ANAP has chosen a young new leader, Mesut Özal, to recapture
voters' confidence, but still Özal and the Holy Alliance of Islamists
and Nationalists that dominate the party in power
"Turkey's ruling Motherland Party (ANAP) has chosen
a young new leader in what is probably a doomed attempt to recapture
voters' confidence lost to the cost of the remarkable changes in Turkey
over the past decade." (The Independent, 17.6.1991)
"Mr. Yilmaz is widely seen as the man to restore the
party's flagging fortunes, before a general election to be held before
autumn 1992. Recent opinion polls showed ANAP fourth behind the
conservative Correct Way Party (DYP), the Social Democrat Populist
Party (SHP) and the Democratic Left Party (DSP)." (The Financial Times,
Many media as well abroad as in Turkey share the
same comment. In fact, not only for the ANAP, but also for President
Özal himself, there was no solution other than to place at the head of
the party a new figure.
Mesut Yilmaz, 43, a former foreign minister, beat
the Prime Minister, Yildirim Akbulut, by 631 votes to 523 on June 16,
at a party congress held to elect new leaders before a general election
due next year.
Although Yilmaz enjoys liberal support, the party's
50-strong Executive Committee is still dominated by the coalition of
Islamists and Nationalists who form the Holy Alliance in ANAP.
In fact, the list of names he offered at the
congress for ANAP's 50-strong central committee reconfirmed the party's
traditional image as a conservative party, and offered an olive branch
to his defeated conservative opponents
Among the candidates for the central committee were
many of the Islamic right who supported Akbulut in the leadership race,
including Mehmet Kececiler, leader of the fundamentalists in the party.
Mrs. Semra Özal, the president's ambitious wife, was
also named, along with Hüsnü Dogan, Ozal's nephew, who was sacked as
defence minister in February, because he opposed Mrs. Özal's bid to win
the Istanbul party leadership.
According to Hürriyet of June 18, the number of the
Holy Alliance deputies in the new Executive Committee is 26 as the
number of Liberal deputies remains at 10. Mesut Yilmaz himself is in
fact a former sympathiser of the neo-fascist Nationalist Action Party
(MHP), defunct since September 1980 coup, and he has always taken part
in the conservative wing of the ANAP.
After his defeat Akbulut resigned as prime minister
and Yilmaz is charged with forming a new cabinet, likely to be full of
new faces but unlikely to espouse any new policies.
Although the ANAP still enjoys a 281-seat
parliamentary majority, the past two years opinion polls have
consistently given the ANAP less than 20 per cent support.
At the congress, policies were not the subject of
speeches, but horse-trading over government posts continued up to the
last minute after a week in which delegates had been plied in luxurious
hotels with privileges like car telephone licences and gun permits.
Ozal family, whose influence over Turkish politics
is widely compared to that of an Ottoman dynasty, was present in force
but supporting different factions. Ozal's younger brother, Yusuf Ozal,
showed his support for Akbulut; his businessman son Ahmet Özal shuttled
between both sides. As for his wife Semra Özal, recently elected
chairwoman of the Istanbul section of the party, openly supported
Yilmaz. The election of the new party chairman was a
typically rumbustious affair, the auditorium enlivened by occasional
fist fights among the delegates. Tension rose when the Culture
Minister, Namik Kemal Zeybek, tried to push another minister off the
According to The Financial Times, Turkey looks set
for a period of political uncertainty as Mesut Yilmaz seeks to heal
party divisions after his leadership victory. He will have to perform a
fine balancing act to reunite the party behind him with less than 18
months to go before elections. He will try to refashion its tired
electoral image without alienating its tradition power base among
conservative rural voters.
It is a matter of fact that the future of the ANAP
depends on the credibility of Turgut Özal, founder of the party and now
president of the Republic, rather than the eventual success of the new
party leader. Whosoever chairs the party or the
government, it is always Özal that rules the party and the
country. Turgut Özal takes never heed of the Constitution which
stipulates that the President of the Republic stay out of party affairs
and avoid to interfere in the government's policies.
However, as clearly seen during the Gulf Crisis, it
was Özal that, in permanent contact with George Bush but without asking
the Turkish government's point of view nor that of the General Staff of
the Turkish Armed Forces, drew up Turkey's policies and put them in
practice. It is for this reason that the ministers of Foreign Affairs
and National Defence as well as the Chief of General Staff had to
resign during the crisis.
As for the ANAP, Özal's involvement in the party's
affairs have been more evident. For example, during the race for the
party's Istanbul chairmanship between his wife, Semra Özal, and the
candidate of the opposing faction, Turgut Özal personally invited all
local party officials in order to force them to vote for his wife.
Prior to the General Congress, Özal again held
direct talks with the party's provincial officials and delegates and
tried show that he is the real boss of the party.
Özal's attitude incompatible with the impartiality
of the President of the Republic is one of the reasons of the political
and constitutional crisis in Turkey.
The new party chief has already
given the sign that he will remain as a loyal follower of Özal.
In fact, Yilmaz's first act as party chairman was to vow at the
congress rostrum that he would follow in the path blazed by President
Ozal, founder of the party and prime minister from 1983 to 1989 and
still effective ruler of Turkey.
IS THE CONSTITUTION STILL VALID?
The chief editor of the Turkish Daily News, Ilnur
Cevik, in his article of May 28, 1991, commented Özal's
unconstitutional stand in following terms:
"Does Turkey sill have a functioning Constitution or
is this document a worthless piece of paper? We felt that at the
beginning, when Özal had himself elected president and had to quit the
party which he founded and cherished, he was justified during the
transitional period in intervening in the affairs of the party to put
it on a new course.
"Özal openly intervened in the election of Yildirim
Akbulut as the party chief. He also had a say in how the Cabinet was
formed and also had a role in the appointment of the party executives.
At the time, no one really raised a voice because they felt the ruling
party should be strong and that Özal was striving to do this. Then
months passed and Özal in his own way continued to have contacts with
Motherland deputies and other party officials--which we also regarded
as innocent actions of keeping close relations with old friends.
"But things did not stop there. He continued to meet
ANAP executives and deputies, he intervened in party affairs. This
meant he was not really the impartial president that the Constitution
"Then came Mrs. Özal's announcement a few months ago
that she wanted to become the chairperson of ANAP in Istanbul. When
several ministers opposed her, the president sacked defense Minister
Hüsnü Dogan in a purely political move which once again brought him
knee-deep in party politics. After that, Mrs. Özal was elected and now
she is lobbying along with her husband for a new and reliable party
"After Akbulut was elected as party chief, Özal also
took on the executive powers of the prime minister and started running
the country from the presidential Palace.
"Özal is the founder of ANAP and no one can change
this fact. He has a sentimental link with ANAP and no one can change
this. But that does not mean Özal has the right to continue to have a
major say in how ANAP should be run. Firstly, the Constitution does not
permit it, and secondly it is morally wrong because ANAP now has a new
leader and he has the legal right to run the show.
"Until this weekend, Özal was pretending to be an
impartial president who would deal with all political parties on equal
footing. He was saying whatever he does with ANAP is just for old
times' sake and are innocent exercises of getting together with old
friends and exchanging views. But now that alibi is gone.
"Özal openly invited the provincial chairmen and
made a survey on who should be the next party boss. That is direct
intervention in the internal affairs of a political party and a naked
violation of the Constitution. The president may say that the breakfast
was actually hosted by Mrs. Özal and that he was an innocent guest. But
the president knows very well that he is not even permitted to be a
guest at such a function.
"This is a farce and it has to stop. We cannot
continue to brag that this country is being run by laws, regulations
and through a constitutional system while all these laws are being
violated in a very ugly way. If the president starts violating the
basic laws of the country, the people will then feel free to violate
everything from laws to regulations and we will end up in chaos."
ECEVIT'S SURPRISING TALK WITH ÖZAL
Former Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit, currently
chairman of the Democratic Left Party (DSP) paid a surprise visit to
President Turgut Özal on June 2, apparently for discussing Turkey's
relations with Iraq and his recent trip to Baghdad where he met Saddam
Two major opposition parties, the Social Democrat
Populist Party (SHP) and the Correct Way Party (DYP) bitterly
criticized Ecevit for accepting to talk with Özal whom both parties do
not recognize as the president and refuse to attend meetings where the
SHP accused Ecevit of playing into the hands of
Özal. SHP leader Erdal Inönü said: "It is regrettable to see a party,
which used to defend social democracy in the past, now intending to
carry out the policies of the ruling ANAP. Mr. Özal has found a new
friend now. Our former friend, Mr. Ecevit, has now become friend of Mr.
Özal. It looks like the ANAP has tied all its future to Mr. Ecevit. I
feel sorry when I see a social democrat is trying to save Mr. Özal."
In reply, Ecevit said he meets with leaders of
foreign states and it is only natural that he should meet with the head
of state of his own country. "I do this because a nationalist, a
responsible politician and statesman only behaves in such a manner," he
Inönü said since the American always tell Özal what
the situation is in Iraq, there is no need for Ecevit to meet with Özal
about that issue. "The meeting is a trick to give the impression that
an opposition party leader was meeting with the president, although
other opposition leaders refused to do so.
BUSH TO VISIT TURKEY IN JULY
US President George Bush will go to Turkey on July
19 for a two-day state visit. So, he will be the second American
president to visit Turkey after Eisenhower who was the first in 1959.
Following a two-day visit to Athens, Bush is
expected to discuss a broad range of issues, including policy for the
Gulf region, future US aid to Turkey and Cyprus issue with his Turkish
counterpart Turgut Özal. Bush and Özal met last in Washington in March
Despite the growth in Turco-US relations during and
following the Gulf War, Ankara claims that the longstanding practice is
still being obstructed by the Greek lobby.
The Bush administration had requested 725 million
dollars in military aid and 74.5 million dollars in economic aid for
Turkey in fiscal year 1992. However, the US House Foreign Affairs
Committee, on May 31, cut the military aid to 503.5 million dollars and
increased the economic aid to 190.4 million dollars.
The UN embargo on Iraq is also expected to be
discussed with Bush. The Turkish Government is frustrated with USS
opposition to lift or ease sanctions against Iraq until President
Saddam Hussein is out of power. As long as the embargo continues,
Turkey cannot open the two oil pipelines carrying Iraqi crude oil
to its Mediterranean terminals. Strategic partnership with the United
States, or "bilateral cooperation over a multitude of issues" which was
suggested by Özal after the Gulf War, is expected to be on the agenda
during Bush's visit as well.
Bush and Özal are also expected to discuss the
decades-long Cyprus problem. United Nations-sponsored talks between
Greek and Turkish Cypriots stalled a year ago. Bush declared that the
United states would be a "catalyst" for a Cyprus solution.
FEAR OF POLITICAL ATTEMPTS IN ANKARA
Although US President Bush will arrive in Turkey on
July 19, his private doctor and 30 bodyguards arrived in Turkey 40 days
earlier to inspect security measures and health measures planned for
Bush, reported the daily Hürriyet of June 9.
During the visit to Turkey, the American
presidential couple will be provided with 300 security guards, and all
trips of the couple in Turkey will be done aboard helicopter. In
addition, a bullet-proof car will be brought for emergency use. A
health unit was prepared at Hacettepe University for the US President.
Bush's private doctor inspected the health center and noted its
Hürriyet claimed in another article that the CIA and
the Turkish National Intelligence Agency (MIT) will increase their
cooperation against terrorism. "During meetings in Washington, the
delegations from the two organization reached an agreement about
technical cooperation and exchange of information against terrorism.
Terrorist activities linked with the Middle East and protection of
Americans in Turkey were also evaluated in the meetings in Washington,"
the papers said.
On the other hand, Özal himself, afraid of any
attempt upon his life, ordered to equip the Presidential Palace with a
security system similar to the one at the White House. Under the new
system which costs of 7.5 billion Liras, all entrances of
the presidential palace will be monitored with video cameras and all
doors of the palace will be opened with coded security cards.
Because of this fear, Özal had to cancel his six-day
trip to the United States in May to avert a threatened protest at his
participation in a Turkish Parade in New York.
The daily Hürriyet reported on May 12 that President
George Bush had told the Turkish president it would be wiser if he
cancelled the program because there was an extremely high possibility
that an attempt on his life would be made and it might not be possible
to provide adequate security for him.
INCREASING LEFT-WING ARMED ACTIONS
The main reason of the extraordinary protection
measures in Ankara is no doubt the increasing armed actions by two
The Revolutionary Left (DEV-SOL) and the
Revolutionary Workers'-Peasants'' Army of Turkey (TIKKO), the military
wing of the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist (TKP/ML) have
recently carried out a series of political attempts upon the lives of
some public figures known as executants of State terrorism.
In May 1991, DEV-SOL gunned down General Temel
Cingöz in Adana and retired General Ismail Selen in Istanbul. Earlier,
the same organization shot death retired General Hulusi Sayin, retired
General Memduh Ünlütürk, Lt. Col. Ata Burcu, US officer Lt. Col. Alin
Macke and Lt. Col. John Gandy, policemen Kazim Cakmakci and Ismail
Kilic as well as a prison prosecutor, Niyazi Fikret Aygen.
TIKKO shot dead last year former National
Intelligence Agency (MIT) officers Hiram Abas and Ferdi Tamer as well
as police officer Muhsin Bodur.
As for the Turkish Kurdistan where the Workers Party
of Kurdistan (PKK) guerrillas have been carrying on an armed struggle
against Turkish security forces for seven years, the total death toll
has climbed to 2.526
In the period from 1984 to June 1991, The security
forces lost 38 officers, 28 NCOs, 386 soldiers, 43 policemen, 99
village protectors, 14 village headmen, 23 teachers. As for the PKK, it
lost 1,014 militants during the armed conflicts. The number of the
civilian people, victims of these confrontations, raises to 881.
Only this year, 4 officiers, one NCO, 34 soldiers, 3
policemen and 20 civilian people as well as 163 PKK militants have been
STATE TERROR IN TURKISH KURDISTAN
After the adoption of the new Anti-Terror Law, the
State forces increased their repressive operations throughout the
country, particularly in Turkish Kurdistan.
On June 7, the police announced that 18 militants
had been shot dead, 69 captured alive during a recent 15-day operation
in the state of emergency area in Southeastern Turkey. The operation
was concentrated in the provinces of Mus, Diyarbakir, Sirnak and Mardin.
June 9, in the districts of Tutak and Hamur of the
province of Agri, 60 people were detained on charges of aiding the PKK.
The local committee of the HEP claimed that the detainees were forced
at police station to turn into informers or village protectors against
The killing of two PKK militants, Mehdi Bulut and
Sinasi Sans in Ergani on June 2 led to bloody incidents in the province
of Diyarbakir. On June 10, hundreds of people from Hazro town decided
to pay a condolence visit to the parents of the victims in Silvan, but
the security forces prevented them from leaving the town.
In protest against this intervention, the people
carried out a march towards the office of the local governor and
launched anti-government slogans. Soldiers opened fire to the marchers
and wounded a 10-year old girl, Emine Latifeci. Four people, including
the local HEP chairman Mahfuz Mehmetoglu, were taken into custody.
Next day, in protest against the police terror in
Hazro, about 3,000 people carried out a demonstration in the town and
tradesmen closed their workplaces. A new police intervention resulted
in the wounding of four people. Thereupon some
people started a sit-in.
The local chairman of the Human Rights Association
(IHD) in Diyarbakir, Hatip Dicle said that the security forces, using
new powers recognized to them by the new Anti-Terror Law, make
dress-rehearsal of a pogrom in the area.
June 10, security forces, during an operation
against PKK militants, opened fire on the tents of the peasants in the
district of Diyadin of the province of Agri. A 30-year old woman, Gülay
Yildirim was gravely wounded and many
animals belonging to peasants killed.
USING OF THREE COLOURS BANNED
The Ministry of Interior, issuing a directive on
June 15, 1991, banned to use together three colours, yellow, red and
green, in the area of state of emergency. These three colours are known
as the symbol of the Kurdish national movement. Conforming to the
directive, the security forces began to oblige the people to get rid of
all objects, car accessories, billboards containing together yellow,
red and green.
EXECUTION WITHOUT TRIAL
A university student, Murtaza Kaya who was wounded
by security forces on June 7 in the quarter of Kücükcekmece in the
province of Istanbul. His elder brother said that police, instead of
capturing alive, shot on the head of Murtaza Kaya. His friends accused
the police to execute its victims without trial.
When Kaya died in hospital died in hospital on June
12, a group of students went on demonstration in protest against
police's abuse of power. Police dispersed the demonstrators by using
force and detained 20 students.
A few days later, on June 14, another demonstration
in protest against Kaya's killing was prevented by police using
fire-arms. Seven students were detained.
FIRST ANTI-TERROR TRIAL
The first trial by virtue of the new Anti-Terror Law
began on June 13 at the SSC of Izmir.
Two defendants, Akbulut and Zeynel Kaya, are accused
of making propaganda of the Progressive Youth (Devrimci Genclik).
According to Articles 2 and 7, both face a prison term of up to 5 years
and a fine of up to TL 300 million ($100,000).
TRIAL OF TORTURERS HALTED
The new Anti-Terror Law's provisions banning the
indictment of torturers have been put in practice.
The daily Cumhuriyet reported on May 31, 1991, that
a trial against four officers and a soldier for the death under torture
in 1985 of teacher Siddik Bilgin in Bingöl had been halted in
conformity with the Anti-Terror Law.
An Ankara Court decided that the new law provides
that security officers cannot be prosecuted without the permission of
provincial administrative councils if the security officer did not
purposefully commit murder, and sent the case to the Bingol Provincial
Administration Council to determine whether a new trial could be
launched against the suspects. In the Bilgin trial, many witnesses,
including defendant Lieutenant Umit Eris, had testified that Bilgin had
been tortured to death.
On June 7, in the district of Güroymak in the
province of Bitlis, a complaint of torture by three people were not
taken into consideration by the public prosecutor. Islam Aysoy, Ismet
Aysoy and Ilhan Aysoy alleged that they had been tortured and forced to
eat excrement at Gendarmery post. However, the prosecutor, referring to
the new Anti-Terror Law, transferred the file to the Governor's office.
THE TRIAL OF TBKP OFFICIALS GOES ON
Although Articles 140, 141 and 142 of the Turkish
Penal Code were abrogated, the State Security Court of Ankara
decided on June 10 to carry on the trial of two top officials of
the United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP), Chairman Nihat Sargin and
Secretary General Nabi Yagci (Haydar Kutlu).
Their case will be dealt with by virtue of Article
312 of the Turkish Penal Code. For instigating the people to crime,
both face a prison term of up to 12 years.
PERSECUTION OF LEGAL PARTIES
On June 6, the public prosecutor started a legal
proceeding against the Correct Way Party (DYP) leader Süleyman Demirel
and 40 members of the party's Administrative Board for having insulted
the President of the Republic in a communique they issued on May 23.
They are accused by virtue of Article 158 of the Turkish Penal Code.
On June 13, the prosecutor of the SSC of Istanbul
asked the Constitutional Court to try the People's Labour Party (HEP)
for contravening Articles 78, 79, 81 and 82 of the Political Parties
Code. The party is accused of separatist propaganda.
Next day, a demonstration organized by HEP for
celebrating the workers' resistance of 1970 was banned by the Governor
June 14, the Governor of Istanbul refused to allow a
demonstration organized by political parties and democratic association
to protest the new Anti-Terror Law.
DISK NOT YET FREED
Abdullah Bastürk, the chairman of the Progressive
Trade Unions Confederation (DISK) applied on May 14 to the Military
Court of Cassation demanding his and his colleagues' acquittal in the
pending DISK case. Bastürk also demanded that the court decide to lift
the barrier preventing the confederation from continuing its
activities. He said all the accused DISK officials should be acquitted,
since all charges had been dropped in accordance with the recently
passed Anti-terror law.
Without attending the decision of the Military Court
of Cassation, the Labour Courts Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 of Ankara issued
on June 5, a joint judgement stipulating the transfer of all DISK
assets, of TL 1.5 Trillion ($3.5 billion) to the Social Security
After this judgement, DISK Chairman Bastürk said:
"This is confiscation. Such action is against democracy and the law.
During the Franco era in Spain and the Hitler era in Germany, trade
union assets were seized in the same manner. However, when the fascist
administrations were toppled, the trade unions' assets were returned to
their owners. I hope that the banned trade unions will receive their
assets when democratic institutions are properly established here."
On May 15, the 7th Congress of the European Trade
Union Confederation (ETUC) adopted a resolution condemning the pressure
on the DISK and declaring that European trade unions will exert
pressure to stop Turco-EEC economic cooperation as long as the
violation of trade union rights continues.
On June 9, the International Confederation of Free
Trade Unions (ICFTU) applied to the International Labour Organization
(ILO) for exerting pressure on the Turkish Government about the
question of DISK's assets.
DETAINED FOR CHRISTIAN PROPAGANDA
On June 15, at the village of Sabuncupinar in the
province of Kütahya, a peasant, Ali Atlas was taken into custody for
making Christian propaganda. The police confiscated 35 books, 8
video-cassettes and 10 posters in Atlas' home.
OTHER CASES OF STATE TERRORISM
1.6, a group of women protested the "virginity
control operation" which was carried out recently on the patients in
the Psychiatry Department of Bakirköy Hospital for Mental Diseases. The
members of the trade unions Kam-Sen, Bem-Sen, Saglik-Sen and Özgür-Sen,
gathered in front of the hospital's dining hall carrying banners and
read a declaration in which they condemned the violation of human
2.6, in Bursa, 60,000 people participated in the
meeting "No to Injustices!" organized by the Confederation of Turkish
Trade Unions (TURK-IS). At the end of the meeting, a group of 177
demonstrators attempting to carry out a further protest march were
detained by police using force. Later on, a tribunal decided to keep
under arrest 10 of the detained and released the rest.
3.6, in the district of Savur in the province of
Mardin, three girls, Hüsne Kizilkaya, 12, Meryem Oral, 13, and Münevver
Oral, 13, announced that they had been detained by police on charge of
leaving home for taking part in PKK actions. They said: "Police
threatened us with sexual harassment."
3.6, in the district of Caycuma in the province of
Zonguldak, Tuncay Bostanci said he was tortured at police station
during his 18-hour detention. Legal medicine gave him a medical report
attesting that he cannot work for 15 days because of torture.
4.6, four people who had been detained during a
police operation in Istanbul were arrested by the State Security Court.
Among them is also a Swiz woman, Barbara Anna Kistler. Her lawyer
Marcen Bossoner said Kistler was tortured at police and there were
traces of torture on her face and elbows during he visited her in
5.6, four members of the SHP were taken into custody
in Istanbul for placing a black wreath in front of the Chinese General
Consulate for protesting the Tienanmen Square events of 1989.
5.6, the SSC of Ankara began to try five alleged
members of the Revolutionary Communist Party of turkey (TDKP). Each
defendant faces a prison term of up to 10 years.
5.6, a PKK militant of Syrian origin, Muhammed Kemal
was sentenced by the SSC of Malatya to capital punishment. By virtue of
the Anti-Terror Law, the capital punishment was later commuted to a
prison term. During his transfer to the prison he was harassed by
police because he shouted slogans praising the PKK after having heard
the sentence. The legal medicine gave him a medical report attesting
the traces of beating.
5.6, The SSC of Malatya sentenced a minor militant
of PKK, Orhan Aydin, to capital punishment. His death sentence was
commuted to 16 years and 8 months imprisonment because of his minor
age. Two other defendants of the same trial were sentenced each to a
prison term of 2 years and 6 months.
5.6, in Sinop, five teachers, Ümmet Suna,
Hatice Suna, Tülay Avci and Fatma Önalan, were taken into custody and
sent to Ankara for a police investigation.
5.6, the Military Court of Cassation approved a
life-term given to a coal miner at the trial of Yeni Celtek Group of
the Revolutionary Way (DEV-YOL).
6.6, a group of relatives of prisoner who went to
the Parliament to visit Human Rights Commission Chairman Eyüp Asik were
harassed by police. When they first stopped at the crossroads in front
of the Parliament, two deputies from the People's Labour Party (HEP)
intervened to say that the group was not holding an unauthorized
demonstration but had an appointment with Asik. The police brushed
their objections aside and tried to disperse the 100-person group by
harassing the visitors as well as the two deputies. Some group members
were later taken into custody. In protest against police's attitude,
another group started a hunger-strike at he provincial office of the
6.6, seven students of the Anadolu University were
brought before the SSC of Diyarbakir on charge of belonging to the PKK.
At interrogation by the court, they said being menaced under police
10.6, the Health Workers' Union (SAGLIK-SEN)
announced that its two officials, Chairwoman Fatma Patlar and Secretary
Nazim Mercan, were subjected to torture at police station after their
12.6, in Izmit, Murat Iskenderoglu, Secaattin
Sekerci, Cem Tat and Oktay Kahraman said that they were tortured during
a police detention.
12.6, five alleged members of DEV-SOL were sent to
the SSC of Izmir for taking part in political violence. Three of the
defendants face each capital punishment and two others a 15-year prison
14.6, in Ankara, lawyer Murat Demir was beaten
by police during a raid on his office. After the raid, Demir and a
woman named Cavidan Kocaacar were taken into custody.
14.6, in Urfa, Secretary of the local IHD, lawyer
Ramazan Ferat was beaten by a group of policemen. The legal medicine
delivered him a report establishing that his nose was broken during the
15.6, a 9-year old boy suspect of theft, Ömer Teker,
was subjected to torture in Düzköy in the province of Giresun after
being taken into custody.
ÖZAL'S ATTACK ON THE PRESS
In a move to gain the sympathy of the world media
and particularly to make Istanbul more attractive than Athens for
Western journalists charged with covering any event in the Middle East,
the Turkish Government turned a 17th century building into an
International Press Center.
The building, Sepetciler Vakfi, was originally built
by Sultan Ibrahim I to review the fleet. In its restored form it now
contains a 250-person conference hall, the latest in communication
facilities and computer equipment as well as an information center.
To the great astonishment of the foreign
journalists, in his opening speech, President Özal took Turkish press
as a target and expressed his satisfaction of making many journalists
condemned by tribunals.
Expressing his dissatisfaction with the Turkish
Press Council whom he termed useless because it did not support his
rights, Özal said: "Since they do not defend me, I go to court and win.
Some of my wealth comes from the courts. When newspapers are against
such things like weddings, I take them to court and win. I they keep on
doing so, I will be rich. So far, I have won TL800-900 million from
court cases. No one can ask where the money comes from."
RECENT PERSECUTION OF THE MEDIA
3.6, the responsible editor of the monthly Hedef,
Mehmet Günes was detained again just after his release following a
40-day detention for belonging to an outlawed organization. The reason
of his second detention was not disclosed.
5.6, a new book by Rüya Eser Oguztan, entitled The
confiscated by a penal court in Istanbul for obscenity.
7.6, in Bogazlayan, the public prosecutor started a
legal proceeding against the authors of a theater play,entitled Dad,
where were you on September 12?, for insulting the government.
10.6, the June 7 issue of the weekly Hafta Sonu was
confiscated by a penal court decision for revelations about a person's
11.6, a penal court in Istanbul began to try 58
people who had given the daily Cumhuriyet an announcement in favour of
the January 3, 1991 Workers' Action. Each faces a prison term of up to
three months and the responsible editor of Cumhuriyet, Okay Gönensin,
up to one year for having published the announcement.
12.6, the public prosecutor's office in Istanbul
started a legal proceeding against poet Yilmaz Odabasi for his recent
book on the revolt of Sheikh Sait in Turkish Kurdistan in 1925. He is
accused of contravening Article 8 of the new Anti-Terror Law.
13.6, the representation of the play Pir Sultan
Abdal by the Ankara Birlik Theatre in Malatya was banned by the
decision of the governor. Earlier, the group had performed the play in
fifteen cities of Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and the
14.6, the chief of the Human Rights Desk of the
daily Günes, journalist Deniz Teztel was detained in Istanbul by police
team which raided his apartment mid-night. During the raid, all his
notes and documents concerning the DEV-SOL Trials were confiscated.
DR. ISMAIL BESIKCI AWARDED
Sociologist Ismail Besikci was acquitted on June 6,
in four different trials concerning his recent books.
The tribunal announced that there was no more legal
basis of the trials since Article 142 of the Turkish Penal Code was
After having heard the court decision, Besikci said:
"This is not a real liberty, because similar provisions exist in the
new adopted Anti-terror Law as well. Therefore, my acquittal has no
On the other hand, Besikci refused to receive an
award attributed him by the Funds for Free Expression in the United
States. Besikci was among the 22 writers who have won 10,000 dollars
each from the estates of two American writers who suffered for
political convictions: Lilian Hellman and Dashiel Hammett.
However, Besikci, who had been imprisoned on three
different occasions for a total of 12 years simply for writing about
Turkey's Kurdish people, said he cannot accept any financial aid and
prefers to carry on his academic works without an external aid.
HUNGER-STRIKES THROUGHOUT TURKEY
In protest against the Anti-Terror Law, political
prisoners and their relatives have launched a country-wide
According to the Turkish press reports, political
detainees and convicts in the prisons of Sagmalcilar (Istanbul),
Gaziantep, Malatya, Buca (Izmir), Ankara and Diyarbakir went on
hunger-strikes for different periods. On June 11, 120 political
prisoners were still on hunger-strike in Diyarbakir.
Besides, hundreds of people were on hunger strikes
in different cities: 60 persons in Adana, 80 in Ceyhan, 40 in
Gaziantep, 87 in Bismil, 30 in Silvan, 41 in Lice, 6 in Yalova, 9 in
Kayseri, 26 in Izmir.
Similar hunger-strikes were carried out in different
European cities as well.
INTERNATIONAL REACTION TO ANTI-TERROR LAW
The new Anti-Terror Law has given rise to concerns
of international human rights organizations.
First, Amnesty International expressed its
anxiety as follows in a press release dated April 16, 1991 and entitled
"Turkey: New Law May Increase Risk of Torture":
"We are gravely concerned about new provisions in
the law, one of which allows people suspected of having tortured
prisoners to continue to guard and interrogate detainees while charges
against them are outstanding. Police officers who have taken statements
from detainees will also be exempted from being questioned in court
unless they agree to do so, making it difficult for detainees to
challenge the validity of any confessions or other statements made
under torture. This means courts will not be able to examine the full
facts about torture allegations.
"The organization is also concerned that any trials
of alleged torturers will take place before the SSC, whose prosecution
service is responsible for supervising interrogation procedures in the
first place. Trials of alleged torturers can only go ahead with the
permission of the Interior Minister, unless the victim has actually
died in custody. This new law places in question the authorities' will
to bring to justice those responsible for torture.
"AI is urging that the new provisions relating to
the investigation and prosecution of alleged torturers be amended. It
also urges the government to reform or repeal the provision in the new
law which will allow people to be imprisoned for making 'separatist'
propaganda, even when this contains no advocacy of violence.
"The organization is also disappointed that the new
law contains no proposals to shorten the maximum police detention
period of 15 days, rising to 30 days in the 10 provinces of southeast
Turkey under emergency rule. The length of time in which detainees are
held incommunicado has played a major role in the persistence of
torture in police stations."
Helsinki Watch in the USA issued on June 10, 1991,
the following communique entitled "Turkey: New Restrictive Anti-Terror
"Helsinki Watch believes that the new Anti-Terror
Law contains provisions that sharply curtail the rights of Turkish
citizens. Its definition of terrorism is so broad that almost anyone
can be convicted of terrorism and sentenced to prison. It limits the
right to counsel, restrict meetings and demonstrations, curtails press
freedom and makes it more difficult to convict police and security
forces of torture. The law was already been used against the press and
against prisoners, and to stop the trial of five soldiers charged with
the torture death of a teacher.
"The Turkish Government, apparently responding to
international pressure, took a positive step in abolishing Penal Code
Articles 141, 142 and 163 and releasing a number of prisoners.
Unfortunately, the government then took a step backward in passing the
Anti-Terror Law. Helsinki Watch strongly urges the Turkish Government
to repeal it."
NO HOPE FOR EC MEMBERSHIP
In his article to the daily Milliyet of June 7,
Brussels correspondent Mehmet Ali Birant says that in the early years
of Turkey's application for full membership in the EC, he was quite
hopeful about the acceptance of Turkey's application. Today, facing a
completely different EC, he admitted that he completely lost his hope
of Turkey becoming a full member in the Community.
The following are the reasons expressed in his
article for the pessimism of one of the best informed Turkish
journalists in Brussels:
"1. The destruction of the Soviet Empire: The Soviet
Union's superpower identity has led the world to believe that the war
between capitalism and Communism has ended with capitalism's victory.
This situation consequently fostered a superiority complex in the
Western world, and especially the EC. "The superiority complex became
stronger as other countries struggles to be full members of the
Community. Sweden, Norway, Austria and Switzerland are the main
countries which are waiting for acceptance into the Community, while
all the Eastern European countries are also looking for a chance. This
large demand for membership also frightens the EC, as the Community
knows that their plan to realize a 'common market' will be impossible
if they accept more members.
"2. The limitations of the EC: The EC realized its
own weakness and the power of the United States during the Gulf crisis.
The probability that the United States, with its giant economic and
military power, might easily capture the global market has become a
nightmare for the EC. Lately, the United States is apparently trying to
establish a new world where it will be the only power and the gendarme.
This threat naturally leads the EC to isolate itself and try to
strengthen its inner mechanisms.
"The world is changing, countries are struggling to
find a place in the international arena, and no one cares about Turkey."
SOCIALIST INTERNATIONAL IN TURKEY
The Socialist International annual council meeting
was hosted this year in Istanbul by Turkey's main opposition Social
Democrat Populist Party (SHP).
The fact that the world's many distinguished social
democrat leaders accepted to meet in Istanbul has been interpreted by
pro-government circles as a proof of the progress of democracy in
Socialist leaders, avoiding in their speech any
critical remark as regards the situation of human rights in Turkey,
happened to serve this propaganda of the Ankara regime.
As for the Turkish social democrats, the SHP did his
best in order to prevent the Socialist International from pronouncing
any courageous statement concerning the Kurdish demand of autonomy.
The two main themes of the council meeting were
"Peace, Security and Cooperation in the Middle East" and "Reform,
Democracy and Economic Renewal in Central and Eastern Europe."
In his welcoming address to the council meeting, on
June 11, SHP leader Erdal Inönü said: "We do not want terrorism. We do
not want any discussion about our national borders. We do not want any
of our citizens to be separated from the whole of the society and be
Prior to the SI Council meeting, the other Turkish
social democrat leader, Bülent Ecevit had already made a declaration
accusing Iraqi Kurds of attempting to assimilate Iraqi Turks. "If Kurds
win autonomy in northern Iraq, the 2.5 million to 3 million Turks
living in the area may become the 'minority of a minority' and may face
assimilation pressures," said the chairman of the Democratic Left Party
(DSP), which refuses to adhere to the Socialist International as long
as the SHP remains as a member.
The most striking event of the SI meeting was no
doubt to refuse observer status to the Palestinian Liberation
Organization (PLO). Although the PLO delegation was allowed to address
committee sessions on June 9, they were told later that they could not
attend the SI Council meetings as observers.
Although the SHP said that Palestinians may stay at
the meeting as "guests", the PLO delegation boycotted the SI Council
meeting, declaring "this has turned into a circus run by Simon Peres.
WORLD BANK AND OECD PESSIMIST
The OECD recently raised its concerns in a report
about the Turkish economy's performance. High inflation, the increasing
gap between imports and exports, and a slow rate of investment in
manufacturing are the principal problems for the Turkish economy, says
"The current external balance went into surplus in
1988 due to a slowdown in imports because of weak domestic demand.
Increased revenue from tourism and money sent by workers abroad helped
this improvement. However, exports have not increased and unemployment
has not fallen. From the second half of 1989 there was some improvement
in output growth and some slowing of the speed of inflation. But
government borrowing increased and the current external balance started
to go into deficit due to the Gulf Crisis.
"Inflation, running at 62.5 per cent a year
continues to be the biggest problem Turkey faces. High inflation and
high interest rates on loans discourage investment. Low wages and
falling exchange rates improved price competitiveness in international
trade but did not encourage investment during the 1980s.
"The current external balance of payments deficit
has continued to worsen. Exports, with the exception of textiles, have
fallen while imports have risen. Before the Gulf crisis, exports to the
Middle East, the biggest market for Turkey, fell both to Kuwait and,
due to repayment problems, to Iraq."
On the other hand,World Bank Regional Deputy Manager
Willi A. Wapenhans in charge of the Europe, Middle East and North
Africa desk said on June 3 that bank officials were concerned about
rocketing inflation and the growth of the budget deficits in Turkey.
"Turkey has improved its foreign trade and balance of payments. We see
this situation as a very satisfactory development and hope that it can
further be improved. What worries us is the fact that the inflation
rate is still cruising high in Turkey. This situation causes interest
rates to increase as well. Of course, high inflation stems from budget
deficits and internal debts being high. For that reason, the inflation,
which also adversely affects investments, should be taken under control
in order to provide stability. Since turkey's need for foreign finance
has increased due to the Gulf crisis, the World Bank has decided to
increase the aid it gives to Turkey, " said Wapenhans, in an interview
with the semi-official Anadolu Agency in Cairo, where he was attending
the 15th annual meeting of the governors board of the Islam Development
GULF CRISIS BURDEN: $6.2 BILLION
The Treasury and Foreign Trade Under-secretariat
disclosed on May 8 that the Gulf Crisis burden on Turkey totals 6.2
billion dollars. The transportation sector had the biggest deficit with
1.3 billion dollars. The export and import sectors come next with 1.1
billion dollars each.
The banking sector faced a deficit of 850 million
dollars, and the construction sector a deficit of 650 million dollars
from the Gulf crisis.
According to estimates, tourism suffered a deficit
of 400 million dollars.
In the period between the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait
and the end of April, 400 million dollars were spent for military
expenses and 150 million dollars for the refugees.
AN ISLAMIC PRIVATE TV CHANNEL
A new private television channel will be launched
soon under the name of Hilal 1 (Crescent 1), the daily Sabah of May 13
The former Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) chief
Saban Karatas will be the chief of the new channel. Some extreme
Turkish right-wing organizations and some Arab banks will back the new
Hilal 1 will be watched through cable or satellite
The ANAP Deputy Chairman Metin Gürdere said that
Hilal 1 will be watched by at least 50 million people in Turkey,
whereas present private television channel Star 1, run by Özal's elder
son Ahmet Özal, is watched by 7 million people.