"When the first wave of American jets left southern
Turkey to bomb Iraq last Friday, Turkey took the most interventionist
step in its foreign policy since the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire.
Ending the era of Atatürk who sought to keep the country out of
conflicts with its neighbours, it appears to have marked the rebirth of
Turkish regional power politics." (The Daily Telegraph, 22.1.1991)
"Saddam leaves, Turkey leads, goes one of the
marching slogans that Turkey's 650,000-strong conscript army uses to
keep in step. It also sums up a broadly held view that President Turgut
Özal is preparing to play a much bigger regional role, whether or not
Turkish forces participate in the Gulf War." (The Financial Times,
As pointed out by these two comments appeared with
one-week interval in the British press, the rulers of Turkey have,
despite the opposition of an overwhelming majority of the population,
openly opted for Turkish expansionism in the Middle East.
In a new move engaging Turkey in the War of the
Gulf, the Motherland Party (ANAP) majority of the Parliament, guided by
Özal, decided on January 17 to allow the US aircrafts stationed at the
Incirlik Airbase to bomb targets in northern Iraq.
A day before the hostilities in the Gulf broke out,
Özal had met with ANAP deputies in groups of 30 in the National
Assembly building and said: "God willing, Turkey will emerge from this
crisis a stronger country. Our army will become a modern defense force
with higher mobile capacity through contributions coming from the
Defense Fund and the support we are expecting to get (from abroad)."
At a stormy session of the National Assembly, Erdal
Inönü, leader of the main opposition Social Democratic Populist Party
(SHP), accused the government of deliberately misinforming the public
and disguising its intention to go to war against Iraq. Inönü went on
to say that Özal was misinterpreting the United Nations' resolution
giving permission to resort to force against Iraq. All this means that
Turkey will enter the war. Why don't you say this openly, instead of
resorting to some obscure scenarios? There cannot be national unity
over your attempts at deception and misinformation."
Süleyman Demirel, former prime minister and leader
of the Correct Way Party (DYP), said the government's real purpose was
to take Turkey into war, and that its assertions that Turkey had no
intention of fighting in the war were not valid at all. Demirel also
claimed that the Ankara government was zealous to go to war because the
United States wanted to see Turkey in the combat theatre.
At the end of the debate, the government bill was
approved by 250 votes to 148.
Kurdistan turned into an arsenal
Six hours after the legislative assembly adopted the
measure, some 25 American fighter planes took off from the Incirlik
air-base in Adana accompanied by three tanker planes and two
radar-equipped AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control Systems), only to
return three hours later. So, the second front against was opened Iraq.
Afraid of the popular reaction, the Turkish Foreign
Ministry said that they were on a three-hour training flight. But
Pentagon officials immediately contradicted it by announcing that the
planes which took off from Turkey joined the bombing operation over
The Turkish Radio and Television (TRT), which has
been on the air 24 hours a day since the outbreak of the Gulf War
transmitting CNN live, interrupted the transmission while the CNN
announcer was saying that planes from Incirlik had joined the allied
force bombing Iraq.
Same day, 48 US fighter jets that Prime Minister
Akbulut requested from the USA landed at the Incirlik Airbase. These
jets include 14 F-15s, 10 F-4Gs, 14 F-16s, four F-111s and six EF-111s.
According to various reports, the headquarters of
the Turkish General Staff was not informed of the government's demand
for U.S. jets.
For protecting the Allied forces in the area
against Iraqi missiles, a large number of Patriot missiles sent by the
Netherlands had already arrived in Turkey on January 16 and placed in
When Turkey was engaged in the war, Turkish and
foreign forces at airbases in the Southeast were as follows:
Four squadrons of Turkish F-4 jets, Italian RF-104
reconnaissance jets and German Alpha-Jets at the Erhac airbase in
Malatya; three squadrons of F-16, F-111 and F-15 jets the 48 U.S. jets
that recently arrived and four American fuel reinforcement planes at
the Incirlik Airbase near Adana; three squadrons of Turkish F-104 and
F-16 jets and Belgian Mirage-5 jets at the Diyarbakir military airbase;
two squadrons of RF-4 and F-5 jets at the base in Mus; a squadron of
Turkish F-104 jets at Batman airbase; and a squadron of Turkish F-16
jets at the Erzurum base.
Although Belgian, German and Italian authorities
claimed that their AMF forces were sent to Turkey only for dissuasive
and defensive tasks, all their squadrons have been placed under the
command of Turkish General Öner Dincer. As for the latter, he is under
the command of American generals within the NATO framework.
On January 15, several Turkish naval warships and
submarines left the Mediterranean port of Mersin. Unofficial sources
claimed the warships would be positioned off the coast of the Turkish
part of Cyprus. Besides, all of the warships and frigates at the Gölcük
naval base have been sent to various ports in the Aegean and the
All divisions of the 2nd Army corps in Diyarbakir
have been moved to the frontier. In addition to them, the divisions of
the 3rd Army too were ordered to move to the border.
The Turkish Armed forces has based tank divisions at
Cizre and at other points along the Iraqi border. One tank division has
also been placed at Gaziantep, near the Syrian border, allegedly to
counter any Syrian attack on Turkey. Also along the Cizre-Silopi line
are 106- and 155-milimeter cannons. Troops are mainly concentrated
between Cizre, in the west, and the Habur border gate, to the east.
After US planes started bombing Baghdad after taking
off from Incirlik, Hakkari, Habur, Silopi and Cizre were blacked out
and the Habur to Silopi highway was closed to private vehicles.
Civilians exposed to Iraqi riposte
As the Turkish Armed Forces continue to mount a
military build-up in Kurdish provinces of Turkey along the Iraqi
border, people living in the region have begun to flee to the safety of
western provinces and local officials are complaining about the lack of
civil defense precautions in the region.
Incirlik Mayor Cumali Kar said: "Incirlik would
become a target in the case of war and residents are right to flee.
While extraordinary security measures are being taken at the base, we
do not even have a shelter here."
Ten people reportedly died of suffocation in their
homes when they attempted to take precautions against an attack by
chemical weapons. The overwhelming majority of this region are Kurds or
Assyrians and Chaldeans of Christian confession.
Silopi Mayor Neset Öktem, who is a member of the
governing ANAP, said: "Even if they execute me, I will not refrain from
saying this: The irresponsibility of the government has turned this
region into a buffer zone. It is as if the locals are not considered
Mustafa Büyük, governor of Cizre said: "Although the
citizens are asking for shelter in case of war, even the governor's
office does not have one."
In the southeastern province of Hakkari on the Iraqi
border, the towns of Cukurca, Yüksekova and Semdinli were almost
completely evacuated, along with 25 of the villages in the vicinity.
At Dicle University in Diyarbakir, an unofficial
"war holiday" was announced because almost 6,000 of the 8,500 students
left the city for western provinces.
Local clergymen urged people who stayed in the
Southeast to turn to religion and pray before the "catastrophe" comes.
Massive anti-war demonstrations
Public opinion polls show about 80 percent of the
population are against any Turkish involvement in the war.
Massive anti-war demonstrations organized on January
13 in Pendik by the main opposition Social Democratic Populist Party
(SHP) ended with one dead, one wounded and 22 people detained.
After the protest rally, which drew crowds estimated
as high as 80,000, a confrontation erupted between the police and a
group of 300 participants. Police started firing to scatter the
demonstrators, some of whom boarded a suburban train to escape.
Addressing the rally, SHP leader Erdal Inönü
declared that President Özal was taking advantage of the Gulf crisis to
cover up his failure to solve Turkey's problems and gambling with the
lives of the people.
Tens of thousands including representatives of trade
unions and associations wore "No to War" hats and displayed banners
saying: "No to spilling blood for the United States and oil sheikhs,"
"War means starvation, destruction and wretchedness," and "Youth won't
be hired assassins of imperialists."
Nermin Alkan, a schoolgirl released after 73 days in
detention for displaying a "No to War" sign at her school too appeared
on the platform. Rejecting anonymity as a minor, the 16-year old girl
asked the public to recognize her by her full name, pledging to
continue her fight for peace.
As for the Islamic fundamentalist groups, they too
have been holding demonstrations Friday in Istanbul and other cities of
Turkey protesting the war against Iraq and reproaching the government
for taking sides with the United States.
On January 18, two thousand people gathered outside
the 16th-century Süleymaniye mosque in Istanbul after Friday prayers
and chanted "Allah is great."
During the demonstration American and Israeli flags
were burned and hung posters on the walls reading "Down with the
enemies of Islam," "Down with the USA" and "Saddam is a pretext, the
real target is Islam."
However, the pamphlet distributed by demonstrators
also condemned Saddam Hussein as a "criminal whose hands are full of
crimes against Islam." "Our account with Hussein is a regional issue,
it cannot be used as a pretext for the presence of Americans," it
It called upon Turkish Moslems to act openly against
US attempts "to make Turkey joint the crusade against the Moslem people
in the Middle East.
The government's pro-USA policy has also been
riposted by armed actions. Bomb attacks in big cities, mainly against
US targets, have added to the tension.
On January 14, bomb attacks simultaneously damaged
the Istanbul headquarters of the Turkish Employers' Association of
Metal Industries (MESS) in Istanbul and the headquarters of the
Motherland Party (ANAP) in Ankara. The outlawed organization
Revolutionary Left (DEV-SOL) claimed responsibility of these first
In telephone calls to newspapers, DEV-SOL said:
"These attacks are not important. If Turkey continues backing the
United States in the Gulf Crisis, the foreign embassies of imperialism
will be blown up, one by one. If necessary we shall explode the
Incirlik NATO airbase."
In fact, after Turkey allowed the USA to use
Incirlik airbase, explosions have been carried out against U.S.,
French, Saudi Arabia institutions in a number of cities.
On January 26, there were two more explosions in
Adana, near the base at Incirlik from where US sorties are launched. A
car parked near the US consulate and a Turkish-American association
building were damaged.
Özal's expansionist designs
No doubt, a crushing defeat for President Saddam
Hussein will create a regional power vacuum that any of the three
neighbouring countries, Turkey, Syria and Iran, may attempt to fill.
Among the leaders of these three countries, Özal seems most resolved to
put in force the expansionist designs that he developed for a long
After US State secretary Baker's last visit, Özal
claimed that great things would come from the war. "We will become a
great country, we will gain a modernised army," he pledged. "Turkey had
received to date military material worth $335 million from the United
States. Loans provided by the United States to Turkey would total some
$7 billion. In addition to the current joint project with the United
States to manufacture 160 F-16 fighters in Turkey, I had approval from
Washington for the manufacture of 120 more F-16 jets in the plant near
Özal also hopes to receive military equipment worth
$7 billion from the European arms reduction cascade.
Turkish officials often speak of the "stabilising
role" to be played by Ankara after the war. Its strongest
interpretation would be that of regional policeman, with the US and
possibly even Israel.
As explained in the preceding Info-Türk Bulletins, a
fraction of Turkish rulers are very attached to an old claim to the
north Iraqi oil-fields at Kirkuk and Mosul. Although the officials say
that these claims had been dropped after the territory was handed to
British-mandated Iraq under a League of Nations decision in 1926, if
the dismemberment of Iraq appears imminent Turkish Army is expected to
occupy this oil-rich territory on the pretext of preventing any attempt
to establish a Kurdish state in northern Iraq.
Turkey's 15 million-strong Kurdish minority, for
decades brutally repressed, have already been engaged in an effective
Some analysts even suggest that Özal's longer-term
ambition is to create an enlarged Kurdish region embracing both
southeast Turkey and northern Iraq, to be administered under Turkish
A recent decision of the Turkish Government is
considered a first step to this end. On January 26, the government
decided to review a 70 year-old ban on speaking and broadcasting in
Kurdish. By this decision, Özal hopes to calm Kurdish population and
even to make them accept a Turkish tutelage.
Developing Turkey's role as a benevolent regional
economic power is Özal's another dream. He has already put forward
plans to make his country's surplus water available for irrigation
projects in Syria and Iraq, perhaps under an oil-for-water deal. The
Turkish business has already begun to make calculations as regards
fabulous profits to be obtained from rebuilding of Iraq after the war.
Özal also hopes that his pro-American stance may
accelerate Turkey's application for full membership of the European
However, Özal seems to forget an indispensable
factor in these calculations. For being a regional power, a country
should have the respect and confidence of its neighbouring countries.
As pointed out by the daily Cumhuriyet on January
18, the Özal policy that allows the U.S. to bombard an Arab country has
already been criticized by Arab countries as well as Iran. Both Syria
and Iran have announced that if Turkish troops enter in Iraqi territory
they would not remain as passive spectators.
Reports from Ankara have also indicated that Moscow
is uneasy about Turkish involvement in the war. So, Özal's pro-USA
commitments have already limited to a great extent Turkish manoeuvring
Kurdish political forces in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and
Syria too have repeatedly underlined that they would never accept a
Turkish tutelage whatsoever be Ankara's concessions as regards the
Kurdish people's rights.
What is most important, the Turkish population
itself, with its all political parties, trade unions, democratic
organization and media, stands against the behind-the-door policies
Özal directed jointly with Washington.
ALL STRIKES FORBIDDEN
The Turkish Government, using as a pretext the state
of war, banned all strikes throughout the country since January 26,
As reported in our past issues, the social unrest
had, due to the government's anti-social policies, reached
The most spectacular ones of the recent workers'
actions were the one-day general strike by more than 1.5 million
workers throughout Turkey and the long march by minors and their
families from Zonguldak to Ankara.
At the beginning of 1991, more than 180 thousand
workers were on strike mainly in the sectors of coal-mines and metal
works. It was expected 300 thousand workers go on strike in other
sectors such as paper, textile and air transport.
One-day general strike
On January 3, 1991, in protest against the
government's failure to respond to their demands for increased pay,
more than 1.5 million workers stayed at home. The daily life was
completely paralysed in big urban centres due to a mass participation
in the action.
More than 90 percent of the workers unionized under
the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (TURK-IS) and nearly 50
percent of the workers under the conservative HAK-IS did not report to
The call for absence from work was most successful
in the emergency region inhabited by Kurds, where nearly 100 percent of
the workers adhered to the strike call.
This mass action was accomplished despite the fact
that the Government and the employers resorted to all possible means of
initimidation and menace. The Government threatened to dismiss public
sector workers taking part in the action and the Public Employers'
Union obtained an injunction from the 8th Labour Court in Ankara
warning that such an action may constitute an "illegal strike."
Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP) leader Inönü
said the workers' action could not be evaluated as simply one day's
strike, but that it was the result of inflationary pressure. "This
action stems from the antidemocratic actions of the Turkish Government
which destroy work peace. Laws should be changed to establish work
peace," he said.
Long march by coal-miners
Just after this general strike, the march of nearly
100,000 miners and supporters from Zonguldak towards Ankara marked the
first time in Turkish history that a workers' strike and protest had
widespread public support.
The first of its kind, the march of coal-miners
began on January 4 — the 36th day of the miners' strike for increased
pay and better work conditions. (See: Info-Türk, Dec 1990).
The miners and supporters hit the road on foot when
police and troops would not allow their buses to leave Zonguldak.
The march turned into the most spectacular workers'
demonstration in Turkish history with the participants snowballing to
over 50,000 a day and numbering an estimated 100,000 on its fifth day.
The disgruntled miners were joined by their wives,
retired coal miners, people from adjacent villages and members of the
Turkish left sympathetic to the march. Even some deputies of the right
wing Correct Way Party (DYP) joined the marchers.
Hiking in freezing temperatures, the miners spent
the first night along the road to Ankara in Devrek, and the second
night in Mengen. On January 6, however, the marchers were stopped by a
barricade of bulldozers and 5,000 troops and riot police, forcing them
to spend the night on the 12-kilometer stretch of road between Mengen
and the barricade.
The Ministry of Interior sent instruction to the
provincial governors of Zonguldak, Bolu and Ankara to stop the march.
The directive said the march was unlawful because its purpose was not
travelling, but a demonstration."
When the marchers arrived at the barricade, tension
rose to a peak, with most dismissing the idea of returning to
Zonguldak. "Even if it costs our lives we will march!" they shouted.
"We have burned our bridges; we won't return!"
When a group of marchers refused to obey security
officials' order to move back, 201 people were arrested in a brief
hassle with the police. After interrogation by the local police in a
soccer stadium in Mengen, they were taken to Ankara Police Headquarters
for being tried by the State Security Court.
Throughout Sunday, the number of participants
swelled, reaching a new high as more and more people came from
Zonguldak and surrounding towns. Relief food, blankets and woollen
garments also poured in From Zonguldak. Similar supplies sent from
Ankara and Istanbul were turned back along the way by security forces.
Under the unbearable conditions, the miners' union
decided on January 8 not to provoke violence and halted the
280-kilometer march. Thereupon the collective bargaining talks were
resumed between Semsi Denizer, the union leader, and Labour Minister
The security forces' blockade of the march route and
the detention of strikers have been protested by international trade
Meeting in Amsterdam on January 9, the General
Secretaries of the International Trade Secretariats (ITS) and the
International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) representing
more than 100 million workers world-wide, in a written statement,
"protest against the security forces to let through
humanitarian assistance to the marchers;
"demand the immediate, unconditional release of all
those detained and guarantees that no further repressive measures will
be used against the strikers or their leaders;
"demand the resumption of bargaining in good faith
on the strikers' just claim for a pay increase that will restore their
purchasing power, and a properly planned future for the Turkish mining
"Condemn the intemperate and insulting remarks
reportedly made by Mr. Turgut Özal, the President of Turkey, concerning
the miners, particularly as these reported comments do not accord with
the impartiality of the presidential office;
"Recall that this dispute is just one example of the
deteriorating industrial relations climate in Turkey, and of the
repression to which Turkish trade unions are subject;
"Pledge the continued assistance of the
International trade union movement to the Turkish trade unions'
struggle for the full restoration in Turkey of democracy and human
rights, including trade union rights such as the right to organise and
the right to strike in both the public and the private sector;
"Call upon the International Labour Organization
(ILO) Conventions and Recommendation in Turkey and in particular those
related to freedom of association and the right to collective
"Reiterate the firmly held view of the international
trade union movement that Turkish membership of the European Community
cannot be considered until such basic rights are guarantied in Turkey."
Same day, the Secretary General of the European
Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Mathias Hinterscheid, in a press
release, said: "For the ETUC it is clear that such a Turkey do not have
her place among the European democracies. The ETUC will continue to
employ its all influence for preventing Turkey, which is systematically
violating fundamental rights and trade union rights, from being a
member of the European Communities."
However, the Turkish government, taking no heed of
these protests and even without waiting the result of the talks between
the trade union and the Labour Minister, decreed on January 26 that all
strikes were suspended for 60 days throughout the country on grounds
that the national interests were under threat because of the Gulf War.
This anti-democratic measure shows once more that
one of the reasons of the government's decision to lead the country to
the Gulf War is to suppress the resistance against the
anti-labour policies which have condemned the working people to living
under unbearable conditions.
KILLINGS IN TURKISH KURDISTAN
Interior Minister Abdülkadir Aksu said on December
30, in an assessment of the past year, that a total of 313 PKK
(Workers' Party of Kurdistan) militants were killed in clashes with the
security forces during 1990.
In addition, 180 PKK members were either arrested or
surrendered themselves to the security forces, bringing the total
number of "separatists" knocked out of action to 493, as it was 312 in
The minister said that during the last six and a
half years 1,432 civilians and security force members had lost their
lives in conflicts with PKK guerrilla groups. During the same period,
836 PKK members were killed and 775 captured by the security forces.
AWFUL PERSECUTION OF CHILDREN
One of the 33 minors arrested in Turkey last year
for having committed political crimes, Nermin Alkan (N.A.) was released
on December 25, following the second day of her trial at Istanbul State
Security Court. Three other defendants of the case, over 18 years old,
were also released.
Detained at Political Police Headquarters in
Istanbul for nine days and in prison for a further 64 days, N.A. was
accused of having hung an anti-war poster on her high school wall. She
testified in court that she was severely beaten and tortured by the
police and submitted a forensic specialist's report to that effect.
The student —identified only as N.A. because of a
legal stipulation intended to protect minors— was handed over by the
director of Pendik High School, where she was a student, to the police
during school hours on October 4. Her lawyer said she was charged by
the prosecutor with belonging to an illegal organization since anti-war
posters are not banned by the Turkish Penal Code.
In the eventful first hearing of her first trial on
December 3, at which 62 people were arrested after being beaten up by
the police, the prosecutor asked that the youths be sentenced to 20
The four defendants claimed they were "progressive
individuals", but rejected allegations that they were members of an
illegal, armed organization.
N.A. asked: "Is it a crime to oppose an unjust war?
Do you want the hunger and destruction that comes along with war?"
She also blamed the Turkish press for having played
up her minor status. She said she should be judged on the basis of her
ideas, rather than on her age, and that she had a name, not just
After her daughter's release, N.A.'s father, Hüseyin
Alkan said she would not be able to attend school this year and had to
wait the decision of the Administrative Court in Ankara, which will
decide a suit brought by the family against the school.
The list of the prosecuted children in 1990
Below the list of the minors who have been accused
of having committed political crimes in 1990:
January 19: S.O., 16-year old, caught distributing
pamphlets and posters of a left-wing organization and sent to the
March 16: A., 15, given into police custody by the
director of the Umraniye High School in Istanbul.
March 19: N.A., 14, arrested in Suruc for having in
his pocket a paper with the writing "Fascist, slave of colonialists".
March 22: M.A., 15, and H.A., 17, arrested with a
Islamist book and sent to the Istanbul SSC.
March 24: T.Y., 15, caught writing on house walls
"Down with Fascism" and tried at the Istanbul SSC.
March 27: three minors, A.R.T., M.G. and E.K. held
for putting posters in the yard of a Junior high school in Istanbul and
released after a 9-day detention.
April 20: Y.O., 17, sentenced by the Kayseri SSC to
one month and ten days imprisonment for communist propaganda.
May 22: a 14-year old Kurd was sent to the
Diyarbakir SSC along with 154 people for illegal demonstrations.
May 24; A 14-year old girl detained in Izmir along
with seven people for having distributed clandestine leaflets.
June 19: K.I., 17, sent to the Erzincan SSC for
taking part in murder of 9 civil servants in Elazig.
June 24: S.O., B.B., M.Y., all 17-year old, and
C.S., 16, arrested and sent to the Istanbul SSC for distributing
pamphlets stating "End to repressive fascist education" in a school in
June 27: seven high school students, between 15 and
18, indicted by the Istanbul SSC for being members of an underground
July 12: B.C. and N.Y., both 17, arrested and sent
to the Istanbul SSC on the charge of being members of an illegal
organization in Istanbul.
July 18: three Kurdish children, 11, 12 and 14 years
old, sent to the Diyarbakir SSC for having participated in an armed
conflict with security forces. All face capital punishment.
July 22: Y.S. and Y.Ö, both 11, M.S. and M.B., both
12, arrested and tortured on charges of beating up children of police
in Bünyan (Kayseri).
July 30: F.A., 16, detained during a circumcision
ceremony in Umraniye for having taken part in a leftist play.
August 14: Y.S. and I.C., both 15, arrested and sent
to the Istanbul SSC for going to May Day celebration in Istanbul.
September 8: B.S., 17, sent to the Istanbul SSC for
having participated in illegal demonstrations.
September 25: A.C., a 12-year old girl, detained in
the village of Kiragli, during a police operation against Kurdish
October 5: N.A., 16, arrested for putting "No to
War" posters on school wall in Istanbul.
October 27: A.Ö, 16, detained in Konya for having
listened to some musi-cassettes banned by authorities.
October 29: E.A., 12, arrested for helping PKK.
October 31: A.T. and S.A., both 17, sent to the
Izmir SSC for religious propaganda.
November 3: C.K., 16, indicted in the town of
Akcabat for having made a sit-in against war.
November 9: a 16-year old student arrested and
tortured along with 18 other students in Adana for participating in
some protest actions.
November 12: a high-school student, I.A., sentenced
by the Istanbul SSC to 4 years and 6 months imprisonment for having
participated in a demonstration.
November 27: A.O., 17, sent to the Malatya SSC
for separatist activities along with five people and faces capital
November 29: police announced the arrest of a
16-year old youngster in Antalya along with 12 people, all accused of
belonging to PKK.
December 1: S.E., 13, and A.F., 14, arrested for
taking part in hunger strikes in Nusaybin and Cizre.
December 16, in a case against the Revolutionary
Left (Dev-Sol) at the Malatya SSC, four defendants below 18 years face
prison terms of up to 12 years.
December 22: A.C., 14, arrested for helping PKK and
sentenced to death by the Diyarbakir SSC. Then sentence turned into
prison sentence of 2 years and 6 months for his minor age.
December 23: a 16-year old school girl was
sent to a criminal court in Istanbul for having put anti-war posters on
December 25: S.Y., 13, tortured at
Ankara Political Police Headquarters while trying to identify her
brother under torture.
DEPORTATION DECREE MODIFIED!
The Council of Ministers, in a new political
manoeuver, abrogated on December 16, 1990, the so-called "Decrees of
Censorship and Deportation", No. 413 and 424, but replaced them
by a new emergency decree.
The decision was taken a few days before the
Constitutional Court announced its decision to abrogate the said
The new decree No. 430 maintains all measures such
as closing down any publication or printing house and compulsory
emigration for "undesirable individuals" in the Southeastern Turkey,
but it brought some softenings in the procedure.
The opposition criticized the move as a government
trick to sidestep the Constitution.
15,000 SUSPECTS WANTED BY POLICE
According to statistics from Turkish police
headquarters, reported by the Dateline of January 5, 1991, the police
will continue searches for about 15,000 people on the wanted list in
Police statistics show that the list encompasses
individuals whose arrest has been ordered by courts and those whose
links with illegal activities have been established by the police.
Among the wanted people, 20 are charged with murder,
243 with political crimes and an overwhelming 2,568 with evading
obligatory military service.
10 BILLION TL FOR INFORMERS
The Interior Ministry has allocated 10 billion TL
($3.5 million) as payment to police informers and offenders who turn
themselves in to the authorities.
According to the draft budget, Interior Ministry
allocations to be spent on "covert operations," mainly informers, were
increased by 114 percent this year.
By virtue of a law adopted on June 5, 1985, those
political offenders who inform against their former organizations are
pardoned and, if need be, benefit from free esthetical surgery. In some
cases they are given a new identity card (with a different name) and
ARRESTS, TRIALS AND PRESSURES IN DECEMBER
4.12, ten people were arrested in Antalya on the
charge of belonging to PKK. They will be tried by the SSC of Izmir.
5.12, ten alleged members of PKK were brought before
the Diyarbakir SSC. Among the detainees is also the brother of the PKK
leader, Abdullah Öcalan.
5.12, police raided for a second time the Cultural
Association of Mamak in Ankara and detained 12 people. The same
association had been raided on November 27 during which six people were
6.12, the trial of 49 people, accused of having led
an unauthorized demonstration on May 1st, 1989 in Istanbul ended. The
Istanbul SSC sentenced 24 defendants to prison terms of up to 15 months.
7.12, the Association for Solidarity with the Higher
Education Youth (IYÖ-DER) was closed down by the Governor of Istanbul.
8.12, security forces arrested 27 Kurds in the
provinces of Sirnak and Elazig for sheltering PKK guerrillas.
8.12, the Ankara SSC sentenced six people to prison
terms of up to 29 years for being members of an outlawed organization.
8.12, police arrested 20 people in Izmit during a
mass rally in solidarity with striking miners.
10.12, a university student, Haydar Kus, was sent to
the Malatya SSC for being member of PKK and faces capital punishment.
10.12, the posters and tracts issued on the occasion
of Human Rights Day were forbidden by the Governor of Izmir.
12.12, security forces shot dead a woman and a boy
in the southeastern town of Lice, near Diyarbakir, when peasants from
the villages of Dibek and Cinizli marched to the local governor's
office protesting the State terrorism in the area. After the incident,
25 people were detained by police. In protest, shop-keepers closed
12.12, Ahmet Aksoy was indicted for being PKK member
and faces capital punishment at the Izmir SSC.
13.12, a new trial against 44 alleged members of PKK
began at the Diyarbakir SSC. Seven defendants face capital punishment.
13.12, the Ankara SSC sentenced a PKK member, Ercan
Kavak, to 8-year imprisonment.
13.12, fifteen students of a vocational school in
Iskenderun were arrested for having organized a meeting on the occasion
of the Human Rights Day.
14.12 the Erzincan SSC sentenced 8 PKK members to
prison terms of up to 20 years.
14.12, a leading member of the IHD, lawyer Hasan
Hüseyin Reyhan was arrested in Iskenderun. He will be tried by the
14.12, the Governor of Istanbul closed down
definitely the Association for Solidarity with the Prisoners' Families
(TAYAD). During the execution of the order police seized the
association's all documents.
16.12, the district governor of Bismil banned to
sing Kurdish songs at the marriage ceremonies.
16.12, in Ankara, 17 people were sent to the SSC for
religious activities. All face prison terms of up to 12 years.
16.12, in a new case against the Revolutionary Left
(Dev-Sol) at the Malatya SSC, 14 defendants face prison terms of up to
17.12, in Cizre, six people were detained for having
led a demonstration in solidarity with striking workers.
18.12, four students of the Hacettepe University
were detained in Ankara for having organized a boycott.
19.12, in Adana, Mrs. Rabia Tuncer, chairwoman of
the Nurses' Association, was detained for leading a boycott.
20.12, the chairman, Hatip Dicle, and three members
of the Human Rights' Association (IHD) in Diyarbakir were arrested for
having addressing a meeting in Kurdish. Each faces a prison term of up
to 10 years.
21.12, the Women's Association in Democratic
Struggle (DEMKAD) was closed down by the Governor of Ankara.
21.12, it is reported that 1122 schools have been
closed in the Kurdish provinces and more than 30,000 students deprived
22.12, a total of eleven PKK militants were
reportedly shot dead during an armed conflict with security forces in
Tunceli and Bingöl.
22.12, ten members of the DEMKAD and the TAYAD,
which had been banned earlier, were detained by police in Ankara.
22.12, the Diyarbakir SSC sentenced a 14-year old
boy first to capital punishment, and commuted the sentence to a prison
term of 2 years and 6 months considering his minor age. In the same
trial another defendant was condemned to 7-year prison.
23.12, in Elazig, six university students were
arrested on the charge of being members of the Revolutionary
Workers'-Peasants'' Army of Turkey (TIKKO).
23.12, a 16-year old school girl was sent to a
criminal court in Istanbul for having put anti-war posters on walls.
27.12, in Izmir, police arrested 24 alleged members
of the Young Communists' Union (GKB).
28.12, police reports that fifteen PKK members were
detained in Mersin.
29.12, a five-year long political trial ended at the
Ankara SSC. Accused of being members of the Liberation Army of Turkey
and Northern Kurdistan (TKKKO), fifteen defendants were sentenced to
4-year and 2-month prison each and 107 others acquitted.
29.12, a founding member of the IHD, lawyer Emin
Deger was sentenced by an Ankara criminal court to 10-month prison for
having insulted the police during the defence of his client at another
31.12, in Izmir, two persons were sentenced to
20-month imprisonment each for writing Progressive Youth (Dev-Genc)
slogans on walls.
31.12, it is reported that within last one year 25
associations have been closed down for contravening the Associations
Code and 150 officials of these associations sent to tribunals.
1990: BLACK YEAR FOR THE PRESS
The Turkish press agency ANKA reports that
prosecutors have opened 586 legal proceedings against 49 publications
in 1990. Of these publications 15 are daily newspapers.
In 363 penal actions prosecutors claimed a total of
2,814-year imprisonment against 302 journalists and writers.
In 223 civil actions the prosecutors asked tribunals
to sentence the media to a total of 64 billion 117 million TL ($ 20
89 publications have been the object of
confiscation. Among them are also three dailies: Günes, Sabah and Bugün.
17 journalists have been indicted for having
criticized President Özal or his family members.
By virtue of the Emergency Decree, two political
reviews, 2000e Dogru and Halk Gercegi, were banned on June 26, 1990. A
printing house where these reviews were printed was closed down for ten
days. Because of this pressure on printing houses, many left-wing
reviews have been obliged to stop their publication.
On the other hand, the Human Rights Foundation of
Turkey (TIHV) qualified the year of 1990 as the "Year of press freedom
The TIHV reports that, in 1990, tribunals gave a
total of 126 years and 5 months imprisonment against journalists.
PERSECUTION OF THE MEDIA IN DECEMBER
2.12, two journalists from the daily Cumhuriyet,
Okay Gönensin and Cüneyt Arcayürek, were condemned to one-month prison
each for having unveiled an act of accusation. Prison terms were later
commuted to fines.
3.12, the socialist monthly Atak was confiscated by
the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
6.12, a 80-year old Kurdish writer, Musa Anter, was
indicted by the Diyarbakir SSC for contravening Article 140 of the
Turkish Penal Code in an interview he gave to the BBC.
6.12, Hüseyin Erdem's book Siyaban and Ece, a
collection of Kurdish tales, and a book on the TKP-ML's 3rd Party
Conference were confiscated by the Istanbul SSC. The prosecutor opened
legal proceedings against the authors and publishers.
7.12, three political reviews, Yeni Ülke, Deng and
Mücadele, were confiscated by the Istanbul SSC.
8.12, the trial of three journalists from the daily
Cumhuriyet, Ilhan Selcuk, Okay Gönensin and Necdet Sen, accused of
having criticized President Özal, began at an Istanbul criminal court.
Each faces a prison term of up to four years.
11.12, a political review, Devrimci Emek,
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
13.12,two journalists from the daily Zaman, Ömer
Okcu and Servet Engin, were sentenced by a criminal court in
Ankara to one-year imprisonment each for anti-secular propaganda. Their
punishment was later commuted to a fine of 1,825,000 TL ($650) for each.
13.12, the Yaprak Publishing House was sentenced to
a fine of 12 million TL ($4,000) for a book entitled Erotic Graffiti.
14.12, Ismail Pehlivan, responsible editor of the
humorist review Girgir, was sent to a criminal court for having
published a cartoon criticizing the Prime Minister. He faces a prison
term of up to six years.
15.12, a journalist from the daily Zaman, Mehmet
Kafkas was sentenced to a total of three years in prison for two
articles he wrote. The sentence was later commuted to fine.
17.12, a criminal court in Usak sentenced journalist
Mustafa Kaplan from the daily Yeni Asya to a one-year imprisonment for
having criticized Atatürk.
18.12, the Governor of Siirt banned selling or
listening to musi-cassettes of famous folk singers Ahmet Kaya,
Bedrettin Coskun, Mehmet Sah, Besir Kaya, Ferhat Tunc, Ali Asker and
Hasan Hüseyin Demirel on grounds that they make ideological propaganda.
18.12, the last issue of the weekly Yeni Ülke was
confiscated for publication weakening national feelings.
20.12, the responsible editor of the monthly Yeni
Cözüm, Erdogan Yasar Kopan, was sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to a
total of 5-year imprisonment in two different press cases . The
sentence was later commuted to a fine of 5,950,000 TL ($5,600).
21.12, two journalists from the daily Zaman,
correspondent Yilmaz Polat and responsible editor Servet Engin, were
sentenced to 3-year imprisonment each for insulting Atatürk.
28.12, the daily Bugün was sentenced by a criminal
court in Ankara to a fine of 4 million TL ($ 1,350) for having insulted
the President's wife.
28.12, the responsible editor of the Islamist review
Akdogus, Sinami Orhan was sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to a prison
term of 6 years and 3 months for separatist propaganda.
29.12, two journalists from the daily Cumhuriyet,
Erbil Tusalp and Okay Gönensin, were sentenced to one-month
imprisonment and 40,000 TL ($14) each for having unveiled the documents
of a legal proceeding.
31.12, the Memoirs by the 80-year old Kurdish writer
Musa Anter was confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist
31.12, the weekly 2000e Dogru which had been closed
down by virtue of the Emergency Decree was allowed to appear. However,
the second issue after this permission was confiscated by a criminal
court of Istanbul for an article claiming that the Army would not obey
to President Özal's military orders.
31.12, the last issues of the weekly Yeni Ülke and
the monthly Özgür Halk were confiscated for separatist propaganda.
THE BUSINESS CLAIMS MORE DEMOCRACY
The Turkish Association of Industrialists and
Businessmen (TÜSIAD) has, in a move to make Turkish citizens fully
aware of their legal rights, issued a report entitled Yasalarimiz,
Haklarimiz (Our Laws, Our Rights).
Speaking at a luncheon during which the report was
released, TUSIAD Chairman Cem Boyner said that Turkish people should be
regarded as "human beings", like the peoples of "Western democracies
and should not be pushed around."
Compiled by a committee of eight law professors, the
report includes information on fighting justice through legal means.
Pointing to the contradiction between Article 26 of
the Constitution —which states that every person is free to express his
ideas via words, publications and other means— and Articles 141, 142
and 163 of the Turkish Penal Code, which penalizes diffusing propaganda
or setting up organizations on a class or ethnical or confessional
basis, the report states:
"Criticism [of those articles of the Penal Code] is
based on the freedom of political thought, because it is true that,
seen from a broad perspective, the penal code restricts thought."
Boyner said the Conference on Security and
Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) agreement signed by East and West European
countries in Paris in November marked the end of "oppressive,
totalitarian regimes," and hailed the victory of "Western-style
democracy and the market economy."