The Human Rights Association of Turkey issued the following statement on March 24, regarding the judicial attacks against prominent human rights lawyer Eren Keskin, who is facing a long list of trumped up charges. Keskin has a track record of activities that challenge the state’s policy of abuse against women, minorities, and history. Following the attacks in 2012 targeting elderly Armenian women in Turkey, Keskin represented the family of Maritsa Kucuk, who was killed on Dec. 29, 2012. An Armenian Weekly contributor, she has also spoken against Turkey’s denialist policy. Her first article for the Weekly addressed the Turkish-Armenian protocols, which she strongly rejected. She wrote, “The only thing that should be normal is accepting the fact of the genocide, with all its consequences, and apologizing to the Armenian nation.” Recently, she was a signatory to a statement that condemned anti-Armenian rhetoric in primary and middle school textbooks in Turkey.
Eren Keskin, New Target of Judicial Attacks on Human Rights Lawyers in Turkey
Attorney Eren Keskin has been testifying for days at prosecutors’ offices and in court in more than 50 criminal suits on account of being co-editor-in-chief of Özgür Gündem. Most recently, on March 23, the 10th Criminal Court of Peace of Istanbul ruled at an arrest warrant hearing that Keskin be “kept under judiciary control by means of an international travel ban.” The charge of “making propaganda for terrorist organizations” is covered under clause 7/1 of the Law to Fight Terrorism, no. 3713. As long as the investigations and criminal suits continue, Keskin’s freedom remains under judicial threat.
In addition to being the former general vice president of the Human Rights Association and the former president of the Istanbul branch, Keskin is currently a member of the organization’s board of directors. She is the founder of the project “Legal Aid for Women Who Were Raped or Otherwise Sexually Abused by National Security Forces” and was awarded the Aachen Peace Award in 2004 for her work in human rights, as well as the Theodor Haecker Prize for Civic Courage and Political Integrity in Esslingen in 2005.
At the same time, Keskin is the pillar, jurist, and attorney of our Committee Against Racism and Discrimination, which has been working under the roof of the Human Rights Association, Istanbul branch, for more than 20 years. She remains a formidable defender of victims and the beacon of discrimination suits. She has also represented the struggle for human rights in general, and against racism and discrimination in Turkey in particular, at international institutions abroad. The grandchildren of genocide victims here and in the world know her as the pioneer of the struggle toward the recognition of the 1915 genocide of Armenians and of other Christian peoples and toward the end of denial. It is from her lips that Turkey first heard the naming and recognition of the Armenian Genocide at an institutional level, at the press conference of the Human Rights Association, Istanbul branch, on April 24, 2005.
The judiciary system of the Republic of Turkey, which is by now bereft of independence, most aggressively targets intellectuals and jurists who defend human rights. Every other day, groups of lawyers, including those who have taken the human rights violation cases in Turkey to the European Court of Human Rights, are being arrested.
We remind all those who are in a position of power in Turkey that the practices of massive aggression and the apparent victories of oppressors eventually find their place in the hall of shame in human history. The same will apply to those in Turkey.
We thus declare: Your rulings on Eren Keskin do not and will not count in the struggle for human rights. What counts here and in the world is the honorable, esteemed, and unimpeachable name of Eren Keskin which has already taken its respectable place in the history of the struggle for human rights.
March 24, 2016
Human Rights Association, Istanbul Branch
The Committee Against Racism And Discrimination
Source: Armenian Weekly Mid-West