Özlem Dalkıran, who was taken into custody along with many other rights advocates from various rights organizations during a training workshop on July 5 in Büyükada and was later arrested, has sent a letter from Silivri Prison.
In the letter she sent to Agos weekly, she characterized her situation as "absurd". She noted that she in no way has lost her belief in fighting for rights and that the support and solidarity people showed for the rights defenders made them resilient in prison.
Dalkıran's letter reads as follows:
Thanks to the splendid solidarity we have been receiving from both the national and international human rights community since the moment we were the taken into custody, we have been able to keep going without losing our strength. We have in any case not lost our faith in ourselves, in what we did and the fight for rights that we have been carrying out, but it makes us more resilient that you are standing by us.
This absurd situation we are in can neither make me give up on the fight for rights nor make me doubt myself. Like İlhan Selçuk [journalist and writer] said, every person shapes her/his own sculpture, and it seems that I was meant to sculpt some curves here...
Friends of Hrant!
I have missed having long discussions with you, our breakfast tables and our justice watch. I will be with you as soon as I get out.
I have been saying since the beginning and I shall repeat
I'm glad you are here,
I'm glad we are here.
For [rule of] law, for justice, for human rights...
Nalan Erkem and Özlem Dalkıran (Helsinki Citizens Assembly), İlknur Üstün (Women's Coalition), İdil Eser (Human Rights Watch Director to Turkey) and Veli Acu (Human Rights Agenda Association), Günal Kurşun (Human Rights Agenda Association), Nejat Taştan (Association for Monitoring Equal Rights), Şeyhmuz Özbekli (Rights Initiative), Ali Gharavii (human rights trainer), and Peter Steudtner (German citizen human rights trainer) were taken into custody during a training workshop in Büyükada, one of the Prince Islands in İstanbul.
On July 11, an additional seven days of detention was issued for the rights advocates.
On July 18, Eser, Dalkıran, Kurşun, Acu, Gharavi and Steudtner were arrested. Erkem, Üstün, Taştan and Özbekli were released on probation and international travel ban was imposed on them.
Üstün, Erkem, Taştan and Özbekli were released on probation with travel.
On July 21, the prosecutor objected to the release of the four rights advocates and a detention warrant was issued for them. Being detained from their homes, Üstün and Erkem were arrested on July 23.
On July 25, Taştan and Özbekli were released on probation with travel ban.
About Özlem Dalkıran
Translator, writer and activist Özlem Dalkıran is a founding member of the Citizenship
Association (formerly called Helsinki Citizens Association).
She served as chair and spokesperson for Amnesty Turkey, of which she is a founding member. She was an Open Society Institute Turkey Consulting Board member.
She ran a study called "Cinema and Human Rights". She worked as coordinator at the Helsinki Citizens Association Refugee Support Program.
Dalkıran is a former bianet employee and writer. She was a Hrant Dink Foundation Prize Committee member for a long time. She still continues her support for the foundation from outside.
Dalkıran works as a freelance translator, and cannot live without tea. (EKN/DG)
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