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.

Posted in academic freedom, AKP, Turkey | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

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.”

Posted in academic freedom, AKP, Nationalism, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

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

Posted in academic freedom, AKP, Censorship, Far Right, kurdish, Nationalism, Radical Right, Surveillance State, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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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Assailants of Turkish Journalist Change Statements, 3 of 4 Get Freed

A prominent Turkish anchorman of the critical news network CNNTurk and columnist for critical daily newspaper Hurriyet, Ahmet Hakan had been subjected to a brutal attack by four men recently. The assailants had then quickly been caught and taken to Directorate of Combat with Organized Crime where the investigation was to be carried out and their statements to be taken separately. The four men had given similar statements as confession that they had been offered 100.000 TL (~$35.000), and the Turkish National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and the “Chief” is also involved in the situation.

Raids against Media

The whistleblower from President Erdoğan’s circle “Fuat Avni” had spoken of raids against the critical news networks in the month of August, and several newspaper headquarters had been raided by police, and on September 5th, Hurriyet Daily’s HQ building was raided by an angry mob which seemed to have been coordinated and organized by an MP of the governing AK Party. The attack against Ahmet Hakan came in the aftermath of this raid, and several other Doğan Media journalists have been threatened openly even during live broadcast through social media messages.

Massive Payment Promised in Return for Attack against Journalist

One of the assailants, K.E. has stated that they were offered 100.000 TL in order to carry out the attack; and the cross-examination of the statements have revealed the planned assault as to how the assailants carried out close examination and surveillance prior to the attack and how they followed the journalist back home.

The assailants have now been released except for one who is now under arrest; and all of them have changed their statements after they have been taken to the court house of Istanbul and met the prosecutor.

One of the assailants’ statement reveals that they have been taken to a disclosed location and someone who introduced himself as the district chairperson told them that there is a problem with the journalist Ahmet Hakan and he needs to be beaten, the 100.000 TL promised would be arranged through the Ottoman Organization district directorate by someone named Nezir.

The assailants claim that they were under drug influence in time of the negotiation and that’s why they had accepted the offer; and they also stated that they were promised immunity and no-investigation as the request has come from the state but would only realize the gravity of the issue once taken to Directorate of Combat with Organized Crime.

K.E. also stated that they have been deceived and were subjected to a conspiracy and would file legal complaint about a retired special-ops officer called Y.K.G. who has given them the orders and given false legal information.

New-Deep State Involvement?

According to the statements from the assailants, Y.K.G. who owns a cafe in Fatih district of Istanbul invited them and gave the orders there. He told them that Ahmet Hakan says “dead” rather than “martyr” for soldiers, and he supports HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) and provokes people. He added “the secret service is in this, whole security department is in this, the Chief is in this. In the next two days you are to finish this and the package will arrive.”

The assailants tell the night of the event as follows, “on the night of 30th, YKG was angry as we could not carry out the orders, then he told us that Ahmet Hakan’s program ends at 8:30pm. We went to the back-exit and followed his car until his street. When his car stopped, we crushed slowly and he came out of the car after his bodyguard and driver. The bodyguard was warded off by one of us and when we finished we went back to Y.K.G.”

The journalist appears with purple eyes in the aftermath of the attack in hospital

One of the assailants U.A. tells in his statement that they “met with someone named N.Ö. at Y.K.G.’s cafe and he told them that the Ottoman Organization (pro-AK Party far right youth assembly) would be much better than the Nationalist Movement Party (Far Right political party in the parliament with the abbreviation MHP). Upon following Ahmet Hakan with a car, the aim was to start a fight after a minor traffic accident. Once outside of the car, he made a run for his house, fell down and then upon second attempt to run he was caught and pushed to fall again.”

“After getting caught, in detention room we decided to tell them that we got into a fight after a traffic accident, then we were transferred to Organized Crime. We were told that he is a traitor and we were doing this for the state, in the name of security.”

According to cross-examined statements, Ahmet Hakan was requested to be beaten in such a way that he would be unable to hold a pen and write again; and the Y.K.G. would talk of him as the traitor who provokes for violence. And the assailants were promised that they would receive a hero’s welcome by the security forces, justice, people and everyone as well as the promised sum of money.

Ahmet Hakan’s lawyer Aslı Kazan Gilmore commented on the change of statements in the courthouse and said “the assailants have given consistent statements regarding who requested them to do what and how much was promised, and it all is in coherence with what seems to have happened; however the investigation at the courthouse seems to have changed a few things alongside the statements given. Now the assailants deny their statements; the aim is to hide those who are behind this attack.”

Posted in AKP, Censorship, Far Right, media freedom, Nationalism, Turkey | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Social Media Rules & Restrictions for Turkish Students

Turkish educational system suffers yet another blow; after last year’s signaling of a life style indoctrination by President Erdoğan, this year new rules and regulations update seems to target the students’ future experiences and uses of free speech and questioning capacity. President Erdoğan had said “We have a problem with certain things, still. Thus we will tackle those problematic feelings by presenting [children with] a life style, starting from as early as kindergarten onward.”

He had been talking about how the educational system was working in favor of “traitors” thus this was an open call for educational experts to work on new precautions to stop treason. The new rules and regulations that all children at school between the ages of 7 and 18 are subjected to now are as follows:

-“National Values” is a recognized criteria that requires all pupils to comply with national and spiritual values; as well as present behaviors that follow general morality and customs. Failure in compliance results in expulsion from school

-Separatist, destructive, immoral, pro-violence content in the form of audio, textual, visual, video material will bring ultimate expulsion from school and the pupil will not be accepted back to schools any more.

-Students will only be allowed to miss 30 school days throughout the year; those who wish to become hafiz will not be required to comply with the 30 day limit.

-Students who indulge in IT tools without the knowledge and control of the teacher will get disciplinary punishment.

-Students who pester classmates through social media will get ultimate expulsion from school.

-Students who share visual material that is shot at school, will be sent to disciplinary board.

In December 2014 President Erdoğan had accused the educational system of training individuals who are departing from their mother tongue and are ashamed of their society and culture; defined this as a national problem of training and discipline. After the national elections on June 7, 2015, the opposition parties all demanded to take ministry of education to reverse the harm done during the single party rule of AKP in the past 13 years, regarding the curricula and rules & regulations that are applied to children. The current system of national education in Turkey dictates a way of life and ideology.

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Freedom of expression charities urge UK Foreign Secretary to speak out on Turkey’s arrest of journalists

(1 September 2015) Freedom of expression charities have written to UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond urging the UK to speak out publicly in defence of freedom of expression following the arrest of two British journalists in Turkey under terror legislation.

The journalists and their fixer were were formally charged by a Turkish court on Monday with ‘aiding a terrorist organisation’. Vice News has described the charges as completely baseless.

The letter from PEN International, English PEN and Index on Censorship highlights the deteriorating situation for media in Turkey and urges Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to speak out publicly against the arrests.

“Coming shortly after the equally unjust sentencing of Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt, we would note also the worrying increase in the use of terror laws to stifle a free and independent media globally and hope the UK will use its international position to help reverse this disturbing trend,” the groups say in the letter.

The groups have also written to the Council of Europe, of which Turkey and the UK are members, to express their concerns.

A copy of the letter can be found below.

Dear Mr Hammond,

We are writing to you on behalf of Index on Censorship, English PEN and PEN International, charities that campaign for freedom of expression in the UK and globally, to urge the immediate intervention of the British government in the case of three VICE News journalists, including two Britons, who have been charged with terror offences by the Turkish government.

The two British reporters, VICE News journalists Jake Hanrahan and Philip Pendlebury, along with their fixer, were formally charged by a Turkish court on Monday with ‘aiding a terrorist organisation’. We believe these charges to be baseless.

The three were detained by police with a fourth member of their team as they filmed in the south-east region of Diyarbakir on Thursday.  Police interrogated them about alleged links to Islamic State and Kurdish militants.

You will be aware that the Turkish government’s routine use of counter-terrorism charges against journalists is a longstanding cause of concern for international human rights organisations and for the media in Turkey. There are rising fears that Turkey is on the brink of a new media crackdown in the run up to the parliamentary elections: Turkish police conducted a raid on the offices of Koza Koza Ipek Media group today, while an Ankara court has ruled in favour of a general search warrant for the Çankaya district of the Turkish capital (where embassies and foreign missions are based) allowing police to make preventative security searches and detentions for 30 days.

We recognise that Turkey is facing a period of heightened tension in the region. However at such a time it is more important than ever that both domestic and international journalists are allowed to do their vital work without intimidation, reporting on matters of global interest and concern.

A member of the Council of Europe, Turkey is a state party to both the European Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It is therefore obliged to respect the right to freedom of expression and ensure that journalists are free to gather information without hindrance or threat.

We appreciate the Foreign Office’s  consular assistance to the VICE News team and urge you to make a public statement in defence of freedom of expression in Turkey.

Coming shortly after the equally unjust sentencing of Al Jazeera journalists in Egypt, we would note also the worrying increase in the use of terror laws to stifle a free and independent media globally and hope the UK will use its international position to help reverse this disturbing trend.

Yours sincerely,

Carles Torner

Executive Director, PEN International

Jodie Ginsberg

Chief Executive, Index on Censorship

Maureen Freely

President, English PEN

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