Unacceptable judicial persecution of sociologist and writer Pinar Selek

Born on 20 November 1971 in Istanbul, Pinar Selek is a Franco-Turkish sociologist, writer and activist known for her academic research and her work on marginalised minorities in Turkey, in particular the Kurdish and Armenian communities. She is also known for her literary writings, as well as for her militant feminist and pacifist activities, focusing on human rights, social movements and gender issues. She is also an important voice for the freedom of research.

Pinar Selek, now a French citizen and lecturer at the Côte d’Azur University, has been the victim of judicial persecution by the Turkish courts for over 25 years for a terrorist attack that never took place. Despite four judgements fully acquitting her each time, the political and legal harassment against her continues.

25 years of judicial harassment

In 1998 Pinar Selek was imprisoned for over two years and tortured because she refused to provide the names of the Kurds she had interviewed as part of her sociological research. The Turkish authorities then decided to make her a “terrorist” by claiming that the explosion at the Istanbul Spice Market in 1998 – an accident – was a terrorist act for which she was responsible.

In December 2000, Pinar Selek was released (for lack of evidence). She decided to leave the country and went to Berlin and then to France to continue her sociological research, first in Strasbourg, then in Nice. She was granted French nationality in 2017.

In Turkey, the Public Prosecutor has systematically appealed against all of the four acquittals pronounced by the Criminal Court, in 2006, 2008, 2011 and 2014. Seven years later, the Turkish Supreme Court overturned the fourth acquittal on 21 June 2022. In January 2023, an international arrest warrant was issued for Pinar Selek, with a request for her immediate imprisonment.

A new hearing was held on 31 March 2023. Around 100 MPs, local councillors, lawyers, academics and university heads, leaders of human rights associations, feminist activists, artists and journalists from France, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany and Norway attended the trial at which Pinar Selek was not present. They wished to express their solidarity with Pinar and their indignation at the political and judicial persecution inflicted on her by the Turkish authorities.

The presence of this large delegation, supported by numerous associations, organisations and municipalities (list below), prevented the Supreme Court’s decision of June 2022 from being confirmed. The court decided to fix a new hearing on 29 September 2023. It also renewed the international arrest warrant and the demand for her immediate imprisonment. In addition, the Turkish judiciary is demanding that Pinar Selek personally travel to Istanbul this autumn to give evidence. France and Europe must react against this unacceptable proposal. She must be able to give evidence without leaving France. Her safety and her life are at stake.

Even in France Pinar Selek is not out of danger. Far from it. She has received clear threats from the Turkish extreme nationalist Grey Wolves who live with impunity in France. Her life is in danger.

The political and judicial persecution of Pinar Selek is taking place against a backdrop of restricted freedoms and increasing violence against minorities and political oppo- nents. The democrats of France and Europe have a duty to act against these serious threats, which go beyond the person of Pinar Selek and affect all our democratic free- doms, in particular the freedom of research and expression.

On support of Pinar Selek:

  • Amnesty International League for Human Rights
  • Pen Club International (Duygu Asena Prize)
  • The Parliament of French-speaking Women Writers
  • La Fédération nationale Solidarité Femmes
  • Alliance of Women for Democracy
  • Les éditions des femmes-Antoinette Fouque
  • The French Sociology Association
  • Association of Sociologists Teaching in Higher Education
  • Acort
  • The cities of Nice, Marseille and Paris

Despite four acquittals, I live under the threat of life imprisonment. My trial reflects both the continuity of the authoritarian regime in Turkey and of repressive measures

Pinar Selek


Citer ce billet
Hervé Andres (2023, 9 juin). Unacceptable judicial persecution of sociologist and writer Pinar Selek. Migrations et altérités. Consulté le 24 mai 2024, à l’adresse https://doi.org/10.58079/v4k2