more warmonger than Turkish generals, proclaims general
mobilization and seeks European
complicity in his abuse of power
The nation-wide reaction against President Özal's
one-man Gulf policy gained a new dimension with the resignation of the
Chief of the Turkish General Staff, General Necip Torumtay. Earlier,
the ministers of Foreign Affairs and National Defense too resigned from
their posts because Özal conducted foreign and military affairs without
Torumtay became the first army chief to resign
from his post because of political differences with the government. He
was replaced by General Dogan Güres.
Torumtay's terse resignation letter said the
principles he believed in and his understanding of government did not
permit him to continue serving in his post.
The army chief, in a farewell message to the armed
forces, urged them to continue to move in the direction shown by Kemal
The last official meeting between Özal and Torumtay
took place on December 1st, during which recent developments related to
the Gulf crisis were discussed. At this meeting Özal underlined the
need to send a symbolic military unit to Saudi Arabia , arguing that a
symbolic Turkish presence in the Gulf was necessary so that Turkey
could have more say in the diplomatic negotiations that would follow.
Torumtay opposed the President's plans.
It is reported that both the Foreign Ministry and
the General Staff Headquarters were opposed to involving Turkish troops
in the war and to allowing the use of US bases in Incirlik and
Pirinclik by US combat troops in case of hostilities began against
Torumtay, at the said meeting, argued that an
additional agreement between Ankara and Washington was necessary before
the bases could be used against Iraq. Torumtay was also disillusioned
with Özal practice of conducting policy through proper channels,
without consulting the headquarters of the general staff. The key
figure of the President's proper channels is Retired General Kemal
Yamak, Secretary General of the Presidential Palace. The Turkish press
claims that Özal modified the General Staff's plans according to
Yamak's suggestions so as to satisfy the US administration's demands.
In fact, after General Torumtay's resignation the
military concentration in the Iraqi border area has been accelerated.
According to Hürriyet of December 8, more troops were sent to the
provinces of Hakkari and Siirt, in addition to a 100,000-man force.
The main opposition leader Erdal Inönü, commenting
General Torumtay's resignation, said: "Several cabinet ministers
resigned saying they were unable to work with Özal. Now the chief of
the general staff has resigned. Özal's personal approach is taking the
nation toward war. Top level bureaucrats are resigning one after the
other saying that they do not want to get involved in this adventure."
In a further move, Özal asked the NATO Alliance to
send the air component of the Allied Mobile Force (AMF) to
Turkish-Iraqi border for guarding the country's south-east against a
potential Iraqi attack. This component consists of three squadrons of
fighters from Germany, Belgium and Italy.
Although the Turkish press was informed of this
demand on December 19, the letter to the NATO is dated November 30,
1990. It seems that the appeal to the NATO had been made despite the
objection of the Chief of General Staff.
The Turkish press claims that this decision too was
taken by Özal himself without a prior discussion at the Council of
It is also reported by the Turkish press that from
the beginning of 1991, a general mobilization will be proclaimed
throughout Turkey on the pretext of a potential Iraqi aggression.
Since Saddam Hussein has never raised any menace
against Turkey, such measures are being interpreted as Özal's a new
manoeuvre aimed at justifying the utilisation of Turkish airports by
the US Air Forces on the one hand, and on the other, at reinforcing his
coercive power in the country.
Turkish and Kurdish opposition groups have recalled
once again that any military assistance to Turkey in the South East
will be a western contribution to the repression carried out by the
Turkish Army against the Kurdish population.
As a matter of fact, except for the USA, the
European members of the NATO have already taken a deliberately cautious
line over Özal's request. It seems that the NATO ambassadors could
accede to the Turkish request for deployment as a purely political
gesture, but would stop short of making the committed aircraft
operational. A further NATO decision would thus be needed before the
squadrons could be sent into action.
TURKISH GLADIO STILL USED AGAINST KURDISH GUERRILLA
The public debate on the Counter-guerrilla
Organization, Turkish counterpart of the Gladio, developed last month
with the interventions of many public figures as well as some former
officers. The Turkish Army spokesman confirmed the existence of such an
organization, officially named Special War Department.
Although refused the organization's any link with
political terror, the spokesman admitted that the teams of the
Counter-guerrilla Organization were still being used in the Southeast
against Kurdish guerrillas.
However, the majority of the National Assembly,
taking no heed of public debate, turned down a Social Democratic
Populist Party (SHP) proposal to give priority to an inquiry into the
activities of the Counter-guerrilla Organization.
Lieutenant-General Dogan Bayazit, head of the
operations division of the general staff, told journalists on December
3 that the Special Warfare Department was not the counter-guerrilla
organization the press: "The department was set up to provide
resistance to an invasion in the form of guerrilla warfare and
underground rescue and kidnap operations."
Brigadier General Kemal Yilmaz, head of the
controversial department, said the organization was set up in September
1952, when Adnan Menderes, an outspoken U.S. ally, was prime minister.
The department was established after Turkey became a full member of
NATO in February 1952.
According to Yilmaz, the Special Warfare
Department, which consists of civilians as well as army officials,
organized a resistance movement in Cyprus between 1963 and 1974 and was
also used in 1980 to rescue hostages held in a Turkish Airlines
passenger plane hijacked to Diyarbakir by fundamentalist Moslem
terrorists. "The department was still active in security operations
against armed members of the Workers' Party of Kurdistan (PKK) in
Turkey's southeastern provinces," he said.
Beyazit responded to Bülent Ecevit's recent claims
that he learned about the existence of the department in 1974, as prime
minister, when additional funds were requested from him: "In 1974,
Ecevit was briefed by the general staff, and those generals who gave
the briefing took notes of the prime minister's comments. Ecevit said,
'It is [my] national duty [to provide funds to the department]. I am,
in principle, in favour of channeling national funds to meet that need.
This will not burden the state, the department could be financed with
secret funds. Determine what you need, and hand me the list. If Ecevit
says he was not fully informed, this shows he did not read the decrees
he signed carefully."
Bayazit claimed the department was not a clandestine
organization but a division of the army. He denied, however, that the
department was set up on NATO's initiative. He also said there were no
links between the Special Warfare Department and the National
Intelligence Organization (MIT). He admitted, however, that the
department cooperated with NATO on technical issues and that, at times,
it joined NATO's training programs in Turkey and abroad.
The organization was not particularly
anti-communist, Bayazit maintained. "If Turkey were a country under the
threat of invasion only by communists, then the organization would have
mainly been set up as a shield against communism. But Turkey is under
other threats, ranging from religious fundamentalism to [President]
Saddam Hussein and Greece," he said, adding that "the department would
also be used against a religious revolution in Turkey"
Newspapers and former politicians have recently
claimed that the department questioned political leaders and prisoners
and tortured them at the Ziverbey Mansion, in Istanbul's Erenkoy
district, after the March 12,1971 coup when the nation's top generals
forced the government of former prime minister Süleyman Demirel to
resign by issuing a memorandum. Many left-wing writers, journalists and
activists were arrested following the 1971 coup. Writer Ilhan Selçuk
and army officers thought to have been involved in plotting against the
state were questioned at the mansion. All claimed later they were told
during their questioning that the mansion was used by the
At the press conference, Bayazit denied the mansion
was used by the department. "The department had not been assigned any
undercover activity during the September 12, 1980 military coup, " he
General Evren's version of Counter-guerrilla
The statement by the army headquarters seemed to
contradict comments made by Kenan Evren, former president and chief of
the military junta of September 12, 1980. Evren wrote in his memoirs
published last month that on May 5,1980 then Prime Minister Süleyman
Demirel had requested that the department be used to combat terrorism.
"I refused this request. He (Demirel) insisted by
saying that the department was used in 1971 against subversive
activities. I turned the request down again. During the time I served
at the head of the General Staff Headquarters the department was not
used beyond its original purpose," said Evren.
Evren said although he did not allow the use of this
secret organization, "Some people affiliated with it may have been
involved in such incidents. I am not in a position to know this. They
may have done it without informing me,' he added.
Evren confirmed that the Special Warfare Department
had previously been used for such activity, for example during the
killing of nine left-wing militants at Kizildere in northern Anatolia
on March 30,1972 .
On the other hand, Evren, said in an interview
published earlier, on November 26, in the daily Hürriyet that civilians
affiliated with the undercover paramilitary organization set up by the
Special Warfare Department at the Army Headquarters may have been
involved in terrorist incidents before 1980 without his knowledge.
Demirel denied that he had asked Evren to use the
department to counter terrorism: "I simply asked him to use his
authority. Evren is mixing things up."
The former prime minister Bülent Ecevit indicated
that several incidents that took place in 1977 and 1978 were still
unresolved. "Of these, the most important occurred at the 1977 May Day
rally in Taksim Square in Istanbul. It led to the deaths of more than
30 people," said Ecevit. During the rally unidentified persons
opened fire on the square which was packed with thousands of people.
The gunfire led to panic and a stampede which left 33 people dead.
Despite court cases about the incident and a police investigation it is
still not known who opened fire.
Ecevit said that he expressed his suspicions that
the civilian arm of the Special Warfare Department might have been
behind the May Day incidents to Fahri Korutürk, then Turkey's
president, who asked him to submit his concerns to him in writing.
Ecevit also mentioned an assassination attempt
against himself on May 29,1977. During the incident a policeman shot
and wounded Mehmet Isvan, an associate of Ecevit, with a special weapon
which fired a small missile. "Following the incident it was understood
that such a weapon was not officially supposed to exist in the Turkish
police force. Our attempts to uncover the origin of this weapon were
foiled. We were never able to learn where this weapon came from or who
gave it to the policeman who used it" said Ecevit.
In 1977 Demirel—who was then prime minister—publicly
warned Ecevit not to take part in a political rally in Taksim because
there was evidence that an attempt would be made on his life.
"In 1978 when I came to power, I was curious where
Demirel got the I information ' Ecevit said. "I asked for the file and
studied it. The warning was written on a piece of blank paper with no
signature. Neither the police headquarters nor the National
Intelligence Organization (MIT) had apparently investigated where the
piece of paper came from. This again made me think of the Special
Warfare Department," said Ecevit.
An ex-offocer's revelations on counter-guerilla
Talat Turhan, a retired army officer who wrote three
books on the operations of counter-guerrilla groups in Turkey said a
counter-guerrilla organization similar to Gladio was established in
Turkey soon after it joined NATO in 1952.
In an interview to the daily Dateline of November
24, Turhan hinted a possible connection between the
so-called counter-guerrilla organization and recent assassinations,
including those of Cetin Emec, former editor-in-chief of the
mass-circulation daily Hürriyet, Iawyer Muammer Aksoy, strong advocate
of Atatürk's reform principles, theology lecturer and SHP former
minister Bahriye Ücok and writer Turan Dursun. "Theoretically, if the
murderers cannot be found and if the political assassinations continue,
the authors of crime are the security forces and the intelligence
agencies. These organizations can act individually or in collaboration.
They might act with a foreign intelligence agency. It is up to the
government to prove or disprove this theory," he said.
The present political atmosphere in Turkey, he
added, might lead to another military coup. "In today's Turkey, I have
the feeling that a film that has been shown twice might be shown for
the third time. This is all because of the failure of the government.
It cannot find the murderers."
Recalling the era before the military coup of 1971,
Turhan said, "Before the March 12, 1971 coup, individual terrorist
activities were widespread. This political atmosphere was followed by a
military coup, which was beneficial for the United States, which was
against the freedoms provided by the 1961 Constitution. The reason for
fueling a military coup was to make necessary amendments in the
constitution which would reinstate exploitation by the United States"
According to Turhan, the September 12, 1980 military
coup was created for the same purpose. "Those who want to exploit this
country much more than they were doing in the past organized another
military coup. Turkey was turned into a blood bath by provocations and
assassinations carried out by unknown people. This led to the military
coup ' he said. Turhan told Dateline that originally the idea of
establishing a resistance group against the Soviet-led invasion of a
NATO member country was legitimate. "You cannot blame such an
establishment for its operations if it remains within legal grounds.
But if it operates under the influence of foreign forces, namely U.S.
imperialism, it is very likely to be used for illegal activities. It
happened like this in Italy and it happens to be so in Turkey,' he said.
Turhan, who was highly influential in the army after
the military coup in 1960, was accused of involvement in two military
coup attempts and was forced to resign from the army in 1964. Following
the 1971 military coup led by right-wing officers, Turhan was jailed
for subversive activities and for leading a leftist military coup
During his trial, Turhan presented various documents
to the court including one entitled Counter-guerrilla Operations
published by U.S. army as field manual FM-31-16. It was later
translated into Turkish and published by the Turkish Army headquarters
as publication number ST-31-1S.
He also presented—as evidence of counter-guerrilla
operations in Turkey—a book entitled Counter-insurgency Warfare, by
David Galula. The book, published in 1964 by Frederick A. Praeger,
Inc., which Turhan claimed is a CIA publishing house, was published in
Turkish in 1965 by the Army Headquarters. According to Turhan, these
books, namely Counter-guerrilla Operations, were handbooks for the
counter-guerrilla organizations in Turkey.
Counter-guerrilla Operations gives detailed tactical
information on ambushes, terrorist activities, sabotage, attacks
against police stations and patrolmen, armed robbery and torture. The
other book written by Galula on counter-insurgency warfare includes, in
the seventh chapter, tactics for influencing local political leaders
and for rigging local elections when required.
"In some local elections, it is possible that all of
the elected politicians are useless or it might be impossible to find
another candidate in a better condition. This is an unfortunate
situation. Under these circumstances nothing can be done but to
transfer a better one from a different neighbourhood and to rig the
elections" the book claims.
"I myself whole-heartedly believe in democracy and
strongly criticize Turkish Army headquarters for publishing a book that
recommends rigging elections. Cevdet Sunay, then chief of the general
staff and Süleyman Demirel, who held the political power in those years
as former prime minister of the Justice Party government, are
responsible for publishing such a book," Turhan added.
SPECIAL WAR IN TURKISH KURDISTAN
A 5O-strong human rights team made up of
legislators, representatives of political parties, medical associations
and human rights groups, concluded on December 4 that government
practices in the Southeast have terrorized the populace.
The group, which included legislators from the main
opposition Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP) and independent
deputies, visited towns and villages in the provinces of Hakkari and
Mesut Öztaskin, spokesman for the group, said that
while Turkey was busy figuring out how to cope with a possible war in
the Middle East it was ignoring the war on its own soil in the
Independent Izmir deputy Kemal Anadol accused the
government of terrorizing people living in the Southeast instead of
bringing peace and stability to the area.
"Villages in the area were being evacuated by force.
People are forced to become village guards. When they refuse to do this
their houses are burned down. The Sapaca neighbourhood in Uludere is a
concrete example of this practice. Animal husbandry was the only source
of livelihood in the area but because of restrictions enforced by the
government this form of farming was dying out. In particular, we blame
the decline on the banning of shepherds from the mountains, a measure
intended to prevent contact with Kurdish separatists. None of the laws
of Turkey signed by the president and the prime minister is observed in
Southeastern Anatolia" said Anadol.
Cif sutun -Cerceve -iri punto
INFO-TÜRK EDITORS APPEALED TO THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
Two Info-Türk editors, Dogan Özgüden and Inci
Tugsavul, on December 7, appealed to the European Commission of Human
Rights for the annulment of the Turkish Government's decision depriving
themselves of Turkish nationality.
Their attorney, Belgian lawyer Catherine Deman,
arguing that the Turkish Government's decision contravened Articles 3,
6, 10, 11, 13 and 14 of the European Human Rights Convention and
Article 1 of the Additional Protocol, claims annulment of the decision
and damages for the loss of their rights in Turkey.
PROSECUTION OF THE MEDIA IN NOVEMBER
2.11, famous movie actor Ilyas Salman was indicted
by the SSC of Istanbul for making separatist propaganda in a speech he
gave in Bursa on August 19. He faces a prison term of up to 10 years.
3.11, two magazines, fortnightly Mücadele and
monthly Emek, were confiscated by the SSC of Istanbul for communist and
6.11, a new book by sociologist Ismail Besikci, The
Law of Tunceli and Genocide, as well as two monthly reviews, Emegin
Bayragi and Sosyalizm, were confiscated by the Istanbul
8.11, The Ankara representative of the monthly Yeni
Demokrasi, Ali Ekber Kaypakkaya, as well as seven contributors were
placed under arrest by the Ankara SSC after a 12-day police detention.
Another correspondent of the same review, Ismail Atik too was detained
12.11, three journalists from the daily Cumhuriyet,
responsible editor Okay Gönensin, columnist Ilhan Selcuk and cartoonist
Necdet Sen, were indicted in Istanbul for having insulted the President
of the Republic.
13.11, the weekly Yüzyil was confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC for an article about a new coup d'état preparations within
14.11, the Erzincan SSC began to try the chief
editor of Yüzyil, Dogu Perincek, on charges of making separatist
propaganda in a speech he gave in Tunceli.
16.11, two journalists from the humorist review
Limon, responsible editor Tan Cemal Genc and cartoonist Mustafa Bilgin,
were indicted for having ridiculing the Turkish judicial system. Each
faces a prison term of up to 5 years.
19.11, the prosecutor of the Ankara SSC issued a
warrant for arresting folk singer Bedri Ayseli. He is accused of having
sung a Kurdish song at a marriage ceremony which was attended by the
Interior Minister and a number of deputies from the government party.
19.11, two journalists from the daily Sabah,
responsible editor Nazim Özdemir and correspondent Kenan Akcay, were
tried by a criminal court of Istanbul, for having criticized Turkish
judicial system. Each faces a prison term of up to 6 years.
20.11, the public prosecutor opened a new
legal proceeding against sociologist Ismail Besikci. He is accused of
separatist propaganda in his recent book, The Law of Tunceli and
Genocide, as well as in an interview he gave to the monthly review Deng.
22.11, the Istanbul SSC confiscated two new books:
Leninist Party and Cadres by Enver Hodja for communist propaganda and
Appeal, a collection of Sosyal Ekinci's poems, for separatist
25.11, the responsible editor of the monthly Deng,
Kamil Ermis was sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to 6 years and 3 months
imprisonment for separatist propaganda.
25.11, a book by Haydar Isikalan, Senior Memik of
Dersim, was confiscated on charges of separatism. The author and his
publisher were subjected to a legal proceeding.
25.11, the first issue of a new political review,
Özgün Halk, was confiscated by the Istanbul SSC.
27.11, the Chief of Turkish Broadcasting of the WDR,
Yüksel Pazarkaya, was detained at the Istanbul Airport while he was
returning to Germany. Police said that his name takes place in a list
of wanted people.
27.11, Mrs. Rüya Eser Oguzcan's book The Lesbian was
confiscated by a criminal court of Istanbul. Same day, the last issue
of the monthly Medya Günesi too was subjected to confiscation by the
28.11, four members of a Dutch TV team were detained
in Istanbul as they were passing by the Bayrampasa Prison on suspicion
that they might shoot a film there. They were released next day.
30.11, it was reported that poet and publisher Ugur
Kaynar was detained by police.
SCHOOL GIRL'S TUMULTUOUS TRIAL
Police and soldiers clashed with onlookers and
journalists in a State Security Court on December 3, the first day of
the trial of N.A., the 16-year-old student charged with membership in
an illegal organization.
Three attorneys were detained, and 62 observers in
the court, including the parents and six other relatives of N.A., were
also arrested. The lawyers were released Monday night into the custody
of Sehmuz Öner, a member of the executive board of the Istanbul Bar
The student, identified only as N.A. because of a
legal stipulation intended to protect minors, was arrested in October
and charged with writing anti-war slogans on a wall of her school. The
prosecutor has requested that she be sentenced to 20 years in prison
for being member of a banned political group and for writing political
Three other detainees, Bünyamin Yücel, Saliha
Nilüfer Gen and Canan Acar, were charged with the same crime and also
face possible 20-year sentences.
Policemen and soldiers surrounded the State Security
Court, and when fighting broke out, the judge postponed the case to
Police had begun to clear the court-room by force.
Lawyers for the detainees threw their robes down in front of the
judge's bench to protest the police intervention. Police assaulted the
protesting lawyers. Attorneys Murat Çelik, Elvan Türker and Gülizar
Tuncer were detained.
Turgut Kazan, president of the Istanbul Bar
Association, was critical of the violence in the court, calling the
incident an affront to law and justice.
"As members of the Istanbul Bar Association, we are
ashamed of this picture of our country. We strongly object to the
'raiders' who violently attacked the observers and lawyers in the court
room. In the name of justice, we call this incident brutality" he said.
Zerrin Sari, also a lawyer for the detainees, told
that although N.A. confessed that she was the member of Devrimci
Gençlik (Revolutionary Youth), it must be a "strange" political
organization because among the activities she confessed to were folk
dancing and preparing the school newspaper. "There was nothing illegal
about this group. Among their documents was Nokta (weekly magazine),
but none are illegal publications,' she said.
According to Atalay Yörükoglu, a child psychiatrist
at Hacettepe University in Ankara, "a 16 year-old is aware of what she
is doing and can have political ideas. But this should not be cause to
remove her from her school, detain her, and put her in prison. In a
Western country detaining a child for writing an anti-war slogan is not
possible," he said. "She could confess that she was the member of a
political group by force or out of fear. No one knows. After she was
arrested she suddenly became a hero"
Hüseyin Alkan said that he did not want to think
about the harm being in prison would do to his daughter. "Her nine
days' nightmare in the political section of the Istanbul police
department will definitely influence the rest of her life" he said.
Just after the student's arrest, civil police came
to the family home and asked whether the family was against war. "Of
course we are. Who in this country can be in favour of war? The police
searched the house for political books. There are only a few books, but
none of them is forbidden" they said.
The youngest in the family, N.A. who was born in
West Germany, has five sisters.
None of N.A's family was allowed to see her until
her seventh day in custody. Police then allowed N.A's sister to see her
for 15 minutes. "We were allowed to send a few short notes. And she
(N.A.) wrote that she was alright on the other side of the same paper.
She is only 16. She has had to face these complicated things about
which she has no idea," said her father.
Prosecution of minors in November
9.11, in Adana, a 16-year old student, detained
along with 18 people for being members of a clandestine organization,
said that he had been tortured during his police
18.11, the SSC of Diyarbakir began to try three
minors, H.B. (11-year old), A.Y. (12) and S.G. (14), along with 17
people arrested during a conflict with security forces. The prosecutor
claims death sentences for all the defendants including three
27.11, the SSC of Malatya began to try 17 year-old
A.O. along with five people accused of separatist activities. All
defendants, including ther minor one, face capital punishment.
29.11, police announced the arrest of a 16-year old
youngster in Antalya along with 12 people, all accused of belonging to
STATE TERRORISM IN NOVEMBER
1.11, Secretary General of the People's Labour
Party (HEP) and Malatya deputy Ibrahim Aksoy faces a five-year
imprisonment for a speech he made on July 25 in Diyarbakir. Accusing
Aksoy of "separatist propaganda", the prosecutor asked the Ministry of
Justice to lift his parliamentary immunity.
2.11, eight people were arrested in the town of
Sarikaya for having shelter to PKK militants.
3.11, the offices of seven different associations
were raided by police and 84 people taken into custody.
4.11, in Gaziantep, 59 people were detained for
their alleged links with certain clandestine organizations.
6.11, Bülent Ates was indicted by the SSC of Ankara
for taking part in the United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP)
7.11, in Elazig, 244 students of the Firat
University were tried for having participated in a rally on March. Each
faces a prison term of up to 3 years.
8.11, in Ankara, two doctors, Sinan Olcay and
Hüseyin Güler, were arrested on the charge of providing some illegal
organizations with medical material. They will be tried at a criminal
court in Van.
8.11, the SSC of Izmir sentenced four people to a
one year and three months imprisonment each for having participated in
an unauthorized May Day rally this year in the same city.
9.11, in Adana, 19 people were detained for being
members of a clandestine organization. One of the detainees who is
16-year old said that he had been tortured during his
12.11, the Chairwoman of the Association for
Solidarity with Prisoners' Families (TAYAD), Gülten Sesen, and the same
association's former chairman, Mustafa Eryüksel, were sentenced by the
SSC to a 5-year prison term each for the press conference that they had
held in Brussels two years ago.
13.11, in Istanbul, 30 alleged members of the
Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey (TDKP) were detained by police
while they were distributing anti-war leaflets.
14.11, in Gaziantep,17 alleged members of the
Revolutionary Left (Dev-Sol) were detained by police.
15.11, four villagers of Syriac Christian descent
were shot dead in Mardin's Bülbül Village by unidentified attackers
armed with automatic guns.
16.11, lawyer Kemal Ilter, secretary of the IHD
section in Sakarya, was sentenced to a 3-month imprisonment for having
distributed anti-war badges.
18.11, in Istanbul, 25 workers were detained for
having protested against the dismissal of their comrades in a factory.
18.11, the SSC of Diyarbakir began to try 20 people
arrested during a conflict with security forces. The prosecutor claims
death sentences for all defendants of whom three are minors: H.B.
(11-year old), A.Y. (12) and S.G. (14).
18.11, the local section of the IHD in Gaziantep was
closed down by the provincial governor on pretext of having links with
20.11, in Istanbul, 19 university students were
indicted by the State Security Court for having participated in
demonstrations against the Higher Education Board (YÖK). Each faces a
prison term from 5 to 8 years.
21.11, in Adana, a demonstration by university
students against capital punishment was dispersed by police using force
and 32 students were taken into custody.
22.11, a demonstrator was shot and 20 people were
detained by police during an anti-war demonstration in Istanbul.
22.11, in Ankara, 50 municipal workers were detained
for having sent a petition to the United Nations Good and Agriculture
Organization (FAO) asking for food. In their petition they had said
that their salaries were insufficient to feed their families.
22.11, Chairwoman of the Women Association for
Democratic Struggle (DEMKAD), Gamze Turan, and four other officials
were detained by police.
22.11, three officials of the IHD Ankara Section
were detained by police for having protested against the State
Minister's declaration humiliating women.
23.11, a meeting by the Teachers' Association
(Egit-Der) in Ankara was banned by the governor.
23.11, police raided the student canteen of the
Press High School of the Istanbul University and detained six students.
The arms of two students were broken during the operation.
23.11, in Eskisehir, 13 people were detained while
they were distributing anti-war leaflets.
23.11, in Iskenderun, 30 people of Kurdish origin
were detained by police on charges of aiding the PKK.
25.11, in Istanbul, 18 women were detained by police
for having carried out a demonstration in protest against the State
Minister's declaration humiliating women.
25.11, in Istanbul, the People's Club of Beykoz and
the Human Rights Association (IHD) were raided by police. 57 people
were detained during these two operations.
25.11, an anti-war meeting organized by a group of
artists in Istanbul was banned by the governor.
27.11, the SSC of Malatya began to try six people
accused of separatist activities. All defendants, including 17 year-old
A.O., face capital punishment. Same day, police announced the arrest of
30 people in Kars and Erzurum on the same accusation.
27.11, in Ankara, the Association of Higher
Education Youth (YÖGD) was banned by the governor. Same day, a cultural
association in the quarter of Mamak was raided by police and six people
28.11, the SSC of Izmir sentenced five members of
Dev-Sol to prison terms of up to 9 years and 8 months.
29.11, police announced the arrest of 15 members of
Dev-Sol in Istanbul and 13 PKK members in Antalya. Among the latter is
also a 16-year old youngster.
30.11, the SSC of Izmir sentenced five university
students to prison terms of up to 6 years for having distributed
leaflets of the Revolutionary Youth (Dev-Genc).
30.11, the prosecutor of the Ankara SSC opened a
legal proceeding against 100 university teachers for a boycott action
in protest against the rise of anti-secular movement.
PARIS CHARTER AND TURKEY
Turkey was one of the 34 countries which signed the
45-page Paris Charter and the Mutual and Balanced Force Reduction
However, among 34 signatories, Turkey is for the
time-being the only country where fundamental human rights are
Although President Özal, after having signed the
Charter, said that Turkey is proud to play an active role in the
construction of the new structure in Europe," his government's human
rights record is still a shame on Turkey.
Milliyet's foreign affairs commentator Mehmet Ali
Birand, in his article of November 20, said: " The most important
change will be the special emphasis put on human rights and democracy.
These issues will be the sole measure of a contemporary society. Those
who do not recognize these principles will find it impossible to have a
place in the world community of nations. Will Turkey be able to take
its rightful place in this new world? If we fail to do so we will miss
the train, for such opportunities do not appear frequently in the
history of the world. We must change our attitude toward democracy and
human rights and end all the restrictions in this field."
Özal, addressing the Paris Conference, said the
question of minorities in Europe could only be settled in a
satisfactory way "within democratic principles." As the Kurds of Turkey
are still being subjected to inhuman pressures and deprived of their
national and cultural rights, such a declaration is a new proof of
Özal's usual hypocrisy.
cift sutuna acilacak
48,000 MINERS' STRIKE TURNED INTO A NON-STOP ANTI-GOVERNMENT
Tens of thousands of miners and their families,
union leaders, opposition politicians and store owners supporting the
miners took to the streets of Zonguldak turning the coal mine strike,
which began on November 30, into a non-stop anti-government
After the miners' union failed to reach an agreement
with the government , 48,000 coal miners employed in the government-run
mines went on strike.
Large groups of miners gathered at the entrances to
the pits on December 2 and marched from different points to Zonguldak
city centre. A big rally in which miners' wives and children took part
was held in front of the union building. The demonstrators chanted
anti-government slogans calling on Özal to resign. They protested
against the actions of the ruling Motherland Party (ANAP) as they
marched in front of its local offices. In a reference to the ANAP
emblem, which is a bee, the strikers shouted, "It should be a wasp not
Anti-riot police squads reinforced by army troops
stationed in Zonguldak did not intervene in the demonstrations which
have continued throughout later. Many stores in the town which did not
open on December 3 have remained closed. Their owners have joined the
demonstrators to show their discontent with government policies.
The government-run coal company announced a lockout
on December 3 diminishing hopes for an early settlement. Both President
Turgut Özal and Prime Minister Yildirim Akbulut delivered tough
warnings to the strikers. Özal said government-held companies that were
losing money should be closed down. Akbulut said: "Everything should be
done according to law. We shall enforce the law."
Erdal Inönü, leader of the main opposition Social
Democratic Populist Party (SHP), arrived in Zonguldak accompanied by 82
of his deputies and addressed demonstrating miners and their
supporters. "The miners in Zonguldak are showing what democracy is.
Certain things must change as a result of your action. You have the
government and President Özal—who is supposed to be strictly
impartial—against you. He is not supposed to meddle in labour disputes.
But he acts as if he were a party in the dispute. He has no right to do
this," said Inönü.
Former prime minister and leader of the conservative
Correct Way Party (DYP) Süleyman Demirel also supported the striking
miners. Demirel accused the government of starving the miners who were
working 700 to 800 meters below ground for 500,000 TL ($178) a month.
Former Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit, leader of the
Democratic Left Party (DSP), was also in the town expressing solidarity
with the strikers.
In Ankara, Sevket Yilmaz, president of Türk-Is, the
largest labour confederation in Turkey, and a group of 30 union
executives left a National Convention on Productivity meeting in
protest when President Özal took the floor. Yilmaz said Özal was
responsible for the strike in Zonguldak and for the failure of other
collective bargaining negotiations between labour unions and employers.
Semsi Denizer, president of the Miners' Union, said
the strikers might march from Zonguldak to Ankara. In a speech he made
at a rally, Denizer said the union was prepared to run the mines if the
government was ready to turn them over to the workers.
Strikes, and continuing discontent among workers,
have rapidly become a central issue in Turkish society. Rounds of
collective labour agreements end in stalemates, as employers' unions
claim that trade unions are asking for too much. Trade unions maintain
the workers are simply not getting the pay that they deserve.
The demands of the various unions now at a deadlock
include salary increases of between 400 and 650 percent. Employers have
refused to offer more than 100 percent.
An estimated 55,000 workers are currently on strike,
including 42,000 striking mine workers in Zonguldak. In the paper
industry, 10,000 workers on Wednesday decided to strike because their
employers' union had refused to give the increase they had demanded.
Tesif, a textile workers union, on December 3 called
to strike workers in Adana, Bursa, Izmir and Kayseri. Tesif, affiliated
to Türk-Is, said it was ridiculous that workers were being paid the
minimum wage when the current economic conditions of Turkey were so
So far in the second half of 1990, collective labour
contract negotiations both in the public and private sectors were held
—or are being held— for a total of around 500,000 workers.
Metal workers also seem poised on the eve of a
strike. Negotiations between the employers' union, the Turkish
Employers' Association of Metal Industries (MESS) and the trade unions
Türk-Metal, Otomobil-Is, Ozdemir-Is and Çelik-Is, came to a standstill
on October 4. The largest of the unions, Türk-Metal, which is
affiliated with the Türk-Is, represents 85,000 metal workers in 262
workplaces. It has not resumed talks with MESS, since neither side, has
budged from the offers they made earlier. The Türk-Metal board is
expected to call a strike soon.
The strike threat is also affecting white goods
producers such as Arçelik, Profilo and automobile manufacturers Tofas
The independent unions — Otomobil-Is and
Çelik-Is—and the Özdemir-Is, which is affiliated with Hak-Is, represent
55,000 workers in their negotiations with MESS. These three also said
they expect the procedure will end in strike.
The strike in Zonguldak, in the first six days,
claimed 69 billion TL ($24.5 million) in loss. Officials said if the
strike were to continue for another month, the estimated loss would be
about 250 billion TL.
TOWARDS A NEW LEFT-WING PARTY
A group of Turkish communists and socialists decided
on November 25 to found the sixth left-wing party of the post-coup
period. 136 founding members were commissioned to make formal
application by January 15, 1991, to the Interior Ministry to form the
new party to be named the Socialists' Union Party (SBP).
The other five left-wing parties which have legally
been founded are the Social-Democratic Populist Party (SHP), the
Democratic Left Party (DSP), the People's Labour Party (HEP), the
Socialist Party (SP) and the United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP).
Of these five parties, only the SHP and the HEP are represented in the
The new party's declaration called for the beginning
of a new era in Turkish politics and the restructuring of democracy in
the country. The 600 participants involved in the foundation congress
were mainly certain officials of the former pro-Soviet parties of the
pre-coup period, such as the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), the
Workers' Party of Turkey (TIP) and the Turkish Socialist Workers' Party
(TSIP), all of which were made illegal and disbanded after the 1980
military coup. Two of these parties, TKP and TIP, had been united under
the name of the United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP), whose legal
status has yet to be decided by the Constitutional Court.
Former SHP deputies Kemal Anadol, Hüsnü Okçuoglu,
Kamil Atesoglu and Ekin Dikmen participated in the congress as members.
SHP deputies Orhan Veli Yildirim and Tayfun Ün, as well as HEP deputy
Adnan Ekmen also attended but were identified as guests visiting the
One of the major disputes resolved at the congress
was the selection of an acceptable name for the new leftist party. Out
of 151 proposed names, including the Turkish Communist Party,
Scientific Research and Practice Party and Turkish-Kurdish Socialist
Party, the delegates finally settled on Socialists' Union Party.
However, a big majority of the former members of
TKP, TIP and TSIP refused to take part in the new move, claiming that
the founders of the new party adopted a very submissive programme.
Especially Nihat Sargin and Nabi Yagci (Haydar Kutlu), respectively
chairman and secretary general of the TBKP, who have taken part among
the new party's founders, are accused by the rank-and-file of the TKP,
TIP and TSIP, of renouncing the class struggle and flirting with the
big business and right-wing politicians.
DISCRIMINATION OF WOMEN IN TURKEY
The 56th anniversary of Turkish women's suffrage was
commemorated on December 5 by official ceremonies to which many
international figures were invited for charming European institutions
and public opinion. It was a real hypocrisy to officially celebrate
that day while thousands of Turkish and Kurdish women were imprisoned
or indicted for their political opinions throughout the country.
Considering this fact, many invited of the invited European women
refused to participate in this farce.
Have women really come a long way in Turkey? This is
the first question that came to mind when commemorating Dec. 5. Women
in Turkey were allowed to vote and to present themselves as candidates
in municipal elections in 1930. On Dec. 5,1934, at the urging of Kemal
Atatürk, founder of the Republic, the National Assembly issued a law
giving women these rights in general elections. Eighteen women were
elected into Parliament in 1935, the first election year in which women
were allowed to vote and be elected. Ten of the 18 were teachers.
To understand whether women's political status has
improved since 1934, a brief analysis of female representation in
today's National Assembly is enough: Although one of the Motherland
Party (ANAP) ministers —Labour Minister Imren Aykut— is a woman, the
450-seat National Assembly includes only six female deputies, as
opposed to the 18 women of 1935.
Since 1934, 90 women have served as deputies or
senators in Parliament, 10 of whom were appointed. Istanbul women have
had greatest success reaching Parliament (19), followed by 11 from
Ankara and 10 from Izmir.
According to a United Nations study of 92
percent of women living in 99 countries (The Turkish Dateline,
Dec 8, 1990), Turkey does not fare well in terms of women's
status. While Finland tops the list of countries where women have the
most social rights, Turkey is 35th, despite the fact that Turkish women
acquired the right to vote before most of their European counterparts.
Women in France and Italy, for example, acquired the right to vote much
later than in Turkey.
The acquisition of political rights on paper did for
Turkish women did not automatically lead to acquiring social rights in
practice, as is demonstrated by the U.N. survey. In a ranking of the
percentage of working women, Turkey is 82nd in a list of 92.
After the proclamation of the Turkish Republic, the
first step that would lead to women's liberation was the adoption of
the Tevhid-i Tedrisat law establishing mixed schools and requiring all
Turkish citizens—including women — to have an elementary school diploma.
Although the Tevhid-i Tedrisat law was aimed at
increasing the number of educated women in Turkey, the relatively high
level of female illiteracy in Turkey shows that this aim was not
achieved. In terms of education, Turkish women rank 79th on the U.N.
According to the 1980 national census, 16 percent of
Turkish youth under 14 were illiterate. Among these young illiterates,
77.3 percent were girls. The picture is slightly better in large
cities, where 25 percent of university students are girls.
While in Scandinavian countries, women live to be
85, Turkey ranks 67th on the list of 99, with women barely reaching the
age of 63 on the average.
The second step involved adopting the Swiss Civil
Code in 1926, according to which women had equal status with men and
had equal legal rights in marriage, divorce and inheritance.
However, the Civil Code refrained from addressing
traditional assumptions such as the husband being head of family. The
code stated that the women's chief duty was to her home and that she
would need her husband's permission to work.
Atatürk's third step was the Law on Attire, which
abolished the Ottoman law requiring women to cover their face and body
in public. However, since the military coup of 1980, this reform has
not been respected and Turkish women are, under the influence and
pressure of the rising Islamic fundamentalism, being forced again to
cover their faces.
Although the Constitutional Court, on November
30, ruled unconstitutional Article 159 of the Civil Code, which
had required a wife to gain her husband's permission to work, this
repeal is considered a partial victory by women rights movement. Other
provisions of the civil code still discriminate against women on
questions of inheritance, status within the family and adultery. They
were extensions of Civil Code article 152 which considers the man the
head of the family. Article 152 also states that a woman must provide
assistance to her husband for the happiness of the family, for example,
and that it is the husband who decides where the family shall live.
According to article 154, a marriage is represented
by the husband. It is the husband who is responsible for the family's
savings, for example.
Custody article 263, also in the civil code, states
that if custody of children is shared by mother and father, in case of
a disagreement, the father automatically gains custody.
Article 200 says that a wife can only reject an
inheritance with her husband's permission. If he does not approve, the
wife may pursue the matter in court.
Penal Code article 440 states that married women who
commit adultery can be imprisoned for six month to three years. Article
441, however, stipulates that a married man convicted of the same crime
is imprisoned only if he has lived with another woman as a couple in
the house he formerly inhabited with his wife or in another location
well-known to his neighbours.
TOWARDS A BLACK SEA COMMUNITY
After the decline of the socialist system, the
Turkish Government attaches great importance to the proposed Black Sea
Economic Cooperation Zone. Some observers claim that Turkey's
integration into this new economic community would be the only way-out
since the European Community has reported its decision on Turkish
candidature to after 1995.
The economic zone to be established by the four
countries bordering the Black Sea —Turkey, the Soviet Union, Bulgaria
and Romania— would promote cooperation projects including joint
investment, a joint bank, free zones, technology exchange and
cooperation on energy resources.
After a short transitional stage the four states
have agreed to abolish visa requirements for business and tourist trips
not longer than one month.
However business people from any of the countries
who wanted to stay more than one month to conduct business would
receive an immediate response to their visa request, according to the
proposed agreement. An eventual free circulation of workers was
foreseen among the four countries.
The draft agreement said the four countries,
"emphasizing the importance of regional cooperation and underlining the
necessity to develop their economies, to raise living standards and
make use of economic resources effectively, accept the fact that
economic improvement depends largely on individual attempts and
ventures and free circulation of people, capital, services and goods"
Customs formalities are therefore expected to be
reduced to a minimum after the transition period.
The governments of the member states would try to
coordinate their economic relations while trying to develop cooperation
in the fields agreed upon, according to the draft agreement. Foundation
of a databank and cooperation in methodology to ensure this
coordination were also foreseen.
The member states also agreed to joint efforts to
promote either bilateral or regional cooperation for building electric
power stations, disposing of toxic wastes, restoring of other energy
sources and hydrocarbon technologies.
They would enhance cooperation on scientific and
technological research and would be involved in joint projects for
infrastructure and house building.
Under the draft agreement a Black Sea Development
Bank would be founded to support cooperation among the members and to
encourage economic relations with emphasis on infrastructure projects.
After a transition period the bank would begin to finance certain
projects wholly or in part.
The common strategies set forth at the resort town
of Abant last week in a meeting chaired by President Turgut Özal would
be discussed at the joint meeting to be held on December 19-20 in