List of prosecuted Turkish writers

List of prosecuted Turkish writers

Several Turkish writers (fiction writers, journalists, academics, etc.) have been prosecuted in Turkey.

Grounds for prosecution

Many are prosecuted for statements deemed unpatriotic by official institutions, or by Turkish nationalists. Several disputed laws are often used for this, among others Article 301. On the scale of those prosecutions, and especially the abuse of Article 301, Amnesty International stated that: "The frequency with which Article 301 is being used and the arbitrary nature of its application represent a real threat to freedom of speech in Turkey. Individuals are being harassed and threatened with imprisonment simply for speaking or writing about aspects of Turkish history or culture that do not conform to an imposed nationalist ideal." [Amnesty International. [http://web.amnesty.org/wire/May2006/Turkey Turkey quashes rights to free expression] , The Wire, May 2006. Retrieved on October 27 2006.]

The scale of these state-sponsored actions against dissenting opinions is also clear from the fact that in one case, in 1996, 184 of Turkey's leading writers, artists and publishers were indicted under the Anti-Terror Law for "advocacy of separatism" in a single trial at Istanbul State Security Court. [Amnesty International. [http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGEUR441381996 Turkey: Widespread human rights violations in the name of state security] . 1 October 1996.] The trial was halted in October 1997 by force of a new law passed by the Turkish parliament. [Amnesty International, [http://www.amnesty.org/ailib/aireport/ar98/eur44.htm AI Report 1998: Turkey] .]

EU officials have complained about this with the Government of Turkey. As an example, the EU Enlargement commissioner, Olli Rehn, has demanded in 2006 that Turkey rewrite its laws which restrict free expression and refrain from all related denial of free opinion. [The Brussels Journal, [http://www.brusselsjournal.com/node/1197 EU Criticizes Turkish Law on "Insulting Turkishness"] , July 19 2006.] Also human rights organizations complain about these repeated, politically motivated prosecutions. Human Rights Watch concludes: "Each of these individuals was charged for nothing more than the peaceful expression of his opinions."

List of writers

The following is an incomplete list of these prosecuted Turkish writers (and other persons), excluding cases listed at Article 301:

* Gökhan Gençay, writing for the "BirGün" newspaper, prosecuted for his reporting on conscientious objectors.Fact|date=February 2007
* Baskin Oran, former member of the Human Rights Advisory Board (HRAB) for the Turkish Prime Minister’s office, charged in May 2006 with "public humiliation of the courts authority" and "dangerous incitement of public hatred and enmity". Oran stated: "My freedom of expression is being ambushed for strategic reasons." [Amnesty International. [http://web.amnesty.org/wire/May2006/Turkey Turkey quashes rights to free expression] . May 2006.] In November 2006 he was acquitted. [cite web | author = Erol Önderoğlu | title = Minority Rights Report Authors Acquitted | url = http://www.bianet.org/2006/05/01_eng/news78905.htm | date = 2006-11-05 | accessdate = 2006-12-22 ]
* Sehmus Ülek, vice-president of the human rights organization Mazlum-Der.
* Murat Yetkin, writer for the "Radikal" newspaper, charged in June 2006 with attempting to influence a fair trial for having criticised the prosecution of Orhan Pamuk. [Erol Önderoğlu, [http://www.bianet.org/2006/07/01_eng/news81398.htm Columnist Murat Yetkin Faces 4.5 Years Jail] , BIAnet, 1 July 2006. Retrieved on 23 July 2006.] In November 2006 the charges were dropped. [Erol Önderoğlu, [http://www.bianet.org/2006/11/01_eng/news88061.htm BIA² Media Report: Army Shadow on Press] , BIAnet, 20 November 2006. Retrieved on 22 December 2006.]
* İsmail Beşikçi, scholar currently serving a 100-year jail sentence on propaganda charges for his writings on Turkish Kurds. [cite web | author = International PEN | title = Newsletter of the Writers in Prison Committee of International PEN | url = http://www.pensweden.org/images/PenewsSept03.pdf | accessdate = August 2 | accessyear = 2006 ]
* İpek Çalışlar, charged in August 2006 for insulting Atatürk.cite web | author = Turkish Daily News | title = Author of biography on Ataturk's wife charged with insulting late leader | url = http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:PNT98qBago4J:www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/article.php%3Fenewsid%3D51866+Author+of+biography+on+Ataturk%27s+wife+charged+with+insulting+late+leader&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=1&client=firefox-a | accessdate = September 15 | accessyear = 2006 ] In December 2006 she was acquitted. [cite web | author = BBC News | title = Turkish writer cleared of insult | url = http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6192869.stm | accessdate = December 22 | accessyear = 2006 ]
* Ömer Asan, charged in 2002 with allegations of the breach of Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law by "propagandating separatism" for his book "Pontos Kültürü". [ [http://www.savaskarsitlari.org/arsiv.asp?ArsivTipID=5&ArsivAnaID=8272&SayfaNo=1 'Pontos Kültürü' yargılandı] - 11-07-2002 Özgür Politika] In 2003 Article 8 was abolished, and he was acquitted as a result. [cite web | author = English PEN | title = Omer ASAN | url = http://www.englishpen.org/writersinprison/honorarymembers/turkey/omerasan/ | accessdate = September 23 | accessyear = 2006 ]
*Atilla Yayla, a political theorist, was convicted in January 2008 and sentenced to a suspended 15-month jail sentence for insulting Atatürk by claiming in a 2006 speech that the early Turkish Republic was not entirely democratic and that the cult of personality surrounding him was illogical. He is now living in self-imposed exile in England.

ee also

*Article 301 (Turkish penal code)
*Censorship in Turkey
*Human rights in Turkey
*Human rights in Europe
*International Freedom of Expression Exchange

References


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