Chomsky, Falk Support Freedom of Expression in Turkey


WATERTOWN (A.W.)–The 7th annual “Gathering in Istanbul for Freedom of Expression” is taking place on the weekend of October 9, with the attendance of leading academics, such as linguist and critic Noam Chomsky, who is the guest of honor, and International Law Professor Richard Falk. The event is organized by the “Initiative for Freedom of Expression” in collaboration with Istanbul’s Bilgi University’s Human Rights Law Research Center.

Chomsky reportedly urged attendees to keep up the struggle for justice, which history shows “have been won, almost never granted from above.”

Part of Saturday morning’s session, “We All Are Hrants,” was dedicated to remembering Hrant Dink, the Turkish-Armenian journalist and editor of Agos, who, in 2007, was gunned down in front of his office by an ultra-nationalist.

Journalists, hailing from from Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Russia, will also speak at the conference, discussing the challenges facing freedom of speech in their home countries.

Chomsky is scheduled to deliver another talk on Sunday afternoon, titled “Democracy and Rights in the Emerging World Order.”

On Saturday, conference participants plan to attend the first hearing of a court trial of two journalists, Ertugrul Mavioglu and Ahmet Sik, who face criminal charges for writing a two-volume book on the Ergenekon case, which allegedly violates a gag order.

The first conference took place in March, 1997, as a solidarity campaign with the civil disobedience action of 1080 intellectuals who signed their names as co-publishers of a book that republished ten banned articles, one of which was by Yasar Kemal, who was charged under antiterrorism laws. The 2007 gathering was held in memory of Hrant Dink.

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