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TURKISH, GREEK AND ARMENIAN CYPRIOTS
ARMENIANS IN CYPRUS TO CELEBRATE 120th ANNIVERSARY OF ARF DASHNKATSOUTIUN Friday 28 January at 8:00 pm
Don't miss the20-minute documentary to be projected during the program, including ARF 120th anniversary messages
LIST OF JOURNALISTS "TO BE ASSASINATED" RELEASED There are rumors that preparations for a coup d'état began in 2002. If we are still talking about a coup in 2011, then the thesis that a ‘deep Turkey' exists is correct,” stated Ahmet Tasgetiren, a columnist for the Bugun daily.
"ELLE TURKEY" MAGAZINE TAKE FASHION
Elle Turkey by Senol Altun" alt="elle9 Ana Zalewska & Karolin Machova for Elle Turkey by Senol Altun" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/fgr/2011/1/1/elle9.jpg" width="618" height="900" style="width: 626px; height: 900px; "> latest images from the city of 1001 churches,
Elle Turkey by Senol Altun" alt="elle11 Ana Zalewska & Karolin Machova for Elle Turkey by Senol Altun" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/fgr/2011/1/1/elle11.jpg" width="618" height="900" style="width: 632px; height: 900px; "> Armenian National Cinema Center negotiating with
GlobalHye - Ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the National Cinema Center is planning to shoot a full length film featuring the tragic pages of the Armenian history.
Gibrahayer e-magazine put the record straight
PanARMENIAN.Net - Cyprus backs the process of peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said.
SERDAR DENKTASH JOINS ALIYEV IN HISTORIC REVELATIONS ON HISTORY Nicosia - Victoria Dementieva – APA - “The Nagorno-Karabakh and Cyprus conflicts are completely different from each other”, President of the Democratic Party [of TRNC] Serdar Denktash told journalists, APA reports. He said that Nagorno-Karabakh is occupied Azerbaijani territories and the Azerbaijani population of the territory had been banished from the region: “Cyprus is common territory of Greeks and Turks. The Greek side attempted to occupy the entire territory of Cyprus in 1974, but the Turkish side did not reconcile with it and had to interfere. After the agreement signed in 1976, the Turkish Cypriots living in the south migrated to the north, and the Greeks living in the north migrated to the south. We had not occupied the northern territories. The only occupied thing in this island is the rights of the Turks”. Fanoulla Argyrou -Researcher / Journalist -London 23.1.2010 - The news that popular singer Boy George has returned a looted icon he had in his possession after buying it in good faith from a shop in King’s Road in London almost 26 years ago, after being informed by the Church of Cyprus of its real origin and fate, is highly appreciated by the Greek nation. George’s decision to return the looted precious icon to the Church of Cyprus has once again brought to the front line news the barbaric Turkish crimes committed since and after the two bloody Turkish invasions of Cyprus in 1974.
Looting and Smuggling
Armenian Dance classes for all Hamazkayin Cyprus Press Release - Hamazkayin Cyprus is organising dance classes for adult ladies and gents by Dance Instructor Felix Haroutiounian. The classes will take place every Friday at 4-30pm in AYMA starting on 4 February 2011. Those interested, please contact Shoushig Bakalian on 99667828 and Louise Aynedjian on 99533684.
TENNIS FOR ALL Gibrahayer Calendar of Events
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COMMEMORATE THE 4th ANNIVERSARY
OF HRANT DINK'S KILLING
Niyazi Kizilyurek - "Turkey cannot call itself the homeland of the Turkish people and its citizens if it does not become a democratic state. It will simply be a country." Artsakank Armenian language monthly and Gibrahayer e-magazine - A memorial evening on the 4th anniversary of Hrant Dink's killing was organised by the "Friends of Hrant Dink" in Nicosia on Sunday 23 January.
The event was the first organised between Turks and Armenians outside Turkey and it took place in the Goethe Institute Hall in the Nicosia buffer zone.
Opening remarks were made by the General Secretary of Yeni Kibris Party (New Cyprus Party) Murat Kanatli, who invited the main speaker of the day, Agos newspaper Armenian section's Chief Editor Sarkis Seropian, who addressed the audience in both Turkish and Armenian.
Perhaps the most sensational of comments came from Niyazi Kizilyurek - the Head of the Turkish Studies Department of the University of Cyprus, who concluded his comments by saying that "Turkey cannot call itself the homeland of the Turkish people and its citizens if it does not become a democratic state. It will simply be a country."
Final comments came from Armenian MP Vartkes Mahdessian who congratulated the organisers of the event and wished them courage and strength.
Images of the event here:
120th anniversary celebrations of
at PASIDY Hall in Nicosia
Keynote speaker: Dr. Megerditch Megerditchian
followed by joghovertayin khraghjank at AYMA-HMEM
Sign up with Sevag Gurunlian on 99202923
and Hagop Kazandjian on 99394414
from Glafcos Clerides, Dr. Vassos Lyssarides, Yiannakis Kasoulides, Marios Garoyian & Apostolos Kaklamanis,
Fotis Kouvelis and Antonis Samaras.
January 22 - PanARMENIAN.Net - Journalists whose names appear on a “to be assassinated” list - allegedly prepared in 2003 by a junta nested within the armed forces - have asked civilian prosecutors to increase efforts to shed light on Turkey's dark past and the deep state so that Turkey's democracy can really improve, Today’s Zaman reported.
The journalists would have been killed due to their expected opposition to a planned coup, namely the Sledgehammer Security Operation Plan. “Now that we have seen the ‘to be assassinated' list we have come to realize once again the existence of a ‘deep Turkey.'
“Hrant Dink was not accidentally chosen as the first target,” Etyen Mahcupyan commented.
In the list are many leading intellectuals in Turkey, including slain Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink. Among other “targets” of the junta were Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartholomew I, Bugun columnist Tasgetiren, Sabah columnist Nazli Ilicak, Star columnist Professor Mehmet Altan, Milliyet columnist Taha Akyol, Bugun columnist Toktamis Ates and former Yeni Shafak columnist Fehmi Koru.
The junta planned to assassinate their targets using professional gendarmes under separate action plans. One of the plans, titled Orak (Grass Hook), detailed killing Armenian members of the Turkish press.
Among them were Dink, Zaman columnist Etyen Mahcupyan and Taraf columnist Sevan Nicanyan. Dink was gunned down on Jan. 19, 2007 in broad daylight in front of the headquarters of the bilingual Armenian weekly Agos, of which he was editor-in-chief.
PHOTOGRAPHY TO NEW HISTORIC LEVELS
the historic Armenian capital city of Ani.
Spielberg for shooting a film on the Armenian genocide
The center is currently negotiating with world-famous director Steven Spielberg and writer of Armenian descent Steven Zaillian (Schindler's List).
"On the 100th anniversary of the Genocide, we must have a film to demonstrate to the world. We want more than the films 'Mayrig' or 'Ararat' ", the center's director, Gevorg Gevorgyan, told a news conference.
He said writing a screenplay in countries abroad is a complicated process as it requires numerous procedures. It is planned to invite both Armenian and foreign actors to play in the movie.
for false statements by Azeri Press Agnency
“The decision should proceed from the interests of both nations. Cyprus supports the efforts OSCE Minsk Group and stands for the resolution to be based on the international law norms,” Stefanou said.
Meanwhile, the Azeri-Press Agency reported that Stefanou referred to “Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity”.
“Speaking of the territorial integrity, Stefanos Stefanou implied the divided Cyprus, not Azerbaijan,” clarified Simon Aynedjian, the editor-in-chief of Gibragayer magazine to comments made to PanARMENIAN.net this week.
click here or on the image below News in Brief by Sevag Devletian Link of the week at : www.vimeo.com/19084388 A documentary about the Armenians of Cyprus aired from RIK Cyprus TV, on Christmas 6/1/11 Direct to Yerevan - Armenia A BIG THANK YOU TO BOY GEORGE
A bulk of barbaric crimes, murders, rapes, bombardment and executions in cold blood also included the destruction and looting of hundreds of Christian churches and religious places in occupied Cyprus where in the process thousands of priceless icons and other religious artefacts have been systematically looted. And smuggled out of the island ruthlessly sold in the black market. They even tried to sell some of these in reputable Auction Houses.
According to statistics of the Republic of Cyprus: “… About 133 churches, chapels and monasteries have been converted to military storage facilities, stables and night-clubs, a further number of 78 churches have been converted to mosques, Agia Anastasia church, in occupied Lapithos, was converted into a casino hotel, while Sourp Magar Armenian monastery, founded in the medieval period, was converted into a Cafeteria…” (Christian Post).
“Michael Van Rijn, the self-confessed art smuggler who worked undercover for Scotland Yard, has never been shy about his dubious activities in the art world. His claims about the millions he made through his links with the Yard are typical of his passion for causing embarrassment… Michael Van Rijn plans to use his website to reveal years of undercover operations for Scotland Yard and others. He wants his disclosures to embarrass the British Museum, Sotheyby’s, Christies and other leading art dealers as well as the security services.… A dentist’s son from Amsterdam, who owns several houses around the world, admits smuggling icons out of Russia, Cyprus, Greece and elsewhere. “ I have made millions…”, wrote “The Times” of London on 29 January 1990.
Michael van Rijn, a self confessed art smuggler indeed… has also been a very close associate of A. Dikmen, the Turkish smuggler, who stole the famous Kanakaria frescoes from occupied Lythrangomi in Cyprus. In his autobiography Michael van Rijn describes vividly how large amounts of antiquities from occupied Cyprus were loaded on vehicles of the Finnish UN contingent in Cyprus and transferred to the free part of the Republic of Cyprus from where they were, in the process smuggled out of the island (After a long and hard legal battle led by the Church of Cyprus (court case took place in America) the latter won the return of the Kanakaria frescoes to Cyprus…”. (All these have been covered in detail in my book (but unfortunately exhausted only to be found in libraries) “Conspiracy or Blunder?” issued in Nicosia 2000 published by Refugee Association “Adouloti Kyrenia”).
“ … Haven’t you heard that the 2000 year old Christchurch in Cyprus , St. Barnabas Church, has been robbed? Haven’t you heard that 35 icons were stolen, 11 of them were found in Kythrea, that 11 were retrieved in Ankara airport while being smuggled out and that the rest are lost? Haven’t you heard what’s happening in Varosha (Famagusta)? Haven’t you heard that figurines belonging to the Catholic period and kept in the Archaeological Museum have been stolen and smuggled to London ?
What about the icons in the other churches: the mosaics, the private collections the illegal digs? Haven’t you heard of these? Why have they stopped the digs started before 1974 at the village of Gastria, which belongs to the geometric age? Do you know what has happened since then? The “government” (refers to the occupied regime) has issued permits to certain businessmen from Turkey to set up a gypsum factory there. The tombs were destroyed and plundered”. (‘Perishing Cyprus in the Turkish Cypriot Review’ by Mehmet Yasin. ‘ Olay’ April 1982 – from Public and Information Office publication “They make a desert and they call it peace”). (Quoted in my book “Conspiracy or Blunder?” pages 93 - 96).
A big thank you to Boy George who through his commendable decision to return the stolen icon to the Church of Cyprus (obviously not able to return it to the actual Church of origin due to the continued Turkish invasion and occupation of that part of our homeland) has offered immense service to our cause in promoting to the eyes of the world the ongoing Turkish religious crimes committed in Cyprus since 1974 …
God Bless you George.
Letters to the Editor Dear Simon,
I am just back from a 3-month vacation to Australia, New Zealand and Tasmania. Whilst in New Zealand I visited the Air Force musuem in Christchurch where, to my surprise, I saw an item relating to Cyprus. The attached photo which may bring memories to some of your readers speaks of itself. If you think fit, you may include it in one of the future editions of Gibrahayer. The foot-note read " Street name from Cyprus".
The arduous task which you and your assistants are carrying out in keeping "Gibrahayer" alive is much appreciated.
Sarkis Der Avedissian
Participation fees are 30 (thirty) euros per month.
Group lessons for children and adults. Private lessons for amateurs or professions by certified tennis coaches in Acropolis - Nicosia at Terra Santa newly-built tennis courts. Tennis enthusiasts may also rent courts on a short or long-term basis. Call Jeremy on 96531869. Sports News by Sevag Devletian Gibrahay Sports by Sevag Devletian
TURKISH, GREEK AND ARMENIAN CYPRIOTS
ARMENIANS IN CYPRUS TO CELEBRATE 120th ANNIVERSARY OF ARF DASHNKATSOUTIUN
Friday 28 January at 8:00 pm
Don't miss the20-minute documentary to be projected during the program, including ARF 120th anniversary messages
LIST OF JOURNALISTS "TO BE ASSASINATED" RELEASED
There are rumors that preparations for a coup d'état began in 2002. If we are still talking about a coup in 2011, then the thesis that a ‘deep Turkey' exists is correct,” stated Ahmet Tasgetiren, a columnist for the Bugun daily.
"ELLE TURKEY" MAGAZINE TAKE FASHION
Elle Turkey by Senol Altun" alt="elle9 Ana Zalewska & Karolin Machova for Elle Turkey by Senol Altun" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/fgr/2011/1/1/elle9.jpg" width="618" height="900" style="width: 626px; height: 900px; ">
latest images from the city of 1001 churches,
Elle Turkey by Senol Altun" alt="elle11 Ana Zalewska & Karolin Machova for Elle Turkey by Senol Altun" src="https://s3.amazonaws.com/fgr/2011/1/1/elle11.jpg" width="618" height="900" style="width: 632px; height: 900px; ">
Armenian National Cinema Center negotiating with
GlobalHye - Ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, the National Cinema Center is planning to shoot a full length film featuring the tragic pages of the Armenian history.
Gibrahayer e-magazine put the record straight
PanARMENIAN.Net - Cyprus backs the process of peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, government spokesman Stefanos Stefanou said.
SERDAR DENKTASH JOINS ALIYEV IN HISTORIC REVELATIONS ON HISTORY
Nicosia - Victoria Dementieva – APA - “The Nagorno-Karabakh and Cyprus conflicts are completely different from each other”, President of the Democratic Party [of TRNC] Serdar Denktash told journalists, APA reports. He said that Nagorno-Karabakh is occupied Azerbaijani territories and the Azerbaijani population of the territory had been banished from the region: “Cyprus is common territory of Greeks and Turks. The Greek side attempted to occupy the entire territory of Cyprus in 1974, but the Turkish side did not reconcile with it and had to interfere. After the agreement signed in 1976, the Turkish Cypriots living in the south migrated to the north, and the Greeks living in the north migrated to the south. We had not occupied the northern territories. The only occupied thing in this island is the rights of the Turks”.
Fanoulla Argyrou -Researcher / Journalist -London 23.1.2010 - The news that popular singer Boy George has returned a looted icon he had in his possession after buying it in good faith from a shop in King’s Road in London almost 26 years ago, after being informed by the Church of Cyprus of its real origin and fate, is highly appreciated by the Greek nation. George’s decision to return the looted precious icon to the Church of Cyprus has once again brought to the front line news the barbaric Turkish crimes committed since and after the two bloody Turkish invasions of Cyprus in 1974.
Looting and Smuggling
Armenian Dance classes for all
Hamazkayin Cyprus Press Release - Hamazkayin Cyprus is organising dance classes for adult ladies and gents by Dance Instructor Felix Haroutiounian. The classes will take place every Friday at 4-30pm in AYMA starting on 4 February 2011. Those interested, please contact Shoushig Bakalian on 99667828 and Louise Aynedjian on 99533684.
TENNIS FOR ALL
Gibrahayer Calendar of Events
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The Hrant Dink Commemorative Conference
The Persecution of Indigenous Peoples, Unrepresented and/or Occupied Nations, Minorities and 'Others'
(in Turkey, Pakistan, South America and Iraq)
18th January 2011 (eve of Hrant Dink Day)
The Hrant Dink commemorative conference was held in the Moses Room, the House of Lords, on the 18th January 2011.Reynaldo Mariqueo, General Secretary of Mapuche International Link, gave an account of the terrible genocide suffered by the Mapuche and Tehuelche Indigenous Peoples of Argentina and Chile during the 1870's until 1881, and subsequent years. Reynaldo's own grandmother was taken over the Andes to Chile and comparative safety in 1881.
The persecution of Christians in Pakistan was also documented, and the current plight of Asia Bibi, who is now in prison, facing possible execution, was detailed. Wilson Chowdhry and Rev Alwin Sammuel highlighted the desperate situation that exists, and many participants felt that the UK government should seek Asia Bibi's, and her family's, safe transfer to the UK. Faiz Baluch provided a catalogue of examples of Pakistani state terrorism, with one hundred Baluchi activists tortured to death in custody in Pakistan in 2010, without a murmur of protest from the politicians of the West. The division and nature of occupation of Baluchistan was, participants noted and recognised, an international crime.
Saad Tokatly spoke of the continued persecution and victimisation of Iraqi 'minorities'. Adnan Kochar of the Centre of Halabja (CHAK) presented a thoughtful paper on 'Autonomy and a Genocide Recognition in Iraq. A Solution to the suffering of Minorities?' whilst Desmond Fernandes (a genocide scholar) and Haci Ozdemir (of the International Committee Against Disappearances – ICAD) also spoke. Haci read out the 6th International Conference Against Disappearances' ("Wars, National Movements and Disappearances") conference declaration that was made in December 2010 (see attachment). Eilian Williams presented a thought-provoking paper, 'It's time to face our own taboos'.
The English version of Martin Dolzer's Report of the Human Rights Delegation from Brussels, Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hamburg to Turkey (15 October-25 October 2010) was released and made available at the conference [and it is attached with this press release]. Due to unforseen and unfortunate scheduling complications, Kasim Agpak's (of FED-BIR, the Kurdish Federation in the UK) and the International Platform Against Isolation's (IPAI's) presentations did not take place but their presentations, alongside Eilian Williams', Haci Ozdemir's and Desmond Fernandes' presentations, appear below. Abdul Hameed Khan sent a message of solidarity from the Balawari National Union, representing Gilgit-Baltistan, a country under Pakistani occupation. The Conference was sponsored by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff and Baroness Cox. A vigil was held outside the Turkish Embassy, Belgrave Sq, on 19th January, Hrant Dink Day. The banner stated: "Rest in Peace Hrant, Victim of Deep State Terror".
For further details, contact Eilian Williams on 07718982732 (or via: email@example.com).
● Eilian Williams: “It's time to face our own Taboos".
On the eve of Hrant Dink Day, let us, disheartened by all that has passed, ponder on where Humanity has gone astray. The concrete monument to Turkish-Armenian friendship built by Kars municipality of two figures with an outstretched arm in friendship, stands unfinished because of the opposition and rage of Prime Minister Erdogan. One hand lies on the ground. Perhaps this is a suitable monument to Hrant, with his hand - extended out in friendship to the Turkish state - cut off , as his lifeblood was cut off four years ago. The Deep State that killed Hrant is no longer below the surface but manifests itself openly in the State apparatus.
Today, the Silenced Minorities of the world remember Hrant: these Minorities are not part of the present World Order. This World Order made of 192 so-called "sovereign" UN member States are not the moral conscience of Humanity. Many of these states established their borders by force and violence, and committed unpunished Crimes of Genocide.
Today, a myriad of Minorities struggle to overcome being silenced by Criminal States. Who will be a voice for them? For those tortured in Pakistani prisons, for those hunted in the Burmese jungle, for those who live in fear of religious and ethnic sectarian terror, without the protestation of a "Sovereign" State? You may ask what relevance are these causes to Armenians? Does not the person of Hrant now exist across the prisons of Pakistan, the reservations of America, the dangerous cities of Mosul and Baghdad and Alexandria and other places as a host of minorities claim this Day to express their own voices?
Perhaps on Hrant Dink Day, what the UK government could do constructively is to recognise its own Crimes of Genocide in Tasmania, India and other places. That may serve to help Turkey face its own taboos.
● Desmond Fernandes: 'The targeting of Kurds and “Others” in Turkey'.
As Charlie Pottins observes:
Hrant Dink often spoke and wrote about the problems of democratisation in Turkey, defending other authors such as Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk and novelist Perihan Mağden1 who came under criticism and prosecution for their opinions. In a speech Hrant Dink delivered on May 19, 2006, ... he said:
"I think the fundamental problems in Turkey exist for the majority as well. Therefore, ..., I will speak for the majority, including myself in it and dwell on where, we, as Turkey, are headed".
Dink hoped his questioning would pave the way for peace between the two [indeed, all] peoples:
"If I write about the [Armenian] genocide, it angers the Turkish generals. I want to write and ask how we can change this historical conflict into peace. They don’t know how to solve the Armenian problem” [i.e. in a democratic, non-violent, non-repressive manner].
Active in various democratic platforms and civil society organisations, Hrant Dink emphasised the need for democratisation in Turkey and focused on the issues of free speech, minority rights, civic rights and issues pertaining to the Armenian community in Turkey … [Targeted under Article 301, Hrant had stated of the targeting of Armenians]: “Of course I'm saying it's a genocide, because its consequences show it to be true and label it so. We see that people who had lived on this soil for 4,000 years were exterminated by these events".2
Hrant's successor as Agos editor-in-chief, Robert Kopta, notes the way that Hrant “was touching every critical issue of Turkey. He became a bridge between these ethnic groups - Kurds, Turks, Armenians” and, indeed, 'Others'.3 But four years after his assassination, Kurds and 'Others' - Armenians, Assyrians, Pontic Greeks, Alevis, many political prisoners in isolation, trade unionists, workers addressing basic rights, lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgendered people,4 lawyers, students, investigative journalists, writers and academics addressing these democratisation and genocide issues related to the targeting of the 'Other'5 - scandalously continue to be targeted, as my other colleagues today will be highlighting in detail. The nature and intensity of this targeting – which needs to be exposed and opposed - has scandalously been glossed over in several UK parliamentary debates (see, most recently, the debate on 13th January 2011, which can be accessed at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201011/ldhansrd/text/110113-0001.htm).
Ragip Zarakolu of Belge Press, for example, today faces further court cases for publishing materials addressing these issues and concerns. The court cases not only serve to to intimidate journalists and publishing houses, they are also aimed at financially destroying the capacities of publishing houses and writers to pursue their professions, engage in freedom of expression and human rights work. Journalists Day, 10th January this year, was celebrated with news that “more than 50 journalists [are] in prison and the[re are] roughly 4,000 ongoing cases involving journalists”.6 “Emine Demir, former editor of [a] Kurdish language newspaper, Azadiya Welat”, has just been “sentenced to 138 years in prison”.7 “Freedom of expression and media is a key democratic right not only for people working in the media sector, but also for the general public, which has the right to be informed and learn the truth, İpekçi [chair of Turkey’s Journalists Union], said”.8
The Human Rights Association (IHD), in early January 2011, emphasising the gravity of the situation, issued its Human Rights Report 2010 for Turkey, in which it graded the country with a 'zero' rating. IHD Istanbul Branch President Boğa reported that there was “injustice in legal procedures, violations of the right to a fair trial, deprivation from the right to access health services in prisons and detention houses, the rejection of the right to education in the mother tongue, violence against women, impunity of murders based on hatred and discrimination, the refusal to acknowledge the right to conscientious objection, proceeding without considering the demands of the Alevis, the destruction of the environment, losses of economic and social rights, interventions against the right to assembly and association”.9 He added: “'Peace did not come in 2010 either … The number of children who died from shooting, explosives, torture in police custody, bombing of villages or being run over by a combat car rose to 376'. Boğa pointed to lynch attempts against Kurds in Hatay/Dörtyol (south-east) and Bursa/İnegöl (north-west) as well as to racism against Roma in Manisa/Selendi (western Turkey) and said that the year 2010 saw an increase of hate speech. He emphasised that the 2007 amendments of the Police Duty and Authority Law (PVSK) in fact 'institutionalised' police violence. Key points of the report:
* The deaths of 20 soldiers were registered as alleged ‘suicide’ in 2010, most of them were Kurds, Alevi and socialists.
* 103 critically ill prison inmates are still waiting for their release. In 2010, 182 detainees applied to us in writing by reasons of physical violence and maltreatment.
* 38 journalists were continuously detained in 2010.
* … Women applied to the association on the grounds of rape and domestic violence.
* Compulsory religious education is still being continued despite an according decision by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The status of Cem houses, Alevi places of worship and assembly, has not been recognised as places of worship.
* Discrimination of Non-Muslims was continued in laws and applications.
* The construction of about 2,000 Hydro-Electric Power Plants is being continued insistently.
* Oppression against socialist parties and publication organisations was being continued by bans and detentions regarding members of the Socialist Democracy Party (SDP), the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and executives of the İHD amongst others”.10
'Others' in Turkey - and this situation all too depressingly applies to so many other countries such as India (refer here to a number of articles by Arundhati Roy and Javed Iqbal, for instance)11 - continue to be persecuted and targeted, not only on ethnic or religious grounds but also on grounds that include their perceived political opposition to the military-industrial-'deep state' complex, imperialism/paleo-imperialism, corporate globalisation and neoliberalism agendas that have their most devastating effects upon indigenous peoples, women, children, the poor, political prisoners (particularly those facing isolation) and those displaced by war and 'development' projects.
The Armenian, Assyrian, Greek, Kurdish, Greek Cypriot and 'Other' genocides continue to be officially denied, and the Kurdish genocide (as defined by the Genocide Convention, Raphael Lemkin who coined the term and other genocide scholars and human rights activists), continues to remain “ongoing”, including in its cultural, linguistic and political context – as recognised by a number of genocide scholars, linguists, academics, human rights activists, Abdullah Ocalan and the KCK. Only last year, at this very commemorative event in parliament, Vardan Tadevossian’s presentation also correctly emphasised and explained the nature of the ongoing genocide of Armenians in Turkey and the extent of destruction of Armenia’s heritage.12
Going back to a central theme of this conference, it is disturbing to note that Kurds – who represent, according to a number of estimates, around 25% of the population in Turkey (although estimates do vary) – still officially remain an “unrepresented nation” in a number of senses (not least in the sense that they are also stateless). Operations were successfully undertaken in past months to close down the only parliamentary 'pro-Kurdish' party, the Democratic Society Party (DTP – which supported democratic reform within the territorial borders of Turkey), and criminalise its sitting members and party supporters, thereby seeking to deprive Kurds of legal parliamentary representation via a 'pro-Kurdish party' (This strategy suffered a setback as Kurds mobilised to create a new party, the Peace and Democracy Party - BDP). But the attempt at removing the representation of 'pro-Kurdish' parties continues: In November 2010, for example, “nineteen parliamentary deputies of the Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, face[d] a combined 2,473 years” - ie over 2 millenia - “in prison for 544 cases opened against them. The charges are levelled against every deputy in the party except [the] Istanbul deputy Ufuk Uras … Former leader of the now-defunct BDP-predecessor Democratic Society Party, or DTP, Ahmet Turk and former Diyarbakır deputy, Aysel Tuğluk, also face a total of 139.5 years in prison, separate from the current deputies’ legal woes” (Milliyet 2010:1). Aysel Tuğluk “is facing up to 75 years in prison on the grounds of twelve speeches she delivered on the topic of finding a solution for the Kurdish question” (Belge 2010: 1). 152 Kurdish politicians, human rights defenders, lawyers and representatives of non-governmental organizations are currently facing a “KCK” show trial where they are unable at present, in a representational sense, to formally submit their defence in Kurdish (Fernandes 2010a).
Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) deputy parliamentary group chairman, Bengi Yıldız, in November 2010, “criticized the treatment of Kurdish as an unknown language by the Diyarbakır 6th High Criminal Court in the ongoing ['KCK'] trial .... The judges” even “turned off the microphones of the defendants who spoke Kurdish and said 'the defendant spoke in an unknown language', for the record” (ANF 2010: 1). The show trial, itself, represents not just an assault against the Kurdish 'Other', but to many lawyers also an assault on all people in Turkey, as Jeremy Corbyn MP noted after a very recent visit there: “Persistent political harassment of the BDP party and prosecution of its representatives culminated in a roundup of 1,500 members last year. Included in the roundup of prosecutions was Osman Baydemir, for promoting the Kurdish language in official publications … I was one of a number of international observers [to the trial] … The opening day witnessed some ferocious and highly articulate speeches stating that this was a 'show trial' against the Kurdish people ... and that the evidence was all based on hearsay … The judge ruled... that he would not accept any evidence presented other than in Turkish ... Lawyer after lawyer pointed out that the norms of the European Convention of Human Rights are being breached in this trial as well as the norms of collection of evidence and that, in reality, it was the public who were being put on trial by the Turkish state”.13
The 7,500 page indictment in the so-called 'Democratic Confederation of Kurdistan - KCK trial' has also refused, in its text, to anywhere acknowledge the existence of a 'Kurdish society'. In the 'MLKP' [Marxist Leninist Communist Party – Turkey/Northern Kurdistan] show trial in December 2010, too, “the 23 defendants standing trial [were] not allowed to present their defence in Kurdish as their mother tongue … The court president hindered [Kurdish] defendant Seyfi Polat from reading out his defence speech that he had prepared in Kurdish” (Ustundag 2010b: 1). Furthermore, “when President Gul was asked”, in December 2010, “about Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) members speaking Kurdish in parliament, he replied that according to the current legislation, this was a potential reason to shut down the Peace and Democracy Party” (Belge 2010b: 1). The academic Ismail Besikci, in a separate trial, is facing criminalisation charges for simply, in academic and legal terms, pointing out the right of Kurds, in 'recognition' terms, to self-determination if they so wish. Recognition of this right (in internal or external self-determination terms) is not forthcoming.
Moreover, the extent to which the state, despite its rhetoric, seeks to ensure the non-recognition of the Kurdish nation/people[s], who are indigenous people[s], may be seen by its court case against Besikci. Besikci is currently facing 7.5 years. His crime?: “The Turkish prosecutor believes that [his] use of letters from the Kurdish alphabet [represents] separatist propaganda … Beşikçi published the article 'The rights of the nations to self-determination for the Kurds' in the Journal of Law and Society, where he used the [Kurdish] letter 'Q'. The Turkish prosecutor ... believes that the use of the letter “Q” [in and of itself] represents Kurdish separatist propaganda and a demand for the Kurdish alphabet. The prosecutor asked that Beşikçi and the editor in chief of the magazine ... will be sentenced according to the Turkish anti-terror law” (Lorin and Alasor 2010: 1). In linguistically genocidal terms, currently there are still no plans to allow instruction in Kurdish, or the teaching of Kurdish, even on an optional subject basis, in public schools in Turkey.
Martin Dolzer, the author of a recent Report of the Human Rights Delegation from Brussels, Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hamburg [the English version of which is being being released here and made available today – see file attachment], based on a visit between 15 October-25 October 2010, would have liked to have been here today to detail the delegation's findings. Unfortunately, that is not possible, but, on his behalf, I would like to end by quoting briefly from the key findings of this important report:
The current situation in the Kurdish provinces of Turkey is characterised by grave human rights violations, repression and war crimes committed by the Turkish military and special units of the Gendarmerie … Despite a unilateral ceasefire called by the PKK that has only briefly been interrupted on account of the Turkish state’s ongoing policy of war and repression, military operations and attacks by state forces on the civilian population have been taking place almost daily for several months. In the first six months of 2010, these operations resulted in more than 20 extralegal executions by state and paramilitary forces, and over 650 documented cases of torture. In addition to this, reports of the Turkish military using chemical weapons and mutilating the bodies of the dead have become more common over the last five months. Incidents in which forest fires have been started and toxic defoliants used have also been documented more frequently.
Psychological warfare is used with varying degrees of intensity as an alternative means oprosecuting the conflict. Press freedom is restricted again and again. Torture and mistreatment by the police and the military are particularly common in the provinces of Hakkari, Sirnak, Dersim, Agri and Siirt. Journalists, human rights activists and individuals active in politics are particularly affected by these
practices. Furthermore, the systematic harassment and raping of women by the security forces is a major problem in small towns …
Generally, it is evident that, since the local elections in 2009, the Turkish government has been resorting to a worrying degree to methods that involve the criminalisation of functioning local political structures, the detention of politicians and activists who have an impact on international public opinion or, in the provinces that are increasingly affected by military operations (Hakkari, Sirnak, Dersim, Siirt, Agri), even attacks on the right to life … Major problems are being caused in the provinces of Diyarbakir, Hakkari, Siirt and Dersim due to forest fires started by the military and the use of defoliants. Here too, there is a suspicion that use has been made of illegal chemical
In Hakkari, for example, Doctors suspect the herbs that grow in the region and are harvested by the population [many of whom are women], from April to June, are heavily contaminated. It may be a consequence of this that the incidence of stomach cancer has risen by 100% in recent years. These herbs were once used as medicines. Doctors in Ankara and Hakkari have recommended that the herbs no longer be eaten. However, the herbs are so essential to a large proportion of the population that they do not wish to give up gathering them. According to information from doctors in Hakkari, the incidence of diarrhoea
- which can have devastating, even fatal consequences for infants -
has also gone up a great deal. A document setting out the facts that are known has been submitted to the local court. There is a suspicion that the Bercelan Plateau and other locations are heavily
contaminated. This is where the city’s drinking water comes from. The chairman of the [Human RightsAssociation] IHD, Ismael Akbulut, was detained in Bitlis prison a few months ago due to a complaint against the use of chemical weapons by the Turkish military in Bercelan (Hakkari Province) ....
[Concerning the]systematic use of rape ...In recent times, the rape rate has increased massively in Siirt Province and elsewhere. The tip of the iceberg: the deputy headteacher of a school and more
than 20 other suspects, including soldiers, members of the security forces and AKP members, systematically raped at least seven schoolgirls over a period of four years in the headteacher’s office, using threats to coerce their victims. The governor responded to protests from Kurdish women’s organisations by commenting that they should give up demonstrating and turn to prostitution. Rape has been used systematically for years in several regions as a way of enforcing the state’s policy of assimilation and the political suppression of the Kurdish population.
● Kasim Agpak: The Persecution of Indigenous Peoples, Unrepresented Nations, Minorities and ‘Others’.
The title itself clearly describes the entire history of the consequences of a one of the nation states, Turkey. What we have in this history is a systematic oppression and destruction of cultures, language etc., in short, everything that is essential and vital for an existence of a community. This is all done or justified in the name of nation, flag, territory, state etc. It could be said that, what the idea of modernity has brought to communities is nothing but bloodshed, genocide and many other atrocities. This particular event illustrates successfully the very foundation of modernity. ‘According to a well-known anecdote, a German officer visited Picasso in his Paris studio during the Second World War. There he saw Guernica and, shocked at the modernist ‘chaos’ of the painting, asked Picasso: ‘Did you do this?’ Picasso calmly replied: ‘No you did this’. So, since many of the nation states are pretty much identical in their relations and attitudes to ‘others’, Turkey is no exception, in fact, one of the leading oppressive states that tries to cover their bloody hands.
The experiences of the Kurds, Armenians and many others, (I don’t even wish to use word ‘others’ even though it is used in brackets, simply because it serves the discourse of states, rather wish to use natives who are made ‘others’) are precisely the product of implementation of states’ systematic genocidal policies. We could and should turn and say the fact that the thousands of villages burned, thousands disappeared, murdered, tortured is precisely the true result of states’ politics. One thing needs to be mentioned here in relation to the concept of genocide, in my understanding it has shifted from one dimension to another. Article 2 of United Nations Convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide defines Genocide as: "any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part…” I would argue that this definition is problematic and inadequate. One cannot imprison the concept of genocide in one definition [when] most states justify their actions by employing different techniques or methods ... States do get away with their crimes and genocidal policies. I would like to ask a very naïve question: Have Turkey’s genocidal policies ended? If so, how are we going to define and understand Hrant’s murder then? How are we going to understand the imprisonment of thousands of Kurdish children under terrorism laws? How are we going to make sense and understand, when Hrants’ killer asked for a trial in a juvenile court and Kurdish children are taken to a criminal court? How are we going to make sense or explain, when there are almost two thousand Kurdish politicians, human rights activists and members of NGO’s who were imprisoned and who did not know what they were being accused of for a year or so. These are the people who have done nothing but to use their legal, democratic, civil and political rights. These are the people who are not associated with any violent crimes. And, yet, they are imprisoned with falsified, fictitious and forged (I know they may all mean the same thing, but I really want to address this issue) allegations and claims that they are a member of an illegal organisation named KCK.
It is important to give some examples to illustrate its forgery and falsification. Here are some of the allegations: An architect Heval Erdemli who worked in one of the Kurdish Boroughs has been accused of reading books of terrorist organisations and individuals. The books that MR. Heval Erdemli was accused of are downloaded PDF files of Lenin’s ‘Socialism and War’, Che Guavera’s ‘Notes on the Cuban Revolution’, ‘Socialism and Human’, Huberman’s ‘ABC of Socialism’ etc. In its claims, it says these books and pdf files were to instruct one ‘how to set up the organisation in a country, how to make a revolution, how the organization will move militants', [etc] ... So, according to the accusations, ... Lenin, Che, Huberman's publications are seen [as making their readers] terrorists.
Another important aspect of these trials is that all the evidence presented by the court is based on phone conversations, wiretappings and photos. One of the most hilarious claims is aimed at the Mayor of Diyarbakir, Mr. Osman Baydemir. He is accused of taking and applying orders from a ‘terrorist’ organisation by saying something like Diyarbakir is our home and capital. You may know that there is a significance of Diyarbakir for Kurds as it is seen as the capital of Kurdistan. Some activist phone conversations are also tapped and as a result of this, one particular individual was accused of supplying bombs or mentioning bombs by asking his wife whether she would need any groceries such as tomatoes for dinner. This is claimed to be a coded conversation and has a potential security threat, according to the Turkish Justice system. So be careful and think twice when you ask your partner or wife or husband about, literally anything.
While this is still taking place, the DTK Democratic Society Congress provided a draft called ‘Democratic Autonomy’ of a possible peaceful solution to the Kurdish Question. There it briefly outlined the ways in which the Kurdish question can be resolved. This was an initiation that aimed at having an open debate about the possible solution methods. The reaction from the Turkish state was unbelievably horrendous. Prime Minister Erdogan is most repeated for his famous words stating Turkey was one nation, one state, one flag and one territory, as if someone suggested a partition of Turkey. This attitude, the attitude of not listening, or even considering any recommendations and viewing any attempts as dangerous and aiming at the partition of the state does show the inherent character of the Turkish state. This is a state that in its odd 80 years of history is based on assimilation, atrocities, bans, torture and military coups, etc. This is the same state that released Hezbollah members, who are responsible for hundreds of peoples’ deaths and responsible for many other illegal activities. In conclusion, what we have here is a state that is an enemy of its own people. It sees its own citizens as potential threats. Strips their rights anytime it wishes ...
● The International Platform Against Isolation (IPAI): "Democracy in Turkey: AKP government - Old repression in new packaging".
Before the referendum, held recently in 2010, the AKP gave those they gathered in the city squares lessons in democracy, painted rosy vistas and promised that after the referendum, "Nothing would be like it was before". After the referendum, all problems would be resolved, paragraphs in the constitution would "settle accounts with September 12", the 1980 military coup date in Turkey. The current constitution was introduced by the putsch generals. Turkey "will achieve stability", national income will grow, according to the AKP. September 12 will be a turning point.
Well, they finally had their referendum and months have passed. In these months, the rose-tinted vista of the AKP has not materialised, nor has democracy been brought to the country. On the contrary, in the last months the AKP government has continued its attacks on large sections of the population.
This is Turkey after the referendum:
- Lynching of those who seek their rights
- Education system run for profit and under the control of police and gendarmes
- Destruction and assimilation of the Kurdish people
- Assimilation and humiliation of Alevis
- The monopolies pile profit on profit – the poor multiply in number
- The dead become more and more numerous in the prisons
- Intimidation and repression of the opposition and critical media
At exactly this point, it is necessary to touch on the different missions that the AKP has been entrusted with.
The AKP continues an ideologically exhausted system with lies, helped by well-drilled turncoats and faint-hearts in its attempts to conceal its anti-democratic face. The AKP has been declared by these sections as being almost a liberating force, presenting a "civil alternative", allowing a "democracy veil" to be drawn over its policies of repression and hostility to the people.
With the 26 paragraphs that were voted on in the referendum, they constantly claimed that "for the first time, civilians shaped the constitution", thus showing what mission is now being entrusted to the AKP. On September 12th, it was the same AKP, on September 13th, it was again the same AKP. Those who even think the AKP will change do not know the system and system parties at all.
Increase of Impoverishment: In the past year, the policies supported by the AKP have created 3,700 new rich people. 3,700 new rich people means millions of new poor people. The AKP, while creating a few new rich people, also acts to increase their wealth. AKP policies increase impoverishment of the people and cause unemployment to grow. According to Turkey’s Institute of Statistics, in 2009, the number of unemployed grew by 860,000, reaching3,471,000. This is the official figure, the real number of unemployed being more like seven or eight million!
Lynch attacks on those who seek their rights: In its eight years in power, never mind granting the people’s demands, the AKP has used right-wing-terror to repress them and tried to intimidate the people. Lynch attacks have been carried out and continue to be carried out with this aim in mind, and the AKP has defended all such lynch attacks. (Note: typically the lynch attacks involve a mob being incited by Turkey’s far right groups against people engaging in public or street activity, by calling them "terrorists".)
In the last six years there have been 47 such lynch attacks. This number does not include various incidents that did not receive press coverage, or did not beyond the "threat" level. At this point it is especially necessary to note that the AKP unleashes lynch attacks against people seeking their rights and demanding their rights. Not only the Kurdish population, who seek their national rights, but all those seeking democratic rights, are targeted.
This process started in Trabzon on April 6, 2005 with a lynch attack on TAYAD supporters distributing leaflets opposing prison isolation and has continued to our day. Most recently, on September 21, 2010, a lynch mob attacked at the opening of an art gallery in Istanbul Tophane. The AKP was so persistent in this that when TAYAD people marched to Ankara, they were continually and repeatedly subjected to lynch attacks. On September 24, a lynch attack happened under police control in Duzce’s Kaynasli district, on September 25 in Bolu, on September 27 in Ankara Kizilcaham, on September 28 in Kazan/Ilcesi, and continued on September 29 in central Ankara.
These lynch attacks happened for days, observed by the police and gendarmerie, and are the true face of the AKP after its promises following September 13 which deceived millions. The AKP is politically responsible for all lynch attacks. In short, lynch attacks have gone on in all four corners of Anatolia over the past six years. And in those six years, not a single person responsible has been jailed, and no trial has been started, not even to put on a show of seeking justice. We should ask the AKP: What is sporadic about this?
Annihilation and assimilation of the Kurdish people: The AKP, which for years has used the manoeuvre of lying that "we will solve the Kurdish question" and used "opening up to the Kurds", has always revealed its true face in the end. The AKP has laid claim to the classic oligarchy policy of annihilation, denial and assimilation, continuing its attacks on Kurdish people to the refrain of "to the last terrorist". The AKP has continued racist and fascist policies towards the Kurdish people throughout the country, inciting working people against the Kurdish people. For months, this policy has been used to place the Kurdish people under siege, announcing the Kurdish people to be "terrorist" and making it a crime for them to put forward their demands.
For months, the AKP has not only not sought to resolve the Kurdish issue, it has not listened to their demands but has attacked, killed and sought to silence the Kurdish people. In recent days, the AKP has announced in the course of the "language debates" that "there will definitely not be education in the native language", thus openly defending bans on the Kurdish language and announcing the continuation of the assimilation policy. While on the one hand a state TV channel now broadcasts in the Kurdish language, singing Kurdish songs on TV can still be punished with imprisonment and fines.
The assimilation and humiliation of the Alevi people: No basic demand of Alevi people has been accepted, and for years a hostile attitude to the Alevi people has been continued in force. For years, the AKP has disputed Madimak with the Alevi people. Let us recall, that the Madimak Hotel in Sivas was burned down in July 1993 by an enraged mob of Sunni bigots, in the course of which large numbers of Alevis died in the hotel. On the subject of Madimak, where people were burned alive, they have not taken even a step, showing that their attitude to the massacre was one of approval. For years they have persisted in making religious lessons compulsory, they have continued to look down on Alevi houses of worship and shown disrespect and condescension to the beliefs of the Alevi people. While on the one hand continuing assimilation, on the other the AKP continues to denigrate the values of the Alevi people. Despite dozens of requests by the Alevi people, in eight years, no request by the Alevi people has been granted.
Circular on martial law in the universities: The AKP has truly done nothing against a product of the September 12 fascist junta like YOK, an institution for political surveillance of universities and schools in Turkey. For the AKP, the problem is not YOK, the problem is actually one of creating places in the education system for their own people. So the AKP’s words about YOK, uttered during its war of position as part of conflicts within the oligarchy, concerning "changing YOK", or "creating a free university", were swiftly forgotten.
The AKP has become the latest practitioner of YOK. It is henceforth the YOK of the AKP that sends in police and special security units against youth who are struggling for democratic demands. Universities are under occupation by the police. Hundreds of students have been subjected to various punishments like being expelled from schools or suspended for seeking their rights or organising alternative events. On August 24, YOK sent a circular to the governor’s offices and rectors in 81 provinces involving carrying out practices in the universities that do not differ from the martial law period.
Universities have been turned into army barracks, and jointly with the police, new repressive practices have been set in motion. The AKP, which could not prevent the struggle of youth with bans and repression, is trying to prevent it with new attacks. The Youth Federation has met with repression, especially because of its democratic demand for free education. Two of its members - Ferhat TUZER and Berna YILMAZ - were arrested after displaying a banner calling for this.
Isolation in the prisons: While the AKP government persists with prison isolation, sick prisoners continue to die because of frequent refusal to grant the appropriate medical treatment. Over the past eight years, coffins have continued to emerge from the prisons. While continuing isolation, the AKP has filled the prisons to overflowing, and brought the number of prisoners to their highest level in 30 years. 52 new prisons have been built and there are plans to build 86 more. According to the Justice Ministry’s official figures, between 2000 and 2010, 1,659 prisoners and convicts died in the prisons.
It will be remembered that, a short time before these figures were issued, between 2000-2009, the number of dead was known to be 309. Even this figure was high, and savage, but it emerged that the true figures were exponentially worse. The large difference in the figures shows us at the same time how much of the massacre in the prisons was kept secret.
There is only one explanation for this: the AKP government is as a conscious policy, killing prisoners and convicts before the eyes of millions. In the prisons, there are 119,000 prisoners and convicts, and only 21 doctors, showing what kind of murder policy has been prepared. And the AKP is continuing to kill prisoners and convicts. Let there be no doubt the figures given above are not mere numbers, each is a human being, a prisoner in the hands of the state.
Every week, in Istanbul, Izmir, Ankara and Antalya, the voice of the prisoners the AKP wants to kill through "silent death", continues to find an echo through democratic NGO's who give them a voice outside the prisons.
Intimidation and repression of the opposition and critical media – TAYAD:
Attacks on democratic opposition continue without interruption. Prime targets are institutions which campaign for political prisoners, such as the TAYAD association. Seventeen of its members were arrested on June 15, 2010 simply for commemorating dead activists at a ceremony in a graveyard, taking part in protests during Newroz (Kurdish New Year) for supporting the campaign for the release of Guler ZERE, a woman prisoner who suffered from cancer, as well as demanding the freedom of other ill prisoners. Sixteen were later released, but one of those detained, Umut SENER, remains in prison. Despite the existence of supposed constitutional rights, it is forbidden to make use of these rights by reading out a press statement, holding a commemoration in a cemetery, campaigning for prisoners etc. TAYAD continues its campaign for the release of the ill prisoners and for the freedom of Umut Sener.
Yuruyus magazine: Although the state in Turkey has signed and recognised international agreements on freedom of thought and expression, and has announced that it guarantees these freedoms for everyone, it attempts to silence opposition publications. In a period in which pressure and control by the political authorities over the media are on the increase, those who criticise government policy are being targeted by unrestrained violence. Heavy fines, the threat of prison, the imprisonment and killing of journalists, the prevention of press organs from continuing to function are all just some of the everyday practices resorted to when it comes to anti-government publications in Turkey.
Yuruyus ("March") magazine has continually been subjected to these attacks. The Serious Crimes Court With Special Competence has started proceedings against the magazine based on its contents, and sentenced it to heavy fines. The same courts, after an interval of time, have issued instructions for the magazine to "cease publication", to make it impossible for it to find printers. The editor has been imprisoned. Distributors of the magazine have been detained and imprisoned on dozens of occasions, and have even been shot on the street, and left handicapped. When the publishing house continued to issue the magazine, despite all repression and attempts to intimidate it, at midnight on December 24, 2010 the police raided and laid waste to it without even bothering with a legal pretext. The magazine archive, computers, library and money were confiscated. The proprietor of the magazine, the editor and magazine workers present at the time were detained and imprisoned.
While it is impossible to close down a magazine that is in conformity with the Press Law, the government seeks illegally to close down Yuruyus. It aims at bringing this about by confiscating all the materials and imprisoning its workers. This is clearly a case of freedom of thought and expression being violated. Facing a magazine whose politics they do not like and which writes the truths they do not want, the political authorities are trying to silence it through illegal methods, rather than conforming to legal obligations. While playing the democracy game on the one hand and on paper adhering to laws and the basic human rights that have been won, on the other hand they want to make press and media outlets illegal by resorting to demagogy about terrorism.
In Turkey, it is not new for press organs which have bar codes, are subject to tax obligations and whose proprietors, responsible editors and places of publication are known to be raided and the workers accused of membership in an armed organisation. But illegality is not legal, even when it is a "judicial habit". The repression of Yuruyus is a clear and serious violation of freedom of thought and expression. These attacks must be ended immediately, the magazine’s materials must be returned and its workers released.
This is at the same time a call to support the independent weekly magazine Yuruyus and to demand the immediate release of its workers. (The magazine proprietor and publishing editor Halit GUDENOGLU, and magazine workers Kaan UNSAL, Cihan GUN, Musa KURT and a guest visiting the office named Naciye YAVUZ).
There have already been protest messages sent by European journalists, MP's and MEP's from Greece. However more pressure needs to be applied. Please send your letters of protest to the Justice Ministry of Turkey:
JUSTICE MINISTRY OF TURKEY
Tel: 90 312 417 77 70
Fax: 90 312 419 33 70
The murder of the Hrant Dink in 2007 includes an example of several types of repression that go on in Turkey. First of all the targeting of minorities, such as the Armenians; secondly, the attack on freedom of expression, and thirdly the use of chauvinism. Hrant Dink had been tried for allegedly insulting the Turkish nation. His killers were associated with fascism in Turkey and the police who arrested the youth, who fired the gun on the scene, was allowed by the police to pose with the Turkish flag.There's the responsibility not to forget and to prevent such things from happening again ... Thank you.
1 Mağden “was prosecuted by the Turkish government in relation to a December 2005 column in the weekly news magazine Yeni Aktuel. In the column, she strongly defended the actions of Mehmet Tarhan, a young Turkish man jailed for his refusal to perform mandatory military service. In this column, titled 'Conscientious Objection is a Human Right', Mağden stated that the United Nations, of which Turkey is a member, acknowledges conscientious objection as a human right. In response to the column, the Turkish military accused her of attempting to turn the Turkish people against military service and filed a complaint against her. A warrant was issued for her prosecution in April 2006 and her trial was in late July; the most severe sentence she could have faced if convicted under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code was three years' imprisonment. Under Turkish law, there is no provision for conscientious objection to mandatory military service. When asked about her situation, Mağden replied: 'It's shocking that they are putting me on trial. I've no idea what will happen. The case could finish tomorrow or it could stretch on and on. The unnerving thing about the courts is they are so unpredictable, it's like a lottery. It's torture'. Her prosecution was criticised by human rights groups around the world and comes several months after a Turkish court dropped a case against Turkish writer Elif Şafak, who had been charged with 'insulting Turkishness' in her novel, The Bastard of Istanbul [because some of her fictional characters referred to the Armenian genocide] … In a show of support for Mağden, newspapers in Turkey have republished the column that led to criminal charges against her. She was acquitted on July 27, 2006” - Wikipedia, 'Perihan Mağden' (Accessed at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perihan_Ma%C4%9Fden).
2 Pottins, C. (2011) 'Remembering a Murdered Editor', Random Pottins, 9 January 2011(Accessed at: http://randompottins.blogspot.com/2011/01/hrant-dink-murdered-four-years-ago-in.html).
3 Christie-Miller, A. (2010) 'After Hrant Dink: the newspaper at the centre of the story', SETimes, 6 December 2010 (Accessed at:
4 “The 12th Criminal Court of First Instance of Bursa (north-western Turkey) decided to close the Rainbow ('Gökkuşağı') Association down. Rainbow is the Association for the Development of Protection, Solidarity and Cultural Activities for Transvestites, Transsexuals, Gays and Lesbians (LGBT). The Bursa Governorship had filed a criminal complaint about the LGBT organization because of alleged 'prostitution'. It was now learned that the Bursa court brought the case to an end after a two-year trial period with the decision to ban the association. As reported by the Bursa Olay Newspaper on 3 January, Rainbow Association President Öykü Evren Özen said in the final hearing, 'No illegal activities of any kind have been carried out within the association. I reject all charges'. Özen was facing imprisonment of up to three years under charges of 'opposing the Law on Associations' but was eventually acquitted ...'If the decision should be upheld, we will open a new association. Our struggle will never cease', he indicated. The association was raided by the police in 2007 upon the complaint of the governorship. 16 people were taken into custody. The association was not able to run a café because the official licence was denied … The Governorship had previously applied for the closure of the association, putting forward that it was 'opposing the law and morals' … Several trials have been opened against LGBT associations such as LambdaIstanbul, the Black Pink Triangle and other organizations in various cities with the demand to close the organisations down” - Celik, E. (2011) 'Rainbow LGBT Association Closed Down by Court Decision', BIA News, 5 January 2011 (Accessed at: http://www.info-turk.be/389.htm#Proposed).
5 By way of example: “Suzan Zengin, İşçi-Köylü ('Workers-Peasants) newspaper representative of the Kartal office (east of Istanbul) has been detained for a whole year now under charges of 'membership of an illegal organisation'. The first hearing of her case is scheduled for 26 August. Ragıp Zarakolu, President of the Freedom of Publishing Committee of the Turkish Publishers Association”, also proprietor of Belge Press, “said that Zengin should be released. The association held a press conference in the Istanbul branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD) to draw attention to the situation of Zengin and also to demand the release of writer Erdoğan Akhanlı”, who has campaigned for the recognition of genocides, including the Armenian genocide. “He had to leave Turkey in the course of the events around the military coup on 12 September 1980. Akhanlı returned to Turkey 18 years later. He was arrested at the airport and detained in Metris Prison (Istanbul)” and only [safely] deported from Turkey in early January 2011 after an international and national campaign protesting at his targeting. Commenting on all these targeting operations, “Zarakolu criticised the Anti-Terror Law (TMY)”, saying it “is used to oppress the socialist and the Kurdish press: 'A campaign against the TMY has to be initiated. As long as the TMY is in force as it is, arbitrary applications will be imposed on journalists. Zengin is being detained for more than a year without a reason. Akhanlı was tortured and imprisoned because of this struggle against the 12 September [military coup] fascism. It is the irony of history that he is being detained because of the mindset of 12 September just before the referendum on 12 September 2010 [on the constitutional reform package] which is [supposedly] meant to change that very mindset', Zarakolu stated” - Tapan, B. (2010) 'Release Journalist Zengin and Writer Akhanlı', BIA News, 25 August 2010 (Accessed at: http://www.bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/124361-release-journalist-zengin-and-writer-akhanli).
9BIA News (2011) 'IHD Report: Turkey Fails in Human Rights', BIA News, 3 January 2011 (Accessed at: http://www.bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/124361-release-journalist-zengin-and-writer-akhanli).
10 BIA News (2011) 'IHD Report: Turkey Fails in Human Rights', BIA News, 3 January 2011 (Accessed at: http://www.bianet.org/english/freedom-of-expression/124361-release-journalist-zengin-and-writer-akhanli).
11 As Arundhati Roy observes: “It’s easier on the liberal conscience to believe that the war in the forests is a war between the Government of India and the Maoists ...The Indian Constitution, the moral underpinning of Indian democracy, was adopted by Parliament in 1950. It was a tragic day for tribal people. The Constitution ratified colonial policy and made the State custodian of tribal homelands. Overnight, it turned the entire tribal population into squatters on their own land. It denied them their traditional rights to forest produce, it criminalised a whole way of life. In exchange for the right to vote, it snatched away their right to livelihood and dignity. Having dispossessed them and pushed them into a downward spiral of indigence, in a cruel sleight of hand, the government began to use their own penury against them. Each time it needed to displace a large population - for dams, irrigation projects, mines - it talked of 'bringing tribals into the mainstream' or of giving them 'the fruits of modern development'. Of the tens of millions of internally displaced people (more than 30 million by big dams alone), refugees of India’s ‘progress’, the great majority are tribal [ie indigenous] people. When the government begins to talk of tribal welfare, it’s time to worry …
“Over the past five years or so, the governments of [4 states alone] Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal have signed hundreds of Memoranda of Understandings (MoU's) with corporate houses, worth several billion dollars, all of them secret, for steel plants, sponge-iron factories, power plants, aluminium refineries, dams and mines. In order for the MoU's to translate into real money, tribal people must be moved. Therefore, this war [and the increased persecution]”. She asks: “When a country that calls itself a democracy openly declares war within its borders, what does that war look like? Does the resistance stand a chance? … An article on the internet says that Israel’s Mossad is training 30 high-ranking Indian police officers in the techniques of targeted assassinations, to render the Maoist organisation 'headless'. There’s talk in the press about the new hardware that has been bought from Israel: laser range-finders, thermal imaging equipment and unmanned drones, so popular with the US army. Perfect weapons to use against the poor.
“The drive from Raipur to Dantewada takes about 10 hours through areas known to be ‘Maoist-infested’. These are not careless words. ‘Infest/infestation’ implies disease/pests. Diseases must be cured. Pests must be exterminated. Maoists must be wiped out. In these creeping, innocuous ways, the language of genocide has entered our vocabulary ...The Salwa Judum was a joint operation by the state government of Chhattisgarh and the Congress party which was in power at the Centre. It could not be allowed to fail. Not when all those MoU's were still waiting ... The government was under tremendous pressure to come up with a new plan. They came up with Operation Green Hunt”. She concludes: “Almost from the moment India became a sovereign nation, it turned into a colonial power, annexing territory, waging war. It has never hesitated to use military interventions to address political problems—Kashmir, Hyderabad, Goa, Nagaland, Manipur, Telangana, Assam, Punjab, the Naxalite uprising in West Bengal, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh and now across the tribal areas of Central India. Tens of thousands have been killed with impunity, hundreds of thousands tortured. All of this behind the benign mask of democracy. Who have these wars been waged against? Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Communists, Dalits, Tribals and, most of all, against the poor who dare to question their lot instead of accepting the crumbs that are flung at them. It’s hard not to see that the Indian State is an essentially upper-caste Hindu State (regardless of the party in power) which harbours a reflexive hostility towards the ‘other’. One that, in true colonial fashion, sends the Nagas and Mizos to fight in Chhattisgarh, Sikhs to Kashmir, Kashmiris to Orissa, Tamilians to Assam and so on. If this isn’t protracted war, what is?” - Roy, A. (2010) 'Walking With The Comrades', Outlook, 29 March 2010 (Accessed at: http://www.outlookindia.com/article.aspx?264738-1). For Javed Iqbal, "the story of the slums of Mandala cannot be told without the struggle of her poorest inhabitants against the demolition drives that literally come like the monsoons" – Iqbal, J. (2011) 'Invisible Cities: Part Five: A Place Called Mandala', Moonchasing, 2 January 2011 (Accessed at: http://moonchasing.wordpress.com/). See also his 9 June 2010 'Rape As A Weapon Of War' (accessed at: http://moonchasing.wordpress.com/2010/06/09/rape-as-a-weapon-of-war/) as well as other articles on his website.