KURDISH INITIATIVE AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
Milliyet Daily on Trial for News about "Kurdish Initiative"
Milliyet newspaper reporter Durukan and director Çakkalkurt are facing prison sentences for publishing an announcement of PKK executive Duran Kalkan. The prosecutor proposed a fine to be paid in advance in order to drop the case. The Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court has not yet decided on the outcome.
İstanbul - BIA News Center
12 November 2009, Thursday 11:57
The Istanbul 10th High Criminal Court prosecutes Milliyet newspaper director Hasan Çakkalkurt because the nation-wide daily reported about an announcement of Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) executive Duran Kalkan which he had made to Fırat News Agency (ANF). The prosecutor requested to notify Çakkalkurt about a fine to be paid in advance.
However, in the second hearing of the case on Tuesday (10 November), the court did not take a decision in this respect. It was decreed that the statement of journalist Durukan will be taken.
The news item was published in the daily's issue from 24 June 2009. The case started in the absence of the defendants on 12 August.
No initiative on freedom of expression for the media
It is still a peril for the media to report about the problem while the government is declaring that the solution of the Kurdish Initiative lies in discussing all problems openly.
The Istanbul Public Attorney General has opened a case against the newspaper that reported about PKK executive Duran Kalkan's announcement entitled "Even a general amnesty will not make us put down our weapons".
After the statement of journalist Durkan will have been taken, a monetary fine to be paid in advance can be brought up to the court's agenda. In this case, there will be to options. The newspaper officials can either prefer to pay a fine of 20,000 Turkish Lira (approximately € 9100) and have the case dropped. Or they can consider the news as a requirement of the people's right to be informed and continue the case.
As long as TMY is in effect it causes suffering
In his indictment the Istanbul Public Prosecutor Hakan Karaali claims prison sentences between 1.5 and 7.5 years for Durukan and Cakkalkurt under charges of "spreading propaganda for a terror organization" according to article 7/2 of the Anti-Terror Law (TMY).
The Prosecutor's Office furthermore demands to deprive Durukan and Çakkalkurt from their rights to vote and to be elected plus other rights during the suggested prison sentence.
"Guerrilla does not put down its weapons"
Kalkan was quoted as saying, "The second man of the terror organization Duran Kalkan says that in case of a general amnesty the organization will not put down their weapons but they will commit to the responsibility", he neither said yes nor no to the allegations put forward in talks with the government. About Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal's announcement that 'in case they put their weapon down a general amnesty could be possible', Kalkan said, "The solution of the Kurdish question is not a question of general amnesty. The Kurdish people does not consider such a situation for the PKK and the guerilla. Even if a general amnesty would be granted also anticipating freedom for Apo [imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan], then the PKK would not put down their weapons but may consider declaring a ceasefire, but not to put down weapons, the guerrilla does not put down its weapons", Kalkan argued. (EÖ/VK)