Freedom of expression weekly bulletin_2013.09.13

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*Protests in ODTU (Middle East Technical University), the Alevi case, and further police violence were the main topics appearing in the media last week.
*Ahmet Atakan, who joined the rally in Hatay to support the ODTU resistance and to protest the war, lost his life after being shot in the head with a gas capsule. Following that, police intervened in the demonstrations held in various cities with pressurized water, tear gas and plastic bullets. Eight of the journalists on duty at the rallies were subjected to police violence.
*The announcement of a mosque-cemevi complex, a joined construction project of Fethullah Gulen Community and Cem Association, sparked heavy criticism and protests. During the Gezi resistance, 5 Alevi citizens lost their lives. The Alevi community and organizations poured onto the streets following Atakan’s death, as he was also an Alevi.
*Another ODTU incident that was brought into media spotlight last week was the conflict regarding the wearing of headscarves. A group of ODTU students protested another student group wearing headscarves and it was reflected in the press as “headscarf tension”. Not long after that, the protesters stated that they were protesting the Gulen Community’s residences, not the students wearing headscarves. However, their way of protesting became a matter of debate. The incident also changed the course of the debates regarding the demonstrations which were exposed to excessive police violence. The demonstrations had been held to protest against the road construction that was planned to cross the ODTU campus and would cause deforestation.

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Freedom of expression weekly bulletin_2013.09.13

  1. 1. Think, think… Freedom of Expression Weekly Bulletin (Issue 37/13, 13 September 2013) What happened last week? (6-13 September 2013) *Protests in ODTU (Middle East Technical University), the Alevi case, and further police violence were the main topics appearing in the media last week. *Ahmet Atakan, who joined the rally in Hatay to support the ODTU resistance and to protest the war, lost his life after being shot in the head with a gas capsule. Following that, police intervened in the demonstrations held in various cities with pressurized water, tear gas and plastic bullets. Eight of the journalists on duty at the rallies were subjected to police violence. *The announcement of a mosque-cemevi complex, a joined construction project of Fethullah Gulen Community and Cem Association, sparked heavy criticism and protests. During the Gezi resistance, 5 Alevi citizens lost their lives. The Alevi community and organizations poured onto the streets following Atakan’s death, as he was also an Alevi. *Another ODTU incident that was brought into media spotlight last week was the conflict regarding the wearing of headscarves. A group of ODTU students protested another student group wearing headscarves and it was reflected in the press as “headscarf tension”. Not long after that, the protesters stated that they were protesting the Gulen Community’s residences, not the students wearing headscarves. However, their way of protesting became a matter of debate. The incident also changed the course of the debates regarding the demonstrations which were exposed to excessive police violence. The demonstrations had been held to protest against the road construction that was planned to cross the ODTU campus and would cause deforestation. Please find the detailed news below…
  2. 2. Another loss of life in Hatay Ahmet Atakan, 22, tragically passed away after he was shot in the head with a tear gas capsule during the rally he joined to support ODTU (Middle East Technical University) in Antakya, Hatay, on 10 September. Ahmet Atakan had joined the protests to campaign against the number of trees that will be stubbed for a new road that will cross the university campus. He was also there to support the antiwar rally. He was hospitalized in Akdeniz Hospital after being heavily injured. Later on, he was transferred to Antakya State Hospital where not long after he passed away. Hatay Governorship claimed that Atakan lost his life after falling off the roof. However, the MP for the Republican People’s Party (CHP) of Hatay, Mevlut Dudu, stated that Atakan passed away after being shot with a tear gas capsule from a very close distance. The autopsy report proved that on the left side of Atakan’s skull there is a 6x5 centimeter wound which allegedly could only have occurred by a stroke. The cause of death was reported as “bleeding in the lungs and head trauma”. EU comments on Ahmet Atakan’s death
  3. 3. Peter Stano, member of the European Commission, commented on the death of Ahmet Atakan: “We, as members of the European Union, expect a fast, detailed and transparent inquiry in order to clarify the details of the incident and to find whoever is responsible. To remind you of the position of the Commission, we are responsible for providing citizens of candidate countries to exercise their right to protest and to hold demonstration, and of protecting this right. Besides, freedom of expression should be secured within the European Union standards. There is no question that the circumstances occurring yesterday and in the past weeks and months will appear in the progress report of the Commission” he said. TOMA and tear gas at funeral Following Ahmet Atakan’s death, demonstrations were held in various cities of Turkey, as well as in New York, Boston, Chicago, Washington DC, Lafayette Square Los Angeles, Toronto and Barcelona. Atakan was laid to rest a day after the demonstrations. Police, using pressurized water and tear gas, intervened in the group who wanted to hold a demonstration after the funeral. A protester, Aycan Karaalioglu, was heavily injured. It was reported that Karaalioglu had five fractures in the skull. Police refused protesters to hold a demonstration in Taksim. A worker, Ercan Altın, and a teacher, Melih Dalbudak, were shot with tear gas capsules in the forehead. Altın who endured a fracture will be taken into operation. At least 8 journalists injured A lot of journalists were subjected to police violence during recent protests in Turkey and at least eight have been injured. Ufuk Kosar, a freelance journalist, was hit with a police truncheon during the clash that broke out between police forces and protesters at the demonstration held for Ahmet Atakan, on 10 September, in Istanbul. Reporter Rabia Celik was head butted by a police officer. Umut Kacar, photographer from Atlas magazine, was shot with a plastic bullet in the head. Ali Acar, reporter from Cumhuriyet Daily, was kicked and dragged on the ground. A photojournalist from Cumhuriyet Daily, Kaan Saganak was injured with a plastic bullet that was fired from just a 2 meter distance. Ugur Can, photojournalist from Dogan News Agency and Bulent Doruk, reporter from Anadolu Agency, were battered by police forces. Mete
  4. 4. Ud, Izmir reporter of Evrensel Daily, suffered transient blindness after being shot in the eye with pressurized water. And Berna Sahin, reporter from Birgun Daily, stated via Twitter that undercover policemen prevented journalists from performing their duty. 26 people, including one juvenile, were detained in Taksim. In addition, 17 people were detained in Kadikoy. It was reported that two women detained in Kadikoy were allegedly subjected to strip searches. The juvenile detained in Taksim was released in the afternoon. Statement procedures for others continue. The Turkish Journalists’ Association and Press Council demanded punishment for the alleged offenders and stated that police forces explicitly intervene in freedom of press by preventing journalists from performing their duty. You may watch the footage showing police intervention here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KV050LiMkVQ Hideous cartoon of Atakan in Cafcaf mag The “Islamic humor magazine” Cafcaf published a “cartoon” related to the allegations of Ahmet Atakan’s fall off a roof, who in fact lost his life as a result of police violence. The cartoon drawn by Yahya Alakay featured Ahmet falsely being pushed off the roof by protesters. Cafcaf magazine, after receiving a number of negative calls, removed the cartoon from their website.
  5. 5. Mosque to be built alongside Cemevi The foundational plans to join the Mosque, the Cemevi and the Cultural Center were laid in Ankara on 8 September. It is the joint project of Fethullah Gulen, leader of the Gulen Community and Izettin Doğan, honorary president of Cem Assosiation. People of Tuzlucayir, Ankara, claim that the building project is part of the assimilation policy aimed at the Alevi community, and wanted to hold a demonstration against it. The police, however, intervened in the rally. Police forces tried to disperse the group using water cannon and tear gas. Upon the crowd resistance, clashes broke out between the crowd and the police forces. At least 15 people were detained during the incident. To protest the incidents in Tuzlucayir, hundreds of people held demonstrations in Izmir and Istanbul. Two of the journalists reporting during the incidents were injured. In Okmeydani, Istanbul, police threw a stun grenade at a Birgun Daily reporter, Berna Sahin, which caused her to temporarily lose consciousness. Hasan Akbaş and Birkan Bulut, reporters from Evrensel Daily, were battered by police forces in Tuzlucayir. Executive editor of Cem Radio, Cuneyt Yilmaz, stated that he was opposed to the project and resigned to protest against police violence during the demonstrations. Headscarf conflict at ODTU
  6. 6. On 5 September, the enrollment day for the new term at ODTU (Middle East Technical University), a group of students protested another student group wearing headscarves and tried to take them out of the campus on the grounds that they were members of the “Gulen Community”. The Gulen Community had allegedly started a smear campaign against ODTU student residences and protesters stated that they were demonstrating against the Gulen Community movement within their university. The Chief Public Prosecutor started an inquiry into five students in regards to an alleged “threat, insult”, and an inquiry about a student in regards to an alleged “violation of secrecy of personal data”. The incident was reflected in the press as a protest against the use of headscarves in universities. Prof. Dr. Gokhan Cetinsaya, President of the Council of Higher Education, said he demanded an inquiry, and claimed that “Any student should not be subjected to discrimination due to his/her philosophy of life”, and “Freedom of expression is not absolute”. A mother of one of the protesters, Hamide Yigit, stated that “they reviled against ODTU student residences and described them as “prostitution slots” in order to drag students to the Gulen Community’s residences. My daughter protested this hideous behavior with a banner. Yet they twisted the matter into a headscarf issue with lies and distortion” she said. You may watch the footage of the incident here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SX2f0sdPMgg Ban of headscarf is lifted The government, within its solution package, singles out the “headscarf” ban in code numbered 657 and changes the regulation that the ban relies on. Accordingly, two
  7. 7. extra articles will be added to the Turkish Penalty Code that will propose a penalty for anyone presenting an obstacle for the wearing of the headscarf. Within the amendment, the phrase that the “head is to be uncovered in the working place” will be removed from the regulation’s fifth paragraph dated 1982, which orders that “dress, trousers, and skirts are to be clean, decent, ironed and plain; shoes or boots are to be plain, polished and with standard heels; head is to be uncovered in the working place; hair is to be neatly combed or tied-up, nails are to clipped properly.” Hereunder, the Turkish Penalty Code will be amended to penalize anyone who poses an obstacle for workers wearing a headscarf. The amendment will not cover staff members with “official uniform”, who work for the Turkish Armed Forces and Security General Directorate. Ferhat Tunc’s concert stopped by protesters A group of protesters intervened in Ferhat Tunc’s concert by singing the Turkish national anthem. The concert was organized by the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in Dikili, Izmir. Following a power cut in the concert area, Tunc ended the concert, saying he would keep singing freedom songs. Clashes broke out between the audience and the protesters who intervened in the concert. Afterwards, the incident spread across the central district and police blocked off the streets. Ferhat Tunc, following the incident, shared his opinion on twitter, via his account @ferhatttunc: “I am not the one who discriminates or divides people. The government, instead of taking steps, divides the society by getting more and more offensive. This is one of the reasons why I got attacked in Dikili.”
  8. 8. Six releases in the Kurdistan Communities Union Case Sadiye Eser, reporter of Evrensel Daily who was arrested after being detained during KCK (Kurdistan Communities Union) operation on 12th December, was released in the first trial following 10 months of imprisonment. Eser, Ruken Çelik, Ridvan Oguz, Ramazan Atup, Felat Abik and Vaysi Özdemir were released too. Sadiye Eser pleaded in Kurdish during the trial held in the Istanbul 23th High Criminal Court. Eser, saying that due to her being Kurdish, she was easily accused of being a member of the terror organization, and stated that “if you are a chemical engineer and you have a photo from a demonstration, you are accused of producing a petrol bomb.” The court ordered the release of six people, but decided on the continued imprisonment for Huseyin Eser and Huseyin Akdogan. The next trial has been scheduled for 12th December. “Heberler” going off the air
  9. 9. TURKMAX cancelled the political comedy show, “Heberler”. Actor Levent Kazak announced the news via Twitter, saying that “the preparations normally start up nowadays every year. Yet as might be expected, “Heberler” was cancelled. Perchance we will meet again.” Along with Levent Kazak, Memet Ali Alabora, Elif Dagdeviren, Serhat Kilic and Mahir Ipek also had parts in the show. Producer Elif Dagdeviren claimed that the channel cancelled their contract and they had had no problems so far with the channel. It was alleged that the program went off the air because the crew, particularly Memet Ali Alabora, supported the Gezi Park resistance. Verdict of non-prosecution for Memet Ali Alabora Alabora had caused debates with his tweet during the Gezi resistance saying “it is not just the park my friend, aren’t you still aware of that? Come here!” Following that, two different inquiries regarding Alabora had been started on the grounds of “solicitation in public”. However, the court ordered non-prosecution. Hrant Dink case published into a book The book of Fethiye Cetin, Hrant Dink’s murder trial lawyer, “Utanc Duyuyorum: Hrant Dink Cinayetinin Yargisi” (I feel ashamed: Judgment of Hrant Dink Murder) was published. The book includes information regarding the link between the Dink murder and National Intelligence Service, and how the secret witnesses vanished. Cetin also tells in 367 pages how he met Hrant Dink before 19 January, and talks about the term before the murder and judgment process. Hrant Dink Awards International Hrant Dink Awards will be given on 15 September, on Dink’s birthday. The ceremony, starting at 8pm, will be broadcasted on www.hrantdink.org and www.hrantdinkodulu.org, both in Turkish and English.
  10. 10. Monument to Respect Victims of Torture The Monument to Respect Victims of Torture was officially opened in Ziverbey Pavilion on 12 September, on the 33th anniversary of the coup, with the participation of the victims of torture. During the ceremony it was once again reminded that torture was a crime against humanity and it is still performed by the state in different ways. “Kirklar Meclisi”, an Alevi gathering within the Diyarbakır Sur District Municipality, put up a monument titled “Ortak Vicdan Aniti” (Collective Conscience Monument). The monument, constructed in Anzele Park, was officially opened with the participation of citizens from different belief systems, with the slogan of “We collectivize our pain so that we won’t experience it again”. Shame Museum of 12 September opened in Istanbul The exhibition titled “12 September Shame Museum” was opened at Akatlar Cultural Center, in Istanbul followed by Antalya, Ankara and Izmir. The exhibition includes Deniz Gezmis’s parka, Ibrahim Kaypakkaya’s mimeograph, and mock-ups of torture instruments and the photographs of the ones who lost their
  11. 11. lives during the Gezi resistance, as well as remembrances, photographs of those executed after 12 Eylul or who died during revolutionary struggle. In addition, files, photos and the last letters of the executed revolutionists are exhibited.  

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