Turkish human rights defender to visit

Issue 

BY LISA MACDONALD

SYDNEY — In May 1998, Akin Birdal was severely wounded in an assassination attempt. A year later he was sentenced to 10 months in the Ankara central prison — all because he has dared to speak out against human rights abuses and national oppression in his country.

Birdal, who in 1986 founded the non-government Human Rights Association in Turkey and is its current president, will be speaking at Parramatta Town Hall at 7pm on November 4. The tour is intended to raise awareness of the widespread and systematic torture, imprisonment, "disappearance" and extra-judicial killing of political dissidents in Turkey, and about the oppression of the Kurdish people.

As a result of their consistent campaigning for a democratic solution to the Kurdish national question, Birdar and the HRA have had almost 30 court actions brought against them. The establishment media have constantly vilified Birdal. This smear campaign escalated in 1998 after the HRA revealed that 3500 Kurdish villages in Turkey had been evacuated or burned down and that more than 3.5 million Kurds have been forcibly displaced in Turkey. For more information, phone 0414 500 303 or 0403 039 059.