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Reporting on the Turkish government´s treatment of the Kurds is risky business
1.       thehandsom
7403 posts
 31 Aug 2010 Tue 11:55 am

...

..a judge in that very city had sentenced Vedat Kursun, the former editor of Turkey´s only Kurdish-language daily newspaper, to 166 years in prison for "doing propaganda for a terrorist organisation". Hamdiye Ciftci, a young Kurdish reporter known for her coverage of state violence in the southeastern province of Hakkari, had been thrown in jail on "terrorism" charges in June.

 

......they had come to arrest me for "being in contact with and carrying out activities on behalf of terror organisations", namely the PKK and a related civilian body, the KCK. ....

 

"Why did you write about torture?" asked the head interrogator, in reference to a story I had published with the Inter Press Service. "There´s no torture in Turkey. Look, we aren´t torturing you!" he insisted, awkwardly avoiding eye contact. "It takes a lot of effort to repair the damage that people like you do to [Turkey´s] international reputation," snapped another.

 

Following detailed debates about my articles dealing with the Turkish army´s use of forest fires as a weapon of war, state violence against Kurdish women, and Turkish bombings of northern Iraq, my captors turned the conversation to what would, after my writing, become the second major focus of the charges against me: my contacts with human rights organisations in Britain and Turkey. At the end, I was sentenced to deportation without possibility of appeal and sent back to the US. The others who have been arrested as part of the same operation, haven´t fared so well.

 

Since 14 April 2009, Turkish police have thrown into prison at least 840 Kurdish political activists, mainly from the leftist and pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), a legal formation with a parliamentary group; many have been in custody awaiting trial for a year or more. Although the Turkish government claims to be cracking down on the PKK´s "urban extensions", the 7,587-page indictment dealing with 151 of the most senior detainees suggests the reality is rather more sinister.

 

...

The evidence against Mr Erbey includes a January 2009 interview with Voice of America radio in which he discussed the well-documented problems of torture, police brutality, and impunity in Turkey, about which the prosecutor writes the following on page 7,338 of the indictment: "It´s understood [from the interview] that Muharrem Erbey has aimed to put our country in a difficult position in international platforms by asserting that the state ignores the supposed maltreatment of Kurdish people carried out by police and soldiers in eastern provinces".

 

.....is the core question of Turkey´s future: Is the country ready to leave behind its authoritarian past and accept the basic democratic rights of its citizens? Or will war and authoritarianism consume another generation?

Full article from theindependent: 

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/my-reporting-on-the-kurds-landed-me-in-a-turkish-prison-2066157.html

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