Justice for Gulizer Tastemir
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Due to a strong concern for the Kurdish woman Gulizer Tastemir, we the undersigned call on all political parties, labour unions and associations, human rights organizations, institutions and individuals, to express their concern for the welfare of the Kurdish woman Gulizer Tastemir, who was extradited to Turkey by the Immigration Appeals Board (UNE) on the 4th of July, 2018 and arrested in Istanbul the same day.
Gulizer Tastemir applied for political asylum in Norway in 2015 based on her political involvement in the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has been involved in an armed struggle with the Turkish state since 1984, and which subsequently developed into a broad popular movement. Tastemir is at risk of being tortured ands needs protection from the Turkish authorities. She is also in need of medical treatment. Tastemir’s application for political asylum in 2017 was denied and she travelled to Germany to apply for asylum there. She was sent back to Norway, where she had first applied for asylum, in keeping with the Dublin Agreement.
Tastemir was sent back from Germany to Norway on the 2nd of July. We were informed by her lawyer the following day. The same day a number of organizations and individuals sent declarations of support emphasizing that Gulizer Tastemir must not be sent to Turkey due to the risk of imprisonment. In spite of this, the decision was made to send her to Turkey on the 4th of July with UNE claiming her application was not credible.
In their letter to UNE Amnesty writes that «she is in great danger of being arrested upon arrival, and being subjected to torture and an unfair trial». Amnesty refers to documentation that their organization and a number of other recognized organizations are in possession of. Norwegian authorities are aware of these circumstances, and they should act accordingly.
Gulizer Tastemir was indeed arrested upon arrival in Istanbul. Neither her family nor her lawyers have been allowed contact since her extradition and there is now great uncertainty about her current situation.
UNEs grounds for refusing her application (18.08.2017) and their insistence on maintaining that position show a clear lack of knowledge about the situation in the Kurdish areas in southeast Turkey.
UNEs decision is based on old information from internal information (Landinfo) and from surveys The Norwegian embassy in Ankara conducted in 2016. The Embassy stated that "there are no investigative cases on her" (police document dated 4 November 2016). However, on 5. July 2018, the state news agency Anadolu wrote that an arrest warrant was already issued for Tastemir in 2013 for membership in a terrorist organization. Tastemir informed UNE of this.
It is well documented that Turkish authorities have been demolishing Kurdish cities, towns and villages in the southeast since the election in Turkey in 2015 and also further back. Only in the last three years, hundreds of thousands of civilians have been displaced, loosing their homes, and hundreds are killed. Irreplaceable cultural heritage sites in Diyarbakir-Sur and the ancient city of Hasankeyf have been turned to dust. Norwegian authorities and the international community have watched this
without raising their voices in protest.
Anyone paying attention to Kurdish politics and the development of the situation in the Kurdish areas, knows what is happening: Military attacks on Kurdish regions in Turkey, on the Kurdish autonomous region in Iraq, as well as the occupation and genocidal attacks on Afrin and the Kurdish areas in Northern Syria. There is one clear objective – to forcibly erase, displace or extinguish what the Kurds have attempted to build in these areas.
Why is this important to know in Tastemir's case?
When Norwegian authorities send a Kurdish woman who has been active in PKK, and prominent in women’s issues, which is the first priority on PKK’s agenda, then Turkey gets exactly what it wants. A «terrorist» delivered right into their hands which is how Tastemir’s case is portrayed in Turkish newspapers.
The longer PKK remains on the US and EU lists of terrorist organizations, and NATO supports Turkey, the authorities ask to have the «terrorists» extradited. Not only Kurds in Turkey are at risk. The authorities use their intelligence agencies actively in all Kurdish communities worldwide – also in Norway.
UNE should have known this and protected Tastemir by letting her remain in Norway, rather than sending her back to an unstable and unpredictable state. Instead, UNE argued that there would not be any risk of imprisonment if Tastemir was sent back and that there was no significant risk in connection with being Kurdish, and no significant risk of «only» having worked for PKK.
Assuming Tastemir would be safe in Turkey when she has actively participated in the PKK, Turkey’s number one enemy of the state, can only be considered utterly naive.
Now Norwegian authorities are responsible for the injustice and endangerment that Tastemir is subjected to.
• Norway must require that Gulizer Tastemir be returned to Norway.
• Turkey must release Gulizer Tastemir and let her travel back to Norway.
We encourage all who receive this call to support these two requirements by signing in with their name, position or office, and organization. We also want contact or meetings with persons or groups who have in various ways been involved in Gulizer Tastemir's case or who can join in supporting her case.
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