Don’t utter what you don’t want to hear
“Coward, villain, utterly dark, ignorant, disgusting, traitor, lumpen, tool of the terror organization, immoral, leftover pro-mandate, spoiled soul.” If you direct these words at someone, at best, you yourself would be the subject to similar adjectives. At worst, something could be thrown at you, which is a reaction that will totally be tolerated in a society with a tendency for violence.
However, the lawyers of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have the opinion that these words should be considered within the scope of freedom of expression. However, because they have this opinion, I would say do not ever use the same words for anybody.
President Erdoğan used these words in general for intellectuals on the matter of the petition of academics, in particular for those academics who signed it.
Professor Baskın Oran, upon this, filed a suit for insult, and with this occasion we learned that the president’s lawyers were actually avid defenders of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decisions.
In their defense they submitted to the court, they said, “[Freedom of expression] is also valid for aggressive, shocking and disturbing knowledge and thoughts for a segment of the state or the population; and without them there could not be a democratic society.”
The lawyers are correct in this part. Freedom of expression contains the right to criticize severely and writing a shocking feature of ideas is not restricted because of being disturbing to a segment of society; the ECHR and the Constitutional Court practices follow this rule.
However, you should not be using those adjectives you would not like to be told to you, basing them on the concept of “I am using my freedom of expression.”
While there are thousands of words you can use for expressing your idea, it should not be too difficult to stay away from these kinds of words.
I have a question
While the debates are ongoing on the Ensar Foundation and the child abuse case in Karaman, a central Anatolian town, and after the defendant was convicted to 508 years, I remembered a piece I had written on this column on Sept. 28, 2010.
Since the legal proceedings and the court case are completed, it is time to remind you of that piece of mine:
“There has been an interesting development in the case on the sexual abuse by the head of the foundation of a 15-year-old girl who visited the Ensar Foundation in the inner Black Sea town of Çorum to apply for a scholarship. The Çorum High Criminal Court did not take into consideration of the forensic medicine report that the young girl’s body and psychological health had deteriorated.
The reason of this was the possibility that news stories about the harassment and related stories were all over the national press and the girl’s psychological health could also be deteriorate because of them.
The court, also considered the “good conduct” of the Ensar Foundation head Zekai İşler during the trials and the penalty was four years and eight months.
If the medical report had been taken into consideration, the penalty would have gone up to 15 years.”
I am leaving aside the fact that news stories are not needed “prove” the psychology of a little girl who has been sexually harassed to deterioration. As a matter of fact, there is not even a medical report needed for this.
What child has suffered such an incident and does not carry its psychological scars all through their lives?
Looking at both cases and verdicts at Çorum and Karaman, should we be happy that justice is improving in Turkey?
Or should we be worry that while in the past, it was the court judges that protected the Ensar executives but now cabinet ministers are shielding them?