Burak Bekdil – Hürriyet Daily News
These days, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his army of Lackeys Without Borders are less convincing than they used to be. Even Fethullah Gülen, the hero of the book manuscript that was detained and deleted by the police, has said that such acts would boost interest in the unpublished book. President Abdullah Gül agrees that the unpublished book would now sell 100,000 copies instead of 10,000.
Journalist Ahmet Şıks book draft, Imamın Ordusu (The Imams Army), which tells the story of Gülenist infiltration into the police and judiciary ranks, is now legally viewed as a document of a terrorist organization, and those who possess its copies are terrorists. The police report claims that the terrorist organization planned to create sensation and disinformation with the publication of the book. Hence, the terrorism charges for an unpublished book draft in EU-candidate Turkey.
According to the prosecution, the drafting of a book manuscript constituted the work of the propaganda unit of a dangerous terrorist organization. Good news, there are still lucky terrorists who are not yet behind bars: The prosecutors could well have arrested the owners of restaurants where suspects ate (the organizations catering unit); the taxis they may have taken (the transport unit); or their children (the propaganda unit for kindergarten).
All that may be shocking news for the Americans who, according to Mr. Erdoğans interior minister, endure inferior press freedoms than the Turks; or the Europeans who, according to Mr. Erdoğan, turn a blind eye on the broader civil liberties in Turkey than in EU members Greece and Bulgaria.
I wonder what the Greeks and Bulgarians have to say to that. How many copies of unpublished books have been detained in their countries, along with their authors and the authors friends? How many men of ideas have been kept behind bars for years without knowing what charges they are being accused of? How many Greeks, Bulgarians and Americans would volunteer to enjoy superior rights such as in Turkey?
Mr. Erdoğans justification: Each country has conditions special to itself. Great logic! But no longer convincing. Even the Lackeys Without Borders are less breezy and more shy these days, not knowing how to defend the indefensible.
Now listen to Mr. Erdoğans alternative rhetorical ammunition in defense of the systematic de jure raids on his regimes opponents. On March 15, the prime minister said: In the West or in other countries [the protestors hide behind] how many visual and printed media outlets are there? And how many are there in Turkey? You will see that more outlets are operating in Turkey.
I may be an eternal pessimist. But even I never imagined one day we would have a prime minister who would argue that the more media outlets there are the freer a country is.
But fortunately, there are still people around who shout Eppur si muove! There are genuine human rights activists like Şanar Yurdatapan, otherwise a great poet and a composer whose 1970s hit, Arkadaş (Friend in English), had been arrested along with its singer, Melike Demirağ, for whom the song had been written. Crime? Communist propaganda, because the lyrics went: We shall walk hand in hand / and always forward.
Why, hand in hand, had the prosecutors got suspicious of terrorist activity? And why forward? I remember a police raid to arrest Ms Demirağ which showed her at the police headquarters, filmed by the press (the protagonists of todays Lackeys Without Borders), together with the evidence of crime: An LP!
Mr. Yurdatapan has been one of the extremely rare indiscriminative human rights activists, defending freedoms without any ideological spin or attachment. He has defended Kurdish rights, Islamists rights (including freedom for the Islamic headscarf), and now the Ergenekon terrorists.
After the prosecutors and police warned 70 million Turks that those who hold a copy of İmamın Ordusu would be indicted for abetting and aiding the terrorists, Mr. Yurdatapan launched an Internet campaign: Do you have a copy?
If yes, would you be so kind as to forward it to me? I promise, I wont tell anyone I got it from you.
But I promise I shall distribute that copy to friends, my entire contact list, to all the institutions, all politicians, writers, academics, journalists, artists and jurists prosecutors and judges, too in every corner of the world.
I shall do that willingly and knowingly [a premeditated act].
I encourage others to do so too.
I encourage you to do so too.
With love and respect,
Only hours after having launched a campaign to illegally obtain and distribute copies of İmamın Ordusu, Mr. Yurdatapan launched another campaign, this time to criticize a court verdict that fined Nobel laureate Orhan Pamuk on the grounds that he had insulted the Turks when he said that in these lands a million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds were killed. His campaign letters subject line, this time, read: Its impossible to catch up with nonsense!
Mr. Yurdatapan wrote: Its very humane that Pamuk may have been wrong with numbers. The number of Armenians killed in these lands is no less than 800,000, and Kurds 20,000 and the latter is on a constant rise. Thus I claim, and send my best regards to our prosecutors. I also invite everyone to join this crime.
And I invite Mr. Erdoğan to inject an extra $20 billion to the Justice Ministrys budget for the immediate construction of new prisons throughout the country. That way he can boast the best justice in the whole of Europe see, more prisons, better justice; more newspapers, broader freedoms