Terror and Censorship

by    /  March 28, 2016  / No comments

Site of the bombings in Ankara on March 13, 2016. Image via: Wikimedia Commons.

Site of the bombings in Ankara on March 13, 2016. Image via: Wikimedia Commons.

Restrictions on use of social media in the wake of the Ankara terrorist attacks show the fascism of Turkey’s ruling party.

March 13: In the heart of Ankara, the Kizilay Square, a female suicide bomber killed 37 civilians and wounded around a hundred. TAK (Freedom Hawks of Kurdistan) claimed responsibility. The PKK said that civilians were not the intended target. No matter what the “real target” was, those lives cannot be brought back, and this is a sample of ethnic fascism.

  1. Wor(l)ds in Danger, a column by Tarik Günersel
  2. Life is words in action, literature is action in words.
  3. Humans are about to destroy their spaceship Earth. Some of them are aware of this and they try to change the course of events. Will they succeed? Will more humans be alarmed and do something?
  4. Literature is vital and translators are messengers of world peace.
  5. Though I shall focus on the literary scene in Turkey and its problems regarding freedom of expression, I shall not omit the other parts of our planet. Today local is global and vice versa.
  6. Tarik Günersel
  7. Poet, playwright, actor, and director Tarık Günersel worked at Istanbul City Theater as a dramaturg.
  8. His works include Breaths of Infinity (a mosaic of poems) and My 300th Birthday Speech (short stories). His Becoming consists of his aphorisms and various ideas from world wisdom.
  9. His plays include Billennium, Nero and Agrippina, Sociology of Shit, Threat and Virtually Yours. He has written four libretti for the composer Selman Ada: Ali Baba & 40, Blue Dot, Forbidden Love, and Another Planet. His translations into Turkish include works by Arthur Miller, Samuel Beckett, Vaclav Havel and Savyon Liebrecht. His presentation of World Poetry Day to PEN International in 1997 led to its adoption by UNESCO. As the former president of PEN Turkey Center he was elected to PEN International Board in Tokyo from 2010 to 2012. In 2013 he initiated the Earth Civilization Project with the collaboration of several intellectuals from around the planet.

March 19: Germany warned that a terrorist attack was expected in the heart of Istanbul, namely the Taksim Square and Istiklal Street. The Governor of Istanbul made a joke of it, accusing Germany of trying to increase anxiety. The German Consulate in Istanbul was closed and the German citizens in Istanbul were cautioned.

Thanks to social media, it seems most people trusted the Germans rather than the Governor of Istanbul and refrained from going to those areas though it was a Saturday. At 10:55 am, an ISIS suicide bomber exploded himself among a tourist group, killing at least five civilians: three Israeli citizens and two United States citizens and wounding at least a dozen civilians. This is one more example of religious fascism.

AKP Women’s Branch Media Director Irem Aktas tweeted: “I’m glad about the attack against those Israeli tourists. They should all have died!” Israel protested and demanded an apology from Turkey. Upon pressure, Aktas resigned from her post in the ruling party.

Germany announced that the intelligence report was originally from the Turkish Intelligence Service (MIT). Right after the attack, the AK Party government (probably acting on an “order” from Erdoğan) slowed down access to social media to such an extent that one could hardly use Twitter or Facebook. In addition to the recent arrests of several academics whose peaceful protests were considered to be pro-terror, the practical discontinuation of the social media is an example of state fascism.

Though “self-defense of a democratic state against an armed organization or terrorist organizations'” is legitimate, the increasingly despotic nature of the AK Party rule leads to criticisms.

As if the terror weren’t enough, the idiotic comments of certain “authorities” make the lives of survivors more unbearable.

In a nutshell, there is a perfect storm in Turkey: fascism unfolding in various colors.

Meanwhile, concerned about the worsening situation in terms of freedom of press, several diplomats representing some of the democratic countries attended the trial of journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül. Furious because of that concern, Erdoğan accused them of behaving outside their areas of duty.

The judges decided to proceed behind closed doors, making the judicial process unavailable to public observation.

Trial and error? Trials and errors.

Bombs in Brussels

Four days prior to the Brussels bombing, Erdoğan said: “Is there any reason why there wouldn’t be terrorist bombings in Brussels and other European cities?” The day prior to the bombings, the headline of the Daily Star, a pro-Erdoğan newspaper in Turkey, read: “Terrorist Belgium!” And the following day, the ISIS attacks took place. Any comments, please?

About the Author

Poet, playwright, actor, and director Tarık Günersel worked at Istanbul City Theater as a dramaturg. His works include Breaths of Infinity (a mosaic of poems) and My 300th Birthday Speech (short stories). His Becoming consists of his aphorisms and various ideas from world wisdom. His plays include Billennium, Nero and Agrippina, Sociology of Shit, Threat and Virtually Yours. He has written four libretti for the composer Selman Ada: Ali Baba & 40, Blue Dot, Forbidden Love, and Another Planet. His translations into Turkish include works by Arthur Miller, Samuel Beckett, Vaclav Havel and Savyon Liebrecht. His presentation of World Poetry Day to PEN International in 1997 led to its adoption by UNESCO. As the former president of PEN Turkey Center he was elected to PEN International Board in Tokyo from 2010 to 2012. In 2013 he initiated the Earth Civilization Project with the collaboration of several intellectuals from around the planet.

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