Protest at Turkish government treatment of dissidents

Updated 8 April 2016: John Tulloh, former foreign editor, makes a useful point at the beginning of a piece in Pearls and Irritations on current Turkish politics:

It is the time of the year when we have our annual bout of sentimental reflection on the heroics of the Anzac forces at Gallipoli a century ago. One of the Turkish military commanders whose resistance wore down the Anzacs and other allies was Kemal Ataturk, who went on to be the founder of modern Turkey in 1923. His name remains so revered in Turkey for modernising his country and transforming it into a secular state that insulting his memory is a criminal act.

Ataturk would be startled at what is happening to his country today. His vision has gone into reverse.

Tulloh also links to a useful piece from Politico late last year.

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The New York Review of Books reports a protest by some 70 North American and European academics at the Turkish government’s measures against dissidents. The signatories to the document wrote to express ‘dismay at the deterioration of freedoms of expression, association, and personal security faced by our colleagues in Turkish universities and the media’.

Three Turkish academics have been arrested and 38 have been dismissed and 29 suspended from their institutions for signing a petition protesting against Turkish measures against Kurds and calling for the resumption of peace talks with the PKK group. Those arrested could be jailed for up to five years. The document pointed out that earlier reconciliatory moves towards Kurds had suffered a setback.

Honest History had previously noted a report about 1845 prosecutions in Turkey for insulting President Erdogan. Meanwhile, DFAT has upgraded travel warnings for Turkey in the wake of terror activity there. Nevertheless, Anzac Day ceremonies in Australia and Turkey will see a continuation of the ‘long-lasting friendship’ between the two countries.

7 April 2016 updated

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