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Sevan Nisanyan
Turkish-Armenian newspaper columnist Sevan Nisanyan says he has received hundreds of deaths threats after altering a famous quote from the founder of modern Turkey to make a case for reforms in the country, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Nisanyan took a quote from a 1923 speech by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, Turkey's founding father, in which he urged Turkish youth to fight hard for their homeland.

"Your first duty is to preserve and to defend Turkish independence and the Turkish Republic forever," declared Ataturk.

Nisanyan -- an Istanbul-based, ethnic Armenian intellectual -- wrote in an October 29 article published by the "Taraf" daily that, "Your first duty is to be a human being. This is the very foundation of your existence and your future. This foundation is your most precious treasure."

Nisanyan told RFE/RL that his appeal infuriated nationalist Turks and he has since received about 800 e-mails and letters containing verbal abuse and threats to kill him.

He said "people have gone mad" and added that he believes "the military is behind this uproar."

Nisanyan add that he has appealed to Turkish police for protection.

He said police have been "the more liberal party in [Turkey in] recent years" and "have been friendly and helped me a lot."
KARSHI, Uzbekistan -- Some 30 women have been arrested in the southern Uzbek city of Karshi since the beginning of November, RFE/RL's Uzbek Service reports.

Mehriniso Hamdamova, 40, a teacher of a religious course for women at Karshi's Kuk Gumbaz Mosque, is the latest woman to have been arrested.

Hamdamova's daughter, Latofat Orzikulova, told RFE/RL that in the early morning of November 5 a dozen police and security officers entered
Hamdamova's home and searched it.

She said that although they found nothing illegal they confiscated two Uzbek films on CDs and a book given to Hamdamova as a gift by the Spiritual Administration of Muslims in Uzbekistan.

Hamdamova is being held in pretrial detention after being charged with establishing "jamoats" (societies) and promoting them among young people.

Orzikulova said that on the same day several of Hamdamova's female relatives -- including her sister, a daughter-in-law, and nieces -- were also arrested. Orzikulova said police refused to say why her relatives were arrested.

The detentions are the latest in a string of arrests of women in Karshi.

Shoira Karomova, who works at a state department on religious affairs dealing with women and who helped develop the religious course taught by Hamdamova, told RFE/RL that she does not think Hamdamova's professional activities were the reason for her arrest, because her course had been officially approved.

Surat Ikromov, a leader of the Independent Group for Human Rights Defenders, told RFE/RL that the arrested women have been pressured while in detention in Karshi to give evidence against Hamdamova.

Hamdamova's relatives have appealed for help in the case to President Islam Karimov, the prosecutor-general, the head of the state security service, and the Spiritual Administration of Muslims in Uzbekistan.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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