A SHAM AMNESTY
- The gesture of April 12 is not an amnesty, but
a probational release of certain prisoners
- Thousands of Kurdish and left-wing prisoners
are kept behind iron bars as extreme-right killers being released
- Many repressive articles of the Penal Code
remain in force as Articles 140, 141, 142 and 163 being abrogated
- New crimes and punishments are introduced by
the adoption of the new Anti-Terror Law
- Ban on Kurdish organizations, publications and
education is maintained by the new law.
- State terrorism's agents and torturers are
taken under legal protection of the government.
- Political refugees are still under menace of
prosecution in the case of return to the country
- The right to citizenship of more than 15
thousand people is not yet restored
After having betrayed Kurds, the Ankara regime, in a
move to fool once more the world opinion, announced on April 12, 1991
the release of more than 40 thousand prisoners and the suppression of
Articles 140, 141, 142 and 163 of the Turkish Penal Code as well as the
Law forbidding to speak Kurdish.
The release of the people who have been suffering in
prisons since the military coup of September 12, 1980 is no doubt a
rejoicing event. It is for this reason that the Turkish Parliament's
decision has been applauded by the world media as a "further step
towards democratization in Turkey and a significant gesture
facilitating Turkish accession to the European Communities."
Whereas, the release of prisoners and the
suppression of the most criticized articles of the Turkish Penal Code
are the part of a plan aimed at reinforcing the State terrorism in the
In fact, the abrogation of the said articles and the
release of prisoners take place in the provisional articles of The Law
On Fighting The Terror, adopted on April 12 by the Parliament.
The 23 main articles of this new law No. 3713 impose
very heavy punishments for a series of acts of organization and
propaganda and constitute a real menace as well against Kurdish
organizations as to publications and teaching activities in Kurdish
language. Besides, the agents of the State terrorism and torturers are
placed under the absolute protection of the State.
It is for deviating the attention from the
repressive substance of this new law that it was added to it
provisional articles stipulating to lift some articles of the Turkish
Penal Code and to release prisoners.
REAL FACE OF THE RELEASES
In fact, the adoption of this new law does not
signify a real freedom for all prisoners. The new law divides prisoners
into three categories:
1. Those sentenced or accused by virtue of Articles
140, 141, 142 and 163 of the Turkish Penal Code. Since these articles
were suppressed, the victims of these articles have been released
without any condition and turned into "citizens without record" if they
had not been condemned for another article.
2. A reduction of prison terms and a probational
release for those prisoners who had been sentenced or accused by virtue
of the articles other than 140,141, 142 and 163 of the TPC for the acts
had committed up to April 8, 1991. This category includes as well a
part of political prisoners as the people sentenced for ordinary
crimes. In accordance with the new law , for this category, death
sentenced are commuted to 10 years; life sentences reduced to eight
years, and a convict who has completed one-fifth of his term in jail
are set free.
3. In the application of the probational release,
the provisional article 4 of the new law makes a discrimination so as
to keep the some 2,500 left-wing and Kurdish militants behind iron
bars. The reduction of sentences related to crimes against the state
(dealt with by virtue of Articles 125 and 146 of the TPC) have been
more restricted: Capital punishment were commuted to 20 years; life
sentences reduced to 15 years and other sentences reduced to
one-third of the total sentence term.
So, the convicts of the outlawed Workers'
Party of Kurdistan (PKK) and a number of left-wing organizations such
as Dev-Yol, Dev-Sol, TKP/ML, TDKP, MLSPB, SHB, etc. cannot benefit from
the immediate release, because they have been sentenced or prosecuted
according to Articles 125 and 146.
While many left-wing or Kurdish militants are
remaining in prisons, all of the extreme-right terrorists like Ferhad
Tüysüz, guilty of having murdered about ten people, have been released,
because they had been sentenced by articles 313, 314 and 315 of the
Turkish Penal Code which are not subjected to exception.
The discrimination made between the left-wing and
right-wing people whose death sentences had been approved by the Court
of Appeal is very significant. Of a total of 275 condemned to death,
195 are members of the left-wing or Kurdish organizations, 23
right-wing organizations, 4 Palestinian militants and 53 condemned for
ordinary crimes. Of the 195 left-wing militants, only 8 can benefit
from the reduction to 10 year and be released, while all of the 23
right-wing activists, 4 Palestinians and 48 non-political convicted are
being freed. The death sentences of 187 militants of left-wing or
Kurdish organizations and five ordinary convicted were commuted to
20-year imprisonment and they have to remain in prison at least for ten
years from the adoption of the law.
As for those who have been released, they too are
not totally free. They are not allowed to use their civil rights such
as participating in political life or being public employee, because
the new law does not stipulate to lift the consequences of their
What is the more worrying, since they were
probationally released, they will have to serve the period reduced from
their present sentences if they are sentenced again in future for
POLITICAL REFUGEES UNDER MENACE
As for the political refugees, they are allowed to
return to Turkey. If the returnee has been accused by virtue of an
article other than 140, 141, 142 and 163 of the TPC, for example
Articles 125, 146, 158, 159, 312, he or she have to surrender to the
Public Prosecutor's Office. It is not excluded that the returnee be
interrogated by police, facing the risk of being tortured. Following
the interrogation, he or she will be sent to the concerned tribunal.
There, he or she will either be acquitted or sentenced. If the tribunal
pronounces a condemnation, he or she will have to serve one-fifth of
the sentence in the cases concerning Articles 158, 159, 312, one-third
of sentence in the cases concerning Articles 125 and 146.
The political refugees who have been stripped of
their Turkish nationality too are allowed to return to Turkey and they
will be subjected to the same procedure explained in the preceding
paragraph. As for the rehabilitation of their citizenship, no
arrangement is foreseen in the new law. Since the anti-democratic
Citizenship Code has not been amended, the rehabilitation of their
nationality will depend on the arbitrary decision of the government.
They also face the risk of not being allowed to go again abroad.
Furthermore, the menace of being deprived of nationality will remain as
a sword of Damocles above the head of all opponents of the regime
ARTICLES 140, 141, 142 AND 163
Article 23 of the new law abrogates Articles 140,
141, 142 and 163 of the Turkish Penal Code as well as the Law No. 2932
banning to speak in Kurdish.
Article 140 punished any declaration against the
Turkish State abroad, Articles 141 and 142 communist and separatist
organization and propaganda and Article 163 anti-secular activities.
So, many condemnations given by virtue of these
articles have lost their legal base and the condemned turned into
people having a clean record. Among them are also the leaders and
members of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions of Turkey
(DISK), the Peace Association of Turkey (TBD), the Teachers'
Association of Turkey (TÖB-DER) and a number of left-wing or right-wing
political organizations such as the Workers' Party of Turkey (TIP), the
Socialist Workers' Party of Turkey (TSIP), the Workers'-Peasants' Party
of Turkey (TIKP), the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) and the National
Salvation Party (MSP).
According to the daily Cumhuriyet of April 14, 1991,
at the moment of the adoption of the new law, 1653 convicted and 1664
arrested were in prisons by virtue of the said articles.
Between 1982 and 1989, the number of the people
tried according to Articles 141 and 142 was 6,508. In the same period,
5,065 people were tried by virtue of Article 163.
With the abrogation of these articles, the
above-mentioned organizations too have been rehabilitated. But many of
these organization had already been reactivated under other names. The
Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), after having transferred some
officials of the former Workers' Party of Turkey (TIP), had turned into
the United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP). Even before the lifting of
Article 141, the TBKP had been legally constituted and its activities
tolerated by the regime since its leaders renounced their "radical"
stand and made public their will to collaborate even with the
right-wing parties and business groups. For Özal, the TBKP was not any
more a danger for the regime.
The crucial outcome of the new legislation may be
the reactivation of the Confederation of progressive Trade Unions
When it was closed down in 1980 by the military regime, the number of
the DISK members was above half a million. For depriving the DISK and
its affiliated unions of their material and financial means to restart
their struggle, the government added to the law the provisional article
9 which stipulates that all assets, properties and articles belonging
to DISK and its affiliated unions, which reached 2 trillions of TL's
(around 540 millions of US dollars), are to be confiscated by the
REMAINING REPRESSIVE ARTICLES
As the four articles were being lifted, a number of
repressive articles of the Turkish Penal Code remained in force, mainly:
Article 125: Whosoever attempts to separate the
whole or part of the State's territory shall be punished by
Article 146: Whosoever attempts by use of force to
alter, modify or abolish the whole or part of the Constitution of the
Republic of Turkey, or to overthrow the Turkish Grand National Assembly
formed in accordance with the said law, or to prevent the said Assembly
from performing its duty shall be sentenced to capital punishment.
Whosoever plots, individually or collectively, a verbal, written or
actual conspiracy, or makes public speeches, or displays posters or
publications in public squares, streets, and gathering places of
people, and thus incites people to commit such offences, shall be
sentenced to capital punishment, even if the conspiracy has remained in
the planning stage.
Article 158: Whosoever commits the crime to insult
the President of the Republic shall be imprisoned from one to 3 years.
If the crime is committed by the media , the punishment shall be
increased by one-third up to a half.
Article 159: Whosoever insults the Turkish nation,
the Republic, the Grand National Assembly, the moral personality of the
government, ministries, the military and security forces of the State
or the moral personality of the Justice shall be punished by a prison
term of up to 6 years
Article 312: Whosoever publicly praises an act
considered crime by the law or instigate the people to disobey shall be
punished to a prison term of from six months up to two years. Whosoever
publicly instigates the people to hate and hostility on the basis of
the difference of class; race; religion, sect or region shall be
punished by a prison term of from one year up to three years. If these
crimes are committed by media, the term of prison shall be doubled.
While Kurdish or left-wing militants are very often
accused by virtue of Articles 125 and 146, journalists, writers or
artists find themselves before the judge for contravening Articles 158
and 159 when they criticize the President of the Republic, the Prime
Minister, the ministers, the Armed or Security Forces or for
contravening Article 312 when they write anything against the
A NEW REPRESSIVE LAW
In addition to these remaining repressive articles,
the Law on Fighting The Terror imposes new crimes and stipulate prison
terms and fines heavier than those existed in the abrogated articles.
The law defines terrorism as resorting to violence,
force and constraint in actions against the state. Even the actions
considered harmful to public order or common health are defined as
"terrorist acts." The new law also defines "organization" as a society
consisting of two or more individuals united around a specific goal.
And in cases of terrorist activities on the part of the organization,
all of its members, even if they are not involved in the collective or
single—member crime of the organization, will be considered terrorist
Those who are convicted of establishing and
organizing the activities of a terrorist organization will be sentenced
to 5-10 years of imprisonment and fined TL 200 million ($ 54,000) to TL
500 million ($135,000).
The law also says that crimes mentioned in Penal
Code articles 125, 131, 145, 146, 147, 148, 149, 150, 151, 152, 153,
154, 155, 156, 157, 168, 169, 171, 172 and 499 as well as the crimes
mentioned in the Law on the State Security Courts will be considered
terrorist crimes, carrying sentences which have been increased by half
of the term of the original sentence.
Although many of the said articles can be applied to
the Kurdish militants, Article 8 of the new law brings a new punishment
for the Kurdish organizations and publications:
Article 8: No written or verbal propaganda
demonstration or march can be carried out for the purpose of
undermining by whatsoever method, aim and motive the territorial and
national integrity of the State of Turkish Republic. Authors of these
acts shall be punished by a prison term of from two up to five years
and a fine of from TL 50 million ($13,500) up to TL
100 million ($27,000).
By introducing this article, the Parliament rendered
null the abrogation of the Law forbidding to Speak Kurdish. As a matter
of fact, the Kurdish language had already been spoken in the Kurdish
areas, because the rural population could not speak in Turkish. The
said law had been applied mainly for banning the utilisation of Kurdish
language in publications and public declarations. Now, Article 8 of the
new law takes over the repressive role of the abrogated law No. 2932.
During the trials of the acts mentioned in the new
law, a maximum of three lawyers will be allowed to defend people
accused of terrorism. The lawyers will be under the control of prison
officials while they met their clients.
The convicted people will be confined in prisons
constructed on the principle of cells and will not have the right to
"open contact" with their families and relatives.
The punishment term for armed activities will be augmented, while the
sentences will not be adjourned or transformed into fines.
NEW MENACES TO THE PRESS
New limitations and punishments have been brought to
In accordance with article 6, those who publish the
declarations of organizations carrying on armed struggle or who defend
violence acts or who unveil the names of informers and security agents
will be punished by a fine of up to TL 10 million ($2,700). If the said
publication is made by a daily newspaper or another periodical, the
fine shall be raised over TL 50 million ($ 13,500).
If a daily newspaper or a periodical magazine
carries out propaganda to undermine the territorial and national
integrity of the State of Turkish Republic, they shall be punished by a
fine of not less than TL 100 million ($27,000) and their responsible
editor sentenced to a 2-year prison.
TORTURERS UNDER STATE PROTECTION
Similar punishments are brought against those
publishing organs which would explicit the names of the security force
members who participated to the operations against such organizations.
This procedure attempts also to limit the chances of declaring the
identities of torturers.
Appeals for the instigation of lawsuits against the
torturers are rendered more difficult with a series of new limitations.
Excepted those who caused death, a lawsuit could not be declared
against the torturers, unless the Ministry of Interior ratified it.
Those tried for torture will not be arrested until the pronouncement of
their sentence. They will be defended by lawyers paid by the State.
The identities of people who inform the authorities
about terrorist actions and members of terrorist organizations will be
kept secret. Citizens who help the state to apprehend terrorists will
be financially awarded and will receive protection from the state.
LAST PROSECUTIONS UNDER ARTICLES 142 AND 163
The days prior to the adoption of the new
Anti-Terror Law were full of prosecutions of journalists, writers and
No doubt, the most spectacular was the arrest of the
famous sociologist Dr. Ismail Besikci on March by the SSC of Ankara for
a message he sent to a Kurdish cultural evening in the city of
Stuttgart in Germany. He was indicted for separatism by virtue of
Article 142 of the TPC.
Earlier, on March 8, Dr. Ismail Besikci's recent
book, The Affair of General Muglali - 33 Bullets, was confiscated by
the SSC of Istanbul for separatist propaganda.
In last year, five different books of Dr. Besikci
have been confiscated on the same pretext. The author faced a total of
100-year imprisonment for these books.
Theoretically, all these accusations should have
been dropped following the abrogation of Article 142. However,
Besikci and other intellectuals defending national and democratic
rights of the Kurdish people will be under the menace of the new
Anti-Terror Law which punishes any speech or writing considered
"separatism" by the authorities.
Below are the other examples of the pressure on
intellectual life until the adoption of the new legislation.:
1.3, a concert by the musical group Yorum was banned
by the Governor of Ankara.
2.3, play writer Erol Toy and 22 actors of the
Birlik Theatre were detained in Ankara and sent to the State Security
Court for having carried out an unauthorized march from Kizilcahamam to
the capital in protest against the interdiction of the play Pir Sultan
3.3, the March issues of three reviews, Özgürlük
Dünyasi, Demokrat and Teori, were confiscated by the SSC of Istanbul
for communist and separatist propaganda.
4.3, the trial of Professor Yalcin Kücük, for his
book entitled Theses on Kurds, began at the SSC of Istanbul. Accused of
separatism, he faces a 7-year and 6-month imprisonment.
4.3, the last issue of the weekly Yeni Ülke was
confiscated by the SSC of Istanbul for separatism.
7.3, the chief editor of the monthly Yeryüzü, Burhan
Kavuncu was detained in Konya.
9.3, in Denizli, Refik Yilmaz, Mustafa Eris and
Ahmet Fuat Özkan were sentenced by a criminal court to 3-month
imprisonment each for having sold postal cards dedicated poet Nazim
Hikmet and film director Yilmaz Güney, both deprived of Turkish
nationality and died in exile.
10.3, the representation of the play The History of
the Fire in Istanbul was banned by the Governor.
10.3, the Ankara office of the fortnightly Mücadele
was raided by police and three persons detained.
11.3, writer Musa Anter was indicted by the SSC of
Istanbul for his book My Reminiscences for separatist propaganda.
11.3, the March issue of the monthly Deng was
confiscated by the SSC of Istanbul for separatist propaganda.
13.3, the issue No. 22 of the weekly Yeni Ülke was
confiscated for separatist propaganda. The review's 10 preceding issues
too has been subjected to same measure.
13.3, the responsible editor of the weekly Yeni
Mücadele, Erdogan Yasar Kopan was sentenced to a 7 years and 6 months
imprisonment by the SSC of Istanbul for separatist propaganda. The
sentence was later commuted to a fine of TL 13 million.
14.3, Nurettin Sirin, writer of the review Tevhid,
was sentenced to a 4 years and 2 months prison term by the SSC of Izmir
for anti-secular propaganda.
14.3, the publisher of the daily Yeni Asya, Mehmet
Kutlular, and nine journalists of the same newspaper, Osman Bedrettin
Ergili, Hilmi Dogan, Sabahattin Aksakal, Ali Vapur, Mustafa Keloglu,
Ahmet Akdag, Bekir Gönüllü, Mehmet Cevher Ilhan, Imam Cemal and Mehmet
Gündogdu were indicted by the SSC of Ankara for anti-secular propaganda.
15.3, journalist Hasan Uysal was indicted in Akhisar
for having insulted the President of the Republic during a meeting in
Akhisar. He faces a prison term of three years.
18.3, the actors of the Birlik Theatre, Gül Göker,
Zeki Göker, Ali Ihsan Özkök, Tuncer Tut, Birol Yilmaz, Necmi Aykar,
Nursel Celebi and Metin Yildirim were detained in Mugla following the
representation of the play Pir Sultan Abdal. Gül Göker's 4-year old
child Günay Göker too was taken into custody along with the players
19.3, the last issues of four reviews, Özgür Halk,
Yeni Ülke, Devrimci Emek and Mücadele, were confiscated by the SSC of
19.3, the responsible editor of the weekly Yüzyil,
Adnan Akfirat was brought before a criminal court in Istanbul for
having insulted the President of the Republic.
24.3, the March issue of the monthly Toplumsal
Kurtulus was confiscated by the SSC of Istanbul for communist
26.3, the last issues of the weeklies Yüzyil and
Yeni Ülke and the monthly Özgür Halk were confiscated by the SSC
of Istanbul for separatist propaganda.
31.3, a book entitled Hemana Rezimane Kurdi (The
Kurdish Language's Guidelines), written by Feqi Hüseyin Sagnic and
published by the Melsa Publishing House, was confiscated by the SSC of
Istanbul for separatist propaganda.
1.4, the last issues of the weeklies Yüzyil and Yeni
Ülke as well as the ¨fortnightly Mücadele and monthly Demokrat were
confiscated by the SSC of Istanbul for separatist propaganda.
5.4, the April issue of the monthly Özgürlük Dünyasi
was confiscated by the SSC of Istanbul for separatist propaganda.
5.4, the representation of the play Pir Sultan Abdal
was confiscated in Kayseri. Its representation by the Birlik Theatre
has been banned until this date by the governors of ten provinces.
7.4, the representation of Pir Sultan Abdal was
banned in Nigde.
8.4, the last issue of the Yeni Ülke was confiscated
by the SSC of Istanbul for separatist propaganda.
8.4, the responsible editor of the journal Zaman,
Servet Engin, and correspondent Elvan Dündar were condemned each to
3-month and 15-day imprisonment for having insulted a district governor
9.4, two journalists from the monthly Yeni
Demokrasi, chief editor Mehmet Ali Eser and managing editor Tuncer
Dilaveroglu were detained in Istanbul.
10.4, a book entitled The Reminiscences of the Dwarf
President, published by the Habora Publishing House, was confiscated by
a criminal court of Istanbul for having insulted the President of the
10.4, the weekly 2000e Dogru was sentenced to a fine
of TL 15 million ($4,050) for having insulted the President of the
Republic and his wife.
Demands of the Stockholm Conference and the Resolution of the European
The new Anti-Terror Law maintains ban on Kurdish
organizations, publications and education although it recognizes the
existence of Kurdish language. Moreover, the new law also discriminates
Kurdish leaders and militants as regards the application of the
probational release of prisoners.
The dramatic situation of the Kurds, as well in Iraq
as in Turkey, has given rise to reactions by international democratic
Recently, on April 18, 1991, the European Parliament
adopted a resolution on the situation of Kurds in which the European
representatives unanimously expressed the hope that the Kurdish problem
be placed on the agenda of a Middle East peace conference with the
participation of all the states concerned together with Kurdish
representatives to secure recognition of the Kurds' right to existence
and autonomy in all countries in which they are to be found.
On the other hand, the International Conference
"Recognition of Kurdish Rights", held on March 15-17, 1991 in
Stockholm, adopted a declaration which groups the joint demands of the
Kurds of Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and the Soviet Union.
THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT'S RESOLUTION
The European Parliament,
- having regard to the relevant resolutions of the
UN Security Council,
- having regard to its previous resolutions on the
situation of the Kurds,
- having regard to the results of the European
Council of 8 April 1991 in Luxembourg,
A. whereas the force under the command of Saddam
.Hussein are attempting to commit genocide against the Kurds,
B. having regard to the general acts of tyranny
including the widespread use of torture committed by Saddam Hussein and
his forces against the population, including children, in Iraq,
C. whereas thousands of people are dying from the
effects of bombing attacks and the bombing of Kurdish areas is
D. profoundly shocked at the terrible suffering
experienced by thousands of Kurdish refugees fleeing across mountainous
regions, without shelter and in absolute destitution, and alarmed at
the dramatic news from humanitarian organizations on the spot,
according to which thousands of refugees, predominantly children, have
died on the road from hunger, cold, disease and the consequences of
their wounds, and that, according to doctors, hundreds more are dying
E. emphasizing that the Iraqi army is carrying out
executions among the Shiite population in the south of the country,
F. whereas members of the coalition led the Iraqi
opposition to believe that moves to out Saddam Hussein would be
welcomed and supported,
G. aware that, until a political solution is found
to the Kurdish problem lt will continue to pose a threat to peace and
security in the region,
1. Strongly condemns the attempted genocide against
the Kurds by Saddam Hussein's regime and the repression of the entire
2. Calls for an immediate end to attack on the
population and reaffirms the need to maintain in full the United
Nations embargo as long as acts of
repression against the Kurdish people and the Iraqi population as a
3 . Supports the proposal submitted at the European
Council for the creation of temporary protected zones to ensure the
safety of Kurds and other displaced persons in Iraq, but is concerned
at the consequences of prolonging this situation; supports the decision
already taken to provide aid for the Kurds and urges that this aid be
adequate and effective; consequently welcomes the decision of the US,
British and French Governments to send troops to Iraq to guarantee the
security of these zones;
4. Calls on the Governments of Iran and Turkey
to facilitate the supply of aid to the Kurdish populations and to open
their national frontiers to refugees and international non-governmental
humanitarian organizations; calls on the international community, under
the auspices of the United Nations, to support efforts being made to
5. Emphasizes the moral duty of the United Nations,
if necessary by amending the UN Charter, to go beyond the mere
preservation of national boundaries and to develop means of preventing
totalitarian regimes from perpetrating genocide;
6. Notes that the treatment of the Kurdish people is
tantamount to the crime of genocide within the meaning of the 1948
Convention, as noted by the Foreign Ministers meeting European
Political Cooperation; calls on the governments of the Member States to
bring the matter before the International Court of Justice to ensure
that these acts of genocide are acknowledged and condemned in
accordance with that Convention;
7. Hopes that the Kurdish problem can be placed on
the agenda of a Middle East peace conference with the participation of
all the states concerned together with Kurdish representatives to
secure recognition of the Kurds' right to existence and autonomy in all
countries in which they are to be found;
8. Welcomes Resolution 688 of the UN Security
Council on the situation of the Kurds in Iraq and hopes that the
Security Council will take all necessary measures to guarantee the
security of the Kurdish population and enable Kurdish refugees to
return to their home, with the guarantee that they will not be the
victims of any form of persecution;
9. Insists that no-one fleeing from the Iraqi regime
must be forced to return to Iraq against their will and calls on the
Member States of the Community to facilitate arrangements for Kurdish
refugees requesting asylum;
10. Considers that the enforcement of Resolution 688
will require the presence of an adequate United Nations peace-keeping
11. Calls on the Enlarged Bureau to consider sending
a parliamentary delegation to the region;
12. Instructs its President to forward this
resolution to the Council, the Commission, the United Nations and the
governments of Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq.
STOCKHOLM DECLARATION ON
HUMAN RIGHTS FOR THE KURDISH PEOPLE
The International Conference "Recognition of Kurdish
Rights" was convened on 15-17 March 1991 in Stockholm by the Swedish
Committee for Human Rights of the Kurdish People.
Among the 240 participants from 20 countries were
representatives of Kurdish political parties and cultural institutions
as well as individual Kurdish personalities in exile. Solidarity
committees from several countries took part. Present were also
representatives, parliamentarians and others, from various political
parties in Europe. Participation included, further, officials from
international humanitarian and political organizations, some of them as
observers. The media were invited.
The conference received and analyzed reports on the
human rights situation in the Kurdish areas in Iran, Iraq, Syria,
Turkey and the Soviet Union. It discussed remedies, also in the light
of the current situation in the Middle East. It adopted the following
Stockholm Declaration on Human Rights for the Kurdish People:
"The oppression of the more than 20 million Kurds
should no longer be tolerated by the world community. It is a threat to
peace and stability in the Middle East and in violation of
internationally agreed standards of human rights.
"The human rights violations in Kurdistan have gone
on for many years and continue to be systematic and widespread:
arbitrary arrests; torture; harsh punishments after mock trials or no
trials at all; 'disappearances'; extra-judicial executions; chemical
warfare; deportations and destruction of habitat, livestock and means
of livelihood; denial of rights to language, literature, music and
education about their own history; cruel and inhumane conditions in
"The Kurdish people have never enjoyed democracy,
much less any meaningful right to self-determination. Iraq - the one
country to grant them some autonomy on paper - has undermined its own
agreement by oppression and by imposing puppet administrators.
"Iran, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and the USSR have all, at
various times, deliberately tried to dilute the Kurdish national
identity by attempting to change the demographic balance of the Kurdish
"As long as these injustices continue, there will be
no genuine peace in the Middle East.
"requests that the governments in Iran, Iraq, Syria,
Turkey and the Soviet Union respect the Universal Declaration on Human
Rights as well as the human rights treaties and implement them fully
also in Kurdistan and other areas with Kurdish population;
"requests in particular that these five governments:
"- immediately halt all deportation of Kurds and
destruction of their habitat, livestock and means and livelihood;
"- at once release all Kurdish Prisoners of
Conscience and put an end to all torture and executions;
"- allow the return of political refugees from exile
and grant them all their legitimate rights as citizens;
"- dismantle structures within police, security and
military forces which have been used to abuse the Kurdish people;
"- reform their legislative and the judicial systems
to conform with international human right standards;
"- compensate the victims of past human rights
"- respect Kurdish language and cultural rights/
including the right to publish and broadcast in Kurdish, and the right
of Kurdish children and youth to be educated in their own language;
"- treat Kurdish refugees humanely, in accordance
with agreed international human rights and refugee law;
"- stop preventing - and start facilitating -
contacts between Kurds over the international borders;
"requests that the same governments recognize the
Kurdish people's right to self-determination and encourage discussions
on achieving this right in a way that would bring Kurdish and
neighbouring communities into a peaceful and mutually beneficial
"calls on all governments to raise within the UN
Commission for Human Rights the serious violations which so many Kurds
have suffered and continue to suffer in all the countries in which they
"calls on all governments to work vigorously to
implement international norms banning the use of chemical weapons;
"calls on all governments also to raise the Kurdish
issue the human rights of Kurdish individuals as well as the right to
self-determination of the Kurdish people - in connection with Middle
East peace initiatives in the aftermath of the Gulf war;
to include the Kurdish question if he convenes an international
conference on peace in the Middle East;
"call on the Secretary General to examine and
recommend how the Kurdish people and other communities without
statehood can best be represented within the UN framework;
"requests all governments to treat Kurdish refugees
in a humane manner and give them the same asylum rights as other
refugee groups - taking into account the seriousness of the persecution
of Kurds in their countries of origin;
"call on the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees to give a high priority to protecting and aiding Kurdish
refugees in the Middle East, particularly in Turkey, Iraq and Iran, and
on all governments to support UNHCR in this regard.
CONCRETE ACTIONS FOR THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS FOR
THE KURDISH PEOPLE
"During the conference, discussions were held on how
to support the Kurdish struggle for human rights of their people,
including their right to self-determination.
"The following statement was addressed to all
friends and supporters of the Kurds in that struggle. Its aim is to
encourage more concerted efforts in support of Kurdish human rights.
The Kurdish issue and the oppression of Kurds have been forgotten by
the world community far too long. This negligence should now be put to
"1. People all over the world need to be informed
and educated about the Kurdish issue, its background and current state
and the human rights questions this issue raises.
"2. There is a need for energetic and well-informed
advocacy for Kurdish rights on national and international levels. This,
in turn, requires a systematic collection of reliable data about the
human rights situation in the Kurdish areas.
"3. There is also a need for concrete support,
financial and other assistance, to the Kurdish people in their present
"4. All actions taken in solidarity with the Kurds
should be coordinated with Kurdish organizations. The aim should be to
support the Kurds in ascertaining and achieving their own rights.
"5. For the sake of effectiveness, the support work
should, as far as possible, be based on internationally agreed
standards in the field of human rights.
"6. International standards on economic, social and
cultural rights, including the rights of children and women, are also
"7. Due to the established procedures in various
international bodies, it might not be possible to raise violations
against Kurds in the whole of Kurdistan at the same time; a
country-based approach will sometimes be necessary. However, even with
that restriction it is urgent that every possibility is used in such
effort to report on and condemn the violations.
"8. Governments all over the world are an important
target group in the work for Kurdish human rights. They can influence
the inter-governmental bodies. Other target groups include
parliamentarians, parliamentary structure, as well as non-governmental
organizations and the mass media.
"1. Committees and groups in various countries
working for human rights of the Kurdish people should endeavour to
exchange information and coordinate their actions. Conferences should
be planned so that the next conference builds on the previous ones.
Humanitarian assistance should also be coordinated.
"2. An international network of support groups
should be established for this task. This network should, of course,
coordinate the work with the major Kurdish organizations and
"3. The network should work to implement the
Stockholm Declaration. It should keep its members informed about
initiatives of international significance. Its members should
disseminate information about the human rights situation in Kurdistan
and also encourage scholarly research into various aspects of Kurdish
"1. Governments should be encouraged to raise with
the UN Secretary-General the possibility of including the Kurdish issue
in the on-going discussions about peace initiatives for the Middle East.
"2. Governments and non-governmental organizations
with consultative status with ECOSOC should be encouraged to raise
within the UN human rights machinery - in particular with the
Commission on Human Rights and the Sub-commission - violations against
Kurds in the countries where they live. Initiatives should be taken for
systematic fact-finding on abuses as well as enforcement of UN
standards. In particular, emphasis should be given to: - arbitrary
arrests, "disappearances" and unfair trials; - torture and
ill-treatment of prisoners; - executions and extra-judicial executions;
- deportations and destruction of habitat, livestock and means of
livelihood; - denial of cultural and civil rights, such as freedom of
expression and the rights to use one's own language and music.
"3. Governments and NGOs should be asked to approach
the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees for effective
protection of Kurdish refugees in countries like Iran, Iraq and Turkey.
"1. The continued human rights violations against
Kurds in Turkey should be raised with the European Commission of Human
Rights. As a signatory to the European Convention, Turkey has a special
obligation which should be monitored and enforced.
"2. The European Community structures should also
pay attention to these violations in Turkey in talks with official
representatives from that country.
"3. The parliamentary wings of both the European
Community and the Council of Europe should put the Kurdish issue on
their agenda. Representatives of the major Kurdish organizations should
be invited to present their points of view.
"1. Governments should be urged to give attention to
the Kurdish issue in all its aspects, including the human rights
violations against Kurds. They should be urged to raise these issues in
international for such as those mentioned above.
"2. Governments should be pressured to make their
views clear about the violations of human rights against the Kurdish
people. Governments should also be urged to raise those views in
bilateral relations with the governments directly responsible.
"3. Governments should be urged not to contribute to
the armament of security and military forces which are used in the
subjection of Kurdish areas and instead act for a demilitarisation of
"4. Governments well-placed to foster dialogue
between the Kurds and the states concerned should be encouraged to do
"5. Governments should be requested to receive
Kurdish refugees in a humane manner and give them the protection they
"6. Governments should be asked to give humanitarian
aid to Kurdish areas in need thereof.
"1. Parliamentarians have an important role in
drawing attention to the situation of the Kurdish people; they could
take actions in their own parliaments, in inter-parliamentarian bodies
or through direct approaches to governments or public opinion.
"2. Non-governmental organizations also have
an important role in this regard. They can approach governments and
intergovernmental bodies. They should also be encouraged to take an
active role in advocacy, education and assistance for Kurdish human
"3. Missions to Kurdish areas by delegations of
parliamentarians and/or NGOs have been important in the past and should
be planned for the future. It is essential that such missions are
planned and conducted in a competent manner.
"4. Media should be encouraged to take a greater
interest in the Kurdish issue. For that purpose they should be served
with reliable information from organizations conducting research into
the human rights situation in the Kurdish areas."
The colloquy of Brussels draws attentions to the alarming situation of
the Christian minorities in Turkey
Whatsoever be the progress on political plan in
Turkey, the situation of the Christian minorities of the South-Eastern
part of this country always remains very alarming.
On March 16-17, 1991, an international colloquy on
the situation of these minorities was held in Brussels. During this
meeting; the representatives of the different components of this
minority drew up a report to be addressed to the concerned European
Below is the integral text of this colloquy's final
"Among all the peoples without country who had to
turn the diaspora into their moving sojourn, the history might forget
the Christians of South-eastern Turkey who are called Arameans,
Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syrians, each one is as ancient as the
"They belong to different Christian churches
speaking Aramean or Syrian and having rich age-old traditions, but
since the occupation of their country by other peoples, are no more
recognized in their native countries by their faith and their cultural
adherence. It is their drama and the profound reason of their exodus.
"The Western nations, preoccupied of dismembering
the Ottoman Empire, resorted to the extermination of these peoples by
drawing arbitrary borders through the regions where they lived for
thousands of years. By this manner that Bohtan, Hakkari and Tur Abdin
have been enclosed within the so-called secular Turkey of Mustapha
Kemal Atatürk. This had to give a particular coloration to the recent
history of "South-eastern Turkey's Christian minorities."
This was the object of the colloquy which took place
in Brussels on March 16 and 17 in the local of the Churches' Committee
for the Migrants in Europe. The works gathered for two days more than
twenty experts coming from Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands
Until the 19th Century, ethnical conscience of these
minorities was more or less veiled though the ethnical and
territorial identity has been maintained through
the history in spite of interdenominational divisions. In the
course of the 19th Century, their life took again the already known
rhythm of massacres and genocides. The latter reached its highest
point at the genocide of 1915 which, proportionally, hit these
minorities as severely as the Armenians. These have continued until
1923, and relayed until now by numerous exactions. The responsibility
of these infamies is incumbent, according to the case, either directly
or indirectly, on the Ottoman and Turkish authorities, with the active
complicity of certain Kurdish elements.
As regards the juridical protection by national and
international authorities, the protection of Non-moslem minorities has
been foreseen by Articles 37 to 44 of the Peace Treaty with Turkey
signed in Lausanne on July 24, 1923.
It has been proven that Turkey has never respected
the Treaty's dispositions and that neither the signatory powers
(particularly France, the USA, the United Kingdom) nor other member
states of the League of Nations have taken efficient measures for
making respecter these dispositions.
Turkey ratified the European Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental freedoms on November 4,
1950, but its non-application by Turkey has been regularly
denounced by official institutions (the Council of Europe, the European
Parliament, the House of Representatives of the Belgian Parliament) and
the associations for the defence of human rights (particularly Amnesty
Although Turkey has accepted the right of individual
appeal before the European Commission of Human Rights in Strasbourg,
the conditions of social, political and military oppression in which
are living the minorities in Turkey do not allow these populations to
really use this right.
Turkey signed the Paris Charter for a new Europe on
November 21, 1990 et the preceding declarations of the Conference on
Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE), but it is difficult to
expect a practical effect of declarations having no obligatory
character as Turkey is not respecting real conventional obligations.
Despite the negative balance-sheet of the Turkish
Republic on the matter of international obligations, the Colloquy
wishes that the works of the Council of Europe leading to a Convention
on the Protection of Minority Rights come to a successful conclusion as
quickly as possible.
Outside of Turkey, Christian refugees coming from
Turkey are protected for about 70 years by treaties concluded within
the frame of the League of Nations and particularly by the Arrangement
of May 31, 1924 and June 30, 1928 and, more recently, within the frame
of the United Nations, by the Convention of July 28, 1951 concerning
the status of refugees.
In general, States formally recognize the quality of
refugee of Turkey's Christians. Nevertheless, it is deplorable that in
some countries, the lack of information of the officials charged of
recognizing the quality of refugee leads some times to regrettable
mistakes, indeed to the denial of justice.
It is also regrettable that in some countries,
particularly in Belgium, the administration refuses to recognize, on
the identity documents that it delivers, the ethnical origin of
refugees by recognizing only the juridical nationality attributed by
the occupying State, notwithstanding the Assyro-Chaldean ethnical
origin appeared on the map of refugees in the period of the League of
By our time, the history carries on its ruthless
course. In the course of the years 1990, ten people were assassinated
in the South East, at the villages of Aksu, Yemisli, Bülbül and at
Midyat and many other wounded or fell victims of different exactions.
Parallel to this, the reception in Europe is getting more and more
precarious. Different states adopt policies each time more restrictive,
by refusing to deliver visa and by throwing the candidates to the exile
into the hands of underground smugglers. Meantime, those who found a
host country in Europe for five, ten or twenty years have settled
there, without any hope of returning. They are organized for ensuring
the survival of their language, their religious and cultural heritage
in Europe. They do not find in all States the support that they need.
What will be to-morrow the humanity's age-old patrimony?
Will Europe be at the height of its responsibilities
towards the History in making its home and foreign policies Will
the profoundly wounded communities be able to revive the richness of
their tradition of dialogue with other components of the population by
the refusal of the systematical distrust and the reciprocal anathema?
Will the communities of diaspora be able to take up the
challenges addressed to themselves?
To a Europe which is always in the process of
construction and faces today the demand of adhesion of a new partner,
we do not wish to give a lesson of history. It is important for us to
free the moral, social and cultural values of these peoples and
churches which can bring a "more" to the different countries of the
Community where they "put up their tent." We wish to interpellate those
who are responsible of Europe on the specific presence of these Eastern
Christian refugees who have opted for a life in diaspora within the
European nations and make us to hear the voice of those who have stayed
on the ancestral lands. It is important that not only the rulers, but
also the populations of the host countries can recognize them within
the anonymous mass of refugees and migrants of different origins. It is
necessary that, by recognizing them, these countries welcome as well
the intellectual and spiritual heritage as the marvellous vitality of
these families whom we have great interest to integrate in our national
evolution and in the edification of a multi-cultural Europe.
Precisions on the oppression
-The Assyro-Chaldeo-Syrians, forgotten people of the
history, scattered in many countries of the Middle-East, have never
been safe from from persecutions and attacks on their fundamental
rights since the fall of Ninive, Babylon and the Aramean Kingdoms of
- Victim of a genocide and.an ethnocide in 1915-1918
under the Ottoman Empire during which a half of the population
perished, the Assyro-Chaldeo-Syrians of Turkey see now even their
existence in danger;
- Today like in times past, the assimilating
pressure is hanging on the Assyro-Chaldeo-Syrians, on the whole of the
minorities and is getting harder and harder without interruption;
- The policy of Turkisation hits all the aspects of
the life, from the ethnical identity to patronymic names;
- On the religious plan, freedoms are without
interruption reduced and the Moslem religious education -despite the
secularity of the State- is obligatory for Christians. In monasteries,
activities are reduced and subjected to the prior control of the
authorities. In fact, there is no right to construct new churches;
- As for the language, the situation is worse. As
regards this, the authorities have made a total negation of all
languages with the exception of Turkish;
- On the educational and social plans, the
Assyro-Chaldeo-Syrians are totally impoverished: neither schools,
even the elementary ones, nor social institutions. They are banned to
open school establishments;
- A policy of Turkisation of patronymic and
toponymic names is being carried out. All the Assyro-Chaldeo-Syrian
areas of residence are hit by this "ethnocidaire" and "écocidaire"
policy. Of cultural and architectural masterpieces, have remained only
ruins, devastations, abandoned and depopulated places of cult and
monuments in peril. The alienation that leads to deprivation of self
touches the forenames and names of people;
- Since 1975, he emigration of
Assyro-Chaldeo-Syrians has considerably developed towards Western
Europe. More than 100,000 persons have found refuge in France, Belgium,
Germany, Holland, Sweden, Switzerland, Austria and in the Scandinavian
- Today estimated at 30,000 in Turkey as it was half
a million at the beginning of the century, their number has been
falling without interruption.
Demands as regards the application of conventions
con human rights
- The recognition of the Assyro-Chaldeo-Syrian
ethnic group according to Article 14 of the European Convention on
Human Rights, which recognizes the existence of national minorities;
- The restoration of architectural monuments and the
places of cult of different religious faiths of the
Assyro-Chaldeo-Syrian Community as well as the auhorisation to
- The recognition of he Aramean language (or
Syrian), in conformity with the international diplomatic instrument
signed and ratified by Turkey;
- The right of creation of school establishments at
every levels of education;
- The right to open social institutions (social
centres, dispensaries, etc.) and socio-cultural associations;
- The end to the policy of Turkisation of the names
of places and the names of Assyro-Chaldeo-Syrian people;
- The end to the policy of exactions of all kinds of
which are victims the