Jailed Turkish journalist Ahmet Turan Alkan: I will not apologize to the tyrant

Ahmet Turan Alkan

Prominent Turkish columnist and political scientist Ahmet Turan Alkan, who used to write for Zaman daily which was closed by the government led by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan over its affiliation with the Gülen movement, said that “I will not lick the knife that slits my throat. I will not apologize to the tyrant. I will not beg to the politicians by saying ‘please release me.’”

Ahmet Turan Alkan, who has been in prison for about 2 years, addressed the ‘liberal and democratic consciences’ again in a letter he sent from his ward from notorious Silivri Prison in İstanbul before appearing in the court.

Alkan is going to appear before judge for a hearing on Thursday. In order to point out unlawfulnesses against him, Alkan said in his letter that he has been prosecuted for ‘crime of thought’ and demanded a life imprisonment for him.

Reminding that he was put behind the bars as he was 65 years old and has been kept in prison for 22 months, Ahmet Turan Alkan started his letter by saying “I address liberal and democratic consciences…,” and added that “The prosecutor demands aggravated life sentence and 15 years imprisonment and shows 15 columns as evidence. There is no any other material evidence at all. However, these articles are not considered as evidence in consideration of their attributes and according to valid Turkish laws.”

“I am proud of my writings and my intellectual posture. I certainly do not regret what I wrote. I did not apologize to the government and I will not,” wrote Alkan and continued: “Such a court is judging me that instead of evidence or defense even if I bring the divine 10 Commandments in my arms from the Mount Sinai like prophet Moses, they will keep on ignoring. If the Holy Gabriel reveals, they might attempt to arrest him too…”

“I know the source that will interfere in the court, but since the first hearing I have found so degrading to address that authority,” wrote Alkan and added that “I would rather be imprisoned by his cruelty than be released by his grace. It is an honour for me, it is a source of pride. Everyone should know and hear once more; this is a political case. It’s an out of the whole cloth, unlawful, ridiculous, zany file…”

Stating that he has been tried as a criminal of thought, Ahmet Turan Alkan included the following opinions in his letter:

“…It means, I’m a thought criminal…

All over the world, ‘thought crime’ is embedded in history. Like tuberculosis, malaria, like smallpox… Unfortunately in my country it is being resurrected…

There is a severe disproportion between the demanded punishment and the actions. Because since the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey, the justice has come completely under the domination of the government and lost its independency and impartiality.

The percentage of those who do not trust the law is over 85 percent.

The fourth and possibly the last hearing (of my trial) will be held on May 10-11, 2018. The court, under heavy political oppression, will probably sentence from the heaviest punishment for us, the journalists…

For expressing an opinion, aggravated life sentence has been demanded, which literally means execution.  There are three important verdicts of the Constitutional Court (AYM) and the European Court of Human Right (ECoHR) in favour of us. They are ‘precedent’, but the local court does not enforce them and keeps on resisting.

Rule of law was shelved in 2014 in Turkey, instead, a rude and rough ‘state of law’ has arrived. After July 15, only ‘arbitrary law’ in other words ‘His Majesty’s law’ has the control.

I am proud of my writings and my intellectual posture. I certainly do not regret what I wrote. I did not apologize to the government and I will not.

Such a court is judging me that instead of evidence or defense even if I bring the divine 10 Commandments in my arms from the Mount Sinai like prophet Moses, they will keep on ignoring. If the Holy Gabriel reveals, they might attempt to arrest him too…

I know the source that will interfere in the court, but since the first hearing I have found so degrading to address that authority.

I would rather be imprisoned by his cruelty than be released by his grace. It is an honour for me, it is a source of pride.

Everyone should know and hear once more; this is a political case. It’s an out of the whole cloth, unlawful, ridiculous, zany file…

– Here; the intentions, not the practices

– The thoughts, not the certain actions

– The political opinions, not the evidences of material crime have been prosecuted…

They can give me aggravated life, but they can not convict me by law and more importantly they can not make me embarrassed. They can hold me in jail, but they can not incriminate me by a believable offense.

They can kill me in prison but they can never make me ashamed.

I proudly possess the things that have been revealed as evidence of crime. Yes, I wrote in the Zaman daily; yes, I wrote the articles that the prosecutor attached to the file as evidence after three years. I am not regretful at all. I made my best; I did not applaud the corruption, I did not digest the immorality by covering with chocolate, I did not butter up the tyrants and I did not ignore…

Yes, I am Ahmet Turan Alkan; I am the writer of Zaman daily, I am a dissident. Yes, I once bothered the government, and as I understood I’m still giving a headache…

I will not lick the knife that slits my throat. I will not apologize to the tyrant. I will not beg to the politicians by saying ‘please release me.’

I address the consciences that believe in liberty, fundamental human rights and democracy. I thank all of you so much on behalf of myself and my family for supporting us on our righteous struggle and being with us even though you do not know us closely.”

Turkey is ranked 157th among 180 countries in the 2018 World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Wednesday. If Turkey falls two more places, it will make it to the list of countries on the blacklist, which have the poorest record in press freedom.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by SCF show that 254 journalists and media workers were in jail as of May 8, 2018, most in pretrial detention. Of those in prison 192 were under arrest pending trial while only 62 journalists have been convicted and are serving their time. Detention warrants are outstanding for 142 journalists who are living in exile or remain at large in Turkey.

Detaining tens of thousands of people over alleged links to the Gülen movement, the government also closed down some 200 media outlets, including Kurdish news agencies and newspapers, after the coup attempt in Turkey on July 15, 2016.

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