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."
A 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 Turkish.

Interview with Mehti Zana living in Turkey 1993
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.