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article imageOp-Ed: Islamists hate free speech Special

By Lonna Lisa Williams     Feb 9, 2014 in World
Istanbul - Turkey's Islamist government are enforcing new Internet restrictions and persecutes journalists, prosecutors, freedom protesters, and even police.
Be careful what you say or publish in Turkey. Even if you are a journalist from another country, you could be arrested or expelled. Islamists in Turkey are trying to control free speech, protesters, the media, the legal system, and even the police. This week, new restrictions over the internet came into effect. The Turkish government will be able to block objectionable websites within hours. One Turkish man told me,
"Many internet sites are now blocked, especially foreign news sites. When there is a protest against Erdogan's restrictive policies, internet sites that cover it are blocked, and the local T.V. and newspapers are even more controlled. Hardly anyone knew about the protests in Istanbul yesterday."
In fact, the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul issued a warning to Americans living in Turkey to avoid yesterday's protest in Taksim Square, site of last spring's Gezi Park protests. I received this email from the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul:
On Friday, February 7, 2014 6:04 PM, "CA_Istanbul@state.gov" wrote:
U.S. Consulate General Istanbul, Turkey
Security Message: Protests on Saturday, February 8
February 7, 2014
U.S. Consulate General Istanbul informs U.S. citizens of news reports that a protest against recent legislation expanding the government's power to regulate Internet content is scheduled to take place at Taksim Square starting at 19:00 on Saturday, February 8. Large crowds and police presence are expected on surrounding streets as well, including Istiklal Street, and may begin to gather well before the scheduled start time of the protest. Protest-related transport disruptions will probably begin during the early evening as protesters travel to Taksim Square. Residual delays are likely after the rally ends and demonstrators exit the area. The Department of State strongly advises avoiding the area during the protest.
However, when I looked at the U.S. Consulate's website, I could not find the warning under "Messages to U.S. Citizens." Did they remove it because Erdogan insisted that they cover up the protest?
When I was living in Turkey for 2.5 years, I attended the Kocaeli Book Fair. Thousands of books were highlighted in huge conventional halls, many on the topic of Islam. But the book fair, controlled by the Islamist Ak Party, allowed not one Bible. When I asked if I could find a Bible or any Christian book, the book fair director called security and labeled me a "Christian provocateur." I left before I could be arrested, but the Muslim woman who came to the book fair with me later denounced our friendship. Although she had attended my wedding and freely posed for photos there, on outings together, and outside the Kocaeli Book Fair, she complained to an Ak Party Prosectuter about a photo I published with her in it, and police came to arrest me last September, just days after I left to teach English in China.
Ironically, Islamists demand rights they deny others. If someone exposes their restrictive policies, they immediately cry out, "Hate speech!"
The real enemy of free speech are Islamists who do not tolerate other religions, religious books, ways of dressing, smoking, drinking alcohol, and many other "haram" (forbidden) things. Sadly, Islamists kill more fellow Muslims (from minority sects like the Alevi and Shiite) than they kill Christians, Buddhists, or other religious minorities among them. Just look at what has been happening in Iraq.
Recently, a French documentary about Syria interviewed Syrians who have been opposing Assad for years. These residents of Aleppo objected to the hijacking of their freedom revolution by Islamists who want to create an Islamic State in Syria, under Sharia Law.
One Syrian father declared, "Foreign Islamists who came to Aleppo saw a Syrian man smoking a cigarette and ripped it from his mouth, then destroyed the whole pack. They killed a Syrian girl for wearing a skirt. We cannot let them control our war for freedom."
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan has been allowing foreign Islamists to cross the Turkish border into Syria and bring weapons. He publicly supports the Muslim Brotherhood. He has been making laws to hurt his own people and has fired or imprisoned thousands of people since the December, 2013 corruption scandal.
When he was mayor of Istanbul, Erdogan shouted at a rally:
“Democracy is merely a train that we ride until we reach our goal. Mosques are our military barracks, minarets are our spears, domes are our helmets, and the faithful are our army.”
Is this not the real hate speech?
There are over 80,000 mosques in Turkey, and Erdogan will not let Christians build one church in the capital city of Ankara. Ancient churches are being converted to mosques. Erdogan and his fellow Islamists ignore Turkey's long Christian history and other religious minorities while limiting free speech, freedom of the press, the ability to protest, and even the Internet.
In Saudi Arabia, which is ruled by strict Islamic Sharia law, a group of 15 school girls were allowed to burn to death in 2002 because they fled their school without their veils, and the morality police locked the gate so that no one would see them uncovered. Recently, a female university student died of a heart attack because a male ambulance crew was not allowed into her women-only university.
Policies like these show great hatred, and countries that call themselves democracies and bastions of freedom must speak out—or come under the control of Islamists who will not tolerate other ways of life than their own.
Reporter's Update: Reuters reported that, in an impassioned television interview late on Monday, February 10, Fatih Altayli, editor-in-chief of the mainstream Haberturk newspaper, said government pressure had left media editors intimidated and created a climate in which they were unable to publish freely.
"The honor of journalism is being trampled on. Instructions rain down every day from various places. Can you write what you want? Everybody is afraid," Altayli told CNN Turk.
Editors and reporters have said in the past they had received phone calls from government officials asking them to alter their coverage or dismiss journalists, but they usually only spoke out after losing their jobs.
"This is not the first time a senior editor has spoken about this, but the intensity of Altayli repeating 'I am not the only one' means the entire conglomerate media, at a senior level, has been kept under immense pressure from Erdogan," Yavuz Baydar, one of Turkey's most prominent journalists, told Reuters.
"But I truly doubt that the pattern of media managers acting like black boxes—keeping government and company secrets to themselves—can be broken," said Baydar, a columnist for Zaman newspaper, which is close to Erdogan's rival, Fetullah Gulen.
Baydar added, "The problem is, editors in conglomerate media seem to have sold their freedom and integrity at a price. They live in lies, constantly chased by the truth."
Turkish supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood rally near Istanbul
Turkish supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood rally near Istanbul
Ak Party Prime Minister Erdogan places his banner next to Ataturk at the Kocaeli Book Fair in 2012. ...
Ak Party Prime Minister Erdogan places his banner next to Ataturk at the Kocaeli Book Fair in 2012. This is the photo that almost got me arrested in Turkey.
Police hide behind their shields in Taksim
Police hide behind their shields in Taksim
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan seeks to establish Islamic law in Turkey  as he sponsors projects lik...
Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan seeks to establish Islamic law in Turkey, as he sponsors projects like this new, multi-million-dollar mosque in Istanbul that rises near exclusive residence towers
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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