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


12th Year - N°138
April 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

How  well  "democracy"  works!

    3,000 journalists prosecuted  within a 8-year period
    42 responsible editors still in prison
    A new socialist party under the menace of interdiction
    4,5 million citizens recorded as "suspects"
    Censorship on six films at Istanbul Filmdays
    Helsinki Watch Report on destroying ethnic identity
    Amnesty International: "Torture continues in Turkey"
    Mass resistance of political  prisoners throughout Turkey

    The daily Cumhuriyet of April 20, 1988, reports that during a 8-year period going from September 12, 1980 up to April 1988, the number of the journalists indicted for their publications has reached to alarming dimensions. Military and civil tribunals have tried, in this period, 3,000 journalists and writers in 2,000 cases relative to "press offenses".
    After the military coup, four daily newspapers and 20 reviews were closed down by martial law commanders, 50 journalists or writers were tried by military tribunals in 404 different court cases. 32 journalists were sentenced to a total of 3,000 years imprisonment by military tribunals and 2,500 years of these sentences were ratified by the Military Court of Cassation.
    By virtue of the Penal Procedure Code in Turkey, whatsoever be high the total of different prison terms for one person, it is automatically commuted to 36 years imprisonment plus 12 years compulsory residence.
    In the period of 1980-83, in addition to the press cases dealt by military tribunals, 796 journalists were tried in 632 cases by the special Press Court in Istanbul. Although this special court was abolished by the Özal Government in 1983, since then up to now, in a five-year period, 2,127 journalists have been brought before criminal courts for 1,426 "press offenses".
    While the journalists who are accused of publications "incompatible with public morality" such as print-ing indecent photos are being tried at Criminal Court of First Instance, the offenses such as "communist propaganda", "separatist propaganda", "religious propaganda", "weakening national feelings" and "discredit-ing the government" are being dealt by military tribunals, state security courts or aggravated criminal courts.
    Only in 1987,  541 journalists were tried by different courts in 340 press trials.


    The Writers and Journalists in Prison Committee of International PEN issued in February 1988 a new detailed report on writers and journalists known to be kidnapped, imprisoned, banned, under house or town arrest, or awaiting trials.
    Another list on the same subject was issued by the daily Cumhuriyet of April 20, 1988.
    Gathering these reports with the information coming from other sources, we are updating below the list of Turkish journalists in prison:
    Hasan Selim Acan: Editor of journal Halkin Kurtulusu, sentenced to a total of 331 years imprisonment. Prosecutor claims 100 years more in 11 outgoing cases.
    Nevzat Açan: Editor of Halkin Kurtulusu, sentenced by Istanbul Military Court to a total of 20 years and 6 months' imprisonment. In Canakkale prison.
    Fuat Akyürek: Editor of Saglikcinin Sesi, sentenced to 10 years and 6 months' imprisonment. In Canakkale prison.
    Kazim Arli: Editor of the journal Oncü between June and August 1980. Arrested on September 11, 1985 and sentenced to 23 years and 6 months by Istanbul Military Court No.2 on June 27, 1986. Conviction based on Art. 142 of the Penal Code. Another trial is going on against him under Article 141 of the TPC, for membership of a lift wing organization. Held at Ankara Closed Prison.
    Irfan Asik: School teacher and editor of a monthly political journal called Partizan until it was shut down after the military coup. Arrested on Dec 4, 1980, while teaching, tried 13 times for different articles, sentenced to total 111 years reduced on appeal to 36 years. In Canakkale prison.
    Güzel Aslaner: Editor of journal Halkin Birligi. Sentence to 31 years on June 30, 1983.
    Aydogan Büyüközden: Sentenced to a 36-year prison term for articles in the daily Aydinlik. In Bursa prison.
    Mehmet Cerit: Editor of periodical Halkin Yolu. Sentenced at Istanbul Military Court on April 22, 1981 to 18 years and 11 months.
    Mehmet Coban: Journalist for Ankara journal Iktibas. Charged under Article 163 for anti-secular propaganda. Sentenced to 6 years and 3 months.
    Mustafa Colak: Journalist for Ozgürlük, charged with "making communist propaganda". Arrested in December 1981 and sentenced to 9 years' imprisonment and held in Canakkale. Given another 8 years for membership of the Istanbul Patriot Revolutionary Youth Association. Total therefore 17 years.
    Servet Ziya Corakli: Writer and poet. Sentenced on December 13, 1986 to 6 years and 8 months' imprisonment for distributing "illegal" pamphlets.
    Mete Dalgin: Responsible editor of journal Halkin Birligi, total sentence of 30 years' imprisonment.
    Ilker Demir: Editor of the reviews Ilke and Kitle from 1975 to 1977. Arrested on April 3, 1984, and convicted in a number of trials in military courts to total of 23 years and one month on charges of making communist propaganda. In Aydin E type prison.
    Galip Demircan: Editor of Halkin Kurtulusu. Sentenced to a 15-year prison. In Canakkale Prison.
    Mustafa Dum: Responsible editor of Ileri journal. Sentenced to 13 years and 6 months' imprisonment. In Canakkale E type prison.
    Mustafa Eker: Responsible editor of Kurtulus Sosyalist Dergi, sentenced to 13 years and 5 months' imprisonment. In Istanbul prison.
    Bektas Erdogan: Imprisoned in 1979 and sentenced to 36-year imprisonment. In Bursa E type prison.
    Fettah Erkan: Editor of Devrimci Derlenis, sentenced to 11 years and 8 months prison for insulting the Army.
    Muhittin Göktas: Journalist of Kivilcim review. Sentenced to a 7 years and 6 months imprisonment.
    Yasar Kaplan: Editor of a literary magazin called Aylik Dergi. Sentenced in February 1986 to 6 years and 3 months prison for his work "The Book of Democracy". In Bursa E type prison.
    Bayram Kazakli: Editor of Devrimci Kurtulus Publishing House. Arrested in 1983 and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment for publishing four books and booklets.
    Remzi Kücükertan: Sentenced for his articles appeared in the review Devrimci Proletarya.
In Gaziantep Prison.
    Recep Marasli: Owner of Komal Publishing House in Istanbul. Arrested in January 1982 and tried six times. Another trial is pending. Total sentence is 36 years which he is serving in Diyarbakir Prison.
    Feyzullah Ozer: Editor of the weekly Kitle. Arrested in October 1981 and sentenced to 18 years and 6 months' for articles he wrote between 1977 and 1978. In Canakkale E type prison.
    Mehmet Ozgen: Editor of Bagimsiz Türkiye and Devrimci Militan journals. In six courts cases sentenced to 33 years and 6 months prison. In Canakkale E type prison.
    Candemir Ozler: Arrested in May 1981 for articles  he published in Savas Yolu. Sentenced to 23 years and 10 months' prison. In Canakkale E type prison.
    Haci Ali Özler: Imprisoned for his articles in the review Emegin Birligi.
    Ali Rabus: Editor of Birlik Yolu. Sentenced to 18-year imprisonment. In Canakkale prison.
    Alaattin Sahin: Editor of the weekly Halkin Yolu in 1977. 44 cases were opened against him. In 25 cases he received a total of 108 years, commuted to 36 years. In Canakkale Prison. At least 163 years are claimed by the prosecution in the outgoing 19 cases.
    Ersan Sarikaya: Editor of Güney literary review. Sentenced to a 7 years and 6 months. In Kayseri prison.
    Orhan Selen: Poet. Sentenced to a 8-year prison in 1985. In Bursa Prison.
    Osman Tas: Arrested in January 1981. Editor of Halkin Kurtulusu, sentenced to a total of 770 years of which 660 years ratified and commuted to 36 years. In Metris Prison of Istanbul.
    Erhan Tuskan: Editor of Ilerici Yurtsever Genclik. Arrested in October 1980. Sentenced to 48 years and 10 months in prison, commuted to 36 years. In Canakkale prison.
    Mustafa Tütüncübasi: Sentenced to a total of 42 years imprisonment in default for articles in the journal Halkin Sesi.
    Hasan Fikret Ulusoydan: Responsible editor of periodical Halkin Sesi in 1975-76. Arrested for 23 different charges against him in 1980. Total of sentences is 75 years, commuted to 36 years. Two cases have not yet been finalised. In Metris prison in Istanbul.
    Hüseyin Ülger: Editor of Genc Sosyalist. Imprisoned in 1979. Serving a 17-year imprisonment in Canakkale Prison for his journalistic activities.
    Ali Haydar Yildirim: Responsible editor of five issues of periodical Militan Genclik. Sentenced to a total of 14 years and 6 months. Arrested in 1981.
    Mustafa Yildirimtürk: Editor for eight issued of Halkin Kurtulusu in 1977. Sentenced to a total of 215 years of which 155 years ratified. Sentence automatically commuted to 36 years. In Metris Prison of Istanbul.
    Veli Yilmaz: Editor of Halkin Kurtulusu and Halkin Kurtulusu Yolunda Genclik. Sentenced to a total of 1,170 years of which 750 ratified. All sentences were automatically commuted to 36 years. In Metris Prison of Istanbul.
    Dogan Yurdakul: Responsible editor of the daily Aydinlik. Sentenced in default to a 18-year prison.
    Besides, Kubilay Akpinar from the periodical Günese Cagri and Ertugrul Mavioglu from Yeni Cözüm are under arrest in Sagmalcilar Prison of Istanbul for their ongoing trials.


    1.3, writers Emil Galip Sandalci and Ragip Zarakolu, respectively chairman and vice-chairman of the Human Rights Association (IHD) in Istanbul are tried at a criminal court for having launched a campaign for general amnesty and against capital punishment.
    2.3, in Istanbul, Professor Yalcin Kücük, publisher Mehmet Emin Sert and Sait Üner, an independent socialist candidate at the last legislative elections, are brought before the State Security Court of Istanbul for having made communist propaganda during the electoral campaign. Each faces prison terms to 10 years.
    2.3, the Association of the Women in Democratic Struggle (DEMKAD) is closed down by the authorities on grounds that its aim is not compatible with the Constitution.
    3.3, a public concert of famous folk singer Rahmi Saltuk in Ankara is banned by the Governor on grounds that it would be harmful to public order.
    4.3, the March 1988 issue of the monthly Emegin Bayragi is confiscated on the decision of the State Security Court for having published articles on the Commune of Paris and the International Women Day.
    6.3, in Izmir, 52 representatives of different student associations are taken into custody by police after having held a meeting in the Aegean University to discuss their problems.
    9.3, in Istanbul, Cengiz Turhan, responsible editor of the weekly Yeni Gündem, is sentenced by the State Security Court to seven years and six months imprisonment for communist propaganda.
    10.3, in Ankara, eight members of two student associations are arrested for unauthorized meetings.
    17.3, public prosecutor indicts two journalists of the weekly 2000'e Dogru, Mrs. Fatma Yazici and Mr. Irfan Tastemur, for unveiling a confidential report of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT). The responsible editor of the daily Sabah, Mr. Oguz Atay also faces prosecution for quoting this article.
    18.3, Arslan Sener Yildirim is brought before the State Security Court for an article entitled "Trade Unions and Working Class Party" appeared in the review Yeni Cözüm and faces a 15-year prison for communist propaganda.


    The daily Cumhuriyet of March 14-15, 1988 reports that the number of the citizens recorded as "suspect" rose to 1,683,000 in 1987 as it was only 40,000 prior to the military coup. Of the recorded citizens more than 700 thousand are teachers and students. Among the others are public servants, workers, policemen, army officers, NCOs and their relatives.
    Many of these records are based on denunciations.
    Even if a suspect is acquitted by a tribunal, his record is always kept in the archives of the Interior Ministry and the National Intelligence Organization.
    With this 1.7 million victim of political repression,  the number of all citizens who have been subjected to different investigation and recording for simple administrative formalities is estimated at 4.5 million. Only in the Turkish Kurdistan, reports Cumhuriyet, at least 2 million citizens have been recorded by martial law authorities since the military coup.


    Last minute changes were made in the 7th International Filmdays program in April 1988. The Censorship Committee banned three films outright, and three other films were not shown during the Filmdays.
    Tengiz Abuladze's The Cry was banned on pretext that it was contrary to Islamic principles. Betty Blue, directed by Jean-Jacques Beinex, was banned on pornographic grounds, and Ali Özgentürk's Su da Yanar (Water also burns) for containing scenes considered "harmful to the moral ethics of the society."
    Beat Kuert's Deshima and Jose Alvaros Morais' O Bobo were also eliminated from the Filmdays. This time, the Censorship Committee wanted eight erotic scenes to be taken out from both films, but the Organization Committee objected to the idea of showing incomplete films at an international festival. So the films were omitted altogether.
    Samir Zikra's An Incident of Half a Meter was not included in the festival because the film arrived late.
    American director Elia Kazan and nine other members of the jury of the Golden Tulip International Film Contest protested against the ban on films. The jury stressed in its declaration:
    - that it is uncivilized to prevent international interest in Turkish cinema by censoring films at an international festival,
    - that authorities should recognize the importance of one of the best Turkish directors, Yilmaz Güney, and lift the ban on his films.
    In a parallel action, Turkish actors and producers walked in silent protest. Holding a press conference at Taksim Square, the group stated:
    "Freedom of expression in the arts is the product of struggle over centuries. In Turkey, in the wake of the 21st century, freedom of thought and the right to enjoy fully works of art being subjected to random censorship by civil administrators. We announced to the world as well as to local authorities that we reject all bans and will protect our freedom of creativity."


    A court in Istanbul ruled on March 22, 1988 to confiscate and destroy copies of Henry Miller's Tropic of Capricorn and Ahmet Altan's Sudaki Iz (Trace in the Water) on grounds that the two noels were harmful to public moral because of their "obscenity." The verdict was based on the "Law protecting the minors against harmful publications."
    Altan, reacting angrily to the verdict, said: "In a country where the judges decide how to write books there will be neither literature nor justice left. It is more difficult to write books than to burn them."


    The resistance of political prisoners reached to a climax on March 24, 1988, when 29 inmates from the maximum-security Metris military prison in Istanbul staged a spectacular escape, through a 50-meter tunnel they dug from the sewers of the building.
    The inmates, of whom eighteen belong to the Workers' and Peasants' Liberation Army (TIKKO), guerrilla branch of the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist (TKP/ML), began the digging the tunnel some six months ago, descending into the sewer system of the prison from a courtyard where they were being taken out periodically for fresh air.
    Security forces throughout the country were alerted to the escape and a massive search was mounted, especially in Istanbul, to capture the fugitives.
    Metris was built after the September 12, 1980 military coup in Turkey to hold political prisoners. The prison consists of six blocks connected by corridors and surrounded by quarters for the prison guards and administrators. Metris at one time housed more than 2,500 inmates and became infamous internationally when the maltreatment of its convicts was publicized.
    A few days later, on March 30, 1988, a banner reading "Kizildere is not the last, our fight will continue," signed by Devrimci Birlik (Revolutionary Union) was hung from the top floor of a building in Istanbul. The sign referred to a group of left-wing militants who escaped from a military prison in 1971 and  all were shot dead in Kizildere, a town in the Black Sea region.


    Despite the Government's promise to ameliorate the prison conditions, inhuman practices are still going on and push hundreds of political prisoners to new protest actions.
    Many political prisoners in the Diyarbakir Military Prison have been transferred to Sanliurfa and Gaziantep civilian prisons. Since the conditions in these prisons are worse than those of the former, the inmates who rest in Diyarbakir went on a new hunger strike on March 3, 1988.
    In the course of March, hundreds of political prisoners in Buca (Izmir), Sagmalcilar (Istanbul) and Adana prisons went on hunger strike and their actions were joined by their relatives in front of the prisons.
    The protest action of 27 inmates in Buca prison turned into a violent uprising because of the incomprehension of the prison administration. Police took into custody 74 relatives of inmates who protested against the brutality exerted on prisoners.


    Two armed resistance movements, the ERNK (National Liberation Front of Kurdistan) and the TIKKO(Workers' and Peasants' Liberation Army of Turkey) announced that their struggle against the Turkish State would gain new dimensions in 1988.
    The ERNK is led by the Workers' Party of Kurdistan (PKK) and the TIKKO by the Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist (TKP/ML).
    At a press conference held on March 21, 1988 in Brussels, on the occasion of the anniversary of the foundation of the ERNK, the PKK spokesman Hüseyin Yildirim announced that in 1987 the Kurdish guerrilla forces shot dead 344 persons of whom 12 Army officers and 252 village protectors. Consequently, the number of the mercenaries called "village protectors" fell from 25 thousand to 6 thousand because of defections. Yildirim added that the guerilla forces permanently joined by poor Kurdish peasants will soon take the form of a liberation army and give the Turkish State heavier blows.
    On the other hand, after the spectacular escape of 18 TIKKO militants from the Metris military prison, the TKP/ML spokesman A.H. Celik held a press conference in Brussels on March 29, 1988 and said that this event marked a turning point in the guerilla warfare led by TIKKO militants.  He announced that in the coming months, their guerrilla forces would carry out a series of military operations as well in the Turkish Kurdistan as in big cities such as Istanbul and will take as target State terrorism centers and some important civilian and military figures of the regime.


    On March 24, 1988, the Martial Law Court of Istanbul sentenced 9 members of the TKP/ML to capital punishment, 15 to life-prison and 126 others to prison terms of up to 12 years.
    In Adana, on March 8, 1988, the Martial Law Court sentenced a members of Revolutionary Fighters to life-prison and 26 others to prison terms of up to 12 years.
    A new trial was started on March 9, 1988 at the State Security Court of Diyarbakir against 15 alleged members of the PKK. Five defendants face capital punishment.
    In Erzincan, at the mass trial against the Dev-Yol members, the military prosecutor claimed 116 death sentences and different prison terms for 382 others.
    With the approval of some new death sentences by the Military Court of Cassation, the number of the death sentences waiting to be ratified by the Grand National Assembly rose to 194 on March 25, 1988.


    Amnesty International Newsletter, in its April 1988 issue, reports that, despite the fact that the Ankara Government signed the UN and European conventions against torture at the beginning of this year, torture continues in Turkey.
    Below we resume the article entitled "Turkey: Torture continues":
    "In the five weeks following Turkey's signature of the Conventions against torture AI called on the government on four occasions to investigate allegations that detainees were being tortured. One was Baba Erdogan, who was held by police in Istanbul for 22 days without access to a lawyer or his family. After his transfer to prison on 12 February he said that he and another eight detainees had been severely tortured.
    "Abdullah (Ahmet) Ekinci, aged 50, on behalf of whom AI had appealed to the Turkish Government in January, said in February that he had been tortured for 23 days in various ways, which included electric shocks, beatings, being stripped naked, being put into a tiny cage and being burned with a cigarette.
    "AI has repeatedly urged the Turkish Government to implement existing legal provisions which would safeguard detainees from torture; in particular that regarding early access to detainees by lawyers and families. It has also urged the government to institute independent investigation into all allegations of torture."


    The U.S. Helsinki Watch Committee issued, in March 1988, a specific report on the oppression of Kurds in Turkey, based largely on information gathered during a fact-finding mission to Turkey in June 1987. We are reproducing below this report's some parts on "destroying ethnic identity".
    "This year, for the first time, the Turkish press has actually referred to the existence of Kurds in Turkey. And the Turkish Army, in order to improve its intelligence operations in the southeast, has sent in special Turkish commando units trained to speak and read the forbidden Kurdish language: the use of Kurdish may be illegal in Turkey, but in many parts of the east it is the only language known.
    "The Turkish government, belatedly, is now investing a significant amount of public funds in eastern Turkey. Electricity, telephones, and other services are gradually being brought to some of the villages and a major irrigation project, known as the Atatürk Dam, will, according to the government, eventually transform a large part of the region. But the effects of these policies are not yet generally apparent. Illiteracy and unemployment are major problems in the east, and the cities and countryside bear witness to economic neglect. The Kurds in eastern Turkey frequently complain that they are treated like second-class citizens.
    "The question of Kurdish identity is complicated. Turkish Government officials claim that there is not discrimination against Turks of Kurdish background, pointing to Kurds who have served in government or in Parliament. And, in fact, Kurds who think of themselves chiefly as Turks appear to be accepted such as. It is Kurds who strongly identify themselves as Kurds who run into trouble. Centuries of intermarriage and assimilation have also complicated Kurdish ethnicity, both in physical appearance and in sense of identity.
    "The ban on things Kurdish is selectively enforced in Turkey, resulting in unwritten rules that often seem unfathomable to an outsider. Some of the native arts of the Kurds, for example, have been absorbed into the official presentations of Turkish national culture. Kurdish dances are included in national folk dance performances; they are identified not as Kurdish, however, but as coming from a particular region. An Istanbul rug merchant, on the other hand, readily volunteers that his kilims are made by Kurds, "tribal people who live in the remote mountains of eastern Anatolia." Some of the rug merchants in Istanbul are themselves Kurds who travel back and forth between Istanbul and their native village in the east, buying local handwork to sell in the city shops.
    "Art that deals realistically with the economic and social problems of the Kurds is strictly forbidden. The Kurdish filmmaker Yilmaz Güney, whose haunting film of a few years ago, Yol, depicts the harshness and beauty of Kurdish life, spent years in prison and then in exile, and died prematurely in Paris in 1984.
    "You can say someone is of Kurdish origins, but you cannot refer to a Kurdish minority," a well-known member of the Turkish parliament told us, explaining the government's official position. Then, somewhat nervously, he asked us not to quote him by name. He knew, of course, about Serafettin Elci, a former member of parliament, who was sentenced to more than two years at hard labor in 1981 for having said on the floor of the parliament, "I am a Kurd. There are Kurds in Turkey." He also knew that early last year a member of his own party had been removed from his party post and brought before a disciplinary committee because he had suggested in an open forum that the party platform be printed in Kurdish as well as Turkish. Many of the outspoken members of the present Turkish parliament are "closet Kurds" who bravely defend the rights of constituents who have been beaten, arrested, or tortured. But they never mention what everyone knows anyway — that these people are being victimized because they are Kurds.
    "In eastern Turkey, where the Kurds predominate, contradictions abound. Kurdish is spoken openly in the streets, despite its official proscription. But its use is strictly prohibited in government offices and in the courts and prisons. A 1983 law proscribed publications in languages other than Turkish. In the villages, local authorities often tolerate wedding celebrations at which Kurdish costumes, music and dances are the custom, yet there are reports of people who have been arrested merely for possessing cassettes of Kurdish music."
    After having detailed different aspects of the repression in the Turkish Kurdistan, the U.S. Helsinki Watch Committee recommends that the Turkish government:
    " - Acknowledge the existence of the Kurds and grant them the political and civil rights held by other Turks;
    " - End restrictions that deprive Kurds of their ethnic identity; permit use of the Kurdish language, music and dance and the celebration of Kurdish holidays; permit the use of Kurdish names; permit the Kurdish language to be used by prisoners, visitors and lawyers in prisons and detention centers;
    " - Permit the establishment of Kurdish associations and the publication of Kurdish books and periodicals;
    " - Establish a parliamentary commission to investigate the problems of the Kurdish minority and recommend steps to improve the situation;
    " - Abolish the village guard system;
    " - Take steps to protect the civilian population in the areas where guerrilla warfare is taking place;
    " - Punish appropriately abuse and humiliation of civilians by security or other military forces;
    " - End the harassment of Kurdish refugees abroad, for example by permitting Kurdish names to be given to children, and Kurdish to be listed, where indicated, as a person's mother tongue;
    " - End efforts to relocate civilians from troubled areas except in instances where their lives are endangered, and then only in accordance with Protocol II of the 1949 Geneva Conventions.
    "We remain concerned with gross abuses of human rights in Turkey, especially with regard to the use of torture, the continued imprisonment of many thousands of political prisoners, and abysmal prison conditions. We deplore the continuation of repressive legislation in Turkey that provides no legal safeguards, even for those rights that Turkish citizens are now exercising."

    A total of 30 Turks calling themselves Mesih Inanlilari (Believers in Christ) have been put under police detention in March in seven cities of Turkey, pending investigations into alleged illegal activities.
    Simultaneously, 15 Christian expatriates from West Germany, Great Britain, the United States, Sweden and South Korea who are employed in Turkey were also taken in for several days of questioning regarding supposed violations of Article 163 of the Turkish Penal Code which prohibits "subversion of the nation's secular principles for religious ends."


    Political émigrés who left Turkey to self-imposed exile in Western Europe after the 1980 military coup held their first meeting in Köln on March 20th, 1988, with the purpose of discussing the problems as regards their possible return to the country.
    Already some political refugees, considering the political atmosphere favorable enough, have made public their intention to return to Turkey even without obtaining some guarantees. Two top officials of the United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP), Nabi Yagci and Nihat Sargin, had returned to Turkey last November with national passports delivered by Turkish consulates on the permission of the government. Yagci had even asked permission to make his military service in the Turkish Army after his return. However, they had been arrested at the moment they arrived at Ankara airport and are now facing trial in Ankara (See: Prosecution of communist officials).
    Currently, there are tens of thousands political refugees from Turkey in Europe and about 15 thousand of them have been deprived of Turkish nationality. Many of political émigrés in Europe face heavy court sentences in Turkey. Those who have not been indicted yet could face charges for illegally traveling abroad.
    Many of the émigrés are also liable to prison terms not less than five years for their activities and declarations abroad against the Turkish regime, by the virtue of Article 140 of the Turkish Penal Code.
    Prior to the Köln meeting, the right-wing press reported that it would be an assembly of the TKP members and sympathizers. However, at the opening the meeting, the organizers categorically refuted this claim and underlined that it was an initiative of the émigrés of different philosophical and political opinions.
    In fact, during the meeting of about 250 political refugees including writers, journalists, musicians, stage personalities and unionists, participants expressed different views on the question. While some ones were advocating an immediate return, some others considered such a move premature and said that émigrés, with a view of exerting pressure on the regime, should refuse to return before obtaining the release of all political prisoners and the annulment of antidemocratic laws.
    At the end of the meeting, the participants arrived to the conclusions below and expressed their will to struggle for these common objectives:
I.    a) The solidarity and coordination meeting of political refugees, as an independent initiative, excludes from its field of action and information the opinion divergences and discussions among the political parties and groups to which belong political refugees.
    b) It has been adopted as principle to be extremely meticulous for that the solidarity and coordination works among political refugees do not take the form of a direct support to any political party or group or do not turn into a platform against any political party or group.
    c) The solidarity and coordination works of political refugees, taking into consideration the circumstances and possible advantages, are organized not on a basis of formation composed of the representatives of political parties and groups, but on the basis of an action form to which each person adheres in a personal capacity.
    d) The solidarity and coordination works count out of their sphere of activity commenting or making any evaluation on the decisions or practices of different political parties, groups and individuals as regards returning to Turkey. These works aim at fulfilling the functions to facilitate the returning of political refugees to Turkey in general and to diminish to minimum the troubles and problems which may come out of the return whichever be its timing and form.   
II.    a) The question of returning to Turkey as well as political refugees' situation in and problems relating to the countries where they live, their relations and those of their relatives with Turkey as well as the pressures to which they are subjected are inherent in the same entity. The solidarity and coordination works never lose sight of this entity though their principal aim is to create the favorable conditions for returning to Turkey.
    b) Political refugees' returning to Turkey is a process which can extend to a very long period because of a series of differences in many levels, mainly as regards the legal status and personal situation of political refugees. The solidarity and coordination works will be developed in a perspective aiming to ensure all political refugees' returning to Turkey.
III.    a) Political refugees' problems as regards the countries where they currently live cannot be dissociated from democratic struggles of those countries, neither their problems as regards returning to Turkey can be dissociated from the struggle for democracy in general. They cannot be solved without taking into account the necessities of this general framework.
    b) All works aiming to develop solidarity and coordination among political refugees and to facilitate their returning to Turkey are integral parts of the struggles for democratic rights and freedoms in Turkey.  To ensure that this integrity be understood, with its all dimensions, by all institutions, formations, groups and persons and that efforts be developed in a view to fulfilling the necessities of these struggles is the main axis of the solidarity and coordination works.
    c) The struggle in a view to ensuring political refugees' returning to Turkey is deeply connected to the struggle in Turkey aiming:
    1. To put an end to torture and to bring torturers before tribunals,
    2. To conform the period of police detention and arrest to international norms,
    3. To ensure prisoners' freely talking with their lawyers and families,
    4. To put an end to all legal proceedings and trials started by an antidemocratic power,
    5. To release all political detainees and prisoners,
    6. To annul all antidemocratic laws and articles of law, mainly those of the 1982 Constitution,
the Penal Code, the Nationality Code and the Law on National Passports.
    7. To put an end to repressive practices particularly applied on the Kurdish People.
    They are not at all the demands and objectives that political refugees raise particularly for themselves.
IV.     a) It is noteworthy that the repressions, particularly in the Kurdistan of Turkey, have obliged thousands of people to leave Turkey and to seek asylum abroad. Consequently, the solidarity and coordination works should be developed with in the conscience of the necessity of solidarity with these people, always subjected to pressure because of their ethnical identity and religious beliefs. Though it exists a difference between political refugees and this category of refugees, this solidarity is a duty for all democratic forces as well in Turkey as abroad.
    b) All measures will be taken for that the works aiming to facilitate political refugees' returning to Turkey will not be used, in the countries where thousands of refugees live, by the governments of this countries and rightist circles in order to develop a false image in favor of the political situation in Turkey. Neither these works should be a pretext for refusing the demands of political refugee status or for delaying the decisions related to these demands and, in general, for creating a unfavorable atmosphere as regards political refugees. On the contrary, all should be made in order to develop an atmosphere of support, understanding and sympathy for political refugees.
V.    Solidarity and coordinations works will be based on a permanent structure aiming to organize in each country or region so as to overcome the difficulties coming out of geographical distances.
    On the other hand, it has been concluded that it is necessary to constitute a Solidarity and Coordination Committee on a European scale and to set up a centralized structure which ensures relations with Turkey.
    With this purpose, it has been decided to turn the group organizing this meeting, by coopting other members, into the Solidarity and Coordination Committee of Political Refugees.
    The Solidarity and Coordination Committee of Political Refugees, after being enlarged, is composed of Tektas Agaoglu (writer), Dursun Akçam (writer), Bayram Ayaz (trade unionist), Yalcin Cerit (publisher), Sümeyra Cakir (musician), Kemal Daysal (trade unionist), Ilkay Demir (doctor), Melike Demirag (musician), Gönül Dincer (women association official), Engin Erkiner (editor), Bahtiyar Erkul (trade unionist), Gültekin Gazioglu (trade unionist), Zeki Kilic (trade unionist), Zülal Kilic (women association official), Süleyman Kirteke (trade unionist), Dogan Özgüden (journalist-writer, chief editor of Info-Türk), Demir Özlü (lawyer-writer), Ömer Polat (writer), Orhan Silier (academics), Müslim Sahin (trade unionist), Murat Tokmak (trade unionist), Yücel Top (lawyer), Selahattin Uyar (trade unionist), Yücel Yesilgöz (lawyer), Sanar Yurdatapan (musician).


    A new socialist party, though set up in full conformity to the legal norms imposed by the 1982 Constitution and the Political Parties Code, has been the object of legal proceedings two weeks after its foundation and its all founders face heavy prison terms.
    All legal socialist parties of the pre-coup period, the Workers' Party of Turkey (TIP), the Socialist Workers' Party of Turkey (TSIP), the Labour Party of Turkey (TEP), the Socialist Revolution Party  (SDP), the Socialist Motherland Party (SVP) and the Workers' and Peasants' Party of Turkey (TIKP) had been outlawed in 1980 and definitely closed down along with other political parties in 1981. Many leaders of these parties have been arrested and condemned to heavy prison terms by the military.
    However, some leaders of these parties who could flee Turkey after the military coup have carried on their political activities abroad in the name of these parties.
    TSIP, SVP and TEP are still active abroad as independent political parties.
    The émigré leaders of the TIP have decided to put an end to the independence of their party and to join the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP), attached to the pro-Soviet line and outlawed in Turkey for more than 60 years. The attempt of the émigré TKP and TIP leaders to set up a legal party in Turkey under the name of the United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP) in October 1987 resulted in the arrest of their two top officials and the government announced that it was not yet the time for a legal communist party.
    As for the outlawed SDP, near to Eurocommunism, and the TIKP, attached to the pro-Chinese line, their leaders who have not fled Turkey took initiative after the 1983 legislative elections in a view to setting up a new socialist party to unite all socialists of Turkey under the same banner.
    But a series of common meetings have proven that ideological and political difference still existed and gathering all socialist together was still very difficult. Thereupon, 84 former officials and sympathizers of the outlawed TIKP set up the Socialist Party (SP) on February 1st, 1988, in Ankara and presented the party's statute and program to the Interior Ministry.
    Although the spokesmen of the three political parties represented in the National Assembly stated that the foundation of a socialist party was a new step in the process of democratization, two weeks later, on February 15, 1988, the Chief Public Prosecutor asked the Constitutional Court to dissolve the new party on grounds that its statute aims to establish in Turkey a regime based on the domination of the working class.
    If the Constitutional Court dissolves the SP on this claim, all the founders of the party will be liable to a prison term of up to 20 years by virtue of Article 141 of the Turkish Penal Code.


    The prosecutor of the State Security Court in Ankara demanded maximum prison sentences totalling some 550 years for the two top officials of the United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP), Nabi Yagci and Nihat Sargin, after indicting them on charges ranging from leading illegal organizations that seek to establish a communist regime in Turkey to insulting the President of the Republic.
    The prosecutor indicted Yagci and Sargin for breaking seven articles of the Turkish Penal Code.  Yagci and Sargin's activities in Europe come under article 140 of the Turkish Penal Code which describes any publication or statement abroad which defames Turkey as an offense against the state punishable by prison sentences not less than five years. Both party officials are accused of having violated this article 17 and 19 times respectively.
    The main charge against them is setting up and leading illegal organizations seeking to overthrow the established regime in Turkey in favor of a working class dictatorship, defined in article 141 of the Penal Code.
    Yagci is charged with 15 counts and Sargin 13 counts of violating article 142 which deals with spreading communist propaganda.
    The minimum amount of possible sentences demanded by the prosecutor adds up to about 66.5 years for each.
    There are 13 other defendants in the trial who are not under arrest. The prosecutor demands sentences ranging from one to 12 years for the 13, among whom are the two lawyers of Yagci and Sargin.
    The stiff penalties demanded by the prosecutor against the two communist officials caused some reaction in Western Europe as well as in Eastern countries. In Brussels Jef Ulburghs, a Belgian member of the European Parliament, organized a press conference, flanked by the wives of Yagci and Sargin who are still living in exile, protesting the prosecution of the men in Turkey.


    While all world were protesting against the use of chemical weapons by the Iraqi Army on civilian areas occupied by Kurds and Iranian troops, Turkish Premier Ozal became the first government head to visit Iraqi capital. Both Iranian authorities and Kurdish leaders have accused Ozal of collaborating with a war criminal.
    Prior to this visit, at the end of March 1988, a nation-wide debate was launched in Turkey over whether Ankara should militarily intervene in Kirkuk and Mosoul in case of an Iraqi collapse at its war with Iran.
    Certain political and diplomatic circles claim that Turkey has the right to intervene in the region when the status quo set up by the Treaty of Lausanne in 1922 shows signs of collapse. They say joint Iranian-Kurdish control of the Iraqi-Turkish oil pipeline would jeopardize one-third of Turkey's oil supply.
    The main opposition party, social-democrat SHP declared its firm opposition against any military adventure in the region whatsoever be its pretext.
    While Ozal and his delegation were flying to Baghdad, the Turkish military began to deploy commando units along the border with Iraq. Busloads of commandos in battle uniform were being transported from their bases in western and central Turkey to Iraqi border.
    During the visit, Iraqi chief Saddam Hussein tried to dissipate Ankara's fears of a Kurdish takeover of the oil-rich areas of Kirkuk and Mosoul. He said that the region was under Baghdad's control and the establishment of an independent Kurdish state in norther Iraq was out of question.
    After the talks, Ozal said: "I am openly declaring that our intervention in this region is completely out of the question under any contingency."
    Ozal described Turkish troop movements as routine seasonal changes.
    Nevertheless, a few days later patrol flights by Turkish Air Force jets were started in the border areas for the first time in the eight-year-old war between Iraq and Iran. Turkey also closed its airspace in the southeast to military flight by Iranian and Iraqi plans on grounds that the main Turkish border gate opening to Iraq, Habur, was bombed by an Iranian air force jet.


    A high-level delegation is expected to visit Arab countries soon to have talks on the so-called "Peace Water Project" which provides water to the Arab peninsula through giant pipelines from Turkey.
    According to the initial plan of the government, two pipelines will carry water from Seyhan and Ceyhan rivers in southeastern Turkey to Jordan and Saudi Arabia through Syria and Lebanon.
    The mammoth plan is expected to cost some $10 billion at current prices and to create jobs for more than 50,000 people in the countries that will take part.
    Opposition parties call this project one of the "dreams" of Prime Minister Ozal.