Freedom Book Fair – Freedom of Expression in Turkey 25 February

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The discussion “Freedom of Expression in Turkey; Challenges for Dialogue and Peace” is part of The Hague Freedom Book Fair 2017.

In the light of the recent events in Turkey there will be discussion over journalistic freedom (for example censorship, arrests and foreclosures, public humiliation and intimidation etc.) and democratic liberties (for example parliamentary impunity, martial law and military etc). The recent arrest of Hüda Kaya, one of our speakers, illustrates the necessity of addressing these topics.

The introduction will be made by Bedel Baryak and Tayfun Balcik who are the project coordinators of the Kurdish – Turkish program ran by The Hague Peace Projects.

The discussion panel consists of:

– Uğur Üngör, a historian who teaches at the Department of History at Utrecht University. He gained his Ph.D in 2009 (cum laude) at the University of Amsterdam (dissertation: Young Turk Social Engineering: Mass Violence and the Nation State in Eastern Turkey, 1913-1950). As a scholar he mainly focuses on mass violence and nationalism. During this event he will discuss the developments in Turkey with regards to freedom of expression from a historical perspective.

– Hüda Kaya, a writer, civil rights activist and a member of the parliament for the pro-minority political party HDP. She grew up in Istanbul, but later moved to Malatya, A predominantly Kurdish province. Once there, her opinion of the Kurds changed drastically, she decided to stay and opened up a shop. In her time in Malatya she becomes more active as Muslim-feminist. Following the ‘post-modern coup’ on 28th of February 1997, which precipitated the resignation of Islamist prime minister Necmettin Erbakan of the Welfare Party, she gets arrested for demonstrating against the ban on the headscarve and her writings.
In 1999 she gets arrested for a second time in the aftermath of protest, violently beaten down by anti-terror forces. Her three daughters (16,17 and 18) who have also partaken in the non-violent protests, are abducted from school by the anti-terror forces. Hüda Kaya stayed in jail for three years. When the central-Islamic AKP came into power she had high hopes that many of the inhuman policies would be changed. But in time she was disillusioned by the increasing repressive rhetoric and actions of the government.

– Muhammed Cihad Ebrari is a researcher at SAMER (Political and Social Research Centre) and human rights activist affiliated with the
‘anti-capitalist Muslims’, also known as the ‘Muslim left’. In a recent protest against arrests of politicians he was beaten by the police and was injured severely.

– Marloes de Koning, a journalist for the Dutch paper NRC. She worked for three years in Turkey as correspondent and returned in 2016 to The Netherlands.

– Ragip Zarakolu – A Turkish writer and publisher, Nobel Prize nominee (2012) and iconic advocate for the freedom to publish and write in Turkey and beyond. In spite of 40 years of censorship, harassment, death threats and imprisonments by the Turkish authorities and far right groups, Zarakolu has never given up his fight for freedom of thought and the necessity of minorities right to be heard.

You are very welcome to join the discussion! Entrance is free, but registration is required.

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