Anne Monika Sommer-Bloch übermittelt uns eine Presseerklärung des Philosophieprofessors Örsan Kunter Öymen, der in der Türkei angeklagt ist, den Präsidenten in einem Zeitungsartikel „beleidigt“ zu haben.
In dem inkriminierten Artikel hat Öymen nichts anderes getan als seit vielen Jahren in zahllosen Artikeln zuvor, nämlich der Opposition eine Stimme der Aufklärung zu geben. Ihm drohen nun bis zu vier Jahre Haft. Öymen ist Professor an der privaten Isik Universität in Istambul und Leiter von Philosophy in Assos, einer Vereinigung, die an Philosophie als „academia“ glaubt und regelmäßig Sommerkurse abhält. 2009 hielt Jan Robert Bloch dort einen Vortrag. Die Assoziation hat sich philosophischer Kreativität verschrieben. Zu den Themen, über die Öymen arbeitet, gehören „Gerechtigkeit und Freiheit“. Im europäischen Windschatten der Syrienkrise sind sie zunehmend von staatlicher Repression bedroht. Entsprechend wichtig ist es, von Europa aus sich mit den Opfern dieser politischen Entwicklung zu solidarisieren.
Die Ernst-Bloch-Gesellschaft solidarisiert sich mit Öymen und veröffentlicht die internationale Presseerklärung Öymens:
INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE
January 28, 2016
The President of the Republic of Turkey, Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, brought a lawsuit against me, for an article I wrote and published in a newspaper. Mr. Erdogan claimed that I have “insulted” the President and demands a 1 to 4 years prison sentence for me, based on the Turkish Penal Code item 299.
The newspaper article of mine titled “Erdogan’ın Yargılanması” (“Erdogan Standing Trial”) published at the daily national Aydınlık Newspaper on April 9, 2015 includes no expressions of an insult. It is an article which criticizes some of Mr. Erdogan’s policies and expresses the idea that Mr. Erdogan needs to stand trial for the accusations and claims about him. The accusations and claims expressed in my article are accusations and claims which were already published numerous times in the media before and were also publicly expressed by opposition politicians, particularly the main opposition party CHP.
I did use the term “claim” in my article for those accusations. They can be summarized as follows: the violation of the constitution; disregarding the rule of law, seperation of powers, freedom of expression and the press; conducting a civilian coup against the democratic and secular regime; organizing pseudo law suits with false accusations and arresting innocent academicians, writers, journalists, politicians and army members; ordering police violence against protestors at the “Gezi” events which resulted in the death of many citizens; conducting illegal negotiations with the terrorist organization PKK; supporting Islamic fundamentalist terrorist groups in Syria and conducting a coup against the regime of Syria; being involved in domestic corruption cases and covering them up. Furthermore I also expressed the idea that, Mr. Erdogan needs to stand trial for justice so the public can know whether he is guilty or not.
It is clear that Mr. Erdogan, by this act against me, is once again, unable to distinguish strong criticism from an insult. Mr. Erdogan perceives criticism against him as an insult which is a sign that he has no tolerance for criticism.
It is clear that the 299. item of the Turkish Penal Code is an undemocratic one. No citizen can be put into prison even for insulting the President. Insult can be a subject of other types of legal punishment but not a prison sentence. As a matter of fact, before Erdogan came to power, this item in the Turkish Penal Code was rarely implemented and put into force. It is clear that Mr. Erdogan is misusing this law in order to oppress his opponents and critics.
However, one of the main points here is that, in my article, there is not even an expression which can be regarded as an insult. To perceive the statement, “The President needs to stand trial for the claims / accusations against him”, as an insult, can not be accepted in a democratic country in which people are free to express themselves. My article was written in the framework of the freedom of expression and the press which is also guarranteed by the Turkish Constitution and Turkish law regarding the media. This law suit conducted against me by Mr. Erdogan is a clear violation of the Turkish Constitution, of the previous decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and of the freedom of expression and the press. As a matter of fact, the Chief Office of the Istanbul Public Prosecutor (İstanbul Cumhuriyet Bassavcılıgı) dismissed Mr. Erdogan’s claims and demands against me, stating in its official decision that my newspaper article was written in accordance with the freedom of expression and the press and that there is no indication of an insult and that there is no legal justificiation for me to stand trial. However, Mr. Erdogan’s lawyers opposed the decision of the Prosecutor and took the case to an upper court (İstanbul 1. Sulh Ceza Hakimligi) which decided that “there is an insult against the President” and that I need to stand trial. The judge who gave this decision is the very same judge (Mr. Bekir Altun) who made previous decisions to freeze and block access to social media sites such as Twitter, You Tube and Facebook which were used to criticize Mr. Erdogan and the AKP government.
My first trial will be on February 4, 2016 in Istanbul (2. Asliye Ceza Mahkemesi). It is an ironic coincidence that one day after the trial I will be giving a talk at a Philosophy Symposium in Assos, Canakkale on Freedom and Justice. The dates and theme of this Symposium which I organize annually since 16 years were fixed (but not announced on the web site of the event www.philosophyinassos.org) before I received the official notification about my trial date.
You may obtain further legal information and documentation from my lawyer Mr. Turgut Kazan, former President of the Istanbul Bar Association and a leading human rights activist in Turkey (telephone: 90-212-2444049; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org) and the copy of my newspaper article at the archives of Aydınlık Newspaper (www.aydinlikgazete.com).
Professor Örsan Kunter Öymen
Isık University / Feyziye Mektepleri Foundation
Department of Humanities and Social Sciences
Associaton of Philosophy, Art & Science
Founder & President
Philosophy in Assos
Founder & Director