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Turkey:"Not So Bright for Freedom of Expression"

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  • Turkey:"Not So Bright for Freedom of Expression"

    High Judge Selcuk: "Not So Bright for Freedom of Expression"
    Turkey's Court of Appeals Honorary President Dr. Sami Selcuk has said the country is passing through a democracy exam in which problems have to be overcome with the government and people deciding on whether to adopt a true democracy or live with a cumbersome, reluctant and dependent system.

    According to a report in the Bizim Gazete newspaper, Selcuk told a conference on "Democracy and Law in Turkey" held in Ankara that there were problems in the Turkish democracy while the country itself, was "the first country to come to mind when torture is mentioned among European Union (EU) member states".

    Selcuk said this was not a favourable situation at all adding, "Turkey is the only country that has been sentenced by the European Court of Human Rights 11 times over in a single day on July 8, 1999 for violating the freedom of expressing opinion. Meanwhile, in 2005, of the 50 cases of freedom of expression violations brought before the European Court of Human Rights, 80% belong to Turkey".

    Stressting that the way to overcome Turkey's problems with democracy was for those running the country and the people to decide whether they wanted a true democracy or "a cumbersome, reluctant and dependent" one instead, Selcuk said one of the most important problems in the country was that those governing had no confidence in the people and the people had no confidence in those governing them. He said that this crisis of confidence needed to be resolved.

    Selcuk explained that another crisis in the Turkish democracy stemmed from the freedom of expression not fully being settled in the country and that arguments and debated ended up in fights.

    Noting that the tradition of debate could not settle in a country where there was no freedom of expressing opinion, Selcuk added "It is not possible to develop the culture of debate and to enforce some of the dnamics that would stem from this culture in a country that does not accept that there will be as many [different] views as the number of people there are".

    Selcuk said that Turkey had the highest rate of closures of political parties among European Council countries and that opinions that would be debated by the society were identified as dangerous before they were even discussed.

    "There is no danger in thought. The danger is in the mind of the individual, his viewpoint. Turkey is in a crisis of enforcing ideological principles. For years there has been the Nazim Hikmet and Necip Fazil fight. When these can be brought together and debated, in such an atmosphere, Turkey will be a democrat country. Because democracy is not just for your views to be reflected to the outside world. It is for everyone" Selcuk said.

    The Honorary President of the Court of Appeals concluded: "Both because there is little confidence in the people in Turkey and that the freedom of expression has not fully settled, the participating dimension of participant democracy is in danger. If we sincerely want democracy, people should not face the psychosis of being outcast. If this happens, the unity of the country will be endangered. Every voice should be in the country and everyone should be represented". (BIA News Center, June 15, 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)

  • #2
    Brussels: EU Commissioner Rehn exchanges of views on Turkey’s progress

    21 June 2006

    EU Commissioner for Enlargement, Olli Rehn exchanged of views on Turkey's progress towards accession at the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs in Brussels on Tuesday.
    "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)


    • #3
      Don’t judge Turkish constitution by its European cover

      KurdishMedia-It is well known that Turkish national identity has never had any room for Kurds, despite a third of Turkey’s population having Kurdish blood.

      The country’s constitution, along with various other decrees and government policies, clearly aims to eliminate Kurds and their culture. Of course, to establish and maintain one’s identity, one must recognise what they are not. Through oppressing and exterminating Kurds and other ethnic groups, ‘true’ Turks can come to the fore and assert their ‘national identity’. Despite the 1924 Constitution’s claim that “in Turkey, from the point of view of citizenship, everyone is a Turk without regard to race or religion”, an official decree in March 1924 banned all Kurdish schools, organisations and publications. The use of the words “Kurd” and “Kurdistan” were banned, and references to them were removed from official and unofficial documents, such as Turkish books and other publications. Celebrating the Kurdish New Year of Newroz was made illegal. Kurdish folklore was banned and gramophone recordings of Kurdish music were destroyed. From 1938 onwards the Kurds were referred to only as “Mountain Turks” – primitive, redundant, irrelevant. These are, of course, are crimes against humanity which the democratic world supports.

      In short, Turkey has decided that Kurds do not exist. This has had far-reaching consequences. Turkish crimes against Kurds are rarely investigated by the international community because the country’s racial genocide corresponds to Turkish law. International politicians never mention Kurdistan: it would seem that Kurds are Turkey’s problem and it is up to them to do what they see fit.

      Today, the Turkish constitution pivots on the fear of Kurds and Kurdistan. It prevents Kurds from having, pursuing or gaining any civil or ethnic rights. In fact, as we have already seen, the Turkish constitution would have it that Kurds do not exist. But they evidently do, for the humiliation and demonising of ‘undesirables’ (i.e. Kurds) is at the centre of the country’s constitution – the document that forms and regulates Turkish national identity.

      The Turkish constitution denies not only Kurds and their rights, but the sheer existence of Kurds without even mentioning them. Referring to anything Kurdish in the constitution implies that Kurds do exist. Kurds or any characteristics of Kurdish people are too dirty to be put into the Turkish constitution. In this way, the name of the “superior race” – Turks – does not get mixed up with the “inferior” – Kurds. The constitution states “Turkish” 206 times. It is also for this specific reason the country is called “Turkey” and not a neutral name such as the case in the name of “Iraq” or “Iran”.

      The constitution uses an insulting language to undermine Kurds. For example, everything has to be in accordance to the Ataturk’s teachings, using the name Ataturk 16 times. Perhaps this is not so much love for Ataturk; it symbolises the superiority of Turks over Kurds. Ataturk was successful in oppressing Kurdish national movements, banning Kurdish language and hence making Turks a superior race over Kurds. By frequently mentioning the name of Ataturk (which literary means the ‘father of Turk’), the constitution (the supreme law of Turkey) continually reminds Kurds and other oppressed ethnic and religion groups that Turks are the superior race.

      The constitution also emphasises exaggeratingly the “integrity and sovereignty” of Turkey. If any method is used to undermine the integrity and sovereignty of Turkey, heavy penalties are imposed. For example the constitution states “integrity” 20 times and states “sovereignty” 10 times. This is stated only to remind Kurds that there is no such thing as Kurdish homeland or Kurdistan.

      Kurds are also without any civil liberties. Kurds don’t have to be violent to be persecuted by the state; they just have to be themselves. To be a Kurd is a crime in Turkey. What is a “Kurd”? A Kurd is a member of a group of people that have their own characteristics, which may be common a language and culture. If a people cannot practice their culture and language, theoretically they do not exist. The constitution diffused to all aspects of the Penal Code. For example, a Kurd is not only persecuted for speaking Kurdish, but using a Kurdish sound, such as “W” (a sound that does not exist in the Turkish language). This is law is not applied for every language. One can use English, French or Japanese sounds and their representations in writings without being persecuted. In this sense, Turkish state is constitutionally racist. This is a slow form of genocide, which slowly and painfully makes Kurds disappear as a people, language, culture and homeland.

      Lastly, and perhaps the most damning systematic policy that the Turkish state practice is the humiliation and dehumanisation of Kurds. Whatever a Kurd does, he cannot become equal to a Turk. This creates a mentally that Kurds want to be assimilated with Turkey. Kurds are “Mountain Turks”, but if they are civilised, the core of the constitution suggests, they become civilised. As it is, Kurds in Turkey have to think twice before saying that they are Kurds. The education system, devoid of all hints of Kurdistan, force children to learn and adapt to Turkish language and culture.

      The Turkish constitution is a remedy to silently genocide Kurds, their language, culture and their homeland, Kurdistan. It is probably the most racist official document in Europe. The Turkish constitution creates a racist Turk, whether he or she likes it or not.

      "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)


      • #4
        Local columnist in Konya shot to death

        The suspected killer of Yusuf Harmanci, a columnist for a local paper in the central Anatolian town of Konya who was shot early on Sunday, has been arrested and sent to court.

        A.Ö., who was arrested immediately after the murder, was taken to the police department. The suspect was reportedly drunk and couldn’t be interrogated, and when he sobered up, he refused to answer questions. The suspect was transferred to court after a routine health check at Konya Numune Hospital.

        A.Ö. is the owner of a hotel in the central district of Meram and is reported to have shot Harmancı. Reports say he fired a few more shots at his victim after the paramedics arrived.
        "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)


        • #5
          Turkey Prosecutors Go After AKP Mayor Who Told Anti-Ataturk Joke

          ANKARA, Mar 19

          An investigation has been begun into not only the actions of the AKP mayor from Mimarsinan, Cuma xxxgeyik, who told a joke rife with insults to Ataturk during a bus trip to the Greek city of Thessaloniki where Ataturk was born, but also into those on the bus who applauded at the end of the joke, Turkish daily Hurriet reported.

          Deputy prosecutor Ozkan Sonmez of Buyukcekmece has said he is trying to identify who the 2 MPs and variuos municipality workers on the bus were when the joke was told. Prosecutor Sonmez has said that people who applauded xxxgeyik''s joke are guilty of "assisting a crime."

          © Mediafax 2004. Toate drepturile rezervate.
          Republicarea sau redistribuirea acestui articol, incluzind stocarea pe orice tip de suport sau prin orice mijloace, este interzisa fara acordul scris al Mediafax.
          Attached Files
          "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)


          • #6
            Second case over Article 301 launched against Nokta

            A court in İstanbul has launched a case against Ahmet Şık, a correspondent of now-closed Nokta newsweekly as well as against Lale Sarıibrahimoğlu, another senior correspondent with whom Şık held an interview over the role of the military.

            The article, written by Şık and entitled "The Military Should Unhand Domestic Security," was published in the 15th edition of Nokta and was based on an interview with senior defense analyst Sarıibrahimoğlu, who also writes regular columns for Today's Zaman.
            The indictment, drawn up on May 7 by the Bakırköy Prosecutor's Office upon a complaint by the Interior Ministry and the Gendarmerie Command, pressed charges against Şık and Sarıibrahimoğlu over the infamous Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which proscribes the denigration of Turkishness, the republic and the foundation and institutions of the state. The prosecutor asked the court for jail sentences from six months up to two years for the two.

            Late in April, an İstanbul prosecutor pressed charges against Nokta's editor in chief Alper Görmüş for running a story that featured excerpts from a diary that was allegedly authored by former Navy Force Commander retired Admiral Özden Örnek.

            Görmüş was also indicted at the end of an investigation launched by the prosecutor's office in İstanbul's Bakırköy district upon an appeal by Özden Örnek, after excerpts from the controversial diary were printed in Nokta suggesting that Örnek and a number of other former commanders had plotted to stage a coup to overthrow the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government in 2004. Örnek has consistently denied that the said diary belonged to him.
            "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)