Özlem Alev Demirel, a Turkey-born German MEP, was on Feb. 13 barred from observing a trial in the Turkish capital Ankara of the 2015 peace rally bombings that killed 103 people.
Demirel, from the German Left Party (“Die Linke”), was quoted as saying by a leftist political group of the European Parliament that the Turkish authorities’ refusing to let her into the courthouse was “scandalous.”
“When asked why I was banned from entering the courthouse, the Turkish security forces said it was ‘inappropriate’ for a non-Turkish citizen and a member of the European Parliament to be present inside,” Demirel told the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) – a political group which brings together left-wing MEPs in the European Parliament.
“We also demanded answers from the Ministry of Justice but I was told to leave the place as soon as possible.”
“It is scandalous that my role as an observer to the trial was deemed inappropriate. We await full answers as to exactly why I was disallowed from fulfilling my duty today,” Demirel said.
The October 2015 twin suicide bombings, the deadliest such attacks on Turkish soil, targeted a peace rally of pro-Kurdish and labor activists outside Ankara’s main train station.
Turkish officials said ISIS was behind the attack, although the group never claimed the Ankara bombing.
On Aug. 3, 2018, the Ankara 4th Heavy Penal Court jailed nine defendants for life in the case. A total 36 suspected ISIS supporters were charged, some of them in absentia, with murder, membership of a terrorist organization and seeking to change the constitutional order.
Following a separate indictment prepared for one of the arrested defendants and 16 fugitive defendants, the trial still continues today.