Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A new low for freedom of speech in Turkey

Turkey has a pretty spotty record on freedom of speech, with prosecutions brought against people for mentioning the Armenian genocide, publishing political material in Kurdish, and showing "the traditional Kurdish region" on a map - but this week they have reached a new low. Kurdish politician Ahmet Turk has been jailed for six months on a charge of "supporting a criminal" for a speech he made in which he talked about jailed Kurdistan Workers Party leader Abdullah Ocalan. His crime? He called Ocalan "Mr". This was deemed to imply respect, and hence support - which given that Ocalan advocates peaceful Kurdish separatism, is practically treason in nationalist Turkey.

No matter what you think of Ocalan or his cause, this is ridiculous. Calling someone "Mr" - or conversely, failing to insult them every time you mention them - should not be any sort of crime. If Turkish law allows this, then the law has to go.


The prospect of EU memnership must surely ne dead by now...

Posted by Anonymous : 3/07/2007 10:20:00 PM