Sunday, 24 December 2006

Turkey: Kristiina Koivunen deported

Not having read the (print or online) papers for a week, a lot seems to have happened. I came home from a wonderful night out to learn that Kristiina Koivunen, a researcher whose work exposes the invisible war in Kurdistan, had been deported from Turkey.

When I came online tonight to post this, I learned that Ethiopia had (now openly) provided military support to Somalia's internationally-recognised government in its war against the Council of Islamic Courts. I don't know enough about this situation to comment, but it's important to know it's happening.

Then, I read about protests by Gypsy families being evicted to make way for the gentrification of the 2012 Olympic Games' landscape. Their complaints demonstrate perfectly the way the current situation disregards communities' wishes, creates social divisions and produces community discrimination:
the Clays Lane travellers say.... 'We'll be moving somewhere else, but not into the local park [the place earmarked for them], because it's a park we've used all our lives and us moving there would upset local people.'

.... 'We don't want to go there because we will be tormented because we will have taken green space away from people, and people will smash our windows, plus we don't want to have big high walls around us at any new site, which is what they're proposing.'

I'm still working on a proper post on this, but this is the note that "Finnish Embassy dismisses 'crisis' over deportation" that I found on page 3 of the Turkish Daily News for the 23rd of December 2006:
Finnish Embassy officials made it clear Friday that there has been no tension between the Turkish Foreign Ministry and the embassy over the issue of the deportation of a Finnish researcher.

News reports yesterday claimed that Turkish and Finnish officials were experiencing difficulty as regards the issue since Finnish officials had been unable to obtain information from the ministry.

The Foreign Ministry had actually informed the embassy that the ongoing procedure was being conducted by the Interior Ministry and that researcher Kristiina Koivunen's lawyer needed to contact that ministry for clarification, a Finnish embassy official in Ankara told the Turkish Daily News. He also noted that news reports of a so-called crisis had been extremely exaggerated.

Koivunen, a specialist on the Kurdish question - a subject on which she has written several books and papers - returned to Finland last weekend after being deported by Turkish authorities.

Upon her return, she told the Finnish News Agency (STT) that she had not known Turkey had banned her from entering the country. "Of course, I would have reacted to it somehow. I would surely have appealed the decision. However, I was not informed of it until Friday and I was immediately arrested," she said.

"A prohibition [order] against my entering the country [was] issued by the Turkish Interior Ministry in August, and it is based on state security. This is a terribly drastic measure, and I think it reflects the way Turkey's situation has become worse," she added.
(The article has been reproduced in full - on non-commercial, educational - grounds of public interest; the format has been edited to make it easy to read in a blog.)

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