Journal of International Relations, European, Economic and Social Studies
The Anti-Terror Law directly contradicts Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights: “Freedom of expression constitutes one of the essential foundations of a democratic society and is applicable not only to ‘information’ or ‘ideas’ that were favorably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offended, shocked or disturbed.” There are currently 57 journalists in Turkish prisons, most are held for allegedly conducting terrorist propaganda. Two respected investigative journalists Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener have been staying in prison in relation to an ongoing investigation into “the Ergenekon Conspiracy,” an apparent attempt to destabilize the country and lay the basis for a coup d’état. This investigation has bloated beyond recognition today and been used as a tool to muzzle the opponents of the government. The list of “plotters” has grown very long and currently includes a lot of the sort of retirees, journalists, and academics that one doesn’t normally associate with violent overthrow of the government. Ironically, Ahmet Şık was actually one of the journalists who unearthed the Ergenekon conspiracy in the first place and is believed to get silenced before he publishes a book (The Imam’s Army) on a religious network (Gülen Brotherhood) close to the government8. However, efforts to ban the book before it was even published backfired badly - the copy of the book has been distributed widely on the Internet. When asked on a television program about this subject, the Prime Minister without the safety net of a well-written text or a prompter, he blurted, “some books can be more dangerous than bombs.”
Fethullah Gülen is a provincial Turkish preacher. However, his movement today is considered as “one of the most powerful and best-connected of the networks that are competing to influence Muslims round the globe.” Gülen preaches a moderate version of Islam, borrowing from Sufism and promoting dialogue with other monotheistic religions. He has also become known for promoting education and free enterprise, and his movement is thus in tune with some of the social changes in modern Turkey. Gülen is believed to play a political role since his followers are increasingly visible in key public positions, which makes the movement often suspected of being a secret branch of the ruling party, AKP to infiltrate the civil service. Ahmet Şık, in his book, The Imam’s Army, alleged that Gülen Brotherhood had close links with the AKP and had already penetrated the police force.
Turkey on the European doorstep
Published on Feb 16, 2012
A Publication based on the International Conference organised at the European Parliament/Brussels by Dr. ELENI THEOCHAROUS, Member of the Eu...