The Turkish High Court’s decision on Wednesday 30 July to not ban the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) was hailed by some as a victory for democracy. The decision was the outcome of three days of deliberations over the case, which had first reached the court early in March.
The long-established fault-lines dividing Turkish society are emerging to dominate its politics once again. As on so many occasions in the past, the secular elites are once again up in arms to protect the nation-state that they have dominated for 85 years.
Hopes that the persecution of hijabi women in Turkey – a substantial majority of the population – might soon be eased were dashed on June 5, when the Turkish constitutional court overturned the decision announced by the government February to relax the hijab ban in universities. The Court ruled that the government decision was unlawful because it was anti-secularist and unconstitutional.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) was in the headlines again last month. On June 12, Milan Martic, the former leader of the rebel Serb authorities in Croatia, was found guilty of most of the charges in the indictment against him. He was tried, found guilty and sentenced to 35 years' imprisonment by the ICTY.
Chechnya: The Case for Independence by Tony Wood. Pub: Verso Books, London, UK, 2007. Pp: 199. Pbk: £12.99.
Palestine has seldom been out of the news in recent years. In the last few years the separation wall has been built, the second intifada has taken place, Israel has withdrawn from Ghazzah, and also perpetrated further incursions into and land-appropriation in the West Bank. With all this going on, international humanitarian and human-rights laws have been largely thrown out of the window, and the Israelis continue with impunity to disregard laws and treaties to which they are signatories. In Palestine, the issue of political prisoners is an ongoing one.
On March 1, Russian president Vladimir Putin, having accepted President AliAlkhanov’s resignation two weeks earlier, nominated acting president Ramzan Kadyrov (pic right, with Putin) for the presidency of Chechnya. Shakhid Dzhamaldayev and Muslim Khuchiyev were also nominated as a purely formal gesture. The next day, the nominations were taken to the Chechen parliament, where Kadyrov was confirmed as the next president; 56 of the 58 votes cast were for the Kremlin-backed Kadyrov, one MP voted against and one abstained.
Medical Aid & Relief for the Children of Chechnya (MARCCH) is a London-based humanitarian organisation dedicated to bringing relief to children who have been injured as a result of the conflicts in Chechnya. Their projects have included taking children to Italy to be fitted with prosthetic limbs, providing financial help to an orphanage in Chechnya, and providing syringes and vaccines to fight tuberculosis. They will shortly begin fundraising for filtration machines for hospitals in Grozny. MARCCH visit Chechnya regularly to make sure their projects are being run properly by their local contacts. HAJIRA QURESHI of Crescent International interviews Satanay Dorken, chief executive of MARCCH, who has recently returned from Chechnya.
Although the recent assassinations of Anna Politkovskaya and Alexander Litvinenko have failed to draw international condemnation for Russian prime minister Victor Putin, they ought to draw attention to the continuing war in Chechnya. HAJIRA QURESHI of the SCC looks forward to World Chechnya Day.
Although the Chechen people have suffered immensely in the last decade, their cause has been overlooked in recent years. HAJIRA QURESHI reports on the work of the Save Chechnya Campaign, a new support group established in the UK...
Three British Muslimahs made headlines last month when they were arrested by the Israeli authorities in Jerusalem and accused of involvement in terrorism, before being cleared...