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Before you know it, you're a terrorist

TERRORIST LIST: One otherwise uneventful late summer day, I received a message in my inbox that I was listed on a Turkish list of alleged terrorists.


The list was compiled by the Ankara-based think tank SETA – the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research – which has close ties to the Turkish government and Recep Tayyip Erdogan's AKP party. I initially thought it was a bad joke.

The message was accompanied by a link, and when I followed it, I came up with a list of a total of 120 known and unknown Norwegian nationals – many of them people I in other contexts would not like to be mentioned together – as on last spring had signed a petition against Turkey's invasion of Afrin, a Kurdish area in Syria: Jan Bojer Vindheim, Erling Folkvord, Jan Erik Vold, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Asbjørn Øveraas, Fartein Horgar, Erling Borgen, Torstein Bugge Høverstad…

It took some time for me to get serious.

We have all heard of paternal lawsuits in which teachers, academics, writers and journalists have been sentenced to draconian prison sentences for showing cautious sympathy with the Kurdish population, or some interest in alternative education – both considered more than sufficient evidence of terrorist intentions and inclinations. But it is in Turkey.

So we now see that the flourishing paranoia of the Turkish government in pursuit of regime opponents and other "dangerous people" has also reached Norway.

"Extremely dangerous"

Nerina Weiss at the FAFO research foundation told ABC News on August 21 that "this report is extremely dangerous for those named". Jan Bojer Vindheim believes that people on this list run the risk of being imprisoned if they travel to or stop in Turkey.

It is completely unacceptable to bodies associated with others
country's governments, survey and register Norwegian citizens.

Now, of course, it is a narrow matter to avoid traveling to Turkey, even for me who has a beating heart for Istanbul. But given that Turkey is a member of NATO, and that within NATO, of course, there is an extensive exchange of information related to "terrorism", what at first seemed like a joke, begins to appear far more serious. Will we who are on this list, and others on other lists drawn up by the famous think tank SETA, be able to risk surveillance, sanctions or simply be denied entry to other NATO countries if we try? Or am I overly paranoid when I ask such a question?

In any case, it is completely unacceptable that bodies linked to other countries' governments map and register Norwegian citizens who have not done anything else yet to exercise their self-assurance. . .

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