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<nettime> Fw: Turkey Prosecutes Chomsky Publisher
Gita Hashemi on Wed, 30 Jan 2002 00:57:54 +0100 (CET)


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<nettime> Fw: Turkey Prosecutes Chomsky Publisher


http://news.independent.co.uk/world/europe/story.jsp?story=116073

Turkey prosecutes Chomsky publisher for essay on Kurds

By Robert Fisk, Middle East Correspondent

24 January 2002

Noam Chomsky, one of America's greatest philosophers and linguists, 
has become the target of Turkey's chief of "terrorism prosecution".

Scarcely two months after the European Union praised Turkey for 
passing new laws protecting freedom of expression, the authorities in 
Ankara are using anti-terrorism legislation to prosecute Mr Chomsky's 
Turkish publisher.

Fatih Tas of the Aram Publishing House faces a year in prison for 
daring to print American Interventionism, a collection of Mr 
Chomsky's recent essays including harsh criticism of Turkey's 
treatment of its Kurdish minority.

Mr Chomsky, a linguistics professor at Harvard, is planning to fly to 
Turkey for Mr Tas's first court appearance on 13 February and has 
already written to the offices of the United Nations high 
commissioner for human rights, pointing out that amendments to 
Turkish law were supposed to have provided greater freedom of 
expression, not less.

Mr Chomsky plans to visit the Turkish city of Diyarbakir to meet 
Kurdish "activists" and it will be a test of Turkey's freedoms to see 
if he is allowed to visit the area.

In one of his essays, originally a university lecture, he says that 
"the Kurds have been miserably oppressed throughout the whole history 
of the modern Turkish state ... In 1984, the Turkish government 
launched a major war in the south-east against the Kurdish population 
... The end result was pretty awesome: tens of thousands of people 
killed, two to three million refugees, massive ethnic cleansing with 
some 3,500 villages destroyed."

This, according to the Turks, constitutes an incitement to violence. 
Mr Chomsky has been suitably outraged, regarding the trial as part of 
a much broader wave of repression directed against Kurds appealing 
for greater use of the Kurdish language. Bekir Rayif Aldemyr, 
Turkey's chief prosecutor, claims that the Chomsky essay "propagates 
separatism".

A spiky, inexhaustible academic of Jewish origin who has been an 
inveterate critic of Israel and especially of the United States, Mr 
Chomsky's condemnation of Turkey's treatment of the Kurds - and of 
the vast arms shipments made to Turkey by the United States - was 
bound to enrage Ankara.

Mr Chomsky describes the prosecution as "a very severe attack on the 
most elementary human and civil rights". The EU, so impressed by 
those changes in Turkish law last November, has remained silent.
-- 
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