Nov 27 2017

Turkish police arrest leftist academic in anti-PKK operation

Turkish police on Monday arrested academic and author Fikret Başkaya as part of an anti-terror operation, state news agency Anadolu said.

Başkaya, and 16 others unnamed on the indictment, face charges of “materially aiding and abetting” the armed separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and “making propaganda on social media” for the group, the agency said.

Among the material seized as evidence was Başkaya’s 1991 book “The Bankruptcy of the Paradigm”, a critique of official state policy towards the Kurdish conflict, for which he served a 20-month prison sentence on anti-terror charges in 2004.

Başkaya was released later on Monday pending trial.

Turkey’s Culture and Tourism Ministry selected the book, a critique of the official version of secularist Kemalist ideology, to be released as part of their audiobook series just two years later.

Opposition member of parliament Barış Yarkadaş broke the news of Başkaya’s arrest on social media.

“Dr. Fikret Başkaya was arrested in his Ankara home at 06.30 this morning. No information was given on the reason due to a secrecy decision over the case,” he tweeted.

Almost 200,000 people are estimated to have been arrested or fired from their public sector jobs the since the July 2016 coup attempt. İsmail Rüştü Cirit, the head of the Supreme Court, stated that 8 percent of Turkey's population had been under investigation during that time.