Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Neither soldiers nor guerillas should die"

Osman Baydemir, the current mayor of Diyarbakir, has been sentenced to ten months in prison. The charge is that he was "expressing support and praise for terrorists".

What he said, was simply "Neither soldiers nor guerrillas should die".

The use of the word "guerrillas" instead of "terrorists" is against the law in Turkey.

"Neither soldiers nor guerrillas should die"

In what kind of country does the above sentence qualify a man for ten months in jail? Um, W.T.F.

The control of language, not just down to the word, but down to the letter is one of the main tools used by the Turkish State to maintain its denial of reality.

A quote from the Hurriyet story:

The court ruled that Osman Baydemir, mayor of Diyarbakir, the largest city in Turkey's predominantly Kurdish southeastern region, and Nejdet Atalay, mayor of nearby Batman, had praised terrorist PKK members by referring to them as "guerrillas."

The defendants made the remarks at a rally in Diyarbakir in February 2008, as Turkish security forces were carrying out cross-border operation into neighboring northern Iraq targeting hideouts of the PKK.

Lawyers for the defendants said they would appeal the sentences.

Baydemir had condemned the operation and called for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue, saying that "neither soldiers nor guerrillas should die."

In the same week: (Excerpt from Zaman)

a public prosecutor in Diyarbakir filed a case on Friday claiming that former Diyarbakir Bar Association Chairman Sezgin Tanrikulu had engaged in “discrimination” by publishing a bilingual agenda for members of the bar association. The prosecutor’s office also suggested that Tanrikulu misused his position as chairman of the bar association and “abused the linguistic feelings of the public,” calling for a three-year prison term as punishment. The deputy chairman of the bar association at the time, Nesip Yildirim, the other suspect in the case, did not participate in the crime, but openly supported it by collecting signatures for a petition titled “I am taking responsibility for my agenda and my bar association,” according to the prosecutor.
In 2007, when Tanrikulu was head of the Diyarbakir Bar Association, he ordered the publication of an agenda for the members of the association. The agenda featured dates in both Turkish and “a language that is used by a segment of the public,” meaning Kurdish in the words of the prosecutor’s report.

This means that publishing an agenda in a language that is used by a segment of the public amounts to discrimination.

“The publication of an agenda in an alphabet other than Turkish means discrimination in public services,” the prosecutor’s report claimed.

The public prosecutor also suggested that because the agenda was associated with the bar association, citizens whose “mother tongues are different” may hesitate to join the association or to ask for legal assistance. But the prosecutor’s report does not say openly what it means by citizens whose mother tongues are different.

The prosecutor argued that publishing an agenda in a language other than Turkish is an abuse of the “the linguistic feelings of the people” and that this was the basis of the case. Because bar associations are considered organizations that provide public services, the prosecutor had to get permission from the Ministry of Justice to proceed with the investigation and, according to the prosecutor’s report, the ministry gave its approval.

In his defense, Tanrikulu claimed that Kurdish is the mother tongue of Turkey’s Kurdish citizens and to use it is a legitimate right. Mentioning Tanrikulu’s defense, the prosecutor’s report responded: “The suspects in their defense suggested that the signs that are not in Turkish on the agenda under investigation belong to their mother tongue. However, Article 3 of the Turkish Constitution indicates that the language of the Turkish Republic is Turkish; Article 10 indicates that ‘all individuals are equal without any discrimination before the law and no privilege shall be granted to any individual, family, group or class’; and Article 11 states, ‘The provisions of the constitution are fundamental legal rules binding upon legislative, executive and judicial organs, and administrative authorities and other institutions and individuals’; and there are no international or national regulations for giving public services in mother tongues.”

At the court hearing on Friday, the present chairman of the Diyarbakir Bar Association, Mehmet Emin Aktar, presented incriminating information about himself and more than 100 lawyers who are members of the bar to the court and said, “If this is a crime, we committed the same crime.” Aktar also asked for time to prepare a defense. The next hearing in the case will be held on May 15.

The phrase that makes me laugh is "the publication of an alphabet other than Turkish"

No one ever has a cow if someone publishes something in French German, Spanish English, but if it's Kurdish it suddenly becomes this strange nameless "ALPHABET OTHER THAN TURKISH".

As if a language were a kind of kryptonite, so deadly, destructive, radio active, a kind of anti matter, so terrible it cannot even be named.

Imagine, someone can be sentenced to THREE YEARS IN JAIL for publishing A BILINGUAL AGENDA OF A MEETING.

That's our great Nato Ally.

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