Çocukluktan Merkeze: An exhibition on the kids exposed to Counter-terrorism laws

Place: Taksim Araştırma Hastanesi karşısı  Soğancı Sokak Açık Alan 1/A  Cihangir/Beyoğlu

Date: 24-31 Ekim 2010

Narrators: Neslihan Akbulut, Esra Arsan, Mehmet Atak, Hilal Kaplan, Ferhat Kentel, Gülizar Tuncer, Ayten Zara

A exhibition communiqué:


The Counterterrorism Law (TMK) has been continuously debated because of its unjust nature since 1991, the time it went into effect. On the basis of a fictional ?terror? and ?terrorist? definition which widens the scope of the crime and strengthens the bureaucracy, the law was even more extended in 2006 because of the events in Southeastern region of Turkey in 2004.

Since it contains punishment imposed ?equally? to the criminal whether he or she is an adult or a child, the law has been regarded as ?more deterrent?. In four years, approximately 4000 children between the age of 12 ? 18 have been prosecuted and some of the cases still continue.

The Republic of Turkey has therefore violated ?The Convention on the Rights of the Child? which guarentees the rights of the children under 18 – Turkey signed this convention in 1989 ? and Child Protection Law and finally the ninetieth article of its own constitution.

Among those 4000 children, there are ones who were put into prison just because of reasons such as: ?escaping from a cop?, ?a fast beating heart? or even just ?sweating?. Mostly, there are no abstract and rational evidences in the case files of these children. The fact that these children have been put into adult jails, judged at heavy criminal courts, tortured and exposed to pyschological pressure shows how irritating the process has been. Also the media struggled a lot to manipulate the reality by showing these children as ?stone-throwing kids? and using a sharp language over the news.

On last July, the Government drafted a bill to change the Counterterrorism Law. According to the new version of the law, the penalties will not be equal to the penalties implemented to adults and children will not be tried in heavy criminal courts. Though we think that these reforms are not enough,we hope these steps will lead to better conditions. Yet, it should be noted that the reforms must continue and all the laws that define children as ?terrorists? must be abolished.

Also, we should say that some of the children who are to be evacuated after the last bill have not been released,yet. This time it is juridicial oligarchy that victimizes the children. There are many children whose cases have not been put in process by High Court of Appeal. These children unfortunately find themselves caught in a trap by legislative, executive and judicial powers.

Of course, it is impossible to separate the problems caused by the Counterterrorism Law from the Kurdish issue. However, it can be easily said that the Counterterrorism Law is a threat not only for Kurdish children but also for every child who might be tried under the guise of terrorism in the future. As long as the Counterterrorism Law exists, the state will continue fictionalising ?terrorists? and children will go on suffering.


The state is trying to create ?future terrorists?. The fact that children are exposed to unjust lawsuits is an unacceptable reality just because these children grow up in an atmosphere where hatred, violence and cruelty exist.

What we – as ?Özgür Açılım Student Group? ? want to do is to advocate justice about this issue which is censored, overlooked and even hidden from the public. Moreover, we will do this in child language not in the language of the politicians, intellectuals, journalists, soldiers, judges and the other ?important? individuals.

This exhibition is a little step towards social justice. We want to hold the hands of our ?innocence?: children. Thus we want to stand by ?stone-throwing children? against ?stone hearts?. We will bother you with the voice of the children and we will add to this ?eastern? voice in the west.

Photographs, caricatures, documentaries and letters will be the small signs that will ease our way to the Justice.

And now, we are calling out to humanity with revelation:

?O you who believe! Be upright for Allah, bearers of witness with justice, and let not hatred of a people incite you not to act equitably; act equitably, that is nearer to piety, and he careful of (your duty to) Allah; surely Allah is Aware of what you do.?  Maide/8


Justice for Freedom!


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