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Insulting Turkishness

Insulting Turkishness law used to repress


Update: Insults and censorship...

Perhaps Erdogan now sees that his nasty attempts to bully those who insult him has achieved nothing beyond alienating the people of Europe

Link Here3rd August 2016
Full story: Insulting Turkishness...Insulting Turkishness law used to repress
Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he is dropping all lawsuits against those charged with insulting him. Speaking at an event in Ankara Erdogan said he was withdrawing all the lawsuits for insults against his person:

For one time only, I will be forgiving and withdrawing all cases against the many disrespects and insults that have been levelled against me.

I feel that if we do not make use of this opportunity correctly, then it will give the people the right to hold us by the throat. So I feel that all factions of society, politicians first and foremost, will behave accordingly with this new reality, this new sensitive situation before us.

Hundreds of people have been charged with insulting the president, including on social media.

Erdogan also lashed out at the west for failing to show solidarity with Ankara over a failed coup and said countries who worried more about the fate of the perpetrators than Turkey's democracy could not be friends. He commented on a European lack of support against the recent coup:

Not a single person has come to give condolences either from the European Union ... or from the west.


See  article from

Erdogan's reconciliatory gesture did not receive instant goodwill for the dictatorial president. A German satirical magazine mocked Turkish President's post-coup crackdowns by publishing a cover showing a sausage photoshopped over his groin area. The front page reads:

Erdogan's stressed: Even his penis is staging a putsch.

On its Facebook page, the magazine has advised fans to buy the August issue before the Chancellor Tayyip Merkel bans Titanic.

Cologne Rally

See  article from

Political censorship has also reared its head in the west due to the shear number of Turks living in Europe. Turkey has condemned a German court decision banning president Recep Tayyip Erdogan from addressing his supporters by video link at a rally of tens of thousands of Cologne.

Tensions have been running high among Germany's three million-strong Turkish population in the wake of last month's failed coup and authorities deployed 2,700 police officers on the streets of the Rhineland city on Sunday to keep the peace. Amid fears that the crowds could be riled by live screenings of speeches from Turkey by politicians including Erdogan, Germany's constitutional court banned an application for such broadcasts.

A statement from the Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said the ban was unacceptable .

Tense in the Netherlands

See article from

More than ever before, Turks all over the world have seen their diaspora communities divided between supporters and critics of Erdogan.

At around half a million people, the Netherlands has one of the largest Turkish communities in Europe. In the days after the coup, thousands of Dutch Turks took to the streets in several cities to show their support for the Turkish president. Turks critical of the Erdogan government had told media that they're afraid to express their opinions due to rising tensions.

People suspected of being supporters of the opposition Gulen movement, led by Erdogan's US-based opponent and preacher Fethullah Gulen, which has been accused of being behind the coup attempt, have been threatened and physically assaulted in the streets. The mayor of Rotterdam, a city with a large Turkish community, urged Dutch-Turks to remain calm and ordered increased police protection of Gulen-aligned Turkish institutions.

Offsite Article: President Erdogan's attempts to silence Turkish satirists not working

6th August 2016. See  article from

"The legal assault on cartoonists in Turkey has really been unprecedented over the past few years under Erdogan. One cartoonist, Musa Kart , was sued by Erdogan for a 2004 drawing that portrayed the Turkish president as a kitten and for another cartoon that portrayed him as a bank robber. "[Kart] told me that's there's no serious journalist or cartoonist who doesn't who doesn't have a case against him or her in the country.

...Read the full article from



Update: An uneuropean law...

Man falls victim to Turkey's lese majeste laws for likening Erdogan to Gollum

Link Here25th June 2016
Full story: Insulting Turkishness...Insulting Turkishness law used to repress
A Turkish man has been found guilty of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for likening him to the Gollum character from the Lord of the Rings .

A court gave Rifat Cetin a suspended one-year jail sentence and stripped him of parental custody rights.

He has insisted his images, comparing Erdogan with the grotesque-looking Gollum in 2014, were harmless. In 2014, Cetin published on Facebook three photos of Erdogan, then a prime minister, beside three pictures of Gollum with similar facial expressions.

Article 299 of the Turkish penal code states that anybody who insults Turkey's president can face a prison term of up to four years.

However, Cetin said he would appeal because Erdogan was not president at the time the pictures were published, Turkish media report.



Update: Model persecution...

Turkish celebrity given suspended prison sentence for sharing a post insulting King Erdogan

Link Here2nd June 2016
Full story: Insulting Turkishness...Insulting Turkishness law used to repress
An Turkish court has found the well known model, Merve Buyuksarac, guilty of insulting a public official, after she shared a poem on her Instagram account in 2014 that was deemed insulting to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the country's president. She was given a 14 month suspended prison sentence.

Ms Buyuksarac was one of thousands of people to share the poem, which did not mention Mr Erdogan - who was then prime minister - by name, but alluded to a corruption scandal that allegedly involved his family.

Her lawyer, Emre Telci, said he would file a formal objection to the verdict and appeal her case at the European Court of Justice. Telci said:

These insult trials are being initiated in series, they are being filed automatically. Merve was prosecuted for sharing a posting that did not belong to her.

The case against Ms Buyuksarac is one of almost 2,000 defamation suits that have been brought against critics of Erdogan since he became president in 2014. The trials have targeted journalists, academics and even schoolchildren. Free speech advocates say the law is being used aggressively to silence and intimidate critics.



Hardly appreciating the tolerance to lampoonery expected of an EU leader...

Erdogan gets nasty with a social media user who spotted a resemblance to Gollum

Link Here3rd December 2015
Full story: Insulting Turkishness...Insulting Turkishness law used to repress
 Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been showing anything but an appreciation of the qualities of tolerance required of an EU state, but then again, he has Mrs Merkel where he wants her in a rather painful figure four leg lock.

Anyway Erdogan is threatening to jail one of his citizens for a bit of jocular lampooning on social media. The poor unfortunate victim merely posted a couple of images likening Erdogan to Gollum from the Lord of the Rings.

Turkish doctor Bilgin Çiftçi could face a two-year jail sentence if he is found guilty of insulting the state official on social media -- a court has been tasked with deeming whether or not the comparison to Gollum is indeed an insult.


16th November

Update: When is a Dictator Not a Dictator?...

By dictate of the Turkish establishment

Nagehan Alci is a young Turkish journalist who writes a column for the mainstream daily Aksam and appears regularly prominent on news channels, including CNN Turk. She is, by all definitions, a secular liberal. Yet Mrs. Alci said something on TV last week that enraged millions of secular Turks. During a discussion on Turkish political history, she referred to Ataturk, Turkey's founder  father, as a ' dictator'.

Then it took less than a day for a campaign to culminate against her in the media. The National Party, a die-hard defender of the Ataturk cult, called on the whole Turkish nation to protest this insult. Kemalist columnists in various papers wrote angry pieces that bashed Alci and passionately argued why Ataturk, the Supreme Leader, was never a dictator.

Moreover, a Turkish prosecutor initiated an investigation into Alci's comment for possible violation of the Law to Protect Ataturk. It is very probable, in other words, that Alci might be tried for insulting Ataturk, which is a serious crime in Turkey that can put you in jail for six years.

The funny thing, of course, is that the term dictator is not an insult but a political definition, and Ataturk really fits into that quite nicely. From 1925, when he initiated the single party regime, to his death in 1938, he ruled Turkey with the perfect dictatorial style: he banned all opposition parties, closed down even civil society organizations (from Sufi orders to freemasons), and did not allow a single critical voice in the media. You just need Politics 101 to call this regime a dictatorship.

Of course, Ataturk cannot be considered in the same camp with the more notorious dictators of his age, such as Hitler or Stalin, who were ruthless mass-murderers. When compared to such figures, Ataturk was a very mild autocrat. Hence historian Ahmet Kuyas,, who has genuine sympathy for Ataturk and his heritage, argues that he must be called a good dictator. Yet a dictator, nonetheless.


31st July

Update: First of Several...

Hrant Dink killer sentenced to 23 years in jail

A Turkish court has sentenced the trigger-man in the 2007 murder of International Press Institute (IPI) World Press Freedom Hero Hrant Dink to almost 23 years in prison.

A juvenile court in Istanbul imposed nearly the maximum sentence on ultranationalist Ogun Samast, who was 17 at the time of Dink's killing, after convicting him of premeditated murder and carrying an unlicensed gun Samast gunned down Dink, the editor-in-chief of Armenian-Turkish newspaper Agos, in broad daylight outside of Dink's office in Istanbul.

Dink had received numerous death threats from Turkish nationalists who viewed his journalism as treacherous. He had also faced legal problems for denigrating Turkishness under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code in his articles about the massacre of Armenians during the First World War.

IPI Director Alison Bethel McKenzie said: We welcome the conviction and sentence of Mr. Dink's murderer, and we hope it brings a measure of closure to his family. Nevertheless, we call on Turkish authorities to hold all those involved in this heinous crime accountable, from those who facilitated it to the masterminds who ordered it.

A hearing is currently scheduled this Friday in the trial of 18 other defendants charged with involvement in the murder. Their cases were separated from the case against Samast due to his age at the time of the slaying.

Update: Instigator jailed

21st January 2012. See  article from

A court in Turkey has sentenced a man to life in prison for instigating the 2007 killing of prominent Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink.

The judge sentenced Yasin Hayal to life but acquitted 19 others of a charge of being part of a terrorist group. His teenage killer, Ogun Samast, was jailed for 22 years last year.

After the verdict, a crowd of about 500 people including members of Dink's family marched to the spot where he was shot dead to protest at what they said was state collusion.

Dink's supporters say they have uncovered evidence that suggests involvement by state officials and police in his murder. But, they say, repeated requests to have those officials investigated have been ignored, and in some cases important evidence has been destroyed.


8th November

Update: Failed, Must do Better...

EU annual report criticises Turkey over lack of media freedom

The European Union on Tuesday will criticize Turkey sharply over the rising number of prosecutions against journalists in an annual progress report on the country's bid to join the bloc, said a person familiar with the draft.

The attack on Turkey's press-freedom record is likely to further embarrass the country's Islamic-leaning government, which this week takes over the six-month rotating chair of the Council of Europe, the Continent's top human-rights body. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has hailed that development as testament to the level of democracy in Turkey.

But according to Turkish and international press watchdogs, media freedoms—a key right underpinning democratic systems—are getting significantly worse in Turkey. Reporters without Borders this year ranked Turkey 138th in terms of media freedom, out of 178 countries—down from 98th out of 167 in 2005.

The Justice Ministry, in written answers to questions, said, Turkey is a democratic state, governed by the rule of law, in which press freedoms are guaranteed by the constitution. But the ministry acknowledged that the rise in cases was a problem. At this moment, our ministry is preparing a draft that foresees the amending of some articles concerning the press in the Turkish Penal Code, the Justice Ministry wrote, singling out the articles on secrecy of investigations, personal privacy and the attempt to affect a fair trial.

The ministry also noted that in 2008 it amended the penal code's Article 301, which penalized anyone who publicly denigrated Turkishness, the military, courts or government. Ethnic Armenian journalist Hrant Dink was prosecuted under Article 301 in 2006, and was assassinated soon afterward. Since 2008, prosecutors need permission from the Justice Ministry to open a case under Article 301, and new prosecutions have come to a near halt as a result.


11th March

Update: Dogged by Censorship...

British artist given suspended fine over depiction of Turkish PM as a dog

A British artist has accused Turkey of censorship after an Istanbul court fined him almost $4,500  for caricaturing the country's prime minister.

Artist Michael Dickinson displayed in 2006 an illustration that superimposed the head of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan onto the body of a dog.

The court suspended the fine, on the condition that Dickinson does not produce similar art for the next five years.

It's censorship. It's a threat. It's punishing people who are expressing their opinion, Dickinson told dpa, the day after the verdict was handed down. There is a lack of freedom in a country where journalists can be arrested or cartoonists fined for expressing their opinion, said the artist, who has been living in Turkey for the last 23 years.

Dickinson's illustration was first shown as part of an Istanbul anti-war exhibition. The artist was later arrested and charged with insulting the Turkish prime minister. A local court initially acquitted Dickinson in 2008, but a state prosecutor asked that the case be reopened.


5th February

Update: Turkishness Insults Europe...

OSCE unimpressed by Turkeys repressive censorship law

A senior official at the world's largest intergovernmental organization focusing on media freedoms has lambasted Turkey for imposing restrictions on Internet sites and criticized media accreditation methods to ban reporters from attending press conferences.

The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) media representative Miklos Haraszti told Today's Zaman in Strasbourg last week that Turkey needs to reform or abolish Law 5651, commonly known as the Internet Law, which restricts access to popular Web sites including video-sharing Web site YouTube. He also warned that changes made to notorious Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), which makes it a crime to attack the Turkish nation in the media, are inadequate and that the government simply needs to get rid of that law.

It puts Turkey in bad company with countries like Iran and China, though Turkey is basically a free country, Haraszti said, stressing that Turkey should either reform or abolish the Internet Law in its current form. He warned that the practice is simply not in line with OSCE commitments and other international standards on freedom of expression. The government does have tools to go after illegitimate sites and punish those who violate laws. But do not block whole access to Web sites. It is not solving problems, he remarked.


1st February

Update: Turkishness Insults Europe...

Council of Europe unimpressed by Turkeys repressive censorship law

Andrew McIntosh, the author of a report on media freedom for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), has warned that Turkey is in violation of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and as such the European Court of Human Rights may impose sanctions on Turkey for its notorious Article 301, which restricts freedom of expression for members of the media.

British MP Andrew McIntosh told Today's Zaman: The report is unequivocal about Article 301. It says Article 301 violates Article 10 of the European convention. If a case was started, that opinion, which is the view of PACE, can be tested in the court of law.

The report said the Assembly welcomes amendments made to Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code [TCK] but deplores the fact that Turkey has not abolished Article 301. Criminal charges have been brought against many journalists under the slightly revised Article 301, which still violates Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Turkish deputies, addressing the floor, objected to McIntosh's proposition and claimed that the European court has not made a ruling and that the report erroneously states that the amended article still violates Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Ertuğrul Kumcuoğlu from the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) even tabled an amendment to delete the proposition from the report.

PACE argued that the changes in Article 301 have not substantially reduced the number of court cases in which writers or journalists have been prosecuted for their published opinions.

PACE further recommended that the Committee of Ministers call on the government of Turkey to revise their defamation and insult laws and their practical application in accordance with assembly resolutions. In January 2009 the IPI criticized attempts to prosecute Turkish cartoonists for lampooning senior government figures.


30th June

Stuck on Repression...

British artist flees Turkey after Erdogan insult case re-opened

A British Stuckist artist, Michael Dickinson, has fled Turkey after learning that his acquittal last September, over insulting the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in a collage, has been overturned.

The case gained international media coverage and the acquittal was seen as a step forward in Turkey's human rights record with positive implications for its pending EU application.

The collage Good Boy showed Erdogan as a dog on a stars and stripes leash.

A week ago, a late night news broadcast in Turkey said that the acquittal had been quashed and a new case against Dickinson was pending. He said: I caught a plane out as soon as I could, leaving most of my possessions behind, including my books, furnishings and computer. I was sad to leave after 23 years in Turkey, but I don't fancy another taste of Turkish hospitality in incarceration.

Dickinson is expecting the trial to go ahead in absentia with his being represented by his lawyer.

He is now staying with friends in Durham, UK, where he was born. He said: I came back thinking I would be safe, but I've since learnt that Britain has an extradition treaty with Turkey and that if there was a request, Britain could send me back to Turkey if they so wished. I initially thought this was out of the question, but a number of highly unlikely and controversial extraditions have occurred, so I can't say I even feel secure now in the land of my birth and the land supposedly of free speech.

Charles Thomson, co-founder of the Stuckist art movement of which Dickinson is a member, has campaigned on his behalf, and said, It seems when the media spotlight is on, Turkey becomes remarkably tolerant, and when the international press go away, so do human rights.

Dickinson's problems began in June 2006, in an anti-Iraq War show in Istanbul run by Erkan Kaya of the Peace and Justice Coalition (BAK). Dickinson added to his existing display of work, without Kaya's knowledge, a collage Best in Show , showing Erdogan as a dog being presented with a rosette by President Bush. It was seized by police. As Kaya was facing prosecution for insulting the dignity of the Prime Minister , an offence with a potential jail sentence, Dickinson wrote a letter to the court, saying that it was his responsibility, not Kaya's.

Thomson, wrote to then-Prime Minister of the UK, Tony Blair, asking for intervention. The judge who received Dickinson's letter ruled that Dickinson would not be prosecuted, because of the unwelcome press attention involving the appeal to Blair. Kaya would be prosecuted, however.

In September 2006, Dickinson on his own initiative went to the court for Kaya's case (which was postponed) to protest Kaya's innocence. To draw attention, Dickinson held up outside the court a new collage Good Boy. He was arrested and detained for 10 days in conditions he described as horrific . David Blunkett, then in Istanbul, intervened on his behalf. Dickinson was released, but told he would be prosecuted for the new collage.

In September 2008, Dickinson was acquitted of any offence under article 123/5 insulting the dignity of the prime minister. The judge said he thought that the collage was insulting according to Turkish standards, but not according to standards in the European community, and, as Turkey was trying to join the European community, a collage such as Dickinson's should not be held as a crime, so he felt he had no alternative but to acquit.

Dickinson lost his job teaching English at Istanbul University and found he was blacklisted by other educational establishments. He survived by telling fortunes with runes on the street.

In June 2009, Dickinson found out that the public prosecutor had applied to the court, which had quashed the acquittal on 21 June, and ruled that he case would be heard again. Dickinson immediately left Turkey for the UK.


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