in all EU member states except Germany which is known for her repressive laws also violating the democratic rights of the migrant Kurdish community.
Only in the aftermath of September 11, 2001, the EU adopted the so-called Black List of terrorist organisation defined by Washington (3). According to their doctrine of the permanent and pre-emptive war on terror they describe any resistance to their Empire as terrorism. So nearly all liberation movements and first of all the Palestinian ones have been criminalised as terrorist. And not only them: everybody who expresses solidarity with the liberation struggle in full compliance with the law is in danger to be punished for having supported terrorist. Not only the arrests of April 1, 2004, in Italy (4) but now also the case of Sandra shows that the EU is trying to imitate the Great brother´s Patriot act and empty the civil rights which will remain only as a formal ruin.
The real alarming thing is not the dictatorial character of the Turkish state. Despite the hammering propaganda of the EU intending to absolve Turkey, those people who have their eyes open are aware that it is still the military to pull the string in Ankara. The current case is only a further proof in an endless row.
What is actually new and therefore an acute danger is the very fact that the EU and especially the Austrian government do indeed allow this. The case is a flagrant violation of the sovereignty first of all of Austria and secondly of the EU. But for the ruling elites the adhesion of Turkey to the Union is of strategic interest and therefore the democratic rights of their citizens are clearly subordinated. Even more this coincides with their own agenda to remove democratic rights according to the US model in order to silence the inner opposition against the imperialist wars they intend to step up side by side with Washington.
The EU knows well that this case is steered not so much by the Turkish government but by those really wielding power, namely the military and intelligence apparatus itself. They are in control of the "State Security Courts" which have been set up to prosecute the political opposition against the dictatorship of the junta established by the bloody coup in 1980. These political courts have been re-baptised recently into "Serious Crime Courts". This cosmetic exercise perfectly met the needs of both partners. The generals could continue their dirty business as usual while the EU could sell a democratic change.
The fact that nothing substantial has changed in Turkey is exemplified by Sandra´s case. One can only imagine what is passing unnoticed by European eyes – actually it was the only crime of Sandra to try to make these things known. She went to Turkey to observe a political trial and eventually fell victim to the Leviathan she wanted to confront by Turkish legal means.
Doesn´t that prove the thesis of the DHKP-C that the struggle for democracy in Turkey can not be conducted within the narrow tracks provided by the fake legality of the military?
For March 30 a review of remand in custody to be conducted by the Serious Crime Court in Ankara is scheduled. (Whether it will really take place is another question. Several such hearings were scheduled and did not take place – neither with providing prior notice nor giving any explanation.)
We call upon all those willing to defend the democratic rights both in Europe as well as in Turkey to go to Ankara in the frame of a solidarity delegation. We will observe the sham and shame hearing and will voice our protest. (5, 6)
On this occasion we re-iterate our refusal of the adhesion of Turkey to the EU. The Union is a project of neo-colonial character (even if sui generis) forcing upon the popular masses of Turkey the liberalist agenda. Meanwhile the widespread hope for democratic reforms pushed by the EU will not be met as can be seen with Sandra´s case or the mentioned political mass trial, let alone basic democratic rights for the millions of Kurds. On the contrary the status quo is being justified. The adhesion of Turkey will even help and accelerate the authoritarian drive of Brussels and its alliance with Washington.
The only overall prospect in the interest of the poor classes both in Turkey and in Europe is the dissolution of the NATO and the EU and the restoration of the national sovereignty based on popular power.
To write to Sandra:
(1) See further information on the mass political trial ensuing the operation of April 1, 2004:
(2) See details of the accusation:
(3) See further information on the imposition of the EU´s Black List and the protest the Anti-imperialist Camp staged against it together others including DHKC International:
(4) See our dossier of the Italian arrests of April 1, 2004:
(5) Call for the delegation:
(6) Programme of the delegation: