Today, I won’t be writing about Turkey’s horrid response to the Charlie Hebdo attacks and their aftermath today. Enough ink has been spilled about the crocodile tears spilt by Prime Minister Davutoglu in Paris as he stood in defense of freedom of expression, while busily engaged in suppressing it at home. Nor will I spend time on the ridiculous conspiracy theories spouted by the semi-official Anatolian Agency, the raid last night on a newspaper issuing publishing experts from the latest edition of the Charlie Hebdo, or the court order to ban internet websites publishing images from the French satirical magazine. These events, all important, and all worthy of comment, are getting lots of coverage in the international press.
The death of another child in Cizre today, again reportedly from a policeman’s bullet, however, has made barely a ripple outside of the Kurdish press. News sources report that Nihat Kazanhan, either twelve or thirteen years of age, was killed by a bullet to the head. There is no suggestion that he was engaged in violence, or even participating in a protest.
A week ago, I wrote about the killing of 14 year old Umit Kurt. Since then, a secrecy order was placed on the investigation and barely a ripple has been felt in Turkish media: the swift, transparent, and independent investigation that the case demanded seems unlikely. Without wider public outrage, the culture of impunity stands unchallenged. I am reminded of the old slogan of the AIDS activists: “Silence equals death.”
St. Lawrence University