FORECAST: MORE REPRESSION?
I shot the sheriff, but I swear it was in self-defense.
I shot the sheriff, and they say it is a capital offense.
I shot the sheriff, and they say it is a capital offense.
~ Bob Marley.
First off, there is a petition online that will be sent to Senator Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, to draw attention to Turkey's disgraceful treatment of Kurds. The petition can be found here, anyone worldwide can sign it, and it might be a good idea to send a copy to your local congressperson, member of parliament, news media, and friends. . . anyone you can think of. Maybe we should all send a copy to Condoleeza Rice, because I seriously doubt that anyone in Ankara or Foggy Bottom has told her what the real deal is, and Dubya probably needs a few million copies in his inbox too.
Also, we still have a debate going on about the new anti-terror law. Bianet has several very good articles with analysis and criticism from Turkish human rights groups (IHD, TIHV, MAZLUMDER), various NGO's, and bar associations. In the first of these articles, the deputy chairman of MAZLUMDER argues the point that the proposed bill would create a backfire effect by effectively blocking the people's right to work politically to change the situation in Kurdistan, and in Turkey as a whole. The chairman feels that the political repression created by the new anti-terror law would force people to take up arms, and this is certainly true. This new law would only intensify the legitimacy of armed resistance against the regime, a legitimacy that has existed for a very long time now.
The deputy chairman states another truth, and that is that everyone knows exactly who this bill is aimed at--Kurds. However, if the situation were to change, the proposed law is so vague that it could be interpreted as targeting any other group, according to new circumstances. Given the ways in which the Turkish constitution, the TCK, and the 1991 Anti-Terror Law was interpreted (anyone remember Orhan Pamuk, or dozens of others, and Article 301?), it is a certainty that Turkey's judicial system will abuse the new law in exactly the same ways.
In a second article, a member of MAZLUMDER's executive board tries to talk about the idea of "non-violent" activities, citing the EU:
"The European Council regards 'violence' as a provision for an act of terror to be committed. In its verdicts, the ECHR observes activities that 'neither incite violence, nor armed resistance, nor uprising, nor enmity' within the scope of freedom of opinion and expression and regards anything adverse to these as a 'violation' of rights."
The problem here is contained in the phrase, "activities that 'neither incite violence. . .nor enmity." To quote the EU in the context of Turkish legal interpretation is ridiculous for the simple fact that neither Turkey nor the EU are singing from the same sheet of music. In other words, the way the EU interprets incitement to violence or incitement to enmity (or, as Turkey forever quotes "hatred") is in no way, shape or form, similar to the way Turkey interprets these things. The problem is there is no definition of terms. In order to discuss the same thing, two parties have to have the same definition of terms or, even though they are speaking the same words, the meanings behind the words are totally at odds with each other.
I also disagree with this interpretation of the EU about the use of violence and uprising. When the rights of the people have not been met, and every indication is that they will not be met, especially given the atrocities inflicted on the same people for almost a century, then armed resistance and uprising are totally legitimate expressions of the will of the people:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.
And these truths don't just hold for Western folk. When you face a racist, fascist regime, these truths hold for everyone and, in the case of Turkey, there is certainly no "light and transient cause."
Other important issues made by the MAZLUMDER executive board member include: the fact that current legislation is already harsh enough and doesn't need to be augmented by the new anti-terror law; the problem of granting excessive authority to security forces, as Erdogan did when he gave permission to shoot Kurdish women and children, is included in the proposed law; the fact that detention regulations will place detainees in a de facto incommunicado situation; the dispensation of the need for warrants, and how this will allow security forces to restrict individuals because they "might" commit a crime in the future; and a number of other, very ugly, scenarios.
Check items #2, 7 and 12 on our list of characteristics of fascist regimes. Is it getting clear now?
The third article from Bianet expands on that part of the proposed law which establishes detention incommunicado, and includes comments on state interference between attorney and client, all of which comes from a lawyer with the Izmir Bar Association Prevention of Torture Group. The three main issues here are: The defendant is placed on a 24-hour ban from any contact with a lawyer; the lawyer cannot have a second lawyer present when taking a statement from the defendant; and the lawyer is banned from examining the contents of the defendant's file, nor can the lawyer make copies of the evidence.
In the fourth and, so far, final article which Bianet has prepared for us, we are told of the objections of a number of NGO's to the proposed anti-terror law and their focus is on what all of this will mean for the ordinary citizen. I think you really need to go and read this one, for two reasons. First, the main points are in bullet form, so they are easy to read--no wading through long paragraphs. Secondly, if you know anything about the Turkish regime, you will see that everything is poised to return to the bad old days. If you know nothing about the bad old days, by reading this, you will know what the rules of the game were. The regime has not moved anywhere near to democracy. Everything that has happened, to this point, in order to meet the Copenhagen Criteria, has been pure cosmetics, window-dressing, smoke-and-mirrors, and downright fantasy.
The good news is that all of this discussion is taking place among Turks, and Turkish human rights organizations. It's even taking place, to a certain degree, in the Turkish media, at least if you can get past the fascist paranoia which holds that the new anti-terror law would free Apo but protect Fethullah hodja. Of course, there is also Ilnur Cevik's paranoia that this anti-terror law is being designed specifically to go after Islamists. Yeah, right, as if . . . google Google News on the proposed law, and you'll get an idea of what I mean.
But there is something else, something even more skewed about the situation at this point, and that is that I have not seen any news or commentary from Europe about this charade of justice. This entire discussion of the new anti-terror law is taking place without any input from the Europeans. Why is that, I wonder? Could it be because the EU is not really concerned about Turkey's domestic situation? Could it be that the EU wholeheartedly wants to believe in the emperor's new clothing? Could this all be about economics and talk of human rights is merely the EU's window-dressing? Could it be that the reality is that Kurds will gain absolutely nothing, but more of the same, if Turkey ever does, finally, enter the EU?
Think about it. Who did the Europeans blame for the "provocations" of the Amed serhildan? They blamed Kurds, not the Ankara regime.
It's time that everyone, especially Kurds, stop seeing the EU as the fairy godmother, and start demanding answers of the EU, answers to some very hard questions, such as what, exactly, will be the position of Kurds when, or if, the fiasco known as EU accession actually comes to pass.
And if those answers are the wrong answers, if they don't satisfy the rights and the needs of the Kurdish people, then it's time to tell the EU to go to hell.