Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Three Counts of Insult to Injury: The unbearable weight of daily news in Turkey

Recently, three pieces of news that are related to the concerns of GIT - North America hit the Turkish press.

The first one was a statement by Egemen Bağış, minister for European Union affairs in Erdoğan's cabinet, during an interview with Stephen Sackur on BBC's Hardtalk last Friday. Mr. Bağış claimed that some of the journalists in Turkish prisons were there because they were caught while raping others. This was an outrageous misrepresentation of the facts. A list of the journalists in Turkish prisons today and why they are in jail might be found here. As one can easily see, most journalists are in jail for supporting or being a member of a "terrorist organization." So far, we have yet to see any evidence of the terror they created other than the state-produced terror that they reported, which brings us to the second "insult to injury" in recent news from Turkey.

Yesterday (Tuesday, March 6) another round of KCK arrests took place in Turkey. Once again it hit several journalists. Three of the journalists arrested yesterday deserve special mention: Ali Buluş, Özlem Ağuş ve Hamdullah Keser. They work for the Adana office of the DİHA (Dicle Haber Ajansı, Tigris News Agency) that had uncovered the torture and sexual abuse scandal at the Pozantı Juvenile Prison.

The third insult to injury came from the AKP majority in the parliament when they voted yesterday against a proposal that would allow the trial of the perpetrators of the Sivas Massacre to continue. This trial is about to end due to the statute of limitations next Tuesday in Ankara. 35 intellectuals were burnt alive in Sivas by a mob in 1993. Aziz Nesin had been saved in the last moment. For a report (in Turkish) about the vote in the parliament, see Bianet. Young Academics from Turkey have started a petition directed to the court, asking for the continuation of the trial. You can sign it here or visit their webpage to find out more about this massacre here.