TWO EDITORS CONDEMNED BY
THE COUNCIL OF STATE TO REMAINING
ÖZAL GOES TO WAR
Under the pressure coming from Washington, President
Turgut Özal has made the Motherland Party (ANAP) majority in the
National Assembly give the government authority to send an unspecified
number of troops to the Gulf area and allow US troops to be deployed in
The same National Assembly had, on August 12, to
give the government an unconditional mandate by limiting the authority
to use the Armed Forces in the case of an aggression on Turkey.
Just three weeks later than this decision, Özal
convened the government at his residence, Cankaya, on September 3, and
persuaded the ministers to introduce a bill in Parliament to give the
government power to send troops abroad. And on September 5, the ANAP
majority in the National Assembly voted the bill. Voting took place in
closed session. The bill was supported by 246 deputies, and opposed by
According to rumours reported by the weekly Dateline
of September 8, Özal had ministers sign 10 blank sheets to be used
later for government decrees. No one has the slightest doubt that it
will be Özal who wills out those already-signed sheets whenever he
deems it necessary - without consulting the government.
It seems that Özal will use the authority to send
troops to the Gulf area or to allow US troops to be deployed in Turkey
after his talks with President Bush on September 24-26.
In exchange, Özal is expected to discuss with Bush
possible US aid, and to ask the United States to encourage European
countries to send financial assistance to Turkey. The lifting of US
quotas on Turkish exports is also to be discussed by the two presidents.
The situation is rife with danger for Turkey
according to Özal's critics. They argue that Özal now has the power to
make decisions for motives known only to him but affecting the future
of the entire nation.
Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP) leader Erdal
Inönü said the administration was committing murder by failing to abide
by the principle of "Peace at home; peace in the world,"
established by Kemal Atatürk, founder of the republic. "The powers
obtained were tantamount to taking Turkey into war and turning Turkey's
image into that of a country with expansionist policies."
Süleyman Demirel, former prime minister and leader
of the Correct Way Party (DYP), used even stronger language and said
the whole affair was a "treasonous scenario."
The SHP decided to appeal to the Constitutional
Court to cancel the authorities given to the government on rounds that
these measures violate the constitution.
In addition to the parliamentary opposition, all
democratic organizations of Turkey oppose to the government's Gulf
policies and hold rallies to protest against the National Assembly's
According to a public survey carried out by the
daily Hürriyet and the Group Kamar, more than 61 percent of the Turks
do not want Turkey to go to war.
MECCA DISASTER SPARKS ANGER AGAINST SAUDI ARABIA
Although the Özal administration has been committed
to the defence of Saudi Arabia, the public opinion does not have a
sympathy for this country which has always been the main supporter of
the rising of Islam fundamentalism in Turkey.
Even among the believers, the tragedy in Mecca where
more than 1,400 pilgrims, over 600 of them Turks, died on July 2, has
led to a furious reaction.
A petition signed by 56 deputies of the Correct Way
Party (DYP) asked for an emergency session of the National Assembly to
discuss the deaths of the Turkish pilgrims. This move was later joined
by the 73 deputies of the main opposition Social Democratic Populist
The government is also accused of not carrying out
pressure on Saudi Arabia to pay compensation. Prime Minister Akbulut
said: "These may be discussed later. Our sorrow is great. I don't think
money would alleviate our pain."
King Fahd of Saudi Arabia said what happened in
Mecca was the "will of God." A Saudi newspaper, Al Nadwa said those
Islamic nations which demanded an inquiry into the incident did not
believe in the will of God.
Both opposition parties accused the government of
trying to absolve Saudi Arabia from blame for the deaths.
The SHP leader has also accused the government of
allowing 10 Turkish governors and Istanbul's police chief to make the
pilgrimage who were invited by the Rabitat'ul-Alem-ul Islam (World
Islamic League), a Saudi organization which promotes the Saudi version
of Islam world-wide. (See: Info-Türk, Extreme Right in Turkey, 1988).
"High-ranking government officials cannot make a pilgrimage either with
government money or with funds provided by a foreign government," he
A new proof of the continuation of the military regime in Turkey
INFO-TÜRK'S TWO EDITORS CONDEMNED BY
THE COUNCIL OF STATE TO REMAINING STATELESS
The Turkish Council of State, following a two-year
examination, has rejected an appeal by two editors of Info-Türk, Dogan
Özgüden and Inci Tugsavul, against the military government's decision
having them deprived of their nationality.
The decision condemning the two journalists to
remaining stateless was taken by three votes against two.
Özgüden and Tugsavul had been stripped of their
Turkish nationality in 1983 because of their activities abroad for
defending human rights in Turkey.
Although this decision was reported by the Turkish
newspapers, an official notice had not been given them.
In 1988, during a press conference held by Premier
Turgut Özal in Brussels, Özgüden and Tugsavul forwarded him some
questions on the situation of human rights in Turkey.
In a quick retaliation, the Turkish Government
officially notified the decision through its Consulate in Brussels in
May 1988, that is to say with a 5-year delay. Thereupon, Özgüden and
Tugsavul appealed to the Council of State for annulment of this
The Turkish Government, in its response to this
appeal, claimed that Info-Türk editors should remain "stateless"
because they had carried out "communist and separatist propaganda" and
slandered Turkish authorities and Turkish generals in the publications
they edited abroad.
In the same response, the Government reported that
legal proceedings were opened in Turkey against the two journalists in
virtue of many articles of the Turkish Penal Code: 140 (disseminating
exaggerated or slanted information with the purpose of harming Turkey's
reputation and dignity abroad), 142 (carrying out communist and
separatist propaganda), 156 slandering government authorities and army
According to these articles, both journalists are
liable to prison terms of not less than 30 years each.
The Turkish Council of State turned down the appeal
by refering to a decree of the military junta of October 28, 1980
concerning "constitutional order" which stipulated that no appeal could
be made against the laws or decrees promulgated by the military junta
or by its military government.
Whereas, this decree had been lifted on December 7,
1983 following the inauguration of the National Assembly and has no
more been in force since then.
The decision of the Council of State proves once
more that Turkey, despite the claim that this country be a European
democracy, is still subjected, with its all legislative, executive and
even judicial bodies, to the arbitrary regime installed by the military.
For the time being, more than 200 opponents of the
regime abroad are still deprived of their nationality and not
authorized to return to their country while all leaders of a pro-Soviet
communist party, who have never been deprived of their nationality,
already returned to Turkey and are tolerated to participate in
Besides, more than 14,000 Turkish citizens are also
stripped of their nationality for having refused to carry out their
obligatory military service in the Turkish Army.
HUMAN RIGHTS SUSPENDED IN TURKISH KURDISTAN
Although Özal claims that Turkey supports the US
military operation in the Middle East in the sake of safeguarding
international law and human rights in the region, one of the first
steps taken by his government after having taken a bellicose stand was
to suspend the application of the European Convention on Human Rights
in Turkish Kurdistan.
This decision was first reported by the French daily
Libération and confirmed later by the Turkish authorities on September
This decision is based on Article 15 of the
Convention, saying :"In time of war or other public emergency
threatening the life of the nation any High Contracting Party may take
measures derogating from its obligations under this Convention to the
extent strictly required by the exigencies of the situation."
However, the same article says: "No derogation from
Article 2, except in respect of deaths resulting from lawful acts of
war, or from Articles 3, 4 (paragraph 1) and 7 shall be made under this
Article 2 says: "Everyone's right to life shall be
protected by law."
Article 3: "No one shall be subjected to torture or
to inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment."
Article 4, paragraph 1: "No one shall be held in
slavery or servitude."
Article 7: "No one shall be held guilty of any
criminal offence on account of any act or omission which did not
constitute a criminal offence under national or international law at
the time when it was committed."
Whereas, the Turkish Government has, not only after
the suspension of the Convention in Turkish Kurdistan but even prior to
it, never respected these articles.
The putting in force emergency decrees which gives
the Interior Ministry and the Regional Governor extraordinary powers
(See: Info-Türk, April 1990 and after) were not compatible neither with
the European Convention nor with the Turkish Constitution.
The Human Rights Association announced that military
troops had, on August 8, executed seven people by shooting dead in the
district of Yuksekova of the province of Hakkari. The military
announced at that date that seven PKK militants perished during an
armed confrontation with security forces.
The IHD, denying this official claim, said that the
seven victims were not PKK militants, but simple smugglers. After being
arrested and handcuffed, they were taken to the Mobile Gendarmery
Battalion and executed by shooting. Then, the bodies were buried into a
common grave dug by a Municipal excavator. The parents of the victims
asked for the bodies to establish the real fact of the death, but the
military authorities refused to open the grave. The IHD accused the
security forces to execute any suspect without trial.
On August 15, in Dogu Beyazit, all local tradesmen
pulled down their shutters to manifest their sympathy to the Kurdish
Guerrilla celebrating the 6th anniversary of the beginning of their
armed actions. In retaliation, a big number of military troops were
sent to the town and opened fire on the people.
On August 20, the funeral of a Kurdish militant shot
dead by security forces turned into a demonstration in favour of the
Kurdish Guerrilla movement. The people shouting anti-government slogans
in front of the local governor's office were dispersed military troops
using force and 32 people were arrested.
On September 5, three Kurds were shot dead by
security forces in the town of Nusaybin. The local authorities refused
to give the victims' bodies to their parents. In protest, local
tradesmen pulled down their shutters and held an anti-government
demonstration. Security forces cracked down on the demonstrators and
arrested more than 80 people.
The weekly Yüzyil reported on August 27 that many
Kurdish villages and hamlets in the province of Sirnak had been burnt
by military troops. The names of these villages and hamlets: Avyan,
Govasmu, Tenge, Bacirit, Cekceko, Diryan, Girek, Cebrowil and Torkiz.
On the other hand, from the beginning of August to
September 12, security forces shot dead 42 Kurdish militants during
armed confrontations or raids in Siirt, Sirnak, Yuksekova, Tunceli,
Agri, Dogu Beyazit, Savur, Bingol, Kahramanmaras, Gaziantep and Mardin.
A STRIKE AT US BASES SUSPENDED
As the social unrest was amplifying throughout the country, the Gulf
Crisis became for the government and employers a pretext to suspend
Within the first six months of this year 177 strikes were carried out
by 36,239 workers. In the same period, 26 employers applied lock-out
against 15,109 workers.
The number of strikers still leading strike throughout the country was
10,406 in August, and 4,000 other workers announced they would go on
strike. Besides, 7,000 other workers whose collective bargaining failed
were preparing themselves to strike.
The government, on the pretext of the Gulf Crisis,
on August 11, suspended a strike carried out by 4,200 civilian
employees at 26 American military facilities. The strike was deemed as
a threat toward national interest.
The War Industry Workers' Union (Harb-Is) announced
that American employers were reducing the number of Turkish personnel
and illegally employing American staff. 347 Turkish employees were
fired from the bases in roughly the past year and there were more than
400 Americans working at the base illegally, the union reported.
The government suspended on the same pretext another
strike carried out at the rubber industries.
CENSORSHIP ON LEGAL GROUPS
The opening of the judicial year on September 6 was
marked with a open row between the Supreme Court and the lawyers
The Union of Turkish Bar Associations (TBB), it is
the first time of the Republic's history, organized a ceremony other
than that of the Supreme Court. This "alternative" ceremony was
attended by about 2,000 lawyers.
Turkey's bar associations already announced on June
16 that they would boycott the September 6 ceremony at the Supreme
Court marking the opening of the new judicial year because of what they
called the censorship imposed on the address to be delivered by the TBB
President Önder Sav.
The row between Chief Judge Ismet Ocakcioglu and the
bar associations began when Ocakcioglu asked Sav to submit the text of
his address prior to the ceremony. Claiming this was an attempt to
censor his speech, Sav refused. Ocakcioglu responded by saying that if
Sav did not submit the text of his address, he would not be allowed to
speak at the ceremony. Thereupon, presidents and representatives of 43
bar associations met in Ankara and decided to hold a separate opening
ceremony to stress the independence of jurisdiction.
As for the Supreme Court ceremony, the main
opposition leader Erdal Inönü (SHP) walked out of it in protest against
the Chief Judge's following remarks in his speech: "There were circles
who wanted to use the dispute between the Supreme Court and the Bar
Associations for political aims. Some politicians fuel the dispute.
There is no place here for speeches intended to turn this ceremony into
a platform for political discussions."
After leaving the ceremony, Inönü said: "Such an
attitude does not suit a chief judge. The main opposition party is
committed to securing the independence of jurisdiction.
In another move to intimidate lawyers, on July 18,
the public prosecutor, on the order of the Justice Ministry, opened a
legal proceeding with the demand of dismissing members of the Istanbul
Bar Association. The officials of the Bar are accused by the prosecutor
of making declarations of political sense.
This act of intimidation was severely protested by
TBB. US Helsinki Watch too, in a message sent to Turkey on July 19,
protested the action against the Istanbul Bar Association.
NEW PRESSURES ON DEFENSE LAWYERS
A new directive by the Ministry of Justice, dated
June 13, 1990, puts new restrictions on lawyers' visit to their clients
in prison and bans such a talk in some cases. Lawyer Meryem Erdal
appealed, on August 24, to the Council of State for obtaining the
annulment of this directive. She said this new directive considers a
priori all defense lawyers as "suspect".
Same day, a lawyer, Hasan Hüseyin Reyhan, was
subjected to the application of this new directive. When he went to the
police headquarter in Iskenderun for getting information about the
detention of his client, folk singer Gülhan Tabak, policemen refused to
give him information and, when he insists, subjected him to torture.
After his release, Reyhan got a medical report attesting that he cannot
work for three days as a result of the torture.
On September 7, three lawyers who went to the
Bayrampasa Prison to see their clients were prevented by the guards.
During the dispute, three lawyers, Fethiye Peksen, Ulutan Gün and Bedii
Yarayici, were harassed by guards and forced to leave the prison.
In fact, the unrest among the political prisoners of
the Bayrampasa Prison is getting grower and grower. On September 6, a
political detainee, Ali Osman Köse, during his trial at the State
Security Court of Istanbul, attempted to make a declaration on some
incidents at the Bayrampasa Prison. The demand was refused by the chief
judge. When the detainee insisted on his demand, the judge ordered the
guards to expel him from the court room, saying "Throw out this
vagabond!" When journalists were trying to photograph the incident, the
judge insulted them with similar words.
On September 10, the press reported that the parents
of prisoners appealed to the Public Prosecutor's Office, by complaining
that the number of their visits to prison was reduced from once a week
to once a fortnight. Moreover, the duration of the visit was limited
into 15 minutes. They also carried out some protest demonstrations in
front of the prison and blocked the main entrance. Soldiers dispersed
all demonstrators by using force.
TWO NEW AI REPORTS ON TURKEY
Amnesty International criticized again the
Turkish authorities in two separate reports released at the beginning
AI points out in the report entitled Turkey: Further
information on continuing violations of human rights that no further
progress has been made to enact the Amnesty proposals to amend the 182
Constitution, the Turkish penal code and the Turkish criminal procedure
code concerning the length of detention, as well as to provide
detainees access to their lawyers, repeal the death penalty and remove
provisions under which prisoners of conscience have been convicted.
The following are the report's remarks on torture
"Since the publication of the May Report Amnesty
International has continued to receive a large number of well
substantiated torture testimonies. The number of people who within just
two months were reported to the organization as having suffered torture
and ill-treatment in police custody is well over 100. All information
available to Amnesty International indicates that torture is still
widespread and systematic in Turkey, despite the fact that Turkey
ratified the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture on 25
February 1988 and the UN Convention Against Torture on 2 August 1988.
"Further reports of severe torture and
ill-treatment have come from southeastern Turkey where the majority of
the population is of Kurdish origin. Ten provinces in this area under
emergency legislation with the effect that the maximum length of
incommunicado detention here is twice as long as in the remaining part
of the country
"Reports of torture and ill-treatment in Turkey also
included allegations that detainees had died as a result of torture.
Two such reports were received in May and June 1990. Ali Akan died on
May in police custody in Antalya. On 4 June Serdar Cekic Abbasoglu,
aged 23, was found dead in Ankara Closed Prison."
In the other report titled Iraqi Kurds: At Risk of
Forcible Repatriation from Turkey and Human Rights Violations in
Iraq, Amnesty says that in the absence of any legal protection, Iraqi
Kurdish refugees in Turkey risk being "forcibly returned or extradited
from Turkey to Iraq, where they could face 'disappearance,' torture or
Over 55,000 Kurds to fled to Turkey in August and
September 1988 to escape Iraqi attacks but were only given "temporary
shelter" by the Turks, it said. The Iraqi government has offered five
amnesties since then, which encouraged a number of Kurds to return, but
in the absence of international monitors no official accounting has
since been made of their condition.
Amnesty says the amnesties may have been used to
lure the Kurds back to Iraq, and criticizes the Turkish government for
not allowing the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
to be involved in the protection of Kurdish refugees at all stages.
"Amnesty continued to receive reports of the
attempted repatriation or extradition of Kurdish refugees and is
concerned that they are being systematically denied legal protection
through the Turkish government's refusal to grant UNHCR direct, regular
access to the camps," it writes.
HELSINKI WATCH PROTESTS
In a letter to the Turkish Embassy in Washington in
July, Helsinki Watch protested Turkey's decision not to allow its
members to investigate prison conditions in Turkey.
Prof. Herman Schwartz, author of the Helsinki Watch
report on prison conditions in Turkey published in August 1989, asked
the Turkish government to reconsider its decision in his letter to the
The Turkish government refused permission to
Schwartz and members of his group to visit any Turkish prison in 1989.
After they had left Turkey, the Turkish government announced they could
visit the Bursa prison.
Helsinki Watch renewed its request to undertake a
comprehensive program of prison visits in Turkey. This request has
again been denied by the Turkish government, which said the
fact-finding mission could only visit the Bursa prison.
Helsinki Watch said its prison report last year was
criticized by the Turkish Government as "deeply flawed" and
"unbalanced," since the mission "had not visited a single Turkish
In his letter to the Turkish Embassy in Washington,
Schwartz said that a "balanced" investigation of a prison system cannot
be made from a visit to only one prison. The Helsinki Watch release
also said Schwartz pointed out that other countries, including Poland,
Czechoslovakia, Brazil, Cuba and Mexico, had welcomed Helsinki Watch
visits to their prisons.
RECENT TORTURE ALLEGATIONS
On August 1st, the Medicine Faculty of the Ankara
University issued a medical report attesting that political detainee
Sedat Karaagac's life might be in danger if he is not immediately
released. Karaagac is reportedly suffering from skin cancer.
August 6, the local chairman of the Welfare Party
(RP) in Karaman, Nazim Boynukalin, said that he had been taken into
custody when he went to the police centre to see his brother under
arrest. He alleged that police tortured him in his
Same day, the Association for Solidarity with
Prisoners' Families (TAYAD) announced that 15 people were detained when
they went for a picnic in Istanbul and later on subjected to torture at
a police centre in Bakirköy.
August 8, in Izmit, a university student, Cemil
Demiröz, and a worker, Cem Tat, declared that they had been subjected
to torture for 21 hours at police centre after their detention at the
Kocaeli Fair when they were visiting the stand of the review Mücadele.
August 20, a former political detainee, Feremez
Aydin died because of the torture he had undergone at the police
headquarters of the city of Antalya. According to his doctors, torture
provoked cirrhosis in his liver, but he was never been allowed to have
a medical treatment against it. Although he was released by a tribunal
six months ago, it was already too late.
Next day, two women detained during an anti-USA
demonstration in Ankara, Songül Özyurt and Hülya Özdemir, claimed after
their release that they underwent torture for two days at the police
headquarters. Their claim was confirmed by a medical certificate.
August 27, the Association for Solidarity with the
Prisoners' Families (TAYAD) announced that a political detainee, Dogan
Yildirim who had been taken into custody ten days ago, was tortured at
police station and went on a hunger-strike in protest.
POLICE TERROR IN SLUMS AREA
People living in sub-standard housing in
Kücükarmutlu in Istanbul had an 11-hour confrontation with police on
July 23 which continued into next day. One person died and at least 30
people were injured. Police arrested 27 residents.
The incident began when a 150-strong police force
began searching houses in Kücükarmutlu in the night. Police said they
called the search after being tipped off that armed people who probably
belonged to one of the left-wing extremist groups had been seen in the
As the police combed the houses and climbed toward
the peak of the hill on the European side of the Bosphorus a group of
residents began a protest march thinking that the police had come to
the neighbourhood with municipal demolition teams and were about to
tear their houses down.
In the past there had been frequent confrontations
between security forces and people living in Istanbul's slums when
municipal workers arrived to demolish their unlicensed makeshift houses
which are usually built on land belonging to the government.
This time, on the people's resistance, the police
had to withdraw from the neighbourhood; 27 people were arrested.
Huseyin Iseri, 41, was killed by bullets to the neck and back. During
the clashes 17 policemen were injured, three of them seriously, by
rocks thrown by the demonstrators.
The people of Kücükarmutlu complain about "slum
underworld" which makes money out of people living in substandard
housing by allowing them to build their houses on plots of land the
racketeers control illegitimately.
"We have delivered a petition, signed by 287 people
living here, complaining that these people are exploiting us. We have
asked for protection. But instead the police raided our houses. In
fact, some of the policemen, are collaborating with the racketeers,"
Recently, on September 11, gendarmery troops carried
out a combing operation in the slum areas of Kartal in Istanbul. 27
people were taken into police custody.
STATE TERRORISM IN TWO MONTHS
1.8, seven people were arrested in Istanbul by the
State Security Court for having carried out a protest demonstration
during the trial of 20 Islam militants on July 25, 1990.
2.8, police announced the arrest of 20 people in the
town of Batman and 17 village protectors in the town of Pervari for
anti-government activities. Among the detainees of Batman are also some
members of the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD).
3.8, a physician at the Health Centre No.2 of
Siirt, Dr. Ahmet Soysal was banished to another city in Central
Anatolia by the Regional Governor in application of the new emergency
3.8, two lawyers under arrest, Hasan Sahin and
Gürbüz Özaltinli were brought before the State Security Court of
Ankara. The public prosecutors claimed that each be sentenced to prison
terms of 8 to 15 years for belonging to an underground organization.
The defendants, declaring that they are members of the Human Rights
Association of Turkey (IHD), accused the prosecutor of indicting
progressive intellectuals because he is filled with hate for them.
4.8, a Kurdish political detainee, Halil Celikaslan,
was sentenced to a prison term of 9 years and 8 months for having made
his defense at the court in Kurdish language. He had already been
sentenced to a 18-year imprisonment for being member of the PKK. In
addition to these two punishments, the defendant was sentenced to a
10-month imprisonment for having written his appeal to the higher court
in Kurdish language.
9.8, ten political detainees, defendants of the
Dev-Sol (Revolutionary Left) Trial, were indicted in a new case, for
having announced that they would go on a hunger strike in prison. The
prosecutor of the SSC of Istanbul claimed a total of 160-year
imprisonment for ten detainees.
9.8, a meeting held in Istanbul by a group of
socialists with a view to setting up a new legal party, the Union Party
of Socialists (SBP), was raided by police. 53 participants, including
journalist Oral Calislar and lawyers Serpil Aslan, Ayhan Kizilöz and
Nurcan Akca, were taken into police custody.
10.8, the daily Günes reported that all workers of
Kurdish origin working at the Batikent construction area had been
registered as "suspects" by the Gendarmerie Command of Ankara. This
operation, confirmed by the Governor's Office, was severely protested
by the Human Rights Association.
10.8, the local chairman of the Human Rights
Association (IHD) in Tunceli was tried at the State Security Court of
Erzincan for inciting the people to a protest action. Under arrest for
four months, he faces a prison term of up to 15 years.
11.8, a member of the central committee of the
Socialist Party (SP), Ismail Durna, was taken into custody during his
talk with a group of workers fired at the town of Terme in Izmir.
12.8, security forces arrested 14 people, allegedly
members of an underground organization, when they were escaping by boat
from Söke to Greece.
14.8, two high school students, both 15 years old,
were brought before the State Security Court of Istanbul on charges
that they were carrying Molotov cocktails during the May Day incidents.
15.8, the local chairman of the Correct Way Party
(DYP) in the town of Pervari, Ahmet Bilen, was arrested along with
three village protectors. They are accused of not having acted so as to
defend a pro-government unit attacked by PKK guerrillas.
15.8, police announced the arrest of 18 alleged
members of the Acilciler (Urgent Action) in Gaziantep and Hatay.
16.8, the local branch of the Popular Clubs
(Halkevleri) at the Uskudar quarters of Istanbul was closed down by the
governor. The Chairman of the Popular Clubs, Ahmet Yildiz protested
this decision saying this measure proved that the actual regime is a
prolongation of the military rule.
17.8, the Association of Workingmen in Istanbul was
closed down by the order of the Governor of Istanbul. During the
execution of the order, police registered the names and addresses of
all those who were inside.
18.8, police announced the arrest of five alleged
militants of the Revolutionary Communist Party (DKP) in Istanbul.
20.8, the public prosecutor claimed capital
punishment for a Syrian national, Muhammed Kemal, who is accused of
taking part in the PKK guerrilla. He will be tried at the State
Security Court of Malatya along with 17 other defendants who face
imprisonment of up to 5 years.
20.8, the public prosecutor started a legal
proceeding for closing down the Mersin section of the Human Rights
21.8, police announced the arrest of 9 alleged
militants of the June 16 Organization. Among them is also an Army
22.8, the public prosecutor opened a legal
proceeding against eight militants of the Revolutionary Communist Party
(DKP), arrested after an armed confrontation with security forces in
Istanbul. One of the defendants faces capital punishment while seven
others are liable to prison terms of from 10 to 60 years.
28.8, the State Security Court of Ankara sentenced
four people to different prison terms of up to 2 years and 6 months for
having distributed some political tracts in Ankara.
31.8, the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD)
announced that a taxi driver in the township of Siverek, Adnan Bagca
had disappeared since he was taken into police custody on June 11,
5.9, in Nusaybin, three members of the Socialist
Party (SP) were arrested for revealing a report on the violation of
human rights in the village of Kurtköy in the district of Nusaybin.
Within the frame of the same inquiry, the public prosecutor issued a
warrant of arrest against the SP Secretary General Yalcin Büyükdagli
and two other party officials who, together with the three members
under arrest, took part in the commission drawing up the said report.
6.9, the public prosecutor filed a proceeding in
order to close down definitely the Bursa branch of the Popular Clubs
(Halkevleri), claiming that it turned into a hiding place for
university students wanted by police.
9.9, police announced the capture of five alleged
militants of Dev-Sol (Revolutionary Left) in Istanbul.
11.9, four people, detained 15 days ago for
belonging to the Revolutionary Workers-Peasants' Liberation Army
(TIKKO), were placed under arrest by the State Security Court of
12.9, the 10th anniversary of the military coup of
12 September 1980 was marked by a series of protest actions and police
brutal police retaliation. Left-wing groups staged demonstrations
throughout the country. On the pretext that preliminary permission was
not asked for these demonstrations, police assailed the demonstrators
and opened fire on crowds. In Ankara, a university student, Kenan
Baysüren, was gravely wounded with police bullet. Hundreds of people
were taken into police custody. At a common meeting held by many
democratic organizations, the Secretary General of the Human Rights
Association (IHD), Akin Birdal claimed as well the arrest of the
authors of the coup as the suppression of all anti-democratic
institutions set up by the military junta.
ISLAMISTS SLAINED A JOURNALIST
Journalist Turan Dursun, a former clergyman and
writer for the weekly Yüzyil was assassinated on September 4 in
Istanbul by unidentified persons. Dursun was leaving his house on the
Asian side of the Bosphorus, when seven shots were fired at him by
assailants. He died at the scene.
An advocate of secularism, Dursun had written many
articles criticizing Sharia (Islamic Law) and been receiving death
threats for six months. In one such letter by "a businessman from Van,"
he was told that if he did not publicly apologize for his accusations
against Moslems, he would pay with his life. However, he did not ask
for police protection against the fundamentalist threats.
In announcing Dursun's murder, Tehran Radio said
"the Turkish Salman Rushdie has been killed."
Like Rushdie, Tehran Radio said, Dursun had repeatedly betrayed and
insulted Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.
In his own words, Dursun's recent autobiographic
book, Kullateyn, "dealt a coup de grace" to fundamentalists, sheikhs,
clergymen and religious taboos. He was also the author of Din Bu (This
Is Religion), an essay on religion.
Dursun was educated at religious schools but during
his 14-year career as clergyman, he was often criticized for being
secularist. He turned to journalism and became religious programs
producer for Turkish Radio and Television.
Hasan Yalcin, the Yüzyil editor-in-chief, accused
the government of allowing fundamentalism to gain ground in the
country. In fact, fundamentalism had also claimed the lives of lawyer
Muammer Aksoy in February and journalist Cetin Emec in March, both
strong advocates of secularism.
Twelve Turkish journalists have been victims of
political assassinations since 1978.
In another violence act against the press, the
central office of the daily Milliyet in Istanbul was raided on
September 7 by a group of people of the underworld. Tens of employees
of reception and readers were injured during the attack. The brother of
a godfather, Drej Ali, supporter of the Turkish neo-fascist movement,
was captured wounded after the attack. However, the judge freed him as
well as other detainees despite the existence of solid proofs against
PERINCEK STILL REMAINS IN JAIL
At the second session of his trial on August 31, the
State Security Court of Diyarbakir refused to release Dogu Perincek,
the chief editor of the banned left-wing weekly magazine 2000e
Dogru.The decision was met with protests by some 50 spectators in the
court-room; soldiers used force to remove them. The spectators included
Helmut Oberdiek, the representative of Amnesty International.
Protesting the court's decision not to release him,
Perincek said: "The fact that I am prosecuted without any solid
evidence is not something of which Turkish law should be proud. Let
Özal and MIT (the National Intelligence Organization) come and try me
Perincek's arrest continues to give rise protests as
well throughout the country as abroad.
On August 24, fifteen members of the Socialist Party
(SP) were detained in Istanbul for having carried out a demonstration
by carrying posters written "Freedom to Perincek!". Next day, another
group of the SP members were dispersed by police when they were
demonstrating in the quarter of Cagaloglu, the press centre of Istanbul.
On August 28, in Istanbul, a group of
intellectuals, in a press communiqué, claimed the release of Dogu
Perincek. Next day, a group of the Socialist Party (SP) members went to
the Ministry of Justice for introducing a petition claiming the release
of Perincek, but they were prevented by the police. In Diyarbakir, two
members of the Socialist Party were detained as they were putting on
walls posters claiming the release of Perincek.
PRESS PROSECUTION OF LAST TWO MONTHS
1.8, a concert of the musical group Ekin at the
campus of Hacettepe University was raided by gendarmery. Four members
of the group and 24 university students were taken into custody.
2.8, the responsible editor of the monthly review
Emegin Bayragi, Sükrü Aksoy was sentenced by the State Security Court
of Istanbul to a prison term of 10 months for communist propaganda.
3.8, a columnist of the daily Yeni Nesil, Nurettin
Sirin was indicted by the State Security Court of Izmir for his
conference in Denizli on the head-cover question. He faces a prison
term of up to 17 years for anti-secular propaganda.
3.8, two journalists from the monthly Kafdagi,
columnist Murat Ozden and responsible editor Aslan Ari, were indicted
by the State Security Court of Ankara for an article entitled "Cultural
problems of the Circassians…" Both face a prison term of ten months for
destroying national feelings.
4.8, a book entitled A General View of the Near Past
and a Draft Platform, published by the Eksen Publishing House, was
confiscated by the State Security Court of Istanbul on the claim that
it contains "separatist propaganda."
6.8, a concert by Ferhat Tunc was banned at the last
moment by the Governor of Istanbul. Besides, Tunc was kept under police
custody for four hours.
6.8, famous folk singer Ahmet Kaya was detained in
Istanbul on the charge of having caused political incidents during his
concert given a few weeks ago. Although the State Security Court later
released him, he will be tried by the same court for "separatist
propaganda". He is liable to a prison term of up to 5 years.
7.8, in Sanliurfa, a folk singer, Besir Kaya was
arrested for having sung Kurdish songs during his performance at a
11.8, a tourist pamphlet distributed by a German
travel organization, Rotel Tours, became the object of legal
proceeding in Turkey. The public prosecutor opened an inquiry on the
pamphlet which presents the Eastern Anatolia under the title of
14.8, the recent issue of the Islamist review
Akdogus was confiscated on charges of insulting Atatürk and making
separatist propaganda. Earlier, all the precedent issues of this review
had already been confiscated.
17.8, in Istanbul, a concert of the musical group
Kizilirmak and the screening of the movie-film Ordinary Fascism were
banned by the Governor.
18.8, singer Gülhan Tabak was detained by police and
later placed under arrest for having performed some Kurdish songs
during his concert in Iskenderun.
18.8, the issue No.22 of the monthly review Özgürlük
Yolu was confiscated by the State Security Court of Istanbul.
18.8, two journalists from the daily Milliyet,
responsible editor Eren Güvener and editor for economic affairs Necati
Dogru, were indicted for discrediting the Turkish nation in article.
Both face a prison term of up to 6 months.
20.8, a concert of the musical group Ekin in Mersin
was prevented by the police. A member of the group, Metin Turan was
taken into police custody.
21.8, the new trial of Professor Yalcin Kücük,
accused of "separatist propaganda" began at the State Security Court of
Istanbul. He faces a prison term of up to 15 years.
22.8, Emin Cölasan and Hasan Kilic, respectively
columnist and responsible editor of the daily Hürriyet, were accused in
a libel suit of insulting President Özal. Both face a prison term of up
to four and a half years. The President also has a case pending against
Cölasan for a book he published on the Özal family.
23.8, the trial of three journalists from the weekly
2000e Dogru, responsible editor Tunca Arslan, correspondents Nadiye
Yesiltepe and Hüseyin Kivanc, began et the State Security Court of
Istanbul. Accused of "separatist propaganda", each faces a prison term
of up to 15 years.
24.8, three painters from Germany, Judith Hamann,
Sahin Ince and Heiner Metzeger were not allowed to open an exhibition
within the frame of the Kadiköy Festivities in Istanbul.This censorship
on the Arts was severely protested as well by the artists as by the
Association of Plastic Arts.
27.8, the performance in Istanbul of the play
entitled Pir Sultan Abdal was banned by the governor. Pir Sultan Abdal
was a popular leader of Alevite obedience and executed by the Ottoman
rulers. The manager of the Birlik Theatre of Ankara, Zeki Göker said
this ban is not compatible with the freedom of Arts.
31.8, in Bursa, the local office of the monthly
review Yeni Cözüm was raided by police and 15 people inside were taken
into police custody.
31.8, the first of issue of the weekly Yeni Halk
Gercegi was confiscated by the order of the State Security Court of
Istanbul on charges of separatism. This new review was published
instead of Halk Gercegi, closed down definitely by the Ministry of
31.8, the responsible editor of the monthly Emek,
Abuzer Kilic was sentenced to 7 years and 6 months prison term for
separatism. The punishment was later commuted to a fine of TL
13,675,000 ($ 5,OOO).
31.8, the responsible editor of the monthly Yeni
Cözüm, Yasar Kopan was sentenced to a fine of TL 9,165,000 ($ 3,5OO).
5.9, a columnist from the daily Cumhuriyet, Oktay
Akbal was tried at a criminal court of Istanbul for having criticized
10.9, the Ankara correspondent of the monthly
Mücadele, Erol Sarikaya and a reader of the review, Tülay Gencay, were
taken into custody by police. Their lawyer was not allowed to see the
12.9, a journalist, Hasan Uysal, and an actor, Ilyas
Salman, were indicted for having insulted President Özal during a
meeting in Akhisar. Both face prison terms of up to 5 years.
CONTROVERSY ON PRIVATE TV
Along with other countries, Turkey too has recently
found herself in a fight between public and private media groups to get
under control Turkish TV broadcastings with the implication of press
magnates like Murdoch and Maxwell.
Until now, by virtue of the Turkish Constitution,
the television and radio broadcasting monopoly has belonged to a public
company under the government's control:the Turkish Radio and TV
With the proliferation of dishes on the roofs of
Turkish homes, satellite transmission of foreign television companies
have already become novel entertainment for local television viewers.
Since these broadcastings are in foreign languages, this new
entertainment has not bothered Turkish authorities.
However, in June, a private television company,
Magic Box, announced that it would begin transmitting from Germany its
regular programs in Turkish language from September. So Turkish viewers
will be able to receive this broadcasting by dishes in Turkey.
This new initiative was warmly welcomed by the
opposition parties who are always complaining from the propaganda
monopoly of the government over the public television and now hoping
that they can raise their voice on TV screens thanks to this private
However, this hope was upset when it was realized
that the principal shareholder in this new private television company
is President Özal's elder son, Ahmet Özal. He appointed Tunca Toskay,
one of the former TRT directors, a loyal servant of military and
post-military governments, to the direction of the Magic Box.
While the controversy on Magic Box was growing,
foreign press magnates too have taken initiatives in a view to
investing in the Turkish media.
Cyprus-born British tycoon Asil Nadir, owner of
Polly Peck International which includes Del Monte, the electronics firm
Sansui and Vestel electronics in Turkey, has already acquired a
considerable media empire in Turkey. His first venture was the
acquisition of Günaydin and Tan newspapers, together with Gelisim
Publications, which publishes the weekly Nokta magazine as well as 14
other periodicals and 24 encyclopedias. In January 1988, Nadir also
purchased the daily Günes newspaper. He has the intention to have
private TV channels as well.
Recently, two media magnates, Rupert Murdoch and
Robert Maxwell have visited Turkey for exploring the investment
possibilities in this country.
During his four-day visit Turkey, Murdoch met Özal
at the Presidential Palace on July 27 and told him he wanted to invest
in Turkey. Özal encouraged him that everyone was welcome to invest in
Turkey and do business according to the country's law and regulations.
Murdoch also visited the director of TRT, Kerim Aydin Erdem and called
for a company owned jointly by TRT and himself that would operate
After Murdoch's departure, British press magnate
Robert Maxwell came to Turkey in a view to purchasing a 49-percent
share in the biggest Turkish daily Hürriyet. He is reportedly
interested in TV investment as well.
He explained the reason of his interest by saying
that he had first come penniless to Turkey from Czechoslovakia 50 years
ago to escape the Gestapo. He fell in love with Turkey and the Turks,
he said, and has since supported them at every opportunity.
After being received by Özal, at a press conference
he held at his private yacht in Istanbul on August 14, he gave a warm
support for President Özal's handling of the Gulf Crisis and criticized
the Turkish opposition for failing to unite with the government when
there was a danger of war.
Likely, very soon, Turkish press and television will
fall under the control of international press groups.
ELECTORAL DEFEAT OF PARLIAMENTARY OPPOSITION
The results of the local election held on August 18
in one town and 13 newly formed districts plunged two opposition
parties represented in Parliament into a big confusion.
The Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP) garnered
only 11 percent, and the Correct Way Party (DYP) 9.6 of the vote in 14
The ruling Motherland Party (ANAP) secured a slim
victory in 11 of the 14 constituencies, receiving 24 percent of the
vote, three points above its performance in the 1989 municipal
The big surprise of this election was the
considerable progress registered by three oppositions parties which are
not represented at the National Assembly due to the 10% vote barrage in
The Democratic Left Party (DSP) of former prime
minister Bülent Ecevit emerged the victor with Necdet Özkan, its
candidate in Istanbul's Bayrampasa district, becoming municipal mayor
ahead of the ruling ANAP. DSP's approval rating, 33 percent, raised it
to first place overall.
The fundamentalist Welfare Party (RP) of former
Vice-Premier Necmettin Erbakan ranked third with 18 percent of the vote.
The extreme-right Nationalist Labour Party (MCP) of
former colonel Alparslan Türkes and his "Grey Wolves", obtained an
important gain at Etimesgut municipality in Ankara. It failed to place
its candidate as mayor by a margin of only 0.1 percent. ANAP candidate
Ramazan Tosun was elected Etimesgut mayor by 22 percent of the vote.
In the SHP, Secretary General Deniz Baykal and his
team, on these results, had to resign from their posts and Chairman
Erdal Inönü called for an extraordinary party convention on September
29 to elect new party administrative bodies. Prior to the Convention,
Inönü and Baykal have been engaged in a political duel in a view to
eliminate each other from the party leadership.
As to the DYP, many eminent figures of the party are
reportedly planning to ask Chairman Süleyman Demirel to resign.
WEARING ISLAMIC HEADSCARF FREED
Controversy on religious headscarf grew in Turkey
with the beginning of the 1990-91 academic year.
The Budget and Planning Commission, on September 5,
passed a decree which allows all generally accepted of attire to be
worn. The decree also permits students to wear the türban, which was
the cause of heated debates for two years. Türbans were first banned at
the beginning of 1989, but the ban was reversed in December last year.
Yusuf Özal, chairman of the commission and brother
of President Özal, said there was no mention of türbans in the new
decree, but that all types of attire were now allowed on campus to
eliminate "discrimination between Islam and other religions."
Fundamentalists were arguing last year that while Christians could
freely carry a cross around their necks, Moslem girls were stopped from
wearing traditional religious attire.
NO ISLAMIC COURSE FOR CHRISTIANS STUDENTS
The Education Ministry has decided not to require
non-Moslem students to study Islam religion in primary and high schools.
Islamic religious instruction became compulsory in
the Turkish educational system after the 1980 military coup. The
practice elicited complaints from Christian and Jewish families who did
not want their children enroled in Islamic courses. In a number of
cases brought against the ministry by families of non-Moslem students.
International opinion too led a protest campaign against this practice.
Thanks to these efforts, the Education Ministry had
to announce on August 20 that non-Moslem students would be exempt
from religious classes if they produce a document showing that they
belong to a faith other than Islam.
NEW PROSECUTIONS OF CHRISTIANS
Six foreigners, Sally Ingram, Deborah Mannveiller,
Corey Schmaijen, Patrick Kelley, Ira Kaikko and Karsten Laova, were
taken into police custody in Kayseri on August 6, for distributing
books and pamphlets on Christianity. They were later released by the
State Security Court.
On August 25, an Australian university professor,
Rudolf Michalke, and his secretary Eva Gantioler were detained by
police in Istanbul as they were distributing tracts on Christianity.
NEW ARMENIAN PATRIARCH ELECTED
In a close ecclesiastical election on September 5,
Archbishop Karekin Bedros Kazanciyan of Jerusalem defeated Presiding
Bishop Sahan Simon Sivaciyan of Istanbul by two votes and became the
83rd Patriarch of the Armenian Church in Turkey, pending government
Held six months after the death of the late
Patriarch Shnork Kalustyan, this election resolved tensions which had
developed in the Armenian community. The Turkish Government had, in a
move to have Sivaciyan elected, ordered changes in the church's
long-standing procedures for choosing a patriarch. When Armenian Church
protested the order, the government rescinded it and announced the
church could follow the same procedures observed in the last
patriarchal elections in 1961.
Kazanciyan, 62, served lengthy terms as an
archbishop in New Zealand and Australia until 1981 and then became a
vicar to the Jerusalem Patriarch. He holds a degree in philosophy from
Cambridge University, and pursued graduate studies in literature and
philosophy in the United States.
TURKISH PARTY'S SUCCESS IN BULGARIA
The Turkish minority in Bulgaria has for the first
time succeeded in becoming a political power -the third in Parliament-
after the June elections. The Movement of Rights and Liberties (MRL)
known as the Turkish party received 7 percent of the vote and received
23 of the 400 parliamentary seats. In certain regions in the country,
the party's vote was as high as 25 percent.
Ahmet Dogan, the MRL leader said: "Not only Turks,
but also Bulgarians, dark-colored citizens (gypsies), Armenians and
Pomaks (Slavs who have converted to Islam) are also included in the
movement. We only want to guarantee our rights."
Stressing that Bulgaria did not want to go back to
the times of Todor Zhivkov's presidency, Dogan urged Bulgarian Turks
who were forced to emigrate to Turkey last year to come back.
Although the Turkish community has taken a
constructive stand in the process of democratization in Bulgaria,
Bulgarian nationalists and some chauvinist elements of the Bulgarian
Socialist Party (former Communist Party) carry on hostility against it.
The opening of the new parliament on July 10 in
Veliko Turnovo was a new occasion of rising ethnic and political
tension. Several hundred militant nationalists filled the streets of
the city, threatening to blockade the parliament building to keep out
23 members elected from the MRL. However, the nationalists did not
succeed and were kept away from the building by the militiamen.
The volatility of the ethnic issue was reflected
even inside the parliament building next day. Three political leaders
addressed the session, but they did not include Ahmet Dogan, head of
the Turkish party, even though his group ranks third in terms of seats.
TURKEY CRITICIZED AT THE ILO
The International Labour Organization (ILO) included
Turkey on the agenda of its Application Committee on June 11 as a
result of a complaint by the Turkish Trade Unions Confederation
The TURK-IS report defined Turkey's two most
important labor problems as violations of articles 87 and 98 in the ILO
Charter. Article 87 defines freedom of unions and protects the right to
establish unions, while Article 98 concerns collective bargaining
TURK-IS reminded the ILO that the Turkish Government
has not yet accepted Article 87. "We need international pressure
to aid a campaign we will launch about this issue. It would be useful
to keep putting it on record that it is shameful not to accept this
article.," the report said.
The report also noted that although Turkey had
accepted Article 98, "it violates it to a serious extent.
At the meeting of the Application Committee,
European trade union leaders severely reproached the Turkish Government
with not putting in application ILO standards concerning labour rights.
Belgian trade union leader Jef Houthuys who handed over the presidency
of the Workers' Group at the Application Committee said: "I am deeply
sorry for leaving this post without seeing positive progress in Turkey."
Neil Kearner, representative of the International
Textile Workers Union said: "The present situation of labour rights in
Turkey shows that she is very far from entering in the European
MINIMUM MONTHLY WAGE: $100
After six inconclusive meetings this year to
determine the minimum wage, the Minimum Wage Committee announced on
July 24 the pretax minimum wage for industrial, agricultural and
service sector workers would be 414,000 TL per month, which amounts to
261,954 TL ($100) after taxes. This represents an increase in the
minimum wage of 84 percent. However, a study carried out by the
Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (Turk-Is) in June 1990 gave the
average monthly kitchen spending for a family of four as 482,000
without taken into account the house rent and other social
PROTESTS BY STATE EMPLOYEES
The government's insufficient pay raise for state
employees has provoked a nation-wide protest throughout the country on
July 9, 1990.
A 25 percent pay hike is considered by state
employees to be inadequate since inflation is currently running at 63.5
In Istanbul, a rally of more than 1500 in
Sultanahmet Square was dispersed by force by armed police. 30 people
were arrested and one porter's arm was broken. A group of demonstrators
who broke away to walk to Sirkeci brought traffic in the area to a
About 200 state employees at the Istanbul transport
Office (IETT) who gathered in Tunel square in Istanbul burnt their wage
Finance Ministry employees in Istanbul protested by stopping work,
dressing in black and holding a sit-in in front of the Ministry. After
half an hour, they returned to work.
Protesters at Istanbul University Medical School
burned a photograph of Finance Minister Adnan Kahveci.
As protests of this type were repeated in Ankara,
Izmir, Diyarbakir, Antalya and other provincial centres, State Minister
Husamettin Oruc said that in addition to the 25 percent hike, all state
employees would this year be able to receive aid toward rent.
At Izmir meanwhile, there were mass demonstrations
as protesters attempted to pour into Cumhuriyet Square only to be
prevented by police. The latter attempted to take placard bearers
into custody, but were forced to retreat due to the protesters' strong
reaction. Thirty-eight of a group of protesters who had gathered in
Basmane square were taken into custody.