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The trial against Muyeser Gunes will take place on the 30th of June 2005

letter Muyeser Gunes August 9, 2005
letter Flemish Prime Minister Yves Leterme
message from Muyeser Gunes
WiB Leuven demands immediate release of Muyeser Gunes
the facts

Today August 9 we received this letter from Muyesser Gunes

KURDISTAN/TURKEY – THE TRIAL BEGAN TO MUYESSER GUNES, member of Mother of Peace in Istabul, speaker of the “Human Shields for Peace”, peace ambassador in Europe, and lately candidate with other 999 women for the Nobel Price for peace within the action ‘1000 women for peace’.

In April 2005 Muyesser Günes was in prison for a month in Turkey after she was arrested from the local police in the Turkish Kurdistan during a peaceful protest against Turkish army’s repression towards Kurdish people. After a month of prison and vexations Muyesser was released but charged with the violation of the law regulating assembly and of offering passive resistance.

On July 11th in the Gebze Court was the first hearing of her trial. Muyesser Gunes relatives and members of DEHAP -Kurdish representation party- weren’t allowed to be in the courtroom.  Muyesser Günes said to the magistrate she was involved in the Human shields’ protest as a representative of the Mothers of Peace and that the Police attacked the human shields with clubs, then she rejected each charges against her, saying she’s will firmly struggle until the peace. Her aim is no more deaths, neither among soldiers nor among fighters, and she calls for anyone works to this. The demand to acquit her made from the counsel for her defence was rejected and the Magistrate ordered to transfer the trial at the Mardin Court, in the Turkish Kurdistan too.


Flemish Prime Minister Yves Leterme informs himself concerning the situation on Muyeser Gunes and sent the following letter to Women in Black Leuven:

Dear Madam

With great attention I read your mail. From the information I have, it becomes clear that Mrs Gunes and with her 26 other women, indeed were arrested on the 2nd of April and immediately were released, after they had attempted to stop activities of the Turkish gendarmerie by means of a human shield.

The 3rd of April they repeated their attempt which resulted in a skirmish with the same gendarmerie. Yet this time one woman and two policemen were hurt. As a result the women were taken into custody and are going to be prosecuted (inflict injuries) because of not respecting the legislation on demonstrations ( a not permitted protest march) and preventing the established order to continue working.

On the 5 th of May they were released. The trial takes place on the 30 th of June. Apparently they risk only light sentences which as a matter of fact, in case they have a clean record, will be suspended.

I hope you can use this information.

Yours sincerely,

Yves Leterme
Prime Minister

Muyeser Gunes is Free !

Message from Muyeser: Thank you, everyone!

Since 1996, as Mothers for Peace, we have followed a path towards peace, both for Turkey and for the Kurdish people. As mothers we don't want any more deaths in armed conflicts or extra-judicial executions. In our work for peace we have met many organizations in the civil society, both Turkish
and European, and also journalists, intellectuals, ambassadors...To make our message understood we have put on the white headscarf and carried white flowers.

Recently, during 2005, we met a secretary of the head of the armed forces to whom we gave many CDs containing images and direct testimonies of the mothers, and we brought white flowers. However, just after that meeting we found out that a military operation had been launched. This made us feel bad: it was as if our efforts had been useless, since they produced no result. For this reason, we decided to make more sacrifices: so we participated together with many others in the creation of the Human Shields initiative. Participants we not just Kurds - there were members of associations of Kurds, Turks and Laz from Kastamono and Zonguldak; mothers, fathers of soldiers, young people.

Our group set out from Istanbul and at Amed joined another group from Batman. Then, on the way from Amed to Batman we were stopped many times by the police (about every 10 minutes)  during which we were abritrarily and thouroughly searched. We were 80 pople in all (there were 10 Mothers in the group, 5 Turks, and others, young people, and representatives of groups in the civil society). We went to Kiziltepe to visit the place where 12 year old Ugur Kaymaz was killed wiht his father. Then we whent to Derik. We were in a zone of military operations and there 2 young men from the group were arrested because they had not done their military service. All together, we said: "Release them or we want go away. Then I and two fathers of soldiers made up a little delegation. We met an army major to whom the fathers said that they didn't want to receive the bodies of their sons, neither Kurd nor Turk. We expresed our concerns for the armed conflicts that were underway and we received the response that it was useless that we had come here because in the political sphere they were preparing for a general amnesty. We replied clearly: "We don't believe you any more, because every change that is announced turns out to be false. We want to see practical deeds and no more changes that are only on paper."

The following day we found out that an even bigger military operation had been launched in the zone. We continued our march to reach the places where the operations were happening, but then they stopped us. We were under arrest. They bound our hands tightly and beat and kicked us, even though we had all demanded that our rights be respected. They were going to take me to the barracks in a vehicle, but then it seemed that this was insupportable for them and I found myself thrown from the vehicle on to the ground. They treated us as if we weren't Turkish citizens. They beat and threatened us and the handcuffs remained tightly fastened around our wrists for 24 hours. They also made us to watch a theatrical show for about 3 hours. The aim was to show us that they weren't guilty but rather it was we who were guilty. Then they took us to the prison at Mardin. The warders were more respectful towards us, but even so they did not allow us to shower for 15 days and there was no hot water. But that was a small thing.

We followed the reports of the demonstrations in our favour both in Turkey and in Europe (Italy, Belgium, France and Denmark). For this, I personally thank the Women in Black and all the others who supported us, because they were close to us and felt the suffering of us mothers. We ask you to continue your support.

Muyesser Gunes
Mothers for Peace and Spokesperson of the Human Shields.

translation by Jane Rainolds

Women in Black Leuven (Belgium) demands the immediate release of Muyeser Gunes of the association Mothers for Peace and of the other members of the Peace Caravan held in Turkish prisons awaiting trial

Freedom for Muyeser Gunes, Freedom for peace

Nearly a month has passed since the arrest of Muyeser Gunes of the Istanbul group of Mothers for Peace and of 57 other people during a peaceful demonstration in Derik calling for an end to military actions against the Kurdish population of Turkey. Imprisoning Muyeser Gunes means putting peace in chains. On May 5th, 58 citizens will be put on trial, accused of contempt of public officials for having participated in a demonstration without authorisation. We call on the Turkish government to set Muyeser Gunes and all the other others at liberty, we call on the government in Ankara, on the Turkish institutions, and on all citizens of Turkey to unchain peace. The path of arms will never be the path to peace for anyone in any part of the world.

Women in Black
Please, send this communication to the Turkish Embassy in your country

The Facts
At 3 april 2005 , Muyeser Gunes, spokeswoman of the peace caravan that set out from Istanbul, arrived in the region of Kurdistan to participate in a non-violent interposition together with 70 other people, and to call for the end of the government military actions in the cities and towns of Turkish Kurdistan which are - de facto – under occupation and where a brutal and repressive military regime has been imposed. The peaceful demonstration was attacked by the armed forces and 27 people including Muyeser Gunes are imprisoned in the district of Mardin, awaiting trial. After a few days 31 people more wer arrested.

(send to Turkish Embassy in your country)
We call for the immediate release of Muyeser Gunes of the association Mothers for Peace, an authoritative international voice of the peace movement and peace activist in Turkey.
The arrest of Muyeser Gunes and of another 26 people, which happened at Derik while they were taking part in a peaceful protest calling for an end to the military operations, represents a serious violation of human rights and a hard blow for the progress of Turkey towards  Europe.

Muyeser - a kurdish woman, a  European Citizen
 Muyeser Gunes, 53 years old, from Gazi - the Kurdish quarter of Istanbul, mother of two sons killed in the war, is spokeswoman for the Istanbul centre of the association Mothers for Peace.
An authoritative figure in Turkey, she has on several occasions, together with other women, carried out significant non-violent actions in the search for dialogue and for ways towards a peaceful settlement.  She is recognised at an international level, above all in Europe - Italy, France, Germany -as a peace envoy for the Kurdish question.
Muyeser has visited Italy several times, where she has participated at the Genoa women's social forum in June 2001, at the Perugia-Assisi march,  and in Rome at the national demonstration against the war in Iraq in March 2003, and in August of the same year at the international gathering of the Women in Black network "Let's dare to make peace, let's disarm  the world" at Marina di Massa. Always intervening in an incisive manner that called forth the involvement of her listeners.
The first time she came to Italy it was thanks  to Dino Frisullo, who is held in great affection by the Kurdish people.
Those who have had the good fortune to meet Muyeser Gunes in Turkey and in Europe recognise her extraordinary capacity for creating precious relationships with civil society and with institutions, particularly with women.
She is always present at demonstrations in Turkey, and on 8th March 2004, she took part in an action that had a great symbol impact. She and other women went to the seat of government in Ankara to offer, as a gift, a symbolic white veil. Their gift was intended as a precious offer of peace unfortunately it was rejected as have been many other important actions carried out in these years by the Kurdish people who live in Turkey.

Once again peaceful action was rejected, when Muyeser Gunes, spokeswoman of the peace caravan that set out from Istanbul, arrived in the region of Kurdistan to participate in a non-violent interposition together with 70 other people, and to call for the end of the government military actions in the cities and towns of Turkish Kurdistan which are - de facto – under occupation and where a brutal and repressive military regime has been imposed.
The peaceful demonstration was attacked by the armed forces and 27 people including Muyeser Gunes are imprisoned in the district of Mardin, awaiting trial.  In the meantime, news has come from sources on the ground, that the number of demonstrators held in Turkish prisons  has risen to 58. All this, while the Turkish prime minister Erdogan, in Rome for the Pope's funeral, expressed his objections to the presence in St Peter's Square of the Kurdish community in Rome who like other peoples where present with their flag.
As Women in Black, we have known Muyeser Gunes since her first visit to Rome in 2001 and since then the relation that has been built up with her and with the Mothers for Peace has been constant, precious, and fundamental to the task of supporting the Kurdish-Turkish democratic society.
For this reason, we are launching an appeal, from the Women in Black to the Turkish government and to the Turkish embassy in Italy, as we ask for  your support for the appeal and in distributing it.
Muyeser Gunes has journeyed through the whole of Turkey, forced to abandon home and village in flight from repression and poverty. She has lost two of her six children to a low-intensity war, a dirty war that has never been acknowledged, just as the identify of the Kurdish people is not
acknowledged and its political expressions are branded as terrorist organisations. But Muyeser has shown to many of us that it is possible to transform pain into a force that does not kill. She is dedicating her force to life, to peace. The Kurds need her, but we also need her to continue her
work for us, with us.

Nadia Cervoni – Women in Black Rome
11 April 2005

Muyeser Gunes at the International Conference Women in Black in Marina di Massa, Italie, 2003

Silent vigil of Women in Black Leuven - with special demand of the immediate release of Muyeser Gunes - 27 april 2005
photos: Marianne van de Goorberg and Lieve Snellings

italiano : Liberate Muyeser Gunes, liberate la pace 

E' trascorso circa un mese dall'arresto di Muyeser Gunes dell'associazione Madri della pace di istanbul e di altri 57 manifestanti mentre era in corso una manifestazione pacifica a Derik per far cessare le azioni militari nei confronti della popolazione kurda che vive in Turchia.. Tenere Muyeser Gunes in prigione vuol dire mettere le catene alla pace. Il 5 maggio 2005 ci sarà il processo a 58 cittadine e cittadini accusati di oltraggio a pubblici ufficiali per  aver partecipato ad un corteo non autorizzato. Chiediamo al governo turco di restituire la libertà a Muyesser Gunes e a tutti gli altri,  chiediamo al governo di Ankara, alle istituzioni turche, alle cittadine e ai cittadini di tutta la Turchia di togliere le catene alla pace. La strada delle armi, non potrà mai essere, per nessuno, la strada della pace, in nessuna parte del mondo,

Donne in Nero 
invitiamo chi volesse sottoscrivere questo appello ad inviarlo all'Ambasciata turca in Italiavia Palestro 28
00185 ROMA

turco : Muyesser Gunese Ozgurluk, barisa ozgurluk

Yaklasik bir ay once Baris Analari Insiyatifi baskani Muyesser Gunes ile birlikte 57 kisilik bir grup Turkiyede yasayan kurt halkina karsi askeri saldirirlari durdurmak amaciyla bariscil bir eylem yapmak isterken Derikte tutuklandilar.  Muyesser Gunesi cezaevinde tutmak barisa kelepce vurmak demektir. 5 mayis 2005 tarihinde gorevli memura mukavemet etmek ve izinsiz bir eyleme katildiklarindan dolayi 58 vatandasin mahkemesi olacak. Turk hukumetine, yoneticilerine Muyesser ve beraberindeki gruptan aldigi ozgurlugu geri iade etmesi yonunde cagrida bulunuyoruz.Turkiyede yasayan tum vatandaslari da kelepceleri baristan ayirmaya davet ediyoruz. Dunyanin hicbir yerinde Silahlarin yolu, hicbirzaman hickimse icin baris yolu olamaz. 

Donne in Nero / Women in Black / Vrouwen in 't Zwart / Zene u Crnom / Mujeres de Negro /Frauen in Schwarz / Femmes en Noir


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last updated: 9th of August 2005
© 2005 Vrouwen in 't Zwart Leuven