DAY OF THE SUN WORKSHOPS
The Sun Workshops (Les Ateliers du Soleil), founded
in 1982 by Info-Türk with the aim of contributing to the defense of the
rights of immigrants in Belgium and to the development of their social,
cultural and educative life, organized on February 1st, 1990 an
Information Day in Brussels. On this occasion, all objects
created by the Sun Workshops were exhibited to the public.
The adherents of the Sun Workshops are composed of
women, men, adolescents and children of twenty nationalities, mainly
Belgian, Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, Assyrian, Chaldean, Moroccan,
Italian, Spanish, Iranian, Egyptian, Portuguese, Bolivian, Chilean,
Peruvian, Mexican, Indian...
Since a new policy of immigration, proposed by the
Royal Commissionership for Immigration, was being discussed by the
national and local authorities in Belgium, the adherents of the Sun
Workshops, on this occasion, issued an appeal for the recognition of
citizen dignity to all inhabitants of foreign origin of the city of
Recalling that the immigrants have effectively
participated for many years in economic, social and cultural life of
Belgium, the Sun Workshops declare that they already deserve an active
participation in the political life of the country.
"Even if the new policy of immigration contains some
positive points, the strict application of this new policy will depend
on the right of the citizens of foreign origin to censure municipal
authorities by casting their votes at local elections," says the
adherents of Sun Workshops.
ANKARA'S INSOLENCE TO EUROPEAN JUSTICE
Adopting the proposal of the Commission, the
Ministerial Council of the European Communities, at its meeting of
February 5, 1990 in Brussels, closed the door on Turkey's application
to join the Community until at least the mid-1990.
The long-expected rejection of Turkey's April 1987
membership application was couched in terms of the Community's general
need to finish its own single market project. Even then the EC will
decide whether to start negotiation with Turkey only in the light of
the overall situation in Europe, where the Community is already
constructing new links with the countries of both the European Free
Trade Association (EFTA) and Eastern Europe.
Beside these objective elements, the Community's
refusal is also based on the economic and social backwardness of Turkey
in comparison with the Member States, but particularly on Ankara's
continuing disrespect for human rights.
In fact, prior to the European Council's meeting,
the Ankara regime, instead of ameliorating its human rights record,
committed new scandalous violations of human rights provoking big
reaction in the European opinion.
The most scandalous among them was no doubt the
insolence of the Chief Prosecutor of the State Security Court of Ankara
who refused to testify before three European judges coming to Turkey in
the frame of an investigation.
As remembered, two top officials of the United
Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP), Nabi Yagci and Nihat Sargin claimed
that they were drugged and physically tortured during their
two-week-long questioning after their voluntary return from exile in
Since Turkish authorities refused to deal with the
complaint, the lawyers of the two prisoners appealed to the European
Human Rights Commission. The latter decided last year that Yagci and
Sargin's case was eligible for review because the men had exhausted
legal procedures in Turkey but had failed to get court action started
against their alleged torturers.
Three European judges, Sir Basil Howe (Britain),
Stephan Prexel (Switzerland) and Albert Weitzel (Luxembourg) came to
Turkey two times to talk with the concerned parties, the first in
October 1989 and the second in January 1990.
However Prosecutor Demiral refused each time to
testimony, claiming that the trial of Yagci and Sargin was still
continuing and Turkish law did not allow him to comment on the case
before the court made a ruling.
Three policemen who were implicated in the torture
allegations by the two communist officials too refused to testify
before the European judges.
The attitude of the chief prosecutor and three
policemen has shown once more that the international conventions signed
by Ankara is not at all respected even by the functionaries under the
order of the government.
On January 8, Justice Minister Oltan Sungurlu said
that the government could not give instructions to judicial personnel.
"We cannot force the prosecutor to talk to the European judges."
Prof. Suat Bilge, Turkey's representative at the
European Human Rights Commission, called for the punishment of State
Security Court Prosecutor Demiral for harming Turkey's image abroad by
refusing to appear before the judges.
MASS ARREST OF TBKP MEMBERS
This scandal was followed the mass arrests of the
members of the TBKP in January and February 1990, despite the fact that
the trial of this party's two top officials was the object of a legal
procedure by the European Human Rights Commission. Moreover, the
arrested party officials had announced in mid-December 1989 that they
would no longer operate underground with a view to contributing to the
democratization of political life in the country.
The first public appearance of TBKP top officials in
Turkey was on November 13. The Politburo members introduced themselves
to the press at a cocktail party in Istanbul. It was followed on
December 8, 1989 by a press conference held by the members of the TBKP
Central Committee in Istanbul. At this meeting, it was announced that
they were determined to come out into the daylight and conduct their
activities openly and legally, whether or not the government lifts the
penal code articles that have been keeping communists underground.
Provincial TBKP officials too have held similar meetings in Istanbul,
Izmit, Ankara and other Turkish cities.
At the beginning police did not interfere with this
meetings. However, the State Security Court showed its teeth a few
weeks after, despite the fact that Ozal had announced that the freedom
of opinion and organization would be respected.
First, a total of 59 party members, 29 in Izmir and
30 in Zonguldak were arrested by police on January 8-9, 1990,
respectively, after holding meetings announcing they would stop
operating in secret. The number of the arrested party members reached
300 towards the end of February 1990.
Besides, the State Security Court of Ankara arrested
also Mrs. Ayse Cicek Yagci, wife of Nabi Yagci, upon arrival in
Turkey on January 6, 1990.
PRESS PROSECUTION HIGHEST IN 1989
Court cases against the print media in Turkey
reached a record level in 1989. According to a dispatch by Anka news
agency, a total of 394 cases were brought against 16 newspapers, of
which 211 consisted of damage suits for invasion of privacy and 183
were penal trials filed by <the state against journalists.
A total of 12.8 billion TL ($5.6 million) has been
demanded in the damage suits, while the prison sentences requested for
the nearly 400 journalists in the penal cases total more than 1,000
years. About 20 percent of the damages cases and 21 percent of the
penal cases were filed by President Turgut Ozal or members of his
family. Most of the cases are still pending.
PROSECUTION IN LAST TWO MONTHS
3.12, two poets, Vecihi Timuroglu and Ahmet Telli
were detained by police after having participated in a festival
organized by the students of the Gazi University of Ankara.
12.12, three editors of the monthly Vatan Gunesi,
Rifat Sefah, Sukran Duran and Rifat Eroglu were detained by police in
Istanbul. Besides, the 4th issue of the review was confiscated as the
three preceding numbers.
13.12, in Mugla, journalist Ozcan Ozgur was
sentenced to 2 months and 15 days imprisonment for having criticized a
local religious official's speech. The prison term was later commuted
to a fine of 38,000 TL.
13.12, The monthly Yeni Demokrasi was confiscated
for "communist and separatist propaganda".
14.12, the monthly Yeni Cozum was confiscated for
15.12, Yakup Karademir, responsible editor of the
monthly Medya Gunesi, and two persons staying at his home were detained
after a police raid.
16.12, the State Security Court of Istanbul placed
under arrest two editors of the monthly Vatan Gunesi: Sukru Duran and
21.12, the editors of 14 political reviews launched
a campaign for lifting Articles 141 and 142 of the Turkish Penal Code.
The appeal was signed by the following reviews: Adimlar, Deng, Devrimci
Mucadele, Genclik Dunyasi, Iktidar Yolu, Isci Sozu, Isciler ve
Politika, Kivilcim, Sorun, Sinif Bilinci, Siyaset, Sosyalist Birlik,
Toplumsal Kurtulus, Yeni Oncu.
26.12, Okkes Remzi Göbel, Adana representative of
the monthly Yeni Cozum, was sentenced by the State Security Court of
Malatya to a prison term of 4 years and 2 months.
27.12, police raided the Ankara office of the
monthly Yeni Cözüm and arrested journalist Erol Ozpolat as well as 30
other people visiting the office.
30.12, Gülten Demir, responsible editor of the
monthly Devrimci Genclik was condemned by the State Security Court of
Istanbul to 15 years imprisonment. Later on this prison term was
commuted to a fine of 27 million TL.
4.1, Mehmet Senol, correspondent of the weekly 2000e
Dogru, was detained by police in Diyarbakir.
4.1, Metin Yavuz, publisher of the monthly Yeni
Cozum, and Ibrahim Bosnak, director of the Ilke Publishing and
Distribution House, were detained in Istanbul.
6.1, in Van, police seized 107 books to sell in a
local bookshop, claiming that they were banned publications.
11.1, the responsible editor of the monthly Hedef
declared that all issues of this review had been confiscated since its
19.1, in Konya, a high school student, E.Y., was
arrested for having drawn the emblem of an outlawed Kurdish
organization on the denunciation by his teacher.
25.1, the trial of the two editors pf the weekly
2000e Dogru, Dogu Perincek and Tunca Arslan, began at the State
Security Court of Istanbul. They face each prison terms of up to 15
years for having published interviews with the PKK leader Abdullah
30.1, famous movie star Ilyas Salman was detained by
the SSC of Istanbul on the charge of having shouted "separatist
slogans" during the May Day demonstrations this year in Strasbourg when
he was abroad.
31.1, the editor of the monthly Medya Gunesi, Cemal
Ozcelik was sentenced by the SSC of Istanbul to 12 years and 6 months
imprisonment and to a fine of 684,000 TL for "separatist propaganda."
International PEN's Report
JOURNALISTS AND WRITERS IN TURKISH PRISONS
The Writers in Prison Committee of International
PEN, in its recent report issued in September 1989, gave a detailed
list of the prisoners of opinion in Turkey. We reproduce this list
Kazim ARLI: born in 1953 in Espakli village in the
province of Burdur. Editor-in-chief of the journal Öncü ("Vanguard", a
fortnightly) between June and August 1980. For articles in issues in
3,4, and 5 (16 and 30 June and 14 July) arrested on 11.9.1985 and
sentenced to 23 years 6 months by Istanbul Military Court No. 2, the
verdict being announced on 27.6.1986. Conviction based on Art. 142 of
the Turkish Penal Code, "making communist propaganda". Another trial is
going on against him under Article 141 of the TPC, apparently for the
1st and 2nd number of Öncü of which he was editor. In August 1989, PEN
learned that he was also facing trial under Article 140 of the TPC
because of a letter he wrote to a PEN member which "slandered" the
government and could face another five years. Address in Prison: Ozel
Tip Cezaevi, C-Blok 16001, Bursa, TURKEY. Adopted by Swedish PEN and US
PEN Center West.
Irfan ASIK: B.1953, single, family live in Bolu
province. School teacher and editor of a monthly political journal
called Partizan until it was shut down after military coup. Arrested
4.12.1980 while teaching, tried 13 times for different publications of
Partizan, sentenced to total 111 yrs, reduced on appeal to 36 yrs. With
remission, probable release date 1995. His address: B-4, Ozel Cezaevi,
17100 Çanakkale, Turkey. Adopted by Belgium Flemish-speaking center.
Güzel ARSLANER: Chief editor of a small journal
called Halkin Birligi (Unity of the People). Sentenced to 31 years
under Article 142 on 30.6.83 on the basis of 5 articles published in it
before the 1980 coup.
Mehmet BAYRAK: Journalist for Özgür Gelecek (A
Future in Freedom), detained on 22 July 1989. (See under Bekir Resen
below for details.)
Oral CALISLAR: B. l946 in Tarsus, Turkey. Chief
Editor of daily Aydinlik (Enlightenment), which was closed down in
1980. Married, one child. Imprisoned 1980-1982 while his trial
continued. Arrested in 1986 after a sentence of 8 yrs was finally
given. Tried under Article 141. From 1980-1986 was a member of the
central committee of the Turkish Workers and Peasants Party. During his
first imprisonment he wrote a book called 'Language School' which the
newspaper 'Milliyet' serialized. After he wrote an article for
'Cumhuriyet' about a young boy in jail he won a prize called 'Yunus
Mehmet ÇETIN: B. 1955, worked in theater, wrote
plays, stories and poems. Detained after coup. Allegedly tortured in
pre-trial detention. Sentenced on 1.9.1981 to 20 yrs imprisonment for
"directing an illegal organization". This was apparently 5 yrs more
than the legal maximum for this offence, but the extra 5 years were
reportedly added on arbitrarily under martial law. Reportedly tortured
on 3 occasions since his imprisonment. In prison has continued writing
activities - poems and essays. Some work published in Turkey and abroad
and the PEN office has his collection of poems "Season of Wind and
Roses" in Turkish, two of which have been translated in English.
Adopted by San Miguel Allende PEN center.
Mehmet COBAN: Journalist for Ankara journal Iktibas
(Quotation). Charged under Art. 163 for "anti-secular propaganda"
for an article he wrote which appeared in Sept. 1985 issue called
"Fundamentals Guiding Our Path". Sentenced to 6 years 3 months which he
Suleyman COSKUN: A journalist, b. 1945. First
arrested April 1981 for membership of the Turkish Communist Party (TKP)
which has always been illegal in Turkey. After spending 3 years in
pre-trial detention he was provisionally released in 1984. In March
1985 sentenced to 8 years and 10 months' imprisonment. Verdict upheld
by Military Appeal Court in October 1987. In September 1988, Coskun
started serving his sentence at the Haymana District Prison; he will
probably have to serve 40% of the sentence.
Ilker DEMIR: b. 1953, married, one child. Editor of
the reviews Ilke and Kitle from 1975-77. Arrested 3.4.1984 in Istanbul.
Convicted in a number of trials in military courts to total of 23 years
and 1 month on charges of making communist propaganda. Was held in
Aydin Prison, a special civilian prison, until he went on hungerstrike
on 17 October 1988, then moved to Nazilli Prison which had just been
built. Asthma sufferer. Went on another hungerstrike on 23 April 1989
demanding improvements in conditions and was apparently beaten by
guards and injured. Sent to an isolation cell where conditions are said
to be damp and airless and where the concrete dust is said to damage
his health. He also suffers from a stomach ulcer. He says in a letter
that he expects to be released in June 1993 (taking into account
Turkey's remission laws). On 15/16 July 1989 he was again badly beaten
up by guards and thrown into an isolation cell after he objected to a
decision only to allow his wife, and not his only daughter, (who had
both travelled hundreds of miles) to see him. Adopted by AI as a POC.
Fettah ERKAN: Editor of Devrimci Derlenis, charged
on 5.6.1981 with insulting the army by the Ankara Military Court and
sentenced to 11 years and 8 months.
Ersin Ergun KELES: b. 1960, student at the Middle
East Technical University in Ankara. Arrested early July 1981 in Samsun
and charged with membership of left wing organization Devrimci Yol
(Revolutionary Path') at Erzincan Military Court No. 2. The trial
started in 1982 with 212 defendants and with the prosecutor Nuh Mete
Yuksel asking for 22 death sentences initially. On 24.1.1984 the
verdict was announced, with 16 people out of now 291 given the death
sentence, including Ergun. In June 1983 at the Military Appeal Court in
Ankara some death sentences were confirmed but others including Ergun's
were quashed. He was retried during the course of 1988 and sentenced in
May to life imprisonment. Ergun, in a statement published by Cumhuriyet
says he was forced to sign a 'confession' under torture and that he had
never carried a weapon; though he read the journal Devrimci Yol, he did
not know of an illegal organization called DEV-YOL. Ersin Ergun became
a poet while in detention and his poems have been published in Turkey.
On 28.10.1988, Ergun was reportedly beaten so severely by prison guards
that he had to be hospitalized. His recent poems and translations were
allegedly destroyed and some of his personal effects confiscated. Was
moved in summer 1988 to Eskisehir Prison. He went on hungerstrike on
about 29 June 1989 after the prisoners' rights had been restricted
following the discovery of an escape tunnel. On 2 August 1989,
Eskisehir was evacuated and Ersin Ergun was sent to Aydin Prison. On
arrival, following a discussion with prison staff about necessary
medical treatment, the guards beat up some of the prisoners. Two died
and Ersin Ergun Keles had again to be hospitalized and was reported to
be seriously injured. Later in August (about the 20th) the prisoners
came off their hungerstrike as some of their demands had been granted.
Adopted by the Catalan and Swedish center of PEN.
Yasar KAPLAN: A student of English literature and
editor of a literary magazine called Aylik Dergi (Monthly Review).
Arrested May 1985 and charged under Art. 163 for "anti-secular
propaganda" because of his work The Book of Democracy. Sentenced in
February 1986 to 6 yrs and 3 months by Ankara State Security Court. Now
in Bursa prison (Ozel tip E cezaevi, Bursa, Turkey). Adopted by AI.
Celal GÜL: Teacher and contributor to political
journal Ozgur Gelecek (A Future in Freedom), detained on 22 July 1989
along with Bekir Kesen. (See under Bekir Kesen below for details.)
Bayram KAZAKLI: Owner and responsible manager of the
publishing company called Devrimci Kurtulus Yayinevi. Sentenced to 15
years' imprisonment for publishing 4 books and booklets and being a
member of an illegal organization. Kazakli admitted publishing the
books but denied being a "militant" and claimed to have been tortured.
Arrested in 1983.
Bekir KESEN: Chief editor of Ozgur Gelecek (A Future
in Freedom, a monthly political journal) which concentrated on Kurdish
issues, which had started being published in December 1988 with nearly
all issues being confiscated. He and Mehmet Bayrak, the owner of the
journal, and Celal Gul, a teacher and contributor are all facing
charges of 'membership of a separatist organization' under articles
141/4 of the Turkish Penal Code. Kesen and Celal Gul, a teacher and
contributor to the magazine who spent 30 months in prison in the early
1980s, were both arrested at the journal's office on 22 July l989 and
taken to Ankara Police Headquarters where they are being investigated.
That evening Mehmet Bayrak was arrested and a medical doctor called
Nuray Özkan (female), who had written a report for the journal on a
women's conference at which the situation of Kurdish women had been
discussed, were also arrested. Their homes were searched. On 1st August
Bekir Kesen, Celal Gul and and Mehmet Bayrak appeared at Ankara State
Security Court and were formally charged and are now held in Ankara
Closed Prison awaiting trial which is due to begin in September 1989.
Kesen and Bayrak are meanwhile already being charged with "making
separatist propaganda" (142/3) for previous articles in the journal.
They were arrested after 2nd issue came out in which an article Bayrak
wrote entitled "Nazim Hikmet's 87th birthday" appeared. The same
article had previously appeared in May 1988 in the weekly 2000e Dogru
and had on that occasion given rise to court proceedings where the
2000e Dogru editor was finally acquitted in Istanbul. This verdict was,
however, disregarded by the Prosecutor in Ankara in Bayrak and Kesen's
case. Reportedly badly beaten up in Ankara Closed Prison. They were
freed on bail in March 1989.
Recep MARASLI: B. 1956 in Erzurum, single. A
publisher, owner of Komal Publishing House in Istanbul. First arrested
1978-79 for publishing activities. Komal published books on Kurdish
history, culture and the situation of Kurds in general. He is himself a
Kurd. Published books by Ismail Besikci (now free). Arrested January
1982 and tried 6 times: another trial is pending. Total sentence is 36
years which he first served in Diyarbakir Military Prison, Diyarbakir.
English PEN had two cards from him in late 1987. In November 1988, PEN
heard that he was unwell and had been moved to Eskisehir prison.
English PEN member had letter from him dated 2.1.89 from Eskisehir
saying he had suffered a stroke in 1984 and was still being denied full
treatment. French Canadian PEN member visited him in February 1989 and
found him weak as he had gone on another hungerstrike. On 2 August
1989, Eskisehir was evacuated seemingly as an attempt to break up a
hungerstrike that some 320 prisoners were on (see under Ersin Ergun
Keles above for details). He is now in Aydin Prison. Adopted by AI and
Norwegian, English, Canadian and Belgian French-speaking centers.
Orhan ÖRÜCÜ: Owner of publishing house called Simge
(Symbol) arrested on 20 January 1989 and held in police custody in
Ankara. Simge had been in the process of printing a book which
contained the defence speeches of the DEV-YOL (Revolutionary Path)
defendants; apparently the book made no comments on the speeches at all
and the speeches had already been reported in the press. The book was
confiscated while it was still unbound and in the middle of a print
run. The compiler of the book, Osman Tayfun Mater, presented himself to
the authorities in Ankara on 24 January 1989 and was immediately
formally arrested and charged under Article 142/1, 3-6 (communist and
separatist propaganda); he is now being held in Ankara Closed Prison.
Candemir ÖZLER: b. 19.2.1957. Arrested 1 May 1981
for articles appearing in Savas Yolu of which he was editor. Charged
under Art. 142 for 'communist propaganda'. Sentenced to 23 yrs 10
months' imprisonment. In Çanakkale Prison. Adopted by AI.
Alaattin SAHIN: b.c. 1948, editor of the weekly
Halkin Yolu from January to November 1977. 44 cases were opened against
him. In 25 cases he received a total of 108 yrs, commuted to 36 yrs.
About 19 cases remaining. In Çanakkale Prison.
Orhan SELEN: b.c. 1953, married, three children; a
poet who has had 4 volumes published including Children of the Sun in
1977 by Ileri Publishing House. Arrested in July 1985, a year after his
8-yr sentence was confirmed. Charged with 'attempting to establish the
domination of one social class over other social classes' under Article
141/1. Charges preferred after an article proposing that a legal
communist party in Turkey be allowed was published in Katki
(Contribution). Seven authors including Selen were involved. Address:
E-tipi cezaevi, D-4, Bursa, Turkey. Adopted by AI.
Erhan TUSKAN: b. 1957 in Denizli. Responsible Editor
of Ilerici Yurtsever Genclik, the journal of the Progressive Youth
Organization (IGD). Arrested on 24.10.1980 after military takeover of
1980 in connection with four articles that appeared in the journal.
Erhan TUSKAN has apparently himself written articles criticizing
terrorism, though it is not clear whether he himself wrote the articles
on which his sentence was based. Sentenced to 48 yrs 10 months in
prison reduced to 36 yrs on appeal. Detained in Çanakkale prison.
Adopted by AI and by Irish PEN.
Hasan Fikret ULUSOYDAN: b. 1955, on trial since
1976. For 9 months in 75-76 editor-in-chief of the periodical Halkin
Sesi (People's Voice). 23 different charges made against him for
various articles which appeared at this time under Art 142, "making
communist propaganda", and Art. 159, "insulting the State authorities".
Total of sentences is 75 years, two of which have not yet been
finalized. Ulusoydan will serve the maximum 36 years' imprisonment.
Detained 25 March 1980 to 5 July 1980 and re-arrested on 17 November
1980 and held until 1988 in Metris Military Prison. Halkin Sesi was
published legally in the 1970s and was affiliated to a group called
Aydinlik (Enlightenment) which later formed the basis for the Workers'
and Peasants' Party of Turkey (TIKP) which was banned in 1980 with many
of its members be given heavy sentences. On 30 September 1988,
Ulusoydan was beaten up by his prison guards and was treated in
hospital for two days suffering from internal bleeding. Later a hunger
strike was declared in the prison and 60 prisoners, said to be the
leaders of the strike, were removed to Çanakkale Prison including
Ulusoydan. On 3 August 1989 went on hungerstrike for about two weeks in
protest at the death of two prisoners in Aydin prison. Affianced to
Fatma Yazici (see below) Adopted by a English AI center. (Address: E
Tipi Cezaevi C-4, Çanakkale, TURKEY).
Mecit ÜNAL: Poet published in many Turkish magazines
and has published an interview with Nevzat Çelik in Yeni Demokrasi (New
Democracy) Arrested November 1980, trial still in progress, charged
under Art. 141 & 142. First held in Bayrampasa prison and then
moved to a prison in Zonguldak. Apparently has had visiting rights
forfeited. Adopted by West German PEN.
Nurettin ÖZTÜRK: Responsible editor of the political
review Kurtulus, who lived for years as a political exile in
Switzerland. Returned to Turkey at the end of 1983 and was immediately
arrested along with one other person. Since then his family and friends
have heard nothing. His mother thinks he may have been killed in police
custody. Case reported in 21 April 1988 Cumhuriyet.
Hasan Selim AÇAN: Responsible editor for Halkin
Kurtulusu, sentenced to total of 331 years with other trials
outstanding; presumably commuted to 36 years. Reported in prison by
Milliyet in May 1989 and by official Turkish source. Still in Çanakkale
Ibrahim AÇAN: Arrested on January 18, 1989, a 71
year old retired colonel turned lawyer. He had brought out a book
containing the defence speeches of the Revolutionary Peasants and
Laborers Union of Turkey.
Felemez AK: Editor of monthly Toplumsal Kurtulus
arrested sometime before October 8, 1988 and still detained.
Fuat AKYÜREK: Editor for Saglikcinin Sesi sentenced
to 10 years 6 months' imprisonment for printing five issues (the
magazine was about health issues). Released in April 1988. Rearrested
in early 1989 and held in Sagmalcilar Ozel tip cezaevi, Bayrampasa,
Istanbul. Trial apparently to open on 12 April 1989 and he is accused
of organizing "illegal press" and being a director of the Revolutionary
Communist Party of Turkey (TDKP).
Ibrahim ARIK: Editor of Savas Yolu, sentenced to 15
years by Izmir Military Court on 16.10.1982.
Ahmet Cevdet ASKIN: Wrote to an AI member of staff
saying that he had translated two books into Turkish about Latin
America and was about to translate a third. Says he is a political
prisoner who has been in prison for more than 8 years. In Çanakkale
Prison (Kogus C-l) and he apparently protested at wearing of prison
uniform at his court hearings and was for one month in 1988 not allowed
to receive mail.
Erdal ÇAYIR: Journalist of political magazine called
Yeni Çözüm (New Solution): detained on 9 November 1988 for being a
member of the illegal organization Devrimci Sol (Revolutionary Left).
On 22 November formally arrested. On 14 November apparently cut his
wrists. A reporter for 2000e Dogru says that he was tortured before his
formal arrest and witnessed the torture of other detainees. Çayir
apparently finally made a confession.
Mehmet CERIT: Editor of periodical Halkin Yolu.
Sentenced at Istanbul Military Court on 22.4.1981 to 18 years and 11
Mete DALGIN: Responsible editor of journal Halkin
Birligi, total sentence of 30 years' imprisonment.
Mustafa DUM: Responsible editor of Ileri newspaper.
Sentenced to 13 years 6 months imprisonment. Sentence ratified. Serving
in Çanakkale E type Prison.
Mustafa EKER: Responsible editor of Kurtulus
Sosyalist Dergi, sentenced to 13 years and 5 months' imprisonment,
possibly more. Imprisoned in Istanbul.
Bektas ERDOGAN: b. 1954, a non-practising Moslem
from Merzifon in Eastern Anatolia who lived and worked in Istanbul.
Editor of a newspaper before arrest. Studied medicine and then
linguistics at University. Imprisoned in 1979 and sentenced to 36 yrs
imprisonment. Address: E tipi Cezaevi, 17100 Çanakkale, TURKEY.
Honorary member of English Center of PEN.
Mehmet Resat GÜVENILIR: Editor of Emegin Birligi,
monthly periodical of a Marxist-Leninist party. Student of journalism
when arrested. Also member of DEV-YOL. Family comes from Gaziantep (has
four brothers, both parents alive). Married; his wife lives in Istanbul
and visits him two or three times a year. Apparently received 10 years
in April 1984 at Adana Military Court for membership of the
Communist Labour Party of Turkey (TKEP) and Devrimci Yol (Revolutionary
Path). Prison address: Ozel tip Cezaevi, C-4 Ceyhan/Adana.
Nurettin KARAKOÇ: a journalist, owner of the
political magazine Hedef (Target). He was detained at the end of
November 1988 with 17 others and was one of 12 who were formally
arrested and committed to prison on charges of membership of the
illegal organization TKP-B (Turkish Communist Party/Unity), on 13
Remzi KÜÇÜKERTAN: Editor with Devrimci Proletarya
serving 7 years and 6 months; still in prison in May 1988 according to
Cumhuriyet of October 1988.
Reha MADEN and his wife Aysegul Maden: Reha Maden, a
journalist working for the semi-official news agency Anadolu Ajansi was
arrested on 19 November 1988 and taken into police custody where there
were fears of torture. His wife Aysegul was also detained on 24 or 25
November. On 29 November the Turkish daily Günes reported that their
detention was linked to their membership of the illegal Turkish
Communist Party/Unity (TKP-B). That week they and 14 others were taken
to Ankara State Security Court; 4 were released but 12 including the
Maden were committed to prison. The Maden are apparently accused of
sheltering wanted political activists suspected of planning
Ertugrul MAVIOGLU: Journalist with Yeni Çözüm (New
Solution). Sentenced in September 1988 to three years for communist
Hatice ONAT: Worked for political journal called
Emegin Bayragi (Flag of Labour); arrested along with Nadir Nadi Usta -
see below for details.
Cemal ÖZÇELIK: Journalist with Medya Gunesi
convicted in August 1988 for making communist propaganda, unclear what
his sentence was.
Haci Ali ÖZER: Editor with Emegin Birligi, still in
prison in May 1988 according to October Cumhuriyet, but sentence
unknown. Nothing more heard of him since.
Mehmet OZGEN: b.c. 1954, editor of Bagimsiz Türkiye
and Devrimci Militan journals. 6 court cases prepared against him and
sentenced finally came to 33 yrs 6 months. In Çanakkale prison.
Ali RABUS: Editor of Birlik Yolu journal sentenced
to 18 yrs' imprisonment. In Çanakkale prison.
Abdullah SOYDAN: Owner of monthly magazine called
Kawa of which only 7 issues published from September 1978 to March 1979
in Istanbul; paper apparently argued for the cause of Kurdistan and
protecting the Kurds' human rights in Turkey. Sentenced to a total of
50 years probably under Article 142. Married with 3 children. First
address was Ozel E Tipi Cezaevi, 16 Kogus, Aydin, Turkey, but then an
official source suggested he had been moved to Nazilli prison.
Osman TAS: b. 1957, editor of Halkin Kurtulusu
sentenced to a total of 215 years of which 155 years ratified. Arrested
13.1.1981. Sentence automatically commuted to 36 years.
Hasan USAK: Managing Editor of Toplumsal Dirilis a
monthly newspaper on Kurdish cultural issues. Arrested along with its
owner (see Cemal Yalvaç below) in November 1988 and apparently then
formally arrested and held at Sagmalcilar Cezaevi, Bayrampasa, Istanbul.
Nadir Nadi USTA: Editor-in-chief of a political
magazine Yeni Asama (New Period). Arrested with Hatice Onat, above, and
3 other journalists on 17.9.1988 and held at Ankara Police Headquarters
after attempting to lay a black wreath in front of the Iraqi Embassy.
On 30 September they were formally arrested by Ankara State Security
Court and taken to Ankara Closed Prison. Exact charges not known. The
detainees told their lawyers that they were tortured during their
incommunicado detention with beatings, electric shocks and ice cold
Esber YAGMURDERELI: b. 1945, blind since he was 10
years old. Lawyer by profession, graduated in law and philosophy. Also
was editor of magazine called Yeni Eylem which was founded in 1968.
Also writes short stories (one of which won a nationwide competition in
1986, unclear which) and continues his writing career in prison. Also
has reportedly edited many magazines and written articles on law,
literature and politics in last 20 years. Arrested March 5, 1978; was
sentenced to death but this was commuted to life imprisonment (= 36
years). Apparently will have to serve 6 more years unless released
earlier and if his sentence is not increased - he apparently has
another case pending. Unclear yet precisely why sentenced, though
reportedly accused of organizing clandestine activities. Was apparently
badly tortured during his interrogation.
Cemal YALVAÇ: Owner of Toplumsal Dirilis a monthly
newspaper on Kurdish cultural issues. Arrested along with its managing
editor (see Hasan Usak above) in November 1988 and apparently then
formally arrested and held at Sagmalcilar Cezaevi, Bayrampasa,
Istanbul. Yalvaç and Usak are both Kurds. Their office was apparently
raided with extensive damage at the time of their arrest.
Ali Haydar YILDIRIM: b. 1951. Responsible editor of
five issues of periodical Militan Genclik, acquitted in two cases of
five opened against him. Sentenced to a total of 14 years 6 months.
Arrested in 1981. Graduate of Çapa Medical Faculty. Married, one child.
Veli YILMAZ: b. 1954, editor of Halkin Kurtulusu and
Halkin Kurtulusu Yolunda Genclik, sentenced to a total of 1,170 years
of which 750 ratified. All sentences of such length are automatically
commuted to 36 years.
Mustafa ZÜLKADIROGLU: Director of Emek Publishing
House, put into prison on 24 November 1988 to serve a 6 year and 3
month sentence which he received in 1977 for a pamphlet he published on
Erbil TUSALP: Journalist for Cumhuriyet based in
Ankara. Arrested 21.6.1988 after the paper published details of the
testimony made by the suspect held in connection with the assassination
attempt made on Prime Minister Turgut Özal. Released at some date
(unknown) afterwards but on 23 November 1988 he was indicted by the
prosecutor of the State Security Court of Istanbul for having revealed
the deposition of the alleged author of the attempt on Turgut Özal's
Kerim KORCAN: b. 1918, novelist brought before State
Security Court of Istanbul accused of communist propaganda in his novel
Bridge of Fire which talks about torture in Turkey 30 years ago. His
publisher, Rabia Sen Süer, is also facing charges.
Ismail BESIKÇI: Sociologist and writer, previously
imprisoned for ten years for his academic books on the Kurdish
question. Recently indicted for an interview on the Kurds which he gave
to the review Gelecek. On March 10 1989 his trial opened at the Ankara
State Security Court. Faces 5 years.
Zeki ÖZTÜRK: Editor of Sorun Publishing House
indicted by Istanbul State Security Court for communist propaganda.
Faces a prison term of up to 15 years.
Arrested mid June 1988, all free pending outcome of trial:
The following were arrested from their homes
and brought to a place called "DAL" ('Deep Investigation Laboratory')
in Ankara, questioned, and charged a few days later under Section 142.
3-6 of TPC with 'making communist and Kurdish propaganda for their work
on the one year old paper Toplumsal Kurtulus (Socialist Liberation)
which dealt with Kurdish issues. All are currently on trial (trial
opened on August 18 1988) and the prosecution has asked for a total of
250 years for 15 articles in the paper.
Free pending outcome of trial
Orhan GÖKDEMIR: Chief Editor of Toplumsal Kurtulus
and as such held responsible for four articles that appeared in it
mentioned in the cases below.
Dr. Yalçin KÜÇÜK: prominent author of many books,
contributor to Toplumsal Kurtulus. Former lecturer, imprisoned for 10
months '83-84 for his book For a New Republic. Present indictment
reportedly due to an interview with Kurdistan Press, published in
Sweden, which was reprinted in the journal. Also held for two days in
April 1989 for numbers 19 and 20 of the journal. (See Ilhan Akalin
above for details.)
Hüsnü ÖNDÜL: lawyer and contributor to Toplumsal
Kurtulus. Acts as defence counsel in many political trials and
executive committee member of the Ankara branch of the recently founded
Human Rights Association. Indicted for an article he wrote in the
February issue of the journal about South East Turkey where most of the
Kurdish population lives.
Ilhan AKALIN: Chief editor of political journal
Toplumsal Kurtulus (Social Liberation) held in incommunicado police
detention in isolation between 12 and 24 April at Ankara Police
Headquarters along with Dr Yalçin Küçük who was released 14 April.
Küçük said that interrogation had concentrated on the most recent
numbers (19 and 20) of Toplumsal Kurtulus. Akalin was also detained
between 14 June and 15 September 1988 for spreading communist and
separatist propaganda in two unsigned articles appearing in the
journal, one about the setting up of the Kurdish PEN center. The trial
proceedings for this separate charge are continuing. (See under Yalçin
Küçük below for details of these.)
Bilgesu ERENUS: (female, playwright and owner of the
socialist monthly Toplumsal Kurtulus (Socialist Liberation): released
from detention on 23rd June after being held for 10 days.
Sentenced but not yet imprisoned
Fatma YAZICI: Responsible editor of 2000e Dogru
(Towards 2,000) until February 1989. While editor, a total of 46
charges brought against her, most under Article 142 (3) for separatist
propaganda. So far acquitted in 10 cases, convicted in three: condemned
to 16 months of imprisonment on 5.5.88 because of a cover story
entitled Kenanizm: The philosophy of the September 12 regime published
4.10.1987; the court decreed that the story had been disrespectful to
the president; 12 months for "weakening religious feelings" in an
article about the sexual life of Mohamed; and 6 years and 3 months for
separatist propaganda, for publishing the Helsinki Watch Committee
report on the Kurds. These have been confirmed by the appeal court and
thus she could be imprisoned at any moment. Her address: 2000e Dogru,
Basmusahip Sok. no: 16, Talas Han, Kat 4, Cagaloglu-Istanbul. She has
been adopted by the Canadian (English-speaking) and English center.
Apparently, one of her sentences was ratified in February 1989 and she
went into hiding to avoid imprisonment.
Emin GÖKER: Journalist for 2000e Dogru condemned to
imprisonment along with Fatma Yazici above.
Other Investigation Cases:
The following people have probably been freed but
the Committee has received no confirmation:
Ferhat AKDAY: 8 yrs, 6 months; Zeki ATAS: 7 yrs, 6
months; Nurettin BAYDAR : 6 years; Saban BILGIN: 8 yrs 6 months; Yilmaz
DINÇBERK : 7 yrs 6 months; Ali DUMAN : 7 yrs 6 months; Baki Karakol
Ulviye KAYSERILIOGLU : 6 yrs; Haluk Seçkin MERIÇ: 7 yrs 6 months; Riza
OLGUN: 7 yrs 6 months; Mehmet ÖZDENUR : 5 years; Abdurrahman PALA: 1
year; Orhan SENYÜZ: 7 yrs 6 months; Necdet SEVINÇ: 1 year; Orhan TAGI:
7 yrs 6 months; Ali Riza TURA: 7 yrs 6 months; Fatih YILDIZ: 4 yrs 2
Nevzat AÇAN: Released from prison according to
Milliyet article; Mustafa ÇOLAK: Released in early 1989; Ersan
SARIKAYA: Released from prison according to Milliyet article; Muhittin
GÖKTAS: Released from prison according to Milliyet article; Mustafa
TÜTÜNCÜBASI: Released from prison according to Milliyet article.
Abdülkadir KONUK: Novelist, escaped from prison
(precise date unclear) and now living in RFA.
(For further information concerning this list, our
readers can write to the following address: International Pen - Writers
in Prison Committee - 38 King Street, London WC2E 8JT - GREAT BRITAIN,
ARREST OF A GERMAN SOCIOLOGIST
A German sociologist working in the southeast of
Turkey was arrested and tried because she wrote what have been
described as "separatist slogans" in the visitors' book at the Birecik
Bald Ibis Breeding Station.
A warrant for the arrest of the sociologist, a
member of the faculty of Sorbonne University in Paris, was issued last
month when she wrote "Bald Ibises, I love you" and "Long live the soil
of Kurdistan, long live freedom," in the log book at Birecik Bald Ibis
Schlumberger was charged with violating article 142,
paragraph 3, of the Turkish Penal Code by disseminating propaganda
which could destroy or damage nationalist sentiments.
Dr. Hella Schlumberger's arrest provoked a warning
from West German Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Gencher to State
Minister Ali Bozer that German-Turkish relations could be damaged by
On this intervention, she was released at the trial
on January 23.
PRESSURE ON A BRITISH JOURNALIST
A British journalist was first ordered on January 4,
1990, to leave Turkey within 24 hours. Mr. Christopher Wildig,
who has lived and worked in Turkey since 1969, is employed by The Press
Digest, a daily news service that provides a translated review of the
Turkish press for embassies and foreign business. It was unofficially
reported that the Interior Ministry had refused to renew his residence
permit for "being a Jehovah's Witness and spreading Christian
As the result of more than 40 court cases, most
within the past 20 years, Jehovah's Witnesses have been accorded legal
status in Turkey as a cemaat (fellowship group), and as such are
allowed to meet freely, publish materials, rent and buy property and
propagate their religion.
The next day, the order to leave Turkey was reversed
by the Interior Ministry, bowing to pressure exerted by both the
Foreign Ministry and the Press and Information Directorate.
PERSECUTION OF AN ANTI-MILITARIST
The perpetrator of the first campaign against
compulsory military service in Turkey, Tayfun Gönül was interrogated on
January 22, 1990, by the State Security Court of Istanbul, because of
an article he wrote in the weekly magazine Sokak and an interview with
him published in the daily Günes. According to the prosecutor, the
articles discouraged the public from doing military service, and also
included expressions derogatory to the nation's armed forces. Both
publications were confiscated by the order of the court. Article 155 of
the Turkish Penal Code stipulates the condemnation of any propaganda
against military service.
DISCRIMINATION OF PROSTITUTES
The Constitutional Court ruled that a man found
guilty of rape, sexual harassment or abduction of a prostitute would be
punished two thirds less than punishment prescribed for the same
offenses committed against non-prostitutes.
The decision has provoked a series of protests by
the human right groups.
A women's group who started last year the campaign
"The Body is Ours, No to Sexual Harassment", at a press conference held
on January 15, 1990 in Istanbul, protested the decision in following
"The decision of the supreme court -which consists
only of men- showed that male domination take precedence over all laws.
Due to this ruling which legalized discrimination between chaste and
unchaste women, and which is supposedly aimed at protecting chaste
women from attacks, if any women is subjected to rape, then she has to
prove that she is a chaste woman, not a prostitute. Any attacker, on
the other hand, may claim that his victim looks like a prostitute to
prove that he is not guilty."
The declaration also pointed out that
prostitution is a legal profession in Turkey, and that prostitutes pay
taxes like any other workers so they should be covered by the security
of the state. Through this law, however, prostitutes are punished by
On the other hand, brochures signed by "Istanbullite
prostitutes" were distributed, which read, "We protest this law. We are
the ones who pay the highest taxes to the state. We are already faced
with discrimination, and we regret that the discrimination is supported
by the state's own hand."
A signature campaign begun same day in Istanbul by
artists was to continue for a month and to be sent to Parliament and
the Foundation for Advancement of Turkish Women.
CENTRIST VICTORY AT THE SHP CONGRESS
Following a series of expulsions and resignations
from the Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP), the party congress, held
on January 26-27, 1990 in Ankara, consolidated Secretary General Deniz
Baykal's position in the party. Baykal emerged from this congress as
the party's strongman with the election of 39 of his supporters to the
44-member party assembly. This body which supervises the functioning of
the central executive committee, is the most authoritative party organ
after the congress.
Another particularity of this congress was that a
quota of 25 percent for women in all administrative boards of the SHP
was accepted by both factions, a system which is the first of its kind
in Turkish political life. So, 11 members of SHP's powerful 44-person
Party Assembly are now women. Accordingly, 25 percent of all SHP
provincial bodies will have to be women.
Although Erdal Inönü was reelected to the party
chairmanship, obtaining 756 votes out of 863, he was unable to get his
candidates elected to the party assembly. Before the congress Inonu
proposed 19 candidates to Baykal to be placed on the list of the party
assembly, but during the election Inönü's candidates were crossed off
the list to be replaced by those known for their affiliation with the
Political observers in Ankara shared the view that
Inönü's authority in SHP had been somewhat shaken with the SHP
administration taken over by Baykal. "Inönü will be a symbolic leader
just as the king of Sweden," said Kemal Anadol, a former SHP deputy who
resigned from the party last year along with some other left-wing
The spokesman of the other left-wing deputies who
remained in the party, Ertugrul Günay criticized the secretary general
for splitting the party into different factions. "We must stop the
fighting in the party and join our forces. We must set up a party
administration which would cover the entire party in a balanced way,"
said Günay who is leading the left-wing group in the SHP calling itself
Despite his scathing attack on Baykal, Günay became
one of the five SHP members who managed to get elected as a member of
the party assembly.
After the congress, Günay denied allegations that
SHP had become a party without a left and without a policy on
southeastern Anatolia, with regard to the citizens of Kurdish origin
that live there. "SHP has a policy on the Southeast," Günay maintained,
" although it can be said that the party failed to spread its solutions
to the masses. A new dimension of giving weight to change economic,
political and social structures (in the Southeast) must be added to
As for the former SHP deputies who were expelled or
resigned from the party, they have been carrying on their talks with
other left-wing groups in a view to create a new socialist party.
CONGRESS OF LABOUR CONFEDERATION
The week-long 15th Congress of the Confederation of
Turkish Trade Unions (TURK-IS), held on December 11-16, 1989 in Ankara,
ended in favour of the right-wing delegates headed by Chairman Sevket
Of some 420 delegates, representing 1,800,000
members from 32 unions affiliated with TURK-IS, 231 voted for Sevket
Yilmaz while Orhan Balaban, candidate of the left-wing trade unionists,
was receiving 173 votes.
The Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of
Turkey (DISK) has been banned since the military coup of 1980 and the
trial of its leaders are still pending at the Military Court of
Although a part of the former progressive unionists
have been striving for the conclusion of this trial and the reopening
of the DISK, many others have already taken part in the trade unions
affiliated with TURK-IS and constituted the left wing of this oldest
Chairman Sevket Yilmaz who have been accused by
left-wing unionists of being too friendly with the government and the
employers, defended himself from this charge by claiming he had
struggled with the government on every level. "The government has
burdened large sections of the population with unbearable economic
difficulties," he said.
During the congress, State Minister Isin Celebi was
booed and forced to cut short his speech by delegates. In contrast,
opposition leaders were given a hearty ovation.
NEW TURCO-GREEK TENSION
Turkey and Greece have come one again to the verge
of a diplomatic confrontation because of a sudden flare-up of incidents
between Greek authorities and Turkish minority representatives in
The events began on January 26, 1990, when two
Turkish minority candidates who were barred from the November 5, 1989
elections to the Greek Parliament, were sentenced bu a Greek court to
18 months imprisonment each. They were accused of causing enmity among
the population by spreading false information and inciting violence.
On January 29, the Turkish minority in Komotini
decided to hold mass prayers in protest against the Greek Government's
pressure on Moslems. Before prayers began, ethnic Turks walking toward
the mosque were confronted by Greeks and several people were beaten up.
Although minority leaders called off the prayers incidents continued.
Thirty people were injured and some 400 shops and offices owned by
members of the Turkish community were damaged.
Two of the injured Turks, Ahmet Faikoglu, a former
deputy of the PASOK, and Emin Aga, the mufti of Ksanthi, another town
in the area where the Turkish minority lives, were taken to hospital in
On January 31, Maria Damanaki, a member of the Greek
Parliament, and those accompanying her, were mobbed in Komotini when
she showed compassion for the Turks. Damanaki had to seek refuge in the
municipality building and was unable to leave for two hours.
The condemnation of Dr. Sadik Ahmet and Ibrahim
Serif has been qualified by The Turkish Government as "a violation of
fundamental human rights such as fair and public hearing by an
impartial tribunal, the right of a person to defend himself in person
or through legal assistance, with an interpreter if he cannot speak the
language used in the court, and the right to freedom of expression.
"The organized violence which has pursued the trial has violated many
more basic principles, starting with the right of a person to
security," said the Turkish Foreign Minister.
As for the Greek Government, it claimed that Ahmed
and Serif were two Greek nationals punished by a Greek court because
they were trying to disturb social peace in Greece.
Since 1985, when he was first arrested because of he
was collecting signatures from members of the Turkish ethnic minority
for a petition which listed restrictions on minority rights, Ahmet has
been at odds with the Greek government.
Ahmet was elected to Parliament during the June 18,
1989 elections but was not allowed to run on November 5 when local
electoral offices claimed his documents were incomplete.
Throughout the trial people in the courtroom
verbally abused the defendants, telling them to leave Greece and go to
As Ahmet was being taken to prison after the trial
he shouted: "I am being taken to prison just because I am a Turk. If
being a Turk is a crime I repeat here: I am a Turk and I will remain
so. My message to the minority in Western Thrace is that they should
not forget they are Turks."
Turgut Kazan, chairman of the Istanbul Bar
Association, who was in Komotini attending the trial, said afterward he
witnessed "a said episode in the name of justice."
Kazan has been one of the ardent defenders of
Turkish-Greek friendship and has taken part in all moves aimed at
putting an end to the tension between the two neighbour countries.
Kazan also criticized Greek human rights circles of
not having reacted against the Komotini trial and the pressure on the
Turkish minority in Greece.
WATER DISPUTE WITH IRAQ AND SYRIA
The longstanding water dispute came to a head on
January 13, 1990, when Turkey began to restrict water flow to Syria and
Iraq during the month-long filling of the newly completed Atatürk Dam.
Turkey is the source country for both the
Euphrates and Tigris rivers, and Turkish, Syrian and Iraqi officials
meet regularly to discuss the usage of the waters. The giant Atatürk
Dam is the third dam on the Euphrates, which crosses Syria before
flowing into Iraq and continuing to the Persian Gulf. The Tigris river
runs through Iraqi territory.
Recent reports in the West German and Arabic press
have suggested that if Turkey intends to use the water as a political
tool against neighbouring countries it could lead to a war in the
In a speech made at opening ceremonies of the
Atatürk Dam in Urfa on January 13, which also marked the beginning of
the month-long water cut, President Ozal said Turkey has no plans to
use the water of the Euphrates as a threat against its neighbours.
"What is important is that other countries do not
interfere in our domestic affairs," Ozal said, in what was thought to
be a comment directed at the Syrian Government for its alleged support
of Kurdish guerrillas who are carrying out attacks along Turkey's
border with Syria.
State Minister Kamran Inan, who is in charge of the
Southeast Anatolia Project (GAP), told the press that Turkey is
preparing itself for the next century through various projects and
added: "GAP is one of the cornerstones of this stage. In the coming
century, Turkey will be among the four world superpowers, along with
Japan in the Far East, West Germany in Europe and the United States in
Despite official claims that water will not be used
as a weapon, some Western diplomats maintain that Turkey's relations
with its southern neighbours, especially with Syria, are based on
balanced threats rather than on balanced mutual interests. "Turkey's
possible use of water as a political weapon would be countered by
Syria's alleged support of Kurdish guerrillas," they said. What is
more, State Minister Inan told the daily Cumhuriyet that Turkey must
take into account the Syrian missiles when talking about the water