A non-government information service on Turkey
Un service d'information non-gouvernemental sur la Turquie


12th Year - N°136
February 1988
38 rue des Eburons - 1000 Bruxelles
Tél: (32-2) 215 35 76 - Fax: (32-2) 215 58 60
 Rédacteur en chef: Dogan Özgüden - Editrice responsable: Inci Tugsavul


    In a surprise move, the Özal Government endorsed on February 28, 1988, the side-letter extending the Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement (DECA) with the United States for another five-year period.
    Turkey announced last year in April that it was going to endorse the side-letter because of the United States was not meeting its commitments to Turkey. Ankara protested many times against the cut-backs in US military and economic aid to Turkey and the discussion in the Congress a bill which seeks to commemorate the anniversary of the Armenian massacre at the turn of the century.
    The endorsement of the side-letter came as a surprise to political observers in Ankara as there was no recent discernible improvement in relations with Washington.
    In addition to this, as another gesture of concession to Washington, the "President of the Republic", General Kenan Evren, announced that he would visit the United States in the month of June 1988. This visit originally planned for 1987 had been suspended as a sign of protest against the discussion on Armenian genocide in the US Congress.
    According to the daily Hürriyet of February 29, by signing the side-letter, the Turkish Government had granted to Washington the following facilities:
    1. The USA will be able to renew and modernize the monitoring bases in Pirinclik, Sinop and Belbasi. These three stations have a great importance for monitoring armaments tests in the United States.
    2. Washington is allowed to accelerate the new construction works in some important airbases such as Incirlik.
    3. The US Air Force will be able to increase the number of its F-16 fighters from 36 up to 48.
So, the US F-16s to be driven out by the Spanish Government are to be based in Turkey.   
    Former Foreign Minister Hasan Esat Isik, describing the endorsement as a diplomatic fiasco, said the basic flaw of DECA is the fact that Turkey has committed itself fully as a country while the United States has undertaken to fulfill only certain promises.
    In a parallel move, Chief of staff General Necip Torumtay announced a decision to hold joint naval maneuvers with the Egyptian navy. The maneuvers are to take place this fall in the eastern Mediterranean.
    Reacting against this new military engagement, the opposition spokesmen said that Turkey might be getting too involved in the military conflicts of the Mediterranean.
    In fact, on February 16, the daily Cumhuriyet reported that some Turkish and Israeli enterprises had talks in a view to co-producing long-range guns and F-4 Phantom fighters.
    The British newspaper Independent of February 20 reported that the governments of Turkey and Saudi Arabia had five talks in different times with a view of placing 16,000 Turkish soldiers in Saudi territory, to fill the gap born after the withdrawal of Pakistani soldiers from this country.
    It is after having taken all these new Pro-american steps that Prime Minister Özal launched his so-called "peace offensive" towards the Middle East, European and socialist countries.
    His visit to Tehran -third to Iran since he became prime minister in 1983- was a a mixture of success and lack of compromise. Özal's two-night stay in Tehran was quite excited as Iraqi planes began shelling the Iranian capital. The Iraqi missile and air attack took Ankara by surprise.
    The success was that Özal became the first foreign dignitary to be accepted personally by Ayatollah Montazeri, the man designated by Ayatollah Khomeiny to succeed him. However, despite all the pomp accorded to Özal, the talks between the delegations of Turkey and Iran centering on economic topics were not quite successful. No agreement was reached on the pipeline project which will connect Iranian oil fields to the Mediterranean coast over the Turkish territory.
    After Tehran, Özal flew to Brussels and spoke at the NATO summit as the fourth NATO leader after Reagan, Mitterand and Kohl. "The modernization of the tactical nuclear arms should be evaluated within a reasonable period of time, also taking into account the behavior to be displayed by the Soviets in the negotiations for control of nuclear and conventional arms," Özal said. The press commented this declaration as a sign that Turkey takes place on the side of the European members of NATO showing reluctance to deploy additional nuclear weapons.
    Whereas, after the endorsement of DECA for more five years and the revelations about Turkish talks with Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia within the framework of Washington plans, Özal's these "reluctant" declarations before European allies were but a new double-faced maneuver aimed at getting more support for the improvement of Turco-European relations.


    During the process of giving new concessions to the United States, the Ozal administration was rather bothered by the press reports making public some excerpts of the U.S. State Department's annual report on the situation of human rights.
    Though edited in a spirit of tolerance towards the most loyal ally of the United States, this report addressed to the U.S. Congress contains many critical remarks and comments on the rule of Evren-Ozal tandem.
    Especially, the section on the "minorities" in Turkey has given rise to violent accusations against the United States in Turkish political circles.
    We reproduce below the integral text of this controversial report:

    Section 1

    Respect for the integrity of the person, including freedom from:

    A. Political killing.
    There were no accusations of politically motivated killings by government forces in 1987. A terrorist bombing in Istanbul during October killed one person. Also, an attack on a police station in Istanbul in August resulted in the death of one policeman.
    B. Disappearance.
    There were no known disappearances caused by government forces.
    C. Torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment:
    In January 1988, Turkey signed the Council of Europe Convention for the prevention of torture and inhuman and degrading treatment and announced its intention to sign a similar U.N. Agreement. Accession to the Council of Europe Convention allows an international committee of Council of Europe member states to visit all places of detention (police stations, civilian and military prisons, and mental hospitals) at any time, following notification of the visit to the government of Turkey. In announcing its intention to sign the convention, the government stressed the seriousness of Turkey's desire to eradicate torture.
    Although the Constitution states that "no one shall be subjected to torture or ill-treatment incompatible with human dignity," Turkish politicians, the Turkish press, and outside monitoring groups have repeatedly asserted that prisoners are subject to mistreatment and torture during initial interrogation or imprisonment.In its September 1987 file on torture, Amnesty International charged that torture was "widespread" and "systematic," claiming that "almost 4 years after a civilian government came to power in November 1983, no effective measures have been taken to prevent torture." The amnesty file included accounts of torture methods, centers of torture, sexual abuse, and death in custody. Helsinki Watch in its latest report concluded that "torture is still practiced in Turkey on a large scale." It also stated, however, that abuse or torture in prisons, apart from the initial detention period, has substantially decreased.
    Some assertions of torture concern treatment that could be defined as police brutality, such as rough handling by police officials aimed at intimidating a suspect or prisoner or resulting from personal animosity. In other cased the mistreatment appears to involve systematic torture. Nearly all of the numerous assertions have derived from treatment during initial periods of incommunicado detention, before charges were filed and before the accused was able to contact an attorney. Many cases were documented by medical evidence. Greater freedom of the press has yielded extensive coverage in Turkey of such instances of torture, including photos of victims, descriptions of methods, and sketches of premises where torture is said to have taken place.
    Even before signing the Council of Europe Convention, the Government had condemned torture and expressed its determination to eradicate it by prompt and severe punishment of offenders. Following the November elections, the newly appointed director general of security, who serves as head of the Turkish national police, flatly condemned the practice of torture and pledged to eradicate it. The government has made efforts to investigate assertions of torture and to prosecute the offenders. Although accurate figures for the number of investigations and prosecutions are not available, the press continues to report sentences of those convicted of torture. Fore example, in October, following a judicial medical board's determination that a prisoner in Bingol died as the result of torture, the government opened a case against a number of military personnel, including one officer. This same officer was later convicted of torture in a separate case. Nonetheless, international human rights organizations continue to maintain that many assertions of torture are not fully investigated and that some convicted offenders continue to carry out their official duties even while their cases are being appealed.
    Human rights advocates both in and outside of Turkey, including the Turkish Bar Association, have suggested that the most effective way to prevent torture or assertions of torture is to allow lawyers access to prisoners during the initial period of detention. Such access is being considered among proposed revisions to the criminal code. The revised criminal code, if adopted, would also increase the punishment for torture. The current criminal code categorizes murder by torture as manslaughter and punishes it with an 8-year sentence. Penalties for torture which does not result in death range from 3 to 5 years. In 1986 the Parliament defeated a bill which would have increased this penalty to a range of 5 to 10 years. The new criminal code would increase the penalty for murder by torture to up to 16 years.
    In August, following widespread hunger strikes by prisoners and parallel demonstrations by their friends and relatives outside the prisons, Turkish reporters were permitted for the first time to visit prisons and to report extensively on prison conditions. As a result of this press attention, conditions in many prisons appear to have improved. The government has responded to many prisoner demands and has been building new prisons to improve living conditions. The minister of justice claimed in September that prison conditions had improved drastically in the last 3 years with the establishment of new places of detention. However, because of its relative underdevelopment, most public facilities in Turkey, including prisons, are still substandard when judged against those of many developed countries.
    D. Arbitrary arrest, detention, exile, or forced labor
    Except in limited circumstances, such as when a person is caught in the act of committing a crime, a judge must issue a detention warrant to the prosecutor if a prisoner is to be incarcerated. The police or public prosecutor, however, can hold persons taken into custody incommunicado and without charge for up to 24 hours. By court order, the period of incommunicado detention may be extended to 15 days. In cases of "offenses committed collectively" by three or more persons, detention without charge for up to 15 days is permitted without court order.
    In the nine province under a state of emergency, the governor (or supergovernor) may authorize detention of a person for up to 30 days without charge. Under emergency rule, authorities do not need warrants to detain suspects. Once in normal custody, a detainee is taken before a public prosecutor to be informed of pending charges. If the prosecutor decides to pursue the case, the detainee is arraigned before a judge and subsequently allowed to detain a lawyer.
    Parliament in 1980 defeated a bill requiring immediate access to a lawyer. A proposed revision of the criminal code under which a person, upon being detained, would have the right to obtain a lawyer is still under discussion. A detainee does not have a right of bail; the arraigning judge, however, may release the accused on provisional liberty on presentation of an appropriate guarantee, or order him held in preventive detention if the court determines that he may flee or destroy evidence. The Constitution specifies the right of detainees to request speedy conclusion of arraignment and trial. In all cases, the authorities may hold a detainee incommunicado within the prescribed time limits until he is charged or released. According to the police powers act of 1975, a detainee's next of kin must normally be notified "in the shortest time."
    On April 15, the Parliament passed a law rescinding a provision of the execution of sentences act of of 1986 that permitted Turkish judicial authorities to impose sentences of "security observation", known commonly as internal exile.
    The Constitution prohibits forced labor, and there is none in practice.
    F. Denial of fair public trial
    Defendants normally have the right to an open trial. In some trials, such as those held in military prisons or on military compounds, members of the public must seek permission to attend. But such permission is routinely granted. Although Turkey is predominantly Muslim, its court system and judicial procedures are modeled on the Italian (criminal) and Swiss (civil) law codes. As in many other civil law countries, trials in which layman juries render verdicts do not form part of the Turkish judicial system.
    The Constitution declares that judges shall be independent in the discharge of their duties and provides for their secure tenure. It also prohibits authorities from giving orders or recommendations to judges concerning the exercise of judicial power. The independence of the judiciary was demonstrated when the Constitutional Court declared unconstitutional two provisions of the 1985 Police Powers Act which were widely considered to be oppressive. Courts have also acquitted many defendants in cases involving freedom of expression.
    Public prosecutors are also independent; to pursue a case is their decision alone. It is they who determine whether to pursue investigations of assertions of torture. The Supreme Council of Judges and public prosecutors, appointed by the President and including the Minister of Justice, select judges and prosecutors for the higher courts and oversees those of the lower courts.
    All defendants accused of terrorism or other offenses against the security of the State, including drug smuggling, are tried in one of eight state security courts. The judges in these courts observe the same standards of evidence as judges presiding over regular civilian courts. Three judges preside over state security courts: a civilian judge as chairman, one additional civilian judge, and one military judge. Civilian and security courts generally conduct trials under the same rules of procedure. based on the Constitution and emergency law regulations.
    A conviction or acquittal in either system may be appealed. If an appeals court overturns a lower court's guilty verdict, the case is sent back to the lower court for reconsideration. If the lower court insists on its original verdict, the case is returned to the Appeals Court for a binding opinion. In some cases, particularly capital cases, appeals to the Supreme Court or to the High Court of Military Appeals are mandatory and automatic. If a death sentence is confirmed by an Appeals Court, it must be approved by the Council of Ministers, then by Parliament, and finally by the President.
    Available evidence suggests that Kurdish-speaking defendants standing trial in the southeast often suffer from having only a partial, or in some cases total, lack of familiarity with Turkish, the official and only language permitted in communication with attorneys or judicial officials. Although translators are permitted, the quality of the translations from Kurdish into Turkish is reportedly poor.
    Estimates of the number of political prisoners held in Turkish jails vary greatly, depending on the source and the source's definition of political prisoner. The government denies that it holds any political prisoners but points out that many persons have been imprisoned for terrorist acts or for other crimes committed in the course of pursuing ostensibly political goals during the 1970's. Human rights organizations believe that many people have been imprisoned under statutes proscribing "membership in illegal organizations," prohibiting propaganda aimed at promoting the hegemony of one class or ethnic group, and advocating the establishment of an Islamic state. They estimate that persons currently imprisoned for nonviolent activity under these statutes number several hundred.
    F. Arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence:
    The Constitution provides for the inviolability of a person's domicile and the privacy of correspondence and communication. Entry by government officials into a private residence and interception or monitoring of private correspondence are permitted only upon issuance of a judicial warrant.
    In the nine provinces still under state-of-emergency law, however, the governor (or supergovernor) may empower authorities to search residences or the premises of political parties, businesses, associations, and other organizations without obtaining a warrant. They may also search, hold, or seize without obtaining warrant persons, letters, telegrams, and documents.
    G. Violations of humanitarian law in armed conflicts:
    Since August 1984, the government has faced in southeastern Turkey an increasingly bloody campaign of violence carried out by Kurdish guerrilla groups resident both in Turkey and several nearby countries, whose professed aim is to establish an independent Kurdish state --incorporating parts of present-day Turkey, Iraq, and Iran-- by destabilizing the central Turkish Government. Armed Kurdish rebels in Turkey receive substantial outside support and materiel.
    Guerrilla attacks appear to have increased in both number and geographic extent in 1987. Recent changes in guerrilla tactics include the formation of larger bands for armed attacks, strikes at the economic and transportation infrastructure of the region, and brutal, terrorist-style massacres of villagers, many of the victims being women and children.
    The attacks by supporters of the Marxist-oriented Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), the main insurgent group, on government and civilian targets has resulted in at least 500 civilian and military deaths. A Turkish paper in July reported the 3-year death toll at 715, of which 289 were civilians, mostly women and children, 159 military personnel, and 267 guerrillas. There have been additional killings, particularly of civilians, since then.
Despite major military operations against the PKK, guerrilla activities continue in many remote and relatively inaccessible parts of the southeast.
    Turkish members of parliament, international human rights groups, and the Turkish press have raised questions concerning activities by security forces in southeastern Turkey. Reportedly, family members of suspected terrorists have been abused or tortured to obtain information about the terrorists' whereabouts. In some cases, the populations of entire villages have been questioned or even detained. In other cases, villagers suspected of providing food to terrorists have been charged with aiding the separatists.

    Section 2

    Respect for civil liberties, including:

    A. freedom of speech and press:
    Political developments and court rulings have removed most restraints on freedom of the press. The criminal code, however, prohibits speech or writings considered threatening to state security and the democratic system of government. The proscription applies to advocacy of class or racial domination (F.G., communism and fascism), the establishment of a theocratic state (F.G., islamic fundamentalism), or the creation of a separate state on ethnic lines (F.G., Kurdish separatism). These provisions are longstanding, dating from the early days of the Turkish Republic.
    The Turkish press is robust and vigorous. It is privately owned and reflects a wide range of political views. There is no "government" paper; to a greater or lesser extent, all newspapers present opposition views. Furthermore, the recent trend in judicial ruling affecting freedom of the press has been consistently in favor of more freedom despite still existing statutory restrictions. Nevertheless, the possibility of prosecution probably induces some caution by the press in its selection of subject matter for reporting.
    Turkish Radio and Television (TRT) is a government monopoly. Opposition leaders complain that it is biased toward the government in its coverage, although all parties were permitted to present their views during the November election campaign. Works of certain leftist and Kurdish performers and writers are reliably reported to be banned from broadcast on TRT for political or cultural reasons.
    B. Freedom of peaceful assembly and association:
    Peaceful assemblies are permitted with prior permission from the authorities. Such requests are generally granted. According to current regulations, marching routes, rally areas, crowd dispersion routes, and poster hanging locations are to be fixed for each city every January. The government allowed political rallies during the referendum campaign and did not interfere with the political campaigning for the November parliamentary elections.
    The law on associations, which reflected government concern over the involvement of some association in the political violence preceding the military intervention of 1980, prohibits associations from having ties to political parties or engaging in political activity.
    Association activity is closely monitored by the government. Associations must submit their charters for the approval of government authorities before they are allowed to form. Turkey's human rights association, formed in July 1986, did not receive permission to operate as a legal association until 1 year later, although it was able to hold meetings and seminars in the interim.
    As a reaction to the universities' involvement in pre-1980 violence, the Constitution and the Political Parties Law proscribe student and faculty involvement in political activities. Political parties are forbidden to form youth branches. Students must obtain their university rector's permission before joining an association. After student protests, the government withdrew in April a proposed amendment to the Higher Education Act which would have limited student associations to one per university campus. Nevertheless, 143 students who protested the draft law went on trial for unlawful assembly. This trial is still going on. Of approximately 100 faculty members dismissed under martial law regulations --as many as 1,000 resigned of their own will either out of disagreement with the military intervention or for other, mainly economic, reasons --a number have petitioned for reinstatement, and at least one professor has been reinstated following a court decision in his favor.
    Membership in, or activities related to, an organization advocating the establishment of a system of government based on class (E.G., communist organization) are illegal under Turkish law. Authorities detained for persons in October and arraigned them on charges of being active members of the Revolutionary People's Union, which is claimed to be such an organization.
    Trade unions and confederations which continued to operate under the provisions of the 1983 Labour Law have been allowed to organize workplaces freely and to engage in collective bargaining. Although only a small percentage of Turkey's total work force of some 16 million is organized, over 60 percent of industrialized workers are union members covered by collective bargaining agreements. As a result, unions have a significant impact on the economy, especially on work rules and wage structure. The 1983 Collective Bargaining, Strike, and Lock-out Law strictly regulates the bargaining process and makes strikes outside the collective bargaining process (general strikes, political strikes, and solidarity strikes) illegal. Unions are able to represent their members, engage in collective bargaining, and respond to their members' interests.
    Under martial law, the activities of trade unions and confederations were severely restricted.
    Notwithstanding the lifting of martial law, political activity by trade unions is banned by the Constitution, the Law on associations, and the Trade Union Law. Unions can theoretically neither endorse candidates and parties nor make contributions to their campaigns. nevertheless, the Turkish Confederation of Labor, TURK-IS, openly campaigned against the ruling Motherland Party both in the 1986 byelections and the 1987 parliamentary elections. Trade union activity in defense of workers' social and economic interests is not regarded as political activity. The unions have taken advantage of that distinction to mount sternous public campaigns against various government policies and to lobby government and opposition parliamentarians in support of labor positions.
    These campaigns included continuing efforts to persuade the Parliament to bring the laws restricting union activity into harmony with relevant International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions. A March 24 "March on Parliament" was prevented by the police, who charged that Turk-Is had not applied for a parade permit.
    A December 1986 court decision ordered the permanent closing of DISK (Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions), whose activities were suspended under martial law following the 1980 military takeover. The trial is in the appeals stage. The organization and its funds remain under the control of court-appointed trustees. Three former leaders of DISK were elected to parliament in November. The Peace Association trials are also at the appeals stage, and ll defendants are free on bail.
    Turkish Government, union, and employer representatives participate fully in the activities of the ILO. The largest confederation, TURK-IS, is an affiliate of the ICFTU. Most TURK-IS member unions are affiliated with their respective international trade secretariats.
    The government of Turkey was elected a deputy member of the ILO governing body in 1987.
    The American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) has alleged that the Turkish workers' constitutional right to organize is hampered by the Labor Code and by government and employer policies and practices, that the right to strike is heavily encumbered, and that observance of minimal safety and health standards is lax. The Minister of Labor has announced that the government is preparing legislation which will address some of the worker rights issues raised by the AFL-CIO and others. The new legislation reportedly will modify or eliminate some restrictions placed on trade unions, excessive government oversight of unions, and regulations affecting their free choice of officers. New legislation would also address the right of civil servants and teachers to organize, as well as the strict requirements a union currently must satisfy in order to become a bargaining agent.
    C. Freedom of religion:
    The overwhelming majority of Turks are Sunni Muslims. "Alevis", adherents of different heterodox varieties of Shi'ism, constitute from 10 to 15 percent of the population. There are also various small Christian religious groups, and a small Jewish community.
    Turkish government since the founding of the Republic have regarded secularism as an essential attribute of a modern, western-style democratic system, and the constitution proclaims it to be a basic characteristic of the State.Accordingly it distinguishes carefully between a person's private right to "freedom of conscience, religious belief, and conviction" and public proselytizing of any kind. Since Ottoman times, personal identity in Turkish society has correlated with religion. The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne defines minorities according to religion, and personal identity is still largely synonymous with religious identity even in the modern secular Turkish State. Proselytization is therefore politically sensitive.
    Under the Constitution, "instruction in religious culture and moral education" in accordance with a State-prepared curriculum is compulsory for all students. The Education Ministry confirmed in 1986 that non-Muslims would have to attend classes in general religious instruction but would be excused from the "practical" sections, which include memorization of Koranic verses and instruction in prayer. The courses --2 hours per week-- are taught by lay teachers. Extracurricular Koran courses using government-approved texts are permitted. The Government has closed Koran courses run by fundamentalist sects teaching a more radical brand of Islam.
    Among other religious groups, small numbers of Armenian orthodox and Armenian catholic, Greek orthodox and Greek Catholic; Bulgarian Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Syrian and Assyrian Christian, Chaldean Uniates, Protestants, and Jewish believers are found in Turkey, primarily in Istanbul. In addition to the Turkish Constitution, the Treaty of Lausanne guarantees the rights of the non_Muslim minorities. These groups operate churches, monasteries, synagogues, schools (where students may be taught in their own language), and charitable religious foundations such as hospitals and orphanages.
    Non-Muslim minority groups have repeatedly complained about government policies and procedure concerning the operation of community schools, the formation of parish councils, and the registration and repair of church property. Government restrictions on the transfer of property to religious charitable organizations is also a matter of contention.
    The Government has recently taken steps to resolve several issues of concern to non-Muslim groups. It granted permission to the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate in April 1987 to rebuild its administration building, destroyed by fire in 1941. It increased the value of repairs which can be made without prior authorization to historical buildings, thereby removing another issue of contention. It permitted the free circulation of Bibles. However, it has not yet granted permission to build churches to such communities as the Chaldean Uniates who have emigrated to Istanbul from the Southeast, or to the Armenian community of Ankara.
    D. Freedom of Movement within the Country, foreign travel, emigration, and repatriation:
    There is general freedom of movement within Turkey. Turks generally are free to travel abroad, and increasing numbers have done so since the relaxation of currency controls. According to the Constitution, a citizen's freedom to leave may be restricted on account of the national economic situation, civic obligations (generally military service), or criminal investigation of prosecution. Some Turks involved in lengthy mass trials dating from the early 1980's have been denied passports, although others have been granted passports, and there is evidence that some citizens not under indictment were denied passports for political reasons. Turkish law provides that those denied passports while under indictment may nevertheless be permitted to travel if the Justice Ministry and office of the Prime Minister approve. Restrictions have been eased as a matter of practice, and the government is currently considering legislative changes in order to bring Turkish passport policies more into conformity with European norms.
    Turkish law grants citizens protection against deportation, extradition, or denial of reentry. The Constitution provides for the right of Turks living abroad to return home. Under provisions of the Turkish citizenship law, however, the Government may strip citizenship from those who have refused to return home to face criminal charges, or who have committed acts expatriating themselves, including failing to return to perform military service. According to a Turkish press report in April, 13,788 Turks living abroad have been stripped of their citizenship since 1980.
    Turkey has permanently resettled approximately 4,500 Afghan refugees of Turkish ethnicity in recent years and provides a temporary haven for East European refugees in two temporary settlement facilities. Since Turkey limits the definition of refugees to East Europeans, the Government does not grant refugee status to Iranians. Nevertheless, as a country of first asylum, Turkey serves as a safe haven for many Iranian refugees being processed for resettlement by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). It does not generally deport to Iran those who entered Turkey illegally or who overstayed their permitted time as "tourists". In consequence, large number of Iranians are now living in Turkey, many of them in Istanbul and other large cities.

    Section 3

    Respect for political rights: The right of citizens to change their government:

    The right to change the government exists both in theory and in practice. Turkey has a multiparty, presidential parliamentary system. The president is elected by Parliament for a single 7-year term. The current President, whose election was automatic with the approval of Turkey's new constitution in the 1982 referendum, is Retired General Kenan Evren, former chief of the Turkish General Staff and head of the National Security Council which governed Turkey during the period of military rule (1980-83).
    Elections for public office are on the basis of universal suffrage. The unicameral parliament has 450 seats elected on a proportional basis. The election law requires that a party win at least 10 percent of the total national vote in order to obtain seats in Parliament. The 10 percent treshold is intended to prevent political fragmentation and recurrence of the parliamentary paralysis of the late 1970's. Of the seven legal parties which fielded states of candidate for the November national elections, three received more than 10 percent of the total vote.
    Parties advocating a theocratic state, the superiority of dictatorship of a particular social class or group, or "exclusive" or "elitists" political philosophies are prohibited.
    No party may be formed around a particular ethnic or cultural group. Among the prohibited political groupings are communist and other Marxist parties, which are based on class, and fascist "elitist" parties. These are regarded as inimical to a western-style democratic society and threatening to Turkey's fundamental integrity. Fascists and communists similarly are banned from membership in other parties. Members of the Armed Forces and certain categories of civil servants may not join any political party.
    The Constitution provides for equal political rights for men and women. Turkey was one of the first countries to grant women full and equal political rights. There are currently 11 female members of Parliament, one of whom is a cabinet minister, and several women hold important positions in the party hierarchies. Members of minorities, Muslim or non-Muslim, face no legal limitations on political participation as long as they accept Turkish national identity. Despite other limitations and restrictions on Kurds as an ethnic group, many Turks of Kurdish descent serve or have served in the Parliament, the Cabinet, and senior government posts.
    Section 4
    Governmental attitude regarding international and nongovernmental
    investigation of alleged violations of human rights:

    The government permitted visits to Turkey by foreigners to discuss human rights during 1987 and, in most cases, facilitated contacts for both official and nonofficial visitors. The Government was less helpful to visitors investigating the Kurdish issue. Since the 1983 settlement of a five-nation complaint in the European Human Rights Commission, Turkey has undertaken to provide regular confidential reports to the Council of Europe and to permit site visits. The government has not permitted prison visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Turkey's accession to the Council of Europe Torture Convention will mean future visits by the COE International Committee.
    A nongovernmental Human Rights Association was provisionally formed in July 1986 and had its charter officially approved in 1987. The Social Democratic Populist Party, the main opposition party, also has a Human Rights Committee and has actively pursued human rights issues in Parliament.

    Section 5

    Discrimination based on race, sex, religion, language, or social status:

    The Constitution regards all Turkish citizens as equal and prohibits discrimination on ethnic grounds. In the Lausanne Treaty, the government undertook "to assure full and complete protection of life and liberty to all inhabitants of Turkey without distinction as to birth, nationality, language, race, or religion." At the same time, it has been longstanding policy of Turkish governments to seek assimilation of persons of non-Turkish ethnic backgrounds into the mainstream of society. The size or the non-Muslim minority communities has declined steadily over the years.
    Non-Muslim minority groups continue to complain about the restrictive nature of government policies and procedures regulating the operation of community schools, the purchase and sale of community real estate. The administration of church properties, and the activities of parish councils. The prohibition on most charitable religious organizations against accepting requests also continues to be a major concern.
    Kurds can be found throughout Turkey, both as a result of Ottoman settlement policy and more recent migration to metropolitan centers. Those living outside of the southeastern part of the country have been assimilated more completely into national life. Most Kurdish speakers are concentrated in the economically disadvantaged southeast, and many live a tribal existence. Through large-scale economic development programs, the government seeks to integrate fully both the region and its people into modern Turkey.
    The government remains strongly opposed to any assertion of a Kurdish ethnic identity which could bring into question the unity of the Turkish State. Publication of books, newspapers, and any other materials in Kurdish is forbidden, as are books or any other materials dealing with Kurdish history, culture, or ethnic identity. The Kurdish language is not permitted for official purposes, e.g., in the courts, nor is it allowed in certain private situations such as receiving visitors in prison, even when the prisoner or visitor does not speak Turkish. However, there is no restriction on the use of Kurdish in nonofficial settings.
    As noted above, the right of indigenous minority groups to use their own languages is limited. Although the Lausanne Treaty states that "no restrictions shall be imposed on the free use by any Turkish national of any language in private intercourse, in commerce, religion, in the press, or in publications of any kind or at public meetings," the Constitution states that the official language of the country is Turkish. One article of the Constitution bans discrimination on the basis of language, while others prohibit the public use of "language prohibited by law." While there is no legislation defining prohibited languages, the broadcasting and publishing laws do define "legal languages." Persons have been tried on a variety of charges relating to the use of Kurdish. All recent such trials have resulted in acquittals. The government has stated that the intent of its bans on publishing in Kurdish (and its discouraging of languages such as Georgian and Laz) is to foster Turkish as the language of all citizens for all uses. This is part of an effort to inculcate in all Turkish citizens a sense of identity with the Turkish state and nation as opposed to identification with any particular group within the nation. In practice, the severity of the restrictions on the use of a minority language appears to depend on the perceived threat the group in question presents to the integrity of the State. For example, the government faces armed Kurdish separatists and believes the use of Kurdish fosters separatism. The use of Arabic, about which there are no such concerns, is not similarly restricted.
    The Government has long been a leader in promoting and protecting women's rights. Women have full suffrage and educational rights, have attained high office, and are represented in all professions and institutions. Women have served or are currently employed in senior positions as university rector and dean, ambassador, political party president, and army colonel. Turkish businesswomen play significant roles in many industries and sit on the boards of some of Turkey's larges private firms. Female lawyers and judges are relatively more common than in the United States, and female doctors dominate in some specialities.
    Nonetheless, the role of women in smaller communities and rural areas --especially in the East-- is still circumscribed by centuries of patriarchal tradition. Social and cultural constraints in these areas limit women's equal access to education and professional opportunities, the Constitution and body of law notwithstanding.

    Conditions of Labor:

    The Constitution provides for the right to reasonable conditions of labor suited to the worker's age, sex, and capacity, and grants the right to rest and leisure and a fair wage. The labor law forbids the employment of children under 13 years of age and restricts children under 15 to "light work which will not harm their health and physical development, prevent their attendance at occupational training and orientation programs, or their ability to benefit from education." Children between 15 and 18 years of age may not be employed in underground or underwater work, nor may they be employed at night. Girls and women may not be employed in underground or underwater work, but, if over the age of 18, may work night shifts under conditions specified jointly by the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
    A board composed of government, private sector, and labor representatives establishes national minimum wages for the agricultural and nonagricultural sectors. The labor law provides for a 7 1/2-hour day and a 45-hour workweek.
    In spite of constitutional guarantees, specific legal requirements, and labor union efforts, a considerable gap remains between ideals and realities of occupational health and safety levels. Trade unions have repeatedly complained that existing regulations governing health, safety, and working conditions are not adequately enforced. Outside the industrialized sector where unions exercise considerable influence, legal restrictions are generally ignored both on occupational health and safety and on child and female employment. In general, the difference between legal prohibitions against child labor and its practice is narrowing. But in the agricultural sector to a large degree, and to a lesser extent in family-created commercial enterprises, young children still work at their parents' side. During 1987 an illegal market in the services of children in a provincial town, in which children from villages were leased to work for nonrelatives during the school vacation months, received considerably newspaper coverage and was closed immediately by the government.


    In the December 1988 issue of Info-Türk, we had produced a report of the Heritage Foundation asking the Reagan Administration to increase its support to the Özal administration in Turkey.
    According to New Statesman of May 29, 1987, the Heritage Foundation is the most influential and furthest right think-tank in the United States. It "has channeled $1 million over the past five years to right-wing organizations in Britain and, in a smaller way, to other West European countries. The money has been paid with the direct aim of influencing domestic politics in the United Kingdom, "said the British monthly.
    "Heritage, mainly financed by Joseph Coors, a US beer baron and right-wing ideologue, is now bidding to be the core of a 'Conservative International'. Already closer than any other similar center to President Reagan, Heritage now has the contacts and the funds to further its programmes, which it defines as designed 'to make the voices of responsible conservatism heard in Washington, D.C...and in the capitals of the world'.
    "Heritage's international activities have been helped by its easy entree to Reagan administration circles. In 1982 President Reagan appointed Heritage Foundation President Edwin J. Feulner Jr. chairman of the US Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, which evaluates programmes of the USIA including the Voice of America, Radio Marti, Fullbright scholarships and the National Endowment for Democracy.
    "Heritage-funded projects in Europe became more systematic in 1982, when US and British conservatives grew alarmed at the growing influence of the peace movement. In May that year Heritage disseminated a 'backgrounder' on 'Moscow and Peace Offensive', in which it called on NATO and 'its affiliated public support organizations' to spread 'information concerning the links... between known Communist front groups and the 'independent' peace groups.
    "In an interview with Inter-Nation, Heritage Foundation Vice-President Burton Yale Pines predicted: 'Maybe the next step will be to organize some kind of Conservative International.' He suggested this could take the form of an alliance of as many as 20 like-minded groups in the United States, Britain, France, West Germany, Japan and other countries. During the last six years, the Heritage Foundation has been a major force behind the 'Reagan Revolution'. The Reagan Administration itself will come to an end by 1988. Heritage will do its best, however, to ensure that the principles of Reaganism continue to shape policies far beyond the borders of the United States."