TURKISH ARMY AND DEATH
SQUADS SPREAD TERROR
On the eve of President Bush's visit to Turkey,
violence against human rights activists and supporters escalated to an
appalling level throughout Turkey. While sinister death-squads were
shooting dead a number of local politicians and human rights activists,
the Turkish Army extended its operation beyond the Turkish borders and
bombed Kurdish peasants on pretext of crushing the PKK camps in
According to a press release by Amnesty
International on August 9, the assassination of a series of public
figures gives rise to allegations of extra-judicial killing.
The most spectacular of these dramatic event was the
assassination of Vedat Aydin, a well-known human rights activist of
Kurdish origin, on July 5 and the opening fire by security forces into
the crowd attending Aydin's funeral in Diyarbakir on July 10.
Vedat Aydin, former teacher aged 37 and married, was
a member of the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD) and
President of the People's Labour Party (HEP) in Diyarbakir.
He was on trial in Ankara State Security Court for giving a speech in
Kurdish at the Annual General Meeting of the IHD in October 1990.
Shortly before his death, Aydin made a speech in Kurdish outside a
hospital in Diyarbakir after visiting Siddik Tan who was being treated
for damage to his eyes in a explosion in Batman.
The IHD, founded in 1986, faced considerable
pressure from the authorities. Several of its officials have been
detained and imprisoned and members of the association's regional
branches have been prosecuted for producing campaigning material
without government consent. Leading members have been tried on a
variety of charges, most trials eventually ending in acquittal. Several
branches have been closed, the branches in Batman, Gaziantep and Urfa
indefinitely. Members of the IHD have received death threats in the
past by letter and telephone. Helsinki Watch documented 39 cases of
harassment of IHD activists during 1989, including detentions and
allegations of torture, and 24 such cases during 1990.
For the facts concerning this murder, we count on
the findings of Amnesty International:
Vedat Aydin was taken from his house in Diyarbakir
at around midnight on Friday, 5 July, by several armed men, ostensibly
plain-clothes police officers, and his body was found with bullet
wounds on the morning of Monday, 8 July, near Ergani, some 60
kilometres from Diyarbakir.
The body was buried by the police without a full
autopsy soon after it was found, in spite of the fact that it was
clearly a case of murder: the body bore eight gunshot wounds, the right
leg was broken, and there were signs of torture. A hospital in Elazig
offered to store the body in their refrigerated morgue, but this was
declined by the police. A day after the body had been buried as
"unidentifiable", the Emergency Region Governor Hayri Kozakcioglu
stated that Vedat Aydin had been found murdered. This statement was
made before the family had identified the body. There have also been
doubts as to the thoroughness of subsequent police investigations into
the circumstances of Vedat Aydin's death.
According to Aydin's wife, Sukran Aydin, he told her
on July 5 that he recognized the armed men as policemen, and would go
with them to police headquarters to be interrogated.
Aydin's funeral in Diyarbakir on July 10 was
attended by thousands of people. The crowd was chanting slogans in
favour of the PKK, and youths had been stoning a police station when
masked members of security force "special teams" fired above and into
the crowd. The shooting resulted in the death of seven
demonstrators: Behzat Ozkan (14), Bahattin Turan (19), Sehmuz Demir,
Nevzat Kelekci, Zulfikar Yagan (44), and Hafsi Ekinci (55) and Mustafa
Atan (27) who both died later as a result of their injuries. Although
press reports at the times suggested that some of the crowd used
firearms, there is no evidence to support this allegation, and no
policemen were wounded by shots from the demonstrators.
Shortly after these shootings, police and special
team members broke into a bus in which were travelling journalists,
photographers and deputies from HEP and fired tear-gas bombs. It is
alleged that the deputies and journalists were severely beaten with
rifle butts and truncheons. Several of the journalists and deputies
were later transferred to hospital. HEP deputy Adnan Ekmen reported
that he was beaten until nearly unconscious, when the security forces
left him for dead. When he stirred and it was apparent that he was
still alive, a policeman reportedly dragged him by the tie and called
out to his colleagues, "Here's a deputy, come and hit him." as a result
of which he was beaten further. He is currently undergoing treatment in
hospital in Ankara.
Unofficial reports indicate nine other people were
killed as well. Five people have not been heard of since the day of
funeral, and there has been no news of a sixth person, Muharrem Bozan,
a member of HEP since he left the party headquarters in Diyarbakir at
5.00 pm on 25 July.
Regional Governor Hayri Kozakcioglu confirmed the
deaths, and reported that 107 others had been injured (38 with bullet
wounds), and that 353 people have been detained.
Two of the four deputies of the ruling ANAP, who
were delegated by the Prime Minister to inquire into the events,
reported on their return to Ankara on 23 July that their findings
indicated that the crowd at the funeral had not used firearms and that
it was dispersing in response to police warnings. The ANAP deputies for
Siirt and Diyarbakir stated that they felt that the events of the day
had occurred as a result of the intentional actions of the security
forces: "The main cause of the incident is that the administrators of
the region see all the citizens of the area as guilty."
A declaration of former Interior Minister Abdulkadir
Aksu on 18 July reveals the extent of the State terrorism in Turkish
Kurdistan. He stated that during his term of minister, 59 villages and
304 hamlets had been evacuated and 37,477 Kurds deported.
In fact, Aydin's death was the sixth violent
incident directed against Kurdish speaking figures in June 1991..
On 18 June, an explosive device detonated in the car
of the lawyer Mustafa Özer which was parked outside his home in
Diyarbakir. The powerful explosion completely destroyed the car.
At midnight on 25 June, an explosion destroyed the
office of the IHD in Diyarbakir, injuring a neighbour.
On 28 June, Yakup Kara, mayor of the small town of
Hilal, near Uludere in the province of Hakkari, his driver Mehmet Ürün,
technicians Ali Benek and Hamit Kara and contractor Hüseyin Babat were
shot and their bodies burned by three persons in commando uniforms and
balaclava hoods, according to 80-year-old Mehmet Kara, the sole
survivor. Yakup Kara's brother has stated that the family has always
opposed the village guard system, that Yakup Kara received threats
because of his opposition to the system, and that he was detained and
tortured four times, most recently during 1990, for this very reason.
On the morning of 2 July, a bomb exploded in Batman
in the car of Huseyin Siddik Tan shortly after he had driven from home
and parked his car outside his shop. Tan, a board member of the Batman
branch of the IHD, as well as his 10-year son and a friend were injured
in the blast, which completely destroyed the car.
On 5 July, Police Commissioner Ilyas Kaya killed two
people, Kemal Karatay and Ali Haydar Aydogan, in a restaurant in
Avcilar district in Istanbul, for having spoken and sung in Kurdish.
On 11 July, Remzi Il, Diyarbakir delegate of HEP,
was topped by two people who introduced themselves as policemen and
taken by car with a bag over his head to a building where he was beaten
while being interrogated about his political connections. He died of a
brain haemorrhage in hospital on 27 July.
On 12 July, police officers and members of the
National Intelligence Agency (MIT) raided eight houses in different
districts in Istanbul, and shot dead 10 people: Ibrahim Erdogan, Hasan
Eliuygun, Niyazi Aydin, Nazmi Turkcan, Cahit Ozkaya, Zeynep Eda Berk,
Mustafa Ustundag, Yucel Simsek, Omer Coskun and Hakki Dogan.
The weekly Tempo reports that these razzias were carried out on
the information given by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
On 14 July, political police raided a house in the
Telsizler district of Ankara and shot dead two more people, a man and a
woman Buluthan Kangalgil and Fintöz Dikme.
On the other hand, Interior Ministry declared on
August 19 that 327 suspects had been arrested on charges of staging
actions nationwide to mark the foundation anniversary of the PKK's
military wing ARGK. According to the Ministry, 183 people were caught
conducting illegal rallies in Istanbul, Izmir, Adana and Diyarbakir.
During the clashes on August 15, security forces killed 24 militants.
15 soldiers, two policemen and four village guards were also killed
during the clashes.
According to Amnesty International, many members
engaged in legal opposition groups in southeast Turkey feel that they
are unprotected against unwarranted use of lethal force by the security
forces. These fears were heightened by comments made by President Özal
in a speech in Diyarbakir on 24 July 1991 in which he appeared to
indicate a shoot-to-kill policy directed towards those thought to be
involved in political violence: "We shall even hit those who carry out
terror in their lairs... we shall have no mercy for those who support
or who are involved with terrorism. I want to say this very clearly,
and most importantly right here in this place... We shall shoot them
one by one. Nobody should tell Turkey to do this or that while the
country is engaged in a struggle with terrorism."
"Amnesty International believes that the
authorities' attitude to the use of force, as reflected in the comments
of the President, risk being perceived as condoning the unlawful use of
force or even the summary execution of alleged terrorists."
Helsinki Watch, in a letter to President Bush on 11
July, called on him to raise questions during his meeting with Turkish
President Turgut Ozal about the recent violence and about serious
recurring human rights abuses, particularly torture, a draconian new
Anti-Terror Law, and serious restrictions on press freedom.
ATTACK ON THE KURDS IN IRAQ
President Bush's visit to Turkey on 20-22 July not
only marked the beginning of a close military and political cooperation
between Turkey and the USA in the Middle East, but also was a sign of
encouragement for the repressive practices of Özal's rule. During his
two-day visit, President Bush manifested on every occasion his personal
support to Özal.
Claiming that the PKK has training camps in various
neighboring countries, including Iran and Iraq, President Ozal had
already said that Turkey would no longer tolerate terrorist activities
and threatened to hit the terrorists where they were based.
The daily Sabah of August 9 claimed that United
States reconnaissance spotted the PKK camps in northern Iraq through
satellite transmissions and forwarded this information to Ankara before
"Operation Hot Pursuit" began. According to the paper, during
Bush's recent visit to Turkey, Ozal asked him to provide photos
of the PKK camps in northern Iraq. Bush granted Ozal's request and the
Turkish military found and hit the PKK camps with the help of the
It is just after Bush's departure that, on August 5,
1991, the Turkish State, defying all international agreements, launched
a military operation beyond the Turkish borders on pretext of crushing
the last remnants of separatist terrorists in northern Iraq.
One of the most deplorable facts as regards this
military operation has been the total silence of the United States and
its European allies. In fact, a week ago, a 5,000-man Allied reaction
force including Turkish troops, called as "Poised Hammer" was stationed
in Turkey with the aim of deterring any Iraqi army attack on Kurds.
But this time, it was not Iraq but Turkey itself
that attacked on Kurds in Iraq and the Poised Hammer charged with
defending Kurds rest looking on the operation probably with
According to the weekly 2000e Dogru of August
4, military operations had already taken place on Iraqi territory just
the day of Bush's departure. The villages of Sineht and Sule in Iraq
were raided on July 22 by a 200-man Turkish armed unit, but no Kurdish
guerrilla was found in the settlements.
According to the governmental statement, in the
week-long operation which started on August 5, a Turkish soldier and a
village guard were killed, while the "separatist terrorists" left
behind 35 dead. This claim was later contradicted by the PKK (See: PKK
Press Conference) A press release from the Office of the Chief of
General Staff on August 19, briefed the operation as follows:
"The operation began on August 5 when jets bombarded the terrorist
hide-outs and strongly reinforced arms positions. Two commando
battalions backed by armed helicopters launched the land attack on
August 7. Due to the terrain of the area, the attacks were carried out
in two directions covering a 5-km wide area. After taking the control
of the area, the troops later planned a subsequent operation. On August
12, the Army took control of an area measuring 10 kilometres in width,
including the Hakurk Training Camp located on in the Durjan Valley."
Iraqi Kurdish leaders have denounced the
Turkish incursion in northern Iraq. They claimed at least 15 Iraqi
Kurds were killed and at least 30 wounded in Turkish air raids on the
villages of Begova in the former allied "security zone" and Khayre Zonk
in Shewran province near the Iranian border.
Massoud Barzani, the leader of the Kurdish
Democratic Party, sent a close aide to Turkey to seek a temporary halt
to the operation to allow Iraqi Kurds to withdraw from the area under
attack. The other Kurdish leader, Jalal Talabani of the Patriotic Union
of Kurdistan, was also in Ankara for talks with Toperi. Talabani was
originally scheduled to meet with Premier Yilmaz. However, after he
condemned the Turkish operation at a news conference in Rome as an act
that violated international law, he was given a cold reception in
Ankara and was received only by a top official.
FURTHER TURKISH EXPANSIONISM?
The recent Turkish military operations have given
rise to the inquietudes as regards further Turkish aggressions. The
weekly 2000e Dogru of August 4 claims that there was also a covert plan
to hit the PKK militants in Bekaa Valley, but such an operation would
largely depend on Israeli support.
The daily Sabah raised on August 8 the anxiety
concerning Mosul-Kirkuk. Columnist Guneri Civaoglu said: "Though the
initial Turkish argument seems to be 'there was a strip of no man's
land in northern Iraq, and we have to create a band of security,' later
Turkish authorities may realize, as in Cyprus, that a military build-up
on a narrow strip of land can be dangerous and may decide to take wider
action, possibly towards the Mosul-Kirkuk region. After all, that area
was once considered a part of Turkey by those who drew up the 'Misak-i
Milli' (national borders) at the beginning of the Turkish war of
independence. Since the signing of the Lausanne Treaty, the
Mosul-Kirkuk issue has always been among Turkey's concerns. For the
first time, Turkey is creating an actual situation closes to that area.
There is a tendency to believe that Turkish dominance in part of
northern Iraq may bolster Turkish chances regarding oil-rich Mosul and
Kirkuk in a potential reshaping of northern Iraq in the future."
"POISED HAMMER" FORCE IN TURKEY
Turkish military operation against PKK camps in Iraq
was launched just after the assembling a 5,000-man Allied reaction
force, called as "Poised Hammer" in Turkey to deter any Iraqi army
attack on Iraq's Kurdish minority.
A US military spokesman said on August 1st in Ankara
said the force of aircraft and ground troops from six countries had
been deployed at two main bases within striking distance of northern
The planes and 2,292 personnel from the United
States, Turkey, Britain, France, the Netherlands and Italy are based at
Incirlik Air Base near the southern industrial city of Adana. The air
force had 132 US fixed-wing aircraft, including fighters, supply planes
and surveillance planes, as well as nine Mirages and four surveillance
aircraft from the French air force. Planes aboard the US aircraft
carrier Forrester in the eastern Mediterranean are also dedicated to
A ground force of 2,709 troops under joint command,
equipped with 75 helicopters, has been set up at Silopi close to where
the Syrian, Iraqi and Turkish borders meet.
Turkish Prime Minister Yilmaz told reporters during
a visit to eastern Turkey: "This international force will not be used
for any aggressive, offensive purpose. In such case it requires
additional permission from the Turkish Government.
Turkey gave the permission for the establishment of
this multinational force in its territory on July 18, just before
Bush's visit to Turkey. However, the Turkish Foreign Ministry
underlined on July 23 that the force was just a continuation of the
"Provide Comfort" operation, and insisted on calling it as "Provide
Comfort II" rather than the controversial term "Poised Hammer" used by
the United States for the multinational deterrent force. The force is
permitted to reside in Turkey until September 30, 1991.
TURCO-GERMAN TIES TENSE
Turco-German relations have become strained
following the reciprocal accusations in relation with the Turkish
Operation in Iraq and the kidnapping of 10 German tourists by the PKK.
German Foreign Minister Hans Dietrich Genscher said
on August 9 that the Turkish offensive was hitting civilians in the
Kurdish region and was a "serious violation of human rights." He also
said that Turkey's act was against the principles of NATO and the
Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE).
Thereupon, the Turkish Foreign Ministry summoned the
German ambassador and expressed its displeasure over Genscher's
statement. Ankara described the coincidence of the release of 10 German
tourists by the PKK and the statement of Genscher as meaningful.
PKK militants kidnapped 15 German tourists while
they camped near a crater lake near the town of Tatvan on August 1.
Five of the tourists later managed to escape.
The PKK released the remaining tourists on August
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said: "The German foreign minister
criticized Turkey four days after the operation started, following the
release of the hostages. Such timing has created speculations that
German tourists were released by the PKK in exchange for a strong
attack by Germany on the Turkish operation in Iraq. This statement may
create the impression that Bonn is giving support to the PKK."
However, the PKK announced that the kidnapping was in retaliation for
the prosecution of its members in Germany. In fact, while Genscher was
criticizing Turkey, German police detained more than 100 Kurdish exiles
attacking Turkish banks and airline offices in Germany to protest
Turkish military operation against PKK camps.
On the other hand, Switzerland announced on August 9
that it decided to halt all arms sales and shipment to Turkey.
DISCRIMINATION OF KURDISH PRISONERS
The Constitutional Court annulled on July 22 two
controversial parts of the Anti-Terror Law which imposed restrictions
on the "conditional release" scheme varying according to the length of
prison sentence involved.
The sections annulled by the Court are all of
Paragraph A and part of Paragraph B of Provisional Article 4 of the
Anti-Terror Law. So those who were sentenced by virtue of Article 146
of the Turkish Penal Code, mainly the militants of the Turkish
left-wing organizations, have been released. The annulments are in
response to, and cover applications received from martial law courts.
As for those who have been sentenced by virtue of
Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code, mainly Kurdish activists, still
remain in prison because the Constitutional Court has not yet dealt
with the application received from the SHP which asks to annul the
entire range of restrictions, including that concerning Article 125.
A 7-YEAR BALANCE SHEET OF THE KURDISH GUERRILLA IN TURKEY
On the occasion of the 7th anniversary of the
beginning of its guerrilla warfare, the Workers' Party of Kurdistan
(PKK) held a press conference on August 21 in Brussels. The PKK
spokesman presented the balance-sheet of the 7-year struggle as
"Our guerrilla warfare is being extended from the
rural area towards big cities. From August 1990 to August 1991 , 570
armed clashes have happened between ARGK guerrillas and the colonialist
forces; our guerrilla teams have carried out 75 ambushes, 24 sabotage
acts, 53 mining operations, tens of actions to get under control
highways and hundreds of village meetings.
"During the last one years, 187 policemen and
special team members, 148 officers and NCOs, 1,558 sergeants and
privates, 162 village protectors and 82 collaborating agents have been
killed. Besides, one mayor, two prison guards and eight other officials
have perished during our urban operations.
"As for our guerrilla forces, 158 fighters died a
martyr and 9 wounded.
"Tens of protest demonstrations have been carried
out against the colonialism. Peasant marched towards cities in Idil,
Kerboran, Kurtalan and Silopi.
"In Diyarbakir, workers stopped the work. Tens of
thousands of tradesmen and handicraftsmen have shut their shops in the
cities of Diyarbakir, Batman, Cizre, Nusaybin, Kulp, Lice, Silopi,
Kerboran, Silvan, Dersim, Idil and Bilsim. Taxi drivers paralyzed
transport. Students boycotted their school for many days.
"Funeral ceremonies have been organized pour nos
martyrs in Dogubeyazit, Diyarbakir, Lice, Batman, Silvan, Nusaybin,
Silopi, Kerboran and Idil. A total of half a million people have
participated in these ceremonies.
"Millions of people in the whole of Kurdistan have
celebrated Newroz (Kurdish New Year) in 1991.
"Since 1984, special war methods applied by the
Turkish State have resulted in a fiasco.
"For the time being, there are two powers in
Kurdistan: the Turkish State's power in one hand, and the one of the
ARGK on the other.
"Towns such as Kerboran, Sirnak, Idil, Silopi,
Nusaybin, Cizre, Batman, Lice and Diyarbakir are backing the PKK.
"During the two recent events, the Turkish State has
turned out to be powerless.
"When 10 German tourists were taken as hostages by
the PKK, the Turkish State has failed to save them and the ARGK
released the hostages under the conditions determined by itself.
"On the other hand, the Turkish State invaded the
Southern Kurdistan with the forces of a number higher than that of the
occupation forces employed during the invasion of Cyprus. The result is
a a total failure.
"Our striking forces are in the North-Eastern
Kurdistan. For us, the Southern Kurdistan is a back front. Our forces
in this part are there for the purpose of training and education. We
have a force of 350 fighters in Xaxurke. They gave heavy coups to the
Turkish State. Turkish soldiers were captured at the entrance of the
town. Turkish soldiers were not able to pass from North to South. The
ARGK stopped the Turkish troops.
"The Turkish State have lost 200 soldiers and many
wounded. Two aircrafts and three helicopters were destroyed.
"As for the PKK, nine guerrillas fell martyr and
five wounded. In addition to them, 25 peasants perished during the
attack of the Turkish forces.
"A number of Turkish soldiers were captured during
the operation and they are still our prisoners. The Turkish Army cannot
save them. Could it save the German tourists in Tatvan? We treat them
as prisoners of war. They are healthy and under the protection of the
PKK. We can release them only according to the rules applied in the
"In the Southern Kurdistan, the forces who
collaborate with the Turkish Government have no national character.
These forces are led by the family or clan interests. Our people as
well in the North as in the South do not recognize them. The accords
concluded between Talabani and the Turkish State are not valid. We do
not recognize their legitimity."
During the press conference, the PKK spokesman
announced that four youths, sons of two members of the Turkish
Parliament, who have recently disappeared take place in the ranks
of the ARGK forces.
TWO REPORTS ON TORTURE IN TURKEY
The never-ending torture practices in Turkey have
been the object of two alarming reports.
TIHV's Torture Report
On July 14, 1991, the Human Rights Foundation of
Turkey (TIHV), which was founded to facilitate the treatment and
rehabilitation of torture victims, has presented to the public a report
prepared about the torture incidents and deaths that occurred within
the first six month period of 1991.
We reproduced below a TIHV press release on this
"This evaluation by the TIHV shows that torture
remains as the number one human rights abuse on the agenda of Turkey.
"According to the report, 13 persons died under
suspicious circumstances either in custody or in prison within the
first six months of 1991. This situation reveals that the security of
life is under constant threat in places of custody and prisons.
"The second point that calls for attention in the
report is that about 200 torture incidents were alleged in this six
month period. As known, in spite of the extensive application of
torture methods like beating and falaka (beating on the soles of the
feet) on ordinary crime suspects at the police and gendarmerie
headquarters, those persons do not seek their rights and the torture
inflicted on them remains unknown. Almost all of those persons who make
official complaints about torture and ill-treatment or who, though very
little in number, receive reports certifying torture from doctors are
political people. Considering the difficulty of receiving trustworthy
information from outside of Ankara and Istanbul and especially from the
Emergency State Region, it becomes apparent that those 200 torture
incidents reflect only a little segment of the attacks inflicted by
state organs on the physical and spiritual dignity of the people.
"Besides journalists and lawyers, there were also
football players, homosexuals and even refugees from Iraq among those
who were subjected to torture after being detained by the police or the
gendarmerie within the first half of 1991. Prisoners' relatives who
were detained during demonstrations, workers and students constitute
the majority. There are women and young girls among the torture
victims. Almost all or the female torture victims complain about sexual
"Female student I.B., who was hung naked on
suspenders while being in detention at the Gayrettepe political police
center in Istanbul between April 8-22, displays a serious example of
sexual abuse in her statement after being released: 'They applied
electric shocks to my hands, toes and genital organ and threatened me
with rape.' The statement by E.P., who was also in detention at
Gayrettepe, that she was raped and her official complaint to the
Prosecution Office constitute another striking example among the
incidents mentioned in the report.
"Three girls, aged 12 to 13, who applied to the
Human Rights Association (IHD) Diyarbakir Branch on May 15, told about
an incredible event. These children, who lost their way in the
mountainous region of Savur, were taken to Mardin Gendarmerie Brigade
for interrogation on charges that 'they may have intended to join
terrorists.' The statement of 12-year old H.K.: 'Blindfolded, I was
taken into a cell. They were beating me with wooden sticks and
truncheons. Then, they threatened me with impregnating if I did not
The failure to launch investigations about this incident which was
dealt with the press is also striking.
Over 50 incidents in the TIHV report tell about
persons whose arms, legs and other organs were broken, who had to be
hospitalized and who were able to receive medical reports. However, the
report mentions torture investigations only for four incidents. Two of
those investigations relate to torture incidents which were not
reported to court in conformity with the Anti-Terror Law, but were
conveyed to the provincial administrative councils and thus any other
legal proceeding was prevented.
For example, I.A. and his brother, who were detained
on May 11, 1991, applied to the Public Prosecutor's Office in Bitlis
with the claim that 'they were tortured and forced to eat dog
excrement' at Bitlis Güroymak Gendarmerie Headquarters. However, Public
prosecutor Ozer Tarhan, in conformity with Article 15 of the
Anti-Terror Law, has not launched any investigation, and took a
decision of "nonresponsibility" about the involved security officers.
The cancellation of the trial about the killing of teacher Siddik
Bilgin in accordance with the new law is another example in this
As a result, in evaluation of the torture incidents
that occurred within the first six months of 1991 it becomes clear that
torture is implemented systematically and as a method of interrogation,
and rather than ending, it is being increasingly implemented by
security officers without restraint by basing their authority on some
protective provisions of the Anti-Terror Law. Those protective
measures, especially the article stating that 'no cases can be brought
to the court or investigations can be launched without the approval of
the discipline commissions constituted within the governorships about
the security officers participating in torture incidents,' provides for
the irresponsible applications of torture by the security officers.
Meanwhile, the Government takes no initiatives that
can deter those applying torture. Government members, who mention
torture only when they must, argue that torture is not applied
systematically, and statements extracted under torture are widely used
in the courts as evidence. There practices should be prevented. The
legal regulation which was proposed by the new government program read
on June 30, 1991 about the 'presence of lawyers at the pre-detention
interrogations' should immediately be put into practice as a emergency
Helsinki Watch's Report
Helsinki Watch issued on July 30, 1991 a new report
entitled: "Turkey: Torture, killings by police and political violence
We are reprinting below the report's part of
"Helsinki Watch is deeply disturbed by a recent
escalation in human rights abuses in Turkey. First, the number of
people who have died in suspicious circumstances in detention in Turkey
has increased dramatically. Since January 1, 1991, eleven people died
in detention and two others have disappeared and are believed dead
after having been detained by security forces.
"Second, since the beginning of March 1991, the use
of lethal force by security forces has escalated: police have shot and
killed 19 people in raids on houses, ten during demonstrations, and 16
others in suspicious circumstances--a total of 45 people.
"Helsinki Watch calls on the government of Turkey to
end these appalling practices, which are in clear violation of
international standards and agreements. Each one of these incidents
should be promptly and thoroughly investigated and those responsible
should be prosecuted. The Government of Turkey should make it clear
that such practices will not be tolerated, and that any security force
member who tortures or summarily executes anyone will be investigated,
charged with criminal acts and prosecuted in court, an, if found
guilty, appropriately punished.
"Turkey is the third-largest recipient of American
aid; it received approximately $550 million in military and economic
aid for fiscal year 1991. In the light of Turkey's continuing pattern
of gross human rights abuses, Helsinki Watch calls on the government of
the United States to explain, as required by Section 502(b) of the
Foreign Assistance Act, the "extraordinary circumstances" that warrant
continued aid to Turkey.
"Helsinki Watch is also deeply disturbed by an
escalation in violent acts by terrorist groups in Turkey--bombings,
armed attacks and assassinations. Since January 1, 1991, left-wing
terrorist groups have claimed credit for the assassinations of thirteen
people, including retired generals, police officers and two Americans.
Helsinki Watch calls on these terrorist groups to put an end to these
"Political violence in southeastern Turkey is also
of great concern. Helsinki Watch calls on both the PKK and security
forces to refrain from attacks on civilians, who are suffering from
armed attacks by both security forces and PKK militants."
In the following parts, the report gives detailed
information on deaths in detention, 200 recent incidents of torture,
killings in raids, during demonstrations and in other circumstances,
killings by terrorist groups, political violence in Southeastern Turkey
and reminds the requirements of International Law as regards human
TBKP CLOSED DOWN BY COURT
The Constitutional Court ruled on July 22 that the
United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP) was illegal and ordered it to
The Chief Prosecutor asked the court in June 1990 to
order the closure of the TBKP 10 days after its formal launch.
The Court's decision to close down the party was
taken by consensus on the grounds that the party aimed to establish the
domination of one social class over another and destroy the integrity
of the country and the political system.
It claims that the party had been established under
an illegal name, and that it had been the continuation of an outlawed
party. According to the decision, "the party had violated various
Constitutional articles, like Art. 2, which defines the republic, Art.
3 which stipulates the integrity of the state, Art. 10 on equality in
law, and Art. 14 on abuse of basic rights and liberties."
The court also claims that the party violated the
Code on Political Parties, in selecting "banned names and signs for
parties" and "aiming to create minorities."
The court decision stipulates the transfer of all
property and assets of the closed party to the Treasury.
Commenting on the Court decision, the TBKP Secretary
General Nabi Yagci (Haydar Kutlu) said that the government was mainly
responsible for the closure.
"This decision will be yet another shame for
Turkey," he said. "Regardless of the grounds, the decision to close
down a political party has upset all those who believe in
democracy. When Articles 141, 142 and 163 of the Turkish Penal
Code were annulled, government officials declared that they had ensured
freedom of thought. Yet, thought is not such an abstract thing, and it
is evident that the meaning of freedom of thought has not yet been
fully understood. This closure is quite meaningless in this era which
is paving the way of new freedoms.
"When we first returned to Turkey, we were branded
by President Ozal as 'terrorists," but a single suit has been filed
against the TBKP since it became a legal organization a year ago. The
party has even received an invitation from the High Election Board to
take part in the next general election, and its convention was attended
by an ANAP (ruling Motherland Party) representative."
In defence of their decision to close down the TBKP,
Chairman of the Constitutional Court said that they were obliged to act
so as long as the anti-democratic articles of the Constitution and the
Code on Political Parties remain in force and claimed that all
democratic forces of the country assure the annulment of the articles
DISK ACQUITTED AFTER 11 YEARS
The Military Court of Cassation overruled on July 16
a martial law court decision closing down the Confederation of
Progressive Trade Unions (DISK) and all of the prison sentences imposed
on the leaders of the confederation.
The higher court, which has been investigating the
DISK Case for years, ruled that as the Anti-Terror Law lifted Article
141 of the Turkish Penal Code , the legal frame with which DISK was
closed down eleven years ago no longer existed in the country.
After the 12 September 1980 Coup, DISK was
immediately banned by the military and 1,477 leading members of the
confederation and its 30 affiliate unions were arrested. 244 of
them, including DISK Chairman Abdullah Bastürk, were sentenced by a
military court to heavy prison terms.
The recent ruling has put a full stop to a long
battle by DISK against its death ruling. But now a new process will be
underway: a re-establishment of the organization and a compensation for
the losses it suffered from the closure decision. When the activities
of DISK were suspended in 1980, its property was put under the
supervision of a state-appointed trustee. With the court ruling for its
closure, the assets of DISK were turned over to the treasury and later
shared among various state organizations. Now, all those assets,
estimated at TL 1.5 Trillion ($3.5 billion) will have to be handed back
After the higher court's decision, DISK Chairman
Bastürk said: "We shall start from where we had to leave off on
September 12, 1980. DISK will resume its struggle for wider labour
rights and democracy in the country."
He immediately had a meeting with the executives of
DISK and its affiliated trade unions, to draw the course to be
followed. The statutes of DISK now had to be updated to fit in with the
requirements of present laws. The confederation will urgently hold its
convention in accordance with its updated statutes.
The trial of DISK officials has attracted
international interest and the Turkish regime came under immense
pressure with demands of their release. Although it was closed down in
Turkey, the European Trade Unions Confederation (ETUC) has maintained
relations with it as one of the two trade union centers of Turkey and
even gave it the status of full member.
VIRGINITY TEST FOR GERMAN TOURIST
On July 22, a police team aided a touristic hotel at
Urla, ordered the Turkish and foreign tourists staying at the hotel to
show their wedding certificates. A German young woman, Angelika
Wittwer, who was staying at the hotel with her Turkish boyfriend, could
not produce a wedding certificate. Angered police took the German
tourist to a hospital and made her undergo a virginity test and tests
to determine whether she had had sexual intercourse that night.
Following the tests, the German tourist was "hosted" for 15 hours by
the police until her release by a court.
STATE TERRORISM IN JUNE-JULY
18.6, the Interior Ministry issued a decree
forbidding the utilisation together of three colours, green, yellow and
red on any item exposed to public, including cloths, printed matters,
shop windows, etc., because they constitute the colours of the Kurdish
national flag used by the PKK. For practical reasons, traffic lights
were not subjected to this interdiction.
19.6, a worker, Cafer Karadag, was brought before
the State Security Court of Istanbul for having distributed a political
tract at the Taskizak dockyard. He faces a 10-year prison term.
21.6, in Ankara, police attacked to public officials
demonstrating for their trade union rights and detained two
22.6, the Diyarbakir SSC sentenced 16 alleged PKK
members to prison terms of up to life-prison. The defendants shouting
slogans after hearing the judgment were beaten by the soldiers charged
in the court hall.
22.6, the Governor of Izmir banned the distribution
the posters and tracts issued by the Human Rights Association of Turkey
(IHD) in protest against the Anti-Terror Law.
23.6, in the district of Selin in Kars, thirteen
peasants were detained for having taken a cup of tea with some alleged
members of the PKK. Among the detainees are also a 70-year old man,
Mehmet Cengiz, and his 9-year old grandson, Taner Cengiz.
28.6, in Istanbul, police shot dead a woman, Figen
Ustun, and wounded one other during a raid on a house allegedly
belonging to the Dev-Sol. 2.7, in the district of Bismil in Diyarbakir
province, police opened fire on a group protesting against the
Anti-Terror Law. Three protesters were wounded and 20 others detained
2.7, in the district of Dargecit in Mardin province,
a peasant named Ramazan Durmaz was shot dead by special police teams as
he was attempting to go out of the village for searching his son who
disappeared for a certain time.
2.7, the Socialist Party (SP) announced that three
party officials were subjected to torture under police detention in the
province of Van.
3.7, the Association for Freedoms (Ozgur-Der)
announced that during the police raid of June 28, Figen Ustun was shot
dead despite the fact that she cried "Don't shoot! I surrender!"
4.7, in Ankara, during a demonstration by state
employees for protesting the government's social and economic policies,
3O protesters were taken into custody and many officials coming from
other cities for participating the demonstration were prevented by
force from entering in the capital city.
4.7, in Izmir, the guards of the Buca Prison wounded
six political inmates by beating.
5.7, the trial of 53 people, accused of acting for
the Revolutionary Youth Organization (Dev-Genc), opened in Ankara. Each
faces a prison term of up to 15 years.
6.7, the Ankara section of the Teachers' Union
(EGIT-SEN) was raided by police and 43 members were taken into custody.
6.7, a 17-year old high school student, Ismet
Cetinkaya, was sentenced to 2 years and 4 months imprisonment by the
SSC of Istanbul for having participated in the May Day celebrations.
8.7, four members of the Human Rights Committee of
the Turkish National Assembly claimed that two lawyers, Bedii Yarayici
and Murat Demir, had been subjected torture as they were in police
detention in Ankara. The names of the torturers were transmitted to the
Public Prosecutor's Office.
8.7. the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD)
announced in a report that death squads were terrorizing the people in
the East. According to the IHD, the mayor of the Hilal town in the
province of Hakkari, Yakup Kara and his four friends were assassinated
on June 28 and their bodies burnt by one of these squads. Two officials
of the Socialist Party (SP), Ibrahim Sarica in Cizre and Mehmet
Kilic in Sirnak, too were assassinated by unidentified persons.
8.7, in Istanbul, after the closing down of the
People's House in Kadikoy by the Governor, the house chairman Sedat Gul
and four other officials were taken into custody for having held a
press conference in protest against the governor's action.
8.7, the Association for Freedoms (Ozgur-Der)
announced that Bulent Pak, taken into police custody on June 27, was
subjected to torture and his life was in danger.
9.7, seventeen people were tried at the SSC of
Istanbul for having carried out an unauthorized meeting on May Day.
Each faces a prison term of up to 3 years.
10.7, the Human Rights Association (IHD) announced
that lawyer Fethiye Peksen, detained on July 5 in Ankara, was subjected
to torture and her life was in danger.
12.7, three alleged members of the Revolutionary
Left (Dev-Sol) were brought before the SSC of Ankara. Public prosecutor
claimed capital punishment for each by virtue of Article 450/4 of the
Turkish Penal Code.
12.7, in Istanbul, gynaecologist Dr. Ali Tezel Erol
was detained by police together with two other persons.
13.7, the local chairman of the People's Labour
Party (HEP) in Urfa, Muhsin Melik and the same party's Elazig chairman,
Orhan Demirbag were taken into police custody.
15.7, the Istanbul representative of the People's
Houses, Huseyin Kahraman, who was taken into police custody on July 6
together with his four friends, alleged that he was subjected to
torture and his eardrum was damaged. A medical report certifies that
he, suffering from the effects of torture, cannot work for 15
days at least. In Izmir,another political detainee, Gunes Ardic,
received after his release a medical report certifying that he cannot
work for 10 days because of torture he underwent during his 2-day
17.7, in Ankara, police detained Elif Berk and three
other persons for having participated in the funeral of the former's
sister, Zeynep Eda Berk, shot dead during a police raid in Istanbul.
18.7, in Ankara, lawyer Fethiye Peksen, after being
kept 13 days in police custody, alleged that she was subjected to
18.7, the governor of Istanbul ordered to close down
the headquarters of the Association of Freedoms (Ozgur-Der). During the
execution of the order, police detained 58 association members as well.
19.7, in Ankara, during a raid on a house, police
shot dead Buluthan Kangalgil and Fintoz Dikme.
19.7, the secretary general of the People's Labour
Party (HEP), Ibrahim Aksoy said that his nephew, Naki Goksu had been
assassinated by gendarmes in the district of Mazgirt in Tunceli
province on June 9.
20.7, in Istanbul, during the funeral of Fintoz
Dikme, shot dead by police in Ankara, 30 people were taken into custody
by security forces.
22.7, hundreds of people were detained throughout
the country during the protest demonstrations against President Bush's
visit to Turkey.
22.7, the HEP announced that a party official,
Salahattin Ozcelik was taken away on July 20 by some people claiming to
be policemen and there was information since then on his whereabouts.
22.7, public prosecutor opened a legal proceeding
against Turgut Kazan, chairman of the Istanbul Bar Association, because
of his press conference of May 6 about the new Anti-Terror Law.
23.7, four people were brought before the State
Security Court on charges of having assassinated former Regional
Gendarmerie Commander in Adana. Three of the defendants face each
capital punishment, and the fourth one a prison term of up to 15 years
by virtue of Article 146 of the Turkish Penal Code.
23.7, Urfa chairman of the HEP, Muhsin Melik was
arrested by the State Security Court of Diyarbakir.
24.7, in Izmir, two members of the Socialist Party
were detained for having taking part in a protest action against
president Bush's visit.
24.7, the headman of the village of Guneyce in
Sirnak announced that a Kurdish shepherd from the same village, Osman
Ekinci, was beaten to death at Gorendoruk Gendarmerie post on July 20.
27-year old Ekinci had six children. One of the three other shepherds
detained together with him, Hasan Ekinci was gravely wounded during the
beating. The whereabouts of the two other shepherds, Agit Ceker and
Ramazan Gecgel, were not known.
26.7, Dr. Ali Erol Teztel announced after his 15-day
police custody that he was subjected to torture during his
interrogations. Same day, in Bursa, a university student, Gulseren
Havaci said that she was subjected to torture and sexual harassment
during her interrogation at police station when she rejected to be a
26.7, all people detained in Istanbul during the
closure of the Ozgur-Der two weeks ago were released. They said after
their release that police subjected them to torture and threatened with
26.7, in Istanbul, four high school students, one 13
and three others 15 years old, said that they were subjected to torture
at police station for three days after their detention for distributing
a political tract.
27.7, the State Security Court of Istanbul issued an
arrest-warrant for three people who had been released on July 24 after
a 15-day police custody together with 12 other persons for being
members of an underground organization.
27.7, eight political convicts who had been freed on
July 25 by virtue of the conditional release, were taken again into
custody for military service.
29.7, in Istanbul, a taxi driver, Muzaffer Onat said
after his five-day police detention that he had been subjected torture
at police station. He was given a medical report certifying that he
cannot work for five days due to the effects of torture.
29.7, the Chairman of the Union of Turkish Bar
Associations (TBB), Attila Sav said that those lawyers who defend the
victims of torture were also being subjected to torture. In a circular
letter to all bar associations he said: "Lawyer Ramazan Ferat in Urfa,
lawyer Osman Yetkiner in Rize, lawyer Ersoy Saglam in Ordu, lawyers
Abdurrahman Alaca and Yasar Ertas in Kars, lawyers Murat Demir and
Bedii Yarayici in Istanbul and lawyer Fethiye Peksen in Ankara have
been victims of torture and ill-treatment as they were carrying out
their professional duties."
29.7, in Adana, seven people were detained for
having insulted the President of the Republic and the members of the
government. All the detainees will be tried by virtue of Article 159 of
the Turkish Penal Code.
30.7, two alleged members of Dev-Sol were detained
30.7, Mersin chairman of the HEP Fahri Gul said that
17 people taken into custody were subjected to torture.
31.7, the SSC of Izmir began to try 31 people for
carrying out PKK activities. A 16-year old schoolgirl, H.S. faces
capital punishment along with five other defendants.
EMERGENCY CENSORSHIP IN KURDISTAN
The Constitutional Court removed on July 5 a part of
censorship on reporting of incidents in the emergency law region, but
it gave green light to the continuation of censorship in Turkish
The Decree 430, which was passed into law last fall,
carries heavy fines as well as a 10-to-30 day suspension for
publications that deliberately distorted and/or intentionally
misrepresented facts concerning incidents in an emergency law region.
The Constitutional Court rescinded part of the
decree concerning "additional precautions extending beyond the borders
of the region to be taken during the period of emergency law."
According to the decree which remain in effect in
emergency law regions, "publications, including dailies and magazines,
producing distorted or inaccurate stories about an emergency law region
or about the activities of governors in the region be banned from the
region or their entry be dependent upon permission of officials. The
fine for monthly magazines be equal to the sum of their last month
sales, periodicals that publish less frequent than monthly pay their
most recent sales sum, while newly emerged publications pay at least 75
percent of the average monthly sales sum of the largest daily
The Emergency Law Region comprises southeastern
Anatolia, inhabited mainly by Kurds, and includes Mardin, Diyarbakir,
Sanliurfa, Hakkari, Bitlis, Batman, Sirnak, Bingöl and Tunceli.
DR.BESIKCI AGAIN UNDER ARREST
Although released in April by benefiting from
provisional articles of the Anti-Terror Law, famous Turkish sociologist
Dr. Ismail Besikci was arrested once more by the State Security Court
of Ankara on July 31, 1991 in virtue of Article 8 of the same
He is accused of separatist propaganda his recent
book entitled State Terrorism in the Middle East. This book, published
by Yurt Yayinevi, had already been confiscated on May 31 on same
A few weeks later, on August 15, the Public
prosecutor started another legal proceeding against Dr. Besikci at the
SSC of Istanbul according to the same law. This time, he is accused of
separatism in a letter to a columnist of the daily Cumhuriyet, of which
the full text appeared in the weekly Yeni Ülke.
Earlier, on July 12, Besikci's another new book, The
1931 Programme of the Republican People's Party and the Kurdish
Question, too had been confiscated by the SSC for separatism.
Dr. Besikci faces a prison term of up to five years
and a fine of TL 100 million ($25,000), in each case opened by virtue
of Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law.
In last two years, five other books written by Dr.
Besikci had been made the object of confiscation and legal proceeding
by the State Security Courts by virtue of Article 142 of the Turkish
Penal Code. Since this article was cancelled by the Anti-Terror Law,
all these proceedings had been lifted and Besikci released.
Besikci now becomes the victim of the new law which
saved him from prison.
PERSECUTION OF THE MEDIA IN JUNE-JULY
17.6, the issue No. 8 of the monthly Özgür Halk was
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC in virtue of Article 312 of the Turkish
Penal Code. A special issue of the monthly Haziran was also confiscated
by the same court for an article criticizing the Anti-Terror Law.
18.6, the responsible editor of the fortnightly
Emegin Bayragi, Nazim Taban was detained by police in Istanbul for an
article criticizing the Anti-Terror Law. Two days later, he was put
under arrest by the SSC of Istanbul.
18.6, Umit Oguztan's book entitled Queen Sissi was
confiscated by a penal court of Istanbul on charges of obscenity.
19.6, the issue No. 34 of the weekly Yeni Ülke was
confiscated by the SSC of Istanbul in virtue of Article 8 of the
Anti-Terror Law on charges of separatism.
23.6, the representation of a theatre play about
hunger strikes in prisons, entitled Don't be deceived! was banned by
the district governor of Merzifon.
27.6, poet Ahmet Telli was detained on charges of
being involved in a sabotage, but freed six hours later.
28.6, the SSC of Ankara put under arrest a
journalist, Mrs. Deniz Teztel, two lawyers, Murat Demir and Bedii
Yarayici, and four other persons, on charges of furnishing some
information to the underground organization Dev-Sol. Deniz Teztel,
chief of the Human Rights Desk of the daily Günes, and her friends had
been taken into police custody two weeks ago.
3.7, in the town of Söke in the province of Aydin,
18 people of Danish nationality were detained for distributing
pamphlets including Christian propaganda.
4.7, Mrs. Nazli Ilicak, columnist of the daily
Tercüman, was sentenced to a fine of TL 369 Million ($ 85,000) for
insulting 102 deputies of the governing ANAP in an article entitled
9.7, four different cases were brought against the
fortnightly Emegin Bayragi by virtue of Article 8 of the Anti-Terror
Law. Accused of separatism, the responsible editor faces a prison term
of up to 13 years and a fine of TL 350 Million ($ 80,000) and the
publisher a fine of TL 650 Million ($150,000).
10.7, public prosecutor initiated a legal proceeding
against the responsible editor of the monthly Toplumsal Kurtulus,
Necdet Kanbir, by virtue of Article 312 of the TPC, for an article
concerning the PKK.
13.7, the directors of the Birlik Theatre, Erol Toy
and Gül Göker, were detained in the district of Manavgat where they
were preparing the representation of Toy's play Pir Sultan Abdal. The
representation of this play was forbidden in the provinces of Malatya
and Isparta as well. Although Pir Sultan Abdal was freely represented
in many European countries by the same theatre, its representation in
Turkey has until now been banned 19 times by local authorities.
16.7, two responsibles of the monthly Sorun, Sirri
Öztürk and Zeki Öztürk were prosecuted by virtue of Article 312 of the
TPC for an article on the anniversary of the 1970 Workers' resistance.
17.7, Zonguldak representative of the monthly
Mücadele was taken into custody.
22.7, two Diyarbakir correspondents of the weekly
Yeni Ülke, Faysal Dagli and Haydar Gecilmez, were detained in Istanbul.
23.7, the issue No. 39 of the weekly Yeni Ülke was
confiscated by the SSC of Istanbul by virtue of Provisional Article 1
of the Law No; 5680.
24.7, a Swiz journalist, Mrs. Barbara Anna Kistler,
and three other persons were prosecuted at the SSC of Istanbul for
working an underground organization. Each of the defendants who had
been arrested in May faces a prison term of up to 22 years.
24.7, the Security Directorate of Ankara refused to
deliver a passport to Kurdish writer Ahmet Aras on pretext that there
was a court decision banning him to go abroad. Although Aras had been
prosecuted twenty years ago by virtue of Article 141 of the TPC, he
benefited in 1974 from a general amnesty and he has not other court
action against him since then. Moreover, the said article no longer
exists since April 1991.
26.7, journalist-writer Umit Kivanc is pursued
for an article he wrote for the satirical review Nankör. He faces a
prison term of up to three years on charges of insulting Atatürk.
30.7, a 2000e Dogru correspondent, Vedat Yayla was
taken into police custody as he was covering the workers action in the
Pasabahce Glass factory in Istanbul.
31.7, Mrs. Ayse Zarakolu, director of the Belge
Publishing House, was brought before the Penal Code No.2 of Istanbul
for having published poet Sosyal Ekinci's book entitled Cagri. She
faces a prison term of up to three years for insulting Atatürk.
31.7, Lizzy Schmidt, correspondent of the German
daily Frankfurter Rundschau, who had been arrested while covering the
Diyarbakir incidents, returned to Germany after a 3-day detention. A
local court found groundless all accusations brought against her by
police. The German journalist said that she was subjected to
ill-treatment during police interrogation.
31.7, the publisher of the weekly Yeni Ülke, Serhat
Bucak was taken into custody by police in Istanbul.
31.7, in Samsun, nine people of different
nationalities were taken into custody for distributing Christian
propaganda material, among them are South Korean Kyungae Lee and Kyung
Sihn-knm, Austrian Frank Seeley and David Richard Wight, Swiz Carl
Magnus and Blond Mellanotont, German Merda Maria and South African
Deborah Jean Lavler.