EU Must Raise the Judicial Harassment of Peace Activist Ms Pinar Selek in Turkey

Chairwoman Hautala together with MEP Helen Flautre sent a letter to European Commissioner for Enlangement, Mr Stefan Fule, about the case of prominent peace activist and feminist, Ms Pinar Selek in Turkey. [:] 



Mr Štefan Füle
European Commissioner for Enlargement

and Neighbourhood Policy
200, Rue de la Loi
B – 1049 Brussels



Dear Commissioner Füle,


We are writing to you on behalf of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and of the EU-Turkey delegation to raise our concern about Pınar Selek’s case in Turkey. Ms. Selek is a prominent writer, feminist, and peace activist in Turkey.


As the Commission is well aware, she has been prosecuted over the last twelve years for an explosion in Istanbul’s Egyptian Bazaar on 9 July 1998. During this period, Ms. Selek has been acquitted twice due to lack of evidence. Still her case continues to be examined by the Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court following appeals by the prosecution.


The striking element of her case is that the charges are solely based on allegations made by Abdülmecit Öztürk, who has declared in court to have been submitted to torture when he stated to have placed the bomb in the Spice bazaar with Ms. Selek. Interestingly enough, Mr. Öztürk himself has been acquitted and no longer faces charges for this event. Furthermore, several expert reports indicating that the explosion was not caused by a bomb but by a gas leak continue to be ignored as the court case is carried on.


We therefore consider that this judicial harassment is the consequence of Ms Selek human rights activities. We are furthermore concerned by the regular threats to her life which she receives and the attacks that she already suffered when attending international events.


Ms. Selek’s case has been submitted to the European Court of Human Rights for breaches to the right to a fair trial (article 6 of the ECHR) and to the prohibition of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (article 3 of the ECHR). There will be a court hearing at the Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court on the 9th of February 2011. As her petition before the Strasbourg court has not been considered an urgent case, it is very unlikely that the human rights body will examine the suit in time to influence the Turkish court.


We therefore call on the European Commission to fully respect its commitments under the EU guidelines on Human Rights Defenders, notably through guaranteeing that the EU Mission based in Ankara observes Ms. Selek’s court hearings (with the next one being on the 9th of February 2011 in Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court located in Besiktas/Istanbul) and to regularly consult with her family and lawyers.


We further ask you to raise Ms. Selek’s case in all appropriate consultations with Turkey, including at the highest levels. The guarantee of the rule of law is a crucial element of the Copenhagen political criteria and should be guaranteed in all circumstances by countries negotiating accession to the EU.


Yours sincerely,