urgent call for solidarity with political prisoners
MASS HUNGER-STRIKES IN TURKISH PRISONS
While hundreds of thousands of
foreign tourists were enjoying their summer holiday on the sunny
beaches of Turkey, more than 2,000 political prisoners have gone on
hunger-strike in this country's main military and civil prisons for
protesting against inhuman detention conditions and ill-treatment.
The hunger-strikes was launched
on July 8 by political detainees of the Sagmalcilar Prison in Istanbul
and extended rapidly to other prisons throughout Turkey. By the end of
August 1987, the number of prisoners who joined the hunger-strike
action rose to 2.222 of whom 71 were in Sagmalcilar (Istanbul), 256 in
Metris (Istanbul), 50 in Central Prison (Ankara), 13 in Mamak (Ankara),
178 in Gaziantep, 5 in Burdur, 100 in Sinop, 400 in Canakkale, 184 in
Erzincan, 362 in Malatya, 124 in Bursa, 87 in Elazig, 100 in Mersin, 30
in Aydin and 262 in Diyarbakir prisons.
In an active solidarity with the
hunger-strikers, their family members, distinguished writers, artists
and scholars of Turkey have carried out different forms of protest
actions and demanded a radical change in prison rules and an immediate
"amnesty" for political prisoners. During these actions, many relatives
of prisoners have been harassed and detained by police and some of them
were taken to State Security Courts.
Political prisoners, with this
mass action, protest against:
- Practice of physical and
- Practice of putting some
prisoners in solitary confinement,
- Obligation to wear prison
- Restriction on their families'
- Ban on reading newspapers and
- Restriction on correspondence
with the exterior,
- Ban on listening to radio or
Furthermore, prisoners said the
daily appropriation of 370 Turkish Liras (less than 1 DM) per person is
not sufficient for their subsistence. Prison administration does not
allow prisoners' families to take supplementary food into the prison.
On August 17, the Justice
Minister announced that 1,244 detainees have died in prisoners since
the military coup d'état of September 12, 1980. He claimed that 1,147
prisoners died a natural death while 74 committed suicide and 23 others
died during some violent incidents in prisons.
However, the Secretary General of
the Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP) Fikri Saglar argued that 74
suicides might have happened during earlier hunger-strikes and 23 other
deaths due to torture or ill-treatment.
During the recent protest action,
seven hunger-strikers from the Sagmalcilar Prison in Istanbul were in a
state of exhaustion and hospitalized on August 14, 1987.
Since all hunger-strikers risk
their health and even life, their parents call on all democratic forces
abroad, particularly the members of the European Parliament and the
Council of Europe, to react immediately and to send missions to Turkey.
(For more details on the
situation in Turkish jails, see the AI Report in the following pages.
Also you can order us the pamphlet Military Jails in Turkey .)
SUPER GOVERNOR AND SUPER COMMANDER TO THE TURKISH KURDISTAN
Martial law ended on July 19,
1987, throughout Turkey with the lifting of this exceptional regime in
the four south-eastern provinces where it was still in force. So, the
Turkish Government made a new gesture to demonstrate to western Europe,
especially to the European Communities which it applied to join last
April, that the military has completely withdrawn from politics.
But the same day, eight provinces
of the Turkish Kurdistan, Diyarbakir, Hakkari, Mardin, Siirt, Tunceli,
Elazig, Bingöl and Van were immediately placed under the authority of a
"super-governor", Hayri Kozakcioglu, who has taken over all arbitrary
powers of martial law commanders. As for the most important city of
Turkey, Istanbul, it also remains under the state of emergency.
Furthermore, despite the so-called "demilitarization", military
tribunals are still trying and condemning political prisoners detained
before the lifting of martial law.
Claiming that neither regular
army units nor local police forces can crack down on the Kurdish
Guerilla who carries out a series of attacks on the security forces and
pro-government villages, the Government set up, on August 19, 1987, a
special Army Corps in the Turkish Kurdistan and named a super-commander
to the head of this special war unit.
In fact, the Kurdish guerilla
forces have shot dead 30 villagers on June 20 in Pinarcik, 31 on July 8
in two villages in Mardin and 30 villagers on August 18 in Eruh
The Government accuses the
Kurdish guerilla of killing children and babies as well during raids.
In response, the ARGK, the guerilla unit led by the Workers' Party of
Kurdistan (PKK), argues that it is a state of war in which accidental
deaths are always possible and that first the Turkish Army should give
the account of the innocent people massacred during raids.
According to the official
figures, the death toll in the guerillas' campaign, started on August
15, 1983, has reached over to 542 of whom 168 are soldiers or
policemen and 374 villagers. A further 285 Kurdish militants have been
killed and 9,512 "suspects" detained. Of the latters, 2,811 have been
sent to milirary tribunals and 1,612 others to criminal courts.
As for the 8 and a half year
period from the proclamation of martial law in 1979 up to now,
according to official figures, 4,053 people died in armed
confrontations and 59,701 tried before military tribunals in the
Turkish Kurdistan. In the same period, Kurdish militants have carried
out 10,110 armed attacks, 6,790 sabotages and 1,288 demonstrations or
protest actions without official permission.
A SHAM REFERENDUM ON POLITICAL RIGHTS
The referendum on September 6 to
decide the fate of Turkey's pre-1980 political leaders has already
caused a paradoxical situation in Turkey. Former political leaders are
formally free to speak in public, but they cannot defend themselves on
the State radio and television.
According to the Financial Times
of August 11, 1987, there is little of the open debate which
accompanies referendums in Europe.
A "no" vote will mean the
elimination from the political scene of all the serious rivals of Prime
Minister Özal. As such it would be warmly welcomed by foreign investors
and Turkey's Western allies.
Many local industrialists, headed
by Mr. Sakip Sabanci, have said that they will be voting "yes" -a step
which in practice amounts to endorsing former Prime Minister Süleyman
Demirel against Mr. Ozal and the ruling Motherland Party. For many
observers this referendum will amount to a virtual trial by the
electorate of Mr. Demirel and his social democratic rival, Mr. Bulent
The implicit charge against the
two is that by refusing to cooperate in the 1970s they pushed Turkey
into a catastrophic political and economic deadlock, during which
political violence claimed more than 5 thousand lives. Ozal himself
reminds insistently those days in his campaign for preventing the two
men making a full return to politics long before 1992, the date when a
10-year ban on them, imposed by Turkey's former military rulers,
Regaining the right to speak at
political meetings was not yet totally risk free. Both the former Prime
Ministers faced a barrage of prosecutions for doing so and Mr. Ecevit
actually receive an 11-month gaol sentence although he has not had to
The Ozal Government is pressing
sotto voce for a "no vote" while formally claiming to be neutral. Mr.
Ozal is touring the country for a series of rallies at which he
stresses the need not to return to the political violences of the 1970s.
The campaign of the former
political leaders, Demirel, Ecevit, Erbakan and Turkes, emphasises the
colour blue, the colour as it happens of the "yes" ballot papers. To
cast an orange ballot paper will mean the refusal of political rights
Most politically conscious
citizens outside the Motherland Party tend to favour a "yes" vote. In
theory this should create an impregnable coalition of "yes" votes,
spanning all shades of opinion from Islamic fundemantalists through
Conservatives and Social Democrats to the hard-line left.
But more than half of Turkey's
electorate still consists of peasant voters in isolated villages. Many
of these seem, says the Financial Times, either ignorant or scared of
the approaching poll, refusing to discuss it when asked. There is none
of the talkativeness which accompanied Turkey's general elections
campaigns in the 1970s. There is also a great deal of confusion about
what the referendum means.
Many villagers seem to have the
impression that they are simply being called on to vote against a
return to political violence and show their intention to cast an orange
"no" ballot paper. The government circles well exploit this fear and
intimidate the voters by saying that if the "yes" votes pass over 50
per cent, not only the former prime ministers, but also the leaders of
the pre-coup extreme-left parties will have the possibility to take
part in legal political life. So, the ruling party makes it clear once
more that the future "democracy" of Turkey, in contradiction with the
Western Europe's norms, will exclude socialist minded politicians, let
alone the Kurdish ones.
As a matter of fact, the lifting
of provisional Article 4 of the Turkish Constitution by referendum is
not enough for their return to political life. The new Political
Parties Code stipulates that whosoever is condemned to a prison term
over one year cannot take part in political activities. According to
the provisional Article 4 of the Constitution, 242 political leaders
have been deprived of their political rights for ten years. 82
out of them have also been condemned by military tribunals to different
prison terms up to life-prison. So, their return to legal political
life is out of question as long as the Political Parties Code remains
Whatsoever will be the outcome of
the referendum, it will not mean the adoption of the European
Community's democratic norms and the Turkish "democracy" will remain a
militarist "democracy" denying the working class and the Kurdish people
the right to legally organize their own political parties.
REAL TRUTH OF THE CHANGES IN THE ARMY
Ozal, on June 30, 1987, abruptly
cancelled a meeting of the joint civilian and military National
Security Council after a rift between the Government and senior
military officers on the nomination of the new Chief of General Staff
to replace General Necdet Urug.
The council meeting had been
called to decide what action to take following the killing of 31
civilians two weeks ago in a raid on Pinarcik village by Kurdish
guerillas. Ozal did not disguise his anger at senior officers for their
failure to keep him up to date over recent Kurdish attacks, many of
which he has learned of through press reports. Already he had ordered
an inquiry into allegations that the army failed to come to the aid of
the pro-government villagers despite being aware that the attack, which
lasted two hours, was in progress.
Much of the blame in the
Government's view fallen on the shoulders of the Land Forces Commander,
General Necdet Oztorun. The Pinarcik raid coincided with the retirement
of General Urug, who announced that General Oztorun -the next senior
officer in the military hierarchy and a close friend- would be his
successor. Urug took early retirement and attempted to leave as a
legacy a plan for military appointments up to the year 2000, including
the choice of his immediate successor.
But Ozal, arguing the civilian
Government rather than the army should confer senior military
appointments, named General Necip Torumtay, a more junior officer, as
the next chief of staff.
Subsequently, General Oztorun, the favorite of the Army, was obliged to
retire from the army immediately after the retirement of General Urug.
General Urug and General Oztorun
-both notorious figures of the military rule- were said to be "still
shellshocked" by Ozal's intervention. Ozal's move was applauded by many
newspapers and even some opposition leaders as a bold step for
The military have always insisted
in maintaining direct influence in politics, including having their
candidates elected by the Assembly as the country's president or
nominated by the Government for the top army posts.
A similar open conflict between
the army and the government had developed in 1977 when the then Prime
Minister Demirel tried to intervene in military appointments.
Eventually a compromise candidate, the Aegean commander, General Kenan
Evren became chief of staff. It is General Evren who led the 1980 coup
and as subsequent military leader and later "president of the Republic"
has steered the country back to a militarist "democracy."
Is Ozal's this spectacular move
applauded even by his opponents a real challenge to the military's
power? Taking into consideration the following facts, it is difficult
to share this opinion:
- First of all, Ozal's move was
not contested by General Evren, military boss of the regime. Press
reports indicate that Ozal and Evren had come to a prior understanding
on the matter. It would be impossible for Ozal to make such a choice if
General Evren had raised his opposition, because it is the President of
the Republic who signs the nominations.
- General Oztorun, when he was a
martial law commander, was distinguished for his repressive methods.
Evren and Ozal, with a purpose of ameliorating the military's image in
the eyes of the Turkish press, have agreed to prevent his rise in a
spectacular way. So, General Evren has sacrificed one of his closest
accomplices to the military's general interests.
- There are also the rumors that
General Evren accepted Ozal's decision in the exchange for a second
7-year presidential term.
- Premier Ozal has not upheld his
"firm" stand during the appointment of the Land Forces Commander which
took place a few days after the nomination of Chief of Staff. In fact,
Ozal had announced that his favorite for this post was General Recep
Orhan Ergun. But, due to the pressure coming from the military, he was
obliged to appoint General Kemal Yamak to this 2nd highest rank in the
Army and to place his favorite in a consultative post.
What is most significant, the
press reports have made it clear that the determining factor in the
nomination of the top rank Turkish army officers was in fact the choice
The new chief of staff, General
Necip Torumtay, 61, was a former commander of Turkish Forces in Cyprus
and negotiator in the Turkish-US defense (DECA) talks. Also he had a
special formation in Washington in 1962-64 and carried out an important
military mission in the SHAPE Headquarters in 1972-74.
During the Turkish-US talks on
military cooperation he distinguished as a staunch supporter of
American plans. According to the daily Milliyet of May 1st, 1987, US
Vice-Minister of Defense Richard Perle said: "Had it been only in the
competence of President Reagan and President Evren, all questions could
immediately be solved. Or if it were left to us, General Torumtay and
me, they could be solved as well, because General Torumtay is a
The real truth of the
controversial appointment of General Torumtay will be understood more
clearly during the Turkish-US talks and in the military's stand as
regards the attempts to demilitarize the country's political, economic,
social and cultural life.
AI REPORT ON IMPRISONMENT IN TURKEY
Amnesty International continues
to be concerned about the imprisonment of prisoners of conscience,
systematic torture and ill-treatment of political prisoners. In a
report issued on June 15, 1987, Amnesty International says:
As of 19 March 1987 martial law
has been lifted in all but four of 67 provinces, but trials in military
courts with often several hundred defendants in each trial continue.
State Security Courts have been established in eight major cities of
Turkey dealing with political offenses committed after 1 May 1984 in
the area they are responsible for. Many prisoners of conscience have
already been tried and sentenced by these special courts. A state of
emergency remains in force in five provinces.
Torture, ill-treatment and deaths
Throughout 1986 and to the
present date AI has continued to receive allegations of torture and
deaths caused by torture and believes that any person detained for
suspected political offenses is in danger of being tortured. Most
allegations of torture relate to the initial detention period which
under Turkish martial law amounts to 30 days and under regular law to
15 days in cases involving three or more suspects. But even these
detention periods, during which suspects are denied access to lawyers
or close relatives, are often extended.
For some time AI has received
reports of widespread ill-treatment and torture carried out by
government security forces in the East and South-East of Turkey
connected with armed clashes between guerilla groups and the security
forces. Large numbers of the local civilian population have been
detained and interrogated, and in many cases allegedly tortured. The
Turkish press reported on the situation only after visits to the area
by deputies of various political parties. These reports complement the
verbal reports AI has received over the years.
Prisoners of Conscience:
The imprisonment of prisoners of
conscience, those held solely for their political or religious beliefs
and opinions, continued throughout 1986 and the first months of 1987.
While some trials were still going on at military courts, new trials
opened at State Security Courts.
Prisoners of conscience adopted
by AI include members of political parties and groups, writers,
journalists, publishers, academics, members of the Kurdish ethnic
minority and people imprisoned because of their religious activities.
Members of political parties are
usually imprisoned under Article 141 of the Turkish Penal Code, which
prohibits leadership and membership of "illegal organizations".
Although heavy sentences have been inflicted on some of them, only a
few remain in prison. Most have been released after years of
imprisonment, but others might face imprisonment if apprehended.
All defendants in the trials of
the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DISK) and the Turkish
Peace Association (TPA) have been released, but legal proceedings
continue in both cases and there is the possibility of some defendants
being imprisoned or reimprisoned when the final verdicts are announced.
During 1986 and the beginning of
1987 the imprisonment of Kurds continued, some charged with or
convicted of violent offenses; others, adopted by AI as prisoners of
conscience, were imprisoned on account of their non-violent political
or cultural activity. The publisher Recep Marasli wa sentenced in a
number of trials to a total of 36 years' imprisonment for publishing
books on the Kurdish ethnic minority in Turkey, for "separatist
activities" and for his defense submission. Since 1982 he is held at
Diyarbakir Military Prison. AI considers him a prisoner of conscience
and has called for his immediate and unconditional release.
Trials continued under Article
163 of the TPC which prohibits attempts to adapt the State to religious
principles or beliefs. AI has adopted as prisoners of conscience
several Islamic activists and writers who have been convicted under
Article 163, among them Emine Senliklioglu, writer and chief editor of
the periodical Mektup (Letter). Hasan Damar, former secretary general
of an Islamic organization in the FRG, was still imprisoned in April
1987 after receiving a sentence of 25 months at Ankara Criminal Court
on charges of "making religious propaganda." Members of the legal
Welfare Party (RP) were imprisoned for organizing a social meeting in
October 1985 in Izmir. A t the beginning of 1987 a
large number of people were arrested after they had protested against
the "ban on headscraves" at universities either by sending telegrams or
participating in demonstrations.
Since the introduction of martial
law in December 1978 more than 48,000 political prisoners had been
sentenced to imprisonment or death after trials which did not meet
internationally recognized minimum standards for fair trials.
In a comment reported in the
daily newspaper Milliyet, Teoman Evren, the President of the Union of
Turkish Bar Associations, concluded on 10 February 1987: "We are
witnessing some very objectionable practices and are noticing
developments that make the independence and security of judges
questionable". The observations of Teoman Evren did not only refer to
military courts, although the issue of unfair trials is most pronounced
DEATH SENTENCE STILL IN FORCE
One of the prerequisites of the
restoration Turco-European relations has been the abolishing the death
penalty for peacetime offenses in Turkey. Yet, death sentences still
continue to be passed both by civilian and military courts. Only in
1986 various courts passed 134 death sentences, of which well over a
hundred were passed by military courts. No executions have taken place
since October 1984, but the number of people under sentence of death
who had exhausted all legal remedies was 146 as of 7 May 1987. These
death sentences only need confirmation by Parliament and the "President
Republic" and can be executed any time.
Amnesty International, on June
1st, 1987, issued an important document on "the death penalty in
Turkey". We are reproducing some extracts of this report:
"Between 1973 and 1980 there was
a de facto moratorium on executions: death sentences continued to be
passed but were not ratified by the Grand National Assembly. This
moratorium came to an end shortly after the military coup of 12
september 1980. Between October 1980 and October 1984 fifty people were
executed; 27 of them had been convicted for politically related
offenses and 23 for common crimes. The last execution was carried out
on 25 October 1984.
"After violent clashes between
Kurdish guerillas and the security forces in southeastern
Turkey, which started in August 1984, President Kenan Evren called for
tough measures. In his speech in Mus on 3 October 1984 he argued that
'traitors' should be executed.
"Contrary to expectations raised
by reports in the foreign press after the amendment to the Law on
Execution of Sentences came into force on 19 March 1986, there is no
automatic commutation of death sentences. The amendment provides, inter
alia, that all death sentences not approved by the Assembly will be
commuted to 3O years' imprisonment, and to 36 years' imprisonment in
cases when the convicted person had escaped or attempted to escape. No
further reduction of this term imprisonment is possible. Previously,
however, a death sentence that was not ratified was commuted to life
imprisonment, which in practice meant 16 to 20 years to be served.
Since October 1984 parliament has not taken action on any of the more
than 100 death sentences awaiting ratification. There have been no
commutations of death sentences and there have been no further
"Although Turkey is not ruled by
Islamic law, the reason for retaining the death penalty can be seen in
deeply rooted Islamic beliefs in Turkish society. Thus President Kenan
Evren said in his speech on 3 October 1984: 'Furthermore, the death
penalty does not only exist in our law, but also in our religion. It
exists in the Bible (he actually said Bible, not Koran). The Bible has
accepted the death penalty. So, as it exists in the book sent by Allah,
how can we abolish it?'
"In a parliamentary debate on 11
March 1986 Prime Minister Turgut Ozal also evoked Islamic beliefs: 'How
can we as deputies, how can we as a state forgive someone who killed a
citizen? Only the close relatives and Allah can forgive him. If we
forgive him, that would not be accepted by Allah.'
"On 1 March 1985 the Sixth
Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights, abolishing the
death penalty for peacetime offenses, entered into force. The Protocol
has been ratified by eight European countries belonging to the Council
of Europe. Seven other member states have signed the Protocol, thereby
indicating their intention to ratify it. Turkey so for has neither
signed nor ratified the Protocol."
RECENT POLITICAL ARRESTS
2.6, five presumed members of
Dev-Sol were arrested in Istanbul.
7.6, eight political prisoners,
five condemned to death and three to life-prison, escaped from the
military prison of Erzincan by digging a 50-Meter long underground
tunnel. Two of them were apprehended on June 11.
16.6, in Istanbul, two youths
were arrested on charge of militating for Dev-Sol.
8.7, a young woman,
presumed militants of TKP-ML, was arrested in Ankara.
10.7, police arrested 23 presumed
militants of TKP-ML in Ankara.
12.7, six presumed members of
TKP-B were arrested in Antalya.
14.7., five right-wing activists
were arrested in Ankara.
30.7, in Izmir, police arrested
15 people on charge of militating for TSIP.
NEW DISCRIMINATION AGAINST KURDS
The weekly 2000'e Dogru
made public a circular of the Land Forces Headquarters ordering all
military units to give no more duty of guard in critical zones to those
soldiers whose birth place is in Eastern and South-eastern Anatolia.
The circular carries the date of
June 30, 1986, but General Necdet Oztorun, the then commander of the
Land Forces and recently retired, said that he was not aware of such an
order and threw the responsibility to some other officers in the
Whosoever is the responsible,
this circular has been in force for one year and constitutes a new
discrimination against the Kurdish origin citizens of Turkey. Since the
existence of a Kurdish people is officially denied and there is no
official register showing the ethnical origin of citizens, all those
who were born in the the eastern and south-eastern part of the country
are suspect in the eyes of army chiefs.
AWARDS TO THE POET IN JAIL
Poet Nevzat Celik, still under
arrest for a political trial, has been declared "honorary member" by
the International PEN. Earlier, he had been awarded "honorary prize" at
the International Poetry Festival held in Rotterdam. In Turkey, two
collections of Celik's poems, Safak Türküsü (Ballad of Dawn) and
Müebbet Türküsü (Ballad of Life-prisoner), written in prison,
respectively have been printed for eight times and five times since his
imprisonment in 1981.
OBSTACLE TO LANGUAGE ASSOCIATION
The Governor of Ankara banned on
July 4, 1987, the activities of the Language Association (DD), newly
founded by prominent academics and intellectuals, after the closure by
the military of the Turkish Language Institute (TDK).
TDK was personally established by
Kemal Atatürk and was a beneficiary of his will.
The new association aimed
at"enriching and enhancing the language reforms instigated by Atatürk."
The Governor's Office wrote to the 35 founders of the association that
these aims were already catered for in Article 134 of the 1982
NEW PRESSURES ON THE PRESS
While the legal persecution of
anti-establishment publications is being carried on, they face now a
new menace coming from the big press bosses.
Two main distribution companies
of Turkey, Hür Dagitim and Gameda, controlled by the owners of
high-circulation newspapers, announced in July 13, 1987, that they
would distribute no more 30 monthly reviews published by left wing
groups. Two giants have also urged all their vendors throughout Turkey
that their contracts for the distribution of high-circulation
newspapers would be annulled if they continue to sell these 34
periodicals in question.
The periodicals in the black list
are ABECE, Bilim ve Sanat, Broy, Cagdas Yol, Edebiyat Dostlari,
Felsefe, Feminist, Fotograf, Gelenek, Gün, Günese Cagri, Isciler ve
Toplum, Kara, Karsi Edebiyat, Mayis, Mülkiyeliler Birligi Dergisi,
Ogrenci Postasi, Ogretmen Dünyasi, Toplumsal Kurtulus, Türk Dili,
Vardiya, Ve Sinema, Yarin, Yasasin Edebiyat, Yeni Asama, Yeni Cözüm,
Yeni Demokrasi, Yeni Öncü, Zemin.
The Turkish Writers' Union (TYS)
had earlier announced that all these monthly publications as well as
the three weekly news magazines, Nokta, Yeni Gündem and 2000'e Dogru,
were very often subjected to legal proceedings and their many issues
confiscated by police.
ARMY'S BAN ON 96 AUTHORS
The Land Forces Headquarters
circulated on March 2, 1987, a list involving the names of 280 books
written by 96 authors of which the reading by army officers, NCOs and
banned. Among the banned authors are the world-famous novelists like
Orhan Kemal, Sabahattin Ali, Yasar Kemal, Fakir Baykurt, Aziz Nesin,
Kemal Tahir; academics like Hifzi Veldet Velidedeoglu, Niyazi Berkes,
Server Tanilli and Dogan Avcioglu.
FOUR JOURNALISTS CONDEMNED
The responsible editor of the
weekly 2000'e Dogru, Mrs. Fatma Yazici was condemned on July 9, 1987,
to a prison term of one year and four months for publishing a news
about the fact that General Evren bought two flats for his daughters.
The criminal court No.2 of
Istanbul judged that this information had a purpose of discrediting the
"President of the Republic".
The same court condemned same day
also three other journalists from the humorous magazine Limon.
Responsible editor Kemal Murat Kürüz and two cartoonists, Ahmet Sükrü
Yavuz and Birol Vural, got prison terms of 11 months and 2 days in
total for the cartoons treating the subject of misuse.
A NOVEL TO BE DESTROYED
On July 7, 1987, the Criminal
Court No.2 of Istanbul judged to have destroyed all copies of a novel
entitled Burgu (Auger) for praising and encouraging "adultery" and
condemned the author, Mrs. Füsun Erbulak, and the publisher, Ramazan
Yasar, to a fine of 4,500 TL each.
DISMISSAL OF A SENIOR TEACHER
On June 18, 1987, a 61-year old
teacher of Robert High School in Istanbul, Mrs. Rükzan Günaysu was
dismissed, at the 34th year of her service, by the Ministry of National
Education for having made her students listen to the registered music
of folk-singer Ruhi Su.
Ruhi Su was one of the
distinguished folk-singers of Turkey and deprived of his passport by
the military because of his anti-establishment stand. For this reason
he could not go abroad for treatment and prematurely died in 1985.
NO PASSPORT TO TARIK AKAN
Mr. Tarik Akan, principal actor
of the Cannes prize-winner film "Yol" of Yilmaz Güney, was refused to
get a passport for participating in the Moscow Film Festival in July
1987. Police authorities said that he could not go abroad for the
reason that the justified decision of the military tribunal on the
trial of the Turkish Peace Association was not yet written. Mr. Akan
was one of the defendants of this trial, but was not founded guilty. In
spite of this acquittal, his right to travel abroad is not yet
recognized by police.
On the other hand, the public
prosecutor has initiated, on June 2, 1987, a new inquiry about "Yol"
for having in some scenes the word of "Kurdistan".
BAN ON A KURDISH SINGER
The Governor of the province of
Izmir banned folk singer Hasan Papur to sing in public places and
prevented his concert on June 2, 1987 in Izmir. Papur who sings his
songs in Turkish words had been indicted some time ago for having sung
some songs in Kurdish. However, his trial at military tribunal
had been ended in acquittal. Despite this judgment, the Governor of
Izmir considers Papur suspect.
GROUP "FRIENDS OF TURKEY" FOUNDED
World famous 169 personalities
have recently founded a group named "Friends of Turkey" with the
purpose of aiding the Turkish people in the efforts of democratization.
In their declaration entitled "Human Rights for Turkey", the founders
of the group, reminding that "despite our differences, we all share a
common heritage, that of humanity, with its strong points and its
faults" and refusing a second-class "democracy" for Turkey, asked:
- the end of political trials,
- a general amnesty including
pardon for those condemned to death,
- the freedom of thought, of
conscience and of association.
Among the signatories of the
declaration are former Portuguese President Costa Gomes, former
Austrian Prime Minister Bruno Kreisky, former NATO commander Antoine
Sanguinetti, composer Mikis Theodorakis, poet Yannis Ritsos, authors
Günther Grass and Harold Pinter as well as many members of the European
Parliament and the Council of Europe.
The Group "Friends of Turkey" has
announced also to organize in Paris an international conference on the
situation of human rights in Turkey on November 27-29, 1987.
Contact address: M. Jean-Pierre
Fourre, Assemblée Nationale, 126 rue de l'Université, 75007 Paris -
UNIVERSITIES AND TOTALITARIANISM
A group of Turkish intellectuals
have published a new document on the academic situation in Turkey: Out
of Order: Turkish Universities and Totalitarianism.
Author Harold Pinter, president
of the Group "Friends of Turkey" says: "A document of the first
importance. Obligatory reading for those interested in the truth about
present conditions in Turkish universities and in Turkey itself."
Order: World University Service,
20 Compton Terrace, London N1 2UN, Gt. Britain.
US HELSINKI WATCH AND TURKEY
Director of the US Helsinki Watch
Committee, Jeri Laber, and attorney Louis Whitman held a press
conference in Istanbul following their fact-finding mission to the
Eastern provinces of Turkey.
Laber stated to the daily Cumhuriyet of June 22, 1987, that although
there were some improvements in the human rights situation in Turkey
compared with her previous visits in 1984, this was not continuous but
more like two steps forward and one step back. The conditions in
Diyarbakir military prison, Laber reported, had deteriorated since her
ILO ACCUSES TURKISH GOVERNMENT
During the 73rd Congress of the
International Labour Organization (ILO) held in Geneva, the spokesman
of the Trade Union Rights Commission accused the Turkish Government of
"gaining time" by sending letters of intent in favour of ILO's requests
for a liberalisation of Turkish legislation on Labour and then failing
to act on these promises.
Turkish legislation was heavily
criticized by delegates attending the Congress who called for speedy
changes in Turkish laws restricting trade union freedoms such as the
right to strike and free collective bargaining.
In a related move, the American
trade union confederation AFL-CIO has asked the United States
Congress to remove Turkey from its "most favored nation" trading status
unless trade union rights improve in the very near future. (Turkey
Briefing, July 1987)
EUROPE'S ARMENIAN RESOLUTION AND ANKARA'S COUNTER-ATTACK
The European Parliament,
following a very animated debate on June 18, 1987, in Strasbourg,
adopted by 68 votes against 60 and 42 abstentions, a resolution
recognizing Armenian genocide committed in 1915-1917 by the Young Turk
Government of the Ottoman Empire and calling on the Community Member
States to dedicate a day to the memory of the genocide and crimes
against humanity perpetrated in the 20th century, specifically against
the Armenians and Jews.
The resolution also accuses the
Turkish Government of refusing to acknowledge this genocide,
being reluctant to apply the principles of international law to its
differences of opinion with Greece, maintaining occupation forces
in Cyprus and denying the existence of the Kurdish question.
The Resolution reads:
"The European Parliament,
"convinced that recognition of
the identity of the Armenian people in Turkey as an ethnic, cultural,
linguistic an religious minority follows on from recognition of its own
"whereas the Armenian side
regards these events as planned genocide within the meaning of the 48
"whereas the Turkish State
rejects the charge of genocide as unfounded,
"whereas, to date, the Turkish
Government, by refusing to recognize the genocide of 1915, continues to
deprive the Armenian people of the right to their own history,
"whereas the historically proven
Armenian genocide has so far neither been the object of political
condemnation nor received due compensation,
"whereas the recognition of the
Armenian genocide by Turkey must therefore be reviewed as a profoundly
humane act of moral rehabilitation towards the Armenians, which can
only bring honour to the Turkish Government;
"profoundly regretting and
condemning the mindless terrorism by groups of Armenians who were
responsible between 1973 and 1986 for several attacks causing death or
injury to innocent victims and deplored by an overwhelming majority of
the Armenian people,
"whereas the obdurate stance of
every Turkish Government towards the Armenian question has in no way
helped to reduce the tension,
"1. Believes that the Armenian
question and the question of minorities in Turkey must be resituated
within the framework of relations between Turkey and the Community;
points out that democracy cannot be solidly implanted in a country
unless the latter recognizes and enriches its history with its ethnic
and cultural diversity;
"2. Believes that the tragic
events in 1915-1917 involving the Armenians living in the territory of
the Ottoman Empire constitute genocide within the meaning of the
convention on the prevention and the punishment of the crime of
genocide adopted by the UN General Assembly on 9 December 1948;
recognizes, however, that the present Turkey cannot be held responsible
for the tragedy experienced by the Armenians of the Ottoman Empire and
stresses that neither political nor legal or material claims against
present-day Turkey can be derived from the recognition of this
historical event as an act of genocide;
"3. Calls on the Council to
obtain from the present Turkish Government an acknowledgment of the
genocide perpetrated against the Armenians in 1915-1917 and promote the
establishment of a political dialogue between Turkey and the
representatives of the Armenians;
"4. Believes that the refusal by
the present Turkish Government to acknowledge the genocide against the
Armenian people committed by the Young Turk government, its reluctance
to apply the principles of international law to its differences of
opinion with Greece, the maintenance of Turkish occupation forces in
Cyprus and the denial of the existence of the Kurdish question,
together with the lack of true parliamentary democracy and the failure
to respect individual and collective freedoms, in particular freedom of
religion, in that country are insurmountable obstacles to consideration
of the possibility of Turkey's accession to the Community;
"5. Conscious of those past
misfortunes, supports its desire for the development of a specific
identity, the securing of its minority rights and the unrestricted
exercise of its people's human and civil rights as defined in the
European Convention on Human Rights and its five protocols;
"6. Calls for fair treatment of
the Armenian minority in Turkey as regards their identity, language,
religion, culture and school system, and makes an emphatic plea for
improvements in the care of monuments and for the maintenance and
conservation of the Armenian religious architectural heritage in Turkey
and invites the Community to examine how it could make an appropriate
"7. Calls on Turkey in this
connection to abide faithfully by the provisions for the protection of
the non-Moslem minorities as stipulated in Articles 37 to 45 of the
1923 Treaty of Lausanne which, moreover, was signed by most Member
States of the Community;
"8. Considers that the protection
of monuments and the maintenance and conservation of the Armenian
religious architectural heritage in Turkey must be regarded as part of
a wider policy designed to preserve the cultural heritage of all
civilizations which have developed over the centuries on present-day
Turkish territory and, in particular, that of the Christian minorities
that formed part of the Ottoman Empire;
"9. Calls therefore on the
Community to extend the Association Agreement with Turkey to the
cultural field so that the remains of Christian or other civilizations
such as the ancient classical, Hittite, Ottoman, etc., in that country
are preserved and made generally accessible;
"10. Expresses its concern at the
difficulties currently being experienced by the Armenian community in
Iran with respect to the Armenian language and their own education in
accordance with the rules of their own religion;
"11. Condemns the violations of
individual freedoms committed in the Soviet Union against the Armenian
"12. Condemns strongly any
violence and any form of terrorism carried out by isolated groupings
unrepresentative of the Armenian people, and calls for reconciliation
between Armenians and Turks;
"13. Calls on the Community
Member States to dedicate a day to the memory of the genocide and
crimes against humanity perpetrated in the 20th century, specifically
against the Armenians and Jews;
"14. Commits itself to making a
substantial contribution to initiatives to encourage negotiations
between the Armenian and Turkish peoples;
"15. Instructs its President to
forward this resolution to the Commission, the European Council, the
Foreign Ministers meeting in political cooperation, the EEC/Turkey
Association Council and the Turkish, Iranian and Soviet Governments and
the UN Secretary General."
Reactions from Turkey
The adoption of this resolution
in spite of all efforts of the Turkish lobby in Strasbourg has given
rise a fierce campaign against the European Communities. Headlines such
as "Europe becomes Armenian!", "A new crusade against Turkey!" or "New
European treason!" covered the first pages of Turkish newspapers.
But it is on the killing of 31
villagers, including 16 children and 7 women, by Kurdish militants in
southeast Turkey on June 21 that the Turkish Government and the Turkish
press launched a furious campaign against the allied states and hinted
at pulling out of NATO.
At an emotional rally held in
Sivas on June 22, General Kenan Evren, voicing his frustration at the
European Parliament's resolution, said: "The terrorists have taken
courage from this resolution. I hope Europe is happy with the results.
Some of our NATO allies, while praising our strategic role in the
alliance, want to give away our territory to others. Even the Warsaw
Pact does not make such requests of us. There is clearly a need to
reconsider the meaning of the NATO alliance."
This campaign was supported with
full page advertisements given by some Turkish organisations to
American and European newspapers. Signed by Turkish Atlantic Treaty
Association (TAAD), Union of Turkish Parliamentarians (TPB),
Confederation of Turkish Labour Unions (TURK-IS), Promotion Foundation
of Turkey (TTV), Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen Association
(TUSIAD), Confederation of Turkish Employers' Unions (TISK), Union of
Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), Turkish Journalists
Association (TGC), Foreign Policy Institute (DPE), Turkish Press
Industry Employers' Union (TBSIS), Economic Development Foundation
(IKV) and Turkish Journalists Union (TGS), the text, after refuting
Armenian Genocide, voices the following views:
"Armenians have lived with Turks
in peace and harmony almost a millennium. But in 1915 those who lived
in the Northeast revolted against the Ottoman Government... Armenian
terrorist bands massacred tens of thousands of innocent people in order
to eliminate Turks from the territory in question. The colonialist and
imperialist powers of the time supported the Armenians in their
"The Ottoman Government relocated
the Armenians from the war zone to other parts of the Empire... It is
true that the relocation was carried out under war conditions, with a
very poor transportation infra-structure, in an exceptionally rough
geography, during a period of epidemics and famine. It is deeply
regretted that under these conditions many Armenians lost their lives.
"But the same conditions, apart
from the Armenian armed attacks, equally affected the Turkish
population whose losses were almost three times as high as those of
Armenians. Aren't they considered equal human beings or are Christians
'primus inter pares?' Why is it no one utters words of compassion about
"We know what lay behind the near
extermination of jews, gypsies and invalids, with the active and moral
complicity of others.
"Furthermore, racist pressures
have been resurfacing, even mounting once again, this time against
foreign workers who seem to serve as easy substitutes for Jews.
"Those who unwittingly betray
their own guilts have no lesson to teach the Turkish nation.
"Ironically, the resolution of
the European Parliament links the removal of obstacles to Turkey's
accession to the EC to the condition that Turkey becomes 'European' by
confessing to genocide. But we are determined to take our place in a
Europe which is totally cured of its past afflictions. The best proof
to this effect will be for Europeans to be able to live with Turks as
"This resolution will encourage
Armenian militants to resume terrorism as they already publicly
announced. It also provides justification for their demands for
compensation and territory. The responsibility for terrorist incidents
will be yours.
"Turkey stands between you and
the chaotic, war-stricken Middle East, the only stable and strong
country in the region which now enjoys a rapidly growing liberal market
economy and which is a member of all Western Institutions, including
the Atlantic Alliance in which it maintains the largest army among
European members. Don't take Turkey for granted."
The menace of pulling out of NATO
was aimed not only at the European Community, but also at the United
States, because a similar resolution on the Armenian genocide was to be
debated by the House of Representatives in August 1987. The Turkish
Government already linked the conclusion of new military and economic
accords with the United States to the condition that the White House
prevents the U.S. Congress from adopting the Armenian resolution.
However, this menace, according
the many diplomatic observers, is very far from being applicable. In
the past, former Turkish governments, including that of social-democrat
Ecevit, resorted many times to similar blackmails, but gave up at the
end. Furthermore, the government of today is being headed by a staunch
friend of the United States. Prime Minister Turgut Ozal owes his power
to the active support of the United States and the international
finance organizations such as the IMF and the World Bank.
In fact, a few days after General
Evren's angry declaration, Turgut Ozal said such a withdrawal from NATO
was "out of question."