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Can Turkey Learn Tolerance?

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  • Ahmet Yildiz was shot as he left a cafe near the Bosphorus strait in Istanbul


    Was Ahmet Yildiz the victim of Turkey's first gay honour killing?


    By Nicholas Birch in Istanbul
    Saturday, 19 July 2008


    In a corner of Istanbul today, the man who might be described as Turkey's gay poster boy will be buried – a victim, his friends believe, of the country's deepening friction between an increasingly liberal society and its entrenched conservative traditions.

    Ahmet Yildiz, 26, a physics student who represented his country at an international gay gathering in San Francisco last year, was shot leaving a cafe near the Bosphorus strait this week. Fatally wounded, the student tried to flee the attackers in his car, but lost control, crashed at the side of the road and died shortly afterwards in hospital. His friends believe Mr Yildiz was the victim of the country's first gay honour killing.

    "He fell victim to a war between old mentalities and growing civil liberties," says Sedef Cakmak, a friend and a member of the gay rights lobby group Lambda. "I feel helpless: we are trying to raise awareness of gay rights in this country, but the more visible we become, the more we open ourselves up to this sort of attack."

    Turkey was all but closed to the world until 1980 but its desire for European Union membership has imposed strains on a society formerly kept on a tight leash. As the notion of rights for minorities such as women and gays has blossomed, the country's civil society becomes more vibrant by the day. But the changes have brought a backlash from traditionalist circles wedded to the old regime.

    Bungled efforts by a religious-minded government to loosen the grip of Turkey's authoritarian version of secularism have triggered a court case aimed at shutting the ruling party down, with a verdict expected within a month.

    Against this backdrop, the issues of women's rights, sexuality and the place of religion in the public arena have been particularly contentious. Ahmet Yildiz's crime, his friends say, was to admit openly to his family that he was gay.

    "From the day I met him, I never heard Ahmet have a friendly conversation with his parents," one close friend and near neighbour recounted. "They would argue constantly, mostly about where he was, who he was with, what he was doing."

    The family pressure increased, the friend explained. "They wanted him to go back home, see a doctor who could cure him, and get married." Shortly after coming out this year, Mr Yildiz went to a prosecutor to complain that he was receiving death threats. The case was dropped. Five months later, he was dead. The police are now investigating his murder. For gay rights groups, the student's inability to get protection was a typical by-product of the indifference, if not hostility, with which a broad swathe of Turkish society views homosexuality. The military, for example, sees it as an "illness". Men applying for an exemption to obligatory military service on grounds of homosexuality must provide proof – either in the form of an anal examination, or photographs.

    "The media ignores or laughs off violence against gays," says Buse Kilickaya, a member of the gay lobbying group Pink Life, adding that Ahmet Yildiz's death "risks being swept under the carpet and forgotten like other cases in the past". Turkey has a history of honour killings. A government survey earlier this year estimated that one person every week dies in Istanbul as a result of honour killings. It put the nationwide death toll at 220 in 2007. In the majority of cases, the victims are women, but Mr Yildiz's friends suspect he may be the first recorded victim of a homosexual honour killing.

    "We've been trying to contact Ahmet's family since Wednesday, to get them to take responsibility for the funeral," one of the victim's friends said yesterday, standing outside the morgue where his body has been for three days. "There's no answer, and I don't think they are going to come." The refusal of families to bury their relatives is common after honour-related murders.

    Mazhar Bagli, a Turkish sociologist who has interviewed 189 people convicted of honour killings, has never heard of a death revolving around homosexuality but has no doubt that it could be used as justification. "Honour killings cleanse illicit relationships. For women, that is a broad term. Men are allowed more sexual freedom, but homosexuality is still seen by some as beyond the pale."

    While his death may be unique, Mr Yildiz is by no means the first victim of widespread homophobia. When an Istanbul court decided to close down the city's largest gay rights group late this May, commentators took the decision as evidence of a crackdown on the community spearheaded by Turkey's current religious-minded government. Lambda Istanbul had been taken to court by the Istanbul governor's office on the grounds that it was "against the law and morality".

    However, many gay activists are reluctant to draw a connection with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), noting it was the first party in Turkey's history to send a deputy to attend a conference on gay rights. This year's Gay Pride parade in Istanbul was the largest ever, they also point out. Long active in more liberal parts of western Turkey, gay groups are even beginning to meet relatively openly in the conservative east of the country where Ahmet Yildiz came from.

    But according to the former neighbour, the physics student's blank refusal to hide who he was in any way may have been too much for his family. "He could have hidden who he was, but he wanted to live honestly," the neighbour said. "When the death threats started, his boyfriend tried to persuade him to get out of Turkey. But he stayed. He was too brave. He was too open."


    Killed by those they loved

    So-called "honour killings" continue to be a grim reality wherever conservative social mores resist the rule of law.

    In Turkey, a recent government study estimated that around 1,000 honour killings have been committed in the past five years. The victims are mostly young women, murdered by male relatives for transgressing chauvinistic social rules.

    Women have been killed for having illicit affairs, talking to strangers, or even for being the victim of rape. Turkey's justice system has recently increased penalties for honour killings, and ended the practice of allowing murderers to claim family honour as an extenuating circumstance. However, getting a child relative to carry out the killing remains a horrifying way around the law.

    The problem is not confined to Turkey. The UN estimates that 5,000 honour killings take place globally every year, from Brazil to Pakistan to Britain. Police estimate more than a dozen honour killings take place in the UK every year, such as the brutal rape and murder of 20-year-old Banaz Mahmod by her uncle and father in 2006, or the murder of Rukhsana Naz, strangled by her family because she wanted a divorce in 1999.

    Honour killings have not so far really targeted gay men, although in 2006 a wave of anti-gay killings took place in Iraq, carried out by fanatical Islamist militias. A Jordanian man was shot and wounded by his brother in 2004, apparently for being gay.

    Jeff Black


    Link

    Comment


    • http://www.bianet.org/english/katego...t-dinks-murder



      Bianet.org And NTV Sued For Reporting About Hrant Dink’s Murder

      *
      Police officer Muhittin Zenit, who was on the agenda after Dink’s murder for the telephone conversation he had with one of the conspirators of the murder, Erhan Tuncel, is suing bianet.org and the NTV news channel for damages.
      *

      Police officer Muhittin Zenit filed a lawsuit for damages against bianet.org for reporting the telephone conversation between Zenit and Erhan Tuncel about Hrant Dink’s murder. Tuncel is on trial for instigating the murder of Hrant Dink.

      *

      Zenit is suing bianet.org for the news reports appeared on the site on September 30, 2007 under the title “Vurulacak Şekil Belliydi” (How he was going to be shot was known) and on April 28, 2008 under the title “Dink Cinayetinde Yeni Kanıt: Muhsin Başkan’la Yasin Konusunda Görüşeceğiz” (New evidence in Dink’s murder: We will converse with President Muhsin about Yasin). The amount Zenit is asking for damages is 25000 YTL (about 12500 Euro).

      *

      Zenit appears in these news reports as telling Tuncel during a phone conversation that “What, they shot him from the head…This is the only difference. He was not going to run away, but this one did.”

      The case will be held at Ankara’s 25th Civil Court of First Instance on November 12.

      Lawsuit against bianet for publishing the DHA and Btvmsnbc.com news reports

      The source for the first news report that bianet is being sued for was Doğan News Agency (DHA) report by Murat Utku about one hour forty-seven minute long telephone conversation between police officer Zenit and one of the alleged conspirators of Dink’s murder, Erhan Tuncel.

      *

      While Zenit talks about the details of the murder and congratulates those who did it in the telephone conversation, Tuncel denies any responsibility for it.

      *
      The source for the second news was NTV report by Erdoğan Durna about the same telephone conversation, but this time the topic was how Tuncel told Zenit that he would discuss the situation of Yasin Hayal, who is on trial as an instigator of the murder, with President of the Great Union Party (BBP) Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu. Here Tuncel addreses Yazıcıoğlu as “President Muhsin” and gives Zenit his program of the Trabzon visit.
      *


      Zenit is suing the NTV, one of the major television channels in Turkey, and asking for 90000 YTL (about 45000 euro) in damages. The case will be heard by Ankara’s 1st Civil Court of First Instance in October.

      Neither judiciary nor administrative investigation for Zenit

      Denying the allegations about his involvement in Hrant Dink’s murder, Zenit indicates that the case against him was dismissed by Trabzon’s Chief Prosecutor and the objection to this decision was likewise denied by Rize’s High Criminal Court. The same process had repeated itself when Trabzon Governor had refused to give permission for Zenit’s investigation and the objection to the governor’s decision was rejected by Trabzon’s Regional Administrative Court. (EÖ/EZÖ/TB) *************

      Bia news center - Istanbul/ankara

      11 Ağustos 2008, Pazartesi
      *
      http://www.bianet.org/english/katego...t-dinks-murder
      General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

      Comment


      • TRADITION STILL ALIVE IN THE TURKISH PRESS
        By Ayse Gunaaysu

        HYE-TERT
        Aug 19 2008
        Turkey

        Over the past two years, the Armenian Weekly has published dozens of
        interviews with and articles written by Turkish dissident scholars,
        journalists, and human rights activists in an effort to provide
        a first-hand account of political and civil society developments
        in Turkey.

        Starting this week, and for the first time in the history of
        post-genocide Armenian print media, we take another major step in that
        vein: An Istanbul-based Turkish journalist and human rights activist
        starts a column in the Weekly.

        The bi-weekly column, titled "Letters from Istanbul," will deal
        with Turkish political and social issues, in general. The columnist,
        Ayse Gunaysu, is a familiar name to the readers of the Weekly. She
        contributed articles to the April 24 special publications in 2007
        and 2008.

        Gunaysu is a professional translator and human rights advocate. She
        has been a member of the Committee Against Racism and Discrimination
        of the Human Rights Association of Turkey (Istanbul branch) since 1995,
        and was a columnist in a pro-Kurdish daily from 2005-07.

        The Weekly welcomes her to the long and distinguished list of
        columnists in its 75-year history. We appreciate her courage in
        accepting our invitation to regularly contribute to the Weekly.

        Below is Gunaysu's first column (next link on front page).

        A Tradition Still Alive in the Turkish Press

        By Ayse Gunaaysu

        It's not the first time that a mainstream newspaper in Turkey features
        a highly provocative front page headline making an unfounded accusation
        that would obviously incite public hatred and animosity towards the
        "other."

        I'm talking about Hurriyet, one of the biggest circulation newspapers
        in Turkey. It's front page headline on Aug. 3 named the PKK--the
        outlawed Kurdish armed organization--as the perpetrator of the July 28
        bombing in Istanbul that killed 17 people. The news item reported in
        detail how one of the nine suspects detained--the "bomber"--entered
        Turkey illegally and how he watched, in cold blood, people dye in
        the explosion.

        What the readers of Hurriyet--whose logo reads "Turkey belongs
        to Turks"--couldn't learn from their newspaper was that, after
        a thorough police and then public prosecutor's interrogation, the
        court had detained the suspects not on charges related to the July 28
        bombing but because they were members of an outlawed organisation. The
        court ruling for the arrest of the suspects had made no mention of the
        bombing at all. This was because there was practically no evidence to
        accuse any of the nine persons taken in custody of being the bomber or
        being linked in any way with the bombing. The daily Taraf, interviewing
        the family and the employer of the suspect, reported in its Aug. 5
        issue that the alleged bomber did not enter Turkey illegally, but was,
        in fact, a textile worker working uninterruptedly in the same factory
        for the past seven years and living with his family.

        On the same page, next to this news item, Ahmet Altan, son of the
        legendary Labour Party member of the Turkish parliament in the 1960's,
        starts his column by saying that the fundamental aim of justice
        is not to catch a criminal but to protect the innocent. Justice,
        he continues, catches and punishes the criminal for the sake of
        protecting the innocent. And the biggest fear of justice is to punish
        an innocent. With his usual forceful style, he uses "is" instead of
        "should be," just to underline that using the format "should be"
        is not enough in formulating such a vital principle and that this
        should be an axiom, a categorical, rather than a conditional rule.

        However, despite the fact that the court ruling is open to all,
        the Minister of Interior and other government spokespersons declared
        the suspect as the bomber, without making any reference to Taraf's
        counter-arguments.

        Several newspapers, including Taraf and Radikal, reported that
        the PKK had disowned the bombing and condemned it. The group's
        spokesperson had clearly stated that the bombing had nothing to do
        with the "Kurdish liberation movement," and that they were against
        the killing of civilians and believed this looked like one of the
        secret operations staged many times in the past.

        Hurriyet's headline and the provocative report supporting the
        Minister's statement is not just an example of poor reporting
        practice. This is a country where the ongoing armed clashes for the
        past 30 years has triggered, every now and then, mass aggressions
        on Kurdish immigrants trying to make a living in the cities far away
        from their war-stricken home villages. Several times in the outskirts
        of big cities, Kurdish laborers working at terribly low wages without
        any social security have been the target of lynch attempts following
        rumors that they were linked with the PKK. The buildings of the DTP,
        the Kurdish party represented in parliament with 17 deputies, have
        at times been attacked by ultra-nationalists, and several years ago a
        bus carrying DTP members was destroyed by stone-throwing mobs yelling
        anti-Kurdish slogans in Gebze, a district of Istanbul, leaving dozens
        of people injured. More recently, a conference hall where the DTP held
        a meeting was blockaded for hours by thousands of people, with police
        doing nothing about it, and a DTP member dying of a heart attack in
        the process. In other words, Hurriyet knew very well that such an
        accusation, proven to be unfounded by the court ruling, carried the
        potential of triggering a new surge of anti-Kurdish sentiment among
        ultra-nationalists.

        But, yes, this is not the first time. For decades, semi-official
        Turkish newspapers provoked hatred towards the "enemies of the
        nation"--sometimes the "communists," many times the "disloyal
        minorities," and frequently the "Kurdish separatists." Throughout many
        tragic events in the history of Turkey, not to mention the minor ones,
        headlines in newspapers have served as a catalyst in stirring frantic
        masses to action.

        Turkish readers were introduced to the history press's role in various
        incidents of ethnic and religious mass aggression towards non-Muslims
        in Rifat Bali's book Cumhuriyet Yillarinda Turkiye Yahudileri: Bir
        Turklestirme Seruveni, roughly translated to Jews of Turkey in the
        Republican Period: A Story of Turkification (Iletisim, 1999).

        I'm not even talking about the ultra-nationalist and ultra-Islamist
        newspapers' routine hate speech here, but the practice of one of
        the biggest dailies in Turkey. The routine hate speech in extremist
        publications includes open insults aimed at Armenians, Jews, and
        Kurds and personal attacks on religious leaders of minorities. But
        while there are laws protecting Turkishness from being insulted,
        there are none that protect non-Turks from insult in Turkey.

        These are the days when, for the first time in this country's history,
        a legal case is under way against figures who were pointed out by
        human rights advocates for years as having dark ties with the "special
        war machine" within the state, what is known in Turkey as the "deep
        state." These are the times when the DTP, the independent Istanbul
        deputy Ufuk Uras, and various other opposition circles are calling for
        a deeper investigation that would pave the way for some kind of partial
        catharsis and a much better democracy, rather than a superficial
        washing of the hands of the most visible criminals already known very
        well by some. In the midst of such unpredictability, some people--like
        the editors of Hurriyet--further blur the public's perception by means
        of unfounded accusations against the nation's hate figures such as
        the PKK and the Kurds. After all, inciting hatred and animosity is
        the best, most efficient, and most sustainable means of manipulation.
        General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

        Comment


        • http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/english/d...8132.asp?scr=1

          Holy Synod meeting of Fener Greek Patriarchate sparks debate in Turkey

          A former Turkish mayor sought to block the meeting of the Holy Synod Assembly of the Fener Greek Patriarchate in Istanbul claiming that the meeting violated the Lausanne Treaty; while the Patriarchate defended it did not have a legal personality to be bound by the treaty.


          The upcoming meeting of the Holy Synod in Istanbul's Fener Greek Patriarchate on Aug. 27 sparked widespread debate in the country, according to a report in Hurriyet daily on Tuesday.

          Tahsin Salihoglu, the former mayor of Istanbul’s Avcilar district and the president of the Solidarity Association of Western Thrace, petitioned the Istanbul Governor's office and demanded the Fener Greek Partriarchate block the meeting, claiming the Holy Synod violated the 1923 Lausanne Treaty as it contained non-Turkish members.

          According to the Lausanne Treaty, the founding accord of modern Turkey, all the Holy Synod Assembly members have to be Turkish, Salihoglu said. If the foreign members of the assembly attend the meeting in Istanbul, the Lausanne Treaty would be violated, he added.

          The Fener Greek Patriarchate, however, said in a statement that it had the right to invite any members to the Holy Synod meeting, as it did not have a legal status and personality to be recognized by Turkey.

          The Holy Synod Assembly of the Fener Greek Patriarchate convened in 2004 for the first time since 1923, with foreign members. Fierce debates have been made every year ahead of the Holy Synod Assembly meetings in Istanbul since that time
          General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

          Comment


          • Bravo!
            "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)

            Comment


            • Can Turkey Be Taught Tolerance?

              With a healthy diet and exercise yes

              My views on the issue is as follows, first up they need to drop this whole
              warrior elderman thought, I thought Hrant Dink said it as well, this whole
              system of you accuse my father and all that. They still have this mentality
              of you accuse them of a crime or injustice you are insulting their nation,
              their heritage, calling their entire families evil, etc.

              It stems from the old system they had when they conquered Anatolia of
              you bring honor to your family by conquering and the conquerer has a right
              to all he conquers and that is a very medieval attitude.

              Secondly they should stop oppressing their minorities of any faith,
              all this its okay to oppress Christians but not Muslims, or okay to oppress Muslims but not Christian thing is getting sad.
              They should understand that the indigenous people of West Asia are capable of ruling themselves and don't need Turkey to teach them.

              Also the firs step to toleance will be to acknowledge the genocides.

              Other than that the ideals need to be changed by a fair and democratic government with the ideals of a proper republic in which ethnic minorities
              are allowed to express their culture. In South Africa, we recognise 11 official languages and we get by, Turkey can do the same. In addition to the eleven the Tamil language (78 percent of South Africas Indian population are Tamils) is often promoted during festivals.

              Consider this when 20 years ago we were the bastion of fascism.
              Not saying that we don't have issues, racism is still very prominent in SA, but its getting better slowly.

              Also this penal code rubbish in Turkey must be left out, prosecuting people for speaking their mind isn't fair.

              If they take these steps it can be achieved but it will take alot of time, but if Turkey follows Taner Akcam, Fatma Guge Gocek and Orhan Pamuk's example it can be done quicker.
              ¡Tierra y Libertad!

              Zapata

              Comment


              • Chief of Staff's "Envoy" to Jailed Generals Charged with Ties to Assassination of Cypriot Journalist


                Hüseyin Yalyalı of Press Laborers Union of Turkish Cypriots has demanded that gen. Galip Mendi who visited the imprisoned Ergenekon generals on behalf of the General Staff should be tried for the murder of Kutlu Adalı in 1996


                Bia news center - Lefkoşa

                04-09-2008

                Erol ÖNDEROĞLU - [email protected]

                Criticizing the permission granted to Garrison Commander Gen. Galip Mendi to visit the imprisoned Ergenekon generals Hurşit Tolon and Şener Eruygur, Hüseyin Yalyalı, a member ofthe board of directors of the Press Laborers Union of Turkish Cypriots, has demanded that the permission should be given for the investigation of his role in the murder of Kutlu Adalı.

                Kocaeli garrison commander three-stargeneral Mendi had visited both of the generals in the Kandıra prison on behalf of the General Staff.

                Yalyalı reminded that Mendi’s name had appeared in Adalı’s murder in Northern Cyprus on July 6,1996 and since the murder was not investigated, the European Human Rights Court (AİHM) had convicted Turkey.

                Adalı was first threatened and then killed for the articles he had written about the illegal activities of the Civil Defense Organization headed by Mendi.


                The Church raid, the searchof the graves, Adalı murder…
                Yalyalı said, “The General Staff was backing this person in the past, too.”


                According to Yalyalı, Mendi’s name is mentioned in the raid of the Saint Barnabas Church, the search of the historical and old graves; he is known as one of those responsible for these incidents.

                Yalyalı says the Civil Defense Organization, which was headed by the soldiers, used to do intelligence work rather than civil defense.

                “This was Ergenekon at its best. I always say that if one wants to look at Cyprus, one will see the laboratory of the Special War Office of the deep state politics.

                Nothing was done in spite of the EHRC decision. Yalyalı says “Although there were many details such as the weapons and material kept in this institution, the Uzi gun used to kill Adalı and the fact that the Civil Defense people were at the murder scene before the police and the military,none of them were discussed.”

                He also reminded that themurders the Special War Office of Turkey had committed in Cyprus since 1960’s were not limited to the Adalı murder. For example, journalist Haşmet Gürkan, who had supported the continuance of the United Cyprus Republic, was killed as well. (EÖ/EÜ/TB)


                Link

                Comment


                • Another very informative article from Zaman

                  http://www.sundayszaman.com/sunday/y...haberno=152350


                  IHSAN YILMAZ


                  Armenian visit, Ergenekon and the Ottoman Ergenekon

                  President Abdullah Gül's visit to Armenia has generally been applauded by the various strata of society. The two exceptions are our nationalist opposition parties: the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Republican People's Party (CHP). As these parties hope to gain from nationalist sentiments, it seems that any solution to the Armenian issue will not make them happy. This is a simple summary of modern Turkish history. Turkey is surrounded by enemies, and thus we need strong nationalist authoritarian guardians that will protect us. Now as the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) zero-problem-with-neighbors policy has shown, we can enter into dialogue with our neighbors and even talk about our differences. I hope we can succeed at this with Armenia as well.
                  As far as I can see, the overwhelming majority of people do not have any problem with entering into dialogue with Armenia. Even the terrible incidents that took place around 1915 and later the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) terrorist organization's assassinations of our diplomats did not change Turks' positive feelings toward Armenians. Generally speaking, the remaining Armenians did not face any hostility from Turks. Yet, the state's position is a completely different story.

                  Even by law they have not been treated as first-class citizens. The Turkish state's definition of a citizen has somehow -- unofficially and in practice -- been limited to Muslims. Non-Muslim Turkish citizens could never get sensitive bureaucratic positions. This is in full contrast with the Ottoman experience. In terms of diversity and tolerance, the Republic of Turkey is light years behind the Ottomans.

                  The state has always denied that there was any Armenian massacre ordered by the state. I am not a historian and have not studied the 1915 incidents in detail, but whenever I -- as an ordinary Turk -- think about the issue, the Turkish state's treatment of its other citizens instantly comes to my mind and my mind starts drawing parallels. I know very well that this is not a scientific technique or instrument utilized by historians, but not every Turk has to be a historian and they can still have feelings, ideas and opinions on certain matters.

                  Yes, whenever I start thinking about the Armenian issue and the 1915 incidents, the state's treatment of Kurds in southeastern Turkey comes to my mind. Banning their mother tongue is a prime example. Could there be any bigger torture than that? Then I remember the thousands of young people -- leftists, rightists, Kurds -- who were continuously tortured in Turkish prisons just after the 1980 coup. Then I remember how Turkey had to pay many thousands of dollars in compensation on many occasions to our citizens of Kurdish ethnicity just because some of our soldiers made them eat cow manure. Then I think that if some of our administrators and bureaucrats could do all this to our citizens in this day and age, then similar-minded Ottoman politicians, administrators and bureaucrats would find it suitable to react to Armenian hostilities -- encouraged by the great powers and Russia -- by simply deciding to exile them to Syria without taking enough precautions about health and safety issues.

                  Moreover, some "Ottoman Ergenekonians" could easily target these civilians. My conscience and my reading of modern Turkey, including the Ergenekon case, convince me that the Ergenekonian-like ultra-patriots who think the country is in danger -- and it was indeed in danger -- could easily massacre Armenian civilians and they would not really need any legislation or document signed by a minister to do that. I find it funny when our nationalist historians try to prove that there are no documents signed by Ottoman authorities to order the Armenian massacre. Did today's Ergenekonians need such a document to make Kurdish villagers eat cow manure or to kill many people?

                  07.09.2008
                  General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Joseph
                    http://www.sundayszaman.com/sunday/y...haberno=152350


                    IHSAN YILMAZ


                    Armenian visit, Ergenekon and the Ottoman Ergenekon

                    President Abdullah Gül's visit to Armenia has generally been applauded by the various strata of society. The two exceptions are our nationalist opposition parties: the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Republican People's Party (CHP). As these parties hope to gain from nationalist sentiments, it seems that any solution to the Armenian issue will not make them happy. This is a simple summary of modern Turkish history. Turkey is surrounded by enemies, and thus we need strong nationalist authoritarian guardians that will protect us. Now as the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) zero-problem-with-neighbors policy has shown, we can enter into dialogue with our neighbors and even talk about our differences. I hope we can succeed at this with Armenia as well.
                    As far as I can see, the overwhelming majority of people do not have any problem with entering into dialogue with Armenia. Even the terrible incidents that took place around 1915 and later the Armenian Secret Army for the Liberation of Armenia (ASALA) terrorist organization's assassinations of our diplomats did not change Turks' positive feelings toward Armenians. Generally speaking, the remaining Armenians did not face any hostility from Turks. Yet, the state's position is a completely different story.

                    Even by law they have not been treated as first-class citizens. The Turkish state's definition of a citizen has somehow -- unofficially and in practice -- been limited to Muslims. Non-Muslim Turkish citizens could never get sensitive bureaucratic positions. This is in full contrast with the Ottoman experience. In terms of diversity and tolerance, the Republic of Turkey is light years behind the Ottomans.

                    The state has always denied that there was any Armenian massacre ordered by the state. I am not a historian and have not studied the 1915 incidents in detail, but whenever I -- as an ordinary Turk -- think about the issue, the Turkish state's treatment of its other citizens instantly comes to my mind and my mind starts drawing parallels. I know very well that this is not a scientific technique or instrument utilized by historians, but not every Turk has to be a historian and they can still have feelings, ideas and opinions on certain matters.

                    Yes, whenever I start thinking about the Armenian issue and the 1915 incidents, the state's treatment of Kurds in southeastern Turkey comes to my mind. Banning their mother tongue is a prime example. Could there be any bigger torture than that? Then I remember the thousands of young people -- leftists, rightists, Kurds -- who were continuously tortured in Turkish prisons just after the 1980 coup. Then I remember how Turkey had to pay many thousands of dollars in compensation on many occasions to our citizens of Kurdish ethnicity just because some of our soldiers made them eat cow manure. Then I think that if some of our administrators and bureaucrats could do all this to our citizens in this day and age, then similar-minded Ottoman politicians, administrators and bureaucrats would find it suitable to react to Armenian hostilities -- encouraged by the great powers and Russia -- by simply deciding to exile them to Syria without taking enough precautions about health and safety issues.

                    Moreover, some "Ottoman Ergenekonians" could easily target these civilians. My conscience and my reading of modern Turkey, including the Ergenekon case, convince me that the Ergenekonian-like ultra-patriots who think the country is in danger -- and it was indeed in danger -- could easily massacre Armenian civilians and they would not really need any legislation or document signed by a minister to do that. I find it funny when our nationalist historians try to prove that there are no documents signed by Ottoman authorities to order the Armenian massacre. Did today's Ergenekonians need such a document to make Kurdish villagers eat cow manure or to kill many people?

                    07.09.2008
                    Very interesting.
                    General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

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                    • http://www.bianet.org/english/katego...er-article-301


                      Ministry of Justice gives permission for the trial of writer Temel Demirer under article 301 for saying that there was genocide of Armenians in Turkey at a protest meeting held on January 20, 2007, right after the murder of Hrant Dink.

                      Bia news center - Ankara
                      09-09-2008

                      Erol ÖNDEROĞLU - [email protected]
                      Ministry of Justice has given permission for the continuance of the trial of Temel Demirer under article 301 for saying that Hrant Dink was not only killed for being an Armenian, but recognizing the genocide as well.

                      Not surprised by this decision of the ministry, Demirer’s lawyer Şiar işvanoğlu told bianet that if the ministry had refused giving permission, then those more liberal minded judges would be willing to use initiative.”

                      “We were expecting this decision. With this decision, they have just proven that their promises regarding the European Union, democracy, the structural reforms and the human rights are all fairytales. On the one hand, they go to Armenia to watch a game, on the other hand they are filing cases under article 301.”

                      It was Minister Şahin who gave the permission

                      According to the new version of article 301, a permission from the Ministry of Justice is required to try cases under this article.

                      Demirer’s case went to the ministry on May 15 and minister Mehmet Ali Şahin decided to allow the case to proceed.

                      He is on trial for asking people to commit article 301 crime for 301 times

                      Demirer is accused for “provoking people to hatred and hostility” for his speech in Ankara on January 20, 2007, the next day after the murder of Hrant Dink.

                      The indictment prepared by prosecutor Levent Savaş on January 24, 2007 is based on police reports, tape recordings and CD’s. The indictment claims that Demirer made the following speech in the meeting where Hrant Dink’s murder was protested:

                      “I will be brief. (…) We live in a country where not shouting the truths partners with murder. Hrant was killed not only because he was an Armenian, but because he voiced the truth of genocide in this country. If the Turkish intellectuals do not commit this crime of article 301 301 times, then they will be accomplices to this murder. There is genocide in our history. Its name is Armenian Genocide. Hrant told this truth at the expense of his life. I commit the crime and I ask everyone to do the same. Those who do not commit this crime against this state are those who share the responsibility of the murder of Hrant Dink. Those who massacred Armenians yesterday are attacking our Kurdish brothers today. Those who desire the brotherhood of the peoples must settle with this history. We have to commit this crime, so what happened to our Armenian brothers yesterday will not happen to our Kurdish brothers. I ask everyone to commit this crime. Yes, there was Armenian genocide in this country.” (EÖ/EÜ/TB)
                      General Antranik (1865-1927): “I am not a nationalist. I recognize only one nation, the nation of the oppressed.”

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