44 journalists before a Turkish tribunal: A shameful press trial – for Europe as well as for Turkey!

By Doğan Özgüden:

Doğan Özgüden, Info-Türk Chief Editor,  issued the following declaration on September 9, 2012, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the beginning of his journalistic career in Turkey:

I began journalism in the Republic of Turkey at the age of 16 years in Izmir on September 9, 1952. It was the first years of the Democrat Party’s power having promised a real democratization in the country. However, at that date, 184 personalities, of whom many were writers or artists of the country, were already behind iron bars on charges of belonging to a communist organization. It was followed by the arrest of many journalists or writers whatsoever be their political opinion.

A group of Turkish Army’s officers overthrew the DP on May 27, 1960, by a military coup with the promise to establish a democratic regime. However they refused to release Kurdish intellectuals already in prison. Moreover, they did not delay to deport many distinguished Kurdish intellectuals and to put in jail our internationally known writer Aziz Nesin and courageous journalist Ihsan Ada.

The main target of the repression during the period of coalitions, military coups of 1971 and 1980 as well as during post-modern coups of the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st century was always journalists, writers, artists and the defenders of the rights of the working people, the Kurdish people and the national minorities.

During my 60-year career as a journalist, including years of exile, I have only known repression, legal proceedings, trials, condemnations, exile and menaces of death.

The details and proofs of this disrespect of the freedom of expression can be found in my 1000-page memoirs, published in two volumes under the title of “Stateless” Journalist.

At this 60th anniversary of my career as a journalist, I do not wish to talk about my problems and fights. I solely wish to put emphasis on the deplorable situation of the freedom of expression and the press in a country that is always a member of the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, and NATO, and a candidate to the European Union.

In three days’ time, it will be the anniversary of the bloodiest putsch of the last century: the September 12, 1980 Coup.

In spite of all claims of democratization, the constitution of the putschists always remains in force and the repressive practices against the Kurdish people and national and confessional minorities continue with the same atrocity.

As for the numbers:

  • So many journalists, currently about a hundred, had never been behind iron bars before the AKP came to power.
  • So many political men or women, currently several thousands, had never been behind iron bars before the AKP came to power.

On September 10, 2012, 44 journalists will be tried at a Turkish tribunal on charge of “terrorism”.

  • The people of Turkey, with Turks, Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, Jews and more than 50 ethnical groups, do not deserve it.
  • The European peoples who consider the European Union as a project of cohabiting in peace and social justice do not deserve it.

Shame on Turkey’s political leaders who consider themselves as heirs of 16 “Turkish States” founded during centuries, who have the ambition to see Turkey as the second strongest state in the European Union  after Germany, who use all means for establishing a neo-Ottoman hegemony in Middle East as a regional superpower.

Shame on European leaders who carry on bargaining with Turkey by considering it as a reliable partner for the European Union, who remain silent before the permanent violation of the freedom of expression, and who give Ankara whatever concession to obtain the votes of the citizens of Turkish origin.

Brussels, September 9, 2012

Doğan Özgüden, Chief Editor of Info-Türk

INFO-TURK: 53, rue de Pavie, 1000 BRUXELLES, Tel: (32-2) 215 35 76, Fax: (32-2) 215 58 60

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