Thursday, December 04, 2008


"From the beginning of their first term the AKP, starting from their leader to the lowest-ranking party member, created and shared a mythology of being oppressed."
~ Ece Temelkuran.

It looks like Leyla Zana may be going to prison for ten years. From the BBC:

A Turkish court has sentenced a Kurdish politician to 10 years in prison for spreading propaganda for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

The court ruled that Leyla Zana had violated the penal code and the anti-terror law in nine different speeches.

Ms Zana, 47, has already spent 10 years in prison for links to the PKK, though that conviction was later overturned.

Ms Zana was not in court, and this latest conviction will not be imposed until her appeal has been heard.

Her lawyer called the sentence an "unfortunate" decision in a country working to join the European Union, and said her client's words were well within the bounds of free speech.

The prosecution sought a sixty year conviction for Leyla's crimethink. She had spoken out in London earlier this year when she spoke in London. Hevallo also had an eyewitness report on Leyla's speech in the UK parliament.

The next step will be to hear the outcome of the appeals process. I wonder if all the world's liberals will be concerned with the case of this Sakharov prize winner this time around? I'm inclined to doubt it. Our only friends are the mountains.

Of course, Leyla's conviction, and all similar prosecutions, expose clearly the weakness of the Ankara regime, which functions out of terror that truth will be spoken and heard.

Speaking of liberals, there's a very good article at Counterpunch from a Turkish Leftist, female political columnist. Thanks to the Vineyardsaker for sending the link. From the heart of the article:

A friend from the socialist left stopped me on the street the other day. His voice was anxious: “You know what, maybe you should not write about Ergenekon for a while”. He paused and sulked: “I think the way you do on this issue but you know… They made two little boxes: a Kemalist box and a liberal one. Even if you don’t fit to either of the boxes they break your arms or legs and make you fit one of them at the end. They don’t open a third box for you. This is a dangerous political climate and we are all going to be wasted in the end”.

He is right. If you ask questions about the indictment, or even if you express your concern about the seriousness of the case, there you go into the Kemalist box. If you clap your hands whenever you hear the name of the Ergenekon case, then you can be considered a democrat and can inhabit the same box as those I mentioned above. In that box the concept of democracy is reduced to freedom of faith, and its links to social justice or equality have been cut mercilessly. That is why in Turkey at the moment, if you are coming from the left, in order to be recognized as ‘not a fascist’ you are obliged to bow your head before right-wing perceptions of democracy. Even though it was the left that has been the ultimate victim of the deep state, they are for the time being the ones accused of being the deep state itself. This discourse or political climate has such a strong character that even the most intelligent and experienced spin doctors on the left have been stammering since last January about the Ergenekon case. Meanwhile the right-wing democrats, the liberals, are making noise saying that this time the gang was caught before it managed to carry out the coup. Thank god, the AKP government at the last minute busted them in the very act!

This reduction of politics to barren dualities didn’t actually start with the Ergenekon case; on the contrary, it had already been creating an intellectual industry with interesting products since the political polarization deepened with the start of the AKP’s second term. On almost every news channel there are talk-shows featuring a pro-AKP liberal democrat and an anti-AKP democrat. Since their controversies are the product on sale, these programs are visually exaggerated as well. In one of them, before the show begins they show two tigers attacking each other and in another program one, side has a black, the other a white background. The AKP, beyond its other achievements, gave Turkey this amazing present: intellectual and political discussions are now made in little boxes between black-and-white tigers!

I urge a close reading of the entire piece, particularly for the history that is recounted and the role of the Islamists in that history, particularly the fact that the Fethullahcı were founded in the wake of the 12 September coup. Not coincidentally, that was the same timeframe that saw the implementation of the Turkish-Islamic Synthesis and Turkish Hezbollah.

Finally, check Hevallo's recent post on defense lobby conflicts of interest in the UK. What a shock--they are linked to Lockheed Martin! Or, maybe not so shocking.

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