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Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

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  • German 'Muslim test' stirs anger

    By Ray Furlong
    BBC News, Stuttgart, Germany

    Some say the test puts them under suspicion of terrorism
    The cafe Fleck und Speck is as cosmopolitan as Stuttgart gets.

    During an evening there, I meet a Kurd, a Serbian Jew, and a German whose curly black hair betrays his Mexican heritage.

    This is the multicultural dream that Germany's Left has promoted for decades - but which not everyone shares.

    The Christian Democrat-led government of Baden-Wuerttemberg, of which Stuttgart is the capital, has just introduced new "discussion guidelines" which have sparked national controversy.

    They consist of 30 questions which can be put to applicants for German citizenship to see if they share democratic values. But they have been strongly attacked as aimed against the state's large Turkish community - and dubbed "the Muslim test".

    "This measure - the so-called discussion guidelines - means that I cannot imagine applying for German citizenship in the near future," says Sueheyla Ince, a local lawyer who was born in Germany but holds a Turkish passport.

    "I have to prove, by answering these questions, that I'm a 'good' Muslim," she says, "because it puts all Muslims under a general suspicion of terrorism and insinuates that they're not interested in the values of the German constitution."

    The questions, which have been leaked to the German media, cover a range of subjects. A few examples:

    How do you view the statement that a woman should obey her husband, and that he can beat her if she doesn't?

    You learn that people from your neighbourhood or from among friends or acquaintances have carried out or are planning a terrorist attack - what do you do?

    Some people hold the Jews responsible for all the evil in the world, and even claim they were behind the attacks of 11 September 2001 in New York. What is your view of this claim?

    Imagine that your son comes to you and declares that he's a homosexual and would like to live with another man. How do you react?

    The new measure is the brainchild of the Baden-Wuerttemberg Interior Minister, Heribert Rech.

    "When there are doubts about an applicant's values, the easiest thing is for an official to have a talk with him - but not a talk about the weather or about football," he says.

    "It needs to be about his view of our constitution, of tolerance, of sexual equality, or of the state's monopoly on the use of violence. Only with these questions can we come close to finding the answers we need."


    An opinion poll found 76% of Germans agree. This country has around three million Muslim inhabitants - mostly Turkish, with Bosnians making up the next largest group, followed by people of Arab origin.

    Since 11 September 2001, which was partly planned and carried out by Muslim students based in Hamburg, these communities have been viewed with suspicion.

    It's not only a problem of migrants from Muslim countries. It's a problem of Christians and people who are already citizens of Germany

    Cem Ozdemir
    Green Party MEP

    There have been controversies over headscarf bans (also first introduced in Baden-Wuerttemberg) and over so-called "honour killings" of Muslim women by family members.

    There is also currently a row over a Berlin school that has banned the use of languages other than German in the playground.

    But many politicians have said the "discussion guidelines" merely pander to popular stereotypes of Muslims.

    "Mr Rech is creating a problem which does not exist," says Cem Ozdemir, a Green Party MEP from Baden-Wuerttemberg.

    "I would wish that we live in a world where everybody is accepting equal rights for gays and lesbians, where everybody fully understands the need for equal rights for men and women and so on.

    "But unfortunately that is not the case - and it's not only a problem of migrants from Muslim countries. It's a problem of Christians and people who are already citizens of Germany."

    Stuttgart's Turkish community is organising a petition drive and demonstrations. But it is going to be an uphill battle.

    A motion condemning the new measure, tabled by the Greens in the Bundestag, was defeated. Many politicians have voiced support for the guidelines, and the neighbouring state of Hessen is now considering following Baden-Wuerttemberg's lead.
    "All truth passes through three stages:
    First, it is ridiculed;
    Second, it is violently opposed; and
    Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

    Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)


    • Growing Influence Of Islam Alienating Alevis, Turkey's 'true Second-class Citizens'

      TURKEY: Most Alevis wholeheartedly aligned themselves with Kemal Ataturk's secular revolution of the 1920s, writes Nicholas Birch in Istanbul Remote, mountainous and poor, Tunceli has all the ingredients of a typical, conservative eastern Turkish town. Except that Tunceli is anything but typical. Few women under the age of 60 wear headscarves. The fine central mosque lies empty, even on Fridays.

      Dominated by a medley of Marxist-Leninists, communists and socialists - political groupings insignificant elsewhere in Turkey - local politics has a distinctively cold war feel about it.

      The key to Tunceli's strangeness lies in the identity of its people. Like around 20 per cent of Turkey's population, they are not Sunni Muslims, but Alevi, members of a sect whose beliefs are distantly related to Shiism.

      Not that the place of worship opened on the outskirts of town five years ago in any way resembles the mosques of neighbouring Shia Iran.

      Attended by men, women and children, the Thursday meeting at the cemevi opens with a lament sung to the accompaniment of an amplified saz, the metal-stringed lute played throughout Anatolia.

      Later, the music gathers speed, and a group of young men and women stand to perform a stylised circular dance. The ceremony ends with the religious leader, in tears, describing the death of the Imam Hussein at the hands of the Sunni Caliph's army.

      Persecuted by the Ottoman Sultans, most Alevis wholeheartedly aligned themselves with Kemal Ataturk's secular revolution of the 1920s. Many continue to describe themselves as staunch Kemalists.

      But Islam, all but banished in the early years of Republican Turkey, crept back in with multi-party democracy in the 1950s. Its growing influence continues to alienate Alevis.

      "Do you know what is really meant by 'how happy is he who can say I am a Turk'?" asks schoolteacher Nuriye Bagriyanik, referring to one of Ataturk's most popular slogans. "How happy is he who can say 'I am a Sunni Muslim.'"

      She ascribes the resurgence of Alevi identity to ultra-nationalist-led pogroms in the late 1970s in which well over 100 Alevis died. Forty-five more were killed in a second bout of sectarianism in the mid-1990s in Istanbul and the Anatolian city of Sivas.

      The real triggers to Alevi activism came later, though, first with Turkey's improving relations with the EU. And then there was the overwhelming 2003 electoral success of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), a pro-western offshoot of traditional Turkish political Islam.

      "Every one of the AKP's 360-odd MPs is a Sunni," explains Tunceli journalist Haydar Toprakci, adding that "it's the Alevis, not the Kurds, who are Turkey's true second-class citizens". His attitude is shared by Izzetin Dogan, head of Turkey's most influential Alevi group, the Istanbul-based Cem Foundation.

      "Previous governments may have been cowardly on the Alevi issue, but at least we could talk to them", Mr Dogan says. "With the present government, all contact has been lost." Deteriorating relations left his Cem Foundation with no alternative but to take the Turkish Education Ministry to court over school religious classes that were made obligatory after the 1980 military coup.

      The curriculum teaches only Sunni Islam. Individual Alevis have taken their complaints far further. Any day now, the European Court of Human Rights is expected to rule on a landmark case brought by parents demanding that their children be excused from religious education.

      "The thought of going to court didn't occur to me until one Ramadan, when the religious teacher began insisting all Muslims should fast," parent Hatice Kose told Turkish daily Radikal. "My son said that because everybody else in the class was fasting, he would too." If they fast at all, Alevis do so not during Ramadan, but Muharrem, four months later.

      In an apparent effort to stave off further legal cases, Turkey's education minister Huseyin Celik last week announced that the curriculum had been changed to include a discussion of Alevi beliefs.

      Izzetin Dogan describes the move as an attempt by the government "to get Brussels on its side". The ministry's aim, he adds, "is to present our beliefs as being no different from Sunni Islam".

      The fisticuffs over the school syllabus are, however, only the most visible symptom of a much broader debate - not just confined to Alevis - about the role of Islam in Turkish society.

      Turkey is often described as a model of Muslim secularism. In fact, the state keeps close tabs on religion, seeing it both as a threat and a potential social cement.

      As the well-known Istanbul theologian Zekeriya Beyaz puts it, "the state promotes and protects religion while religion encourages people to support the state". The centre of the bureaucratic web is the Diyanet, the powerful state body responsible for maintaining Turkey's 80,000 mosques and monitoring their state-employed preachers. Sitting in his elegantly furnished office in the outskirts of Ankara, Diyanet head Ali Bardakoglu brushes off suggestions that his foundation is a Sunni monopoly. "Every belief group is our partner," he insists.

      But then he goes on to argue that Alevis are actually Sunni. "It's not that we are opposed to cemevis," he says, "but they are not an alternative to mosques. "

      Ali Bardakoglu is a moderate. After the 1980 coup, led by generals who saw Sunni Islam as an alternative to murderous clashes between left and right, his predecessors complied in a campaign to build mosques in 100s of Alevi villages.

      The initiative was not a success, says Aykan Erdemir, a sociologist specialising in Alevism. "Some imams gave up and left within months of arriving, and others never left their homes. I've even heard stories of preachers corrupted by the villagers' beliefs." Attempts at forced conversion have now stopped. Even now, though, Turkey's few cemevis exist in a legal limbo, officially described as cultural centres, not places of worship.

      And while imams in state-funded mosques receive their salaries from Ankara, Alevi communities pay everything from their own pockets.

      Irish Times; Feb 20, 2006
      "All truth passes through three stages:
      First, it is ridiculed;
      Second, it is violently opposed; and
      Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

      Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)


      • New civil disobedience action against the new Penal Code

        A new civil disobedience action against the anti-democratic articles of the new Penal Code will start on March 28, 2006 Tuesday, at 10:00 AM, with a short press declaration which will take place in front of Besiktas Justice House in Istanbul.

        Then therepresentatives out of the list of "First Volunteers" (below) will visit the prosecutor to give a petition blaming themselves and inviting him to open a case against all.

        We invite you to share that "little historic moment" with us.

        In the text of civil disobedience action(attached) in 31 paragraphs, 22 articles of the Penal Code are violated . Except a few, the others are the texts written by intellectuals who were tried in courts, some sentenced.

        In the first hearing of the case we will demand that those articles should be abolished by the Constitutional Court, because they contradict with the European Human Rights Convention via Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution which declares the priority of international conventions to the rest of the legislation.

        In case the court will not accept this demand and the trial goes on, then each of us should be sentenced to an imprisonment of 15 to 62 years and a fine of 15.000 to 155.000 YTL.

        Thank you very much in advance for your attention.

        (Sanar Yurdatapan <[email protected]>, March 27, 2006)

        First Volunteers

        Abdurrahman Dilipak (Journalist, writer)
        Cevat Ozkaya (President of Mazlumder/ Organization of Human Rights & Solidarity for Oppressed People)
        Dogan Ozguden (Journalist, Info-Turk in Brussels)
        Ece Temelkuran (Journalist, Milliyet)
        Fikret Baskaya (Doc. Dr., Free University, Ankara)
        Gulden Sonmez (Lawyer, Human Rights Activist)
        Kazım Genç (Lawyer, President of Pir Sultan Abdal Association)
        Mahir Gunsiray (Actor, director)
        Mehmet Bekaroglu (Prof. Dr., Psychiatrist)
        Mustafa Sutlas (Patients Rights Activist)
        Noyan Ozkan (Lawyer, former president of Izmir Bar Association)
        Oya Baydar (Sociologist, writer)
        Perihan Magden (Journalist, writer)
        Pınar Selek (Sociologist, writer, journalist)
        Ragıp Zarakolu (Writer, publisher, journalist)
        Sema Kaygusuz (Writer)
        Sanar Yurdatapan (Composer)
        Seyhmus Diken (Writer)
        Tolga Yarman (Prof. Dr., Nuclear Engineer)
        Yusuf Alatas (Lawyer, president of IHD/ Human Rights Association)
        "All truth passes through three stages:
        First, it is ridiculed;
        Second, it is violently opposed; and
        Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

        Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)


        • Full Text Of The Civil Disobedience Declaration

          I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it.
          Voltaire (1694-1778)


          The restructuring of Penal Procedural Law, Enforcement Law and Turkish Penal Code based on fascist Italian law generated high hopes towards establishing democracy and freedom of expression without buts. The former laws had been used as a base to support countless unfair and unjust decisions and processes. The brand new Turkish Penal Code which opens with the following paragraph “The purpose of this law is to protect personal rights and freedoms, public order and security, supremacy of law, public health and environment and public peace, and to prevent crime” unfortunately caused great disappointment with its following provisions as well as its implementation in over a year’s period. Explosives placed in the law with great skill not to catch the eye at first sight, now blow up one after the other. Writers, journalists, publishers, artists, trade unionists, professors, dissident politicians keep cramming the court halls. In order to stop this course of events before it is too late, before the stream of convictions get approved by the Supreme Court and become common law, in order to block this road; we publicize opinion by the means of press knowing that each paragraph violates some anti-democratic article, and might cost each of us under the new law a prison sentence of between 15 and 62 years and a fine of between 90 and 155.000 New Turkish Liras. We are prepared to bear the consequences.

          Statements charged/punished for violating article 301 of TPC (former 159):

          1. “It is known that a “Sevres Syndrome” was experienced in the beginning of 1990’s, there was a belief that Turkey faced the danger of disintegration. But the claim that such climate still prevails today and its turn into a “paranoia” is disturbing and damaging for the nation. Those who say today things like that a Pontus State would be formed in the eastern part of Black Sea region, that non-muslim converts control Turkey or Fener Greek Patriarchate would set up a sort of Vatican in Istanbul, are in fact trying to generate such climate...”
          (Statement qouted from the Minority Report of Prime Ministry Human Rights Advisory Board, which led to the prosecution of Prof. Ibrahim Kaboglu and Prof. Baskin Oran.)
          2. “30.000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians have been killed in this land. Nobody in Turkey dares to say it. I do.…”
          (Orhan Pamuk’s statement published first in a Swiss magazine and reprinted in Aktuel magazine in Turkey which led to Pamuk’s peosecution.)
          3. “The fresh blood to replace the poisoned blood the Turk would bleed out, exist in the noble vein of the Armenian that he would form with Armenia”
          (Statement from Hrant Dink’s article published in AGOS newspaper and led to the prosecution and conviction of Dink.)
          4. “…at the dawn they arrived in helmets, boots and with arms. They sat on the country like a heavy rock… those who planned to come in helmets, boots and with arms and sit on the country like heavy rock …”, “It turned out that they were not any different from Pinochet, Banzer, Videla, Garcia and Somoza, their colleagues in far away countries. Among other things, they executed 49 people including one aged 17.”
          (Statements from Emin Karaca’s article critising 12 September regime, published in YAZIN review which led to the conviction of Karaca, 5 months prison sentence.)
          5. "…If he is naive enough to trust Turkish courts and judges, the chance of an ordinary Turk for a fair trial is one in a million, ".
          (Sentences from journalist Burak Bekdil’s article published in Turkish Daily News which led to his conviction, 20 months prison sentence.)
          6. “…The numbers of death toll in the civil war was so scary in 1992 and the stories of PKK attacs and the army’s retaliations were so brutal nobody could be optimistic about the new year. Despite the recognition of “Kurdish Reality’ by Prime Minister Demirel and ve President Ozal, the sounds of war drums played by Turkish press and conservative parties demanding a harsh response to any expression of PKK rebellion and Kurdish independence overruled more conciliatory voices. The war was waged on two fronts: one in the South East region against Kurds, -now with superior numbers and technology due to the arrival of Black Hawks; and the other one was in the cities and towns against Kurdishness and any kind of anti-war opposition or sympathy towards the rebels …”
          (These statements qouted from John Tirman's book "War Booty: Human Cost of American Arms Trade" led to the prosecution of Fatih Tas, the owner of Aram Publishing House.)

          TPC article 301:
          Those who
          (1) Publicly insult Turkishness, the Republic or the Grand National Assembly of Turkey shall be punished with a prison sentence of between 6 months upto 3 years.
          (2) Publicly insult the Government of Turkish Republic, the judicial institutions, military or security organisations of the state shall be sentenced with a prison sentence of between 6 months upto 2 years.
          (3) If insulting Turkishness is committed by a Turkish citizen in another country, the punishment shall be increased by one third.
          (4) Expression of thought with the purpose of criticism shall not constitute a crime

          Statements charged with violating article 288 of TPC:

          7. “…This decision has nothing to do with law or democracy …it is a decision that defies law and academic freedom …it is a blow to freedom of expression …” (the indictment against Hasan Cemal, journalist in Milliyet daily qoutes from his article on the decision of Istanbul 4th. Administrative Court to halt “Armenian Conference”.)
          8. “…Nonsense of stopping Armenian Conference by judicial order …”, “…I wonder if those who made the decision will be investigated …”
          (The indictment against Prof. Erol Katırcıoglu of Milliyet daily qoutes his article which led to his prosecution under the same charge.)
          9. “…We witnessed the judiciary stepping outside its authority …”, “…it is the worst attack so far on the academic quality of universities …”
          (The indictment against İsmet Berkan of Radikal daily qoutes his article which led to his prosecution under the same charge.)
          10. “…a decision such as this, defying scientific freedom and academic quality of universities…”, “…Could a country claim to be a functioning state of law where courts can make decisions such as this?…”
          ” The indictment against Prof. Haluk Sahin of Radikal daily qoutes his article which led to his prosecution under the same charge.)
          11. “…When the one who is defined as serving out justice begins transgressing justice …”, “…the decision is so fatal …”
          (The indictment against Prof. Murat Belge of Radikal daily qoutes his article which led to his prosecution under the same charge.)
          12. “…Was not Pamuk’s statement investigated by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office earlier on and was not it concluded that the statement was in the scope of ciricism which did not constitute a crime leading to the dropping of the charges? Does not this kind of silence harm government as well as Turkey encouraging this sort of practices?”
          (Qouted from the article of Murat Yetkin of Radikal daily, ciritising Pamuk trial which led to his prosecution.)

          TPC article 288: Those who
          (1) publicly make verbal or written statement with the purpose of influencing the prosecutor, the judge, the court, experts or witnesses before an ongoing legal inquiry or prosecution is finalised shall be punished with a prison sentence of between 6 months and 3 years.
          Press Code num. 5187, article 19: Those who publish the contents of processes by Public prosecutor, judge or the court or other documents related to the investigation during the time from after the beginning of the preliminary investigation till either the charges are dropped or a public case is opened, shall be punished with a fine of between 2 billion Turkish Liras and 50 billion Turkish Liras.... ...Those who publish opinion on an ongoing trial about the judge or the court procedures before it is concluded shall be punished in the same way as in paragraph 1.

          Statements charged with violating article 215 of TPC (former article 312/1):

          13. “…Your struggle is our struggle, we are for peace, we thank you peace mothers …”
          (The words of President of Teachers Union Allattin Dinçer as he visited a sit in action of Peace Mothers on Istiklal Street led to his trial.)

          14. “…The US and its allies intervened in the Middle East in the name of freedom and democracy yet the occupation led to blood and tears, repression of Kurdish people continue, Turkish state does not respond to peace attempts, it increased the military operations in response to the 6 years long unilateral peace declaration of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan …”
          (Executive member of HRA Yuksel Mutlu’s words during the same visit led to his prosecution.)

          TPC article 215: Those who
          (1) publicly praise a committed crime or a person for committing a crime, shall be punished with a prison sentence of upto 2 years.

          Statements charged with violating article 216/1 of TPC (former article 312/2):

          15. “…besides, contact between de facto Kurdish government and Turkish state officials continued. So what is behind the scare stories of the media. As if it were a new development, the citizens of Turkish Republic are bombarded with the idea that there is going to be a disaster if a Kurdish state is established. Look, they say “We have to invade Iraq, otherwise Kurds will set up a state and they will demand land from us… “So we should go into Iraq not against Saddam but more importantly to prevent a Kurdish state.”... ‘Saddam is an excuse, would not it be wonderful to crash Kurds’...” (Ragıp Zarakolu’s words from his article published in his column in Özgür Gündem newspaper, qouted by the indictment.)

          16. “What is the reason of such hostility and anger against Muslims? All islamic values, notions and institutions have been viewed as potantial threats. Religious education of children have been obstructed. Religious education has been cut down. Department of Religious Affairs have been under strict controls. Education life and religious life have been separated. This is not secularism. The object of secularism is not ‘religion and state’and a separation and antagonism can not be claimed to exist between the two. The object of secularism is ‘the church and the state.’ You can not both take department of Religious Affairs under your own control and talk about secularism at the same time. And then you politicians through your bureaucrats will decide our religion. Let that religion be yours. It is denigrating for religion and the religious. It is a political intervention to the sacred domain....” (Qouted from Abdurrahman Dilipak’s article: “My Country is Different”. These statements led to his prosecution in State Security Court under former article 312 which now continues in a Criminal Court of First Instance.)
          17. ” ‘I am a Turk, I am honest, I am industrious’. E, when you said this then a son of a Muslim and a Kurdish origined citizen gained the right to say ‘Is that so? Then I am a Kurd, I am more honest, I am more industrious.’”. (Prof. Necmettin Erbakan’s words which led to his conviction with a 1 year of imprisonment yet postponed due to his health condition.)

          18. “Minarets are our bayonets, domes are our helmets, mosques are our barracs...” (Verses that led to Prime Minister Erdogan’s convition with 10 months imprisonment, Mayor of Istanbul at the time..)

          TPC Article 216: (1) If someone openly instigates a part of the people having different social class, race, religion, sect or region to hatred or hostility against another part of the people, giving way to an open and close danger for the public security, the offender shall be punished with a prison sentence of between 1 year and 3 years.

          Statements charged with violating article 6 of Fighting Terror Law:

          19. “ I would like to point this. This Orhan Karadeniz is the same person who used to be a judge. There are lawyers who know him. During the trials of ‘revolutionary left’ after 1980 when the accused wanted to speak to defend themselves he either would shut them up or he would set the soldiers on them on the excuse that they chanted slogans when they tried to speak slightly loudly to demand something, he would do everything not to give the accused a chance to speak...”
          (The indictment qoutes Ertuğrul Mavioğlu’s words at a TV program “Arena of Politics” presented by Ali Kırca. They were both prosecuted over the program.)

          Fighting Terror Law Num. 3713 article 6: Those who announce that the crimes of a terrorist organization are aimed at certain persons, whether or not such persons are named, or who disclose or publish the identity of officials on anti-terrorist duties, or who identify such persons as targets shall be punished with a fine of between 5 and 10 million Turkish liras.

          Statements charged with violating article 7 of Fighting Terror Law :

          20. “…Someone called a terrorist in one part of Turkey is called a guerilla in the other part; someone who is a traitor in one part is a hero in the other. On the one side it is “the head of terrorists” on the other part it is ‘the leader of Kurdish people Chairman Apo …” (Indictment qoutes Orhan Doğan’s words from an interview he made with Nese Düzel of Radikal daily. They are both prosecuted for it.)

          Fighting Terror Law Num. 3713 article 7:
          -Those who assist members of organizations constituted in the manner described above or make propaganda in connection with such organizations shall additionaly be punished with a prison sentence of between 1 and 5 years and with a fine of between 50 million and 100 million Turkish liras, even if their offence constitutes a separate crime.

          Statements charged with violating article 318 of TPC (former article 155):

          21. “Antimilitarists will explain concientious objection and anti-war activism, Anti-war Gathering …” “...Political situation in Turkey is getting hot. Today’s rising chauvinistic wave in fact existed two years ago. Yet that insidious wave can reveal itself openly today with the support of militarism...” (Journalist Birgül Özbarış of GUNDEM newspaper reports the statements of antimilitarists and concientious objectors. The newspaper report is qouted by the indictment.)

          TPC Article 318: (1) Those who commit activities, encourages or inspires the people or propagandates in a way to alienate them from military service shall be punished with a prison sentence of from 6 months upto 2 years.

          Statements charged with violating article 305 of TPC (very old former article 140):

          22. All military forces including Turkish soldiers should pull out of CYPRUS, the bases should be closed down, the island should be disarmed.
          (One of the two examples given as an explanation of the article in the records of Grand National Assembly, yet this part was somehow ommited in the edition of new TPC published by the Ministry of Justice.)

          23. Turkish Republic should be able to face up to the realities of its past beginning with the Armenian Massaccre of 1915. (The other example given by the same explanation of the article 305 as to when the article would be used.)

          TPC Article 305: (1)A citizen who directly or indirectly receives material beneifit from foreign persons or instutions for himself or for others in return for, or with the purpose of committing acts that are against fundemental national interests,shall be punished with a prison sentence of from 3 years upto 10 years and a fine of 10.000 days. Those who benefits or offers benefit shall be punished in the same way. (2) If the act is committed during war or the benefit is offered or given in return for making propaganda through the press, the punishment shall be increased by half.

          Statements charged with violating articles 1 and 2 of Law on Crimes Against Ataturk Num. 5816:

          24. “…In a town like Ankara they were everything; there was no one more knowledgable or superior than them but not in Istanbul. It was not hard to get drowned or get offtrack in it. They could only overcome Istanbul by the power of the state in their hands, through violence. That is what they did. When he said Istanbul is a summary of our history and civilisation, perhaps he should have been aware that the use of such methods against this city could only be an expression of desperation, yet Mustafa Kemal was famous for his endless ambition...” (Seyfi Ongider’s words from the book “The story of two Cities” qouted by the indictment. He is the editor of Aykırı Publishers.)

          Law on Crimes Against Ataturk Num 5816:
          Article 1: Those who publicly insult or curse the memory of Atatürk shall be imprisoned with a sentence of between one and three years
          Article 2: If the crimes outlined in the first article are committed by a group of two or more individuals, or publicly, or in public places or by means of the press, the punishment shall be increased by half.

          Statements violating article 237 of TPC:

          25. The current deficit tends to incerase as a result of the government’s economic policies. This can lead to an unexpected economic crises, even worse than the last one. Emergency measures are needed.

          TPC Article 237: (1) Those who spread false information or news, or uses other fraudulent ways with the purpose of leading to or in a way to cause the prices of food or the wages of workers to increase or decrease shall be punished with a prison sentence of from 3 months and 2 years.
          (As far as we know, this article has hurt anybody so far. Yet it is there waiting to be used like the sword of Damocles, when any criticism on economic policies disturb the rulers.)

          Statements violating articles 84 and 298 of TPC:

          26. Those young people who are on death fast are so desperate that they are putting their lives at risk as a last resort. Instead of denouncing them straightaway we should try to understand them first. Besides, the ideas that one has the right to decide whether to go on living or not and that euthanasia is a right are widely accepted around the world.
          "All truth passes through three stages:
          First, it is ridiculed;
          Second, it is violently opposed; and
          Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

          Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)


          • TPC Article 84: (3) Those who publicly encourages others to committ suicide, shall be punished with a prison sentence of between 3 years and 8 years. If this offence is committed through the press and media the offender shall be punsihed with a prison sentence of from 4 years upto 10 years.

            TPC Article 298: (2) Those who prevents convicts or those under arrest from taking nourishment shall be punished with a prison sentence of between 2 years and 4 years. Encouraging or convincing or ordering the convicts or those under arrest to go on a hunger strike or death fast is considered preventing from taking nourishment.

            (As far as we know these articles did not hurt anyone so far. Yet it is obvious that they exists to stop criticism on F Type and isolation in prison.).

            Statements violating article 220 of TPC:

            27. The guearilla movement launched by PKK in 1984 led to bloody consequences as well as positive ones such as the disintegration of the feodal structure and women’s participation in social life in the region.

            TPC Article 220: (8) Those who propagandate for the organisation or for its purpose shall be punished with a prison sentence of between 1 year and 3 years. If this crime is committed by the means of press and media the punishment shall be increased by half.

            (The same applies for this article yet we should not forget that in the past, article 169 which prohibited “helping illegal organisation” was distorted and interpreted as “helping through propaganda” to silence criticism.)

            Convicted cartoons:

            28. Musa Kart’s cartoon published in Cumhuriyet daily on 9 May 2004. Kart and the responsible editor Mehmet Sucu were sentenced to pay 5.000 NTL compensation as prime minister Erdogan sued them.

            29. The comic paper “Penguin” ran this front page to protest the case against Musa Kart. Prime Mimister Erdogan sued the paper and demanded 5.000 NTL compensation for each animal figure, a total of 40.000 NTL.

            The cartoonists were tried and convicted under the following articles:

            Civil Law article 24.- Those whose
            (1) personal rights are attacked in a way against the law can ask the court for protection from the assailant.
            (2) All violations of personal rights are against law unless the consent of the victim is justified by a superior personal or public benefit or use of authority provided by law.
            Law on Obligations and Contract article 49:
            (1) Those whose personal rights are violated in a way against the law, have a right to open a case demanding payment for mental damage.
            (2) Judge takes into consideration the social standing and position and other social and financial circumstances of the parties in determining the amount of compensation.
            (3) Judge may decide for an alternative way of compensation in addition to or instead of a payment or may decide that it suffices to denounce the violation and decide to reveal it by the means of press.

            Those who are prosecuted under Law on Radio and TV Num. 3984

            "Nothing happens all of a sudden. First they made the call for prayer (ezan) made in Arabic. Then they said 'we would bring the caliphate if you wanted', you thought it was democracy. Then came an avalanche of Koran courses and religious high schools. Religious classes were made compulsory. Headcsarves and veils increased, the number of mosques exceeded the number of schools, you thought it was freedom of belief. They intervened in the dress codes. Thos who did not fast got killed, you were surprised. Then they burnt alive and shot scientists and writers. They tore apart MPs and journalists. They burnt poets and dancers. You were puzzled over who did it. They will finaly knock at our doors." (The sentences considered to be against Statue 3894 by Radio and Television Higher Board (RTUK) for which RTUK closed down Radio İmaj for one month, in fact Radyo İmaj had already been indefinitely shut down by RTUK. The words referr to Sivas massacre and are qouted from a book published by The Literature Association in 1994).

            Law 3984 article 4 (b): “Preventing broadcasting which instigate the people to violence, terror, etnic discrimination, or instigate the people to hatred and hostility on grounds of difference in social class, race, language, religion, sect, or region.”

            Statements violating articles 214 and 217 of TPC:

            31. When problematic laws are drafted and passed through the parliament we as a society make little sound. When implementation brings convictions, then recations incerase but it is too late. Once the supreme court approves a bad decision then it becomes common law for the rest of the cases. Then it takes years’ of struggling to correct it. This time do not let it happen that way, lets move faster this time and lets conciously and voluntarily violate those articles of TPC which restricts thought and expression. We invite all to take part in this civil disobedience.

            TPC article 214: (1) Those who publicly instigates to committing crime shall be punished with a prison sentence of between 6 months and 5 years.
            TPC article 217: (1) Those who
            Publicly instigate the people to disobey laws in a way to distrupt the public peace shall be punished with a prison sentence of between 6 months and 2 years or with a fine.
            (Article 218: If the offences decribed in the above articles are committed by the means of press and media the punishment shall be incerased by half.)

            I undersign this text with my free will, knowing the meaning and possible consequences of it.

            I am noting that I do not share some of the above statements. The numbers of those statements that I do not agree are as follows:

            .................................................. .

            Name and Surname:
            Profession, title:
            Date and signature:

            Nacak Sok. 21/11 34674 Üsküdar İSTANBUL
            Tel.: +90 216 492 0504
            Faks: +90 216 532 7545
            E-Posta: [email protected]
            "All truth passes through three stages:
            First, it is ridiculed;
            Second, it is violently opposed; and
            Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

            Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)


            • Rep. Crowley Unveils Resolution Condemning Shooting Of Turkish-armenian Journalist


              yasemin congar

              Legislation Urges Repeal of Article 301 to Protect Human Rights, Freedom of
              Speech and Expression

              Washington, DC – One week after more than 100,000 mourned slain
              Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink in Istanbul, US Congressman Joseph
              Crowley (D-Queens & the Bronx) introduced legislation (H. Res. 102) in the
              US House of Representatives condemning the Agos newspaper editor’s
              assassination, and calling on Turkish authorities to continue investigating
              the circumstances and fully prosecute those involved in the murder.

              “Today, as members of the US House of Representatives, we join the people
              of Turkey and Armenia in mourning the loss of Hrant Dink, and condemn the
              senseless murder of an outstanding individual who truly led a courageous
              life,” Crowley said. “Hrant Dink was a man of conviction and principle who
              fought for freedom of the press and speech, and for tolerance and
              understanding. Through his illustrious career as a journalist he tried to
              bridge the divide between Turkish and Armenian people by fostering a
              dialogue in the newspaper he founded, Agos.”

              Hrant Dink founded the bilingual weekly newspaper Agos in April 1996, to
              foster a dialogue and encourage understanding between the Turkish-Armenian
              community and the larger Turkish population. He served as its editor until
              Jan. 19, 2007, when he was shot dead outside of Agos’ main office in
              downtown Istanbul. H. Res. 102 is expected to be voted in the House as an
              up or down vote within the next two weeks.

              Journalists and the media community around the world recognized and honored
              Hrant Dink for his courage and principles, and he was awarded the
              prestigious Bjornson Prize for Literature for his publications on the
              Armenian genocide. Hrant Dink’s support for human rights and outspokenness
              of injustices in Turkey against ethnic Armenians won him notoriety with
              authorities, who prosecuted and convicted him in court for insulting
              Turkishness in Turkey under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code.
              Congressman Crowley’s resolution also urges the government of Turkey to
              repeal this section of Turkish law that prohibits free speech and is used
              to silence critics.

              Congressman Crowley stated, “We ask that the government of Turkey remove
              Article 301, which is an outright attack on the fundamental right to
              freedom of speech. Authorities should do all in their power to stop acts of
              intolerance, intimidation and violence against individuals who exercise
              this fundamental right from happening.”

    \>%20Güncel&Id=24907 &DilId=2

              Yasemin Congar
              Washington Bureau Chief
              Milliyet & CNN Turk
              http://www.burasiwa shington. blogspot. com
              "All truth passes through three stages:
              First, it is ridiculed;
              Second, it is violently opposed; and
              Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

              Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)


              • Are the winds of change finally beginning?

                I just got off the phone with my uncle Gevorg who told me that while he was at a "Tari" for his uncle at St. James Armenian Church in Los Angeles today, something interesting happened.

                After the Hogi Hangist, someone made an announcement that there were 2 Turks in the church's audience. They requested permission to address the attendees. Permission was granted and they spoke.

                They were both young students from Turkey, studying in the Los Angeles area. They apologized to the crowd for the assassination of Hrant Dink and mourned for him alongside Armenians. They stated that they were ready to explore what happened in 1915 without prejudice. They expressed their wish to do whatever it takes to gain understanding and eventual closure with our mutual history and join hands with Armenians, moving toward the future. Uncle Gevorg approached them after their address and thanked them. He requested their contact information and has provided it to me, I will be inviting them to this forum and hope they will join us soon.

                I was happy to hear this from my Uncle, he was happy to see it for himself. One thing is for sure, it feels that we're hearing similar stories left and right recently. Could it be that the most slight breezes have begun in the proverbial winds of change?
                [url][/url] - [COLOR="Red"]Armenian[/COLOR] [COLOR="Blue"]Genealogy[/COLOR] [COLOR="Orange"]Forum[/COLOR]


                • I want to know when will MIT open their archives?
                  "All truth passes through three stages:
                  First, it is ridiculed;
                  Second, it is violently opposed; and
                  Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

                  Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)


                  • Beyond Hayal, it is an act of organization

                    A shocking statement from the minister of Justice Cemil Çiçek: "the information and connections show that this is the act of an organization."

                    Minister of Justice Cemil Çiçek responded to the question: "is the assassination of Dink an act of a small gang or of a bigger organization?" by saying: "according to the information and the connections received up to now, it seems that this is the act of an organization."

                    Organization beyond Hayal

                    Upon the question that "are the ones soliciting and committing the murder of Hrant Dink a small gang of a bigger organization?" the government spokesman and the minister of Justice Cemil Çiçek responded: "according to the information and the connections received up to now, it seems that this is an act of organization." He added: "looking at the connections of Yasin Hayal soliciting the murder, it is seen that he is trained for terrorism purposes. He learns producing bombs at Azerbaijan and then on his return he produces bombs and tests them. He throws bomb to McDonalds and receives assistance from Erhan Tuncel."
                    "All truth passes through three stages:
                    First, it is ridiculed;
                    Second, it is violently opposed; and
                    Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

                    Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860)


                    • IS TURKEY ABOUT TO FALL UPON ITSELF?
                      Fatih Saribas, Reuters

                      Hamilton Spectator, Canada
                      March 10 2007

                      Ogun Samast is charged with the killing of Turk-Armenian editor
                      Hrant Dink.

                      Virulent nationalism threatens to tear fragile country apart The
                      Economist (Mar 10, 2007)

                      Sitting in an office plastered with Ottoman pennants, portraits
                      of Ataturk and the Turkish flag, Kemal Kerincsiz, a lawyer, says
                      his mission in life is to protect the Turkish nation from "Western
                      imperialism and global forces that want to dismember and destroy us."

                      In the past two years Kerincsiz and his Turkish Jurists' Union
                      have launched a slew of cases against Turkish intellectuals under
                      Article 301 of the penal code, which makes "insulting Turkishness"
                      a criminal offence.

                      Kerincsiz has confined his nationalism to the courts. But elsewhere new
                      ultranationalist groups, some of them led by retired army officers,
                      have been vowing over guns and copies of the Koran to make Turks
                      "the masters of the world" and even "to die and kill" in the process.

                      In January one of Kerincsiz's targets, a Turkish-Armenian newspaper
                      editor, Hrant Dink, was shot dead by a 17-year-old, Ogun Samast,
                      because he had "insulted the Turks." The murder, in broad daylight on
                      one of Istanbul's busiest streets, was a chilling manifestation of
                      a resurgence of xenophobic nationalism aimed at Turkey's non-Muslim
                      minorities and the Kurds -- plus their defenders in the liberal elite.

                      The upsurge threatens to undo the good of four years of reforms by
                      the mildly Islamist government led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Indeed,
                      it is partly in response to these reforms -- more freedom for the
                      Kurds, a trimming of the army's powers, concessions on Cyprus --
                      that nationalist passions have been roused.

                      The knowledge that many members of the European Union do not want
                      Turkey to join has inflamed them further (the EU partially suspended
                      membership talks with Turkey in December because of its refusal to
                      open its ports and airspace to Greek-Cypriots).

                      Another factor is America's refusal to move against separatist PKK
                      guerrillas who are based in northern Iraq. If the United States
                      Congress delivers its pledge to adopt a resolution calling the
                      mass slaughter of the Ottoman Armenians in 1915 genocide, Turkey's
                      relationship with its ally would suffer "lasting damage," says the
                      foreign minister, Abdullah Gul.

                      Murat Belge, a leftist intellectual who is being hounded by Kerincsiz,
                      sees disturbing similarities between the racist nationalism espoused
                      by the "Young Turks" in the dying days of the Ottoman Empire (who
                      ordered the mass slaughter of its Armenian subjects), and the siege
                      mentality gripping Turkey today.

                      The perception, now as then, is that Western powers are pressing
                      for changes to empower their local collaborators (i.e., Kurds and
                      non-Muslims), with the aim of breaking up the country.

                      "This social Darwinist mindset that implies it's OK to kill your
                      enemies in order to survive" has been perpetuated through an education
                      system that tells young Turks that "they have no other friend than the
                      Turks," says Belge. And it has been cynically exploited by politicians
                      and generals alike.

                      Erdogan and Deniz Baykal, the leader of the opposition Republican
                      People's Party, have proved no exception. When more than 100,000
                      Turks gathered at Dink's funeral chanting, "We are all Armenians,"
                      Erdogan opined that they had gone "too far." Both he and Baykal have
                      resisted calls to scrap Article 301, though it may be amended.

                      The politicians are keen to court nationalist votes in the run-up to
                      November's parliamentary election. Erdogan also hopes that burnishing
                      his nationalist credentials will help him to coax a blessing from
                      Turkey's hawkish generals for his hopes of succeeding the fiercely
                      secular Ahmet Necdet Sezer as president in May.

                      Yet a recent outburst by the chief of the general staff, Yasar
                      Buyukanit, suggests otherwise. He declared that Turkey faced more
                      threats to its national security than at any time in its modern
                      history and added that only its "dynamic forces" (the army) could
                      prevent efforts to "partition the country." These words, uttered
                      during an official trip to America, were widely seen as a direct
                      warning to Erdogan to shelve his presidential ambitions.

                      Others do not rule out possible collusion between nationalist
                      elements within the army and retired officers who are organizing new
                      ultranationalist groups (one is said to be training nationalist youths
                      in Trabzon, where Dink's alleged murderers came from).

                      "The real purpose is to sow chaos, to polarize society so they
                      can regain ground (lost with EU reforms)," argues Belma Akcura,
                      an investigative journalist whose recent book about rogue security
                      forces known as the "deep state" earned her a three-month jail stay.

                      It would not be surprising if their next target were a nationalist,
                      she adds.

                      Meanwhile, prominent writers and academics, including Belge, continue
                      to be bombarded with death threats. Some are under police protection.

                      Orhan Pamuk, the Nobel Prize-winning author whom Kerincsiz took to
                      court over his comments about the persecution of the Armenians and
                      the Kurds, has fled to New York.

                      The battle for Turkey's soul is not over yet.

                      General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”