Yashar Ismailoglu is a bon vivant septaugenarian, writer and community worker in North London, running the largest Kurdish/Turkish community organisation in Europe. He is related to the legendary Caucasian leader, Shaikh Shamil.He is the founding member of the Turkish Fine Arts Society and Toplum Postasi newspaper. He is presently associated with the Halkevi Centre, Hackney. He recently observed, “I [also] coordinate the activities of the Cypriot Community Centre, which involves mainly elderly people. Recently, the management committee changed. Therefore, they needed to change the organisational signatures for the bank account. And the bank said to me that they got specific instructions from the Home Office: any organisation that wants to open an account or authorise signatures must prove their residence; they must go personally to see the bank director and show their passport. This rule was introduced after 11 September 2001.Thus the state now controls the accounts of charity organisations and of individuals. What right do you have to know how much money I have in my bank account? But now the police have the authority, without going to court to get a warrant to get into my account. The ATCSA gives them the utmost access to the privacy of individuals or a company. So terrorism becomes an excuse or a tool for controlling society and limiting civil rights. Collecting money in Turkish society is a part of communalism, of working together. Helping an organisation is the same. Now Halkevi is organising fund-raising for the victims of the earthquake in Turkey. But the ‘anti-terror’ law may criminalize that”.
He stood in Enfield in the 2005 parliamentary elections as a Green Party candidate, losing his deposit. He has an MSc from SOAS and an MA from Birkbeck College, University of London.