IPANEWS

Kurdish teacher calling for end to violence sent back to prison with toddler

Ayse Celik, the young Turkish teacher who was given a one year and three months prison sentence for saying speaking out on violence against children on the live popular phone-in Beyaz Show in 2016 and has been sent back to prison.

The Kurdish teacher’s sanction had been suspended for a while after she was found guilty after phoning into the TV Show from the Kurdish majority south-eastern city of Diyarbakir after she applied for her sentence to be delayed.

As Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) started negotiations with the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) in 2009 to end the decades-old fight, the peace process broke down in 2015.

Turkish security forces and PKK militants started heavy fighting in the predominantly Kurdish South-eastern area which includes teacher Celik’s home of Diyarbakir city.

Celik’s call for ending the violence was regarded as terrorist propaganda by the Turkish court as she commented that Turkish media is not fully covering the violence in Diyarbakir.

“Please show more sensitivity as human beings, my voice is shaking. Sounds of bombs, gunfire… People grapple with hunger and thirst here (Diyarbakir), especially babies and children. Please do more, and don’t stay silent, please,” Celik said during the phone call to the Beyaz Show.

Shortly after the live phone call was broadcast, the Diyarbakır court started investigating Celik on a charge of “terror propaganda” and Istanbul’s Bakırkoy Chief Prosecution launched an investigation into the host Beyazit Ozturk, also on charges of “terror propaganda.” Ayse Celik was found guilty and sentenced to a 15-month prison sentence passed in December 2017.

Celik was sent to prison with her six-month-old baby on 20 April 2018 and was released from the prison on 4 May as the Turkish court twice reprieved her prison terms for 6 months.

The images of Celik preparing to start her prison term with her five-month-old baby sparked outrage in Turkey and many human rights organizations viewed the guilty verdict as a violation of free speech.

The teacher’s lawyer, Mahsuni Karaman, tweeted on Wednesday that an appeal had been lodged with the Constitutional Court, which was yet to reach a decision.

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