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LEFTWINGERS in Turkey remained defiant today after 48 members of Figen Yuksekdag’s Socialist Party of the Oppressed (ESP) were detained in dawn raids across 12 provinces.
Those taken into custody included ESP co-chair Ozlem Gumustas and journalist Pinar Gayip, who works for the party’s ETHA news agency.
Security service personnel raided the agency’s offices in Istanbul, stealing cash, smashing equipment and seizing computer hard drives.
ESP, a key component of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), said that it “refused to be silenced” by the Turkish state.
In a statement sent to the Morning Star, the party warned the government: “We will continue to be the voice and breath of the workers, labourers, women, youth, Kurdish people and the LGBT community. We will not allow you to poison the oppressed with your lies.
“We will continue to write the facts. The socialist press will not stop and will not be silent.”
ESP is frequently targeted by the Turkish state, partly because it is a Marxist organisation that works closely with the Kurdish freedom movement.
Former party co-leader Figen Yuksekdag, who also used to edit the ESP newspaper Atilim, faces spending the rest of her life behind bars on trumped-up terror charges. She has been in prison since November 2016, when she was held in raids targeting HDP parliamentarians.
Atilim editor Hatice Duman is believed to be the longest-jailed journalist anywhere in the world, having been handed a life sentence in 2002 on charges of “managing a terrorist organisation.”
Last year, scores of leading ESP members were detained in raids in Diyarbakir and Istanbul amid warnings of a “long-term tactic” by Turkey’s ruling Justice & Development Party (AKP) to crush resistance and silence opposition forces.
The latest move against the socialists comes just days after new charges were laid against former members of the HDP executive committee, with the neofascist Nationalist Movement Party clamouring for the HDP to be shut down.
In a further attack on press freedom, charges were brought against Mesopotamia Agency managing editor Ferhat Celik over the publication of an article headed: “Insects are put into the food of prisoners in Bayburt.”
There has been no action against the prison authorities and no investigation of the inmates’ allegations. The first hearing against Mr Celik is due on February 2.
Messages of solidarity with the ESP can be emailed to [email protected].
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