What’s the story?
The co-chairs of the Turkish Greens and the Left Party of the Future (Yesiller ve Sol Gelecek Partisi) Eylem Tuncaelli and Naci Sönmez are among 11 people calling for peace who could face an 8-year jail term following formal proceedings by the Ankara Chief State Prosecutor.
They are due to appear at the Ankara Central Court on 19 July at 10am.
The official charges are “promotion of enmity among the population” and "propaganda for a terror organization” following a press statement co-signed by the co-chairs supporting peace and of an anti-war character following Turkey’s military action in Afrin, Syria.
The Turkish police allegedly collected ‘incriminating’ evidence in raids at the homes of the co-chairs in the form of books and messages shared on social media.
They were initially arrested and detained in Ankara on 9 February 2018 but released subject to police monitoring and a ban on travelling abroad. They have twice applied to have these restrictions lifted, but both applications have been rejected.
Both the co-chairs have repeatedly reiterated that all of their communication, both online and offline has been entirely peaceful in nature.
Who else has been charged?
Peoples’ Democratic Congress (HDK) co-chairs Gülistan Kılıç Koçyiğit and Prof. Dr. Onur Hamzaoğlu
Peoples Democratic Party (HDP) former co-chair Serpil Kemalbay
Revolutionary Party (DP) President Musa Piroğlu
Socialist Liberation Renewal Party (SYKP) co-presidents Tülay Hatimoğulları and Ahmet Kaya
Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) vice-president Fadime Çelebi
Democratic Region Party (DBP) co vice-president Hacer Özdemir
Socialist Solidarity Platform (SODAP) co-spokesperson Kezban Konukçu Kok
A statement by the co-chairs of the Turkish Greens and the Left Party of the Future (Yesiller ve Sol Gelecek Partisi) Eylem Tuncaelli and Naci Sönmez:
“As co-Spokespeople of the Green Left Party we are required by our Party constitution to defend peace and the press statement referred to in the indictment is a document supporting peace and of an anti-war character. The press statement contains no provocations to hatred and enmity between groups of people, the essential content of the statement is about peace. Our Party conducts its activities in the legal political arena. The messages shared on social media are anti-war and pro-peace. The documents acquired from Whatsapp messages obtained by technical analysis of communications devices are to do with party activities, the photographs that have been obtained were taken of legal party activities. The documents offered in evidence do not constitute a crime. Statements in opposition to the principles laid out in our Party’s programmatic documents would be regarded as a breach of party rules.”
Eylem Tuncaelli bio:
Eylem Tuncaelli was born in Istanbul in 1975 and is currently the co-chair of the Turkish Greens and the Left Party of the Future (Yesiller ve Sol Gelecek Partisi) together with Naci Sönmez. She has been active in politics since she was a student studying Environmental Engineering at Trakya University. She graduated in 1999 and in 2000 she joined the TMMOB (Union of Chambers of Turkish Engineers and Architects). Between 2004-2010 she served as the Istanbul Branch President of the Environmental Engineering Chamber. She has been an active and engaged member of a range of associations focusing on disability, children’s and young people’s rights, anti-nuclear protest, climate change, and a movement against hydroelectric power plants. She is a co-founder of the Turkish Greens and the Left Party of the Future (Yesiller ve Sol Gelecek Partisi). She was a member of the party assembly between 2012-2016 and elected as co-spokesperson on 2 April 2016 at the party congress.
Naci Sönmez bio:
Naci Sönmez was born in Ordu, a port city on the Black Sea coast of Turkey, in 1964 and is currently the co-chair of the Turkish Greens and the Left Party of the Future (Yesiller ve Sol Gelecek Partisi) together with Eylem Tuncaelli. He was a student during 12 September 1980 coup when he was placed under arrest on politically-motivated charges. This sparked a career in political activism from his home town of Fatsa in the Ordu province. He later became involved with the left-libertarian and internationalist socialist Freedom and Solidarity Party (Özgürlük ve Dayanışma Partisi, ÖDP). In 2009 he founded the Equality and Democracy Party, EDP (Eşitlik ve Demokrasi Partisi, EDP) and became president of the Istanbul office. He subsequently helped oversee the joining of forces between the Turkish Green Party (Yeşiller Partisi) and EDP to form the Turkish Greens and the Left Party of the Future (Yesiller ve Sol Gelecek Partisi). In 2012/13 he was a member of party assembly and co-spokesperson of the party’s Istanbul office. He was elected as co-spokesperson of the party at the 1st Congress on 30 November 2013 and re-elected on 2 April, 2016.
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Assistant to co-chair Monica Frassoni
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