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Letter from Aram

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
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.)
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