Kurdistan Bloggers Union Comments on the Turkish Penal Code - Kurdistan Bloggers Union

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Friday, October 01, 2004 

Comments on the Turkish Penal Code

I thought about just adding this in the comments section, but I changed my mind. Also I would have remarked on this earlier but I had my wisedom teeth taken out on Monday and I have been in a drug induced stupor.

First of all I need everyone to note that I do not agree with Turkish law, however, the revision of the penal code is a step in the right direction for the Turkish government.

Turkish law is a lesson in sematics, on the surface it appears to grant a lot of rights, but the their documents were made with "loopholes" in place. From a legal standpoint all of the villages destroyed in the southeast, all of the torture that has gone on, is COMPLETELY LEGAL according to their law code. The Emergency Rule law basically gives the military commander in charge absolute control, and releases them from liability afterwards. Did you know that also under Turkish law if you are a victim of torture you can seek compensation from the government (or if a relative was killed under torture)? Not many do because most are scared to even approach the subject. In order to get into the EU, Turkey can no longer use the Emergency Rule law, so they have fallen back on their Anti-Terror law. Which is evil. (Unfortuately I don't have the code in front of me, I will try to find it later when I get home and I will post it in the comments.) Article 8 basically says that if you even "think" badly against the state that you could face 15-20 years in prison. How does one defend themselves against their own thoughts?

In order for the EU to accept Turkey they also need to revise the Anti-Terror law and that is what they have done with this new revision. There is nothing new in the codes, because people have been tried and convicted on the same issues, just labeled under a different heading. However, these new codes have limits placed upon them. This is good. The situation is still awful, but at least now they are trying to make it a little more legit. What I find very interesting is the new restrictions on the media, it has always been something left unsaid, but now the government is making a very clear stance on freedom of the press. Also the unsettling addition is the outlining of the provisions that a citizens behavior while abroad can and will be taken in a court of law. So all of our activists friends in the diaspora can still be held accountable for some pretty hefty crimes in the eyes of the Turkish government.

Here is another thing that bothers me. Leyla Zana and friends are going to be re-tried later this year. Now that the penal code has changed, they can again charge her with the exact same unfair charges, but since they are new laws it is fair game. The trial will be the same as before, hopefully they will only convict her of time served.

So the penal code is good and bad. It is good because the massive loopholes are severely restricted, this leaves you with a little sense of where exactly you stand when you are counting up your crimes. It is bad because nothing has changed.

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