THE 24 DECEMBER 1995 ELECTIONS
Rate of Participation 83.92%
VALID VOTES 24,416,526
DYP 6,600,644 (27.03%) 5,396,009
(19.18%) -1,204,635 (-7,85%)
ANAP 5,862,639 (24.01%) 5,527,288
(19.65%) - 335,351 (-4,36%)
RP 4,121,292 (16.88%) 6,012,450
(21.38%) +1,891,158 (+4,50%)
MHP - 2,301,343 (
8.18%) +2,301,343 (+8,18%)
YDH - 133,889
(0.48%) +133,889 (0,48%)
MP (former IDP) - 127,630
(0.45%) +127,630 (0,45%)
YDP - 95,484
(0.34%) +95,484 (0.34%)
YP - 36,853
(0.13%) +36,853 (0.13%)
TOTAL RIGHT 16,584,575 (67.92%)
19,630,946 (69.79%) +3,046,371
CHP (former SHP) 5,066,546 (20.75%)
3,011,076 (10.71%) -2,055,470 (-10.04%)
DSP 2,624,310 (10.75%) 4,118,025
(14.64%) +1,493,715 (+3,89%)
IP (former SP) 108,374 (0.44%)
61,428 (0.22%) -46,946 (-0.22%)
HADEP - 1,171,623
(4.17%) +1,171,623 (+4.17%)
TOTAL LEFT 7,799,230 (31.94%)
8,362,152 (29.74%) +562,922 (-2.20%)
INDEPENDENTS 32,721 (0.14%) 133,895
(0.47%) +101,174 (+0,33%)
OF THE SEATS
TOTAL SEATS 450
DYP 178 (39.55%%) 135
(24.54%) -43 (-15.01%)
ANAP 115 (25.55%) 132
(24,00%) +17 (-1.55%)
RP 62 (13.78) 158
(28.73%) +96 (+14.95%)
TOTAL RIGHT 355 (78.88%) 425
(77,27%) +70 (-1.61%)
SHP 88 (19.56%) 49
(8.91%) -39 (-10.65%)
DSP 7 (1.56%) 76
(13.82%) +69 (+12.26%)
TOTAL LEFT 95 (21.12%) 125
(22.73%) +30 (+1.61%)
The December 24 elections, contradicting the claim
of Ciller and her Western supporters that the ratification of the
Customs Union was the last chance to stop the fundamentalist rise in
Turkey, made the Welfare Party (RP) of Necmeddin Erbakan with 21.38%
the most representative political force of the country. In a 550-seat
National Assembly, the RP is now represented by 158 deputies.
Together with the votes of two other Turco-Islamist
parties, 8.18% of the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) and 0.45% of the
Nation Party (MP), the percentage of the extreme right in Turkey
climbed at these elections to 30 percent. Considering the fact that RP,
MHP and MP together obtained 16.9 percent of the votes when they
entered the 1991 elections with a joint list, this result of elections
shows that the extreme right in Turkey has two folded its strength
during the last 4-year period of DP-CHP coalitions.
The principal losers of these elections are no doubt
the two coalition partners, the Correct Way Party (DYP) and the
Republican People's Party (CHP). The percentage of Ciller's party DYP
fell from 27.03% in 1991 to 19.18% at these elections, and Deniz
Baykal's CHP from 20.75% to 10.71%. The total percentage of the two
partners rest at 29.89% while it was 46.21% in 1991.
So they paid the invoice of their catastrophic
economic policies marked mainly by high inflation, unemployment and
foreign debts as well as the never-ending State terrorism. The
irregularities and doubtful wealth of Ciller's family were one of the
main factors of this spectacular denial by the impoverishing
As an important part of their disappointed
electorate was voting for the extreme right parties, mainly for the RP
and the MHP, some of them preferred to vote for Bülent Ecevit's
Democratic Left Party (DSP). So the percentage of the DSP climbed from
10.75% in 1991 to 14.64 in 1995.
As for the main opposition Motherland Party (ANAP)
of Mesut Yilmaz, contrary to all expectations, it failed to come out as
the first party. Unable to give the image of a consistent "liberal and
democratic" party, the ANAP's percentage, instead of increasing, fell
from 24.01% in 1991 to 19.65% in 1995.
Three other new minor centre-right parties, the New
Party (YP), the New Democracy Movement (YDH) and the Rebirth Party
(YDP), too failed to obtain popular support, the total of their votes
remained under 1%.
It was also the case for the Workers' Party (IP).
Its votes fell from 0.44% in 1991 to 0.22% in 1995.
The real surprise of these elections was the
spectacular results obtained by the People's Democracy Party (HADEP),
founded as the successor of the forbidden Democracy Party (DEP).
In spite of all repressive practices it underwent
such as arrests, raids on meetings, assassinations, the HADEP had a
real success in southeastern Kurdish provinces of the country. HADEP's
percentage reached 54.35% in Hakkari, 46.47% in Diyarbakir, 37.40% in
Batman, 27.77% in Van, 26.68% in Siirt, 25.86% in Sirnak, 22.01% in
Mardin, 21.70% in Igdir, 18.04% in Agri, 17% in Tunceli, 16.77% in Mus
and 13.61% in Sanliurfa.
In many of these provinces, the combined vote of two
or three of the major parties was less than that of HADEP. However, 24
HADEP candidates elected by the people could not enter the Parliament
because of the national 10 percent threshold.
For example, in Diyarbakir, the electoral district
of Mrs. Leyla Zana, former Kurdish deputy in prison, the HADEP has not
any deputy though it obtained 46.47% of the votes. On the contrary, in
this province, Ciller's DYP obtained two seats with 10.78%, the ANAP 3
seats with 13.79% and the RP 5 seats with 18.04%.
After the expulsion and arrest of DEP deputies in
the past legislative period, this obstruction has been a new blow to
the choice of the Kurdish population.
In fact, not only the injustice as regards the
HADEP, but the way of organizing hastily the early elections by
adopting an anti-democratic electoral law has already cast a shade on
the legitimacy of these elections. Besides, the presence of the
emergency law in Kurdish provinces, the deprivation of migrants abroad
of the possibility to vote in their host countries and the lack of time
for the opposition parties such as HADEP in preparing themselves to
elections and in organizing their electoral campaign have prevented the
electorate from making a well-elaborated choice. The high number of
abstention, 5,156,094 out of 24 million, despite the fact that the
voting is obligatory on pain of indictment is the proof of that.
Moreover, 988,265 citizens manifested their protest
by casting invalid votes.
Of those who cast a valid vote, 3,866,822 are not
represented in Parliament by the candidates for whom they voted,
because they are replaced by other the candidates of bigger parties
because of the national 10 percent threshold.
In brief, 10,203,353 electors out of 34 million,
about one thirds, have no their representatives in the new parliament.
In spite of all these unjust practices and the
support of the Western powers, the coalition parties DYP and CHP were
doomed to an unprecedented defeat.
Despite this downfall, Ciller has not given up the
dream of governing the country as Prime Minister. Claiming that a
government headed by the Islamists may lead Turkey to a catastrophe,
she launched a new campaign to form a new coalition with the ANAP and
one of the two center-left parties, CHP or DSP.
It is a new proof of Ciller's hypocrisy.
The real reason of the RP's rising is not only a
wish of returning to the religious values, ignored by the
Kemalist governments since the beginning of the Republic. As explained
above, the popular strata impoverished by Ciller's catastrophic
economic policies, had to vote, with the exception of Kurdish
provinces, for the extreme-right parties such as RP and MHP, in the
absence of a real alternative to solve their problems. It is Ciller
herself and her social-democrat partners are the main responsibles of
the situation alarming the Western world.
Besides, it is not only the RP which exploits the
religious sentiments of the people.
Since the beginning of her rule, Ciller has given
all concessions to fundamentalist circles. It is very significant that
during her 2.5-year rule, Ciller opened 71 secondary level religious
schools in the country. Furthermore, the graduates of these schools
have been allowed to enter State posts having no relation with
The coalition of DYP and CHP always had very close
relations with another Turco-Islamic party, MHP, and got its support
during parliamentary works for passing many repressive laws. Last
months, Ciller attempted to enter elections with a joint electoral list
gathering DYP and MHP leaders, but failed at last moment because of a
dispute on sharing the ranks in the lists. However, after this last
defeat, her collaborators are talking of leading Turkey to a new early
election during which the DYP will not repeat the "error" of losing the
MHP partnership. So she hopes to obtain about 30 percent of the votes
and to share the future government with this neo-fascist party.
Besides, it is Ciller herself and her partner Baykal
that did not hesitate to make a collaboration with the RP during the
enactment of the new Electoral Code. Thanks to this law that the RP
obtained, to the detriment of smaller parties, a number of deputies
higher than that it really deserves.
What is the worst, among the new elected deputies,
more than a hundred are the active members of different religious
orders and brotherhoods. These Islamist deputies belong not only to the
RP, but also to the two centre-right parties, DYP and ANAP, which claim
to defend the secular State against Islamist RP.
Among the DYP deputies, there are two figures from
the Naksibendi order, eleven from the Nurcu order, one from Kadiri
orders. Three DYP deputies are known as the godfathers of some
Famous State Minister, Ayvaz Gökdemir, whom Ciller
kept in her government until the elections despite the fact that he
insulted as "prostitutes" the chairwomen of the three political groups
of the European Parliament, is known as the representative of the Rifai
order in the Parliament!
Whatsoever be the outcome of the new coalition
bargainings in the New Year, either a government headed by the RP or
another government formed by DYP and ANAP with the participation or
external support of a centre-left party or a new early election, the
Extreme Right will be a determining factor in shaping the future of
PKK DECLARES UNILATERAL CEASE-FIRE
To the European Parliament's appeal for the Turkish
government and the Kurdish representatives to find a "non-violent and
political solution" to the conflict, first positive response came from
the Workers' Party of Kurdistan (PKK).
During a Kurdish MED-TV programme on December 14,
PKK Chairman Abdullah Öcalan said: "We respect the decision taken by
the European Parliament yesterday concerning the finding of a political
solution with the PKK and other concerned bodies. To help put this
decision into effect and fulfil our responsibilities we have also
decided to bring about an end to the long conflict between the Kurdish
parties in south Kurdistan and declare a unilateral cease-fire and halt
our military actions in Turkey.
"If the Turkish army does not attempt to destroy us,
we will not undertake military operation in Kurdistan or Turkey. If the
Turkish forces attempt to destroy us, we will defend ourselves and also
broaden our use of the right of retaliation.
"If I am a 'terrorist', or the PKK is 'terrorist',
there are other Kurdish circles which are not. If they won't talk to us
let them talk with those Kurds who have nothing to do with 'terror'.
What about meeting with these Kurdish circles? Are they terrorists too?
"Turkey has now joined the Customs Union. Therefore
the European Parliament is bound to take responsibility for the
resolutions it has passed. If the European Parliament does not want war
and is sincere on the question of a political solution, it should take
steps along the lines of its resolution. It should make its financial
aid dependent on democratisation. If it cannot do this, it must realise
that every penny will be spent on the dirty war."
On this call, the chairwoman of the Socialist Group
of the European Parliament, Pauline Green welcomed the unilateral
cease-fire by the PKK.
In a press release on December 15, Green called on
the Turkish Government to take reciprocal measures to build up "a
momentum for peace."
"I am delighted that the PKK has listened to our
call and decided to walk the extra mile for peace. The Turkish
Government now has the opportunity to exercise leadership and to meet
the challenge presented in the South East of Turkey. Appropriate
measures could include a lifting of the state of emergency and a
gesture of goodwill to the Kurdish people such as the release of
Kurdish MPs, including Leyla Zana."
However, the Turkish Government has categorically
refused the EP's proposal. After having celebrated the ratification of
the Customs Union, Ankara restarted its attacks to the EP. On December
27, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Omer Akbel accused the European
Parliament of adopting double standards on the question of
terrorism, treating Spain's ETA and Turkey's PKK differently.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT YIELDED TO "REAL POLITIK"
The European Parliament, ignoring its preliminary
conditions as regards "democratization" and taking no heed of last
minute warnings from international human rights organizations,
legitimated the repressive Ankara regime within the European Union with
the ratification of the Customs Union on December 13, 1995.
The European Parliament's vote, 343 to 149, with 36
abstentions, also enabled Turkey to obtain ECU 375 million ($300
million) from the European Union for financial cooperation assistance
during a five-year term.
Many members of the assembly who advocated the
refusal or the postponement of the Customs Union changed their stand at
the last moment by capitulating to Premier Ciller's blackmail claiming
that the Islamist Welfare Party (RP) would come out as the first
political force of the country if the accord was not ratified by the
Prior to the vote, for weeks, a number of Turkish
ministers, diplomats and businessmen filled the Parliament buildings in
Brussels and Strasbourg to carry out lobby activities for obtaining the
ratification of the Customs Union. They went so far that, during an
earlier meeting in Strasbourg, a sumptuous feast was offered by Turkish
businessmen to the members of European Parliament.
Besides, the leaders of the Western super powers,
giving priority to their economic and strategic interests instead of
the respect to human rights, did their best to influence the political
groups of the European Parliament for increasing Ciller's electoral
chance by the ratification of the accord.
To the grand astonishment of observers, the US
Ambassador in Brussels visited one after other the presidents of
political groups in European Parliament and asked them to support the
Israeli Ambassador to Turkey, Zvi Elpeleg told
Turkish journalists on December 17 in Ankara that Israel, a country
enjoying close relations with the European Union (EU), had extended
support to Turkey by engaging in lobbying activities in favour of the
Turkey-EU customs union prior to the European Parliament voting.
Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres sent letters to EP group chairmen,
and Ambassador Elpeleg worked in coordination with the embassies of EU
member-countries in Turkey.
However, the results of the 24th December elections
showed once again that all these efforts could not prevent the RP from
being the first political party of the country and the DYP and the CHP
from undergoing the worst electoral results of their history.
By considering sufficient some cosmetic changes to
Article 8, the European Parliament has turned into an accomplice of the
shameful violations of human rights in the south-eastern flank of
Europe with its prisons full of political detainees.
Although the decision of the plenary assembly was
followed by a much-debated resolution on human rights, the members of
European Parliament know very well that none of the similar resolutions
adopted in the past have never been taken serious by the Ankara regime.
In this resolution on human rights, the Parliament
called on Turkey to continue with democratic reforms, do all it can for
a political solution to the Southeast problem and end its "occupation
of Cyprus." The EP also called on the European Commission to prepare a
report on the evolution of these matters to be submitted to them "at
least once a month,"
However, the human rights resolution, which is not
binding, did not irritate Turkish officials who said that the version
adopted was "much more moderate" than the original form.
After the vote, the Ankara regime hailed the EP
decision as a triumph of Turkish diplomacy over "Turkey's enemies."
Prime Minister Ciller ordered to organize celebration demonstrations
throughout Turkey in a view to exploit this decision for her electoral
campaign. Addressing students at Ankara's Bilkent University on
December 15, she claimed Turkey would be a full member of the European
Union in three years' time.
Whatsoever be the reasons of the "yes" by the
European Parliament, the explanatory statement by Spanish MEP Carlos
Carnero Gonzales, the rapporteur of the Committee of Foreign Affairs,
remains as an undeniable document putting in evidence the real face of
a repressive regime embraced by the European Union.
1. The new political, economic and strategic
framework in the regions of the Middle East and the Caucasus means that
it is vital for Europe to step up its links with Turkey, particularly
in view of the end of the Cold War and the implementation of the new
Euro-Mediterranean policy. Turkey rapidly took on a greater role in the
international community in the 1990s - examples of this are Ankara's
role in the Gulf War and the fact that its territory acts as a 'buffer
zone' between Europe and Iran, Iraq, Syria and the Caucasus. Today
Turkey is required to play a major role at regional level and in the
south-eastern Mediterranean, particularly in view of the attention
focused in recent years on the Middle East and its uncertain peace
processes, and the outbreak of war in the Balkans. It is in this
context that Turkey is seeking to redefine its system of international
relations, especially with Europe and Central Asia, in order to achieve
a suitable geopolitical order.
It is precisely because of the potential offered by
EU-Turkey relations that, in recent months, the European Parliament has
stressed the need for irreversible signs of greater democracy in the
Turkish political system. Customs Union 'anchors' a country
structurally to Europe and must therefore be extended to countries in
which the rule of law and the free exercise of fundamental civil,
political, cultural, social and economic rights are fully respected.
Europe's appeals to Turkey must be seen in this context - they are
indications of the types of reforms needed for high-quality,
sustainable relations between the EU and Turkey, as desired by all
parties. Europe and the European Parliament hope that Turkey will be an
integral part of the continent's political and economic system, for
obvious reasons, but they cannot allow human rights violations,
military policies aimed at denying the existence of the Kurds or de
facto situations contrary to international law to prevail in a country
with which they are seeking to establish preferential relations in all
The Customs Union is an irreversible step towards
anchoring Turkey to Europe and it has a political significance for that
country which far exceeds its actual commercial and economic content.
The Customs Union was provided for in the 1963 EEC-Turkey Association
Agreement, and the Additional Protocol (which entered into force in
1973) laid down the timetable for its entry into force, involving a
transitional period of 22 years. The 36th session of the EC-Turkey
Association Council, held on 6 March 1995, put the finishing touches to
the Customs Union which is due to enter into force on 1 January 1996,
and the 37th session of the EC-Turkey Council, held on 30 October 1995,
confirmed that all the technical conditions had been fulfilled for the
The European Parliament has never opposed the
principle of the Customs Union. As the European Union's democratic
body, it has stressed that the Turkish political system must develop in
such a way as to allow for the normalization of relations between the
parties. To this end, Parliament has dwelt in its resolutions on a
series of issues on which it considers that progress must be made if we
are to develop further relations of any kind, including economic
relations, with Turkey. These issues are as follows:
1.1. REFORM OF THE 1982 CONSTITUTION
Turkey's current constitution was drawn up in 1982
by the leaders of the military coup who seized power in Ankara on 12
September 1980. It is a text in which the exercise of political, civil
and social freedoms is sacrificed to the protection and supremacy of
the state, and contains a sophisticated system for restricting the
rights of citizens which, as far as ordinary legislation is concerned,
has led to mechanisms for political and police repression which are
incompatible with a constitutional state. In January 1995 the necessary
number of signatures was collected to submit to the Turkish Grand
National Assembly a 'democracy package' of 21 amendments to the
military constitution which were supported by the main political
movements and were aimed at abolishing a series of restrictions so that
civilian society could play a greater role in Turkey's institutional
and political life. Of the 16 amendments approved on 23 July 1995,
which were described in detail in PE 211.399 (drawn up by the
Directorate General for Research), it should be pointed out that not
one explicitly involves provisions for promoting and protecting
individual rights and freedoms or guarantees for safeguarding human
rights. Indeed, the amendments often amount to institutional
adjustments (on the number of MPs, convening Parliament, lowering
voting age or lowering the age at which a person may join political
parties, etc.) or marginal reforms. This does not mean that certain
important amendments have not been made, such as the amendment to the
Preamble, which no longer confers political legitimacy on the coup
d'etat, the amendment which extends to trade unions and associations
the right to participate in politics or the amendment on collective
The adoption of these constitutional reforms can be
considered a positive step in Turkish democratic life. It should be
pointed out that this is the first time that a Turkish parliament
composed of civilians has amended a constitution imposed by the
military. It confers a highly symbolic value on the role of political
forces in Turkey, and it is significant that only the Refah Party voted
against the reforms which were finally adopted by 360 votes to 32.
However, it should also be pointed out that a large number of the
proposed amendments were subject to political horse trading, in the
course of which they were substantially altered. Reforms aimed at
calling the military leaders of the coup to account or at guaranteeing
all state officials of whatever rank or grade full trade union rights
fell victim to the power struggles between the political parties in the
Turkish parliament. Lastly, it should be noted that there are other
articles in the Turkish Constitution providing for restrictions on
individual rights which were not even mentioned in the debate and were
not the subject of any discussion.
There is no doubt that the constitutional reforms
are more important for the political and institutional impetus they
have provided than for their actual substance - this being insufficient
for the purpose of promoting higher democratic standards. Amending the
Constitution to take account of the guidelines set out by the European
Parliament and the Council of Europe does not mean adopting just any
constitutional reform, as testified by the existence of other articles
which could have been amended but which were not and by the defeat of
amendments which would have been highly significant at political level.
It is to be hoped that this reform is just the first step towards other
more radical reforms and that the parties which supported the
amendments adopted on 23 July 1995 will now harmonize various ordinary
laws in line with the new constitutional principles, thereby responding
to international criticism by taking specific measures. The greater
freedoms contained in the new Constitution must now be reflected in
greater freedom of expression and information, greater freedom to
participate in the democratic process and greater freedom to express
constructive criticism at all levels of the law.
1.2. THE TURKISH MPs OF KURDISH ORIGIN IN THE DEP
On 7 June 1990 the People's Labour Party (HEP) was
founded in Turkey, and an electoral alliance with the Social Democratic
Populist Party (SHP) led to some members of Kurdish origin, who are
deeply committed to the defence of Kurdish political identity, being
elected members of the Grand National Assembly in October 1991. Their
political activities, which were openly aimed at defending the rights
of the Kurdish people, led to considerable tension in the Turkish
parliament. On 14 August 1993 the Constitutional court ordered that the
HEP be disbanded. This led the members affected by this decision to
form, first of all, the Freedom and Democracy Party (ÖZDEP) (which was
disbanded by the Constitutional Court on 23 November 1993) and,
subsequently, the Democracy Party (DEP) (which was dissolved by the
Constitutional Court on 16 June 1994). In an overtly political act, and
at the request of the Public Prosecutor of Ankara, the parliamentary
immunity of six members of the DEP was waived on 2 March 1994 - the
members being Hatip Dicle, the chairman of the DEP, Ahmet Turk, Leyla
Zana, Orhan Dogan, Sirri Sakik and Mahmut Alliance. The following day,
the parliamentary immunity of Salim Sadak and Hasan Mezarci was also
waived. The European Parliament has a report drawn up by Mr Marc Galle
on 15 March 1994 (PE 207.032) outlining the whole affair concerning the
DEP MPs, which gives full details of the arrest of the Turkish MPs of
Kurdish origin; we would simply like to point out here that the report
rightly stresses that 'there is no doubt that the immunity of these
eight members of parliament was waived mainly for political reasons. No
attempt was made to conceal this by those chiefly responsible,
particularly Mrs Tansu Ciller, the Prime Minister, since it was her
party, the DYP (the True Path Party), that, together with ANAP (the
Motherland Party), took steps to place at the top of the Assembly's
agenda the proposals of the joint committee on the constitution and
justice for the waiver of immunity' of the DEP members. On 8 December
1994, in a farcical trial condemned by the international community,
which drew protests from the public throughout the world and which was
attended by many MEPs, Mrs Zana, Mr Dogan, Mr Dicle, Mr Sadak and Mr
Turk were sentenced to 15 years in prison for supporting an armed
group; Mr Sedat Yurttas, MP, was sentenced to seven and a half years
while Sirri Sakik and Mahmut Alniak were sentenced to three and a half
years for separatist propaganda on the basis of Article 8 of the
During my visit to Ankara, I was able to convey to
the imprisoned MPs the European Parliament's support, as expressed in
various resolutions, and to tell them that the EP Assembly in
Strasbourg had repeatedly condemned the whole trial mounted against
them - a trial that was certainly incompatible with the aims of a state
aspiring to democracy, that was notable for the absence of guarantees
for the defence and in which the persecution of the representatives of
the people by the organs of the state police was made very manifest.
The Turkish authorities should not be surprised at the indignation
aroused internationally, and in Europe in particular, at the arrest and
sentencing of the MPs; it is indeed totally unacceptable that our
colleagues, in whatever part of the world, should be prevented from
carrying out their political activities. These should, if necessary, be
the subject of a political- debate that is natural to a democratic
system. A democracy and a constitutional state are not defined by the
imposition of the political positions of the majority but by respect
for minorities and the expression of their views, in a system of mutual
respect within republican legality which must guarantee a peaceful
debate between all parties.
On 26 October 1995, the Turkish Supreme Court, the
highest judiciary authority in the country, issued a judgement
confirming in its entirety the 15-year prison sentence imposed on Leyla
Zana, Hatip Dicle, Selim Sadak and Orhan Dogan for 'setting up and
being members of an armed group', while the sentences imposed on two
MPs - Ahmet Turk and Sedat Yurttas - were quashed and the two were
released. It should also be borne in mind that the Supreme Court
considered reviewing the trial of two other MPs of Kurdish origin,
Sirri Sakik and Mahmut Alniak, based on Article 8 of the anti-terrorist
law, although the two men have already been released after serving
two-thirds of their sentence.
I am bitterly disappointed at the decision of the
Turkish Supreme Court, which was based more on political than judicial
criteria, and believe that the Community must reiterate its unanimous
wish to see the remaining four MPs released.
The Court's judgement opens up the supranational
aspects of this issue - it should be pointed out that four appeals
submitted by the four imprisoned MPs are pending before the European
Court of Human Rights, whose jurisdiction in the matter of individual
appeals has been recognized by Turkey since 22 January 1990. Moreover,
the lawyers acting for the DEP MPs have announced that they are to
appeal to the European Commission of Human Rights, whose jurisdiction
has been recognized by Turkey since 28 January 1987. In a statement to
the press on 26 October 1995, the Turkish Government announced that
Turkey recognized the jurisdiction of these two European bodies and
would therefore comply with the judgement delivered. I have confidence
in the European judicial bodies on human rights and hope that the two
judiciaries will deliver their opinion on the case without delay. At
the same time, however, we must bear in mind the warnings of many
Turkish journalists who have condemned the 'half-measures' designed to
calm European fears rather than to bring about a decisive improvement
in the welfare of the Turkish people and transform Turkey into an
irreversibly modern country.
Lastly, I believe that other ways must be sought of
securing the release of the four MPs still in prison, particularly the
possibility of a presidential pardon as provided for in the Turkish
legal codes or the granting of an amnesty.
1.3. THE ANTI-TERRORIST LAW (No 3713)
The 'anti-terrorist law' (No 3713), hereinafter
referred to as the ATL, was adopted on 12 April 1991 in order to combat
those organizations which 'intend to alter the nature of the Republic
as defined in the Constitution'. Article 8 in particular was to arouse
international criticism in that it was used to repress forms of
political dissent targeted at the integrity of the state. Although the
reasoning behind the law was to confer legitimate instruments on the
Turkish state to defend itself from any terrorist and subversive
attempts to change the nature of the state and its unity, it must be
said that the wording of Article 8 of the ATL and, in particular, its
implementation have introduced repressive, intimidatory and essentially
anti-democratic practices into Turkish society by the State Security
Obviously, no one is challenging the Turkish
Government's right to use legal instruments to maintain its territorial
integrity; what is being called into question is the large-scale
repression of any form of dissent, which often has nothing to do with
the question of territorial integrity. Combating separatism is often
used as a pretext for curbing any criticism of the state and its
methods of resolving the 'Kurdish question'; the process has been
exacerbated by the concept of the 'integrity of the state' which, as
interpreted by the
Turkish State Security Courts, has put hundreds of journalists,
intellectuals and human rights activists in prison. Article 8
particularly curtails the exercise of the right to freedom of
information and freedom of expression. It has led to a series of
arrests, abuses of power, the closure of daily newspapers, violation of
the right to a legal defence and arbitrary imprisonment. Those daily
newspapers which speak more openly than others of government policy
towards the areas in the south-east of the country are obvious targets.
In response to the appeals of the European
Parliament and the meetings I held in Turkey and Brussels with many
Turkish political leaders, the Turkish parliament decided on Friday, 27
October 1995 by 189 votes to 83, with 2 abstentions, to reform the ATL.
The main changes are: (a) the prison sentence for 'separatist
propaganda' has been reduced from between 2 and 5 years to between 1
and 3 years; (b) the prison sentence may be converted into a fine of
between 100 and 300 million Turkish lira, at the total discretion of
the judge; (c) the notion of 'intentionally' has been introduced; (d)
the 'explanatory memorandum' makes it incumbent on judges to implement
the new law in the light of the European Convention on Human Rights;
(e) all the trials conducted hitherto on the basis of Article 8 must be
reviewed, which, it is hoped, will lead to the release of many people.
At the same time, however: (1) the charge of
'propaganda aimed at destroying the indivisible integrity of the
state', with all the ambiguity this entails, remains part of the
dubious case-law applied by the State Security Courts; (2) owners of
newspapers containing 'separatist propaganda' are still liable to fines
and imprisonment; (3) paradoxically, the new law 'modernizes'
repression by imposing fines and imprisonment also on owners of
television and radio stations broadcasting 'propaganda'.
In short, although the sentence has been reduced,
expressing one's opinion in certain matters remains a crime, even
though it had been hoped that this would be revoked. Indeed, if the
application of Article 8 by the State Security Courts does not change,
and if the government does not provide specific assurances in this
regard, there is a danger that the proposed reform will not result in
the political liberality and democracy that is being called for in many
quarters. This feeling is echoed by various leaders of Turkish and
international associations concerned with the defence of human rights,
who have denounced the 'cosmetic changes' to Article 8 which neither
affect the nature of the crimes nor abolish the crime of expressing
political opinions, which is indeed reinforced.
I am also concerned still at the existence of many
other laws whose substance is very similar to the anti-terrorist law,
and which are often unknown. It must not be imagined that simply
abolishing Article 8 will lead to total freedom of expression in
Turkey; a whole system of legislation based on the same principles must
be reviewed, and the very existence of a division between 'civil
justice' (administered by ordinary courts) and 'military-justice'
(administered by the State Security Courts) speaks volumes. Your
rapporteur therefore believes that, as a matter of principle, all
military legislation should be abolished or reviewed as it is a source
of abuse of power against the civil and political rights- of citizens
which, as mentioned earlier, dates back to the 1982 Constitution.
1.4. HUMAN RIGHTS IN TURKEY
The human rights situation in Turkey continues to be
a cause of concern to the international community, thanks to the
extensive monitoring carried out by the main Turkish and international
organizations aimed at defending human dignity. For the whole of 1994
and most of 1995, all these organizations have documented many cases of
torture, extra-judicial executions and suspicious deaths in custody,
the forced disappearance of dissidents, excessive use of force by the
security forces and the imprisonment of journalists, intellectuals and
human rights activists.
Furthermore, as revealed in the 1995 US State
Department report, the government rarely prosecutes members of the
police or security forces for extra-judicial executions, torture and
other human rights violations. When they do prosecute somebody, the
sentences handed down are generally very light. The ensuing climate of
impunity is the greatest obstacle to reducing the number of illegal
executions, torture and other human rights violations. Impunity is
indeed the greatest obstacle to improving the human rights situation in
When presenting their 1995 annual reports, the
Turkish Human Rights Association and the Turkish Human Rights
Foundation, whose activities are often financed by the Union in view of
the guarantees of reliability which they offer, confirmed that the
situation had worsened in 1994, as borne out by information provided by
Amnesty claims that the atmosphere of impunity in
which soldiers are authorized to act in the south-east of the country
now extends to all police officers and members of the security forces
throughout the country. In an attempt to disguise the scale of human
rights violations in Turkey, the government is persecuting Turkish
human rights activists, ordering the closure of the headquarters of
Turkish associations aimed at safeguarding human dignity, and is taking
measures to curtail the freedom of the opposition press. The report
states that 'torture continues to be reported on a daily basis from
many parts of Turkey - but particularly Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Adana
and the south-east. Torture is practised mainly in police stations and
The 1995 Human Rights Watch World Report also states
that the situation 'continued to deteriorate in 1994, in large part due
to the government's heavy-handed response to an escalation of the
conflict in south-eastern Turkey'. The report contains serious
accusations, which have not been disproved: 'such death squads-style
assassinations and suspicious disappearances have plagued Turkey in the
past few years, especially in the south-east, increasing to new levels
in 1994. Either the victim was killed by unidentified assailants with a
single shot to the head, or he was detained by security forces, who
then alleged that the individual detained earlier was released and was
no longer in custody. Victims included suspected PKK sympathizers,
HADEP and DEP organizers, journalists, especially of pro-Kurdish
publications, and trade union activists. Sometimes the victim's body
was discovered days later by the side of the road, or he simply
disappeared. The assassins were suspected of having unofficial links
with security forces. Often the police simply did not investigate the
crime seriously'. Rumours of paramilitary or para-governmental 'death
squads' cannot fail to be a source of concern for all those concerned
with the safeguard of human rights.
Your rapporteur is deeply concerned at the inertia
displayed by the Turkish judiciary and its political leaders on the
question of human rights, particularly in view of flagrant,
well-documented and detailed cases of violations of human dignity which
should be strongly combated in order to set an example. While it may be
true, as the Commission maintains in its documents, that there is a
'latent predisposition of Turkish society to accept the use of physical
force to obtain otherwise legitimate results', it cannot be accepted by
any system calling itself democratic - that the army, the military, the
state security forces and the secret services should be allowed total
freedom of action, with no formal effective democratic supervision, in
the name of the independence, the integrity or the greater good of the
Unfortunately, some major international conventions
already ratified by Ankara, such as the European Convention for the
Prevention of Torture and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and the
European Convention on Human Rights, are still not being put into
practice. Some action has been taken recently, such as the reform of
the Criminal Procedure Law, the new provisions on the treatment of
prisoners, the ban on using torture under any circumstances, the
commuting of the death penalty into life imprisonment and the setting
up of certain parliamentary or governmental bodies to monitor human
rights. However, these are insufficient measures and should be backed
up by a clear political will to prosecute the perpetrators of crimes
against human dignity rather than supporting them.
1.5. THE 'KURDISH QUESTION'
The Turkish Government's policy of forced
assimilation of the population of Kurdish origin in the south-east of
the country through military means, the radicalization of the PKK and
its use of terrorist methods and the spread of poverty in the
south-east of Turkey with the subsequent marginalization of young
people are all amongst the main causes of what is now known as the
'Kurdish question' in Turkey. The European Parliament has long
considered that the Kurdish problem cannot be resolved militarily, as
the war is leading to large-scale human rights violations and
preventing the creation of a political and social framework for the
peaceful coexistence of Turks and Kurds.
The war has had a devastating effect economically,
militarily, socially and politically. It is estimated that at least 300
000 soldiers from the Turkish army are operating in the south-east
provinces and that Ankara is spending over US$ 8 billion a year on the
war. Turkey's foreign debt (totalling at least $ 67 billion) is
increasing all the time because of the vast military spending. Ten
years on, Turkish military sources speak of at least 9 982 people
killed in anti-Kurdish military activities, including 2197 Turkish
soldiers, 4757 PKK militia and 3028 civilians, with 3188 people being
seriously wounded. Kurdish sources speak of at least 34 000 killed,
including at least 5000 civilians. To these figures must be added the 1
400 villages bombed or burnt down by the army and around 3 million
evacuees. Independent reports speak of government policies based on the
forced deportation of people from villages in the south-east,
large-scale bombings and burnings of entire villages and a food embargo
against over one hundred villages. These measures have often been
condemned, inter alia by leading figures in the Turkish parliament and
in Turkish political life.
The fact is that flagrant human rights violations
have been committed by all parties in the south-east of the country in
the name of a cause which can never be solved by weapons. The essence
of the Kurdish question cannot be ignored, in that the Kurdish people
have an awareness of their collective identity. And as a harmonious
entity of peoples which are friendly to Turkey and interested in
stronger relations with Ankara, Europe, with its historical experience,
proves that peaceful coexistence of different specific groups while
maintaining the integrity of the various states is possible provided
dialogue and negotiation prevail. Dialogue and mutual respect must be
restored and must prevail over respective types of extremism because it
is possible everywhere, even in Turkey, to restore a tolerant community
which allows for the expression of differing views in a unitary state.
The armed struggle must therefore be abandoned in
Turkey and in the south-east of the country, and other ways must be
found to establish the conditions for democratic, peaceful coexistence.
Such coexistence is crucial for Turks and Kurds, and the accepted
wisdom of civil society confirms that it is possible in daily practice
without insurmountable difficulties. In this context, political debate
in Turkey on the 'Kurdish question' and the role of a genuinely
independent press are of fundamental importance - both of which have
been hampered by the existence of intimidatory laws and practices in
respect of any kind of information relating to the Kurds. As always,
combating one set of propaganda produces another set of propaganda,
simplifying the political positions of both sides, so that 'all Kurds'
become 'PKK terrorists and separatists' even when they are not (as
shown by a recent survey carried out by the Union of Turkish Chambers
of Commerce (TOBB)), and 'all Turks want to exterminate' the Kurds even
when all they want is an end to terrorism. Your rapporteur deplores
this situation and believes that the end of military hostilities could
create the political conditions for the peaceful coexistence of the
Turkish and Kurdish communities in Turkey, in the context of respect
for Turkey's territorial integrity as a state, as the majority of the
population certainly wants.
On 20 July 1974 Turkey intervened militarily in
Cyprus. In November 1983 the self-styled 'Turkish Republic of Northern
Cyprus' was declared in total defiance of international law and with no
constitutional basis. UN Security Council Resolution 541/83 declared
that this proclamation was illegal and called on the international
community not to recognize the de facto situation created by the Turks.
The Foreign Ministers meeting in European Political
Cooperation have always followed the guidelines set by the United
Nations, recognizing the government of the Republic of Cyprus as the
only legitimate entity exercising jurisdiction over the whole territory
of the island. In the meantime, they have always supported the
diplomatic and political efforts to find a solution to the 'Cyprus
problem' which has until now complicated relations between Turkey and
the European Union. For an in-depth analysis of the Cyprus question and
recent developments, see the Bertens report on Cyprus's application for
membership of the European Union (A4-0156/95) adopted in Strasbourg in
July 1995, which gives a very clear account of the European
contribution and the progress of negotiations - which have been at a
standstill for some time now ¬taking place under the auspices of the UN
Secretary-General. It should be pointed out that, in his report of 30
May 1994, the UN Secretary-General condemned the stalemate in the talks
given that the 'lack of agreement was essentially due to a lack of
political will on the part of the Turkish Cypriots'. On 19 July 1994
the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 939/94 which stated that
maintenance of the status quo in Cyprus was 'unacceptable' and further
exacerbated by the decision of the illegal parliament of the northern
sector of Cyprus to abandon the idea of a Federation as the basis for a
peace settlement, in contrast with all the relevant resolutions of the
UN Security Council. This decision appears to be a deliberate boycott
of the diplomatic efforts of the United Nations.
In accordance with the resolutions on this subject
by the United Nations and the European Parliament, your rapporteur
maintains that Turkey must respect all international decisions and
implement the UN Security Council resolutions, thereby putting an end
to the illegal occupation of Cyprus.
2. FINAL REMARKS
I should now like very briefly to make a few general
remarks on the overall situation relating to Turkey and the EC/Turkey
2.1. The political situation in Turkey is
extraordinarily complex, and may be described as a transitional phase.
I believe that the stance taken by the EP so far is contributing - and
can continue to contribute -to bringing about and speeding up this
process of transition. I do not believe that the positions taken by the
EP are giving or indeed can give encouragement either to the
conservative forces or the fundamentalists, whose influence derives
from political and socio-economic phenomena which are a feature of
2.2. The existing political system in Turkey is in
all respects a democracy which must be perfected, in which there is a
distinct lack of essential mechanisms for the exercise of important
fundamental freedoms. Setting up the Customs Union should help to
ensure, in due course, that the process of transition which Turkey is
currently undergoing will lead to the establishment of full democracy,
which can then set about tackling the country's main problems. We in
the EP are in a position to help the most dynamic sectors of Turkish
society to further this process successfully, by facing up to those
sectors most opposed to the process which, certainly, still occupy an
important place in the political and institutional power structure;
2.3. In the complex situation which prevails in
Turkey, issues such as those raised by the EP in its resolutions and
discussed by the rapporteur during his recent trip (on the one hand,
constitutional reforms, release of the DEP MPs, the abolition or
substantial amendment of Article 8 of the anti-terrorist law and the
concomitant provisions of ordinary law and an end to human rights
violations, and, on the other hand, a non-military solution to the
Kurdish question and acceptance of the UN resolutions on Cyprus) have
been clearly seen as a demand for the deepening, extension, improvement
and normalization of democracy;
2.4. Lastly, I believe that the EP should give its
assent to the customs union with Turkey only if genuinely substantial
and practical progress is made in the short term in the main areas
discussed in this report, i.e. the widening and deepening of democracy
and the exercise of fundamental freedoms, otherwise we would forfeit
the opportunity now open to us to contribute to the development of
democracy in Turkey - an objective which most Turkish citizens
undoubtedly wish to achieve.
2.5. Early elections are in any case due to be held
shortly in Turkey. The European Parliament hopes that the new
government and the new majority following the elections will undertake
to promote further, radical political and institutional reforms in
Turkey, to respond to the desire for greater democracy evinced by civil
society. These elections will provide a further opportunity for the
European Parliament to contribute to the consolidation of democracy in
the Turkish political system.
RESOLUTION ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION
The European Parliament,
A. having given its assent on 13 December 1995 to a
common position by the Community in the EC-Turkey Association Council
on implementing the final phase of the Customs Union,
B. whereas Turkey should respect the rules of
international organizations it has joined and agreements it has signed,
notably those of the UN, the Council of Europe, the OSCE, the European
Convention of Human Rights and the International Convention Against
C. whereas the Heads of State of the EU Member
States, when deciding upon the creation of the Union, confirmed their
commitment to the principles of freedom, democracy and respect for
human rights and fundamental freedoms and the rule of law,
D. convinced that the implementation of the final
phase of the Customs Union constitutes a decisive step towards the
development of Turkey's relationship with Europe; whereas therefore the
European Union, its Member States and Turkey must ensure through
dialogue that these shared values are being implemented ever more
E. convinced that this relationship and dialogue
will benefit both sides by strengthening Turkey as a secular democracy
at the crossroads of Central Asia and the Middle East,
F. whereas at the same time reports keep coming in
which show that human rights violations are still being committed;
whereas although certain improvements have been made, the situation of
human rights and democracy in Turkey still leaves much to be desired,
G. whereas recently the Turkish Government and Grand
National Assembly started bringing about positive changes in
constitutional and other laws regarding human rights and fundamental
H. whereas terrorist actions by the PKK are still
continuing, especially but not only, in the south-eastern region of
I. whereas in that same region the Turkish
Government continues to take repressive military measures, such as the
evacuation of Kurdish villages,
J. whereas no concrete steps have been taken to
solve the conflict in Cyprus and to end the Turkish occupation of part
of this country,
1. Calls upon the European Union, its Member States
and Turkey to give their full backing to a continuous and broad
dialogue to promote respect for human rights and freedoms and calls on
the Turkish Government and the Grand National Assembly to continue the
necessary process of reform of the Constitution and the criminal laws
in order to guarantee an ongoing improvement of the human rights
situation and democratic reform in Turkey;
2. Calls upon the European Union, its Member States and Turkey to use
every available mechanism to translate this dialogue into practice,
including the Association Council and the Joint Parliamentary Committee
and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership agreed at the Conference in
3. Appeals to the Turkish Government, the PKK and
other Kurdish organizations to do all in their power to find a
non-violent and political solution to the Kurdish issue, calls upon the
PKK to refrain from violence and calls upon the Turkish Government and
Grand National Assembly to lift the curfew operating in the
south-eastern region and to consider ways and means of allowing
citizens of Kurdish origin to express their cultural identity while
ensuring that the territorial unity of Turkey is guaranteed and
4. Calls upon the Turkish Government and Grand
National Assembly to review the case of the four members of the Grand
National Assembly and others still in prison by considering a new
5. Calls on the Council, the Commission, the United
Nations and the Cyprus Government to do all in their power to bring the
partition of Cyprus to an end and urges the Turkish Government to
undertake concrete steps in that direction by implementing the UN
Security Council Resolution on this issue;
6. Calls on the Commission and the Council to
monitor permanently human rights and democratic development in Turkey
and requests the Commission to present a report on the situation to the
European Parliament at least once a year;
7. Calls on the Turkish Government to be rigorous in
applying the law against torture and maltreatment of prisoners; points
out that torture is a particularly serious problem in police stations
and calls on the Turkish Government not to shelter behind any Article
of the International Convention Against Torture, which allows it to
refuse the publication of reports on torture in Turkey;
8. Will remain vigilant regarding developments in
Turkey in order to react immediately if the Government of Turkey or the
Grand National Assembly were to backtrack on moves towards
strengthening democracy and guaranteeing full respect for human rights,
principles which characterize Western European democracy to which
Turkey aspires; reminds Turkey that its assent is to be considered as
an encouragement to the Turkish Government's commitment to continue the
process of democratization and improvement of the human rights
9. Instructs its President to forward this
resolution to the Council, the Commission, the governments of the
Member States, the Government and the Grand National Assembly of
Turkey, the Government of Cyprus and the UN Secretary-General.
ANKARA IGNORES ITS COMMITMENT ON CYPRUS
Just two weeks after the ratification of Customs
Union, Turkey came against the its commitment concerning Cyprus Problem
in the accord.
Ankara assured the so-called Turkish Republic of
Northern Cyprus (TRNC) at the highest level of its continuing and
unwavering support, and promised Turkish Cypriots they will avail
themselves "in the broadest manner possible" of the advantages to
accrue from the customs union accord Ankara has concluded with the
A joint declaration issued after a summit meeting in
Ankara on December 28 between Turkish President Süleyman Demirel and
TRNC President Rauf Denktas also spelled out that the Turkish side
could consent to EU membership for a federal Cyprus only after Ankara's
full membership in the Union and not before.
Ankara also promised to match all the armament
efforts by the Greek-Greek Cypriot alliance on the island, although it
fell short of the "Defense Cooperation Agreement" being sought by the
Turkish Cypriot side to counter a similar accord on the Greek side.
A visibly joyous Denktas told reporters following
the announcement of the Joint Declaration at a press conference after
the Turkey-TRNC summit that this was "the best New Year's present they
could have received." "Naturally, there were some concerned about where
things were heading and what would happen. Now our people and the whole
world will find the answer to these questions in this declaration,"
Demirel for his part told reporters at the joint
press conference with Denktas that they would be some difficulties to
shoulder as Turkey becomes a part of the customs union with the EU.
"As Turkey tries to keep up with Europe so the TRNC
will have to keep up with Turkey. This will result in the TRNC keeping
up with Europe. Turkey will help the TRNC in shouldering the
difficulties that will appear," Denktas said.
Diplomatic analysts in Ankara said this declaration
"would send the Greek side and its supporters in Europe reeling with
anger." They added that the Turkish move appears "preemptive" given
that there is much talk and activity about "Cyprus' EU membership" and
Washington using the "Bosnia model for settling this dispute." "Clearly
Ankara does not want to appear inactive at a time when there is so much
speculation surrounding the Cyprus issue.
SAKHAROV PRIZE FOR FREEDOM TO LEYLA ZANA
Jailed Kurdish deputy Leyla Zana was awarded on
November 9 the European Parliament's prestigious Sakharov Prize for
freedom of thought.
Mrs. Zana, 34, who is now serving a 15-year jail
term in Turkey for defending the human rights of Kurdish people, was
nominated for the prize by the Parliament's 217-strong Socialist Group.
EP Socialist leader Pauline Green said after the
decision: "The award recognizes the steadfastness of Leyla Zana, her
courage and leadership in the face of heartless repression. Leyla Zana
today takes her place in a roll of honour of Sakharov Prize winners who
have included Nelson Mandela, Alexander Dubcek, Nobel laureate Aung San
Quu Kyi and banned writer Teslima Nasreen."
"The European Parliament has recognised the
soundness of our battle and condemns the politicians who, for their
personal interests and their groups or in the name of a fanatic and
outdated nationalism, have led our country to the brink of social
catastrophe and civil war,'' Leyla Zana said. Zana, 34, made the
comment in a statement from her Ankara prison which was issued by the
Paris-based International Committee for Jailed Kurdish Parliamentarians
A Turkish foreign ministry official told Reuters,
"This decision does no credit to the Sakharov prize. It is not a happy
event from the point of view of human rights that a prize has been
given to an individual whose links with a terrorist group have been
proved by a court decision. We do not think the issue merits any more
TURKEY TO BE FULL WEU MEMBER
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Western European
Union (WEU) adopted on December 8 a report which proposes that Turkey's
membership status in this organization should be upgraded from
associate member to full member. The report calls for an
invitation to be issued to Turkey, along with Norway and Iceland, who
also have associate member status at present, to sign Article 5 of the
Like NATO's Article 5, this article in the Brussels
Agreement which governs the WEU, also foresees a "one for all and all
for one" arrangement, but one which is more binding than its
counterpart in NATO.
Pointing out Turkey's vital strategic importance for
Europe, the Report says that Ankara's inclusion in Article 5, along
with Norway and Iceland, will also do away with some confusion
presently experienced within the organization. The report also
maintains that if Turkey is kept out of the WEU this could force Ankara
to even question its place within the NATO.
WATER DISPUTE BETWEEN TURKEY AND ARAB WORLD AGGRAVATED
The finalization by Ankara of a credit agreement for
the Birecik Dam on the Euphrates river has become a new trouble spot
between Turkey and neighbour Arab countries.
Birecik Dam, which has a reservoir capacity of 620
million cubic meters, will be able to produce between 1.7 and 2.5
billion kw/h, annually.
Birecik Dam is an after-bay, or a regulation dam,
that aims to regulate the flow of waters from the Atatürk Dam. Syria
itself has an after-bay dam called Al-Baath Dam located just downstream
of Tabqa Dam. Turkey claims that Birecik will regulate the fluctuation
in the quantity of water for the purpose of providing a more regular
supply of water to downstream countries.
Syria, uneasy with the construction, has lobbied
vis-a-vis various Arab and Western states.
First, the Arab League made a declaration to urge
Turkey to reach a just agreement with Syria.
On December 28, Egypt and six Gulf Arab states, six
Gulf Arab states, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and
the United Arab Emirates, sided with Syria in its water dispute with
Turkey, urging Ankara to sign a just agreement with Damascus on
sharing the Euphrates' waters.
Foreign ministers criticized Ankara for
building dams on the river without consulting with the other
states through which it flows -- Syria and Iraq. "The ministers
call upon the Turkish government to stop allowing dirty waters to
flow to Syria and to reach a just and acceptable agreement on the
sharing of the Euphrates waters," the Statement added.
The tensions between Turkey and Syria over the water
question were carried into the new year as Turkish Foreign
Minister Deniz Baykal accused Syria of wanting to wash the blood
on their hands with more water.
Baykal said that the PKK was supported by Syria and
its leader, Abdullah Öcalan, was allowed to reside in this
country. He urged Syria to take up a new attitude in its
relations with Turkey.
TURKEY FILE: TORTURE AND IMPUNITY
The Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT)
has recently issued a new document entitled Turkey File: Torture and
Impunity: What Reactions?
The file is made up of two parts. The first part
concerns systematic human rights violations in Turkey, in particular
torture. It shows that an almost absolute impunity exists for the
persons responsible of such violations, in particular of the
persecutions against human rights defenders; this impunity is favoured
by a whole set of various mechanisms.
The second part of the file considers the official
Turkish reactions to criticisms against violence, torture and impunity
of torturers, as well as the reactions from the international
community, in particular Europe. The expectations and attitudes of both
sides appear through this synthesis.
The report reads:
"One must underline that when facing torture and
other human rights violations, the Turkish authorities have to some
extent attempted to provide better guarantees. A few examples: the
internal document issued by the Prime Minister in March 1995, on a
better monitoring of the methods used by the police, the establishment
and the report of the High Consultative Council on Human Rights, a
succession of seminars on human rights organised for police officers or
also the introduction of human rights training at school.
"But the way will still be long for attitudes to
change and be in accordance with human rights and for mechanisms able
to prevent methods presently resorted to be introduced, not to mention
the eradication of such evils. Firm commitments in that direction must
therefore be called upon. Indeed, in observing the current situation
closely, one unfortunately concludes that the measures currently
introduced by the Turkish authorities are much too feeble to bring
about appreciable changes.
"All these measures, as positive as they are, will
indeed not be sufficient to eradicate the practice of torture in
Turkey, unless a comprehensive group of consistent measures is
introduced at the constitutional, legislative, structural and
procedural levels, and in particular for fighting against impunity.
"Torture indeed remains systematic during police
custody. It also exists, more sporadically however in prisons, as well
as inhuman and degrading treatment and serious medical problems.
Political prisoners as well as common law detainees are victims of such
treatments, though one notes that repression is less systematic against
the later. And the impunity of the persons responsible for these
violations of human rights is fed by a very strong repressive machinery
(powers of the army and of the police, special forces, State security
"One call only conclude to a lack of firm commitment
in the fight against torture and other human rights violations. Some
Turkish leaders are happy with certain superficial changes without
seeing the necessity of setting up really democratic institutions and
procedures (for example when they do not react to the condemnation of
Parliamentarians who peacefully used the right of freedom of
expression), and considering these minor changes as sufficient for a
full integration to Europe.
"The present leading team does not seem to have the
power to ensure that its supposed political will is followed through:
for instance when the Security General Directorate refuses to
collaborate with the High Consultative Council on Human Rights, who has
a mandate directly from the Prime Minister, or when the Minister of
State in charge of human rights is qualified as a 'traitor' by the
Director of the Security of Istanbul (and that the latter still is in
charge), or when a Minister of State insults some European deputies,
there no visible response from the Government.
"To that must be added a state of exception that has
been going on for the last 17 years in the South-East region of Turkey.
In addition to a 'super governor' with extraordinary powers the
implementation of the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as
other fundamental guarantees, has been suspended in this region. This
leads to the coexistence of one State and two legislations, or a State
within the State.
"This state of exception also coincides with a more
systematic repression against the Kurdish population than for other
less numerous minorities in Turkey (Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin
represent one quarter of the population according to official
statistics). The Turkish authorities deal with the 'Kurdish question'
by confusing a minority which democratically claims constitutional
rights, and the fraction of that minority which resorts to armed
fighting. Thus the authorities justify the repression not only against
this fraction but against the minority as a whole. The introduction of
the measures necessary to improve the practice of human rights is
postponed, and this in turn put a stop to the democratisation process.
"The Turkish authorities have responsibility by
virtue of the international commitments subscribed to, in particular
the European Convention on Human Rights, the European Convention for
the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman Degrading Treatment or Punishment
(ECPT) and the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other
Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Turkey, as a State
Party to the latter, is amongst other under the obligation of '(...)
taking effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other
measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its
jurisdiction. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state
of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency,
may be invoked as a justification of torture.' (art. 2). And having
ratified the ECPT, Turkey accepted the visits from the European
Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) and committed itself to
improve the situation in the light of the recommendations of the
Committee. Up to date insufficient cooperation has been shown.
"But one must not forget that the international
community, in particular Europe, has responsibilities as well, by
virtue of international obligations that request not only to respect
but also to ensure respect of fundamental universal values. For this
reason, one of the main directions given to this file is to consider
the international reactions to the serious human rights violations in
Turkey. It is true that since the incarceration and the condemnation of
the Kurdish deputies, members of the DEP, criticisms and resolutions
have become numerous. But discussions ought not to focus around this
question only, for the problems are deeply rooted. Many reports from
intergovernmental or non-governmental European institutions recognise
this fact. But the strategic importance of Turkey appears to encourage
some mildness in the pressure to be exerted on Turkey because of the
human rights violations.
"However, one can expect from European Governments
the same requirements from Turkey as requested from the new Eastern and
Central European democracies, unless one accepts double standards.
Moreover, it is also the unique way to build a Europe really unified
and to identify together to supreme values for a democratic Turkey,
respectful of human rights, can only reinforce the Europe faithful to
its human rights principles.
"Finally one must acknowledge the efforts and the
courage (given the repression on them) of those in Turkey who commit
themselves to support the process of democratisation and to promote
better respect for human rights, be they organisations, lawyers,
intellectuals, journalists. Our wish is that a democratic dialogue be
installed between the Turkish authorities and these persons, who are
there to defend human dignity and true citizenship. Their presence in
Turkey is precious and an important lever for the democratisation of
Turkey, as well as a guarantee for democracy, not only in Turkey but
also in Europe."
[The full text of the file can be asked from APT -
C.P. 2267, 1211 Genève 2 - Switzerland; Tel 41-22-734 20 88, Fax:
41-22-734 56 49]
THE LONGEST MASS TRIAL ENDED IN 7 CAPITAL PUNISHMENTS
The longest mass trial of Turkey resulted in the
ratification of seven capital punishments on December 28. The Dev-Yol
(Revolutionary Path) trial concerning 723 defendants started by the
Ankara Martial Law Tribunal on February 26, 1982. On July 19, 1989, the
tribunal sentenced seven defendants to capital punishment, 34 to life
imprisonment and 346 to different prison terms of up to 20 years.
Although all the condemned were conditionally
released in 1991 under some provisional articles of the Anti-Terror
Law, the examining of the verdict by the Court of Cassation has
continued up to now.
According to the higher court's decision, seven
capital punishments and 153 prison terms were ratified. The court also
ordered to try again 23 defendants at a high criminal court with the
demand of raising their prison terms.
Whatsoever be the new verdict, none of the
defendants will be imprisoned again under the conditional amnesty of
1991. Yet if any commits a new "political crime", he will serve the
suspended prison term together with his new sentence.
TWO-MONTH STATE TERRORISM
1.11, security forces announce the arrest of 19
alleged PKK members in Mersin.
2.11, the Istanbul SSC starts to try an alleged
member of Islamist organization IBDC-A, Mehmet Firat, and his wife Ipek
Zeytin Firat. The former faces capital punishment.
6.11, in Tunceli, eight students are placed under
arrest by a tribunal for having participated in a demonstration on
6.11, the Izmir SSC sentences seven PKK members to
capital punishment and six other defendants to prison terms of up to 12
years and six months.
6.11, three members of the Islamic Movement
Organization (IHÖ) are sentenced by the Izmir SSC to life-prison and
another defendant to 2 years and 9 months in prison.
9.11, the Istanbul SSC sentences four TDKP members
to 12 years and 6 months, and five other defendants to 3 years and 9
months in prison.
9.11, nine TDKP members are sentenced to prison
terms of up to 12 years and six months by the Istanbul SSC.
9.11, in Diyarbakir, Fehmi Akyürek and Ramazan Ayhan
are found assassinated in a rubbish area.
10.11, in Manisa, the office of the Educational
Workers' Trade Union (Egitim Sen) is destroyed by unidentified
assailants with a molotof cocktail.
10.11, security forces raiding a house in Diyarbakir
shoot dead Erhan Ilhan and Vasfi Ömer.
15.11, security forces detain 21 alleged Dev-Sol
members in Istanbul. Ten of the detainees are younger than 17 years.
16.11, in Istanbul, a young woman named Kelime Tunc
claims to have been tortured after her detention during a student
demonstration on November 8.
16.11, in protest against ill-treatment, 108
political detainees in the Erzurum Prison start a hunger strike.
17.11, the Istanbul SSC sentences four Dev Sol
members to life imprisonment and four others to prison terms of up to
18 years and 6 months.
19.11, security forces detain 15 people in Izmir on
charges of taking part in the activities of the Marxist Leninist
Communist Party (MLKP). In Istanbul, 16 people are detained for being
members of the DHKP-C/Dev-Sol.
18.11, the Istanbul SSC starts the trial of six PKK
defendants. The prosecutor claims capital punishment for two defendants
under Article 125 of the TPC and prison terms of up to seven years and
six months under Article 169.
20.11, in Izmir, eleven people are placed under
arrest by a tribunal for having staged a protest action against the
insufficiency of the measures preventing the flood occurred on November
21.11, in Van, three unidentified gunmen shoot dead
teacher Mehmet Atmaca.
21.11, a group of Grey Wolves raiding a vocational
school in Darica wound two left-wing students.
22.11, a high school student, Ceyhun Emre Dagdelen
claims to have been tortured by the police after his detention at the
beginning of November.
23.11, the trial of 32 people accused of having
staged a demonstration against the Chinese nuclear tests on August 19,
1995, starts at a penal court in Istanbul. The prosecutor claims
imprisonment of up to three years for each defendant.
26.11, in Istanbul, thirteen people are detained on
charges of PKK activities.
27.11, in Adana, a woman named Sadiye Alkis claims
to have been tortured after her detention on charges of giving shelter
to her brother, wanted by security forces.
27.11, security forces arrest fourteen people in
Istanbul for PKK activities.
28.11, in the district of Araban in the Gaziantep
province, Mustafa Akbulut is found killed under custody.
28.11, in Bursa, a Jewish businessman, Nesim Malki
falls victim of an armed attack. He is probably killed by an Islamist
organization for taking the revenge of the death of Islamist Holy War
Organization leader Fethi Sakaki.
29.11, in Dargecit, the villages of Zengen, Akcaköy
and Kumdere are evacuated by the security forces because the peasants
refuse to join the village protectors. During the operation a house in
Akcaköy is burnt down and twenty peasants taken into custody.
29.11, the chairman of the Association of Political
Sciences Students of the Ankara University, Nurettin Öztatar is
sentenced by the Ankara SSC to three years and nine months in prison
for being member of an outlawed organization, the Young Communists'
30.11, in Istanbul, a 12-year old boy, Halil Ibrahim
Okkali claims to have been tortured in a police station to where he was
taken on November 27 on suspect of theft.
30.11, in Ankara, a group of university students
holding a meeting in protest against capital punishment is dispersed by
the gendarmerie using force. A student is wounded and about 40 students
taken into custody.
30.11, in Sivas, police detain eight university
students on charges of being members of the Marxist Leninist Communist
1.12, in Istanbul, security forces detain 12 people
suspect of PKK activities.
2.12, the Izmir SSC sentences two PKK defendants to
life-prison and nine other defendants to prison terms of up to 18 years
and 9 months.
4.12, a group of right wing students raid a
vocational high school in Burdur and wound five left wing students.
Same day, right wing students raid the Karaelmas University in
4.12, the Izmir SSC sentences six PKK defendants to
life-prison and 11 other defendants to prison terms of up to 16 years
and 8 months.
5.12, in Istanbul, 19 people have been detained by
police on charges of participating in DHKP-C/Dev Sol activities.
8.12, the Istanbul SSC tries eight people for
participating in DHKP-C/Dev-Sol activities. The prosecutor claims
capital punishment for six defendants and prison terms of up to 15
years for two others.
10.12, in Batman, unidentified gunmen shoot dead
bank employee Ekrem Demir and his two children as travelling in a car
to the village of Günesli.
11.12, a group of right-wing students raid the
Mining Faculty of the Istanbul Technical University. The fights between
the right and left wing students end in 15 students wounded.
11.12, in Adana, security forces detain 16 people on
charges of carrying out illegal political activities.
11.12, in Midyat, Besir Dolasmaz, kidnapped on
November 30 by village protectors, is found assassinated under torture.
17.12, a hunger strike by political prisoners in the
Elbistan Prison enters its 35th day.
18.12, the Izmir SSC sentences eight PKK defendants
to life-prison and 26 other defendants to different punishments of up
to 18 years and 9 months. The same tribunal also sentences a TDKP
member to 12 years and 6 months in prison.
18.12, in Adana, security forces arrest 13 people
for TIKKO activities.
19.12, the Ankara SSC sentences four DHKP-C/Dev-Sol
defendants to capital punishment and four other defendants to
imprisonment of up to 15 years.
18.12, security forces raiding a café in Istanbul
detain four people.
19.12, university students protesting against the
Grey Wolves attacks on universities is dispersed by police using force,
a passer-by wounded and ten student detained.
19.12, in Batman, Mehmet Ayan is shot dead by
20.12, the Istanbul SSC starts the trial of four
alleged members of the Revolution Party of Turkey (TDP). The prosecutor
demands capital punishment for all of them. Two defendants, Kamil
Yildiz and Gülderen Baran claim to have been tortured under police
detention. In fact, Baran was brought to the court room her two arms
broken during the interrogation.
21.12, in Adana, thirteen people are detained for
participating in TIKKO activities.
21.12, in Mersin, Abdülmenaf Zengin, detained on
December 18, dies in a hospital after being tortured during police
22.12, in Gökcesu, Nevzat Onur and Gülcin Kenan
claims to have been tortured after being detained by gendarmes on
23.11, a 20-month imprisonment against the DDP
(Democracy and Evolution Party) Chairman, Ibrahim Aksoy, is reduced by
the Konya SSC to 10 months. The court refuses to release him on grounds
that he has another 4-year imprisonment under Article 8.
26.12, the Iskenderun prosecutor starts a legal
proceeding with the demand of closing down the IHD Iskenderun Section
for illegal activities. The same section was already closed for one
month in 1994 and for ten days in 1995.
26.11, the IHD Ankara Section reports that the
number of the people forced by the police to be informer has been
increasing. IHD official lawyer Oya Ersoy says that more than fifteen
youths claimed to have been forced to be informer under the menace of
26.12, MHP militants attack the Abdülkadir Paksoy
High School in Adana and the Higher Education Faculty in Akcaabat.
27.12, the Istanbul SSC starts to try ten people for
PKK activities. The Public Prosecutor demands capital punishment for
three defendants and imprisonment of up to 20 years for the other
27.12, the Malatya SSC sentences a Dev-Sol member to
28.12, HADEP official Seracettin Kirici and theatre
actor Orhan Aydin are tried by the Ankara SSC under Article 8 for their
speeches on the World Peace Day.
28.12, the Izmir Section of Egit Der (Association of
Teachers) is closed down by the Governor on charges of unauthorised
28.12, in Istanbul, eleven people are detained for
participating in the activities of the Revolutionary People's
Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C).
ARTICLE 8 MODIFIED, BUT 136 PEOPLE STILL IN PRISON FOR THEIR OPINIONS
As the leaders of Europe and Turkey were preparing
themselves to celebrate on January 1st, 1996, the opening of the new
period of Customs Union, which was recently ratified by the European
Parliament, 136 prisoners of opinion are still in Turkish jails on
December 31, 1995.
Although some 70 intellectuals were being released
for obtaining this ratification, some others were kept in prison and
many others detained under different articles of the Turkish
legislation including famous Article 8.
Among the prisoners of opinion who are going to
observe the New Year behind iron bars are also four DEP deputies, Leyla
Zana, Hatip Dicle, Orhan Dogan and Selim Sadak, DDP Chairman Ibrahim
Aksoy and sociologist Ismail Besikci.
Although the DYP-CHP coalition had promised four
years ago to lift all repressive articles in the Turkish legislation,
only Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law underwent a cosmetic
modification. About 800 repressive articles in 160 laws have been kept
in force and abundantly used for indicting and condemning many people
for their opinions.
In its original form Article 8, which pertains to
"separatism" charges, envisaged jail sentences from two to five years
and fines from TL 50 million to TL 100 million. Now it stipulates for
the same crimes jail sentences from one year to three years and fines
from TL 100 million to TL 300 million.
This modified Article 8 is still being used for
detaining and sentencing many journalists, politicians, trade union and
human rights association officials.
Besides, many other people are being tried by the
State Security Courts, penal courts and military courts for their
opinions without arrest warrant. In the case of condemnation, they too
will be imprisoned.
In other columns takes part a detailed chronological
list of the persecution of the media in November and December 1995.
According to a report by the Istanbul Section of the
Human Rights Association, the following people are in prisons on
December 31, 1995, for their opinions:
1. Ismail Besikci, 2. Numan Bektas, 3. Hamit
Baldemir, 4. Erdal Dogan, 5. Melek Tukur, 6. Selma Bükükdag, 7.
Neslihan Göktepe, 8. Metin Göktepe, 9. Ali Kemal Yildiz, 10. Hasan
Abali, 11. Bülent Öner, 12. Cemal Dag, 13. Fatma Harman, 14. Mesut
Bozkurt, 15. Bayram Namaz, 16. Salih Özçelik, 17. Songül Yüksel, 18.
Ali Yegin, 19. Gülnur Aslan, 20. Hatip Dicle, 21. Leyla Zana, 22. Orhan
Dogan, 23. Selim Sadak, 24. Kemal Okutan, 25. Riza Demirci, 26. Ibrahim
Ozen, 27. Kemal Topalak, 28. Bektas Canseven, 29. Fethiye Peksen, 30.
Sedat Hayta, 31. Kadir Önder, 32. Yilmaz Eksi, 33. Hava Suiçmez, 34.
Naile Tuncer, 35. Yildiz Ozdemir, 36. Kezban Mavi, 37. Hakan Bahçivan,
38. Gulseren Duman, 39. Erdal Sahin, 40. Tuncay Atmaca, 41. Mustafa
Cubuk, 42. Ali Avci, 43. Ömer Genç, 44. Sahabettin Yilmaz, 45. Mine
Sagniç, 46. Sahabettin Özaslaner, 47. Hikmet Fidan, 48. Ferhan Türk,
49. A. Kadir Cager, 50. Tevfik Kaya, 51. Nevzat Sagniç, 52. Metin
Bakici, 53. Ibrahim Polat, 54. Sinan Yavuz, 55. Zülküf Karakoç, 56.
Mehmet Akdemir, 57. Kenan Karakas, 58. Yeter Yalçintas, 59. Ahmet
Subasi, 60. Kadir Satik, 61. Necla Can, 62. Metin Alkas, 63. Burhan
Gardas, 64. A. Muharrem Gündüz, 65. Gülcan Sarioglu, 66. N. Aydan
Ceylan, 67. Kamber Inan, 68. Ufuk Dogubay, 69. Mehmet Mamaç, 70. Mehmet
Göcekli, 71. Bülent Sönmez, 72. Ferhat Karaduman, 73. A. Kerim
Mecefoglu, 74. Salih Dündar, 75. Hamdullah Akyol, 76. Murat Yesilirmak,
77. Vedat Aydin, 78. Salih Bal, 79. Ilyas Burak, 80. Sakine Fidan, 81.
Aysel Bölücek, 82. Serdar Gelir, 83. Özgür Gündenoglu, 84. Hanim
Harman, 85. Hüseyin Solak, 86. Ali Sinan Caglar, 87. Özlem Türk, 88.
Metin Atlas, 89. Teoman Gül, 90. Hasan Gül, 91. Süleyman Yaman, 92.
Mustafa Kiliç, 93. Ahmet Önal, 94. Ocak Isik Yurtçu, 95. Murat Saraç,
96. Nafiz Karakas, 97. Mensure Yüksel, 98. Özden Özbey, 99. Yusuf Sit,
100. Mustafa Aladag, 101. Veysi Harman, 102. Ismail Günes, 103. Sabri
Bölek, 104. Faruk Deniz, 105. Nevzat Bulut, 106. Halit Yalcin, 107.
Sevda Öztekin, 108. Medeni Ayhan, 109. Mustafa Ciftçi, 110. Nebahat
Polat, 111. Ilhan Özdemir, 112. Emine Buyrukçu, 113. Vahit Demir, 114.
Necmiye Arslanoglu, 115. Hüseyin Akbulut, 116. Hatun Yildirim, 117.
Kemal Külahçi, 118. Bülent Abbasoglu, 119. M. Sefe Fersal, 120. Gürcan
Yildiz, 121. Ayse Idil, 122. Süleyman Bakirman, 123. Aylin Ürkmez, 124.
Recep Üzmez, 125. Fevzi Gerçek, 126. Mustafa Kaplan, 127. Mehmet
Gemsiz, 128. Suat Kiliç, 129. Mevlüt Daslik, 130. Emine Arslanoglu,
131. Özgül Tasçi, 132. Özkan Kiliç, 133. Nuray Gezici, 134. Leyla
Tastan, 135. Haydar Özdemir, 136. Mirali Demir.
211-YEAR IMPRISONMENT FOR BESIKCI
Turkish sociologist and author Ismail Besikci has
been sentenced to a total of 211 years in jail for more than one
hundred "separatist propaganda" cases opened against him mainly under
Of these cases brought against him, due to the
content of his books and articles which appeared in a variety of
publications, some have been finalised with the Court of Cassation
upholding jail sentences amounting to a total 37 years and three months
as well as fines amounting to TL 3.2 billion. Meanwhile, the Court of
Cassation is examining court verdicts against Besikci which involve a
total 30 years in jail and fines amounting to TL 3.7 billion.
Since Besikci has refused to pay fines, in each
finalised case he has received an extra three-year jail sentence with
the conversion of these fines. As a result, his jail sentences have
already risen to more than 200 years.
Ünsal Öztürk, the owner of Yurt Publishing House,
the company which published Besikci's works, faced similar charges in
62 cases and has been sentenced to a total of 50 years in jail. So far,
the Court of Cassation has finalised jail sentenced against Öztürk
amounting to seven and a half years as well as fines amounting to TL
The Court of Cassation is currently looking into the
remaining appeals against the verdicts involving Öztürk. As a result of
finalised cases, Öztürk was given jail sentences totalling seven years
and two months as well as fines amounting to TL 599.9 million.
Since Öztürk too has refused to pay his fines, they
have been converted to jail sentences which amount to 50 years.
Recently, on November 15, the Court of Cassation
ratified a further ten years and four months in prison and
a fine of TL 416 million 660 thousand for fifteen books of the author.
His publisher, Ünsal Öztürk too, was sentenced to two years and seven
months in prison and a fine of TL 516 million 660 thousand.
Few days later, on November 24, the Ankara SSC
reduced an earlier prison term of 12 years against Besikci to six years
and a fine of TL 1.5 billion to TL 600 million. This sentence had been
given for fifteen of Besikci's other books. However, the court refused
to release him on pretext that he might commit same crimes if he is
On December 27, the Ankara SSC again sentenced
Ismail Besikci for his other fifteen books to four years and four
months in prison and a fine of TL 433 million. His publisher Ünsal
Öztürk too was sentenced to two years and two months in prison and a
fine of TL 253 million in the same case.
Same day, the same court sentenced Besikci in
another case to one year in prison and a fine of TL 100 million for an
article he wrote to the IHD newsletter.
The court refused to postpone the execution of all
Besikci, who is not a Kurd, holds the record for the
longest jail terms under Turkey's restraints on freedom of expression.
The sociologist, 56, is in a high-security prison in the capital
since November 13, 1993. Earlier he had already imprisoned for ten
years in total after the military coups of 1971 and 1980.
99 DISTINGUISHED INTELLECTUALS STILL UNDER TRIAL
The trial of 99 intellectuals who signed a petition
assuming collective responsibility of a confiscated book, Freedom of
Thought, was postponed on December 7, 1995, to a date after the Customs
Union's entrance in force.
The Istanbul SSC N°4 is expected to indict later a
total of 1080 co-signers for the same offence as well.
During the trial, the defence lawyers said that all
the laws under which they had been charged were unconstitutional and
requested the matter be sent to the Constitutional Court. However the
judges did not take seriously this claim.
Following the hearing, the defendants said that the
changes which had been made to Article 8 because of the Customs Union
were merely cosmetic, and only famous people like author Yasar Kemal
had been acquitted, while the Security Courts continue to try dozens of
people every day.
NEW SENTENCES AGAINST PUBLISHER ZARAKOLU
The director of the Belge Publishing House, Mrs.
Ayse Zarakolu was sentenced again in some of her trials under Article 8
of the ATL.
On December 22, Zarakolu was sentenced by the
Istanbul SSC N°4 to six months in prison for former DEP Chairman Yasar
Kaya's book entitled The Gündem Writings. The prison term was later
commuted to a fine of TL 50 million 900 thousand.
In another trial, the same court sentenced Zarakolu
to six months in prison and a fine of TL 82 million for Sadrettin
Aydinlik's book The Dawn of Hard Winter. The prison terms was later
commuted to a fine of TL 1 million.
The court refused to suspend the execution of the
sentence on grounds that the defendant might continue to commit same
On December 29, the Istanbul SSC N°5 sentenced
Zarakolu to 6-month prison for having published journalist Abdülkadir
Konuk's work on an assassinated journalist Ferhat Tepe. The prison term
was later commuted to a fine of TL 42 million.
Same day, Zarakolu's another trial concerning Prof.
Vahakn Dadrian's work Genocide was resulted in her acquittal.
Mrs. Zarakolu had already been served a 5-month
prison for Ismail Besikci's book The CHF Programme and the Kurdish
Besides, Zarakolu's one sentence under Article 8 was
ratified by the Court of Cassation and four other sentences are being
examined by the same higher court.
In addition to them, Zarakolu is being tried the
Istanbul SSC by the Istanbul SSC in three other cases
On the other hand, after the modification of Article
8, the first two publications confiscated under this article have been
two books published by Zarakolu: The Freedom Born in the Mountains by
journalist Abdülkadir Konuk and Dear Leyla/It was a long exile that
night by former Diyarbakir Mayor Mehdi Zana.
HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATES UNDER TRIAL
The Ankara Prosecutor launched a trial on December
10, 1995, against ten human rights advocates under Article 159/3 of the
Turkish Penal Code for an article published in June in a book of the
Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV).
The article written by lawyer Turgut Inal, former
Chairman of the Balikesir Bar, and entitled "We Protect Human Rights
with Imperfect Constitution and Laws" is considered an insult to the
laws of the Turkish Republic and decisions of the National Assembly.
The trial of Turgut Inal as well as TIHV Chairman
Yavuz Önen, TIHV Secretary General Okan Akhan and other TIHV officials
Murat Yetkin, Mahmut Tali Öngören, Fevzi Argun, Mehmet Vural, Haldun
Özen, Veli Lök and Sükran Akin will start at an Ankara penal court on
January 18, 1996. Each faces a prison term of up to six months.
On the other hand, on December 23, IHD Chairman Akin
Birdal was sentenced by a penal court of Ankara to three-month
imprisonment for some IHD posters under the Law on Associations. The
imprisonment is later commuted to a fine of TL 450 thousand.
On December 28, the Istanbul SSC started to try
Birdal for his speech given on the occasion of the World Peace Day on
September 5. The prosecutor demanded imprisonment of up to three years
under Article 312 of the TPC.
1443 PUBLICATIONS CONFISCATED IN ONE YEAR
According to the daily Siyah Beyaz of November 8,
1995, 1.443 different publications have been confiscated by court
decisions in last one year. Of these publications, 56 are books, 784
periodicals, 602 newspapers and 1 newsletter.
Besides, in the emergency law region 73
musi-cassettes have been forbidden.
Because of the pressures, 13 printing houses have
been stopped their activities, reports the newspaper.
THE TWO-MONTH PERSECUTION OF THE MEDIA
1.11, the Adana office of the periodical Kizil
Bayrak is raided by police, employee Mahir Kayir detained and many
2.11, the Istanbul SSC confiscates the issues N°12
and 13 of the periodical Sterka Rizgari under Article 312 of the TPC.
4.11, Kaan Aslanoglu's novel The Personalities is
confiscated by a penal court under a special law punishing the writings
6.11, the responsible editor of the periodical
Devrimci Emek, Sedat Hayta claims to have been tortured after being
detained on October 24 during a demonstration.
7.11, the Istanbul SSC and a penal court of Istanbul
issue two separate orders to confiscate the last issues of the
periodicals Partizanin Sesi and Partizan Genclik, the former under
Article 6 of the ATL and the latter under Article 312 of the TPC.
8.11, lawyer Esber Yagmurdereli is put in
prison for serving his 20-month imprisonment for a speech he gave in
8.11, the daily Evrensel is confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda under Article 8.
12.11, a correspondent of the daily Önder, Bünyamin
Düz is beaten by police and his arm broken as covering a football match
in Karadeniz Ereglisi.
13.11, an attorney of the DEP deputies, Yusuf Alatas
is tried by a penal court in Ankara for having criticised the Ankara
SSC's partial attitude during the DEP trial. He faces a prison term of
up to six months under Article 30/2 of the Press Law.
14.11, in Istanbul, seven members of the musical
groups Munzur, Kutup Yildizi and Genc Ekin, Murat Tokdemir, Bülent
Simsek, Havva Neslihan Tokur, Ibrahim Yildiz, Berrin Tekdemir, Ipek
Rencper and Sinel Deniz Karakaya, are placed under arrest by the
Istanbul SSC for having participated in a hunger strike at the CHP
Istanbul office. They claim to have been tortured during their police
14.11, journalist Abdükadir Konuk's book The Freedom
Born in The Mountains is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC under Article
8 of the ATL for separatist propaganda. The court also confiscates the
periodical Ronahi, N°26 for the same reason.
17.11, the Ankara SSC reduces two-year imprisonment
to journalist Yalcin Kücük to one year and a fine from TL 250 million
to 100 million, but refused the postponement of the execution. The
court also issues an arrest warrant against Kücük who is in France at
present. Kücük was condemned for his book entitled Talks in Kurdish
18.11, in Konya, the book shop Ilkezgi is set on
fire by unidentified assailants. The owner of the book shop has already
been threatened many times for having sold Aziz Nesin's books and
destroyed on April 2, 1995.
19.11, the Radio Television Supreme Board (RTÜK)
decided to suspend the Kanal D TV Channel for one day on November 30 on
charges of broadcasting about homosexual members of Parliament.
19.11, the weekly Roj has to suspend its publication
for one month because of material difficulties due to the confiscation
of its all 23 issues published up to now.
20.11, the public prosecutor opens a new legal
proceeding against former DEP deputy Hatip Dicle, in prison, for
his article published by the daily Yeni Politika on August 9, 1995.
Accused of having insulted the courts, Dicle faces a new imprisonment
of up to six years under Article 169 of the TPC.
20.11, the responsible editor of the daily Yeni
Yüzyil, Ismet Berkan, and columnist Ali Bayramoglu are tried by the
Istanbul SSC under Article 312 of the TPC. Both face imprisonments of
up to six years for instigating racial and ethnic hostility.
20.11, a two-year imprisonment against writer Mehmet
Bayrak is reduced to one year, but the court refuses the postponement
of the execution. Bayrak was condemned for his book entitled Kurdish
21.11, the Court of Cassation ratifies the
punishment of theatre actress Bilgesu Erenus. She was sentenced by the
Military Court of General Staff to two-month imprisonment and a fine of
TL 100 thousand for calling on mothers not to send their boys to
24.11, two journalists of the daily Milliyet, Melih
Asik and Eren Güvener are sentenced to one month in prison and TL 161
thousand in fine each for having disclosed some judiciary documents.
24.11, the Diyarbakir SSC places under arrest seven
people detained on November 10 during a police raid on the Mesopotamian
Cultural Centre in Diyarbakir.
25.11, three collaborators of the review Kizil
Bayrak, Safter Korkmaz, Suzan Geridönmez and Gülcan Öztürk are detained
by police as covering a workers' action in Istanbul.
26.11, the broadcasting of the private TV Interstar
is banned for three days by the Radio Television Supreme Board (RTÜK)
in relations with its programs accusing Prime Minister Ciller of
28.11, Kurdish writer Recep Marasli is sentenced by
the Istanbul SSC to one year and four months in prison under Article 8
for one of his articles published by the newspaper Jiyana Nû. Although
the court also decides to release him under the modification in Article
8, he is not freed because of other arrest warrants against him.
30.11, the Yenigün Cultural Centre in Istanbul is
closed down by the Istanbul Governor's order for activities
incompatible with its objectives.
1.12, in Istanbul, a correspondent of the daily
Evrensel, Hasim Demir is attacked by unidentified assailants who
attempt to kidnap him.
1.12, a former editor of the defunct daily Özgür
Gündem, Besim Döner is sentenced by the Military Tribunal of the
General Staff to two months in prison and TL 160 thousand in fine under
Article 155 of the Penal Code for publication against military service.
2.12, the last issue of the daily Evrensel is
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC under Article 6 of the ATL for having
denounced the names of the personnel responsible for the ill-treatment
3.12, the Izmir correspondent of the periodical
Atilim, Hayrettin Özkurt claims to have been tortured during his police
detention between November 16 and 27, 1995. He also reports that
another journalist of Atilim, Mithat Yildiz is still under custody in
Istanbul and subject to torture.
4.12, the chief editor of the periodical Özgür
Bilim, Medeni Ayhan is sentenced by the Ankara SSC to two years in
prison and TL 550 million in fine under Article 8. The review's
responsible editor Sait Cakar too is sentenced to 6-month imprisonment
and a fine of TL 50 million.
5.12, the Ankara SSC sentences four persons to
different punishments under Article 8. Ibrahim Halit Elci and Kemal
Altintas are sentenced to one year in prison and TL 100 million in fine
for their articles published in August 1993 by the periodical Pir
Sultan Abdal. The review's responsible editor, Metin Kuzugüdenlioglu is
sentenced to 6-month imprisonment and a fine of TL 50 million, and
publisher Murtaza Demir to a fine of TL 100 million. Under the recent
modification in Article 8, the prison terms are commuted to
5.12, a correspondent of the daily Evrensel, Nebahat
Alkan is taken into custody after having interviewed the workers on
strike in Tuzla.
6.12, the periodical Proleter Halkin Birligi N°2 is
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC by virtue of Articles 6 and 8 of the
7.12, former DEP deputy Hatip Dicle, still in prison
together with three other DEP deputies, is sentenced by the Ankara SSC
to one-year imprisonment and a fine of TL 100 million under Article 8
for a letter he wrote to another political prisoner. According to the
modification of this article, his prison terms is reduced to eight
months and fine to TL 660 thousand.
13.12, the Radio Television Supreme Board (RTÜK)
decided to suspend the Kanal D TV Channel for one day on January 3 on
charges of broadcasting harmful to public order and Turkish family
15.12, a 20-month imprisonment against lawyer Esber
Yagmurdereli, who is blind and under arrest since November 8, is
reduced from 20 months to 10 months. Although he is released, the court
refuses to postpone the execution of punishment on pretext that he may
again contravene the law. So, Yagmurdereli will be imprisoned again if
the Court of Cassation ratifies the verdict.
17.12, the periodicals Özgür Yasam, N°11, Atilim,
N°61, Odak, N°49, Kaldirac, N°14 and Alinteri, N° 63 and the December
issues of Hedef and Direnis are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC under
18.12, a book entitled The Barricade Days issued by
the Varyos Publishing House is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC under
Article 6 of the ATL and Article 312 of the TPC.
19.12, journalist Ragip Duran is sentenced by the
Istanbul SSC to ten months in prison and TL 333 thousand in fine under
Article 7 of the ATL for one of his articles published by the daily
19.12, the December issue of the magazine Savasa
Karsi Baris is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC. The magazine contained
a reprinted excerpt of the Human Rights Watch Arms Project report about
violations of the laws of war in Turkey.
20.12, the last issue of the periodical Sosyalist
Iktidar is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC under Article 8.
21.12, the newspapers Milliyet, Fanatik, Evrensel
and Posta are confiscated by a penal court for having published public
opinion polls on the December 24 elections. The responsible editors of
these publications face imprisonment of up to one year each.
21.12, the last issue of the periodical Ates Hirsizi
is confiscated by a penal court for having insulted the National
Assembly. The Istanbul SSC confiscates the periodical Özgür Gelecek
N°65 for the propaganda of outlawed organizations.
21.12, the RTÜK decides to suspend for one day the
broadcasting of the TV stations Flash TV and HBB.
22.12, in Elazig, Evrensel correspondent Ersel Dag
and his friend, Vahit Tekin, are subjected to tortured after being
detained by police.
22.12, three journalists of the periodical Atilim,
Eylem Semint, Yusuf Güzel and Zahide Honca are subjected to torture in
Istanbul after being detained during their visit to a political
detainee in Bayrampasa Prison.
23.12, the newspapers Hürriyet and Posta are
confiscated by a penal court for having published public opinion polls
on the December 24 elections. The responsible editors of these
publications face imprisonment of up to one year each.
23.12, the broadcasting of the local station Harran
FM is suspended by the RTÜK for one day on charges of insulting the
Harran University officials.
26.12, the periodical Alinteri N°64 is confiscated
by the Istanbul SSC for the propaganda of some outlawed organizations.
26.12, writer Inönü Alpat and publisher Mustafa Tüm
are indicted by the Ankara SSC Prosecutor under Article 7 of the ATL
for the former's book We gave an appointment to the Mountains. Alpat
faces an imprisonment of up to five years and Tüm to two years.
26.12, a group of Grey Wolves raid the Ankara office
of the periodical Umut. Police detain some employees of the review.
28.12, university professor Ilhan Arsel and
publisher Nazar Fikri are tried by a penal court of Istanbul for the
former's book We, The Professors. The prosecutor demands two-year
imprisonment for Arsel and a fine of TL 3 million for Fikri under
Article 175 of the TPC on charges of insulting Islam.
EUROPALIA: THE FESTIVAL OF SHAME TO BE HELD IN 1997
Following the ratification of the Customs Union by
the European Parliament, the Belgian Government did not delay to
credits the Turkish regime by lifting the suspension of the
Europalia-Turkey Festival. For practical reasons, this festival is
reportedly to be held in 1997 instead of 1996.
The Belgian Government announced on December 22 that
no obstacle remained in the path of Europalia Turkey.
The decision to dedicate Europalia 96 to Turkey
where human rights are systematically violated had led to a series of
protest from democratic organizations of Turkey and Belgium.
(Info-Türk, Jan/Feb 95).
On these reactions, this festival of shame had been
suspended by the Belgian Europalia Foundation when the Foreign Minister
of the time, Mr. Frank Vandenbroucke considered the festival "ignoring
other cultures — Kurdish, Armenian, Assyrian, etc.— in Anatolia" and
the Belgian federal and Flemish governments suspended their financial
contribution to the organization. (Info-Türk, March/April 95).
The Belgian official statement said "the Turkish
file has seen important improvements in the last weeks and the Turkish
program for the festival is balanced and extensive" — a reference to
Brussels' earlier criticism that the program did not reflect the ethnic
and cultural diversity of Turkey.
The festival is jointly financed by Turkey and
Belgian public and private sponsors. The original plan was that 460
million Belgian francs would be contributed by Turkey, and the rest by
the Belgian side.
For the Turkish regime this is a very profitable
investment for its propaganda in the capital of Europe where human
rights violation in Turkey have always been a permanent subject of
criticism by the European institutions.
In fact, prior to the change of Belgian stand, the
Turkish co-chairman for Europalia Turkey, Bülent Eczacibasi told the
Turkish Daily News, on December 1st, "We have lobbied intensively in
Belgium for lifting the decision of suspension."
Since the violation of human rights, the arrest of
intellectuals and artists are still going on and the Kurds and other
minorities of Anatolia are still being subjected to State terrorism,
the Belgian Government's new decision constitutes a new submission to
the Ankara's blackmail.
As far as the situation of human and minority rights
remain the same until 1997, the Europalia Turkey Festival will enter in
the European cultural history as a Festival of Shame.
TURKEY CANDIDATE FOR UN SECURITY COUNCIL
Encouraged by the comprehensive stand by the US and
European governments on the Customs Union matter, Turkey presented
itself as a candidate for UN. Security Council membership.
Turkey declared to the 185 UN. member countries that
it would run for Security Council membership in the election scheduled
for 2000, announced Turkey's UN. representative, Huseyin Celem, on
The Security Council consists of 15 members, five of
which have permanent seats. The remaining 10 members are elected for
two years by the General Assembly and do not have the right of veto.
Security Council members are not eligible for immediate re-election.
Turkey was last a member of the Security Council in 1951.
Turkey, which is a member of the Western European
Alliance in the UN., has only a slight chance of being elected to the
council. Greece is also likely to run for council membership and this
will limit Turkey's chances, diplomatic observers say.
A NEW OCCASION FOR ANKARA REGIME'S PROPAGANDA: HABITAT
An agreement governing Turkey's hosting The Habitat
II Conference in Istanbul on June 3-14, 1996, was expected to be signed
at the end of December in spite of Turkish Government's anti-democratic
This last major UN. conference of the century
on human settlements is billed as a global effort to
exchange ideas among governments, mayors, city planners and
The Turkish Foreign Ministry rejected the "Host
Country Draft Agreement" for the conference, since it does not
want immunity that prevents prosecution of its own citizens
attending the conference as representatives of local governments
or private groups.
The Turkish government fears the conference
will be used for pro-Kurdish propaganda.