Ankara regime has got just what it deserved
NO TO TURKEY'S EC MEMBERSHIP
The European Commission decided on December 17, 1989
to advise EC governments against starting negotiations on Turkey's
application for Community membership until after the completion of the
single European market in 1993.
According to The Financial Times, by this
recommendation, Turkey's application to join the EC was effectively
The Guardian reports that Turkey has been told that
it cannot expect a full member of the European Community while its
progress to democracy and full human rights remains incomplete.
Although the Commissioner responsible for relations
with Mediterranean countries, Mr. Abdel Matutes paid tribute to the
economic progress and political reforms achieved in Turkey in recent
years, he added further action was needed to complete the movement to
democracy and respect for human rights. "There must be an opening to
minorities and to all political parties," said Mr. Matutes, in a
reference to the conflict with Turkey's Kurdish minority and the
continued banning on some far-left parties.
The Commission also said that Turkey's relative
poverty and large population --containing as many farm workers as exist
in all 12 EC states together-- would overburden Community
By this recommendation, the Ankara regime has got
just what it deserved.
TURKEY TO EUROPE'S 4th CIRCLE?
To soften the blow on Ankara, the Commission
was careful to call into question the controversy over whether Turkey
has a "European" or an "Islamic" vocation.
Mr. Matutes stressed the Commission's desire to exploit to the full
Turkey's 1963 treaty of association. Because of its preoccupation with
the perennial threat to stability in the Middle East, the Community is
likely to propose a special dialogue with Turkey. He underlined
"Turkey's moderate role in the the Middle East" and pointed out that it
shared borders with Iran and Syria -- "countries with which the EC has
What can be the mode of developing dialogue and
cooperation with a Turkey which is not considered fit to EC membership?
According to some commentators, the European
Community is envisaging a "multiple circles project": Europe will be
formed by four circles. The first one will include the 12 countries of
the EC itself, followed by a second circle including the six closely
associated countries of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA):
Switzerland, Austria, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland. East
European countries form the third circle.
Mediterranean countries as Turkey, Cyprus,
Malta and Morocco are designated as part of the fourth circle. So,
Turkey which has lost all chance of being a full member because of his
9-year record of human rights will remain in the farthest circle.
SCANDALOUS EXPULSION AND PROSECUTION OF KURDISH DEPUTIES
While seven Kurdish deputies who had participated in
a conference of the Kurdish question in Paris were being expelled from
the main opposition Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP), the State
Security Court started a procedure in order to try them for
The Prosecutor of the State Security Court in Ankara
has launched a legal proceeding against eight left-wing Kurdish
deputies: Seven of them, Mehmet Ali Eren, Kenan Sonmez, Ismail Hakki
Onal, Ahmet Turk, Adnan Ekmen, Salih Sumer and Mahmut Alniak have
recently been expelled from the SHP. The eight one, Ibrahim Aksoy had
earlier been expelled from the SHP for his declaration at the
Turkey-EEC Joint Parliamentary Committee in Strasbourg.
The prosecutor asked the Justice Ministry to start a
procedure in a view to lifting parliamentary immunity of eight Kurdish
deputies and to judging them at the State Security Court for separatism.
The decision to expel seven deputies is causing
havoc in the SHP. In a protest against the expulsion of seven deputies,
nine left-wing deputies and local party officials in 12 southeastern
provinces inhabited by Kurds resigned from the party.
In a joint letter of resignation the deputies said
SHP had moved away from giving hope and confidence to the people and
carrying progressive political forces to power. "SHP is straying from
the belief and direction of achieving true democrat in Turkey," said
The deputies singled out Deniz Baykal, the secretary
general of SHP, as the chief culprit responsible for the party's
failure. They said Baykal indulged in struggles with his opponents in
the party and by endeavoring to establish the supremacy of his faction
ignored the need to canvass opinions on party policies.
On November 26, at a meeting in Istanbul, many
members of the SHP shouted protests demanding the resignation of party
leader Erdal Inonu. Same day, Inonu posters were torn up by members in
However, Inonu refused to bow to protests and
defended the party's disciplinary committee decision to expel seven
"Of course there are people in Turkey who speak
Kurdish and call themselves Kurds. But we are trying to make all our
people live together rather than emphasize the cultural differences
between them. No one would benefit from such discrimination," he said.
Turkish opposition deputies too concealed the persecution from European
The Turkey-EEC Joint Parliamentary Committee met in
Brussels on November 27-29, 1989, and made an evaluation of the
Turco-European relations as well as the impact of the recent
developments in the East on these relations. The meeting was assisted
by the Turkish Vice-premier Ali Bozer as well.
Before coming to Brussels, the Turkish delegation
was asked by the Turkish Government to base all their arguments related
to the situation of human rights in Turkey on a report drawn up by the
During the meeting, Italian communist deputy Vecchi
presented a detailed report on the situation of human rights in Turkey
and forwarded many criticisms to some ongoing anti-democratic practices.
To the great astonishment of journalists, even the
opposition deputies in the Turkish delegation, including SHP Secretary
General Deniz Baykal, acted in Brussels as the spokesmen of the Ankara
At the end the meeting, Turkish and European
parliamentarians adopted a resolution of recommendation asking the
EEC-Turkey Association Council meet as soon as possible in a view to
developing Turco-European relations.
Both sides also declared their common concern about
the killings at the Turco-Iraqi border allegedly committed by Kurdish
During the meeting, the co-chairman of the Joint
Committee, Turkish deputy Bulent Akarcali, in an interview to the
Turkish press, used derogatory expressions against the opponents of the
regime who inform the European opinion of the violation of human rights
At the joint press conference held on November 30,
Info-Turk's chief editor reproached the head of the Turkish
delegation for such an attitude which is not at all compatible with the
claim of democratization in Turkey.
He also asked both parties of the Joint Committee
why didn't they react against the persecution of eight Kurdish deputies
of whom one, just a few months ago, was a member of this committee.
The members of the committee replied that they were
not aware of this persecution. However, Mr. Vecchi said that they would
study the case.
The next meeting of the Joint Committee will take
place in Turkey on March 22-23, 1990.
ONGOING STATE TERRORISM UNDER OZAL'S PRESIDENCY
Although Ozal, after taking over the presidency of
the Republic, claimed fundamental rights and freedoms would be
respected, during the first month of his term the state terorism
continued as before with arrests, political trials and bans.
On November 12, eleven films, 449 books and 25
pamphlets were burnt in Istanbul by the order of the governor.
Cumhuriyet reports in its November 16 issue that 189
films have been banned in Turkey since the 1980 coup. 114 of these
films carry in their credit titles the name of Yilmaz Guney either as
director or as actor.
Guney, Cannes award winner in 1982 with his film
Yol, was stripped of Turkish nationality when he was in exile. The
military decreed that the works of all those who were stripped of
Turkish nationality cannot be made public in Turkey. Guney died in
Paris in 1984.
Articles 141, 142 and 163 of the Turkish Penal Code
which Ozal hinted to lift still remain in force and many intellectuals
are being prosecuted by the virtue of these articles.
In November 1989, seven reviews, Emegin Bayragi,
Toplumsal Kurtulus, Yeni Cozum, Yeni Demokrasi, 2000e Dogru, Medya
Gunesi, Komun and two books, The case of Democracy and The Situation
and Our Tasks, have been confiscated and their responsibles indicted by
virtue of Article 142 of the Turkish Penal Code.
According to the daily Cumhuriyet of November 23,
1989, among 230,000 people brought before military tribunals since
1980, the number of defendants tried by virtue of Articles 141, 142 and
163 of the Turkish Penal Code rises up to 71,000.
The Ministry of Justice reports that civilian
courts, in last six years, have tried 14,855 people in 9,508 cases
opened by virtue of these three articles. The number of the people who
are either condemned or under arrest because of these articles is about
Among these victims of the said articles are also
socialist writers and journalists. At least 100 different issues
of various socialists reviews have been confiscated by virtue of
Article 142 and public prosecutors have claimed a total of 5,000 years
imprisonment for the responsibles of these publications.
Another survey appeared in Cumhuriyet of November
18, 1989 reveals that more than 3,000 journalists have been tried in
2,000 cases between September 1980 and April 1988. Military or civilian
tribunals have pronounced a total of 5,000 years imprisonment for
As for the period of Ozal's government, 2,127
journalists have been tried in 1,246 cases since 1983.
23 journalists are still in prison by the end
of November 1989.
The number of the prisoners whose death sentences
were sent to the National Assembly for ratification was 253 by the end
of November 1989. Of these condemned, 129 belong to left-wing
organizations and 27 right-wing. 93 have been condemned for ordinary
crimes. There are also four Palestinian militants who were condemned to
death sentence for a raid on the embassy of an Arab country in Ankara.
STATE TERRORISM IN NOVEMBER
4.11, the chief of the State Hospital of Cizre in
Mardin, Dr. Abdullah Bolcali, who had been tortured under
arrest for having given medical care to some Kurdish militants (See
Info-Turk, No.156) was subjected to a new repressive measure.
After his release, Dr. Bolcali was dismissed from his post and sent to
the district of Cekerek in Yozgat.
6.11, in Bandirma, 369 workers were brought before a
criminal court for having carried out a demonstration without
permission on April 13, 1989. Members of the Oil Workers' Union
(Petrol-Is), all defendants face a total of 1,107 years imprisonment.
7.11, the State Security Court No.1 of Istanbul
sentenced two alleged members of the Communist Party of Turkey/Union
(TKP/B) to 8 years and 4 months imprisonment each.
8.11, police announced the arrest of four alleged
militants of Dev-Yol in the province of Mugla.
9.11, the State Security Court No.1 in Diyarbakir
sentenced four alleged members of the PKK to prison terms of eight
years and four months.
14.11, police announced the arrest of 28 alleged
militants of the Revolutionary Workers-Peasants Army of Turkey (TIKKO)
22.11, in Adana, 16 alleged members of an
underground organization were captured.
23.11, the Military Court of Cassation approved the
condemnation of 10 leading members of the Socialist Workers' Party of
Turkey (TSIP) to prison terms of 5 to 10 years. They had been condemned
by the Martial Law Court of Istanbul in 1985.
24.11, police announced the arrest of 11 alleged
members of the Marxist-Leninist Armed Propaganda Unit (MLSPB) in
30.11, the trial of 10 alleged members of the TKP/B
began at the State Security Court No.2 of Istanbul. They face prison
terms of up to 15 years.
RECENT PERSECUTION OF THE MEDIA
21.10, the director of the Yurt Publishing House,
Unsal Ozturk was detained by police in relation with the trial of DISK.
22.10, Erdogan Yasar Kopan and Aslan Sener Yildirim,
respectively responsible editor and writer of the monthly Yeni Cozum
were condemned by the State Security Court of Istanbul to seven years
and six months imprisonment each. Prison terms in different cases
against Kopan already total to 37 years.
24.10, five monthly reviews, in a joint communique,
announced that Aytac Varol, responsible editor of the monthly Yonelis
had been under arrest since September 21 for "separatist propaganda."
25.10, Miss Gulten Demir, publisher and responsible
editor of the monthly Devrimci Genclik was arrested by the State
Security Court of Istanbul. She had been taken into police detention on
26.10, Prof. Yalcin Kucuk, chief editor of the
monthly Toplumsal Kurtulus, was indicted again by the State
Security Court for his interviews with the PKK leader.
4.11, the daily Sabah was sentenced to a fine of 20
million TL ($10,000) for a series of articles about Turgut Ozal's
family life, entitled "Autumn in the Royal Garden". Same day, the daily
Hurriyet too was condemned a fine of 7.5 million TL ($3,750) for an
article of former minister Kaya Erdem.
5.11, the representation of the Birlik Theatre in
Ankara was banned by the governor and an actor, Latif Tiftikci was
taken into custody.
Same day in Istanbul, a panel discussion on "crimes
against humanity", organized by the Association of Solidarity with the
Families of Prisoners (TAYAD), was banned at the last moment by the
governor. The inauguration of the editing office of the TAYAD Bulletin
was also banned by the same governor. TAYAD also announced that its
secretary general, Zeynep Gungormez, was detained after returning from
Samsun where a branch of the association was set up.
6.11, famous singer Ahmet Kaya's concert in Adana
was banned by local police authorities.
9.11, the new responsible editor of Devrimci
Genclik, Tayfun Yuksekbas was taken into custody in Istanbul.
12.11, the director of Alan Publishing House, Ragip
Zarakolu was detained by police in Istanbul for carrying in his pocket
a letter coming from a political prisoner.
17.11, in Konya, the publisher of the monthly Sozcu,
Salim Kocak was sentenced to 3 months and 15 days imprisonment and to a
fine of 2,2 million TL ($1,OOO) for an article criticizing Ozal.
20.11, a cultural soirée entitled "Resistance, it is
a ballad!" was banned by the governor. Besides, five members of TAYAD,
organizer of the soirée, were taken into custody.
23.11, Bulent Solgun, member of the Social and
Cultural Research and Solidarity Association of Workers (EMEKAD) was
detained in Istanbul.
24.11, the prosecutor of the State Security Court of
Ankara started an investigation about a TV program on the freedoms of
opinion and belief. Mr. Ceyhan Baytur, chairman of the Information
Department of the Turkish Television was interrogated by the prosecutor.
27.11, Bayram Kaya, representative of the monthly
Yeni Cozum was arrested in Bursa.
NEW UNREST IN TURKISH PRISONS
Rumors that all political prisoners in the Aydin
Special Prison are to be retaken to the Eskisehir Prison has given rise
to anxiety among the parents of prisoners.
The Eskisehir Prison had a bad reputation for its
inhuman conditions and ill-treatment of prisoners. For this reason,
political prisoners went on a hunger-strike in June. As a sanction, all
inmates were transferred to the Aydin Prison. The prison authorities
used the discovery of two tunnels inside the building as a pretext for
this transfer. This operation caused to the death of two political
prisoners who already fainted from a 35-day hunger strike and were not
in a state to endure a voyage of 300 kilometers in cars.
The Turkish press reports that the Eskisehir prison
was restored and would be operational in 1990.
On the other hand, political prisoner in the Ergani
Prison started a hunger strike in protest again inhuman conditions. In
response, on November 21, the Justice Ministry transferred all hunger
strikers to another prison in Bismil.
INEQUALITY IN SERVING LIFE-PRISON
Hundreds of prisoners in Turkey are spending more
time in prison than they should. If contradictions in new legislation
in particular Law 3257 on Execution of Sentences published on 19 March
1986 in the Official Gazette are not ironed out, many others too will
be the victim of this injustice.
On 4 June 1989 Mahmut Çigdemal wrote to human rights
organizations from Malatya E-type Prison telling that he should have
been released by then, since he had been imprisoned since 1974, but
that Law 3257 had created injustice and he would have to serve another
19 months and 15 days.
Article 13 of the Turkish Penal Code provides that
life imprisonment is equivalent to 36 years' imprisonment, the maximum
penalty under Turkish law. This provision was confirmed by a decision
of the Supreme Court (constitutional court) of 13 March 1979. Law 2148
on Execution of Sentences passed in 1978 granted reduction by one
third, plus a further reduction by one fifth of the remaining two
thirds; in other words 16 days of each month had to be served. This
meant that prisoners sentenced to 36 years imprisonment had to spend 19
years two months and 12 days in prison.
Law 3257 on Execution of Sentences which replaced
some provision of Law 2148 and which was published on 19 March 1986 in
the Official Gazette provides that half the sentence plus a further one
fifth of the remaining half is reduced; in other words 12 days of each
month have to be served (usually the calculation is done by taking 40 %
of the sentence). Any prisoner sentenced to 36 years imprisonment would
have to spend 14 years, four months and 24 days in prison.
The difference now occurs because under Article 19/1
of the Law on Execution of Sentences as amended in March 1986, a life
sentence is executed by 20 years in prison but still to be reduced by
one fifth to 16 years. Thus people under sentence of life would spend
one year, seven months and six days more than those sentenced to 36
The following are the names of the other prisoners
sharing the same fate:
Malatya E-type Prison
Gaziantep L-type Prison
Gaziantep L-type Prison
Gaziantep L-type Prison
Gaziantep L-type Prison
Gaziantep L-type Prison
Gaziantep L-type Prison
Gaziantep L-type Prison
Gaziantep L-type Prison
Cahit Atan Turan Canakkale E-type
(all of them political prisoners)
Adiyaman Half Open Prison
Foca Half-Open Prison
PERSECUTION OF CHILDREN
The persecution of secondary school students
continues as before under the presidency of Ozal.
On November 10, three 13-year old secondary school
children, OO, OA and AC were brought before a criminal court in Denizli
for having painted on walls the name of an outlawed organization. The
State Hospital, in a medical certificate, claimed that the three
children had mental capacity when they committed this "crime" and they
are liable to punishment. On the objection by their lawyers, the court
designated a new medical expert .
On November 19, in Istanbul, four young girls at the
age of 16 and 17 were brought a criminal court for having distributed
the tracts of an outlawed organization. Each girl faces a prison term
of up to 12 years.
On November 21, E.O., a 16-year old student of
Hasanoglan Training School in Ankara, was expelled from school for
having read Prof. Server Tanilli's book entitled "What kind of a
democracy we want?" Besides, the public prosecutor indicted him and
claimed a prison term of six months.
On November 30, in Kayseri, a 15-year old secondary
school student, Yildirim Ozdemir, was brought again before the State
Security Court for communist propaganda. Earlier he had been condemned
to 24-month prison by the same court and remained in prison for three
months. The first sentence was overruled by the Court of Cassation.
During his new trial, Ozdemir told journalists that he was completely
isolated by his friends under the pressure of the police.
HUMAN RIGHTS PANEL IN TURKEY
In a series of panel discussions on democracy
in Turkey, held in November 1989 in Istanbul, Turkish and foreign
speakers expressed common arguments on the sine qua non conditions of
democracy in Turkey -centering on the lifting of articles 141, 142 and
163 of the Turkish Penal Code and insisted the political prisoners bu
Former leader of the Correct Way Party (DYP),
Husamettin Cindoruk said: "The Communist Party, operating underground
for 70 years, should now come out into daylight."
Koray Duzgoren, chairman of the Contemporary
Journalists' Association, said that 650,000 people had been taken into
custody in Turkey since the 1980 coup, 210,000 people had been tried,
and 177 of those in custody had been handed over to their families
dead. "About 4.5 million people have been listed on police records," he
Former Minister of Education Necdet Ugur insisted
that changing the articles in the Penal Code was not enough to restore
democracy in Turkey. "Only if the constitution is in favor of the
people, if it has been drawn up with the people's participation and
dictates that the state is at the service of the people, can a
constitution be called democratic."
Vladimir Kartashkin, a Soviet law expert, said
Turkey and the Soviet Union should pay particular attention to the
human rights issue and the promotion of democracy.
British lawyer John Bowden and Greek deputy Stratis
Korakas too expressed their suggestions on respecting human
rights in Turkey.
TURKISH PRESS AWARD TO THE IPI
The Journalists' Association of Turkey presented the
first annual Freedom of the Press Award to Peter Galliner, director of
the International Press Institute (IPI) on November 29 in Istanbul.
In his acceptance speech, Galliner said that while
the political situation in Turkey had improved dramatically, especially
since the 1980 military coup, there was still much progress to be made.
"It seems to me essential that the last obstacles to
press freedom must be removed. The press laws must be abolished. This
is imperative not only from the point of view of Turkey's image abroad,
but to establish a true democracy where freedom and human rights are
universally respected," Galliner said.
"Journalists are still brought before the courts,
sentenced to long prison terms and fined excessively. Newspapers are
still being banned for publishing articles unpalatable to the
authorities, and only a short time ago, some journalists fell victim to
brutal mafia killings," he said, referencing the attacks on a reporter
at Istanbul daily Gazete last month by a clan leader.
ARMY AGAINST DISARMAMENT
Although disarmament is the order of the day
throughout much of the world, General Necip Torumtay, Turkey's armed
forces chief, believes this country will not be able to benefit from
reduced military spending.
In an article published at the end of November 1989
in Newspot, a government weekly in English, Torumtay said Turkey's
geopolitical location and obsolete military hardware do not permit it
to reduce its defense expenditure.
"The first and only country to be seriously affected
by changes in defense concepts will be Turkey because of its long air,
sea and land borders with Warsaw Pact countries, primarily the Soviet
Union. Turkey is also the only NATO ally which has borders with Middle
East countries that remain outside the disarmament drive. Even if
a numerical balance were established (between NATO and Warsaw Pact),
the low quality and obsolete nature of the military hardware used by
the Turkish Armed Forces would still make Turkey's position
disadvantageous. That is why Turkey has to maintain its military
modernization program in order to establish balance in quality. We
believe our American friends will assess carefully our concerns in
Turkey as a new global balance is set." he said.
Commenting General Torumtay's stand, the daily Günes
of November 22 asked: "While it is expected that detente will bring
more freedom and affluence to people all over the world, is Turkey
going to live in poverty under strained conditions and the remnants of
the military regime of September 12?"
WILL TURKISH ARMY CROSS THE BORDER?
Following a series armed attack by Kurdish
guerrillas on border villages in Turkey, Turgut Ozal talked of the
possibility of the Turkish Army entering Iraqi territory in "hot
Local security authorities in Hakkari claimed a
group of PKK militants made a surprise attack on Ikiyaka, a village
near to the Iraqi border on November 24 and killed 20 people, 12 of
them children and six women.
The Minister of Interior also claimed that "Armenian
terrorist groups were involved in the attack."
Kurdish groups in Europe, contradicting this claim,
say that this attack might be a provocation carried out by the State
agents with a view to discrediting Kurdish resistants and to giving the
Turkish Army a pretext for crossing border.
On November 28, President Ozal told reporters: "If
necessary, Turkey's hand can extend to places beyond the border. We are
in contact with Iraq. The separatists have suffered considerable losses
as a result of security operations in the area during the last four or
five months and some men have surrendered to the security forces. In
the spring we will again begin a clean-up operation against the
terrorists in the caves they are using as hideouts.," said the
However, Tariq Abdeljabbar Jawad, the Iraqi
Ambassador to Ankara disagreed with Ozal. "We are ready to collaborate
with Turkey. But at this stage we don't see any need for Turkish army
units to launch an operation on Iraqi soil. Our government dispatched
troops to northern Iraq after the last killings. As for Turkey's
military operations inside in Iraq in 1986 and 1987, those actions took
place under special circumstances which do not exist anymore."
Besides, the Turkish press reports that the protocol
on border security which permitted Turkish Armed Forces to cross the
border expired in 1988.
According to the daily Cumhuriyet of November 29,
1989, at least 1402 people have been killed since August 15, 1984,
during the armed conflicts between Kurdish guerrillas and Turkish
security forces. Among those who were killed by Kurdish militants are
22 army officers, 22 non commissioned officers, 228 soldiers, 23
policemen, 53 protectors of village, 10 village headmen (muhtar) and 15
WOMAN CONVICTED OF SPEAKING KURDISH
A 61-year old woman was sentenced to a one-year
prison term in Diyarbakir on November 21, 1989, for speaking Kurdish
during an election rally in March. The case drew criticism from
Turkey's human rights circles.
Saliha Sener was found guilty of violating election
rules and the law banning the use of Kurdish as an official language.
The prison sentence was first converted into a fine of 2.6 million TL
($1,150). Then the court deferred the payment on the ground that Sener
gave the impression that she would not break the law again. However, if
she should commit the same offense again she could be liable for the
fine and face a similar prison sentence at the same time.
In her testimony, given in Kurdish with the help of
a translator, Sener said: "I don't know Turkish? That is why I spoke in
Kurdish. I told the people to vote for the SHP. I told them to vote for
SHP so that the price increases would stop."
After the trial, the 61-year old woman told
journalists: "I have never been educated and my family married me off
at the age of 15. I am a villager. I have to speak Kurdish because I
don't know Turkish. I do not accept the sentence. Even if they hang me
I have to speak Kurdish because I am a Kurd."
U.S. CONCERN ON TORTURE IN TURKEY
A US delegation which took part in the Conference on
Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) meeting in Sofia announced
that allegations of torture in Turkey were a serious problem that
causes concern in Washington.
Mr. Joshua Gilder, one of the assistant
undersecretaries of the US State Department told Turkish journalists
that prison conditions in Turkey are not up to international standards.
"Much effort and investment are needed to improve prison conditions in
Turkey. The most important matter is to allow detainees under detention
to consult with their lawyers," he said.
Gilder said the administration of George Bush
considered the Workers Party of Kurdistan (PKK) a terrorist
organization. Nevertheless, Gilder asked for more leniency for the
Kurds from the Turkish Government: "It is obvious they speak a
different language. They should be allowed to use their language."
WORKERS HIT BY TAXES
Turkish workers have more deducted from their wages
at source than do workers in any EEC country, according to a report
based on statistics compiled by the OECD. The state takes an average of
35.9 percent from gross pay for social security premiums and income
tax. Deductions go up as much as 45 percent as wages increase.
In no EC country does the level of deduction reach
this figure. In Greece, because wages are supplemented by welfare
payments nothing is deducted; in Luxembourg the figure is only 2.8
percent. In four other EC countries deductions amount to less than 20
percent of workers' gross pay: 17.9 percent in Belgium, 13.3
percent in Spain, 9.8 percent in Portugal and 9.3 percent in
France. Denmark takes 32.2 percent, Holland 27.2, Ireland 22,
Italy 21.5 and West Germany 21.1 percent.
Turkish workers getting minimum salary must work 92
days a year to cover social security premiums, income tax and other
deductions from their wages. This figure climbs to 105 days for the
workers getting higher wages.
WOMEN'S SELF-DEFENSE ACTIONS
To struggle against the harassment on the street to
which women are subjected by men, Turkish women's groups have started a
campaign. Istanbulites were surprised at the beginning of November 1989
by distribution of the long pins topped by purple beads on the ferries
and at the Tuyap Book Fair.
"The associations chose the pin as a symbol," said
Handan Koc, one of the leaders of the campaign. "When our grandmothers
were young, the women in villages used to have pins on their dresses,
either for sewing or to help protect themselves in cases of harassment.
The aim of the campaign is to shout out 'No' to sexual harassment
everywhere and anywhere in buses, trains, cinemas and on the streets."
"In comparison with European countries or the United
States, Turkey's rape incidents are not very high, but instead, Turkish
men prefer harassment with their hands, their eyes or ugly words," Koc
maintained. She said that now is the time to protest against such
harassment. "Traditionally, Turkish women have carried their bodies as
heavy burdens. we do not want to carry this shame anymore. Turkish
women should declare that the real ones to blame for harassment are
men, not women. We think Turkish men harass women not out of ignorance,
but because they feel they have rights to women's bodies. We must shake
their absolute authority in the world," she added.
In a further step, over 30 women from different
women's associations paid visits on November 24, 1989, to men's local
eating and drinking places, often called meyhanes. "Meyhanes have been
male-dominated places for years," said one of the protesters. "We did
not see any women at the meyhanes that we visited. At first, the men
thought some kind of film was being shot there because none of them
were used to seeing women in meyhanes. But as we sat at tables and
ordered drinks and meals, they realized that we came to eat and drink
and they were shocked."
During the women's actions no incident happened.
BAD NOTES FOR TURKISH ECONOMY
Turkish industry is not very promising, according to
the annual competition and reliability lists released by the World
Economic Forum this year. Turkey appeared in the lower ranks of the 22
countries included In terms of using its natural resources, Turkey is
the least developed country. Turkey also ranked at the bottom of the
list for economic dynamism, with the report indicating that Turkey has
lost its dynamism of previous years.
Turkey ranked 18th in reliability in the rankings,
ahead of Spain, Italy, Portugal and Greece.
The experts who drew up this year's list for the
World Economic Forum stated the following reasons for regarding Turkey
as a unstable country:
- Failure to bring down inflation.
- Stagnation, coupled with inflation.
- Political instability.
- Ozal's tardy announcement of his presidential
- The continuous election atmosphere prevailing in
- The drop in domestic production.
- The slowdown in industrialization.
- The continuous changes in economic decisions.
MORE FOREIGN INVESTMENTS TO TURKEY
Prisunic, the large French supermarket and
department store chain known for its discount pricing policy, will open
its first Turkish "hypermarket" in Istanbul. This market will cover a
surface area of more than 3,000 square meters and will price products
for 10 percent to 20 percent less than they are priced in bakkals
In cooperation with the Istanbul Metropolitan
Municipality, Prisunic founded a society called Belpri. The venture
will be majority-owned by Turkish interests, with Prisunic responsible
for administration and management. The French firm contributed 30
percent of the project's capital (about 4 million FF).
Rhone Poulenc of France, the ninth largest
pharmaceutical firm in the world, has announced it will expand its
activities in Turkey, in collaboration with Eczacibasi, Turkey's
leading pharmaceutical company. Rhone Poulenc has been active in Turkey
in the pharmacy, vaccinations, chemical products and pesticides fields
for 10 years. From now on, it will increase its investments
particularly in the pharmacy and pesticides sectors
On the other hand, the Krupp Markmaan and Moll
Bohrtecnik (KMMB) Co., an affiliate of the West German Krupp Co., plans
to establish a plant to assemble drilling machinery and spare parts in
Turkey in cooperation with the Erke Foreign Trade Co. of Turkey.
KMMB and Erke established a joint venture with a pre-agreement in
A West German banking and insurance company, Goather
Group too announced that it was going to set up a new insurance company
in Turkey. It has already invested 5 billion TL for this venture and
hopes to realize a profit of 5 billion TL to 8 billion TL in premium
income during its first full year of operation.
ISLAMIST ACTIONS FOR TURBANS TURKEY
The issue of religious attire in schools and
universities has regained importance and provoked heated debates as
hundreds of female students wearing head scarves protested not being
allowed admission to universities.
The ban on religious head scarves, called turbans,
was imposed early this year in Turkey after much debate; In Istanbul,
turbans are still accepted in most of the universities, but in Ankara
and Izmir, the schools have been much more strict about not letting
women wearing turbans get past their gates.
In Ankara, 400 people marched on November 8, 1989 in
protest of the ban. Ass the group, composed mostly of university
students and older women with children approached the radio facility of
Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), several men tried to
join in but were stopped by the police. Seven protestors, three women
in turbans and four men, were taken into custody.
In Istanbul's Technical University, a group of 30
men broke into a classroom, harassing Prof. Ilhami Cetin and several
students before writing in spray paint on the blackboard, "Head
coverings will drive the system o the grave."
Those who defend turbans argue mainly that the head
covering is not a political but a moral and religious symbol which
should not be banned if Turkey is a democratic country.
Those, on the other hand, who support the ban, are
intimidated by the threat to secularism posed by the turban, which they
feel represents the political ideology of Seriat, the establishment of
a state based on Islamic law.
A distinguished sociologist Mrs. Nermin Abadan-Unat
said: "It may be correct to argue, as do several intellectuals and
writers, that in a society which accepts democratic values and
liberties, one is free to dress as he or she wishes. But when an
attire, revealing or concealing, gets used to support a political
motive, it becomes a political symbol."
Sureyya Agaoglu, the first female lawyer in Turkey,
voices the opinion of Turkish women who fight for equality by saying
that the turban will destroy all steps taken to liberate Turkish women.
She believes that the rights given to women by the Republic are in
danger due to traditionalist fundamentalists.
However, Asst. Prof. Nilufer Gole, a sociologist at
Bosphorus University, represents another line of thought: that one
cannot associate the radical Islamic movement with traditionalism. "The
new fundamentalist radicals think of themselves as analytical
intellectuals who have acquired in depth knowledge about Islam and want
to study the past to come up with changes for today. For this reason,
they choose to use the turban instead of a simple scarf to define
themselves as different from the average, believing person," she said.
Islamic daily Zaman asserted in an article by Fehmi
Koru that the turban became a "matter of political regime" when the ban
on university students with turbans was imposed by the Constitutional
Court last spring.
"Even in France, where secularism means rejecting
religion, the minister of education urged that Moslems wearing Islamic
garb not be expelled from class."
Mrs. Bahriye Ucok, a former professor in the School
of Theology in Ankara, firmly argues that covering the head is not a
Koranic law, and that the Koran has often been misinterpreted due to
the difficulties of the Arabic language and script. She maintains that
during the first years of Islam, honest women were urged to cover their
bodies completely to show they were not prostitutes or slaves.
The Board of Higher Education (YOK), which runs
Turkey's universities, sent instructions to all campuses not to allow
headscarved women students into classes.
On November 10, after Friday prayers a group of 15
to 20 bearded men raided the exhibition hall of the Press Museum where
an exhibition of pictures and photographs featuring headdresses worn by
women during different periods of Turkish history was on show. The
attackers tore some of the pictures, overturned stands and destroyed a
total of 150 pictures before leaving.
On November 24, after Friday prayers in Istanbul a
group of 2,000 men and chadored women began an unauthorized
demonstration in Sultanahmet, the city's tourist center. Carrying
slogans in Turkish and English protesting the ban on head scarves on
university campuses, the fundamentalists defied police orders to
disperse While tourists visiting the Blue Mosque, Ayasofya and the
Topkapi Palace looked on in surprise, the demonstrators shouted, "Hands
off head scarves!", "Our cover is our honor," "We shall crush the hands
that reach for our head scarves."
Police seized five men, four of whom were arrested
by the Istanbul State Security Court.
"The ban against headscarves has been in effect for
years.. Everyone knows that Turgut Ozal is against the ban. In a press
conference while he was prime minister he declared that he was against
it. Since he is now president of the Republic, everyone is expecting
that a solution to the problem will soon be found," said Koru.
TURKEY RATIFIES EUROPEAN CHARTER, BUT...
The Turkish Government ratified on November
29, 1989, the European Social Charter which introduces a set of
principles governing labor relations. However,
Ankara stipulated that it would not consider itself bound by two
particular articles in the charter.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry declared Turkey
introduced these stipulations because its labor law do not allow
government employees to form unions and to go on strike.
TURKISH IMMIGRANTS IN THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY
The Turkish Dateline of November 11, 1989 published
an article on
Turkish Immigrants in Europe. Below, we are reproducing this article
written by Dr. Faruk Sen, director of the Institute of Turkish Studies
in Bonn, West Germany:
According to 1989 figures, there are 15,300,000
people who live in the 12 European Community (EC) countries who are not
natives of those countries. Of these 15 million, 5,600,000 come from
non-EC countries, and the largest group –2,200,000– in this category
Turks have a 29-year history of emigrating to the
31-year-old EC. They were first encouraged to do so in 1961. While
Turkish entrance into the EC is still being discussed, Turks have long
waited to become the 13th nation of the European Community.
Because European Turks have lived for so long in EC
countries, they identify themselves with Europeans and are, in most
cases, disinclined to return to their native country.
Only 715,000 of the over two million European Turks
are workers, so the remaining majority are members of their families.
Because European Turks are a young community, an
analysis of this Turkish society abroad, especially that in West
Germany, reveals interesting facts. In West Germany, 500,000 of the
1,512,000 Turks living there are under 16 years of age; of these, 75
percent were born in Germany.
After West Germany, the second largest Turkish
community is in the Netherlands, where there are 173,000 Turks.
Three major points must be stressed when observing
the development of the Turkish community in Europe:
First, from the beginning of the 1980s there has
been a decrease in the number of Turks returning to Turkey, especially
from West Germany. The tendency to stay in Europe is thus increasing.
Whereas polls in 1980 revealed that 40 percent of
the Turkish community in West Germany wanted to stay in that country,
this figure rose to 56 percent in 1985. A survey carried out later by
the Turkish Research Center showed that in 1986, 60.4 percent of the
Turkish population intended to stay in Germany.
The latest figures were obtained in 1988, when the
center conducted a survey in the North Rhine-Westphalia region of West
Germany. Only 13 percent of the Turks living there intended to return
The same tendency was observed in the Netherlands.
In 1987, a general survey showed that only 24 percent of the Turks
wanted to leave the country.
Secondly, young Turks living in Europe now identify
themselves as European.
Especially in West Germany, young members of the
Turkish community are interested in professional schools and want to be
classified as skilled workers.
The number of Turkish teenagers enrolling in
professional schools is steadily increasing, as more and more learn to
speak the language of the country in which they are living. Thus, the
first generation of unskilled workers who emigrated to Europe in the
'60s and '70s will be replaced by a generation of skilled workers who
have been brought up in professional schools.
The third important development is the fact that
more and more Turks are establishing their own businesses in Europe.
There are 40,500 Turks who run their own businesses in West Germany,
Great Britain, France and the Benelux countries (Belgium, the
Netherlands and Luxembourg).
Of these, three-fourths live in West Germany; that
is, about 30,000 enterprising Turks have made a total investment of DM
5,1 billion in Germany, and their annual sales are over DM 23.5 billion.
In West Germany alone, Turks provide employment for
105,000 people, and their success can no longer be ignored.
Evaluating the situation in general, we see that
Turks have identified with the countries in which they reside, made
investments there and and purchased homes.