ORHAN KEMAL CENGİZ

Let’s send all Kurds to prison

First, we need to read the news coverage and I will explain its source and give other »»

First, we need to read the news coverage and I will explain its source and give other details later:

“Amid intense operations against the KCK [Kurdistan Communities Union], the alleged urban organization of the terror organization PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party], the KCK broke its silence when the number of arrests reached an unusually high level. A KCK official, speaking on unanimity, recalled that nearly 7,000 members were arrested in the operations. He added: ‘Now we see that 7,000 people were arrested as KCK members. But our records show that we have 300-500 members at most. Believe me, we do not understand when these people joined us.’

“A high-level KCK official who noted that they suspected their organization had lost control at some point said: ‘Now these KCK arrests have started; we thought it would not last long and be over in three to four operations. In the end, the organizational scheme is out there; the members of our organization are all known; we thought that our members would fill only two buses. But then we realized that we do have thousands of members. We have a young boy in our headquarters who keeps the books and records of the organization. I asked him why he has not kept records of these members. The kid has no idea. But I would like to announce that we have initiated an inquiry to address this and we will find out who is responsible for the mix-up.’

“The KCK official, noting that they are actually pleased with having people from different backgrounds and professions as members, also said: ‘I do not know how we have come this far. The organization has grown to include academics, writers, journalists and lawyers. For instance, I personally do not know, but the interior minister has announced that we have performance artists as members. Of course it would have been better if we had been informed about it, but I am still proud to serve as an administrator in such a large organization.’

“At the end of his statement, he addressed the members of the organization who he has not yet met, saying: ‘Look! Come to us before it is too late to discuss who you are and what you are doing for us. We will not know that you exist unless you get arrested. We believe that someday all will become KCK members’.”

This is in fact fake news from a web group called Zaytung, which produces black humor and satire about political developments in Turkey. I think the way they prepared this news explains very well what is really going on in the KCK case in Turkey. There is no doubt that the KCK is an illegal organization, it resorts to violence and uses terrorist methods. However, every day our police arrest thousands and thousands of Kurds in connection with this organization. In just one month, hundreds upon hundreds of people were put in prison for their alleged membership in the KCK. They are lawyers, medical students, intellectuals, mayors, politicians and so on. Zaytung is making brilliant satire out of this weird situation by referring to a so-called KCK official who seems to be very surprised to realize that they have so many members.

We have terrible anti-terror laws that have very vague definitions about being a member of a terrorist organization, acting on behalf of it, making propaganda for it and so on. These terribly vague provisions of these laws are also interpreted in such a terribly poor way by our courts, and we have so many people in prison, especially in the case of the KCK. Aysel Tuğluk, a member of Parliament, has received a 14.5-year prison sentence for speeches she made on various occasions in a number of different places. The court punished her for her support of the KCK and PKK. I have difficulty in finding the appropriate words for this outrageous prison sentence.

We should get rid of our Counterterrorism Law (TMK) as soon as possible. We really do not need it. We have the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which has relevant articles and definitions of all crimes covered by the TMK. Getting rid of the TMK is not enough. Our judges and prosecutors need serious education on the meaning and scope of freedom of expression. They really need to understand that unless someone provokes people to violence in very concrete terms or producing hate speech towards vulnerable groups, no one should be punished for their words. The judiciary and police are not solving the terrorism problem; with all this fuss, they are just feeding it!

2012-06-14

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Columnist:: ORHAN KEMAL CENGİZ