• Britain Today,  Democracy,  Freedom of Expression,  Turkey

    How Erdogan targets British Turks via the Turkish Consulate in London

    This is a cross-post from As Turkey Sleeps. Erdogan’s anti-democratic actions have caused much negative publicity in recent years – so much so that any positive work he did in the early part of his rule has now been totally wiped out by his autocratic behaviour.  Now when his name is mentioned only one word comes to mind- that is ‘Dictator’. It is worrying to then learn that the Turkish Consulate in London has been busy targeting British Turks with Erdogan’s propaganda.  It has come to our attention that mailshots are sent to Turks in the UK encouraging them to vote for the AK Party.  This has created a climate of fear…

  • Freedom of Expression,  Russia

    Lavrov asks Kerry to stop “anti-Russian” media

    Perhaps related to Vladimir Putin’s sky-high approval ratings: Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov may not approve of freedom of the press, but it’s rather disturbing that he doesn’t even understand it. Lavrov calls Kerry to ask him to stop the "anti-Russian campaign" in the Western press. https://t.co/q5qlIiq5SG — Julia Ioffe (@juliaioffe) March 10, 2016 Putin, of course, could say the word and Russian media would instantly stop their anti-American campaign. Fortunately John Kerry and Barack Obama don’t have similar powers. Update: And this just in.

  • Freedom of Expression,  Turkey

    The utter death of democracy in Turkey

    Whatever thin patina of democratic freedom remained in Turkey vanished Saturday when the Erdogan regime forcibly took over the country’s largest (and opposition) newspaper Zaman and turned it into a government propaganda outlet. The last “free” issue of Zaman was released the day before it was seized. The headline read, “Constitution suspended,” above an excerpt from Turkey’s constitution that forbids seizure of printing houses and press equipment:

  • Freedom & Liberty,  Freedom of Expression,  Turkey

    Erdogan’s European lobby group UETD-UK holds political conference in a British school!

    This is a cross-post from As Turkey Sleeps. It is abundantly clear to anybody following political events in Turkey over the past few years that Erdogan’s government continues to silence free speech, restrict freedom of expression and abuse the rule of law.  This has resulted in journalists being arrested, media channels being closed down and judges jailed.   The dictatorial tendencies of Erdogan and his AK Party grow more and more every day.  It is somewhat worrying then to learn that Erdogan’s lobby group in the UK, Union of European Turkish Democrats (UETD-UK), held a political conference at a British school in 2014. British schools are not supposed to allow the promotion of partisan political views on…

  • Blogland,  Freedom of Expression,  Russia

    Russian blogger sent to prison

    The latest news from Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Russia on Wednesday sentenced a blogger in the city of Tomsk to five years in a Siberian prison for “inciting extremism and hatred” after he criticized Russian military intervention in Ukraine in videos he posted to YouTube and Vkontakte, Russia’s version of Facebook. The unusually harsh decision against Vadim Tyumentsev, which also bans him from publishing any content online for three years after his sentence ends, is the latest evidence that the Russian government appears set to intensify its crackdown on dissenters online and that it is willing to dole out real prison terms to keep them quiet. The crackdown began after Putin,…

  • Freedom of Expression,  Islamism

    Maryam Namazie under attack at Goldsmiths

    Maryam Namazie reports here on how Goldsmiths ISOC tried to get her disinvited from the university, and how they responded to the talk she gave to ASH (Atheist, Secular and Humanist Society) last night.  There seems little to add to her analysis.  The hypocrisy of the Goldsmiths ISOC (who have hosted Tzortzis and others) is breathtaking: We feel having her present, will be a violation to our safe space, a policy which Goldsmiths SU adheres to strictly, and my society feels that all she will do is incite hatred and bigotry, at a very sensitive time for Muslims in the light of a huge rise in Islamophobic attacks. and their…

  • Freedom of Expression,  Russia

    Russia intent on revising unfortunate history

    This is a cross-post by Paul Canning The message could not be clearer, in Russia history is decided by the state. The labeling of the legendary human rights group Memorial as a so-called ‘foreign agent’ underlines a process that has been going on for some time. Last month the armed forces announced that they were setting up a unit which “will examine, first of all, the history of the Second World War, the facts related to the falsification of Soviet people’s victory in the Great Patriotic War and other events in the life and the armed forces.” Official state media is publishing denial of the Holodomor, the “Terror-Famine”, as Robert Conquest called it,…

  • antisemitism,  Corruption,  Democracy,  Freedom & Liberty,  Freedom of Expression

    Turkish democracy erodes further after last week’s twin bomb blasts

    By Abi Adnan Oktar Turkey was shaken last weekend as two bombs exploded during a peace rally in Ankara, killing 128 people and injuring another 500. The rally was organised by several groups, including the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), to call for an end to the escalating violence between the Turkish government and the PKK. Footage of police descending on the scene immediately after the explosions shows them blocking ambulances and beating bewildered protesters who were frantically calling for help for the injured. Turkish security sources have since suggested that ISIS may have been behind the attacks but opposition figures have blamed the government itself (the bomb blasts were suspiciously…

  • Freedom of Expression

    Responses to Warwick SU barring Maryam Namazie

    Update: Following a statement from the SU, WASH has issued this response. If you haven’t yet caught up with this story an excellent summary of Warwick Student Union’s disgraceful decision can be read on Student Rights.  Briefly, Namazie had been invited to speak by Warwick’s Atheists Secularists and Humanists society on 28 October, but her invitation has now been blocked by the SU on the grounds that ‘she is highly inflammatory, and could incite hatred on campus’. Although Warwick University is not a serial offender when it comes to extremist speakers, the SU’s position is clearly inconsistent.  As Student Rights points out, Ken O’Keefe was given permission to speak earlier…

  • Academia,  Freedom of Expression

    Heriot-Watt blog highlights student misperceptions

    This is a cross-post from Student Rights In July, Student Rights’ new report ‘Preventing Prevent? Challenges to Counter-Radicalisation Policy on Campus’ highlighted how misunderstandings were driving student opposition to the Prevent strategy. A blog posted over the weekend by Heriot-Watt University Student Union (HWUSU) demonstrates many of these fallacies, and shows the extent to which students have failed to understand the policy they are opposing. Chief amongst these is the argument that Prevent is a racist policy, with the claim it is “heavily based” in discrimination or racial profiling used on four separate occasions by HWUSU. However, no evidence is provided for the sweeping claims made on this issue – nor is any provided for the repeated suggestion that…