AN IRON LADY FOR TURKEY
After Demirel’s climbing to the Presidential Palace,
on June 13, 1993, the convention of the major partner of the coalition
government, the Correct Way Party (DYP) elected Mrs.Tansu Ciller, State
Minister charged with coordinating the Turkish economy, to replace
Demirel at the head of the party and the government. Next day,
President Demirel received Mrs. Ciller and named her to form new
A female politician’s election as chairwoman in a
conservative party such as DYP and as prime minister in a country like
Turkey where Islam fundamentalism has constantly been rising, has been
applauded as an “unbelievable revolution” as well in the country as
In one sense, such an election is really a big step
forward for two reasons: First of all, despite the
discrimination of women especially in the right wing of the Turkish
politics, Ciller succeeded to have the support of the majority of the
DYP Congress which was entirely composed of moustached delegates. Such
a result may be, in long term, a positive example to be followed by
other political parties and may encourage women to more actively
taking part in politics.
Secondly, Ciller’s election in spite of former DYP
leader Demirel’s disapproval of her candidature and illicit support to
another candidate, Interior Minister Ismet Sezgin, confirms the process
of rejuvenation in political leadership. This process had already begun
with Mesut Yilmaz’s election to the ANAP chairmanship in spite of
Turgut Özal’s open opposition to his candidature.
However, without seeing the composition and the
programme of the government that Ciller to form and her first practices
concerning human rights and social problems, it is too early to be
Ciller’s victory is not at all the fruit of a long
time political struggle, but of a series of circumstances caused by
President Özal’s death. After Demirel replaced Özal as President of the
Republic, the DYP which was founded and developed as a “one man’s
party” under Demirel’s leadership found itself in the constraint of
seeking a new leader. Furthermore, since the electorate of this party
was being taken over by the ANAP which had renewed its image under the
leadership of young Mesut Yilmaz, the DYP too was in the need of a
Ciller’s candidature despite Demirel’s disapproval
was a golden opportunity for the party’s grass roots. A young woman at
the head of the party might upset all political calculations and
mobilize especially the female and young electors in the favour of DYP.
What is more important, the grass roots’ these
expectations very well coincided with the preoccupations of the big
business which wished to see, at the head of the government, a person
who was already tested in her commitment to the economic reforms such
as handing over public economic enterprises to private sector and
recognizing more privileges to capital to the detriment of
wage-owners. As well Demirel as Turgut Özal had been chosen and
supported by the big business during the last decades for this reason.
Without having a political experience behind them, both had been
catapulted into politics by the big business in the periods of
transition for the same reason (See: Info-Türk, N° 199, “Özal and
Demirel: The men of the same cause”)
Among for candidates for the DYP chairmanship, only
Ciller was corresponding to the big business’ expectations. As Özal and
Demirel, Ciller too developed her post-university education in the
United States. During her all academic career, she always defended the
cause of big capital. She did not stay only as a think-tank woman, but
was also involved in financial transactions and became in a very short
time one of Turkey’s wealthiest people.
Moreover, using the advantage of being the first
female prime minister of the country and creating an enthusiasm around
her charisma, she could easily calm for a considerable time the anger
of the low-income categories of the population against drastic economic
So, Ciller entered the arena as the new figure of
the same cause.
It is very significant that two major business
organizations of Turkey, the Association of Turkish Businessmen and
Industrialists (TUSIAD) and the Union of Turkish Chambers of Trade,
Industry and Stock-exchanges (TOBB) announced their open support to
Ciller from the very beginning of the race of DYP chairmanship.
Moreover, TOBB Chairman Yalim Erez actively led
Ciller’s electoral campaign. He contributed to a great extent to
financing publicity actions in the media.
He cleverly convinced the conservative DYP delegates
that a woman at the head of the government can easily fascinate
European countries, make them forget their complaints concerning human
rights and open the way to a full EC membership.
Aware of the fact that President Demirel, in the
fear of being eclipsed by the presence of a charming young lady at the
head of the government, disapproved her candidature, Ciller countered
this disadvantage with hastily having some tête-à-tête talks with
international figures such as French President Mitterrand and former
British Prime Minister Thatcher.
Ciller, at the TV debate with the participation of
all candidates for chairmanship, succeeded to emerge as the
favourite with her very Americanized airs and the public opinion
conditioned for a long time by the American TV series with the images
of attractive super women was easily fascinated by this unusual
performance in Turkish politics.
In addition to this à l’Americaine show, considering
the conservative, nationalist and religious commitments of the DYP
delegates, Ciller claimed very often her attachment to the music of the
Ezan (the call for prayer), the sight of the Turkish flag and the
traditional values of family. What is more, during the convention, she
was surrounded by extreme-right delegates who dared, by her side, to
greet the delegates with the sign of “Grey Wolf”, a gesture which is
peculiar to the neo-fascist Nationalist Action Party (MHP).
For the new Premier Minister of Turkey who is being
greeted throughout the world a symbol of the women’s emancipation in a
Moslem country, this way of campaign was in open contradiction with the
image that she wish to give the world.
In this mediatic frenzy, none of other candidates or
delegates asked her why she failed in the application of her economic
policies that she had announced during the 1991 electoral campaign
supported by the graphic shows on her computer’s screen.
Despite her charisma fascinating for the time-being
the public opinion, the past failure of her economic policies, her
doubtful relations with big business and extreme-right circles and the
claims concerning the origin of her fabulous wealth will always be a
serious headache for the new government to be led by Ciller.
In addition to this, the partner that she is to
choose for the coalition ; the level of satisfaction that she is to
give, in the distribution of the ministry seats, to rival factions
within the DYP; her way of relations with some high bureaucrats with
whom she had many conflicts in past; and most important, her attitude
concerning human and social rights and more particularly the Kurdish
Question will be the factors to determine the level of her success at
the head of the government.
CILLER'S CONTROVERSIAL PERFORMANCE
When Ciller was elected DYP chairwoman and nominated
Prime Minister, she has left behind a controversial performance as
State Minister charged with coordinating the Turkish economy since
November 1991. The economy's primary macro-economic problems still
During her electoral campaign in 1991, she promised
each family of Turkey two keys, one for a house and the other for a
private car. Let us forget the two keys, the rate of unemployment
raised from 5,142,000 (21.6%) in 1991 to 6,144,000 (24.4%) in 1993.
Despite the economic growth, which jumped from
almost zero to 5.9 percent at the end of 1992, the unemployment,
inflation, income distribution, public sector deficit and heavy
borrowing questions have remained unanswered.
Consumer price inflation remained at a
socially-unacceptable rate of 65 percent in May 1993, challenging her
reliability and denying the rosy promises.
In the first half of 1993, the economy lost policy
coordination and efficient planning as budget management largely
deviated from its original track, and government borrowing went
The consolidated budget deficit rose to TL 35.82
trillion in the first four months of the year, nearly 65 percent of the
deficit target for the entire year.
The domestic debt stock reached TL 202 trillion at
the end of February, representing 80 percent of the 12-month target
specified in the government's fiscal program for the year. The losses
of the State Economic Enterprises were TL 16.5 trillion at the end of
As for the foreign debts, they climbed to $57
billion in April 1993.
CILLER: THE WEALTHIEST PRIME MINISTER
Ciller, beside being the first female prime
minister of Turkey, has also the title of “the richest Prime Minister”
with a wealth estimated at TL 500 billion. As well the controversial
origin of this wealth as the accusations of fraud, embezzlement and
misuse of duty against her husband Özer Ciller have already tarnished
the new prime minister’s credibility.
Ciller’s known wealth, according to her own
declaration, is as follows:
• Villa in Yeniköy, 30 villas and a 16-flat apart
hotel in Kilyos
• Share in Bodrum’s Yesilyurtlular building
• Share in building cooperative formed by members of
• 200 sqm villa in the USA
• 110 sqm flat in the USA
• TL 1.1 billion share in Marsan Holding
• Duplex in Ankara’s Bilkent
• TL 700 million share in Markim Holding
• TL 80 million share in Yesilyurt Tourism Agency
• 78 acres of land in Uskumruköy, Sariyer
• 90 acres of land in Kisirkaya, Sariyer
• 29 acres of land in Kilyos, Sariyer
• Quarter of 13 acres of land in Mugla
Being the daughter of a low income family, it is
impossible for a university professor to have such a wealth with her
derisory salary. Her supporters attribute this wealth to her activities
as a counsellors of the big business and the Confederation of
Employers’ Unions of Turkey (TISK). If so, this is an admission of the
fact that the new prime minister depends on the business circles not
only for her commitment to private enterprise, but also for her
Moreover, there are serious doubts on the origin of
this fabulous wealth. Her husband, Özer Ciller faces legal action
brought by Istanbul’s Sariyer district public prosecutor’s office on
suspicion of fraud, embezzlement and misuse of duty in some building
cooperatives of which they are shareholders. A report annexed to the
court file claims: “It is obvious that he manipulated the cooperative
members to purchase, for exorbitant prices, property belonging to Tansu
Ciller, and thus added to his wife’s wealth.”
The report further blames Özer Ciller for having
transferred large amounts of money accrued in the building
cooperative’s bank accounts to the accounts of holdings he owns such as
MITAT, MARKIM and MARSAN, all of which Tansu Ciller owns shares in.
There is also an accusation that those agricultural
lands owned by Tansu Ciller were attributed construction permission
after Ciller’s being minister and their value have sky-rocketed in a
COMPARATIVE SITUATION OF WOMEN IN TURKEY
Under 12 years
Over 12 years
Rate of illiterate (+6 yrs) 31.77%
Of the population over 12 years:
In labour force
Not in labour force
Of the population in labour force:
Of the employed:
In urban areas
In rural areas
Unpaid family worker 4,427,518
Of the population out of labour force:
Source: Statistical Yearbook of Turkey, 1991, State Institute of
SHP SEEKS A NEW LEADER
Acting Prime Minister Erdal Inönü, the Social
Democrat Populist Party (SHP) chairman, said on June 6 that he would
not run for the leadership in the next party convention scheduled for
September 11 this year, adding that he made the statement so early just
to allow the new candidates to prepare for the party chairmanship from
Inönü justified his decision in following terms:
"There is one thing in parties which is always said
but never done. Party chairman should from time to time be changed. How
will this change be made? In Turkey, there is no accustomed method to
do that. He will either die or retire or become president so that his
post can become vacant and the party can choose a new chairman at its
convention. For this reason, our party should assume a leading role in
Inönü's statement, which coincided at a time when
everyone is following the developments concerning the DYP convention,
has shocked the political circles.
As his opponents accused him of escaping from his
responsibilities for personal concerns, some commentators appreciated
his decision as gesture which should be an example for the other
Some deputies of the Republican People's Party (CHP)
who had left the SHP for joining this new party claimed Inönü's
decision was a delayed one. In any case, the SHP's life was almost
coming to an end, and that it has stayed alive just because of the
advantage of being a coalition partner.
Public opinion polls have openly showed the SHP's
decline, and assessments were such that the SHP would suffer a
substantial loss if it fell out power. Inönü also noticed that
whosoever be the chairman of the DYP, this right-wing party will prefer
a coalition with the other major right-wing party, ANAP, rather than
with the SHP. Furthermore, after Özal's death and Demirel's replacing
him at the presidential palace, even a DYP-ANAP merger was not very far
from being a reality.
It is also significant that Inönü took such a
decision after he supported Demirel's presidency. He may have thought
that Demirel's move was a betrayal of the coalition protocol. He may
have seen clearly that without Demirel a coalition between the DYP and
the SHP cannot work.
Another factor that may have pushed Inönü to come to
a decision is the continuing factionalism within his own party.
Internal fighting in the SHP did not stop even after Deniz Baykal
(SHP's faction leader and Inönü's rival) left the party and became the
leader of the CHP. After him, factions in the SHP carried on their
activities behind the scene. Most recently, giving support to Demirel's
ambitions brought the opposition in the SHP to the surface.
Whatsoever be the real reasons of Inönü's decision,
the SHP is now at a turning point. Following the examples of the two
major right-wing parties, DYP and ANAP, which are now led by brand new
leaders, respectively Tansu Ciller and Mesut Yilmaz, the SHP too have
to chose a new leader capable to change the party's tarnished image
Already the names of Ankara Mayor Murat Karayalcin,
SHP Parliamentary Group Chairman Aydin Güven Gürkan, Foreign Minister
Hikmet Cetin, Public Works Minister Onur Kumbaracibasi and Ankara
Deputy Professor Mümtaz Soysal are pronounced as the future party
The issue of the coming convention also may be a
further step towards the long-waited reunification of the three social
democratic parties: the SHP, the CHP and the DSP (Democratic Left
Party) of former prime minister Ecevit.
ANKARA AGAIN OPTED FOR MILITARY SOLUTION ON THE KURDISH QUESTION
A historical chance to establish peace in the
country after a ten-year war between the PKK and the Army has
unfortunately been missed due to the government’s lack of will to
respond in a realistic way to the PKK’s cease-fire call. Refusing a
political dialogue with the PKK and other Kurdish organizations,
carrying on military operations against Kurdish villages and
reinforcing the persecution against the defenders of Kurdish people’s
rights, the government and army chiefs forced the Kurdish guerrilla to
resume the armed struggle and Turkey again found itself in a dirty war.
On the kidnapping and killing of 33 soldiers by the
PKK guerrillas in Bingöl on May 24, the Turkish Armed Forces have
extended military operations in the Turkish Kurdistan and announced a
near offensive into the Northern Iraq in coming days.
In a retaliation, PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan
declared on June 8 an all-out war against Turkey, telling a press
conference in eastern Lebanon's Bekaa Valley that the guerrillas
considered the unilateral cease-fire they declared on March 20 had
The government and army officials accuse the PKK of
not keeping its promise to respect cease-fire and of provoking the
resumption of war.
Although the Bingöl Operation of the PKK guerrillas
has been an serious blow to the hopes of peace and severely criticized
by many observers, the unilateral cease-fire has, in reality, never
been respected by the security forces.
Since March 20, despite the fact that the PKK
guerrillas has not carried out a single armed action, the Army units,
police and gendarmerie teams, village protectors have never ceased
their armed operations against the Kurdish targets. Raids on Kurdish
villages, mass arrests, kidnappings, extrajudicial executions, torture
and persecution have never been stopped.
Turkish Government and the military alike have made
it very clear on many occasions that the PKK guerrillas, which they
described as “bandits” or “terrorists, could not be an interlocutor of
the Turkish state and as long as there are armed men in the country
they were regarded as potential threats.
Chief of Staff Dogan Güres said to the daily Sabah
on April 7: “If the PKK does not come down from hills, we will force it
to. There can be no federation. This nation would kill us if we agreed
to a federation.”
On April 8, General Yasar Büyükanit, secretary
general of the Chief of Staff’s Office, confirmed the Army’s opposition
to any attempt of conciliation. “[The PKK’s] cease-fire declaration is
the result of its defeat against the security forces, the result of its
panic,” he said. “The security forces continue to take the necessary
measures until the bandits abandon their actions. It is ruled out
awarding the outlawed PKK because it does not kill anybody now.”
Despite this, PKK leader Öcalan extended cease-fire
on April 16 and gave the Turkish Government a second chance. “We
support the extension of this cease-fire until further notice but it
should not be unilateral. Search operations by the Turkish forces must
end. If they continue, we will resume operations. We will not be the
first to fire but the PKK warriors are not lambs to be slaughtered,” he
This second chance too was missed by Ankara with a
series of provocative practices.
On April 20, at a NATO meeting in Brussels, Turkish
military officials asked their allies not to oppose to using of the
military equipment supplied by other NATO members against the PKK.
Earlier, on April 7, the Turkish General Staff had announced that
Turkey, under NATO regulations, was free to use weapons supplied by the
alliance members for its fight with the PKK in the Southeast.
In a significant provocative act, on May 5, the
State Security Court of Diyarbakir issued an international arrest
warrant for Öcalan and asked the Interpol to arrest Öcalan and to
deliver him Turkey for to be tried by virtue of Article 125 of the
Turkish Penal Code which stipulates capital punishment for revolting
against the State.
Twelve days earlier than the PKK’s Bingöl Operation,
on May 12, State of Emergency Regional Governor Ünal Erkan announced in
a proudly manner that within past two months, despite the unilateral
cease-fire, 131 “terrorists” were killed, four were wounded and 28 were
captured. During the same period, 2,070 people had been arrested on
charges of providing assistance for the outlawed organization. Erkan
added that the number of the village protectors had increased to
38,000, with a recent 1,000 positions provided by the Interior Ministry.
It is Ankara’s this negative attitude that pushed
the PKK guerrillas on the mountains to resume their armed actions and
PKK leader Öcalan, although admitting that the Bingöl attacks was
"early and overdosed" and had not been carried under his planning,
justified it by reminding that the Turkish Armed Forces continued on
military operations despite the unilateral cease-fire. Consequently, he
announced on June 8 an all-out war against Turkey.
At his press conference in Lebanon, Öcalan said:
"There is a lot of tension now and the situation in Turkey is heading
for a comprehensive war. We will escalate resistance operations.
We have huge preparations and our efforts are great. We have mobilized
more than 10,000 of our followers and we are going to escalate the
Öcalan warned that his guerrillas would hit economic
and tourist targets inside Turkey in what he said would be a bloody
"Let them [The Turkish Government] take this as a
warning. With the cease-fire we tested the [Turkish] Government. They
destroyed villages, they are hitting everything. Therefore, we have the
right to retaliate. No one should have hollow dreams about attracting
the PKK militants down from mountains. This is not possible until ye
year 2000. We are for a union within the federal rule in Turkey. On
that basis, we are ready for a political solution. Until this happens,
the armed struggle will be escalated and lots of blood could be
"Thousands, tens of thousands will suffer and this
campaign will be the most ferocious of all our campaigns," he said.
"Our organization has 10,000 members and 15,000 armed supporters. We
have only one base left in Iraq but our fighters are in 100 positions
in southeast Turkey. The chaos will grow and problems will
deteriorate. Whether the Kurdish problems is solved depends on the
attitude of the army. If the army gives the green light, the
politicians will start singing."
In response to Öcalan, Interior Minister Ismet
Sezgin said the government never took Öcalan's declaration of a
cease-fire in March seriously. "They were never sincere. They declared
the cease-fire to regather their forces and replenish their lost
strength. They also aimed to win international recognition under the
disguise of a political settlement," he said.
In a visit to Diyarbakir on June 11, the chief of
general staff, Gen. Dogan Güres said: “The bandits will be smoked out.
there may be some innocent people among those in the mountains. There
may be some people helping them in the cities and towns. They should
give that up now. otherwise it will be too late for them in the end.”
The daily Cumhuriyet of June 16 reports that, since
the PKK’s Bingöl Operation, within 24 days, the government forces
carrying on a widespread operation had shot 178 PKK militants, while 40
military and 26 civilians lost their lives.
A PROVOCATIVE DECREE OF AMNESTY
In a move to provoke a dissension in the Kurdish
guerrilla, the Turkish Government decreed on June 8 a partial amnesty
for those PKK members that have committed no bloody acts of violence
against security forces or civilians. Those militants, according to the
decree which is valid only for those Southeastern provinces under state
of emergency, will not be subjected to criminal investigation.
The governmental decree, formulated by the National
Security Council and approved by the Cabinet headed by President
Demirel on May 24 had been suspended following the PKK ambush in Bingöl.
Acting Prime Minister Inönü said that although
"terrorist activity in the Southeast raged on, his government had
decided to implement the decree, with the full backing of the military.
"The governmental decree allows those [PKK] members to return to
civilian life if they have not committed bloody acts of violence. I
want all those adolescents to know this."
Interior Minister Ismet Sezgin said the PKK
militants who have been involved in terrorist attacks will have to face
justice and may only benefit from the repentance law which requires
terrorists to provide information about their armed group.
PKK leader Öcalan, at his press conference held on
the same day, dismissed the partial amnesty as a "false step" and PKK
militants will not fall in this provocation aimed at to divide and
weaken the guerrilla.
FOOTSTEPS OF A NEW GENOCIDE IN GERMANY
The attacks against Turks living in Germany have
clearly gained the nature of genocide. The killing of five Turks in an
arson in Solingen on May 29 and other attacks in other German cities on
following days show that there will be many more such brutal attacks.
In the past 18 months, nine Turks were among the 26 people killed by
neo-Nazis across Germany.
Following the Moelln attack last November, hundreds
of thousands of Germans marched in candlelight parades. The German
Government promised prosecution of the neo-Nazis and preventing such
aggressions. The attacks seemed to decline and the country was proud of
itself. After 500 rightist attacks in September 1992, after the Moelln
attack, there were only about 150 in January 1993.
The German government hoped that a law
restricting immigration that goes into effect July 1 would lower the
anti-foreigner sentiment in Germany. However, on the contrary, the last
arson attack is proof that the law passed in May has encouraged
neo-Nazis. The neo-Nazis remained as determined as ever to attack and
kill as many foreigners as possible. They started again their crimes
and committed 670 attacks through April 1993 alone, compared to 470 in
the same period the year before.
Yet, Chancellor Helmut Kohl, during his last visit
to Turkey in May, repeated his promise that there would be no such
attacks in the future.
And less than a week after Kohl’s promise, a Turkish
woman, Gülfün Ince (27), her three sisters, Saime Genc (5), Hülya Genc
(9), Hatice Genc (18) and a visitor from Turkey, Gülistan Yüksel (12)
were burned to death in Solingen.
In the same city, earlier in May, two mosques and a
Turkish supermarket had been firebombed. Skinheads had been gathering
in the grassy park behind the apartment house to drink beer and shout
their support for the Third Reich, but police had not begun a probe of
neo-Nazis to take preventive measures.
Right-wing militants have launched almost nightly
firebombings and arson attacks against foreigners’ homes in Germany
since May 29.
It would be misleading to say that these racist
attacks are merely the work of neo-Nazi gangs, which have flourished
due to the ultra-nationalism which has come back to haunt Germany in
the wake of the reunification.
The Kohl Government sees the Turks in Germany as a
headache, and is pursing a policy aimed at getting rid of them. As
early as November 1982, Kohl had said that there were too many Turks in
Germany and that a further increase in their number should be
prevented, cutting down the overall figure to somewhere below one
million from two million.
Such harsh statements on the part of German
politicians and their constant harping on the theme that Turks are
unable to adjust themselves to the German society have created an
extremely negative mood against Turks in the German people. This way,
the Turks have become the target of the skinheads, who declare that
they have done away with the Jews and that now it is the Turks’ turn.
Turks living in Germany are at the end of their
patience, ready to burst with indignation. In a rightful reaction to
this murder and the German Government’s laxity, thousands of people,
mostly Turks marched in Solingen, Frankfurt, Berlin, Bonn and other
Just after the arson attack, about 5,000 Turks took
part in marches in Solingen. When Labour Minister Norbert Bluem came to
visit the house of victims, Turks jostled his car and set fire to car
Hundreds of Turks lit a large bonfire on a road
junction in Wuppertal and rampaged through the town, smashing and
looting some 50 shop windows. Another group blocked roads to the
international airport near Bonn.
Chancellor Helmut Kohl’s attitude too has given rise
to violent reaction. Instead of attending the ceremony for the Turkish
victims in Köln, he attended the opening of Berlin’s rebuilt Protestant
cathedral. About 800 Turkish and German protesters at the Berlin
ceremony booed and shouted “Hypocrite,” “Kohl the murderer,” and “ Kohl
the liar!” when Kohl arrived there.
It is extremely worrying that some young Turkish
groups attacked Germans and German interests seeking revenge. If such
actions become widespread, the Turks will lose all their trump cards.
What is also worrying is that Turkish groups with different ideologies
clashed during the latest demonstrations in Germany. Turks belonging to
the extreme-right Grey Wolves fought with left-wing Turks and hard-core
German leftists, with both sides using sticks and stones as weapons.
Chief of the federal internal security service
Eckart Wertheback said the neo-Nazi arson attacks could lead to massive
counter-violence by Turkish extremists. “There could be spiralling
violence,” he said. Fritz-Achim Baumann, head of the internal security
service of North Rhine-Westphalia declared to Welt am Sonntag: “There
is a danger that the riots by the Turks will strengthen German
Although this claim is true, this violence is being
provoked by the German authorities’ laxity, probably with the purpose
of discrediting the Turkish Community, minimizing neo-Nazi crimes and,
more import, justifying the anti-immigrant measures imposed by the
Many of the young Turks who resorted to violence
have no relation with extremist groups. Their violent demonstrations
are spontaneous and the expression of their deception.
“Of the 1.8 million Turks and Kurds living in
Germany, only 34,000 are members of political or ideological
organizations,” according to a recent report by Wertheback's Köln-based
agency. “Some 5,000 are believed to be followers of the PKK. Another
6,700 count as Turkish nationalists, including Grey Wolves, while fewer
than 5,000 are leftist extremists. As many as 17,000 belong to Turkish
Even among them, it is only the Grey Wolves who
largely benefit from the German authorities’ tolerance and share the
neo-Nazis’ ideology have systematically been resorting to political
The Turkish community in general, refusing political
violence, calls on dual nationality and the right to participate in
local elections to be given to Turks in Germany as the most efficient
measure to counter racist attacks.
Although German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel spoke
in favour of dual nationality, many of German political figures come
against this proposal of dual nationality, claiming that this practice
would not help Turks better integrate in Germany.
The German Embassy in Ankara, in a report to Bonn
published by the Frankfurter Allgemeine of June 9, advising
against dual nationality, said:Turkish identity has increased
after the demise of the Soviet Union and the recent events in Germany
had strengthened the search for this identity. Dual nationality for
Turks in Germany will not ensure their cultural and political
integration in Germany, but on the contrary, will be instrumental in
the creation of a Turkish lobby.”
Germany’s citizenship law, which dates from 1913, is
based on blood and was used by the Nazis to justify prosecution of
foreigners. Citizenship is now granted only to immigrants who prove
German descent or pay fees and wait 15 years. Only about 1,500 Turks,
in a population of 2 million, become citizens each year.
As for the reactions from the Turkish authorities,
they were the usual, stereotyped "The State is with you" and "The
State won't leave you alone." These weak statements came too late. The
political leaders were on the prolonged holiday on the occasion of the
Feast of Sacrifices. It was later learned that the Turkish Parliament's
deputy chairman, Yildirim Avci, was in Germany when the murder
happened, but learned of the event three days late despite the fact
that all Turkish and German dailies were full of reports on the murder.
The chief of Turkish Services of Radio Deutsche
Welle, Beril Hofmann said: "We Turks, Deutsche Mark producing machines,
have been left alone in Germany. We send the coffins to Turkey feeling
pain, hopelessness, anger and helplessness. We were burning inside as
we witnessed on television the sorrow of the villagers and the
grandfathers and mothers - who perhaps could not read or write. But the
Turkish youth in Germany cannot be stopped. They are not a generation
to be content with praise or appreciation. Since they are paying large
amounts of tax, social insurance, and solidarity levies, they are
saying that they have some rights. Watch out! The Turkish society
in Germany may explode any day. To the German officials, it must be
said that these people cannot be calmed with soft police precautions.
The time for Turkish politicians to act has come and gone already."
PERINCEK FACES HEAVY PRISON
The Chairman of the Workers’ Party (IP), Dogu
Perincek was sentenced by the Ankara State Security Court to a 2-year
imprisonment and a fine of TL 50 Million ($5,000) for the declarations
concerning the Kurdish question he made during the 1991 electoral
campaign as the chairman of the defunct Socialist Party (SP).
Considering this punishment insufficient, the
Prosecutor of the Ankara SSC resorted to the Court of Cassation with
the demand of increasing 13 times the sentence.
The Court of Cassation will deal with the demand on
The attitude of the SSC prosecutor has incited a big
reaction as well in Turkey.
Perincek had made the condemned declarations at a
round table organized by the Turkish State TV (TRT) with the
participation of all other political leaders, including Premier
Minister Demirel and Deputy Premier Erdal Inönü.
The SP was later closed down by the Constitutional
Court and Perincek was indicted by the Ankara SSC by virtue of the
Anti-Terror Law, while Demirel and Inönü were forming the present
coalition government. Since then, the government has taken no step for
lifting anti-democratic articles of the Anti-Terror Law.
STATE TERRORISM IN MAY
2.5, the police announced the detention of six
alleged members of the Workers’ and Peasants’ Liberation Army of Turkey
(TIKKO) in Istanbul on April 22.
2,5, in Bismil, unidentified gunmen shot dead taxi
driver Nuri Celebi.
3.5, in Istanbul, six students of the Marmara
University were detained by police for having attempted to organize a
meeting in protest against extrajudicial executions.
3.5, in Batman, Mehmet Emin Gezer and Seyfettin Gül
were assassinated by unidentified people setting their car on fire.
4.5, in Izmir, lawyer Hülya Üçpinar, addressing to
the Prosecutor's Office, claimed that her client Filiz Topcu had been
subjected to electric torture during her police detention. In Ankara,
lawyer Meryem Erdal accused the police of having tortured her client,
Levent Yilmaz after the 1st May arrests.
4.5, in Mersin, the family of Namik Erkek who had
been detained on December 19, 1992, announced that they do not his
whereabouts since then.
4.5, in Samsun, a student association, CMYYO was
closed down following a police raid on pretext that there were
forbidden publications inside.
4.5, in Istanbul, eight alleged members of the
People's Liberation Party of Turkey (THKP) were taken into custody..
5.5, in Midyat, a 18-year old Kurdish peasant, Faruk
Döner was allegedly tortured for 25 days after having been
detained along with seven other peasants.
5.5, security forces detained six people in Istanbul
for Dev-Sol activities, seven in Mersin for TIKKO activities, two in
Canakkale for TDKP activities and nine in Iskenderun for some other
5.5, the daily Özgür Gündem reports the arrest at
the Istanbul Airport of a political refugee after his return to Turkey.
Mahmut Balkaya had fled Turkey after the 1980 Coup and stayed in France
as political refugee for over eleven years.
5.5, in Izmir, four people were sentenced by the
Izmir SSC for three years and nine months in prison each for having
given aid to the PKK.
6.5, security forces detained seven Dev-Sol
members in Konya and 17 people in Elazig.
6.5, unidentified gunmen kidnapped and shot dead
Haci Özdemir (63) and Ridvan Berkan (27) in Nusaybin.
7.5, in Adana, university student Ahmet Halifegil
was reportedly tortured at a police station after his detention on May
7.5, security forces detained 13 people in Hatay and
20 in Tatvan for separatist activities.
8.5, in Mardin, security forces raiding a house shot
dead Yusuf Calis, wounded another persons and detained 12 people.
9.5, in Istanbul, police raiding a house, shot dead
Aydede Sarikaya, an alleged member of the Revolutionary Vanguards of
the People (HDÖ). The victim's family accused the police of
9.5, in Cizre, 20 people were detained for PKK
10.5, the Istanbul SSC began to try 20 people
accused of having participated in the Islamic Movement activities and
some acts of violence. Two of the defendants face capital punishments
and the others different prison terms of up to 15 years.
10.5, in Batman, Mehmet Salih Satikalp and Ahmet
Uysal were assassinated by unidentified people.
11.5, in Istanbul, police detained five people for
11.5, in Tunceli, police detained 40 people who
participated in a ceremony at the graveyard for 12 fallen Dev-Sol
11.5, in Kulp, Abdusselam Eren who had been
kidnapped on May 4 was found assassinated.
11.5, the trial of 32 alleged PKK members began at
the Istanbul SSC. The prosecutor demanded capital punishment for a
defendant and prison terms of up to 22 years and 6 months for the other.
11.5, the Ankara SSC sentenced five people to 15
years and five others to four years and six months for PKK activities.
12.5, in Bismil, the gendarmery announced that
Kudbettin Tekin who had been detained on April 20, was found dead in
his cell. However, his family accused the gendarmes of having
assassinated Tekin under torture.
13.5, the Malatya SSC sentenced three persons to
life-prison and ten others to different prison terms of up to 18 years
for PKK activities.
14.5, in Samsun, Ercüment Sahin Cervatoglu who had
been detained on May 9 for having participated in a cultural meeting in
Fatsa said that he was subjected to torture for three days.
14.5, the Malatya SSC sentenced two Dev-Sol
activists to life-prison and a third one to 12 years and six months for
having assassinated a Turkish general and an American custom officer.
15.5, security forces detained 14 alleged members of
the HDÖ in Istanbul, 20 university students in Ankara and 24 alleged
PKK members in Hakkari.
15.5, the Havza section of the Education Workers
Trade Union (Egit-Sen) in Samsun and the People's Cultural Association
(HKD) in Istanbul were closed down by the orders of governors.
15.5, in Nazilli, four local officials of the
defunct Socialist Party (SP) were sentenced to 20-month imprisonment
each and a total of TL 164 Million ($ 17,263) for separatist propaganda.
16.5, security forces detained 23 university
students in Samsun and thirteen people in Sivas.
17.5, the trial of eight alleged TIKKO members
began. Two defendants face capital punishment.
18.5, the Ankara SSC sentenced three TDKP members to
10 years in prison and TL 600 Million ($60,000) for illegal activities.
18.5, the Izmir SSC sentenced three Dev-Sol
militants to prison terms of up to 12 years and six months.
19.5, the prosecutor of the Izmir SSC started a
legal proceeding against the Usak section of the Human Rights
Association (IHD) on charges of inciting the people to commit crime.
19.5, in Yüksekova, two shepherds were shot dead by
gendarmes without any reason. In protest against this murder, the
tradesmen of Yüksekova closed their shops.
20.5, in Gaziantep, Mehmet Kaya (28) and Necla
Karacali (19) were found assassinated by unidentified gunmen.
20.5, the Ankara SSC sentenced three people to 30
months in prison and TL 166,666,666 ($ 17,544) each for having
participated in the activities of the Union of Young Communists (GKB).
20.5, the Izmir SSC sentenced three Dev-Sol
defendants to prison terms of up to 18 years and 6 months. At the same
court, five people were sentenced to prison terms of up to 12 years and
6 months for PKK activities.
20.5, in Eskisehir, police detained nine people for
21.5, the Mersin section of the Municipal Workers'
Union (Bel-Der) was closed down for unauthorized activities.
21.5, in Istanbul, the Association of the
Fellow-countrymen of Tunceli (TD) was banned by the governor.
21.5, security forces detained 24 students in
Kocaeli and 20 in Istanbul for having protested against the
21.5, in Idil, six people were detained by police.
21.5, in Mersin, six university students were
detained by police.
22.5, in Istanbul, police opening fire on a car
during a traffic control shot dead Kemal Aslan.
22.5, security forces detained 17 people in
Diyarbakir for PKK activities and many trade union officials in Malatya.
24.5, the students who had been detained in Istanbul
on May 21 for protesting against extrajudicial executions declared that
they were subjected torture under police detention.
25.5, in Bursa, security forces detained
eleven people for TKP-ML/GMKB activities.
25.5, in Silvan, high-school student Semra Baran and
another unidentified person were assassinated by unknown gunmen.
26.5, in Mersin, 40 people were detained during a
ceremony commemorating a fallen militant of the Union of Young
27.5, in Aydin, five IHD members attempting to visit
political prisoners in the prison were taken into custody.
28.5, in Istanbul, Vakkas Dost was found dead at
police station following his interrogation under torture.
28.5, in Ankara, Muzaffer Erbas and Bülent Kömür
alleged that they had been tortured at a police station in Ankara.
29.5, Tayyar Büyük, at a press conference held at
the IHD, said that he had been subjected torture for 15 days in May and
witnessed the torturing of other detainees at the Malatya Police
30.5, Interior Minister Ismet Sezgin, in answer to a
written question at Parliament, reported that 170,453 citizens of
Turkey were forbidden to get a national passport and to go abroad. Of
these people, 142,813 were hit by court decisions, 24,948 for failing
to pay taxes and 2,692 for political reasons.
ALARMING RISE OF FUNDAMENTALISM
A series of alarming events happened in last months
such as turning President Özal’s funeral into a religious
demonstration, political assassinations committed by the Hezbollah,
attacks on a daily publishing Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses,
insults at a TV broadcasting to the minority sect Alevi, challenging
declarations by the leaders of the Welfare Party (RP) and frightening
growth of its side-organization, the National Vision among
Turkish migrants abroad have incited a considerable inquietude among
democratic forces of Turkey.
It is a matter of fact, independent of
fundamentalist currents, Islam has regained ground in Turkey after the
passage to a multi-party system in 40s and reinforced its influence
thanks to the fact that almost all political parties counted on the
card of Islam for gaining over believers.
The radicalisation of the Islam in Turkey gained
impetus after Saudi Arabia, with the open support by the United States
aiming to counter progressive and nationalist movement in the Islamic
world, began to take under its influence other Islamic countries by the
means of the Rabitat-ul-Alem-ul-Islam (World Islam League) in 60s
and 70s. It is in these years that the Islam radicalism created its
political organization, the National Salvation Party (MSP) and entered
Parliament and even governments.
The Iranian Revolution gave the second impetus to
the Islamic fundamentalism in 80s. Benefiting at the same time from the
military junta’s concessions aiming to use Muslim masses against
progressive forces, it could easily infiltrate into all public services
The figures relating to the rise of the number of
mosques and religious institutions in last three decades show very
clearly to what extent the Islamic movement has grown in Turkey.
According to data from the Religious Affairs
Directorate, the number of mosques in Turkey, which was 35,657 in 1963,
45,152 in 1973, reached today 66,674.
The number of mosques constructed between 1971 and
1981 was around 5,000. The must spectacular rise was registered with
construction of 19,000 mosques after the September 12, 1980 Coup:
54,667 in 1984, 59,460 in 1986, 62,947 in 1988, 64,000 in 1990 and
66,674 in 1993.
The number of Turkish mosques abroad is about 1,100
according to the same source.
In addition to mosques, Turkey has 750 Islamic
theological schools and lycees, as well as around 5,000 Koran courses
in Turkey. The Religious Affairs Directorate which is directly
affiliated to the State Ministry has over 85,000 employees in Turkey
and 691 abroad.
There is no official figures in relation to the
number of the clandestine Koran courses and religious schools. But the
figures concerning the pro-Islamic media can give an idea about the
increasing influence of these movements.
According to a survey published by the Turkish
Daily News on February 2, 1993, these movements have 290 printing
houses, 40 country-wide and and 300 local periodical publications, 100
radio stations and 35 local TV stations throughout Turkey.
Many of the pro-Islamic publications are also
printed and distributed in European countries. One of the four
pro-Islamic dailies, Milli Gazete, belongs to the National Vision
movement, now represented on the political plane by the Welfare Party
(RP), emanation from the defunct MSP. Another pro-Islamic daily,
Zaman, has already started publishing in Azerbaijan and Bulgaria as
The pro-Islamic radio and TV stations very often
broadcast excerpts from the Koran and programs produced by the Saudi
Arabian television and radio.
The Islamic fundamentalism, after having been an
undeniable ideological and political force in Turkey thanks to
concessions given by the successive governments, is now striving to
propagate its influence as well within the Turkish immigration abroad
as in the Turkish speaking countries or communities of the former
Soviet Union and the Balkans.
The National Vision claims to unite "1.5 billion
Muslims of the world who differ from their Western influenced
administration" under Turkey's leadership in a close relation with
The Welfare Party (RP) leader Necmeddin Erbakan, in
an interview to the Turkish Daily News of March 12, 1993, said: "In the
past two centuries, the West has occupied Muslim countries with its
culture. It had withdrawn from these countries with a policy of leaving
behind its influence on them. A supranational Islamic Union composed of
the 1.5 billion Muslims all over the world from the United States to
Australia should be established. Turkey should assume the leadership of
the Islamic world instead of entering into the Western orbit."
In his many declarations, Erbakan qualified the
European Communities as the fifth column of the Zionism.
The party's deputy chairman, Sevket Kazan, at a
press conference held on March 29, 1993 in Turkish Parliament, accused
the European Community of asking Turkey to change its national flag in
order to be able to be a member, said: "The EC is weary not of the star
and color on the Turkish flag, but of the crescent, which symbolizes
Islam. Next, they will ask us to change our religion in order to get
into the EC."
He also claimed that the number of RP members, which
was around 800,000 in 1991 elections, has risen to 1,300,000 and is
expected to reach the 2 million mark by the end of the year. He also
claimed that 2 million members would amount to 10 million votes, which
would mean around 30 percent of the votes.
At the last local elections in Istanbul, the biggest
city of Turkey, the RP obtained about 25 percent of the votes.
(For the rebirth and rise of Islamic Fundamentalism,
see: Intégrisme islamique en Turquie et immigration, Info-Türk,1987 ;
The Extreme Right in Turkey, Info-Türk, 1988, and Turcs de Belgique,
A SHEIKH UL-ISLAM IN GERMANY
The National Vision movement has recently taken a
series of further steps in taking over migrant families and succeeded
to legitimate its fundamentalist activities thanks to the heedlessness
and even the open support of some progressive Turkish immigrant
Despite its activities incompatible with the social
and cultural promotion and integration of immigrants, the National
Vision Organizations in Europe (AMGT)was admitted to take part among
the founding members of the Council of Turkish Communities in Europe
(ATTK) which was founded last year on the initiative of a number of
left-wing organisations in a view to being the representative of
Turkish migrants with the European Communities.
In a most recent spectacular move, the Secretary
General of the National Vision Organizations in Europe (AMGT),
Ali Yüksel succeeded to get named the Sheikh ul-Islam (Representative
of Muslims) in Germany by the so-called German Islamic Council (Der
Islamrat in Deutschland) consisting of 14 Islamist organizations.
Of the 140,000 members of the council, 80 percent
are of Turkish origin. Some 10 percent are German Muslims and the
remaining 10 percent are of Arab, Bosnian or other origin.
The most powerful one of the member organizations of
the German Islamic Council is the AMGT. Among the other Turkish
associations in the council are also Cemaat-i Nur (Community of Nurcu
sect believers) and the German Turkish Islamic Cultural Union (ATIB).
The duty of the Sheik ul-Islam is to regulate
relations between the Muslims and the State. According to some rumours,
the Sheikh ul-Islam will have the authority to collect taxes like the
Catholic and Protestant churches do, if the election is ratified by the
This election has given rise to a power struggle for
the influence of Muslims in Europe, as the Muslim population in Europe
rises due to the presence of 2 million Turkish migrants.
In late 1970s, the Süleymanci, another
fundamentalist group active in the Turkish Community of Germany had
attempted to be registered as the official representative of Muslims in
Germany with the authority to collect taxes, but they failed after the
Religious Affairs Directorate of Turkey intervened.
This time, the President of the Religious Affairs
Directorate, Mehmet Nuri Yilmaz again intervened in and accused the
German Islamic Council and Sheikh ul-Islam Ali Yüksel of attempting to
abuse the "religious beliefs, homesickness and economic potential" of
the guest workers in Germany. “I evaluate the sheikh ul-Islam affair in
Germany as an unserious and artificial attempt. I want to believe that
German authorities will act with common sense in this matter. The post
of sheikh ul-Islam may be compared to a separate state announced within
the German soil," he said.
He also claimed that the religious affairs of the
Turkish community of Germany are in the competence of the Religious
Affairs Turkish Islamic Union (DITIB), an organization set up on the
directives of the Turkish Government.
In response to this declaration, Yüksel
accused the DITIB of working under the "instructions and orders"
of the Turkish Embassy and its consulates there. "This is a violation
of the definition of secularism which says religion and the state
should not interfere with each other's affairs. We will not let the
DITIB join the German Islamic Council unless it cuts its ties with the
Turkish state and becomes a 'civilian' organization."
Yüksel justifies his election to the post of
"representative of Muslims in Germany" by reminding his success in
obtaining a concession from German authorities: Last year, when some
Turkish Muslims reacted to obligatory swimming lessons where their
daughters would be together with half-naked boys, the German
authorities accepted the German Islamic Council's proposal in the same
sense. Now, swimming lessons in many states of Germany are not
obligatory for Muslim girls.
A FUNDAMENTALIST SCHOOL IN BELGIUM
In a move to propagate fundamentalism and to educate
young girls as preachers, the National Vision Organizations in Europe
(AMGT) opened a boarding school in the town of Hensies in the Mons
region of Belgium.
According to a report published by the daily Milli
Gazete of 12 September 1992, this school is situated in a site of
19,000 Square Meters bought by the AMGT and has a capacity of 350
students. There are also 13 lodgings for teachers.
The education is carried out during 25 hours per
week only in Arabic language and is based on the Koran. Although the
AMGT had obtained a permission for opening this school from Belgian
authorities, it has not yet been recognized an agreed school
because its education programme does not correspond to the Belgian
school regulations which stipulate that 36 hours of the weekly
education be made according to the Belgian education programme and by
the teachers recognized by the Education Ministry.
Instead of conforming to these regulations, the
young Muslim girls were ordered to quit Belgian schools and to follow
this religious education in Arabic language alone. So, these young
girls have been deprived of any education for their social and cultural
Beside this full time education, many young girls
between 10 and 18 years old too come to Belgium from Germany, Holland,
Switzerland or Denmark during the annual summer holidays or at
Christmas and Easter.
The Chief of Training Section of the AMGT, Abdullah
Yüksel said that they were planning to open religious classes for the
young boys as well.
DISCRIMINATION OF THE ALEVIS
The discrimination of Turkey's over 20 million Alevi
community by the Sunni majority has recently began the object of
debates after a Sunni preacher, Hasan Ali Buldan insulted the Alevis
and distorted facts at a private TV programme on May 12, 1993.
The Alevi is the second Islamic sect in Turkey after
the Sunni and the Alevis are distinguished with the philosophy and way
of living conforming to the standards of a civilian society. They have
always taken part by the side of reformist and progressive movements
and resisted against the repressive policies of the State authorities.
Because of this attitude, they have very often been subjected to
discrimination by the State and attacks and massacres by the Sunni
fanatics. In late 1970s, a series of he bloody aggressions by the Sunni
fanatics and ultra-nationalist Grey Wolves in a number of Turkish
cities, mainly in Kahramanmaras and Corum, resulted in the massacre of
more one hundred Alevis.
After the controversial TV programme, the Alevi
associations announced that they would take Sunni preacher Buldan to
court. The Semah Cultural Association, one of the leading Alevi
movements, strongly denounced the arguments put forward by Buldan. "His
statements were aggressive and counter to the values of secularism and
democracy. They also sowed seeds of hatred between the two
sects," they said.
Lawyer Cemal Özbey, a leading member of Turkey's
Alevi community, said the TV station's aim had been purely to provoke a
Meanwhile, the Turkish state is alleged to be
regarding the Alevis as an "inner threat." The daily Aydinlik printed
on May 14 what it called a confidential documents from the Turkish
General Staff concerning the "inner threat"elements in the country. The
document signed by former Chief of Staff General Kenan Evren mentioned
the Alevis as one of the "inner threat" elements.
The Alevis, constituting at least one-third of the
overall population in Turkey, claim they have been deprived of their
principle religious rights and have been subject to cautious but
effective repression by the Sunnis.
They see religious lessons, which were made
mandatory by the 1982 Constitution, as a violation of principle human
rights and want them to be scrapped.
The Religious Affairs Directorate receives a certain
share of money from all taxes collected from Turkish citizens. This
money is for the exclusive use of the Sunnis -- an open example of
religious discrimination, they say.
The Alevis are distressed by the structure of the
Turkish religious establishment and say the Religious Affairs
Directorate represents only the Sunni majority in the country.
In this context, the Alevis argue that there should
be no place for an organization like this "religious affairs"
directorate in a country which claims to be secular and where
secularism is a constitutional guarantee.
ATTACKS ON AYDINLIK FOR RUSHDIE
The daily Aydinlik has, after having started to
publish Turkish excerpts from the Satanic Verses of Salman Rushdie on
May 26, subjected to bans and a series of attacks and threats.
First, all copies of Aydinlik have been seized
after going into distribution on the basis of an earlier governmental
decision banning the entry of Rushdie's book into Turkey. Moreover, a
public prosecutor of Istanbul launched an investigation about the
responsibles of the newspaper.
Accused of not lifting the ban on the Satanic
Verses, acting Prime Minister Inönü said: The decision to seize copies
of Aydinlik is a legal decision taken by a constitutional court."
Aziz Nesin, the chief editorialist of Aydinlik, had
already warned in February that unless the ban was lifted on the book,
he would be forced to violate the government's decision.
The responsibles of the daily said: "We intend to
open a public debate in Turkey, which is dominated by a practicing
Muslim majority, and expected every one, from the leftists to the
Religious Affairs Directorate and even Iran to enter the debate.
On May 28, in Istanbul, after Friday prayers,
hundreds of fundamentalists raided Kaynak printing house, which is
known to have close links with Aydinlik, shouting "May the hands that
are raised against Islam be broken."
On May 29-30, Aydinlik's Izmir office was attacked
by groups of fundamentalists, while the newspaper's Diyarbakir office
was arsoned and a distributor truck was attacked.
On June 3, unidentified people hurled firebombs at a
newspaper kiosk in Gebze (Istanbul) and Osmaniye (Adana).
In Ankara, fundamentalists distributed leaflets
containing death threats on newspaper distributors and kiosk owners if
they continue to sell Aydinlik.
The responsibles of the newspaper qualified these
attacks and the seizure of the Aydinlik copies as a violation of the
freedom of press.
PRESSURE ON ARMENIANS AND ASSYRIANS
The daily Özgür Gündem of May 26, 1993 published a
series of photos of Armenian schools in Istanbul as a new proof of the
pressure on this community.
As seen on these photos, the Armenian schools
Dadyan, Feriköy and Bezciyan were obliged to put in front of
their buildings a plate with Atatürk's famous saying: "What a happiness
to say I am a Turk!"
Although the present government claims to respect
the national identity and feelings of the minorities in Turkey, these
plates are still there.
On the other hand, the daily Cumhuriyet of May 27,
1993 reported that the historic Assyrian Saint Johanna Church in
Sanliurfa was being transformed into a mosque.
The decision of this transformation had been taken
in 1984 on the initiative of the Dergah Foundation, but the execution
of the project stopped at that time on the intervention of the Urfa
However, the General Directorate of Foundations has
recently ordered to restart the works of transformation. Despite the
protests, the works began and the officials already put in front of the
church a plate carrying the name of "The Selahaddin-i Eyyubi Mosque."
The Assyrian Federation in Sweden has recently sent
a letter to Culture Minister Fikri Saglar, calling him to stop this
According to the reports coming to the Mesopotamian
Culture and Sport Association in Brussels, many Assyrian villages in
the Southeast are being depopulated by the Village Protectors in the
service of government forces.
Since 1989, the following Assyrian inhabitants of
the following villages have been forced to quit their homes and to
search shelter in big cities on the pretext that they give aid to PKK
Kizilsu (Sirnak), Hesena (Silopi), Xirabemiriske
(Idil), Sederi (Midyat), Arbo (Idil), Arnas (Midyat), Aynvart (Midyat),
Mizizeg (Idil), Sare (Idil), Temerze (Idil), Asagidere (Idil), Xapisnas
(Midyat), Bate (Midyat), Yemisli (Midyat), Bagpinar, Cemesil, Badibe,
Erde, Binkelibe, Derxabab, Derxube, Arbaya, Gundiksirko, Merhap,
On February 11, 1993, a team of village protectors
raided the Assyrian village Ögündük (Midah) in Mardin. Local Assyrian
leader Melke Tok reported that the team, after having gathered all
inhabitants in the village square, set on fire their houses and
demolished a cross symbolising the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
BAN ON PRIVATE RADIOS
In an unexpected anti-democratic move, the Demirel
Government, at the beginning of April 1993, banned all private radio
Counting on the promises of the coalition parties,
the first private radio station had begun broadcasting in June 1992. In
1993, some 250 private radio stations throughout Turkey.
The government based this shocking ban on the
pretext that Article 133 of the Constitution gives the monopoly of
radio-TV broadcasting to the state.
The ban gave rise to a huge public protest because
the private radio broadcasting was a means of free expression, from
right to left, and everyone could find musics or programs corresponding
to his taste. It was a real joy to have such an extensive choice after
having been obliged listened to the voice of the State alone for
In protest against the government's decision,
antennas have been adorned with black ribbons and tracts saying "I wish
my radio" distributed and put everywhere.
On this mass protest, the government promised once
more to lift Article 133 of the Constitution and to set free all those
private radio stations which will be conforming to the new regulations
to be adopted.
However, the draft bill providing for the annulment
of Article 133 of the Constitution has met with another obstacle:
impossibility of having a minimum of 300 "yes" votes which is required
for constitutional change. A number of planned parliamentary debates on
the draft bill have been cancelled due to the failure of the coalition
partners and the main opposition ANAP to force their deputies to be
present at parliamentary sessions.
PRESSURE ON THE MEDIA IN MAY
1.5, in Istanbul, Milliyet photographer Musa Agacik
was beaten by the police while trying to take pictures of May Day
demonstrators being hit.
2.5, the issue N°51 of the weekly Azadi was
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatism.
3.5, the responsible editor of the weekly Yeni Ülke,
Bülent Aydin was sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to five months in prison
and TL 117 Million ($ 12,316) in fine for propaganda in favour of the
4.5, three journalists, Ümran Aras (Meydan), Mehmet
Beytül (Türkiye) and Ahmet Uçar (Sabah) were harassed by police as they
were covering the funeral of a victim of extrajudicial execution in
Istanbul. The photographer of the daily Aydinlik, Mustafa Cetinkaya was
detained and beaten for having shot the photos of this brutality.
6.5, the issue N°6 of the review Toplumsal Dayanisma
was confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
6.5, the house of journalist Rauf Yildiz, Diyarbakir
correspondent of the daily Özgür Gündem, was raided and searched by
police in his absence. His some documents, registered bands and photos
7.5, sociologist Ismail Besikci was sentenced by the
Istanbul SSC to 20 months in prison and TL 41 Million ($ 4,316) for his
book entitled Some Reflections on the PKK.
7.5, the Diyadin correspondent of the daily Özgür
Gündem, Tacettin Yildiz was detained by police.
11.5, the Istanbul SSC sentenced the responsible
editor of the weekly Azadi, Sedat Karakas to six months in prison and
TL 41 Million ($ 4,316) for separatist propaganda. The former owner of
the weekly, Hikmet Cetin too was sentenced to a fine of TL 83 Million
11.5, sociologist Ismail Besikci and the former
responsible editor of the daily Özgür Gündem, Isik Yurtcu were
sentenced to one-year imprisonment each for an article by Besikci for
having insulted security forces. Same day, the Dicle correspondent of
Özgür Gündem was taken into police custody.
11.5, the issue N°90 of the monthly Emegin Bayragi
was confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
12.5, a photo-reporter of the daily Hürriyet, Mehmet
Oguz was harassed by police as he was covering a protest demonstration
in Ankara and his leg was broken.
13.5, the Istanbul SSC sentenced journalist Yusuf
Cacim to ten months in prison and TL 166,666,666 ($ 17,544) in fine for
two articles that he wrote in the weekly Yeni Ülke.
14.5, the Cizre correspondent of the daily Özgür
Gündem, Besir Ant was taken into custody.
17.5, in Izmir, poet Ergun Akkir was taken into
custody at the airport as he was leaving Turkey for participating in a
cultural meeting in Germany.
19.5, the Samsun correspondent of the weekly
Mücadele, F. Hülya Tungan, and the Tokat correspondent of the monthly
Partizan, Ercan Oskan were detained by police.
19.5, the issue N°53 of the weekly Azadi was
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
19.5, two members of the musical group Yorum, Kemal
Gürel and Elif Sumru Gürel were sentenced by the Izmir SSC to 20 months
in prison and TL 42 Million ($ 4,421) for their concert in Denizli.
20.5, two Diyarbakir correspondents of the weekly
Gercek, Nasir Gül and Özer Yildiz were detained at the Diyarbakir SSC
as they were covering a trial.
23.5, the issue N°11 of the review Iscinin Yolu was
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for propaganda in favour of an illegal
27.5, a new legal proceeding was started against
sociologist Ismail Besikci for his book entitled The Struggle for
Imperialist Division of Kurdistan (1915-1925). The prosecutor demands a
prison term of up to five years and a fine of up to TL 100 Million
($10,000) against Besikci and a prison term of up to two years and a
fine of not less than TL 100 Million ($10,000) against his publisher,
27.5, the last issues of the daily Aydinlik were
confiscated for having published Salman Rushdi's Satanic Verses.
31.5, the issues N°17 of the monthly Newroz and N°28
of the monthly Devrimci Proletarya were confiscated by the Istanbul SSC
for separatist propaganda.