Eren Keskin, a member of HRA’s Central Executive Committee and a human rights activist, said ‘the state has a wild mentality which is confirmed by the killing of a 12-year old boy. Turkey has to be brought to book, the history of Turkey is an unclean history.’ She stated this in a panel on human rights organised by DEHAP’s Çerkezköy District Chairmanship on the date of 20.02.2005 and because of these words has been punished by TCK Article 301, which refers to insulting the Republic of Turkey. The 10-month prison sentence will lead to immediate incarceration without any postponement or deferment of the announcement of the verdict. We condemn this judgment.
This judgment shows that during the AKP period there have not been any substantial improvements in the area of freedom of expression and speech in Turkey. The ‘blessed state’ mentality continues where people’s rights and freedoms are sacrificed to benefit the state. The ECHR’s decisions in the area of expression freedom of expression in the last 10 years reflect this and that Turkey has returned to forms of judicial practice appropriate for an authoritarian state approach.
Freedom of expression is one of the most fundamental human rights. Furthermore, it is the basis of pluralism and democracy. Turkey’s democracy does not have a pluralistic approach so there are many human rights problems in Turkey. Punishment for people who think differently and speak the truth is not acceptable. The Republic of Turkey should face up to its past and the heavy human rights violations which have been going on since the establishment of the state which were organised by the state itself or government officials and include unidentified murders and extrajudicial executions. In fact, Eren Keskin’s statement was made on the subject of children. If children continue to be murdered in any state, there needs to be a frank examination of the fairness and conscience of that state.
When looking at HRA’s annual reports on human rights violations, one can see that we continue to live in a period in which children are being killed, most recently Nihat, a 12 year-old boy, by police in Cizre. An effective investigation has not been made on this subject and the wild mentality of the state is continuing. The statements by Eren Keskin are very suitable for the present conditions. We continue to make these statements.
Once more we would like to emphasize that there needs to be a reversal of this judgment by the Court of Cassation, and that the judge of Çerkezköy 2. Penal Court of the First Instance who didn’t follow the rules of the ECHR should be investigated by The Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors. We should remove those judges and prosecutors who try to take advantage of every opportunity. Personal rights and freedoms are fundamental and public officials who defend the state against people need to abandon that mentality.
Human Rights Association