Nederlands Consulaat-Generaal in Istanbul medeplichtig aan censuur Turks regiem.

Pers bericht 19 December 2012:
Nederlands Consulaat-generaal in Istanbul, Turkije censureerde tekst over schending vrijheid meningsuiting in Turkije, geschreven voor een kunstenaarspublicatie door de directeur van Women on Waves, Rebecca Gomperts.

Op uitnodiging van de Nederlandse kunstenares Sarah van Sonsbeeck, heeft Gomperts een tekst geschreven voor een publicatie bij haar kunstwerk  'Sessizlik Belediyesi/Municipality of Silence, een bankje in de tuin van het Nederlandse consulaat in Istanbul Turkije. De publicatie is gefinancierd door het Nederlands Consulaat. Maar het consulaat weigerde de publicatie te financieren tenzij de tekst van Gomperts werd verwijderd. 

Door aan te dringen op de verwijdering van de tekst door Gomperts heeft het Consulaat de Nederlandse buitenlandse politieke mensenrechten agenda, die zich richt op vrijheid van meningsuiting, ernstig geschonden.[1]

De volgende tekst is gecensureerd door het Nederlands Consulaat-generaal in Istanbul,:

"How can you ask for silence when you actually offer a safe place to speak, here within but outside Turkey?

In no other country in the world are there so many journalists in prison, or is there such violation of the freedom of expression. As many as 5,000 criminal cases were pending against journalists at the end of 2011. Turkey increasingly filters opposition and pro-Kurdish media and imposes broad bans on websites. The government tries to influence court proceedings and uses pressure tactics to promote self-censorship. At least 76 journalists are in prison, 61 in direct relation to their work on terrorism or anti-state charges. Erdoğan himself publicly criticizes journalists and urges media outlets to discipline or fire critical staff members. He filed numerous high-profile defamation lawsuits. Turkey’s imprisonments of journalists surpass the next most repressive nations. Iran had 42 journalists in jail, Eritrea 28 and China 27. [2] 

How can you ask for silence when so many Turkish women are silenced by force?

At least 42 percent of women in Turkey experience physical and/or sexual violence by their husbands or partners at some point in their lives. The very few women who are brave enough to report to the police are humiliated and send back to violent husbands or family by the Law enforcement officers. Turkey's family violence protection system is flawed and leaves women and girls across the country unprotected against domestic abuse according to Human Rights Watch. [3]   

How can you ask for silence when the government of Erdogan plans to make abortion illegal? [4]

Four women who protested against the abortion ban have been taken to court and are charged with “assaulting police officers.” The prosecutor even demands up to three years in prison for the women.[5]

Are those that finally want to break the silence and self-censorship also welcome on the bench in the garden of the Dutch consulate?

Prosecuted journalists, battered women and those seeking a safe and legal abortion will occupy your bench in the Dutch consular garden and become political refugees. Because Consular premises are also inviolable according to article 31 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, they could actually seek asylum on your bench in the consular garden as Julian Assange did in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

So why would they remain silent? They will not only speak or shout, they will amplify their dissident voice. Article 35 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations protects freedom of communication on the part of the consular post.  Although it is not allowed to install a wireless transmitter, they can still use a megaphone or broadcast over internet radio from your bench, so that everybody in Turkey can hear them. They can say everything, and still be safe.  They can reclaim their human rights in Turkey from the bench in the garden of the Dutch consulate. 

Instead of a Municipality of Silence, the bench will become a space for the freedom to decide over ones own body, freedom to think, freedom to express, freedom to be any gender, any minority, any oppressed; a space for dissent.”

De publicatie zonder bovenstaande tekst gedrukt, aangezien deze op verzoek van het consulaat is verwijderd, wordt gepresenteerd op Donderdag 20 December om 18.00 in de boekwinkel van het Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

Voor meer informatie:

Women on Waves




[2] Report by CPJ “Turkey's Press Freedom Crisis The Dark Days of Jailing Journalists and Criminalizing Dissent,