BETRAYAL AGAINST KURDS
"The enormity of the dishonour brought on the United
States by President Bush's decision to betray the Kurdish people is
beginning to sink in at the White House... The American president
repeatedly urged the Kurds to rise up against Saddam Hussein; he
telecast his promise to keep the tyrant's gunships grounded. Mr. Bush
then broke his word, which enabled Iraqi killers to break the back of
the rebellion from the air."
It is a prestigious US newspaper, The International
Herald Tribune that wrote these lines on April 5, 1991, when more than
1 million Kurds fleeing the civil war in Iraq pressed against the
borders of Iran and Turkey.
In fact, this is one of the most spectacular
betrayals of the human history! But George Bush is not alone in this
shameful act. All of his allies having participated in the Gulf War for
saving the monarchy of a handful corrupt emirs of Kuwait and all those
who unconditionally supported US military operations at the UN Security
Council are accomplices in this betrayal against the centuries-long
oppressed Kurdish people.
Isn't it Turkish President Turgut Özal that,
claiming himself "tutor of all Kurds in the Middle East", instigated
Iraqi Kurds to uprise? (See: Info-Türk, January and February 1991). It
is same Özal that, after having "friendly talks" with George Bush at
Camp David and asked him not to support any Kurdish action leading to a
separate Kurdish administration in Iraq, closed the borders with Iraq
as the Kurdish asylum-seekers were either being shot and wounded by
Iraqi troops or perishing from the severe cold.
After having made a gesture by promising to free
Kurdish language in a move to gain over Kurds, Özal invited Iraqi
Kurdish leaders to Turkey to encourage them in a possible armed action
against Saddam's regime. He announced on March 11, in a jetliner on the
way to Moscow for a visit to the Soviet Union, that Jalal Talabani, the
leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and a representative
of Masoud Barzani, the leader of the Democratic Kurdish Party,
visited Ankara for talks with "bureaucrats of the Foreign Ministry and
the National Intelligence Organization) (MIT)"
"We have to be as friendly with the Kurds as
possible. Since all European countries were talking with the Kurdish
groups, Turkey should do so as well. We are more closely concerned with
everything... We must talk with them. It would be very wrong not to
talk with them (the Kurdish groups) while everyone else was talking
with them," he said to Turkish journalists.
Since the Turkish republic was born in 1923,
official policy has refused to recognize estimated 25 million Kurds
living in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria as a separate people. For the
last seven years, Turkish Army has been in battle with the Workers
Party of Kurdistan (PKK) guerrillas and 2,600 people have perished in
The PKK has considered Özal's manoeuvres with
prudence while Talabani and Barzani were falling in the trap of US and
Turkish administrations. Very satisfied with Özal's declarations and
invitation, Talabani said: "Turkey can trust the Kurds as an ally. We
shall certainly not hurt Turkey's interests." He added that the PUK had
collaborated with the PKK in the past but had broken off relations with
Despite Talabani's declaration trying to assure
Turkish authorities, Özal and the Turkish military have never ceased to
fear that Kurdish autonomy in Iraq might lead to demands by 15 million
Kurds to have their autonomy in Turkey as well.
According to the daily Milliyet of March 28 , 1991,
the military officials were asking whether the Kurdish aspirations can
be limited to cultural freedom. "They also fear Turkey may be forced to
accept Kurdish autonomy, and this could open the way to more Kurdish
demands for an independent state. The army feels if a federation is
formed in Iraq and the Kurds are a part of it, this will also affect
the Kurdish movement in Turkey," said Milliyet. "The military claims
the Workers' Party of Kurdistan (PKK) leader Abdullah Ocalan should not
be accepted as a Kurdish counterpart."
CRACKDOWN ON KURDS IN TURKEY
In fact, as Özal was trying to present himself as
the "tutor of Kurds", the Turkish security forces have never stopped
their repressive actions against Kurdish population, on the contrary,
they have intensified their repressive actions in Turkish Kurdistan.
This new wave of state terrorism has given rise to
country-wide protests and the traditional celebration of the
Kurdish New Year (Newroz) in March turned into mass demonstrations in
protest against repression.
On February 28, the day of the cease-fire in the
Gulf, Turkish security forces gunned down some 200 mules, owned by the
local villagers, which were used to transport surplus and leftover coal
from the Sirnak mines to their homes, and shot dead some
villagers. Tension was already high in the area, because since
the beginning of the Gulf War, at least 70 villages in Sirnak province
have been evacuated for "security measures".
In protest against the killings of February 28, the
people in Sirnak held next day a violent demonstration which ended in
the death of one soldier. The angry demonstrators also damaged
Atatürk's statute and stoned the windows of the town hall and the local
military headquarters. 200 people were taken under custody.
On March 1, a group of students from Istanbul
University attacked police with stones and Molotov cocktails to protest
the disturbances in Sirnak. Protesters destroyed the police sentry box
in the university garden.
On March 4, another demonstration was
organized in Idil, a township of Sirnak, after security forces held a
search operation and arrested some residents in the village of Kuvuz.
During the demonstration, two persons were killed by police and 10
injured in a clash between demonstrators and police. A group of
reporters who came from Diyarbakir to report on the event were not
allowed in Idil for "security reasons." However, it was reported that
the demonstrators stoned the post office and set fire to a post office
vehicle. 20 people were detained after demonstration.
Next day, a group of people staged another
demonstration in Idil to protest against the detentions.
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Association (IHD), the Chamber of
Architects, the People's Labour Party (HEP), the Bar Association
and the Oil Workers' Union, issuing a joint report on the Idil
incidents, stated that the State regards the residents of the region as
On March 7, in the township of Dargecit, security
forces shot dead a woman and wounded eight people by opening fire on
Kurdish groups protesting the Sirnak and Idil incidents. Next day, more
than 2 thousand people carried out a protest march in the town and
tradesmen closed their shutters in protest against repression. A
similar protest march was made in the same town on March 15 by shouting
slogans "Long live Kurdistan", "Down with Torturers!".
On March 16, the third anniversary of the Halabja
Massacre in Iraq was another occasion to protest the oppression of
Kurds as well in Iraq as in Turkey.
On March 20, Kurds carried out mass demonstrations
throughout Turkey on the occasion of Kurdish New Year (Newroz). In
Adana, demonstrators set fire to four police cars. After the incidents
resulted in five wounded, police detained 80 people.
Following days, more demonstrations took place in
big cities like Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, hundreds of demonstrators
were arrested by police.
On March 22, in Nusaybin a Kurds was shot dead
The repression has not remained within Turkish
borders. On March 28 Turkish military units and helicopters, entering
in the Iraqi territories, carried out raids on the PKK guerrilla camps.
The daily Tercüman of April 3 reported that 60 PKK militants and 4
Turkish soldiers perished during the confrontation. However, the
Kurdistan Committee in Brussels reported that only two militants were
killed, but the Turkish units lost 30 soldiers. The committee also
announced that a Turkish lieutenant-colonel, Muzaffer Alicguzel was
captured by the PKK guerrillas.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL ON TURKEY
Amnesty International issued in on February 25, 199,
a new report on Turkey, entitled "Still waiting for change; information
on continuing human rights abuses."
"The Turkish authorities declared in 1989 their
intention to make constitutional, legislative, and procedural changes
which would improve safeguards against torture for detainees in police
custody, and which would abolish or amend those articles of the penal
code under which most prisoners of conscience are held. In the
intervening two years, there has been no legislative or practical
progress in these areas of concern. Proposed amendments to the
Constitution, the Turkish Penal Code and the Criminal Procedure Code
remain in draft form while prisoners of conscience continue to serve
long terms of imprisonment for expressing their beliefs and opinions.
Detainees are still routinely held incommunicado in police stations, in
some areas for up to 30 days, unprotected by even the most basic
safeguards against ill-treatment. Torture persists as a widespread
phenomenon, with the apparent collusion of the authorities and recent
months have brought an alarming number of deaths allegedly resulting
from torture," said the AI Report.
The 14-page document contains recent information on
prisoners of conscience, torture, ill-treatment in prison, death
in custody, extrajudicial executions and death penalty.
As regards torture, AI arrives to the
following conclusion: "Most reported incidents of torture have occurred
during the initial period of detention when detainees are denied access
to relatives or a lawyer. Although Article 128 of the Turkish Criminal
Procedure Code states that the maximum period permitted before a
detainee is formally charged or released is 24 hours, this period may
be extended to 15 days by the prosecutor without the approval of a
judge in cases involving three or more suspects, or due to the "nature
of crime." In the 10 provinces currently under emergency rule the
maximum detention period may be doubled to 30 days. Amnesty
International has received reports of detainees being held for even
longer periods, thereby increasing the risk of torture and
ill-treatment. A further matter of concern is a provision in the
revised "Censorship and Exile" Decree Number 430 which was promulgated
in December 1990, which permits detainees to be brought back from
prison for further interrogation and possible torture in gendarmeries
and police stations, even though this practice had been abolished as
unconstitutional in 1988."
AI shares the Helsinki Watch's concern about "death
in custody" (See: Info-Turk, February 1991 and also the following
article in this issue). "A report published by Amnesty International in
April 1989 listed 193 names, dates and places of deaths in custody
reported between 12 September 1980 and 6 March 1989. In response to
information received from the Turkish authorities since the publication
of this document, Amnesty International has revised its provisional
list of cases of deaths in custody. This now numbers 192 cases of which
34 have been confirmed as deaths caused by torture. The organization
continues to seek further information on the other cases. During the
past three months there have been reports of eight deaths in custody
which have allegedly occurred as a result of torture. Amnesty
International believes that if these deaths were caused by torture,
they would be directly attributable to the failure of the authorities
to implement safeguards against torture required by the UN Convention
against Torture, the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of
All Persons Under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment, and other
internationally recognized standards."
TWO MORE DEATHS IN DETENTION
Helsinki Watch issued, on February 20, 1991, a
second report on two more deaths in detention in Turkey. This brings
the number of deaths in detention to seven in a six-week period -- the
same number of detainees who died in suspicious circumstances during
all of 1990. In addition, one of the two recent deaths was reported as
a suicide, making a total of three cases in which authorities have
alleged that the detainee had killed himself.
The two recent deaths are:
1. Günes reported on February 8, 1991, that Kasim
Aras died in Erzurum hospital to which he had been taken in a coma
right after his release from Aralik Prison in Kars. The cause was said
to be a brain hemorrhage suffered during torture. Aras' brother, Halit
Aras, said: "Non-commissioned officers Ihsan Karacaoglu and Salim
Taskeser of Aralik County Gendarmery Station pout my brother in this
situation." He also said that Kasim Ars had been hospitalized twice
during the month he spent in prison. On February 13, the Ministry of
the Interior launched an investigation into Aras' death.
2. On February 14, 1991, Günes reported that
25-year-old Ali Riza Aydogan, who was being detained at the Beyoglu
office of the Istanbul Security Directorate, had fallen from the fourth
floor of the building and been taken to Taksim Hospital, where he later
died. Authorities reported that Aydogan had committed suicide by
jumping from the window. Aydogan's father, Muzaffer Aydogan, said:
"There was no reason for my son to commit suicide. He was going to get
married shortly. He had no relation to any organization or activity."
YÜZYIL REPORTERS UNDERWENT TORTURE
Ten reporters from the Ankara office of the weekly
Yüzyil were taken into custody on March 5 in connection with weapons
found on the premises of the office. Although eight journalists
were released next day, the weekly's administrative manager, Güner
Tokgöz, and deputy manager Hasan Yalcin were placed under arrest by a
Mehmet Bedri Gültekin, the deputy editor-in-chief of
the weekly, held a press conference along with the newly released
reporters and the weekly's defense lawyers and said reporters had
undergone torture at the Ankara Security Directorate. He said that
Tokgöz, under arrest, had been transferred to a hospital
Gültekin said employees of the magazine were under
constant threat, whether by letters or phone, which is why the
magazine's editor Dogu Perincek and deputy manager Hasan Yalcin had
applied for a gun licence. He added, however, that these applications
for licences had been rejected. He said that the guns on the premises
were there for self-defence.
PRESSURE ON THE MEDIA IN FEBRUARY
1.2, President Özal sued the daily Sabah for libel.
He claims an indemnity of 50 million TL ($18,000).
2.2, Sociologist Ismail Besikci was brought before
the State Security Court No.2 of Istanbul for his banned book The Law
of Tunceli and the Genocide of Dersim, considered as a separatist
propaganda. The author and publisher Mrs. Ayse Zarakolu both face a
prison term of up to 15 years.
3.2, the Governor of Yozgat banned selling of
musi-cassettes produced by nine musicians. Among the banned songs are
also those of Pir Sultan Abdal, Ahmet Kaya, Arif Sag, Selda Bagcan,
Rahmi Saltuk, Group Yorum and Ferhat Tunc.
5.2, the monthly Özgürlük Yolu was confiscated by
the SSC of Istanbul for separatist propaganda.
6.2, the SSC of Istanbul confiscated two monthly
reviews, Mücadele and Odak, respectively for separatist and communist
6.2, the SSC of Istanbul confiscated a book of Ali
Osman Köse on the trials of Revolutionary Left (Dev-Sol) for communist
8.2, President Özal sued the weekly 2000e Dogru for
libel. He asks an indemnity of 150 million TL ($50,000)
9.2, the chief editor of the monthly Hedef, Zeki
Tombak was taken into custody.
10.2, a book entitled Writings on the Woman
Question, published by the Dönüsüm Publishing House, was
confiscated by the SSC of Istanbul for communist and separatist
10.2, the representation of Pir Sultan Abdal in
Denizli was banned by the Governor. The pay had already been banned in
the provinces of Istanbul, Kocaeli and Izmir. The Governor of Denizli
called on the governors of other provinces to do the same.
12.2, the Union of Publishers announced that, in the
past year, 31 books published by 17 publishing houses were confiscated
for political reasons.
12.2 two books by the Devrimci Proletarya Publishing
House, The Last Ten Years of Liquidationism and On Unity were
confiscated by the SSC of Istanbul for communist propaganda.
12.2, a correspondent of the weekly Yeni ülke,
Mecit Öztunc was arrested by the SSC of Diyarbakir for belonging to an
13.2, a book entitled "The method of Learning
Kurdish", written by Hüseyin Sagnic and published by the Melsa
Publishing House, was confiscated on the decision of a criminal court
of Istanbul for separatist propaganda.
14.2, in Kayseri, eleven musi-cassettes produced by
ten musicians were banned by the governor.
16.2, the representation of a play entitled Papa,
where were you on September 12? was banned in the counties of Karaman
and Mut. Two responsibles of the theatre Halk Oyunculari, Mert Egemen
and Fuat Ciyiltepe were interrogated by political police in Ankara .
17.2, the SSC of Istanbul confiscated two books for
communist and separatist propaganda: Writings of Revolutionary Way
(Devrimci Yol) written by Oguzhan Muftuoglu, and The Social
Reality of Turkey and Revolutionary Strategy, issued by the Varyos
17.2, the daily Mücadele which has been published
for four years in the province of Kars announced that it had to put an
end to its publication because of legal pressure. In four years 132
legal proceedings were opened against the newspaper and the journalists
working for it were very often taken into custody.
18.2, the last issue of the weekly Yeni Ülke was
confiscated by the SSC of Istanbul for separatist propaganda.
18.2, the radical Islamist review Akdogus announced
that it had to put an end to its publication because of different
pressures. Six collaborators of the review had been arrested by the
Istanbul SSC for anti-secular activities.
21.2, Mrs. Rüya Eser Oguztan was brought
before the Criminal Court of First Instance No. 2 of Istanbul for her
book Lesbian. She is accused, together with her publisher Mehmet Cerci,
of immoral publication.
21.2, during a cultural festival organized by the
Municipality of Hasandede in Kirikkale, the representation of a play
entitled Amnesty: A Game of Freedom was banned by the governor on
grounds that it contains dialogues against public morality.
22.2, the representation of Pir Sultan Abdal was
banned in Ankara.
22.2, a public performance of popular actor Ilyas
Salman was banned in Kayseri on grounds that the security of the hall
could not be assured by the security forces.
22.2, it was reported that within the first 18-month
period of President Özal, more than 50 people, mainly journalists and
cartoonists, have been indicted for insulting the President of the
Republic. Each of the accused faces a prison term of up to five years.
24.2, the issue No.2 of the political review Yeniden
Üretim was confiscated by the SSC of Istanbul for separatist propaganda.
25.2, the weekly Yeni Ülke and the monthly Komün
were confiscated respectively for separatist and communist propaganda.
27.2, a new legal proceeding was opened against
sociologist Ismail Besikci for an interview he gave to the monthly
Deng. Besikci and three journalists from the review, Kamber Soypak,
Mustafa Sahlan and Demir Ermis, face each a prison term of up to 15
year for separatist propaganda.
STATE TERRORISM IN FEBRUARY
4.2, the Samsun section of the Educators'
Association (Egit-Der) was closed down on pretext of activities
harmful to national security.
5.2, Muzaffer Erdost, Chairman of the Ankara branch
of the Human Rights Association (IHD), was indicted for a press
conference during which he criticized the mass arrests of last days.
5.2, in Elazig, 40 people were arrested by a
tribunal on the accusation of aiding the PKK. Among the arrested people
are also the Mayor of Karakocan, Abdusselam Cicek, who is a member of
the Correct Way Party (DYP), and the local chairman of the People's
Labour Party (HEP), lawyer Yavuz Yilmaz.
6.2, in Ankara, following the detention of 13
people, members of the banned associations TAYAD and DEMKAD, four of
them were placed under arrest by the tribunal.
6.2, a raking operation in the slums of Kücükarmutlu
in Istanbul resulted in the arrest of six people.
8.2, in Ankara, nine students were detained for
belonging to an underground organization.
9.2, three women detained three days ago for being
members of TAYAD and DEMKAD, Saadet Toksoy, Can Balicanli and Gamze
Turan, alleged that they were tortured at police centre.
10.2, the press reported that Engineer Ceyhan Sari,
detained in Ankara on February 7, and seven students detained
during an anti-war demonstration in Konya on February 4, were subjected
to torture during interrogation.
11.2, the SSC of Malatya sentenced three members
of the Kurdish organization TEVGER to 4 years and 2 months
imprisonment each, and another detainee to 2 years and 6 months.
12.2, the security forces announced the arrest of 73
people in the area of state of emergency for having given support to
13.2, a German member of parliament, Ursula Fischer
(PDS) was not allowed by the Super Governor to enter in the city of
Siirt. She was in the area for a parliamentary mission concerning the
situation of human rights.
13.2, the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV)
announced that, in 1990, police raided the locals of 59 associations:
34 in Istanbul, 9 in Ankara, 16 in other provinces. Besides, 27
associations were definitely closed by governors: 16 in Istanbul and 11
in other provinces. The officials of the raided or closed association
were subjected to legal proceedings.
13.2, in Izmir, former local secretary of the Human
Rights Association of Turkey (IHD), lawyer Mustafa Ufacik was
brought before a criminal court for a speech he gave in August 1990 at
a panel on human rights. He is accused of instigating the people to
13.2, the Socialist Party (SP) reported three
party members detained in Van, Abdullah Kaya, Abdulaziz Kaya and Zeynel
Cetin, were subjected to torture at police centre.
14.2, police announced that 13 alleged members of
Dev-Sol were detained in Istanbul. 15.2, in Ankara,
44 people, mainly parents of political prisoners, were indicted for
having carried out a protest action against the restriction on visits
to prison. Each faces a prison term of up to five years.
16.2, the Prosecutor of the Istanbul SSC opened a
legal proceeding against 55 young people for having participated in the
political actions of the Revolutionary Youth (Dev-Genc). 35 of them are
16.2, two alleged PKK militants and 20 people aiding
the former were arrested in Mardin.
17.2, a meeting on "Children and Violence",
organized by the Ankara Section of the IHD was banned by the Governor
of Ankara on grounds that it might lead to disorder.
18.2, the political police detained in last few days
fifteen people for political reasons.
19.2, Hatip Dicle, local chairman of the IHD in
Diyarbakir, was detained for a press conference during which he had
revealed a case of death under torture. In protest, Dicle started a
20.2, political police raided some houses in Ankara
and detained ten people.
21.2, the SSC of Istanbul arrested six people for
belonging to the outlawed Communist Party of Turkey/Union (TKP/B).
21.2, political police started an
investigation against Yüksel Cakmur, Mayor of Izmir, for having allowed
to put on walls anti-war posters in the city.
21.2, it is reported that Chairwoman of the TAYAD,
Gülten Sesen, and other members of the administrative board have been
on hunger strike for seven days in protest against the interdiction of
22.2, in Ankara, seven people were detained for
belonging to the Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey (TDKP)
24.2, as the Turkish Government was taking part in
the anti-Iraq campaign, 115 political prisoners were sentenced to 6
years and 8 months imprisonment each for having signed three years ago
a petition in prison in protest against Halabja bombing in in Iraq in
24.2, political police announced that 20 people were
arrested in Istanbul for belonging to underground organizations.
25.2, a 16-year old high school student in Gümüshane
was detained on the school director's denunciation that he drew sickle
and hammer on the blackboard. After being released, Dincer Sahin
said that he was tortured at the police centre.
26.2, security forces announced the arrest of a
total of 19 PKK militants in Elazig, Tunceli and Cemisgezek.
26.2, the SSC of Ankara put under arrest eleven
people for being TDKP members.
26.2, seventeen non-commissioned officers were
reportedly dismissed from the Air Force for their religious activities.
So, the number of the NCO dismissed for the same reason reached over
27.2, a university student, Ferda Civelek, arrested
for insulting President Özal and the Turkish Justice, said at the
Criminal Court No.3 of Istanbul that she had been tortured during her
police interrogation. She faces a .prison term of up to 10 years.
MRS. ÖZAL'S POLITICAL AMBITIONS
President Özal, who cast himself as a world
statesman during the Gulf crisis, faces a messy party revolt provoked
by his wife which could undercut his own power base.
The malaise in the ruling centre-right Motherland
Party (ANAP), founded by Özal in 1983, was on public .show on
March 3 when a party convention in Istanbul dissolved into a noisy
brawl. Özal's wife Semra, launching into politics
with an attempt to consolidate her family's control on the party, was
running against Talat YiImaz, the candidate of the
nationalist-fundamentalist Holy Alliance, for the job of chairman of
the party's Istanbul branch.
Rival factions at the packed hall accused each other
of vote-rigging, fists flew and State Minister Mustafa Tasar, the
presiding officer, who punched the odd delegate himself, finally called
off the proceedings until further notice.
Campaigning against Semra were Interior Minister
Abdülkadir Aksu, State Ministers Mehmet Kececiler and Cemil Çiçek, and
former defence minister Hüsnü Dogan, sacked last month by Özal, his
cousin, for opposing the first lady's political ambitions. Newspapers
reported Özal might respond by changing the cabinet. "There is no place
for Aksu, Kececiler and Cicek in the government," the daily Cumhuriyet
quoted Özal as saying.
Even by the robust standards of Turkish politics,
the spectacle of the ruling party publicly tearing itself apart must
raise questions about Özal's grip on power, diplomats said.
"I feel Özal is in a corner," one senior Western
diplomat said. "If he can't solve the problem of who is governing the
country and put order into his own party, he will not be able to go
forward or innovate. He could be paralysed."
Motherland, a broad-based coalition of interests,
has won two elections since 1983. Özal has hinted he might call a third
this year, one year before the party's mandate expires. In 1987 the
party won 292 seats in the 450-seat single- chamber parliament on only
36 per cent of the popular vote, thanks to electoral rules which favour
Constitutionally, Turkish presidents are above party
politics. But since Özal left the prime minister's office for the
presidential palace in 1989, he has continued to call the shots through
his influence over Motherland.
According to a Reuters report published by the
Turkish Daily News of March 6, Özal's party has not argued with his
vision of Turkey as a secular, free-market democracy which could be a
model to Islamic neighbours and a bridge between Europe and the Middle
East. But the party's conservative wing seems unhappy with his views on
narrower issues such as the Kurdish problem in the southeast, army
reform and human rights. They also appear to be fed up with his
high-handed style of government. Özal, a devout Moslem, had previously
drawn fire for appeasing the religious conservatives on social issues.
Political sources said he may now have decided they have grown too
strong and could upset his plans for Turkey, which include eventual
entry into the European Community. By putting his wife at the sharp end
of the struggle, Özal has shown he is determined to clip the wings of
conservatives and fundamentalists to give his party a more centrist
"This is the first time Özal's authority over
Motherland has been disputed in such a striking way," wrote Ertugrul
Özkök in Hürriyet. "Semra Özal couldn't get the result she wanted in a
struggle she began with the financial and moral support of her husband,
a large part of the cabinet, the bureaucracy and businessmen. Özal is
an obstinate politician. I expect the outcome of the Istanbul congress
will make him take a harder political stand," said Özkök, who is close
to the president.
WOMEN SUBJECTED TO TORTURE
Women who seek treatment at the Ankara-based Torture
Rehabilitation Centre invariably claim they have been sexually
threatened or abused.
Psychologist Aysun Yavuz, who works at the Human
Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV),
said: "Although Turkish women might be culturally conditioned to be
more articulate about their weaknesses and therefore might be more
resilient, many younger women can't recover from the effects of torture
-- which is usually of a sexual nature. Nearly every woman that comes
here has at least been verbally threatened sexually. The fact that the
inflictor is a man creates psychological pressures. Women who come in
for rehabilitation invariably claim they have been threatened,
humiliated or raped. The women claim being routinely left naked for
searches or cold showers."
The ages of the women who apply to the
rehabilitation centre range between 20 and 28, excepting one, who is
42. Most of the eleven women presently seeking treatment are university
students who were taken into custody or arrested on charges of staging
illegal protests or being a member of an illegal organization. The
42-year-old woman, the mother of an inmate, was arrested during a visit
to her son.
Yavuz claims that when allegedly tortured women are
very young this results in irreparable problems later on in their
lives. Among the problems are a wariness of men, and a changed image of
their own bodies.
"Since it is their sexual nature that has brought
them under attack, they try to undermine this aspect of themselves, if
not conceal it, through the way they dress or behave. Perhaps because
of cultural conditioning, it is an advantage, however, that women can
articulate feelings of weakness more easily. Women have a more tolerant
attitude towards life. There is a different expectation of men, that
they should be able to shoulder difficulties with more ease and
strength. But despite this, it is easier for men to reassume a normal
life than women."
"They use all the problems of a patriarchal society
in torture," says Haldun Özen, the foundation's general secretary,
noting that while the male dominant role is exploited against women,
similarly, men are threatened with the rape on their female relatives.
There have been eight cases of alleged torture on
women in newspapers in 1991 so far, says Özen. "The case against three
police officers, who are charged with torturing Nevruz Türkdogan during
custody continues. Türkdogan, who was pregnant at the time of her
detention, claims to have lost her child after beatings by policemen."
The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey's Torture
Rehabilitation Centre, which has been in operation since April 1990,
works solely on a voluntary basis. A project designed specifically for
women who are victims of torture is in its planning stage.
BELGIAN STAND ON KURDISH QUESTION
The Belgian House of Representatives adopted on
March 14, 1991 a resolution concerning the Kurds and other ethnical
minorities of Turkey. The resolution proposing that Belgium opposes to
the Turkish adhesion to the European Communities has been interpreted
by the Turkish authorities and some newspapers as a plot against
Turkey. As a number of Turkish political figures were sending Belgian
counterparts protest messages, some others claimed that Turkey should
review its relations with Belgium and even withdraw its ambassador to
The Belgian resolution reads:
"The House of Representatives:
"asks the Government to insist before the Turkish
Government and by the means of the European Community, the Council of
Europe and the United Nations:
"that the deportations of Kurds established in the
South-eastern villages of Turkey immediately be lifted and that the
emergency laws in force in this regions be lifted;
"that political, social and cultural rights of Kurds
and all other ethnical minorities living in Turkey be respected;
"that an equitable part of the compensations
accorded for making up the negative consequences of the Gulf War be
used for repairing the social and economic damages of the population of
the South-eastern Turkey;
"proposes that Belgium oppose to the Turkish
adhesion to the European Communities as long as the human rights are
violated in this country and as the cultural identity of Kurds there
are not recognized;
"asks that Belgium, in a member of the Security
Council of the United Nations, do its best for assuring that the
Kurdish problem existing in five countries be examined with the frame
of an international conference."
TURKEY'S DEFICIT OVER 2 BILLION $
In 1990 Turkey's current account deficit reached
2.611 billion dollars, according to the Central Bank's figures. In 1989
current accounts had achieved a surplus of 961 million dollars. So,
current accounts deficits exceeded 2 billion dollars for the first time
since 1980. The deficit was 3.4 billion dollars in 1980.
The loss caused by the Gulf Crisis and increase in
the amount of imports are the main reasons for last year's current
accounts deficits. In 1990, while exports increased by 11 percent,
imports increased by 41 percent. As a result, the foreign trade
deficit of Turkey, which was 4.2 billion dollars in 1989, reached 9.5
Turkey paid back 7.2 billion dollars worth of
foreign loans in 1990, a 4 percent increased compared to the year
In 1990 the use of mid- and long-term credits
increased by 16 percent in comparison to the year before. In 1989 this
amount was 3.1 billion dollars, but in 1990 Turkey used 3.6 billion
dollars of mid- and long-term credits.
On the positive side last year saw an increase in
foreign investment. Tourism revenues also increased. In 1989 foreign
investment was 633 million dollars. Foreign investment increased by 7.5
percent in 1990 and totalled 713 million dollars.
Turkey's tourism revenues increased by 26 percent
and reached 3.2 billion dollars. Tourism expenses, on the other hand,
decreased from 565 million dollars in 1989 to 520 million dollars in
The other item which increased the balance of
payments is workers' remittances. In 1990 workers' remittances
increased by 6.7 percent and reached 3.2 billion dollars. In 1989 the
amount was 3.04 billion dollars.
ÖZAL FAILED TO GET THE PROMISED AID
The Gulf countries seem that they have already
forgotten the support Turkey gave gave to the allied forces during the
Gulf War and have not made attempts to deliver the money they promised
Kuwait did not even mention Turkey in newspaper ads
it ran to thank the allied countries.
There is no sign from Abu Dhabi of the 400 million
dollars it promised and Saudi Arabia has slowed down its oil donations
The United States, too, does not seem eager to
supply sufficient financial support to Turkey.
During his visit to the United States in March, Özal said to President
Bush that Turkey urgently needs 2 billion dollars and the success of
the present government in the 1992 general election wholly depends on
the US financial aid. However, according to the daily Hürriyet of March
28, Özal failed to get a positive response to his request for urgent
foreign loans from his U.S. counterpart Georges Bush.
The state is continuously borrowing, and this,
according to Hürriyet, pushing up interest rates and inflation. All
this means slower growth and an increase in unemployment.
On the other hand, the European Community declared
on March 4 its will to bolster its ties with Turkey but gave no hint
when it would release an 800-million-dollar financial aid package for
Ankara that has been frozen since 1981.
Ankara is disappointed but hardly surprised at the
European Community decision not to release an aid package to
Turkey, diplomatic observers have said.
While the Foreign Ministry officially declined to
make announcements until evaluating the documents of the meeting,
sources close to the ministry said that it was known that the package,
namely the Fourth Financial Protocol, might be kept on hold.
Official circles had been "pessimistic" about the
chances of the protocol being released since the EC finance ministers'
decision last week to give a 2.2 billion ECU aid to Greece last week,
but to postpone discussions on the Turkish package.
Earlier, on March 1, Turkish President Özal had sent
a letter to the prime ministers of the EC countries, with the exception
of Greece, saying that he "was getting increasingly concerned with the
Turco-EC ties, although it was clear that Turkey deserved a better
treatment from its NATO allies."
Özal pointed out in his letter that Turkey had
risked a great deal economically and politically in its solidarity with
the West during the Gulf war, but had received a mere 175 million ECU
"Compared to what the Community gave to other
states, I could not refrain from saying that there was a clear
discrimination against Turkey," the letter continued.
Özal observed that the Turkish public had lost
confidence in the EC. He also cited the existence of various
obstructions before the bilateral ties between Turkey and the
Community, such as the repetitive Greek vetoes against release of the
Main opposition leader Erdal Inönü said in a press
conference that Turkey had not done what was necessary for the
improvement of Turco-EC relations. "I strongly deplore the government
policy of not doing anything to improve bilateral ties," Social
Democrat Leader Inönü said. "The main mistake is leaving Turco-EC ties
under the mortgage of a third party, Greece."
ÖZAL'S VISIT TO THE SOVIET UNION
Prior to his visit to Washington, President Özal
paid a visit to the Soviet Union and signed with Mikhail
Gorbachev a friendship and cooperation treaty , including a one-year
extension of an existing trade agreement.
Özal began his six-day trip to the Soviet Union on
Talks between Özal, the first Turkish leader to
visit the Soviet Union in 22 years, and Gorbachev took place in the
Grand Kremlin Palace. For three hours , Gorbachev and Özal
discussed the situation in the Gulf following the U.S.led war against
Iraq. Özal underlined that now that the war is over, concerted
efforts were required to rebuild conditions required for permanent
peace, stability and tranquillity in the region and to heal the wounds
of war. The two leaders also discussed Özal's proposal for the creation
of a Black Sea cooperation scheme.
Özal plans to visit Romania and Bulgaria in the next
few months to promote the creation of the Black Sea Economic
Cooperation Zone, which the Soviet Union has hailed as a promising
venture, sources said.
At the end of talks, Özal and Gorbachev signed
agreements on trade, economic, scientific and technological
cooperation, and on avoiding double taxation. The Soviet-Turkish
agreement on trade for 1986-90 was extended by one year.
Trade between the two neighbours reached 1.8 billion
dollars in 1990.
The two countries are considering opening a border
crossing at Nahjivan, in addition to the crossing opened in 1988 at
Sarp near the Black Sea.
In addition, Turkey recently signed trade agreements
with eight of the 15 Soviet republics.
Özal, accompanied by 70 business leaders, also
visited the Ukraine, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan before returning home.
TURKISH PROTESTS IN BULGARIA
Thousands of Turks demonstrated on March 26 near the
Bulgarian city of Razgard to protest that country's policies towards
its ethnic Turks. The demonstration, attended by 15,000 people, was
organized by the Rights and Freedoms Movement (HOH). Ahmet Dogan,
chairman of the HOH, said Bulgaria had to first solve its problems in
the Balkans before it developed its relations with Europe. Dogan also
criticized the Socialist Party for objecting to Turkish language
education in schools. He said Turkish education continued in
associations and mosques despite this party's objection.
Following weeks of school boycotts and street
blockades by the Bulgarian nationalists, parliament on March 8
postponed until autumn a government plan to offer voluntary Turkish
classes on an experimental basis. The decision prompted protests from
either side in the conflict.
In an earlier meeting, held on March 17 in Krdzhali,
Turkish spokesmen had reiterated calls for the immediate introduction
of mandatory Turkish classes in mixed-population areas. Rejecting a
government compromise calling for experimental Turkish classes in some
schools, they said that ethnic Turks are not "guinea pigs."
Turkish deputy Nureddin Mehmet declared Bulgarian
Turks had not bowed to ousted Communist leader Todor Zhivkov's "terror
of the 1980s," referring to a "Bulgarization campaign" that peaked in
1984-85 when ethnic Turks were forced to change their names.
When Zhivkov opened Bulgaria's borders in summer
1989, a total of 320,000 ethnic Turks fled to Turkey to escape
persecution at home. Less than half of them have since returned for
lack of jobs and housing in Turkey.
Parliament has meanwhile enacted legislation
restoring the Turks' names. They are again free to practice their
religion and use their language in public.
The Rights and Freedoms Movement, which has 23
deputies in parliament, announced that Turkish language broadcasts,
banned under Zhivkov, would be restored soon.
Turkish leaders dismissed Bulgarian nationalists'
claims that Turkish classes in mixed-population areas would endanger
national security and stressed the need for national unity.