Kurdish author Nezir Çakan arrested for protesting ISIS siege of Kobane

Nezir Çakan, a member of PEN International and president of the Kurdish Literary Association, has been arrested as part of an investigation into the 2014 protests against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) siege of the Syrian Kurdish town of Kobane, Turkish media reported.

Çakan was detained on November 12 in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir over his alleged role in the protests and was later transported to Ankara. He was arrested yesterday and sent to Ankara’s Sincan Prison.

Turkish authorities opened an investigation earlier this year into the protests against the Turkish army’s inaction during an ISIS attack on the town. In September the court ordered the arrest of 82 people for allegedly inciting violence during the protests.

Members of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), including former co-chairs Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ, were also among the suspects charged with inciting violence during the protests by calling people to the streets.

The Kobane protests were three days of street protests between October 6 and 8, 2014, which broke out after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Syrian town of Kobane was “about to fall.”

The town was under an ISIS siege at the time and had suffered a massacre of several hundred people. Kurds in Turkey and Syria had been calling for a humanitarian intervention.

At least 34 people were killed during the protests that spread to several provinces throughout Turkey. The HDP submitted four parliamentary motions to investigate the deaths, all of which were rejected by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the right-wing Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).

During the protests, a curfew was declared in several cities in the southeast of Turkey, including Diyarbakir, Mardin, Siirt, Van and Batman. The police were criticized for using excessive force against the protestors.

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