PROVOCATION BY THE STATE
The main city gate
in Sirnak... In the background, a bullet-ridden entrance bears the
famous words of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk: “How proud it is to say I am a
Turk!” Imagine the consequences of placing by State force such a
provocative banner in a city of any democratic country composed of
different nationalities? For example, “How proud it is to say I am a
Flemish!” in Namur, “How proud it is to say I am a Wallon!” in
SIRNAK RUINED BY THE STATE
In August, Turkish Kurdistan underwent a new bloody
provocation of the Turkish regime aiming to justify State terrorism
carried out throughout the country. As a result of this provocation,
Kurdish city Sirnak was completely devastated by the security forces
and about all the population had to flee for saving themselves from a
According to official communiques, “a force of
between 700 and 1500 PKK guerrillas launched a massive attack on
government and military installations in Sirnak on the evening of 18
August. After the riposte of the security forces, fighting
continued for three days.” Interior Minister Ismet Sezgin claimed that
“attackers behaved like a suicide team and maintained that at least 100
guerrillas were killed as the security forces were suffering just five
dead and 13 wounded.”
In fact, the Sirnak ravage came three days
after the eighth anniversary of the start of the PKK’s armed campaign
against the security forces in the largely Kurdish south-east. Two
thousand demonstrators marked the anniversary with a rally in the city
of Adana with similar events in Istanbul and various towns in the
south-east. Most shops remained closed in Diyarbakir, Batman, Tunceli,
Hakkari, Nusaybin and Kulp. One person was reported killed and police
detained 488 others.
Earlier, in mid-July, the Turkish cross-border trade
with northern Iraq had been brought to a virtual standstill when PKK
militants declared the border closed.
At first glance, the official version of the Sirnak
incidents appeared acceptable for many observers and many considered it
as a continuation of the PKK campaign.
However, when the guns became silent at the end of
three-day drama, many questions remained unanswered. Neither deputies
nor journalists were not allowed for days to see the facts on the spot.
For example, Sabah columnist Mehmet Ali Birant asked
in his article: “According to the official explanation in the
newspapers, hundreds of PKK guerrillas raided the town and caused
wide-spread destruction with their enormous amount of weaponry. Why
should the PKK want to destroy houses and force the people to flee.
Sirnak is a place where those sympathizing with the PKK are in the
majority. Why would that organization want to punish its sympathizers?”
The only thing visible was an unprecedented escape
from the town of Sirnak. About the total of the population had to leave
the town for saving themselves from the bloodshed. About 5,000 Kurds
were in makeshift camps about 20 Km from Sirnak. About 15,000 others
scattered to friends and relatives elsewhere in the Southeast and
During this period of “blackout” that the Turkish
authorities, taking the advantage of disinformation, took more steps to
reinforce the State terrorism.
The National Security Council, composed of Army
commanders and some ministers, was immediately called by President Özal
to an extraordinary meeting for reviewing the situation. This meeting
held on August 27 at military barracks in Diyarbakir, the principal
city of Turkish Kurdistan, was followed at the same place by a meeting
of the Council of Ministers and the directives of the generals were
noticed to the government.
The National Security Council said in its strongly
worded statement: “In order to ptotect the state’s integrity and unity,
the struggle against terrorism will continue under the framework of
laws and with all necessary methods being put into practice. Blows will
certainly be delivered to the terrorist organization which will be
followed in the mountains, rural areas and in the cities, abroad and
inside the country. No one has the right to give courage to the
terrorist organization which has been killing the innocent citizens of
the country, martyring soldiers and policemen.”
The NSC directives immediately adopted by the
government were commented by the daily Hürriyet of August 28 in
following terms: “The decision adopted at the meeting has been
interpreted as an order to kill APO [Abdullah Öcalan, PKK leader] and
all the other PKK leaders where they are seen, using the Israeli
method. Up until now, Turkey has not launched raids on the PKK
terrorists abroad except for aerial bombings of the PKK camps in
northern Iraq. Following the Diyarbakir decision, ground operations may
also be expected against the camps in other countries.”
In fact, Turkish planes staged on August 29 a
large-scale aerial operation against the Turkish and northern Iraqi
faces of Mount Cudi and Mount Gabar, where the PKK militants have their
camps. As the jets bombed a wide area during the operation, called
“carpet-beating,” Turkish commandoes staged a ground operation of a
more limited scope.
This operation was followed, on August 30, by a
military operation in Iran. This first Turkish military operation in
Iranian territory was protested by the Teheran authorities.
It is in this successfully orchestrated anti-Kurd
hysteria that judicial reform package which reduces the period of
detention and allows lawyers to attend interrogations was withdrawn
from the National Assembly agenda and the Chief Justice of Turkey
launched an appeal for reinforcing repressive measures.
It is only after putting in practice the NSC
directives that journalists were allowed to enter Sirnak and to talk
with the population. The following are the observations of Ismet G.
Imset published in the Turkish Daily News of September 5.
“In Sirnak, all we can see is a devastated city.
Each and every building in the provincial center has been hit by
gunfire. Almost all windows have been broken. Shutters and iron bard
guarding shops have been bent or broken, reflecting post-clash attempts
at forcing them open.
“There are tens of houses which were burned down
during the violence. There are also tens of houses which were hit
allegedly by tank fire.
“According to witnesses, immediately after the
clashes started, four tanks were moved into the city and used to fire
on an assortment of buildings.
“Governor Mustafa Malay said that it would take a
whole month only to repair the public buildings without outside help.
Damages are estimated at somewhere over TL 500 billion ($70 million).
“Until now, in the absence of supporting evidence,
claims that the PKK mountain units attacked Sirnak have, unfortunately,
remained only as allegations, and with eyetwitness accounts, claims to
the counter have rightfully earned more attention in the region as well
as in the West.
“On the first day of fighting, senior officials in
Ankara announced that Sirnak had been surrounded by security forces.
After the fighting was over, Interior Minister Ismet Sezgin announced
that the terrorists had moved out of the city carrying their dead along
“If the PKK did attavk the city from within, where
are all the spent shells, where are all of the terrorists, more than
1,000 people, said to have been part to the attack? If there was
fighting with the terrorists for two days, how could there be no
victims other than 14 civilians, including children, after the initial
clash on August 18?
“If the city was surrounded, how could the
terrorists leave? If the city was not surrounded when it was nearly
occupied by the terrorists. why was that action not taken?
“After the fighting and in the midst of questions on
PKK weaponry, explanations on spent shells have also attracted Western
“It is known specifically that in some terrorist
urban attacks, where the PKK militia can be traced through ballistic
inspection of weapons, the separatists prefer to keep their spent
shells with them.
“In killings, the same method is reportedly used now
by ‘other clandestine forces’” in the region as part of the campaign to
"liquidate" pro-Kurdish activists.
“But in almost all such cases, special bags attached
to Kalashnikovs collect about two magazines full of empty shells and in
planned attacks, this is enough.
“Officials now argue that the terrorists, even
the mountain units, use these bags in activities and explain that this
is why no one could even spot a Kalashnikov shell on the streets of
“In the case of Sirnak, however, there has been a
“If the local version is accepted, as many of
Ankara's officials have done without a second doubt, separatists who
continued an intensified clash with security forces for 46 to 48 hours
and who fired perhaps tens of thousands of bullets had to collect all
of their spent shells in special bags attached to their rifles, had to
place them into larger bags and then just walked out of the city.
“Meanwhile, they were carrying with them perhaps
tens of bodies, according to Interior Minister Sezgin.
“The same goes for all of the mortars and rocket
launchers which have reportedly been used from within the city but were
"smuggled out" by the terrorists while Sirnak was not only surrounded
by troops but a curfew was also in effect for two days, preventing
anyone from appearing on the streets.
“A late coming statement made by Ankara officials
when confronted with such questions was that the terrorists had used
the cover of the night in escaping from the settlement along with their
dead, weapons and spent cartridges after the attack.
“Even in that case, ask foreign circles, who then
did the security forces fight against during the two days'?
“On the other hand, if the PKK attacked with its
rockets and mortars not from within the city but from surrounding hills
and only the militia was involved in the urban fighting, what
justification is there for all of the damages which have occurred in
the city itself?
“Where are all of the weapons used by the militia?
For that matter, where are all of the terrorists if only 144 suspects
are still under detention?
“Another unexplained point which appears to have
raised some serious questions among diplomats and foreign newsmen is
the revision in the number of PKK militants alleged to have attacked
Sirnak from the first day until now.
“The initial number, around I,500 terrorists, was
revised three times until it went down to about 500 (according to
Malay, who says they attacked from the outside) and seems to be going
“The first question here is obviously how the number
could be confused in such a great way. If the operation on Sirnak was
justified with the initial number of 1,500 terrorists attacking the
city and separatist militants holding each and every house, such
confusion and the reason for it is crucial.
“Who then informed Ankara in the first place that
the city was attacked by 1,500 terrorists?
“Who informed civilian state officials that the PKK
was firing from ‘each and every house?’
“What backing did this information have.
“Another question brought to our attention is
whether this initial information, provided from Sirnak to Ankara, was
actually used as a pretext to secure Ankara's permission to retaliate
on the settlement in form of an all out attack.
“In other words, was this information the key to
Ankara's decision to let an operation on the city take place? And, even
further questions were put to us
“What ever happened to the 300 plus ‘suspected
terrorists’ who were reported to have entered the city claiming they
were students coming in for the Iycee examinations? -- A statement made
from the Interior Ministry.
“Were they caught?
“If they were caught, how were they released?
“Who made the claim that these students were
“If they were released, and if they were not
terrorists, has any judicial move been taken against the people who
informed on them?
“Is it true that the gendarmerie regiment was sent
on alert two hours before the attack and that piles of ammunition were
“Is it true that the police were not informed of
such an alert (as claimed by some officers) and some policemen were
caught unprepared in their homes when the fire started?
“Is it true that security personnel in the Emergency
Law region are under orders to fire at anything which moves during the
night in a state of alert?
“And, even with a PKK attack on Sirnak, would such
an attack actually legitimate the use of such great a force on a whole
“Is, for instance everyone in Sirnak, including
local politicians and civilian officials, PKK militia so they have come
up with claims of the use of excessive force?
“Has everyone been taken in by a PKK disinformation
campaign? Horrible claims can be heard from the local people and will
unavoidably reach the foreign press as well, in the very near future.
“Claims that in the post-operation, house-to-house
search, whole buildings were burned down after gasoline was poured and
ignited, claims that individual suspects were shot in their legs to
prevent them from escaping and claims that security forces destroyed
houses, shops, cars and anything in their way to punish the local
people. Already, Reuters has put out one story on these claims.
“Whether or not the result of an effective PKK
disinformation campaign, these allegations are still being heard and
deserve immediate attention even if for the sole intention of
“As far as we have heard from the people though,
they have still not been asked what happened to their property during
the Sirnak incidents, not as part of an investigation, at least. We, a
group of younger generation journalists, travel through the streets and
men as old as our fathers stop us to charge that troops burned down
their shops and homes. They have not been questioned.
“We go to the camps of the Sirnak fugitives, and
people claim they were beaten and tortured. No one has asked them their
opinion of what went on other than journalists.
“And a Sirnak resident about 65 years old tells us:
‘We may be Kurds in origin but we are citizens of the Turkish Republic.
We will and can fight against three or four tramps out in the
mountains. But no one should expect us to fight against the tanks and
“Ankara currently argues that the Sirnak incidents
are engulfed with PKK disinformation and that the above questions are
but part of a separatist campaign to cast doubts on the success of
troops in the region.
“Is this wrong?
“Personally, I can assure officials as someone who
has been researching and writing on terrorism for nearly 10 years, who
has been quoted on the issue by many foreign academicians and terror
experts, that if one sticks to this argument, it would only be branding
plenty of diplomats and foreign newsmen, agencies and newspapers as
potential terrorists -- or victims of terrorist disinformation -- leave
alone people like myself who are only relaying a case story to
thousands of readers.
“Such would be a serious mistake and could lead to a
serious confusion marking only ‘new targets’ for a different kind of
“Ankara is also arguing that the Sirnak incidents
are related to national unity. To an extent this is correct. However,
the duty here is not to take every explanation for granted but to
investigate all claims and to come up with the truth.
“We, too, keep Turkey's interests above everything,
and we believe that only the truth will serve Turkey's interests in
such a period.
“Unless urgent replies are found to the questions
Turkey now faces, the claims of the PKK and pro-Kurdish circles are
bound to be taken as given and this will be a further blow to Ankara's
JUDICIAL REFORMS WITHDRAWN
The coalition parties, on August 26, failed to
reach a consensus on a major judicial reform package which promised to
restore democracy and human rights in the country. Thereupon, the
parliament's Justice Commission withdraw a bill modifying the Criminal
Trial Procedure Law.
The bill stipulated compulsory presence of defense
advocates at interrogation; testimony obtained through torture or ill
treatment will not be accepted as evidence; suspects of crimes which
require prison terms of less than six months shall not be detained. It
also reduced the detention period to four days instead of current 15
days. These reforms aimed to prevent torture practice throughout
Turkey. At the first debate, the bill had been adopted by the majority
However, on the reaction of the National Security
Council, dominated by the military commanders, President Özal had
earlier vetoed and sent the law back to Parliament for reconsideration
on June 8.
At the second debate at Parliament, the hardliners
of the DYP, major partner of the coalition, joined right-wing
opposition deputies for preventing those who are accused by virtue of
Anti-Terror Law from getting a share of the reforms. They also asked
that the law should not be put into practice in provinces where State
Security Courts have been created.
Since the two wings of the coalition government
failed to reach a consensus, the bill was withdrawn from the Parliament.
On this failure, HEP Sirnak Deputy Mahmut Alniak
described the DYP-SHP coalition government as the "general staff
The Human Rights Association (IHD), in press
release of August 28, strongly criticized the government for
stopping the bill of judicial reforms.
"By withdrawing the Criminal Trials Procedure
(draft) Law from Parliament, the government has shown its true face
regarding human rights and democratization. The government had come to
power with promises to rid the country of the institutions installed
after military coup of 1980, to bring an end to the systematic torture,
to shorten detention periods. The draft was considered a first step
toward putting things right. But, the system could not swallow. Thus,
from now on, the government's statements that they are against torture
will not convince anyone, at home or abroad. On the contrary, torture
will once again have been encouraged by the hand of the state," the IHD
CHIEF JUSTICE FOR STATE TERRORISM
The chief justice of the Turkish Court of Cassation
on September 7 lashed out at the government’s judicial reform package
and democratization schemes, demanding for stronger anti-terrorist
measures and laws.
Ismet Ocakcioglu said that the delayed judicial
reform package with the government was worrying, in view of defending
Turkish integrity and sovereignty. He said it was completely legitimate
for the state to use the same “tools and methods” as the terrorists, in
its struggle against terrorism.
His views, also published in a 27-page booklet, were
a strong criticism of the government’s initial position with regard to
democratization drive. “Seeing or trying to display the state’s stance
as an attitude against human rights, in or outside of Turkey, is a
hostile approach and one which is directly against the Turkish republic
and its citizens. Such an approach does not deserve legal protection.,”
Noting that the issue of making changes in the
Constitution was also on Turkey’s agenda, Ocakcioglu said that the new
constitution should be prepared outside of the “action-reaction
relation.” He stressed that some provisions of the Constitution could
not be altered, such as articles which stipulated that there be only
one state, one republic, one nation.
He claimed that the Turkish nation was not formed by
different peoples, but by one people which possessed common
characteristics and joint values. He denied the existence of the
Kurdish people and the Kurdish language in following terms: “There was
not a Moslem minority in Turkey. regardless of their origin, the
citizens enjoyed all the basic rights and freedoms. No other language
except Turkish can be taught to Turkish citizens at training and
education organizations as their mother tongue,” he said.
Prime Minister Demirel who attended the ceremony, on
the questions by reporters on Ocakcioglu’s words, said the government
is open to any criticism and that he considered the chief justice’s
remarks very useful.
HEP TRIED BY THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
After a holiday break for a month-and-a-half, the
Constitutional Court, on September 8, started to discuss issues on its
One of the most important issues on the agenda is
the trial case for the closure of the People’s Labour Party (HEP).
The lawsuit for the closure of HEP, which was opened
by the Chief Prosecutor’s office on the grounds of “having activities
against the unity of country and people” and “becoming the focal point
of the outlawed activities”, is currently at the stage of a preliminary
defense by the attorney of HEP.
The Constitution Court had earlier closed down two
other left-wing parties: the United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP)
and the Socialist Party (SP), the latter during the period of the new
A STRIKE WAS SUSPENDED
The Council of Ministers, on August 12, postponed
for 60 days the strike of municipal workers which had gone on or 14
days in city centers around the country. The government claimed that
continuing the strike would create a major health hazard due to the
garbage piled up on the streets.
The Turkish Trade Unions Confederation (TURK-IS) and
the Municipal Workers' Trade Union (BELEDIYE-IS) immediately applied to
the Council of State for the annulment of the government's decision.
Stressing that the employees' salaries ranged
between TL 1.2 million and TL1.5 million ($170 and $214),
the attorneys of the unions said that the workers should not be
deprived of their constitutional rights.
On the other hand, the minimum monthly wage in
Turkey was raised, since August 1, to TL1 Million ($143) by a
tripartite commission throughout Turkey. Turkey, with this
minimum wage, is on the tail end of the European list. The average
monthly minimum among European countries is $1025.
TURKEY ACCUSED OF TORTURE
The Vienna-based International Helsinki Federation
for Human Rights accused Turkey of torturing political prisoners.
In a report published on July 29, the IHF says that
between 80 and 90 percent of persons detained for political reasons are
tortured or ill-treated. The most frequently used methods reported are:
beatings with truncheons, hanging a person from the hands with arms
stretched out behind the back, electric shocks to sensitive parts of
the body, beating the soles of the feet, high pressure cold water
"Furthermore it was reported to the IHF that almost
every woman submitted to torture is sexually harassed," the report said.
DOCTORS INVOLVED IN TORTURE
The British Medical Association said in a new report
published in London that doctors in Turkey were involved in torture.
"The problem of medical participation, tolerance or
cover-up of torture is persistent in some countries and an occasional
problem in other. The number of doctors involved is impossible to
estimate due to the secret and illegal nature of the abuse," the report
The committee cited reports since 1989 of doctors
being involved in torture in El Salvador, Turkey, Chile, Kuwait and
"We found that doctors had actively participated in
the process of torture by certifying the prisoner's fitness for
torture, reviving the prisoner after collapse, monitoring the
prisoner's state during torture and giving false or inadequate medical
care to the tortured person," the report said. "Equally importantly, we
found that many doctors who know that torture or other abuses are
happening do nothing to challenge it."
STATE TERRORISM IN AUGUST
2.8, in Sirnak, gendarmes opened fire on peasants
smuggling coal and killed three of them.
2.8, seven people were transferred to the Malatya
SSC on charges of taking part in political violence. One of the
defendants faces capital punishment and six others imprisonments of up
to 15 years.
2.8, three persons fell victim of Hezbollah
terror: tradesman Celal Pekgul, 24, in Batman, municipal worker
Mehdi Kaydu, 27, in Silvan and Zeki Korkmaz, 70, in Nusaybin.
2.8, two members of the Human Rights' Committee of
the National Assembly, Urfa deputy Halil Ibrahim Celik and
Istanbul deputy Halit Dumankaya, were not allowed to visit the
Diyarbakir E-Type Prison for talking with political prisoners there.
3.8, two gendarmerie officers and 23 soldiers
accused of opening fire on the villagers in Mardin and killing eight of
them were cleared without being brought a tribunal.
4.8, in Diyarbakir, Abdülkadir Dindar, 23, was shot
dead by an unidentified person.
4.8, in Istanbul, twelve people were arrested for
carrying out PKK activities.
4.8, the trial of an alleged Dev-Sol militant, Murat
Gül, began at the Istanbul SSC. The defendant who faces capital
punishment for taking part in political violence, refused the
accusation and said that he had been subjected to torture at police
interrogation for accepting the accusation.
5.8, in Ankara, ten members of the Workers' Party
(IP), founded after the closing down of the Socialist Party (SP) by the
Constitutional Court, were detained as distributing a tract concerning
the strike of municipal workers.
5.8, in Diyarbakir, Ibrahim Ergen, 50, was shot dead
by unidentified persons.
5.8, in Istanbul, eight persons who had been
detained on August 2 during a raid on a cultural club, said after their
release that they were subjected to torture at police station.
5.8, in Siirt, a special team raiding a house
arrested two persons.
5.8, the chairmen of the HEP and the defunct SP,
respectively Feridun Yazar and Dogu Perincek were tried at the Ankara
SSC, for their common press conference held on the occasion of the
6.8, the Governor of Usak province started an
administrative action against 300 public servants for joining trade
7.8, in Istanbul, a young girl, Nermin Alkan was
sentenced to a prison term of 6 months and 20 days for having put
anti-war posters on the walls of the Pendik High School in 1990. At
that date Alkan was sixteen years old and her indictment gave rise to
7.8, in the village of Temat (Diyarbakir province),
a 50-year old Kurdish peasant, Rifat Cetiner, was assassinated by
7.8, the Central Council of the Turkish Doctors'
Union (TTB), claiming that two of its members, Hüseyin Usta and Nesrin
Usta, had been subjected to torture in Kocaeli, accused the governor
and the police chief of giving orders for torture.
9.8, in Diyarbakir, Muhittin Senol, 28, and Nurettin
Gizli, 38, were shot dead by unidentified persons.
9.8, in Kocaeli, 13 persons detained in July on
charges of belonging to an underground organization said after their
release that they had been subjected to torture during their 15-day
detention. Traces of torture were certified by a legal medicine
10.8, for preventing a visit by Kurdish groups to
the tomb of a PKK militant, Sehmuz Kaya, killed by security forces on
August 6 in Lice, the Governor of the Emergency Law Region banned
entrance to and exit from the city of Diyarbakir. On this occasion,
security forces took into custody more than 100 people among them are
also four HEP officials. Same day, in Diyarbakir, Nezihi Erkan was shot
dead by unidentified persons.
10.8, the body of a 32-year old woman, Ayten Öztürk,
kidnapped in the town of Mazgirt on July 27, was found at the graveyard
of Elazig with the traces of torture on it.
12.8, in Batman, police raiding a house detained a
9-month pregnant woman named Mediha Yavuz. Her husband and three other
relatives had earlier been detained.
12.8, in the town of Bismil (Diyarbakir province),
Mahmut Ceylan, 50, who had been detained twice on August 6 and 7,
claimed being subjected to torture at police station. His some coastal
bones were reportedly broken.
12.8, the Istanbul Section of the Human Rights
Association (IHD) was raided by police on the governor's order.
13.8, security forces arrested 50 people in Adana
and eight in Batman. Among the detainees in Adana is also a little girl
named Fatma Adigüzel.
16.8, in Izmir, police raiding a Kurdish wedding
ceremony arrested 12 people. Same day, in Edirne, police announced the
arrest of four alleged PKK members.
16.8, in the district of Midyat (Mardin province), a
tailor named Nazim Demir was assassinated by unidentified persons.
17.8, the trial of 19 people, accused of belonging
to the Warriors of the Great Islamic East (IBDA-C), began at the
Istanbul SSC. Each faces a prison term of up to 10 years. Some
defendants alleged that they had been tortured during their
interrogation, but the tribunal refused to register these claims. In
protest against the tribunal's attitude, more than hundred people held
a protest action in front of the court-house. Resorting to force,
police detained 30 demonstrators.
18.8, in Antalya, Dogan Baygürler who had been
wounded by police on August 15 during a pro-PKK demonstration died at
hospital. Two other wounded persons are still under treatment.
18.8, in Istanbul, a woman named Birsen Gülünay
announced that her husband, estate agent Hasan Gülünay had disappeared
since July 20. Some eye-witnesses claimed having seen him at the
Political Police Department at that date.
18.8, in the village of Elmabahce (Mardin province),
the military detained nine villagers.
19.8, in the district of Nusaybin (Mardin province),
20-year old Seyithan Kardas was shot dead by unidentified persons.
20.8, in Corlu, two officials of the Food Workers'
Union (Gida-Is), Mustafa Pacal and Agah Kafkas were detained for
inciting the workers to a protest action.
20.8, in Istanbul,during the funeral of two persons
killed at a police operation in Ankara on August 13, security forces
detained 38 people.
21.8, in Van, the local section of the Union of
Education and Science Workers (Egit-Sen) was closed down on the
21.8, the SSC of Kayseri began to interrogate 80
tradesmen, accused of having closed their shops in a pro-PKK action in
some districts of Kars, Agri and Igdir on August 15-17. Besides, 27
tradesmen detained on the same charge in the district of Digor are
being interrogated at the police headquarters of Kars.
21.8, twelve people were detained in the district of
Pazarcik (Maras province), six in the district of Nizip (Gaziantep
province) and three in the district of Erzin (Hatay province).
22.8, in Istanbul, 83 persons were detained as they
were demonstrating in protest against the campaign of "Denounce
Suspects!" launched by the police. Among the detainees are also some
23.8, in Antalya, 43 people were placed under arrest
for having participated in a pro-PKK demonstration on August 15.
Besides, eleven alleged PKK membres were placed under arrest by
23.8, in the district of Siverek (Urfa province),
two children named Murat and Orhan Dagkeser, fell victim of a bomb
explosion at tradesman Murat Dagkeser's house. Same day in the
same district, another bomb explosion at the house of a school
director, Ahmet Nasanli, resulted in the death of her 10-year old
daughter. His mother Ayse, wife Selime and three other children were
24.8, at the village of Tekebasi in the province of
Diyarbakir, 27 village protectors were detained by security forces
after their resignation from this post.
24.8, during a raid on the village of Yolac in the
district of Silvan (Diyarbakir province), unidentified persons shot
dead three villagers. In Batman, a tradesman named Ekrem Göynü was shot
dead. The victim is the son of a local HEP official.
24.8, in Izmir, 86 public servants carrying out a
hunger-strike in protest against the Sirnak Operation were detained. 14
of the detainees were reportedly wounded by policemen.
24.8, in Kayseri, lawyer Meryem Erdal announced that
her client, Yemeni Karabulut, was subjected torture at a police centre
after his detention at the village of Karaözü on charges of supporting
an illegal organization.
24.8, in the district of Karatas (Adana province),
ten people including some officials of the Association for Rights and
Freedoms (Özgür-Der), were detained for having some banned political
24.8, in the district of Savur (Mardin province),
two persons were found shout dead.
25.8, in Istanbul, Baki Gökce and Cafer Kilinc
claimed at a press conference that they had been tortured at police
centre after being detained along with 81 other persons protesting
against the campaign of "Denounce Suspects!" launched by the police.
25.8, in the district of Gercus (Batman province),
34-year old Mehmet Sait Keskin was shot dead by unidentified persons.
27.8, in Adana, the police announced the arrest of
35 alleged PKK members.
27.8, in Istanbul, police detained nine alleged
27.8, in Izmir, the legal medicine certified that 12
people, detained for an unauthorized demonstration in protest against
the Sirnak Operation were subjected to torture at the police centre.
One of the victims, 3-month pregnant Ümmühan Caliskan had reportedly
miscarriage under beating
27.8, in the district of Viransehir (Urfa province),
six people were placed under arrest by a tribunal for having closed
their shops in a pro-PKK action on August 15.
27.8, the SSC of Istanbul placed under arrest 63
people having participated in a pro-PKK demonstration on August 15.
28.8, eight deputies of the coalition parties, in a
letter to Prime Minister, said that the official declarations
concerning the Sirnak Operation do not correspond to the reality and
asked the government to open legal investigation against the
responsibles. "If the claims are true, villages had been bombed from
the air and the people without defence had been the target of tank
rockets for three days. The number of the innocent victims is still
unknown," they said.
28.8, in Adana, a primary school teacher,
Abdurrahman Tamer, and a street-hawker, Musa Yücedag, were shot dead by
unidentified people in two separate incidents. In Midyat, Ibrahim
Kardes who had been shot by the Hezbollah on August 20 died in a
28.8, in Istanbul, a young man named Coskun
Kücükaslan announced that he had been subjected to torture at the
Sehremini Police Post after being detained for a non-political charge.
The fact of torture was certified by a legal medicine report.
28.8, the SSC of Istanbul placed under arrest 15
people for pro-PKK activities.
29.8, in Diyarbakir, unidentified people shot dead
Ahmet Siddik Turhalli, elder brother of the local HEP chairman.
29.8, in Hekimhan (Malatya province), Haci Osman
Sungur, a former left-wing prisoner, was shot dead by unidentified
29.8, the chairmen and officials of 49 local
sections of the IHD went on a 24-hour hunger-strike in protest against
the increasing violations of human rights. IHD Secretary General Akin
Birdal, claiming that the state of emergency region in the South-East
turned into the theater of an undeclared war, asked the United Nations
to intervene in. "The region was at the mercy of the army, the police
and subversive forces. Instead of seeking a democratic and peaceful
solution to this question, they use repressive methods based on
violence and armed operations. The civilian people of the region has
been a hostage in this undeclared war," he said.
30.8, in Batman , a public servant named Ömer Aslan
was shot dead by unidentified people.
30.8, the daily Özgür Gündem reports that a 8-month
pregnant woman, Nurcan Özatak, and a 2-year girl, Nurcan Özatak, were
shot dead on July 28, as they were going from the village of Caylica to
the village of Üzümlü in the province of Hakkari.
31.8, five employees of the Fethiye Municipality
(Mugla province) were indicted for having participated in a sit-in.
Each faces a prison term of up to 3 years.
31.8, in Batman, a restaurant-keeper, Ali Basak was
shot dead by unidentified people.
31.8, in Istanbul, 20 women were detained for having
carried out a demonstration in protest against the Sirnak operation.
31.8, in the district of Malazgirt (Mus province),
security forces arrested HEP local chairman Celalettin Yayla and 6
other party officials.
31.8, SHP deputy Mustafa Kul said that the five
people killed during a home raid on August 13 could have been captured
without shooting dead. "That morning, a person phoned me and said that
their home was surrounded by police forces using fire-arms and they
were ready to surrender if they do not continue to shoot," he said.
75-YEAR OLD KURDISH JOURNALIST ASSASSINATED
After the assassination of nine journalists, on
September 20, 1992, a distinguished Kurdish journalist and writer,
75-year old Musa Anter was shot dead in Diyarbakir. The unidentified
gunman wounded at the same time another Kurdish writer, 42-year old
Orhan Miroglu, who was together with Anter.
Anter had been writing particularly on the Kurdish
Question in the daily Özgür Gündem and the weekly Yeni Ülke. He was the
author of four books of which three are in Kurdish.
As an ardent defender of the rights of Kurdish
people, Anter had been arrested in 1959, 1963, 1971 and 1980. for his
Anter had reportedly been receiving phone calls
announcing that he too would be assassinated soon.
The funeral of Musa Anter was held in his native
city Nusaybin with the participation of more than 5 thousand people.
This 10th assassination of journalist has given rise
to nation-wide protests, as well from Kurdish side as Turkish side.
HEP Sirnak Deputy Mahmut Alniak claimed that the
assassination, as the precedent ones, had been committed by the
Counter-Guerrilla Organization. HEP Chairman Ahmet Türk declared that
the restarted of the assassination of journalist had been triggered by
the declaration of the Chief Justice of the Court of Cassation claiming
to reinforce repressive measures against the Kurdish national movement.
Following the Chief Justice’s directives, the
Turkish justice, instead of finding out the killers , pursues the media
The September 22 issue of the daily Özgür Gündem, of
which Anter was one of the columnists, was confiscated by the Istanbul
State Security Court by virtue of Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law. The
court considered an announcement entitled “Uncle Musa [Anter] is
Immortal!” and signed by PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in the said
issue as separatist propaganda.
International Reactions to assassinations
The assassinations of nine journalists in Turkey
continue to give rise to concern at international organizations. In the
precedent issue, we had given the reaction of the International
Federation of Journalists, Helsinki Watch and the French
organization Reporters Sans Frontières.
On September 8, International Press Institute (IPI)
President Peter Galliner and Executive Board Chairman Cushrow Irani
voiced dismay over the assassination of journalists at a press
conference in Istanbul , following a 3-day fact-finding mission to
Galliner and Irani said:
“The IPI is gravely concerned that eight journalists
have died a violent death and is not persuaded that academic
discussions as to whether they had press accreditation cards, or
whether they were full-time employees of news organizations at the
time, is at all relevant.”
Referring to a question about an earlier comment by
Demirel that a majority of the journalists killed were in fact
terrorist militants, Irani said the Turkish Government had given them
no evidence supporting that claim. He said in the absence of any
evidence given by the Turkish government supporting its claim that the
journalists killed were involved in terrorist activities, IPI is
legitimately concerned about the fate of other journalists as well as
those who were killed.
On the other hand, the New York based Committee to
Protect Journalists announced on September 9 that there is some
evidence implicating Turkish security forces in the deaths of Turkish
journalists covering the Kurdish resistance in the Southeast.
Andrew Yurkovsky, representative of the committee,
following his inspections in Istanbul, Diyarbakir and Ankara, told a
press conference that all the killings took place in areas where the
security force presence was heavy and that nobody has been arrested for
the murders. He said the writings of the victims offended the police
and the military, and some of them had received threats from the police
before their death.
During his talks, Interior Minister Ismet Sezgin
said him that the journalists were members of the outlawed PKK or other
such “terrorist” groups.
Mr. Yurkovsky said: “Giving us evidence and
accusations of past wrongs and alleged infractions is missing the
point. If there is any proof that these journalists were criminals, the
government should have brought them to trial.”
PERSECUTION OF THE MEDIA IN AUGUST
4.8, the issue N°42 of the weekly Yeni Ülke was
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for an article by Dr. Ismail Besikci
criticizing the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court.
6.8, the August issue of the magazine Penthouse
Turkey was declared "harmful" by the Board of Censorship for printing
some articles and photos considered "obscene." If a tribunal approves
the decision, all copies of the August issue will be destroyed.
6.8, the Ankara SSC decided to confiscate a book
entitled Last Internationalist Struggle and published Ortadogu
8.8, the Istanbul SSC punished three journalists for
some articles appeared in the monthly Toplumsal Kurtulus. Responsible
editor Necdet Kanbir was sentenced to 12-month imprisonment and to a
fine of TL100 Million ($14.000). Two co-publishers of the review, Ahmet
Zengin and Sevki Omeroglu too were sentenced to pay the same
11.8, the issue N°13 of the weekly Azadi was
confiscated for separatist propaganda by virtue of the Anti-Terror Law.
11.8, the prosecutor of the Istanbul SSC started a
legal proceeding against Dr. Ismail Besikci for an interview he
accorded to the monthly review Yurtsever Genclik.
12.8, the issue N°43 of the weekly Yeni Ülke was
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC by virtue of the Anti-Terror Law.
15.8, the Tatvan correspondent of the monthly Özgür
Halk, Seyhmus Günuc was detained. After his release on August 17, he
alleged being tortured at a police center.
16.8, in Istanbul, the prosecutor of Istanbul SSC
started a legal proceeding against 18 journalists who are editors of 18
different periodical publications. Accused of having published a press
release entitled "No to the Spring Offensive!", each faces a prison
term of up to five years for separatist propaganda. The indicted
journalists are Nazim Taban (Emegin Bayragi), Mehmet Cangi (Devrimci
Mücadele), Erdal Cinar (Kurtulus), Salih Bal (Medya Günesi), Seyit
Nusret Öztürk (Ekimler), Haydar Üc (Parti Yolunda), Zekeriya Özdinc
(Barikat), Asli Günes (Hedef), Ertugrul Karatas (Yeni Demokrasi), Özer
Degistirici (Direnis), Süleyman Altun (Özgür Halk), Zeynep Yengil
(Haziran), Naile Tuncer (Devrimci Proletarya), Fatma Karabacak
(Newroz), Sadik Gülec (Özgürlük Dünyasi), Fethi Özdemir (Komün), Garip
17.8, in Istanbul, three journalists, Nuray Kalci
and Naki Erikli from the daily Özgür Gündem and Murat Özdemir from
Mücadele, were detained as they were covering a protest action by the
population of Kücük Armutlu slums.
18.8, two weeklies, Azadi and Yeni Ülke, and
the monthly Özgür Halk were confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for
separatist propaganda. Out of 96 issues of Yeni Ülke appeared until
now, 38 have ben subjected to confiscation.
18.8, a book entitled The Revolt of Ararat Mountain
and written by Ihsan Nuri Pasha was confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for
24.8, the issue N° 14 of the fortnightly Devrimci
Proletarya and the issue N° 9 of the quarterly Secenek were confiscated
by the SSC of Istanbul on charges of separatist propaganda.
26.8, a correspondent of the daily Sabah,
Ramazan Imrag was beaten after being detained by security forces as he
was covering the Sirnak Operation. Seriously wounded, Imrag was taken
under treatment at the Diyarbakir University Hospital.
27.8, the trial of Dr. Ismail Besikci for his book
entitled Thoughts on the PKK, confiscated in January 1992, began at the
SSC of Istanbul. The prosecutor claimed a prison term of up to five
years against Besikci. Besides, Besikci and the publisher of the book,
Murat Ilyas Burak, face each a TL 100 millions ($14.000).
NO PROGRESS IN TURCO-EC RELATIONS
A much-publicized meeting in London on September 7
to mark Great Britain’s step into the Presidency of the European
Community provided ample evidence that Turkey’s application to the
Community and prospect of eventual membership was not presently a part
of the “European scheme.”
None of the speakers pronounced the word “Turkey”
once in the day-long conference attended by nearly 600 high-powered
delegates from around the world.
There was much talk, however, of the next stage of
enlargement, which is expected to incorporate countries such as Sweden,
Austria, Switzerland and Finland initially, and later countries such as
Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland.
As for the closed door ministerial meeting in the
town of Welwyn on September 12,
European Community ministers, acting on request by Greece, postponed a
decision to enhance ties between Turkey and the Community.
EC ministers, who came together at the beginning of
September for an informal meeting near London, discussed “in a general
way” the increasing role of Turkey and the need for further Turco-EC
However, the ministers agreed with Greece that a
declaration on upgrading political ties with Turkey before the third
round of Cyprus talks in New York would give Ankara “the wrong
After this, the next stage will be the meeting of
the Turkish-EC Association Council on November 6, when some indications
may be given as to the direction of relations between Ankara and the
According to an analysis by commentator Semih Idiz
in the Turkish Daily News of September 11, “The immediate future of
Turkish-EC relations, as concerns Ankara’s application for membership,
appears very much ‘business as usual.’ In other words ‘no business.’”
TURKISH ATTACK ON EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
At the Turkey-European Community Joint Parliamentary
Committee meeting in Istanbul on June 29-30, the European Parliament
was severely attacked by committee's Turkish co-chairman Tunc Bilget.
Referring to the resolution of the European
Parliament on the Rights of the Kurdish People (See: Info-Türk, June
1992), Bilget described the EP as being "at best curiously
uninformed or misinformed in such a was as to lead us to suspect its
motives. We see the EP now in almost all foreign policy matters as a
hot bed of extremism." he further urged that the EP tone down its
deliberations on the Kurdish issue and listen less to agents bent on
provoking trouble rather than its own emissaries.
Bilget is a member of the DYP, principal partner of
the current coalition.
Bilget's views were echoed by Interior Minister
Ismet Sezgin who said after the first day of meetings that the members
of the European Parliament were "not" objective, and were only looking
at events through "EC glasses."
This aggressive attitude of the Turkish part towards
European representatives constitutes a new proof of Ankara's
intolerance especially on the Kurdish Question.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE CRITICIZES TURKEY
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe,
at its session of June 30 in Budapest, adopted a resolution urging
Turkey to prevent torture, pursue reports of human rights violations
more vigorously, and take more control of security forces.
"Despite the government's good intentions, very
serious human rights violations, including torture and disappearances,
continue to occur in Turkey," said the Resolution.
Although the Turkish delegation made great effort to
prevent the vote and later boycotted it, the Resolution and the report
prepared by Baarveld Schlaman (Holland) and Lentz Cornette
(Luxembourg) passed by a large majority. (For the full text of the
report, see: Info-Türk, February 1992).
"We, unfortunately, see that the report in front of
us is partial, exaggerated, incompetent and therefore unacceptable, and
certainly dos not help Turkey in her quest, " Turkish delegation
President Engin Güner said before leaving the assembly debate.
Even Turkish social-democrat deputies considered the
adoption of the resolution as a German plot against Turkish interests.
SHP deputy Istemihan Talay said after the vote: "The report was very
prejudicial. All the prejudices have surfaced because Turkey has
become an important force in the Middle East, and Germany especially
does not have a positive opinion of Turkey. Germany considers Turkey as
an obstacle for relations with Central Asia and is uncomfortable with
the improving Turkish-US relations in this matter."
PARLIAMENTARIANS CONDEMN TURKEY
The International Parliamentary Union, representing
118 parliaments around the world, listed Turkey and eight other
countries which it said violated the human rights of current or former
members of parliament.
Besides Turkey, the IPU condemned Bulgaria, Burma,
Chile, Colombia, Haiti, Honduras, Indonesia and Togo for a total of 106
cases of alleged violations of human rights.
The IPU declared on September 13 it was concerned
about indictments against the People’s Labour Party (HEP) deputies in
the Turkish Parliament. HEP deputies face prosecution on charges of
undermining the sovereignty or unity of the Turkish state, which carry
the death penalty.
TURKISH GENERALS IN CENTRAL ASIA
Recent press reports have linked the recent
successes of Azerbaijan, fighting against Armenia in the Azeri enclave
of Nagorno-Karabakh, to Turkish military experts alleged to have been
Although these rumours were denied by the Turkish
Foreign Ministry, the Press Office of the Turkish General Staff said to
the Turkish Daily News of July 14 that a military attache with the rank
of general serves in the Turkish embassy in Azerbaijan, while the other
two military attaches appointed to the Turkish embassies in Uzbekistan
and Kazakhstan hold the rank of colonel.
What is more important, after the election of
Elcibey, an admirer of the Turkish neo-fascist Grey Wolves Movement,
was elected the president of the Republic of Azerbaijan,
a number of former army officers taking part in this movement were
reportedly sent by the Nationalist Labour Party (MCP) to Azerbaijan for
organizing the Azerbaijan Army.
The weekly Nokta, at the end of June, made
revelations about Turkish and German Nazi cooperation during the Second
"There were a number of Turks massacred in the
Jewish concentration camps. These people were caught in Turkey and sent
to Germany," said Monika Herzog, a German historian and the director of
Ravensbruck Museum which was used as the Women's Concentration Camp
during the ward.
According to documents shown to a Nokta reporter in
the museum, 71 people of Jewish origin and citizens of the Turkish
Republic were transferred to Germany via Brussels because of political
The weekly wrote that another concentration camp was
at Dachau where 86 Turks of Jewish origin were sent from Turkey.