Turkey is inflicting damages on itself
I have written many times and I will continue writing. I will reiterate. I will insist until these laws and practices change. If you do not agree with me on this subject and if you are angry at me, then don’t read this column. If you agree, then you should join this campaign also.
I’m talking about press freedom, in other words, freedom of expression and speech. I’m talking about the flaws in the justice system.
If you have adopted a democratic system, freedom of the press is the most indispensable rule of this system. The only exception is to openly support terror, call for the killing of people and incite people to an armed uprising. Except for actually getting involved with terror, all kinds of statements and ideas can be written. Every subject can be discussed.
However, about 90 journalists are in prison in Turkey today. None of them have been arrested because of terrorist activities. A significant portion of them are kept in jail on ambiguous charges such as having sympathy with terror organizations or supporting it and the majority of them are inside because their cases are pending.
They have not been involved with terror; they have only reflected their views. Separately, the prosecutors have hundreds of criminal complaints and investigations waiting to be processed. In 2011 alone, there were 9,000 complaints on general freedoms filed in the European Court of Human Rights.
This picture puts a black stain on our country’s image in the eyes of the international community. The amount of criticism coming from the European Union and the United States is growing each day and pressure is mounting. Each delegation arriving in Turkey from the West asks about this.
Turkey is being compared to China and Vladimir Putin’s Russia in the Western media.
A rich country that has a promising economy like China but which does not care about human rights and where the judiciary can lead anywhere… Or like Putin’s Russia, another country that is governed with extremely hard-line policies.
Isn’t that a pity for us? Do we deserve to be in this position? No. Why, then, is the government not moving a finger? Why does it not prevent this situation with a few legal amendments?
This is what I have difficulty understanding. Why is the Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) injuring itself?
Listen to the cries of the KCK journalists
As part of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case, 35 journalists have been arrested for being part of the KCK, the alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). A major portion of these colleagues were working for such media outlets as DİHA (Dicle news agency) and daily Özgür Gündem. They have voiced their cries in a letter they have issued. Bu nobody seems to care. “They are accusing us of terror, but all of the evidence they have submitted are all related to journalism,” they said.
They really are. The evidence consists of written news stories, news photographs, and trips made to cover news stories. None of the journalists have been involved in terror acts. None of these journalists have carried weapons, have pulled triggers or killed anybody.
These journalists have reflected their views. Yes, they have taken a side in the Kurdish issue. Yes, they have projected views we do not share. What’s wrong with this? They have been doing their job. This is what we do not understand. Now, the government argues, “These are not journalists, they are terrorists.” They claim that the number of detained journalists does not exceed eight or 10.
Well, nobody believes us, and, moreover, we are making a fool of ourselves.