Journalist Stabbed to Death in Istanbul Because of a Snowball!

Nuh Köklü

Journalist Nuh Koklu had been playing snow fight with his friends on the evening of February 18 in Istanbul’s Kadıköy district when he was going back home from Homeland Security Bill sit-in that ended earlier at Kadıköy’s ‘Bull Square’. The area is known for its relaxed atmosphere and peaceful neighborhood except for police’s violent attacks on peaceful protests. During the snow fight, according to the Turkish media, a snowball hit a shop window, which caused the shopkeeper’s anger.

Angry shopkeeper got furious over a snowball, went out to attack the youngsters playing in the street. As the spice seller realized that the club is not effective in beating youngsters, and when he was outnumbered and pushed back in his attack, he went inside his shop, grabbed a knife running after the young people. One from the group fell on the ground, shopkeeper attacked, Nuh went in to protect his friend. The shopkeeper stabbed Nuh Koklu’s heart repeatedly.

The shop of the killer shopowner has been marked “Murderer” by some friends of the journalist

Nuh was taken to a hospital nearby but he had died. The shopkeeper is also taken to a hospital. The witnesses say the shopowner had shouted “go tell the police, I have enough reports for psychological state… They would have to release me before you know it anyways!” The reports killer shopowner refers to are the ones cited in Turkish Penal Code’s article 46.

President Erdoğan’s Rhetoric Had an Effect?

This incident took place not long after Turkish President Erdoğan’s notorious comments regarding the legality of violence applied by shopkeepers. At a speech he gave at the union of shopowners, Erdoğan had said “shopowners of this country are protectors of honor, peace and stability on streets, they are the soldiers, guardians, police of streets; when the moment comes they suppress coup attempts.” These remarks had drawn reaction by many people in Turkey, especially from the supporters of protest movements who still felt the grief and anger for over a dozen killed protesters.

Ali İsmail Korkmaz

Erdoğan’s speech came not long after the trial of murderers of Ali İsmail Korkmaz, who was beaten to death by police and shopkeepers during Occupy Gezi protests. Rhetoric adopted by government members seems to have a much greater impact on society when it comes to justification of violence and legitimacy of monopoly over violence.

Nuh Köklü during a strike

Nuh Koklu had been part of unions and a leading figure in some strikes. Although he had been an unemployed journalist lately -like thousands of others- he has been informing his audience as an independent reporter. The last ever tweet he shared read “paranoid governments’ biggest fear is a people united; it is time of a univocal reaction to all kinds of troubles now.” According to his friends, Nuh’s last words were “Please let this be a dream!”

Posted in AKP, media freedom, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cumhuriyet Daily’s Administration Relieved of Duty after Charlie Hebdo Publication

In the aftermath of the Paris Massacre earlier in January, Cumhuriyet Daily had taken a courageous step and printed Charlie Hebdo in Turkish. It was one of the two newspapers that were allowed to print content, and they attracted the outrage by islamist groups in Turkey. With the news of Cumhuriyet printing Charlie Hebdo in Turkish getting revealed, leaders from the islamist-rooted governing AK Party declared that their followers only should carry out their democratic rights and organize peaceful protests, never turn violent, and simply use judicial means to contest blasphemy.

The chief executive editor of Cumhuriyet Daily has been relieved of duty as of the first of February, after police raided the print house, thousands protested in front of the newspaper headquarters, thousands of death threats have been directed at staff and journalists of the paper. The relief message has been published on Cumhuriyet’s online version explaining that the chief editor Utku Çakırözer will no longer continue his job which he had started earlier in September 2014. The relief message also included a paragraph explaining that general administrative coordinator and editor in chief had proposed their resignation letters, and they were accepted by the board. The explanation also mentioned the apprehension regarding the low reach to general audience and the will to expand scope of readers.

Even though the duty relief and resignations do not mention a word of Charlie Hebdo publication in Turkish, the readers of the paper might draw the parallel between the Mohammed caricatures and the changes in administrative structure of the daily. The removed chief executive editor wrote a series of twitter messages giving the news of his removal to his followers stating that during the time of his duty the primary concern has always been the individual rights and liberties and the defense of them at strongest level possible, contesting censorship and corruption, always considering the public benefit in struggles, a courageous publication policy.

After thousands of death threats targeting the journalists and staff of Cumhuriyet, and several attempts to attack, some NGOs had organized a support rally and distributed Cumhuriyet on streets in Istanbul.

Posted in AKP, Censorship, media freedom, Social Media, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Reduced Prison Sentence for Murderers of Teenager during #OccupyGezi

Ali İsmail Korkmaz, a lively teenager at the age of 19. A university student. Socially aware and responsible young person. He was beaten to death during Turkey’s Occupy Gezi protests in Eskişehir by a team of policemen, shopkeepers and pro-government fanatics. The young man was one of the 14 people who were murdered by police or state related people during the protests, and the court case regarding him took a very rocky road as there have been several attempts to hide evidence, prevent court case, protect murderers, change the city where court proceedings would take place; as in many other state-related crime cases.

Two of the murderer policemen received 10 years prison sentence, while two other policemen were acquitted. Three civilians who were involved in the beating to death received 6 years prison sentence while another civilian received 3 years prison sentence and given that he has already been in prison for over a year he has been released from his sentence.

Turkish judiciary works in a complicated way. Most of the court cases involving murder and rape get punished with reduced prison sentences –if punished at all- if the suspects wear a suit and talk kindly during the processions. This was the reason why most of the murderers involved in this case received so little sentences.

The observers have reacted to this decision right after the verdict, on the grounds that this is not justice for killing a teenager for participating in a peaceful protest. Ali İsmail’s mother cried at the verdict shouting “down with your justice, down with people like these.” Mothers of other murdered children were also present at the court house. Upon this incident started some shouting in the court room and a policeman took out his gun.

In the aftermath of the verdict, observers were escorted outside where there was an abundance of riot police squads and water cannons ready in Kayseri. The angry crowd started protesting the court’s verdict, wanted to declare a press statement that this justice is only serving the murderers and not the victims. Police intervened with the press statement and attacked with tear gas, water cannons and batons.

During and after Gezi Park protests –back then prime minister- president Erdoğan had declared the police as heroes of an epic victory. Policemen’s defense speeches focused on how protesters were criminals that pushed Ali İsmail to his death and how they were only doing their job by preventing social protests. Protest laws in Turkey are still quite strict, not allowing any protest after it gets dark and no protest call that’s not approved by the local governor and police chief gets clearance.

Even though the prosecutor had initially asked for life sentence for the policemen, yet the previous defense of the policemen inviting the police chief, governor, minister of interior and prime minister Erdoğan as suspects to court case had put a pressure on the trial, changing its course. Bar head Kocasakal gave a statement about the trial saying “in rule of law, even if you are 100% sure that someone is guilty, you can not take up arms and beat someone to death; you take him to court and justice gets served.” However, when police in Turkey is asked why they suppress peaceful protests violently, they usually give the answer that they are following orders, or that they contribute to prevention of a military coup.

Posted in AKP, Nationalism, police, Protests, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkey’s Third Censorship Bill; Criminalizing Content-Sharing

Over the past few years Turkey has passed several censorship bills that have drawn upon heavy criticism nationally and from all around the world. As censorship circumvention has also taken off, these bills have practically been un-useful and failed to stop circulation of the “banned content”. Turkish government has drafted a new bill to criminalize sharing of the banned content and enhance censorship mechanisms online. The new bill foresees “rapid” content removal as well as blocking access without a court order if the government “orders” the content to be removed or blocked access to.

According to the details of the new bill, Telecommunications Directorate (TIB), Prime Ministerial Office and ministries will be allowed to declare decisions to block access to a website or remove content. These decrees have to be met in the next 4 hours after announcement. TIB will also have access to ISP Union and will hold the key to internet nationally.

The bill restates the same clauses as the previous bills with regards to banning anti-government content that reveals corruption. The cited reasons for unwarranted access-blocking and content removal include –again- “protection of the individual’s life an possessions, national security, public order, prevention of crimes, preservation of social health.” For these reasons the government will not require court decision and simply give an order for content removal.

Sharing becomes a crime!

The new bill also makes it criminal to share content that the government has declared harmful or banned. TIB will be able to sue the citizens who create, write and share the content that has been declared banned, and the doers of this crime will be fined by the courts. The individuals who share the content are not alone in this criminalization; the ISPs will be required to comply with government “orders” and if they fail/reject to do so, they will be fined upto 500.000 TL. Depending on whether the state or individuals as a result have been negatively affected by the sharing of “illegal” content, the ISP’s certificate will be cancelled and it will not be allowed to operate.

Last year the AKP government had tried to pass a law that was accepted in the parliament, approved by the president but eventually got cancelled by the Supreme Court due to inconsistency with the international law, EU acquis, constitution and human rights. After this one failed, the government prepared a second bill which also got cancelled. The government has “updated” the clauses of the same censorship bill and drafted an even more draconian one this year.

Illegal Content in Turkey

The government insists that illegal content has to be stopped and those responsible for circulation must receive due punishment; however there needs to be made a clarification that most of the so called illegal content in Turkey refers to leaked documents proving an enormous government corruption or cooperation with Al-Qaeda. The meaning of illegal content in Turkey for some reason has mostly been very political and bills like this serve as a censorship mechanism for the independent media.

When government had tried to enhance the internet regulations bill 5651 in 2009, over 70.000 people had mobilized and had a protest rally, upon which the bill had been softened. Even though bigger protest rallies have been organized in the past year with regards to free press and internet, government has been attempting to block access to content that would weaken the government’s image before the upcoming elections. Currently there are around 100.000 websites that are estimated banned in Turkey, and unknown number of blocked links.

 

Posted in AKP, Censorship, corruption, media freedom, Social Media, Turkey | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Turkish Culture & Arts People Terrified Under Erdoğan’s Shadow

Tamer Karadağlı as SuperTurk

Turkish culture and arts scene has been polarized due to political reasons lately in Turkey. While some actors, singers, musicians, TV personalities have attended the receptions held by President Erdoğan, and then received job offers, some other artists have been suffering what some call “the consequences” of criticism. Prominent Turkish actor Tamer Karadağlı has given an interview to Millet Daily and gave the title “we live in fear of Erdoğan!”

During the Gezi Park protests in June 2013, many artists had joined in with the protesters to stand up against injustices and to support rights and liberties. However, they were targeted by the fanatical supporters of the government and -then Prime Minister- Erdoğan. They had been likened to “palace-fools of the old regime” and coincidentally many of them came to learn termination of their contracts. As an excessive majority of the Turkish media sector belongs to pro-government holding conglomerations, most media bosses find it hard to employ critical staff, thus many journalists, artists, TV presenters find themselves looking for jobs.

In his interview, Karadağlı explained the situation in arts circles. He says that there is a general fear in society, which is also present in the arts sector. “Most artists refrain from expressing their opinion in the fear of losing their job, not being able to get a role in any film, or TV” continues Karadağlı. He states that he is no exception to this fear which seems to be the strongest wind in the country in the past decade. Actor also explains the labeling and prejudices about fear that some people say “no one would be afraid without a reason”, yet he answers such shallow logic by stating the obvious that anything depends on a word that comes out of “Mr. President”s mouth.

The prominent actor says he is afraid of no one except for God, however adds that he is extremely worried for the future of his child. He explains if even the artist is unable to name his concerns, let alone arts there is no liberty in this country. He also gives an example referring to a recent incident where President Erdoğan criticizes the tattoos of a football player in the national team, advices the young player to get it erased, and how in the aftermath of this incident any concerned citizen started hiding their tattoos. Karadağlı says “when Mr. President says something is bad, everyone must agree with him. There is one man and that person has the right to speak. All else, the cabinet, ministers, officers, etc. are all a shadow. Whatever the President wants becomes the legacy. Can anyone in his circles ever oppose to his decisions?”

The actor continues his speech likening Turkey to the Soviet Russia of 1950s. He adds, “even couples do not trust eachother any longer in extreme paranoia. Husband looks at wife thinking if she is wiretapped.”

The final part of the interview however has a great change of tone with regards to the concerns of the actor. Karadağlı ends the interview sympathizing the President and accusing the opposition of not being able to form better political agenda. He also adds that the Gezi Park was home to environmentalist activists whom he has also supported, but there were many people with other agendas that he did not agree.

 

Posted in AKP, Censorship, literature, Protests, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Censorship in Turkey’s Arts & Culture Scene under Erdoğan’s 12 years

Turkey’s ruling AKP has been in power in the last 12 years and has generally been bold in claiming that their rule has liberated Turkey from its chains. One of those chains has always been censorship in Turkey. The leadership of the party often makes comments that they allow “responsible” artists, writers, translators and producers so long as they do not “offend” anyone with their work. However, this responsibility aspect of things become slightly controversial, given that many people of AKP allegiance feel “offended” by almost anything artistic. Nudity is a definite hush-hush, man-woman interaction in artwork is unacceptable, anything drinks-related is “no way”, and if one is to employ political topoi in the artwork the artist might as well start looking for asylum opportunities in other countries.

Main opposition party CHP’s culture and arts committee has organized a press meeting and revealed the report on “Censorship in 12 years during AKP’s Reign”.

-32 documentaries, movies, theatrical plays have been censored and banned from display.

-18 radio, television, newspaper censorship and broadcast/reporting ban have been applied.

-Oscar-winner “Piano” has been fined on Gün TV for “violence”.

-Corruption Probe has been declared a banned topic, broadcast ban has been declared.

-17 times censorship and blocking access to social media platforms.

-4 sites have been blocked completely from access.

-16 censorship cases have appeared in arts and literature field; Fazıl Say’s symphonies have been scrapped from Presidential Symphonic Orchestra program.

-16 attacks have taken place targeting cultural and artistic works.

-9 cases where cancellation of artistic funds and subventions have appeared in agenda.

-5 cases where the artists have been directly shown as target to violent mobs.

-135 total cases where government indulged in direct censorship, repression and banishment to arts and cultural activities.

-Around 25.000 books and close to 100.000 websites are still banned in Turkey.

 

ArtIstanbul Arts Exhibition 2013

Posted in AKP, Censorship, Digital, Evaluation, media freedom, Social Media, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Charlie Hedbo Cover Sparks Outrage in Turkey, yet Facebook OKs Lynching Campaign

Following Cumhuriyet Daily’s publication of the Charlie Hebdo’s latest issue, Turkey found herself in the middle of a very heated debate on “press freedom”. As soon as the daily was announced that the content would be printed in Turkish for the readers, there had started thousands of phone calls, e-mails, twitter messages threatening the newspaper staff and journalists working there. The night before the publication of the cartoons, police raided the printing house to check if Charlie Hebdo cover was included in the print.

Throughout the day, it was almost impossible to find Cumhuriyet in many places; it was removed from the stacks, sold out or hidden somewhere in the back. As many people would want to keep this issue in their archives, it became quite a popular hit, even for non-regular-readers of Cumhuriyet.

Groups were raising their index finger -as is the hand signal for IBDA-C islamist group- and shouting death threats/slogans

The publication sparked tension and many people got furious over the publication; they went so far as to directly start death threats. During the day, police had caged Cumhuriyet offices in, to protect from violent protesters. Even though several people tried to break the police barricade and get inside the headquarters, they failed and got detained. Some people had brought banners that had writings which promised revenge for the prophet. Some of the slogans being shouted during the protest included “be prepared now, death shall flow all around!”

After some people burned Cumhuriyet in front of the HQ, there started similar actions in other places as well

Some NGO and political leaders have called/visited Cumhuriyet to show their support and solidarity for freedom of press. The protesting crowd quickly declared these people as traitors and enemies of Islam. The crowd went so far as to burn newspaper in protest; which became slightly a more popular thing. This scene may remind one of the saying about Babelplatz in Berlin “where there are books burning, soon will burn human beings”.

During the day, the islamist newspaper Yeni Akit joined in the protests, this is the newspaper which is infamous for running hate campaigns about anyone who is not pro-government or jewish, gay, leftist, atheist, liberal, intellectual etc, and could be seen partly responsible for Hrant Dink’s assassination with the hate-target news pieces that were run prior to journalist’s assassination. Yeni Akit shared photoshopped images of Ataturk –the founding father of Turkish Republic, and a widely adored figure for most nationalists in Turkey. The images showed pictures of Ataturk with pink make up and jewish star, beaten up.

The controversial part is that while some nationalists were fine with the Mohammed caricatures on Cumhuriyet, they were against the images of a beaten up Ataturk with make over. The concept of press freedom has been misunderstood by masses obviously. Even though the Kemalist nationalists seemed to digest these images considerably okay, some rather hardcore nationalists condemned both newspapers. Some twitter accounts belonging to nationalist groups declared that they would arson both newspaper buildings for Mohammed and Ataturk.

A group of nationalists first joined in the Cumhuriyet protest and later on moved towards Akit’s building. Once the protesters turned more violent and started throwing stones, shots started getting fired from Akit.

The day after a night of protests, situation is still tight. Akit published a cartoon on cover page targeting Cumhuriyet journalists. This is the kind of behaviour Akit is no stranger of, having targeted many cultural activities, authors, books, journalists, artists, minorities, immigrants, etc. Starting with Akit’s campaign, there has been facebook events inviting people to raid Cumhuriyet offices and calling for massacre of journalists. These events have been reported by anti-racist activists, however the facebook management declared that the events comply with community standards. Looking at the number of people flooding the streets leading to Cumhuriyet at the designated time, perhaps it is possible to say that Facebook supports a second Charlie Hebdo, this time in Istanbul.

Since the publication of the Charlie Hebdo content on Cumhuriyet, many newspapers have shared the whole magazine including the cover. Prime Minister Davutoğlu made a public statement that it is not OK to publish cartoons of Mohammed, and that this is against the law. When the Mohammed cartoons were declared as banned content and access was blocked to news portals that showed the image, it became viral and started appearing all around in blogs, social media etc. Some NGOs have started a campaign to expand understanding of freedom of speech and press freedom with the cover page of the magazine. Moreover, some youth initiatives have taken the magazine’s full Turkish version and turned it into a fanzine, distributing on streets in photocopies. Also, the digital magazine has been in circulation since the ban has appeared.

Even though the situation is still tense, and journalists are under life-threatening situation, there is still hope for expansion of the understanding of rights and liberties. After all, freedoms and liberties are valuable and meaningful so long as one can defend his worst opponent’s rights as well.

Posted in AKP, Censorship, Digital, Europeanization, Hate Speech, media freedom, Nationalism, Radical Right, Social Media, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Cumhuriyet Daily Threatened, Raided by Police for Reprinting Charlie Hebdo Issue in Turkey

In Turkey, media response to Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris has had two sides as in many other places. The polarization has been stretching between those that celebrated the attack and those that stood in solidarity with Charlie Hebdo’s press freedom and supported it. In order to stand in solidarity with the French satirical paper, Turkish caricature magazines Leman, Penguen and Uykusuz have agreed to come out with the same cover page for this week’s issue. As many cartoonists all around the world, Turkish cartoonists also mourned over the violent massacre. Yet Charlie Hebdo once again came up with the unexpected and drew a cover page that showed Mohammed crying and holding a banner that reads “Je Suis Charlie”.

The French newspaper Liberation had offered refuge for the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo, and the new issue’s announcement came in their offices too. On the other hand in Turkey, prominent newspaper Cumhuriyet Daily has been announced to be one of the two newspapers that are allowed to reprint parts of Charlie Hebdo’s latest issue. According to Liberation’s news piece, Cumhuriyet Daily from Turkey and the Italian Il Fatto Quotidiano will be printing parts of the latest issue of Charlie Hebdo. Later on the French magazine will be available digitally in four languages, in French, English, Spanish and Arabic.

Most popular caricature magazines in Turkey; Leman, Penguen, Uykusuz

The announcement that Cumhuriyet would reprint parts of the magazine has caused an uproar among some extra-sensitive Islamists in Turkey. While over the past week some pro-government media has been declaring even mentioning of the Mohammed cartoons as blasphemy and insult to religion, now thousands of people in Turkey have turned to Cumhuriyet as the local target. The newspaper headquarters have been receiving countless threats over the night, including serious death threats.

Few hour after the threats starting flowing into Cumhuriyet’s inbox, the mayor of Ankara tweeted his message that this is a plot to make muslims appear violent. He accused Cumhuriyet of participating in an international plot to provoke devout muslims to raid the newspaper headquarters and play the victim. He also invited all his twitter followers to take Cumhuriyet to court for blasphemy, which is punishable by prison sentence in Turkey. However the police did not allow the “crime” to be committed and raided the Cumhuriyet Daily’s printing house, to make sure no caricatures of Mohammed are printed. Open censorship had been an issue in Turkey with regards to books, but raid of a newspaper printing house has been absent from the application for some time.

On the other hand the daily’s twitter account announced that the newspaper will reprint parts of Charlie Hebdo’s latest issue in four pages, to show their solidarity and support for free speech and press freedom; and while doing so they have regarded the sensitivity of the religious citizens of the country. While on the other hand it is mostly ignored that the Quran itself does not prohibit representations of the Islamic prophet, but the worshipping of the idols.

Ahmet Taner Kışlalı, assasinated in 1999

However, the digital lynching campaign seems to continue as this piece is being written, and the threats might in fact turn into reality. Currently Cumhuriyet holds an unfortunate world-record in the number of (8) journalists that have fallen victims to assassinations and bombings. Last time the newspaper headquarters was subjected to bombing was in 2006, but no one had gotten hurt. Although, the hate speech and targeting by Islamist media has so far proven to be heavily destructive. The Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink’s case is still referred to as such an example. The journalist had been targeted by some media which later on sparked nationalist reaction and he got shot on his back in front of his newspaper in 2007, on January 19. Now, the same media’s putting Cumhuriyet and the satirical magazines on the target reminds of that unfortunate past and is perceived as worrisome.

“No need for any worry, we will come out of this just fine”

Cumhuriyet Daily’s cartoon problems have appeared previously as well. One of the cartoonists of the newspaper, Musa Kart drawn -back then- Prime Minister Erdoğan as a cat and got sued for it, which had started a wave of drawing Erdoğan as an animal in the satirical magazines. The famous cartoonist also is on trial expecting 9 years prison sentence in the last few months for his drawings in the newspaper and had given the statement “if I must go to prison for exercising the duties of free press, then so be it. Today caricaturists are sitting on the bench waiting trial in Turkey but this proves that justice only comes as a comic drawing here.”

Moreover, the Cumhuriyet Daily’s editor-in-chief has declared a published a statement regarding today’s Charlie Hebdo issue:

“Cumhuriyet has lost writers to terror attacks in the past, and therefore understands very well the pain of the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

We have condemned this attack on the freedom of expression in the most severe manner. We have displayed our solidarity in our news reports and commentary.

As part of our solidarity with Charlie Hebdo, we feature a 4-page selection from its special edition in our newspaper today.

In preparing this selection, in light of our editorial code, we took the freedom of belief and religious sensitivities of all societies into consideration

Cumhuriyet will continue to defend the freedom of expression with all its strength as it always has.

Following broad debate and consultation, we did not include the cover of the magazine in our selection.”

In the recent weeks, there has been an uproar in pro-government media in Turkey with regards to the cartoonists, and several columnists had targeted the comic relief and showed satire as a dangerous weapon.

According to international observers, Turkey has a very low rating for press freedom and is listed as “Not Free” in the Freedom House rankings on journalism. According to PEN Norway’s report on free speech in Turkey, there are still dozens of journalists in prison and dozens more on trial. As the Cumhuriyet’s new issue with Charlie Hebdo content will appear at kiosks on wednesday morning, we will see how the statistics may change now; yet it seems like the need for immediate protection of the newspapers headquarters would be a necessity. After the violent threats, one can not help but wonder if the imams in Turkey would stand in solidarity and show support for free press as did the German-Turk imams in Germany after the attacks in Paris. During the past week millions of people have declared themselves also to be Charlie, but on Wednesday now Je Suis Cumhuriyet.

 

Posted in Censorship, media freedom, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sansür ve gözetim başka Charlie Hebdo saldırılarını engeller mi?

Fransa yaşanan terör saldırıları sonrası çareyi “vatanseverlik yasası” ve sansür & gözetim uygulamalarında arıyor, fakat sorunun temeline inilmedikçe büyük bir entegrasyon sorunu kaçınılmaz.

(Orjinali AGOS’ta)

Son günlerde gerçekleşen ve toplam 17 kişinin ölümüyle sonuçlanan saldırı olaylarını kınamak için, 11 Ocak günü dünyadan birçok liderin ve milyonlarca yurttaşın katılımıyla Paris’te ifade özgürlüğünü savunmak adına birlik ve dayanışma yürüyüşü gerçekleştirildi. Yürüyüş gerçekleşmeden önce, sabah saatlerinde Fransa İçişleri Bakanı’nın davetiyle bir araya gelen Avrupa içişleri bakanları durum değerlendirmesi yaptı ve terör tehdidini görüştüler. Bakanlar, toplantının ardından yayınladıkları ortak mesajda “terör saldırılarını engellemek için internet ve sınır kontrolü sağlanmalı” açıklamasında bulundular.

Bu konu içişleri bakanlarının güvenlikçi yaklaşımlarıyla ele alınacak olursa, sansür ve gözetim için ayrılacak zaman, kişi ve kaynak oranları kısa vadede saldırı tehlikesini düşürebilir. Fakat sorunun temelini tamamen reddeder cinsten yapılan bu açıklama, Avrupa’da var olan kimlik sorununa atıfta bulunmaktan, şiddetin engellenmesi ve durdurulması adına sürdürülebilir politikalar geliştirmekten uzak görünüyor.

Şiddet yanlısı grupların Avrupa’da yükselişe geçtiği ve destekçi sayılarını son zamanlarda artırdığını hesaba katacak olursak, yalnızca en son Paris’te gerçekleşen saldırıların failleri ve bağlı oldukları örgütlerin değil, aynı zamanda diğer ülkelerde de ortaya çıkan aşırı sağ grupların saldırganlıklarını önlemenin yolu yasaklar, sansür ve gözetimden geçmiyor. Eğer bu tür uygulamaların yapacağı bir büyük etki varsa, o da bugüne kadar tarih içinde çok sayıda örneği ola, “Streissand Effect” denen, görülmesi istenmeyen şeyin yasaklanmasıyla çok daha görünür olması durumudur.

Medeniyetler Distopyası

Avrupa çapında hem yerel toplumların milliyetçiliği daha fazla benimsemesi, hem de göçmen toplumların ana akımdan uzaklaştırılarak toplum dışına itilmesinin bir etkisi olarak daha radikal gruplara sempati duyması şu an Avrupa Birliği’ni ideal olmaktan çok uzak noktalara itiyor. Kişilerin bu gruplara nasıl dahil olduklarının, ne şekilde bağlantılar kurarak katıldıklarının ve kendilerini bu aidiyetle tanımlamalarının nedenlerine bakılmaksızın bu grupları sadece sorun olarak görmek, hem entegrasyon sorununu göz ardı etmek hem de sansür ve kitle gözetim gibi yeni sorunlar anlamına geliyor. Aşırı sağ siyasi partilerin bir kısmı haricinde bu grupların neredeyse tamamın örgütlenmesi zaten ‘yeraltı’nda gerçekleşiyor, derin bir yapı halinde kıta çapında kendi omurgasını oluşturuyor, güvenli bağlantılarla beynelmilel bir iletişim ağı dahi geliştiriyor.

Takip mekanizmalarında Charlie Hebdo gibi korkunç bir saldırının yalnızca Fransa ve Avrupa istihbaratının bir açığı ya da yetersizliği olduğunu ve bu alanda daha fazla bütçe harcanmasına gidilmesi gerektiğini söylemek muhtemelen ilk bakışta milyonlarca kişinin içini rahatlatacaktır. Fakat, toplumsal bir sorun ortada dururken, yalnızca gündelik siyasi malzeme gibi kullanılan güvenlikçi politikalar halihazırda Avrupa’da yeni çalkantılara gebe entegrasyon sorununa çare olamaz.

Avrupa’da medeniyetler ayrışması ve güvenlik

Şu anda Fransa başta olmak üzere Avrupa’nın birçok ülkesinde ortaya çıkan ve din temelli görünen saldırılar, bir yandan Samuel Huntington’ın çok eleştirilen “Medeniyetler Çatışması” adlı teorisi ve kitabını doğrular nitelikte. Bir yandan da böylesi bir distopya senaryosu aslında yaklaşan toplumsal krizin aşılması adına konunun gündeme gelmesine olanak sağlıyor. Yıllardır ötelenen Avrupa’nın entegrasyonu, bu saldırıların ardından adeta mantar gibi türeyen “saldırgan göçmen” ve “saldırgan milliyetçi” gruplarının etkinlik alanlarını artırma kaygısı, doğru bir yaklaşımla ele alındığında bütünleşme sürecini hızlandırabilir.

2005 yılında İngiltere’de kabul edilen ‘Terörün Engellenmesi Yasası’nın getirdiği demokrasi karşıtı uygulamaların sancıları halen devam ediyor. Batılı devletlerin “teröre karşı ittifak” hazırlıklarında internet servis sağlayıcılara açık çağrı yaparak gözetim ve sansürde yardımcı olmalarını talep etmesi, bu tür demokratik olmayan uygulamaların Avrupa çapında yaygınlaşmasının yolunu açıyor. Ayrıca güvenlik gerekçeleriyle hürriyetlerin kısıtlanması Avrupa’nın temel ilkelerine aykırı bir duruş.

Toplantıdan öne çıkan diğer notlarda ise ISS’lerin içeriğe erişim engelleme, içerik kaldırma, kullanıcı takibi ve kullanıcı verilerinin devletlerle paylaşımı gibi “işbirliği” taleplerinin yanı sıra, 28 üyeli AB bloğunda sınır denetimlerinin artırılması ve Avrupa yurttaşlarının sınır dışına çıktıklarındaki faaliyetlerinin takibi de yer alıyor. 12 Şubat’ta gerçekleşecek AB zirvesinde tartışılacak önerilerin ne kadarının ve hangi seviyede uygulanacağı henüz belirsizken, 18 Şubat’ta Washington’da gerçekleşecek daha geniş kapsamlı bir toplantıda da ABD Başkanı Obama öncülüğünde güvenlik önlemleri ve yeni tedbirlerin değerlendirileceğinin “müjdesi” veriliyor.

Şu an kanlı saldırıların bir sonucu olarak özellikle aşırı sağ gruplar başta olmak üzere birçok kişi hiç de soğukkanlı olmayan refleks tepkilerini destekleyebilir; fakat bu tür kriz durumlarında özellikle dikkat edilmesi gereken, bireylerin ve toplumların uzun uğraşlar sonucu devletlerden elde ettiği hak ve hürriyetlerinin kısıtlamacı, müdahaleci ve güvenlikçi tutumlarca engellenmemesi. Charlie Hebdo’nun çizerlerinin ifade hürriyeti uğruna canlarını ortaya koymasının sonucunun, devlet eliyle hürriyetlerin kısıtlanması ihtimali olması manidar. Aşırı sağ, IŞİD tarzı islamcılık söylemi başta olmak üzere, diğer “zararlı” addedilen söylemlere sahip internet sitelerine sansür uygulanmasının manası tam olarak şudur: “ben görmeyeyim de ne yaparlarsa yapsınlar.”

Posted in Censorship, Europe, Europeanization, Far Right, Integration, Nationalism, Social Media, Surveillance State | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Controversy at Istanbul Charlie Hebdo Solidarity Rally

As in many other places around the world, Istanbul today had a solidarity rally to commemorate the victims of Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris that left 12 people dead. There have been controversial statements in Turkey with regards to the attack; while lots of people heavily condemned the attacks, many others appeared to confirm their positive perception of the violent raid. Some pro-government media’s take on the first breaking of the news might have had some effect, or perhaps the dark-propaganda against the Charlie Hebdo’s publishing of the Mohammad cartoons, on this kind of response. A total of three people have attempted to attack the solidarity rally in Istanbul, which started simultaneously with the march in Paris.

When a group of 50 gathered in front of the Galatasaray Square on Istiklal, and opened a banner saying “ We are all Charlie”, two people started shouting at the group saying “you only waste words while Muslim blood is being spilled everyday”. As the police took the person away, he raised his index finger and thumb, a symbol commonly used by supporters of Islamist groups. As the group approached to the French Institute at the entrance of Istiklal, next to Taksim Square, a third person started shouting “are you doing all these just because 12 people died?” The third person was also taken away by the police very quickly.

While the solidarity rally was taking place and three people reacted negatively to it, the Islamist Aczmendi Cult has organized a funeral ceremony and prayer from a distance for the Kouachi Brothers who carried out the attack against Charlie Hebdo.

The solidarity rally kept growing through Istiklal and group read out a manifestation in solidarity with all the people condemning the violent attack, and in support of freedom of speech. As the weekend also witnessed many side events observing the Working Journalists Day of January 10, the emphasis on free press has been named several times during the rally. The group was welcomed to the French Institute by some French tourists and French residents of Istanbul. As the photographs of the victims have been held high and candles lit, the statement was read out loud.

 

“We have gathered here to condemn the attack on Charlie Hebdo on January 7th. We condemn this crime and share their grief without buts, howevers, althoughs, or yets… This attack is an attempt to eliminate satire, comedy, criticism. This attack consists of bullets fired at free speech. We share the same views as our colleagues in France, with whom we stay in solidarity. We will not keep shut up, we will not give in, we will not give up. This shall be our promise to the world, to Turkey and to Charlie Hebdo. The history of satire and journalism in this part of the world consists of intolerance against thoughts and ideas, pressure, censorship, suppression, intimidation and even extermination. We have been targeted by state, deep state, dark forces and been subjected to attacks, since Ahmet Samim, Abdi İpekçi, Uğur Mumcu, Metin Göktepe, Hafız Akdemir and till Hrant Dink [names of the slain journalists in Turkey in recent past]. This is a country where the satirical journal Marko Pasha was closed down, Tan Daily was ransacked, Ozgur Ulke Daily was bombed, and in the city of Sivas the journalists, caricaturists, authors were burned to death in their hotel. For this reason, perhaps we are the ones who understand it best that the attack against Charlie Hebdo is a crime against humanity. Once again we remember the perpetrators of the incident that spilled blood on Charlie Hebdo; the pen is mightier than the sword and much stronger than any weapon. We salute Charlie Hebdo, the French people, and all those in favour of peace, solidarity and democracy all around the world.”

Posted in Far Right, Hate Speech, Istanbul, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment