Friday, December 16, 2005


The show is not going on. . . not until 7 February at least.

There is a great article on the events at the Istanbul court today, on what was to be the first day of Orhan Pamuk's trial, at the Times Online. It is obvious that the Turkish government wants to have its cake and eat it too. The government wants to convict Pamuk in the worst way, but it knows the Europeans are watching, so it has to pretend to be a civilized government. This, with the convenient excuse of the courts not knowing under which Turkish Penal Code to try Pamuk, is why the court is begging the Justice Ministry to make the decision.

In a land where prosecutors and judges can and do interpret law to their own tastes, depending on who the accused is, the Orhan Pamuk case is a huge embarrassment for the impression of Turkey that is given abroad. Who honestly believes that the court does not know which Turkish Penal Code to apply in this case? Isn't this another example of why the entire Turkish legal system, beginning with the constitution, needs scrapping? The world should realize which is the true face of the Kemalist regime. . . it isn't the one that feigns delicacy over the conviction of this author. The real face of the Kemalist regime is the one that is silently, desperately, hoping to find a way to hang him so that the Europeans won't object. . . not too much, anyway.

Of course, if it had been some ordinary slob who said that a million Armenians and thirty-thousand Kurds had been slaughtered by the Turkish state, there would be no doubt in the mind of any prosecutor or judge as to which penal code to use and there would be no messing around with getting the Justice Ministry's ruling on anything.

Some of the news coverage of the trial mentioned violence outside the court, with Kemalists throwing eggs and attacking Pamuk's car. There was one particularly illuminating paragraph in Bianet's report of the violence:

During entry in the Sisli District Justice Hall and exit nationalist groups making signs of wolf heads with their hands shouted slogans against Pamuk whom they charged with "treason" for admitting that "30 thousand Kurds and 1 million Armenians were killed in this land" in an interview with a Swiss magazine.

For those who don't know, making the wolf's head with the hand is the distinctive sign of the Gray Wolf.

We live in interesting times.


Philip said...

It's kind of funny to see Turkey as both the judge and the judged, the trier and the tried, order to win a favorable judgment by Europa, they are "allowing" [read: commanding] a continuance in their judging of Pamuk.

I dunno, I have a sneaky feeling that Europa WILL fall for this stupendously obvious ploy.

Mizgîn said...

The Justice Ministry has had plenty of time to make a determination of this case and the fact that they have not is the indication that all the efforts toward EU accession so far have been merely cosmetic.

It also proves that official Turkey is still unwilling to come to terms with its own history of atrocities.

I am betting that they are playing for time in the hopes that all of the publicity surrounding this case will have died down by February. If not, they will extend the trial yet again, under some other pretext.

As for the EU falling for it, that is a strong possibility given that the EU and the US have been enablers of Kemalism for their own interests. Really, does this trial have any meaning for them at all? Think of how many others connected to Turkey have been tried, disappeared, or extrajudicially murdered for speaking the truth, all without so much as a squeak by outsiders.

For me this trial is greater than the simple fact that one privileged Turk making a statement of facts. It is symbolic of all who have been silenced, many permanently, in the past by this very same state.

Vladimir said...

Orhan Pamuk will not face trial. But in the meanwhile more then 20 other non-famous people will be convicted.. under these new rules.

Also the Hurriyet columnist Oktay Eksi said these new laws are dangerous.

Silav u rez,

Biji Azadi,


Mizgîn said...

Yes, exactly Vladimir, ordinary people receive no attention for their prosecution under the TCK, and it appears that Article 301 is the article which is being used extensively by the state to silence everyone.

As far as I have found, in my reading of the old TCK, the new, old TCK and the new TCK. . . the new laws are exactly the same as the old and interpretation plays a big role in their application.

Nothing has changed.

As I have mentioned before, all law is derived from a state's constitution. In this case, we have a constitution that was not written to safeguard the rights of the citizens from the predations of the state but, in fact, safeguards the state from the citizens. The TCK, therefore, is a consistent derivation of the spirit of the Turkish constitution.

Such is not democracy.