EVREN-ÖZAL RULE AT DEADLOCK
According to the results of a
recent opinion poll published by the daily Milliyet of April 30, 1988,
the Motherland Party (ANAP) of Premier Özal, four months after the last
legislative elections, has lost its popularity and ranked as the third
political force after the Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP) of Erdal
Inönü and the Correct Way Party (DYP) of former prime minister Süleyman
Demirel. Another opinion poll shows that, in a new local election, the
SHP will take over from the ANAP the municipalities of the greatest
cities of Turkey such as Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.
The opinion poll also shows that
while the SHP is advancing in urban areas, the DYP wins over gradually
the electors of the ANAP in rural areas. As for the youth, they turn
towards the SHP.
In fact, Özal's party had already
seen its popularity decreasing in 1987 in comparison with the 1983
elections (from 45.1% down to 36.3%). But, thanks to the "double
barrier" electoral system, the ANAP won 292 seats in the 45O-member
National Assembly, that is to say 64.9 per cent, while the opposition
parties, despite the 63.3 per cent of the vote in total, were obliged
to be contended with 158 deputies, that is 35.1 per cent of the seats.
It is the galloping inflation
rate and the sky-rocketing foreign debts as well as the maintain of
State terrorism that drag the ANAP to its dramatic collapse.
Despite Ozal's all triumphalist
declarations, the annual inflation rate could not be curbed and begins
to oscillate between 50% and 70% after the November 1987 elections,
mainly because of drastic price hikes imposed by the government.
According to the daily Cumhuriyet
of May 1st, 1988, the kitchen expenditures of a 4-person family has
jumped from 120,525 TL in April 1987 up to 203.530 TL in April 1988.
The daily Hürriyet of February
22, 1988, reports that the purchasing power of a wageearner fell from
100 in 1983 down to 74.33 at the end of 1987.
New trends in public opinion
PARTIES VOTE 87 88
ANAP (Özal) 36.3% 23.3%
SHP (Inönü) 24.8%
DYP (Demirel) 19.2 %
DSP (Ecevit) 8.5% 2.4%
RP (Erbakan) 7.2% 3.3%
MCP (Türkes) 2.9% 1.2%
Others 1.2% 1.7%
Without opinion --- 13.2%
It is the outcome of the social
injustice which is getting more and more aggravated under Ozal's rule.
Again according to Hürriyet, the share of wageearners in the gross
national income fell from 24.8 % in 1983 down to 16.3 % at the end of
1987, and that of the farmers from 20.2% down to 16.9%.
On the contrary, within the same
period, the share of interests, profits and unearned incomes has
climbed from 55% in 1983 up to 66.8%.
The working people have undergone
this impoverishment for the sake of the success of drastic monetarist
policies imposed by the IMF in 1980 with a view to saving Turkey from
the edge of foreign debts abyss. But Turkey still figures as the
poorest country in the region with an annual GNP of 1,200 dollars. The
total of the foreign debts has climbed from 23 billion dollars in 1983
up to 40 billion dollars in 1988, with an increase of 74% in five
years. The foreign debts of Turkey are equal to 60% of her annual GNP.
The annual debt service including interests rose to $ 6.7 billion in
1988 and swallows about 70% of the export incomes. As for the interior
debts of the State, they reach 12.200 billion TL ($ 9.5 billion) at the
end of 1987.
Briefly, the 5-year rule of Özal
has dragged Turkey into a social and economic collapse. The reaction of
popular masses against this situation shows itself not only in the
opinion polls, but also in different forms of protest actions carried
out by workers and students. As will be seen in the following articles,
police measures can no more prevent the people from resorting to
protest actions in the street. Moreover, the failure
of the government policies leads to the aggravation of internal
contradictions in the ruling circles. While a part of the business are
seeking an alternative in the other parties and even in the
social-democrat SHP, some top bureaucrats began to criticize the
structures set up by the military. The 1982 Constitution and the role
of the military have become one of the main points of discussion among
the political parties as well as in the Parliament and in the press.
It is in the fear of being
totally ruined at the local elections scheduled for 1989 that the
governmental majority in the Parliament recently passed a bill for
holding early local elections in October this year. The law also
stipulates that municipal by-elections for vacant mayoral seats
scheduled for June this year will be held with local elections in
CHIEF JUSTICE CRITICIZES CONSTITUTION
Chief Justice of the
Constitutional Court, Mahmut Cuhruk, criticized the 1982 Constitution
during his speech to the ceremony commemorating the 26th anniversary of
the Turkish Constitutional Court, on April 26, 1988.
Pointing out the shortcomings of
the present constitution, Cuhruk said: "It is no prophecy to say that
such a situation weakens the regime instead of strengthening it. The
practical importance of constitutions in free democratic societies lies
in their ability to impose limits on the practice of power wielded by
those ruling the country. Certain laws which stemmed from the chaotic
political situation of the late 1970s are obsolete in 1988."
"All the political parties in the
Parliament should come together and amend the faulty aspects of the
present constitution," the chief justice said.
By highlighting constitutional inconsistencies,
Cuhruk has provided an opening for more detailed attacks upon the
Emil Galip Sandalci, president of
the Istanbul branch of the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD),
stated that the 1982 Constitution is nothing but a "glorification" of
the State over the citizens. "The Turkish Constitution is lousy," he
said, "I would say that it is the worst constitution in the history of
this country. By abusing such basic freedoms as the right to organize
and associate, it serves the interests of the State and not the people."
Immediately after these
declarations, representatives of the two opposition parties in the
Parliament, SHP and DYP, met to discuss possible constitutional
However, Prime Minister Turgut
Özal, addressing to the parliamentary group of his party, ANAP, said
that he was not thinking of imminent changes in the constitution.
"Changing the constitution is not child's play. I must say that we
cannot make constitutional changes easily," he added.
As for General-President Evren,
he immediately opposed to the idea of changing the Constitution in the
following words: "Whether it be the constitution or other laws, they
stem from certain needs. It is not the constitution of reaction. They
were all done to fill in a gap."
MENACE OF COUP FROM GENERAL EVREN
Speaking to a crowd in Trabzon on
April 30, 1988, Evren said the Army is the only power to rescue Turkey
from a civil crisis similar to the one before the military takeover on
September 12, 1980.
Claiming that if it were not for
the military intervention of September 12, Turkey would have found
itself in a civil war situation similar to Lebanon's, Evren said:
"Although nobody wishes it, if Turkey faces a similar situation again,
it is only the armed forces which could save Turkey from it."
Evren's remarks drew immediate
reaction from the opposition leaders. "It is completely irrelevant,
inconsistent and extremely incorrect and misleading," said Mr. Inönü,
leader of the Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP). "How can a
president who wields all the power and authority to prevent turmoil in
the country indicate that a day might come when he could not use his
authority and the only solution would be the intervention of the armed
forces out of their own will?"
The Correct Way Party (DYP)
leader and former prime minister Süleyman Demirel also responded to
Evren by saying that while everybody else in the country was making an
effort to build up Turkey's image as a free, democratic country
"Evren's unfortunate statement has made Turkey seem like a country of
MAY DAY UNDER STATE TERRORISM
Since the military coup of 1980
it is for the first time that Labour Day was publicly commemorated in
Turkey despite official ban and police brutality.
Until 1980 May Day was officially
celebrated in Turkey as the National Spring Holiday, while trade unions
were unofficially joining the workers of the world to celebrate it as
Labour Day. But after the 1980 coup, the military revoked it as a
national day, claiming it was causing a rift in national unity and
decreed the obligation of working for all people on May Day.
This year, a crowd of about 1,000
gathered at the Istanbul offices of the Social Democrat Populist Party
(SHP) to celebrate May Day. Eight deputies of the SHP, including the
chairman of the disbanded Confederation of Progressive Labour Unions
(DISK), Abdullah Bastürk, went to the Taksim Square and laid flowers at
the foot of the Atatürk. Bastürk presented 34 bouquets of red
carnations symbolizing 34 people who died at a May Day rally in 1977
when unidentified persons opened fire on the crowd filling the square.
While the deputies left, the
crowd waiting before the SHP headquarters began marching down the
street with a wreath. Only a few meters from the SHP building riot
police sealed off the street and called on the marchers to disperse.
When the marchers then sat on the street, the riot squads charged,
dispersing the crowd by using police sticks, fists and kicks. Some
people were carried to waiting police buses and others tried to escape
using the back streets leading to Taksim.
As the group left the street,
another group of about 1,000 people, mostly university students, began
marching up Istiklal Caddesi, the main street leading to the square.
This second group confronted the police at a line set up in front of
the French Consulate. When they also refused to obey police orders to
disperse a second fight took place.
When thousands of policemen in
Taksim Square and the surrounding streets finally were able to take the
situation under full control there were 85 people arrested and an
undetermined number injured.
Following the incidents at
Taksim, a group of protesters went to a cemetery and visited the grave
of a worker killed in the events of 1977. The demonstration at the
graveyard ended peacefully without any police intervention.
In Izmir, 11 people were detained
by police when they placed a black wreath at the entrance of the
governor's office to protest the ban of May Day celebrations.
SHP deputies complained of
unnecessary police brutality in the attack on the peaceful crowd. Three
labour unions issued a joint declaration protesting the events.
In Ankara, SHP Chairman Inönü
toured the capital in his campaign bus, greeting people for May Day
WORKERS PREPARE STRIKES
While some 6,000 workers employed
in a number of sectors are on strike, more than 20,000 employees are on
the verge of striking because collective bargaining talks ended in a
deadlock over wage increases and other social benefits.
As a result of increasing costs
of living, labour unions are asking for wage increases proportional to
the inflation rate, which is around 70 percent. But the employers'
unions want 30 percent to 60 percent.
The firm stance of the employers
has led several labour unions, including Laspetkim-Is and Petrol-Is
operating in the oil industry, Tek Gida-Is in the food industry and
Cimse-Is in the cement industry to launch strikes in several factories,
effecting more than 6,000 workers.
On the other hand, about 50,000
municipality workers in Turkey's four major cities, Istanbul, Ankara,
Adana and Izmir have also failed to settle disputes with the employers
union. Nearly half of these municipality workers are working in areas
where strikes are banned under current labour law. These are health and
public transportation services and also fire department.
NEW DRAFT LABOUR LAW
In approach of the International Labour
Organization (ILO) meeting on June 1st in Geneva, a labour law draft
was approved at a Council of Ministers meeting on May 3, 1988, and sent
to the Turkish Parliament for further study.
The ILO conference seems
important this year for the Turkish government since a bad reputation
in ILO circles will probably result in a negative attitude at the
European Communities and the European Parliament.
Labor conditions and workers'
rights in Turkey topped the agenda of the ILO in 1986 and 1987 and
Turkey was threatened with being listed among countries violating
labour rights. But two letters sent by the Turkish Government saying
that necessary changes will be made in labour laws prevented ILO from
Despite this promise, some
ministers in the government opposed to the adoption of the changes
suggested by the ILO and even objected to the workers' right to strike.
For this reason, the new draft is still very far from satisfying the
Here are the main changes in the
- Students and religious staff
will have the right to become members of trade unions.
- All statements by unionists
having economic and social motives will not be subject to political
bans on trade unions.
- Executives of trade unions will
all have the right to serve on the administrative boards of public
Although the government has not
accepted to lift many other restrictions on trade union and strike
rights, the Chairman of the Turkish Trade Unions Confederation
(TURK-IS), Mr. Sevket Yilmaz, expressed his satisfaction after his
meeting with Prime Minister Özal.
Whereas, a few weeks ago, TURK-IS
had staged mass demonstrations in three industrial centers in order to
force the government to improve working conditions. On April 3, 1988,
speaking at a rally in Adana, attended by tens of thousands of workers,
Yilmaz had announced that TURK-IS would try all means to achieve better
conditions and said: "Though laws bar trade unions from getting
involved in politics, we will engage in politics if it is necessary for
The new conciliatory stand of
Yilmaz has led to strong reactions among workers. Many affiliate unions
of TURK-IS have accused Mr. Yilmaz of having sold the interests of
workers to the government and business circles.
The Progressive Trade Unions
Confederation(DISK), the second biggest worker organization of Turkey
is still banned and the TURK-IS, despite its leaders' collaborationist
stand, enjoys the privilege of talking in the name of all workers.
ARREST OF UNIVERSITY STUDENTS
The most violent confrontation
between university students and police since the 1980 coup took place
on April 28, 1988, on the main campus of Istanbul University. Hundreds
of students rebelled against the police and occupied the offices of the
When the five-hour long student
action was quelled by riot police, 158 university students ended up in
The incidents began when a female
student complained to journalists and her friends that a plainclothes
policeman on duty at the university campus had sexually harassed her.
While she was telling her story to reporters who had come to the
campus to cover a ceremony commemorating the students riots of April
28, 1960, several students pounced on another plainclothes man who
happened to be in the student lounge. Thereupon, other policemen came
to their colleague's aid and arrested six students claiming that they
had manhandled the policemen on duty.
Following the arrests, groups of students gathered
at the main campus in Beyazit and began walking toward the rector's
office, shouting slogans against the police and YOK (Board of Higher
Meanwhile, riot squads arrived on
campus and began evacuating it. Students who had managed to lock
themselves in the rector's office barricaded the doors with furniture
and called out that they would remain there until the rector was found.
Finally, helmeted riot squad
police broke down the doors and burst into the rector's office to pick
up the protesting students.
Later on, the State Security
Court of Istanbul arrested 31 of the students and released the others.
During the interrogation, about 1,000 students and relatives gathered
in the narrow street in front of the court building, formerly used as
the city morgue, and silently waited for the busloads of detained
students to be brought in. As the police buses pulled up, both the
stu-dents inside them and those on the street began clapping their
hands. Police dispersed the crowd as the detained students were taken
into the court for interrogation.
Besides, students at the main
Istanbul University campus boycotted their meals, staged sit-ins,
shouted slogans against police measures at the universities and
demanded an end to the practices of YOK.
In Ankara, Izmir, Kocaeli,
Eskisehir, Adana, Van and Diyarbakir, the students also boycotted meals
and expressed their dissatisfaction through various demonstrations.
Following these actions,
Education Minister Hasan Celal Güzel declared that "the government is
determined to curb the activities of student associations which are
directed by illegal organizations." Claiming that those who incite
trouble at the universities represent no more than O.3 percent of the
entire student body, the minister said "changes would be made in the
laws regulating the activities of the student associations in the
universities so that they would not be controlled by the minority."
According to new projects, the
student associations which do not have 50 percent of the students as
members would be closed down by the governors of the provinces.
CONFLICT BETWEEN OZAL AND THE PRESS
The battle between the Turkish
press and the government escalated further at the end of April 1988,
with more price hikes in newsprint and another round of tough-worded
In a joint statement, Turkey's
ten major dailies said on April 23: "We must regretfully say that the
government has opted for a policy line aiming at destroying the
newspapers financially and economically just because they have been
publicizing its shortcomings and its faults."
The next day, the government
retaliated with a written statement which boiled down the accusing the
press of lying.
In a rare move, Erol Simavi, publisher of the
country's leading daily Hürriyet addressed the prime minister in an
eight-column open letter printed above the mast of the newspaper.
Simavi said that the heart bypass
operation which Ozal underwent last year in the United States has left
its imprint on his personality: "A hatred for the press." He accused
Ozal of putting himself above all the bodies of the State including the
legislative, executive and judicial.
On these accusations by the
press, Ozal announced that he was going to begin legal proceedings
against some daily newspapers.
The leader of the main opposition
party (SHP), Erdal Inönü, also used strong words against Ozal's press
policies: "Newsprint price increases have nothing to do with cost
calculations. These increases are not the result of economic
necessities. They are the outcome of arbitrary, clumsy and irrational
Süleyman Demirel, the former
prime minister and the leader of the Correct Way Party (DYP), described
the price hike as "vengeful." "Attacking the free press is tantamount
to attacking the democratic regime," he said.
A JOURNALIST DISAPPEARED SINCE 1984
The daily Cumhuriyet of April 21
reports that Nurettin Öztürk, responsible editor of the political
review Kurtulus has disappeared since his detention by police in 1984.
Öztürk lived for years as a
political refugee in Switzerland and decided to return to Turkey at the
end of 1983. After his return, he was immediately taken into custody,
along with another person, and since then neither his family nor his
friends could get any information about Oztürk. His mother says that he
could have been killed by police.
A NEW MAGAZINE CONFISCATED
The first issue of a new
magazine, Medya Günesi, was confiscated on April 20 by the order of the
Prosecutor of the State Security Court.
On April 16, Muzaffer Erdost,
author and publisher of a sociological research on a Kurdish town,
Semdinli, was interrogated by the Press Prosecutor of Istanbul. He is
accused of inciting one social class against another one.
FILM STARS UNDER PROSECUTION
A group of famous Turkish film
stars and directors were taken to the Public Prosecutor's office in
Istanbul on April 26 and interrogated for their march in protest
against the censorship on some films during the Istanbul Film Festival.
Film stars Tarik Akan, Hale Soygazi and directors Ali Ozgentürk, Basar
Sabuncu, Isil Ozgentürk, Baris Pirhasan, Duygu Sagiroglu and Seref Gür
are accused of contravening the Law on Rallies and Marches.
PRESSURE ON A FILM DIRECTOR
A Turkish filmmaker protested the
confiscation of his movie by Turkish authorities. Muammer Ozer, 43,
said his film "Cloud with Melancholy" was seized March 27 from the
offices of the Istanbul film company, Kino-Mosaik, on the grounds that
he was a foreigner working in Turkey without proper permission.
Ozer holds both Turkish and
Swedish citizenship, which is permitted by Turkish law.
"I thought that because there was
democracy in Turkey I could make the film here," he told reporters.
"otherwise I would have made it in Sweden... But above all I am a
Turkish artist and I wanted to introduce my work in my own country."
The prosecutor's office only said
that the film was seized because Ozer "is a foreign citizen" and "had
not obtained the proper permission to shoot a film in Turkey.
Ozer spent five years and nearly
100 million TL on his film. The film, based on a poem by poet Nazim
Hikmet, is a drama about a family living through difficult years of
transition and disintegration. This is Ozer's third feature film. "A
handful of Paradise" won awards at five international festivals.
SP OFFICIALS INDICTED
The prosecutor of the State
Security Court of Istanbul opened a criminal case against six founders
of the Socialist Party and claimed prison terms of up to 25 years by
virtue of Article 141 and 142 of the Turkish Penal Code.
The Chief Public Prosecutor had
already asked the Constitutional Court to close down this new socialist
party on grounds that it aims to establish the domination of the
working class in the country.
OFFICIAL FIGURES ON STATE TERRORISM
The Ministry of Justice announced
on April 6, 1988 that 202,501 people have been brought before military
courts since the proclamation of martial law on December 26, 1978.
61,220 of the accused have been condemned to various punishments and
the verdicts approved by the Military Court of Cassation.
Despite the fact that martial law
has been lifted throughout Turkey, still 5,309 people are being tried
by military tribunals and the condemnations of 1,254 people are at the
examination of the Court of Cassation.
The Ministry also stated that
1,392 political prisoners are still kept in five military prisons in
the provinces of Istanbul (Metris), Ankara (Mamak) Erzincan, Erzurum
HUNGER STRIKES CONTINUE IN PRISONS
Protest actions against the
prison conditions have continued in April 1988. First, 127 prisoners in
the Diyarbakir civil prison went on hunger strike on April 6 and this
action was followed later on by the hunger strikes of the prisoners in
Adana, Canakkale, Sanliurfa, Ankara, Konya and Sinop.
During the hunger strike in Sinop
Prison, a detainee, Salih Sezgin, attempted to commit
In solidarity with these actions,
the parents of prisoners and about 50 local officials and members of
the Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP) too joined the hunger strike.
EXAMINATION OF VIRGINITY
The daily Cumhuriyet of April 15,
1988 reports that, in Diyarbakir, police took a group of young girls
detained for political reasons to hospital in order to have a medical
report determining if they were virgin or not.
Police authorities claim that
this control was asked with a view to prove the innocence of the police
if the girls allege after their release that they were raped during the
DEFENCE IN KURDISH AT THE COURT
The former mayor of Diyarbakir,
Mehdi Zana, in a protest against the ban on Kurdish language, declared
at the Military Court of Diyarbakir that he refuses to speak in Turkish
and will make his defence in Kurdish language.
At the trial of April 28, when
Zana began to make his defence in Kurdish, the chief of the military
tribunal, Major Yildiray Alparslan intervened by saying: "Only Turkish
is spoken here. The language of the State is Turkish. Otherwise I shall
expel you from the courtroom."
Despite this menace, Zana
insisted on to talk in Kurdish. While he was being dragged out by
soldiers from the courtroom, he shouted: "Bimre Zordesti" (Down with
tyranny) and "Bimre Koleti" (Down with Slavery).
After his expulsion, the tribunal
decided to ask the State Security Court of Diyarbakir to try Zana for
contravening Article 142 of the Penal Code.
Zana had been elected mayor on
the support of all progressive forces in Diyarbakir, but was arrested
immediately after the coup d'état. Under arrest he was tortured many
times and condemned to life long prison terms in several political
cases though he had never been involved in any violence act.
On the other hand, on April 8,
1988, social democrat deputy Mehmet Ali Eren tabled a law project
stipulating to lift the ban on the Kurdish language. He proposes to
annul the Law No. 2932, adopted by the military junta on October 19,
1983, which stipulates "a prison term of up to three years whosoever
speaks and writes in a language other than those which adopted as first
official language by the States recognized by the Republic of Turkey."
Since Kurdish is not first official language of any state in the world,
this law bans in an implicit way the utilization of the Kurdish
FAMOUS KURDISH FOLKSINGER PURSUED
One of the most popular
folksingers of Turkey, Ibrahim Tatlises was interrogated by the
Prosecutor of the State Security Court of Istanbul for having sung some
Kurdish ballads at his concert in Europe.
Since he is of Kurdish origin,
during his concerts in France and in the FRG, listeners asked him to
sing some Kurdish songs and he could not refuse their demands.
Tatlises faces a prison term of
up to five years for having sung in Kurdish.
On the other hand, the Public
Prosecutor in Ankara started a legal proceeding against another popular
folksinger, Cem Karaca, for his concert at Hamburg in 1981. He is
accused of singing some songs against Turkey and faces a prison term of
not less than five years.
Cem Karaca was deprived of
Turkish nationality in 1981, but returned to the country on the
guarantee given personally by Prime Minister Ozal and regained his
nationality. After his return, Cem praised the regime and became the
object of criticism by the opposition.
HUMAN RIGHTS GROUP'S PETITION
The Human Rights Association
submitted to Mr. Yildirim Akbulut, Speaker of the National Assembly a
petition with 15,500 signatures, demanding a general amnesty and an end
to the death penalty.
Mr. Nevzat Helvaci, chairman of
the Human Rights Association said that following the military coup in
1980 arrests have been made on political grounds and people have been
brought to trial for crimes of conscience. He said, people arrested
were forced, under torture, to confess to crimes they did not commit,
and injustices have been caused in general. In order to correct all the
legal mistakes after the coup, Helvaci said a general amnesty was
Mr. Akbulut told the petitioners
that the death sentence cases are on the agenda of the National
Assembly's Justice Committee. According to a decision by the ruling
Motherland Party (ANAP) majority in the Parliament, the Justice
Committee is studying a draft bill which will automatically commute the
death sentences not voted on in the Assembly within 12 months. The
Turkish Penal Code leaves final approval of capital punishments to the
Grand National Assembly.
EEC-TURKEY MEETING ABORTED
The long awaited ministerial
meeting of the Association Council between Turkey and the European
Communities was aborted on April 25, 1988 when the Greek delegation had
a reference to the "Cyprus problem" included in the opening statement.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mesut Yilmaz, objecting to
the sentence, said: "The Cyprus problem affects the development of
relations between the Communities and Turkey as a whole."
Despite intensive diplomatic
bargaining between the Turkish side and West German Foreign Minister
Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the Chairman of the EC Ministerial Council for
the current term, no compromise was reached. The Association Council
meeting, which was to bring together Yilmaz, State Minister Ali Bozer
and the ministers of the 12 EC member countries, did not take place.
Genscher told the press that he
would work towards scheduling another meeting of the Association
Council sometime before June. But in Turkey, the atmosphere was not as
optimistic as Genscher would like to have it. According to the Turkish
press, all the euphoria from the so-called "Spirit of Davos" or the new
rapprochement between Turkey and Greece was now gone.
Worsening of relations between
Ankara and Athens was sudden. Three months earlier, the summit meeting
between Turkish and Greek prime ministers in Davos, Switzerland, had
led to improving relations between the two countries. At the Brussels
summit on March 3, two government chiefs had issued a joint communiqué
claiming a full understanding on many points of conflict.
At the beginning of April, a
Greek delegation headed by popular musician and politician Mikis
Theodorakis, made a three-day visit to Turkey and delivered a goodwill
message from Papandreou to the Turkish people. This message was
followed by a communiqué of the Turkish-Greek Friendship Association, a
new organization in Turkey with 46 founding members.
Finally, on April 20, the
adaptation protocol between Turkey, Greece and the European Community,
which was left without full endorsement for the past seven years, was
signed in Brussels. But a day before the council
meeting, a personal envoy of the Greek prime minister arrived in the
Turkish capital with a verbal message, asking Ozal to reduce the number
of Turkish troops in Cyprus as a sign of Turkey's goodwill. This demand
was shared later on by the other eleven members of the European
Communities and led so to the failure of the Council meeting.
Responding to the criticisms from
Ankara, Greek Prime Minister Papandreou said he did not understand why
the developments in Luxembourg should harm the atmosphere of detente
between the two countries. He insisted that an indication of Turkey's
willingness to withdraw Turkish troops from Cyprus would be a key to
the solution of the Cyprus problem.
On the other hand, pursuing
efforts to meet with Ozal, the new Greek-Cypriot President George
Vassiliou said he was ready to talk also with the Turkish Community
chief Rauf Denktash.
Vassiliou said the international
aspect of Cyprus problem, namely the presence of Turkish troops on the
island, should be separated from national issues such as the discussion
over the constitution of the island republic.
"It would be appropriate to
discuss the international aspects of the question with Ozal while
relations between the two communities could be talked over with
Denktash," he said. "Cyprus is the only issue where no progress is
seen. Our sincere expectation is an announcement by Turkey that it will
withdraw its troops and settlers. Such an announcement as a consequence
of Davos will show that Turkey is ready and willing to pave the way for
Ankara has not yet responded to
this new approach by the Greek-Cypriot leader. A top-ranking foreign
ministry official said no changes in Turkey's policies regarding Cyprus
should be expected.
HIGH LEVEL TURCO-SOVIET TALKS
A top level Soviet delegation led
by the first deputy foreign minister Yuli Mikhailovich Vorontsov
arrived in Ankara on April 26, 1988, and concluded some new accords
with the Turkish side.
The first agreement signed
between the two countries was a document regulating the consular
activities of the two on each other's territory.
Other topics discussed include
the long-term trade agreement and the purchase of Soviet natural gas.
There is a major project underway in Turkey for switching the energy
use in major industrial and population centers such as Istanbul and
Ankara to Soviet natural gas.
Turkey's exports to the Soviet
Union amounted to $169.5 million in 1987. Of this total, $122.2 million
involved trade through normal procedures, about $27 million consisted
of trade through compensation in kind, and the remaining $10.3 million
was trade realized through the Gas Agreement.
Turkey exports mainly
agricultural products and crude materials to the Soviet Union.
Imports, on the other hand,
amounted to a total of $341.2 million. Of this, $30 million dollars was
allocated to gas imports and $14 million to electricity imports.
Turbot fishing in the Black Sea,
which is banned by the Soviets in their 200-mile economic zone, was
also discussed. The two sides decided to collaborate on monitoring the
turbot stock in the Black Sea as a first step in concluding a bilateral
Vorontsov put out feelers to find
out whether Turkey was ready to accept additional short-range nuclear
weapons to beef up the defenses of the Western alliance in the wake of
the INF agreement between Reagan and Gorbachev. Turkey has come under
pressure from its Western allies to accept more nuclear
responsibilities to offset the effects of the INF agreement.
The delegations also worked on
the schedule of Soviet Foreign Minister Edouard Shevardnadze's visit to
Turkey sometime in this year.
AI REPORT ON DEATH SENTENCES
Amnesty International has
published a 7-page document in April 1988 under the title of "The Death
Penalty in Turkey: Recent Developments and Sample Cases. Below is the
first part of the document:
"In 1987, 28 new death sentences
were passed by civilian and military courts in Turkey. In March 1988
the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet reported 192 people currently under
sentence of death who had exhausted all legal remedies. These sentences
only need ratification by the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM)
and the President, after which those condemned can be executed at any
time. On 8 November 1987 the journal Yeni Gündem reported 700 death
sentences at various stages of the legal process. No executions were
carried out in 1987 and the Judicial Committee of the TBMM did not
address itself to any of the death sentences awaiting its confirmation.
"In 1986 two deputies from one of
the minority parties submitted to the Judicial Committee a draft law
for the abolition of the death penalty but withdrew it in April 1987,
anticipating its rejection out of hand. They foresaw a possible
re-submission at a more opportune time. A draft amendment to the
Turkish Penal Code, reducing the number of offences punishable by death
but not proposing total abolition, was submitted by the government to
the media and professional organizations at the beginning of 1987,
which provoked further discussion of the death penalty. Although
organizations such as the Turkish Union of Bars, the Turkish Medical
Association and the Human Rights Association in Turkey publicly
announced their opposition to the death penalty, no further steps were
taken by the government towards abolition.
"The ANAP has been in power since
November 1983 and it is unlikely that the party will adopt a position
against the death penalty. The main opposition party, the SHP, is
opposed to the death penalty. Having won only 99 seats, however, it
lacks major influence on legislation. The leader of the conservative
DYP, Süleyman Demirel, announced shortly before the elections that he
was in favour of a referendum on the death penalty.
"Leading weekly journals in
Turkey made a major contribution to the public discussion on the death
penalty during 1987. On 10 May Nokta carried a cover story calling for
a campaign to abolish the death penalty. The journal 2000e Dogru, in
its cover story of 20 September, concentrated on the execution of Erdal
Eren in December 1980 and raised serious doubts about the lawfulness of
the verdict. On 8 November Yeni Gündem contributed to the debate with a
leading story called "Hope for People on Death Row. The Vice-President
of ANAP, Bülent Akarcali, was quoted as saying that death sentences to
which the Judicial Committee did not address itself within a certain
time or which were not confirmed by the TBMM should be commuted to life
imprisonment. Some deputies followed this up by announcing publicly,
shortly after the elections, their intention of submitting a draft law
to the effect that any death sentence which had not been dealt with by
the Judicial Committee within six months, should automatically be
commuted to life imprisonment.
"Minister of Justice, Mahmut
Oltan Sungurlu, talked to journalists on 24 January 1988. While
admitting that to take a decision on the life of a human being was a
burden to politicians, he refused to take a definite stand on the
abolition of the death penalty. Although in principal not opposed to
abolition, he judged the time as being too early 'as long as the
fighting in east and southeastern Anatolia was continuing'. Alpaslan
Pehlivanli, President of the Judicial Committee, answered the next day.
He welcomed the initiative taken by the Minister of Justice to discuss
the death penalty and made a proposal similar to that of Bülent
Akarcali mentioned above, by suggesting a time-limit of one year for
parliament to deal with the death sentences.
"The main event in 1987 regarding
the death penalty, however, was an initiative by the Human Rights
Association in Turkey founded in 1986. On 10 September the association
launched a campaign for a general amnesty for prisoners and the
abolition of the death penalty.
"Appeals made by Amnesty
International members for abolition of the death penalty also reached
the Turkish public.
"On 21 January 1988 the European
Parliament adopted a resolution regarding Turkey which, under item 1
says: '(The European Parliament)...calls on the recently re-elected
head of Government of Turkey, the Turkish Parliament and the President
of the Republic to take the necessary steps to commute all death
sentences pending in the country, until such time as this abominable
penalty is abolished.'"
3 DEATH SENTENCES APPROVED
The Military Court of Cassation
approved, on April 12, 1988, the death sentences for three alleged
members of Union of Action (THKP/C-EB), life terms for three and
different prison terms for 17 others.
On April 26, in Ankara, the State
Security Court condemned a member of the National Liberation of
Kurdistan (KUK) to a prison term of four years and two months.
AN INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL AGAINST THE TURKISH REGIME
A group of Turkish, Kurdish and
German organizations and personalities organize, on the occasion of the
8th anniversary of the military coup of 1980, an international tribunal
against the Turkish regime.
The trial will take place on
September 9, 10 and 11, 1988.
The objectives of the tribunal
have been announced as follows:
- Condemning the justice of
- Obtaining the liberation of
prisoners condemned by the fascist junta of 12 September.
- Asking Turkey to respect the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the convention of the
International Labour Organization.
- Allowing the political refugees
and those who have been deprived of nationality to regain their
nationality and to return to their country.
The tribunal will try also to
- Lifting bans and pressures on
- Recognizing all the rights of
the Kurdish people.
- Putting in practice a democracy
conforming to European norms.
- Restructuring the State and
official administrations in conformity with democratic principles.
- Punishing torturers and the
assassins of Turkish and Kurdish peoples.
- Free elections without any
- Defence of workers against
- Freedom of press and political
The jury will be constituted by
the representatives of trade unions, democratic states, human rights
organizations. The place of the tribunal will be announced later on.
For the time being, the liaison
with the initiative of international tribunal is carried out by Türkei
Informationsbüro (c/o R. Oncan - Postfach 91 08 43 - 3000 Hannover 91 -
FRG; Tel: 49-511-210 20 07.)
A MONUMENT TO YILMAZ GÜNEY
The family and friends of famous
Turkish movie director Yilmaz Güney launched a campaign for erecting a
monument by the side of his grave in Paris.
Yilmaz Güney, director of the
Cannes prize winner "Yol", fled Turkey in 1981 while serving a prison
term. He was deprived of Turkish nationality by the military government
for his democratic struggle abroad. After the shooting of another film,
"Wall", he died in 1984 in Paris.
The Güney Productions has
recently issued a video film of 112 minutes illustrating the art,
struggle and private life of Yilmaz Güney.
All income of this video film
will be used in financing the erection of the monument to Yilmaz Güney.
The video film can be ordered at
265 FF per copy to the following address:
41, rue Barrault
Tel: 33-1-43 36 20 67