Europe's month of appointments with Turkey
18-22 September '95
COUNCIL OF EUROPE:
25-29 September '95
Despite Prime Minister's earlier promises of
• About all anti-democratic provisions of the 1982
Constitution, the Turkish Penal Code and the Anti-Terror Law are still
kept in force.
• The government,yielding to the military,
suspends the lifting of Article 8.
• Following the military's directives, the
Parliament again extends the emergency law in Kurdish provinces.
• The security forces continue to destroy Kurdish
villages in flames.
• The Turkish Army repeats its incursions into
• The Chief of General Staff threatens all human
• The Human Rights Association (IHD) announces
frightening figures as regards recent human rights violations.
• 99 prominent intellectuals are tried by the State
• Besikci is sentenced again and Zarakolu faces
three new imprisonments.
• Pro-Kurdish daily Yeni Politika is closed down, a
journalist assassinated under torture.
… and Ciller impudently continues to claim the
ratification of the EU-Turkey Customs Union!
LET TO BE FOOLED
BY THE TURKISH
Although the Europalia-Turkey '96 Festival was
suspended by the
Europalia Foundation, the Turkish Government has recently mobilised its
forces in a move to change the mind of Belgian partners and to hold
this prestigious festival in 1996 for the propaganda of the regime.
After the Turkish Europalia Commissioner Bülent
to Brussels, the Turkish Europalia Council invited in summer many
Belgian journalists to Turkey in a view to convince them that the
Europalia's suspension was a fault.
Turkish officials are expected to visit Brussels
soon with the same
purpose during the Turkish Government's diplomatic offensive before and
after the debates at the European Parliament.
It should be recalled that since no amelioration has
in the fields of human rights and the freedom of expression, any change
in the decision of suspending Europalia will mean to be an accomplice
of the Turkish regime's crimes in the field of fine arts.
THE MILITARY'S REPRESSIVE CONSTITUTION STILL IN FORCE
In a new manoeuvre to obtain the ratification of
Turco-European Customs Union by the European Parliament, the Turkish
regime, on July 26, 1995, amended only 17 out of 177 articles of the
1982 Constitution imposed by the military. The six other amendments
proposed by the government were rejected failing to obtain necessary
Although Prime Minister Ciller claimed, after the
Parliament's vote, that Turkey became more democratic thanks to these
amendments, many anti-democratic articles of this constitution and the
repressive articles of the Turkish Penal Code and the Anti-Terror Law
still remain in force.
According to the first amendment, the part of the
preamble of the Constitution which praises the Sept. 12, 1980 military
take-over was removed.
However, the proposed elimination of the clause
barring people from claiming that laws and decrees passed during the
Sept. 12, 1980 military era was rejected. Moreover, the clause barring
prosecution of the military junta's members or administrators of that
era on charges of corruption, bribery, theft, smuggling and other such
ordinary crimes too was kept in force.
What is more important, in its Preamble, the
Constitution, denying the existence of the Kurdish people, declares
that "sovereignty is vested fully and unconditionally in the Turkish
Nation" and "no protection shall be afforded to thoughts or opinions
contrary to Turkish national interests, Turkish historical and moral
values, or the nationalism, principles, reforms and modernism of
In Article 2, the Republic of Turkey is described as
a state "loyal to the nationalism of Atatürk."
The Constitution still remains incompatible with the
European Convention of Human Rights.
The Article 13 of the Constitution enumerates the
hypothesis of legitimate restriction of fundamental rights and says:
"The general grounds for restriction set forth in this article shall
apply for all fundamental rights and freedom."
Whereas, the ECHR clearly says that some warranted
rights mentioned its articles 2, 7, 12, 13 and 14, notable the right
not to be submitted to torture or to degrading treatment cqn never be
Other amendments adopted and rejected by the Parliament:
• The constitutional provision which bars trade
unions, associations, professional public organizations and
cooperatives from engaging in politics has been deleted. Also a court
order will be required for the closure of associations. In cases of
closure by competent offices for reasons such as national security, it
will be necessary to obtain a court order within 24 hours.
However, the proposed easing formalities regarding
formation of trade unions and the closure of trade unions only with
court order were rejected.
The Parliament also rejected the proposed removal of
the ban on strikes and lock-outs with political intentions.
• Civil servants will have the right to establish
trade unions and to conclude collective bargaining agreements.
However, they will not have the right to strike.
• The voting age was lowered from 20 to 18.
Parliament agreed to pass a special law granting citizens abroad the
right to vote. Also detainees and inmates will have the right to vote
under the supervision of judges.
However, the proposed reduction of the age
requirement for membership in Parliament from 30 to 25 was rejected.
• The age limit for admission to a political party
was reduced from 21 to 18.
Also Parliament agreed to pass a law allowing
university lecturers to assume posts at political parties central
offices and permitting university students to become members of
As for another proposed removal of the ban
obstructing deputies from assuming posts at trade unions, association,
foundation and professional public organizations, it was rejected.
The other amendments are as follows:
• The number of parliamentary seats was raised from
450 to 550. Parliament's commencement of the new legislative year was
shifted from September to October.
• It will be possible to hold local elections at the
same time as general or by-elections in the event that only one year is
left between them.
• The condition requiring an absolute majority to
accept the resignation of a deputy was removed. The relevant provision
of the Constitution was worded to read: "This (resignation of the
deputy) will be decided upon by the parliamentary general, assembly."
Also the provision which causes a deputy to lose his
membership if he resigns from his party to join another was removed.
Furthermore, a deputy whose party is ordered
dissolved by the Constitutional Court will be able to maintain his
parliamentary membership provided that he has not caused the banning of
his party by his statements or activities. In other words, only the
deputies who were responsible for the closure of their parties will
lose their seats in Parliament.
• A deputy whose legislative immunity is lifted or
who has lost his membership by plenary session can apply to the
Constitutional Court within seven days. If the court will make a final
ruling in regard to his appeal within 15 days the decision of
Parliament will not take effect.
• During the hearing of cases regarding the
dissolution of a political party, the Constitutional Court will be
required to hear the testimony of the chairman of that party.
• The prohibition against political parties
organizing abroad and founding their respective youth and women
branches was eliminated.
Major anti-democratic articles still remain in force
The following are the main anti-democratic articles
of the Constitution which the government has never proposed to lift or
"Article 14 - None of the rights and freedoms shall
be exercised with a view to violating the integrity of the state with
its territory and people, endangering the existence of the Turkish
State and Republic, ensuring the rule of one social class over the
others, creating discrimination on grounds of language, race, religion,
or sect, or establishing by any other means a political system based on
the above concepts and opinions."
This article takes as target all attempts to
organize on the social class, ethnic or linguistic group basis. That is
to say, the working class, the Kurdish population of the country and
other religious and ethnic minorities are deprived of the right to
organize and to spread their opinions.
"Article 15 - In time of war or mobilisation, under
martial law or during a state of emergency, the exercise of fundamental
rights and freedoms may be partially or completely suspended."
"Article 17 - Death shall not be regarded as
inflicted in violation of the right to life when it results from the
execution of a death sentence, the exercise of self-defence or the
lawful and necessary use of arms to carry out an arrest warrant or a
detention order, prevent the escape of a person detained pending trial
or following conviction, quell a revolt or rebellion or, under martial
law or during a state of emergency, execute orders issued by the
competent authorities." "Article 18 - Forced or
compulsory labour shall not include work required in the course of
detention. pending trial or following conviction, services exacted from
citizens during a state of emergency, or physical or intellectual work
forming a part of normal civic obligations in fields dictated by the
needs of the country."
"Article 19 - Persons arrested or detained shall be
brought before a court within 48 hours, or in the case of collective
offences, within fifteen days. The periods may be extended during a
state of emergency, under martial law or in time of war.
"Article 26 - The right to express and disseminate
their thoughts and opinions may be restricted in order to prevent
crime, punish convicted offenders, prevent the disclosure of
information lawfully declared to be a state secret or ensure the proper
functioning of judicial authority.
"No language prohibited by law shall be used in the
expression and dissemination of thought."
"Article 27 - The right to disseminate information
shall not be exercised with a view to securing the amendment of the
provisions regarding the state, character of the Republic and the
integrity of the State, official language, flag, national anthem and
"Article 28 - Persons who write, cause to be
printed. print or transmit to another for that purpose information or
material of any description threatening the internal and external
security or the indivisible integrity of the state with its territory
and people, inciting to commit an offence or to rebellion or revolt or
relating to state secrets shall be liable to prosecution under the
relevant legal provisions.
"Distribution may be forbidden as a preventive
measure under a court order or, in cases where delay is considered
prejudicial, an order of the authority expressly empowered by law.
"Periodical and other publications may be authority
expressly empowered by law in cases where delay is considered harmful
to the protection of the indivisible integrity of the state.
"Periodicals may be temporarily suspended by court
order if convicted of publishing material inconsistent with the
indivisible integrity of the state, the fundamental principles of the
Republic, national security or public decency. All publications
constituting a clear continuation of a suspended periodical shall be
prohibited and shall be seized by court order."
"Article 30 - Printing houses and accessory premises
shall not be seized or confiscated (...) unless they are convicted of
an offence committed against the indivisible integrity of the state,
the fundamental principles of the Republic or national security."
"Article 34 - The competent authority may prohibit a
particular meeting or demonstration or postpone it for a maximum of two
months if there is a strong likelihood that serious disturbances will
occur, national security requirements will be infringed on or acts
designed to destroy the fundamental character of the Republic will take
place. Associations, foundations, unions and professional organisations
instituted under public law shall not hold meetings or demonstrations
exceeding their own scope and aims."
"Article 42 - No activities other than those
connected with learning, teaching, research and study shall take place
in educational establishments. No language other than Turkish shall be
taught to Turkish citizens as their mother tongue in educational
"Article 51 - The statutes, management and mode of
operation of unions and union federations shall not be inconsistent
with democratic principles or with the character of the Republic.
"Officials of trade unions or trade union
federations shall be required to have been actually employed as workers
for at least 10 years."
"Article 54 - The right to strike shall not be
exercised, nor shall lock-outs be practised, in a manner contrary to
the principles of goodwill or prejudicial to the community or national
wealth. The trade union shall be liable for any material damage caused
in the workplace during a strike, either deliberately or accidentally,
by the striking workers and union.
"The National Arbitration Board shall settle
disputes in cases where strikes and lock-outs are prohibited or, in the
event of postponement, at the end of the period for which they are
"Politically motivated strikes and lock-outs,
sympathy strikes and lock-outs, general strikes and lock-outs, sit-in
strikes, go-slows, work-to-rules and other forms of obstruction shall
"Strikers shall do nothing whatsoever to prevent
those who are not striking from working in their workplace."
"Article 131 - The state shall supervise and inspect
universities and their subsidiary units and shall ensure their
security. University rectors shall be appointed by the President of the
Republic and deans by the Higher Education Council (YÖK). Universities,
members of teaching staff and their assistants shall be free to engage
in scientific research and publication of all kinds. However, this
shall not include freedom to engage in activities directed against the
existence and independence of the state or the integrity and
indivisibility of the nation and the country. The Higher Education
Council shall be composed of members appointed by the President of the
Republic from among candidates nominated by the universities, the
Council of Ministers and the Chief of the Republic himself."
As all these anti-democratic provisions of the
Constitution are being kept in force, the government speaks of a
possible lifting of Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law. Unfortunately,
certain European politicians considere such a move as a positive step
in the way of democratization.
Whereas, the coalition partners have not yet arrived
at a compromise even at the lifting of this article, punishing any
declaration or writing considered "separatist propaganda" or
"praising an outlawed organization."
Moreover, the Army chiefs have declared that they
were against the lifting of this article. Since then, the law project
on the matter has been drawn from the agenda.
Because, many provisions of the Constitution provide
the military with extraordinary powers even in the period of civilian
rule. And the "civilian" government never dares to propose the lifting
of these privileges of the Army.
Anti-democratic institutions still in power
First, the National Security Council (MGK), in which
military chiefs are in majority, disposes the power to dictate
decisions to the Council of Ministers:
"Article 118 - The National Security Council shall
be composed of the Prime Minister, the Chief of the General Staff, the
Ministers of National Defence, the Interior and Foreign Affairs, the
commanders of the army, navy and air force and the commander of the
military police. The NSC shall inform the Council of Ministers of its
views on the decisions to be taken concerning the establishment,
formulation and implementation of the state's national security policy
and on the measures required to secure the necessary coordination. The
Council of Ministers shall give priority consideration to decisions of
the Council concerning the measures that it deems necessary for the
preservation of the existence and independence of the state, the
integrity and indivisibility of the country, national peace and public
order. The agenda of the NSC shall be drawn up by the President of the
Republic, who shall take account of the proposals of the Prime Minister
and the Chief of General staff."
State of emergency and Martial Law
"Article 121 - In the event of a natural disaster, a
dangerous epidemic or a serious economic crisis, the Council of
Ministers meeting under the chairmanship of the President of the
Republic may declare a state of emergency, in one or more regions or
throughout the country for a period not exceeding six months. The State
of Emergency Act shall regulate the financial and material obligations,
and obligations relating to work, the procedure governing the
restriction or suspension of fundamental rights and freedoms." During a
state of emer¬gency, the Council of Ministers meeting under the
chairmanship of the President of the Republic may issue legislative
The state of emergency is still in forces in the
Turkish Kurdistan since 1987.
"Article 122 - The Council of Ministers meeting
under the chairmanship of the President of the Republic may, after
consultation with the NSC, declare martial law in one or more regions
or through¬out the country. During the period of martial law, the
Council of Ministers meeting under the chairmanship of the President of
the Republic may issue legislative decrees on matters relating to
martial law. Martial law commanders shall exercise their functions
under the authority of the Office of the Chief of the General Staff."
State Security Courts
"Article 143 - State Security Courts shall be
established to try offences committed against the indivisible integrity
of the state with its territory and people, the free democratic order
of the Republic or directly relating to the internal and external
security of the state. SSCs shall be composed of a President, two
members, two substitutes, a prosecutor and a sufficient number of
deputy prosecutors. One member and one substitute shall be appointed
from among military judges of the highest grade, and the deputy
prosecutors from among public prosecutors and military judges. In the
event of the declaration of martial law, the SSC may be transformed
into a military court."
It is these state security courts that still try and
sentences hundreds of intellectuals to heave prison terms and fines for
IHD: NO IMPROVEMENT IN HUMAN RIGHTS
Despite the promises to European institutions, last
months saw no improvement in the human rights situation in Turkey,
according to a Human Rights Association (IHD) report released on August
In July 1995, execution without trial, torture or
time spent in custody resulted in the death of 14 people, according to
the report. Also, 13 people killed during mysterious assaults and 19
people went missing while in custody. The number of the people killed
in armed conflict rose to 392.
In one month, 1572 people, of whom 62 from the
press, were taken into police custody and 117 of them were later placed
under arrest pending trial.
Tribunals issued 9-year prison term and a total of
TL 2.221 billion in fine in political trials. The number of political
prisoners in jail climbed to 171.
Prosecutors requested 134 years and 5 months
imprisonment in total for political defendants.
In July, 30 publications were seized, 7 associations
and press organs closed down, 23 associations and press organs raided
by police, seven buildings bombed.
354 people were fired from their working places.
As for June 1995, the IHD gave on July 18 the
following figures: Taken into custody :1,648, press workers taken into
custody: 44, court arrests: 310, action against civilians: 24 dead and
34 wounded, unsolved attacks: 9 dead and 21 wounded, missing in
custody: 25, killed in clashes: 505, death under torture, execution
without trial and in custody: 10, tortured: 17, burned and evacuated
villages and hamlets: 16 villages and 20 hamlets, labour-related
violations: 600 layoffs, total of sentences and fines: 14 years and 9
months prison terms and a fine of TL 1.6 billion, seized publications:
17, bombings: 7, trade unions, associations and publications closed:
17, raided: 18, prisoners of conscience: 165.
According to another report published by the daily
Cumhuriyet of June 29, the total number of political detainees has
risen to 8.548 this year as it was less than 7 thousand last year. The
number of the people detained for ordinary crimes too climbed to
THE CILLER GOVERNMENT'S CATASTROPHIC PERFORMANCE
One of the distinguished senior journalists of
Turkey, Ilhan Selcuk, in his article published by the daily Cumhuriyet
of July 10, 1995, answered the question "What has happened since Tansu
Ciller took up office as prime minister?" in following terms:
* Annual inflation, which had been around 60 percent
for quite a long time, "exploded," jumping to l50 percent.
* The April 5 package of economic decisions was
adopted, worsening further people's plight.
* Everybody seems to be rejoicing over the fact that
"despite everything" the annual inflation rate has declined to
somewhere in the 70 8Q percent range this year.
* The economy has been "surrendered" entirely to the
International Monetary Fund (IMF). The IMF inspectors frequently come
to check on us.
* In the Southeast, the area in which an
anti-terrorist struggle is underway has been expanded, spilling into
northern Iraq too.
* The PKK has become more effective in the
international arena, gaining new sympathisers in Europe.
* Deputies from the Southeast have been forcefully
thrown out of the Parliament building and delivered to the police.
* The American dollar jumped and now costs more than
* Not a single step could be taken in the sphere of
democratisation. The coalition protocol has been shelved.
* There has been an increase in the number of
"dubious" cases of privatisation. In many cases privatisation efforts
have led to a fiasco.
* The unemployment rate has climbed. Workers who
lost their jobs in the course of the privatisation process found
themselves in a tight spot.
* Turkey has shrunk economically. Growth came to a
halt. Now we are in a period of declining national income. Production
has declined. Investments have come to a stop.
* There has been an increase in the number of people
thrown into jail because of ideas they expressed in their writings.
* Article 8 of the Anti Terrorism Law, under which
expression of certain ideas can be punished as an "act of terrorism,"
* Thousands of villages and hamlets in the Southeast
have been burned down or forcefully evacuated. Hundreds of thousands of
people have been forced to migrate to other parts of the country.
* Clashes have broken out in various parts of the
country. The Alawite-Sunni rift has widened, resulting in many deaths.
* In Sivas, 37 intellectuals were killed in a hotel
fire started during a daylong demonstration staged by religious
* Europe's attitude toward Turkey has become
increasingly negative. Ankara has been blamed frequently for so many
* A member of the DYP-CHP coalition government used
the word "prostitutes" in reference to three visiting female European
Parliament members and the government had to apologise. The member of
government in question has retained his post.
* The pro-Shariah movement has been on the rise.
* The practice of torture, executions without trial
and murders by unidentified killers, are still continuing. In short,
Turkey has been sliding downhill.
* Not only has the government made Turkey smaller,
spread the combat zone of the anti-terrorist struggle into northern
Iraq and failed to have even a single law legislated to enhance
democratic rights and freedoms.
* On top of all this the head of this government has
come under suspicion. This is because there has been widespread
controversy surrounding the property of the Ciller family. The Prime
Minister has failed to give a satisfactory explanation how her family
acquired all these assets. When she was a cabinet minister she invested
in another country, that is, the United States. Also, there are
documents indicating that the Ciller family is guilty of the crime of
* Then how come she can stay on as prime minister?
She does so just as she managed to be "parachuted" down into the seat
of prime minister. In no country where the parliamentary system
functions properly would a prime minister like Ciller be able to remain
in government, not even for a minute.
EMERGENCY LAW EXTENDED
The regime of emergency law in Turkish Kurdistan was
extended for four more months from July 19 by the National Assembly,
following the directive given by the military-dominated National
The ten provinces subject to emergency law are
Bitlis, Tunceli, Sirnak, Mardin, Van, Hakkari, Diyarbakir, Batman,
Bingöl and Siirt.
Proclaimed in July 1987 to replace martial law
regime, the emergency law has been extended 24 times up to now. On June
27, at the National Assembly 225 deputies voted for and 140 against the
extension. The majority of the social-democrat Republican People's
Party (CHP), junior partner of the coalition government which was
against the emergency law when it was in opposition, voted for the
extension as well.
THE MILITARY AGAINST LIFTING OF ARTICLE 8
As the parliamentary works on lifting of Article 8
of the Anti-Terror Law was at a deadlock, the Turkish Armed Forces
announced their opposition to taking such a step.
"The lifting of Article 8 [of the Anti-Terror
Law which deals with freedom of expression] is not appropriate," said
Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Ahmet Cörekci to a group of select journalists
who were invited to the General Command headquarters on June 30 for a
briefing on "the fight against separatist terrorism."
Asked to comment on the military's reaction if
Article 8 of the ATL is changed, Gen. Cörekci said: "We are at the
disposal of the political authority in Turkey. However, a change in
Article 8 will affect our struggle against terrorism. We would prefer
to see Article 8 untouched. If the political authority decides to scrap
or change Article 8 and the Parliament accepts this, then that is
something else. We feel it is not appropriate for Article 8 to be
Cörekci also said democratic conditions and human
rights considerations prevent an effective struggle against terrorism
which would yield results in a short time and added, "We also have
problems in coordination of our forces and on electronic intelligence
He said certain demands for Kurdish language
broadcasts and education were being presented as "democratic rights"
but added this was a part of a psychological tactic by the PKK. "We
call this the salami tactic. As we cut the salami into slices they will
take it from us. The more slices we cut the more they will take. There
will be no end to the give and take. We cannot accept such a thing."
Recently, General Cörekci has been appointed, by the
Supreme Military Council on August 4, as commander of the Air Force in
recompense for "his success as Vice Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces."
THE ARMY CHIEF THREATENS HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS
Turkish Chief of General Staff Gen. Ismail Hakki
Karadayi, on July 28, issued a strongly worded warning against the
"show of sympathy for the separatists," calling naive liberals or
ill-intentioned critics to "come to their senses" before being made to
pay a heavy price.
As he received a check for TL 2,7 trillion ($60
million) collected for the families of the soldiers fallen in the armed
conflicts, Gen. Karadayi said: "Those people in the country or abroad
having designs on the country's indivisible unity, those who search for
so-called 'solutions', those who offer their own wisdom, w<ho give
advice, those who associate democracy with freedom of encouraging
terrorism, those who depict terrorists as freedom fighters, and those
who see and interpret all these as the normal dictates of democracy,
are in fact those seeking a separate state, a separate flag behind
their dark and ugly masks."
"I hope they will have enough sense to wake up and
collect their wise before they have to bear the results of their
continuing mistakes and are made to pay a heavy price for their
accumulating accounts," the chief commander said.
OUTCRY OF AN ARMY COLONEL'S WIDOW
During the funeral of Colonel Ridvan Özden who was
shot dead during an armed clash with Kurdish guerrillas, his widow
Tomris Özden accused the political authorities of following an
erroneous policy in Southeastern Turkey, reported the daily Cumhuriyet
on August 18, 1995.
In Mardin, as his husband's body was being buried on
August 16, Mrs. Özden said, "I do not want any pretentious big funeral
for my husband, because I do not consider my husband a martyr. To be
martyr, one must have fallen at a war against another country's army.
My husband was turned into an instrument of ugly policies. The question
cannot be solved by killing or being killed. Many commanders, sergeants
and soldiers have fallen up to now. Thousands of them are now
handicapped. All of them entered the fight in the hope of saving the
country. Whereas, it is not possible to save the country or to solve
this question by following this policy."
IS TUNCELI TURKEY'S BOSNIA?
The Super Governorate of the Emergency Law region
announced on July 25, 1995, that more than 2,664 villages or smaller
settlements have been evacuated during the war against the PKK waged by
the state in the Southeast. The evacuations have reportedly affected
Because of the lack of a government plan to resettle
the displaced villagers, these evacuations have caused criticism from
the opposition parties and Turkey's Western allies.
The evacuations, accompanied by persistent reports
of a coercion campaign which included the deliberate torching of the
villages, has been a source of controversy in Turkey with displaced
refugees clogging provincial centres in the area and in the west of the
The most spectacular recent example of this
evacuation campaign is Tunceli, an eastern Kurdish province of which
the original name was Dersim.
Dersim has always been a principal target of State
terrorism throughout the history of the Republic.
In a July 24 article by the daily Sabah's Mehmet
Altan gives the following dreadful situation of Tunceli:
"Two-thirds of Tunceli's villages have been
evacuated. In the province, animal husbandry has collapsed. Educational
and health services no longer exist in areas outside the provincial
seat. I am thinking of complaining about Turkey at international
platforms to help eliminate these people's plight. Since a coordination
board has recently been created, I have, to prove my good intentions,
decided to wait for some more time before taking this issue to
international platforms. If no improvement takes place, I will contact
world organizations, starting with the United Nations, to complain
about Turkey. I will even seek 'safe resettlement' for them from the
United Nations. In Bosnia there is Serbian brutality. And in Tunceli,
the 'special teams' brutality. Using the same tactics as the Serbs, own
compatriots are being forced to migrate."
These words come from Sinan Yerlikaya, a deputy of
the coalition's Junior partner, the Republican People's Party (CHP).
Yerlikaya describes recent developments that began
on July 2 in the following manner:
"Today, Tunceli is being crushed under a serious
'special team' terrorism. This terror reached its peak especially after
three members of a 'special team' were martyrs at a PTT transmitting
station near the Tunceli provincial seat at the beginning of this
month. Following the incident, fellow 'special team' members raided the
city. They forced their way into houses in hamlets near the city,
breaking doors and windows, beating the inhabitants severely ¬that is.
seriously enough to cause them to be hospitalised— blocked the roads
linking Tunceli with adjacent provinces, stopped all approaching cars
and broke the windshields and slashed the tires of all of them. They
beat up a group of local people who had gone to the hospital to donate
blood to two injured policemen, turning them away and shouting, 'We do
not need your blood.' And they killed a taxi driver.
"Incidents continued (in the following day, too,
when the bodies were laid to rest. The governor of the state of
emergency region too had come to Tunceli on that day. In his presence
they shouted slogans against Tunceli Governor Atil Uzelgün, saying,
'Communist governor', 'The governor is the CHP's servant' and
'Governor—the servant of the Tuncelites'. And then they started to
chant 'Victory will belong to Islam even if or blood will lay shed.'
Then they scattered the crowd of people who waited to attend the slain
policemen's funeral, beating up some of them. Veli
Yesil, the head of the Tunceli provincial branch of the Correct Way
Party (DYP), the senior partner of the coalition government, said, "Mr.
Yerlikaya has not exaggerated at all. Citizens were rescued from the
hands of the 'special team' by the (regular) police. Even the
governor's life is not secure. The 'special team' is against the
governor. The 'special team' sees the people of Tunceli as the enemy."
Head of the New Democracy Movement's (YDH)
provincial branch Mustafa Zülal said "There is an attempt to create an
uninhabited region in Tunceli. Everybody lived through the July 2
incidents. But fear has sunk in. They all keep silent. For us, every
day is July 2. The security forces, who try to protect the people,
prove unable to do so, and take out their frustration on the people.
They act as if they are the representatives of the Nationalist Movement
Here is an excerpt from an item entitled "Attention
to Tunceli" in yesterday's issue of the daily Yeni Yüzyil: "Tension has
continued to reign in the Tunceli provincial centre since the martyring
of the 'special team' members. In the city it is forbidden to buy too
much food, and the farmers have been banned from going out into the
fields. The solitary delegation which arrived in Tunceli has been
denied entrance to the city."
The Interior Ministry has announced officially that
in the province 111 villages and 450 hamlets have been evacuated to
date. According to the announcement, 2,682 households have been
affected by the evacuations.
Is it not a contradiction on the part of our
government that the latter focuses on the plight of the Bosnian Muslims
alone? Can they not hear the voices of their deputies speaking about
the plight of the inhabitants of Tunceli? How can international
offensives concerning Bosnia be effective while Tunceli Deputy
Yerlikaya keeps shouting, "Tunceli is Turkey's Bosnia!"?
THE NEW TURKISH INCURSION IN IRAQ: OPERATION DRAGON
The Turkish Armed Forces, on pretext to respond to
the increase PKK activities in Northern Iraq, launched on July 5 a new
incursion to the southern neighbour under the code name Operation
Anxious to avoid damaging strains with only months
left to the verdict of the European Parliament on the customs union,
Ankara felt need to assure the European powers as regards the dimension
of the operation. Describing this newest incursion as "activities
conducted with a limited number of troops in a limited area to render
ineffective terrorist elements in certain spots (inside Iraq)," the
Turkish General Staff spokesman said that not more than 3,000 troops
were taking part.
However, Iraq condemned the incursion as "a flagrant
violation of Iraq's sovereignty." Massoud Barzani's KDP claimed Turkish
forces had bombed seven Kurdish villages.
The Arab League too condemned on July 9 the
Operation Dragon as a "clear violation of Arab national sovereignty
defying the letter and principle of international law." The League
urged Turkey to "deal with the tension on the borders through
cooperation and dialogue and with a good-neighbour policy."
CIA TO EQUIP TURKISH NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
The new director of the US Central Intelligence
Agency (CIA), John Deutsch paid an unpublicized visit to Turkey and
held a meeting with Sönmez Köksal, the Under-secretary of Turkey's
National Intelligence Organization (MIT) in Ankara on July 24.
The upgrading of the technical infrastructure
available to the MIT was main theme in the talks, according to The
Turkish Daily News of July 27, 1995.
In the meeting, the talks also centred on the
important role Turkey has because of its strategic location as a
country in direct contact with some 30 countries in Europe, North
Africa and Asia.
Saying Ankara was pleased with the importance
Washington attaches to its economic and military cooperation with
Turkey, Köksal called for the spreading of cooperation to the
intelligence field and mentioned some difficulties encountered so far.
He reportedly cited the obstacles raised against the purchase by MIT of
the high-technology intelligence equipment produced by the US firms and
the reticence of some firms to sell gear listed as "strategic
equipment", and he requested the help of the CIA chief for the removal
of these obstacles.
Deutsch reportedly pledged "all kinds of help" to
enable Turkey to purchase the equipment it needs through "official
channels" and take the necessary steps immediately on his return.
The CIA director also sought closer cooperation
between the two organizations in the framework of bilateral ties
between the two countries and voiced particular concern over
developments in the Caucasus and the Balkans.
Noting that relations between the CIA and the MIT
were nothing new, the sources said, however, that both sides were eager
for closer links, and the fact that Deutsch made his first foreign trip
to Turkey after his appointment to the post was an important indicator
in this respect.
242 DETENTIONS AT HADEP TRIAL
A total of 242 people was detained on July 6, 1995,
for protesting at not being allowed to enter a State Security Court
courtroom where executives of the People's Democracy Party (HADEP) were
on trial facing charges of separatism.
Sirri Sakik, former deputy of the now defunct
Democracy Party (DEP), who was previously tried and convicted for
separatism in the same court, was among those detained upon the orders
of Chief Prosecutor Nusret Demiral.
Other taken into custody were Yavuz Önen, president
of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV), and attorney Hüsnü
Öndül, secretary general of the Human Rights Association (IHD).
The HADEP executives on trial were Deputy Chairmen
Sahabettin Özarslaner and Hikmet Fidan, Deputy Secretary General
Seyhmus Cagro and Ankara Provincial Organization Chairman Ferhan Türk.
The defendants' attorneys, who asked for the
spectators to be allowed into the courtroom, argued that since there
was no interlocutory decision ordering the session to be closed to the
public, the decision not to allow the spectators in should be
reconsidered. However the prosecutor did not want the spectators to be
allowed to enter the courtroom for security reasons, to protect the
judges and the defendants.
Taking into consideration the prosecutor's view, the
judges decided not to allow the spectators to enter the courtroom.
While the attorneys left the room to protest against the decision, the
HADEP executives on trial refused to give their statement to the court.
Policemen put the protesters in buses and took them
to the Ankara Security Directorate.
The HADEP executives are charged with having links
with the outlawed PKK and the prosecutor is calling for prison terms of
up to 15 years.
THE SOCIALIST UNION PARTY BANNED
The Constitutional Court decided on July 19 to close
down the Socialist Union Party (SBP) on charges that its programme
contains separatist objectives.
This party which was an emanation of the defunct
United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP) had, after the opening of this
legal action, joined the United Socialist Party (BSP).
BSP Chairman Sadun Aren who was also the chairman of
the closed SBP, criticising the higher court's decision, said, "The
Kurdish existence in Turkey is an undeniable fact. The Constitutional
Court, instead of taking such an antidemocratic decision, should have
confirm this fact and serve to the functioning of democracy."
HUNGER STRIKES OF POLITICAL PRISONERS
More than 10,000 political prisoners and their
relatives started a hunger strike on July 14 as well in Turkey as in
various foreign countries. The mass action continued in shifts until
August 23. It was the first of its kind in Turkey's history of prison
hunger strikes because it did not aim to achieve better conditions in
The reason for the hunger strike was to demonstrate
the sorrow the Kurdish people have felt for years because of killings
and forced migrations which dragged them away from their houses, work
and their sources of food.
The IHD, following a board meeting held on August 6,
1995, declared the current situation against the Geneva Agreement on
prisons and called both sides to declare a cease fire. It also asked
the Turkish state to negotiate with the Kurdish people.
The IHD had already called for the application of
the Geneva Convention in Turkey at its 5th General Assembly held
on October 29, 1994.
"Since then, suppression by the state has
intensified," said the recent IHD declaration. "Our association, which
supports human rights fully for everyone, demands that this country
should become a garden of equality, freedom and peace. For this, the
policies of force and denial should end and a democratic, peaceful
solution should be recognized."
The IHD also called for abolition of the village
guard institution and the special teams that are on duty in the
Southeast and an end to Emergency rule.
"A general amnesty should be issued," the IHD said.
TWO-MONTH STATE TERRORISM
20.6, in Ankara, 37 top officials of different trade
unions are tried by a penal court for having staged demonstrations for
a democratic constitution. Each faces a prison term of up to three
20.6, in Izmir, security forces raiding a student
hostel detain 63 students resisting against the operation.
20.6, in Sason, two little girls, Meryem Yavuz and
Fatma Yavuz are shot dead by unidentified gunmen as pasturing
animals. When the peasants rush to the place of incident, one of
them, Isa Abay falls victim of a mine explosion and three others
21.6, in Istanbul, a workers' demonstration is
prevented by police using force. During the clash, 17 workers and 11
policemen are seriously wounded. After the incident, about 150 workers
are taken into custody.
21.6, in Istanbul, lawyer Ahmet Düzgün Yüksel is
taken into custody just before the trial concerning two cases of
summary executions in which he is expected to represent the families of
the victims. After his release on June 26 Düzgün claims to have been
tortured under custody.
22.6, police announce the arrest of ten alleged
members of the Workers' and Peasants' Liberation Army of Turkey (TIKKO)
in Istanbul during last ten-day operations. Subjected to torture, some
of the detainees start a hunger strike.
22.6, the Chief Prosecutor of the Republic starts a
legal proceeding against the Democracy and Transformation Party (DDP),
headed by Ibrahim Aksoy, former secretary general of the defunct
People's Labour Party (HEP). The prosecutor asks the Court of
Constitution to ban the party for separatist activities.
22.6, in Lice, four unidentified men were found
killed and later burned in a forest.
23.6, a penal court in Istanbul starts to try 24
people accused of having celebrated Kurdish new year Newroz on March
24.6, in Ankara, a group of 60 human rights
activists performing a march to the Interior Ministry in protest
against disappearances is stopped before the IHD Headquarters. IHD
Chairman Akin Birdal accused the authorities to prevent themselves from
using their democratic rights.
24.6, in Adana, Aladdin Önen claims to have been
tortured during his 24-hour detention at a police station.
24.6, in Istanbul, 88 out of 103 workers detained on
June 21 during a protest action are placed under arrest by the decision
of a penal court.
24.6, security forces detain eleven people in Mersin
on charges of being members of the Marxist-Leninist Communist
24.6, in Adana, HADEP member Izzettin Görnü who was
shot by unidentified gunmen on June 3 dies at a hospital.
24.6, in Sason, farmer Ismet Erdem and public
servant Mim Hadi Güngördü fall victim of the explosion of mine laid by
24.6, in Nusaybin, a group of the inhabitants of the
Yolbilen village is attacked by pro-government village protectors
during their shopping in the city's bazaar. Three villagers are
seriously wounded and hospitalised.
26.6, in Dicle, minibus passenger Recai Dülger falls
victim of the explosion of a mine laid by security forces.
26.6, in Ovacik, driver Sabri Sarigül dies at the
explosion of a bomb placed in its taxi. Three other persons are wounded
during the incident. Sarigül had been arrested in 1994 for being PKK
member and kept in prison for eight months.
26.6, on Sirnak, a military team opens fire on a
group of villagers collecting woods in the mountains, a villager is
killed and four others wounded.
30.6, the Ankara SSC sentences nine alleged Dev-Sol
members to different prison terms of up to 21 years and eight months.
1.7, in Hazro, Abdülvahap Kocan is shot dead by
unidentified gunmen raiding the village of Dersi.
2.7, during the commemoration ceremonies for the
massacre of 37 intellectuals July 2, 1993, in Sivas, security forces
attack the demonstrators in Istanbul, Ankara and Adana. A total of 50
people is taken into custody and many wounded.
2.7, in Silvan, Mehmet Salih Savas and Seyfettin
Zengin are shot dead after being kidnapped by unidentified assailants.
2.7, in Ankara, an attempt to research in the ward
of Dev-Sol prisoners of the Ankara Central Prison leads to violent
clashes during which 29 detainees as well as the prison director, six
gendarmes and four guards are seriously wounded.
3.7, twenty people who were detained on June 30
during the funeral of Hasan Ocak claim after their release that they
were subjected to torture and ill-treatment at the police station.
4.7, in Kastamonu, worker Halil Akca (34) dies after
being tortured at a local police station where he was detained in
relation with a car accident.
4.7, in Nusaybin, university student Serdar Ugras is
shot dead by the military raiding his house in front of his mother and
5.7, the Ankara SSC sentences 40 alleged Dev-Sol
members to various prison terms of up to 15 years. After the judge
announced the judgement, the defendants started to shout slogans in
protest against the decision and all of them were brutally beaten by
gendarmes in the court room.
5.7, in Istanbul, the inhabitants of the
Kücükarmutlu Quarters enter in clash with security forces when the
municipal workers start to demolish the shanties they had built without
an authorisation. About 70 people are taken into custody after the
5.7, in Diyarbakir, Ferit Yonca is assassinated with
axes by unidentified assailants.
6.7, the Malatya SSC sentences three PKK militants
to life prison and four others to different prison terms of up to 12
years and six months.
8.7, in Istanbul, a group of intellectuals marching
in protest against disappearances is attacked and beaten by security
forces. After the incident 33 demonstrators are taken into custody.
9.7, the chairman of the Foundation of Social Law
Researches (TOHAV), lawyer Talat Tepe is arrested at the Istanbul
Airport as leaving Turkey for participating to an international
conference on human rights in Germany.
7.7, in Silvan, Kadir Alphan who was kidnapped by
unidentified assailants is found assassinated outside the town.
9.7, in Ankara, 36 people coming in a car from
Istanbul to protest disappearances are stopped at the city entrance and
taken to a police station.
9.7, in Hizan, Muzaffer Gültekin and Mehmet Sirin
Günal fall victim of the explosion of a mine laid by security forces.
11.7, in Adana, security forces arrest 34 people on
charges of participating in PKK activities. The detainees are
reportedly subjected to torture at the police station.
11.7, in Diyarbakir, high school student Cengiz
Canoglu is killed with axe by unidentified assailants. Same day, Mehmet
Ay is shot dead and Kendal Kurt, wounded on July 8 by unidentified
gunmen, dies in a hospital.
12.7, in Ankara, Rifat Onurcan and 13-year old
Tayfun Kirs who were detained on charges of theft on July 9 claim after
release that they were subjected to torture.
13.7, the chairman of the Democracy and
Transformation Party (DDP), Ibrahim Aksoy is sentenced by the Konya SSC
to 20 months in prison and TL 41 million in fine for a speech he had
given when he was the secretary general of the defunct People's Labour
Party (HEP). Aksoy is for the time being in Europe and he will be
imprisoned when he returns to Turkey.
16.7, in Istanbul, nine people detained after they
occupied the office of the New Democracy Movement (YDH) in a protest
action are reportedly subjected to torture at police station.
16.7, unidentified gunmen shoot dead Ahmet Sulak in
Diyarbakir and Ibrahim Celik in Batman.
17.7, the trial of IHD Gaziantep officials on
charges of keeping illegal publications in the association's office
begins at a penal court of Gaziantep. IHD Gaziantep Chairman Imam
Özharat and six other officials face imprisonment of up to three years.
18.7, in Bingöl, three children named Semra Ölmez,
Sedat Cicek and Nihat Cicek die at the explosion of a hand grenade they
found in a field.
20.7, in Izmir, 22 detainees are brutally beaten by
gendarmes as they are being taken from the Buca Prison to the Izmir SSC
for their trial.
20.7, in Diyarbakir, Ahmet Sulak is stabbed to death
by unidentified assailants. In Batman, Ibrahim Celik falls victim of a
political assassination. In Silvan, Ahmet Yikilmaz is assassinated by
20.7, in Ankara, security forces arrest about 50
people during a series of repressive operations.
21.7, unidentified gunmen shoot dead Ömer Erkek in
21.7, in Kiziltepe, Hüseyin Ertas who was kidnapped
on July 18 by village protectors is found assassinated.
23.7, in Elazig, 23-year old Sinan Demirbas who had
been detained on July 8 on charges of being TIKKO member, died in a
hospital because of the torture he underwent at the Police Headquarters.
24.7, in Istanbul, worker Fethi Polat claims to have
been tortured at the Beyoglu Police Centre after being detained on July
25.7, the Malatya Section of the Human Rights
Association (IHD) is closed down by the Governor's decision on charges
of keeping in the office some illegal publications.
25.7, in Midyat, Kurdish villager Hüseyin Altiner is
shot dead by village protectors in front of his 8-year old son Sehmuz.
25.7, in Izmir, about 600 transport workers are
brutally beaten by police when they object to the arrival of a group of
neo-fascist militants as "special guard teams" to their workplace where
they were on strike since July 6. During the clash four top officials
of the Motorised Transport Workers' Trade Union (MTIS) and about 20
workers are seriously wounded.
26.7, the daily Yeni Politika reports that Ahmet
Cingöz and Edip Aksoy have disappeared since June 7. At that date they
were taken away by three persons carrying fire arms and presenting them
26.7, in Izmir, police raiding a house shoot dead
Ali Riza Kurt, militant of the People's Revolutionary Liberation
26.7, On the decision of a penal court, the
Communication Workers Trade Union (Tüm Haber Sen) in Istanbul and its
all sections throughout Turkey are closed down by the governor without
waiting the decision of the Court of Cassation to which the trade union
had introduced an appeal.
26.7, in Hatay, Murat Kahraman and Mehmet Kaplanci
are shot dead by police after being taken to a military zone and
27.7, in Elazig, Hüseyin Demirbas claims in a
petition to the Public Prosecutor's Office that his son Sinan Demirbas
had been taken into police custody on July 7 and assassinated by
torture at the police station.
27.7, in Istanbul, police intervene in a sit-in and
hunger-strike carried out by municipal workers in front of the Eminönü
Municipality and detain more than 50 workers. During the operation six
workers are wounded by police using force.
27.7, nine alleged PKK militants captured by
security forces in Hatay and Adana are placed under arrest by a
28.7, in Izmir, during a clash between political
detainees and security forces within the Buca Prison 20 detainees, four
prison guards and seven gendarmes are wounded.
28.7, in Mersin, the Association of Tunceli Citizens
(TD) is closed down by the governor because of sheltering a group of
hunger-strikers within the association's office.
30.7, in Istanbul, a Kurdish woman named Hazal Deniz
miscarries her baby after being brutally beaten by police during a
demonstration in solidarity with political prisoners on hunger-strike.
During the same incident, 20 other people are seriously wounded and 79
30.7, in Istanbul, lawyer Bilgütay Hakki Durna is
harassed and threatened by police at the Akbiyik Police Station to
where he went to talk with his client under custody.
30.7, in Diyarbakir, two unidentified gunmen shoot
dead Ensari Demir.
31.7, in Genc, two minibus passengers, Ahmet Varan
and Ismail Toprak fall victim of a mine explosion and seven other are
31.7, in Adana, police announce the arrest of 14
1.8, the Court of Cassation ratifies a sentence
against Halil Ürün, Mayor of the Konya City. Ürün was sentenced in 1994
by a penal court to one-year imprisonment for having insulted Kemal
Atatürk, founder of the Republic. His imprisonment was later converted
to a fine of TL 1 million 825 thousand.
2.8, in Adana, HADEP member Cemal Kahraman claims to
have been tortured after being taken from party local to the police
station on July 31.
2.8, in Diyarbakir, a clash between the Ilim and
Menzil fractions of the Hizbullah ends in the death of Süleyman Duran
and the wounding of four other people.
2.8, in Diyarbakir, Fahri Kusun's dead body carrying
torture traces is found floating in the Tigris River.
3.8, in Mutki, unidentified assailants shoot dead a
minibus driver, Burhan Celebi and wound three passengers.
3.8, in Silvan, the headman of the Gözderesi
Village, Mehmet Salih Eraslan is shot dead by unidentified gunmen. `
6.8, in Diyarbakir, Hüsnü Elduru is shot dead by
unidentified assailants raiding a cafe.
8.8, in Istanbul, Kasim Yörük claims to have been
tortured after his arrest on July 29. He also says to have witnessed
the torture applied to 30 other detainees at the Political Police
9.8, in Diyarbakir, Harun Efe is shot dead by
unidentified gunmen. He was one the leaders of the defunct Progressive
Democratic Cultural Association (DDKD).
10.8, in Antakya, a cultural evening organized
in the honour of poet Can Yücel is banned by the governor's decision.
11.8, in Ankara, 31-year old Ali Haydar Efe dies
because of the torture he underwent after his detention on August 10.
Police authorities claim that Efe commit suicide by throwing himself
from the third floor of the police headquarters.
11.8, in Erug, farmer Abdüllatif Kilic who was
kidnapped on June 6 by unidentified assailants is found assassinated.
13.8, in Ankara, 24 year-old Mrs. Leman Celikaslan
claims to have been tortured and sexually harassed after his detention
on July 21 during a police raid on the house where she stayed as
13.8, the imam of the Kalkansögüt Village at the
Turkish-Bulgarian border, Selim Tonca is shot dead by a military patrol
on pretext that he entered a forbidden military zone. Same day, in
Bitlis, another imam named Mehmet Serif Aslan is wounded by three
village protectors as he is visiting his parents in the town of Gölbasi.
13.8, a public servant, Mehmet Bicakci, who was
kidnapped on August 10 in Batman is found assassinated in the village
of Aydinkonak. His body is reportedly covered with torture traces.
14.8, in Diyarbakir, unidentified gunmen shoot dead
14.8, Batman chairman of the Petroleum Workers'
Trade Union (Petrol-Is), Nimetullah Sözen is taken into police custody.
14.8, IHD Iskenderun Chairman Sadullah Caglar and
Abdullah Aydar, father of the former DEP deputy Zübeyir Aydar, are
taken into police custody in Iskenderun.
15.8, in Istanbul, 19-year old university student
Zeynep Askara claims to have been tortured after he detention on August
1 as she was travelling to Corlu.
16.8, in Iskenderun, police raiding some houses take
six people into custody. Same day, in Istanbul, twelve people are
detained as they are carrying out a demonstration with burning candles.
17.8, the public prosecutor starts a legal
proceeding against the leaders of the Trade Unions Confederation of
Turkey (Türk-Is) for the protest demonstrations and sit-ins they
organized on August 5 and 8, 1995. Chairman Bayram Meral and other
officials are accused of contravening the laws on Trade Unions and
17.8, eight foreigners following the hunger strikes
in Turkish prisons are taken into police custody in Diyarbakir. Eva
Erle, Jeanine Weigel, Holber Neibert, Anina Jendreyko, Ann Kristien
Kowarsch, Uwe Oetken, Martin Dietermann and Thomas Vappeller are
released next day by the Diyarbakir SSC.
17.8, in Cayeli, eight people are taken into police
custody on charges of being members of outlawed organizations. Their
parents claim that the detainees are subjected to torture at police
18.8, in Bismil, security forces raiding a house
shoot dead two alleged PKK militants.
18.8, in Midyat, unidentified gunmen shoot dead
Mehmet Nezir Akinci.
22.8, in Ovacik, 13-year old Güngör Koc falls victim
of the explosion of a hand grenade and three other children seriously
23.8, the trial of eight members of the DHKP/C
starts at the Istanbul SSC and the prosecutor claims capital punishment
for four defendants and prison terms of up to 15 years for the others.
23.8, in Ankara, five officials of the Health
Workers' Union (Tüm Saglik Sen), Veysi Ülgen, Songül Beydilli, Cafer
Balci, Metin Karabulut and Özkan Tüm, are detained as they are
performing an action in protest against the condemnation of the trade
union's chairman Fevzi Gercek, who was sentenced to two years in prison
for an article he wrote to the periodical Direnis.
24.8, the Ankara SSC places under arrest eleven out
of 15 Hizbullah members who were taken into custody a week ago in Bolu.
25.8, the trial of 97 people accused of having taken
part in the popular resistance in Gazi Quarters begins at a penal court
of Istanbul. The tribunal declaring itself incompetent for this trial
decides to transfer the file to the Istanbul SSC with the demand of
trying the defendants by virtue of Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law.
26.8, in Hakkari, the village of Bag is raided by
security forces and ten peasants taken into custody.
28.8, in Istanbul, Yunus Atalay claims to have been
tortured by police after being detained on charges of writing political
slogans on walls.
28.8, in Ankara, nine people are beaten by gendarmes
as they are paying visit to their parents detained in the Central
DAILY YENI POLITIKA CLOSED DOWN
The only pro-Kurdish daily of Turkey, Yeni Politika
had to stop publication indefinitely on August 18, 1995, after a
decision to confiscate the daily was taken by an Istanbul penal court
on August 16, in line with a National Security Council (MGK) decision
on the subject.
Yeni Politika is the third pro-Kurdish daily forced
to silence after Özgür Gündem and Özgür Ülke.
The penal court based its decision on the following
pretext: "Yeni Politika is clearly the successor of Özgür Gündem and
Özgür Ülke which were closed down on the grounds of promoting
Necati Taniyan, the owner of the daily, said that
the decision taken by the court to confiscate was a de facto closure of
the newspaper. "Any issues that we publish are going to be considered
as illegal publications and confiscated. That is why we took the
decision to close the newspaper," said Taniyan.
Yeni Politika was first published on April 13, 1995.
Of the 127 issues of the daily, 118 were subject to confiscation
orders. Since its first issue, 500 articles, photographs and
caricatures have been subject to censorship. The fact that had
been publishing many articles with the sign "Censored" above them was
given as justification for the decision to impose a confiscation order
on the paper.
On July 27, 1995, the National Security Council
(MGK), headed by President Demirel and composed of Army chiefs and some
key ministers including Premier Ciller, decided to increase the control
on "separatist publications" and to extend the control prior to the
printing of the publications, applied until the only to "separatist"
publications, to the extreme left and extreme right publications as
Taniyan, attacked the MGK's above-mentioned decision
and quoted the prosecutor and the judge saying, "If I had objected to
the decision I would have been exiled. The state does not want this
newspaper to be published. I find the practice or censorship wrong.
However, I cannot do anything. Even if you object to the decision, it
won't change anything. There is neither an independent judiciary nor
any security for judges in Turkey."
On the other hand, the Human Rights Foundation
of Turkey (TIHV) reported on August 30 that Seyfettin Tepe, Batman
correspondent for Yeni Politika, was killed in detention.
Tepe was detained on August 22 along with Ramazan
Ötünc and Aydin Bolkan, Batman representative and correspondent for the
same newspaper, respectively. Ötünc and Bolkan were released on the
same day, but Tepe was kept in detention, and taken to the Bitlis
Security Directorate on the morning of August 26. Tepe died there on
The family of Tepe was said at the Bitlis Security
Directorate that their son had committed suicide.
SENSELESS CELEBRATION OF THE PRESS DAY
The 87th anniversary of the abolition of censorship
in Turkey was marked on July 24 with inflamed debates on freedom of
expression and the ongoing censorship in the country.
Historically, the pressure for press freedom by a
group of progressive journalists influenced the establishment of the
Second Ottoman Constitution in 1908, which came to be marked as the
abolition of censorship in Turkey and is celebrated as the "media
On this occasion, President Demirel said, "Despite
the fact that the media is free in Turkey, there are some discussions
which reflect the idea that the freedom of press means lawlessness. In
fact, like every freedom, press freedom can only be used by obeying
However, media associations or personalities,
considering the maintaining of censorship in the country, refused to
celebrate the day as the "media feast."
The Turkish Journalists' Association (TGC) declared:
"Today there is no official censorship. However, it is very hard to say
that the freedom of press — which means the right of people to face
reality — is secured. The celebrations will not be enthusiastic while
many journalists are in prison because of Article 9 of the Anti-Terror
The TGC spokesman Ziya Sonay also drew attention to
the danger of monopolised in the media and said that newspapers were
offering dinner sets, towels and sheets instead of information as part
of promotion campaigns. "Except for a few people who were paid enormous
salaries, journalists are usually considered cheap labour and they had
no right to social security and to unionise. There is no respect for
labour in the media sector," he said.
Mustafa Ekmekci, chairman of the Contemporary
Journalists Association (CGD) stated that a new kind of censorship is
applied in the media currently. Ekmekci claimed that terrorism — which
he defines as actions of people who are enemies of democracy — was used
as the justification for restrictions on every kind of freedom. "A
quiet public had been created by some to be able to continue the
restrictive policies," he said.
TURKISH MEDIA'S SHAMEFUL PROMOTION CAMPAIGN
The Turkish big media, totally ignoring the defence
of human rights and freedoms, have entered a shameful promotion
campaign in a ruthless war of circulation.
The Turkish Daily News, on August 2, 1995, gives the
following story of this unbelievable ruthless circulation war:
"Yeni Ufuk, a small local newspaper published in the
Aegean area town of Cine, distributed condoms to its readers and its
daily circulation increased from 2,000 to 8,000. This four fold
increase constituted a great success for the local daily when compared
to the mainstream newspapers promotion campaigns which promise items
related to eating such as dinner sets, cutlery, table cloths, etc.…
"The result of the mass circulation papers'
campaigns shows that none of them were able to boost their circulation
by four times, as the local daily did. The leading dailies — Hürriyet
and its rival Sabah — which promised dinner sets, increased their
circulation by 200,000 to 250,000 copies daily, about 25 per cent,
according to the statistics published by the United Press Distribution
"The latest promotional campaigns, which started
almost two months ago and caused big rows between the two mainstream
dailies, Hürriyet and Sabah, were employed not only by each of the
leading newspapers but also by local dailies.
"The only other newspaper which had a big success in
increasing its circulation was the daily Aksam which promised a
television set to its readers. It is not seen as a rival for the big
two and — according to the statistics of the BBD — its circulation went
up to 1 million from around 60,000. This also proved that dinner sets
were not as desirable as a TV.
"Meanwhile the mainstream newspapers, including
Hürriyet, Milliyet, Sabah, Yeni Yüzyil, Türkiye, Aksam, are continuing
their promotion campaigns with added goods in their lists. According to
the same BBD statistics after the campaigns by the dailies, the number
of the readers in Turkey went up to 5 million from 3 million.
"Some, including the chairman of the Journalist's
Association (TGC), Nail Güreli, argue that the readers were not
motivated by the quality of the news but by the variety of goods the
"The dallies can use the money they are investing in
the promotions to create better quality newspapers that provide better
news to its readers," Güreli was quoted as saying by the weekly Nokta
published on July 2.
Here is the list of goods the mainstream dailies
promised people recently:
Sabah: Moulinex mixer, an English knife set, a data
bank small computer, and an Italian cutlery set. Milliyet: An iron, a
set of sheets, a saucepan set, another saucepan set, a translator
bracket, and an Arcopal dinner set. Yeni Yüzyil: A translator mini
computer. Hürriyet: Ultima marked mixer, Silver Star cutlery set,
Arcoroc dinner set. Türkiye: A bicycle, a telephone with answering
machine, a vacuum cleaner and a beauty set. Aksam: Television to
everyone who collects coupons.
Aksam had, a few months ago, distributed to its
readers a set of toy soldiers representing "heroic Turkish soldiers
annihilating Kurdish traitors"!
99 PROMINENT INTELLECTUALS TRIED
The Istanbul SSC started to try 99 prominent
intellectuals charged with advocating separatism, inciting public
disorder and distributing published material deemed to be criminal.
At the opening of the trial, the public prosecutor
demanded two years imprisonment and a large fine for the intellectuals,
but at the same time urged the court to refer the case to the
Constitutional Court to determine whether some of the charges are
The defendants are part of a group of 1,080
intellectuals who signed their names as "co-publishers" of the book
Freedom to Thought, containing the writings of eight authors, including
Turkey's best known novelists Yasar Kemal.
Those on trial include musicians Sanar Yurdatapan
and Ilhan Irem, economics professor Asaf Savas Akat, novelists Adalet
Agaoglu and Orhan Pamuk, TV entertainer Cenk Koray, TV news producer
Can Dündar, and journalists Ahmet Altan, Musa Agacik and Bülent Denli.
Among the defendants are also Ömer Erzeren, a
reporter for the German newspaper Die Tages Zeitung, and Nadire Mater,
a journalist for the Holland-based Interpress news agency.
The defendants said all the charges were
unconstitutional because they ran counter to international accords
signed by Turkey involving human rights and freedom of expression.
The three-member court adjourned the trial to
ISMAIL BESIKCI'S NEW CONDEMNATION
Sociologist Ismail Besikci was sentenced again, on
July 5, to two years in prison and TL 550 million in fine by the Ankara
SSC for his book entitled Bans Losing Their Functions. The director of
the Yurt Publishing House, Ünsal Öztürk too is sentenced by the same
tribunal to six months in prison and TL 75 million in fine.
With this new punishment, Besikci's total prison
term rises to 69 years and one month, and the total fine to TL 5
billion 574 million. 23 years and three months of these sentences as
well as the fines of TL 1 billion 850 million ($44,047) have already
been ratified by the Court of Cassation.
According to the Anti-Terror Law, in the case of not
paying the fine, the defendant is imprisoned for three years more for
each unpaid fine. Since Besikci does not have financial possibilities
to pay his fines, the total of his prison terms will rise to more than
two centuries, reports Yeni Politika of July 8, 1995.
As for the total of prison terms against Öztürk,
with this last sentence, it climbed to 13 years and six months and
fines to TL 1 billion 628 million.
PUBLISHER ZARAKOLU FACES NEW IMPRISONMENTS
The director of the Belge Publishing House, Ayse
Zarakolu was again tried by the Istanbul SSC on July 7, 1995, for three
books she published.
Zarakolu is accused of contravening the Anti-Terror
Law and Article 312 of the Penal Code by publishing Our Ferhat - The
Anatomy of A Murder, Mehdi Zana's poetry book Evina dile min and Prof.
Vakhan Dadrian's book The Genocide in National and International
Documents/ The 1915 Armenian Case and Its Consequences.
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 trial was attended by French lawyer Yves
Baudolet, representative of the International Federation of Human
The tribunal adjourned the trial to October 3, 1995.
A CONTROVERSIAL REPORT ON THE KURDISH QUESTION
A report entitled "The Eastern Question — Diagnosis
and Observations," published on August 3, 1995, by the Turkish Chamber
of Commerce and Commodity Exchange (TOBB), has led to a new debate on
the solution of the Kurdish Question in Turkey.
As some Kurdish organizations qualify the report's
publication as a tactic of the government to fool the public opinion on
the Kurdish question, the militarist circles accused the report's
authors, mainly Prof. Dogu Ergil, of serving to the foreign powers
aiming to divide Turkey by publicising the Kurdish Question.
It is noteworthy that the TOBB Chairman Yalim Erez
is Ciller's principal ally and supporter in the business circles and
had personally carried out her promotion campaign to replace Demirel as
DYP Chairman and Prime Minister.
Whatsoever be the reason behind the preparation of
this report, it has served to opening a large debate on the Kurdish
Question and its possible solutions
The field work for this report was carried out in
the most problematic cities among the people who are defined as
Kurdish. Permanent residents in the south-eastern provinces of
Diyarbakir, Batman and Mardin were chosen as interviewees. Three cities
on the Mediterranean: Adana, Mersin, and Antalya were selected as the
cities which attract Immigrants from the south-east. The number of
people interviewed for the research was 1,267 in these six cities. 90.3
per cent were male; 9.7 per cent were female.
The report findings are as follows:
Seventy-six per cent have regular jobs, 23.3 per
cent are unemployed, 95.5 per cent of them do not have agricultural
jobs and 82.2 per cent do not own their own land. Those who own land,
but can not use it for the time being because of the evacuation of
their villages, make up 3 per cent.
Kurdish ethnic origin accounted for 90.8 per cent,
5.6 per cent Zaza, and 3.6 per cent as Arab.
In response to the question what is their mother
tongue, 89.8 per cent answered that it is Kurdish, 6 per cent said it
is Zaza, 3.5 per cent indicated Arabic, and 0.007 per cent said it is
Turkish. When asked which language they use in daily life, 65.1 per
cent stated that they use Kurdish, while 15.1 per cent use Turkish.
However, they said, that was only in the home. When they are outside
their home, 52.5 speak both Turkish and Kurdish together, while 23 per
cent speak only Turkish, and 21.5 per cent speak only Kurdish.
A majority of them are Muslim—97 per cent; 1.4 per
cent are atheists, 0.002 are Christian. The division by sects is: 83.3
per cent Sufi, 13.5 Hanefi, 1.7 Alevi.
When asked whether they have any relatives with
links with PKK, 34.8 per cent did not hesitate to say, "Yes". Among
those who have relatives in the PKK, 40.3 per cent said that PKK's main
aim was to establish a state. Seventeen per cent believe that democracy
and the recognition of the Kurdish identity were the PKK's goals.
However, 75 per cent of those who have family members in the PKK do not
want a Kurdish state to be established. They stressed that they favour
a solution within the boundaries of the Turkish Republic. These demands
are expressed as recognition of the Kurdish cultural identity, and the
establishment of a political and legal structure.
Those indicating that they believe the Turkish
Republic (TC) would be successful in battling against the PKK are 20.3
per cent, while 76.8 per cent believed that TC would not be successful.
Among those who stated that the TC was not going to
be successful against the PKK, 24 per cent stated that the PKK enjoyed
popular support, 18 per cent indicated that the state was applying
force and authority while 10 per cent stated that state was using the
tactics of terrorism as much as the PKK.
When asked what the state's policy in the Southeast
should be, 3.2 per cent stated that the cultural and political identity
of the Kurds should be recognized, 7.5 per cent supported the full
establishment of democracy and 12.2 per cent demanded investment and
opening of new job opportunities. 2.7 percent demanded the lifting of
emergency rule, the office of village guards and the special forces.
In view of this result, the report said: "It appears
that an important element of the sectors that the PKK is recruiting its
political and armed cadres from will ask the organization to continue
its bloody struggle in the East on the political plane. The PKK has to
sooner or later respond to this request. Otherwise it will face
difficulties in attracting militants and resources. The Turkish
Republic has based its struggle with the said organization wholly on
military strategy. If the organization all at once declares that it is
laying down its arms and is entering politics, then Turkey could be
caught unawares as it gains the support of world public opinion. The
struggle against the PKK must be seen as only one aspect of the Eastern
question. The Kurdish phenomenon is an aspect of the Eastern question.
Because of this, there is an advantage to continuing economic,
administrative and cultural initiatives independent of the armed
Responding to a question on how the government will
secure internal peace, 5 per cent of those polled said that "everyone
must be able to express their identity, express their thoughts,
organize, and the organizations that are established must be accepted
Of those polled, 9.8 per cent maintained that this
government will not be able to solve the problem. On the other hand,
5.8 per cent of those polled called for the Kurdish reality and the
South-eastern problem to be acknowledged for denials and pressures to
be given up, and for economic rehabilitation to be undertaken. While
8.8 per cent of those polled called for the PKK to be accepted as an
interlocutor and for the state to respond to the organisation's call
for a cease-fire, 15 per cent wanted the state to recognise the Kurdish
identity, to give cultural rights to the Kurds and to provide the
appropriate democratic environment in which these rights can be
enjoyed. Social, cultural, and educational reforms should be carried
out so that the individual is free of traditional control mechanisms.
The base of politics should be enlarged and all kinds of political
programs and organisational movements should be encouraged except
separatism. If these are not done, the East will continue its bloody
fight within its traditional underdeveloped structure. By
cross-referencing the answers to the questionnaire, it appears that
42.5 per cent of the Kurds identified themselves with their ethnic
origin, 21.8 per cent as Turkish citizens and 9.3 per cent with their
religious identity. The report evaluated these findings as follows:
Regarding language the findings were as follows:
Thirty-two per cent wanted the official language of
the state to be Turkish, 5 per cent Kurdish and 63 per cent want both
Turkish and Kurdish. Sixty per cent of those interviewed said each
ethnic group should be given the right to education in its own
language. And 68.8 per cent said that each ethnic group should be
allowed to publish in its language.
"In answer to a question on whether the Turkish
Republic should be provided with a new political and administrative
structure 89.7 percent of those interviewed said 'yes,' 10.3 percent
said 'no,' Among those who wanted a structural change of society, 13
percent demanded a Kurdish state, 13 percent wanted autonomy, 19.4
percent proposed reforms of local administrations and an increase in
participation in the local administrations. In answer to another
question a striking 42.5 per cent of the interviewees demanded a
In the cities with a large population of Kurdish
immigrants 71 per cent of those interviewed wanted a Kurdish state and
58 per cent favoured a federation.
The report, which underlined the fact that 71.5
percent of those who sought the establishment of an independent state
were primary school graduates or illiterate, said " It is not a
coincidence that the a large majority of the fighting staff of the PKK
are uneducated village boys. The findings reveal the . fact that the
less educated the people are the more radical demands they have"
AILING KURDISH WRITER MARASLI KEPT IN PRISON
The Istanbul SSC, on June 29, refused a defence
appeal for the release of an ailing Kurdish writer charged under the
Recep Marasli, on trial for an article analysing the
Kurdish resistance in Southeast Turkey, has been in and out of prison
since the 1970s. He was declared a prisoner of conscience in the 1980s.
39 year-old Marasli is facing 24 other cases for his
articles and speeches.
He suffers from brain and nervous disorders because
of his imprisonment and his lawyers say he cannot get treatment in the
Istanbul jail where he is held. "His health is serious enough to make
it impossible for him to be kept in jail much longer," said a group of
leading Turkish and Kurdish writers in a statement.
GREAT HUMORIST AZIZ NESIN DIED
Aziz Nesin, 80, Turkey's internationally renown
humorist and one of the principle targets of the State terrorism and
the Islamic fundamentalism, died of heart attack on July 6, 1995, in
the resort of Cesme where he had been invited to autograph his books.
In his lifetime, Aziz Nesin received countless
Turkish and foreign literary awards for his works which have been
translated into many languages.
As a result of his satirical brilliance, it has
become common practice for Turks whenever faced with a ridiculous turn
of events to say "a situation worthy of Aziz Nesin."
In recent years, he incurred the wrath of just about
everyone, including many of his own friends in the media, by first
saying "60 per cent of Turks are stupid," because of the population's
submission to the military.
His greatest detractors, however, came from Islamic
quarters due to his outspoken views on Islam, the Koran and believers.
Events in this respect turned tragic when his
insistence on publishing Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses. In July
1992, angry of his presence in Sivas, a fundamentalist mob attacked a
hotel and burned it down, causing the death of 37 writers and
intellectuals. Nesin, who was in Sivas for an Alevite cultural
festival, and who barely escaped with his life from the fire, said
later that the Sivas incident had demonstrated a stark manner that
Islamic fundamentalism was setting in Turkey.
The State Security Court has recently ordered a
legal proceeding against Nesin for provoking public disorder as some of
the arsonists were receiving insignificant punishment for the massacre
Nesin, born in 1915, started his literary career
after 1944, when he was dismissed from the Army in 1944 for "abusing
his duty and authority." His real name is Mehmet Nusret, but he chose
Aziz Nesin as pen name, which means "What are You?" in Turkish.
Nesin, a global representative of Turkish humour,
wrote for various newspapers and magazines until he became a publisher
himself in 1956. In 1963, he gave up all other occupations and became a
full-time writer. However, during his literary carrier, he was
sentenced and imprisoned many times for his opinions.
In 1972, he established the Aziz Nesin foundation,
which aimed to bring up and educate orphans, Nesin donated all his
earnings from his books to the foundation.
A controversial figure during his life, Nesin is
also set to be controversial in death as well because of his last will
and testament. According to this, Nesin did not want a religious
burial, or obituaries in the papers. He also wanted to be buried in the
garden of his house in Catalca, an Istanbul suburb, which he had turned
into an education foundation for homeless children.
His sons, conforming to Nesin's will, secretly
buried writer in one of the eight graves dug in the garden of his house
to conceal the exact location of his body.
"I am 70 and I have no intention of dying," Aziz
Nesin said in the opening of an article, "Hello, Seventy," which he
wrote in 1985.
Giving an early morning interview to several
journalists a few months ago, Nesin said that he was preparing a new
book — a collection of his articles that have appeared in the media —
under the title Cats Stuffed into A Sack. Boasting that if he put all
the books he wrote on top of each other the pile would be taller than
his own slight figure, Nesin was determined to keep writing.
In the foreword of his book Oh, We Cowardly
Intellectuals, he had said that he felt all his books were in
preparation for The Ultimate Book, although he did not know when he
would write it.
"My books are like Legos," he said simply. "Put them
together and you have a map of Turkey."
Nesin was not sure the verdict is the end of Sivas
Case. "Under the present law, there should be a case brought against
me, because I accused all judges of being liars," he said. "I said that
everywhere. But I think they do not want me to say that in court, so
that is why they take no action against me. In any country where judges
start lying or base their decisions on lies, the trust in justice
Aziz Nesin firmly maintained that Turkey was
"historically guilty" toward the Kurds.
"The Kurds are working toward a war of liberation.
The fact that we have Kurdish ministers and parliamentarians does not
translate into full right for Kurds. People of this region can neither
speak nor broadcast in that region... If I had been treated as the
Kurds have been, I would have done what they did."
In his book called "Turks in Bulgaria, Kurds in
Turkey," Nesin compared the ethnic Turks of Bulgaria, whose names were
changed under the Communist rule and were denied overall cultural
rights, to the Kurds in Turkey. "All the names in the Southeast—Kurdish
names which have been changed by the state should be restored," he
said. "Turkey is indebted to Kurds. This score should be set right."
He was not sure that Turkey will become a full
democracy in foreseeable future, but "becoming a full democracy is the
only way the problem between Turks and Kurds, Sunnites and Alevites
could be solved," he maintained.
Recently, on June 30, Aziz Nesin declared war on
fundamentalists at a press conference in Istanbul and called on an
international conference against the rise of fundamentalism throughout
He argued that the Parliament and local governments
exploited religion, warning that if a solution is not found soon,
Turkey will find itself worse off than Algeria. He continued by saying
this was not simply a confrontation between right and left-wing
politics. "I don't trust the government, I don't trust foreign powers
either," Nesin stated. "In my opinion the solution lies in the nation?
That is, if we can organize a civilian nation, we will solve the
problem at its roots."
Nesin noted that many thinkers, writers and
scientists from Turkey and abroad would be invited to the international
conference. He highlighted the fact that the important issue here is
how the government will view such a convention, adding that if this
meeting is not permitted in Turkey, "We can easily hold it in Paris,
London or any other location."
TWO-MONTH PRESSURE ON THE MEDIA
20.6, The Court of Cassation ratifies the judgement
against Fevzi Gercek, chairman of the Health Workers' Union (Tüm Saglik
Sen) who was sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to two years in prison for
an article he wrote to the periodical Direnis. The higher court also
ratifies a two-year imprisonment and TL 250 million fine against the
responsible editor of the periodical, Ayla Tuncdemir. According to the
judgement, the periodical will be banned from publication for one month.
20.6, the Istanbul SSC sentences the responsible
editor of the Insan Haklari Bülteni (Human Rights Bulletin), Izzet Eray
to 5-month imprisonment and TL 42 million fine for an article published
on the occasion of the World Peace Day. The IHD Istanbul Chairman Ercan
Kanar too is sentenced to TL 83 million in fine as the owner of the
23.6, in Istanbul, a concert organized in
celebration of the first anniversary of the private radio Cizgi is
banned by the governor's decision.
24.6, the Adana branch of the Mesopotamia Cultural
Centre (MKM) is raided by security forces. During the operation 17
people including MKM top officials Hüsnü Adibelli and Hasan Kaya, are
taken into custody and all documents inside confiscated.
26.6, five periodicals, Alinteri N°46, Kizil Bayrak
N°24, Odak N°43, Kurtulus N°20 and Ronahi N°6, are confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC for propaganda in favour of separatism and some outlawed
27.6, the military tribunal of the Turkish General
Staff sentences theatre actress Bilgesu Erenus to two months in prison
and TL 100 thousand in fine for anti-war propaganda.
27.6, the periodical Roj N°3 is confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
29.6, The director of Yaba Publishing House, Aydin
Dogan is put in prison after his sentence was ratified by the Court of
Cassation. He had been sentenced, on June 23, 1994, to six months in
prison and TL 100 million in fine for having published a book about
Kurdish writer Musa Anter, victim of a political assassination. Mustafa
Pala who edited the book too was sentenced to two years in prison and
TL 250 million in fine.
29.6, the responsible editor of the political
magazine Aydinlik, Serhat Bolluk is sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to 18
months in prison and TL 375 millions by virtue of Articles 6, 7 and 8
of the Anti-Terror Law.
29.6, the Istanbul SSC sentences the editor of the
Kurdish periodical Hewdem, Siddik Tasdemir, to 20 months in prison and
TL 50 million in fine for separatist propaganda.
29.6, in Istanbul, the Ortaköy Cultural Centre is
raided by police because of having put on the window saying "Nobody can
silence Revolutionary Art!" Fourteen people inside harassed and
detained during the operation.
29.6, the Diyarbakir SSC sentences correspondent
Nezahat Özen of the defunct daily Özgür Ülke to three years and nine
months in prison on charges of aiding the PKK.
29.6, popular singer Gani Nar is taken into custody
in Istanbul after a concert and sent to Konya for questioning in
relation with another concert he gave in Konya in past year.
2.7, the Supreme Board for Radio and Television
(RTÜK) decides to stop the broadcastings of the private TV stations
Kanal 6, Kanal D, Show TV and ART-TV for one day on charges of
broadcasting some programs incompatible with general morality and
Turkish family's life. The RTÜK also issues warnings to Kral TV in
Istanbul, Kayisi FM in Malatya, Keciören FM in Ankara and Aktif Radio
in Izmir. IHD Chairman Akin Birdal accuses the RTÜK of violating the
freedom of expression.
2.7, the weekly Aydinlik N°418 is confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
3.7, the Istanbul SSC confiscate the periodicals
Atilim N°38 and Ronahi N°7 for separatist propaganda. The last issue of
the periodical Partizanin Sesi too is confiscated by the decision of an
Istanbul penal court on the same charge.
3.7, popular singer Gani Nar is placed under arrest
by the Konya SSC in relation with a concert he gave in Konya in 1994.
5.7, the Istanbul SSC sentences the responsible
editor of the periodical Kizil Bayrak, Ayse Öztürk, to six months in
prison and TL 50 million in fine. The court also decided to ban the
periodical's publication for one month.
7.7, the Ortaköy Cultural Centre is closed down by
the decision of the Governor of Istanbul.
10.7, the Istanbul SSC confiscates Alinteri N°48 and
Ada N°11 for separatist propaganda.
11.7, in Istanbul, the office of the periodical
Kurtulus is raided by police and 16 people inside taken into custody.
11.7, the Governor of Istanbul bans a poster
produced by the United Socialist Party (BSP) in protest against
12.7, the Istanbul SSC sentences Nebahat Ayhan to 20
months in prison and TL 375 million in fine for her book entitled A
Letter to the Rising Sun and published by the Working Women's Union
(EKB). The editor of the book, Gülderen Baysungur too is sentenced to
five months in prison and TL 41 million in fine.
12.7, the chief editor of the periodical Toplumsal
Dayanisma, Kenan Kalyon is sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to 20 months
in prison and TL 83 million in fine for an interview he gave to the
review Emegin Bayragi.
12.7, in Alanya, the Baran Bookshop is put on fire
by unidentified assailants.
13.7, the Istanbul SSC confiscates Roj N°5, Hedef
N°45 and the July issue of the newsletter Haklar ve Özgürlükler (Rights
and Freedoms) by virtue of Articles 6 and 8 of the ATL.
14.7, the responsible editor of the periodical
Devrimci Yasam, Alican Güncü is sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to two
years in prison and TL 980 million in fine. The tribunal also decides
to ban the periodical's publication for one month.
15.7, the Malatya correspondent of the daily Yeni
Politika, Ziya Köseoglu is taken into custody by gendarmes raiding his
17.7, the Istanbul SSC confiscates Roj N°6, Ronahi
N°9, Atilim N°40 and Partizanin Sesi N°21 on charges of separatist
propaganda and raising outlawed organizations.
19.7, journalist Yazgül Güder who was taken into
custody on July 11 during a raid to the office of the periodical
Kurtulus is reportedly subjected to torture at police station.
20.7, the last four issues of the daily Evrensel are
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC on charges of separatist propaganda.
20.7, the Istanbul SSC sentences the director of the
Firat Publishing House, Süleyman Yasar, to six months in prison and TL
50 million in fine for having published Kurdish writer Malmisanij's
book entitled Kemal Fevzi of Bitlis and His Place in the Kurdish
20.7, the last issues of the periodicals Alinteri
and Emek are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
20.7, in Ankara, a local radio station, Cagdas
Radyo, is raided by police and speaker Tezcan Erdinc Tan taken into
custody for having broadcast a IHD communiqué concerning disappearances.
23.7, the daily Evrensel is confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC on charges of instigating the people to racial hostility.
According to a communiqué by the editorial board, seven out of 48
issues of Evrensel have been subjected to confiscation.
24.7, the Istanbul SSC confiscates the last issues
of the periodicals Sterka Rizgari and Kervan for separatist propaganda.
27.7, in Izmir, three journalists, Ahmet Subasi
(Kizil Bayrak), Gürcan Yildiz (Sosyalist Alternatif) and Serhat
Karaduman (Kurtulus) who were taken into police custody during a
demonstration in front of the Buca Prison are placed under arrest by a
30.7, the governor of Istanbul bans the Evening of
Rights and Freedoms organized by the Writers' Union of Turkey (TYS) and
the Divrigi Cultural Association (DKD).
31.7, the Court of Cassation ratifies a sentence
against the director of the Evrensel Publishing House, Songül Özkan. He
was sentenced in 1994 by the Istanbul SSC to five months in prison and
TL 42 million in fine for having published a book entitled Imperialism,
Nationalism and Kurdish Question.
1.8, the Istanbul SSC confiscates the periodicals
Roj N°8, Atilim N°42 and Ronahi N°12 for separatist propaganda and
praising outlawed organizations.
1.8, in Istanbul, two journalists of the daily
Evrensel, Nedim Köroglu and Ali Gündogdu are stopped by police under
the menace of fire arm and harassed in the street.
4.8, the Istanbul SSC starts the trial of journalist
Ahmet Altan for his article Atakürt, published in the daily Milliyet on
April 17, 1995. The public prosecutor demands imprisonment of not less
than two years on charges of instigating the people to racial and
ethnic hostility. After the publication of this article, Milliyet fired
Altan under the pressure of the authorities. Thereupon the article was
reprinted by the daily Yeni Politika and the periodicals Söz and
Express, but these publications were confiscated by the Istanbul SSC.
4.8, seven members of the musical group Yorum, in
protest against the closing of Ortaköy Cultural Centre and Gazi
People's Cultural House, occupy the Istanbul office of the Republican
People's Party (CHP). They are taken into police custody after ending
8.8, the periodicals Roj N°9 and Alinteri N°51 are
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda and praising
12.8, the Istanbul SSC confiscates the daily
Evrensel N°67 and the periodical Hedef N°46 for separatist propaganda.
14.8, a one-month ban on the publication of the
periodical Özgür Halk as well as two-year imprisonment against its
editor are ratified by the Court of Cassation. Özgür Halk was already
suspended from publication for one month between March 19 and April 18,
and for another one month between May 24 and June 23.
15.8, the Istanbul SSC confiscates the periodical
Roj N°10 for separatist propaganda and instigating the people to commit
17.8, in Izmir, the correspondent of the periodical
Odak, Emine Can claims to have been tortured at the Political Police
Headquarters after her detention as covering a protest action.
18.8, the periodicals Özgür Gelecek N°57 and Odak
N°45 are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda and
praising some illegal actions.
21.8, the Ankara SSC sentences three journalists of
the periodical Direnis, Gülseren Duman, Günes Uysal and Hasan Bahcivan,
to three years in prison and TL 1 million in fine each. Accused of
having distributed May Day leaflets in Ankara, three journalists have
been tried under arrest for over 16 months.
22.8, three journalists of the periodical Özgür
Gelecek, Ercan Baskan, Riza Yesil and Devrim Yurtsever are taken into
custody as they are paying a solidarity visit to the daily Yeni
Politika, recently closed down by a tribunal.
23.8, in Istanbul, two journalists, Mehmet Yildiz
(Kurtulus) and Ömer Berber (Atilim) are taken into custody at a
tribunal of Eyüp as covering a trial.
26.8, a distributor of the daily Evrensel, Kemal
Dogan is detained in Adana.
26.8, the weekly Express N°83 is confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC in virtue of Article 312 of the Penal Code.
28.8, the prosecutor of the Ankara SSC, conforming
to a demand by the Turkish General Staff, indicts the editor of a
newsletter entitled Gündem Strateji Grubu Haber Bülteni, Nezih Tavlas,
on charges of revealing top secret information concerning the state's
MINIMUM WAGE: LESS THAN ENOUGH
The new minimum wage, set on August 10 at a gross TL
8,460,000 ($ 176), following weeks of tense debate, has failed to
satisfy the expectations of the workers' unions and drawn harsh
reactions. Although this is 102.7 per cent up from the previous wage,
but a worker can get TL 5,547,000 ($ 115) after tax
Representatives of trade unions boycotted the
meeting of the Minimum Wage Commission in protest against the
concessions given to employers. Underlining that it was cruelty to
offer such a wage at a time when a pair of shoes is sold at a price of
TL 1.5 million ($ 31), the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions
(Türk-Is) claimed that the new wage should have been at least TL 18
million ($ 375) after tax.
As for the Confederation of Turkish Employers' Union
(TISK), its spokesman Nihat Yüksel said that the economic conditions in
Turkey were not actually able to carry such a burden but that the 103
per cent increase was made for the sake of the workers.
On the other hand, a collective bargaining affecting
700,000 public workers has recently deadlocked when the government
proposed a wage increase of 5.4 per cent and Türk-Is asked for a better
offer to meet the inflation rate of over 80 per cent. The current
average monthly salary among public workers is about TL 19 million ($
Prime Minister Tansu Ciller said "I won't bow to
WORKER PROTESTS AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT
During the hot summer days, Turkey has been the
scene of nation-wide actions of workers against the government's
anti-democratic and anti-social policies.
First, on June 15, the Civil Servants Labour Unions
Confederation Council (KCSKK) started a series of rallies and sit-ins
in Ankara, calling for their trade union rights. The protest enlarged
when tens of thousands of civil servants arrived on buses from all
corners of Turkey to take part in the action, staging demonstrations,
marches and meetings. The central Kizilay district echoed with the
slogans of the civil servants that criticised the government for its
anti-democratic policies. The spokesman of the KCSKK, Yildirim Kaya,
and three other top officials were detained on June 19 for violating
Article 27 of the Law on Rallies and Demonstrations, which bans verbal
and written calls aimed at inciting people to protest.
On June 21, civil servants stopped work throughout
the country. During their protest, the civil servants demanded that the
police stop investigating their leaders.
Same day, similar rallies took place in Istanbul.
They accused the government of assaulting the workers to quell what
they termed the biggest crisis in the country's history.
On August 5, thousands of public sector workers
protesting against work conditions marched through central Ankara,
warning a wider stoppage called for next week.
Shouting anti-government slogans and carrying
banners saying "It's coming, it's coming. A general strike is coming"
and "Bread, Peace, Freedom", the workers marched towards the city's
business district to pipe and drum music.
Finally, on August 8, the Türk-Is held a nation-wide
work stoppage to protest deadlocks in collective bargaining affecting
700,000 public workers.
The demonstrations were not only a reaction against
the proposed 5.4 per cent wage increase and the injustice done to
public sector employees, the Turk-Is declared. They also symbolised
demands for a democratic constitution, protection of public sector
workers' rights, and the abolition of Article 8, which restricts
freedom of expression?
The Conservative Confederation of Labour Unions
(Hak-Is) and the Confederation of Progressive Labour Unions (DISK) also
voiced their support for the action.
THE RISE OF ANTI-SEMITISM IN TURKEY
A new report released on June 25, 1995, by two major
American-Jewish organizations, "Anti-semitism: World Report 1995,"
drafted by The Institute of Jewish Affairs and The American Jewish
Committee to detail the treatment of the Jews world-wide, contains a
chapter on Turkey wherein the activities of the Welfare Party (RP) and
pro-Islamic dailies receive some extra attention.
The report notes that "in recent years, there have
been few cases of anti-semitism. The September, 1986 and March, 1992
attacks on Neve Shalom synagogue in Istanbul are mentioned in passing,
as well as the January, 1993 attempt on the life of Turkish-Jewish
industrialist Jak Kamhi. Before the March 1994 elections anonymous
letters were sent "calling for a boycott of Jewish firms and shops."
During 1994, Friday prayers were used as an occasion
to lash out at Israel and Jews, among other things. The events in
Bosnia and the massacre in Hebron fuelled such anti-Jewish sentiments,
the report notes.
"In March, the Islamic Avengers of the Great East
(IBDA-C), a previously unknown organization, distributed leaflets
calling on Muslims in Turkey to kill Jews in retaliation for Hebron
massacre. It also provided a list of prominent Jews to target,
promising to pay DM 500 for every Jew murdered.
RP's rise receives in-depth treatment in the report.
In a carefully balanced section, the report points to RP's mixed record
"Refah is the main political organization with
anti-semitic tendencies. The party, which has 40 seats in the 450-seat
Parliament, argues that secularism is a 'foreign' concept and that
Turkey should return to its Islamic roots," it says. RP Chairman
"Erbakan and other leading party representatives made stirringly
anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli statements in Parliament and to the media.
However, at the start of , Refah played down its Islamist and
anti-semitic views in order to attract mass support in the March local
Bilim Arastirma Vakfi (Foundation for Research of
Knowledge) President Adnan Oktar, also known as "Adnan Hoca," is also
quoted as representative of a "nationalistic and Islamic line."
"Oktar is notorious for his virulent attacks on
Israel, Jews and freemasons…" In 1994, Oktar published a newsletter
called Siyasi Çizgi (Political Line) which "alleged that some of the
Jews amongst the (Ciller's) delegation (to Israel) were intent on
strengthening the 'Zionist-Masonic' lobby in Turkey in order to counter
Muslim anti Zionist activities and to try to influence public opinion
On several occasions, imams in mosques used the term
"Jews" or "Jewish" when denouncing Israeli actions against Palestinian
Muslims… In December 1994, Ali Bozkurt, one of the imams at the Fatih
mosque in Istanbul, called for the annihilation of "the Jewish nation,
the Israeli government, the Greeks, the Armenians, the Bulgarians, the
terrorists, the anarchists, the communists, and all our secret
enemies." Bozkurt's sermon was part of a service commemorating the
ascent of the Prophet Mohammed to heaven, which was televised by
the commercial Channel 6."
In Turkey all imams are appointed by directorate of
religious affairs, which is attached to the prime minister's office.
The report also focuses on the such pro-Islamic
dailies as Türkiye, Zaman, Milli Gazete and Vakit as platforms ( from
which anti-semitism has allegedly been defended.
"Zaman, which is considered the most moderate of the
pro-Islamic publications, occasionally featured attacks on Turkish
Jews, including entrepreneurs Jak Kamhi and Izak Alaton.
"For instance, when Professor Yuda Yürüm, a Jewish
university professor in n Ankara, was awarded the annual chemistry
award for his research, Zaman claimed that Albert Bilen, the chair of
the association of chemical industries… was instrumental in giving this
award to another Jew."
Yürüm's car was recently bombed by pro-Islamic
militants. "Zaman also attacked Yusuf Azuz, a Jewish
model, for 'immoral' behaviour, stressing his Jewishness."
A TV producer, Nedim Saban, was also attacked for
his programs, "again emphasising his Jewishness."
"Abdullah Atay, a commentator for Milli Gazete,
alleged that Israel was seeking to establish a Greater Israel' which
would include parts of Turkey."
The report ends with the following gloomy
assessment: "The increased number of anti-semitic publications and
media outlets, together with the growing popularity of the pro-Islamic
Refah Partisi, continued to be a source of concern for Turkish Jews
during 1994. Following Refah's success in the March municipal
elections, the possibility, indicated by opinion polls, that it could
emerge as the largest single party in a national election was a
worrying prospect for many Jews, who fear for their future under a
BAR CHAIRMAN KILLED BY FUNDAMENTALISTS
The Chairman of the Gümüshane Bar Association, Ali
Günday was assassinated on July 25 by an Islam fundamentalist, Izzet
Kirac following the expulsion of two veil-wearing female lawyers from
On the Bar's decision, two pro-Islamic dailies, Akit
and Milli Gazete had started an insulting campaign against Günday. The
killer, Izzet Kirac, who gave himself up after the murder, claimed that
he had come from Adana to Gümüshane to kill Günday after he read the
articles in the pro-Islamic dailies.
Önder Sav, chairman of the Turkish Bar Association
(TBB), said on July 27 that reactionary forces were trying to send
Turkey back to the Middle Ages and those who encourage murderers to
kill people in the name of religion are also responsible for the
TURKISH SUBMISSION TO SAUDI FUNDAMENTALISM
The beheading of four Turkish nationals on drug
charges in Saudi Arabia — two on August 11 and two on August 14, has
caused a furor in Turkey. At the beginning, some State officials and
political leaders too took part in the anti-Saudi campaign launched by
the media which attacked the Saudis as Barbarians.
Prime Minister Ciller immediately sent a renown
Islamist professor, Nevzat Yalcintas, as special envoy to King Fahd in
the hope to stop further executions of Turkish nationals. According to
the Turkish Foreign Ministry, a further 20 Turks were already on death
row and 20 others were being tried on capital charges for sex-stimulant
Captagon drug smuggling.
Despite Demirel and Ciller's personal demands, King
Fahd did not receive the special envoy. Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince
Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz, who received Turkish special envoy, affirmed
on August 22 that his country would continue to behead drug smugglers,
saying capital punishment had helped reduce crime in the Kingdom.
The Turkish Government's reaction against this
refusal has not be in the same tone used in reactions against Europe.
Instead, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ömer Akbel said Ankara was trying
to tone down the adverse publicity given to the issue. "We believe
silent diplomacy would be more effective in ensuring that this issue is
According to the press reports, Turkey's bargaining
power with Riyadh was constrained by two principal factors: Saudi
Arabia's $3.5 billion post-Gulf War aid program for Turkey, and the
volume of lucrative construction business that Turkish firms are
currently enjoying in the Kingdom. Turkish contractors said they have
recently won $500 million worth of contracts in Saudi Arabia and employ
there some 50,000 Turkish workers. Besides, Turkey's exports to Saudi
Arabia stood at $609 million and imports were $1.23 billion in 1994