Free speech threatened in Turkey

This video says about itself:

Turkish author Pamuk ‘worried about free speech in Turkey’

31 March 2016

Orhan Pamuk is Turkey’s most famous author. The Istanbul native was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2006. His books, such as “Snow” and “My Name Is Red”, have been translated into more than 60 languages. We caught up with him in Paris, where he is promoting director Grant Gee’s film “Innocence of Memories“, based on his novel “The Museum of Innocence”.

Orhan Pamuk gave us his point of view on the current political climate in Turkey.

By Steve Sweeney and Caroline Stockford in Istanbul, Turkey:

Turkey: Writers defiant as trial is adjourned

Friday 13th January 2017

Three facing terrorism charges pledge to defend free speech

THE trial of three prominent Turkish writers was adjourned in Istanbul on Wednesday as the defendants vowed to defend the “basic human right of freedom of speech.”

Ahmet Nesin, Professor Sebnem Korur Fincanci and Reporters Sans Frontieres journalist Erol Onderoglu appeared at the Caglayan High Criminal Court in Istanbul on Wednesday, charged with “making propaganda for a terrorist organisation” — namely the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The three had acted as guest editors of the pro-Kurdish newspaper Ozgur Gundem as a symbolic act of solidarity with Asli Erdogan and Necmiye Alpay, who were recently released on bail.

A packed courtroom, with international writers’ and solidarity groups from Germany, Italy and Welsh PEN present, heard the judge adjourn the trial until March, when the case will be heard alongside others related to Ozgur Gundem.

Following the adjournment, the defendants addressed people gathered outside the court. Prof Fincanci said: “We are here to defend the basic human right of freedom of speech. There can be no freedom for us while journalists are still in prison.

“Our solidarity struggle is to create a better environment both in Turkey and the world. International solidarity shows that we are all struggling together.

“We thank all of our colleagues from abroad and we have had thousands of messages of support from people saying that we are in their hearts. So feel this support and feel powerful.”

Newspaper Evrensel editor-in-chief Fatih Polat said: “There is not much difference in being inside or outside prison for journalists in Turkey at the moment.”

Earlier, in the same Istanbul court, the trial of Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dundar and journalist Erdem Gul was also adjourned.

They face charges over a story in 2015 in which they alleged to have uncovered the smuggling of arms to Syria by intelligence services.

Mr Dundar did not appear at the court as he is in exile in Germany.

But Mr Gul remained defiant, stating: “The only evidence in our case is journalism. The media is on trial.

“All journalists should be freed immediately from prisons in Turkey. The only organisation we are members of is the journalists’ organisation.”

He finished by quoting the words of poet Can Yucel: “However much we are able to live without lies, so much the better.”

See also here.

Turkish writer Ahmet Sik arrested

2011 protest in Turkey against arrest of Ahmed Sik

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Prominent Turkish author Ahmet Sik arrested

Today, 13:38

The prominent Turkish writer Ahmet Sik was arrested in connection with a message from him on Twitter. It is unknown what the offending tweet is.

The state news agency Anadolu reported that Sikorsky was arrested for ‘terrorist propaganda’. He is accused of insulting the government and propaganda for the Kurdish PKK movement. The reason for the arrest are articles by Sik in the newspaper Cumhuriyet and a tweet, Anadolu writes.

A representative of the opposition party CHP says Sik for the next five days will be allowed no contact with a lawyer. It may take up to thirty days before being brought before a judge.

Critic of Gülen and Erdoğan

Sik is a leading critic of the Gülen movement, seen by the Turkish Government as the instigator of the coup attempt in July. After the publication of his book The Imam’s Army in 2011 Sik was also in jail for a year.

This summer Sik told the German news agency DPA that both Gülen and Erdoğan must be brought to justice. Gülen and Erdoğan worked closely together until it came to a rift between the two.

In Turkey after the coup attempt 81 journalists were jailed. More than 130 newspapers and other media have been closed by order of the government.

‘USA supports ISIS’, Turkey’s Erdogan says

This video says about itself:

2 December 2015

The Turkish leadership, including Erdogan & his family are involved in ISIS oil trade, the Russian MoD announced on Wednesday, showcasing satellite images and footage from oil facilities and the Syrian-Turkish border.

And now today, seemingly a case of the pot calling the kettle black.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

Erdogan: US Supports Islamic State [ISIS]

Today, 19:53

Turkey accuses the United States Americans that they provide indirect assistance to terrorist groups, including Islamic State [ISIS]. “We also have evidence,” said Erdogan at a press conference in Ankara.

It involves fighters from the coalition in Syria supported by the United States. This coalition also supports the militant Kurdish organizations YPG and PYD, as was already known. The Turkish accusation that ISIS is being helped too is new.

“The Americans accuse us that we support Islamic State [ISIS],” Erdogan said.

United States Vice President Biden said that, but retracted it under pressure from the United States government bureaucracy.

Others who said it include the Russian government (as the video says), the Israeli government, Turkish (now oppressed) media and Turkish MPs.

“But now they give aid themselves to terrorist groups, including IS [ISIS], YPG and PYD. It is very clear. We have confirmed evidence, photos and videos.”

Murdoch media help Erdogan, smearing British Labour leader as ‘terrorist’

This video from the Young Turks in the USA says about itself:

Turkish Army Van Drags Kurdish Man To Death

8 October 2015

Video surfaced of authorities in Turkey dragging the corpse of a Kurdish man with an armored vehicle. Cenk Uygur and Ana Kasparian (The Point), hosts of the The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

The Turkish government has entered damage control mode after the release this weekend of images that appear to show authorities dragging the body of a dead Kurdish man by the neck behind an armored vehicle.

The disturbing images have garnered coverage in top international news outlets. And the Turkish government‘s response has been nearly as disquieting as the images themselves.

Pro-government media in the country initially questioned the authenticity of the images and video, which have spread widely on social media in recent days. But many media sources eventually abandoned that line of argument, instead suggesting that dragging Kurdish people through the street is an acceptable way of making sure there are no bombs on the bodies — implying that handling corpses in such a way is justified at a time when the government has renewed hostilities with the armed, outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).”

Read more here.

By Steve Sweeney in Britain:

Turkey: Activists dismiss bid to link Corbyn to PKK ‘terrorism’

Tuesday 20th December 2016

CAMPAIGNERS hit out yesterday at “shameful” attempts to link Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn with support for terrorism following the Besiktas bombings in Turkey.

The claims were made in a Times [owned by Rupert Murdoch] article over the weekend which said Mr Corbyn’s support for the British-based Peace in Kurdistan campaign amounted to support for the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) — deemed a terrorist organisation by Britain, the US and EU.

The article said that Peace in Kurdistan backs delisting the PKK as a terrorist organisation and cited its support for the Freedom for Abdullah Ocalan campaign. It also linked the group to the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons, a splinter organisation that claimed responsibility for the bombings on December 10 which killed 46 people and injured 166.

But the campaign — established in 1994 by a group of people including playwright Harold Pinter, actor Julie Christie and Lord Avebury — has long campaigned for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey and elsewhere.

A Peace in Kurdistan spokeswoman was not surprised by the attacks: “This is typical of those who wish to delegitimise and undermine voices of opposition to an increasingly dictatorial regime in Turkey.

“This is a serious issue. Voices of dissent are being silenced across Turkey with opposition MPs thrown in prison, newspapers and TV stations being closed down and a third of the world’s jailed journalists in Turkish prisons.

False links to terrorism are a common tactic to try to delegitimise opposition. In Turkey many are accused of support for PKK or the Fethullah terrorist organisation, often both. It is a shame the Times is joining in and acting as Erdogan’s mouthpiece.”

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn said: “Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour Party support a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Turkey and Jeremy is glad to work with those who share that goal.”

Russian ambassador to Turkey murdered

This video says about itself:

19 December 2016

A news photographer captured the moment a well-dressed attacker opened fire inside an Ankara art exhibit Monday, shooting and killing Russia’s ambassador to Turkey and wounding at least three other people in an apparent … terror attack.

Still and video cameras were trained on Russian ambassador Andrey Karlov, who was giving a speech when a man in short hair and a dark suit suddenly shot Karlov in the back. Video captured of the incident shows Karlov grimacing and falling to the ground as the gunman moving toward his body. An Associated Press photographer on the scene took several images of the gunman and Karlov lying on the ground.

From Reuters news agency:

Russian Ambassador Shot And Killed In Turkish Capital Of Ankara

The ambassador was giving a speech at a photo exhibit when he was gunned down.

12/19/2016 11:33 am ET | Updated 38 minutes ago

See also here.

The murderer, an off duty Turkish policeman, used the war in Syria, in which the Turkish and Russian governments support opposing sides, as pretext for this crime.

One should hope this will not increase the danger of war between Russia and Turkey; as it increased when the Turkish air force shot down a Russian aircraft and a Turkish neonazi in Syria murdered the Russian pilot.

New York Daily News column hails assassination of Russian ambassador: here.

Turkish and other regimes ban Christmas

This video is called 3 Hours of Christmas Music | Traditional Instrumental Christmas Songs Playlist | Piano & Orchestra.

Separation of church and state in the United States means that the government is not allowed to favour Christian holidays over Jewish, Islamic, Hindu etc. holidays. The United States religious right (including President-elect Donald Trump) often makes a fuss about that, calling it a supposed ‘war on Christmas’. By the way, the only time Christmas was really banned in what is now the USA was in Massachusetts, 1659-1681. A ban by Puritan Christians, not by atheists, Muslims or Jews.

Yet, one seldom hears these US conservatives about real ‘war-like’ measures by governments against people celebrating Christmas privately (as opposed to celebration by the government, as the US religious right wants); provided that these governments are NATO members or otherwise military allies.

Whether it is about the royal family of Saudi Arabia, allies in the war against the people of Yemen and in the regime change war in Syria, banning Christmas.

Or about the dictator of Tajikistan banning Christmas. He has banned Christmas trees and New Year celebrations as well.

This blog has blogged about dictator Rahmon of Tajikistan:

Under Rahmon, Tajikistan’s human rights abuses have grown. He has cracked down hard on political opponents as well as independent media. His security forces routinely use torture to obtain confessions, according to Human Rights Watch. They have also targeted lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people, and cracked down on religious freedoms. …

The United States, though, considers Rahmon as vital to American interests in Afghanistan and preventing Islamic militancy and opium smuggling from spreading into Central Asia.

In late August [2015], Gen. Lloyd Austin III, head of U.S. Central Command, visited Rahmon in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, to discuss bilateral cooperation in counterterrorism and to fight the drug trade.

This blog has also blogged about the Brunei absolute monarchy:

As this blog reported, the absolute monarch of Brunei has banned Christmas.

The princely dynasty of Brunei are traditionally allies of the British empire. The present Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah was educated at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom. Like his father, he has been knighted by Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, of which Brunei was a protectorate until 1984. He holds an honorary commission in the Royal Air Force of the United Kingdom as an Air Marshal. He is also an Honorary Admiral of the Royal Navy of the United Kingdom, a title given to him by Queen Elizabeth II when he took the salute at the passing out parade of the 2001 summer term at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, the Royal Navy’s officer-training school in the United Kingdom. He has an English residence at Binfield Manor in Berkshire. In 1962, a rebellion against absolute monarchy in Brunei was put down by British troops from Singapore.

In the same blog post, also about the warlord government of Somalia:

In Somalia it is prohibited from this year on to celebrate Christmas in public places. … “In our country Muslims should not celebrate Christmas“, said a government spokesman.

The security forces in Somalia are instructed to drive away large groups celebrating Christmas. For foreigners it is allowed to dwell on the Christian holidays, provided they do so in private.

There are few Christians living in the African country, which established sharia law in 2009. Somalia is after Brunei the second country to enact a ban on Christmas. In Brunei Muslims who celebrate Christmas face many years of imprisonment.

The Somali government consists of warlords, relying on military help from the United States Pentagon, British armed forces and other NATO countries, ever since the days of George W Bush.

Most recently, about the Erdogan regime in Turkey. Member of NATO. The boss of NATO has praised Erdogan’s military invasion of Syria. Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

German school in Istanbul not allowed to celebrate Christmas

Today, 09:52

The Turkish government has banned a German school in Istanbul from paying attention to Christmas. The school has received an email stating that nothing about the traditions of the Christian celebration is allowed to be taught about. Also, no Christmas carols may be sung at the school.

The school’s management sent the mail to the German news agency DPA. The school choir on Tuesday was also not allowed to participate in the traditional Christmas concert at the German consulate.


The German school is part of a major Turkish high school. The teachers of the German part are paid by German taxpayers’ money. The German part of the school has its own board, but that is subordinate to the board of the umbrella school.

The school in Istanbul is known as non-religious. Critics say it happens more often that secular schools are forced by the government to have an Islamic-conservative course.

According to DPA the German Ministry of Education did not want to react to the ban on celebrating Christmas.

Dutch racist pro-terrorist sacked

This video says about itself:

Geert Wilders sparks racist chant storm

20 March 2014

A parliamentarian member of the Dutch far-right Freedom Party has resigned in protest against a speech made by party leader Geert Wilders.

During the meeting he encouraged supporters to chant racist slogans against Moroccans.

Wilders addressed the meeting:

“So I ask you what do you want in this city more or less Moroccans?”

The crowd chants, “Less. less.”

Wilders continues: “We will fix it.”

The crowd laughs.

Ronald van Vliet will keep his seat, but as an independent.

Read more here.

The Dutch mail service has dismissed an employee for racist sayings on the Internet.

The man from Zwolle had, eg, reacted to the recent bomb attack at the Besiktas football stadium in Turkey, which killed 44 people.

He wrote on Facebook:

What a pity there are only 29 deaths, there should have been many more, but at least these 29 [people from Turkey; the initial figure in media reports] won’t come here [to the Netherlands], great.