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Turkish (Turkiye)

Counter-terrorism: intrusive measures in fight against terrorism should be opposed, says UN expert

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GENEVA (19 January 2010) - “The current wave of privacy-intrusive measures in the name of countering terrorism should be countered through a global declaration on data protection and data privacy,” the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism Martin Scheinin said Tuesday, as he released his latest report which focuses on the erosion of the right to privacy in the fight against terrorism.*

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The ‘smoke’ which killed Hrant Dink

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Orhan Kemal CENGİZ

You may not have watched it, but I am sure you are familiar with the popular television series “Lost.” “Lost” is the story of the survivors of a plane crash and the mysteries of the island on which they landed.

The island is not an ordinary one; it is like a living organism. There are many aspects of this island that deserve to be mentioned, but for our story, the “smoke” is the most important one. There is black smoke that is called the “monster”; it takes the lives of the islanders who are not wanted by “the island” anymore. This “smoke” is not a person; it is the dark side of the soul of the island.

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Roma women urge European governments to respect their human rights

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Athens, 12.01.2010 – The increased and alarming human rights violations against Romani women and ways of ensuring full enjoyment of their rights topped the agenda of a two-day conference of Roma women, which ended today in Athens.

In a final declaration of the conference, the participants unanimously called on European governments to uphold their obligations and ensure that Romani women enjoy their fundamental rights, to put an end to a climate of impunity around atrocious abuses of their rights, to take unequivocal measures to punish perpetrators and compensate Romani women victims.

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Turkey: Rights Defender Arrested

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(New York) - The arrest of a human rights advocate on suspicion of links to the armed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) raises serious concerns that he was targeted because of his legitimate work on human and minority rights, Human Rights Watch said today. The arrest on December 24, 2009 of Muharrem Erbey, president of the national Human Rights Association and chairman of its Diyarbakir branch, was part of a broader operation by the anti-terror police, in which 36 people were detained.

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Socialists, liberals and me

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Orhan Kemal CENGİZ

I was a law student in 1985. Before this time, I had always defined myself as a leftist. As a university student, I had the opportunity to put my ideas into practice. I engaged in the establishment of the first student association in Turkey during that year.

After the 1980 military coup, the military junta banned every kind of organization, association, political party, anything you can imagine. So our attempt was quite a serious thing. We all were under police surveillance, and the situation was quite tense during those years.

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Impunity for rape of women has to be stopped

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Sexual assault crimes must be taken more seriously by governments and parliaments. The injuries inflicted by rape are deep and long-lasting, in many cases gravely hurting the physical and psychological integrity of the victims. Though these crimes are largely hidden and their precise scale is difficult to determine, we know that they are widespread and that many, many women live in constant fear of being assaulted. They have the right to be protected. More needs to be done both to prevent and to punish these crimes.

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Bartholomew is crucified and Erdoğan suffers from Hellish torture (2)

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Orhan Kemal CENGİZ

Turkey has simply followed the Progress and Union Party’s (Ittihat ve Terakki) policy of getting rid of non-Muslims from Turkey, which started when the Ottoman Empire was falling apart at the beginning of the 20th century.

Since 1915 Turkey has applied this policy on automatic pilot no matter which government has been in power.

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Each child in need should grow up in a safe and stable environment

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The process of de-institutionalisation of large-scale institutions for orphans and children with disabilities must continue, but it has to be pursued with care in the best interests of the child”, declared Commissioner Hammarberg in his latest Viewpoint. Stating that suitable alternatives must be developed and supported by the authorities – also in a period of economic crisis ­ he calls governments to enhance the process of supporting children at risk with a strong political backing and sufficient budget resources. Analysing the existing gaps, he considers that public policies should combine step-by-step closure of the old residential care institutions, determined efforts to support vulnerable families and creation of support services such as foster families. “We know now what to do to protect children in need. What is needed is the political will to turn appropriate programmes into reality”, he concluded.

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Bartholomew crucified, Erdoğan suffers from Hellish torture!(1)

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Orhan Kemal CENGİZ

Turkey is such a complex country. Its problems are so complex, so sophisticated and they all have historic roots. Turkey seems to have changed very quickly on the one hand, but if you focus on problematic areas you will see nothing is actually changing.

Look at this recent “crucifixion” discussion in Turkey. It tells us many things, if only we can decode the messages correctly. His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew stated on CBS television that sometimes he feels crucified in Turkey. He also added that the Orthodox in Turkey feel themselves to be second-class citizens. “[The Turkish government] would be happy to see the patriarchate extinguished or moving abroad, but our belief is that it will never happen,” he said.

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Take off my what? Headscarves, hats and history (2)

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Hera HASHMI*

Whenever the headscarf ban is mentioned, it quickly spirals into a debate about secularism, which is another major justification for the ban.

But what makes headscarf-wearing women in Turkey such an obstacle to a secular government when women in many Western countries and democracies wear headscarves and are able to participate easily in the public sphere?

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Take off my what? Headscarves, hats and history (1)

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Hera HASHMI*

Does anyone stop to think what a woman feels like removing her headscarf?

Or have we become completely desensitized to this violation occurring all around us? I experienced for myself the shock, humiliation, frustration, embarrassment, anger and shame that come with the forced removal of an article of clothing. Ironically I was banned from a human rights conference occurring on a university campus unless I removed my headscarf in order to attend lectures on freedom and democracy. I was also banned from a university library and told by the guard to remove my headscarf to gain entrance.

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