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Monday 5 September 2016

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Solidarity with TUSC supporter Ibrahim Avcil, detained in Turkey

The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) is appealing for solidarity with Ibrahim Avcil, who we have learnt has been detained while on holiday in Turkey.

Ibrahim Avcil stood as a TUSC candidate in the 2014 local elections in the North London borough of Haringey. Showing the respect in which he was held in the local community he came in second only behind Labour, polling 14% of the vote in his ward. Now we have to convey that strength of support to the Turkish authorities in protest at his detention.

Published below is a statement by the Solidarity with Ibrahim Avcil Campaign, which gives more details. Letters of protest should be sent to the Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs, using the link on their website at http://www.mfa.gov.tr/contact-us.en.mfa

Please inform the solidarity campaign of any response received from the Turkish ministry, by e-mail to [email protected]

Appeal by the Solidarity with Ibrahim Avcil Campaign

On behalf of The Solidarity with Ibrahim Avcil Campaign and its signatories, we are writing to express our deepest concerns at the unprecedented clampdown on socialists and human rights defenders in Turkey and seek your support to reverse the widespread arbitrary attacks targeting socialists and human rights activists not to mention journalists, media outlets, and academics in Turkey.

Ibrahim Avcil is a British citizen and well known human rights activist here in the UK. He arrived as the child of a political refugee family in 1990 and has since then dedicated his life and energy to his passion for a better life for the disadvantaged. He is married and has two children aged five years and nine months. Ibrahim is a qualified accountant and operates his own partnership practice in London. He is a dedicated and active member of Unite and co-chaired the Refugee Workers Cultural Association (GIK-DER) in London for seven years during which he has taken part in numerous human rights and humanitarian focused projects with the sole aim of bettering the lives of people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Ibrahim was detained while in Balikesir, western Turkey, along with his friends. He traveled to Turkey by car with his own passport after booking his holiday in advance. He was ill-treated and manhandled by the police and has been on hunger strike since his arrest on the 26th of August 2016 along with his friends. He was not allowed to consult his lawyer until the fifth day of his arrest.

Since his arrest, a dirty media campaign has been initiated with reports of false and fabricated links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and other such groups, with the aim of criminalizing him and his friends. The state sponsored media has even gone as far as reporting that Ibrahim and his friends were behind the recent assignation attempt on Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leader of Turkey's main opposition party, CHP.

We believe that the state of emergency should not be used as an excuse for widespread purges in media and other sections of society. Censorship of media outlets, socialists, democrats and human rights activists simply for criticising government policy is unlawful, even under a state of emergency. It is clear that Ibrahim has been targeted for his work on human rights violations and outspoken stance on Turkey.

With his arrest, continued detention and government sponsored media campaigning, Ibrahim's good name has been defamed with alleged links to outlawed organisations, alleged criminal activity, and baseless fabricated accusations.

We the undersigned call on the Turkish authorities to respect international conventions protecting human rights and the freedom of thought and expression.

Supported by:

Turkish Education Group; British Alevi Federation; Kurdish People's Assembly in Britain; Day-Mer, Turkish and Kurdish Community Centre; Roj Women's Association; Nurhak Cultural Trust; Elbistan Community Centre; Kirkisrak Community House; Kocgiri Community Association; Tohum Cultural Centre; Hundred Flowers Community Centre; Tilkililer Community Support Centre; Refugee Workers Cultural Association; Hackney Refugee Forum