Coalition In Power; The Promisor Government
won vote of confidence: 280 for,
WILL THEY KEEP THEIR PROMISES?
Last day of November 1991, Turkey actually entered
in the era of coalitions when the Parliament gave an overwhelming vote
of confidence to the Correct Way Party (DYP)-Social Democrat Populist
Party (SHP) Coalition Government headed by Süleyman Demirel. Out of 450
deputies 444 participated in the voting and 280 voted in favour and 164
against the new government.
The deputies of the DYP and SHP as well as 15
deputies of the extreme-right alliance voted for the government. The
Motherland Party (ANAP), defeated in general elections on October 20
after eight years in power, voted against the government. So did the
Moslem fundamentalist Welfare Party (RP) and Ecevit's Democratic Left
The programme of the new government which was drawn
up following a lengthy bargaining between the two principal parties of
the Right and the Left and presented to the Parliament on November 25,
is based on two pillars: democratization of the State on the one hand,
and on the other, the establishment of economic, social and political
Presenting th programme, Prime Minister Demirel
said: "Turkey is in need of a modern, democratic, participatory, fully
democratic constitution which considers supremacy of law as its
fundamental principle. Such a Constitution should fully conform with
the ideals and principles of the Paris Charter, and provide human
rights and freedoms and trade union rights as much as they exist in
advanced countries. This constitution should be established through
national reconciliation and consensus. In short, Turkey is in need of a
constitution that will conform with the needs of a civilian society."
Before agreeing on the government programme, the two
partners of the coalition had signed on November 15 a joint declaration
unveiling a package of wide ranging democratization reforms in Turkey.
It is only after the adoption of these promises
relating to democratization that the two parties set up the new
coalition government on November 20. In the new Turkish Government, 20
out of 32 ministries went to the DYP and 12 to the SHP.
The main social-democrat party of Turkey, SHP, got
the ministries of foreign affairs, labour and social security, culture,
public works, industry and trade and toruism, as well as four state
ministries dealing with urbanization, maritime, women, family and
children and human rights. SHP leader Erdal Inönü is Deputy Prime
Minister. The scientific, nuclear, productivity institutions were
attached to Inönü's office.
Although the new government's programme has
generally been applauded by the majority of Turkish newspapers as a
"revolutionary step", the opposition parties as well as many deputies
of the SHP have expressed their dissatisfaction.
At the SHP Parliamentary Group meeting, Ankara
Deputy Mümtaz Soysal said that the economic chapter of the program was
prepared in line with DYP's views. He also said that the SHP's views in
connection with the democratization issue were not clear. Istanbul
Deputy Algan Hacaloglu said the projects regarding planning, taxation
and state economic enterprises did not conform with SHP's program.
Diyarbakir Deputy Sedat Yurttas, one of the HEP
origin deputies said that the Kurdish issue was not covered clearly in
During the parliamentary debate on November 28, the
main opposition Motherland Party (ANAP) and the opposition Welfare
Party (RP) joined forces in branding the program a "hastily prepared,
self-contradictory" document that lacked reason and logic.
Below, we are giving the highlights of the new
Target of the Coalition Government
• According to a United Nations scale, Turkey has
fallen to 66th place in human rights and democracy. In addition, among
the 24 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
countries, Turkey is the most expensive and the poorest, with the
highest rate of unemployment, the lowest rate of iron-steel
consumption, the lowest electricity consumption, and lowest vehicle per
person and telephone per person ratio.
• Although the rate of increase of the population
was 2.5 percent in 1991, the growth rate was only 2.2 percent. Living
in Turkey has become 70 times more expensive over the past 10 years.
The country has one of the worst distributions of wealth, it is one of
the countries with the highest debt and a country half of whose
population lacks social security.
• Annual inflation has been around 70 percent,
domestic debts have reached TL 80 trillion and foreign debt and total
foreign currency obligations of the country are exceeding 50 billion
• Investments and industrialization has almost
stopped, the number of unemployed has increased, the cost of living has
soared, and 40 of the provinces of the country are suffering from
emigration. Claims of corruption have also reached unprecedented
• The target of the two political parties forming
the coalition government is to solve the major problems of the country;
establish economic, social and political stability; find remedies to
the cost of living burden on Turkish citizens; establish social
balances that will enable the nation to look into the future with
confidence; to take all measures required to achieve social justice; to
integrate Turkey with the modern world; and thus establish a Turkey of
goodwill, peace, prosperity, and security.
Promises as regards human rights
• A free, participatory regime democratic in all
fields is the fundamental way of living for the Turkish nation on which
no compromise can be made. The fundamental principle of "sovereignty
rests solely with the Turkish nation" will be the guiding principle for
everything in Turkey.
• Turkey is a unitary state with its territory and
nation. The indivisibility of the unitary state cannot be an issue of
discussion. The government is determined to defend and protect the
national and territorial indivisible unity of the country under any
• The government is determined to achieve legal
reform in the country. This reform will include all laws, including the
Constitution. All law and constitutional articles that contradict the
norms of universal democracy will be amended.
• The "remnants of the September 12 [1980 coup]
laws" will be urgently eradicated and a fully democratic atmosphere
will be created.
• The law on political parties will be amended
through a consensus among the political parties in Parliament.
• A new elections law that will allow the better
representation of the nation in Parliament will be legislated.
• Provisional Article 15 of the 1982 Constitution
that prohibits legal proceedings against the National Security Council
[the military junta] and the executives of that period is in
contravention of norms of objective and universal law. Therefore, the
government will try to obtain the required majority in Parliament to
lift that article.
• The application of "decrees having power of law"
has been inappropriately used in the country over the past decade. Any
decree which was not legislated by the Parliament within 90 days will
be automatically declared null and void.
• Secularism, the principles of Atatürk and the
freedoms of conscience, thought and expression are the fundamentals of
the society and shall not be restricted.
• A new press law providing the press with freedom
and liberty in line with requirements of the time will be prepared.
Freedom to obtain news and the right of the people to have access to
correct news will be safeguarded. An objective slate radio and
television will be provided but the state monopoly over radio and TV
broadcasting will be lifted.
• Torture is a crime to humanity. It's government's
fundamental duty to prevent torture.
• Necessary legal arrangements will be made for
defendants to have their lawyers present during interrogation.
• A legal state in which human rights and
fundamental liberties are enjoyed throughout the country will be
established in Turkey.
• It is very natural that there are differences of
culture, thought, conscience, language and ethnic origin among the
citizens of the country. That is also true for other countries as well.
Such diversity is not weakness for a unitary state.
• Excluding those established in international
accords, no Turkish citizen is minority. Everyone in Turkey is equal
and a first class citizen. Research, protection and development by
everyone of his language, culture, history, folklore and religious
beliefs are within fundamental human rights and liberties. These rights
will be protected with laws. But, the official language, flag, symbols,
boundaries and the sovereignty rights of the Republic of Turkey are
excluded from any kind of discussion.
• Terrorism will definitely be prevented. Security
and peace of the society will be attained. It will be the foremost duty
of the state to stop political murders and to capture criminals.
• The government is determined to stop the terrorism
which has reached unprecedented dimensions in Southeastern Anatolia.
For that reason, an anti-terror drive will be started within the rules
of democracy; the application of emergency law and regional
governorship will be reconsidered; village guards will be reevaluated;
unity in command, decision and application will be achieved; the
innocent local people will be treated kindly and the confidence of the
people in the State will be reestablished. The terrorism in
Southeastern Anatolia is an issue which should be handled urgently as
an "above parties" issue. This problem will be solved within norms of a
democratic legal state.
• The government will take steps to revitalize the
National Intelligence Organization (MIT) of the country in line with
Promises in Economic Fields
• In the economic agenda of the country, fighting
soaring inflation is the foremost subject. Because it was not taken
under control for many years, inflation has become a chronic illness
soaring currently at around 70 percent and leaning toward three digit
figures. The first task is to stop this tendency, reestablish economic
balances, restructure the economy and to bring down inflation to
reasonable levels. The key element of the anti-inflationist policies
will be to bring Central Bank finances under control. The public debt
requirement rate to Gross National Product will be taken down to around
4-5 per cent level within the next two years.
• The second task is to reestablish the balances of
the economy, and to achieve this, reducing the inflation rate is a must.
• The budget deficit will be narrowed.
• All funds (with some exceptions) will be taken
under budget control and those funds not covered by the budget will be
under the supervision of the Court of Accounts.
• All fund accounts will be made transparent.
• All state subsidies to agriculture and other
sectors will be openly stated within the budget.
• Through tax reform, state revenues will be
increased. Adequate tax control mechanisms to decrease tax evasion will
be applied. All exceptions and immunities from corporate tax will be
modified and restructured. Corporate tax will be decreased, but
dividends distributed will be charged income tax.
• All measures will be taken to boost the stock
• State Economic Enterprises will undergo a reform
program. Privatisation will be applied. The reorganization of the SEEs
will be done in the first half of 1992.
• Real interest rates are high. Unless real interest
rates are brought down to internationally accepted levels, SEEs and
public reform cannot succeed.
• Finance and banking sector reform will be
• Credit costs and funds transfer costs are much
higher than international standards. They will be reduced. Real
interest rates, at the initial stage, will be taken down to around 11
per cent, and fund transfer costs will be dropped to 8 percent.
• Incentives will be provided for foreign capital
• Banks will be provided with incentives to apply
new financial mechanisms.
• Bank and insurance taxes will be reduced.
• A national public works master plan will be
prepared and all the infrastructure projects for the country will be
• Work for the establishment of coal- and
water-powered generating plants will be speeded up.
• Special emphasis will be placed on railways and
the railway network will be elevated to Western standards.
• The Ankara-Istanbul and Samsun-Iskenderun
high-speed rail systems will be completed.
• An airport will be built on the Asian side of
Istanbul. The Sanliurfa Airport will be expanded and special emphasis
will be laid upon building airports in Bursa, Edirne, Canakkale,
Samsun, Mardin, Zonguldak, Nevsehir, Silifke, Alanya and Sinop.
• Over the past 10 years, disparity between regions
of the country has widened. To • A new
industrialization policy will not be confined only to production. It
will include technological advancement, investments in goods with wider
market appeal, competitiveness. Iabor relations, institutionalization
and changes in the social sector.
• Incentives for industrialization will be at
European Community standards.
• Foreign capital will be provided with clear,
constructive and encouraging policies.
• Anti-trust laws will be legislated.
• There will be stability in government
correct the development disparity between various regions of the
country, the government will apply a "Regional Development Policy."
• Among the less developed regions, the Southeastern
Anatolian region is the least developed. Therefore, a special
development plan will be devised for Southeastern Anatolia.
• Besides the Southeastern Anatolia Project (GAP),
the Grand Konya Agricultural Project and the Eastern Anatolia
Development Project (DAP) will be put into effect.
• A regional development plan will not be confined
only to incentives provided to the private sector, but the public
sector will make pioneering and entrepreneurial investments in the
region. The unemployment problem will be solved with the help of
"Special Employment Projects."
• Authorities of local administrations, like
provincial assemblies, will be increased. The government is determined
to restructure the relationship between the central government and the
• For major metropolitan cities, like Istanbul,
Ankara and Izmir and for settlements like Antalya and Bodrum where
touristic activity is concentrated, special municipal projects will be
put into effect.
• A tourism master plan will be prepared. Efforts
will be taken to prolong the tourism season all across the country.
Promises in Social Fields
• Turkey is obliged to establish a social state.
• Labor laws will be made to conform with standards
of the International Labor Organization (ILO).
• All citizens will be provided with social security.
• Male citizens will earn retirement rights after 20
years of work, women citizens will be able to retire after 25 years.
• Disparity in the wages of pensioners will be
• Salaries of fixed income groups will be kept above
the inflation rate.
• The minimum wage will gradually be made exempt
• Unemployment insurance will be created and will be
applied in phases.
• Measures will be taken to prevent exploitation of
the free market economic model at the expense of consumers.
• The necessary conditions will be created to
provide a home for every family. For this purpose a mechanism to create
cheap and long term.housing loans starting with those with no homes
will be established.
• Special measures will be taken to improve
conditions at shanty towns surrounding the cities, thus a situation
where healthy urbanization is being hampered will be eliminated.
• Fighting corruption, favouritism and misuse of
office will be the most important subjects the government will handle.
For that reason, the public supervision system will be reevaluated.
• Transparency, equality and openness will be the
fundamentals of the government.
• The government will speedily investigate all
claims of irregularities and of corruption.
• The state ministry charged with investigating
cases of corruption and irregularities will function as a coordinating
body. All probes will be carried out within the limitations of law and
state personnel will not be subjected to unjust, unnecessary, and
Promises in Education and Culture
• A contemporary secular, effective and widespread
educational system will be put into effect.
• Compulsory primary education will be eight years
and free of charge.
• Scientific and administrative autonomy will be
reinstated at universities.
• The Higher Education Council (YOK) system will be
abolished and universities will be run by bodies elected from those
• The differences of language, belief and ethnic
origin within our national culture show the richness of our society. It
is a prerequisite of democratic society that such differences be
expressed freely within national integrity.
• Freedom of conscience and religion is one of the
natural inalienable rights of an individual. Measures will be taken to
ensure that all kinds of repression on freedom of conscience will be
eliminated and men of religion will be cleared of all political
• Citizens will not be subjected to unjust treatment
at state offices.
Promises as regards foreign policy
• Turkey will continue its peaceful approach by
defending contemporary values in its foreign policy.
• International relations should be conducted along
the principle of mutual interests.
• The government will not allow personal desires to
dominate foreign policy at the cost of national interests.
• Turkey attaches special importance to its
relations with the European Community and moves aimed at the
integration of Europe. The government is determined to strengthen
historic, political, economic, moral and cultural joint values shared
by the European Community and the Turkish people.
• The government will strive to place Turkey in its
rightful place in Europe at a time when the Community is making headway
on political, economic and monetary unity.
• Turkey attaches importance to revitalizing and
expanding ties between Turkey and Britain, France and Germany.
• Turkey attaches special importance to its
friendship and alliance with the United States. Common values and
ideals link the U.S. and Turkey. Turkey is determined to expand its
relations with the U.S. within the guide-lines of these joint values
• Turkey attaches great value to its ties with the
Soviet Union, ties which are friendly and based on mutual cooperation.
Turkey hopes the on-going restructuring of the Soviet Union will be
completed within democratic principles and peacefully. This will
dominate Turkey's policies in expanding its ties with the republics. It
will also dominate Turkish ties with the republics in the Caucuses with
which Turks share a common language and culture.
• Turkey is prepared to contribute to peace in the
Middle East, supports the rights of the Palestinians, including their
right to set up their own state; and for Israel, to live behind safe
• Turkey is prepared to contribute to the setting up
of a mechanism of economic cooperation and security in the Middle East.
• Turkey is prepared to expand its relations with
Pakistan, Iran, and our traditional friends Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the
• We wish to elevate our relations with neighboring
Greece to serve the long term interests of both countries. We believe
that through constructive dialogue we can reach solutions acceptable to
both sides. The continental shelf dispute and the illegal arming of the
Aegean islands, as well as the violations of the Turkish minority of
Western Thrace, are problems that need to be solved. Turkey is prepared
to start and continue negotiations without any preconditions.
• Turkey wishes the Cyprus problem to be solved
without any further delay. It believes that this problem can be solved
through a meaningful dialogue between the two peoples of the island who
have equal say in the future of Cyprus. Turkey believes that a bi-zonal
and bi-communal federation established on political equality will
safeguard the security and well-being of the Turkish Cypriot people.
Foreign pressures and expansion of the scope of the problem will not
serve to speed up the solution on Cyprus.
• No one should doubt that Turkey will play a
serious and important economic and cultural role in the Middle East.
• In tandem with the moral and factual sensitivity
shown to Turkey's integrity by our southern neighbors, Turkey is
prepared to promote ties of cooperation with them.
• Turkey is situated in an area of instability right
in the heart of the Balkans, the Caucuses and the Middle East. Thus,
the government will make efforts to speed up the reorganization and the
modernization of the Turkish Armed Forces.
• An important pillar of Turkey's defense policy
will be to set up its own defense industries.
• The government sees growth in every area as a
major target and it is determined to seek this growth with
Beside the Government Programme, a protocol signed
by DYP and SHP on November 15 too is full of promises in the field of
human rights. The "democratization package" says the two parties
want a brand new Constitution. Considering the difficulty of obtaining
a two-third majority in the new National Assembly for adopting a brand
new Constitution, the two parties that, even before the constitutional
amendments, some vital amendments could be done for lifting the
barriers on democratization.
Promises as regards the Constitution
• The 1982 Constitution defined the powers and
responsibilities of the presidency as an institution. These do not fit
a parliamentary democracy and thus the presidency as an institution has
to be brought back to a platform where it will conform with the
principles and rules of a parliamentary democracy.
• The universities will be granted scientific and
administrative autonomy, the Higher Education Council (YOK) system will
be scrapped, and higher educational institutions will be run by people
elected by these institutions.
• A new body will be set up to coordinate between
the universities and regulate a just and balanced distribution of
resources between the higher education institutions. The administrators
of this body will be named from among nominees from the universities.
• The state monopoly on radio and TV will be lifted
without further delay.
• Both state and private radio and TV stations will
be impartial and their activities will be regulated according to a
special autonomous body.
• Press freedom and the right of the individual to
obtain information and accurate news will be secured.
• All the provisional articles of the 1982
Constitution which create injustices and are designed to protect
certain individuals of the postcoup period will be lifted.
• The voting age will be reduced to 18 and the age
to become a parliamentary candidate will be lowered to 25.
• University members will be allowed to enter
political parties and participate in their executive bodies.
• Constitutional articles preventing members of
trade unions and other professional groups from entering Parliament
will be lifted.
• Students will be allowed to become members of
• Constitutional articles on labor and trade unions
will be amended to abide with the rules of the International Labor
• All employees, including civil servants, will be
allowed to set up trade unions.
• Judicial autonomy will be secured and the Supreme
Council of Judges and Prosecutors will be restructured.
• All obstacles preventing parties from setting up
women, youth and professional branches will be lifted.
• The period of detention will be reduced.
Promises as regards the Legislation
Several anti-democratic laws will be lifted or
amended. The two parties said some of the laws can only be
substantially changed once the Constitution is amended and this will
take time. However, some of the laws can still be amended or altered.
Here are highlights on these proposals:
• The law on the political parties will be amended
and all the restrictive clauses of the law will be deleted. The present
law is not defining the "rights" but is a set of "restrictions." Within
this frame, the restrictions on party emblems, logos and names, as well
as the clauses regulating how donations may be made to parties and how
members can be registered, will be deleted as those issues are so
elaborate that they should not be covered even by the statute of a
• The election law will be renewed and
representative democracy norms will be abided. The present law was
amended so many times with the goal of "How can a certain party win the
elections?" that the law no longer outlines how a free and democratic
election can be held, but rather provides the legal frame of how can a
free and democratic election on the basis of equality be prevented.
Election law will be renewed through establishing a consensus between
the political parties.
• There are extensive elaborations in the 1982
Constitution about labor relations. Until those stipulations of the
Constitution are amended extreme care will be shown to reflect the
principles of the International Labor Organization (ILO) to the
existing laws on labor as far as the present Constitution allows.
• The city councils and municipal councils will be
made to function as if they are local parliaments. The power and
supervision of the central government on local administrations will be
• Until a Constitutional amendment is made,
legislations confirming with basic human rights and liberties and
democratic society will be made to enhance rights and liberties. Press
will be given guarantees with the understanding that everyone has the
right to learn of the facts and be informed of the affairs of the
• A legal frame will be prepared to allow
academicians to elect their own faculty and university executives.
• Police will be trained on individual rights and
liberties and police stations will be open to public scrutiny.
• A detainee will have the right to refuse
interrogation until his/her lawyer is called to attend the
interrogation. Detainees and the arrested will have the right to meet
with their lawyers and relatives with fixed intervals. These changes
aim at bringing an end to claims of torture and ensure reliability of
testimonies, since lawyers of the accused will be present during
• The martial law and emergency rule laws will be
amended to conform to the principles and norms of a legal state. Even
at times of martial law and emergency rule, basic human rights and
liberties should be respected.
• Citizens will be considered "trusted persons" and
the pre-employment "security report" requirement will be terminated.
• Legislation will be passed for wider exercise of
the right to establish associations, organize rallies and hold
• Parliamentary sessions will be broadcast live on
television. All important problems of the country will be debated on TV.
• With amendments in the statutes governing
a) Parliamentary sessions will start an hour earlier
than present and during that one hour deputies will directly address
their questions to the relevant Cabinet members. Thus, the supervision
responsibility of Parliament will become operative.
b) All measures will be taken to ensure that all
government decrees will be legislated by Parliament within 90 days.
c)The right to petition will become operative.
• Legislations will be made to clearly state that
bar associations should not be under influence of any body, or organ.
• The law against torture will be redrafted with the
understanding that fundamental rights and liberties should not be
hindered by any legislation.
• All public personnel who were sacked from office
without a court ruling because of Martial Law 1402 will be allowed to
resume their work.
• All legislations on exile and censorship will be
• All restrictions on professional organizations
will be lifted.
• The administration of cooperatives will be
established with direct elections by members of the cooperatives.
• Citizens will be given the freedom to pursue their
rights and all measures will be taken to speed up justice mechanism.
• The legal and de facto restrictions and
obstructions on free expression of ethnic origin, use of language and
promotion of culture by all citizens, will be eradicated within the
concept of national unity and in conformity with the Paris Charter to
which Turkey is a party.
SCANDALOUS ATTACKS ON TWO KURDISH DEPUTIES
The new Turkish Grand Assembly which claims to lead
Turkey to a real democracy adopted at its first plenary meeting a
scandalous attitude towards newly elected Kurdish deputies.
Reuter reported the event on November 6 as follows:
"Uproar broke out in Turkey's newly-elected
parliament over open displays of Kurdish nationalism by deputies at the
"'Long live the Kurdish people and Kurdistan,'
declared Leyla Zana, member from the southeastern city of Diyarbakir,
in Kurdish after reciting her oath in Turkish. Zana, a slight, pale
woman in a black dress, wore a headband in the Kurdish national colours
of red, yellow and green. Acting speaker Ali Riza Septioglu, himself a
Kurd, adjourned the session for a second 15-minute recess as tempers
flared. Enraged members banged their desks, shouted, and stormed to the
rostrum after Diyarbakir deputy Hatip Dicle said: 'My friends and I are
reading this text under constitutional duress.'
"The scenes of Pandemonium were broadcast live on
television from the wood-panelled general assembly hall in Ankara?
Dicle, one of a 22-strong Kurdish faction in the Social Democrat
Populist Party (SHP), is chairman of the Diyarbakir branch of Turkey's
Human Rights Association. 'we are wearing these colours to protest at
an interior ministry ban on them in the southeast and because they are
the national symbol of the Kurdish people,' Dicle said of his breast
pocket tricolour before the parliament session opened.
"SP leader Erdal Inönü said later he had demanded
Dicle's immediate resignation from the party. 'Such behaviour in no way
involved our party. We definitely don't accept it,' he said. Dicle said
the constitution, framed in 1982 by generals then ruling Turkey, was
contrary to the brotherhood of Kurds and Turks. 'This oath is a denial
of the Kurdish people,' he said.
"...In the southeastern town of Cizre, Kurdish
residents fired in the air from their rooftops to mark approval for the
defiant gestures of Zana, Dicle and their colleagues, witnesses said.
"Demirel condemned the Kurdish deputies for staging
publicity stunts and said Zana should be made to retract her words. 'It
is the Turkish constitution which brought you here,' he declared at
parliament. 'You have no right to violate it.' Other political party
leaders condemned Dicle and Zana."
What is scandalous, all political leaders, including
Demirel and Inönü had been criticizing the Constitution and and
claiming that they would change it if they come to power. If this
constitution is anti-democratic, one of the most anti-democratic
articles of this constitution is the Article 81 which obliges the
deputies to take the following oath:
"I swear upon my honor and integrity, before the
great Turkish Nation, to safeguard the existence and independence of
the State, the indivisible integrity of the country and the Nation, and
the absolute sovereignty of the Nation; to remain loyal to the
supremacy of law, to the democratic and secular Republic, and to
Atatürk's principles and reforms..."
It is quite logical that a deputy of Kurdish origin
refuses to swear before the "great Turkish nation" to remain loyal to
"Atatürk's principles" which claim the supremacy of Turkish nation and
denies the existence of Kurdish people.
First Kurdish Woman Deputy
After the attacks by the political leaders and the
Turkish press, Leyla Zana, first woman deputy of Kurdish origin,
defended her stand in following terms:
"I consider myself firstly as a human being and
secondly as a Kurd. I don't feel Turkish. I learned Turkish in 1984 at
the prison gates. I am 100% Kurdish. My mother knows not a word of
Turkish. I look warmly on the Turkish people. In the same way that
anyone who is not a Kurd cannot feel at all Kurdish, I do not feel at
all Turkish. But it is us Kurds who are suffering oppression.
Every night when I go home I wonder whether I will survive till next
morning. There must be an end to this worry."
Leyla Zana was born in Diyarbakir in 1961. At the
age of 14 she married the former Mayor of Diyarbakir, Mehdi Zana. For
11 years she followed her husband from prison to prison.
And just at the beginning of the so-called
"democratization era", on November 19, the State Security Court had
filed a case calling for the death penalty for Leyla Zana and Hatip
Dicle. They are accused of violating Article 125 of the Turkish Penal
Code by speaking in Kurdish at the opening ceremony of the Parliament.
What is the most shocking, the leaders of the two
social democrat parties too have taken part in the campaign against the
two Kurdish deputies.
While SHP leader Inönü was forcing them to resign
from the party, DSP leader Bülent Ecevit, maintaining his
new-chauvinist stand, described the November 6 as "a black day" because
of Kurdish deputies' words and said: "Whether these deputies desert the
SHP or get expelled from it will not change the fact that they have
entered the Parliament on the SHP's back."
WHAT IS THE CHOICE: DIALOGUE OR WAR?
After the general elections, the Workers' Party of
Kurdistan (PKK) declared that it would be open to a dialogue with
Ankara if the new government takes serious practical steps to improve
conditions in the region and restore human rights.
In an interview to the Turkish Daily News of
November 26, PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan said: "Do they really have the
intention of lifting emergency law, special war tactics,
counter-guerrilla measures, village guards and similar things or do
they want to make them more systematic? We are considering the measures
which are being developed now. If some steps are taken, they will lead
to developments. We have 900 years of togetherness with Turkey. Even if
we wanted to, we could not break off from Turkey. We have a plan up
create a democratic front. This will mean a trial of democratic steps.
In reality, this is a goodwill initiative. It is important but we ask
what will happen on the side of [Turkish] violence. we are doubtful
there will be a change. For one, will Demirel be able to control the
chief of general staff, Will he be able to place the special warfare
and counter-guerrilla under his control? Will the Demirel-Inönü
government be able to overthrow these forces from power? As I see it,
both Demirel and Inönü are either far away from realities or being
informed in a subjective way. They thus find themselves saying 'yes' to
the Kurdish problem' but 'no' to the PKK. I see this as a great
contradiction, and I may also say that I see the end of this government
In fact, Prime Minister Demirel seems to be depended
on the military's views on the Kurdish question. Ousted twice, in 1971
and 1980, by the military, Demirel had appeared during last ten years
as a staunch adversary of the military's role in the Turkish politics.
However, after the elections, he immediately changed his attitude,
saying that the reports of the military-civilian bodies such as the
Chief of General Staff, the National Security Council (MGK) and the
National Intelligence Organization (MIT) will be determining in the
establishing new policies against the Kurdish national movement.
Just after the opening the new National Assembly,
the state of emergency was extended for four months from 19 November in
ten Kurdish provinces were . Although the SHP deputies opposed to this
measure, Demirel's party voted together with the ANAP for the extension
of the state of emergency.
After having formed his government, Demirel was
briefed on November 26 by Chief of Staff General Dogan Güres. Three
days later, Demirel and Inönü attended for the first time the meeting
of the National Security Council (MGK) in which the Army Chiefs are in
majority. The main point discussed at this meeting was the ways to deal
with the PKK.
Furthermore, in the new government programme it was
clearly said that "Turkey is a unitary state with its territory and
nation. The indivisibility of the unitary state cannot be an issue of
discussion. The government is determined to defend and protect the
national and territorial indivisible unity of the country under any
After Demirel pledged to crack down on "terrorism",
a PKK spokesman in Bekaa Valley said on November 29: "We will step up
military operations against the Turkish army until the Turks yield to
the political solution. The year 1992 will be a year of hell for the
PKK officers say about 6,000 guerrillas, including
women, train annually at a camp in mountains near the Syrian
border. Against the PKK units, the Turkish State has deployed in
the area 65,000 troops and 35,000 paramilitary gendarmes and special
More than 3,300 people have perished during the
seven-year war between the PKK and the Turkish forces.
ALLERGY TO KURDISH TRICOLOURS
The allergy of Turkish authorities against the three
colours [red, yellow and green] of the Kurdish national movement
takes as target children as well.
On November 10, in Diyarbakir, a 10-year old child,
Gülsipan Kara, was detained and beaten by police for wearing a dress of
three colours as he was going to a wedding ceremony .
On November 30, in Hakkari, the coach and the eleven
players of the Hakkari Belediye Spor soccer team were interrogated by
the Prosecutor for having carried a three-colour uniform at a local
match on November 17.
WILL STATE TERRORISM CONTINUE?
Despite the change in the composition of the
National Assembly, the Turkish justice has been continuing until the
end of November to apply anti-democratic laws adopted by the military
junta and its successors. Public prosecutors have been continuing to
bring political activists or intellectuals before the tribunals and the
latter to sentence them to heavy prison terms.
According to the data given by the Justice Ministry
on November 27, there were 26,705 persons in Turkish prisons. Of them,
10,311 are convicts and 16,394 under arrest.
As for the political prisoners, their number reaches
1,488, of whom 363 are convicts and 1,125 under arrest.
Following the elections, one of the frustrating
surprises of the new era for political prisoners was the reopening of
the notorious Eskisehir Top Security Prison which had been constructed
on a solitary confinement basis.
The Article 16 of the Anti-Terror Law stipulates
that those who are condemned for a "crime of terror" be imprisoned in
special penal institutions built on a system of rooms for one or three
This practice was started just after the general
elections, following a jail break in Ankara on October 31. First 38
political prisoners in the Ankara prison were transfered to the
Eskisehir Top Security Prison. In a few days, with the transfers from
other prisons, the total number of political prisoners in Eskisehir
In protest against the inhuman conditions and the
practice of torture in this prison, all inmates went on hunger strikes.
Their protest action was supported by their relatives and the inmates
in the other prisons with hunger strikes. Human rights groups carried
out protest demonstrations.
Thereupon, the new Justice Minister visited the
Eskisehir Prison and admitted that inmates were really under inhuman
conditions. Conforming to the Minister's recommendation, the government
decided on November 24 to close down the Eskisehir Top security Prison
and to transfer 206 political prisoners to other jails.
On this decision, prisoners and their relatives
stopped their hunger strike.
However, some hunger strikes in other prisons were
still continuing at the end of November.
SOCIALIST PARTY TO BE CLOSED?
One of the six political parties having raced at the
last general elections now faces to be closed down by the
Considering the party's electoral campaign as a
crime, the Chief Prosecutor of the Republic, on November 29,
asked the Constitutional Court to close down the Socialist Party (SP).
The chief prosecutor claims that the SP had
contravened the preamble and Articles 3, 4, 14, 66, 68 of the Turkish
Constitution as well as Articles 78 and 81 of the Political Parties
The SP is accused of having carried out a campaign
against the indivisible integrity of the Turkish State.
There is also a number of legal proceedings against
SP Chairman Dogu Perincek for his speeches during the campaign.
Besides, the trial of 13 SP members accused of
separatist propaganda began at the Istanbul SSC on November 8. Two days
later, on November 10, Malatya Chairman of the SP, Hasan Kayas was
indicted by the Malatya SSC for separatist propaganda during electoral
On the other hand, October 23, the Istanbul SSC
began to try 38 members of the People's Labour Party (HEP) for
By virtue of the Anti-Terror Law all these
defendants face each a prison term of up to 5 years.
HEAVY SENTENCES TO DEV-SOL MEMBERS
One of the biggest political trials of the post-coup
period ended in heavy condemnation just after the elections, on
Out of 1,243 Revolutionary Left (Dev-Sol) defendants
who had been tried for over ten years by a Martial Law Court in
Istanbul, one was sentenced to capital punishment, 35 to life-prison
and 559 others to prison terms of from 2 yeas and 9 months up to 20
HUMAN RIGHTS ASSOCIATION ON TRIAL
The trial of six leading members of the Human
Rights Association of Turkey (IHD) continued at the Istanbul SSC on
November 29. They are accused of organizing a solidarity evening for
Iraqi Kurds, which reportedly turned into a separatist demonstration
when Kurdish flags were unfurled. The public prosecutor also claims the
closing down of the association.
STATE TERRORISM IN THE NEW ERA
22.10, the State Security Court of Izmir sentenced
four people to prison terms of up to 4 months and 3 days for having
participated in the celebration of Newroz (Kurdish New Year).
23.10, at the trial of the October Group's trial
before the Izmir SSC, the prosecutor claimed 10-year prison term for
26.10, a police team raided the Galatasaray College
in Istanbul and beat up a group of students, of whom two were wounded.
26.10, in the district of Tekman in the province of
Erzurum, security forces detained HEP chairman Kerem Korkmaz and a
village headman, Süleyman Beyköylü, for having aided PKK
27.10, it is reported by the weekly Yeni Ülke that a
40-year old Kurdish peasant, Süleyman Atalan has disappeared since
September 16. His parents say that Atalan might be kidnapped by village
30.10, Isa Kaya and Kinyas Sencer, two Kurdish
shepherds from the eastern province of Van, announced that they had
been subjected to three days of torture after being detained on October
25 on the accusation of giving bread to separatist militants.
31.10, the 1st Convention of Higher Education Youth,
organized by the Student Associations Federation of Turkey, was banned
by the Governor of Istanbul. Despite this interdiction, some 150
students attempted to hold the convention in another place. Their
unauthorized meeting was raided by police and 50 students detained.
1.11, police detained in Istanbul 14 people accused
of leading PKK activities.
3.11, in Adana, police detained some 30 people
chanting Kurdish songs during a wedding ceremony.
3.11, the Diyarbakir SSC sentenced a nurse, Yildiz
Alpdogan, to 12 years and 6 months imprisonment for giving medical care
to some wounded PKK militants in the district of Sirnak.
4.11, Chairman of the Steel Workers' Union
(Celik-Is), Metin Türker was sentenced to 5 months and 25 days
imprisonment for having insulted the Labour Minister. The sentence was
later commuted into a fine of TL 3,800,000.
4.11, in Hatay, a Switz named Marc Roland Rudin was
detained for being involved in political violence.
7.11, the trial of five policemen, accused of having
tortured a young girl was suspended by virtue of the Anti-Terror Law.
The Criminal Court No.8 of Ankara handed over the file to Ankara
Administrative Council which is competent to decide if the accused
should be tried.
7.11, the Ankara police detained six people for
carrying out the Revolutionary Communist Party (DKP) activities.
8.11, police detained five alleged PKK militants in
10.11, ten people were brought before the Malatya
SSC for having carried out Dev-Sol actions. One of the defendants faces
capital punishment and others prison terms of not less than 15 years.
10.11, in Bursa, the office of the Teachers'
Association (EGIT-DER) was closed down for fifteen days by the order of
the Governor. Same day, in the eastern city of Elazig, the Elazig
Solidarity and Cultural Association was closed down for one month.
10.11, during a discipline operation in Trabzon, 15
students were detained by police.
11.11, it is reported from Gebze that a person named
Hüseyin Toraman was detained on October 26 and his relatives have no
information about his whereabouts since then.
11.11, in the town of Lice in the province of
Diyarbakir, a women named Mecbure Akdogan was killed under torture at
the police station where she was detained for aiding PKK militants.
11.11, police raided the office of the Municipal
Workers' Trade Union in Izmir and detained 11 people inside.
13.11, the Izmir SSC began to try 23 alleged members
of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey (TDKP). Each faces a
prison term of up to 15 years.
15.11, the trial of 110 people, all relatives of
political prisoners, began at a criminal court of Ankara. Accused of
carrying out an unauthorized demonstration in protest against prison
conditions, each faces a prison term of up to 3 years.
18.11, in Ankara, police detained 40 people for
carrying out activities for the TDKP. 20 of the detainees were later
transfered to the State security Court.
19.11, in Izmir, the People's Houses of Narlidere
and Balcova as well as the Association for the Worker's Health were
closed down by the Governor.
24.11, a member of the HEP local committee in Hatay,
Mehmet Ali Ekin was arrested for outraging against police.
27.11, a legal proceeding was opened at the Ankara
SSC against 28 people for participating in Dev-Sol actions. Among the
defendants are also journalist Deniz Teztel and three lawyers, Bedii
Yarayici, Murat Demir and Fethiye Peksen. Each faces a prison term of
up to 20 years.
27.11, seventeen public servants were brought before
a criminal court in Ankara for having participated in an unauthorized
demonstration. Each faces a prison term of up to 3 years.
28.11, in Izmir, police detained some 40 people
during a meeting to celebrate the 13th anniversary of the PKK.
BESIKCI'S NEVER-ENDING TORMENT
Sociologist Ismail Besikci was again arrested on
He had been released on October 31 after a 92-day
arrest for his book entitled State Terror in the Middle East.
This time, he was indicted by the Ankara SSC for his
another book entitled Scientific Method, Its Application in Turkey and
the Forced Settling of Kurds.
This book had been published first in 1977 and
immediately confiscated by virtue of Article 142/3 of the Turkish Penal
Since this article was lifted this year, the said
book was reprinted. However, the Istanbul SSC ordered on November 15
the confiscation of the book by virtue of Article 8 of the Anti-Terror
Law. Ten days later, the Ankara SSC arrested the author for this book.
The new arrest of Besikci just after the elections
led to extended protests and the Ankara SSC had to release him on
POST-ELECTORAL PERSECUTION OF THE MEDIA
22.10, in Istanbul, the Diz Basin printing house
which had been type-setting the weekly Yeni Ülke and some other
left-wing reviews was closed down by the police. Besides, seven people
inside were taken into custody during the police raid.
22.10, the 20 October issue of the weekly Yeni Ülke
was confiscated for separatist propaganda.
23.10, Mrs. Berin Nadi and Mr. Okay Gönensin,
respectively the publisher and the responsible editor of the daily
Cumhuriyet, were indicted by the prosecutor of the Istanbul SSC by
virtue of Anti-Terror Law. Accused of having published a report on PKK
leader Öcalan, both face a fine of not less than TL 75 Million
28.10, two Belgium correspondents of the weekly
2000e Dogru, Aziz Kocak and Gürsel Kutlu were detained at the Kapikule
checkpoint as they were leaving Turkey. Their colleagues claim that
they had been tortured at the Edirne Police Station.
28.10, Sivas correspondent of the monthly Mücadele,
Nail Cavus was detained by police for his political activities.
29.10, journalist Mehmet Bayrak's book Kurdish Folk
Songs was confiscated by the Ankara SSC for separatist propaganda. The
author faces a prison term of up to 5 years.
3.11, a 14-year old employee of the Diyarbakir
office of the weekly Yeni Ülke, Siddik Baz, was beaten by police as he
was distributing the review to subscribers.
3.11, in Mardin, police detained 20 people during an
anti-separatist operation. Among the detainees are also Yeni Ülke
correspondent Abdülhalim Esen, Cumhuriyet correspondent Ramazan Atay
and Güney Hakimiyet correspondent Ismail Aydogan.
4.11, the Ankara SSC confiscated a book entitled The
Question of Underdevelopment, written by Mirzali Cimen, on grounds that
it contains separatist propaganda.
6.11, SP Chairman Dogu Perincek was interrogated by
the Public Prosecutor for an article calling for a general strike,
published in the weekly 2000'e Dogru.
10.11, the Nusaybin correspondent of the weekly Yeni
Ülke, Vahap Aslan was indicted by the Istanbul SSC for separatist
propaganda. He faces a five-year prison term by virtue of the
Anti-Terror Law. He will be tried under arrest.
10.11, the Sivas correspondent of the fortnightly
Mücadele, Nail Cavus was arrested by the Ankara SSC.
10.11, the recent issue of the monthly Toplumsal
Kurtulus was confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
13.11, two reviews, Yeni Ülke and Devrimci
Proletarya were confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist
13.11, Izmir correspondent of the fortnightly
Mücadele, Müjdat Yanar was detained by police for being involved in
some political actions.
16.11, a correspondent of the fortnightly Emegin
Bayragi, Metin Kayaoglu was detained in Istanbul.
19.11, the recent issues of the weekly Yeni Ülke and
the monthly Özgür Halk were confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for
19.11, an exhibition organized by the Teachers'
Trade Union (Egitim Is) was banned by the Governor of Ankara.
20.11, the issue No.3 of the monthly Newroz was
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
20.11, the Diyarbakir correspondent of the monthly
Özgür Halk, Hüseyin Eben was arrested by the Diyarbakir SSC.
24.11, the Istanbul SSC ordered the confiscation of
the last issue of the monthly Halk Demokrasisi and a book entitled The
Turkish Industry in Kurdistan, written by Ömür Tuku.
28.11, the November issue of the monthly Devrimci
Proletarya was confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist
29.11, a correspondent of Yeni Ülke, Gültan Kisanak
was detained by police in Diyarbakir after she visited in hospital new
Kurdish deputy Leyla Zana.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION ON KURDS
Despite the change of government in Turkey,
international institutions still remain sceptical concerning Turkey's
intentions as regards the Kurdish Question.
The European Parliament, at its plenary meeting in
Strasbourg on November 22, adopted a resolution denouncing the Turkish
Army's operations in Kurdistan. In the same resolution, the European
Parliament denounced the PKK's violent attacks as well.
The resolution reads:
"The European Parliament,
A. having regard to the missions undertaken by the
Kurdish ad hoc delegation to Iran and to Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan
from 15 to 20 September 1991 (PE 153.241),
B. having regard to its resolutions of 18 April 1991
on the situation of the Kurds and of 16 May 1991 on the situation of
the Kurdish refugees,
C. bearing in mind the precarious situation of the
refugees, displaced persons and the local population in the border
regions of Turkey, Iran, and northern Iraq given the growing threat
posed by the regime of Saddam Hussein to the peace and security of the
D. conscious of the fact that Iraqi Kurdistan is
populated not only by the Kurds but also by other minority groups
including Turkmen, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and others and that
several political parties representing these different groups have
either joined or are in alliance with the Iraqi Kurdistan Front;
E. conscious of the efforts of the Turkish and
Iranian authorities, assisted by their Red Crescent organizations, to
provide urgent humanitarian aid to persons fleeing Iraq prior to and in
the course of the Gulf war,
F. aware of the fact that this massive population
movement was unprecedented in modern times,
G. having regard to the essential contribution made
by local communities and by various international non-governmental
organizations to the care and protection of the refugees and displaced
H noting also the role played by the UN and
its agencies as well as by the allied military authorities in providing
security for the beleaguered populations,
I. whereas the Kurdish refugees fear the withdrawal
of the UN observers and the Kurdish population of Iraqi Kurdistan is in
a perceptible state of anxiety,
J. whereas no agreement has yet been reached in the
negotiations about the autonomy of the Kurds in Iraq, and whereas the
basic requirements for a democratic underpining of autonomous status
are not guarantied,
K. having regard to the considerable financial
contribution made by the European Community and its Member States
amounting to two-thirds of the international relief aid provided,
L. deeply concerned by new reports of Iraqi
aggression on the populations of Iraqi Kurdistan, both within and
outside the security zone, and by earlier reports of the summary
execution of some Iraqi prisoners,
M. concerned also by the attacks on Turkish targets
by the PKK terrorists; deploring the actions taken by the Turkish
authorities against unconfirmed Kurdish PKK guerrilla bases in northern
Iraq which have led to the loss of many innocent lives,
N. whereas these attacks by Turkish forces,
acting on the instructions of the Turkish Government, are clearly
contrary to international law,
0. noting that the Commission, in the light of the
aftermath of the Iraqi aggression against the Kurds and other minority
groups, has reviewed its procedures for dealing with emergency
P. Recalling that the population of Iraq as a whole
continues to suffer from material deprivation and abuses of their
human rights following the settlement of the Gulf War hostilities;
1. Encourages the efforts of the Iraqi Kurdistan
Front to provide support and guidance for the population in Iraqi
Kurdistan and pledges increased European Community aid and assistance
to the region for the purposes of rehabilitation and support for local
populations that have suffered the effects of years of aggression and
for those returnees who have arrived from neighbouring countries
and who are attempting to resettle their former lands,
2. Urges the European Community to commit resources
urgently for the
winterisation programmes which must be used not only for emergency aid
but also for structural aid in order to provide housing, health centres
and schools for the Kurdish people in northern Iraq;
3. Emphasises the need for local expertise to be
made use of for reconstruction programmes within Iraqi Kurdistan;
4. Appeals to the Community to continue its support
for the displaced Kurdish people in Turkey and Iran, bearing in mind
that in both of these countries many other refugees also require
support - in particular the 2 million Afghan refugees in Iran;
5. Calls upon the European Community to enter into
immediate discussions with the Turkish authorities, the UNHCR, and
appropriate NGOs with a view to improving as a matter of urgency the
conditions prevailing in the refugee camp at Kiziltepe and other
6. Calls upon the European Community to consider
seriously with the UNHCR the plight of certain Iraqi refugees who have
deserted from the Iraqi army and who are seeking political asylum in
Europe or elsewhere,
7. Calls upon the United Nations to earmark funds
gathered from the sale of Iraqi oil for the purposes of establishing a
fund for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Iraqi
8. Draws attention to the particular problem faced
by the inhabitants of Iraqi Kurdistan as a result of the millions of
mines laid by the forces of Saddam Hussein in the region and which have
killed and maimed many hundreds of people, and urges the European
Community to seek ways of disposing of these mines;
9. Appeals for more resources to be provided for
environmental projects related to the rehabilitation of former refugee
areas within Turkey and Iran which require a major effort to be made in
order to restore the ecological balance and safe water supplies;
10. Congratulates the Commission on its decision to
establish an administrative unit with overall responsibility for the
management of emergency situations, resulting from conflict or natural
disasters and requiring rapid humanitarian responses, and which will
also maintain a permanent liaison with appropriate United Nations and
international aid agencies, as well as with the appropriate bodies in
the Member States, but recognizes that these steps go beyond the matter
of administration, and calls for a full report to Parliament on these
11. Notes the importance of the Community's future
policy in dealing with emergency situations, and calls on the
Commission to submit a report to the European Parliament on the role it
foresees for this administrative unit;
12. Calls on the Foreign Ministers meeting in
European Political Cooperation to recognize the need to maintain a
significant military presence under the aegis of the UN in the region
in order to guarantee the security and protection of the Kurdish
population in Iraqi Kurdistan;
13. (a) Utterly condemns the acts
of terror perpetrated by the Turkish army and the violence in Iraqi
Kurdistan, which repeatedly caused numerous deaths among the civilian
population, destroyed the villages built by international aid
organizations and which are jeopardizing the
(b) Condemns the violent attacks
of the PKK, whose victims increasingly include - in addition to members
of the security forces - members of the Turkish civilian population,
and which are hampering the efforts of the Kurdish population of Iraq
to achieve autonomy;
14. Calls on the Community Member States represented
on the UN Security Council to request an emergency meeting of the
Security Council if these attacks continue/ with a view to condemning
the Republic of Turkey for its attacks against the Kurdish population
on Iraqi sovereign territory in violation of international law;
15. Believes that the Kurdish population in northern
Iraq, alongside other minority groups such as Turkmen, Assyrians,
Chaldeans, etc., should obtain the support of the European Community in
their demand for an autonomous region in Iraqi Kurdistan, within the
State of Iraq;
16. Calls on the United Nations not to withdraw the
UN observers on 15 December 1991, as feared, and to guarantee the
security of the Kurdish refugees and the population of Iraqi Kurdistan;
17. Underlines its support for the democratization
of Iraq and the recognition of the rights of minorities without which
no long-term solution to the Kurdish question may be found; recognizes
however that democratization is most unlikely as long as Saddam Hussein
remains in office;
18. Instructs its President to forward this
resolution to the Council, EPC, the Commission and the
Secretary-General of the United Nations."