Prosecutor demands 7.5 years for teacher who brought up gov’t violence in SE on TV show

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A public prosecutor on Wednesday demanded seven-and-a-half years in prison for teacher Ayse Celik, who talked about violence in the mainly Kurdish Southeast of Turkey on a live TV show in January 2016.

During the third hearing at the Bakırköy 2nd High Criminal Court on Wednesday, the prosecution demanded the jail term for Çelik on charges of disseminating the propaganda of a terrorist organization. The prosecution also demanded the acquittal of 38 others who turned themselves in in support of Çelik.

Çelik was represented by her lawyer while the 38 others, including artists, intellectuals, journalists and writers, were not also present in the courtroom.

On the night of Jan 8, 2016, Çelik went live on the “Beyaz Show,” hosted by renowned Turkish comedian Beyazıt Öztürk, and talked about the clashes that had been raging for months between Kurdish militants and Turkish security forces in Diyarbakır, the largest city of the mainly Kurdish Southeast.

Are you aware of what’s going on in the country’s east? What’s happening here is misrepresented on television. Don’t stay silent! Please show more sensitivity as human beings! See us, hear us and give us a hand! I’d like to address the teachers who have abandoned their students. How are they going to return there? How are they going to look those innocent children in the eye? What a pity! Don’t let people die. Don’t let children die. Don’t let mothers cry.”

The host of the program, Öztürk, had the audience applaud her by saying: “We are trying our best to make it heard. Your words have been a lesson for us. We will continue to do more. Hopefully your wishes for peace will be realized as soon as possible.”

Following the show, the Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office launched an investigation into Çelik for “praising terrorism and a terrorist organization,” and the Bakırköy Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office initiated a separate investigation into Öztürk and Çelik on similar charges.

(Parts of this report originally appeared on Turkey Purge)

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