Turkey’s Increasing Dilemmas:
Old Routines, Gezi Park, Ergenekon and the Rule of Self-Censorship


The increasing political and administrative pressures on citizens, the human rights violations, censorship at all aspects of society including the media, jailed journalists, the final so-called Ergenekon verdicts on 5th of August, and the upcoming KCK trials, Turkey is again getting into the dilemma of very serious problems created by itself starkly.  As a fiction writer and representative of PEN (Poets, Essayists and Novelists) International I have chosen not to elaborate on the strictly judicial development and the rule of law in Turkey seen from a technical point of view, and whether the articles in the penal code harmonizes with international standards or not. We have already heard from several distinguished lawyers in what way Turkey falls short of these standards, and I am sure we will have the opportunity to go even further into this complicated but for every society so vital question. As a freedom of expression activist I have decided to concentrate on the human and social aspects of the matter and what, according to my view, the consequences of the recent developments and the present situation are for the citizens of Turkey.

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2 thoughts on “Turkey’s Increasing Dilemmas:Old Routines, Gezi Park, Ergenekon and the Rule of Self-Censorship

  1. Patrick

    A very important and to-the-point analysis to understand what Turkey has gone through in the past and what is going on in Turkey today! Thanks to Research Turkey for publishing such realities with no fear considering the current authoritarianism in Turkey! Best wishes from Denmark.

  2. (Dr.) Zeki Ergas

    I know Eugene Schoulgin for quite a few years now. We met at several PEN congresses and PEN Writers for Peace conferences. I think we are friends. And I know he certainly is a friend of Turkey, He has lived in Istanbul for more than six years. He knows Turkey well. I myself am bi-national: Turkish and Swiss, and I have been Secretary General of Swiss Romand PEN for more than seven years. I also have lived in Israel for 3 years, in various countries in sub-Saharan Africa for five years, and in the U.S. for seven years. I am a teacher of development and a writer. I agree with Eugene that the human rights and freedom expression situation is dire, and that it has deteriorated significantly in the last few years. But still, I would like to make two remarks that I consider important: 1. Turkey is not the country it was ten years ago: it has industrialized, it is an important player in international politics, and the standard of living has improved notably for most people; 2. The civil society has developed enormously. That is a sign of maturation and democratization. So whatever happens to the current leader and the AKP in the forthcoming elections, these are achievements that must be acknowledged. So, we must fight for human rights and freedom of expression, yes, but we must also view societal developments in their totality.


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