News July 10, 2006 – Updated on January 20, 2016 Prime Minister warned that terror law changes could impose censorship of Kurdish issues Follow the news on Turkey Turkey’s never-ending judicial persecution of former newspaper editor Reporters Without Borders has written to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan voicing concern about amendments to the anti-terrorism law that have just been passed by parliament. The organisation roundly condemns articles providing for prison sentences for the dissemination of statements and propaganda by “terrorist organisations,” fearing they could lead to arbitrary prosecutions of journalists covering issues related to these organisations.The amendments are sufficiently vague that any member of a news media producing a contested report or article could be prosecuted, especially as several journalists are already charged with collaborating with the successor to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and face stiff sentences for covering military operations or pro-Kurdish demonstrations.Paris, 6 July 2006Dear Prime Minister,Reporters Without Borders, an organisation that defends press freedom worldwide, would like to share with you its concern about the situation of free expression in Turkey, a country currently holding negotiations with a view to joining the European Union. We are worried about amendments to the 1991 Law on the Fight against Terrorism (Act 3713) that were passed by parliament on 29 June, as they introduce new restrictions on press freedom and above all target the pro-Kurdish media, whose very existence your are threatening.Article 6, paragraph 2 of this law now provides for a three-year prison sentence for “any dissemination of statements and communiques by terrorist organisations.” The owners and editors of news organisations risk a heavy fine.Article 7, paragraph 2 of the law says that: “Whoever makes propaganda for a terrorist organisation will be sentenced to five years in prison. If the crime is committed by means of the press, the penalty may be increased by half. Owners and editors will also be sentenced to a heavy fine.”Reporters Without Borders would very much like the term “terrorist organisation” to be precisely defined in order to avoid any abuse of this provision for the purpose of arbitrary arrest or imprisonment. For example, an official list of organisations considered to be terrorist could help avoid misunderstandings.Parliament also added a new article (article 8, paragraph b) providing for “chain liability,” under which, for example, a newspaper report with no byline could result in a prosecution being brought against the editor in charge, the editor-in-chief, the newspaper’s owner, the printer and even the translator if it was translated from another language. The amendment says “persons responsible for a programme” or “persons responsible for an issue of a publication” can be prosecuted and sentenced to heavy fines. Parliament introduced this extremely dangerous concept with the aim of extending the range of editors, executives and others liable for prosecution. The entire chain of command becomes potentially guilty.The persistent legal obstacles to free expression in Turkey have been highlighted by Reporters Without Borders in the past. The government, the armed forces, militant nationalists and any state institution can abuse the law to target journalists commenting on sensitive or controversial issues or episodes in Turkish history such as the Armenian genocide, the withdrawal of the Turkish armed forces from Cyprus or the Kurdish question.The fight against terrorism is, of course, necessary and legitimate, but Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the possible intention of these new amendments. We think they are especially targeted at pro-Kurdish journalists who are often accused of terrorist collaboration with the outlawed Kurdish separatist organisation PKK/Kongra-Gel.We could cite the case of Rüstu Demirkaya, a reporter with the pro-Kurdish news agency DIHA, who has been held in Tunceli prison, in eastern Turkey, since 14 June on a charge of “collaborating with the PKK/Kongra-Gel.” A former PKK activist reportedly accused him of supplying PKK members with a laptop computer and 10 virgin CD-ROMs and of tipping them off about an ongoing military operation. He could be sentenced to up to 12 years in prison.The police handling the investigation have not produced any concrete evidence in support for the allegations made by the former PKK member. It is completely unacceptable that Demirkaya should have to remain in prison while the investigation continues.We could also cite the case Evrim Dengiz and Nesrin Yazar, two young women working for DIHA who were stopped by anti-terrorist police on 15 February in Mersin as they returned from covering a demonstration marking the seventh anniversary of the arrest of the PKK/Kongra-Gel leader Abdullah Öcalan. We have been told that the police took them some distance away from their car, which they then proceeded to search and claimed to have found two home-made petrol bombs inside. Dengiz and Yazar were accused of making the bombs for the demonstration. The judge in charge of the case has classified it on security grounds. The Mersin prosecutor has requested life imprisonment for a “threat against state unity and territorial integrity” under article 302-1 of the criminal code. Their lawyer, Bedri Kuran, who has not been allowed to see the prosecution case file because it has been classified, says the search violated legal procedure because it should have been carried out in a judge’s presence. He also says there is no forensic report on the petrol bombs.Prime Minister, we cannot help being troubled by the speed with which journalists are placed in pretrial custody in Turkey even when the evidence against them is very slim. Free expression and press freedom are inviolable democratic principles that must be respected.We urge you, Prime Minister, to ask parliament to revise the amendments to the Law on the Fight against Terrorism so that they meet international standards.We trust you will give this matter your careful consideration.Respectfully,Robert MénardSecretary-General The Turkish parliament passed amendments to the anti-terrorism law on 29 June introducing new press offences punishable by prison sentences. Reporters Without Borders asks the prime minister to send the amendments back to parliament for revision so that censorship of Kurdish issues does not definitively take hold in Turkey. RSF_en TurkeyEurope – Central Asia Human rights groups warns European leaders before Turkey summit News Receive email alerts to go further TurkeyEurope – Central Asia Organisation April 28, 2021 Find out more April 2, 2021 Find out more News Help by sharing this information News April 2, 2021 Find out more Journalists threatened with imprisonment under Turkey’s terrorism law
RelatedPosts EPL: Foxes attack Burnley Aguero could be out of action until November, Guardiola says David Silva recovers from COVID-19 Sergio Aguero is set to undergo knee surgery this week after suffering an injury during Manchester City’s win over Burnley on Monday evening.The Argentina international was forced off with a knee problem shortly before half time at the Etihad Stadium as Pep Guardiola’s side sealed a comfortable 5-0 victory. But Aguero is now expected to miss the remainder of City’s Premier League campaign with the striker’s father, Leonel Del Castillo, confirming that surgery is due to take place in Barcelona this week.“His knee was already hurting and he got it stuck during the game,” Aguero’s father told Radio La Red.“They believe it’s the meniscus, although they will do an MRI to confirm it.“I estimate that they will operate on him in Barcelona on Thursday or Friday.“The doctors knew that this could happen to him at any time. “He wants to have a quick operation now to see if he can be available for the Champions League.”Speaking after City’s win over Burnley, Guardiola was sceptical over Aguero’s chances of playing again this season.“I’m not a doctor, but it doesn’t look good,” he said. “He felt something in his knee. He has struggled in the last month, some pain in his knee, so we will see.”Tags: BurnleyEngilsh Premier LeagueInjuryKnee SurgeryManchester CitySergio Aguero
LA MIRADA – Thanksgiving came early this year, as it always does for the Foster Road Elementary School community – at least, as it has for the last seven years.The school held its eighth annual community feast for about 650 people on Tuesday – a dinner of turkey, potatoes and vegetables. But dessert was the celebration of the the modernization project that has brought air conditioning, white boards and new windows to the classrooms.Both the feast and the modernization are worth celebrating, said parent Araceli Manzo, who has two sons attending Foster Road.“It’s great that community gets together,” Manzo said. “We get to know the teachers. It also produces good family values. You’re bonding with your children.”And the $4.2 million improvement project, which also includes a new media center and renovation of the rest rooms, is just icing on the cake, she said.“The air conditioning is great,” she said. “The children will feel better on a hot summer day.”Foster Road is among six schools in the Norwalk-La Mirada Unified School District where modernization has been completed.The work is being paid from a $165 million bond issue voters authorized in November 2002 and $85 million in state matching funds.The district has been holding celebrations at each school where modernization has been completed, but Foster Road combined that with its annual free Thanksgiving feast.“It’s our way of thanking everybody for supporting us,” Principal Jean Maddox said of the feast.La Mirada city donated the turkeys, the school staff donated vegetables and the PTA donated the potatoes, Maddox said.The feast also brings the community together, said parent Teresa Gonzalez.“I get to see a lot of people I don’t see every day,” Gonzalez said. “It’s a time to get together. I love it.”The new classrooms also were a hit with parents and students.“I like the air conditioning,” said fourth-grader Mustafa Aly, 9. “When it gets hot, you can turn it on.” [email protected](562)698-0955, Ext. 3022 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!