Jailed Turkish journalist and singer Taş: My ideas even freer than a bird

Jailed columnist and singer Atilla Taş, who has been jailed over accusation of the membership to the Gülen movement, said in a letter he send from İstanbul’s infamous Silivri Prison that his ideas are even freer than a bird.

According to a report published by Gazete Karınca news portal, columnist Atilla Taş, who used to be a writer at now-closed Meydan daily and has been behind bars for one year, stated in his letter that he made good friends with great thinker Spinoza by noting that every day Spinoza visits him in prison. “I have a great friend here: Bento Spinoza. Every day Spinoza visits me. Those who know will understand,” told Taş.

Speaking of fair trial, Taş stressed that he misses justice not because of being in need of a fair trial, but he misses it by noting not raising any complaint any more.

Taş said, “When it comes to fairness… Strong people do not need justice, they just have desires. I miss because of this, but I do not have any complaints any more. My conscience feels comfortable in people’s consciences.”

Making a request to those people who read the letter, Taş said that he wants people to embrace their closest friends and tell them I love you. “Because the best times on Earth are moments that we love, and we love those great people and our families,” added Taş.

Turkey is the biggest jailer of journalists in the world. The most recent figures documented by the Stockholm Center for Freedom (SCF) has showed that 282 journalists and media workers are now in jails as of September 23, 2017, most in pre-trial detention languishing in notorious Turkish prisons without even a conviction. Of those in Turkish prisons, 257 are arrested pending trial, only 25 journalists remain convicted and serving time in Turkish prisons. An outstanding detention warrants remain for 135 journalists who live 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 more than 180 media outlets after the controversial coup attempt on July 15, 2016. Turkey’s Contemporary Journalists’ Association (ÇGD) recently announced that more than 900 press cards were cancelled.

Turkey survived a controversial military coup attempt on July 15, 2016 that killed 249 people. Immediately after the putsch the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government along with Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan pinned the blame on the Gülen movement.

Fethullah Gülen, who inspired the movement, strongly denied having any role in the failed coup and called for an international investigation into it, but President Erdoğan — calling the coup attempt “a gift from God” — and the government initiated a widespread purge aimed at cleansing sympathizers of the movement from within state institutions, dehumanizing its popular figures and putting them in custody.

Turkey’s Justice Ministry announced on July 13 that 50,510 people have been arrested and 169,013 have been the subject of legal proceedings on coup charges since the failed coup.

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