MAY DAY TERROR BY THE TURKISH STATE
As May Day was being celebrated all over the world
with mass rallies, Turkey once more underwent a brutal repression
during which scores of people were injured and over 3,000 people were
Prior to May Day, several unions and left-wing
groups declared that whatever police measures were taken they were
determined to march to Taksim Square, the uptown area where labour
unions and left-wing groups used to hold May Day rallies before such
events were banned by the 1980 military junta.
In the early morning of May 1st, 1990, tens of
thousands of policemen, reinforced by squads brought to Istanbul from
Turkey's other major cities, took up positions in various parts of
Istanbul. A detachment of army commandos were also stationed in
Taksim to provide backup for the police if they were needed.
Security forces set up human barricades on streets
leading to Taksim and carried out body searches and identity checks on
all people. Passengers in municipal buses were checked thoroughly.
Police with anti-riot vehicles equipped with water cannon,
specially-trained dogs, and helicopters showed their determination not
to allow any sort of demonstration in the area by taking mainly young
men and women from buses or stopping them on the street. Those who were
suspected to be potential demonstrators were packed into police vans
and sent to police stations. By noon police began using municipal buses
to transport over 3,000 suspects.
The first incident of the day took place in another
part of the city. About 8 a.m. over 800 workers began marching in
Kazlicesme, an industrial neighborhood on the main road to Istanbul
airport. Police used truncheons and their fists to disperse the
demonstrators. During the clash seven policemen were injured by rocks.
Police arrested 20 of the demonstrators.
Toward noon, a group of demonstrators clashed with
police in Harbiye, one of the main streets leading to Taksim square.
Three cars and a police van were damaged by rocks thrown by the
demonstrators. One young woman and a man were wounded when shorts were
Small pockets of demonstrators clashed with police
in Tepebasi, Dolapdere, Güngören and Bahcelievler. Police made many
arrests. Next day, Istanbul's police chief Hamdi Ardali said 3,304
people were arrested of whom 1,300 were released following a brief
Four of the injured, including Gülay Beceren, 20, an
Istanbul Technical University student who was shot in the back and
shoulder, were hospitalized. It is reported that Beceren would not be
able to walk for the rest of her life because a bullet pierced one of
her vertebras. Others who were slightly injured by flying rocks or in
clashes with police refrained from going to hospitals fearing arrest.
There were other incidents in Ankara, Izmir, Bursa,
Adana, Mersin, Erzincan, Edirne, Malatya and Bolu where 318 people were
arrested on charges of taking part in unauthorized demonstrations or
exhibiting placards marking May Day.
In Ankara, Erdal Inönü, leader of the main
opposition Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP), walked from his party
office to the headquarters of the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions
(TURK-IS), accompanied by other leading party officials. At a press
conference Inönü bitterly criticized the government for banning May Day
"May Day is being celebrated all over the world as
labour day. It must be a source of disappointment for all of us that
Turkey has not reached this level of democracy," he said.
Süleyman Demirel, leader of the Correct Way Party
(DYP) and one of Turkey's most staunch anti-communist politicians, also
criticized the May Day ban. "I have no objection to the celebration of
May Day as labour day. For how long are we going to live in fear of
street demonstrations? We cannot free ourselves from being a
restrictive society if we fear the expression of public feeling," said
The May Day terror has also given rise to protests
abroad. The European Trade Unions Confederation (ETUC) immediately
issued a communique condemning anti-labour practices of the Turkish
Although TBKP officials release
HUNDREDS OF INTELLECTUALS STILL IN PRISON
In a move to calm human rights circles abroad, the
Ankara regime has recently released all detained officials and members
of the United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP).
President Turgut Özal had earlier given green light
for this new gesture of seducing Western Europe. The State Security
Court of Ankara decided first, on May 4, to release party chairman
Nihat Sargin and secretary general Nabi Yagci (Haydar Kutlu), and as a
second step, on May 18, freed 10 other TBKP members, including Yagci's
wife Cicek Yagci.
Supporters of Yagci and Sargin and human rights
observers from Britain, Germany and Greece cheered and clapped when
Vehbi Benli, the senior SSC judge, announced the decision.
"It is an overdue but correct decision. We want to
show that communism is not a monster. We are human beings like anyone
else," said Yagci after his release.
It is on Özal's promise to lift antidemocratic
articles in the Turkish Penal Code that Sargin and Yagci had put an end
to their hunger strike on April 25.
Encouraged by these releases, the TBKP officials
announced that they would apply to the Interior Ministry in June 1990
in order to legalize their party. In a move to obtain the support of
the big business as well, representatives of the Central Committee of
the TBKP have recently paid a series of visits to the businessmen
organizations and the editors of the right-wing media.
Although the TBKP now benefits from a comprehension
and even an open support by right wing circles in exchange of giving up
its radical positions and of promising to collaborate as well with all
political forces of the country, including the ANAP in power, as with
big capital, still hundreds of left-wing intellectuals who refuse to
give any concession to the latter are being kept in prison.
The government, for allowing the State Security
Court to release the TBKP officials, first announced at the end of
April that the modification of antidemocratic articles 141, 142 and 163
of the Turkish Penal Code would immediately be elaborated and sent to
the National Assembly. Even the texts of the modification projects were
leaked by the government to the press. But after the release of the
TBKP officials, these projects were put into refrigerator and the
indictment of the left-wing or Kurdish intellectuals and activists not
belonging to the TBKP has continued as severely as before. Turkish
prisons are still full of prisoners of conscience.
HUNGER STRIKE OF JOURNALISTS IN PRISON
It is just after the release of Sargin and Yagci
that eight prisoners of conscience who are kept as convicts at the
Canakkale E-type prison started a hunger strike on May 16.
A statement by the convicts, including five
journalists, prior to their strike declared that after the release of
Haydar Kutlu and Nihat Sargin, all legal cases which regarded thought
as a crime do not have any legal justification any more.
Five journalists carrying on hunger strike are:
Erhan Tuskan, chief editor of the youth review
Ilerici Yurtsever Genclik, who is sentenced to a 123-year prison term.
Irfan Asik, chief editor of the political review
Partizan, who is sentenced to a 111-year prison term.
Hasan Fikret Ulusoydan, chief editor of the
political review Halkin Sesi, who is sentenced to a 66-year prison term.
Mehmet Özgen, chief editor of the political review
Bagimsiz Türkiye, who is sentenced to a 43-year prison term.
Kazim Arli, chief editor of the political review
Öncü, who is sentenced to a 22 years and 6 months imprisonment.
Beside, according to the daily Cumhuriyet of April
24, 1990, the following other journalists are still in prison:
Veli Yilmaz (editor of Halkin Kurtulusu), sentenced
to 748 years.
Abdullah Erdogan (editor of Kitle), 36 yrs.
Hüseyin Ülgen (editor of Genc Sosyalistler), 12 yrs
and 3 months.
Candemir Özler (editor of Savas Yolu), 23 yrs and 10
Alaattin Sahin (editor of Halkin Yolu), 130 yrs.
Osman Tas (editor of Halkin Kurtulusu), 661 yrs and
Ilker Demir (editor of Kitle), 30 years.
Haci Ali Ozer (editor of Emegin Birligi), prison
Remzi Kücükertan (editor Devrimci Proletarya), 17
yrs and 6 months.
Ertugrul Mavioglu (editor of Yeni Cözüm), 3 yrs.
Süreyya Uri (editor Durum), prison term unknown.
Mehmet Resat Güvenilir (editor of Emegin Birligi),
29 yrs and 9 months.
Güzel Aslaner (editor of Halkin Birligi), 146 years.
Abuzer Kilic (editor of Emek), faces more than 100
The following journalists are either convicted or
indicted, but security forces have not yet been able to arrest them.
Mustafa Tütüncübasi (editor of Halkin Sesi),
sentenced to 42 years.
Dogan Yurdakul (editor of Aydinlik), sentenced to 18
Aydogan Büyüközden (editor of Aydinlik), sentenced
to 136 years.
Fatma Yazici (editor of 2000e Dogru), sentenced to
11 years and 5 months in four cases. But there are 52 other indictments
Celik Malkoc (editor of Yeni Cözüm), sentenced to 7
yrs and 6 months. In other cases he faces a total of more than 100
In addition to them, scores of authors, translators,
publishers and artists are still in prison or find themselves very
often behind the iron bars.
DR. BESIKCI'S SCANDALOUS TRIAL
The trial of Turkish sociologist Dr. Ismail Besikci,
the most distinguished Turkish intellectual kept in prison, continues
to arouse reaction all over the world. Dr. Besikci is under arrest for
more than two months because of his books on the Kurdish question (See:
Info-Türk, March and April 1990).
Taking no heed of numerous protests from democratic
organizations as well in Turkey as abroad, the Turkish justice subjects
Besikci to irregular practices. Recently, on May 15, Besikci was not
brought to his hearing at the State Security Court of Ankara. The
prison administration refused to send him to the court on the grounds
that "an open meeting was held that day in the prison among the
detainees and their relatives.
A 200-strong group staged a demonstration in front
of the State Security Court building to protest the prevention of
Besikci from attending the hearing and their prevention from entering
Besikci's lawyers had the court minutes contain an
expression that the prison administration had committed a crime by not
sending Besikci to the hearing.
SIRMEN DETAINED AT AIRPORT
Ali Sirmen, a columnist for the daily Cumhuriyet was
barred on May 6 from travelling to Portugal where he was due to attend
a meeting of PEN, the international writers' organization.
At the passport control area of Istanbul's Atatürk
airport, police told Sirmen there was a warrant out for him and
prevented him from boarding his plane. Sirmen argued that he has
travelled abroad seven times since his release from prison in 1986 and
that his departure should not be restricted. Although Sirmen showed the
police stamp in his passport indicating that the restriction on his
leaving the country had been lifted, the airport police said another
arrest warrant is outstanding. The arrest warrant dates to 1982, they
Sirmen was briefly detained and missed his flight to
The journalist had been arrested in 1982 as a
member of the Turkish Peace Association; he stood trial with 25 other
Turkish peace activists. Between 1982 and 1986 Sirmen spent a total of
38 months in prison. The charges against him were dropped by the
military court after his release.
OTHER PRESS CASES IN MAY
1.5, police detained the owner of the printing house
Bizim Ofset in Istanbul, Hasan Basri Gürses, for having printed some
left-wing reviews and confiscated all reviews printed there.
4.5, Osman Gunes, chief editor of the monthly review
Emek Dunyasi, was arrested by the State Security Court of Istanbul, for
separatist propaganda in the articles that he published in the review.
4.5, the Council of Ministers banned the
introduction into Turkey a book entitled Turkish Kurdistan: Economic
and Social Structure, printed in the Federal Republic of Germany.
5.5, the State Security Court of Istanbul arrested
journalists Ali Aslan and Mehmet Torus, respectively owner and
responsible editor of the monthly review Hedef.
9.5, Dogu perincek, chief editor of the weekly
2000'e Dogru, was indicted once more for his article entitled
"Kissinger's Prescription". He faces a new prison term of up to six
years for separatist propaganda.
15.5, Dogu Perincek was indicted again for
"separatist propaganda" because of an address he had made in Malatya.
15.5, two correspondents of the weekly 2000e Dogru,
Faysal Dagli and Baki Karadeniz, were detained by police raiding the
Diyarbakir office of the magazine.
16.5, cartoonist Erol Anar, member of the Human
Rights Association of Turkey (IHD), was detained by police in Ankara.
17.5, police raided a meeting held by the
representatives of 17 left-wing reviews who met to elaborate the
situation after the censorship imposed on the press by the Regional
Governor. Fourteen journalists were released later on, but three were
kept under custody.
IPI CENSURES TURKISH REGIME
The 39th General Assembly of the International Press
Institute (IPI), at its meeting in Bordeaux in May, adopted a
resolution censuring practices that restrict freedom of press in Turkey.
The resolution expressed IPI's concern over
continuing threats to the freedom of the press in Turkey. Restrictions
on the Turkish press are not compatible with Turkey's wish to join the
European Community, the resolution said.
At least 24 journalists are in Turkish prisons for
expressing their opinions in writing, IPI said. Several periodicals are
finding it impossible to print because of a government measure that
threatens to shut down plants that print publications considered
unpalatable by the government, it said.
STATE TERRORISM IN KURDISTAN
After putting in force the new decree proclaiming
state of emergency and providing the regional governor with
extraordinary powers, State terrorism has gained new dimensions in
Turkish Kurdistan. Using his power, the regional governor of Turkish
Kurdistan, Hayri Kozakcioglu announced on May 8 that he banned any kind
of strike in the region.
The southeast is the poorest region of Turkey and
the popular revolt comes out not only for national repression, but also
for unsupportable living conditions. As the average GNP per capita is
estimated at 1,448 Dollars for all Turkey, this figure remains at
500-600 Dollars in Kurdistan.
The chronic unemployment is most severely felt in
Kurdistan. According to Cumhuriyet of March 25, the number of
registered jobless people increased by 33.4 percent within last four
years in eleven provinces of this area (Adiyaman, Agri, Bingöl, Bitlis,
Diyarbakir, Hakkari, Mardin, Mus, Siirt, Tunceli and Van). The same
source reports that the share of the eleven provinces in the public
investments still remains at 4.3 percent though 11.3 percent of the
Turkey's population live there.
It is mainly for this reason that the Kurdish people
look for more radical solutions to their chronic problems and support
the Workers' Party of Kurdistan (PKK) in order to save themselves as
well from national oppression as from poverty.
Unable to find effective solutions to these
problems, the Turkish State has intensified its assault on the PKK
Only within first ten days of May 1990 forty-six
people, 26 of whom PKK members died in violent incidents, the regional
governor's office in Diyarbakir announced.
In four separate armed clashes with security forces
in Siirt, Hakkari and Kars 25 PKK members were reportedly killed.
According to the announcement two wounded PKK members were captured.
Three village guards and a policeman also died.
In Siirt, security forces and village guards clashed
with PKK members on May 4 near the village of Dereler in the Sirnak
area. According to information given by the regional governor's office,
17 PKK members were killed.
Three village guards were killed outside Yüksekova,
in the province of Hakkari, near the Iranian border when fighting broke
out at night as a group of armed men tried to cross the border into
Near the town of Aralik in Kars, another group of
guerrillas infiltrating Turkey from Iran clashed with security forces.
One Kurd, believed to be a PKK member, was killed during the fighting;
the rest of the group managed to get away.
The fourth incident took place in Kars also near the
Iranian border. Six PKK members were killed and two were seized wounded
according to the regional governor's office. A policeman seriously
wounded during the fighting died on his way to the hospital.
PKK members also killed a village guard in Sirnak in
the province of Siirt last weekend.
A Turkish patrol was ambushed by guerrillas in
Dargeçit, in Mardin province and two army privates were killed in an
exchange of gunfire.
In Diyarbakir PKK members raided the house of
village guard Sabri Çelik in the village of Yazlica and executed him.
The guerrillas then set Çelik s house on fire.
On May 9, another PKK member was killed in fighting
with the Turkish government forces in Igdir, Kars. In Hakkari's
Beytussebab area six village guards were ambushed and killed.
In Bingöl another village guard was killed same day
by guerrillas according to information given by the regional governor's
INÖNÜ PROTESTED BY KURDISH PEOPLE
After the proclamation of state of emergency in the
East of Turkey with the complicity of the opposition parties
represented in Parliament, the Kurdish population of Turkey lost
all confidence in Turkish political parties including the opposition.
Erdal Inönü, the leader of the main opposition Social Democrat Populist
Party (SHP), was booed during his five-day tour of the southeastern
provinces at the beginning of May.
Inönü first visited towns in the provinces of
Diyarbakir, Siirt, Mardin and Hakkari, where he addressed small groups.
In Cizre where there were clashes with security forces in March, people
on the street ignored Inönü and his deputies as they waved from the
bus. Some young people booed and shouted insults.
Pointing to the heavy security measures and special
police accompanying the motorcade, youths yelled, "You are coming to
our town as an occupation force."
Inönü decided against making his previously planned
speech to the people in Cizre and left the town following a brief
courtesy visit to the mayor. Inönü's motorcade was again the target of
catcalls as it left the town; a small rock was thrown which caused some
In Idil too, Inönü and those accompanying him were
snubbed. Despite the lack of interest shown by the people the
opposition leader addressed a small group. "You should not mistake us
for the government. We are not in power yet so we cannot solve your
problems. We are not responsible for what the government is doing,"
In Uludere, Hakkari, as Inönü addressed a rally,
people shouted: "Where are the deputies you expelled?" This was a
reference to the seven SHP deputies dismissed from the party last year
because they attended an international meeting on Kurdish national
identity in Paris without first obtaining permission from party
In Bitlis, Inönü gave the green light for the return
of the seven deputies to the SHP on condition they reaffirm their
allegiance to the party. However, several of the seven deputies who
commented on Inönü's remarks said they had no intention of expressing
repentance. Mahmut Alinak, one of the seven, said Inönü was making an
effort to appease people in the Southeast. "He is misleading the
people," he added.
Ismail Hakki Önal, another deputy expelled from the
SHP, accused Inönü of not speaking the truth. Diyarbakir deputy Salih
Sümer said: "We did not commit an offence for which we have to
Inönü in his public statements during his tour
accused the government and the Motherland Party (ANAP) of spreading
incorrect information by saying the SHP supports the measures enforced
by the government in the Southeast.
"They are trying to misrepresent us. We do not
support the measures. Your fate is our fate. have come here to show you
that you are not alone. We cannot be held responsible for the
government's bad policies," said Inönü.
Inönü said he cannot be accused of supporting the
government's policies just because he went to Cankaya (the presidential
residence) to meet President Turgut Özal.
In Diyarbakir, Kurdish folk dances were performed
and songs were sung in Kurdish during a dinner given in Inönü's honour.
But on the next day, singer Bedri Ayseli who performed songs in Kurdish
language was detained by police.
INÖNÜ'S DISAPPOINTING STAND IN EUROPE
As the main opposition Social Democrat Populist
Party (SHP) claims itself as the principal defender of human rights in
Turkey, its leader Erdal Inönü, during his meeting with European social
democrats in Brussels in April, astonished Turkish democrats in exile
by sharing some claims of the Turkish rulers on the Kurdish Question
and torture allegations.
Inönü came to Brussels on April 23 as the guest of
Guy Spitaels, chairman of the European Union of Socialist and Social
Democrat Parties. After his talks with with European social democrats,
he gave a conference at the European Parliament.
"During the period when democratic institutions
could not freely function, the methods used for capturing and punishing
the terrorists who were responsible for the anarchy gave rise to the
propaganda of torture allegations and human rights violations. These
allegations, this exaggerated propaganda by those who had fled the
country contributed to tarnish Turkey's image in Europe," said Inönü to
his European listeners.
As for the question of minorities, he clearly denied
Kurds minority rights equal to the rights of other ethnic groups.
Although he said that Kurds should have the right to talk and to sing
in their own language, but categorically refused to right to have their
own political, social and educational institutions. He tried to justify
this point of view as follows:
"The question of minorities in Turkey were discussed
during the Lausanne Treaty negotiations and finally, at this
international forum, the view of Turkey on the matter were accepted.
According to these views signed by the delegations of England, France,
Italy and Greece, it was recognized that three religious minorities
(that is to say the Jews, the Armenians and the Greek Orthodoxes)
existing in Turkey had the same political rights as all other Turkish
citizens and also the right to protect their own culture and their own
religion. Other ethnic groups such as Kurds, Laz and Arabs of whom the
mother tongue is different but the religion is Islam were not mentioned
as minorities. All these ethnic groups who essentially share the same
culture and the same religion were the integral part as Turks of the
people of Turkey. In time, a real osmosis was formed between the
Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin and all others."
It was really unlucky for Inönü to make such a
declaration in such a country like Belgium which is composed of three
linguistic communities (French, Flemish and German) and where each
community has its own political, social and educational institutions
despite the fact that all the three belong to the Christian religion.
Accusing all Kurdish organization of leading
separatist actions, Inönü also defended the repression in Turkish
Kurdistan in the following terms:
"For us, to allow the people to express themselves
in their mother tongue is not a concession to terrorism, but a natural
attitude. However, there is not a shred of doubt that we should protect
the life of our citizens threatened by armed aggressions and that our
security forces should suppress these violence acts. There is not any
difference of view on this point among our political parties."
To be coherent, the social democrat leader of
Turkey, as a former professor of university, should have objectively
exposed the real reasons of the armed struggle started by Kurdish
organizations. He did not pronounce a single word about the State
terrorism reigning in the Turkish Kurdistan since the proclamation of
the Republic. If some Kurdish organizations had to resort to armed
struggle in the area, it is the outcome of the repression carried out
by the Turkish Army and the security forces for over 60 years and
mainly in the period following the military coup of 1980.
It was also pity for Inönü to claim that torture
allegations were being exaggerated by those who fled the country,
because just a few days after his conference, the most reliable human
rights organization in the world, Amnesty International, issued a new
report on the continuation of torture in Turkey. (See: Amnesty
International's new report on Turkey).
It was evident that Inönü came to Brussels as an
emissary of the Turkish regime assigned the mission to change the
European Community's negative stand as regards Turkey's adhesion
whatsoever be the situation of human rights in Turkey rather than as a
social democrat leader capable to raise Turkey to level human rights
standards of European countries.
This is why did he return to Turkey empty-ended. In
fact, after his return from Brussels, he had to admit that Turkey's
chances of becoming a member of the European Community are slight:
"They said that until 1993 no new members will be accepted into the
community. But even after 1993, I got the impression that their opinion
about Turkey's membership is negative."
During the same days, Mesut Barzani, the leader of
the Iraqi Kurdish Democratic Party (IKDP), said in Orumiyeh (Iran) that
Turkey will not be accepted into the European Community unless the
Turkish Government works toward a solution to the Kurdish problem.
He declared in an interview to the daily Hürriyet
that, during a Socialist International meeting in Stockholm last
September, he talked "at length" to Erdal Inönü about conditions in the
Iraqi Kurdish camps in Turkey. "Inönü told me he would look into the
matter. But he did not take any concrete steps," he said.
Barzani said that countries represented at the
Stockholm meeting shared the belief that Turkey should not be allowed
into the European Community unless the Kurdish problem is resolved.
"Unless the 12 million [Kurds in Turkey] are given individual and
cultural rights, no European country will accept Turkey into the EC.
[Turkey] has not other alternative," he added.
REPRESSIVE ACTS OF TWO MONTHS
1.3, seven alleged members of the left-wing
organization Partizan were arrested in Bursa.
9.3, the State Security Court of Istanbul arrested
77 students for having taken part in the clashes with police in the
Yildiz University on March 2. In protest against this action, the
students went on a hunger strike at the Bayrampasa Prison.
15.3, the State Security Court No.1 of Istanbul
began to try 19 students of the Uludag University for unauthorized
16.3, 108 students of the Uludag University were
indicted by the Criminal Court of Bursa for unauthorized demonstration.
18.3, the public prosecutor of Istanbul opened a new
political trial at the State Security Court of Istanbul against seven
alleged members of an underground organization named 16th June. Three
defendants face capital punishment.
22.3, nine people were tried by the State Security
Court No.2 of Istanbul for anti-secular activities.
23.3, police announced the arrest of 33
fundamentalist militants after the operations carried out in Istanbul,
Ankara and Malatya.
23.3, three members of the PKK were sentenced in
Izmir to prison terms of up to 12 years and six months.
24.3, four alleged militants of the Revolutionary
Communist Party (DKP) were indicted by the State Security Court of
27.3, police announced the arrest of 27 alleged
members of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey (TDKP) in
Istanbul. Meantime, an official of the party was arrested in Sakarya.
31.3, four members of the Socialist Party were
detained in Denizli for having incited workers to strike.
6.4, eighteen alleged members of the youth
organization Genc Partizan were arrested in Istanbul and Eskisehir.
6.4, the trial of 41 people who had declared that
they were members of the United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP) began
in Istanbul. All defendants face a prison term of up to 15 years.
7.4, ten alleged members of the Communist Party of
Turkey/Marxist-Leninist (TKP/ML) were arrested in Kocaeli.
15.4, the local chairman of the Human Rights
Association (IHD) in Tunceli was arrested in relation with the Kurdish
tradesmen's protest action.
17.4, it was reported that police bugs 6,OOO
telephones permanently and 17,000 other occasionally.
17.4, the State Security Court of Istanbul indicted
101 students, of whom 84 under arrest, for having taken part in the
incidents at the Yildiz University on March 2. All face a prison term
of up to 15 years.
20.4, 129 students were expelled from the Middle
East Technical University (ODTU) for one scholar year for having
carried out a demonstration in protest against the imposition of
payment for school bus service.
20.4, a secondary school student, Y.O., was
sentenced to one month and ten days imprisonment for communist
propaganda. He had been arrested three years when he was 14 years old
and first sentenced to one year and six months imprisonment. After this
verdict was overruled by the Court of Appeal, he was tried for a second
time by the State Security Court of Kayseri.
21.4, the mayor of Nusaybin, Muslim Yildirim was
dismissed from his post by the Interior Ministry. He is accused of
supporting the PKK activities in the city.
22.4, the Earth Day was celebrated in many regions
of Turkey by the Ecologist Groups. In Istanbul, nine members of the
Green Party (YP) were detained by police for unauthorized demonstration.
22.4, police announced the arrest of three militants
of the Revolutionary Workers-Peasants Army of Turkey (TIKKO) in
22.4, the death sentence against a militant of
TIKKO, Adil Sahin, was approved by the Court of Appeal.
23.4, in Burdur, a member of the People's House,
Arif Canyilmaz was assassinated by a group of extreme right militants.
25.4, five officials of the Association of Workers
(ED) in Ankara were taken into custody by police. One of the detainees,
Mustafa Gül, stated after his release that he and other four detainees
were subjected to torture during police interrogation.
25.4, it was reported to the press in Ankara that
eleven people had been under police arrest for ten days on charge of
being members of the TKP/ML.
30.4, Ahmet Silmer, member of the Green Party
(YP)''s administrative board, was sued by a Bodrum court on grounds
that he insulted President Özal by hanging his photo with the writing
"No Comment" under it.
UNREST IN TURKISH PRISONS
On March 1st, three female political prisoners went
on a hunger-strike in Ankara Central Prison. Solmaz Karabulut, Fatma
Ozyurt and Ayser Turk alleged that they had been beaten by guards.
On March 9, it was reported that eighteen left-wing
prisoners had been on hunger-strike for seven days in the prison of
On March 13, five political prisoners, tried at the
State Security Court of Izmir, put an end to their hunger-strike which
had begun on February 2, 1990. Four of the strikers were hospitalized
because of their health's deterioration. As a retaliation to this
protest action, on March 25, the prison administration banned them from
seeing their relatives for three months.
On March 14, political prisoners in the Metris
Prison of Istanbul revolted when the visits of parents were restricted
by the prison administration.
On March 22, the press reported that the
hunger-strike of 77 university students detained at the Bayrampasa
Prison entered in its 19th day.
On April 12, in the Buca Prison of Izmir, 28
political detainees were banned for three months to see their relatives
on grounds that they did not get up as a sign of respect when the
prison authorities entered in.
On April 30, many incidents occurred in Turkish
prisons during the visits on the occasion of the Sugar Holiday.In
Istanbul, 400 political prisoners in the Sagmalcilar Prison boycotted
seeing their families because of the restrictions on free talk with
them. Thereupon, visiting families clashed with gendarmes and guards.
In Ankara, similar incidents for the same reason
resulted in the arrest of 20 visitors.
On May 5, a group of 57 women visiting their
relatives in the Central Prison of Ankara claimed that they had been
subjected to a research up to their genital organs by policewomen in
front of male guards and policemen. Addressing to the Minister of
Justice, they demanded a legal proceeding against those who are
responsible of this act.
On May 7, a political prisoner, Erhan Yaka went on a
hunger strike in protest against the refusal of demand to be
transferred from the Kirsehir Prison Type E to the Canakkale
CONTROVERSY ON DEATH SENTENCE
The Ankara regime's new menace to execute some death
sentences concerning Kurdish militants has given rise to new polemics
on capital punishment. At present, 267 capital punishments are waiting
for the National Assembly's ratification. 41 of these sentences belong
to PKK militants.
After the coup d'états of 1971 and 1980, many young
militants were executed even if they were not involved in "crimes"
mentioned in Article 146 of the Turkish Penal Code, stipulating death
sentence for those who attempt to overthrow the constitutional regime.
With a view to thwarting the government's menace, a
deputy of the main opposition Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP),
Kamer Genç, introduced a bill in Parliament in order to restore the
good names of three youth activists who were hanged in 1972.
Deniz Gezmis, Hüseyin Inan and Yusuf Aslan were
sentenced to death by a military court on charges that they attempted
to overthrow the constitutional regime. They were hanged on May 6, 1972.
The three were leaders of the left-wing youth
organization, DEV-GENC (Revolutionary Youth). Although they were
involved in a number of bank robberies and the kidnapping of American
servicemen in Turkey they did not commit manslaughter. "The death
sentences handed to them came as a result of extraordinary conditions
in the country at that time. The sentences were unjust," said Halit
Celenk, the lawyer who had defended them at military tribunals.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AGAIN ACCUSES ANKARA
Amnesty International said in a report released on
May 9, 1990 that systematic torture and other human rights violations
continue throughout Turkey.
The report, titled "Turkey: Continuing Violations of
Human Rights," says the Turkish government holds prisoners of
conscience, tortures political and criminal prisoners and conducts
"unfair trials" of political prisoners in military and state security
"Throughout 1989 and the early months of 1990,
Amnesty International continued to receive allegations of torture —and
deaths caused by torture— and believes that any person detained for a
suspected political offence is still at serious risk of torture in
Turkey. Children were among the reported victims. Allegations of
systematic torture were reported from all parts of the country. Torture
of criminal suspects is also commonplace and occurs both in police
stations and prisons," the London-based human rights organization
Turkey signed the European Convention for the
Prevention of Torture in February and the United Nations Convention
Against Torture last August. The government consistently denies
allegations of systematic torture.
Amnesty International said torture and ill-treatment
most often occur during the initial interrogation in police custody
when detainees are denied access to their lawyers and relatives.
Under Article 128 of Turkish law the maximum
detention period before a prisoner is either released or brought before
a judge to be formally charged is 24 hours. However the state
prosecutor may extend this detention period to 15 days and in eight
provinces in southeastern Turkey emergency legislation allows 30-day
The report said that police routinely hold prisoners
for periods longer than those provided for by law which "substantially
increases the risk of torture and ill-treatment."
The Ministry of Justice made proposals last
September and November to reduce the maximum detention period to
between four to 10 days (except in areas under emergency legislation)
to halve prison sentences for some political offences and to revoke the
death penalty for 13 of the 29 offences for which it is now imposed
Amnesty International said. These proposals are still being debated in
"The proposals in general are a step in the right
direction but in their current form they fall short of internationally
recognized standards concerning safeguards for the prevention of
torture. These include the obligation to bring all detainees before a
judicial authority promptly after detention and to allow prompt access
not only to lawyers but also to doctors and relatives," the
The report quotes the Human Rights Association (IHD)
of Turkey which estimated there were 5,000 political prisoners at the
end of 1989. Included among them IHD said were hundreds of prisoners of
conscience — members of political organizations trade unions and
illegal Kurdish groups as well as journalists and political activists.
More than 40 high-security prisons for political
prisoners have been built in Turkey since 1982 the organization said.
Confessions and other statements extracted by
torture are used as evidence in military and state security courts to
sentence defendants to imprisonment and death Amnesty International
"In only a very few cases have military and state
security courts initiated investigations into allegations made before
them that statements given to police were extracted under torture. In
most cases the allegations were either ignored or the court disclaimed
responsibility for dealing with these complaints," the report said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Murat Sungar, responding
to the report, said: "lt is as if the last report is a duplication of
previous reports regarding Turkey. One feels from the report that the
organization has made great efforts to find points to criticize."
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT'S RESOLUTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS IN TURKEY
The European Parliament, at its session of May 17,
1990, combining six motions on the situation of human rights in Turkey,
tabled by different political groups, adopted the following text:
"The European Parliament
"A. whereas the situation of human rights and
minorities in Turkey was one of the main reasons why the Commission
delivered a negative opinion on Turkey's application for accession to
the Community at this juncture,
"B. whereas the most serious problems concerning
human rights in Turkey are caused by the use made of articles in the
Turkish Penal Code such as Articles 141, 142 and 163 relating to
freedom of association and freedom of expression,
"C. whereas, according to numerous recent reports by
Amnesty International and Helsinki Watch, among others, the torturing
of prisoners in order to secure confessions is still widespread in
"D. whereas, although the Turkish Government has
given instructions that the period in which detainees may be held
incommunicado in police stations, when many acts of torture are
committed, must be reduced, those instructions are not always applied
by all officers of the law,
"E. whereas, although the Turkish Government has
been considering the amendment or abolition of Articles 141, 142 and
163 of the Turkish Penal Code for a long time now, it has still not
submitted any formal proposal to the Turkish Parliament,
"F. whereas the Turkish Parliament has shown that it
is sensitive to international criticism of the human rights situation
in Turkey, and whereas it has set up a parliamentary committee to deal
exclusively with improvements in the human rights situation,
"G. whereas, on 9 April 1990, the Turkish Government
took a decision having the force of law whereby, on the pretext of
combating terrorism, the freedom of the press was seriously restricted
and measures may be taken which will violate human rights even further,
e.g. the prohibition of strikes and the deportation of individual
"H. whereas, on 12 March 1990, the Turkish
sociologist, Doctor Ismail Besikci was arrested for having published a
book entitled 'Kurdistan: Colony of Several States', the book being
seized on the grounds that it was separatist propagandas,
"I. concerned at the fact that more than 300
demonstrators were arrested during the May Day demonstrations in
Istanbul and that the forces of order man-handled workers demonstrating
"1. Calls for the repeal of Articles 141, 142 and
163 of the Turkish Penal Code;
"2. Takes the view that the abolition of the
practice of holding prisoners incommunicado would be a major
contribution to the elimination of torture in Turkey's police stations
and would considerably improve Turkey's image in the Community and the
"3. Expresses its deep disapproval of the bloody
repression of the demonstrators celebrating the First of May and calls
on the Turkish authorities to lift the ban on celebrating Labour Day
and to release the arrested demonstrators;
"4. Welcomes the release of Mr Kutlu and Mr Sargin
and hopes that the Turkish people will be enabled to take a decision in
the forthcoming elections on the fate of the Communist Party led by the
two men referred to above;
"5. Expects the early release of Doctor Ismail
Besikci and all others who have made peaceful use of the right of
freedom of expression or association ('prisoners of conscience');
"6. Takes the view that only the recognition of the
political, social and cultural rights of the Kurdish minority in Turkey
will lead to peaceful coexistence in the south-eastern provinces; calls
on the Turkish Government to cease oppressing and making a criminal
offence of the peaceful expression of Kurdish identity;
"7. Takes the view that the Government decision of 9
April 1990 must be withdrawn forthwith because it is incompatible with
"8. Condemns terrorist acts;
"9. Hopes sincerely that the opposing parties will
make progress towards renouncing violence and contemplating a peaceful
and democratic solution to the problem of -the Kurdish minority;
"10. Instructs its President to forward this
resolution to the Council and the Commission, to the Turkish Government
and the Turkish Parliament."
ELECTIONS IN NORTHERN CYPRUS
The last presidential and legislative elections have
reinforced the power of Rauf Denktas, chief of the so called Turkish
Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC).
First, at the presidential elections held on April
22, 1990, Denktas won 66.7 percent of the votes, while Ismail Bozkurt,
the candidate of the opposition, mustered 32.5 percent.
In a surprise victory on May 6, the National
Unity Party (UBP) which was once led by Denktas, won 34 of the 50 seats
in the legislative assembly, polling 54 percent of the vote.
The three-party opposition running on a single
ticket won 16 of the seats with 44 percent of the vote.
The Marxist Republican Turkish Party (CTP) got seven
of the 16 opposition seats; another seven went to the Social Liberation
Party (TKP). The small Resurrection Party (YDP) got only two seats.
The election results came as a surprise to both
Denktas and UBP. Just before the election Denktas. did not rule out the
possibility of an opposition victory in an interview he gave to a
After the election Denktas said the artificial
alliance of the three opposition parties was the cause of their defeat.
"In the 1985 elections UBP was able to poll only 36
percent of the vote. But in last Sunday's elections the party increased
its support to 54 percent of the vote. Let me give you an example:
Mustafa Akinci, the leader of one of the opposition parties (TKP) is
the mayor of Nicosia. But he is not doing a good job. The city is dirty
and untended. The people of Nicosia do not deserve such negligence.
That is why they did not vote for the opposition. Why should the people
vote for incapable politicians who are also ready to reach agreement
with the Greek Cypriots?" said Denktas.
Prime Minister Eroglu called on the opposition
parties to work in harmony with the government, but Mustafa Akinci, the
leader of TKP, said his party may boycott the legislative assembly.
Akinci accused the UBP of anti-democratic practices
before the elections. "We are not going to play the role of stand-ins
on the stage any more. We are against giving the impression that there
is genuine democracy in the KKTC despite all the anti-democratic
practices by the government."
The TKP leader also criticized Turkey for
interfering in the KKTC elections.
"The opposition in the KKTC struggled not only
against the UBP during the elections but also against the Turkish Radio
and Television (TRT), the Ankara government and the opposition parties
in Turkey," said Akinci. He added that TRT openly supported Denktas and
UBP in the election campaign.
The opposition parties also blamed the electoral
system in the KKTC for their defeat. Opposition newspapers report that
UBP was able to win 68 percent of the seats in Parliament with only 54
percent of the vote.
ARMENIAN PATRIARCH'S ELECTION
According to the estimate by the Turkish daily
press, there are between 55,000 and 60,000 Armenians in Turkey.
Recalling that the Armenian population of Turkey was estimated at 2
million at the beginning of the century, one can easily imagine to what
extent this ethnic minority of Turkey has undergone a repression.
Without looking for other proofs, solely this drastic fall of the
number of Armenians can put in evidence the genocide and deportation of
Armenians during the First World War, a fact that Turkish Governments
have stubbornly denied for many decades.
The Armenian Community of Turkey has recently faced
a new interference by the Turkish Government in its internal affairs.
Since the death of Patriarch Shnork, the 82nd
patriarch of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox (Gregorian) Church in
Turkey, on March 7, 1990, Armenians have been preparing for the
democratic election of his successor. Because the Armenian church
follows a congregational form of church government, the patriarch is
usually elected by a democratic assembly representing all the local
However, after the death of Patriarch Shnork, the
governor of Istanbul sent a letter to Presiding Bishop Sahan Simon
Sivaciyan detailing eight new "guiding principles" formulated by the
Government to regulate the upcoming patriarchal elections. In
particular, the directive stipulate five prerequisites for a new
patriarch: both the candidate and his father must have Turkish
citizenship which should never have been lost, he must be 40 years of
age, never convicted of a criminal offence and must enjoy the
confidence of the Turkish State.
This means the patriarch can no longer be elected,
but is going to be appointed because there is only one person who fits
these requirements: Simon Sahan Sivaciyan. Other candidates, Archbishop
Karekin Kazanciyan (in Jerusalem) and Bishop Karekin Bekcioglu (in
Marseilles) have been disqualified because of the requirement of
citizenship, and 34-year old Bishop Mesrob Mutafyan because of the age