Amnesty International (AI) sent a letter to Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay in mid-December calling for the release of Professor Büşra Ersanlı and publisher Ragıp Zarakolu, who were arrested in November on terrorism charges as part of an investigation into the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), an umbrella group that allegedly encompasses the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its affiliated organizations.
Ersanlı is a member of the Peace and Democracy Party's (BDP) Party Council and Constitution Commission, while Zarakolu is the representative of the Belge Publishing House. They were both attending the Politics Academy of the BDP.
In the letter, AI called on the authorities to prevent unfair prosecutions under anti-terrorism legislation by bringing the definition of terrorism in line with international standards and norms and to release Ersanlı and Zarakolu and other persons detained under anti-terrorism legislation without delay if it cannot present credible evidence linking them to acts whose criminalization does not violate human rights law.
“The authorities should conduct an urgent review of ongoing prosecutions brought under anti-terrorism legislation and send guidance to judges and prosecutors regarding the application of international human rights laws and standards in this context,” AI said.
The KCK is accused of attempting to establish an alternative system of governance and terrorizing locals in the country's predominantly Kurdish areas. Most of the accused face charges of membership in and/or aiding and abetting a terrorist group.