Turkey Watch

Watching the Turkish nail being put into Europian coffin.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Another Kafkaesque case by Turkey's judiciary

From Turkish Daily News


ANKARA - Turkish Daily News

Just as a Turkish Daily News interview with Yusuf Alataş, head of the Human Rights Association (İHD), explicitly implied that there was still a long way to go for the improvement of human rights and freedom of expression in the country, an ongoing trial against a prominent writer makes this fact clear.

It is difficult to explain in English, just as it is difficult to explain or understand even in Turkish, the reasoning as to why writer-professor Fikret Başkaya of the Free University is being prosecuted.

Let's give it a try. In an interview published in March 2001 in a local newspaper called Fırat'ta Yaşam (Life in Fırat) in the southeastern Anatolian province of Gaziantep, Başkaya replied to a question by saying: "Nongovernmental organizations are tools of de-politicization in the era of neo-liberal globalization."

In Turkish "de-politicization" is written as "apolitizasyon" -- the first three letters of which form the word "Apo."

"Apo" is also a nickname used for Abdullah Öcalan, the now-imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The same nickname is commonly used for those who are called "Abdullah."

First of all, the newspaper was confiscated at the time for "publishing propaganda in favor of terror organization leader Abdullah Öcalan by using a title that was irrelevant with the content of the article."

Civil society: "Tool for de-politicization [apolitizasyon]", was the title that led to the paper's confiscation.

Later, the now-abolished Adana State Security Court (DGM) opened a case against Başkaya charging him with publishing the propaganda of an outlawed organization.

The case is still going on, in a way which is briefly described by Başkaya as "humorous."

"It is regretful that such a case was opened in the first place. It is an exact scandal. De-politicization is a concept of political literature," Başkaya plans to tell the court in his defense that will be released to a local high criminal court in Ankara later this month upon request from the court in Adana.

"The case is befitting of the 'independent Turkish judiciary' and 'the rule of law'," Başkaya said in a brief conversation with the Turkish Daily News, with a bitter and sarcastic tone.

"There is so much to say, but this case is also very important since it gives an idea both about the miserable situation of the judicial system in Turkey and about the intellectual level of the members of the judiciary," Başkaya said.

Başkaya served years in prison in the past purely on the basis of what he wrote about.


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