Free speech in Turkey & the world – part one

In the first past of this debate, research fellow Kerem Öktem argues that an individual’s understanding of free speech is shaped by their personal history and geography.

In the first part of this debate on freedom of expression in Turkey, Kerem Öktem, a research fellow at the European Studies Centre at Oxford University, argues that while free speech is fundamental, it is important to note that an individual’s understanding of the right is shaped by their personal history and geography. Inequalities in society based on ethnicity, race and social class will mean that free speech is not the same for all. Öktem says: “Becoming aware of the context of free speech and of the topography of the politics … does not diminish its value. Only if we become aware of the inequalities that determine our individual and collective subjectivities can we bring liberties to full fruition.” Next up, Yasemin İnceoğlu, professor at the faculty of communications in Galatasaray University, says that anti-Semitism and hate speech are widespread in the Turkish media. According to İnceoğlu, the media “manipulates facts” and is highly biased. She adds that since early 2011, there has been a surge in negative reports on the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, with members accused of eating pork, conducting Shamanic rituals and converting to Christianity.

You can watch part two here.

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Free Speech Debate is a research project of the Dahrendorf Programme for the Study of Freedom at St Antony's College in the University of Oxford.

The University of Oxford