We are going to spend the hour today looking at Turkey, where a court in Istanbul has just acquitted a Turkishpublisher who had been accused of producing propaganda against the unity of the Turkish state. The charges againstFatih Tas stem from his publishing of a book of essays and speeches of MIT professor Noam Chomsky. In its indictmentagainst Tas, the Turkish prosecutor cited statements and writings by Chomsky which detail the massive support theregime receives from Washington in its violent campaign against the country’s Kurdish minority. By some estimates,this campaign has resulted in the deaths of some 50,000 Kurds. In one essay in the book, Chomsky describes theUS-backed assault against the Kurds as “intensive ethnic cleansing.”
The Turkish government also listed Chomsky among the accused. Well, despite the charges Chomsky traveled to Istanbulto stand with Fatih Tas in court yesterday. After his acquittal, Tas credited Chomsky with aiding in his release. Hecould have faced a year in prison simply for publishing the book. Last night, I caught Noam Chomsky by surprise whenI called him very early in the morning in Istanbul, right before he left for Kurdistan.
- Noam Chomsky, Professor of Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a leadingscholar and critic of US foreign policy and the author of many books, including ??9-11, just published by SevenStories Press. He is currently in Turkey where he has been supporting the Turkish publisher, Fatih Tas, who had faceda prison sentence for publishing a book of Chomsky’s speeches.