Monday, April 14, 2008


"Did you ever hear anyone say, 'That work had better be banned because I might read it and it might be very damaging to me?'"
~ Joseph Henry Jackson

Check Gordon Taylor's latest post, which he calls a "mish-mash" of news. Some of it, however, is very important news, such as the release of Cüneyt Ertuş from prison. Now when is the regime going to charge the fascist police who were filmed breaking Cüneyt's arm? I doubt very much that there will be charges or, if there are, they will be delayed, delayed, delayed until the whole case is lost in the infinite bureaucracy that is Turkey. Obviously these cops knew they'd face no punishment and that's why they broke the kid's arm in front of TV cameras.

Among many other items, Gordon has a link to a BBC article on Ragıp Zarakoğlu's trial. There's an update on this at Info-Turk:

Istanbul Criminal Court of First Instance N2 decided to wait until article 301 is amended in the case against publisher Zarakolu. Zarakolu was charged under article 301 for publishing George Jerjian's "The truth will set us free."

Zarakolu is charged with “insulting the state and the republic” and “insulting the memory of Ataturk” (prison sentence for seven and a half years.) Trial will continue on 17 June.

Translator Atilla Tuygan is charged with “insulting Turkishness” and “insulting the armed forces” for translating Prof. Dr. Dora Sakayan's book "Memoirs of an Armenian Doctor-Garabet Haçeryan's İzmir Journal."

AKP submitted its drafts amending article 301 and article 305 "acting against fundamental national interests" to the Chairing office of the Parliament on 7 April.

Draft proposes the phrase “Turkish nation” to replace “Turkishness” and “Turkish republic” replace "the republic.” The upper limit for prison sentence will be reduced from three to two years. This makes it possible to postpone the execution of the sentences. (, April 10, 2008)

The last paragraph makes a joke of postponing the trial until June because Zarakoğlu is charged with "insulting the state and the republic". So that means what, that Zarakoğlu faces two years' imprisonment instead of three?

If you scroll down the Info-Turk article you come to another one on Article 301 by activist Şanar Yurdatapan:

1. It is meaningless to discuss “amending,” or correcting the bits and pieces of this article.

2. Since such an article has no place in a democratic society.

3. The reason of existence for the article is “to stop criticism” in the pretext of “preventing insult.”

What are the main points of those who defend the article?

1. Anyone can swear at the state and the nation. Should they be allowed to do that?

2. The western countries have similar articles too.

3. The article does not punish ‘criticism’. Look at the last sentence added to the article.

4. Abolishing it would not be a solution since there are certain institutional sensitivities. Let us solve it through amending it.

5. Outside pressure is high. We can not let them say, “They abolished it because the EU put pressure.”

6. If we amend it then they will say amend article 305, 318, 216, or 288, there is no end to it.

Let us answer one by one:

1. There are other articles preventing insult and they are adequate. Moreover, so what if an individual swears at the mighty state? It can be a subject to a court case when an adult insults at another adult. However, what would you say if an adult broke the head of a kid because the kid swore at him? The punishment of insulting the state should not being imprisoned, but being reproached and not being taken seriously by the society.

2. If the western democracies still have similar articles, it is a shame on them. Let us set an example. It is true that similar articles exist in few countries, but those articles are the relics from the times of totalitarian regimes, those countries are not even thinking about using those articles against their writers and journalists. Nobody has ever thought of trying Nobel prise winner author Günter Grass who said “he was shamed to be a German” and moved to another country.

3. Yes there is a sentence at the end, which says “criticisms” would be outside the scope of the law, but what is it good for? Prosecutors and judges set the limits of criticism according to the limits of their own minds, and when any of them decides “This exceeds the limits of criticism” that is it. Elif Şafak stood trial over the words of a fiction character. Orhan Pamuk got almost lynched, Hrant Dink was lynched. All of that happened during the period of article 301. Who has been protected by the last sentence?

4. What does “certain institutional sensitivities” mean? Let us speak clearly. The army is at the top of the list of those who resist the amendment of article 301. Many cases against journalists and writers have been filed on the complaints of the Office of the General Chief of Staff anyway. Is the Office of the General Chief of Staff under or above the Office of the Prime Minister? Is not the Turkish Parliament above all of them? So the law makers will want to abolish an article but will not be able to do it? How can we accept such a regime as a democracy?

5. The mentality of “we can not do it since those and those put pressure” can work wonders. What if The Association for Kemalist Ideas noticed that and holds mass “Respect head scarf” rallies to create pressure against the ban on “the head scarf”? If this article had been removed when the new TPC was prepared, there would have been neither so many scandals nor any pressure from the EU. (Orhan Pamuk would be in Turkey and Hrant Dink would be alive.)

6. Of course they will, we will, let us say it now. Abolish article 299 and 300 too. (301’s siblings) Abolish 305 and 318 too, amend 216 and 288 … etc. etc… Abolish Anti-Terror Law, you promised that while making the new TPC anyway. Abolish, amend, change all antidemocratic laws and articles; the Constitution, the Elections Law, Law on Political Parties, The Law on Internet, Pres Law, Penal Procedural Law, Penal Execution Law… We will continue saying and demanding these until Turkey, which is not even ruled by the superiority of the codes becomes a country, which is ruled by the superiority of the law.

Then follows a long list of people who've been charged under Article 301. If half the people in Turkey thought like Yurdatapan, there might be some hope.

Don't forget to check Hevallo to see who the US considers as "terrorists".

HPG has released the identities of two guerrillas killed by defenders of fascism in Amed (Diyarbakır), Zara area on 10 April:

Şehîd Nemirin!

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