Trump, Turkey’s Erdogan attack International Criminal Court


This 29 January 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

A Top U.N. Judge Has Resigned Over ‘Shocking’ Interference From The White House And Turkey | TIME

A top judge in one of the United Nations’ international courts in The Hague has quit over what he termed “shocking” political interference from the White House and Turkey, the Guardian reports.

From Jurist.org in the USA:

Senior UN judge resigns citing ‘shocking’ interference from White House and Turkey

January 29, 2019 11:36:23 am

Patrick Eckerd

A senior judge at one of the UN courts in The Hague is reportedly resigning over “shocking” political interference from the White House and Turkey.

Christoph Flügge, a German judge, claims that the US had threatened other judges who took steps to investigate the conduct of US soldiers in Afghanistan. He also claims that Turkey had made “baseless” allegations about a Turkish judge, whose tenure at the UN ended after he was arrested and released.

The threats against Hague judges from the White House were made during a speech in September made by national security adviser John Bolton. According to Flügge, Bolton warned that if Hague judges “ever interfere in the domestic concerns of the US or investigate an American citizen,” these judges “would no longer be allowed to travel to the United States” and “would perhaps even be criminally prosecuted.”

The speech was given at a time when the UN court was planning to investigate American soldiers who had been accused of torturing people in Afghanistan. Flügge added that the statements made by Bolton were “consistent with the new American line: ‘We are No 1 and we stand above the law.”

In addition to the statements from the White House, Flügge cited interference from Turkey in the form of “baseless accusations” against Aydın Sefa Akay, a Turkish judge who sat on a UN court. Akay was arrested and subsequently released over alleged links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, who is alleged by Turkish president Erdogan to have been behind a failed coup attempt. This resulted in the UN secretary-general declining to extend Akay’s tenure as a judge.

Flügge told the German newspaper Die Zeit that the UN’s blind eye to Turkey’s interference had set a dangerous precedent, and that the statements from the White House highlighted the danger. He stated that he had concluded in the wake of these developments that the “diplomatic world” saw no value in an independent judiciary.

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Being pro-peace, a crime in Turkey?


Chairwoman of the Turkish Labour Party (Emep) Selma Gurkan Photo: Evrensel

By Steve Sweeney in Britain, 22 January 2019:

LEADING communist Selma Gurkan faces a lengthy jail sentence for making anti-war statements as the Turkish state seeks to criminalise all forms of opposition to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian rule.

The Labour Party of Turkey (Emep) general secretary faces more than seven years in prison for “spreading terrorist propaganda” after speaking out against Operation Olive Branch, Turkey’s illegal invasion and occupation of the peaceful city of Afrin in northern Syria.

Ms Gurkan’s case was heard in an Istanbul court today. Prosecutor Hakan Ozer was seeking a jail sentence, alleging that her speech outside the hearing of two Emep members, Neslihan Karyemez and Bilal Karaman, in February 2018 created a “negative perception” of the Afrin operation.

The pair were among hundreds who were arrested for making statements opposing Turkey’s military offensive, which had started the previous month.

They were detained after handing out leaflets opposing Ankara’s war of aggression against a peaceful people. They were also charged with “spreading terrorist propaganda.”

In court today lawyers demanded time to respond to the charges made against Ms Gurkan and the trial was adjourned until April 24.

Emep insists that it is a legal political party that advocates peace and stands on the side of workers. It argues that criticism of government policy is part of the democratic life of the country.

But Turkey’s authoritarian president has moved to shut down all forms of democracy and opposition; journalists, academics and MPs are among those jailed for challenging his rule.

Despite its legal status as a political party under Turkey’s constitution, Emep was one of 13 organisations banned by the Turkey’s supreme election board the YSK from fielding candidates in March’s local elections, a decision Ms Gurkan branded “totally arbitrary and antidemocratic.”

And the Turkish state, which has shut hundreds of media organisations, including Hayat TV, moved against the party’s newspaper Evrensel last year, issuing a 100,000 lira (£14,470) fine for its criticism of the government’s economic policy.

The fine threatens the future of the newspaper, which has recently been forced to drop pages because high tariffs on imported newsprint has led to increased production costs.

Evrensel remains one of the only newspapers in Turkey reporting on the labour movement and workers’ struggles, and an international campaign been launched to raise funds for its survival.

Emep is one of Turkey’s largest left-wing parties and the attacks are seen as an attempt to silence freedom of speech and the workers’ movement.

Turkish women don’t give up after police repression


The women marching in Istanbul, Turkey. Photo by Ezgi Görgü

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Monday, November 26, 2018

Women’s rights activists vow continued resistance after brutal police attack

Police hit marchers with batons and pepper spray on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

WOMEN’S rights activists in Turkey vowed to continue their resistance after a march on International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was brutally attacked by police in Istanbul.

Thousands took part in the demonstration in Turkey’s largest city, which was part of the global day of action with similar events held in towns and cities across the country.

They were demanding equality in Turkey, where organisers said women face violence, inequality, poverty and job insecurity.

However, lines of police blocked the route to Taksim Square, where demonstrations and gatherings are banned.

As they stood their ground chanting: “We are not afraid, we do not obey”, police moved in attacking the demonstration with batons and firing pepper spray, injuring a number of protesters.

Rape and murder of women has increased dramatically, with at least 329 women killed in Turkey during the first 10 months of 2018 while 342 rapes were reported in the same period.

Women are paid 17.8 per cent lower than men, with an unemployment rate of 14.2 per cent, rising to more than a quarter of women aged under 25.

Despite the shocking figures, Turkey’s authoritarian President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insists that it is impossible to discriminate against women, branding sexual equality “against nature”.

The attack marked an escalation by the authoritarian Turkish state, with the march, which takes place annually, being blocked for the first time.

But organisers remained defiant and said in a statement: “We did not stop and obey the people who wanted to cut down our voices instead of preventing the killing of women.”

“We know the value of our rights, our lives, because there is a women’s movement, women’s struggle, women’s solidarity”, it concluded.

Ekmek ve Gul (Bread and Roses) writer Fulya Alikoc told the Star: “It was an open message from the government — we are not going to allow you to do anything on the streets.”

She said it was women who were bearing the impact of the economic crisis in Turkey.

President Erdogan wants to solve the crisis and its effects, within the family”, she said. “So he and his government try to make women’s right to divorce harder.

“This creates even more violent family life for women who have been first to face the rising prices as part of their patriarchal role to ensure feeding family members.”

Turkey remains one of the world’s most unequal societies, ranking 131st of 144 nations in the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Gender Gap Index.

Turkish police violence against march against anti-women violence


This video from Istanbul, Turkey is about police stopping a march against anti-women violence.

From Globe Post Turkey:

Turkish Riot Police Halt Women’s March Against Violence

Nov 25, 2018

Turkish riot police on Sunday fired tear gas and used their shields to halt an unauthorized march in Istanbul marking an international day calling for an end to violence against women.

The police action, launched after several orders for the crowd to disperse, prevented a thousand demonstrators moving along Istiklal avenue, the main shopping thoroughfare in Istanbul.

Protesters responded by yelling “We will not be silent”, “We are not afraid” and “We will not obey”.

After a tense face-to-face confrontation with police, which lasted nearly two hours, the marchers broke off into side streets to yell their slogans before eventually leaving the area. …

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) lawmaker Gursel Tekin reportedly spoke to the head of Kadikoy Police Department in order to ask permission for the women’s march. His request was denied on the grounds that Istanbul Governor’s Office only allowed certain locations for demonstrations.

Many Twitter users criticized the harsh police intervention at an event that called for stopping violence against women:

Turkish authorities give very few authorizations for public protests, following big anti-government marches that took place across the country in 2013.

Peaceful protests marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women were held in many other cities around the world over the weekend, most of them without police opposition.

“To be a woman in Turkey is to suffer violence from men in all areas of life, whether at work or at home”, one demonstrator, Yasemin Esmer, told AFP.

“We’re here to cry out our feeling of revolt. We are saying we are stronger when united”, said another, a student who didn’t give her name.

Violence against women is a recurrent issue in Turkey, where several hundred femicides are recorded each year.

An association, Stop Femicides, counted 409 murders of women or girls last year, and 328 in 2016.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has frequently condemned violence against women. But associations accuse his conservative, Islamic-rooted government of failing to take sufficient measures to stop it.

Turkish journalist deported from Germany for criticizing Erdogan regime


Turkish journalist Yigit expelled from Merkel-Erdogan press conference, EPA photo

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Critical Turkish columnist is expelled after 36 years in Germany

A critical Turkish columnist must leave Germany after 36 years. The man, Ertugrul Adil Yigit, says that the expulsion is the result of his protest at a press conference by German Chancellor Merkel and Turkish President Erdogan in September in Berlin.

Yigit is known for his critical approach to President Erdogan. He wore a T-shirt during the press conference with the text ‘Freedom for all journalists in Turkey.’ The action led to unrest and Yigit was dragged out of the room by security.

Problems with residence permit

Yigit says he has lived in Germany for 36 years. His residence permit has been extended several times, but last year there were problems with the extension. According to the columnist, the head of the immigration service in Hamburg promised him that these problems would be resolved. This weekend he has been told that he has until 22 January to leave Germany.

The German authorities say that Yigit is being deported because he has no paid job and because his children no longer live with him. The columnist himself is convinced that the decision has to do with his protest action. He is considering legal action.

A COURT in Turkey has sentenced a journalist working for Syria’s official news agency, SANA, to more than four years in prison for allegedly insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan but indeed exposing the Ankara government’s support for foreign-sponsored Takfiri terrorists operating inside Syria: here.