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memri
January 6, 2006 No.
1066

Controversial Trials Divide Turkish Society; World Media and E.U. Question AKP Government's Commitment to Freedom of Speech and the Rule of Law

The trial of internationally acclaimed Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, who is charged with "denigrating Turkishness" under the new Turkish Penal Code, and the violent protests by nationalists against Pamuk and E.U. parliamentarians attending his trial, have drawn worldwide attention to the question of the Turkish government's commitment to the principles of democracy, freedom of expression, and the rule of law.

Pamuk's case is one of many recent trials of writers, journalists, and academicians. Also currently underway is the trial of the president of Yuzuncu Yil University in Van, Professor Yucel Askin, for alleged procedural misconduct. Prof. Askin's incarceration is thought by Turkey's secularists to be an attempt by the Islamic government to remove a secular republican president from a university that was known, until he took office in 1999, as a hotbed for Islamists.

In response to remarks critical of Askin's incarceration and trial, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the critics - prominent Turkish businessmen - were guilty of crimes "against the Constitution" and called on state prosecutors to act against them. The very next day, the Ankara Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation against the businessmen; later the investigation was expanded to include 77 university rectors who had also expressed support for Askin.

The following is a review of commentary in the Turkish press on these developments:

Novelist Orhan Pamuk Charged With "Denigrating Turkishness"

Recently, world media attention focused on the trial of internationally acclaimed Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk, whose books have been translated into more than 40 languages. Pamuk, a nominee for the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature, was charged with "denigrating Turkishness" for saying in a February 2005 interview to the Swiss weekly Das Magazin that "one million Armenians and 30,000 Kurds were killed in these lands, and no one dares talk about it but me." His statement is considered an offense according to Article 301 of the new Turkish Penal Code, which stipulates a three-year prison term for such offenses. Some 60 other Turkish journalists and writers are facing similar charges, and seven have already been sentenced.

The E.U. sent a delegation of parliamentarians to follow the trial, which began on December 16, 2005, and has been suspended until February 7, 2006. As Pamuk had made the offending remark before the new penal code came into effect on June 1, 2005, prior to the trial the court sent the case to the Justice Ministry to ask permission to try the defendant, as required by the old law. However, Turkish Justice Minister Cemil Cicek said that he had not received the case file by the day of the trial, and that even so, under the new law the ministry no longer had the authority to decide what to do with the case, and, against all expectations, declined to drop it. [1]

The day the trial began, violent protests broke out inside and outside the courthouse, during which Pamuk and his European parliamentary supporters were verbally and physically attacked by nationalist crowds that cursed them and pelted them with eggs and rocks and attempted to beat them with sticks.

The following are excerpts from related articles in the Turkish media.

*E.U. Commissioner Olli Rehn: "Turkey Itself is on Trial"

Mehmet Ali Birand, a columnist for the centrist, mainstream Turkish daily newspapers Hurriyet, Milliyet, and the English-language Turkish Daily News, wrote: [2]

"It was E.U. Commissioner for Enlargement Olli Rehn who first said, 'It is not Orhan Pamuk, but Turkey itself that is on trial.'

"[...] Rehn is telling the truth. We are putting ourselves on trial. Indeed, it is not Pamuk or the rector of Yuzuncu Yil University in Van, Yucel Askin, who are on trial - these are cases in which the Turkish judiciary is itself on trial.

"[...] The Turkish judiciary must be in harmony with E.U. norms. We should act in accordance with the rules decreed by the E.U. [i.e., the Copenhagen criteria]. [...]"

*PM Erdogan: The E.U. is Interfering With and Pressuring the Turkish Judiciary

On December 17, 2005, all Turkish newspapers reported the statements made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan regarding the trial of Orhan Pamuk: [3]

"[...] According to our constitution, no institution, political party, media, or non-governmental organization has the right to influence or pressure our judiciary. What was done in Van [i.e., in Askin's case] is just as wrong as what happened yesterday in the Sisli [Istanbul] court [i.e., Pamuk's case]. When it suits them [i.e., the E.U.], it's okay; when it does not suit them, it's not okay. This is unacceptable.

"[...] The E.U. parliamentarians' attendance at the trial is in fact putting pressure on the judicial process. Their statements [of criticism] attest to that. This is wrong, and they have no right to do this. Let them go and do the same thing to their European Court for Human Rights [ECHR]. Why don't they go and do the same thing there? There too, law and justice are being trampled. [4] [...]"

*Pamuk Trial Reactions "Damage Turkey"; Trial Reflects Turkey's "Problems With Democracy"

Turkish columnist Derya Sazak of the centrist, secular, mainstream high-circulation daily Milliyet wrote: [5] "[...] In the case of Orhan Pamuk, the Justice Ministry did not pass the test. The judges decided that, given the date of the offense of 'denigrating Turkishness,' Orhan Pamuk should be tried according to the old law, and sent the case [for Justice Ministry authorization], expecting the case to be dropped. [...] With the eyes of the E.U. upon us [...,] the Justice Ministry could have prevented this humiliation of Turkey and take a stand for democracy. But it did not.

"The views from the court were especially damning. With the ultra-nationalist reactions, the limits of the 'right to protest' are crossed and a 'lynch culture' is on the rise. The attacks with eggs, stones and sticks against the vehicle carrying Pamuk showed a new level of violence. This case has damaged Turkey. And we [the Turks] do not deserve the scenes that occurred yesterday."

Columnist Hasan Cemal of Milliyet wrote: [6] "[...] The Orhan Pamuk case and last week's disgraceful events inside and outside the courthouse are not about Turkey's image but about the nature of its regime. [...] In other words, the courthouse scandal is a problem of freedom of expression, rather than of our image.

"Therefore, those who are sincerely worried about Turkey's image should go one step further and show concern about democracy and freedom of expression in this country. They should help create a democratic public opinion in this country. For this, they do not have to agree with Orhan Pamuk. They can be angry with him, or criticize him. They can [continue to] maintain that Pamuk was wrong. But if they defend Pamuk's freedom of speech, which stems from democracy, and if they give a hand to the struggle for democracy, Turkey's image problems also will be solved rather easily.

"[...] Had the political rulers [i.e., the government] done their job well, and amended and corrected the new penal code in light of all the criticism [leveled against it], we would not have witnessed the shameful scenes of last week [i.e., the violence at the courthouse]. This is all about the government. [...]

"There is something wrong with the CHP [opposition party] too. [CHP leader] Deniz Baykal and his friends are running away from the Pamuk case [by not talking about it at all]. Staying away from a case which is about democracy and freedom of expression befits neither them nor their claims to [represent] the leftists and social democrats. A real shame!

"As Murat Belge recently asked in his column [in the Turkish daily Radikal] last Friday, why wasn't there a democratic crowd at the courthouse? Why the indifference? What is boiling in the pot is the struggle for democracy in this country - it is not about Orhan Pamuk's views or his books. It is about a Turkish writer taken to court to face prosecution, and the rise in this country of a mentality hostile to freedom of expression. Where is democratic public opinion?

"If government officials who have ordered the burning of books are condoned, if lynching attempts are described as 'stirred-up national sentiments,' if those who think differently are branded as 'traitors,' and if some aspiring executioners can have columns in some newspapers... it means that things are not going well in that country. [...]"

Columnist Melih Asik of Milliyet wrote in an article titled "Olli's Audacity": [7] "The more Turkey bows its head when dealing with the E.U., the more reckless the other side becomes. An E.U. official named Olli Rehn thinks himself so high that he dares to say, 'It is not Orhan Pamuk, but Turkey itself that is on trial.'.. I don't think Olli Rehn is such a crude and aggressive diplomat; rather, it is Turkey's weakness that permits him to be arrogant in this way.

"Pamuk's words incriminating his country deserved criticism. He was criticized and condemned. [But] a writer should not be tried for this. All democrats of his country share this opinion. The E.U.'s interference in this country's internal affairs, however, is arrogance. No self-respecting country can permit such insults.

"This message is to the individual who said 'Turkey itself is on trial': With this case, it is not Turkey, but the E.U. that is on trial along with Pamuk. Closing your eyes to so many anti-democratic moves [by the Turkish government], forgetting about Van [university] Rector Yucel Askin, and embracing and protecting only Orhan Pamuk prove to us that your democratic and freedom-loving image becomes evident only in anti-Turkish matters. And the shame is on you...[...]"

*"A Rain of Convictions Under Article 301"

As the number of Turkish journalists and intellectuals charged under Article 301 of the new Turkish Penal Code grows, many convictions are being handed down by the courts. Turkish newspapers reported:

"Two [more] writers were sentenced yesterday under Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which is being harshly criticized in Turkey and Europe. [...] An author and a journalist were convicted separately for insulting the state. Zulkuf Kisanak, author of [the novel] Lost Villages, was sentenced to five months in prison, later commuted to a YTL3,000 [US$2,200] fine. Aziz Onder, editor of the far-left monthly Yeni Dunya icin Cagri, was sentenced to a 10-month prison term, later reduced to a fine of YTL6,000 [$4,400]. Both were convicted under Article 301, which makes it a crime to insult Turkishness, the Turkish Republic, or state institutions. [8] Novelist Orhan Pamuk is being tried under the same article." [9]

*Selective Freedom of Expression: "Insulting Turkishness - A Crime. What About Insulting Others?"

While many prominent writers and journalists are being tried for "the crime of denigrating Turkishness," Islamist and ultra-nationalist media continue to denigrate and insult Turkey's minorities. Daily articles and commentaries attack Armenians, Greeks, Kurds, Alawis, Christians, and especially Jews, without any legal action being taken against them. In addition, publications (e.g., Aylik and Kaide) of known terrorist groups such as the IBDA-C - which contain Islamist and jihadist propaganda, extol terrorists like Osama bin Laden and his associates, and spread Holocaust denial and virulent antisemitism - continue to be freely and legally published and sold in Turkey. [10]

Turkish columnist Oral Calislar of the center-left, secular daily Cumhuriyet wrote: [11] "We were astonished when we first saw the draft of the new Turkish Penal Code. The AKP government had presented it as a step taken in order to harmonize with the E.U. [criteria]. According to them [i.e., the AKP government], the goal was to expand individual rights and freedoms. We opposed [the draft bill], but the government hastily passed it through the parliament [...] The debate started after that. TV stations, press associations, [and] columnists argued extensively about the questions [raised by the new law], and they issued many statements [against it]. [...]

"The title of Article 301 of the penal code - that is being used so often recently - reads: 'Denigrating Turkishness, the Republic, the State organs and institutions.' The first clause reads: 'A person who openly denigrates Turkishness, the Republic, or the Grand National Assembly [i.e., Turkey's Parliament] is to be punished with a six-month to three-year prison term.'

"[...] Of course, the more important question is: Why only 'denigrating Turkishness?' For example, [the same act towards] Armenians, Greeks, or any other identity does not constitute a 'crime,' but only when it is about 'Turkishness' do prosecutions begin. We never got an answer to this question.[...]"

Secularist-Islamist Divisions Deepen in Turkey With the Beginning of Askin's Trial

The Turkish media extensively covered the trial in Van of Yuzuncu Yil University (YYU) Rector Yucel Askin, which began December 14, 2005 - over two months after his incarceration. He is facing charges of corruption related to a tender for the purchase of medical equipment and for allegedly "forming a gang to commit a crime" along with nine other faculty members. [12]

Prof. Askin had shared a prison cell with Enver Arpali, YYU deputy secretary-general, who committed suicide on November 13, after four months of incarceration without ever having seen a judge. Following Arpali's suicide, Askin fell ill and was taken to the hospital, where he has been receiving medical treatment while still under guard. [13]

Four days prior to his trial, Askin underwent a heart procedure. Sick and weak, he was accompanied by his doctors at his trial. He answered all the charges against him, but the trial was adjourned until December 29, and until then he remained under guard and behind barred windows in the hospital. While the prosecutor moved to release Askin from custody, the panel of judges declined, with one judge dissenting. (However, at the trial's second session, on December 29, 2005, which Askin did not attend due to his ill health, the panel of judges decided unanimously to release him from incarceration for the rest of the trial.)

On December 15, Askin was tried at another court for charges relating to his possession of historical artifacts. Testimony by museum officials confirmed that Askin had notified and registered all items in his collection, which he had been planning to donate in the future, to a Turkish university. The same day, he was acquitted of these charges.

Askin's trial has divided and polarized Turkish society. The secularists support him and believe he is the victim of a conspiracy, while the anti-secular Islamist circles are leading a campaign against him via newspapers such as Yeni Safak, Vakit, Zaman, and Milli Gazete.

The following are excerpts from articles related to this case.

*"Why is the E.U. Silent When it Comes to Askin?"

Turkish columnist Murat Yetkin of the center-left, liberal daily Radikal wrote: [14] "[...] Pamuk's trial will be attended by many domestic and foreign observers, among them a strong E.U. delegation. Olli Rehn, who is in charge of E.U. Enlargement, recently drew attention to serious problems in Turkey regarding freedom of expression, giving as an example a list of journalists - Burak Bekdil [and] Hrant Dink, along with Orhan Pamuk, Ibrahim Kaboglu, and Baskin Oran from the academic world - to which trials of five more journalists have now been added. [...]

"Recently, however, Turkey's judicial process is having problems beyond those related to freedom of expression. The Askin case has been developing into something larger. [...] The question here is the mistreatment of Prof. Askin, rather than the validity of the charges against him. The passive stance of the E.U. is giving way to various interpretations in the diplomatic and political circles here. The fact that since becoming university rector Askin has broken the control of the various Islamist political groups on campus; the fact that Ramazan Celik, who was university secretary-general before Askin's term, is playing a role in his trial; and the fact that Ramazan Celik is the brother of the current minister of education, Huseyin Celik, bring up the question of whether the E.U. commission is keeping silent in order not to hurt the AKP government. It is said that the AKP government is pleased with the E.U.'s silence about the Van trial."

Columnist Meral Tamer of Milliyet wrote: [15] "When I saw the justified reactions, both in Turkey and abroad, to Orhan Pamuk's trial, and the virulent anti-Turkey statements by E.U. officials that were widely covered in the Western press - while there was complete silence about Prof. Askin - I became very upset.

"It is a scandal for Turkey to prosecute an internationally acclaimed author just because he expressed his views on the issue of the Armenian massacres. The good thing is that the E.U. is raising hell on this subject. Yet it is equally a scandal for the same E.U. - that is so preoccupied with human rights - to practically ignore what is happening in Van.

"I am not acquainted with Askin. I have been following Pamuk for years. Personally, I may stand closer to Pamuk than to Askin. We - especially the intellectuals - must learn to internalize the concept of putting human rights before all personal and political inclinations. If we do not succeed in doing do, we will have to watch many, many political lynchings in this country, in the guise of judicial process."

Columnist Mehmet Ali Birand wrote in Hurriyet, Milliyet and the Turkish Daily News: [16] "Do not torment Yucel Askin: It is unbelievable how Yucel Askin is being treated. You may say 'this is called for by our laws.' Yet there is the public conscience to be considered too. Askin is acquitted by the court of public conscience, but the last word belongs to the judges.

"[...] Does this man [Askin] deserve this kind of treatment? With allegations against him that smell of libel, with his health worsening with each passing day, Yucel Askin remains a prisoner. As if these were not enough, metal bars are placed on his hospital room windows. Please do not say that this is the treatment everyone gets. I know that this is not the case.

"On December 14, Yucel Askin will finally be brought before a court. He has been mistreated for months, his health has suffered [...] This must stop. [...]

"Where are you, E.U. authorities? What I am really curious about is why the voices of E.U. authorities are not being heard throughout this Askin affair. Not a sound.

"If a wind blows regarding the Kurdish issue, they are quick to jump to their feet. If the military says anything, they are quick to respond. Where are they now? [...]"

Columnist Yalcin Bayer of the mainstream, wide-circulation Hurriyet interviewed Mehmet Feyyat, a former state prosecutor and former senator from Van. In the interview, Feyyat said: [17] "The incarceration of Rector [Askin] is a concession to the radical Islamists. [...] The decision to incarcerate [Askin] was arbitrary and unnecessary. Van is full of various [Islamist] radicals, sects, cults, orders, [and] sheiks. The university was under the control of these sects and groups. After the rector and his team arrived, these reactionary groups were removed. This is why they are putting increasingly illegal pressures on him. I hear that they are dancing with joy now that he is under arrest. [...] It is a shame that the rector who opened the way to enlightenment [...] and worked hard to modernize the local population [in Van] is in custody. [...] Van is the home of the [Islamic] radicalism that is spreading throughout Turkey."

Columnist Emin Colasan of the centrist, mainstream Hurriyet wrote: [18] "[...] I also read the columns that these [Islamist media organs] are publishing about Yucel Askin. I have never seen such hatred, vengefulness, and cruelty. In [targeting] Yucel Askin, they are trying to take revenge on anybody who is not like them or does not think like them. They have published scores of lies as news, and misled their readers. If they only could, they would hang Askin. Or, if Askin died in hospital, they would celebrate.

"These people are raving [for blood]. They are devoid of humanity. What they have is not Islam. And they behave like this on almost every issue. These are the staunch supporters of the AKP government ruling us.

"[...] They think their primitive behavior is 'in the name of Allah'! We witnessed them again in Askin's trial. This time, the target of their [Islamist] media was Askin. They poured out the hatred and vengeance in their dark minds upon him. [...] Let me clarify a point, so that our religious [readers] are not offended. These people are not religious. They are religionists [i.e., Islamists].

"[...] We will all watch together [and] we will see whether or not the judiciary is [independent] or is being guided by the political rulers [i.e., the AKP government]."

PM Erdogan Lashes Out at Turkey's Business Leaders, Declares Them Guilty of Crimes Against the Constitution

On December 20, 2005, the High Advisory Council (YIK) of the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) met in Ankara; Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer attended as guest of honor. The top industrialists and businessmen criticized the government on issues ranging from education policy to judicial practices, and said that the ongoing court cases are jeoprdizing Turkey's efforts [towards democratization and pursuit of E.U. membership], [...] and overshadowing Turkey's economic progress.

Following are excerpts from Turkish media reports about statements by Turkey's top businessmen:

"TUSIAD Chairman Omer Sabanci said that Turkey was trying to attain democracy of a mediocre quality, taking two steps forward and one step back in its efforts of democratizations. Sabanci stressed that hurdles impeding freedom of expression should be eliminated, lamenting that channels for democratic participation aren't open to all [...]" [19]

"Sabanci urged the government to assume the political responsibility for the court cases against Orhan Pamuk, [the Armenian journalist] Hirant Dink, and [the newly prosecuted journalistss] Hasan Cemal [Milliyet], Ismet Berkan, Murat Belge, Haluk Sahin and Erol Katircioglu [Radikal] and to make sure that the current laws conform with contemporary democratic standards." [20]

"TUSIAD's High Advisory Council Chair Mustafa Koc said that the treatment accorded to the Rector of Van's Yuzuncu Yil University Yucel Askin could not be condoned, and that his long detention period was unacceptable." [21]

*PM Erdogan: TUSIAD, CHP Committed Constitutional Crime

Tensions between the AKP government and Turkey's biggest business association [TUSIAD] dominated the front pages of Turkish newspapers:

"Prime Minister Erdogan harshly criticized the messages sent during TUSIAD's High Advisory Council meeting. His reaction came on the next day [December 21] when he spoke at the board meeting of the Turkish Union of Chambers and Exchange [TOBB] and later at a CNNTurk TV interview.

"Erdogan said Koc's remarks at the TUSIAD meeting [a day earlier] criticizing the treatment of university rector Yucel Askin, [...] was a constitutional crime. He said, 'It would be better if TUSIAD would comment on business [only]. It is wrong to interfere in the trial process by violating the Constitution. The TUSIAD official had no right to say what he said. [He pulls out a copy of the Constitution.] Article 138 of the Constitution is clear. No one can tell the courts what to do. A constitutional crime has been committed. The main opposition Republican People's Party [CHP] and some institutions have committed the same crime. Action needs to be taken against this [...]'

"During the televised interview later in the day, PM [Erdogan] confirmed that he had called on the prosecutors to take action."

*Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor Launches Investigation Against TUSIAD Executive, Higher Education Council President, CHP Leader, and Turkish Bars Union Chairman and 77 University Rectors

The day after PM Erdogan called on state prosecutors to act against alleged "constitutional crimes," the Ankara Prosecutor's Office launched an investigation against TUSIAD executive Mustafa Koc, CHP Leader Deniz Baykal, and President of the Higher Education Council (YOK) Erdogan Tezic, for their remarks on the ongoing trial of Rector Askin. Later, the investigation was expanded to include 77 other university rectors who had also expressed support for Askin.

Turkey's secular media organs criticized and questioned the move, with some columnists arguing that it was the prime minister who had interfered with the judicial process.

The center-left, liberal Turkish daily Radikal reported: "Erdogan's complaint looks like [a case of] 'instructing' [the prosecutors] [...] Erdogan reacted to Mustafa Koc's remark at the TUSIAD meeting ('the treatment of Rector Askin cannot be condoned') and complained that both TUSIAD and CHP had committed crimes according to Article 138 of the Constitution. It seems that Erdogan's words reached right address with great speed, and Ankara Chief Prosecutor Huseyin Boyrazoglu immediately launched an investigation based on Articles 277 and 288 of the Turkish Penal Code which deal with 'attempted interference with judicial process,' [a crime] which carries a punishment of up to four years of imprisonment [...]" [22]

The Turkish daily Cumhuriyet wrote under the headline "Jet-Speed Investigation": "[...] Erdogan's complaint regarding interference with the judiciary prompted the prosecutor to take action. [...] The AKP government itself has often violated the law in the past by drafting laws that were annulled and rejected by the Constitutional Court for conflicting with the Constitution. Erdogan, who lodged the complaint against Koc and Tezic, has himself made many remarks in the past that contradicted the Constitution." [23]

Columnist Derya Sazak of Milliyet wrote under the title "Intimidation by Fear": "The AKP government is destroying, one by one, the towers of democratic rights and freedoms that were constructed during the E.U. [membership] process. Before the shock of the Pamuk trial and of Article 301 was over, the Prime Minister's call for the prosecutors to act against Mustafa Koc, Erdogan Tezic, and Ozdemir Ozok, and anyone who 'spoke' about the Van rector lead to an investigation. [...] By mobilizing the prosecutors, [Erdogan] is trying to intimidate the universities, the judiciary, the NGOs, the opposition and anybody who does not think like the AKP.

"[...] The prosecutors whom the political leadership called to duty had stayed out of [the Askin case] for over two months. [Then] Erdogan raised his voice, and on the following day they started investigating. This fact alone gives new meaning to the searches made at Askin's residence during the summer. For months, neither the Prime Minister nor the Justice Minister had lifted a finger 'in the name of law.' Unexpected support for Koc came from the [leftist] Revolutionary Syndicated Workers' Association [DISK]. DISK President Suleyman Celebi said 'I would sign my name to anything Koc said. If there is need, we would also demonstrate [en masse].' [...] This shows us that, for the sake of democracy, DISK and TUSIAD are [willing to] walk shoulder to shoulder. Who would have believed it?" [24]

The center-left, liberal Radikal columnist Altan Oymen wrote: "Much has been written against Yucel Askin in relation to his trial. [...] Everyone remembers how secret files which were taken from the Rector's safe - even those that belonged to the country's security units - were leaked to the [Islamist] press and were published in distorted ways.[...] The Prime Minister never seemed to be disturbed by any of that. He never said: 'Doing this may be construed as influencing the judiciary.' It is obvious that the announcements [about leaked documents] were published especially by bodies directed by, or close to, the government. Nobody from the government told those responsible [for the anti-Askin campaign]: 'Please don't do that.' [...]

"In making his accusations against Mustafa Koc and against others who showed sympathy towards Askin, the Prime Minister relied on Article 138 of the Constitution. He obviously failed to read the article carefully enough, [since he failed] to understand that this artical was placed in the Constitution [specifically] in order to prevent [the Prime Minister] and his associates in the government from influencing the judiciary. [...] This article establishes the judiciary's independence vis-à-vis the legislative and executive branches. [...] After the recent statements, it is clear who violated Article 138 of the Constitution. The one who has violated the second clause of Article 138 of the Constitution is chiefly Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"And the result of this violation is [also] clear: 12 hours after Erdogan's speech, Ankara's Public Prosecutor took action and launched the investigation." [25]


[1] On December 27, Turkey's Supreme Court of Appeals decided that all charges filed before June 1, 2005 based on Article 159 (which was replaced with Article 301) required authorization from the Justice Ministry to proceed. The expected decision by the justice minister will affect the trials of Orhan Pamuk and of scores of other defendants.

[2] Hurriyet, Milliyet, Turkish Daily News (Turkey), December 17, 2005.

[3] Yeni Safak (Turkey), December 17, 2005.

[4] PM Erdogan was referring to the ECHR decision that validated Turkey's ban on Islamic headscarves in university campuses, which was strongly criticized by the AKP. See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 1048, from December 13, 2005: The AKP Government's Attempts to Move Turkey from Secularism to Islamism (Part II): Defying European Human Rights Court Decision on Headscarf Ban; PM Erdogan: ‘Ulema, Not Courts, Have Right to Speak on Headscarf’.

[5] Milliyet (Turkey), December 17, 2005.

[6] Milliyet (Turkey), December 16, 2005.

[7] Milliyet(Turkey), December 17, 2005.

[8] Turkish Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, of Agos, the only Armenian newspaper published in Turkey, was also convicted and sentenced to six months in prison under Article 301. Dink now faces new charges for "interfering with the judicial process" because of an article he published in Agos following his sentencing, in which he criticized the court's decision.

[9] Hurriyet (Turkey), December 23, 2005.

[10] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 951, August 7, 2005, "'Kaide' ('Al-Qaeda') Magazine Published Openly in Turkey," ‘Kaide’ (‘Al-Qaeda’) Magazine Published Openly in Turkey.

[11] Cumhuriyet (Turkey), December 26, 2005.

[12] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 1014, "The AKP Government's Attempt to Move Turkey From Secularism to Islamism (Part I): The Clash With Turkey's Universities," November 1, 2005, The AKP Government's Attempt to Move Turkey From Secularism to Islamism (Part I): The Clash With Turkey's Universities.

[13] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 1025, "Professor from Van University in Turkey Commits Suicide After Five Months in Jail Without Trial," November 18, 2005, Professor from Van University in Turkey Commits Suicide After Five Months in Jail Without Trial; Follow-up to MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 1014 of November 1, 2005.

[14] Radikal (Turkey), December 11, 2005.

[15] Milliyet (Turkey), December 21, 2005.

[16] Hurriyet, Milliyet, Turkish Daily News (Turkey), December 9, 2005.

[17] Hurriyet (Turkey),December 20, 2005.

[18] Hurriyet (Turkey), December 16, 2005.

[19] Hurriyet (Turkey), December 21, 2005.

[20] CNNTurk TV (Turkey), December 21, 2005.

[21] Milliyet (Turkey), December 20, 2005.

[22] Radikal (Turkey), December 23, 2005.

[23] Cumhuriyet (Turkey), December 23, 2005.

[24] Milliyet (Turkey), December 24, 2005.

[25] Radikal (Turkey), December 24, 2005.