In Turkey, two Facebook posts are enough to land you in jail

The voice of every citizen and segment of society that believes in the rule of law, human rights, democracy, and freedom from this injustice we live in will have great meaning for the democratic future of our country. Aside from the peculiarity of my trial, as a person who objected to preachers of violence in every division of life without ifs or buts, I must say that I find it disgraceful for law and justice that I am subjected to terrifying accusations regarding a painful incident of violence. The fact that I shared a link to a newspaper that reported the painful cry of a Kurdish father who lost his soldier son in 2015, adding the one-sentence comment that “This war is not our war”, cannot reasonably be presented as “evidence” of “being a supporter of a terrorist organisation”. This is an injustice not only against me and my loved ones, but also against Turkey’s future.

What I understand from many different historical experiences in the world is that what really feeds terrorism is treating citizens as though they were terrorists or “terrorist supporters”. This is the mentality that makes the wheel of hate permanent and cannot escape the obsession of creating enemies. It is not a crime to be anti-militarist, or to oppose war anywhere in the world.

The opposite of violence is not just ethical non-violence. Of course, the principle of non-violence is an indispensable condition of democratic politics. But beyond that, it is necessary to take a strong stand with words of truth in the face of violence. We cannot create a democratic society unless we take a strong ethical and active attitude against violence in all its forms and layers (physical, symbolic, masculine, etc.). I have always been of this belief. I have never defended any type of violence against citizens.

I have defended the view that words, dialogue, conversations, and negotiations are the basic needs of our century, and that this is necessary to create a world that is really different from the twentieth century, which was an era of violence.

When I was a member of the Green Left Party and the HDP’s Central Executive Committee, I believed in the potential of ending violence. An increase in the number of citizens who hear, talk to, and understand one another could, I thought, have changed the country’s fate in favour of the poor, those who are considered surplus, those who are ignored. I enthusiastically supported a transition from the existing reality, in which professional politicians talk and young people die, to a democratic peaceful atmosphere in which Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, Laz, and other young people, of different ethnic, religious, sexual, and political identities, argue and act together in Turkey. It was the spirit of Ahparig Hrant Dink who made me believe strongly that it was possible to foster change through truth-telling, the power of the word, and the magic of conscience. During the last four years, when I moved away from active politics in Turkey and focused on my academic studies in Canada, I never abandoned non-violence, peace, and love.

The logic-defying charges against me – with an indictment that was prepared seven years later, especially the allegation that “I acted upon instructions” – is extremely serious spiritual violence.

Last November, we heard the following statement from Turkey’s Minister of Justice, Abdülhamit Gül: “Let justice be served, though the world perishes. This is what we expect from judges, members of the judiciary.” It is remarkable that this ancient maxim – attributed to Ferdinand I, the successor of Charles V – is recalled by authorities today. In fact, my humble expectation is neither the doomsday to come nor the world’s perishing. It is, more simply, the implementation of the decisions of the ECtHR and Turkey’s Supreme Court, which are constitutional obligations and necessary to uphold human rights and the sanctity of human life.

I would like to thank each and every person whose presence I have felt by my side from the first moment I was detained and who has lent their support with letters, messages, prayers, and good wishes. If they want to find links to an “organisation”, the only address to be found is the honest academics and intellectuals of Turkey and the world with whom I feel honoured to work, activists who are trying to make the world a better place, my friends, relatives, my family, and my spouse.

With belief in righteousness, I will continue to pursue truth, reason, conscience, humanity, nature, and the common good for all living things, without hurting anyone, without losing intellectual integrity. We will definitely see that universal legal norms and values, and, of course, love, solidarity, and goodness have won.

Hope to see you on free days,

Cihan Erdal,

February 2021

Sincan F2 Prison, Ankara, Turkey

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Omer Ongun Umut Ozsu | Radio Free (2021-12-08T01:20:02+00:00) » In Turkey, two Facebook posts are enough to land you in jail. Retrieved from https://www.radiofree.org/2021/03/15/in-turkey-two-facebook-posts-are-enough-to-land-you-in-jail/.
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» In Turkey, two Facebook posts are enough to land you in jail | Omer Ongun Umut Ozsu | Radio Free | https://www.radiofree.org/2021/03/15/in-turkey-two-facebook-posts-are-enough-to-land-you-in-jail/ | 2021-12-08T01:20:02+00:00
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