Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Anti-Terrorism Law used Repeatedly to charge Journalists with Terrorist Propaganda

Reporters without Borders condemns the (ab)uses of anti-terrorism law in Turkey.

"Reporters Without Borders deplores Turkey’s abuse of its anti-terrorism law to censor and punish journalists who raise the issue of its Kurdish minority or quote certain Kurdish leaders. Use of the law to prosecute journalists has increased since it was amended in 2006. Under article 7/2 of the law, propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization is punishable by imprisonment.

As neither “propaganda” nor “terrorist organization” is defined, the article can easily be interpreted in the broadest possible way to target almost any journalist or media. Reporters Without Borders reiterates its condemnation of the law, which has ushered in a regime of censorship and suppression of free speech. [...]

Sociologist Ismail Besikçi and Zeycan Balci Simsek, the editor of the legal monthly Cagimizda Hukuk ve Toplum, appeared before an Istanbul court on 12 November on the same charge of “propaganda on behalf of a terrorist organization” (the PKK) in an article about the Kurdish right to self-determination that Besikçi wrote for the journal.

The chief fault that the prosecutor seemed to find with the article was the fact that Besikçi wrote Qandil – the name of the mountain in northern Iraq where the PKK has its main base – with a Q (a letter that exists in the Kurdish alphabet but not in the Turkish one) instead of with a K. The trial is due to continue on 4 March."


Also, to see Middle East Studies Association (MESA)--Committee on Academic Freedom's
intervention letter for İsmail Beşikçi, please visit: