Posted by: hevallo | April 9, 2008

A Crime to be Kurdish in Turkey!

On the 15th April 2008, 56 Kurdish Mayors who signed the letter below to the Danish Prime Minister could be sentenced to 15 years in prison. Read the letter and see what you can find in it that would warrant a 15 year prison sentence.

Because of the International attention that this case will receive, who knows how the Turkish Judiciary will behave, but every day, week and year similar cases go through the Turkish courts and tens of thousands of Kurds are in prison for similar cases.

In essence…… it is a crime to be a Kurd or represent Kurds in Turkey.

To call for basic rights of freedom of expression or political rights will land you in jail for a very long time.

As Turkey puts more pressure on Denmark to close down the Kurdish Satellite station Roj TV, this case against Kurdish political representatives highlights the reality.

The Kurdish Mayors represent the people who voted for them and their concerns.

The very fact that these Kurdish mayors on are on trial at all, shows the contempt that the Turkish government have for the Kurdish people in Turkey.

Here is the letter that the Turkish authorities deem to be supporting ‘terrorism’:

His Excellency Anders Fogh Rasmussen
Diyarbakir, December 27, 2005
Dear Mr. Anders Rasmussen:

This letter is to express our concerns about the ongoing debates and developments around the situation of ROJ TV. As the members of Democratic Society Party (DTP) who are mayors of 56 municipalities located predominantly in the Kurdish-populated regions of Turkey, we are worried about the anti-democratic approaches through which the case of ROJ TV is being handled by Turkish government in the international arena. Unfortunately, we observe that there still exists a fundamental difference between Turkey and the European civilization in matters of freedom of press and expression.

That the ROJ TV broadcasts are aired from Europe is a disturbing fact for us, too. This has been a direct consequence of the constitutional and legal regulations that do not allow for free Kurdish broadcasting in Turkey. It was only thanks to the pressures in the process of Turkey’s integration with the EU that Turkey has granted limited rights for Kurdish language broadcasts, with state television airing 45-minute programmes on a weekly basis. Privately-owned local television stations wanting to broadcast in Kurdish, on the other hand, are still faced with legal and often arbitrary administrative obstacles. As it also well-known by the international community, restrictions on freedom of expression are situated at the heart of the authoritarian political tradition that has repressed any kind of difference in terms of culture, language and identity in Turkey.

We expect the Turkish government to abide by and fulfill the political criteria stated in the Copenhagen Document. So, rather than banning the ROJ TV, we hope that Turkey will eventually legalize, embrace and become a constituent of the voice of ROJ TV. We wish that one day ROJ TV will be able to broadcast from nowhere else but from Istanbul, Ankara or Diyarbakir, and will be only one among many other Kurdish TV stations that will be launched also with the support of Turkish government.

It is a well-known fact that ROJ TV has millions of audiences within and outside Turkey. Whether one agrees or not with the broadcasting policy of the TV station, the content and arguments of its programs, is something to be discussed, and should always be discussed given the fact that free flow of information and ideas is the lifeblood of political debates. But the banning of ROJ TV would not contribute to our efforts to create a truly pluralistic and democratic life in Turkey. We believe that, within the current state of politics, voice of ROJ TV represents a constructive and positive contribution towards the progress of freedom of _expression, that is, one of the essential foundations of European democratic civilization that cannot yet be fully guaranteed within Turkey.

For a truly democratic life to flourish in Turkey, ROJ TV should not be silenced. This is the sincere and common demand of the people we represent at the level of local governments. The elimination of the voice of ROJ TV would mean the loss of an important vehicle in the struggle for democracy, human rights and fundamental freedoms of democratic civilization.

Kind regards,

1- Osman BAYDEMIR Mayor, Diyarbakir Metropolitan President, Union of South-Eastern Anatolia Region Municipalities

2- Husseyin KALKAN Mayor , Batman

3- Ahmet ERTAK Mayor, Sirnak

4- Metin TEKKE Mayor, Hakkari

5- Songol Erol ABDIL Mayor, Tunceli

6- Firat ANLI Mayor, Yenisehir

7-Yurdusev OZSOKMENLER Mayor, Baglar

8-Kutbettin TASKIRAN Mayor, Silvan Bayrambasi

9-Zulfikar KARATEKIN Mayor, KayapInar

10- Nadir BINGOL Mayor, Ergani

11-Abdullah DEMIRBAS Mayor, Surici

12- Sukran AYDIN Mayor, Bismil

13-Fikret KAYA Mayor, Silvan

14-Seyhmus BAYHAN Mayor, Lice

15-Abdullah AKENGIN Mayor, Dicle

16-Mehmet KAYA Mayor, Kocakaya

17-Esat ONER Mayor, Batman Gercus

18-Murat CEYLAN Mayor, Siirt Kurtalan

19-Seyfettin AYDIN Mayor, Siirt Gokbasi

20-Ethem SAHIN Mayor, Urfa Suruc

21-Emrullah CIN Mayor, Viransehir

22-Ismail ARSLAN Mayor, CeylanpInar

23-Huseyin OGRETMEN Mayor, Halfeti

24-Aydin BUDAK Mayor, Cizre

25-Resul SADAK Mayor, Idil

26-Muhsin KONUR Mayor, Silopi

27-Gulcihan SIMSEK Mayor, Van Bostanici

28-Hursit TEKIN Mayor, Semdinli

29-Faik DURSUN Mayor, Beytussebap

30-M.Salih YILDIZ Mayor, Yuksekova

31-Hursit ALTEKIN Mayor, Hakkari Esendere

32-Ayhan ERKMEN Mayor, Mardin Dargecit

33-Cihan SINCAR Mayor, Kiziltepe

34-Molla SIMSEK Mayor, Konya Cihanbeyli Gulyazi

35-Ramazan KAPAN Mayor, Mardin Derik

36- Nuran ATLI Mayor, Mazidagi

37-Mehmet TANHAN Mayor, Nusaybin

38-Ayhan ERKMEN Mayor, Kars Digor Dagpinar

39-M.Selim DEMIR Mayor, Batman Bekirhan

40-A. Kadir AZAOGLU Mayor, Kiziltepe Senyurt

41-A.Kerim ADAN Mayor, Mardin YalImlI

42-Zeyniye ONER Mayor, Savur

43-Demir CELIK Mayor, Mus Varto

44-Tahir KAHRAMANER Mayor, Malazgirt

45-Ali YILDIZ Mayor, Malazgirt

46-Orhan OZER Mayor, BulanIk Gedik

47-Mukaddes KUBILAY Mayor, Dogubeyazit

48- M.Nezir ARAS Mayor, BulanIk

49-Nusret ARAS Mayor, Igdir HoShaber

50- Leyla GUVEN Mayor, Adana Seyhan Kayadikili

51-Muzaffer YONDEMLI Mayor, AydIn Ovaeymir

52-Osman KESER Mayor, Adana YakapInar

53-Hasan KARAKAYA Mayor, Yaylakonak

54-Seyfettin ALKAN Mayor, Batman BalpInar

55- Burhan KORHAN Mayor, Batman Besiri

56- Fahrettin ASLAN Mayor, Besiri

The result.

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