The Traitors’ Cemetery: Burial place of Turkish coup plotters

Turkey has opened its first Traitors’ Cemetery in the aftermath of the July 15th coup attempt and Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor announced that the first burial has taken place.

(Original on Katoikos)

Traitors’ Cemetery

 

“There is a place needed, to be called the cemetery of the traitors; all passers-by to curse when around it. All those walking by should curse and spit on it; there shall be no resting in peace for them, even in their graves.” –Kadir Topbas, Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor


 

Some days it feels like life in Turkey is a chapter in a dark and deep dystopian novel. Today is one of those days. On July 20th, only days after the failed coup attempt, Istanbul Metropolitan Mayor, Kadir Topbaş announced his will to open a cemetery for the traitors who participated in the bloody coup on July 15th. According to media reports, the cemetery has just been opened and the first burial taken place.

The first body buried is Captain Mehmet Karabekir who killed the community chief in Istanbul’s Acıbadem neighbourhood on the night of the coup attempt. The mayor announced that the family of the dead did not want his body, so he was to be buried somewhere and the ‘Traitors’ Cemetery’ was the venue for this occasion. The cemetery is located in Istanbul’s Pendik district, at the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality’s ‘dog shelter’.

Previously, the religious authority of the Prime Minister’s Office, Diyanet had announced that there would be no religious services for those who died in an attempt to overthrow the government through a violent coup. Denial of religious services had previously been discussed for certain leftist/progressive academics and journalists, yet no matter how much reaction there was from right-wing supporters, the services still took place.

However, there are also many unknown graveyards of notable rebels of the state; Sheikh Said, the leader of an Islamist/Kurdish uprising in the 1920s; Seyid Rıza, the religious leader of the Kurdish movement in the 1937-38 Dersim Rebellion; Said Nursi, an influential Kurdish Sunni cleric in the early years of the Republic who later inspired many Islamist movements formation and rhetoric. Their graveyards are still unknown to date.

Apart from rebel leaders, the body of Aziz Güler, who had gone to Rojava to fight against ISIS, was kept waiting for 2 months at the border before being given to his family for burial; and another disturbance occurred when Şafak Yayla, the perpetrator who had taken prosecutor Mehmet Kiraz hostage at the Istanbul Court Palace, was killed, and his family had to bury him in the front yard of the house after violent mobs threatened to attack the body, which finally ended with his family pouring cement on the graveyard.

Attacks against graveyards are also a recurring theme in Turkey’s history. After the 1960 military coup, when the prime minister at the time, Adnan Menderes, and two of his ministers were hanged by Alparslan Türkeş (later founder of far right Nationalist Movement Party MHP), their bodies were buried in a neglected state on İmralı island –currently where the PKK leader Öcalan is kept in solitary confinement. However, Menderes’ remains were carried to a mausoleum in 1990.

The idea of a ‘Traitors’ Cemetery’ and its location at the dog shelter feels like it is straight out of a dystopia, or a horror film. However, this is the reality in Turkey; still a country that feeds on hostility, even regarding the dead. Yet, the word ‘traitor’ is used quite loosely by almost everyone, and who knows, perhaps some of those who are accusing each other of treason might lie side by side in that cemetery someday.

Posted in AKP, Coup Attempt, Istanbul, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Anonim tarayıcı TOR yeni yönetim kurulunu belirledi

Sansür ve gözetime karşı maskeleme hizmeti sunan ve anonimlik yöntemi olarak kullanılan tarayıcı TOR, proje ekibinde skandal süreci aşarak yeni koordinasyon ekibini belirledi. Daha önceki proje geliştiricisi olan Jacob Appelbaum’un cinsel istismar suçlamaları nedeniyle istifası istenirken, Shari Steele yeni direktör olarak atandı.

(Orjinali AGOS’ta)

ABD Denizcilik Araştırmaları Laboratuvarları tarafından 20 yıl kadar önce geliştirilen ve 2002’den bu yana yaygın kullanıma sunulan TOR (The Onion Router) tarayıcı, son yıllarda sansür ve gözetim sistemleri, devlet ve hükümetlerin yurttaşların hususi verilerine karşı yürüttüğü uygulamalar nedeniyle gitgide daha da bilinir hale geldi. Katmanlı gizlilik sağlayarak güvenlik seçeneği sunan TOR, son aylarda cinsel istismar haberleriyle gündeme gelir olmuştu. Son zamanlarda büyük değişim adımları atma niyetini ortaya koyan yönetim, dijital mahremiyet uzmanlarından oluşan kadrosu öncülüğünde, Temmuz 2016 itibariyle yeni yönetim kadrosuyla yoluna devam edeceğini ve bir takım köklü değişikliklere gidileceğini duyurdu.

Proje yönetim kadrosunda yapılan değişiklikler sonrasında, geçtiğimiz Aralık ayında yeni direktör olarak, 15 yıl boyunca Electronic Frontier Foundation yöneticiliği de yapmış olan Shari Steele atanmıştı. Bu atamanın nedeninin, TOR projesinin adının sıklıkla “dark web” denen ve hiçbir şekilde güvenlik taramasından geçmemiş içeriğe ulaşmada öne çıkan görünümünü değiştirmek olduğu öne sürülmüştü.

Jacob Appelbaum

 

Cinsel taciz iddiası istifa getirdi

Projede yer alan geliştiricilerden Jacob Appelbaum, TOR projesine olan katkıları ile tanınıyor ve bütün dünyada anonimlik çalışmaları alanındaki faaliyetleri nedeniyle takip ediliyordu. 2014 yılında Istanbul’da gerçekleştirilen Internet Yönetişim Forumu IGF’e de katılan Appelbaum, projeye dahil olan bir başka çalışanın anonim olarak paylaştığı cinsel taciz suçlamaları ve ardından başka çalışanların da ifadeleri nedeniyle istifasını vermek zorunda kaldı. Basında yer alan haberlere göre Appelbaum yıllar boyunca ‘uygunsuz cinsel  davranış’ ithamlarıyla karşılaşmış ve aklanmış, fakat geçtiğimiz yıl iki hafta süreyle taciz ve istismardan dolayı uzaklaştırma cezası almıştı. Appelbaum’un 2016 mayıs ayında istifası istenmişti.

Yeni yönetim kurulu

TOR Projesi ile ilgili olarak, Appelbaum skandalı sonrası girdiği çalkantılı dönemde, yedi üyesi bulunan yönetim kurulunun oybirliği ile koltuklarından terk ederek, yeni bir yönetimle ve taze fikirlerle yoluna devam etmesi kararı verilmişti. Operasyonel olarak yirminci yılına yaklaşan TOR, yeniliklere daha da açık olarak ilerleyecek.

Yeni yönetim kadrosunda yer almayan TOR kurucularından Roger Dingledine ve Nick Mathewson, teknik araştırma-geliştirme proje lideri olarak dahil olmaya devam edecekler. Yeni yönetim kurulunda ise  şu an için Pennsylvania Üniversitesinden profesör ve kriptolog Matt Blaze; Electronic Frontier Foundation’da Steele’ın ardından direktörlük yapan Cindy Cohn; güvenlik uzmanı kriptolog ve yazar Bruce Schneier; McGill Üniversitesi’nden antropolog ve çevrimiçi aktivizm uzmanı Gabriella Coleman; internet ve hususiyet aktivisti Linus Nordberg; ve İnsan Hakları Veri İnceleme Grubu direktörü Megan Price bulunuyor.

Yeni yönetim kurulu ayrıca Shari Steele’ın TOR projesinin adını temize çıkarma girişimlerinin de bir adımı olarak görülüyor. Halihazırda anonimlik karşıtı kampanyalarda sıklıkla TOR kullanan herkesin suçlu gibi gösterilmesi, yasadışı silah ticareti, uyuşturucu kaçakçılığı ve çocuk istismarı ile ilişkilendirilmesi gibi kötü üne sahip ithamların önünün kesilmesini ön görüyor.

Yakın zamanda ABD Hukuk Dairesinden hatalı olarak çarpıtılarak yayınlanmış bir veri, TOR üzerindeki trafiğin yüzde 80 oranında çocuk pornosu içerdiğini öne sürmüş, fakat daha sonra bunun başka bir hizmet olan Hidden Services araştırmasına dair olduğu ortaya çıkmıştı.

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Rainbow Colors Not Allowed in Istanbul Pride

The organized LGBTI movement in Turkey has been growing and gaining more recognition as a progressive force. Accordingly, its activities faced more repression.

(original: Katoikos)

istanbul-pride

Istanbul Pride does not have a very long history, yet it has recently become increasingly significant. In the year 2003, with the participation of roughly 30 people, a pride march was held; a decade later the number grew to over one hundred thousand. This year, as well as last year, this joyous and colourful celebration of the Pride Week was subject to police repression and violence.

The gradual opening up of Turkish society to differences had gained pace in the past decade and the LGBTI community had benefited from this too. When the mass protest movement ‘Occupy Gezi’ coincided with the Pride Week in 2013, there came an ocean of support for the LGBTI movement from almost all parts of the society, as well as more attention from hate-groups and the police forces. This was partly due to the overwhelming presence of the LGBTI groups during the occupy movement and their contribution to the protests, rhetorically, spiritually and physically.

The organic growth of the Pride Parade in Istanbul has been one of the most comprehensive movements, slowly gaining more and more presence in daily life and contributing to tolerance in society as a whole. LGBTI groups had declared that in the coming years the community in Turkey would push for full recognition of equal rights, including marriage and adoption; which made the movement more of a political entity and appeared in political declarations of parties during elections. As a result of this recognition, negative reactions also started emerging from the authorities and other political movements, in san increasingly repressive fashion.

The police used water cannons shooting against Pride participants. Yet this ‘intervention’ caused a rainbow to appear in Taksim Square.

Pride 2015 was celebrated with all colours of the rainbow all around the world, yet in Istanbul the police used water cannons, tear-gas and rubber bullets against the participants. The decision by the Istanbul governor to ban Pride Parade and the police assault signalled the attitude that would prevail towards progressive rallies and demonstrations in the current year too.

Prior to the Pride Week 2016, a far right group “Alperenler” (the Combatants) announced that they would not allow the march to take place, that the group had calculated all risks and would stop the march at all costs, calling the LGBTI individuals “immoral and honourless”.

Upon this statement, several transsexual sex-workers voiced their reaction saying “You call us immoral but what about you, our clients? If we were to announce your names, you would not even dare to show your face in public”. Then came another, milder statement from the far right groups saying they did not mean any harm, and only meant showing their democratic reaction to a march they did not consider ‘natural’. Only 11 people answered this call and showed up to intimidate the march.

We Are Dispersing

LGBTI organisations responded, “we had not asked for permission anyhow”. The Trans March took place on June 19th, and the police intervened as was expected. A week later, Pride Parade took place finalising the Pride Week events, with the motto “we are dispersing all around”, as reference to a police warning message the week before, which said “please disperse in order to return life to its normality”. Hence came the motto for Istanbul Pride 2016: “#WeAreDispersing”.

All streets leading up to Taksim Square and Istiklal Avenue were blocked and barricaded by the police to not allow the march to take place. The governor’s ban created an atmosphere of tension, and combined with the legislation allowing police to brutally intervene in any kind of peaceful protest, discouraged people from participating in one of the most colourful and peaceful demonstrations in the world.

At the end of the day, 19 people were detained, including the German Member of Parliament Volker Beck and the Member of the European Parliament Terry Reintke. During the police intervention, it is reported that an Italian reporter, Alberto Tetta, was approached by the police, was asked for his press card (issued by the Turkish state in order to cover news in the country), and was shouted at “if you report negatively on Turkey, I will shoot you”.

AKP campaign on LGBTI dating applications

Only last year, the governing AKP’s electoral pamphlet stated that they were welcoming all kinds of people from all parts of the society. The party even included in the pamphlet the LGBTI events in Turkey as a positive development, and had advertised on LGBTI dating applications to get votes. Until last year, there were even a lot of people saying “we have lived the most comfortable time of our lives, all during the time of AKP” not acknowledging the progress achieved globally and due to the hard work of the activists but merely regarding government as responsible for all developments.

A lot has changed since the June 2015 elections in Turkey: Thousands have been killed in anti-terror operations and hundreds of civilian houses have been raided. The government has announced that the ‘democratization package’ is no longer on the agenda, putting all disadvantaged groups at risk, be it Kurdish, Alevi, Romany, etc. LGBTI rights also seem to have followed the same path, like all other progressive reforms that the party had been carrying out for the past decade. Yet, the movement has proven its resilience and its will to attain full equal rights.

 

 

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

Whatsapp artık gerçekten daha güvenli mi?

Uçtan uca kriptolama özelliğini kullanıcılarına sunan ‘Whatsapp’, gözetim ve fişleme davalarının yoğunlukla görüldüğü bir dönemde kullanıcılarına gizlilik vaat ediyor. Peki, uygulama gerçekten de kullanıcılarına bahsettiği gizliliği sağlıyor mu?

(Orjinali Agos’ta)

Dünya çapında yoğun bir kullanıma sahip olan mobil mesajlaşma uygulaması ‘Whatsapp’, Mart ayı sonunda ‘yeniden’ uçtan uca kriptolama ile mesaj güvenliğini sağladığını açıklayan yeni bir güncelleme sundu. Yeni güncellemeyle, dünyadaki her yedi kişiden birinin kullandığı uygulamanın temeline hususiyet temel taş olarak yerleşmiş gibi görünüyor; ticari sırlardan, gizlilik sevdalılarına ve hatta belki özellikle de bilgi sızdıranlara kadar her kullanıcı için uçtan uca gizlilik artık bir seçenek değil, olağan. Daha önce de ‘Open Whisper Systems’ ile ‘TextSecure’ güncellemesi gerçekleştirdiğinde, 2014 yılında uçtan uca kriptolama özelliği bir kısım hizmet için getirilmişti. Peki gerçekten de dünya çapında bir milyardan fazla kullanıcıya hitap eden bir uygulama, ticari getirileri ikinci plana iterek, kullanıcılarına çok gecikmiş de olsa, gizliliği sunabilir mi?

Nasıl işliyor?

4 Nisan tarihinde yayınlanan bir açıklamada, Open Whisper Systems kullanılan ‘ikili bozunum’ sistemini açıklayarak karşılıklı olarak şifrelenen mesajların kırılması durumunda geçmişe dönük olarak mesajların güvenlik açığına maruz kalmayacağını bildirmişti. 256 bitlik anahtar özelliğiyle şifrelenen mesajlaşma ve konuşmalarda, güncelleme her iki tarafta da yüklendikten sonra artık mesajlaşmada alıcı ve vericiler haricinde hiç kimse içeriğe erişemeyecek. Bir kullanıcı ile iletişime geçmeden önce uygulamanızdaki kişi bilgilerine baktığınızda, bu kullanıcının henüz uygulama güncellemesini etkin olarak kullanıp kullanmadığını görebilirsiniz.

Güvenlik kodunu çalışır hale getirmek için, yapmanız gereken, görüşmek istediğiniz kişinin ‘Whatsapp’ üzerindeki hesabına göz atmak ve şifreleme özelliği sekmesini bulmak. Bu kişi ile fiziksel olarak birlikteyken, sekmeye girdiğinizde karşınıza çıkacak olan QR kodu ile karşılıklı olarak birbirinizin kodlarınızı tarattığınız takdirde artık güvenlik kodu aktif hale gelecektir. Her kullanıcı için özel olarak oluşturulan QR kodu ile onaylanan şifreleme özelliğinin aktif olduğu kullanıcılar ile yapacağınız herhangi bir iletişimin, uygulama tarafından uçtan uca kilitlenerek iletileceği ve gönderiyi alması gereken kişiler dışında kimsenin bu içeriğe erişemeyeceği söyleniyor. Kullanıcılardan birinin cihaz değiştirmesi durumunda geçerliliğini yitirecek olan güvenlik kodunu tekrar aktif hale getirmek için ise aynı işlemi tekrarlamak gerekiyor. Ayrıca, bir kullanıcının güvenlik kodunun değişmesi durumunda uyarı alma seçeneğini de işaretleyebiliyorsunuz.

Buna rağmen, güvenlik konusunda Whatsapp halen tam olarak güvenli olarak ilan edilmiş değil. Elektronik Cephe Vakfı’nın açıkladığı ‘Güvenli Mesajlaşma Tabelasında’ göre Whatsapp, iyileştirilmiş güvenlik ve gizlilik uygulamalarına rağmen yedi üzerinden altı puan almış durumda.

Gizlilikte çekinceler neler?

Gizliliğe dair getirilen yeniliklere rağmen, uygulamanın kullanıcı sözleşmesine göz atıldığında, bir madde dikkat çekiyor; “Whatsapp gönderimi tamamlanan mesajların ve mesajlarda bahsi geçen telefon numaralarına dair tarih ve zaman damgasını ve ayrıca yasal olarak toplama yükümlülüğü olan tüm diğer bilgileri saklama hakkını elinde tutar.” Her ne kadar Edward Snowden, ‘Open Whisper Systems’ tarafından sunulmuş tüm sistemlere güvenilirlik konusunda tasdik vermiş olsa da, bu maddeye göre, meta-data denen, biriktirilen verilerin uygulama sunucularından sızıntı olması ya da ‘hacklanmesi’ halinde ele geçirilmesi veya hükümetler tarafından talep edildiğinde verilmesi gibi durumlar gayet uygunsuz sonuçlar doğurabilir. Tanımlayıcı verilerle ilgili olarak daha önceden de uzun uzadıya tartışmalar sürmüş ve fakat nihai bir sonuç ortaya çıkmamıştı. Buna karşın en basitinden pazarlama amacıyla (özellikle de uygulamanın Facebook tarafından satın alınmış olduğunu düşününce) kullanılma ihtimali  üzerinde duran güvenlik odaklı kişiler, bu verilerin elde tutulmasına yine de güvensiz yaklaşıyorlar.

Uçtan uca kriptolama ve Whatsapp

2009 yılında mobil mesajlaşma platformu olarak ‘Whatsapp’ uygulamasıyla girişimciliğe adım atmış olan Jan Kaum, gizlilik ve güvenlik konusunda “her tür gözetime karşı hususiyetin korunması gerekir; belki devlete güvenmek isteyebilirsiniz ama güvenmemelisiniz çünkü gelecekte ne olacağını bilemezsiniz” açıklamasında bulunmuştu. Uygulamanın bir diğer kurucusu Brian Acton ile birlikte 2013 yılında ilk kriptolama çalışmalarına başlayan Kaum, hususiyet idealisti Marlinspike ile tanıştıktan sonra, gelişmelerde bir ivme kazanmış ve üst üste gelecek güvenlik adımlarının atılmasını ve son gelen güncellemenin de gerçekleşmesini mümkün kılmış. Acton, gizlilikle ilgili olarak “telefonun tarihi son yüzyıla dayanıyor, fakat insanlık geçmişine bakıldığında medeniyetin ilerlemesinin hususi ilişkiler ve konuşmalarla olduğunu görebiliriz; bu nedenle bireylere bunu geri getiriyoruz” diyor. Halihazırda var olan gizlilik odaklı uygulamalar vardı; bununla birlikte en yaygın ve yoğun kullanılan mesajlaşma uygulaması da artık kriptolama özelliğine kavuşmuş oldu.

Uygulama artık kişilerin mesajlarını kendi sunucularında tutmayacak olsa bile, yazılı iletişimde istihbarat servislerinin daktiloya geri dönüşünü ve son haftalarda gündemi oldukça meşgul eden FBI-Apple davasının nasıl sonuçlandığını hatırlayınca herhangi bir dijital verinin güvenliğinin ne kadar sağlanabileceğini sorgulamamak elde değil. Fakat ABD hükümetinin Apple davasındaki ısrarcı tavrı düşünülecek olursa, dünyadaki en büyük mobil iletişim ağının da kriptolama uygulamaları yakın zamanda ya daha fazla dava ya da daha fazla kripto-kırıcı uzmanı kendine çekecek gibi görünüyor.

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CfA: Media Bar Camp “Art and Transformation”

The IX international MediaBarCamp 26 — 29 May 2016 Lithuania

The 9th international MediaBarCamp 2016 (MBC2016) is a unique social media non-conference event, that will take place on 26-29 May, 2016 in Lithuania and will bring together activists from Belarus and all around the world – from Cuba to Azerbaijan, from Sweden to Egypt. The organisers of the event are the Swedish International Liberal Centre (SILC) in cooperation with local partners in Belarus and Sweden.

MediaBarCamp 2016 is an open space participant-driven non-conference where the agenda of the event is initiated and determined by participants themselves.

The main GOAL of MediaBarCamp 2016 is to stimulate media activism and new media projects, to promote use of social networks and possibilities provided by the Internet. MBC2016 also aims to coordinate already existing initiatives in participant’s countries as well as to develop contacts within active international youth society.

The MBC2016 topic is ART & TRANSFORMATION. Is art powerful enough to make any changes in society? Can artist or creator’s vision on certain topics build a bridge between society and those who are in power? Has the creator more courage to talk about the things we need to discuss? Maybe it is a hidden potential of art? There are many NGOs, civil society and cultural actors that actually are actively engaged in local politics (and/or policies) with the aim of influencing political decision-making. In other words — they actually do politics. At the same time, there are many political organisations and institutions that are supposed to do politics, but actually rely on civic activism. Art is an articulation of own position by creative tools. This is what unites art and civic life. Therefore, let’s meet and talk about the means of influence and power of creativity!

TARGET GROUPS
Bloggers, media and political activists, collective online project developers, innovative ideas developers, social entrepreneurships, active citizens and cultural activists that stand for freedom of speech and expression, representatives of socio-cultural projects that use media as a channel of communication with their audience

REQUIREMENTS FOR APPLICANTS
A reference to the Call for Applications for MediaBarCamp 2016 on your website with an active hyperlink to http://mediabarcamp.com/ (banners can be found on MediaBarCamp webpage). Posts in social networks are welcome, but are not sufficient.

One presentation for one participant. If you have a big project and you are ready to send 2 (two) persons, you need to prepare one presentation for each participant.

Prepare and share (20 PechaKucha format slides for one presentation) and give your presentation. See below for PechaKucha information. Presentation slides must be in English. However, you are welcome to give your presentation in another language if you feel like to.

The project description in the application form has to be provided in English. Please include a topic and a short description (min 300 characters). It will be used for online voting to select the best presentations, which will be guaranteed a time-slot in the MediaBarCamp 2016 programme

Full 4 days participation (2 days MBC2016 and 2 days for arrival/departure)is required

ONLINE APPLICATION FORM: http://mediabarcamp.com/registration/ — will be open since 2016-03-10.

DEADLINE
18 APRIL, 2016 – final closing date for application (both for applicants with and without visas). However, we kindly remind you to apply as early as possible.

WHAT‘S NEW THIS YEAR?
In order to assure that all participants have enough space and time for their presentations, we will arrange a PechaKucha night – the art of concise presentations. PechaKucha 20×20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images.(for more information: http://www.pechakucha.org/)

You can apply without your final presentation. However, in the application form you have to provide and share 20 prepared slides in PechaKucha format and a short description of the presentation in English.

We will organize an open and fair early voting among the participants of MBC2016 to vote and choose the presentations which will be granted a place in the MBC2016 schedule in advance

OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
MediaBarCamp is not a commercial event

Participation is FREE OF CHARGE. The organisers cover all the participant’s logistics, visa and accommodation expenses

The venue (at least 4 conference rooms) will be equipped with Wi-Fi, projectors, sound equipment

Interpretation assistance to/from English and Russian languages will be provided by volunteer interpreters

Travel reimbursement will be provided for the cheapest tickets (2d class train or bus). There will be no reimbursement for travel by cars or flights Minsk ↔ Vilnius.

Your arrival to the central railway station in Vilnius shall be planned before 12:00 on the 26May and departure not earlier than 17:00 on the 29May. Please be attentive and check the time when buying the tickets. The event will take place outside Vilnius. The transfer will be arranged at once for all participants. There is no other connection with the venue.

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Call for International Academic Observers to the Trial against the “Academics for Peace”, Istanbul, 22nd April 2016

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
Since March 2016, four of our colleagues – Professors Esra Mungan Gürsoy, Meral Camcı, Kıvanç Ersoy and Muzaffer Kaya – are being held in pre-trial detention, accused of terrorist propaganda under Article 7/2 of Anti-Terrorism Law.
The official indictment refers to the original petition “We will not be a party to this crime” of 11th January 2016 as well as a press statement which the four read out on 10th March 2016. This press statement was delivered by Academics for Peace Istanbul to draw attention to the extent of the repressions which have unraveled against the signees since the original petition, especially to the disciplinary investigations, dismissals, forced resignations and the legal prosecutions. Now, they are facing a sentence from 1,5 to 7,5 years imprisonment.
While there is a chance that our colleagues could be released out of imprisonment in this first hearing, which would set a sign for the rest of the trial, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan most recently declared that our colleagues should “remain in prison throughout the trial” because they were “guilty”.
But, Demanding Peace is no Crime!
On 22nd April 2016, not only our four colleagues are on trial, but freedom of expression in Turkey as such! For, the trial against journalists Erdem Gül and Can Dündar has been scheduled for the same date. We stand in solidarity with all those raising their voices for peace and democracy because we, too, share the same dream and demand!
We, therefore, call for international observers to the first hearing on 22nd April, 2016 before the 13th High Criminal Court, Çağlayan Courthouse, Istanbul at 2:00 PM. Your presence in court will not only give a strong sign of support for peace, democracy, and freedom of expression in Turkey, but will also have a positive effect on the fairness of the trial.
In Solidarity,
ACADEMICS FOR PEACE
Contact: info@barisicinakademisyenler.net

 

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Turkey Drafts ‘Academic Terrorism’ Regulation

Turkish government had declared academics, who have announced their opinion contrary to security policies of the government, as “traitors who should be declared as terrorists without weapons” and started acting on presumptions to intimidate, detain and arrest them. Just recently three academics had been arrested for terrorism charges while dozens of others are still under investigation and hundreds are subjected to even more serious threats. The fact that Turkish universities are subjected to Higher Education Authority (YOK), and do not have absolute autonomy makes it difficult for academics in uttering their opinions. Yet, since there were no crimes listed earlier in the penal code, the academics facing investigation could not be put on trial easily. With the new additional regulations to Higher Education Law, the legal framework for putting academics on the “felon’s dock” becomes much easier.

The government has quickly drafted a new bill to suppress academic freedoms that allow critical scholars to announce their thoughts that are contrary to government policies. According to the new draft bill, any academic that gets involved with “activities that have separatist claims or terror activities, or acts in support of this” would be kicked out of universities and lose public offices.

According to the new bill, these are the new regulations:

-An update to Higher Education Law that previously foresaw “warning, condemnation, temporary loss of wage, stopping promotion” now also includes losing academic title, dismissal from work, dismissal from public office”.

-Academics who get involved with separatist claims or terror activities or those who get involved with ideological or political actions, or supporting such actions will lose their public office.

-Apart from political activities, involvement with boycott, occupy, slowdown strike, strike, stopping public works that would disturb institutional tranquility, peace and work atmosphere, would result in losing employment.

-Against political works at universities, YOK president is now authorized to start investigation, YOK Disciplinary Board has authority to give punishment, university disciplinary boards have authority to dismiss one from work and from public office.

-Crimes of political involvement include crimes of political and ideological petition, propagating for political parties; discrimination based on language, race, color, gender, political thoughts, philosophical belief, religion and sect, attain personal interest, act on political and ideological reasons.

The new regulation has not left the retired academics, who had signed the peace petition that initiated the latest stir in Turkish judiciary. The academics who have retired or ended their academic work for any other reason will have a mark in their personal files, and their punishments will be given if they go back to work or start working for foundation (private) universities.

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Academic in Solitary Confinement as Bosphorus University President Appeals to the PM for Release

 

Turkey had seen an increased mobility in the campuses when over 1100 academics from across the country had got together to sign a petition calling for peace. Quickly they were declared as traitors and recently three academics, Dr. Esra Mungan, Dr. Muzaffer Kaya, Dr. Kıvanç Ersoy were arrested, waiting for trial in the Bakırköy Prison in Istanbul.

Dr. Esra Mungan

As of March 21, Evrensel reporter Mithat Fabian Sözmen wrote that after three days at the short stay unit, Dr. Mungan has been put in solitary confinement cell with 1.5 hours of airing time during the day, without any chance of seeing another face. The solitary confinement cells are located in the branch of the prison where inmates are allowed visitors only once a month. Dr. Mungan had previously written letters to her students and fellow academics from prison on note pads of the visiting politicians and lawyers, where she had explained that they read a lot.

Academia Stands with Academics

Dr. Mungan teaches cognitive psychology at one of the most prestigious universities in Turkey, Bosphorus University which was founded in 1863 as Robert College. The university president Dr. Gülay Barbarosoğlu led the senate on the night of the March 17th, and on March 18th the university came up with a statement.

For the first time in its history, a Bosphorus University professor has been arrested. Dr. Mungan has been accused of “propagating for terrorist organization.” We find this accusation unacceptable. Our colleague Dr. Mungan’s place is not prison but campus halls where she has been teaching and researching for 15 years.

As Bosphorus University, we have always and under all circumstances had the sanctity of human life as basis and stood up against all kinds of violence. None of our professors have encouraged terrorism, and would not.

Our university, with her students, professors and alumni have stood up against all steps that harm democracy. Right to free expression and thinking make up the body of this stance.

Where there is no right to free expression and thinking, there can not be a university, no lecture be given, no research would be carried out and scientific advancement would stop. Climate of violence and terrorism would most effectively and rapidly be defeated at the free discussion atmosphere.

Dr. Mungan and fellow academics Dr. Kaya and Dr. Ersoy who have been arrested, and Dr. Camcı about whom there is an arrest warrant, and Dr. Stephenson who was deported have all used their right to free expression which is under constitutional guarantee.

We demand that our fellow professors be released and they rejoin with their students immediately.

Visit to Prime Minister

Dr. Barbarosoğlu, Bosphorus University President

After the statement, university president Dr. Gülay Barbarosoğlu had applied to the chief prosecutor for the release of academics from prison. On March 19th Saturday afternoon, President Dr. Barbarosoğlu also paid a visit to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu -also an alumni of Bosphorus University- who prior to his political career that started in 2009 with his appointment as Minister of Foreign Affairs, had been teaching as professor of political science. The meeting ended with impressions that Prime Minister Davutoğlu would closely monitor the process.

Another statement had been made by the University Professors Association that welcomes all lecturers as members. The statement followed “the arrests in our country are a signifier of a very dire course of events. Intellectuals, academics get subjected to investigation, detention and even arrest simply because they made critical statements. As the trials continue with them under arrest, this application itself has turned into ‘punishment without trial’ mechanism that does not hold even reasonable justification. We demand an immediate release of our three fellow academics who we believe have been arrested actually for their opposing views and other intellectuals who have been subjected to investigations for their articles, statements, works.”

Pro-Government Academics Against Peace Petition

Vice-President of the Sebahattin Zaim University, which is a recently founded educational institute that includes AKP officials, ministers, prime minister and president as its founders, Dr. Bülent Arı evaluated the “Academics for Peace” on a TV program on March 20th. Dr. Arı briefly stated that the real problem of Turkey is the people with education, and that it is the ignorant people that will keep Turkey standing. Dr. Arı also stated that in order to leave a future to next generation, the current one needs to sacrifice even itself and die. Regarding the peace petition Dr. Arı stated

I trust the judgement of the uneducated ignorant segment in this country. They are the ones to keep the country on its feet, the uneducated, not even primary school graduate, the ignorant people who have not been to university. They would never do such mistakes; how should I evaluate that declaration. They are leading Turkey into the middle of fire. The educated segment in Turkey, starting from professors and going further back, the most dangerous types are the university graduates. The ones who can evaluate things most clearly are the primary school graduates. Because their minds are clear. University and higher is very dire, they can not read the situation, their minds are blurred.

Let’s go back to Ottoman era, Sultan Hamid initiated royal schools where secular education would spread to whole country. Those who studied in those schools, toppled Sultan Hamid. Now when reading rate increases, I become exasperated. I am frankly afraid, I always trust the judgement of the ignorant people. Even in traffic the most dangerous types are university graduates. The ignorant ones abide by whatever you give them in traffic, these ones would not pose a constant threat. Those who can not see the world are those who have studied. The more one studies, the less able they are in analyzing Turkey. We are faced with an imminent disaster if Erdoğan is gone. We are at an undercover war, let’s accept that. We need to sacrifice maybe even ourselves and loved ones, to leave something for the next generation.”

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Turkey Arrests 3 “Academics for Peace” Signatories

Over 1100 academics from 89 universities in Turkey had gathered in a meeting hall in Taksim, Istanbul on the 11th of January, to compile a declaration calling for peace. The original text demanded Turkish government to end the “siege” in the Southeastern cities of Turkey, and reiterated the motto of the text -which later came to be the title of it- stating “we will not be party to this crime!

Marking doors have been a common far right exercise in Turkey prior to massacres.

The academics have seen violent reactions since then; their offices have been raided and marked (marking doors have been a reminder of earlier massacres in modern Turkish history), some of them have been subjected to pressure on campuses, intimidation in daily life, they have been subjected to hate campaigns by pro-government media and the government officials have stated that these academics will face dearest of all punishments for “complying with terrorism through means of academia”. A notorious criminal who had been awarded “the Khan of all Turks” title by the Ministry of Culture, Peker said “There will be rivers of blood, and I will bathe in the blood of the academics who do not wish to be party to a crime.”

Upon violent intimidation of the academics, the declaration had been opened for further signatures in Turkey and abroad, and over 2000 academics have signed the petition including Noam Chomsky, David Harvey, Etienne Balibar, Judith Butler, Immanuel Wallertein. Although there has been somewhat international declaration of solidarity from individual academics and civil bodies, due to lack of unwavering commitment by International Political Science Association (IPSA), the academics for peace had also started a call for a boycott of the IPSA’s 24th World Congress that was originally to be held in Istanbul, Turkey. There have been legal investigations against 1128, suspension of 27, termination of 40, and threatening of 47 academics so far, and legal action is expanding against those who criticize the ongoing state violence against civilians. The repression of academics had ignited many other professional platforms and they had started new petitions calling for peace and declaring solidarity as Writers for Peace, Translators for Peace, Students for Peace, Cinema for Peace, Theatres for Peace, Journalists for Peace, Lawyers for Peace, Doctors for Peace, Pharmacists for Peace, Pensioners for Peace, Unionists for Peace, Tourist Guides for Peace, and White Flag for Peace.

The original peace declaration had called for a return to negotiation table and a democratic solution without state imposing violence on its citizens. However the excessive reactions to the original declaration came to such a level that a second declaration had been drafted with a headline “Regardless of all threats, we will not back off”. The three professors who had read out this second declaration, Esra Mungan of Bosphorus University, Muzaffer Kaya of Nisantasi University, and Kivanc Ersoy of Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, had been called to the courthouse to be questioned about their statement, later on transferred to the prosecutor on duty, who then arrested the academics for “propagating for a terrorist organization” and “humiliating the Republic of Turkey and its organs section of the [infamous] Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code of protection of Turkishness”.

 

Bogazici University President Gulay Barbarosoglu applied to the chief prosecutor for academics to be released from prison during trial period.

Esra Mungan’s note to her fellow coworkers and students in Turkish

“Very dear, initially the students, academics, staff including the contractual workers, Boğaziçi!

Despite all the terror and pressure, we the one who desire peace, continue standing behind our promise. We and all those united around peace, and all of us, will continue in our struggle for a Turkey where there is respect to human rights, dedicated to domestic law and the universal law  principles that she must comply with, fully democratic, independent, egalitarian and pro-liberty, where no one suppresses another, and where it is possible to coexist in plurality. I hug you all!”

Esra Mungan

Esra Mungan’s Psychology class

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Edward Snowden – Ossietzky of our time

Norwegian PEN awards the Ossietzky Prize 2016 to the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

This year it is 80 years since the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Carl von Ossietzky, an event that we commemorate by holding the award ceremony in the University Aula of Oslo, where Ossietzky in 1936 should have come to receive his prize.  Norwegian PEN invites Edward Snowden to receive the award in Oslo on Friday 18 November, and we will do our utmost to ensure that Snowden may receive the prize in person.

The Ossietzky prize is Norwegian PEN’s award for outstanding efforts for freedom of expression. The prize is awarded annually to a person or institution that over time, or in connection with a particular issue or event, made an exceptional effort for freedom of expression.

 

The grounds
Edward Snowden has revealed the questionable, extensive global surveillance and espionage conducted by states on their citizens and on single countries. Snowden’s disclosure of NSA’s surveillance of millions of phone calls resulted in a ruling in the US court of appeals, that the NSA’s storage of telephone metadata is indeed illegal, because it was not approved by Congress. Nonetheless, Snowden has not met any understanding from the US authorities. They uphold the indictment for espionage and theft of government property, and demand he be extradited to the US, where Snowdon may risk a life sentence.

With this year’s Ossietzky Prize Norwegian PEN wants to highlight that surveillance may only be carried out within the framework of internationally accepted legal standards for the protection of individual civil liberties. By awarding the prize to Edward Snowden, Norwegian PEN wish to pay  respect to the unique role he has undertaken as a whistle blower. The award will expose the need for an international debate on surveillance regarding the boundaries set by international and national law. The prize is also a recognition of the whistleblower’s personal courage during the revelations of  governmental/public and  secret encroachment  on the personal integrity of individuals.

This year’s Ossietzky Prize laureate has renounced his personal life and career in order to alert the world to the US government’s surveillance activities. He received the Bjornson prize in September 2015 for his work on the right of privacy, and for being instrumental in heightening the critical awareness to privacy, and to direct a critical spotlight on states’ illegal surveillance of their own and other states’ citizens. In a televised speech during the prize ceremony in Molde, Snowden stated that he was aware of the consequences of his actions. He had expected to be thrown in jail not given awards. Yet, he would do the same again. Thus he also represents a courageous defender of the whistleblowers’ freedom of expression, at a time when massive surveillance threatens freedom of speech for citizens worldwide.

 

Political challenges
Snowden has been instrumental in raising public awareness, and human rights organizations worldwide have supported his revelations of  illegal surveillance. It is disturbing that Norwegian and European politicians, also outspoken critics of electronic mass surveillance, hesitate or refuse to comment or support Snowden. In a non-binding resolution (adopted by a narrow majority) the European Parliament in 2015 confirmed that they recognized Snowden’s status as whistleblower and human rights defender, and urged member states to grant him asylum. All EU countries have an extradition treaty with the US, and so far none of the countries followed the invitation of the resolution.

Snowden lives in Moscow. He holds a temporary residence permit in Russia that expires in August 2017. It is high time for a political initiative to challenge the threats towards the prizewinner, an initiative that should conclude with an offer of stay and protection. A suitable start of such a process would be for the Norwegian government to guarantee him safe passage to receive the Ossietzky Prize for 2016.

 

From Ossietzky to Snowden
The Norwegian PEN Ossietzky Prize is named after and dedicated to Carl von Ossietzky. Ossietzky revealed how German authorities ran secret re-armament in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. For his revelations he was convicted of treason and imprisoned. Edward Snowden has, like Carl von Ossietzky, contributed to a democratic openness through his revelations.
The board of Norwegian PEN decides who will receive the Ossietzky Prize.

During the award ceremony of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1936, Carl von Ossietzky’s chair was empty because German authorities refused to let him travel to Oslo. Norwegian PEN asks the Norwegian Government to ensure that Edward Snowden may receive his award in Norway by guaranteeing that he will not be extradited to the United States. Norwegian PEN will do everything in our power to ensure that Snowden will sit in the chair on the stage on November 18 2016.

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