FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Turkey Targets Chomsky

by Robert Fisk

Noam Chomsky, one of America’s greatest philosophers and linguists, has become the target of Turkey’s chief of “terrorism prosecution”.

Scarcely two months after the European Union praised Turkey for passing new laws protecting freedom of expression, the authorities in Ankara are using anti -terrorism legislation to prosecute Mr Chomsky’s Turkish publisher.

Fatih Tas of the Aram Publishing House faces a year in prison for daring to print American Interventionism, a collection of Mr Chomsky’s recent essays including harsh criticism of Turkey’s treatment of its Kurdish minority. Mr Chomsky, a linguistics professor at MIT, is planning to fly to Turkey for Mr Tas’s first court appearance on 13 February and has already written to the offices of the United Nations high commissioner for human rights, pointing out that amendments to Turkish law were supposed to have provided greater freedom of expression, not less.

Mr Chomsky plans to visit the Turkish city of Diyarbakir to meet Kurdish “activists” and it will be a test of Turkey’s freedoms to see if he is allowed to visit the area.

In one of his essays, originally a university lecture, he says that “the Kurds have been miserably oppressed throughout the whole history of the modern Turkish state … In 1984, the Turkish government launched a major war in the south-east against the Kurdish population … The end result was pretty awesome: tens of thousands of people killed, two to three million refugees, massive ethnic cleansing with some 3,500 villages destroyed.”

This, according to the Turks, constitutes an incitement to violence. Mr Chomsky has been suitably outraged, regarding the trial as part of a much broader wave of repression directed against Kurds appealing for greater use of the Kurdish language. Bekir Rayif Aldemyr, Turkey’s chief prosecutor, claims that the Chomsky essay “propagates separatism”.

A spiky, inexhaustible academic of Jewish origin who has been an inveterate critic of Israel and especially of the United States, Mr Chomsky’s condemnation of Turkey’s treatment of the Kurds –and of the vast arms shipments made to Turkey by the United States –was bound to enrage Ankara.

Mr Chomsky describes the prosecution as “a very severe attack on the most elementary human and civil rights”. The EU, so impressed by those changes in Turkish law last November, has remained silent.

Robert Fisk writes for the Independent, where this column originally appeared. 

More articles by:
June 27, 2016
Robin Hahnel
Brexit: Establishment Freak Out
James Bradley
Omar’s Motive
Gregory Wilpert – Michael Hudson
How Western Military Interventions Shaped the Brexit Vote
Leonard Peltier
41 Years Since Jumping Bull (But 500 Years of Trauma)
Rev. William Alberts
Orlando: the Latest Victim of Radicalizing American Imperialism
Patrick Cockburn
Brexiteers Have Much in Common With Arab Spring Protesters
Franklin Lamb
How 100 Syrians, 200 Russians and 11 Dogs Out-Witted ISIS and Saved Palmyra
John Grant
Omar Mateen: The Answers are All Around Us
Dean Baker
In the Wake of Brexit Will the EU Finally Turn Away From Austerity?
Ralph Nader
The IRS and the Self-Minimization of Congressman Jason Chaffetz
Johan Galtung
Goodbye UK, Goodbye Great Britain: What Next?
Martha Pskowski
Detained in Dilley: Deportation and Asylum in Texas
Binoy Kampmark
Headaches of Empire: Brexit’s Effect on the United States
Dave Lindorff
Honest Election System Needed to Defeat Ruling Elite
Louisa Willcox
Delisting Grizzly Bears to Save the Endangered Species Act?
Jason Holland
The Tragedy of Nothing
Jeffrey St. Clair
Revolution Reconsidered: a Fragment (Guest Starring Bernard Sanders in the Role of Robespierre)
Weekend Edition
June 24, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
A Blow for Peace and Democracy: Why the British Said No to Europe
Pepe Escobar
Goodbye to All That: Why the UK Left the EU
Michael Hudson
Revolts of the Debtors: From Socrates to Ibn Khaldun
Andrew Levine
Summer Spectaculars: Prelude to a Tea Party?
Kshama Sawant
Beyond Bernie: Still Not With Her
Mike Whitney
¡Basta Ya, Brussels! British Voters Reject EU Corporate Slavestate
Tariq Ali
Panic in the House: Brexit as Revolt Against the Political Establishment
Paul Street
Miranda, Obama, and Hamilton: an Orwellian Ménage à Trois for the Neoliberal Age
Ellen Brown
The War on Weed is Winding Down, But Will Monsanto Emerge the Winner?
Gary Leupp
Why God Created the Two-Party System
Conn Hallinan
Brexit Vote: a Very British Affair (But Spain May Rock the Continent)
Ruth Fowler
England, My England
Jeffrey St. Clair
Lines Written on the Occasion of Bernie Sanders’ Announcement of His Intention to Vote for Hillary Clinton
Norman Pollack
Fissures in World Capitalism: the British Vote
Paul Bentley
Mercenary Logic: 12 Dead in Kabul
Binoy Kampmark
Parting Is Such Sweet Joy: Brexit Prevails!
Elliot Sperber
Show Me Your Papers: Supreme Court Legalizes Arbitrary Searches
Jan Oberg
The Brexit Shock: Now It’s All Up in the Air
Nauman Sadiq
Brexit: a Victory for Britain’s Working Class
Brian Cloughley
Murder by Drone: Killing Taxi Drivers in the Name of Freedom
Ramzy Baroud
How Israel Uses Water as a Weapon of War
Brad Evans – Henry Giroux
The Violence of Forgetting
Ben Debney
Homophobia and the Conservative Victim Complex
Margaret Kimberley
The Orlando Massacre and US Foreign Policy
David Rosen
Americans Work Too Long for Too Little
Murray Dobbin
Do We Really Want a War With Russia?
Kathy Kelly
What’s at Stake
Louis Yako
I Have Nothing “Newsworthy” to Report this Week
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail