While time is running out for Turkey-EU customs union and the two-month
deadline of the Council of Europe, the government still remains very
far from keeping its promises concerning democratisation.
1) Human rights violations are going as before.
2) The human rights organisations are revealing each
days new cases of torture and ill-treatment.
3) The legal charges brought by the prosecutors
against the Democracy Party (DEP) deputies and leaders are still
effective, many of them are still in prison and some in exile.
4) There is no move for that Kurdish deputies who
have been stripped of their status of deputy are given that status back
so that they can serve as members of Parliament once again.
5) 166 prisoners of opinion are still in prison and
hundreds still face heavy prison terms.
6) There is no move to amend the constitution and
the legislation so as not to permit the closure of political parties
and the arrest of individuals for their opinions.
7) The cultural autonomy of Kurds is still a taboo.
8) Instead of seeking a political solution to the
Kurdish problem, the government continues to count on military solution
and the Army chiefs are still carrying on to massacre Kurdish
population, to burn and destroy Kurdish villages in Southeast and to
persecute all those demanding a political solution throughout the
Turkey and the European Union, as expected,
concluded the accord of customs union on March 6 in Brussels, but the
European Parliament's resolution not to ratify this union as far as
human rights are not respected still remains a major obstacle because
no concrete step was taken up to now for democratisation.
Although economic in essence, the decision to
conclude the customs union was expected by both sides to have wide
ranging political and social ramifications.
At the end of the EU-Turkey Association Council
meeting in Brussels, EU term president Alain Juppe recalled the
European Parliament's reserve in the matters of human rights and the EU
Council of Ministers' opinion that membership talks with Cyprus would
begin in the first half of 1996 following the decisions of the
intergovernmental conference in 1996.
Turkish Foreign Minister Karayalcin, for the sake of
obtaining the signature of the customs union, did not say anything
against the opinion concerning Cyprus though Turkish foreign policy had
always been against it. As for the human rights, he said that the
Turkish Government was trying to overcome the obstacles to
Prime Minister Ciller for her part, while addressing
the EU foreign ministers at a working dinner following the Association
Council attended by the president of the EU Commission Jacques Santer,
said this accord would "not only lift customs barriers but also pave
the way for political and financial integration with Europe." Moreover,
she gave a lot promises to EU ministers for democratisation and human
However, two months after these promises, at the end
of April 1995, there was a growing frustration among ambassadors of the
European Union countries in Ankara over the delays in democratic
reforms and moves promised by Ciller.
Instead of keeping its promises, the Ciller
Government first raised the tension between the European Union and his
regime by launching a military operation on the Iraqi territory.
Keeping many Kurdish or left-wing intellectuals in
prisons, starting new legal proceedings against distinguished writers
and artists for their declarations concerning human rights, massacring
Alevis in Istanbul have led to violent protestations against Ciller's
government all over the world.
Notably, the decisions of the European Parliament
and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe have been the
ultimate warnings to the Turkish Government and placed Turkey under the
menace of being expelled from the Council of Europe.
As underlined in a report revealed by President
Demirel at the end of April, Turkey has no chance to see the Customs
Union entering in force from the beginning of 1996 as far as the
following conditions are not fulfilled:
1) Human rights violations must be brought to an end.
2) Torture and maltreatment must be stopped.
3) The legal charges brought by the prosecutors
against the Democracy Party (DEP) deputies and leaders must be dropped.
4) Kurdish deputies who have been stripped of their
status of deputy must be given that status back so that they can serve
as members of Parliament once again.
5) The prisoners of opinion should immediately be
6) The constitution and the legislation should be
amended so as not to permit the closure of political parties and the
arrest of individuals for their opinions.
7) The Kurds should be given cultural autonomy.
8) A political solution should be found to the
Kurdish problem and negotiations should be started with those concerned.
In front of these demands, the only thing that the
government attempted to do has been the removal of Article 8 of the
Anti-Terror Law, which stipulates five-year prison for crimes of
expression of thought. According to the government's project, "crimes
of expression of thought" will not really be removed, but it will be
added to Article 311 of the Turkish Penal Code. So, anybody accused of
spreading propaganda in line with the purpose and activities of
"terrorist organisations which threaten the indivisible integrity of
the state" will remain exposed to a prison term of up to two years.
Those who are accused by virtue of Article 311 will be tried, not by
the State Security Court, but by the High Criminal Court.
By this change, the coalition partners are preparing
to promote and focus on the release of two prisoners detained for
crimes of expression of thought, Fikret Baskaya and Haluk Gerger, as
symbols of the government's "success" in providing for expression of
Baskaya and Gerger are currently serving 20-month
prison terms and, even this change is not adopted, they will be
released respectively on June 14 and September 24.
Even if these two prisoners are released earlier,
166 other prisoners of opinion will remain in prisons. For example,
sociologist Ismail Besikci, who is the real symbol of freedom of
expression, has been sentenced to 65 years in prison of which 23 years
ratified by the Court of Cassation, risks to stay in prison.
Besides, if Article 8 is amended, hundreds of
intellectuals such as novelists Yasar Kemal, Orhan Pamuk and the
Workers' Party (IP) leader Dogu Perincek could still face jail
sentences, since although they will not be tried at the SSC, they could
still be tried at criminal courts.
Even such a minor change in the Anti-Terror Law
which does not remove "crimes of expression of thought" but only
reduces the term of prison is refused by the conservative wing of
Ciller's own party, DYP,
Furthermore, President Süleyman Demirel, in a recent
statement, said that the government should get the approval of the Army
chiefs before putting such an amendment into the National Assembly's
BINDING DOCUMENTS ON THE EU-TURKEY CUSTOMS UNION
The first document initialed by Turkey and the
European Union on March 6, 1995, concerns the decision to conclude a
customs union and incorporates the scope of this union. Some of the
stipulations of the 52-page document include the zeroing of customs
levies by both sides with some reservations vis-a-vis textiles, the
automotive industry and agriculture still to be ironed out.
The achieving the standardisation between the EU and
Turkey, the free circulation of most non-agricultural goods, the
harmonising of Turkey's foreign trade legislation with EU legislation
are among other stipulations.
Also included are the harmonising of Turkey's
intellectual property rights and patents laws with the EU, cooperation
in the industry, transport, communications, statistical accounting and
The second document spells out the financial aspect
of the customs union and projects the money to be received by Turkey
from the EU's various funds, and from the IMF over a five year period
at 3.2 billion ECU.
The third document is a resolution which is, in the
words of officials, a forward looking document listing on the one
hand the issues that have to be ironed out and on the other spelling
out the will of the sides to enhance their political dialogue on a wide
range of issues.
The following is the full text of the Resolution:
"Considering the political agreement reached to date
on the substance of a decision establishing operating rules for the
final phase of the customs union
"Whereas it is particularly important to supplement
the agreements concluded within the framework of that Decision by
implementing other aspects of the Association;
"Whereas the European Council has many times
underlined Turkey's important role in the current political situation
and called for the intensification of co-operation and the development
of relations with Turkey and for the establishment of a political
dialogue at the highest level, in accordance with the prospect outlined
in the Association Agreement,
"HEREBY ADOPTS THIS RESOLUTION
"1. ESCS PRODUCTS
"The Association Council expresses its satisfaction
with the negotiations for achieving free movement of ESCS products
within a time frame as close as Possible to the entry into force of the
customs union. The Association Council wishes to conclude these
negotiations in 1995.
"2. AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
"The Association Council deems it necessary to open,
in 1995, in order to finish them before the entry into force of the
Decision on customs union, negotiations concerning an exchange of
reciprocal concessions on the agricultural products listed in Annex 6
to the Additional Protocol.
"3. MACRO-ECONOMIC DIALOGUE
"The Association Council deems it necessary to start
an appropriate dialogue between the two sides on the conduct of
macro-economic policy in order to ensure the best macro-economic
environment possible for the functioning of the customs union.
"4. BROADENING OF CO-OPERATION
"The Association Council deems it essential to
broaden the scope of the co-operation between the European Union and
Turkey and looks forward to seeing initiatives being taken in the
fields listed below:
"• Industrial co-operation: this co-operation should
extend Community instruments to Turkey to create contacts between
undertakings, encourage Turkish firms to participate in
Euro-partnership events in Europe, promote the creation of Euro-Turkish
Joint ventures, including the development of SME's and create, in
industrial sectors where the need is most acute, contact groups for
consultation on the situation and prospects for the sectors in
"• Trans-European networks; the Commission will
enter into a dialogue with Turkey on trans-European infrastructure
projects in fields such as energy, transport and telecommunications
with a view to examining the possible mutual interest of Turkish
participation in such projects.
"• Co-operation on Energy: this co-operation must
fit into the context of principles of the European Energy Charter and
cover the drawing-up and programming of energy policies. Sectoral
co-operation and exchanges of views should be continued and intensified
in view in particular of the important role played by Turkey as a
hydroelectric producer and a transit country for the transport of oil
"• Co-operation on transport: this co-operation
should be initiated or stepped up and could provide in particular for
regular exchanges of views on respective developments in the transport
sector, with the aim of improving links between the two parties in the
"* exploration of the possibilities for technical
assistance for the railway and civil engineering authorities with a
view to increasing the quality and productivity of services and
harmonising technical standards as far as possible;
"* promotion of combined transport
"* examination of means of participating in the
extension and improvement of transport links. In addition, agreements
should be concluded with Turkey in fields such as transit and market
access resulting from the Community's implementation of its common
transport policy or its extension to new areas (air and sea transport).
"• Co-operation on telecommunications: this
co-operation will concern the modernisation of the Turkish network and
its integration into European networks and the standardisation and
management of telecommunications, the harmonisation of legal and
complementary aspects being an essential element of this; harmonisation
of laws will be actively sought in order to promote network
interconnection, the speeding up of Turkey's development and the
contribution of European firms to that development.
"• Co-operation on agriculture:
regular-consultations will be held between the two parties on both
sides' agricultural policies in order to achieve a maximum of
convergence in accordance with the contractual arrangements in force.
The Commission will investigate the possibility of providing technical
aid to Turkey to enable it to harmonise the special circumstances of
"• Co-operation on the environment: the objective
will be to develop and step up the campaign to prevent deterioration of
the environment: exchange of information and experts, training, and
approximation of laws. It will also be necessary to examine the
arrangements for Turkey's participation in the European Environment
"• Scientific co-operation: it will cover research
and technological development: exchanges of information on S&T
policy, information, possible participation in the activities of the
fourth European Community framework Programme for R&D in accordance
with the Council decision of 21 November 1994 (94/763/EC) and
intensification of efforts to create scientific co-operation networks
between Turkish universities and research centres and their Community
"• Co-operation on statistics: co-operation under
the Protocol concluded by the Turkish State Statistical Institute and
Eurostat on 21 September 1993 will aim to set up a statistical system
which will provide reliable statistics with the particular aim of
harmonisation with Community and international methods, standards and
"• Matters relating to justice and home affairs:
Closer dialogue between the EU and Turkey could be considered on
certain matters relating to justice and home affairs. This dialogue
will be implemented in particular through exchanges of information.
"• Consumer protection: co-operation will be
designed to ensure compatibility between consumer protection systems in
Turkey and in the Community. To that end and in the common interests of
both parties, harmonisation of laws and the alignment of Turkey's
consumer protection on that of the community will be sought.
"• Cultural cooperation: with the aim of
strengthening links between Turkey and the EU and improving mutual
understanding. the parties will define by common agreement the precise
areas to be covered by such co-operation. Particular efforts should be
made to increase knowledge of the cultural heritage of each of the
"• Information and communication: appropriate
measures will be taken by the Community and Turkey to encourage the
exchange of information. Priority will be given to programs providing
basic information on the Community for the general public and
specialised information for professional circles in Turkey, including
access where possible to Community databases. In this regard
co-operation in the audio-visual sector, particularly through technical
support by the EU for Turkish radio and television network, picture
banks, etc. will be considered.
"5. CO-OPERATION ON SOCIAL MATTERS
A regular dialogue will be set up on the situation
of Turkish worker in regular employment in the Community and vice
versa. The two parties will explore all possibilities for a better
integration of such workers.
"6. POLITICAL DIALOGUE
"The Association Council considers it necessary for
political dialogue between the European Union and Turkey on all topics
of common interest to be intensified:
"• in principle, the President of the European
Council and the President of the Commission will meet with the Turkish
Head of State or Head of Government once a year;
"• the Ministers for Foreign Affairs will meet twice
a year, once in the framework of the Association Council and once in
"• the Senior Officials (including Political
Directors) will meet in Troika formation twice a year;
"• consultations between Turkish and EU experts will
be organised in certain CFSP Working Parties
"• Turkey will be regularly informed of the outcome
of the meetings of the European Council, the Council and the Political
Committee by the Presidency or the Council Secretariat;
"7. INSTITUTIONAL CO-OPERATION
"The Association Council calls for the strengthening
of the institutional framework of the Association by organising
consultative relations between Turkey and the institutions of the EU
with priority on the subject of trans-European dimension.
"8. The Association Council requests the Association
Committee to keep it regularly informed of the progress of discussions
for the development of relations, the subject of this Resolution,
enabling it to take stock of the situation in this respect."
TWO-MONTH DEADLINE TO TURKEY FROM THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
Banner headlines in Turkish dailies said on April
27, 1995, "The Turkish epic in Europe," "Another victory", "Turks shake
Europe," "Victories should not end" and "Turkey, you are great." This
victory in Europe they were celebrating was not a political kind.
Simply, it was the Turkish national team's beating the Swiss football
Thirst for violence, the Turkish media carried the
flag in the front row of the victory celebrations in which at least
five people were killed and many more injured. In every picture
published by the press and in every image given by the TV people could
be seen making the sign of the "wolf", the symbol used by the
neo-fascist MHP of the Grey Wolves.
On the same day, the Turkish dailies carried another
item — unobtrusively in the inside pages in most cases — datelined
Strasbourg which involved the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly
decision against Turkey, that is, yet another Turkish political defeat
The Assembly, at its meeting on April 26, gave
Turkey two months to fulfil certain conditions. If it fails to fulfil
these conditions by June, Turkey, a nearly half a century-old member of
that 34-member important organisation, would be suspended.
The recommendation to the Council of Europe's
ministers says the Council's executive body should consider suspending
Turkey unless it could certify in two months' time that it had brought
its record up to acceptable standards in human rights and withdrawn its
troops from northern Iraq.
The European parliamentarians, in their
recommendation, condemned the Turkish military intervention in northern
Iraq, saying that this is in violation of international law and
expressing concern over the safety of the civilian population in that
In the part concerning human rights, Turkey was
accused of failing to make the legal (and constitutional) arrangements
which would adjust its system to that of the European Council.
The Parliamentary Assembly also asked Turkey to
solve the Kurdish problem through peaceful ways.
The recommendation adopted by 112 votes against 29
led a furious reaction by the Turkish delegation and the Turkish
12 members of the Turkish delegation walked out of
the meeting and decided to boycott future sittings. They said, "We'll
not return to the Council of Europe forum until the Committee of
Ministers adopts a respectful stance towards Turkey and its state
The Turkish government, next day, made a statement
saying that the decision was unacceptable and unfair. "No institution
may impose a deadline on the Turkish Parliament for completing its
democratisation process," the government spokesman said.
The Speaker of the Turkish National Assembly,
Hüsamettin Cindoruk, accused the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council
of Europe "of considering itself as an imperial legislature which was
sending directives to the Turkish legislature as if it was a provincial
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT URGED TURKEY
The European Parliament, on April 6, 1995, urged
Turkey to halt its military operations in Northern Iraq and urged the
member states to follow Germany's example and to make future
military aid to Turkey conditional on Turkey withdrawing its troops
from northern Iraq.
The assembly also called on the European Council and
the Commission to draw up strict rules on the export of weapons in
order to prevent weapons originating in EU states from being used in
the settlement of similar conflicts.
The German Parliament had, on March 28, frozen 150
million marks in grants promised to Ankara to help with the purchase of
two German built frigates. Earlier, the German Government too had
stopped the delivery of 153 million marks worth of supplies including
armoured vehicles for the engineering corps, bridge-laying and other
engineering equipment, a supply ship, radios and spare parts.
The resolution criticised the PKK terrorism as well,
but added that the Turkish operations in northern Iraq would bring no
solution to Turkey's Kurdish problem.
Referring to its earlier resolutions which link the
customs union and improvement of the human rights situation in Turkey,
the Resolution said: "The state of human rights in Turkey is too grave
to allow for the formation of the proposed customs union at
Earlier, European Union Troika, composed of the
Union's past, present and future presidents (Germany, France and
Spain), had urged Turkey to withdraw from Iraq "as soon as possible."
ECHR TRIES TURKEY IN TURKEY
Considering the multiplication of complaints against
the Turkish regime, the European Commission of Human Rights (ECHR) in
Strasbourg has decided to carry out its investigations and hearings on
the spot in Turkey.
First, three members of the Commission went to
Diyarbakir on March 13 and took oral evidence in three cases brought by
Kurds against Turkey for violations of their rights under the European
Convention. The delegation head evidence from some of the applicants
and from villagers, lawyers, doctors, a mayor and a public prosecutor.
A member of the Commission, Hans Danelius said "the
claims are against the state, but the authorities deny the allegations.
To be able to reach a just decision, we have to listen to the
The three cases involved allegations of torture,
killings and the destruction of houses.
- In the case of Akdivar, the applicants allege that
their houses were burned down and that they were forces to leave their
- In the case of Aksoy, the applicant alleges
ill-treatment while in detention on remand.
- In the Cagirge case, the applicants allege that
several members of their family were killed and their house destroyed
as a result of the use of an explosive device fired by the Turkish
In a further move, a second delegation of 12
lawyers, on April 12, holding a secret hearing at the Justice Palace of
Ankara, investigated the said allegations as well as the others.
At the end of April 1995, 29 complaints on behalf of
50 individual applicants were under the Commission investigation.
The seven cases involve allegations of destruction
of villages, extra judicial killings, arbitrary killings,
disappearances and freedom of expression.
The individual applicants were helped to take their
grievances to Strasbourg by the Human Rights Association of Turkey
(IHD) and the Kurdistan Human Rights Project (KHRP) in London.
The KHRP has assisted over 250 individual applicants
to bring complaints before the Commission.
[For detailed information: KHRP - Room 236, Linen
Hall, 162-168 Regent Street - London W1R 5TB, Tel/Fax: O171-287 2772 or
THE TURKISH REGIME'S HYPOCRISY ON
INFO-TÜRK EDITORS' CITIZEN RIGHTS
Despite its commitment before the European
Commission of Human Rights in 1993, the Turkish Government has not yet
officially recognised the citizen rights of two Info-Türk editors,
Dogan Özgüden and Inci Tugsavul, who had been deprived of Turkish
nationality in 1983 by the decision of the military junta.
On the other hand, the Turkish diplomatic missions
have launched a campaign against the two journalists for discrediting
their work in defence of human rights in Turkey.
Özgüden (59) and Tugsavul (55), journalists
respectively since 1952 and 1960, had fled Turkey after the 1971
military coup because of more than 30 legal proceedings for their
publications and a number of arrest warrants issued by the martial law
Although some of the legal actions against them were
lifted by a general amnesty and they visited their country in 1978,
their passports were not renewed after the 1980 military coup and both,
along with more than 200 other opponents of the regime abroad, were
deprived of Turkish nationality. Besides, their entries to or exits
from Turkey were forbidden, all their belongings and social rights in
Turkey were confiscated by the State.
Already put in practice in 1983, this decision was
formally notified to themselves by the Turkish Consulate in 1988 after
that they forwarded to Prime Minister Turgut Özal some questions on the
violations of human rights in Turkey during the latter's press
conference in Brussels.
Thereupon, the two journalists applied to the
Turkish Council of State for the annulment of this antidemocratic
decision, but this demand was refused in 1990 on the pretext that the
decisions taken by the military junta cannot be made the object of any
legal proceeding according to the Constitution.
On this refusal, Özgüden and Tugsavul applied to the
European Commission of Human Rights in the same year.
In its defence sent to the Commission in 1992, the
Turkish Government claimed that the law authorising the government to
deprive anybody of Turkish nationality for political reasons was
abrogated and there was no more grounds for dealing with this
Counting on this declaration, in 1993, the European
Commission of Human Rights declared the complaint inadmissible. As for
the possible anti-democratic practices they might face in the case of
return to Turkey, the Commission reminded in its decision that it
belongs first of all to national authorities to redress any alleged
violation of the European Convention on Human Rights.
Referring to this decision, Özgüden and Tugsavul, in
a registered letter dated October 6, 1993, forwarded the following
demands to the Turkish Foreign Minister:
1. The confirmation of their reintegration to
2. The confirmation that the legal proceedings for
which they had been deprived of Turkish nationality were lifted,
3. The confirmation of the lifting of the ban on
their entries to and exits from Turkey and the delivery of a national
4. The restitution of their belongings and social
rights in Turkey.
The foreign minister of the time, Hikmet Cetin, did
not give any reply to this letter nor to the two further letters dated
February 14, 1994, and May 31, 1994, reminding these demands.
When Mümtaz Soysal took over the Foreign Ministry,
Özgüden and Tugsavul addressed to him a new registered letter with the
same demands on August 5, 1994. This letter has not been answered
either up to now.
Although the Turkish Consulate in Brussels notified
the two journalists on September 1st, 1994, that they could get
national passports, no guarantee was given them by the Turkish Foreign
Ministry against the risks of being arrested and tried in the case of
entering the country and of being subject to a ban to leave the
country. It has never been confirmed that their belongings and social
rights in Turkey were restored.
It is noteworthy the Social Security Administration
(SSK), in a reply of October 3, 1994, to their demand, refused to
recognise their right to retirement pension although Özgüden has
a 43-year and Tugsavul a 34-year professional career. According to the
social security legislation, any wage-earner has the right to
retirement pension after a 15-year professional career covered by
social security system whatsoever be the age. The SSK refusal is based
on pretext that Özgüden and Tugsavul did not pay an additional
retirement contribution during the years when they were deprived of
Campaign against Info-Türk editors
Besides, the Turkish diplomatic missions in Brussels
have been intensifying their campaign to discredit the struggle of
Özgüden and Tugsavul against the violations of human rights in Turkey
and to instigate the ultra-nationalist activists in the Turkish
community against them.
First, in their reply to Özgüden's article on the
inopportuneness of the Europalia-Turkey 1996 (Le Soir, December 23,
1994), the press counsellor of the Turkish Embassy in Brussels and an
extreme-right "journalist" in the service of the Embassy had accused
Info-Türk chief editor of "endeavouring with a suspect attention not to
touch the terrorist action of the PKK" (Le Soir, December 30, 1994) and
of "pretending to defend the Kurds, Armenians and Assyrians by biased
and incongruous thoughts." (Le Soir, January 10, 1995).
Recently, after the suspension of the
Europalia-Turkey 1996 Festival in Brussels, another Turkish journalist,
a former Maoist currently close to the Turkish Embassy, in a high
circulation Turkish daily, claiming that the two editors of Info-Türk
were effective in Europalia Foundation's decision, accused them as "a
frenetic refugee couple carrying on the mission to denounce their
country and committed to sully the fatherland on the pretext of
defending human rights and democracy." (Hürriyet, March 29, 1995).
By this attitude against two veteran journalists of
Turkey committed to defend human rights, the Turkish diplomatic
missions in Belgium and their collaborators supply a new proof of the
Turkish regime's real face hidden behind the mask of good will
CONQUEST OF "SCHWARZKOPF" HASAN PASHA
"The guilt of Dreyfus or the infamy of the General
Staff: this is the stupid dilemma in which have been shut up these
Replace "Dreyfus" by "Kurds", you can perfectly
attribute this famous judgement of French author Roger Martin du Gard
not only to the Turkish officers but also to the present rulers of the
The latest Kurd-hunting launched by the
Turkish General Staff in Northern Iraq has already put the authorities
in Ankara before an unprecedented dilemma.
As well the contradictory declarations of the
country's political and military authorities as a recent interview of
the Deputy Permanent Delegate of Turkey at the European Union (Le Soir,
March 31, 1995) are the undeniable proofs of this fact.
At the beginning, when the offensive operation was
started on March 20, 1995, Prime Minister Ciller, in a view to calm the
western reaction, justified this action as "a punctual military
operation in Northern Iraq to neutralise the PKK camps in this border
region, and to protect the innocent population against the PKK raids
started from the camps situated in Iraqi territory."
A few days later, the Number 1 of the regime,
President Süleyman Demirel declared that the operation was not to be
accomplished in a few days or in a few weeks, but it should not take a
time longer than one year.
Meanwhile, Turkish officers swore to carry on the
operation until the annihilation of all the combatants of the PKK.
Notably, the chief commander of the offensive operation, General Hasan
Kundakci, surnamed "Schwarzkopf Hasan Pasha" by the Turkish media,
said, "I cannot rest in peace in my grave if I die before the
eradication of the PKK." (Milliyet, March 22, 1995).
As for the Turkish media, about all the newspapers
and the TV stations, in a Goebbels-type frenzy, was committed to a
jihad (holy war) orchestrated by the General Staff not only against the
Kurds, but also against the Turkish or European advocates of a peaceful
solution to the Kurdish question.
Whereas, this most powerful army of the region,
since 1984, announced in each spring that it was going to annihilate
Kurdish combatants before the end of the year. Parallel to the military
operation, the repression against Kurdish peasants, suspect of
supporting the PKK, and against the partisans of a political and
peaceful solution to the Kurdish question has been reinforced. The
legal party DEP of Kurds was closed down, its deputies were deprived of
their legislative immunity and sentenced to scandalous prison terms.
Even the internationally renown Turkish novelist Yasar Kemal was
indicted for having criticised the repressive practices against the
In spite of all these measures, the Turkish State
has never been capable to eradicate the Kurdish guerrilla. Contrary to
this, the destruction of villages, the deportation of Kurdish peasants,
the assassinations by "death squads", the disappearances and torture
have exasperated the Kurdish population so as those young Kurds have
joined without any hesitation the ranks of the guerrilla.
The military speak of the presence of more than
2,500 PKK combatants in Northern Iraq. Although 35,000 Turkish soldiers
participated in the operation, according to official figures, the
number of the Kurdish combatants killed during the operation did not
pass over 500, because they could easily find refuges in the mountains
inaccessible for a classical war machine.
Is it possible to annihilate the Kurdish guerrilla
by the occupation of 8,800 Km2 in Northern Iraq as the support to it is
coming from the Kurdish population as well in Turkey and Iraq as in
Europe? To dry the human and logistic sources of the guerrilla, is the
Turkish army prepared to conquer the Turkish and European cities having
a high Kurdish density as well and to conquer again the Turkish
Kurdistan that is already under occupation.
To avoid disorder as well in Turkey as in Iraq and
the European countries welcoming Kurdish migrants and refugees, isn't
it wiser to opt a political and peaceful solution instead of this
disastrous military adventure that costs to the Turkish economy more
than $10 billion per year?
The dilemma of Ankara is so colossal that the
members of the government have each day contradicted each other by the
diametrically opposed declarations.
As Prime Minister Ciller was speaking of withdrawing
the big part of Turkish troops by leaving in Northern Iraq a unit
within the framework of the multinational presence in which the United
States take part, the new foreign affairs minister, Erdal Inönü came
against this idea and talked of a solution in complicity with Saddam
As for the military, they were openly opposing to an
immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops. In the extreme-right circles,
which are very influential within the Turkish Army, the anchluss of
Northern Iraq was again on the agenda not only for putting an end the
Kurdish hope of autonomy as well in Turkey as in Iraq, but also in the
dream of taking over the oil sources of Kirkuk and Mousul.
Nobody talked of the recognition of the legitimate
demand of the Kurds, the last nation without a State in the world, to
enjoy equal rights in the countries where they have existed for
thousands of years. Nobody talked any more of a dialogue or a political
The Turkish representative at the European Union, in
his interview, accused the Kurds of having refused a dialogue and
claimed that it is impossible to develop a solution in Parliament with
the persons preferring confrontation to dialogue.
As Kurdish deputies are suffering in prison, this
Turkish diplomat, presented by Le Soir as the "architect of the accord
of customs union with the European Union", has the audacity to talk of
a dialogue in Parliament. What kind of a dialogue? A dialogue of the
deaf or simply a monologue?
For the respect of human rights, the condition sine
qua non of the European Parliament's ratification of customs union, he
claims that the objective will be attained if the government can
could concretise more than a half of those it promised. "She [Mrs.
Ciller] tries for the time being to gather a majority as well in
Parliament as in public opinion for going further. This will be a step
by step approach, not an all or nothing approach," he said.
Is the Turkish government making fun of all the
world? Tansu Ciller, Süleyman Demirel, Erdal Inönü and Hikmet
Cetin have been in power since 1991. Which majority are they looking
for? With their majority why they have not taken a single forward step
in the field of human rights for more than three years? What does it
mean "a step by step approach?" Are the human rights an oriental carpet
to be bargained at the Covered Bazaar of Istanbul?
ANGER OF ALEVIS SHAKING TURKEY
Four days of riots and repression triggered off by a
shooting on March 12, 1995, against Alevi establishments in Istanbul
have proved in an undeniable manner the disastrous policies of the
government which lead the country to a catastrophic polarisation in
social, ethnic and philosophic fields.
Dark forces well tolerated and protected by the Army
and security forces, attacking this time Alevis, moderate Islamic
community, at the quarter of Gazi in Istanbul have provoked troubles
which finally passed over the limits of this community.
Many of about thirty victims of the riots were
killed by the security forces shooting on the demonstrators with real
The images of policemen, armed with clubs, brutally
beating the demonstrators reinforced the lack of confidence of the
public as regards the forces of order.
The riots rapidly gained dimensions showing the
general dissatisfaction of the population. The economic situation, the
oppression of Kurds, the repressive attitude of authorities were the
main factors contributing to create an explosive situation.
The Alevi community, representing 20 millions of the
60-million population, has a religious practice completely different
from that of the Sunni majority? Considered equal, men and women pray
together not in mosques but in their proper community houses (cemevi).
They do not go on a pilgrimage to Mecca and their period of fast does
not correspond to the Ramadan of Sunnis. Because of the equality of men
and women, they are always accused by the Sunni fundamentalist of
practising "Incest", a slander of which the utilisation by a television
led to a big anger in the Alevi community resulted in a number of
protest demonstrations in big cities.
Politically near to the Left, the Alevis constitute
an important brake before the rising of Sunni fundamentalism in turkey.
For this reason, they have, like Kurds and Christian minorities, been
one of the principal targets of the fundamentalist and
In 1978, hundreds of Alevis were killed during the
bloody attacks of Grey Wolves in Kahramanmaras and Corum.
In 1993, during the commemoration of Pir Sultan
Abdal, one of the historical figures of the Alevi community,
fundamentalist mob attacks a hotel in Sivas and burned to death 37
intellectuals, Alevi or in solidarity with Alevis.
After the last shooting in Istanbul, the solidarity
with the Alevi community was also organised in Europe. More than 50,000
people coming from different German cities peacefully marched in the
streets of Köln for denouncing the 12 March attempt and similar
demonstrations followed each other in other big cities of Europe.
So, just one week after the signature of the accord
of customs union with the European Community, Turkey found itself in
grave conflicts which menace its stability and can delay its coming
closer to Europe.
Le Monde of March 17, 1995, said:
"If, among the victims, there are the militants of
the Kurdish cause, isn't it the logical consequence of the ferocious
repression which strike the populations of the southeastern part of the
country. The 'dark forces' are also inside the State, among those who
are committed to eradicate the Kurdish problem by force.
"The riots of this week have also put in evidence
the gap between the political class of the country and a population hit
by the effects of a grave social crisis. It is not by chance if the
violence took place in poor quarters of big cities.
"These events have, finally, shown to which point
were strong the fractures of a society — between Turks and Kurds,
between Alevis and Sunnis, between Seculars and Moslems.
"Once again, Turkey is the face of a crucial choice.
The old structures of the State which are paternalist but also violent,
are neither morally acceptable nor capable to answer to the challenges
of the 21st century, especially in the economic field. However the
frame of a democratic Turkey seems very difficult to be built. The
support of Europe is, certainly, important for aiding Ankara in this
difficult stage. However, it will never be sufficient because it
belongs to Turks themselves to exorcise their old devils."
EUROPALIA-TURKEY 96 SUSPENDED
The controversial Europalia-Turkey 96 Festival,
under the pressure coming from democratic organisations of Belgium and
Turkey, has finally been suspended by the Europalia Foundation on March
However, the Foundation's administrative board
motivated the suspension for the financial difficulties rather than the
deplorable situation of human rights in Turkey.
In fact, considering the criticisms coming from
human rights organisations, the Flemish Community of Belgium had
already announced that it would not make any financial contribution to
the organisation of the festival. The French-speaking Community of
Belgium was retaining its reserve on the matter. As for the Belgian
federal government which had promised BF 80 million from the budget of
the national lottery, it later tied the attribution of this sum to the
condition that the cultural diversity of Turkey, mainly the Kurdish
culture, should be respected. Since the Turkish Government refuses
categorically such a condition, the Foundation failed to obtain the
contribution from Belgian public authorities.
On the decision of suspension, the Turkish
authorities and the Turkish media started a furious campaign against
the opponents of the Europalia-Turkey by labelling them as "enemies of
As for the Turkish organisers of Europalia, they
rushed to Brussels in a view of forcing the Europalia Foundation to
change their decision. To obtain the change of the decision, they
promised that Turkey was ready to provide the financing blocked by the
In an interview to the Flemish daily De Standaard of
March 31, 1995, the Turkish Commissioner of Europalia-Turkey, Bülent
Eczacibasi resorted to all possible demagogy to prove that the Turkish
government has nothing in the organisation of the festival and the
programme was prepared as the cultural diversity of Turkey be well
"Europalia-Turkey is not a governmental project. The
cultural events exclusively chosen under my competence are appreciable.
I have a full autonomy for the selection of my staff and my counsellors
of the different ethnic groups," he said.
Whereas, in the eyes of the Turkish rulers,
Europalia is entirely a governmental project. The idea of
Europalia-Turkey had been launched more than three years ago by the
President Turgut Özal. Even before the signature of the accord, Turkish
Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin, currently Vice-Premier, had held a
series of meetings with Turkish businessmen for persuading them to
contribute maximum to the financing of the festival in a view to win
over Europe thanks to this cultural festival.
The pro-government newspapers had announced the
signature of the accord in January 1994 by the following headlines: "It
is Belgium that will make us recognized in Europe!" "A historical
occasion!" "Turkish flags in Brussels!" "A European chance for Turkey!"
According to a law adopted by the Turkish National
Assembly on September 22, 1994, the organisation of Europalia 96 is
considered as an operation of the Turkish State's propaganda apparatus.
The law first describes Europalia as a "festival
comprising events in political, economic, commercial, cultural, social
and tourist fields."
The organisation of the festival is conducted by the
National Europalia Board of Turkey chaired by a State Secretary and
composed of the representatives of foreign affairs, finance, culture
and tourism ministries.
The Turkish commissioner of Europalia, that is Mr.
Eczacibasi, was appointed by a political decision of the Turkish
Government. He depends on the National Europalia Board of Turkey. In
the law there is not any word concerning "full autonomy" of the
"Since the beginning, we have been very attentive
that the programmes be well-balanced and treat all aspects of the
Turkish culture as Kurdish music, dances and handicrafts, contemporary
Armenian composers, Bulgarian music, Byzantine and Jewish art..." he
First of all, with this declaration, the Turkish
commissioner perfectly admits that the other cultures of Anatolia are
considered as "different aspects of the Turkish culture." He does not
consider the culture of the other peoples as independent.
Secondly, for an equitable presentation of all
Anatolian cultures, the representatives of these communities should
take their place in all bodies of the Europalia Festival, that is
National Council, Executive Committee, subcommittees as well as in the
staff of technical and artistic counsellors.
Whereas, at the administrative bodies there is not a
single representative of these communities. As for the counsellors, in
the staff constituted by Eczacibasi himself, there are only two
businessmen belonging to minorities. Always in relations of interest
with the Turkish Government, these two businessmen have been accepted
to the staff for benefiting from their competence in the field of
advertisement and collecting funds.
"We are working perfectly together with the Orthodox
Patriarchate in Istanbul," said Eczacibasi.
Without having integrated in the said bodies a
representative of the Greek Community, how do they work perfectly
Besides, isn't it the Interior Minister of the
present government who accused Greek Orthodox Patriarch Bartelemos of
having led anti-Turkish activities abroad? (Info-Türk, Nov-Dec 1994)
Isn't it the same government which prevented a
delegation of Turkey's Armenian community from participating in the
election of the new Armenian spiritual chief in Armenia? (Info-Türk,
Isn't it the Education Minister of the same
government who started new pressures on the Armenian schools in Turkey
(Info-Türk, Jan-Feb 1995).
In reply to a question concerning Turkish refusal of
a separate exhibition on Kurdish culture, Turkish commissioner said:
"Whosoever recognises Turkey knows that it is not
possible to distinct a component and to organise an independent event
on it. Our philosophy is clear: The Turkish culture is an ensemble
having many facets."
Again the same official Turkish mentality denying
the autonomy of each culture. Instead of respecting the diversity of
all cultures, the Turkish regime makes all the possible in order to
assimilate the richness of these cultures to the culture of the
Mr. Eczacibasi's these words are a perfect admission
of the Turkish regime's chauvinism.
Such a philosophy is always refused by the Kurds and
other minorities, how can Europalia 1996 represent the real splendour
of the thousands' years old cultures?
In reply to another question concerning the fact
that the Turkish government's policy as regards minorities seems
repugnant to Western Europe, Eczacibasi said:
"This criticism is juste. But if you want to punish
our country, it is not a good solution to suspend Europalia. So, you
punish the progressive side of the Turkish society."
If Mr. Eczacibasi, in spite of his assimilationnist
philosophy, admits that the policy against minorities is repugnant, how
does he consider the suspension of Europalia as a punishment of his
country? Turkey is not a country belonging only Turks, but also to
thousands years old other peoples. Then, such a suspension is a gesture
to save the honour of the country rather than punishing it.
As for the progressive side of the Turkish society,
hundreds of Turkish intellectuals still suffer in prisons for having
cried that the country belongs not only to Turks, but also to Kurds and
other ethnic minorities.
It is enough to look at the chronological lists of
the prosecution of Turkish intellectuals in Info-Türk's columns. The
progressive side of the society is continuously punished not by
Europeans but by the Turkish Government to which Mr. Eczacibasi serves
"Our work is not an attempt to make approve the
official policies. To criticise a country is one thing, to ill-treat
its culture is another."
Mr. Eczacibasi makes himself radicalised by this
claim while he was, as explained above, appointed as commissioner by a
political power which thinks only to exploit Europalia as an instrument
of the regime's propaganda.
The critics of Europalia-Turquie do not ill-treat
the cultures of Anatolia, but wish that these cultures be represented
in an honourable way without the interference of a political power
which has always proved its choice to ill-treat the men and women of
"Even during the dark days of Communism in the USSR,
Europe did not behave in such a way as regards its artists and
cultures," he said.
A deplorable demagogy that proves the ignorance of
Mr. Commissioner. Neither the Soviet Union nor any other European
country has been chosen for Europalia when it was under dictatorship.
Spain, Portugal and Greece have been subject of Europalia after their
fascist regime collapsed.
It should be reminded that, before Europalia, Nazi
Germany had never been chosen as the subject of such an international
Were not they the countries having cultures as
splendid and rich as that of Turkey?
The Turkish Commissioner's arguments are very far
from justifying an Europalia-Turkey and will remain so as far as Turkey
does not respect the rights of its minorities and the freedoms of its
intellectuals and artists.
Have the Belgian administrators of the Europalia
Foundation been convinced by these ridiculous arguments? Will they
change again their mind and restart the preparations of
Europalia-Turkey for the sake of a financial reward promised by their
Such a financial reward of a few millions dollars
will be a low cost bribe for a warmonger government which wastes each
year more than 10 billions Dollars of the State for a dirty war in
Democratic forces of Belgium and Turkey expect the
Europalia Foundation to suspend definitively Europalia-Turkey if it
does not wish that Europalia 96 go down in history as the Festival of
CILLER'S NEW CONTROVERSIAL RANCH
The daily Hürriyet reported on February 27 that a
Dallas-type "second prime ministry residence" had been built on a
90-acre plot near the Aegean tourist resort of Kusadasi with three
satellite antennae and a private electricity generating system.
Prime Minister Ciller's husband Özer Ciller said it
was a "90 square meter cottage" and that the estate had nothing to do
with the Ciller family, belonging entirely to Tansu Ciller's secretary
Suna Pelister, who is very close to the Ciller family.
However there are certain questions which must be
- Where did Suna Pelister find the money to by the
TL 3 billion worth complex with its ranch and the villa decorated with
- If it indeed belongs to Suna Pelister, how come
Özer Ciller's close friend Orhan Özbas left all his work aside to take
care of the construction activity at the "cottage"?
- How come the rod linking the ranch to a nearby
highway was built by the Ministry of Agriculture Rural Service
Department at lightning speed?
Prime Minister has been the object of heavy
criticisms for her doubtful wealth in Turkey and in the USA, estimated
at more than 60 Million Dollars?
During her recent visit to the United States, at a
press conference at the Ritz Carlton Hotel, a Turkish journalist asked
her about the amount of tax she pays for her real estate in the United
The question angered her so much that she made an
abrupt gesture which broke her pen. The Anatolia news agency filmed the
scene but the footage was not distributed to their subscribers because
those around Ciller gave the agency instructions to this effect.
A PUBLISHER PUT IN PRISON
The former director of the publishing House
Evrensel, Mrs. Semra Caralan was put in Bayrampasa Prison in Istanbul
for serving a 5-month imprisonment.
She had been sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to
imprisonment as well as a fine of TL 42 million for having published a
book entitled The Conference Documents. The sentences was ratified by
the Court of Cassation.
On April 6, the director of the Yurt Publishing
House, Ünsal Öztürk was sentenced by a penal court of Ankara to 9
months in prison for having published Besikci's book The Ismail Besikci
Case 5. The prison term is later commuted to a fine of TL 1 million 350
thousand. He is accused of having insulted the judicial system and
ANOTHER BOOK ON GENOCIDE FORBIDDEN
As the Turkish Government pretends to respect
minority rights in Turkey, the Istanbul State Security Court has
recently forbidden the sale and distribution of an academic work
entitled Genocide, as a question of national and international law -
The 1915 Armenian Event and Its Consequences.
This work was written by the New York State
University professor Vahakn N. Dadrian and first published in Yale
Journal of International Law (Volume 14, N°2, 1989).
The Turkish translation of the book was published by
the Belge Publishing House. The director of the publishing house, Mrs.
Ayse Zarakolu faces a new legal proceeding for separatist propaganda.
Mrs. Ayse Zarakolu had already been sentenced to two
years in prison and a fine of TL 250 million for having published Yves
Ternon's work Armenian Taboo. (See: Info-Türk, Jan-Feb 95)
The Istanbul SSC, in the recently issued motifs of
its decision, justified the condemnation of Mrs. Ayse Zarakolu as
publisher by the doubt if it really exists a person named Yves Ternon.
Whereas, Yves Ternon is an internationally renown authority on the
question of Armenian Genocide and his work was first published in
French by Seuil Publishing House under the title of Les Arméniens,
histoire d'un genocide in 1977 in Paris.
Beside Mrs. Zarakolu, the court also decided to
institute legal proceedings against Abdülkadir Konuk, translator of the
book, and journalist Ragip Zarakolu, who wrote a preface to the book.
The Belge Publishing House, in a press release,
accused the government headed by university professor Tansu Ciller of
banning academic works of foreign university professors in Turkey.
It also reminds that the original of Prof. Dadrian's
book was published by the Yale University where Premier Ciller had a
part of her academic education.
On the other hand, on March 20, Mrs. Ayse Zarakolu
was sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to six months in prison and TL 50
million in fine for having published Hasan Bildirici's book Bekaa about
In a campaign to mark International Women's Day on
March 8, 1995, members of International PEN world-wide focused on the
case of Mr. Aysenur Zarakolu along with two other women intellectuals,
Burmese writer Daw San San Nwe who is serving a long prison term and
Guatemalan writer Alaide Foppa de Solorzano who disappeared in 1980.
RIDICULOUS BAN ON BANANAS
Izmir Mayor Burhanettin Özfatura, on February 25,
linking the "Dole" brand bananas with Senator US Robert Dole, said that
the "anti-Turkish" senator's product would not be sold in chain stores
owned by the municipality.
Senator Dole is regarded by the Turkish authorities
as anti-Turkish for his sponsoring of an "Armenian Genocide Bill"
concerning the massacre of 1.5 million Armenians by the order of
Ottoman rulers in 1915, and for his close connections with the Armenian
lobby in the United States.
However, a spokesman for Dole Food Co. of California
denied the Turkish mayor's claim and their company had no connection
with the Senate majority leader. The company's founder James Dole, who
died in 1972, was not related to Senator Robert Dole, he added.
The US Embassy in Ankara similarly said on February
26 that they knew of no links between the senator and the banana brand.
NEW DAILY YENI POLITIKA UNDER PRESSURE
After silencing of two daily newspapers, Özgür
Gündem and Özgür Ülke who courageously defended the rights of the
Kurdish people and disclosed the atrocity of the state security forces
in the Turkish Kurdistan (See: Info-Türk, Jan-Feb 1994), a new daily
newspaper started was launched on April 13 under the title of Yeni
Politika by a group of human rights militants.
However, this new daily too has immediately fallen
under repressive practices of the Turkish authorities.
Prior to it publication, on April 7, the office of
the daily Yeni Politika in Istanbul was raided and searched by police.
After the publication, almost all issues of Yeni
Politika were confiscated by the Istanbul SSC were confiscated for
separatist propaganda by virtue of articles 6 and 8 of the Anti-Terror
Law. The confiscating operation, according to a decision taken by the
National Security Council, is very often carried out at the printing
house before the distribution on pretext that some articles in the
newspapers contravene the ATL. If the issue is reprinted with blank
columns in the place of the original article, the security forces,
considering it a new crime, confiscate it as well.
Subject to the same pressure, the weekly Newroz had
to stop its publication on April 25 because of financial difficulties.
According to the editors, 54 out of 57 published issues of Newroz have
been confiscated either at the printing house or during the
AN OVERWHELMING REPORT ON MINORITIES IN TURKEY
A group of human rights activists belonging to
different ethnic groups of Turkey, at a press conference held on March
22, 1995, at the Belgian Parliament House, presented an overwhelming
report on the situation of the minorities in Turkey and called on all
international institutions to take initiative for putting an end to the
national oppression in this country.
The 44-page report entitled La Turquie face à ses
minorités (Turkey facing its minorities) published by Droits de l'Homme
Sans Frontières (Human Rights Without Frontiers) is composed of a
series of articles written by Willy Kuijpers, Belgian Senator; Dogan
Özgüden, Info-Türk editor; Pervine Jamil, Chairwoman of the Brussels
Kurdish Institute; Claude Selis, Dominican orientalist; Panayote Elias
Dimitras, spokesman of Greek Helsinki Monitor in Athens; Christine
Flamand, Belgian lawyer.
At the press conference headed by Senator Kuijpers,
Human Rights Without Frontiers editor Willy Fautré gave a detailed
explanation on the different aspects of the national oppression in
Turkey, and said:
"If Turkey wishes to keep its place in the community
of European nations and to have a solid hope of adhesion to the
European Union, it has to sign the Frame-Convention for the protection
of national minorities and to respect the rights of the persons
belonging to its ethnic and religious minorities. The suspension of
Europalia-Turkey, the difficulties accumulated on the road of customs
union with the European Union, the demand of its expulsion from the
Council of Europe, presented by the Socialist Group of the CE
Parliamentary Assembly, constitute enough signals of alarm for a
country regularly put in the pillory because of its bad records of
The report gives the data of 1994 concerning
thousands of killings and woundings at the war in South-East Turkey;
hundreds of Kurdish and Christian villages and hamlets destroyed or
burnt by security forces; a number of cases of disappearances,
kidnappings, tortures, mutilations by mines and assassinations of
people belonging to these minorities; thousands of Kurdish, Assyrian
and Armenian families seeking asylum in the European Union countries;
hundreds of sites and monuments belonging to the historical,
architectural and artistic patrimony of the minorities under the menace
At the press conference, Human Rights Without
Frontiers asked for that regular reports be presented to the European
Parliament, the Council of Europe and the European Court on the matter
of respecting fundamental human rights, and in particularly, the rights
of the people belonging to ethnic and religious minorities and that
these reports condition the development the relations between the
European Union and Turkey. According to the organisation, the
progressive integration of this country into the European Union
requires that "it conforms its legislation and attitudes on the matter
of human rights and religious liberties to the European Convention."
As a conclusion, Human Rights Without Frontiers
addressed to the Turkish authorities a number of recommendations in the
field of fundamental rights concerning culture, education, language and
religious freedom. It called on them to recognise to the members of the
ethnic and religious minorities the right to teach and practice their
proper religion, to maintain, restore and enlarge, freely and without
any interference or discrimination, their religious edifices.
[This report entitled La Turquie face à ses
minorités can be ordered to Droits de l'Homme Sans Frontières - B.P.1 -
7090 Braine-le-Compte, Belgium. Tel: 067-33 39 95 , Fax: 067-33 63 45]
NEW SENTENCES TO ISMAIL BESIKCI
A nine-month imprisonment against sociologist Ismail
Besikci was ratified by the Court of Cassation on March 18.
Besikci had been sentenced by a penal court of
Ankara to nine months for his book entitled The Ismail Besikci Case
from the point of view of university autonomy and democratic society
With the ratification of this sentence, the total
prison terms ratified by higher court has reached 23 years and three
months. The ratified fines against him totals at TL 1 billion 850
Since Besikci who has spent many years in prison
does have financial possibilities to pay this sum, his fines too will
be commuted to new prison terms.
In one of his other pending trials, on March 30,
Besikci was sentenced by the Ankara SSC to two years in prison and TL
250 million in fine for separatist propaganda in an article he wrote in
1993 to the Human Rights Bulletin of the IHD.
At the same trial, IHD Secretary General Hüsnü Öndül
too is sentenced to six months in prison and TL 56 million in fine for
having published this article.
WRITERS AT THE SECURITY COURT
Istanbul State Security Court started on April 17 to
take the depositions of the self-claimed contributors of the book
Freedom of Thought and Turkey. The book, a collection of 11 articles by
various authors including Yasar Kemal.
Kemal's article in the book, which had appeared
earlier in the German magazine Der Spiegel, accused the government of
suppressing Kurds in south-eastern Turkey. He was charged with
promoting Kurdish separatism following the article's publication.
1080 Turkish intellectuals consisting of artists,
writers, journalists and trade union leaders have also claimed to be
the publisher of the book and declared themselves responsible for
publishing the book in support of Yasar Kemal and Erdal Öz, the real
publisher of the book.
An additional 50,000 have signed petitions declaring
Speaking on behalf of the 50 intellectuals who went
to the Istanbul SSC said, "Either thought will be freed from jail, or
else we will go to jail" noting that there was still no freedom of
thought in Turkey.
KURDISH PARLIAMENT-IN-EXILE FOUNDED
Despite the Turkish Government's attempts of
obstruction, the Kurdish Parliament-in-exile held its opening meeting
on March 12, 1995, in The Hague.
As more than 2,000 Kurds were raising flags of
yellow, red and green which are considered the traditional Kurdish
colours, 65 members of the Parliament took the oath of office in The
Hague's main conference centre.`
The opening ceremony was also attended by hundreds
of European and Kurdish personalities.
The spokesmen of the Kurdish Parliament said that
the centuries of oppression have forced almost half of their people to
live outside their homeland that lies around the upper Tigris and
Euphrates rivers and across the borders of Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq.
Kurdish writer Ismet Serif Vanli, opening the
meeting, said the parliament constituted the first step towards a
Kurdistan National Congress, uniting with the parliament of the
Kurdistan provinces to fight for national liberation. Seeking
diplomatic and political relations with the international community, he
called for the unconditional release of all political prisoners, the
acceptance of Kurds as a distinct people and observer status for the
parliament at the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the OSCE.
A resolution adopted by the first session of the
parliament stated, "The Parliament supports the peaceful solution of
the ongoing issues through democratic means."
The Kurdish parliament elected chairman the former
DEP chairman Yasar Kaya and founded an Executive Council.
The 15-member Council includes former DEP deputy
Zübeyir Aydar as chairman, former DEP deputy Remzi Kartal as Secretary
and Ali Sapan, a representative of the Kurdistan National Liberation
Front (ERNK), as spokesman.
Furious against the Dutch authorities who allowed
the Parliament to open in The Hague, Turkish Foreign Minister Erdal
Inönü said it was not possible to characterise the stance of
Netherland's government as friendly. In a further step of protest,
Turkey called back its ambassador.
The Turkish diplomatic missions in Europe later on
mobilised pro-government and extreme-right Turkish organisations to
hold a protest demonstration in The Hague on April 23. Over 100,000
Turkish migrant workers took part in the rally and protest against the
"Dutch support for the separatists."
"KURDS TREATED WORSE THAN ANIMALS"
German Labour Minister Nobert Bluem, on March 26,
1995, accused the Turkish authorities of treating Kurds worse than
animals and said NATO could not stand idly by while Kurds' human rights
In a guest column for the German weekly Bild am
Sonntag, Bluem said his positive image of Turkey was shattered in April
1991 when he visited Kurdish refugee camps on the Iraqi-Turkish border
and saw children and old people suffering.
"These were not all terrorists, but people who had
fled to save their lives. Since then I have known that one cannot treat
even animals the way Turks treat Kurds," he said.
NGOs ACCUSED OF SUBVERSIVE ACTIVITIES
Angry of Europe's reaction against the Army's
operations in Iraq, the Turkish authorities and press started an
unprecedented campaign against western political and human rights
Referring to the "findings" of the Turkish
intelligence services in the occupied zone of northern Iraq, the daily
Hürriyet of April 11, under the headline of "Northern Iraq is teeming
with agents", claims that many members of NGO missions in the area were
in fact provocative agents instigating Kurds against Turkey.
In the same issue, Hürriyet published a list of
non-government organisations which have missions in northern Iraq and
raised doubt as regards their activities. The following is the list of
UN Iraq Relief Coordination Unit, UNICEF, FAO, UN
Guard Contingent in Iraq, A Community Oriented Rehabilitation, Aide
Médicale Internationale, UN World Food Programme, UN High Commissioner
for Refugees, UN World Health Organization, Association for Development
of Cooperation, Association for Participation in Development,
Broederlijk Delen, Arbeiter Samariter Bund, CARE, Concern for Kurds,
Care for the Kurds, Centro Internazionale di Cooperazione alle
Sviluppo, Children's Relief Association, Dutch Consortium, Diakonia,
European Community Humanitarian Office, EquiLibre, English Resource
Centre, the Foundation for Human Rights in Asia, France Libertés,
Global Partners, Humanitarian Aid and Development Organization,
Handicap International, Horizont International, International Catholic
Migration Commission, Impact Teams International, Mines Advisory Group,
Medico International, Médecine du Monde, Middle East Development
Services, Northwest Medical Teams International, US Office of Foreign
Disaster Assistance, Operation Mercy, OXFAM, Pharmaciens sans
Frontières, OUANDIL, 4Rs (Response, Relief, Resettlement;
Rehabilitation, Shelter Now International, Third World Development
Organization, WADI, World in Need, Wells of Life.
STATE TERRORISM IN TWO MONTHS
1.3, the IHD Diyarbakir office was reportedly raided
on February 27 by police. Four Human Rights Association (IHD)
officials, lawyer Sinan Tanrikulu, lawyer Firat Alni (also HADEP
provincial chairman), Serif Atmaca, Hanefi Isik and IHD employee Servet
Ayhan were taken into custody.
1.3, the houses of IHD Istanbul Chairman Ercan Kanar
and another administrator, Mercan Güclü, are raided and searched by
police in Istanbul.
1.3, imam Hasan Hüseyin Kiymis is sentenced by a
penal court of Istanbul to one-year imprisonment for having insulted
the Republic's founder Atatürk.
1.3, the female prisoners' section of the Buca
Prison in Izmir is raided by guards and gendarmes on pretext that some
prisoners refused to go to tribunal. About 20 prisoners are seriously
wounded. Same day, some other prisoners returning from their trial are
also beaten at the prison.
3.3, in Adana, 18-year old Nebil Polat is found
4.3, in Adana, Resit Simsek and Hüseyin Kurt are
shot dead by unidentified gunmen.
5.3, a female prisoner, Latife Ereren is found
assassinated at the Bayrampasa Prison in Istanbul.
6.3, during a two-day operation in Ankara police
detain 15 youths for participating in underground activities
7.3, the number of school teachers who have been
subjected to disciplinary measures for having participated in a protest
action on December 29, 1994, reaches 40 thousands.
7.3, the special children's tribunals have
reportedly tried 5.843 minors in 1994 and half of the trials ended in a
judgement. Of the latter, 67.7% were sentenced to prison terms or
fines. 75% of the children were accused of theft, 7% of killing or
wounding and 4% sexual harassment.
7.3, in Adana, a restaurant owner, Mehmet Emin Tunc,
claims to have been tortured and insulted after being detained during a
police raid on his house.
7.3, in Gebze, neo-fascist MHP militants provoke a
conflict between Turks and Kurds during which four people are stabbed.
9.3, Sirnak deputy Mahmut Alniak is stopped at the
Ankara Airport as boarding an airplane in order to attend a meeting of
the Greens' Party in Germany. Police also confiscate his diplomatic
9.3, in Ankara, during a one-week operation, police
have taken into custody more than twenty people for participating in
the activities of illegal organisations.
11.3, Tarsus chairman of the Workers' Party (IP),
Hüseyin Parlatici is shot dead by unidentified gunmen.
12.3, in Istanbul, five members of the Socialist
Power Party (SIP), Hüseyin Topaloglu, Esma Kocabasoglu, Levent Baltaci,
Cigdem Özen and Ahmet Hamdi Samancilar, claim to have been tortured
after being detained as distributing tracts in protest against the
attacks on university students.
12.3, in Batman, former HADEP chairman Ihsan Calar
and twelve other people were taken into custody during police
operations carried out in February.
12.3, in Batman, Selim Müjdeci who was shot on March
1 by unidentified gunmen dies in a hospital.
13.3, taxi driver Tahsin Kaplan is assassinated with
an axe by unidentified assailants.
14.3, in Siverek, unidentified gunmen shoot dead
Ihsan Özbay and wounded his sister Meryem Özbay. Same day, in
Diyarbakir, Aslan Kabaaltinda falls victim of a political murder.
15.3, in Ankara, more than 60 people, mainly
university students, are taken into custody during a series of police
16.3, in Istanbul, police detain nine people for
taking part in Dev-Sol activities.
18.3, in Balikesir, 17-year old E.E. claims to have
been tortured after being detained by police on March 15. The torture
is certified by legal medicine with a ten-day incapacity report.
19.3, a woman named Gülistan Sevimlikurt who was
wounded at the explosion of a Molotov cocktail on March 14 in Istanbul
dies at a hospital.
21.3, in Diyarbakir, a military patrol shot dead a
car driver, Haci Polat, for not having stopped his vehicle despite the
order to stop.`
22.3, the Malatya SSC sentences six people to
life-prison for having taken part in the activities of the
Workers'-Peasants' Liberation Army of Turkey (TIKKO).
23.3, in Bursa, eight alleged militants of the
Marxist Leninist Communist Party-Liberation (MLKP-K) are taken to
26.3, in Adana, Semsettin Cengiz, Asiye Karahan and
Fatma Karahan claim to have been tortured at the police headquarters
and asks for treatment by the TIHV Rehabilitation Centre.
26.3, the IHD Ankara section reports the arrest of
more than 200 people in March in the capital city. Some of the
detainees claim to have been tortured during their interrogation.
26.3, in Istanbul, seven high school students are
taken to police custody for distributing leaflets without preliminary
26.3, unidentified gunmen open fire on the Kirsehir
office of the Human Rights Association (IHD).
27.3, in Cizre, six Germans, Ute Rotermund, Marco
Meyenschen, Helmut Klaas Sem, Thorsten Müller, Albrecht Müller and
Oliver Kontany as well as a Belgian, Koem Raad Opgeuhaffen are taken
police custody and expelled from the city.
28.3, in Ankara, Haydar Uzun and Songül Yarar claim
to have been tortured after being detained by police.
28.3, in Istanbul, lawyer Atilla Tanman is subjected
to torture at the Beyoglu Police Station after his detention for a
quarrel with two persons.
28.3, in Izmir, seventeen people are placed under
arrest for taking part in the activities of the People's Revolutionary
Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).
29.3, in Ankara, tradesman Mustafa Gölhan and
university student Sükrü Keser are reported to have been tortured
during their police detention.
29.3, the Istanbul SSC Prosecutor opens a trial
against three alleged PKK militants. Accused of armed actions, each
faces capital punishment.
29.3, an IHD official, lawyer Sait Kiran is indicted
by the Ankara SSC Prosecutor for his speech at a meeting. Accused of
separatist propaganda, he faces imprisonment of up to five years.
30.3, a youth named Hakan Cabuk who was wounded by
police during a demonstration on March 15 in protest against the
Gaziosmanpasa incidents dies at a hospital.
30.3, in Samandag, former HADEP chairman Mehmet
Latifeci is shot dead by unidentified gunmen. During the attack, four
other people are seriously wounded.
31.3, in Yüregir, unidentified assailants opening
fire to a cafe shoot dead Ercan Agver and wound three people.
2.4, during recent police operations in Tunceli, IHD
local chairman Ali Ekber Kaya and some of his relatives, Cigdem Kaya,
Sabriye Ural, Kamer Ural, Besi Demir and Kamer Demir are taken into
3.4, security forces took into custody 13 alleged
members of the Marxist Leninist Communist Party-Liberation (MLKP-K) in
Istanbul and nine alleged PKK members in Adana.
4.4, in Adana, tradesman Mustafa Gül claims to have
been tortured after being detained on March 24. The legal medicine
certifies a 15-day incapacity because of torture.
4.4, in Diyarbakir, a woman named Zehra Kilicaslan
falls victim of an armed attack by unidentified gunmen. Same day in the
same city, Hüsamettin Özkumus is assassinated by assailants using axes.
5.4, in Gaziantep, police raiding a house shoot dead
two alleged Dev-Sol militants.
5.4, security forces detain ten high school students
in Izmir and four people in Istanbul.
6.4, Erdogan Ocak claims that his son Hasan Ocak has
disappeared since his detention on March 21.
6.4, in Mardin, 26 people are taken into custody for
having participated in a number of armed actions of the Hizbullah.
7.4, in Tunceli, the Mayor of the district of
Nazimiye, Kemal Tekin is shot dead by two unidentified gunmen. The
assassination is claimed by the PKK.
7.4, IHD Tunceli Chairman Ali Ekber and three other
persons are placed under arrest by a court decision.
7.4, in Tatvan, two brothers named Emin and Veysi
Erim die at the explosion of a grenade they found. Same day, Kamil Öke
and Mahmut Aric fall victims of the explosion of mines laid by security
10.4, in Istanbul, nine university students are
taken into custody as distributing leaflets in protest against
university entrance exams.
11.4, IHD Chairman Akin Birdal and three other human
rights activists, former deputy Hüsnü Okcuoglu, lawyer Ali Yildirim and
doctor Alparslan Berktas are acquitted at the Ankara SSC where they
have been tried for their speeches during the 1992 Human Rights Week.
11.4, security forces announce the arrest of 14
alleged PKK members in Istanbul.
12.4, in Ankara, 14-year old Halil Can Dogan claims
to have been tortured by police after his detention during an
12.4, in Ankara, police raiding a house shoot dead
three alleged DHKP-C militants, Mustafa Selcuk, Sirin Erol and Seyhan
Akyildiz. The eyewitnesses accuse the police of having executed them
instead of trying to arrest them.
12.4, in Izmir, 28 cargo workers carrying on a
protest action are taken into police custody.
12.4, unidentified gunmen shoot dead HADEP member
Rüstem Akan in Yüregir.
13.4, Atilla Baris, kidnapped two weeks ago in Mus
by unidentified assailants, is found assassinated.
13.4, in Dogubeyazit, two girls named Filiz Gültekin
and Ipek Gültekin die at the explosion of a grenade that they found.
16.4, in Diyarbakir, Memduh Özgen is assassinated
with axe by unidentified assailants. Same day, Abdullah Karaca is shot
dead in the same city.
16.4, a group of German human rights activists are
taken into custody in Diyarbakir as they are carrying on an inquiry on
the situation in the emergency law region. Peter Senger, Johanna
Stockner, Friedrich Clemens, Heidi Clemens, Adelheid Sendik, Maria
Seipel, Klaus Schceev, Beste Rudolph, Daniel Rosenthal, Claus Shickova
and Beatrice Obrger, after their interrogation by the SSC, are expelled
17.4, Emine Ocak and Gülsen Birsen Gülünay,
respectively mother and wife of two disappeared persons are sentenced
by the Ankara SSC to one-month imprisonment each for insulting the
17.4, in Kiziltepe, Selahattin Yilmaz dies at the
explosion of a mine laid by security forces and three other persons
18.4, in Tarsus, Hüseyin Tinic claims to have been
tortured for 24 hours after being detained on April 14 during a raid on
19.4, in Istanbul, 21 people are taken into custody
on charges of participating in DHKP-C activities.
19.4, the Izmir SSC sentences eight PKK defendants
to prison terms of up to twelve years.
21.4, in Kagizman, 14-year old Kamil Yilmaz dies at
the explosion of a grenade he found. Three other children are gravely
25.4, the Court of Cassation ratifies the sentences
against 15 human rights activists in Diyarbakir. Because of a press
release on behalf of the Democracy Platform, each was sentenced by the
Diyarbakir SSC to 20 months in prison and TL 208 million in fine. Among
them are journalists, trade unionists and chairman of associations.
25.4, security forces arrest more than 20 people in
Ankara and eight people in Adana for participating in the activities of
26.4, in Ankara, Mustafa Ugur Akkaya and Baris
Alparslan, detained on April 25 as distributing May Day leaflets, claim
after their release to have been tortured by police.
26.4, HADEP Vice-chairman Sahabettin Özarslaner and
ten other party members are taken into custody on charges of having
relations with PKK.
27.4, a public servant, Ferhan Eser who was
kidnapped by unidentified assailants in Diyarbakir on April 13 is found
assassinated at the district of Pirinclik. He was earlier taken to
police custody for aiding PKK and released.
27.4, in Ankara, Mürsel Mutlu claims to have been
tortured at the Anafartalar Police Station.
PERSECUTION OF THE MEDIA IN TWO MONTHS
1.3, the correspondent of the Greek newspaper
Adosmaftos Typos, Ionnis Kokkidis, and his translator Mikail Gunis were
reportedly taken custody on February 27 by police raiding the hotel
where they stayed in Diyarbakir.
3.3, Greek journalist Kokkidis and his translator
are sent back to Greece after being kept under custody for five days.
5.3, two periodicals, Sosyalist Kadin and Realite,
are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for publication inciting to
hostility and separatist propaganda.
8.3, the public prosecutor starts a legal proceeding
against three journalists of the daily Sabah, responsible editor Battal
Yörükoglu, columnist Güngör Mengi and correspondent Okan Müderrisoglu,
on charges of insulting National Defence Minister Mehmet Gölhan. Each
faces one-year imprisonment.
9.3, the publication of the weekly Denge Azadi is
banned by the decision of a penal court in Istanbul. The decision is
taken on pretext that Denge Azadi is a continuation of the defunct
weekly Azadi that was also banned from publication. All 42 issues of
the Denge Azadi published since May 20, 1994, have been confiscated by
the decision of the Istanbul SSC.
12.3, three periodicals, Atilim N°22, Özgür Genclik
N°5 and Emekcinin Alinteri No°1 are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for
separatist propaganda and praising some underground organisations.
14.3, five local radio stations in Ankara, Mozaik,
Cagdas, Imaj, Arkadas and Cankaya, are reportedly threatened by police
for having broadcasting uncensored news concerning the Gaziosmanpasa
incidents. The directors of the first three radio stations,
respectively Deran Ata, Erdinc Özatan and Cumhur Buyurun are taken to
14.3, the Radio-TV Higher Board issues warning
against Kanal D and HBB TV stations as well as some local radio
stations for their comments about the Gaziosmanpasa events.
18.3, two books published by the Deng Publishing
House are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
The Kurdish Question, Peace and Democracy was written by Ali Dicleli
and The Kurds-Their Fight for Life and Cultural Rights by Zuhdi El
20.3, a book festival programmed for March 27-30 in
Kusadasi is banned by the decision of the district governor.
21.3, journalist-novelist Dursun Akcam living in
Germany is detained at the Ankara Airport when he came to visit his
country, but released after interrogation at police station. He fled
Turkey after the 1980 coup.
23.3, the Radio TV Higher Board decides to ban the
broadcasting of the Sky TV in Izmir for one day and to issue warnings
against three TV stations in Istanbul, Show TV, ATV and Interstar as
well as two local radio stations, Yenisehir Yörem FM in Bursa and Gözde
FM in Sinop.
26.3, a correspondent of the defunct daily Özgür
Ülke, Aslan Sarac claims to have been tortured during his two-day
police detention in Adana.
27.3, the last issue of the weekly Aydinlik is
confiscated on pretext that the dates on the inner pages are different
from that on the cover.
28.3, a correspondent of the periodical Atilim,
Veysel Ceylan is arrested as covering a police intervention in a
31.3, PKK militants kidnap Reuters correspondent
Fatih Saribas and Agence France Presse correspondent Kadir Gürsel
between Cizre and Nusaybin.
2.4, in Konya, Ilkezgi Bookshop is destroyed by
unidentified assailants with stones and clubs.
5.4, two Finnish journalists, Leana Reikko and
Iletom Kankonen are taken to custody in Diyarbakir and sent to Istanbul
for expulsion from Turkey. All their materials are confiscated.
7.4, movie star Ilyas Salman and showman Cem Özer
are tried by a penal court of Istanbul for a program broadcasted by
Interstar TV in 1992. Under the charge of insulting the Army and the
judicial system, each faces a prison term of up to five years.
18.4, a book entitled Yilmaz Güney, A Human,
Militant and Artist, is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for instigating
people to regional and racial hostility. The book contains memoirs of
the renowned film director who died in exile.
19.4, in Izmir, Yeni Asir reporter Ramazan Akin is
harassed by policemen and his camera destroyed.
21.4, the director of the Pencere Publishing House,
Muzaffer Erdogdu is sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to six months in
prison and TL 50 million in fine for separatist propaganda in a book
entitled The Days of Exile.
22.4, in Ardahan, the publisher of the local
newspaper Yeni Dogu Anadolu, Erol Erel is beaten by the Hanak district
governor Levent Tuncsiper and his bodyguard.
23.4, the periodical Hedef is confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
24.4, the periodicals Ekspres and Söz are
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for having reprinted an article
entitled "Atakürt", written by Ahmet Altan in the daily Milliyet.
25.4, two journalists of the Kurdish weekly Welate
Me, publisher Aynur Bozkurt and chief editor Mehmet Gemisiz are tried
by the Istanbul SSC. Accused according to Articles 6 and 7 of the
Anti-Terror Law, the defendants refuse to talk in Turkish at the
courtroom and reply to the judge's questions in Kurdish. The court
refuses to make translate the answers into Turkish and declares that
the judgement will be given without taking in consideration their
27.4, the periodical Atilim N°29 is confiscated by
the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda and instigating the people
to commit crime.
28.4, Direnis responsible editor Ayla Tuncdemir is
sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to six months in prison and TL 75 million
in fine. The court also decides to stop the periodical's publication
for one month.
30.4, the last issues of the periodicals Özgür
Genclik, Odak, Tavir, Gencligin Sesi, Jiyana Nû, Devrimci Mücadele and
Hedef are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC on charges of contravening
the Anti Terror Law and Article 312 of the Penal Code.