CRACK DOWN ON LEFT-WING PRESS
The State Security Courts which took over the
functions of the military tribunals after the lifting of martial law
have launched an unprecedented prosecution campaign against the
In the months of June and July these courts have
issued numerous warrants for the confiscation of many socialist reviews.
According to the daily Cumhuriyet of June 25, 1988,
only the State Security Court of Istanbul has, within a 3-year period,
decided the ban and confiscation of 70 different publications.
Contrary to the government's claim that the press
freedom is getting more and more respected in Turkey, the half of these
confiscations have been decided by the SSC in the course of the first
half of 1988.
The responsible editors of these reviews are being
tried at the State Security Court by virtue of articles 141, 142, 163
and 313 of the Turkish Penal Code. Mainly accused of communist,
separatist or anti-secular propaganda, they face a total of 1,000-year
The responsible editor of Yeni Cözüm, Celik Malkoc
faces a total of up to 261 years prison term in eight different cases.
He is followed by the responsible editor of 2000e Dogru, Mrs. Fatma
Yazici, with prison terms of up to 116 years.
Not only socialist reviews, but also the oldest and
distinguished daily newspapers of the country such as Cumhuriyet and
Milliyet have been the object of the prosecution.
On June 16, 1988, the State Security Court ordered
the confiscation of Milliyet and indicted the newspaper's veteran
foreign policy commentator Mehmet Ali Birand as well as Eren Güvener,
the responsible editor, demanding prison sentences of up to 15 years
for publishing interviews with the leader of the Workers Party of
Kurdistan (PKK). The prosecutor described the series of interviews with
Abdullah Öcalan as "propaganda detrimental to the feelings of
patriotism in Turkey" in his petition to the Court, invoking article
142 of the Turkish Penal Code.
Birand had visited a PKK camp in Lebanon where he
interviewed Öcalan, known by his alias Apo.
Milliyet began publishing the serial on June 14 but
two days later the State Security Prosecutor ordered stopping further
On June 21, Erbil Tusalp of Cumhuriyet is charged
with revealing the minutes of the interrogation of Prime Minister
Ozal's would-be assassin, Kartal Demirag. Police raided the Ankara
office of the newspaper and Tusalp spent 72 hours at police
headquarters under interrogation.
Other journalists standing trial in June include
Engin Ardic of the weekly Tempo and Cüneyt Arcayürek of Cumhuriyet for
insulting the Prime Minister and Fatma Yazici of 2000'e Dogru for
printing an article on Kurds.
A NEW REFERENDUM ON SEPTEMBER 25
Voters in Turkey will go to the polls on September
25, 1988 to decide on constitutional amendments providing for early
local elections on November 13, 1988. According to the Constitution of
1982, the local elections were to be held in 1989. If the
constitutional amendments are approved by the voters, the local
administrations will be renewed one year earlier.
This will be the third national referendum since the
military coup of 1980.
The first referendum held in 1982 resulted in the
adoption of the Constitution imposed by the military. The second one
held last year led to the lifting of political bans against former
politicians who have not been condemned by the military justice for
actions against the State.
The third referendum sponsored by the prime minister
were passed by the Parliament, with 283 votes from the ruling
Motherland Party (ANAP) against the main opposition Social Democratic
Populist Party's (SHP) 93 votes. The members of former prime minister
Demirel's Correct Way Party (DYP) abstained.
Since the votes endorsing constitutional amendments
remain below 300, the government, according to the Constitution, has
been obliged to go to referendum.
At the debate in the Parliament before the voting,
Ozal accused the opposition parties of "running from the judgment of
the nation." "If you are claiming that there is corruption in the
municipal administration let us go to the polls to change those
administrators," he said.
The opposition leader Erdal Inönü (SHP) said that
early elections are no solution to the ills of the country. "The
elections which ANAP wants to hold in November this year will again be
unfair, without equal opportunities for all the political parties, and
they will be followed by steep rises in living costs as the previous
elections held by the government last year," Inönü said.
However, after the voting in the National Assembly,
Inönü declared that "the referendum is a golden opportunity for the
people to get rid of the Ozal government." As for the other opposition
leader, Demirel (DYP) too shares the same view by saying: "This
referendum will not be held over the question of whether the local
elections should be held ahead of time, it will be about whether this
government should stay or go."
In fact, Turkey has already found herself in the
effervescence of an electoral campaign.
Opposition parties, without any exception, claim
that the government will have to resign if the "Yes" votes remain below
50 percent, because the refusal of the constitutional amendments will
signify the people's disapproval of Ozal's policies. Then holding new
legislative elections will be unavoidable.
For Ozal, if the "Yes" votes do not fall below 36
percent, his party's score in the elections of 1987, such a result will
prove the continuation of his popularity even if the constitutional
amendments are refused. In order to obtain this result, the ANAP
resorts to unimaginable propaganda methods.
First, the unsuccessful assassination attempt
against Ozal during the ANAP Congress is used to a great extent for
exciting compassion. The video films shot during the attempt are
multiplied and distributed until to remote villages of the country. On
June 18, a former member of the neo-fascist party MHP, Kartal Demirag,
fired at while Ozal while he was addressing the Congress and wounded
him on his hand. About 20 people attending the Congress, including
Labor Minister Imren Aykut, were wounded by the hail of bullets fired
by policemen at the attacker. Demirag's motives in attempting to kill
the prime minister are still obscure.
In another electoral move, Ozal made a spectacular
holy pilgrimage in Mecca in July by using government funds and
state-owned planes. The images of Ozal's pilgrimage were abundantly
broadcasted by the State Television. The opposition accused Ozal also
of taking no heed of the State's secularity.
In the diplomatic circles, Ozal's this religious
gesture was commented as a move which may foil Turkey's all efforts to
join the European Community.
Whatsoever be the risk, Ozal does not hesitate for a
moment to play any trump card for keeping his party's 36 percent score
in the coming referendum and elections.
RAID ON "TOPLUMSAL KURTULUS"
The most spectacular of these prosecutions has taken
as target the monthly review Toplumsal Kurtulus (Social Liberation).
Operation took place as follows:
Editor-in-chief of the review, Orhan Gökdemir was
taken into custody on June 9, 1988 in Isparta where he was serving his
military service, on account of an article published in November 1987.
He was kept in a chilly and damp cell for days and was forced to
testify against the review's other editors.
Another writer of the review, Hüsnü Öndül, was
summoned on June 13, by the State Security Court of Ankara and taken
later on to the Torture Center DAL. Öndül is also the legal advisor of
The same day, the Prosecutor of the State Security
Court ordered police to detain the publisher of Toplumsal Kurtulus,
Mrs. Bilgesu Erenus, and the principal writer of this review, Prof.
Homes were searched, Erenus and Kücük were
separately taken and brought blindfolded to the Torture Center DAL and
put into cells.
The policemen who went to the office of Toplumsal
Kurtulus have destroyed the belongings in the office, and confiscated
all the documents and equipment.
Seeing a note on one of the desks, bearing the name
of the General Director of the Publication House, Ilhan Akalin, they
also took him from his house and put him into another damp cell in DAL.
Akalin and Gökdemir were kept for days in tiny cells
the floors of which were covered with 2 cm. deep water.
All the detainees were questioned until June 20,
1988, under bright projectors that hid the faces of the inquisitors.
For days, the detainees were given daily a quarter or a half of a loaf
of bread, a tiny piece of cheese at most the size of a matchbox, and at
most two sips of water out of a plastic container.
The prosecutor and police, during the questioning,
accused the detainees to voice the views of the Workers' Party of
Kurdistan (PKK) and of the personalities such as Ismail Besikci who
defend the rights and freedoms of the Kurdish people.
On June 20, as the last stage of DAL affairs, they
were taken for fingerprints and photographing. Meanwhile, the
prosecutor Ülkü Coskun issued orders to confiscate the 12th issue of
Toplumsal Kurtulus which was out on the stands for 20 days and indicted
five detainees for "communist and separatist propaganda".
Their trial at the State Security Court of Ankara
will start on August 18, 1988. Yalcin Kücük faces a prison term of up
to 45 years, Ilhan Akalin 30 years, Bilgesu Erenus and Hüsnü Öndül 25
years each, Orhan Gökdemir 15 years. Although Erenus was released, four
other defendants will be tried under arrest.
The 11th issue of Toplumsal Kurtulus too had been
confiscated and the responsible editor for that issue, Felemez Ak, had
been arrested. He too faces a prison term of up to 15 years.
Yalcin Kücük is one of the university professors who
were dismissed by the military after the coup. He had already spent
nearly two years in prison on charges of making communist propaganda in
one of the books he published. He was acquitted later.
Bilgesu Erenus is one of the distinguished names of
the arts in Turkey. She made a stage hit with her plays Southern Lady,
an allegorical piece about American playwright Lillian Hellman's
struggle with McCarthy-era conservatives in the 1950s USA, and The
Invited, on the drama that the Turkish immigrant workers face after the
return to their country of origin.
HUNGER STRIKE OF SOCIALIST EDITORS
Protesting against the repression on the left-wing
press, on June 21, the editors of five left-wing reviews, Yeni Cözüm,
Yeni Demokrasi, Günese Cagri, Emegin Bayragi and Toplumsal
Dirilis, launched the campaign "Socialist Press cannot be reduced to
silence!" and as a first action they left a black wreath in front of
the State Security Court. Thereupon, police detained Ozcan Sapan from
Emegin Bayragi and Emir Bilgin from Yeni Demokrasi.
Two days later, on June 23, the editors of these
five reviews held a press conference in Istanbul. Stressing that the
confiscations and bans are carried out with a view to destroying
left-wing publications, they called on all democratic forces for
solidarity with the socialist press of Turkey.
This action of the left-wing editors was supported
with a press communiqué of the Writers' Union of Turkey (TYS).
In another action, the editors and readers of four
socialist reviews went on a hunger strike from July 5, 1988. The action
takes place in the offices of the reviews Günese Cagri (Call to the
Sun), Yeni Cözüm (New Solution), Yeni Demokrasi (New Democracy) and
Emegin Bayragi (The Standard of the Labour) in Istanbul.
The hunger strikers also went on a sit-down at the
Sultanahmet Park on July 14, but they werebrutally dispersed by
security forces. Six hunger-strikers were taken into custody.
Meanwhile, many journalists following the incident too were harassed by
OTHER PROSECUTIONS IN TWO MONTHS
2.6: The issue No. 10 of the monthly review Yeni
Demokrasi is confiscated by the decision of Istanbul SSC.
4.6: A new book entitled "After Che" and published
by the Kiyi Publishing House is confiscated by the decision of Istanbul
SSC. - The governor of Gaziantep bans the distribution and sale of folk
singer Ahmet Kaya's musi-cassette entitled "Tired Democrat".
7.6: Police raids the Istanbul office of the monthly
review Yarin and detains 8 people inside, including the Istanbul
representative of the review, Bülent Eryilmaz.
9.6: Yeni Cözüm and Emegin Bayragi are confiscated
by the order of Istanbul SSC for communist propaganda.
12.6: Writer Muzaffer Erdost is tried at a criminal
court of Ankara for his sociological study on the border town Semdinli,
published 25 years ago in a weekly review. He is accused of having
justified smuggling in the region.
14.6: The June issue of the monthly Yeni Acilim is
confiscated by the decision of Istanbul SSC.
24.6: The issue No.4 of a series entitled Isciler ve
Toplum is confiscated in Istanbul for containing an article on the
workers' resistance at Taris Mills in 1980.
25.6: The monthly review Yeni Demokrasi is
confiscated by a court warrant on grounds that it contains articles
against articles 158, 159, 311 and 312 of the Penal Code. It is
announced by the editors that five out of eleven issues of this review
have been the object of confiscation.
27.6: Filmmaker Ali Ozgentürk is indicted for his
last film entitled Water too may burn and sent to a criminal court in
Istanbul. He faces a prison term of up to six years for "having
insulted the State security forces". - Journalist Aslan Alp is detained
in Ankara for a pamphlet he edited.
1.7: Representative of the monthly review Cözüm,
Caffar Akel is detained in Malatya on the charge of being member of an
13.7: Responsible editor of the monthly review
Alinteri, Mr. Sefik Calik is tried at a criminal court of Istanbul for
having published the torture allegations of the TBKP officials,Yagci
and Sargin. He is liable to a prison term of up to six years for
insulting State security forces.
13.7: Two journalists from the monthly review
Vardiya, Fuat Musaoglu and Bülent Ramazan Ongan are sentenced to 7
years, 3 months and 15 days prison term each for communist propaganda.
14.7: Writer-poet Metin Demirtas is detained by
police in Antalya and his personal books are confiscated.
19.7: Monthly review Toplumsal Dirilis is
confiscated by the order of the Istanbul SSC.
23.7: The issue No. 11 of the monthly review Yeni
Oncü is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC on the accusation of separatism.
A CASE AGAINST EVREN IN STRASBOURG
Internationally known Turkish humorist and writer
Aziz Nesin who last year tried unsuccessfully to bring a libel
case against Kenan Evren, has taken his complaint to the European Human
In a speech in 1984 Evren described Nesin as a
"traitor" in the wake of the issuing of the "Intel
-lectuals' petition" which criticized Turkey's human rights record and
demanded more democratic freedoms.
The petition was presented to the presidential
office by Nesin and a group of other Turkish intellectuals including
university professors, stage personalities, writers and journalists. Of
the 1,383 who signed the petition 59, including Nesin, were charged
with distributing illegal leaflets at a military tribunal in Ankara. At
the end of the trial all the defendants were acquitted. Nesin bitterly
attacked Evren in his defense statement saying that as a human being he
was ashamed of some of Evren's remarks.
Nesin's attempts to bring an action against the
president were defeated when two separate courts in Ankara and the
Supreme Court of Appeals refused to deal with his case. Since all the
legal possibilities in his own country have been exhausted, Nesin took
his case to the Human Rights Commission in Strasbourg earlier this year
and had his application accepted.
Legal experts said the commission will now draft a
report evaluating Nesin's case and will subsequently submit a
compromise "friendly settlement" to the disputing parties. If this
friendly solution does not work out then the case may be taken to the
European Hu-man Rights Court.
NEW MENACE ON PEACE ACTIVISTS
Although all defendants of the case of Turkish Peace
Association have been released by the Martial Law Court of Istanbul,
seven of them again face imprisonment of up to 8 years. On July 8, the
Chief military prosecutor asked the Military Court of Cassation to
overrule the lower court's verdict by arguing that the defendants are
liable to heavier prison terms.
If the higher court accepts the chief prosecutor's
point of view, 23 defendants will be tried for a fourth time at the
Martial Law Court of Istanbul.
SCANDALOUS TREATMENT TO JOAN BAEZ
Protest singer Joan Baez's four concerts in Istanbul
and Izmir have been the highlights of the cultural life of Turkey in
July. Although she got ovation from cheering crowds in each concert,
Turkish authorities have reserved to her a scandalous treatment.
After her program in Izmir, Baez went to Kusadasi, a
summer spot just south of Ephesus, for two days of rest. Two Turkish
diplomats and hotel employees ob-liged her to leave hotel room on the
second day so that it could be given to the Turkish Foreign Minister
Mesut Yilmaz who was accompanying the visiting Indian Prime Minister
Leaving Turkey, in a gesture of solidarity, the
American singer sent a message to the detained TBKP officials.
ILO'S NEW WARNING TO ANKARA
Contrary to expectations, Turkey again escaped being
entered on the International Labour Organization's list of countries
violating the ILO Convention. However, the Application Committee, ILO's
highest consultative organ, decided on June 14 in Geneva to urge the
Turkish Government to work to improve labour rights in compliance with
Since 1983 Turkey has been among the countries which
were top on the ILO agenda, but never put on the blacklist.
Before the 1986 ILO conference, the Turkish
Government presented a "letter of guarantee" to the ILO saying that it
would make necessary modifications in labour laws. This was followed by
another letter in 1987 which admitted labour laws in Turkey needed
substantial changes and promised to take necessary steps to implement
Recently the Turkish Parliament adopted some
amendments in the labour legislation, but trade unions accused the
government of making only cosmetic changes. Agreeing with the trade
unions' views, the Application Committee, on June 7, put Turkey on the
list of countries to be questioned.
On this decision, the Turkish Labour Minister Imren
Aykut challenged the ILO's authority in following terms: "The ILO is
not a court or a prison so nothing can be done. The only thing they can
do is to warn Turkey to obey the ILO norms."
On June 14, during a two and a half-hour session of
the committee, the labour wing of the ILO, headed by Jef Houthuys,
supported the idea of listing Turkey among violators. But the
maneuvers of the employers' group flirting with the Turkish Government
led the committee to keeping Turkey out of the blacklist, despite the
fact that the Progressive Trade Unions Confederation (DISK) is still
banned and that many provisions of the labour legislation are not
compatible with the ILO's norms.
According to a report transmitted by the Turkish
Government to the ILO, the value of the DISK's properties confiscated
by the State is estimated at 34 billion TL ($24.3 million). But DISK
Chairman Abdullah Bastürk, on July 12, accused the government of
deceiving the ILO and declared that the real value of the confiscated
DISK properties should be more than 450 billion TL ($322 million).
NEW MINIMUM WAGE FALLS SHORT
The minimum wage in Turkey for the industrial sector
was raised by more than 60% on June 27 amid protests from unions that
the increase WAS insufficient.
The new ruling brings the minimum monthly gross
income for anyone over age 16 to 126,000 ($90). After the deduction of
taxes and other payments, the net wage is 83,766 TL ($60).
The gross and real minimum wages set for those
younger than 16 are 86,850 TL ($62) and 58,671 TL ($42), respectively.
The minimum earnings established for the
agricultural sector are lower. Those older than 16 are guaranteed a
117,000 TL ($83) gross minimum wage. Workers under 16 have wages set at
78,750 TL ($56).
Representatives of the Confederation of Turkish
Labour Unions (TURK-IS) walked out of the last meeting of the minimum
wage committee, claiming that none of their proposals had been taken
into consideration during the studies.
TURK-IS stated that the new minimum wages had been
instantly rendered meaningless by the newly announced price hikes.
According to a study carried out by the Middle East
Technical University (ODTU) in Ankara, considering the annual inflation
rate (between 50-70 percent) the minimum net wage for a 4-person family
should be 254,062 TL ($182) in 1988 and 406,499 TL in 1989.
Another report on workers issued by the
petrochemical union (Petrol-Is) shows that Turkey, in comparison with
18 other industrialized and developing countries, has the largest
gap in income distribution, the cheapest labour and the smallest
portion of national income being earned by workers.
Ten percent of the population took the largest share
of the national income in Turkey, the report says. The highest income
group takes 40.7 percent of the national income while only 3.5 percent
goes to the lowest income group. Thus, Turkey is comparable to
countries such as Malaysia, the Philippines and Costa Rica in its
lopsided income distribution.
Turkey also is the country where the cost of labour
is lowest. The cost of labour per hour is about average 473 TL ($O.82)
according to 1986 statistics. The cost of labour per hour in the next
cheapest labour market in the study, in Portugal, is $1.19. Earnings
average $15.37 in Holland, $13.21 in the USA, $11.45 in Denmark, $10.15
in the FRG and more than $5 in Greece.
In terms of the share of wages and salaries in total
national income, Turkey again occupies one of the last places, with its
share decreasing from 33.6 percent in 1976 to 18.6 percent in 1986. The
closest country to Turkey in the study is Nigeria which has 27.1
percent of total income going to wage earners.
According to the research, a sharp decrease in real
wages is still continuing. It is necessary to work 15 hours and 28
minutes in 1987 to obtain the wage that was earned by working 8 hours
per day before January 24, 1980.
A worker earning an average wage could buy a kilo of
bread working 29 minutes in 1979, but has to work 51 minutes for the
same purchase today. A kilo of meat could be bought by working 7 hours
and 23 minutes in 1979, but today a worker must work 13 hours and 36
DETENTION OF TRADE UNIONISTS
Thirteen trade union officials were detained on June
22 at the industrial zone of Adapazari for having attempted to march to
Izmit in protest against the policies of the government and the
submission of the TURK-IS administration.
After being held under arrest for 12 hours, the
trade unionist were released by a local tribunal.
On July 14, political police arrested 23 workers in
Izmit for carrying out different actions in protest at the State-owned
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT STEPS BACK?
The European Parliament which has kept the Turkish
regime at a distance since the military coup of 1980 is now at a
turning point. At the sessions to open in Strasbourg on September 12,
1988, just eighth anniversary of the military coup, the Plenary
Assembly will discuss the Political Committee's report on the relations
between Turkey and the European Communities. Though criticizing some
anti-democratic practices by the Ankara regime, the report suggests the
revival of Turco-European relations.
The Political Committee adopted the report drawn up
by German socialist Gerd Walter by 39 votes against 3 and 5 abstentions
on June 23. (For the initial text of the report, see Info-Türk, March
If the Walter report is adopted by the Plenary
Assembly, the Turco-European association as well as the Joint
Parliamentary Commission between the European Parliament and the
Turkish National Assembly will be restored.
Such a decision will be a new retreat of European
institutions in the field of human rights and the final step of the
legitimization of the antidemocratic Turkish regime in the
GENERAL EVREN WELCOMED IN US AND UK
June and July were two triumphal months for the
Turkish regime. The author of the military coup of 1980 and the main
responsible of the bloody repression following this coup was welcomed
in the United States and in the United Kingdom by the rulers of these
countries in spite of a series of protests coming from human rights
President-general Evren's visit to the United States
at the end of June was the first visit of a Turkish head-of-state since
1967. Received and praised by President Reagan at the White House,
Evren expressed his gratitude by saying "In Turkey, we do not feel
fatigued by our support of the Western allies; because we know that by
supporting the allies, we may all continue to reap the blessings of
But next day when journalists asked him some
annoying questions on the violation of freedoms by his administration,
General Evren resorted to usual demagogy claiming that the responsibles
of these practices were being punished if found guilty.
At a luncheon with American businessmen Evren said
the relations between Turkey and the US were developing in all aspects
"contributing to peace and stability in the world."
As for Evren's visit to the United Kingdom in
mid-July, it was the first official visit of a Turkish head-of-state in
21 years. While human rights groups were staging protest actions in the
street, Evren was taken by Queen Elizabeth to Buckingham Palace through
London streets. At a pompous dinner given in his honor by Queen
Elizabeth at the Buckingham Palace, Evren quoted a 19th Century English
writer who described Turkey as Britain's "old, loyal and natural ally."
In exchange for this fidelity, he asked British support for Turkish
adhesion to the European Communities.
TROUBLES IN RELATIONS WITH GREECE
Greek Prime Minister Papandreou announced on July 24
that he would not be able to go to Turkey until the end of this year
when he will no longer be acting as chairman of the European
Communities. This announcement came as a surprise in Ankara.
Although officially no date was set for Papandreou's
visit to Turkey, there was an understanding between Turkey and Greece
during Ozal's stay in Athens in June that his counterpart would come to
Ankara this fall.
According to political observers in Athens,
Papandreou does not want to give the impression that relations between
Greece and Turkey are completely free from trouble at a time when he is
negotiating the extension of the military bases agreement with the
United States. Papandreou wants to introduce a clause in the agreement
providing American guarantees for Greece's security.
On the other hand, Greek government spokesman
pointed out that airspace violations by Turkish planes in the Aegean
began immediately after Ozal's departure from Athens and said that the
country's borders in the east are still vulnerable to Turkish military
Greek diplomats also underline the difference of
approach to the Davos spirit in Ankara and Athens. Despite three rounds
of meetings between Papandreou and Ozal, no compromise was reached
regarding these differences. Papandreou attributes primary importance
to the question of Cyprus while Ozal dwells on bilateral relations
between Turkey and Greece.
While Ozal was in Athens in June there were
expectations at the Greek public that Ozal would make a gesture of
goodwill by announcing troop withdrawals from Cyprus. But this
announcement never came.
New Dimensions of the Kurdish
Resistance Movement in Turkey
The Kurdish resistance has gained new dimensions in
last two months.
First of all, in an unexpected move, the Workers
Party of Kurdistan (PKK) and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (YNK)
signed, in April 1988, a protocol of alliance, after the meeting
of their general secretaries, respectively Abdullah Öcalan and Jalal
The spokesmen of the two organizations announced, at
a press conference held on June 3, 1988 in Brussels, that they agreed
to develop their common struggle in all parts of Kurdistan and the
coordination between different fronts of struggle. They also agreed to
refrain from resorting to any actions or behaviors which may constitute
a trump in the advantage of the enemy.
After this agreement with Talabani's powerful
organization signifying the end of the political isolation of the PKK
in Kurdistan, the latter has been the object of an increasing interest
in the Turkish mass media.
The daily Milliyet began, on June 15, to publish a
series of interviews made with Abdullah Öcalan by Mehmet Ali Birand.
However, the Turkish Government, considering the series as a
"separatist propaganda", banned the rest of the interviews and opened
legal proceedings against the author.
On the occasion of the 4th anniversary of its
foundation, the ERNK, the front organization of the PKK, held a press
conference in Brussels on August 16, and announced the annual data
concerning the armed struggle in the Turkish Kurdistan.
According to the spokesmen of the ERNK, the Kurdish
guerilla units have carried out 122 actions in last one year.
During the armed confrontations the ERNK has lost its 95 fighters while
the other side lost 22 army officers, 1,193 soldiers, 22 teachers, 143
village protectors, 70 counter-guerilla agents. The Turkish Army,
according to the same declaration, has lost 6 helicopters, 19 military
vehicles and 49 bulldozers and graders. The guerillas have set on fire
eight building sites.
A NEW KURDISH ALLIANCE: TEVGER
While the PKK and the YNK were signing an accord of
alliance, eight Kurdish organizations of Turkey announced, at a common
press conference held in Brussels on June 10, that they had set up the
Liberation Movement of Kurdistan (TEVGER).
The components of this new movement are The Flag of
Liberation, the Progressive Workers Party of Kurdistan (PPKK), the
Democratic Party of Turkish Kurdistan/National Organization (KDP/RN),
National Liberation of Kurdistan/ Socialist Tendency (KUK/SE), the
National Forces Party of Kurdistan (PARHEZ), the Socialist Party of
Turkish Kurdistan (TKSP), the Socialist Unity of Kurdistan (YSK) and
the Revolutionaries of Kurdistan.
In their joint declaration, the eight organizations
announced that their objective is to put an end to the hegemony of the
Turkish colonialism and to establish the independent Kurdish Democratic
Republic. TEVGER foresees an armed struggle in order to attain this
Answering a question, they said that TEVGER may go
to an alliance with PKK if this latter refrains from labelling other
Kurdish organizations as "traitors" and gives up the violence acts
aiming civilian people.
KURDISH MAYOR TRIED FOR SPEAKING KURDISH
"Kurdish is not a separate language but a
compilation of old Turkish words which changed from through time," the
military prosecutor of the Diyarbakir Martial Law Court claimed while
indicting the former mayor of this principal city of Turkish Kurdistan.
The mayor, Mehdi Zana, who has been in prison since
the military takeover of 1980 on charges of Kurdish separatist
activities, now faces another 15-year prison term because he demanded
to deliver his defense statement in Kurdish.
The wife of Mehdi Zana is among the 46 people who
detained during the protest action in front of the Diyarbakir Military
Prison on the Sacrifice Holiday.
INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT FOR KURDS
Following the announcement of the cease-fire
agreement between Tehran and Baghdad, Iraqi and Iranian forces have the
possibility of reinforcing their attacks on the Kurdish forces. Already
fighting is intense especially in areas close to the Turkish border.
According to press reports, Kurdish villagers of the area are fleeing
to Turkey as fighting escalates in northern Iraq between government
forces and Kurdish guerrillas.
Since the Turkish Army is carrying out a combing
operation in the Turkish Kurdistan, the Kurds, whatsoever be their
country of origin, find themselves in a cross-fire.
Meanwhile, he Kurdish cause has recently gained a
very important support from the world opinion. Hundreds of
international personalities published in The International Herald
Tribune and Le Monde an "International Appeal in Defense of Kurdish
Culture in Turkey".
The appeal reads:
"Like every human community, the Kurdish people have
the right to preserve their cultural heritage and to freely express
their identity. The Kurds' ancient culture is part of the world's
cultural patrimony. The product of centuries of history, the work of
generations, it deserves, like all other countries, respect and
protection. That is why the undersigned, guided by the principles
proclaimed in the United Nations' Charter, the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights and the international covenants on human rights, opposed
to all forms of intolerance and discrimination, concerned with justice
and democracy, urge the Turkish authorities to abolish all
constitutional and legal bans on the use of the Kurdish language and,
more generally, on all cultural expressions of the millions of Kurdish
citizens in Turkey."
Among the signatories are also Jacques Lang, Pierre
Mauroy, Ahmed Ben Bella, Alberto Moravia, Harold Pinter, Jan Myrdal,
Umberto Eco, Edward Kennedy, Winnie Mandella, Danielle Mitterand,
Maurice Bejart, Yves Montand, Arthur Miller, Jane Birkin, Ingmar
Bergman, Desmond Tutu, Beni Sadr and Gérard Depardieu, and the appeal
remains open to the signature to other personalities.
On the other hand, about 20 members of the European
Parliament have set up a special group to deal with the Kurdish Issue
and to raise the question at Strasbourg. According to the spokesman of
the group, Belgian deputy Willy Kuijpers, these members of parliament
will visit Turkey to make researches on the spot.
Meantime, Jalal Talabani launched in Washington a
successful diplomatic campaign for the Kurdish cause. The substance of
Talabani's talks in Washington was not made public. But he said he was
satisfied with the exchange of views he had in the U.S. capital. "We
are knocking on all the doors, from China to the USA. We have also
knocked on Turkey's door but it is locked for us," said 52 year-old
lawyer who has been fighting the Iraqi Baathists for more Kurdish
The official treatment accorded to the Iraqi Kurdish
leader by Washington triggered a strong reaction from Ankara. After
this visit, the US Ambassador to Ankara, Strausz-Hupé was summoned to
the foreign ministry and notified of the concern the Turkish government
felt over Washington's behavior regarding the Kurdish issue.
Referring to the fact that the YNK signed a protocol with the PKK, the
ministry spokesman claim that the YNK shares the responsibility for the
deaths of 552 civilians and soldiers in southeast Turkey since 1984.
Later on, President-General Kenan Evren, during his official visit to
the USA, conveyed to US officials his displeasure with this development.
NEW DEATH SENTENCES
On June 28, the martial law court of Adana condemns
two alleged members of the Revolutionary Liberation (DK) to capital
punishment and nine others to different prison terms.
On July 11, the martial law court of Diyarbakir
concludes the trial of 53 alleged militants of the Workers' Party of
Kurdistan (PKK), by condemning a defendant to death sentence. The court
pronounces life-terms for eight defendants and different prison terms
of up to 24 years for 23 others.
On July 13, the same military court, in another
group trial, condemns four alleged members of the PKK to different
prison terms of up to ten years.
88 PEOPLE FACE DEATH SENTENCES
On July 7, 1988, the military prosecutor in Istanbul
demanded death sentences for 88 of the defendants in the mass trial of
the left-wing Dev-Sol (Revolutionary Left) militants which has been
dragging on for the past seven years.
Out of the 1,243 defendants originally indicted in
1981 only 68 are currently in prison. Thirty-six of the 88 defendants
for whom the military prosecutor demanded capital punishment have been
released from prison in earlier hearings.
In his final assessment of the case, the military
prosecutor also asked the military tribunal to give 61 defendants life
imprisonment, 26 of them sentences between 20 and 24 years, and 12 to
16 years for five of them.
DEFENSE OF 723 DEV-YOL DEFENDANTS
The 723 defendants of the biggest mass trial since
the military coup of 1980 began to read their 800-page joint defense
statement at the Martial Law Court of Ankara on August 10. The military
prosecutor has demanded death penalty for 74 of the defendants.
On behalf the defendants, Oguzhan Müftüoglu declared
the military court unqualified to hear their case because martial law
has been lifted in Turkey and said: "All the constitutional authorities
accept that the functioning of the military tribunals after the lifting
of the martial law is unconstitutional.
He then went on to condemned torture, which he said
he and his friends had to endure for months under police detention. The
Dev-Yol leader said four of his friends died under torture between 1980
and 1982. He gave their names and the dates of their deaths.
Dev-Yol sprang from the left-wing student
organization Dev Genc in the early 1970s after the leaders of Dev Genc
were arrested, shot dead by the security forces, or hanged following
the military coup in March 1971. The group professes to an independent,
radical left ideology which is neither pro-Soviet nor pro-Chinese.
The military prosecutor claims that the Dev-Yol is
guilty of many political violence acts committed in a view to
overthrowing the established regime and setting up a working class
Müftüoglu said that between 1974 and 1980, a total
of 5,188 people lost their lives in politically-motivated killings. Of
these 2,109 were left-wing victims and 1,286 were rightists.
"The first 10 people killed were left-wing people.
Of the first 100 to lose their lives 76 were leftists; and of the first
1,000, 721 were people of the left. These figures show how violence was
started and escalated by the right," said Müftüoglu.
INTERROGATION OF TBKP OFFICIALS
The General Secretary of the banned Communist Party
of Turkey (TKP), Mr. Nabi Yagci replied to the prosecutor's indictment
in July at the State Security Court of Ankara. Following the reading of
this 167-page statement, the tribunal will listen to the reply of Mr.
Nihat Sargin, Secretary General of the outlawed Workers' Party of
The two party officials arrived in Turkey in
November last year from self-imposed exile in Europe. Before they
arrived in Turkey, Yagci and Sargin announced they would try to
legalize the United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP) which came into
being with the merger of TKP and TIP.
After the replies of the two party officials and
fourteen other defendants, the prosecutor will present evidence
supporting the charges. The trial will take at least more than a year
The trials of TBKP have been attended by European
Five West European communist deputies scuffled with
police during a protest action in Ankara on July 28. The confrontation
took place at the Prime Minister Ozal's closely-guarded official
residence in Cankaya. When Ozal refused to receive them, French
parliamentarian Maxim Gremetz began to read aloud a declaration signed
by 28 communist parties in Europe demanding the immediate release of
Yagci and Sargin. At this point the scuffle began and the police, using
force, threw the Europeans and their translator out.
The following day the group again scuffled with
police, this time before the Ankara penitentiary, when their demand to
see Yagci and Sargin was refused by the prison authorities.
The European communists said the treatment accorded
to them showed to which extent democracy existed in Turkey.
Meanwhile, Yagci and Sargin applied to the European
Human Rights Commission personally through a French lawyer with a
complaint that their attempts to seek legal action against policemen
who tortured them under detention were foiled by the Turkish legal
TRIAL OF THE SP FOUNDERS
The trial of the six founders of the newly founded
Socialist Party (SP) began at the State Security Court of Istanbul on
June 7, 1988. Secretary General Yalcin Buyukdagli as well as five
leading party members, Ali Karsilayan, Yavuz Alogan, Ali Kalan, Nusret
Senem and Halil Berktay are accused of contravening Articles 141 and
142 of the Penal Code and face prison terms of up to 20 years.
Besides, on June 6, 1988, the Constitutional
Court began to deal with the Chief Prosecutor's demand to close down
the Socialist Party.
OTHER POLITICAL TRIALS
On June 21, at a trial of the PKK before the martial
law tribunal of Diyarbakir, the military prosecutor claims capital
punishment for 14 defendants.
On June 22, the trial of 57 people indicted for the
unauthorized May Day celebrations of this year begins at the State
Security Court of Istanbul. Eleven of the defendants are tried under
On July 13, seventeen alleged members of the PKK are
brought before the State Security Court of Malatya. Two defendants face
OPERATION "JUNE 15-16" IN ISTANBUL
During the months of June and July, different
opposition groups throughout Turkey have been the target of State
In the fear of protest actions on the occasion of
the June 15-16, 1979 workers' resistance, security forces launched a
combing operation in Istanbul and detained 220 "suspected"
people. Despite this emergency measures, opposition groups, throughout
the city, put on the walls placards celebrating the anniversary and
protesting against anti-worker policies.
Other police operations in two months:
6.6, in Nusaybin, a 58-year old Kurd is shot dead by
security forces during an armed clash.
18.6, security forces claim the capture of 43
"separatist" in different villages of the province of Mardin.
5.7, in Izmir, police announces a new operation
against Dev-Sol militants allegedly responsible for a robbery.
10.7, in the provinces of Mardin and Siirt, five
Kurdish militants are shot dead by security forces.
12.7, an armed clash in Kozluk results in the
killing of nine Kurdish militants and four security men.
14.7, police announces the capture of nine
militants of an outlawed organization in Ankara.
18.7, police claims that a combing operation
against the outlawed Dev-Yol organization in Izmir, lasted for 40 days
results with the detention of 40 militants.
19.7, security forces claim the capture of 24 PKK
militants in Mardin and 24 in Ankara. Besides, 60 people are reportedly
detained in Cizre for supporting PKK militants.
27.7, security forces carry out a combing operation
in the South-eastern provinces and detain 50 alleged "separatists".
28.7, two Kurdish militants are captured in Midyat.
30.7, security forces shoot dead 10 Kurdish
militants in Hani and Midyat.
HUNGER STRIKES IN PRISON
The protest actions against the inhuman conditions
and ill-treatment in prisons have been carried on during the months of
June and July.
In a move to support 285 hunger-strikers in the
Aydin Prison Type E, their parents went on a hunger strike by sitting
in the Güven Park of the capital Ankara on June 6. On the eleventh day
of this action, police intervened in and ordered the strikers to
disperse. On the refusal, police attacked on the strikers and detained
13 of them.
On June 19, another group of parents made a sit-in
action in front of the Aydin Prison.
The same day, 235 political prisoners in Gaziantep
refused to see their parents who came for a exceptional visit
allowed by the authorities on the occasion of the Fathers' Day. The
inmates of the Gaziantep Prison said that they will carry on their
refusal as far as their demand to ameliorate the prison conditions is
The hunger-strikers of Aydin Prison ended their
action on June 20 when the prison administration accepted some of their
demands, but the same day 147 inmates of the Eskisehir Prison began a
On July 27, during the visit of parents to the
Diyarbakir Prison on the occasion of the holy Sacrifice Day, the
attitude of the guards led to incidents. When women were kept inside
for a time longer than the duration of visit, their husbands and
brothers entered in clash with the guards. 46 persons, including the
wife of the former Diyarbakir Mayor Mehdi Zana, were detained for the
At the end of July, 93 inmates of the Sagmalcilar
Prison in Istanbul were on hunger-strike for protesting against the
beating of their five comrades on June 16.
On the other hand, the Association for Solidarity
with the Families of Prisoners (TAYAD), on June 17, held a
ceremony at the Silivrikapi Graveyard for commemorating the victims of
the Hunger-strikes. After the ceremony, when the group of 200 people
began to march towards the city, police intervened in and dispersed
them by force.
The number of the political prisoners who were
condemned during the martial law period to prison terms higher than
those which are foreseen in the Turkish Penal Code is estimated at
about 10 thousand.
By virtue of Article 17/1 of the Code on Martial
Law, No. 1402, adopted after the military coup of 1980, martial law
tribunals have been authorized to increase a prison term against any
defendant up to its two folds. According to the daily Cumhuriyet of
June 6, 1988, the total of the excess prison terms pronounced by
martial law courts against 10 thousand people reaches to 31 thousand
Although martial law was lifted throughout Turkey,
military tribunals continue to try those who had been arrested and
indicted during the martial law period. These latters too face excess
prison terms while those who have been captured after the lifting of
martial law for the same "crimes" and tried by civil courts are liable
to prison terms settled by the Penal Code.
DRAFT FOR NEW PENAL CODE
The commission which has been working on a new penal
code since 1985 submitted a draft to the Justice Ministry in July. As
expected, the draft bill leaves intact the controversial capital
punishment provision in Turkey.
However, it decreased by half the prison sentences
for such articles as 141, 142,163 dealing with setting up illegal
communist organizations, making communist propaganda and organizing
with an aim to create a state based on Islamic law.
The commission has also proposed the annulment of
Article 140 stipulating prison terms of not less than five years for
anti-establishment activities or statements of Turkish citizens abroad.
The Union of Turkish Bar Associations has declared
that the new draft is unacceptable since it maintains capital
punishment and the articles dealing with political opinions and