In 1965, the pressure of the police and the agha was very heavy on our
town. One day, I went to the bazaar early in the morning and found that one
of the shops had been robbed. There had been a series of robberies, and the
state security forces knew who the guilty people were, but the police were
getting their share. I made a speech to the people around that shop and
organized a march to the local government building. |
There were about five
thousand of us, and we marched and occupied the building for eight hours.
After that I told my colleagues that you cannot motivate people by writing.
We should mobilize them with meetings and demonstrations.|
|In March 1971, there was a coup
d'tat and we were all arrested, all the
revolutionaries, leftists, and patriotic people.
In 1974, I was released
from prison, and in 1977, I became an independent candidate for mayor of
Diyarbakir. I criticized the former mayors of Diyarbakir, and spoke in
Kurdish. The former mayors were also Kurds, but I was the first who
affirmed my national identity.|
In the coup d'etat in September
1980, I was arrested and charged with being
against the unity of the government, of being a separatist and a member of
an illegal organization. While I was in prison, some other Kurdish people
started to testify in Kurdish at the trials.|
A group of PKK people from
Batman spoke in Kurdish, and they were beaten. And I told them, "Don't be
afraid; I will avenge you. Tomorrow I have my trial." |
nd the next day I went and spoke in Kurdish, but I was beaten and
thrown out of court. Out of principle almost everybody started to
speak in Kurdish, but the authorities didn't bring translators.
They beat me from 1987 until 1991. I never spoke another word in
Interview with Mehti Zana living in Turkey
From the book, Kurdistan,
In the Shadow of History.
Top Photo: Mehti Zana, (seated
third from left), with other Kurdish Officers on trial in May 1981
Bottom Photo:Mehti and Leyla
with children, Rukan (age 3), Ronay (age 7) and his mother.