View author James Harrington speaking about the significance of the Gülen trial (third speaker, at minute 5:50).
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University Press of America
Wrestling with Free Speech, Religious Freedom, and Democracy in Turkey: The Political Trials and Times of Fethullah Gülen
This book, based on research and three weeks of personal interviews in Turkey and interviews in the United States, explores the political trial of Fethullah Gülen, a moderate Turkish religious leader, and how that trial, which began in 2000 in an Ankara state security court (now disbanded) and ended in 2008 in a civil appeals court in his favor, helped to greatly expand civil liberties and democracy in Turkey.
It likewise examines the trial's interplay with the evolving process of Turkey's efforts to enter the European Union and how the EU's insistence on expanding civil liberties in Turkey and reforming that country's judicial system affected the outcome of the trial, and vice versa.
This little-discussed and little-known part of the Gülen movement outside of Turkey had a great impact on that country's understanding of how civil liberty and religious freedom can co-exist with secularism and strengthen democracy in Turkey.
The book also has a coda, discussing the unsuccessful efforts to block Fethullah Gülen's application for immigrant status in the United States as a religious scholar, which occurred during the same period of time as his on-going political criminal trial in Turkey.
From the Foreword by Michael E. Tigar:
"This is a book about a political prosecution in Turkey. Jim Harrington tells a story that illuminates two of the most important issues of our time. The way he tells the story and the sources on which he has relied represent the best kind of historical research and analysis. Jim Harrington is one my heroes for he has spent more than four decades in the struggle for human rights.
"In this book, we see the struggle among secular and religious elements in Turkey. This struggle is in many ways paradigmatic. Jim Harrington has done us a service, for by seeing and understanding what has been going on in Turkey, we can draw lessons about the policies of our own government at home and abroad. Harrington's method of research and analysis is particularly valuable in this respect.
"Trials can, and fair trials will, give voice to witness stories. Jim Harrington has been a lawyer as well as a scholar for decades. The case he has chosen is iconic because its central figure presents a challenge to important secular and religious trends in modern Turkey. The case is important to Americans because these very trends are at work in many parts of the Middle East, and because this Turkish political trial teaches us important lessons for our own country."
Michael E. Tigar is Emeritus Professor of the Practice of Law, Duke Law School, and Emeritus Professor of Law, Washington College of Law. He has litigated human rights cases in many parts of the world. He is the author of Thinking About Terrorism: The Threat to Civil Liberty in Times of National Emergency.
About the Author
James C. Harrington is Director of the Texas Civil Rights Project, which he founded in 1990, and has been an adjunct professor at the University of Texas Law School since 1985.
A native of Michigan, Harrington received his law degree in 1973 from the University of Detroit, where he also earned a Master's degree in philosophy in 1969.
After law school, Harrington went to work at the South Texas Project in the Rio Grande Valley and, before moving to Austin in 1983, was its director for eight years.
Harrington has spent his career as a lawyer in human rights work, handling landmark cases involving grand jury discrimination, police misconduct, privacy, voting rights, free speech and assembly, farm worker organizing, and the rights of persons with disabilities.
He is author of The Texas Bill of Rights: A Commentary and Litigation Manual and numerous law review articles, commentaries, and opinion pieces.
Harrington served on human rights delegations to Honduras and Nicaragua (1984), Chile (1987), Israel and the Palestinian territories (1988), Guatemala (1992 and 1998), and México (Chiapas 1999) and authored "¡Alto a la Impunidad! Is There Legal Relief for the Murders of Women in Ciudad Juárez?" (2010).
The Texas Civil Rights Project is a community-based, non-profit civil rights foundation, promoting social, racial, and economic justice and civil liberty for low income and poor persons.