The Ministry of Justice recently issued permission for the prosecution of Taraf newspaper writer Rasim Ozan Kütahyalı under article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK). The General Staff Presidency complained about the journalist on the grounds of his article entitled "You are either vile or stupid...".
The ministry had previously denied permission for an investigation about Kütahyalı requested by reason of three articles published under the main title "You are not a statesman, you are a civil servant, İlker Başbuğ" (former Head of General Staff). The latest article published on 2 January 2010 was evaluated as a possible "insult of the state's military corps via the media" by the Ministry of Justice according to article 301/4 of the TCK.
Investigation into alleged "institutional stupidity"
The following passage of the article on subject was assessed as a base for an investigation: "As I said, if these people who are doing challenging work do this on purpose, that is called vile. [...] These movements are the product of a mind that aims at the weak point of the Turkish state. [...] If one is sincerely concerned about the continuance of the Turkish state and its army and if one sincerely wants a strong army and a strong Turkey, then the actions I listed above are stupid. [...] It means that whichever institution does this kind of things, it suffers from serious institutional stupidity. [...] If we love this country, we have to reveal this institutional stupidity openly. [...] This is either villainy or stupidity. [...] There is not third option".
The Ministry of Justice received request for investigations related to a total of eleven writings of journalist Kütahyalı under Article 301and commented, "We only issued permission for an investigation on the grounds of one article".
The publication director of Taraf newspaper, Ahmet Altan, criticised the criminal complaint about Kütahyalı's article "You are not a statesman, you are a civil servant, İlker Başbuğ". Kütahyalı had criticized the fact that a military post in Van in the Kurdish-majority south-east of the country had been named after General Mustafa Muğlalı. Altan mentioned that Muğlalı "was convicted for shooting 33 Kurdish villagers unquestioned" and claimed that Kütahyalı's criticism could not be made the subject of a prosecution.
Another trial for journalist Miroğlu
Taraf newspaper writer and Kurdish politician Orhan Miroğlu is facing yet another trial because of his article "I cannot sleep with the waxing moon" published in the nation-wide daily on 2 November 2009.
He wrote, "The truth is that Kurds and Turks started to be afraid of each other. Maybe it is the first time in history that the Turks are that much afraid of Kurds after an age-long rebellion. In the end, they sent them to boroughs and villages in the Aegean region and Anatolia on trucks and by train together with their families regardless if young or old". Miroğlu is charged with "incitement of the people to hatred and hostility".
According to the indictment the journalist's column implies that "the Kurds are the oppressed and exploited section of society that has been treated unjustly since the foundation of the republic whereas Turks are shown as the exploiting, oppressing, assimilating part of society that benefits from cheap work power". The indictment seeks Miroğlu's prosecution under charges of inciting the public to hatred and hostility. (EÖ/VK)