Leaders of a communist party
Turkish and Kurdish left-wing
still endure in filthy Turkish
Long hot summer days, the sunny Mediterranean and
Aegean shores of Turkey, thanks to attractive gaily-coloured
advertisements full of praise, once again draw millions of tourists as
well from the country's interior parts as from northern European
countries. They are welcomed in well equipped hotels and motels
covering sunny and azure blue beaches of this country.
President Ozal, Premier Akbulut, all leaders of the
opposition parties represented in the Turkish Parliament are going to
enjoy these paradise-like sea-side resorts. Even, the officials of a
communist party who have spent their years in Turkish prisons are
preparing themselves to join these happy holiday-makers thanks to their
release by Özal. No doubt, they have already deserved it.
Still there is another dark side of this sunny
paradise. The prisons are still full of left-wing Turkish and Kurdish
intellectuals. They are going to pass these long hot summer days behind
iron bars. For many of them, this will be the 10th summer in filthy
jails of Turkey since the proclamation of martial law in 1979.
Although the leaders of the United Communist Party
of Turkey (TBKP), an outcome of the merging of two former pro-Soviet
parties, thanks to the efforts of its European brother parties, are now
preparing themselves to take part in the political fan of the so-called
Turkish democracy (See: "Legalization of a communist party" in this
issue), a scores of Turkish and Kurdish intellectuals are still
suffering in prisons for raising Marxist views or for defending
fundamental rights and freedoms of the Kurdish population.
It is for drawing attention to this unprecedented
injustice that prisoners of conscience have recently resorted to
different actions of protest throughout the country.
First, on May 16, eight prisoners of conscience who
are kept as convicts at the Canakkale E-type prison started a hunger
strike. A statement by the convicts, including five journalists,
declared that after the release of Nihat Sargin and Nabi Yagci
(Haydar Kutlu), respectively chairman and secretary general of the
TBKP, all legal cases which regarded thought as a crime do not have any
legal justification any more. "The articles 141 and 142 of the Turkish
Penal Code no longer have any political, social or moral validity. We
are starting a hunger strike to protest this situation and to have the
articles removed completely," the prisoners said.
Five striking journalists were:
Erhan Tuskan, chief editor of the youth review
Ilerici Yurtsever Genclik, sentenced to a 123-year prison term,
Irfan Asik, chief editor of the review Partizan,
sentenced to a 111 years,
Hasan Fikret Ulusoydan, chief editor of the review
Halkin Sesi, sentenced to 66 years,
Mehmet Özgen, chief editor of the review Bagimsiz
Türkiye and Devrimci Militan, sentenced to 43 years,
Kazim Arli, chief editor of the review Öncü,
sentenced to 22 years and 6 months.
The action of hungerstrikes was later joined by four
other journalists in two other prisons:
In the prison of Bartin: Veli Yilmaz and Osman Tas,
both the editors of the review Halkin Kurtulusu, sentenced respectively
to 748 years and 661 years;
In the prison of Nazilli: Ilker Demir, editor of the
review Kitle, sentenced to 30 years, and Abdullah Soydan, editor of the
Kurdish review Kawa.
"They started the hunger strike because there is
nothing left for them to do. What else can they do while surrounded by
four walls and since nobody is doing anything for them. Until they
began hunger strike, the plight of the journalists was not mentioned in
the press at all. Unfortunately the longer they continue the hunger
strike, the more effective it will be," said Neyyire Ozkan, wife of
Veli Yilmaz, in an interview with Dateline of June 9, 1990.
Yilmaz was sentenced to 748 years in prison for
editing the publication of Halkin Kurtulusu and for his Revolutionary
Communist Party of Turkey (TDKP) membership. The five-member court
council refused, by a vote of three to two, to consider the charges in
a single case.
"If the two cases had been tried together at the
court, he would have been sentenced to 10 years and 6 months, which
would later be reduced to four years according to law, and he would now
be free since he has been in prison for ten years," said Neyyire Özkan.
"The court decided to release Nabi Yagci (Haydar
Kutlu) and Nihat Sargin because of the changes with respect to the
crimes of thought and the public reaction towards their case. The only
difference between their case and the journalists' cases is that Kutlu
and Sargin were extricated from custody in a case for which they are
awaiting trial, thanks to the fact that the government manifested its
intention to amend Articles 141 and 142 of the Turkish Penal Code which
have been used to punish political crimes. However the government,
after the release of TBKP leaders, delayed to review of Articles 141
and 142," she added.
Sadiye Özgen, sister of Mehmet Özgen, who in 1982
was sentenced to 43 years for being the responsible editor of Bagimsiz
Türkiye and Devrimci Militan , said: "Hunger strike is a warning to the
democrat public. It is the only way they can put pressure on the public
to make them sensitive to their plight. They are not making the hunger
strike only for themselves, but for all the political detainees in
prison. More than 200 prisoners who have been sentenced to death are
waiting for the final decision."
The hungerstrikes have given rise to protests as
well in the country as abroad.
The Association of Contemporary Journalists (CGD)
immediately announced that it declared the journalists on strike
A group of independent deputies sent a letter to
President Turgut Özal, Prime Minister Yildirim Akbulut, leader of the
Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP) Erdal Inönü and leader of the
Correct Way Party (DYP) Süleyman Demirel asking for their help to save
the lives of the hunger strikers.
Many famous journalists, writers and artists
conducted different kinds of actions in solidarity with hunger strikers.
Abroad,the International Press Institute (IPI)
wrote to President Turgut Özal asking for the release of five
journalists and also requested the changing of articles 141 and 142 of
the Turkish Penal Code. General Secretary Peter Galliner, said: "We
strongly urge that your government immediately review these two laws
which severely restrict free speech in Turkey. We believe that the
imprisonment of these five journalists is a gross violation of their
basic human and professional rights and we ask that they be released
The International PEN, of whom there are honorary
members among the strikers, Helsinki Watch and Amnesty International
too, called President Özal to release all prisoners of conscience.
After having succeeded to draw the attention to the
injustice of which they are victims, the hungerstrikes of journalists
ended their action on June 12. So, hungerstrike lasted 24 days in
Canakkale, 20 days in Bartin and 12 days in Nazilli.
In a move of revenge, the administration of the
Bartin Prison banned for twenty days any visit to two journalists who
had gone on hungerstrike, Veli Yilmaz and Osman Tas. On June 13, a
joint delegation of the Association of Human Rights (IHD), the
Association of Contemporary Journalists (CGD) and the Journalists'
Union of Turkey (TGS) coming to the prison to see two journalists was
not allowed to enter in.
2,703-YEAR IMPRISONMENT FOR 34 JOURNALISTS IN JAILS
The daily Cumhuriyet of June 4, 1990 reports that
thirty-four journalists are in prison in Turkey, serving a total of
2,703 years according to the records of judicial authorities:
1. Alaattin Sahin Halkin Yolu
2. Ersan Sarikaya Güney
7 yrs, 6 months
3. Veli Yilmaz Halkin
Kurtulusu 748 yrs
4. Osman Tas Halkin
Kurtulusu 661 yrs
5. Fikret Ulusoydan Halkin Sesi
6. Ilker Demir
7. Mete Dalgin Halkin
Birligi 30 yrs
8. Remzi Kücükertan Devrimci
Proletarya 7 yrs, 6 months
9. Bektas Erdogan Kitle
10. Irfan Asik
Partizan 36 yrs
11. Feyzullah Özer Kitle
17 yrs, 6
12. Hüseyin Ülgen Genc Sosyalist
12 yrs, 3 months
13. Ali Rabus Birlik
Yolu 18 years
14. Erhan Tuskan Ilerici Yurtsever Genclik
15. Candemir Özler Savas Yolu
23 yrs, 10 months
16. Mehmet Özgen Bagimsiz Türkiye
17. Nevzat Acan Halkin Kurtulusu
21 yrs, 7 months
18. Mustafa Colak Özgürlük
9 years, 3 months
19. Ayhan Erkan Kivilcim
20. M. Resat Güvenilir Emegin
Birligi 29 yrs,
21. Güzel Aslaner Halkin Birligi
22. Mehmet Coban Iktibas
7 yrs, 6 months
23. Haci Ali Özer Emegin Birligi
7 yrs, 5 months
24. Kâzim Arli
23 yrs, 6 months
25. Mustafa Dum Ileri
26. Mustafa Eker Kurtulus
13 yrs, 5 months
27. Recep Marasli Komal Yayinlari
28. Hasan Selim Acan Halkin
Kurtulusu 307 yrs, 6 months
29. Celik Malkoc Yeni Cözüm
7 yrs, 6 months
30. Ertugrul Mavioglu Yeni Cözüm
31. Fuat Musaoglu Vardiya
7 yrs, 3 months
32. Kubilay Pinar Günese Cagri
7 yrs, 6 months
33. Osman Günes Emek Dünyasi
6 yrs, 3 months
34. Mehmet Ali Kutlu Sosyalist
Dergisi 30 years
RECENT PERSECUTIONS OF OPINION
22.5.1990, the monthly review Kivilcim was
confiscated by the State Security Court of Istanbul.
23.5, the weekly 2000'e Dogru was confiscated by the
State Security Court of Istanbul for the articles on the Kurdish
28.5, the following issue of the weekly 2000'e Dogru
was confiscated by the SSC of Istanbul for criticizing the pressure on
the Kurdish people.
29.5, the weekly Halk Gercegi was confiscated by the
SSC of Istanbul for having published a communique by hungerstrikers at
the Prison of Ceyhan.
2.6, the members of a group of folklore dances were
detained by police for having waved handkerchiefs in the colours of the
Kurdistan's national flag during their performance in the district of
Igdir of the province of Kars.
6.6, the trial of the responsible editor of the
weekly Sokak, Tugrul Eryilmaz, a lawyer, Zeki Okcuoglu and a medical
doctor, Tayfun Gönül, began at the SSC of Istanbul, for a campaign
launched by Dr. Gönül against compulsory military service. Eryilmaz
faces a prison term of 30 years, Okcuoglu 15 years and Gönül 2 years.
8.6, The State Security Court of Istanbul indicted
three journalists, Mehmet Emin Sert from Emek, Mehmet Torus from Hedef
and Orhan Dilber from Isci Sözü. Each faces a prison term of up
to 10 years for having published the minutes of the meetings by
different left-wing organizations in a view to setting a socialist
10.6, the weekly humorous magazine Girgir was
confiscated by a criminal court for ridiculing President Özal and
Premier Akbulut in a cartoon on the cover.
11.6, A concert of the musical group Yorum,
organized by the Municipality of Sariyer, was prevented by the Governor
of Istanbul. The municipality was noticed that all concerts of this
group in Istanbul had been banned.
12.6, the Governor of Istanbul refused to authorize
a rally organized by the editors of 19 left-wing reviews for protesting
against the law on the state of emergency in the South Eastern
provinces. In a second move, the representatives of the reviews
attempted to hold a press conference in the place foreseen for the
rally, but all of them were immediately taken into police custody:
Tuncer Dilaveroglu and Mehmet Ali Eser from Yeni Demokrasi, Sirri
Öztürk from Sorun, Riza Akyüz from Yeni Öncü, Muteber Yildirim from
Isciler ve Politika, Fikret Ipek from Medya Günesi, Kamil
Ermis from Deng, Halil Celik from Sosyalizm, Saban Devres and Gürdal
Cinar from Devrimci Mücadele.
13.6, the responsible editor of the Encyclopedia of
Socialism and Social Struggles, Ali Erkan Kayali was brought before the
State Security Court of Istanbul for communist propaganda. He faces a
prison term of up to 15 years.
14.6, the prosecutor of Ankara filed a legal
proceeding against 21 teachers who attempted to set up a trade union
under the name of Egitim-Is. When they applied first time for the
registration of the union's rules, their demand had been refused by the
Governor of Ankara on May 29. Thereupon, they sent the rules for
registration by registered mail on June 4.
15.6, in Istanbul, Police took into custody 22
representatives of political reviews when they were leaving for Ankara
to submit to Prime Minister a petition against the State of Emergency
Decree, signed by 13,000 people. 16 other people who were seeing off
them were also detained by police.
15.6, a rally organized by poets and writers to
protest imprisoning people for their opinions was banned by the
Governor of Istanbul.
15.6, the monthly Kurdish review Deng, was
confiscated by the SSC of Istanbul.
ONGOING UNREST IN PRISONS
As the convicted journalists were carrying on their
hungerstrike, in other prisons of Turkey thousands of political
prisoners amplified this protestation by resorting to different kind of
On the press reports that the sinister Prison of
Eskisehir was to be reopened and that many political prisoners were to
be transferred there, the action of hungerstrikes gained a country-wide
The Prison of Eskisehir was famous for the harsh
penitentiary conditions which led to a series of protest actions in
preceding years. A 35-day long hungerstrike in last year had ended in
closing down this prison and transferring in harsh conditions all
detainees too the Aydin Prison during which two prisoners perished.
(See: Info-Türk, July/August 1989)
In protest against the project of reopening the
Eskisehir Prison, about 2,000 political detainees in the prisons of
Diyarbakir, Malatya, Aydin, Nazilli, Ceyhan, Ergani, Buca, Gaziantep,
Bismil, Canakkale, Bursa and Sagmalcilar (Istanbul) went on hunger
Progressive parties and democratic organizations
actively supported the hungerstrikes and their members too went on
hunger strikes in their locals. Police responded to these actions by
raiding locals and detaining strikers.
The most spectacular action was the sit-in by a
group of women in front of the governor's office of the district of
Dargecit (Mardin) on June 2. Meantime, all tradesmen of the town joined
the action by pulling down their shutters. When police teams arrested
the protesters, more people joined the action and began to march to the
governor's office. Police forces opened fire during which a boy was
wounded and detained 100 more people. According to a social democrat
deputy, Kamer Genc, all detainees were subjected to torture at police
station. On June 4, eleven women were arrested by a tribunal. This
arrest led on June 6 to a new action of pulling down shutters by
DIPLOMATS DETAINED IN SOUTHEAST
Three foreign diplomats were taken into custody in
Siirt, on May 30, on grounds that they were conducting unauthorized
inspections in the Southeastern region.
Allan Christersen, undersecretary of the Danish
Embassy, Irvin Hoyland, undersecretary of the Norwegian Embassy and
Pino Valinoro, second secretary of the Finnish Embassy, were held in
custody for two and a half hours before being released.
The diplomats, who interviewed Human Rights
Association (IHD) local chairman Zübeyr Aydar and Mayor Ekrem Bilek in
Siirt, said they were asked whether they had permission to conduct
inspections in the region. The diplomats insisted that should not be
required to ask for permission.
FOUNDATION TO HONOR NAZIM HIKMET
About 30 writers, journalists and stage and screen
personalities came together on June 4 in Istanbul to establish a
foundation in the name of poet Nazim Hikmet.
Hikmet fled Turkey in 1951 after 13 years in prison
on charges of inciting the army and the navy to rebellion. A government
decree a year later stripped him of his Turkish citizenship, and he was
unable to return. He died in 1963 in Moscow.
The Nazim Hikmet Foundation will
promote cultural work, said Samiye Yaltirim, the poet's sister.
WRITER SUES GENERAL EVREN
The trial brought by writer Baskin Oran against the
chief of the military junta, General Kenan Evren, opened on June 6.
Oran has charged Evren with allegedly insulting him in a 1984 speech in
Manisa. He is seeking one million TL in compensation.
RIDICULOUS PENALTY FOR A TORTURER
Despite the claim that those who are guilty of
torture are pursued, many of them continue to be protected by the
administration and the justice.
Recently, on June 13, the trial of Major Cafer
Tayyar Caglayan who is accused of forcing the people of the Kurdish
village Yesilyurt in Mardin to eat human excrement in January 1989.
(See: Info-Türk, February 1989), ended in his condemnation by a
tribunal to a prison term of two months and fifteen days. Moreover, the
tribunal commuted this penalty to a fine and also postponed it.
This ridiculous punishment has led to protests from
Underground organizations responded to this laxity
by resorting to actions of revenge.
The same day, a former military judged, charged at
the Martial Law Command of Istanbul from 1982 to 1986, Retired Colonel
Durmus Aksen was shot dead in Istanbul by the Revolutionary Left
Next day, a former political police chief,
Superintendent Muhsin Bodur was shot dead by the militants of the
Workers-Peasants' Liberation Army of Turkey (TIKKO) in Istanbul.
5 CONVICTS ESCAPED FROM PRISON
Penitentiary authorities realized on May 28 that
five political prisoners, three of them serving death sentences,
escaped from the Bayrampasa Prison in Istanbul. The discovery was made
when the father of one of the fugitives came to visit his son.
Aslan Tayfun Özkök, Aslan Sener Yildirim and Ali
Kirlangic were sentenced to death on charges of murdering former
Turkish Prime Minister Nihat Erim, responsible for the State terrorism
after the 1971 military coup, and police chief Mahmut Dikler.
Four fugitives belong to the Revolutionary Left
(Dev-Sol) and one to the Workers'-Peasants' Liberation Army of Turkey
Two leaders of Dev-Sol, Dursun Karatas and Bedri
Yagan had escaped from the same prison on October 25, 1989. It was
followed in January this year by the escape of two other Dev-Sol
militants, Sinan Kukul and Murat Göleli.
369 ARMY OFFICERS DISMISSED
The Ministry of Defense announced on May 21 that
1,011 officers have been cashiered from the Turkish Armed Forces during
the last ten years for their involvement in politically subversive or
religious, fundamentalist activities. Among the officers cashiered, the
highest ranking were two lieutenant colonels and 26 captains.
647 of these officers were dismissed during the
military government (1980-1983), 364 others after ANAP's coming to
power in 1983.
The number of the officers dismissed for religious,
fundamentalist activities after 1983 stands at 114.
CAMPAIGN FOR GÜLAY BECEREN
After the police terror on May Day (See: Info-Türk,
May 1990), on June 7, the State Security Court of Istanbul indicted 221
people of whom 76 are under arrest.
The defendants face prison terms of from 5 to 23
years for unauthorized demonstration, revolt to police and belonging to
Among the defendants facing imprisonment of up to 23
years is also Miss Gülay Beceren, a 20 years old university student,
who was shot in the back and shoulder by police. Not be able to walk
for the rest of her life because a bullet pierced one of her vertebras,
Beceren is still in hospital.
The Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD)
launched a collect campaign for Beceren's medical treatment. Those who
wish to participate in this campaign can send their contribution to the
following bank account: Türkiye Ziraat Bankasi - Istanbul Taksim Subesi
- Account No. 30003/203999-3.
OTHER CASES OF STATE TERRORISM
1.5, the leaders of the Municipal Workers Union
(Belediye Is) in Istanbul were indicted by the State Security Court for
having issued posters celebrating May Day. They are accused of
5.5, five alleged militants of the Workers' and
Peasants' Liberation Army of Turkey (TIKKO) were reportedly detained in
6.5, in Istanbul, 68 workers were brought before the
Criminal Court No.4 of Istanbul for having sent a telegram to President
Özal in protest again the coal mine disaster in Yeni Celtek. Each faces
a prison term of up to 6 years for insulting the President of the
11.5, the State Security Court of Diyarbakir issued
an arrest warrant against Yalcin Büyükdagli, Secretary General of the
Socialist Party (SP), un grounds that he had made communist propaganda
in a speech on the events of the South-East he gave in Van.
12.5, a meeting organized by the Association of
Teachers (Egit-Der) was banned by the Governor of Ankara on grounds
that it might be harmful to public order.
15.5, the State Security Court indicted Ferit
Ilsever, chairman of the Socialist Party (SP), on grounds that he
incited the people to riot in an electoral speech in
Pazarcik. 16.5, the State Security Court arrested
seven alleged members of the Revolutionary Communists Union of Turkey
(TIKB), who had been in police custody since May 2.
17.5, police raided the Cultural Center of Sisli in
Istanbul during which 30 people were detained and four sacks of books
18.5, two acts of the Cankaya Municipality in Ankara
were subjected to administrative and legal pursuits. First, a chess
tournament organized at the Güven Park was banned by the Governor of
Ankara. Meantime, the Prosecutor of the State Security Court started a
legal proceeding against the Municipality's decision to name a quarter
as May Day Quarter.
21.5, the Chairman of the Association for Workers'
Health, Dr. Metin Berol, and three other members of the administrative
board were detained by police. They are accused of being an illegal
communist organization, TKP/Workers' Voice. Meantime, dentist Yüksel
Karaagac announced that he had been taken by a police team without any
ground and subjected to beating and insults. The Union of Doctors and
Dentists in Istanbul; holding a press conference, accused the police
having tortured the detained doctors.
22.5, social democrat deputy Fuat Atalay announced
that a 36-year old peasant, Besir Algan had, after being taken into
custody, been shot dead by security forces in the village of Budakli of
the province of Mardin.
22.5, the trial of 155 people detained during the
popular demonstrations in Cizre began at the State Security Court of
Diyarbakir. 155 defendants, of whom 77 under arrest, are accused of
destroying public properties. The trial is carried out in closed
sessions because one of the detainees is 14 years old.
23.5, it is reported that 14 new gendarmery stations
are to be built near the Iraqi border for reinforcing the security
24. Eight people of whom a 14-year old girl, were
detained bu police in Izmir for having distributed clandestine leaflets.
24.5, A US citizen professor, Nicholas Liplek,
charged at the Aegean University, was detained in Izmir for having
offended President Özal.
25.5, police announced that 14 people were detained
for carrying out underground actions of the TKP/Iscinin Sesi. The State
Security Court arrested eight of them and released the other.
25.5, three former officials of the defunct
Socialist Workers' Party of Turkey (TSIP), Tektas Agaoglu, Hüseyin
Hasan Cebi and Ekrem Cakiroglu, who were arrested after their recent
return from self-exile, were acquitted by a tribunal. During the period
of martial law, other officials of the party had been kept in prison
29.5, two members of the Human Rights' Association
of Turkey (IHD), attorneys Hasan Sahin and Gürbüz Özaltinli were taken
into custody by police.
5.6, 61 students of the Dicle University in
Diyarbakir were detained bu police for having carried out a
demonstration for defending their rights. 30 of the detainees were
later arrested by the State Security Court.
7.6, the Military Court of Cassation approved death
sentences against five members of the Marxist-Leninist Armed Propaganda
Unit (MLSPB). The higher court judged that 17 other death sentences be
revised by the military court.
8.6, Mayor of the city of Ankara, Ismail Özay was
indicted by a criminal court for having offended President Özal in a
speech he pronounced during the celebration of Dardanelles War on March
18, 1990. Already dismissed from his post by the government, Özay also
faces a prison term of up to 6 years.
12.6, a member of the Human Rights Association (IHD)
and four other persons were detained in front of the Central Prison of
Ankara after having visited some detainees.
12.6, police announced that 20 alleged members of an
outlawed organization had been detained in Ankara.
13.6, ten members of the Workers' Party of
Kurdistan (PKK) were sentenced by the State Security Court of Izmir to
a total of 130 years. 15 other defendants of the same case were
14.6, the trial of the Association for Solidarity
with the Families of Prisoners (TAYAD) began at the State Security
Court of Istanbul. The prosecutor asked the court to close down TAYAD
and to condemn Chairwoman Gülten Sen and six other members of the
administrative board to prison terms of up to 6 years for illegal
CONTROVERSIAL LOCAL ELECTIONS
Motherland Party (ANAP) candidates won 29 of 51
mayoral posts at stake during the June 2, 1990 local elections, giving
new vigour to discussion of ANAP's popularity.
According to the final election results ANAP
candidates won mayoral offices in 2 municipalities, polling 36.9
percent of the vote. The Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP)
candidates were elected in 11 towns with 24 percent of the vote and the
Correct Way Party (DYP) candidates in five towns with 20.4 percent of
the vote. Islamic fundamentalist Welfare Party (RP) candidates won four
seats with 9.5 percent of the vote, and the extreme right-wing
Nationalist Labor Party (MCP) which polled 2.3 percent of the vote won
one seat. Former prime minister Bülent Ecevit's small Democratic Left
Party (DSP) failed to win in any of the 61 municipalities but received
6.1 percent of the overall vote.
Prime Minister Yildirim Akbulut said the election
results showed once again that ANAP was the most powerful political
party in Turkey.
Deniz Baykal, Secretary General of the SHP, said
last election results did not represent the general trend in the
country. "About 70,000 voters took part in the polling. There are
nearly 26 million voters in Turkey," he said. He also accused the
government of "ruthlessly blackmailing the voters" by telling them that
they should expect no municipal services if they voted for opposition
Süleyman Demirel, leader of DYP, indulged in some
self-criticism after the results were announced. He said it had been a
mistake to take part in the elections because it was obvious beforehand
that the government would resort to every means to come out
ahead.Demirel said he was considering boycotting local elections
scheduled for August 19, 1990 in 13 towns.
The result of the local elections has also sown
discord between the two opposition parties in Parliament. Demirel,
addressing his deputies, criticized SHP —without naming it— for not
taking strong action against the government. "To oppose law breaking is
not just our business. We are looking to others to raise their voices
too," he said.
Inönü, responding to Demirel's remark that
opposition parties may boycott the local elections, said he did not
favor such a line of action. "First we must tackle the country's
problems. I don't think we can get anywhere with boycotts. I don't know
exactly what Demirel said. If he wants to make us an offer he can do so
directly. Then we can decide what to do," he added.
The SHP leader also said ANAP has no cause for
jubilation over the election results. "But it has good reason to feel
shame. What it did showed disrespect for the people and undermined
democracy," he said.
LEGALIZATION OF A COMMUNIST PARTY
After its all leaders and officials were released by
the State Security Court thanks to the green light given by President
Ozal,the United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP) took, on June 4, 1990,
another step toward becoming a legal party.
TBKP chairman Nihat Sargin, and the party's general
secretary, Nabi Yagci (Haydar Kutlu), were released from prison in May
after spending two-and-a-half years behind bars. They and five other
TBKP founder members submitted five folders to the Interior Ministry
which contained information about 36 founding members, the party
program and statutes and the address of the headquarters in Ankara. A
party emblem was not included.
Mustafa Çetin, general secretary to the Interior
Ministry, accepted the documents and said they would be sent to "the
appropriate authorities in due time."
However, on June 14, the Chief Prosecutor of the
Republic filed a legal proceeding before the Constitutional Court with
the demand of closing down the TBKP, on grounds that Article 96 of the
Political Parties' Law proscribes political parties which use the word
"communist" in their names.
According to the Turkish constitution political
parties do not require permission from the government to be
established. Once the necessary documents have been given to the
Interior Ministry the party is considered legal. After that the chief
prosecutor has the authority to go to the Constitutional Court to
demand the party be disbanded if its program or its statutes violate
Despite these legal obstacles, the TBKP leaders
attempt to legitimate their party by obtaining the support of other
political parties, including the right-wing ones.
The day following the application, in a move to
prove that they are not against Kemalism, Sargin and Yagci visited the
Atatürk Mausoleum and laid a wreath on the tomb of the founder of the
Then they visited the headquarters of the main
opposition Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP) and the True Path
Party (DYP), meeting Erdal Inönü and Süleyman Demirel.
Demirel told Sargin and Yagci that he was
anti-communist. "But this does not mean that I am against the existence
of different political beliefs." Yagci answered Demirel by saying that
the world was changing rapidly. "There are communist parties in Western
democracies. We want to show the people that communists are ordinary
human beings," he said.
Demirel said he had no objection to political
struggle as long as it took place legitimately and warned them: "People
should not act clandestinely or illegally."
After visiting DYP headquarters Yagci and Sargin
went to see Inönü. The SHP leader said he welcomed the founding of
TBKP, and that his party was against persecution of people because of
their political beliefs. "It is this which most tarnishes Turkey's
reputation," he added.
Yagci and Sargin expressed satisfaction after their
visits to SHP and DYP headquarters. They said they were also planning
to visit President Turgut Özal, Prime Minister Yildirim Akbulut and
OTHER LEFT PARTY ATTEMPTS
The TBKP is the outcome of the merging of two
pro-Soviet parties: the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), founded in
1921 and outlawed since 1925, and the Workers' Party of Turkey (TIP),
outlawed since 1980. But it is not the only Marxist party of the
In fact, the former pro-Chinese Workers'-Peasants'
Party of Turkey (TIKP), outlawed since 1980, was transformed into the
Socialist Party (SP) in 1988 and this new party was legalized by the
Constitutional Court in December of the same year.
Recently, on June 8, 1990, ten members of
Parliament who were either expelled or resigned from the SHP, founded a
new left-wing political party, the Labour Party of the People (HEP),
which they claim open to all Marxists. Chairman of the Confederation of
Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey (DISK), Abdullah Bastürk as well as
some other trade union leaders and Kurdish personalities take part
among the founders. The Secretary General of the DISK was designated
Chairman of the new party.
On the other hand, the representatives of some
other outlawed left-wing organizations and some Marxist intellectuals
have, for over one year, been developing talks with a view of founding
a legal Marxist party. The representatives of the TBKP too have taken
part in these works. In a further move, they will meet in a conference
on June 23 to elaborate the possibilities of realizing a Socialist
TBKP Chairman Sargin, after their application to the
Interior Ministry for legalizing their party, said TBKP's mission would
end when Turkish Marxists are gathered under the umbrella of a single
However, many radical organizations of the Turkish
Left and especially Kurdish organizations keep a distance vis-a-vis any
attempt of founding a legal party, started or joined by the leaders of
the former pro-Soviet parties. They accuse the TBKP and the other
groups collaborating with the TBKP of giving concessions to the Turkish
regime, and claim that a legal Marxist party should be out of question
as long as Articles 141 and 142 of the Penal Code remain in force, the
freedoms of Kurdish people are refused and even a single political
detainee remains in prison.
OZAL'S NEW APPEAL TO EUROPEANS
In a new move to seduce European public opinion,
President Özal sent an open letter to the French weekly magazine
L'Express. The gist of the letter is that the European Community has
much to gain by accepting Turkey as a member.
The letter says Turkey's geographic position as a
bridge between the Balkans and the Middle East could make it possible
for Europe to open up trade with these regions. Turkey's cheap labor
should also attract European investors according to the President.
Besides, Özal claims that Turkey shares with Europe
the common values of freedom, democracy, respect for human rights, and
Commenting this letter in his column in the daily
Günes of June 4, 1990, Uluç Gürkan says in all these issues Turkey has
serious shortcomings: "Who knows whether Europe will actually accept
these arguments and admit us to membership of the EC. It has to act
quickly if it is to catch the European train. The changes in Eastern
Europe increase the number of competitors in the race. Even the Soviet
Union is Turkey's rival for member ship in the EC. Turkey should become
more democratic and improve its human rights record."
EC COMMISSION'S PROPOSALS
During the presentation of its view on the Turkey's
demand of adhesion to the European Community on December 18, 1989, the
Commission of the European Community had announced s series of fields
in which the cooperation between Turkey and the EC can be developed.
The Council of the European Community had adopted
the Commission's conclusion and charged it with preparing concrete
propositions on the future cooperation.
The Commission announced its concrete propositions,
on June 6, 1990, as follows:
1. The realization of customs union until the end of
This objective takes place in the Association
Agreement of 1963 between the Community and Turkey. To attain this
objective, Turkey has to make efforts in the field of tariffs and to
take into account the preferences accorded by the Community to the
Third countries. Besides, it has to respect the Community policies in
the anti-matter dumping, tariff rights, etc.
The fact to come back to the Association Agreement
will imply a larger liberalization of agricultural exchanges and in the
matter of textile. It should, of course, has to be carried out in two
2. The promotion of the industrial and technological
cooperation in the fields related directly or indirectly to the custom
Its main objective will be to reduce the difference
of development between Turkey and the Community and so to integrate
better this country into the European economic and social structure.
The cooperation in this field will be extended to a series of sectors,
among which we can mention services, transports, telecommunication,
energy, environment, sciences and technology, tourism, training,
culture and audiovisual.
3. The resumption of financial cooperation:
The Commission proposes the resumption of this
cooperation which had been suspended since 1981. In this respect, the
Commission proposes to submit to the Council's signature the project of
the 4th Financial Protocol which includes:
- 225 Mecus by the EIB from its own sources;
- 325 Mecus as loans under special conditions;
- 50 Mecus as unrepayable aids.
In this context, European Commissioner Matutes drew
the attention to the fact that Turkey is the only European and
Mediterranean country with which any action of cooperation cannot be
engaged because of the lack of means.
4.The intensification of political dialogue.
Finally, Turkey is a country related to the
Community by an association agreement. This relation should also be
reflected in the political field by an intensification of political
dialogue with this country.
TURKEY CRITICIZED AT COPENHAGEN
Turkey has, during the works of the Second Forum on
Human Rights held in Copenhagen as part of the Conference on Security
and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), is again the target of
criticisms because of not respecting human and minority rights in the
Human rights practices and the rights of minorities
in Europe are being discussed at the conference attended by 35 foreign
ministers from Eastern and Western European nations.
Before the opening session a group of about 150
Kurds demonstrated in front of the conference hall. The demonstrators
shouted slogans protesting Turkey's alleged violations of the Kurds'
human rights. Meantime, many international human rights organizations
such as Amnesty International, the Helsinki Watch and the Sakharov
Committee distributed to delegations some detailed reports on the
violation of human and minority rights in Turkey.
Besides, the situation of human rights in Turkey is
raised during a series of Parallel Activities in the form of conference
organized by different Danish democratic and human rights organizations.
On June 6, Austria, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Hungary
and Yugoslavia introduced a joint draft resolution on the rights of the
minorities in Europe. The resolution calls for measures to protect the
languages, cultural identities and traditions of the minorities and
demands legislation to ensure the political representation and
organization of national minorities. It also says minorities should
have freedom of communication with people from the same ethnic roots
who are living in other countries. The resolution touched a sensitive
spot in Turkey's policies.
A day before the joint resolution was introduced
Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Bozer addressed the conference and devoted
most of his speech to the question of minorities.
"The only minorities in Turkey are those designated
by international treaties or bilateral agreements," said Bozer,
referring to the 1922 Treaty of Lausanne which recognized Turkey an
independent republic and provided protection for the rights of
Bozer also said that if the Kurds were granted
national minority status they would not be able to enjoy the rights
they now possessed. Bozer said "terrorism by Kurdish separatists was
receiving support from certain quarters" which he did not name.
"Nothing can justify the support of terrorism. That is why we need to
draw the line between the protection of human rights and terrorism.
That is why individuals cannot be allowed to use their freedoms to
destroy democracy, national integrity and the basic rights and freedoms
of others," said Bozer. "There are articles to this effect in the
constitutions of many European nations and in the European Human Rights
Convention," he added.
Bozer also opposed a proposal introduced by Denmark
and supported by the Soviet Union to set up a human rights committee.
He said while similar committees existed in other international
platforms such as the Council of Europe establishment of a CSCE human
rights committee would only lead to confusion.
Bozer also met separately with West German Foreign
Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher and asked for Bonn's support for
Turkey's request for better relations with the European Community.
After Bozer's departure from Copenhagen, Turkey's
former foreign minister Ilter Türkmen assumed the leadership of the
Turkish delegation. Türkmen said that Turkey has nothing to be ashamed
of in its human rights record. "Turkey will not be the human rights
scapegoat some want it to be," he said.
NEW HELSINKI WATCH REPORT
Helsinki Watch released a new report on Turkey in
June 1990. In this new report, entitled Southeast Turkey: Harsh New
Decree; The Kurdish Minority; Violations of International Law;
Journalists on Hunger Strike, the Washington-based organization
is concerned about the issuance of the Decree 413, which was enacted by
the Council of Ministers in April 1990.
The decree equips the regional governor in
southeastern Turkey with extraordinary powers to censor the press,
exile "troublemakers," remove judges and public prosecutors, and
suspend trade union rights.
After having resumed the recent information on PKK
and the Government actions, village guards, arrests, tortures and
deaths, abuse of the civilian population, police harassment of
civilians and foreigners, due process in legal proceedings, denial of
ethnic identity and the conditions in the Iraqi Kurds' refugee camps,
Helsinki Watch makes the following recommendations to the government of
o Rescind Decree 413 and restore the rights
suspended by that decree;
o Abolish the Village Guard System;
o Protect the civilian population in areas where
guerrilla warfare is taking place and comply with international laws
governing internal armed conflicts;
o End efforts to relocate civilians from troubled
areas except in instances where their lives are endangered, and then
only in accordance with Protocol 11 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions;
o Refrain from using land mines, except in
accordance with the provisions of international law;
o Acknowledge the existence of the Kurdish minority
and grant them the political and civil
o rights held by other Turks;
o Permit lawyers to have immediate access to
detainees and prisoners, including during the preliminary
investigation; to speak Kurdish with prisoners; to meet with prisoners
in privacy; to have adequate time to prepare cases; and to have access
to all documents necessary to a prisoner's defense;
o End restrictions that deprive Kurds of their
ethnic identity: permit official use of the Kurdish language, music and
dance and the celebration of Kurdish holidays; permit the use of
o Permit the establishment of Kurdish associations
and the publication of Kurdish books and periodicals;
o Punish appropriately the abuse and humiliation of
civilians by security forces;
o Acknowledge the pattern of torture in police
detention centers, take steps to end it, and increase sentences for
o Prohibit the use in court of confessions obtained
o Amend the Penal Code to eliminate Articles 141,
142 163 and other Penal Code articles that are used to deprive Turks of
their human rights;
o Stop all legal actions against the press and
against writers and publishers based on the content of their writings,
and release from prisons and detention centers all those held for the
expression of their peaceful political views.
Helsinki Watch recommends that the United States
o condemn the human rights abuses detailed in this
newsletter and use its best efforts to persuade the government of
Turkey to carry out the recommendations listed above; and
o as required by Section 502B of the Foreign
Assistance Act, state clearly what extraordinary circumstances warrant
provision of military assistance to Turkey in light of its consistent
pattern of gross violations of internationally-recognized human rights.