Dear Friends, The following letter comes from Aram Publishing House in Turkey. We call all people to participate in their petition campaign at http://www.aramyayincilik.org/
Signed, Michael Albert, Noam Chomsky, and John Pilger --- Letter From Aram Fatih Tas, the owner of Kurdish Aram Publishing House in Turkey faces 6.5 years of punishment in prison if he is not acquitted at his next trial 2nd December 2005 in Istanbul court. He's being prosecuted for having published a book by John Tirman, director of international studies in MIT. The Turkish translation of the book "Spoils of War: Human Cost of America's Arms Trade" by John Tirman, published in Turkey by Aram Puplishing House, is being prosecuted by the Attorney-General on an indictment presented by him to the Court of Istanbul. "Spoils of War" is about the foreign policy of United States regarding the Persian Gulf. John Tirman criticizes US policy for having militarized countries in the region by selling them weapons and thus preventing them from carrying on domestic democratic reforms. Turkey, one of these countries, has been hampered by this American policy for several decades and when confronted with a Kurdish rebellion in 1984, tried to solve the problem by military means, relying on arms imported from the US. The result was one the worst atrocities of the 1990's. The indictment selects those phrases in Tirman's book describing the heavy human rights violations committed by the Turkish military in the 1990's and charges the book for "having publicly humiliated Turkishness, the Turkish army, securities forces" and so on. The human rights violations documented in the book are mostly taken from interviews by the author with the victims themselves or from reports of human right organizations. The indictment charges also that the book insulted the memory of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (the founder of the Turkish Republic and whose surname means "Father of Turks") by describing his nationalism, that is, the official ideology of Turkey, as a version of fascism. His ideology and moral personality is protected by a special law in Turkey. The ministry of justice requested the punishment of the owner of Aram publishing house because of the content of the book. The indictment says that - In the beginning of the book there is a map showing a large part of eastern Turkey as the "traditional Kurdish region." - In the chapter entitled "Trajectory of Tragedy", it's written that soldiers beat people living in the southeastern region of Turkey (the indictment means "the Kurds"), took their goods, burned their houses; people have been intimidated by military helicopters, large numbers of people have been forcefully evacuated from their homes by the Turkish army. - The 7th chapter of the book, "Turkish Option", insulted the memory of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk with his nationalism described as "fascism." - In the chapter entitled "Turkey's war with itself", it's written that Armenians and Kurds have been killed in Turkey, during the 1930's in Dersim (an eastern city of Turkey), and that during 1961 in Mardin, Diyarbakir, Van, and other southeastern cities of Turkey large numbers of people (again meaning Kurds) have been killed by Turkish army and securities forces. - In the chapter entitled "The Terrible Reckoning: Turkey 'White Genocide'", it's written that beginning by 1993, a war has been carried on by technological means against the PKK (Kurdish Workers' Party) rebellion and Kurdish independence and a genocide has been applied to the Kurds; this chapter also gives place to the peace proposals offered by the leader of the divisive organization; it's also written that the Turkish parliament and prime minister have been forced to embrace some policies by the chief of the general staff; 33 soldiers have not been killed indeed by PKK, but they have been killed by some other people and PKK has been wrongly accused; it's also written that by the aid of 57 Black Hawk helicopters bought from United States during 90's the Turkish army could obtain military superiority, and by means of these possibilities the army could determine the places of PKK groups and fight a war against them, (the pro-Kurdish) daily newspaper called "Ozgur Gundem" (Free Agenda) and other similar media have been censored by the government, villages have been forcefully evacuated by the army, people have been thrown from flying helicopters, villagers and their houses have been burnt, the offices of the daily newspaper "Ozgur Gundem" have been bombed (by covert security forces), and Kurdish children are being assimilated to the Turkish identity and to Kemalizm (the official ideology of Turkey) as it's called in the book by means of "white genocide", they have not been permitted to live their own cultural identity. And by saying the above, paragraphs 1 and 2 of the Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code have been violated, that is, Turkishness, Turkish Republic, Turkish soldiers, and Government have been publicly (by means of publication) humiliated; those institutions are shown as if they adopted a common policy against people living in the southeastern part of Turkey and as if they maltreated them; and while these points have been claimed in the book, the actions by the members of the illegal organization (of PKK) against soldiers and civilians have not been considered and dismissed. And also the articles 1/1 and 2 of the law numbered 5816 have been violated by insulting the memory of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and showing him as a "heavy drinker" and "sexually promiscuous" and his nationalism has been described as a version of fascism. As a result, by reason of the fact that the author of the book lives in United States, it's decided to bring a lawsuit against the owner of the publishing house and although the suspect said that the content of the book remains within the limits of legitimate criticism, the attorney-general of press found out that by assessing the book as a whole, it's understood that its content is far from criticism and the suspect should be punished by having violated the related articles of Law and the books should be seized. ([article 301 of the Turkish penal code]: the first paragraph prohibits the public humiliation of Turkishness, Turkish Republic or Turkish Grand National Assembly and which prescribes imprisonment from 6 months to 3 years. The second paragraph prohibits the public humiliation of the government of Turkish Republic, the judiciary of Turkish state and military and security organization of the Turkish state and prescribes imprisonment from 6 months to 2 years. [Articles 1/1 and 2 of the law numbered 5816]: prohibit publicly insulting to the memory of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and prescribe imprisonment from 1 year to 3 years and if the crime is committed by means of press, then the punishment is increased by a ratio of a half (that is, the owner of Aram publishing house could be punished to 4.5 years imprisonment.) ===================================This message has been brought to you by ZNet (http://www.zmag.org). Visit our site for subscription options.