A 15-YEAR OLD POLITICAL PRISONER, IN
TURKEY... AND IN 1989!
The European Communities and its member states
resort for years to every means for encouraging Turkish immigrant
workers to return to their country. Since the stopping of immigration
in 1974 until 1984, within a 10-year period, the number of Turkish
citizens who left Europe for Turkey reached 1,199,718.
Of these people, 512,770 were under the age of 18
when they returned to Turkey.
These young people who were often born in Europe and
had studied in European schools often face a dramatic situation in
their country of origin where they undergo an antidemocratic, Islamist
and chauvinist education. This drama was explained our November 1988
The press clippings that we reprint here are more
15-year old Melih Calaylioglu one of the immigrant
children who returned home from the FRG. As he had freely done in
German schools, Calaylioglu expressed his views on social and political
problems of Turkey at the Karatas High School in Izmir. He was
denounced to police by the school administration.
On October 4, 1988, he was arrested by police on
grounds that he made communist propaganda among his school mates. He
was tried by the State Security Court of Izmir under the menace of a
The court decided on December 29, 1988 to put him
under the observation of the legal medicine in a view to determining
whether or not he made communist propaganda in all conscience. The
verdict of the court will be pronounced on the legal medicine's report.
The executive and parliamentary organs of the
European Communities who are in the process of accelerating their
relations with the Turkish regime!
May be you are in the opinion that the people of
Turkey deserves a second class democracy and that all ongoing
antidemocratic practices cannot considered as an obstacle before the
development of Turco-European relations.
What about this drama of 15-year old Melih as well
as the others who have been forced to leave your countries due to your
politics of repatriation? Aren't they the children of Europe rather
than Turkey. Don't you feel a shred of responsibility in this drama?
JOURNALISTS ST∂LL IN PRISON
According to the daily Cumhuriyet of January 15,
1989, currently 23 journalists are in prisons.
Below are their names, their periodicals and total of their
Veli Yilmaz (Halkin Kurtulusu) 748 years,
Kazim Arli (OncΩ) 22 years and 6 months,
Abdullah Erdogan (Kitle) 36 years,
Irfan Asik (Partizan) 111 years,
Feyzullah Ozer (Kitle) 17 years and 6 months
HΩseyin Ulgen (Genc Sosyalist) 12 years et 3 months,
Ali Rabus ( Birlik Yolu) 17 years,
Erhan Tuskan (Ilerici Yurtsever Genclik) 123 years,
Candemir Ozler ( Savas Yolu) 23 years and 10 months,
Mehmet Ozgen (Bagimsiz Turkiye and Devrimci Militan)
Nevzat Acan (Halkin Kurtulusu Yolunda Genclik) 21
years and 7 months,
Alaattin Sahin (Halkin Yolu) 130 years,
Osman Tas (Halkin Kurtulusu) 661 years and 2 months,
Fikret Ulusoydan (Halkin Sesi) 66 years,
Ilker Demir (Kitle) 30 years,
Haci Ali Ozler (Emegin Birligi)
Remzi Kucukertan (Devrimci Proletarya) 17 years and
Kubilay Akpinar (Gunsece Cagri) 7 years and 6 months
Ertugrul Mavioglu (Yeni CπzΩm) 3 years
Sureyya Uri (Durum)
Mehmet Resat GΩvenilir (Emegin Birligi) 29 years and
GΩzel Aslaner (Halkin Birligi) 146 years.
Three other journalists have been condemned in
default to different prison terms and courts warrants issued for their
immediate arrest in the case of capture:
Mustafa TΩtΩncΩbasi (Halkin Sesi) condemned to 42
years; Dogan Yurdakul (Aydinlik) to 18 years and Aydogan BΩyΩkπzden
(Aydinlik) to 136 years.
Past year, five journalists have been released
from prison after having served their prison terms: Fuat AkyΩrek,
Mustafa Colak, Galip Demircan, Ersan Sarikaya and Muhittin Gπktas.
Mustafa YildirimtΩrk, responsible editor of Halkin
Kurtulusu, escaped from prison in 1988 while serving his 155-year
prison term. He is currently in West Germany as political refugee.
JOURNALISTS AT TRIBUNALS
In the last year, public prosecutors started more
than 500 different penal or civil actions against daily newspapers and
303 of these actions are against daily newspapers:
Tan underwent 71 legal proceedings, GΩnaydin 54, GΩnes 47, Sabah 40,
HΩrriyet 36, Milliyet 20, Cumhuriyet 17, Ulus 11, Milli Gazete 6,
As for the weekly or monthly periodicals, they
underwent about 200 legal actions. While the weekly 2000e Dogru was
indicted in 43 different legal actions, the number of penal actions
against monthly reviews as follows: Yeni CπzΩm 8, Emek DΩnyasi 4,
GΩnese Cagri 3, Emegin Bayragi 3, Vardiya 2, Yeni Demokrasi 6, Cagdas
Yol 3; Medya GΩnesi, Ilk Adim, BΩlten, Toplumsal Kurtulus, Yeni ∏ncΩ,
Genclik DΩnyasi and Demokrat Arkadas one each.
Responsible editor of 2000e Dogru, Mrs. Fatma Yazici
was already condemned to 2 years and 4 months imprisonment. The chief
editor of the same weekly, Mr. Dogu Perincek was condemned to 17 years
and 6 months in prison.
In addition to the above-mentioned political
periodicals, some magazines such as Playboy, Playmen, Bravo and Erkekce
have been the subject of legal actions for having published articles or
photos which are considered "harmful to minors" by the virtue of a law
adopted by the Ozal's majority in the Parliament.
RECENT ACTIONS AGAINST THE PRESS
1.12: Two editors of Hedef Publication House,
Nurettin Karakoc and Mehmet Demir, are taken into custody.
5.12: A prison term of 3 months and 15 days
against Necmettin Kurucu, responsible editor of the daily Inanis in
Zonguldak, is ratified by the Court of Cassation.
6.12, responsible editor of the monthly Toplumsal
Kurtulus, Mr. Felemez Ak, is taken into custody.
8.12, public prosecutor opens a legal action against
famous folk singer Cem Karaca for his new musi-cassette. He is accused
of weakening religious sentiments.
9.12, editor Asuman Ozcan is brought before the
State Security Court of Istanbul for having published Losovsky's work
on trade unions. He faces a 7.5-year prison term.
14.12, the last issue of the mothly Yeni Acilim is
confiscated and its responsible editor, Sefik Calik, is interrogated by
the prosecutor of the State Security Court of Istanbul.
15.12, the trial of two distinguished intellectuals,
lawyer Halit Celenk and editor Muzaffer Erdost starts at the State
Security Court of Ankara.
20.12, chief editor of the weekly 2000e Dogru, Mr.
Dogu Perincek is condemned to a prison term of 17 months and 15 days by
a criminal court in Istanbul for an article about AtatΩrk's views
concerning God and Islam religion. Responsible editor Fatma Hikmet
Yazici is condemned a fine of 135,000 Turkish Liras for publishing the
said article. For quoting this article, two editors of the daily Yeni
Nesil, Bunyamin Ates and Sabahattin Aksakal too are condemned to
17-month prison each.
21.12, six journalists are indicted by the State
Security Court of Ankara for issuing a press communiqué against the
Iraqi Government's using chemical weapons on Kurds. Nadir Nadi Usta
(from Yeni Asama), Hatice Onat (Emegin Bayragi), Metin Faruk Tamer
(Isci DΩnyasi), Riza Resat Cetinbas and Mehmet Ali Cakiroglu (Yeni
Demokrasi) and Can GΩlsenoglu (Medya GΩnesi) face prison terms of up to
6 years each.
22.12, Secretary General of the United Communist
Party of Turkey (TBKP), Haydar Kutlu, is indicted once more by the
State Security Court of Ankara for book collecting his speeches and
27.12, the December issue of the monthly Yeni CπzΩm
is confiscated and three members of the editorial board, Recep GΩler,
Ilker Alcan and Meral Coskun are taken into custody. A group of 42
people protesting against this arrest are also detained by police.
28.12, police, on the decision of the State Security
Court of Ankara, confiscates 3,300 copies of a book entitled The
journal of Death Under Torture , written by poet Nihat Behram. The book
puts in evidence police's torturing to death. The same court had
ordered the confiscation of 15,000 copies of another book written by
the same author. Nihat Behram is one of the Turkish intellectuals
deprived of Turkish nationality because of his opinions and is
currently in the FRG.
29.12, famous Turkish sociologist Dr. Ismail Besikci
is detained by police for an interview he gave to the monthly OzgΩr
Gelecek. He spent more than ten years of his life in prisons for his
academic works criticizing the State's repressive policy against the
Kurdish people and culture.
30.12, thousands of new year cards illustrated with
Picasso's drawings and worded with verses of Pablo Neruda and Nazim
Hikmet are confiscated by police.
GENERAL EVREN AND INTELLECTUALS
In a move to charm public opinion and especially
intellectuals, General Evren gave a reception to outstanding Turkish
artists, sportpersons and journalists at the Presidential Palace on
January 9, 1989.
However, many distinguished intellectuals such as
septuagenarian humorist Aziz Nesin, film director Atif Yilmaz, musician
Ilhan Irem, actor Genco Erkal, poets Melih Cevdet Anday and Cahit
Kulebi, writers and novelists Adalet Agaoglu, Ferit Edgu, Furuzan,
Tarik Dursun and Ilhan Berk did not attend Evren's party though they
Nesin, also chairman of the Turkish Writers' Union
(TYS), said after receiving his invitation: "He once described me as a
traitor in speeches he made at rally grounds. Now he is trying to be
sympathetic. I am not playing his game."
When 1,380 Turkish intellectuals submitted a
petition to Evren in 1984 protesting the injustices and anti-democratic
practices of his regime, he said he didn't have any need for such
intellectuals who in the past had committed treason against their
Thereupon, Aziz Nesin sued Evren for his comments.
Since Turkish tribunal refused to deal with this affair against Evren,
Nesin brought the case past year to the European Commission of
IPI CRITICIZES TURKISH PRESS REGIME
In its press freedom report for 1988, the
London-based International Press Institute has described the relations
between the press and the government in Turkey as "extremely tense."
IPI points to the long prison sentences given to the
editors and writers of left-wing publications. The report says the
prison sentences handed down to such people add up to 5,000 years.
The Motherland Party (ANAP) government is criticized
in the report for applying economic pressure on the newspapers by
raising the price of newsprint.
UNLAWFUL EXTRADITION OF 5 EXILES
Turkish authorities showed once more their
double-faced attitude when they extradited five and arrested three of
eight self-exiled left-wing activists who returned home on December 10,
to mark the 40th anniversary of the signing of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights.
As the eight arrived on three separate flights
originating from London, Copenhagen and Frankfurt, police accompanied
them to isolated rooms at the Istanbul Airport.
Five of them, trade unionists Nafiz Bostanci, Murat
Tokmak, Ekrem Aydin, Turan Ata and lawyer Beria Onger, president of the
Progressive Women Association, were immediately put on the planes that
brought them home. Police announced that they were extradited because
they are no more Turkish citizens. A number of European
parliamentarians, lawyers and journalists accompanying the exiles also
returned with the five.
Green-helmeted riot police cordoned off the entrance
to the airport, keeping out the supporters and relatives of the exiles.
Three of the exiles, engineer Nurettin Yalcin, woman
activist Yuksel Selek and youth activist Haluk Tan Ipekci, were
detained because they still had Turkish nationality while the other
five had lost their citizenship with government decrees issued after
The detained three exiles were released a few days
The forcing of the five to return to Europe sparked
a public controversy. According to the State Security Court of Ankara,
the arrest warrants issued earlier about the five exiles were valid
even if the defendants had lost their Turkish nationality.
A social democrat deputy, Kemal Anadol, pointed to
earlier examples such as the return of Yahya Demirel, the nephew of
former prime minister Demirel, who had an arrest warrant against him on
charges of fraud, and Cem Karaca, a folk singer. He said the two were
accepted when they returned last year.
In his earlier statements, Prime Minister Turgut
Ozal had said that all those who are exiled abroad or deprived of
Turkish nationality could return home without fear and ,if there is a
legal pursuit against them, they could rely on the Turkish justice.
This last practice proved that Ozal does not
respect to his own words, let aside the international norms of law.
POLITICAL TRIALS AT THE END OF 1988
4.12, in Istanbul, a university assistant and 12
young people are arrested on charge of distributing tracts of outlawed
left-wing organization Dev-Sol and carrying out unauthorized meetings.
5.12, three teachers and 12 other people are
detained in Ankara.
7.12, fourteen alleged members of the Communist
Party of Turkey/Union (TKP/B) are arrested in Ankara.
14.12, Istanbul police arrest twelve people suspect
of being TKP/B members.
16.12, the martial law tribunal No.2 of Istanbul
sentences four members of the Liberation Army of Northern Kurdistan
(TKKKO) to life-prison, one to 16 years and three others 11 years each.
19.12, five members and 24 sympathizers of an
outlawed organization are arrested in Mardin.
20.12, the State Security Court of Ankara sentences
seven members of Acilciler (Emergency Group) to prison terms of up to
16 years and 8 months. One of the condemned, Hilal Aydin will serve two
years and one month of his prison term in solitary confinement.
21.12, former Diyarbakir Mayor Mehdi Zana is being
tried before the martial law tribunal of Diyarbakir for a declaration
he made in a review in favour of the Workers' Party of Kurdistan (PKK).
22.12, the martial law court of Diyarbakir sentences
four alleged members of the National Liberation of Kurdistan (KUK) to
prison terms of up to 20 years. Same day, a new case is opened against
three alleged PKK members.
23.12, twenty people, supporters and parents of
political prisoners, are indicted by the State Security Court of Ankara
for having carried out an authorized sit-in action within the National
Assembly building. All face prison terms of up to three years.
27.12, in Ankara, 17 people are arrested for
distributing tracts and hanging placards on walls.
28.12, the trial of nine alleged members of PKK
begins at the State Security Court of Izmir. Public prosecutor claims
capital punishment for five defendants.
31.12, security forces announce the arrest of 11
alleged members of PKK in the district of Suruc of the Sanliurfa
UNDERWORLD LEADERS FREED
While thousands of political prisoners are being
kept in jails, well-known "godfathers" of the Turkey's underworld are
being freed one after the other. The number of those who were released
from prison during the past 12 months increased to 68.
Recently, on January 3, Dundar Kilic, a leading
figure in Turkey's underworld, and his 18 friends were acquitted by a
military court in Diyarbakir. So, the mopping up operation launched
against mobsters by the military regime in the early 1980s came to an
Kilic, 52, was facing a possible death sentence for
smuggling a total of 74 kilos of heroin and 317 kilos of hash out of
Turkey between 1979 and 1983. He was also accused of violating the
firearms law and threatening a number of his opponents. The court ruled
that there was no conclusive evidence to prove the validity of charges
brought against the defendants.
After his release, Kilic said: "They have stolen my
freedom for five years as a result of a plot hatched by Attila Aytek
(former director of the contraband department of police headquarters)
and Mehmet Eymur (former contraband section chief of the National
Intelligence Agency)." Also blaming a number of businessmen and
publishers for the years he spent in prison, Kilic added: "Every single
one of them is going to account for it. I am in possession of
information which will make the whole country jump."
TROUBLES IN TURKISH PRISONS
The unrest in Turkish prisons continued despite the
ending of hunger strikes on the promise to ameliorate prison
conditions. Following the discovery early January of a 18-meter
escape tunnel dug by inmates, the Sagmalcilar Prison administration in
Istanbul tightened security with added restrictions on inmates, leading
to complaints by the prisoners, their relatives and supporters.
Inmates said that they were beaten by the guards and
soldiers and tear gas was used during searches conducted the wards.
Many political prisoners were put in solitary confinement. They were
not able to see their relatives because the prison administration
suspended their visitation rights.
An inmate who was released recently said that the
prisoners barricaded the corridors of the prison to prevent further
action by the security officers.
On January 11, a group gathered at the prison to
protest living conditions, but they were assaulted by the security
forces and two men and a woman were taken into custody.
AI ACCUSES TURKISH GOVERNMENT
Amnesty International charged in its latest report
released on January 4 that the Turkish Government has launched an
intensive public relations exercise to improve its image abroad, but
has taken no effective steps to improve its "appalling human rights
The AI report came four days after Prime Minister
Ozal's New Year message in which he said Western standards for human
rights had been adopted. "AI received reports of torture virtually
daily during the last two months. The abuses are the latest in a
catalog of human rights violations occurring in Turkey during the
1980s. They have resulted in thousands of cases of torture and over 200
suspicious deaths in custody," said the report.
Prime Minister Ozal ruled out the existence of any
systematic torture in Turkey since he came to power in 1983.
However, Chairman of the Turkish Human Rights
Association (IHD), Nevzat Helvaci, confirmed the AI report: "We receive
similar complaints on the abuse of human rights almost every day.
Suspicious deaths in custody are continuing.
The president of the Turkish Bar Association, Teoman
Evren, in a recent statement, said the Turkish judicial system allows
inequities that lead to torture, arbitrary arrest and the imprisonment
of innocent defendants.
"According to the Turkish legal system, a person can
be detained without seeing his lawyer for up to 15 days. This, of
course, results in contradictory testimony by the detained person.
Sometimes they are forced to lie because of torture, while some not
subjected to torture might lie in a country where this act is
widespread. If a lawyer were allowed to see the detainee immediately
then the police or security officials would not resort to torture for
fear of discovery," Mr. Evren said.
There are an estimated 5,000 prisoners of conscience
in Turkey. Since the September 12, 1980 coup 70,000 people were tried
on charges of violating articles 141 and 142 of the Turkish Penal Code.
Of these, 50,000 were sentenced imprisonment and 5,000 are still in
"There are a lot of defendants staying in prison for
more than eight years without a conviction," Mr Evren said and accused
the judges of ordering arbitrary arrests and tolerating police who
exceed their authority. In a recent incident, Mehmet Dogan 29, who
spent his last seven years in prison, was set free after a long trial
in which the prosecutor had demanded a death sentence on charges of
murder. "Seven years of my life were lost. Who will pay for them?" were
Dogan's first remarks after being released.
INTERNATIONAL TRIBUNAL CONDEMNED TURKISH REGIME
The International Tribunal against the 12 September
Regime in Turkey, after hearing many witnesses form Turkey on December
10-11, 1988 in Kπln, arrived to the conclusion that the regime set up
by the military is guilty of violating human rights.
The tribunal was composed of the following
Writer Ingrid Segerstedt-Viber, historian Hjπrdis
Levin, VPK member Tommy Franzen from Sweden; constitutional judge Prof.
Martin Hirsch, writer Helmut Frenz, writer Max von der GrΩn, Professor
Norman Paech, Deputy Ellen Olms, human rights activists Tilman ZΩlch
and Susanne Rieger, Medico International member Hans Brandscheidt,
feminist Anitta Kalpakka from the FRG; Culture Minister Ernesto
Kardenal from Nicaragua; deputy and writer Jean Zigler, lawyer Mautinot
Laurent, lawyer Christian Ferrazino from Switzerland; European deputy
Jef Ulburghs from Belgium; writer Karam Khella from Egypt; writer
Bahmand Nirmuand from Iran; trade unionist Auke Idzenga from the
Philippines; Philipe Mogkadi from the Pan African Congress.
During the session, the tribunal listened to the
witness of journalist Dogan ∏zgΩden, writer ∏mer Polat, poet Nihat
Behram, DISK representative YΩcel Top, Teachers' Association Chairman
GΩltekin Gazioglu, lawyer Serafettin Kaya and many victims of
repression and torture.
In his verdict, the tribunal said:
- All political, administrative and legal practices
of the regime must be annulled,
- A general amnesty must be adopted for all
political prisoners, capital punishment lifted, torture and inhuman
practices in prisons stopped,
- The right to self determination must be recognized
for all peoples living in Turkey and political exiles must be allowed
to return home,
- All those who are responsible for repression must
be tried and punished,
- Freedom of organizing must be recognized to all
trade unions and political parties,
- European countries must not invite the members of
the military junta who are guilty of violating human rights. Turkey
must be called to respect all international conventions that she signed,
- Turkish adhesion to the European Communities must
be depended on the condition to guarantee the respect to human rights,
- All aid to the present Turkish regime must be
TOP JUDGE KNOCKS '82 CONSTITUTION
The President of the Supreme Administrative Court,
Orhan Tuzemen, became on December 12, the second high-level judge in
recent months to criticize the constitutional system introduced by the
Tuzemen said the 1982 Constitution was untenable
because it is the product of a military coup. "This (constitutional
system) reflects the logic behind a military takeover. Those who came
to power in this way claimed that their words were above the
constitution. They ruled that whatever they said should be considered a
constitutional amendment, said Tuzemen, speaking to journalists a few
days before he retired.
In September, the chief judge of the Turkish Court
of Cassation, Ahmet Cosar, had criticized the Turkish legal system at
the opening of the judicial year.
Tuzemen said he was against crimes of conscience and
supported free expression of all ideas in Turkish society. He said
General Evren did not put all his weight behind stopping the turmoil in
the country before the military takeover despite the nation-wide
Chief judged also said concessions have been given
to reactionaries with the introduction of compulsory religion courses
in high schools.
SOCIALIST PARTY LEGITIMATED
The Constitutional Court, on December 6, 1988,
rejected a demand by the Chief prosecutor to disband the Socialist
Party (SP) on the grounds the party violated constitutional rules. The
prosecutor had claimed that SP's program and statutes were aimed at
"establishing the dictatorship of a class" in Turkish society.
The SP is the first political party founded by the
people of Marxist orientation.
Of the 11 judges in the Constitutional Court, nine
voted against the legal argument by the Prosecutor.
Ferit Ilsever, chairman of SP, said this decision
has contributed to the establishment of democracy in Turkey despite the
efforts of certain circles to banish a socialist party from the
On the other hand, IHD Chairman Nevzat Helvaci and
10 other executive members were acquitted of all charges of involving
the association in political activities on December 13, 1988. An Ankara
criminal court also rejected the prosecutor's claim to close the
In the ruling, the judge said opening a campaign for
the discontinuation of the death penalty and requesting a general
amnesty cannot be considered as activities that contradict the
objectives of IHD.
However, in another administrative action in the
province of Izmit, on December 6, the governor banned the activities of
the local branch of the IHD on grounds that hunger strikers protesting
against prison conditions carried out their action in the association's
building. Public prosecutor announced that a legal proceeding will be
started against the local IHD officials.
THE HUMAN RIGHTS ASSOCIATION OF TURKEY CANDIDATE FOR 1989 EUROPEAN PRIZE
The Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD) has
been proposed as candidate for the 1989 European Human Rights Prize of
the Council of Europe.
The Concertation for Peace and Development, a body
grouping all movements for peace and aid to development in
french-speaking part of Belgium, in a letter addressed on December 30,
1988, to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, said:
"Campaigns of sensibilisation of Turkish and
international opinion to the problems of human rights in Turkey have
been carried out past three years by the Human Rights Association of
Turkey. The principal themes were:
"1. a campaign in 1987 against torturing political
"2. a campaign in 1988 on the prison conditions in
"3. a campaign in 1988 for the abolition of capital
"The existence and representativity of this human
rights association were revealed by a broadcast of Belgian Television
on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of
"The member organization of the Concertation or
Peace and Development, representing all political and philosophical
tendencies, estimate that the choice of the Human Rights Association of
Turkey for the European Human Rights Prize could be a decisive
encouragement for deepening of the process of democratization of public
life in Turkey, member of the Council of Europe.
EC/TURKEY JOINT PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE MET FOR FIRST TIME IN EIGHT
The EC/Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, whose
work was frozen after the 1980 military coup, met from 17 to 19 January
in Strasbourg, chaired by Belgian Liberal Mr Beyer and Turkish deputy
Bulent Akarcali. At this first meeting, the committee held a long
debate on the question of human rights in Turkey.
The two delegations will pursue their dialogue in
Ankara, from 24 to 26 April. Vice-chairman of the EP delegation Mr.
Fellermaier (German Social-Democrat) said at a press conference that
MEPs hope to use this occasion to put a series of questions on the
human rights situation in Turkey to the Turkish internal and justice
ministers. A catalogue of questions will be put to them beforehand.
Concerning democracy and respect of human rights,
Mr. Beyer said that he had held a "real debate" on these questions, a
debate characterized by "openness and sincerity" as well as "pluralism"
on the part of both delegations. Welcoming the fact that Turkey had
ratified the convention on the repression of torture, Mr. Beyer said
one could only be satisfied "once torture ceased to exist, and once
there are no more prisoners of conscience." He added that the European
and Turkish MPs evoked the problems of penal code in Turkey, mass
trials, the return of exiled politicians and also the Kurds, "by
calling a spade a spade" (the Turkish MPs expressed, on this, points of
view which often were "completely opposed.")
What is much astonishing, in the Turkish delegation,
even the representatives of the main opposition party, SHP, expressed
their reaction against the criticism coming from their European
counterparts. The SHP Secretary General, Mr. Deniz Baykal, said they do
not need a lesson on this subject from European deputies, although he
accepted that human rights are not completely respected by the Turkish
Regarding the implementation of the Association
Accord, the MEPs raised in particular the problem of access to the
Turkish market: thus Mr. Fellermaier cited the imposition of taxes and
other restrictions on the part of the Turkish authorities which with
one hand lift (by taxes) what they gave with the other (by the
dismantling of custom duties). Mr. Akarcali for his part said that
regarding textiles, Turkey could, if the Community lifted its quotas,
decide very rapidly to apply a zero rate for imports from the
Community. "We too are able to take up challenges," he said.
Another decision taken by the Joint Committee: That
of asking the Association Council to prepare a report on relations
between Greece and Turkey, as they are foreseen by the Ankara Accord of
1963. The Joint Committee evoked not only Turkey's request for
membership of the Community, but also the implementation of the Ankara
Accord, and in particular the trade disagreements between the Community
It is noteworthy that one of the principal figures
of the Turkish delegation is Mr. Mehmet Kececiler, chief of the
fundamentalist wing of the ruling ANAP, who is known as a fierce
opponent of the European Community and as a partisan of the Turkish
adhesion to the world Islamic community. (See: "Dangerous escalation of
Extreme-right in Turkey", Info-TΩrk, December 1988).
GAYS AGAINST TURKEY'S EC MEMBERSHIP
According to Turkish Dateline of January 7, 1989, in
a letter sent to the Spanish Government, which is chairing the European
Communities for the current term, the Association of European
Homosexuals said relations should be frozen until the Turkish
Government adopts measures to improve the living conditions of
homosexuals in the country. The letter claimed that Turkey practices
discrimination against its homosexuals and transvestites condemning
them to live in "pitiable conditions."
A TOUGH YEAR FOR TURKISH ECONOMY
According to the daily Dateline of January 7, 1989
will be a "difficult year" for the Turkish economy. Turkey's greatest
problem is inflation, which at one stage neared 90 percent and is
causing turmoil in the economy, distorting income distribution and
creasing the State's borrowing requirements.
A broad belt-tightening program, approved by both
the IMF and the World Bank, is being put into effect. New tax packages
were prepared and introduced on January 1st. Due to this program, the
stagnation which set in in the second half of 1988 will affect all
There are no new investments in the 1989, program, already approved by
the government. This year, funds will be reserved only for ongoing
investments, forcing the State, which is the biggest customer in the
market, to tighten its demand. A drop in industrial and construction
sectors may lead to further stagnation.
The State is carrying a heavy burden of foreign and
domestic debt. At the end of 1988, foreign debts totaled $36 billion
and domestic debts, 20 trillion TL ($10 billion). In the fear
that it may not be possible to service these debts, the budget has been
designed as a debt-servicing budget. Nearly half of the 38 trillion TL
($19 billion) budget will go on foreign and domestic debt. This means
Turkey has to produce more and not consume all it produces.
Price hikes will be applied on the products of State
economic enterprises (SEEs). But this will affect the private sector
which depends on SEE products. They too will increase the prices of
their own products.
Banks will miss the good times they had in 1988, a
lucrative year for them. They will find it hard to place money
collected at an interest rate of 85 percent. In addition, the crisis
faced by industrialists, shopkeepers and merchants will have a direct
impact on the banks.
Workers and civil servants have been continuously
suffering the most from inflation and tightening their belt since 1980.
They have already lost more then 50 percent of their purchasing power
in eight years.
There has been injustice in the distribution of
income for years, but since 1984, the disparity has increased. Most
affected are workers, civil servants and farmers. Turkey's national
income increases rapidly, but the income of these groups declines.
The share of the national income received by workers
and civil servants dropped from 21.4 percent in 1984 to 16.1 percent in
1988. Incomes in the agricultural sector fell from 20.1 percent to 16.5
percent over the same period. The major share of the national income is
enjoyed by a small section of the population. Income provided from rent
and interest transcations increased from 58.5 percent to 67.4 percent
between 1984 and 1988.
Civil servants will get no more than a 40 percent
rise in 1989. It seems that 1989 will see hard collective bargaining
between workers and employers. As employers are expecting stagnation,
they will be cautious in collective labor negotiations.
As for farmers, they have been tightening their
belts since 1980. According to the government's agreement with the IMF
this year, price increases on agricultural products will not exceed 40
INCREASING WORKER MILITANCY
Trade union officials are predicting growing
militancy among workers in 1989, saying workers are exerting greater
pressure on unions to make concrete gains through contract
In past year, 2.8 million workdays were lost as
30,548 workers went out on strike in 503 workplaces.
The new year will open with contract negotiations
for about 650,000 workers in State Economic Enterprises. 14 thousand
workers entered the new year on strike. Trade unions have already
announced that 3,OOO workers would go on strike at the beginning of
this year. Since collective bargainings failed for 52,000 workers, they
are also expected to go on strike in a few months.
The 1982 Constitution, drawn up by the military,
limits unions' rights to call strikes, engage in collective bargaining
and represent workers. About 500,000 workers in the public sector are
forbidden to unionize and to go on strike, on the grounds they provide
"essential services." Other workers in the public sector who are
unionized face the threat of having disputes brought before the Supreme
Arbitration Board for settlement, a government controlled body.
Furthermore, the Progressive Trade Unions
Confederation (DISK) is still banned and cannot take part in labour
Despite the promises given by the Turkish Government
to the International Labor Organization (ILO) to ameliorate the social
legislation, no step has been taken in past year.
A NEW BANKING SCANDAL
A new banking scandal resulted in the resignations
of Deputy Prime Minister Kaya Erdem and bank manager Bulent Semiler,
one of the prime minister's promising young bureaucrats.
The scandal centers on businessman Kemal Horzum who
is on trial in Ankara for embezzling $80 million from the
government-owned Emlak Bank.
The daily Hurriyet of December 12 alleged that
Horzum had relations with a "senior cabinet member". The story claimed
Horzum opened bank accounts in Switzerland on behalf of this minister's
brother, to be used for fictitious exports.
Although the newspaper did not name the minister, it
printed a silhouette which left little doubt that the cabinet member in
question was deputy premier Kaya Erdem.
Erdem, tipped off by his sources that the report
originated with Bulent Semiler, the general manager of Emlak Bank,
asked Ozal either he had to fire Semiler or go on running the
government without his deputy premier. Although Semiler, on Ozal's
suggestion, resigned from his post as head of Emlak Bank, he was
immediately nominated as Prime Minister's chief advisor for banking
Meanwhile, Hurriyet published excerpts from Horzum's
phone conversations monitored by the National Intelligence Agency
(MIT). The excerpts revealed that the businessman told one of this
friends on February 14, 1984, that he hot an appointment from Erdem.
Thereupon, Erdem resigned from his post and said in
his resignation letter: "The developments revealed serious differences
between the prime minister and myself in the assessment of political
life and government."
Erdem has been Ozal's closest associate since the
military coup of 1980. When Ozal became deputy prime minister in the
first military government, Kaya Erdem too was named Finance Minister.
In June 1982 when Turkey was living through the
banker crash, Ozal and Erdem had to resign together from their
A year later, the two men decided to set up the
Motherland Party (ANAP) and try their chances in politics.
The outcome of this new banking scandal has become a
serious blow on Ozal's political carrier.
The fact that Horzum's telephone conversations drew
attention once more to illegal practices of the State's secret
services. The main opposition SHP submitted a series of written
questions to the speaker of the Parliament asking whether security
forces are authorized to tap the telephones of citizens and whether the
premier is routinely informed of such monitoring.
TURKEY 4TH IN MILITARY SPENDING
Turkey comes fourth after the United States, Greece
and Britain within the NATO in terms of military spending, according to
the latest issue of the magazine Military Balance.
The magazine, published by NATO, said military
expenditures in the U.S. constitute 6.4 percent of the Gross National
Product (GNP). In Greece the ratio is 6.3%. Britain and Turkey spend
4.9% and 4.7% of their GNP respectively for military purposes.
The defense industry development administration
(SAGEB) plans to complete in 1989 five out of 13 priority defense
projects. The $10 billion projects are all open to investment by
international and local companies.
A high frequency radio project, under discussion for
13 years, is one of the five priority schemes; it will cost an
estimated $700 million. There are three contenders for the contract:
Plessey and Marconi from Great Britain, and Siemens from West Germany,
but the real competition is said to be between the two British
A light transport aircraft project, costing $100
million is the second scheme. Bids were received last year from four
contenders: Casa (Spain), DeHavilland (Netherlands), Nord America (USA)
and Air Italy (Italy).
A mobile radar project is required urgently by the
Turkish armed forces, and entails the procurement of 14 advanced radar
units. this project is estimated to cost $100 million. Westinghouse,
General Electric and the Aydin Corporation (USA), Plessey/Marconi
(Great Britain), Thomson CSF (France) and Sellenia (Italy) recently
submitted their best final offers for the project.
Another priority project is for 35mm gun radar. A
training plane project will be integrated with the light transport
Negotiations will also be started with the supplier
of the light transport aircraft for 50 training planes.
There are six other schemes which will be spread
over 1990 and consecutive years.
These projects are: F-16 radar project (estimated
cost $80 million), low altitude air defense scheme ($75 million), mine
sweepers project (estimated cost yet to be established), F/4-E
modernization scheme ($50 million), M/113 modernization project ($150
million), composite fuel rocket engine project ($100 million).
SAGEB signed two of the 13 contracts last year. One
of them, for armored personnel carriers, is with the U.S. company FMC,
and the local Nurol group. The other is for the local manufacture of
F-16 aircraft. The formation of a corporation with foreign capital
involvement for the carrier project is continuing.
Another phase of the contract for the F-16 project
relating to the aircraft's electronic equipment was signed with the
U.S. Loral Corp. 111 electronic warfare systems will be assembled for
the 160 F-16s manufactured in Turkey. This bidding was finalized in
December following fierce competition among four companies, three
American and one British.
TURKISH TROOPS TO CENTRAL EUROPE?
Prime Minister Ozal, speaking at a luncheon at
Washington's National Press Club in December, said Western Europe might
find Turkey's young population a key element in its defenses in the
coming century. "Turkey's population now stands at 55 million. At the
beginning of the next century it will reach 70 million. I must
underline that this would be a very young population. Today, people who
are under 14 constitute 42 percent of the population. When we look at
West Germany, the elderly will be more than the young in this country's
population," he said.
Meanwhile, a report jointly drafted by experts from
the NATO and US Congressmen said that Turkish troops may be deployed in
Central Europe to counter the supremacy of the Warsaw Pact conventional
forces. The report titled "NATO-Warsaw Pact, Balance of Conventional
Forces" says NATO is not making use of Turkey's military power
effectively and proposes to deploy certain Turkish military units in
West Germany through a special bilateral agreement between the two NATO
Both Ozal's statement and the report triggered a
public debate in Turkey. Former prime minister Suleyman Demirel, the
leader of the opposition Correct Way Party (DYP), reacted to Ozal's
statement by saying he did not want Turkish youths to serve as foreign
legionnaires in Europe.
On the other hand, Turkish press reports often that
the German authorities envisage to enrol young Turkish migrants in a
view to fill the gap of manpower in the German Armed Forces.
FUNDAMENTALISM GAINS SUPPORT
After the seizure of the ruling ANAP's direction by
the Holy Alliance (coalition of Pan-Turkists and Islam
Fundamentalists), the second right-wing party in the Parliament, the
Correct Way Party (DYP) of former premier Suleyman Demirel too began to
shift to fundamentalist line.
DYP deputy Ertekin DurutΩrk, known to be a very
close to Demirel, proposed a bill in the Turkish National Assembly,
asking for the Ayasofya (Haghia Sofia) to be reopened as a mosque and
for the Koran to be read around the clock in the Holy Relics section of
The Ayasofya was built as a church by the Byzantine
Emperor Justinian in 537 A.D. It was converted to a mosque after Mehmet
the Conqueror captured Istanbul in 1453. A decree introduced in 1934
during AtatΩrk's regime converted the Ayasofya into a museum
In the draft law, approved by the DYP's
parliamentary group, DurutΩrk said: "Those who silenced the call to
prayer from the minarets of Ayasofya in 1934 also destroyed the
417-year old tradition of reading the Koran in the Holy Relics
Department of Topkapi Palace. This decision has been a pang of
conscience for the Islamic Turkish Nation."
The same demand had been raised also at the ANAP
Convention in June 1988. (See: Info-TΩrk, December 1988).
HOLY ALLIANCE'S ANTI-WESTERN SHOW
Should the government pay for the accommodation of
foreign ballet dancers performing in Turkey or use that money for the
promotion of Turks who made history? This was the latest bone of
contention between the two rival factions of the ruling ANAP.
The controversy surfaced while the Parliament
debated the budget on December 21 the budget of the Ministry of Culture
and Tourism. Talat Zengin, a conservative ANAP deputy, submitted a bill
requesting the government shift 500 million TL ($280,000) allocated for
the expenses of foreign ballet performers in Turkey to finance the
promotion of Turkish historical personalities. The leading members of
the so-called Holy Alliance, the pact of nationalists and Islamic
fundamentalists within ANAP (See: Info-TΩrk, December 1988), openly
called the deputies to support Zengin's bill. Even State Minister Yusuf
Bozkurt Ozal, the younger brother of the prime minister took a stand
favorable to Zengin's bill.
Though the bill was defeated by the majority of the
Parliament, the ruling party tried to appease angry conservatives by
allocating an extra 500 million TL for the promotion of Turkish
personalities and Turkish music in the culture and tourism minister
DISPUTE ON ISLAMIC HEAD COVERINGS
Should female students in universities be permitted
to wear head scarves or not? The question, which has sparked debate for
the past five years, is still one of the controversial topics of the
Turkish political life. It arises because of the conflict between
Ataturk's secular principles and the dictates of the Koran.
Until the '70s, even in Imam Hatip high schools,
institutions where the clergy are educated, girls were bareheaded. It
is for the first time in 1968, when the religious movement
reappeared in the Turkish universities, one girl covered her head at
the Ankara Faculty of Theology, and others followed suit. In a way it
was a protest against secular university education.
In 1983, the Supreme Education Council (YOK)
prohibited both beards and the wearing of head scarves.
In November 1988, the government majority in the
National Assembly adopted a new law allowing university students to
attend campus activities in Islamic attire. Although Evren vetoed the
law on December 1, a majority of the ruling Motherland Party (ANAP),
supported by the votes of the conservative opposition Correct Way Party
(DYP), passed the same legislation in the Parliament with little
change. The legislation was published in the Official Gazette on
SEVERE COLD KILL 3 KURDISH REFUGEES
Harsh winter conditions in eastern Turkey killed
three Kurdish refugees living in tent camps in Hakkari at the end of
1988 and left 1,000 villages isolated because of closed roads.
Temperature fell below -10 degrees Centigrade in
provinces such as Erzurum, Kars, Agri, Mus, Bingol, Tunceli, Van and
Hakkari with three meters of snow covering the region, especially
Currently more than 40,000 Iraqi Kurdish refugees
are living mostly in tent-camps in eastern Turkey. Since August,
several thousand Kurdish refugees have been accepted by Iran and
several hundred returned to Iraq following a promise of amnesty by the
The talks concerning aid to be provided to refugees
between Turkish Red Crescent and the UNHCR stalled when Turkey demanded
$20 million in aid. The commission said it could only make a commitment
of $5 million. The agreement would require Turkey to grant special
supervision rights to the commission to oversee aid distribution.
Turkish foreign ministry said it did not want to give these rights for
a figure as low as $5 million.
ARCHIVES ON ARMENIAN QUESTION
Ottoman archives on the massacre and deportation of
Armenians at the turn of the century will be opened to local and
foreign researchers within the next four or five months, Foreign
Minister Mesut Yilmaz announced in a television program on January 2.
In response to a question if a study of the archives
had revealed any document against Turkey's stand, Prime Minister Ozal ,
at a press conference on January 4, said: "It doesn't matter. If any
evidence is found against Turkey in those documents we will accept it
as historic fact. We did not decide to open the Ottoman archives to
researchers because we believe there is nothing against us there. In
other words, research may reveal facts either against or in favour of
The controversial events led to claim that 1.5
million Armenians fell victim of genocide during the first two decades
of the century.
Classification of documents between 1691, the date
of the first Ottoman paper referring to Armenians, and 1895 has already
been completed. The experts are now working on documents dating from
1895 to 1923, the year when Turkey was proclaimed a republic.
More than 100 million papers and 240,000 notebooks
in the Ottoman archives are being sorted out by 400 experts nominated
by the Turkish Government. Only five percent of the papers and 40
percent of the notebooks were classified during the last month.
Dr. Mete Tuncay, who is known for his historical
analyses critical of Turkey's official line, claimed experts have been
combing Ottoman archives for the last four years, putting aside
documents that do not support the state ideology.
"They will open the archives only to those
scientists who they believe will support the official line, such as
Stanford Shaw," Dr. Tuncay said.
Regarding the Ottoman archives, Dr. Tuncay said
Turkey is only one of the inheritors among at least "two dozen" nations
which one constituted the Ottoman Empire. "Such a multi-national
archive should be put under multi-national control," he said.