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Islamic newspaper's columnist charged with "denigrating the armed forces"

(BIANET/IFEX) - Authorities have filed a lawsuit against Abdurrahman Dilipak, a columnist for the Islamic newspaper "Anadolu'da Vakit", for his article titled "Cübbe Sarik" ("Religious cloak and turban"), which was published on 13 February 2008. He is accused of "denigrating the armed forces through media."

The case was filed following the complaint made by the General Staff to the Ministry of Interior on 18 February, in which they asked that the journalist be punished according to article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK).

The complaint claims that the article exceeded the limits imposed by "the reality, the public good and the criteria of intellectual connection between the subject and its expression", and "directly targeted the Turkish Armed Forces." However, BIANET notes that in his article Dilipak seemed to be talking about how people change their beliefs, sometimes overnight, and become what they previously opposed. In this respect, he claimed that that those who are so fervently secular, including soldiers, may change their ways so radically that they may be no different than those they were against previously. To make his point clearer, he said: "They might place a white turban wrapped over a green fez instead of their officer's hat somewhere visible in their houses . . . Let us remember how the Red Army disappeared overnight . . . Turkish society is scared and controlled through briefings, unsolved murders and files on people . . . There has been covert action to stir the country, in the east through JITEM and in the west through non-governmental organizations . . . The leader of the patriots is accused of his expression, 'We had four thousand soldiers walk in their civilian clothes and nobody realized it.'" (The JITEM refers to the national Gendarmerie's intelligence branch.)

On 17 September, Dilipak will face the judge at the Bakirköy Court of First Instance. In the meantime, the court is waiting for the interior minister's permission to try the case.

Publisher Ragip Zarakolu, the owner of Belge Publishing, is the person most recently convicted of violating article 310. The other article 301 cases have been sent to the Ministry of Interior in accordance with the latest revision in article 301, on offences "denigrating the Turkish Nation, the State of the Turkish Republic and its institutions and organs," which went into effect on 7 May.

According to BIANET's Media Monitoring Report, published on 1 May, there were 42 people on trial in the period January-March 2008 for violations of article 301; 12 of these cases were new. In 2007, the number of those on trial for article 301 violations was 55.

For further information on the Zarakolu case, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/94742

For further information on the recent amendments to Article 301, see: http://www.ifex.org/en/content/view/full/93212

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