HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD OF 1993
Turkey's human rights record has suffered another
blow with an increasing number of deaths and abuses occurring in 1993,
according to the Human Rights Association (IHD).
According to a detailed report issued by the IHD, in
1993, attacks by security forces on groups and individuals increased as
did extra judicial deaths (killings by security forces without due
legal process), especially in Istanbul.
The report notes that 1993 was a negative year
regarding democratisation and human rights and says that "day by day
Turkey is being dragged into darkness."
The following are the highlights of the IHD 1993
• In the Southeast 3,750 civilians were killed and
1,490 wounded in ongoing clashes between the security forces and
• During security operations in south-eastern
Turkey, security forces evacuated a total of 874 villages and hamlets,
of which some were torched to prevent them from being used again by the
• 510 people were killed in "mystery murders," a
reference normally used to explain political assassinations in which
the killer escape.
• 21 people are suspected of being killed by police
under torture and 29 people disappeared while in detention.
• Six journalists, three of whom were working for
Özgür Gündem, were killed along with eight newspaper distributors.
• A total of 51 journalists were imprisoned in 1993,
while in the 1992-93 period 260 newspapers and magazines were seized.
• Some 33 books were banned from publication and all
copies were confiscated.
• Journalists and authors were sentenced to a total
of 231 years imprisonment and fined TL 21,000 billion.
• Four political parties were closed down while
cases were being prepared for the closure of two others. The
defunct parties were identified as the Socialist Party (SP), the
People's Labour Party (HEP), the Socialist Turkey Party (STP) and the
Freedom and Democracy Party (ÖZDEP). The Socialist Unity Party (SBP)
and the Democracy Party (DEP) now face the threat of closure. A total
of 48 associations were closed down in 1993.
• A total of 323 people applied to the Human Rights
Foundation of Turkey (TIHV) for medical treatment and to participate in
rehabilitation programs for torture victims. Of these, 115 applied in
Ankara, 107 in Izmir and 101 in Istanbul.
• The debate on capital punishment surfaced in 1993
and a death sentence was ratified by the National Assembly.
The IHD Secretary General Hüsnü Öndül evaluated the
present government's stance on the abuse of human rights in following
"The present coalition government has promised that
it will amend all the acts in the Constitution which were enacted since
September 12. Even though these parties are still in government,
they have not amended any of the basic acts. Not only has the
present government been neglecting human rights issues, it has also
been abusing human rights and ignoring democratic principles. Turkey is
being turned into a prison for thinking people: for authors, artists,
and all those who voice their opinions. A nation which restricts its
authors; journalists and scientists because of their thoughts or
opinions cannot be called democratic.
"Those in power want to implement a militarist
democracy in the country. They wish that the government and the
military bureaucracy give orders and the public will obey them. Those
students who want to form associations, workers and civil servants who
want to form unions, and politicians who want to establish their own
parties have to put up with torture, detention and the closure of their
DIRTY WAR COSTS $8.2 BILLION
The State Minister Ali Sevki Erek announced on
January 20 that Turkey would spend 164 trillion liras ($8.2
billion) "fighting Kurdish rebels in the Southeast this year. The
expenditure forecast is equivalent to a fifth of Turkey's 1994 budget
of 820 trillion liras ($41 billion).
Officials have said Turkey spent about $7 billion
last year on the struggle against the PKK. The guerrilla
activities by the PKK reportedly inflicted losses of $1 billion to $1.5
billion on Turkey's tourism industry last year.
On the other hand, Justice Minister Seyfi Oktay said
on February 13 that the number of "terrorists" arrested and
imprisoned had already reached 6,500, and predicted that it would reach
10,000 very soon.
Oktay added that, before the time of the present
coalition government, this figure had been between 800-900, and that
now, according to the report from the Office of the Chief of
Staff, 22 "terrorists" were being arrested every day.
MILITARY SERVICE EXTENDED
The Council of Ministers revealed on January 6 a new
decree to extend compulsory military service by five months, which had
already been adopted on December 20, 1993, under the pressure of the
According to this decision, at least 40,000 soldiers
in the Southeast who would have been discharged in March will be kept
for more five months in the military units operating against the
Kurdish guerrilla. Military sources say that the next three months are
crucial for Turkey and that the Army needs all the trained commandos it
had to fight the separatists.
The Turkish Daily News of January 8 quoted some
military sources as saying: "Turkey, under normal conditions, had nine
divisions in the troubled Southeast region, meaning some 90,000 to
95,000 troops. But we now have around 160,000 troops here. We needed
troops and we increased the number of divisions to 52. If the decision
to extend military service was not taken, some 40,000 trained soldiers
would have left service. It is not easy to train commando fighters."
National Defence Minister Mehmet Gölhan had
announced earlier that there were 250,000 conscription dodgers in
Turkey -amounting to nearly half of the whole number of the Turkish
Under fire from her own party for making a move
which would lose the party electoral support, Prime Minister Ciller
said the decision was taken at the request of the Chief of Staff. "The
issue was put in front of us at the National Security Council as an
absolute demand," she said.
The daily Aydinlik, on January 8, reported that the
ministers signed the decision without even reading it. "Soldiers and
their families are reacting angrily to the decision. A group of
soldiers in Istanbul told a reporter that they were going to desert.
Soldiers stationed at the Ankara Cartography Division Command smashed
chairs. Large numbers of families phoned the DYP and the SHP
headquarters protesting against the decision," said the newspaper.
On the same day, Özgür Gündem said that public
reaction to the decision was one of anger, quoting DEP Deputy Chairman
Remzi Kartal as saying that the decision was indicative of the state's
insistence on a military solution.
THE ARMY'S FINANCE HOLDING
As the conscript soldiers are being pushed to die in
exchange of a derisory salary, the Army officers are getting richer
thanks to their involvement in profitable affairs by the means of a
giant finance holding.
The monthly salary paid to a Turkish private is
still TL 37,000. In other words, a Turkish private gets less than 2
dollars every month for "protecting his country, risking his life on an
hourly basis. The monthly salary for a Turkish corporal is TL 57,000
and for a sergeant TL 75,000.
As for the Army officers, they get the highest
salaries of the public services. Besides, all of them are the
shareholders of the Army Mutual Assistance Fund (OYAK).
Founded on January 3, 1961, only seven months after
the 1960 military intervention, OYAK has flourished incredibly rapidly
over the past three decades, expanding more and more after each of the
two further military coups, in 1971 and 1980. Officers, paying 10 per
cent of their salaries to this institution, benefit from many economic
and social advantages provided by OYAK. When they are retired, officers
get a substantial share from the fund's accumulated profits.
Today, OYAK employs a labor force of approximately
25,000 and is listed among the largest 500 companies in Turkey. It is
also a shareholder in eight major companies.
OYAK's current annual turnover is reported at TL 75
trillion ($ 5 billion). This turnover is tax-exempt. In other words,
OYAK does not pay tax on its commercial activities. It is active in the
automotive sector, the cement industry, petrochemical industry, food
sector, electronics, agricultural chemicals, service industries, and
This financial giant is administrated by a board
composed of high-ranking officers.
In the last days of 1993, OYAK, acting along with
its smaller share holding Turkish investors, bought a huge share of the
Some claim that with this move, the Turkish army is
the second army in the world, after that of Guatemala, to own a bank.
Although non-commissioned officers every month pay
OYAK contribution money, they are not allowed to be members of OYAK and
cannot benefits from its economic and social advantages enjoyed
by their superiors.
PKK CALLS FOR LIBERATED ZONES
PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, in a declaration
published by the party's monthly Serxwebun in November, announced that
the organization would soon be attempting to create at least two
liberated zones in the Southeast.
According to Öcalan, in some areas the PKK was able
to carry out a single attack with as many as 1,000 fighters.
Defining his new guerrilla strategy as similar to
the experiences in China and Vietnam, Öcalan said that the Botan area,
consisting of four separate parts, had reached the level of becoming a
Red Zone, meaning a liberated zone.
The PKK, following its 4th Congress in 1990, has
divided its action zones in the Southeast into nine separate regions
which it refers to also as eyalet (province). These include the Botan
(North) and Behdinan (South or northern Iraq), Garzan, Amed, Mardin,
Dersim, Middle (Orta) and the Serhad (northern area) provinces.
In his orders, Öcalan argued that according to the
nature of the combat zone, whether it be where is strong (Red), only
now gaining strength (Mixed) or weak (White), there should be different
tactics put into force.
HUNGER STRIKES IN PRISONS
A wave of hunger strikes staged by political
prisoners at several Turkish prisons entered its 40th consecutive day
on January 12.
The hunger strikes at the Sagmalcilar (Istanbul),
Kayseri, Yozgat, Cankiri, Nevsehir, Erzurum and Ankara prisons are
being carried out by the prisoners from the PKK as well as other
outlawed organizations such as Revolutionary Left (Dev-Sol), the
Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey (TDKP) and the
Peasants-Workers' Liberation Army of Turkey (TIKKO).
The inmates are said to be demanding the abolition
of disciplinary measures against hunger strikers and the right of
inmates on medical diets to be permitted to provide their own food from
outside. They also demand that male and female prisoners, who are in
prison on similar charges, gain the right to meet each other at least
once a week.
About 40 relatives of the inmates are residing at
the IHD headquarters in Ankara where they will remain throughout the
duration of their own hunger strike, which they are conducting in
solidarity with the inmates.
USA: TORTURE PERSISTS IN TURKEY
Despite pledges of reform by the Turkish government,
torture and excessive use of force by the security forces persisted in
1993, the US State Department reported on January 31, 1994.
"Turkey's primary human rights problems in 1993
continued to be the torture of people in police custody during periods
of incommunicado detention and interrogation," the annual world human
rights survey said.
It said that "security forces used excessive force
against non-combatants in the south-eastern provinces "where the
government continued to face terrorist violence from separatist
insurgency of the PKK. The Kurdish uprising led to authorities
restricting freedom of expression and association and to disappearances
and mystery killings that appear to be politically motivated."
ILL-TREATMENT OF FOREIGNERS
Amnesty International claimed at the end of
January 1994 that detained foreign nationals are being mistreated in
Turkey and urged the Ciller Government to take urgent steps to avoid
repetition of similar incidents in the future.
Turkish police had recently reported foreign
nationals who had entered Turkey illegally had been rounded up in
Istanbul and were then sent to detention centres in the Central
Anatolian provincial capital of Sivas.
AI said it received reports that hundreds of foreign
nationals, most from Africa and the West Indies, who were detained for
infringements of immigration law, have been held incommunicado for long
periods in inhuman and degrading conditions in various police stations
throughout Istanbul. A detainee who was held in the Second Branch of
istanbul police headquarters during October 1993 reportedly told AI
that he saw dozens of prisoners kept in filthy conditions without
proper food or sanitary arrangements, several of whom were sick and had
received no medical treatment.
Detainees who had been held in Aksaray police
station in November reported that they had seen and talked to six
Africans in an adjacent cell, where they had already been held for 15
days in a space estimated to be 2.4 meter square. According to their
statements the sanitary conditions were extremely poor and there were
no toilet facilities.
Amnesty said none of the detainees about whom it was
informed had been charged with any offence - nor had they been given
any access to legal counsel. Amnesty also charged that the principal
consistent factor in the detention of the foreigners was the colour of
Amnesty said on October 23 a group of about 150 such
prisoners were taken to a UN Refugee Camp in Sivas province, and then
to a former refugee camp in Silopi, in Sirnak province of south-eastern
Turkey, close to the border with northern Iraq. A number of prisoners
have escaped and there are now about 80 left in the camp in Silopi,
living in tents without proper heating or food (apart from whatever the
prisoners are able to buy for themselves.)
According to reports, Francos Marcos, a Kenyan
citizen, was crushed by an armoured car which intervened in a heated
but non-violent dispute between security forces and the detainees.
Amnesty urged the Turkish authorities to initiate
urgent investigation of the circumstances of these detained foreign
nationals, and to insure that they are not subjected to condition which
amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, or conditions which
could put their health in danger.
STATE TERRORISM IN JANUARY
2.1, a security team raiding a house at the village
of Evci in Igdir break both arms of Ece Kuas (45), mother of a wanted
2.1, in Midyat, Zekeriya Akgün is shot death by
3.1, three persons, Abdülkerim Ergun (38) in Midyat,
Resat Kilic (58) in Batman and Sinan Karga (51) in Viransehir, fall
victims of political murders.
5.1, in Ankara, the Popular House of Keciören is
closed by the governor for unauthorised activities. Besides, the police
take into custody 18 members of the association.
5.1, the police announces the arrest of 12 alleged
PKK militants in Manisa and 12 alleged Dev-Sol militants in Istanbul.
In Izmir, the SSC puts under arrest eight people detained earlier by
5.1, in Antalya, two young women, Huriye Öztunc and
Mülkiye Bilik are imprisoned for serving their 20-month sentence on
grounds of PKK activities.
5.1, in Cinar (Diyarbakir), worker Hamza Duran is
shot dead by unidentified gunmen.
8.1, In two-day operations, police detains nine
members of the Public Workers' Trade Union (Genel Is) and a member of
the Sanitary Workers' Union (Tüm Saglik Sen).
9.1, in Cizre, security forces opening fire at
random murder six people and wound five others.
9.1, in Cizre, security forces opening fire at
random murder three people.
6.1, unknown assailants shoot dead Hisar Demir in
Adana and an unidentified person in Mus.
7.1, in Adana, Haydar Bektas and Ismail Altunbas are
found assassinated by unidentified gunmen. Same day, Metin Demir falls
victim of political murder in Batman.
9.1, in Cizre, security forces opening fire at
random murder six people and wound five others.
10.1, security forces announce the arrest a total of
30 alleged PKK militants during their recent operations in Adana and
10.1, DEP Ergani official Bisar Sener and his sons,
Vedat Sener and Zafer Sener, are taken into police custody.
10.1, a 60-year old Syriac priest, Melki Tok is
reportedly kidnapped by pro-government forces in the district of Idil
10.1, security forces raiding the village of DEP
Siirt Deputy Zübey Aydar arrest 26 villagers and set their houses on
11.1, unidentified gunmen shoot dead trade unionist
Isa Özer and retailer Feyrusah Sacan in Batman, and Firat Caglar in
Diyarbakir. Cevdet Günes who was wounded two days ago dies in a
11.1, the Istanbul branch of the Pir Sultan Abdal
Association is closed down by the governor and three members of the
association are taken into custody by police.
12.1, in Batman, unidentified gunmen shoot dead
three students, Abdurrahman Ata, Firat Soyvural and Serif Cogöz. In
Diyarbakir, Selahattin Bicin falls victim of political murder.
12.1, in Nusaybin, a worker named Ekrem is shot dead
by unidentified persons.
12.1, twelve peasants from the Fistikli Village of
Mardin are subjected to torture after a security team raided the
village and set their houses on fire.
13.1, in Ankara, a demonstration of 5 thousand
public servants in protest against insufficient salary rise is
prevented by police using force. During the assault of police, 30
demonstrators are wounded and 67 others taken into custody.
13.1, the trial of five intellectuals for their
speeches during Human Rights celebrations in 1992 begins at the Ankara
SSC. IHD Chairman Akin Birdal, IHD Izmir official Alparslan Berktay,
former member of Parliament Hüsnü Okcuoglu, lawyer Ali Yildirim and
journalist Yalcin Kücük face prison terms of up to five years.
13.1, former IHD deputy chairman Yavuz Binbay is
taken into custody in Van.
13.1, in Diyarbakir, unidentified assailants murder
student Azad Önen with gun and student Serdar Kaya with axe.
14.1, Mahmut Aslan falls victim of a political
murder in Diyarbakir.
15.1, in Diyarbakir, unidentified gunmen shoot dead
Mehmet Metin Kaplan and Sedat Cagatay. Same day, Ramazan Akbulut and
Mehmet Tasan fall victim of political murder in Batman.
15.1, in Izmir, lawyer Ahmet Aksüt claims that his
client, Mahmut Sahindogan was tortured during his police interrogation.
15.1, in Ankara, Oguz Aksac claims to have been
tortured by police after his detention after a raid to the Ekin Arts
15.1, the mayor of the town Tatvan, Mehmet Özalp is
taken into custody. He was accused a few days ago by the local military
commander of having relations with the PKK.
15.1, Kurdish businessman Behcet Cantürk and his
driver, Recep Kuzucu, were found assassinated in Sapanca.
16.1, in Izmir, the Association for Rights and
Freedoms (Özgür-Der) is closed down by the governor.
16.1, in Bitlis, Kerem Gencer is kidnapped by three
unidentified assailants and his dead body is found at a village near
17.1, the police announces the arrest eight alleged
members of the Workers and Peasant's Liberation Army of Turkey (TIKKO)
during last ten-day operations.
17.1, unidentified gunmen shoot dead Ahmet Anis in
Diyarbakir and Semsettin Ural in Nusaybin.
18.1, the Istanbul SSC indicts three mayors for
their declarations to the daily Özgür Gündem. Sükrü Calli (mayor of
Hakkari), Nazmi Balkas (Lice) and Abdullah Kaya (Kozluk) face each a
prison term of up to five years for separatist propaganda.
18.1, in Diyarbakir, Süleyman Dün falls victim of a
18.1, security forces raiding a house in Kiziltepe
shoot dead three persons inside.
18.1, IHD Siirt Chairman Haci Oguz is taken into
custody together with his wife, daughter and sister.
19.1, police raiding a café in Izmir detains
IHD member Ahmet Gerertil.
20.1, the Istanbul SSC sentences two TIKKO members
to capital punishment and two others to 36 years in prison.
20.1, In istanbul, three trade union officials
Munzur Pekgülec, Faruk Beskisiz and Cem Tiryaki, and nine other
people detained during a raid on January 8 are placed under
arrest by a tribunal.
20.1, a local DEP office in Ankara is destroyed by a
bomb explosion and an employee, Fahrettin Aydogan gravely wounded.
21.1, the Izmir SSC sentences a PKK defendant to
capital punishment, three defendants to life-prison and seven others to
three years and nine months each.
21.1, unidentified gunmen shoot dead bookseller
Giyasettin Ugur in Batman, Abdülbaki Türk in Nusaybin and Mehmet Celik
23.1, in Istanbul, Mrs. Lamia Aygün claims that his
son Ahmet Aygün is subjected to torture after his detention on January
23.1, student Cengiz Altun falls victim of political
murder in Diyarbakir.
24.1, in Ankara, two local officials of the Workers'
Party (IP), Mahsuni Akgus and Ali Temelci are detained by police.
24.1, unidentified gunmen shoot dead Hüsnü Türk and
Sitki Fidan in Silvan and Fuat Tunc in Nusaybin.
25.1, the public prosecutor opens a legal proceeding
against IHD Bursa Chairman Muhammed Aydin and six other officials of
the association for contravening the Law on Association. Each
faces a prison term of not less than three months.
26.1, the Izmir Chairman of the Workers' Party (IP),
Ali Karsilayan is arrested by a tribunal for putting party posters on
26.1, new victims of political murders: Eyüp Aslan
and Firat Alayli in Diyarbakir, Veysi Kirtay in Silvan and Zeynel
Gülgen in Midyat.
27.1, unidentified assailants murder Abdulselam
Kizmaz, Ridvan Yabanci, Arif Cicikiz and Mahmut Dogan in Diyarbakir and
Mehmet Barlin in Urfa.
28.1, the IHD Izmir office is raided by police and
some publications inside confiscated.
28.1, the Adiyaman office of the People's Houses is
closed down by the governor.
28.1, Musa Kaya and Hatip Gundogan fall victim of
political murders in Diyarbakir.
29.1, in Ankara, the DEP Mamak office is destroyed
by a bomb explosion. DEP Chairman Hatip Dicle accuses the
Counter-Guerrilla Organization of this sabotage.
30.1, engineer Mehmet Altuntas is assassinated by
unidentified assailants in Diyarbakir.
31.1, in Diyarbakir, Dr. Seyhmus Akin, Sevket
Demircan and Halit Pinar fall victim of political murders.
31.1, a university student, G.K. claims to have been
tortured after being detained together with three other students by
police on December 29.
31.1, police announces the arrest of 17 alleged
members of the Kurdish organization KAWA.
54 JOURNALISTS IN PRISON
Turkey's Human Rights Association (IHD) has
announced on January 25, 1994, that 54 journalists and writers in this
country are in prison for violating laws in their reports and books.
IHD Secretary-General Hüsnü Öndül said in a
statement on the issue that all the inmates were imprisoned on the
grounds that they had violated the Anti-Terrorism Law, and noted that
"the crime of opinion cannot be accepted as a crime."
Öndül said his association would be in solidarity
with the writers in prison, stressing that even if one writer in a
country is imprisoned, there can be no talk of freedom there.
According to a recent report issued by the IHD,
writers and journalists currently in prison in Turkey were listed as
Osman Günes (Emek Dünyasi), Hidir Ates, (Odak), Zana
Sezen (Azadi), Omer Agin (writer), Tuncay Atmaca (Emek), Hacay Yilmaz
(Emek), Hidir Batusal (Özgür Gelecek), Naile Tuncer (Devrimci
Proleterya), Erdogan Yasar Kopan (Devrimci Mucadele), Kemal Bilget
(Nevroz), Edip Polat (writer), Ismail Besikci (writer), Günay Aslan
(writer), Ergun Gümgüm (Hevdam), Fethiye Peksen (Devrimci Cözüm),
Hikmet Cetin (Deng ), Mustafa Cubuk (Emek magazine), Kenan Kalyon
(Toplumsal Dayanisma), Nabi Barut (Zagros) Süleyman Bakirman (Tavir),
Ahmet Zeki Okcuoglu (writer), Gülperi Türüz (Alinteri ), Hidir Guyildar
(Gercek), Deniz Gezen (Mücadele), Cemal Uc (Mücadele ), Hüseyin Solak
(Mücadele ), Veysel Sahin (Mücadele), Ahmet Ibili (Mücadele), Necati
Önder (Mücadele), Murat Kirsoy (Mücadele ), Ozcan Yildiz (Mücadele),
Gurbetelli Ersöz (Özgür Gündem), Ali Riza Halis (Özgür Gündem), Serdar
Karakoc (Özgür Gündem), Riza Zingal (Özgür Gündem), Serdar Caycioglu
(Özgür Gündem), Namik Alkan (Özgür Gündem), Oguzhan Ogruk (Özgür
Gündem), Sadi Salik (Özgür Gündem), Nizamettin Karaciger (Özgür
Gündem), Mehmet Sah Yildiz (Özgür Gündem), Hasan Özgün (Özgür Gündem),
M. Sirin Koc, (Özgür Gündem), Cengiz Tas (Özgür Gündem), Manaf Avci
(Özgür Gündem), Bulent Derik (Özgür Gündem), Özgür Aslan (Özgür
Gündem), Gulay Celik (Özgür Gündem), Ahmet Caldiran (Özgür Gündem),
Ercan Aslan (Özgür Gündem), Mustafa Yildiz, Kemal Sahin (Özgür Gündem),
Erkan Aydin (Özgür Gündem) and Sabri Bölek (Özgür Gündem).
These writers and journalists were reportedly
incarcerated in the prisons of Elazig, Istanbul, Adiyaman, Igdir,
Ankara, Izmit, Tunceli, Malatya, Bursa. Izmir, Diyarbaklr, Erzurum,
Urla and Mugla.
31 JOURNALISTS MURDERED SINCE 1992
Helsinki Watch is appalled at the continuing
assassinations of journalists and vendors in Southeast Turkey. In a
two-year period seventeen journalists and fourteen distributors have
been killed—a horrifying total of thirty-one deaths. Most of the
victims wrote for or distributed left-wing and/or pro-Kurdish journals.
Helsinki Watch began monitoring human rights in
Turkey in 1982. More than three times as many journalists have been
killed since November 1991, when the present government came into
power, as in the previous ten years.
(Five journalists were killed between 1988 and 1990:
Mevlut Isik, Türkiye, 1988; Sami Basaran, Gazete, 1989; Kamil Basaran,
Gazete, 1989; Cetin Emec, Hürriyet, 1990; Turan Dursun, 2000'e Dogru,
Most of the journalists and distributors were killed
in Southeast Turkey, the site of an increasingly vicious guerrilla war
waged between Turkish security forces and the PKK.
Many of the assassinations have followed a pattern:
a journalist or distributor is shot in the back of the head,
death-squad style, by unknown assailants. Many of these victims are
believed to have been killed by a counter-guerrilla force associated
with Turkish security forces. Others have reportedly been killed by the
PKK or by Hizbullah, an Islamic fundamentalist group.
Helsinki Watch is shocked to report that no one has
been convicted in any of these killings. With few exceptions, the
Turkish government has failed even to investigate these deaths.
In December 1992, Helsinki Watch issued a newsletter
entitled: "Turkey: Censorship by assassination: Eleven Journalists and
One Newspaper Distributor Murdered since February."
Since that time, information on the killings in 1992
of three more distributors has reached us, making a total of fifteen
journalists and distributors killed during that year. The death toll
for 1993 is also fifteen—five journalists and ten vendors. In addition
one journalist was killed in January 1994.
Death in 1994. The most recent death of a journalist
is that of:
• RUHICAN TUL, a young journalist who wrote for the
English-language newspaper, The Turkish Daily News. Tul's death
does not fit the previous pattern; he was apparently not targeted, but
was one of three people killed in bombings of buses leaving Ankara on
January 14, 1994. The PKK claimed responsibility for the killings.
Deaths of journalists in 1993. Five journalists were
killed in 1993:
• UGUR MUMCU. On January 24, Ugur Mumcu, the author
of a daily editorial column in Cumhuriyet, a mainstream newspaper, was
killed when a bomb exploded in his car seconds after he turned on the
ignition. Mumcu was a well-known reporter who had published articles
critical of Islamic fundamentalism, government corruption, drug
trading, and terrorist violence. The Islamic Jihad has claimed
responsibility for the killing, as have two previously unknown
• KEMAL KILIC. February l8, 1993, Kemal Kilic was
shot dead as he was on his way home from work. Kilic was walking toward
the village of Kulunce when he was ambushed by four people. A
night watchman witnessed the killing. Kilic was the Urfa
representative Özgür Gündem and a founding member of the IHD Urfa
branch. On January l8 Kilic had been arrested for making a statement
accusing the Urfa governor and police headquarters of ignoring the
obstruction of Özgür Gündem distribution.
• IHSAN KARAKUS. On March 13, 1993, Ihsan Karakus,
owner of the local newspaper Silvan, published was killed. Karakus was
attacked by two unidentified men on the way to his office.
• FERHAT TEPE. Ferhat Tepe, 19, the Bitlis
correspondent for Özgür Gündem, was kidnapped by unidentified persons
on July 28, 1993. An anonymous caller claiming to represent the Turkish
Ottoman Revenge Brigade reportedly called his family and claimed
responsibility. Tepe's bruised body was found in Elazig on August 3,
• MUZAFFER AKKUS. Muzaffer Akkus, 34, a Bingöl
part-time correspondent for the mainstream newspaper Milliyet, was shot
and killed, reportedly by members of the PKK, at a roadblock
outside Bingöl on September 20, 1993.
Deaths of vendors in 1993. Ten newspaper vendors or
distributors were killed in Southeast Turkey in 1993; most had been
threatened and told not to sell or distribute Yeni Ulke and Özgür
• ORHAN KARAGAAR. 30, in Van on January 19.
• TEGMEN DEMIR, in Batman on June 5.
• YUSUF KARAÜZÜM, 27, in Diyarbakir on August 28.
• ZÜLKÜF AKKAYA, in Diyarbakir on September 28.
• YALCIN YASA, 12, in Diyarbakir on October 10.
• KADIR IPEKSÜMER, in Urfa in November.
• ADNAN ISIK, 30, in Van on November 27.
• MUSU DURU, in Batman on December 3.
• YAHYA CILLIGÖZ, in Batman on December 3.
• ZUHAT TEPE, 27, in Iskenderun on December 14.
Previously unreported deaths of vendors in 1992. In
addition, Helsinki Watch has learned of three additional deaths of
vendor-s in 1192:
• KEMAL EKINCI, 35, in Diyarbakir; on December 16,
• LOKMAN GÜNDÜZ, 3O, in Nusaybin on December 16,
• MEHMET PENCE, 14, in Ergani in December 1992.
Missing journalist. AYSEL MALKAC, a reporter
for Özgür Gündem , was abducted in broad daylight on August
7, 1993, and has not been heard of since.
Paralysed journalist. BURHAN KARADENIZ, an Özgür
Gündem reporter, remains paralysed after having been attacked in August
The Turkish government has made no serious effort to
investigate these killings and prosecute those responsible. The
government has been extremely unsympathetic to the plight of the
reporters; on August 11, 1992, then-Prime Minister Demirel said, "Those
killed were not real journalists. They were militants in the guise of
journalists. They kill each other." On January 4, 1993, State Minister
Mehmet Battal claimed that Izzet Kezer was the only journalist to have
been killed in the Southeast.
Helsinki Watch continues to be deeply disturbed by
what appears to be a systematic campaign to silence the press about
events in Southeast Turkey. We urge the government to take immediate
steps to investigate these thirty-one killings and to prosecute those
responsible to the full extent of the law. Helsinki Watch urged the
United States government and the international community to examine the
killings and to openly press Turkey to investigate the killings and
prosecute the killers.
1000 VICTIMS OF ANTI TERROR LAW
According to the Turkish Daily News of January
26, 1994, approximately 1,000 people have been charged so far
under the Anti Terror Law, No. 3713.
This law was passed by Parliament on April
12,1991 and was soon enforced with many editors and writers being
charged with disseminating propaganda through the media.
Article 8 of this law, dealing with propaganda
against the sovereignty of the state, is the one that concerns
writers, publishers and journalists. The article reads as
"Whatever the idea, method or aim, no written or
oral propaganda, meeting, demonstration or march will be allowed that
threatens the sovereignty of the Turkish Republic. 'those who do
not observe this rule, shall be sentenced to between two and five
years' imprisonment and fined between TL 50 and 100
Half of the fine will be imposed on the editors
responsible for the offending publications and they can be sentenced to
prison terms ranging from six months to two years.
It has been revealed that 54 journalists and writers
are being tried or are in jail in accordance with this act.
PRESSURES ON THE MEDIA IN JANUARY
2.1, two recent issues of the daily Özgür Gündem as
well as the periodicals Özgür Gelecek N°19 and Azadi N°86 are
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
3.1, the Court of Cassation ratifies a sentence
against Münir Ceylan, Chairman of the Petro-Chemical Workers' Union
(Petrol-Is). He was condemned by the SSC to 20 months in prison and TL
83 millions ($ 5,187) in fine for an article he wrote to the weekly
3.1, two correspondents of Özgür Gündem, Metin Dag
in Diyarbakir and Rezzan Günes in Batman, are taken into police
3.1, Antakya correspondent of the Alinteri, Gülperi
Türüz, and a reader named Nursel Ünlüer are taken into custody by
police raiding the magazine's office.
4.1, the Court of Cassation ratifies sociologist
Ismail Besikci's sentence to two years in prison and TL 50 millions
($3,125) in fine for an article he wrote to the magazine Yurtsever
Genclik. With this condemnation, the total of Besikci's sentences rises
to six years and six months in prison and to TL 134 millions ($ 8,375).
He has been in prison since November 1993.
5.1, five correspondents of Özgür Gündem who had
been detained by police, Serap Aksu (Izmir), Ahmet Birgül (Adana),
Metin Dag (Diyarbakir), Halil Ceviz and Vehbiye Tüzün (Batman) are
released. They say to have been tortured under detention.
5.1, the Istanbul SSC sentences the responsible
editor of the review Yeni Dünya, Züleyha Sahinkaya, to twelve months in
prison and TL 500 million ($ 31,250) for separatist propaganda. In the
same case, the review's publisher Nazim Düzenli too is sentenced to a
fine of TL 1 billion ($ 62,500).
5.1, Antalya correspondent of the daily Aydinlik,
Bayram Atasoy is stabbed by unidentified assailants.
5.1, Zonguldak correspondent of the magazine Devrim,
Burhan Coroglu is detained by police.
6.1, the Higher Electoral Board bans the broadcast
of the private TV Interstar for five days on charges of contravening
the Law on Elections.
6.1, the Van office of the daily Özgür Gündem is
raided by police and an employee named Mesut Batur taken into custody.
After his release, Batur said to have been tortured at police station.
7.1, the prosecutor of the Ankara SSC starts a legal
proceeding against famous German author Günter Walraff for having
criticised the tribunal dealing with the Sivas Massacre.
7.1, two correspondents of Özgür Gündem, Mehmet Sah
and Sirac Koc who have been under police custody for one month, are
placed under arrest by the Diyarbakir SSC.
8.1, the editor of the magazine Toplumsal Dayanisma,
Ese Yilmaz is sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to eight months in prison
and TL 208 million ($ 13,000) in fine for separatist propaganda.
8.1, in Van, nine vendors of the daily Özgür Gündem
are taken into custody by police.
8.1, police takes into custody two journalists of
the magazine Devrim, Haluk Yurtsever and Sabri Ipekci in Istanbul.
10.1, sociologist Ismail Besikci is sentenced by the
Istanbul SSC to two years in prison and TL 50 millions ($ 3,125) in
fine for separatist propaganda in an article he wrote to the weekly
Yeni Ülke. The tribunal sentences, in the same case, Yeni Ülke's
publisher Serhat Bucak to a fine of TL 200 millions ($ 12,500) and
responsible editor Özkan Kilic to one year in prison and TL 100
millions ($ 6,250) for having published Besikci's article.
10.1, the Istanbul SSC confiscates the daily
Aydinlik N°253 for anti-militarist propaganda and the periodical
Mücadele N°79 for praising an outlawed organization.
11.1, the chief editor of Aydinlik, Ferit Ilsever is
sentenced by a penal court of Istanbul to ten months in prison and the
responsible editor, Hale Soysü to a fine of TL 1.5 million ($ 93) for
having insulted the Armed Forces in an article. Same day, Tunceli
correspondent of Aydinlik, Hidir Gülyildar is taken into police custody
11.1, the recent issue of Aydinlik as well as the
periodicals Azadi N°87, and Taraf N°35 are confiscated by the Istanbul
11.1, in Izmir, five distributors of the review
Alinteri are detained by police.
12.1, the responsible editor of Özgür Gündem, Kemal
Sahin is arrested for separatist propaganda. So, the number of Özgür
Gündem editors under arrest rises to four. Özgül Arslan, Bülent Balta
and Erkan Aydin were arrested earlier.
12.1, the Ankara office of the magazine Özgür
Gelecek is raided by police, journalists Nebahat Polat, Badegül Atav
and Kamil Eser are taken into custody. In Istanbul, police raids the
office of the magazine Alternatif and detains two editors, Fahrettin
Dülcek and Ahmet Köksal.
12.1, the Diyarbakir office of Özgür Gündem is
raided by police and chief correspondent Salih Tekin and eleven other
people inside taken into custody.
13.1, the Ankara office of the periodical Mücadele
is raided by police and the magazine's representative Burhan Kardas
taken into custody.
13.1, two journalists, Evin Güvendik from Ulusal
Basin Agency and Günes Gürson from Cumhuriyet, are beaten by police as
they are covering public servants demonstration in Ankara.
13.1, lawyer Ahmet Zeki Okcuoglu and writer Ömer
Agin are imprisoned to serve their 20-month prison term for articles
they wrote to the monthly Demokrat in 1991.
13.1, the head office of the daily Sabah in Istanbul
is subjected to damage with the explosion of a grenade thrown by an
14.1, the director of Dönüsüm Publishing House,
Fikret Öntas is sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to a fine of TL
41,666,000 ($ 2,451) for a book entitled The Development in the World
and in Our Country.
18.1, the Istanbul SSC confiscates the weekly Azadi
N° 88 and the periodical Yeni Dünya N°12 for separatist propaganda.
19.1, three periodicals, Hedef N°27, Deng N°26 and
Gencligin Sesi N°8 are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for praising
some outlawed organizations.
20.1, sociologist Ismail Besikci is sentenced by the
Istanbul SSC to two years in prison and TL 250 millions ($ 14,705) in
fine for his book entitled A Nation Discovering itself: Kurds.
Yurt Publishing House Director Ünsal Öztürk who published the book too
is sentenced to six months in prison and TL 50 millions ($ 2,941) in
fine. The total of the sentences to which Besikci has been condemned
for his different books and articles rise to 16 years and six months in
prison and TL 784 millions ($ 46,117) in fine.
20.1, the chief editor of the daily Aydinlik, Ferit
Ilsever is sentenced by the High Penal Code N°2 of Istanbul to a
ten-month prison for two different articles he published. The same
court also sentences the responsible editor of Aydinlik, Hale Soysü to
ten months in prison and TL 1.5 million in fine.
20.1, Tunceli correspondent of the weekly Gercek,
Hidir Güyildar who has been under police detention since January 11 is
placed under arrest by a tribunal.
23.1, the chief editor of the periodical Alternatif,
Fahrettin Dülcek, and responsible editor Ahmet Köksal claim to have
been tortured at the political police centre after their detention on
24.1, the military prosecutor of the 4th Army-Corps
opens a legal proceeding against two TV journalists, Mehmet Ali Birand
and Halim Abanoz, for having interviewed some soldiers for a TV
programme. They are accused of propaganda against military
24.1, the periodical Özgür Gelecek N°20 is
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for an article about deserters.
25.1, in Van, a distributor of Özgür Gündem, Ismail
Erörs claims to have been tortured and sexually harassed after being
detained on January 19.
25.1, the Court of Cassation ratifies the sentences
against three journalists of the periodical Medya Günesi. Chief editor
Osman Aytar was sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to two-year imprisonment
and a fine of TL 100 millions ($ 5,882), editor Salih Bal to five
months in prison and TL 50 millions ($ 2,941) in fine and publisher
Cemal Özcelik to a fine of TL 100 millions ($ 5,882).
25.1, weekly Azadi N°89, periodicals Yeni Demokrat
Genclik N°16 and Liseli Arkadas N°6 are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC
for separatist propaganda and praising outlawed organizations.
26.1, a cartoonist of Özgür Gündem, Halil Incesu is
sentenced by the High Penal Court N°2 of Istanbul to ten months in
prison for a cartoon on the assassination of DEP deputy Mehmet Sincar.
The daily's editor Besim Döner too is sentenced to the same
imprisonment, but his imprisonment is later commuted to a fine.
26.1, the directors of the publishing houses Sorun
and Melsa, respectively Sirri Öztürk and Ilyas Burak, are sentenced by
the Istanbul SSC to five months in prison and TL 41,666,000 ($ 2,451)
in fine each for a joint publication: An Anthology of Prison Poems
26.1, Igdir correspondent of Özgür Gündem Meral
Tikiz is detained together with five children as she was preparing a
report. The children who are released later on said that Meral Tikiz
was subjected to torture during her interrogation at the gendarmerie
26.1, the latest issues of the periodical Genclik
Yildizi, Dogru Secenek and Direnis are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC
for separatist and anti-militarist propaganda.
26.1, two TV journalists, Kutlu Esendemir and Levent
Öztürk, are kidnapped by the PKK guerrillas as they are driving in
Sirnak for a reportage.
27.1, the Ankara office of Özgür Gündem is destroyed
in explosion of a bomb placed by unidentified people.
27.1, the publisher and editor of the periodical
Berhem, Asli Yalcinoglu is sentenced by the Ankara SSC to a fine of TL
208 millions ($ 12,235) for separatist propaganda.
28.1, the responsible editor of Özgür Gündem, Ömer
Özdemir is placed under arrest by the Istanbul SSC.
30.1, the Istanbul SSC confiscates the periodicals
Hewdem N°4, Devrimci Genclik N°26 and Emegin Bayragi N°107 for
31.1, the Istanbul SSC starts the trial of Mazhar
Günbat, editor of the Kurdish weekly Welat. Since Günbat refuses to
answer question in any language other than Kurdish, the trials is
reported to another day for finding a Kurdish translator. The
journalist faces a prison term of up to five years for separatist
31.1, the periodical Devrim N°23 is confiscated by
the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
ONE-MILLION BANK NOTES IN THE OFFING
Hürriyet reports on December 20 that four large
truckloads of fresh bank notes printed surreptitiously in Germany were
on their way to Turkey. The trucks contain the first TL one-million
bank notes. Currently, the largest denomination in Turkey is TL 500,000.
Since the trucks are travelling across the Balkans,
special security measures have been taken. In case of a hold up en
route, the bank notes are being transported in a half-finished state.
While most of the printing has been completed, the colouring will take
place in Turkey.
TURKISH MIGRANTS NO LONGER SEND MONEY
Foreign workers in Germany transfer less money back
to their countries than before, a German Embassy press release said on
November 29, 1993.
While in 1984, Germany's "guest- workers"
transferred a record DM 9 billion, the present figure is two billion
less than that amount.
Officials say there are two reasons for this net
decrease in repatriated money. The families of many of the workers have
also emigrated to Germany, making the transfer of money no longer
necessary. Second, many of these workers are settled in Germany and do
not wish to return to their countries of origin. They therefore spend
their money to build lives in Germany. Turks, the largest group of
foreign workers in Germany, have net earnings of DM 18 billion.
Compared to previous years, a larger share of these earnings is spent
in Germany. Despite the fact that the number of Turks increased to
654,000 in 1992 from 498,000 in 1984, their transfer of money fell to
DM 2.3 billion in 1992 from the record DM 3.6 billion of 1984.
Compared to the homes of German families with the
same income levels, Turkish homes appear to be better equipped,
especially in terms of electronic goods. While 82 per cent of Turks own
video players, only 46 per cent of Germans report having them.
Similarly, 72 per cent of Turks have hi-fi systems in their homes,
while the figure is 68 per cent in German homes. As for computers, 15
per cent of Turks and 11 per cent of Germans have them at home.
Most Turks want to be homeowners. One third of the
Turks in Germany have signed housing savings contracts (compared to 19
per cent of Germans) and some 45,000 Turks have bought houses or
apartments in Germany.
NEW COALITION IN TRNC
The December 12, 1993, election in the Turkish
Republic of Northern Cyprus has led to the formation of a new coalition
government. The Democratic Party (DP) supported by Rauf Denktash
and the Republican Turkish Party (CTP) share in the new government the
10 ministries equally.
In the elections the DP won 15 seats and the CTP
took 13, breaking the dominance of the National Unity Party (UBP),
which remained the largest single party with 17 seats. A fourth party,
the Social Liberation Party (TKP), won five seats.
In its campaign, the UBP had promised Turkish
Cypriots that "not an inch of land" would be given to the South and
that no Greek Cypriot would be allowed to return to the North.
The new coalition favours a negotiated agreement,
including territorial concessions, with Greek Cypriot South, but say
any deal must contain strong security guarantees for the North.
Although President Denktash's view is nearer to the
UBP that he founded, as a result of some internal divergences with the
leadership of this party, he supported in the last elections the DP.