Opposition ballots found in trash bags in southern Turkey

Photo from DHA

Photo from DHA

1st April 2014 – Used ballots, marked for the main opposition Republican  Peoples’ Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), have been  found in the garbage of six schools used as polling stations in the southern  province of Osmaniye. City residents reported the incident to the police when they found the used  ballots in the trash in Osmaniye’s Düziçi district. According to reports, the schools where the ballots were found are the Uzunbanı Elementary School, Atatürk High School, Atatürk Elementary School, Cumhuriyet High School, Cumhuriyet Elementary School and ÇEAŞ Anatolian High School. It was claimed that the ballots were planned to be burned. Candidates from the CHP and MHP have filed an official complaint to the Public Prosecutors’ Office and have appealed to the Supreme Election Council (YSK). The Düziçi Police Department has launched an investigation into the incident. The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) candidate Ökkeş Namlı won in the Düziçi district with 10,294 votes. The CHP’s Alper Öner received 9,854 votes, while the MHP’s Muhammet Kaya received 5,179 votes.

From: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/opposition-ballots-found-in-trash-bags-in-southern-turkey.aspx?pageID=238&nID=64390&NewsCatID=338

 

‘Twitter, Mtwitter!’: Turkish Prime Minister’s 9 Craziest Quotes About Social Media

28th March 2014 – Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan really doesn’t like social media. Days before the municipal elections, the Turkish strongman has blocked Twitter and banned YouTube after corruption allegations surfaced on the two social media platforms. Here are some of Erdoğan’s best quotes about social media — from the “scourge” that is Twitter, to the case of the “smeared housewife.”

Erdogan

 

Continuous: http://mashable.com/2014/03/28/quotes-turkey-erdogan-social-media/?utm_cid=mash-com-Tw-main-link

Turkey moves to block YouTube access after ‘audio leak’

27th March 2014 – Turkey has moved to block access to YouTube, a day after a court ordered the suspension of a ban on Twitter, which PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan backed. The telecoms authority (TIB) said it had taken an “administrative measure” against the site but another report suggests that talks are under way. Some users found access blocked while others could still use the site. Earlier, what appeared to be a leaked audio recording of Turkish officials discussing Syria appeared on YouTube.

It relates to a discussion of possible military operations in Syria, which was apparently attended by Turkey’s intelligence chief, its foreign minister and the deputy head of the armed forces. Reuters news agency, which examined the recording, said it could not verify its authenticity but it was potentially the most damaging purported leak so far as it appeared to have originated from the bugging of a highly confidential and sensitive conversation. Mr Erdogan, who faces important local elections on Sunday, accuses social media of spreading misinformation and suggested earlier that bans could be applied to both YouTube and Facebook. At a rally this week, Mr Erdogan was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying: “I don’t understand how people of good sense could defend this Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. There are all kinds of lies there.” On Wednesday, a court in the capital, Ankara, ordered the TIB to lift its ban on Twitter, but it could be weeks before the order takes effect. Twitter itself has filed a challenge to the access ban. It said it was concerned about a court order to suspend an account which accused a former minister of corruption.

 

From: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-26773702

 

 

Court in Turkey moves to suspend ban on Twitter

26th March 2014 –  A court in Turkey has ordered the suspension of a controversial ban on the social media site Twitter but it could be weeks before it takes effect. Turkish users of Twitter expected to regain access shortly after the ruling but it remained blocked. The country’s telecommunication authority (TIB) has 30 days to decide whether to lift the ban. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to “wipe out Twitter” after users spread allegations of corruption. Twitter itself has filed a challenge to the access ban.
It said it had acted on two out of three Turkish legal orders but had concern about the third order as it was a request us to suspend an account accusing a former minister of corruption.
“This order causes us concern,” its general counsel, Vijaya Gadde, said in a statement. “Political speech is among the most important speech, especially when it concerns possible government corruption.” At a rally ahead of important local elections on Sunday, Mr Erdogan was quoted by Reuters news agency as saying: “I don’t understand how people of good sense could defend this Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. There are all kinds of lies there.”

People have demonstrated against the Twitter ban in the streets

People have demonstrated against the Twitter ban in the streets

A ban was imposed on Friday on the grounds that Twitter had failed to remove the allegations of corruption involving senior officials. A number of complaints were filed to courts, arguing the ban was illegal and unconstitutional. The administrative court in Ankara issued a temporary injunction on Wednesday ordering the TIB to restore access to Twitter until it could deliver its full verdict on the ban. Turkish media reports suggested the ban would be suspended soon afterwards but a source in Mr Erdogan’s office told Reuters news agency the TIB had 30 days to implement or appeal against the court ruling. Thirty days is a standard period in such cases. “The millions of people in Turkey who turn to Twitter to make their voices heard are being kept from doing just that,” Ms Gadde said. “There are no legal grounds for the blocking of our service in Turkey,” she added.

Users have found many ways of circumventing the prohibition, which has been widely criticised and ridiculed. As of Wednesday afternoon, the top trending term in Turkey was a political slogan attacking Mr Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party. Just behind it was a pro-Erdogan term.

From: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-26749374

Related: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/26/turkish-court-lifts-twitter-ban

‘Minority groups face increasing discrimination in Turkey’

20 March 2014 by MELTEM Naz Kaso, İstanbul (Today’s Zaman)

Despite March 21 being both the UN-designated International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the start of the Nevruz festival, which marks the first day of spring and has been celebrated by people from diverse ethnic communities and religious backgrounds for thousands of years, some prominent voices in Turkey have used the occasion to tell Today’s Zaman that discrimination is increasing against those who do not practice Sunni Islam or identify as ethnic Turks.

Aren, a Christian of Armenian heritage in his 30s, says that on one occasion, when he was exercising at the gym, some people opened windows soon after he started running and said that “the room had started to smell like an Armenian.” Another man of Aren’s age referred to a dumbbell as being “as heavy as an unbeliever’s dead body.” He tells Today’s Zaman that this is far from being the most severe incident he has experienced in Turkey in terms of discrimination due to his ethnicity and religion. He could well be right. Other prominent incidents of racial and religious discrimination — such as the murder of Hrant Dink, a Turkish-Armenian journalist who was killed outside his office, and three Christians who were brutally murdered at the Zirve publishing house in Malatya — reveal that intolerance can be deadly.

On paper, Turkey has taken significant steps to fight against discrimination. After the long-running public debates over the implementation of a “democracy package” — an initiative to extend rights to Turkey’s disadvantaged minorities — hate crime entered the Turkish statute books for the first time in December 2013. Hate and prejudice crimes are defined as “crimes committed against someone or some group based on their language, race, nationality, skin color, gender, disability, political views, philosophical beliefs or religion.” Yet, unlike the preferred definition of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), it lacks criteria based on ethnicity and sexual orientation. In addition, the largest ethnic minority in Turkey, the Kurds, are not specifically included in the regulation.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) issued a public declaration in January 2014 to draw attention to these gaps in Turkey’s hate crime legislation. So far, no subsequent changes have taken place.

Erdal Doğan, one of the lawyers representing the plaintiffs in the Zirve murder case, thinks that the problem of ethnic and racial discrimination is deeply rooted in Turkey and will not be resolved soon. “Since the founding of the Turkish Republic, our country had been built according to the concept of ‘oneness.’ To ‘Turkify’ everyone, governments normalized hate speech and did not recognize ethnic or religious differences,” Doğan tells Today’s Zaman. According to the lawyer, the goal of such policies was to label as an enemy all those who were not Sunni Muslim Turks.

From: http://www.todayszaman.com/news-342607-minority-groups-face-increasing-discrimination-in-turkey.html

Tagged Hrant Dink, Nevrus festival, Zirve murder case, ethnic and racial discrimination

Turkey’s former EU minister calls funeral attendees necrophiliacs

Turkey’s former chief negotiator and EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bağış called those who went to the funeral of Berkin Elvan, a teenage boy who died after nine months in a coma as a result of being hit in the head by a tear gas canister during the Gezi Park protests last year, necrophiliacs, a comment that has drawn wide denunciation and vehement criticism.

“Those necrophiliacs who are uncomfortable with the end of terrorism, our brotherhood [with Kurds] and who are targeting the settlement process [to end the three-decades-old Kurdish dispute and armed conflict] will get their response from voters on March 30 [the day of local elections],” Bağış tweeted on Wednesday, as thousands of people flocked to İstanbul’s Şişli district to pay their final respects to Berkin at the funeral ceremony.

His tweet exploded on social media and has drawn the ire of thousands with vehement criticism flooding websites and Twitter.

The tweet was deleted following the harsh reaction.

 

12 March 2014 /İSTANBUL, TODAY’S ZAMAN