Trial Statement By Eva Juhnke

[German internationalist Eva Juhnke was arrested in South Kurdistan in October 1997 by Turkish special units and taken by force into Turkey. She is now on trial in the Kurdish city of Van, facing up to 24 years in a Turkish prison on charges of membership in the PKK. Eva Juhnke, who is from Hamburg, had lived in Kurdistan for five years, actively supporting the Kurdish national liberation struggle. The following is a translation of her statement to the State Security Court in Van from the beginning of her trial in March 1998. - ATS]

Trial Statement By Eva Juhnke

On the 5th or 6th of October, 1997, I fell into the hands of Turkish security forces during the so-called "Safak" operation. I don't wish to spend a lot of time right now explaining what happened during the next three weeks, after which time I was taken in front of a State Security Court and turned over to prison officials. I remember very clearly my thoughts as I stood before the court that first time: There would be a quick hearing, then I would be tossed into a prison cell. At that time, nothing else really concerned me.

Three weeks were behind me already, three weeks which began with an interrogation session in a small room, with a soldier who had been given a "small task" and who lashed out at me and said: "You see, nobody knows you are in our hands, that you have been arrested, that you are alone. So if we throw you out of a helicopter, who will ask any questions? It's up to you. Confess, or you fall to your death." Another solider, who translated this for me, added: "Don't be stubborn. You are in Turkey, not Germany." In the end they said that if I didn't talk, they would turn me over to people who used other means of getting information. Then they tied my hands behind my back and blindfolded my eyes, so I sat back and waited for my fate. Then some people came into the room and took me outside and tossed me into a waiting car. After driving in a circle in the car, they brought me back into the house and placed me in a cell. They left me, warning me that it was forbidden for me to sit or alter my position in any way. They left a guard to watch over me, and then they left. So I stood there in the cell, with my hands tied up and my eyes blindfolded. They came back a few times, but then they left me there until morning, when the interrogation continued. One day later, they took me to the helicopter they had spoken about.

With my eyes blindfolded and my hands tied behind my back, all I could hear was: "Throw her out!" It was a long journey before my feet were back on the ground again. I was now interrogated by plainclothes police. I stayed there for two weeks. I was in a 2x3 meter cell with no windows or toilet. Lights were on 24 hours a day in the cell. When the guards brought me water and food, I had to turn and face the wall so I could not see them. I was taken to interrogation sessions with my eyes blindfolded. Most of my time during those two weeks were spent staring at the wall. But when the time was over, they were furious to hear that I would not cooperate with them. Then they tried to force me to sign something, with my eyes blindfolded, but I refused. They shouted at me again, but to no avail, so they took me back to the helicopter. When I arrived in Hakkari, I finally had the blindfold taken off. Then I was taken to a doctor, for the fourth time since my arrest. Anything which I refused, they forced me to do. They really felt that they were in the right. Then I was interrogated again. I was completely exhausted. They wrote some things in their files. The next day I was taken to the doctor again, and then to the State Security Court in Van.

I have mentioned all of these things, just so that I can give some sort of picture of my general situation at that time.

I thought long and hard about whether I should make a statement to the court or not. Making a statement means that I recognize them, and accept their function. I don't. I decided I would not put up a personal defense; since I'm not guilty, there's no need for a defense. But I did decide to make a statement to the court. I think that a brief look at history can shed some light on the most important questions. I will keep this short, just as a means of contributing to a better understanding.

(...) The world has changed greatly, and the Cold War is over. But one fact of history has not changed: German corporations and Germany's political leaders have always been willing to view massacres as necessary or at least tolerable, and have even supported them so long as their own economic interests do not become threatened. That's why Moltke, whose task was to reorganize the army of the Ottoman Empire, reported on the massacres of Kurds in his letters, but took no steps to stop them. Next came the genocide against the Armenians, which was not a nice thing, but Germany's interests and the necessity of war prevailed once again. And not much has changed today. So the chemical weapons, which rained down upon Halabja in 1988 and killed and sickened thousands of Kurds, were produced with German technology. There were no words of sorrow, no attempt to make amends. In the 1990s came images of German tanks terrorizing the Kurdish people in Cizre and surrounding areas. One picture showed a German tank dragging the body of a dead man. (...)

The PKK is a revolutionary national liberation movement, but the PKK are not nationalists. They are not nationalists shouting slogans like "The Aryans are best" or "The Turks are the best and more" or "The Kurds are everything". We are not fascists. Humanity is everything. The borders do not run between the peoples, rather between the exploiters and the exploited. The struggle of the PKK serves the Kurdish and the Turkish people, and it will make it possible for a lasting peace in the Middle East to develop. But peace can only be based on mutual recognition and respect. In other words, the PKK is not separating people, it is uniting them. I say this openly, that the Kurdish people are not everything, but without the recognition of the legitimate rights of the Kurdish people, then everything is nothing. The present situation in the Middle East, especially in Turkey, makes that point perfectly clear.

We must be realistic. In a world based upon the principles of nation states, a people without one of their own has no place, no rights. But a people which rises up and seeks their legitimate rights, rights which other peoples enjoy, then they must be given these rights. Whether and how this people then utilizes these rights is up to them to decide for themselves. The Kurdish people must be given their rights, not just for their sake, but for the sake of the Turkish people as well. Because it's clear that Turkey will never be able to solve its problems until it resolves the Kurdish issue. Each day that Turkey continues on its present course, it will continue to pay a very high price. The struggle of the Kurdish people is a struggle for survival. But for Turkey, the continuation of the war will mean its end.

And so, during the course of this war, I fell into the hands of the enemy. I am standing here today as a prisoner of war. My personal fate, like that of all prisoners of war, will be determined by the outcome of the war, and nothing else. I share my fate with the fate of the entire Kurdish people, whose hopes and struggle for self-determination and social change is led by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

All Peoples Are Brothers!
Increase International Solidarity!
Long Live The National Liberation Struggle Of The Kurdistan

In closing, on the occasion of the celebration of Newroz, I would like to send warm and revolutionary greetings to the Kurdish people, both inside and outside the country, their institutions, the comrades in the prisons and in the mountains, to all sympathizers, to our friends around the world, and to comrade and chairman Abdullah Ocalan.

Eva Juhnke

(Translated by Arm The Spirit from 'Kurdistan-Rundbrief' #7/11, April 7, 1998)

For A Free And Independent Kurdistan!
KURD-L Archives -

From: Arm The Spirit
Date: Fri, 10 Apr 1998 16:18:34 -0700

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