Steve Kaczynski has been held in a Turkish prison since April 2nd. He was taken, along with centre workers and the best-selling political band Grup Yorum, in a raid on the Idil Cultural Centre in the Ortaköy district of Istanbul. Steve has not been charged with any offense, has been held in severe isolation, and has been on hunger strike.

Steve is originally from West Lothian. He worked in England as a journalist before moving back to Scotland. Steve became an active member of the Scottish Socialist Party in Edinburgh and joined the RCN. Steve took a particular interest in the struggles of the Turkish Left, and attended international symposia organised to challenge Turkey’s brutal prison system, as well as acting as an international observer at political trials.

Steve’s interests in such matters also led him to become one of the observers and note-takers for the SSP at Tommy Sheridan’s trial. Steve was a firm believer in the veracity of the case put forward by the SSP majority. The subsequent split in the SSP led him to move to England to give his time to Turkish solidarity work. No longer a member of the SSP, he also ceased to be a member of the RCN. However, we welcomed Steve’s contributions, which we continued to publish.

We have sent the following letter to the Turkish authorities:-

We wish to express our concern at the Turkish government’s arrest and detention of Steve Kaczynski. Steve has been a tireless supporter of democratic rights and opposed the detention and brutal treatment of Turkish state prisoners for many years. He has acted as an observer at the state trials of prisoners. The fact that Steve has still not been charged with any offence strongly suggests that this is the real motivation for Steve’s continued detention. Therefore we call for his immediate release.

Given Steve’s well-known opposition to UK state intervention and the massive suffering it has caused to the peoples of the Middle East, we believe that the accusation that Steve is some kind of British agent is an attempt by the Turkish authorities to prevent any effective support for Steve. Indeed, if he were a British state agent, we would have quickly seen the UK authorities coming to his aid.