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      New civil disobedience action in Turkey

New civil disobedience action in Turkey   27/03/2006

New civil disobedience action in Turkey against the new Penal Code

A new civil disobedience action against the anti-democratic articles of the new Penal Code will start on March 28, 2006 Tuesday, at 10:00 AM, with a short press declaration which will take place in front of Besiktas Justice House in Istanbul.

Then 10 representatives out of the list of "First Volunteers" (below) will visit the prosecutor to give a petition blaming themselves and inviting him to open a case against all.

We invite you to share that "little historic moment" with us.
In the text of civil disobedience action(attached) in 31 paragraphs, 22 articles of the Penal Code are violated . Except a few, the others are the texts written by intellectuals who were tried in courts, some sentenced.

In the first hearing of the case we will demand that those articles should be abolished by the Constitutional Court, because they contradict with the European Human Rights Convention via Article 90 of the Turkish Constitution which declares the priority of international conventions to the rest of the legislation.

In case the court refuse this demand and if the trial goes on, then each of us should be sentenced to an imprisonment of 15 to 62 years and a fine of 15.000 to 155.000 YTL.

Thank you very much in advance for your attention.

(Sanar Yurdatapan <>, March 27, 2006)

First Volunteers

Abdurrahman Dilipak (Journalist, writer)
Cevat Ozkaya (President of Mazlumder/ Organization of Human Rights & Solidarity for Oppressed People)
Dogan Ozguden (Journalist, Info-Turk in Brussels)
Ece Temelkuran (Journalist, Milliyet)
Fikret Baskaya (Doc. Dr., Free University, Ankara)
Gulden Sonmez (Lawyer, Human Rights Activist)
Kazım Genç (Lawyer, President of Pir Sultan Abdal Association)
Mahir Gunsiray (Actor, director)
Mehmet Bekaroglu (Prof. Dr., Psychiatrist)
Mustafa Sutlas (Patients Rights Activist)
Noyan Ozkan (Lawyer, former president of Izmir Bar Association)
Oya Baydar (Sociologist, writer)
Perihan Magden (Journalist, writer)
Pınar Selek (Sociologist, writer, journalist)
Ragıp Zarakolu (Writer, publisher, journalist)
Sema Kaygusuz (Writer)
Sanar Yurdatapan (Composer)
Seyhmus Diken (Writer)
Tolga Yarman (Prof. Dr., Nuclear Engineer)
Yusuf Alatas (Lawyer, president of IHD/ Human Rights Association)


I may disagree with what you have to say, but I shall defend, to the death, your right to say it.
Voltaire (1694-1778) 


The restructuring of Penal Procedural Law, Enforcement Law and  Turkish Penal Code based on fascist Italian law generated high hopes towards establishing democracy and freedom of expression without buts. The former laws had been used as a base to support countless unfair and unjust decisions and processes. The brand new Turkish Penal Code which opens with the following paragraph “The purpose of this law is to protect personal rights and freedoms, public order and security, supremacy of law, public health and environment and public peace, and to prevent crime” unfortunately caused great disappointment with its following provisions as well as its implementation in over a year’s period. Explosives placed in the law with great skill not to catch the eye at first sight, now blow up one after the other. Writers, journalists, publishers, artists, trade unionists, professors, dissident politicians keep cramming the court halls. In order to stop this course of events before it is too late, before the stream of convictions get approved by the Supreme Court and become common law, in order to block this road; we publicize opinion by the means of press knowing that each paragraph violates some anti-democratic article, and might cost each of us under the new law a prison sentence of between 15 and 62 years and a fine of between 90 and 155.000 New Turkish Liras. We are prepared to bear the consequences.

Statements charged/punished for violating article 301 of TPC (former 159):

1.    “It is known that a “Sevres Syndrome” was experienced in the beginning of 1990’s, there was a belief that Turkey faced the danger of disintegration. But the claim that such climate still prevails today and its turn into a “paranoia” is disturbing and damaging for the nation. Those who say today things like that a Pontus State would be formed in the eastern part of Black Sea region, that non-muslim converts control Turkey or Fener Greek Patriarchate would set up a sort of Vatican in Istanbul, are in fact trying to generate such climate...”
(Statement qouted from the Minority Report of Prime Ministry Human Rights Advisory Board, which led to the prosecution of Prof. Ibrahim Kaboglu and Prof. Baskin Oran.)
2.    “30.000 Kurds and 1 million Armenians have been killed in this land. Nobody in Turkey dares to say it. I do.…”
(Orhan Pamuk’s statement published first in a Swiss magazine and reprinted in Aktuel magazine in Turkey which led to Pamuk’s peosecution.)
3.    “The fresh blood to replace the poisoned blood the Turk would bleed out, exist in the noble vein of the Armenian that he would form with Armenia”
(Statement from Hrant Dink’s article published in AGOS newspaper and led to the prosecution and conviction of Dink.)
4.    “…at the dawn they arrived in helmets, boots and with arms. They sat on the country like a heavy rock… those who planned to come in helmets, boots and with arms and sit on the country like heavy rock …”, “It turned out that they were not any different from Pinochet, Banzer, Videla, Garcia and Somoza, their colleagues in far away countries. Among other things, they executed 49 people including one aged 17.”
(Statements from Emin Karaca’s article critising 12 September regime, published in YAZIN review which led to the conviction of Karaca,  5 months prison sentence.)
5.    "…If he is naive enough to trust Turkish courts and judges, the chance of an ordinary Turk for a fair trial is one in a million, ".
(Sentences from journalist Burak Bekdil’s article published in Turkish Daily News which led to his conviction, 20 months prison sentence.)
6.     “…The numbers of death toll in the civil war was so scary in   1992 and the stories of PKK attacs and the army’s retaliations were so brutal nobody could be optimistic about the new year. Despite the recognition of “Kurdish Reality’ by Prime Minister Demirel and ve President Ozal, the sounds of war drums played by Turkish press and conservative parties demanding a harsh response to any  expression of PKK rebellion and Kurdish independence overruled more conciliatory voices. The war was waged on two fronts: one in the South East region against Kurds, -now with superior numbers and technology due to the arrival of Black Hawks; and the other one was in the cities and towns against Kurdishness and any kind of anti-war opposition or sympathy towards the rebels …”
(These statements qouted from John Tirman's book "War Booty: Human Cost of American Arms Trade" led to the prosecution of Fatih Tas, the owner of Aram Publishing House.)

TPC article 301:
Those who  
(1) Publicly insult Turkishness, the Republic or the Grand National Assembly of Turkey shall be punished with a prison sentence of between 6 months upto 3 years.
(2) Publicly insult the Government of Turkish Republic, the judicial institutions, military or security organisations of the state shall be sentenced with a prison sentence of between 6 months upto 2 years.
(3) If insulting Turkishness is committed by a Turkish citizen in another country, the punishment shall be increased by one third.
(4) Expression of thought with the purpose of criticism shall not constitute a crime

Statements charged with violating article 288 of TPC:

7.     “…This decision has nothing to do with law or democracy …it is a decision that defies law and academic freedom …it is a blow to freedom of expression …” (the indictment against Hasan Cemal, journalist in Milliyet daily qoutes from his article on the decision of Istanbul 4th. Administrative Court to halt “Armenian Conference”.)
8.    “…Nonsense of stopping Armenian Conference by judicial order …”, “…I wonder if those who made the decision will be investigated …”
(The indictment against Prof. Erol Katırcıoglu of Milliyet daily qoutes his article which led to his prosecution under the same charge.)
9.    “…We witnessed  the judiciary stepping outside its authority …”, “…it is the worst attack so far on the academic quality of universities …”
(The indictment against İsmet Berkan of Radikal daily qoutes his article which led to his prosecution under the same charge.)
10.    “…a decision such as this, defying scientific freedom and academic quality of universities…”, “…Could a country claim to be a functioning  state of law where courts can make decisions such as this?…”
” The indictment against Prof. Haluk Sahin of Radikal daily qoutes his article which led to his prosecution under the same charge.)
11.     “…When the one who is defined as serving out justice begins transgressing justice …”, “…the decision is so fatal …”
(The indictment against Prof. Murat Belge of Radikal daily qoutes his article which led to his prosecution under the same charge.)
12.    “…Was not Pamuk’s statement investigated by Istanbul Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office earlier on and was not it concluded that the statement was in the scope of ciricism which did not constitute a crime leading to the dropping of the charges? Does not this kind of silence harm government as well as Turkey encouraging this sort of practices?”
(Qouted from the article of Murat Yetkin of Radikal daily, ciritising Pamuk trial which led to his prosecution.)

TPC article 288:  Those who
(1) publicly make verbal or written statement with the purpose of influencing the prosecutor, the judge, the court, experts or witnesses before an ongoing legal inquiry or prosecution is finalised shall be punished with a prison sentence of between 6 months and 3 years.
Press Code num. 5187, article 19: Those who publish the contents of processes by Public prosecutor, judge or the court or other documents related to the investigation during the time from after the beginning of the preliminary investigation till either the  charges are dropped or a public case is opened, shall be punished with a fine of between 2 billion Turkish Liras and 50 billion Turkish Liras.... ...Those who publish opinion on an ongoing trial about the judge or the court procedures before it is concluded shall be punished in the same way as in paragraph 1.

Statements charged with violating article 215 of TPC (former article 312/1):

13. “…Your struggle is our struggle, we are for peace, we thank you peace mothers …”
(The words of President of Teachers Union Allattin Dinçer as he visited a sit in action of Peace Mothers on Istiklal Street led to his trial.)

14. “…The US and its allies intervened in the Middle East in the name of freedom and democracy yet the occupation led to blood and tears, repression of Kurdish people continue, Turkish state does not respond to peace attempts, it increased the military operations in response to the 6 years long unilateral peace declaration of Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan …”
(Executive member of HRA Yuksel Mutlu’s words during the same visit led to his prosecution.)

TPC article 215: Those who
(1) publicly praise a committed crime or a person for committing a crime, shall be punished with a prison sentence of upto 2 years.

Statements charged with violating article 216/1 of TPC (former article 312/2):

15.    “…besides, contact between de facto Kurdish government and  Turkish state officials continued. So what is behind the scare stories of the media. As if it were a new development, the citizens of Turkish Republic are bombarded with the idea that  there is going to be a disaster if a Kurdish state is established. Look, they say “We have to invade Iraq, otherwise Kurds will set up a state and they will demand land from us… “So we should go into Iraq not against Saddam but more importantly to prevent a Kurdish state.”... ‘Saddam is an excuse, would not it be wonderful to crash Kurds’...”  (Ragıp Zarakolu’s words from his article published in his column in Özgür Gündem newspaper, qouted by the indictment.)

16.     “What is the reason of such hostility and anger against Muslims? All islamic values, notions and institutions have been viewed as potantial threats. Religious education of children have been obstructed. Religious education has been cut down. Department of Religious Affairs have been under strict controls. Education life and religious life have been separated. This is not secularism. The object of secularism is not ‘religion and state’and a separation and antagonism can not be claimed to exist between the two. The object of secularism is ‘the church and the state.’ You can not both take department of Religious Affairs under your own control and talk about secularism at the same time. And then you politicians through your bureaucrats will decide our religion. Let that religion be yours. It is denigrating for religion and the religious. It is a political intervention to the sacred domain....” (Qouted from Abdurrahman Dilipak’s article: “My Country is Different”. These statements led to his prosecution in State Security Court under former article 312 which now continues in a Criminal Court of First Instance.)
17.    ” ‘I am a Turk, I am honest, I am industrious’. E, when you said this then a son of a Muslim and a Kurdish origined citizen gained the right to say  ‘Is that so? Then I am a Kurd, I am more honest, I am more industrious.’”. (Prof. Necmettin Erbakan’s words which led to his conviction with a 1 year of imprisonment yet postponed due to his health condition.)

18.    “Minarets are our bayonets, domes are our helmets, mosques are our barracs...” (Verses that led to Prime Minister Erdogan’s convition with 10 months imprisonment, Mayor of Istanbul at the time..)

TPC Article 216: (1) If someone openly instigates a part of the people having different social class, race, religion, sect or region to hatred or hostility against another part of the people, giving way to an open and close danger for the public security, the offender shall be punished with a prison sentence of between 1 year and 3 years.

Statements charged with violating article 6 of Fighting Terror Law:

19.     “ I would like to point this. This Orhan Karadeniz is the same person who used to be a judge. There are lawyers who know him. During the trials of ‘revolutionary left’ after 1980 when the accused wanted to speak to defend themselves he either would shut them up or he would set the soldiers on them on the excuse that they chanted slogans when they tried to speak slightly loudly to demand something, he would do everything not to give the accused a chance to speak...”
(The indictment qoutes Ertuğrul Mavioğlu’s words at a TV program “Arena of Politics” presented by Ali Kırca. They were both prosecuted over the program.)

Fighting Terror Law Num. 3713 article 6:  Those who announce that the crimes of a terrorist organization are aimed at certain persons, whether or not such persons are named, or who disclose or publish the identity of officials on anti-terrorist duties, or who identify such persons as targets shall be punished with a fine of between 5 and 10 million Turkish liras.

Statements charged with violating article 7 of Fighting Terror Law :

20.     “…Someone called a terrorist in one part of Turkey is called a guerilla in the other part; someone who is a traitor in one part is a hero in the other. On the one side it is “the head of terrorists” on the other part it is ‘the leader of Kurdish people Chairman Apo …” (Indictment qoutes Orhan Doğan’s words from an interview he made with Nese Düzel of Radikal daily. They are both prosecuted for it.)

Fighting Terror Law Num. 3713 article  7:
-Those who assist members of organizations constituted in the manner described above or make propaganda in connection with such organizations shall additionaly be punished with a prison sentence of between 1 and 5 years and with a fine of between 50 million and 100 million Turkish liras, even if their offence constitutes a separate crime.

Statements charged with violating article 318 of TPC (former article 155):

21.    “Antimilitarists will explain concientious objection and anti-war activism, Anti-war Gathering …” “...Political situation in Turkey is getting hot. Today’s rising chauvinistic wave in fact existed two years ago. Yet that insidious wave can reveal itself openly today with the support of militarism...” (Journalist Birgül Özbarış of GUNDEM newspaper reports the statements of antimilitarists and concientious objectors. The newspaper report is qouted by the  indictment.)

TPC Article 318: (1) Those who commit activities, encourages or inspires the people or propagandates  in a way to alienate them from military service shall be punished with a prison sentence of from 6 months upto 2 years.

Statements charged with violating article 305 of TPC (very old former article 140):

22.     All military forces including Turkish soldiers should pull out of CYPRUS, the bases should be closed down, the island should be disarmed.
(One of the two examples given as an explanation of the article in the records of Grand National Assembly, yet this part was somehow ommited in the edition of new TPC published by the Ministry of Justice.)

23.      Turkish Republic should be able to face up to the realities of its past beginning with the Armenian Massaccre of 1915. (The other example given by the same explanation of the article 305 as to when the article would be used.)

TPC Article 305: (1)A citizen who directly or indirectly receives material beneifit from foreign persons or instutions for himself or for others in return for, or with the purpose of committing acts that are against fundemental national interests,shall be punished with a prison sentence of from 3 years upto 10 years and a fine of 10.000 days. Those who  benefits or offers benefit shall be punished in the same way. (2) If the act is committed during war or the benefit is offered or given in return for making propaganda through the press, the punishment shall be increased by half.

Statements charged with violating articles 1 and 2 of Law on Crimes Against Ataturk Num. 5816:
24.     “…In a town like Ankara they were everything; there was no one more knowledgable or superior than them but not in Istanbul. It was not hard to get drowned or get offtrack in it. They could only overcome Istanbul by the power of the state in their hands, through violence. That is what they did. When he said Istanbul is a summary of our history and civilisation, perhaps he should have been aware that the use of such methods against this city could only be an expression of desperation, yet Mustafa Kemal was famous for his endless ambition...” (Seyfi Ongider’s words from the book “The story of two Cities” qouted by the indictment.  He is the editor of Aykırı Publishers.)

Law on Crimes Against Ataturk Num 5816:
Article 1: Those who publicly insult or curse the memory of Atatürk shall be imprisoned with a sentence of between one and three years
Article 2: If the crimes outlined in the first article are committed by a group of two or more individuals, or publicly, or in public places or by means of the press, the punishment shall be increased by half.

Statements violating article 237 of TPC:

25.   The current deficit tends to incerase as a result of the government’s economic policies. This can lead to an unexpected economic crises, even worse than the last one. Emergency measures are needed.

TPC Article 237: (1) Those who spread false information or news, or uses other fraudulent ways with the purpose of leading to or in a way to cause the prices of food or the wages of workers to increase or decrease shall be punished with a prison sentence of from 3 months and 2 years.
(As far as we know, this article has hurt anybody so far. Yet it is there waiting to be used like the sword of Damocles, when any criticism on economic policies disturb the rulers.)

Statements violating articles 84 and 298 of TPC:

26.    Those young people who are on death fast are so desperate that they are putting their lives at risk as a last resort. Instead of denouncing them straightaway we should try to understand them first. Besides, the ideas that one has the right to decide whether to go on living or not and that euthanasia is a right are widely accepted around the world.

TPC Article 84: (3) Those who publicly encourages others to committ suicide, shall be punished with a prison sentence of between 3 years and 8 years. If this offence is committed through the press and media the offender shall be punsihed with a prison sentence of from 4 years upto 10 years.

TPC Article 298: (2) Those who prevents convicts or those under arrest from taking nourishment shall be punished with a prison sentence of between 2 years and 4 years. Encouraging or convincing or ordering the convicts or those under arrest to go on a hunger strike or death fast is considered preventing from taking nourishment.

(As far as we know these articles did not hurt anyone so far. Yet it is obvious that they exists to stop criticism on F Type and isolation in prison.).

Statements violating article 220 of TPC:

27.    The guearilla movement launched by PKK in 1984 led to bloody consequences as well as positive ones such as the disintegration of the feodal structure and women’s participation in social life in the region.

TPC Article 220: (8) Those who propagandate for the organisation or for its purpose shall be punished with a prison sentence of between 1 year and 3 years. If this crime is committed by the means of press and media the punishment shall be increased by half.

(The same applies for this article yet we should not forget that in the past, article 169 which prohibited “helping illegal organisation” was distorted and interpreted as “helping through propaganda” to silence criticism.)
Convicted cartoons:

28.    Musa Kart’s cartoon published in Cumhuriyet daily on 9 May 2004. Kart and the responsible editor Mehmet Sucu were sentenced to pay 5.000 NTL compensation as prime minister Erdogan sued them.

29.    The comic paper “Penguin” ran this front page to protest the case against Musa Kart. Prime Mimister Erdogan sued the paper and demanded 5.000 NTL compensation for each animal figure, a total of 40.000 NTL.

The cartoonists were tried and convicted under the following articles:

Civil Law article 24.-  Those whose
(1) personal rights are attacked in a way against the law can ask the court for protection from the assailant.
 (2) All violations of personal rights are against law unless the consent of the victim is justified by a superior personal or public benefit or use of authority provided by law.
Law on Obligations and Contract article 49:
(1) Those whose personal rights are violated in a way against the law, have a right to open a case demanding payment for mental damage.
(2) Judge takes into consideration the social standing and position and other social and financial circumstances of the parties in determining the amount of compensation.
(3) Judge may decide for an alternative way of compensation in addition to or instead of a payment or may decide that it suffices to denounce the violation and decide to reveal it by the means of press.

Those who are prosecuted under Law on Radio and TV Num. 3984

"Nothing happens all of a sudden. First they made the call for prayer (ezan) made in Arabic. Then they said 'we would bring the caliphate if you wanted', you thought it was democracy. Then came an avalanche of Koran courses and religious high schools. Religious classes were made compulsory. Headcsarves and veils increased, the number of mosques exceeded the number of schools, you thought it was freedom of belief. They intervened in the dress codes. Thos who did not fast got killed, you were surprised. Then they burnt alive and shot scientists and writers. They tore apart MPs and journalists. They burnt poets and dancers. You were puzzled over who did it. They will finaly knock at our doors." (The sentences considered to be against Statue 3894 by Radio and Television Higher Board (RTUK) for which RTUK closed down Radio İmaj for one month, in fact Radyo İmaj had already been indefinitely shut down by RTUK. The words referr to Sivas massacre and are qouted from a book published by The Literature Association in 1994).    

Law 3984 article 4 (b): “Preventing broadcasting which instigate the people to violence, terror, etnic discrimination, or instigate the people to hatred and hostility on grounds of difference in social class, race, language, religion, sect, or region.”

Statements violating articles 214 and 217 of TPC:

31.     When problematic laws are drafted and passed through the parliament we as a society make little sound. When implementation brings convictions, then recations incerase but it is too late. Once the supreme court approves a bad decision then it becomes common law for the rest of the cases. Then it takes years’ of struggling to correct it. This time do not let it happen that way, lets move faster this time and lets conciously and voluntarily violate those articles of TPC which restricts thought and expression. We invite all to take part in this civil disobedience.

TPC article 214: (1) Those who publicly instigates to committing crime shall be punished with a prison sentence of between 6 months and 5 years.
TPC article 217: (1) Those who
Publicly instigate the people to disobey laws in a way to distrupt the public peace shall be punished with a prison sentence of between 6 months and 2 years or with a fine.
(Article 218: If the offences decribed in the above articles are committed by the means of press and media the punishment shall be incerased by half.)

I undersign this text with my free will, knowing the meaning and possible consequences of it.

I am noting that I do not share some of the above statements. The numbers of those statements that I do not agree are as follows:


Name and Surname:
Profession, title:
Date and signature:

Nacak Sok. 21/11 34674 Üsküdar İSTANBUL
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