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Turkish (Turkiye)

From June 7 to Nov. 1: Turkey under scrutiny

e-Posta Yazdır PDF

Just over four months ago, my fellows OSCE parliamentarians and I were in Turkeyfor elections that were vibrant, but tainted by restrictions to media freedom and other issues of concern. This time, we hope to observe a pluralistic and hard-fought campaign once again, along with improvements in the areas we highlighted.”

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Detention of Tahir Elçi

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Tahir Elçi, a prominent lawyer and chair of the Diyarbakır Bar Association, was detained last Monday for spreading Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) propaganda. Previously, Elçi appeared in Ahmet Hakan's “Neutral Zone” program on CNN Turk and said that “the PKK is not a terrorist organization. Rather, it is an armed political organization which has large local support.” I watched the program and understood his words as meaning “the PKK is not only a terrorist organization.”

 

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A way to investigate ISIL atrocities

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Four in Diyarbakır, 34 in Suruç and 102 in Ankara, a total of 140 deaths for which the government declared that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) is responsible.

We can add to this account Sgt. Mehmet Yalçın Nane, shot by ISIL militants and snipers in Kilis while waiting on the border on July 24. Regardless of the number of deaths, I can clearly say that ISIL atrocities constitute crimes against humanity according to international criminal law.

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Don't speak!

e-Posta Yazdır PDF

In the wake of the terrible Ankara attack, which was responsible for killing 97 people and injuring more than 500, the first serious thing the Justice and Development Party (AKP) did was to order a media blackout on the investigation to block criticism of its security mistakes and lack of necessary precautions to prevent the attack. I was planning to write something in addition to my last column as the number of deaths and those wounded have increased, but it is not possible at the moment.

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Ankara massacre and the question of state involvement

e-Posta Yazdır PDF

As it has turned into an ordinary practice, they placed the “secret” stamp on the investigation file for the Ankara massacre, which killed 97 people and left nearly 500 people wounded in Ankara on Saturday. We know what happens when they put a “secret” stamp on an investigation file. They basically put it somewhere to be forgotten. This “secret” stamp means that we will learn very little about the investigation from now on.

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Who is responsible now?

e-Posta Yazdır PDF
As I sadly sat down to write a press release yesterday for my organization the Human Rights Agenda Association to protest the detention of Today's Zaman Editor-in-Chief Bülent Keneş, I learned about the bomb attack in Ankara. I immediately left my house to see the place and the situation was terrible.
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Dismantling democracy in Turkey: a civil rights perspective (II)

e-Posta Yazdır PDF

The effective enjoyment of fundamental freedoms granted by domestic constitutions is the only reliable indicator of any country's democratization status: All human liberties set forth by national charters connote a strict range of the state's positive obligations toward its citizens, a series of duties to respect in order to comply with the democratic paradigm.

These essential requirements transform the role of the state into an active one: Beyond being bound to refrain from any interference therein, it also ought to engage in facilitating their complete fruition. Every stable democracy has to ensure the respect of basic human rights and provide the necessary tools of their fulfillment. Proceeding with the analysis of the civil rights situation in Turkey, stressing once again that few are the classic human rights that must be taken into account to rank a democracy, a further scrutiny of the provision set by Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), freedom of expression (FoE), is indeed indispensable.

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Dismantling democracy in Turkey: a civil rights perspective

e-Posta Yazdır PDF

The term democracy describes a form of government in which the legitimacy to rule (kratos) is bestowed upon the people (demos) of a state, who exert it with a direct or indirect system of representation through free elections.

Since the second half of the 20th century, the democratic axiom has been the subject of in-depth analyses denoting its nature as a problematic criterion, an “essentially contested concept” able to acquire different meanings according to the social and cultural context in which it develops, without losing its primacy as a key term in the domain of social sciences.

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Cizre and Manavgat

e-Posta Yazdır PDF

“Can Turkey become another Syria?” a friend asked yesterday in a matter-of-fact voice. I said, “Have you seen the pictures of Cizre?”

There was a curfew in place for more than a week in Cizre, a district of Şırnak province in southeastern Turkey, and we've seen pictures from there after the lifting of the curfew. Demolished houses, bullet holes in the walls, broken showcase windows, collapsed roofs because of mortar shells and the punctured water system of the city can easily be seen in the photographs.

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Kurdophobia

e-Posta Yazdır PDF

From time to time, I think about the social roots of the Turkish-Kurdish conflict.

It is obvious that there is ongoing discrimination against and “otherization” of Kurds in society. It is still very hard for Kurds to become top government officials if they reveal their identity. Although there has been an improvement in recent years, measures to prevent discrimination are still insufficient. Social inclusion is the key aspect for a possible solution to the conflict, but it is hard to claim that there are real social policies and legal measures to prevent this discrimination.

In fact, there are dominant identities in Turkey. Turks against Kurds, Muslims against non-Muslims and Sunnis against Alevis are some of the examples of dominant identities that deserve a special approach. The Kemalist ideology, enacted even before Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, excluded and slowly isolated all sub-identities. The Committee of Union and Progress (İttihat ve Terakki), which ruled the last years of Ottoman Empire, saw all minorities as a threat to the existence of the state. This mentality resulted in the Armenian Genocide of 1915, aiming at the transfer of capital to Turks, and had an effect on the new republic with a huge perception that it was under threat. In Dersim in 1938, there was another genocide, which resulted with civilian massacres of Alevi Kurds.

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Rule of Law Perceptions in Turkey

e-Posta Yazdır PDF
" The rule of law is a pillar in the constitution of Turkey. Altough it is prescribed in the constitution, the relation of Turkish politics with the concept of rule of law was always problematic. During the recent years in turkey, it is observed that Turkey has dropped down in the rule of law index. There has been published extra-judicial and non-constitutional texts like “the Red Book”, foreseeing the threats to the republic with binding affects towards the administration. In collaboration with these texts, the judiciary can lose its impartiality and independence as some groups that declared as threats in Red Book may receive enormous pressure. The judges who have decided against this current have been detained and prosecuted, as well as citizens who have criticized the president. On the other hand, the ministry of justice is trying to take control by not letting its members to receive education fulfilling international standards. These developments force Turkey drift apart of rule of law and losen its momentum on democratization process. It is discussed in the article by giving concrete examples that clinging on democracy, rule of law and human rights will change to promote and raise the humanitarian level of development of Turkey."*
 
*Abstract of Dr. Günal Kurşun's article, President of the Human Rights Agenda Association, published on E-Journal of Law.
http://goo.gl/rgl0tX 
 


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