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


12th Year - N°139
May 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


        According to the results of a recent opinion poll published by the daily Milliyet of April 30, 1988, the Motherland Party (ANAP) of Premier Özal, four months after the last legislative elections, has lost its popularity and ranked as the third political force after the Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP) of Erdal Inönü and the Correct Way Party (DYP) of former prime minister Süleyman Demirel. Another opinion poll shows that, in a new local election, the SHP will take over from the ANAP the municipalities of the greatest cities of Turkey such as Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir.
        The opinion poll also shows that while the SHP is advancing in urban areas, the DYP wins over gradually the electors of the ANAP in rural areas. As for the youth, they turn towards the SHP.
        In fact, Özal's party had already seen its popularity decreasing in 1987 in comparison with the 1983 elections (from 45.1% down to 36.3%). But, thanks to the "double barrier" electoral system, the ANAP won 292 seats in the 45O-member National Assembly, that is to say 64.9 per cent, while the opposition parties, despite the 63.3 per cent of the vote in total, were obliged to be contended with 158 deputies, that is 35.1 per cent of the seats.
        It is the galloping inflation rate and the sky-rocketing foreign debts as well as the maintain of State terrorism that drag the ANAP to its dramatic collapse.
        Despite Ozal's all triumphalist declarations, the annual inflation rate could not be curbed and begins to oscillate between 50% and 70% after the November 1987 elections, mainly because of drastic price hikes imposed by the government.
        According to the daily Cumhuriyet of May 1st, 1988, the kitchen expenditures of a 4-person family has jumped from 120,525 TL in April 1987 up to 203.530 TL in April 1988.
        The daily Hürriyet of February 22, 1988, reports that the purchasing power of a wageearner fell from 100 in 1983 down to 74.33 at the end of 1987.

New trends in public opinion

PARTIES    VOTE 87    88
ANAP (Özal)    36.3%    23.3%
SHP (Inönü)    24.8%    28.0%   
DYP (Demirel)    19.2 %    26.9%   
DSP (Ecevit)    8.5%    2.4%
RP (Erbakan)    7.2%    3.3%
MCP (Türkes)    2.9%    1.2%
Others    1.2%    1.7%
Without opinion    ---    13.2%

        It is the outcome of the social injustice which is getting more and more aggravated under Ozal's rule. Again according to Hürriyet, the share of wageearners in the gross national income fell from 24.8 % in 1983 down to 16.3 % at the end of 1987, and that of the farmers from 20.2% down to 16.9%.
        On the contrary, within the same period, the share of interests, profits and unearned incomes has climbed from 55% in 1983 up to 66.8%.
        The working people have undergone this impoverishment for the sake of the success of drastic monetarist policies imposed by the IMF in 1980 with a view to saving Turkey from the edge of foreign debts abyss. But Turkey still figures as the poorest country in the region with an annual GNP of 1,200 dollars. The total of the foreign debts has climbed from 23 billion dollars in 1983 up to 40 billion dollars in 1988, with an increase of 74% in five years. The foreign debts of Turkey are equal to 60% of her annual GNP. The annual debt service including interests rose to $ 6.7 billion in 1988 and swallows about 70% of the export incomes. As for the interior debts of the State, they reach 12.200 billion TL ($ 9.5 billion) at the end of 1987.
        Briefly, the 5-year rule of Özal has dragged Turkey into a social and economic collapse. The reaction of popular masses against this situation shows itself not only in the opinion polls, but also in different forms of protest actions carried out by workers and students. As will be seen in the following articles, police measures can no more prevent the people from resorting to protest actions in the street.     Moreover, the failure of the government policies leads to the aggravation of internal contradictions in the ruling circles. While a part of the business are seeking an alternative in the other parties and even in the social-democrat SHP, some top bureaucrats began to criticize the structures set up by the military. The 1982 Constitution and the role of the military have become one of the main points of discussion among the political parties as well as in the Parliament and in the press.
        It is in the fear of being totally ruined at the local elections scheduled for 1989 that the governmental majority in the Parliament recently passed a bill for holding early local elections in October this year. The law also stipulates that municipal by-elections for vacant mayoral seats scheduled for June this year will be held with local elections in October.


        Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Mahmut Cuhruk, criticized the 1982 Constitution during his speech to the ceremony commemorating the 26th anniversary of the Turkish Constitutional Court, on April 26, 1988.
        Pointing out the shortcomings of the present constitution, Cuhruk said: "It is no prophecy to say that such a situation weakens the regime instead of strengthening it. The practical importance of constitutions in free democratic societies lies in their ability to impose limits on the practice of power wielded by those ruling the country. Certain laws which stemmed from the chaotic political situation of the late 1970s are obsolete in 1988."
        "All the political parties in the Parliament should come together and amend the faulty aspects of the present constitution," the chief justice said.
    By highlighting constitutional inconsistencies, Cuhruk has provided an opening for more detailed attacks upon the Constitution.
        Emil Galip Sandalci, president of the Istanbul branch of the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD), stated that the 1982 Constitution is nothing but a "glorification" of the State over the citizens. "The Turkish Constitution is lousy," he said, "I would say that it is the worst constitution in the history of this country. By abusing such basic freedoms as the right to organize and associate, it serves the interests of the State and not the people."
        Immediately after these declarations, representatives of the two opposition parties in the Parliament, SHP and DYP, met to discuss possible constitutional amendments.
        However, Prime Minister Turgut Özal, addressing to the parliamentary group of his party, ANAP, said that he was not thinking of imminent changes in the constitution. "Changing the constitution is not child's play. I must say that we cannot make constitutional changes easily," he added.
        As for General-President Evren, he immediately opposed to the idea of changing the Constitution in the following words: "Whether it be the constitution or other laws, they stem from certain needs. It is not the constitution of reaction. They were all done to fill in a gap."


        Speaking to a crowd in Trabzon on April 30, 1988, Evren said the Army is the only power to rescue Turkey from a civil crisis similar to the one before the military takeover on September 12, 1980.
        Claiming that if it were not for the military intervention of September 12, Turkey would have found itself in a civil war situation similar to Lebanon's, Evren said: "Although nobody wishes it, if Turkey faces a similar situation again, it is only the armed forces which could save Turkey from it."
        Evren's remarks drew immediate reaction from the opposition leaders. "It is completely irrelevant, inconsistent and extremely incorrect and misleading," said Mr. Inönü, leader of the Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP). "How can a president who wields all the power and authority to prevent turmoil in the country indicate that a day might come when he could not use his authority and the only solution would be the intervention of the armed forces out of their own will?"
        The Correct Way Party (DYP) leader and former prime minister Süleyman Demirel also responded to Evren by saying that while everybody else in the country was making an effort to build up Turkey's image as a free, democratic country "Evren's unfortunate statement has made Turkey seem like a country of military coups."   


        Since the military coup of 1980 it is for the first time that Labour Day was publicly commemorated in Turkey despite official ban and police brutality.
        Until 1980 May Day was officially celebrated in Turkey as the National Spring Holiday, while trade unions were unofficially joining the workers of the world to celebrate it as Labour Day.  But after the 1980 coup, the military revoked it as a national day, claiming it was causing a rift in national unity and decreed the obligation of working for all people on May Day.
        This year, a crowd of about 1,000 gathered at the Istanbul offices of the Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP) to celebrate May Day. Eight deputies of the SHP, including the chairman of the disbanded Confederation of Progressive Labour Unions (DISK), Abdullah Bastürk, went to the Taksim Square and laid flowers at the foot of the Atatürk. Bastürk presented 34 bouquets of red carnations symbolizing 34 people who died at a May Day rally in 1977 when unidentified persons opened fire on the crowd filling the square.
        While the deputies left, the crowd waiting before the SHP headquarters began marching down the street with a wreath. Only a few meters from the SHP building riot police sealed off the street and called on the marchers to disperse. When the marchers then sat on the street, the riot squads charged, dispersing the crowd by using police sticks, fists and kicks. Some people were carried to waiting police buses and others tried to escape using the back streets leading to Taksim.
        As the group left the street, another group of about 1,000 people, mostly university students, began marching up Istiklal Caddesi, the main street leading to the square. This second group confronted the police at a line set up in front of the French Consulate. When they also refused to obey police orders to disperse a second fight took place.
        When thousands of policemen in Taksim Square and the surrounding streets finally were able to take the situation under full control there were 85 people arrested and an undetermined number injured.
        Following the incidents at Taksim, a group of protesters went to a cemetery and visited the grave of a worker killed in the events of 1977. The demonstration at the graveyard ended peacefully without any police intervention.
        In Izmir, 11 people were detained by police when they placed a black wreath at the entrance of the governor's office to protest the ban of May Day celebrations.
        SHP deputies complained of unnecessary police brutality in the attack on the peaceful crowd. Three labour unions issued a joint declaration protesting the events.
        In Ankara, SHP Chairman Inönü toured the capital in his campaign bus, greeting people for May Day over loudspeakers.


        While some 6,000 workers employed in a number of sectors are on strike, more than 20,000 employees are on the verge of striking because collective bargaining talks ended in a deadlock over wage increases and other social benefits.
        As a result of increasing costs of living, labour unions are asking for wage increases proportional to the inflation rate, which is around 70 percent. But the employers' unions want 30 percent to 60 percent.
        The firm stance of the employers has led several labour unions, including Laspetkim-Is and Petrol-Is operating in the oil industry, Tek Gida-Is in the food industry and Cimse-Is in the cement industry to launch strikes in several factories, effecting more than 6,000 workers.
        On the other hand, about 50,000 municipality workers in Turkey's four major cities, Istanbul, Ankara, Adana and Izmir have also failed to settle disputes with the employers union. Nearly half of these municipality workers are working in areas where strikes are banned under current labour law. These are health and public transportation services and also fire department.


     In approach of the International Labour Organization (ILO) meeting on June 1st in Geneva, a labour law draft was approved at a Council of Ministers meeting on May 3, 1988, and sent to the Turkish Parliament for further study.
        The ILO conference seems important this year for the Turkish government since a bad reputation in ILO circles will probably result in a negative attitude at the European Communities and the European Parliament.
        Labor conditions and workers' rights in Turkey topped the agenda of the ILO in 1986 and 1987 and Turkey was threatened with being listed among countries violating labour rights. But two letters sent by the Turkish Government saying that necessary changes will be made in labour laws prevented ILO from listing Turkey.
        Despite this promise, some ministers in the government opposed to the adoption of the changes suggested by the ILO and even objected to the workers' right to strike. For this reason, the new draft is still very far from satisfying the ILO.
        Here are the main changes in the new draft:
        - Students and religious staff will have the right to become members of trade unions.
        - All statements by unionists having economic and social motives will not be subject to political bans on trade unions.
        - Executives of trade unions will all have the right to serve on the administrative boards of public institutions.
        Although the government has not accepted to lift many other restrictions on trade union and strike rights, the Chairman of the Turkish Trade Unions Confederation (TURK-IS), Mr. Sevket Yilmaz, expressed his satisfaction after his meeting with Prime Minister Özal.
        Whereas, a few weeks ago, TURK-IS had staged mass demonstrations in three industrial centers in order to force the government to improve working conditions. On April 3, 1988, speaking at a rally in Adana, attended by tens of thousands of workers, Yilmaz had announced that TURK-IS would try all means to achieve better conditions and said: "Though laws bar trade unions from getting involved in politics, we will engage in politics if it is necessary for this struggle."
        The new conciliatory stand of Yilmaz has led to strong reactions among workers. Many affiliate unions of TURK-IS have accused Mr. Yilmaz of having sold the interests of workers to the government and business circles.
        The Progressive Trade Unions Confederation(DISK), the second biggest worker organization of Turkey is still banned and the TURK-IS, despite its leaders' collaborationist stand, enjoys the privilege of talking in the name of all workers.


        The most violent confrontation between university students and police since the 1980 coup took place on April 28, 1988, on the main campus of Istanbul University. Hundreds of students rebelled against the police and occupied the offices of the rector.
        When the five-hour long student action was quelled by riot police, 158 university students ended up in police headquarters.
        The incidents began when a female student complained to journalists and her friends that a plainclothes policeman on duty at the university campus had sexually harassed her. While she was telling her story to reporters who had come  to the campus to cover a ceremony commemorating the students riots of April 28, 1960, several students pounced on another plainclothes man who happened to be in the student lounge. Thereupon, other policemen came to their colleague's aid and arrested six students claiming that they had manhandled the policemen on duty.
    Following the arrests, groups of students gathered at the main campus in Beyazit and began walking toward the rector's office, shouting slogans against the police and YOK (Board of Higher Education).
        Meanwhile, riot squads arrived on campus and began evacuating it. Students who had managed to lock themselves in the rector's office barricaded the doors with furniture and called out that they would remain there until the rector was found.
        Finally, helmeted riot squad police broke down the doors and burst into the rector's office to pick up the protesting students.
        Later on, the State Security Court of Istanbul arrested 31 of the students and released the others. During the interrogation, about 1,000 students and relatives gathered in the narrow street in front of the court building, formerly used as the city morgue, and silently waited for the busloads of detained students to be brought in. As the police buses pulled up, both the stu-dents inside them and those on the street began clapping their hands. Police dispersed the crowd as the detained students were taken into the court for interrogation.
        Besides, students at the main Istanbul University campus boycotted their meals, staged sit-ins, shouted slogans against police measures at the universities and demanded an end to the practices of YOK.
        In Ankara, Izmir, Kocaeli, Eskisehir, Adana, Van and Diyarbakir, the students also boycotted meals and expressed their dissatisfaction through various demonstrations.
        Following these actions, Education Minister Hasan Celal Güzel declared that "the government is determined to curb the activities of student associations which are directed by illegal organizations." Claiming that those who incite trouble at the universities represent no more than O.3 percent of the entire student body, the minister said "changes would be made in the laws regulating the activities of the student associations in the universities so that they would not be controlled by the minority."
        According to new projects, the student associations which do not have 50 percent of the students as members would be closed down by the governors of the provinces.


        The battle between the Turkish press and the government escalated further at the end of April 1988, with more price hikes in newsprint and another round of tough-worded accusations.
        In a joint statement, Turkey's ten major dailies said on April 23: "We must regretfully say that the government has opted for a policy line aiming at destroying the newspapers financially and economically just because they have been publicizing its shortcomings and its faults."
        The next day, the government retaliated with a written statement which boiled down the accusing the press of lying.
    In a rare move, Erol Simavi, publisher of the country's leading daily Hürriyet addressed the prime minister in an eight-column open letter printed above the mast of the newspaper.
        Simavi said that the heart bypass operation which Ozal underwent last year in the United States has left its imprint on his personality: "A hatred for the press." He accused Ozal of putting himself above all the bodies of the State including the legislative, executive and judicial.
        On these accusations by the press, Ozal announced that he was going to begin legal proceedings against some daily newspapers.
        The leader of the main opposition party (SHP), Erdal Inönü, also used strong words against Ozal's press policies: "Newsprint price increases have nothing to do with cost calculations. These increases are not the result of economic necessities. They are the outcome of arbitrary, clumsy and irrational policies."
        Süleyman Demirel, the former prime minister and the leader of the Correct Way Party (DYP), described the price hike as "vengeful." "Attacking the free press is tantamount to attacking the democratic regime," he said.


        The daily Cumhuriyet of April 21 reports that Nurettin Öztürk, responsible editor of the political review Kurtulus has disappeared since his detention by police in 1984.
        Öztürk lived for years as a political refugee in Switzerland and decided to return to Turkey at the end of 1983. After his return, he was immediately taken into custody, along with another person, and since then neither his family nor his friends could get any information about Oztürk. His mother says that he could have been killed by police.


        The first issue of a new magazine, Medya Günesi, was confiscated on April 20 by the order of the Prosecutor of the State Security Court.
        On April 16, Muzaffer Erdost, author and publisher of a sociological research on a Kurdish town, Semdinli, was interrogated by the Press Prosecutor of Istanbul. He is accused of inciting one social class against another one.


        A group of famous Turkish film stars and directors were taken to the Public Prosecutor's office in Istanbul on April 26 and interrogated for their march in protest against the censorship on some films during the Istanbul Film Festival. Film stars Tarik Akan, Hale Soygazi and directors Ali Ozgentürk, Basar Sabuncu, Isil Ozgentürk, Baris Pirhasan, Duygu Sagiroglu and Seref Gür are accused of contravening the Law on Rallies and Marches.

        A Turkish filmmaker protested the confiscation of his movie by Turkish authorities. Muammer Ozer, 43, said his film "Cloud with Melancholy" was seized March 27 from the offices of the Istanbul film company, Kino-Mosaik, on the grounds that he was a foreigner working in Turkey without proper permission.
        Ozer holds both Turkish and Swedish citizenship, which is permitted by Turkish law.
        "I thought that because there was democracy in Turkey I could make the film here," he told reporters. "otherwise I would have made it in Sweden... But above all I am a Turkish artist and I wanted to introduce my work in my own country."
        The prosecutor's office only said that the film was seized because Ozer "is a foreign citizen" and "had not obtained the proper permission to shoot a film in Turkey.
        Ozer spent five years and nearly 100 million TL on his film. The film, based on a poem by poet Nazim Hikmet, is a drama about a family living through difficult years of transition and disintegration. This is Ozer's third feature film. "A handful of Paradise" won awards at five international festivals.


        The prosecutor of the State Security Court of Istanbul opened a criminal case against six founders of the Socialist Party and claimed prison terms of up to 25 years by virtue of Article 141 and 142 of the Turkish Penal Code.
        The Chief Public Prosecutor had already asked the Constitutional Court to close down this new socialist party on grounds that it aims to establish the domination of the working class in the country.


        The Ministry of Justice announced on April 6, 1988 that 202,501 people have been brought before military courts since the proclamation of martial law on December 26, 1978. 61,220 of the accused have been condemned to various punishments and the verdicts approved by the Military Court of Cassation.
        Despite the fact that martial law has been lifted throughout Turkey, still 5,309 people are being tried by military tribunals and the condemnations of 1,254 people are at the examination of the Court of Cassation.
        The Ministry also stated that 1,392 political prisoners are still kept in five military prisons in the provinces of Istanbul (Metris), Ankara (Mamak) Erzincan, Erzurum and Diyarbakir.


        Protest actions against the prison conditions have continued in April 1988. First, 127 prisoners in the Diyarbakir civil prison went on hunger strike on April 6 and this action was followed later on by the hunger strikes of the prisoners in Adana, Canakkale, Sanliurfa, Ankara, Konya and Sinop.
        During the hunger strike in Sinop Prison, a detainee, Salih Sezgin, attempted to commit suicide.   
        In solidarity with these actions, the parents of prisoners and about 50 local officials and members of the Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP) too joined the hunger strike.


        The daily Cumhuriyet of April 15, 1988 reports that, in Diyarbakir, police took a group of young girls detained for political reasons to hospital in order to have a medical report determining if they were virgin or not.
        Police authorities claim that this control was asked with a view to prove the innocence of the police if the girls allege after their release that they were raped during the interrogation.

        The former mayor of Diyarbakir, Mehdi Zana, in a protest against the ban on Kurdish language, declared at the Military Court of Diyarbakir that he refuses to speak in Turkish and will make his defence in Kurdish language.
        At the trial of April 28, when Zana began to make his defence in Kurdish, the chief of the military tribunal, Major Yildiray Alparslan intervened by saying: "Only Turkish is spoken here. The language of the State is Turkish. Otherwise I shall expel you from the courtroom."
        Despite this menace, Zana insisted on to talk in Kurdish. While he was being dragged out by soldiers from the courtroom, he shouted: "Bimre Zordesti" (Down with tyranny) and "Bimre Koleti" (Down with Slavery).
        After his expulsion, the tribunal decided to ask the State Security Court of Diyarbakir to try Zana for contravening Article 142 of the Penal Code.
        Zana had been elected mayor on the support of all progressive forces in Diyarbakir, but was arrested immediately after the coup d'état. Under arrest he was tortured many times and condemned to life long prison terms in several political cases though he had never been involved in any violence act.
        On the other hand, on April 8, 1988, social democrat deputy Mehmet Ali Eren tabled a law project stipulating to lift the ban on the Kurdish language. He proposes to annul the Law No. 2932, adopted by the military junta on October 19, 1983, which stipulates "a prison term of up to three years whosoever speaks and writes in a language other than those which adopted as first official language by the States recognized by the Republic of Turkey." Since Kurdish is not first official language of any state in the world, this law bans in an implicit way the utilization of the Kurdish language.

        One of the most popular folksingers of Turkey, Ibrahim Tatlises was interrogated by the Prosecutor of the State Security Court of Istanbul for having sung some Kurdish ballads at his concert in Europe.
        Since he is of Kurdish origin, during his concerts in France and in the FRG, listeners asked him to sing some Kurdish songs and he could not refuse their demands.
        Tatlises faces a prison term of up to five years for having sung in Kurdish.
        On the other hand, the Public Prosecutor in Ankara started a legal proceeding against another popular folksinger, Cem Karaca, for his concert at Hamburg in 1981. He is accused of singing some songs against Turkey and faces a prison term of not less than five years.
        Cem Karaca was deprived of Turkish nationality in 1981, but returned to the country on the guarantee given personally by Prime Minister Ozal and regained his nationality. After his return, Cem praised the regime and became the object of criticism by the opposition.


        The Human Rights Association submitted to Mr. Yildirim Akbulut, Speaker of the National Assembly a petition with 15,500 signatures, demanding a general amnesty and an end to the death penalty.
        Mr. Nevzat Helvaci, chairman of the Human Rights Association said that following the military coup in 1980 arrests have been made on political grounds and people have been brought to trial for crimes of conscience. He said, people arrested were forced, under torture, to confess to crimes they did not commit, and injustices have been caused in general. In order to correct all the legal mistakes after the coup, Helvaci said a general amnesty was inevitable.
        Mr. Akbulut told the petitioners that the death sentence cases are on the agenda of the National Assembly's Justice Committee. According to a decision by the ruling Motherland Party (ANAP) majority in the Parliament, the Justice Committee is studying a draft bill which will automatically commute the death sentences not voted on in the Assembly within 12 months. The Turkish Penal Code leaves final approval of capital punishments to the Grand National Assembly.


        The long awaited ministerial meeting of the Association Council between Turkey and the European Communities was aborted on April 25, 1988 when the Greek delegation had a reference to the "Cyprus problem" included in the opening statement.
    Turkish Foreign Minister Mesut Yilmaz, objecting to the sentence, said: "The Cyprus problem affects the development of relations between the Communities and Turkey as a whole."
        Despite intensive diplomatic bargaining between the Turkish side and West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher, the Chairman of the EC Ministerial Council for the current term, no compromise was reached. The Association Council meeting, which was to bring together Yilmaz, State Minister Ali Bozer and the ministers of the 12 EC member countries, did not take place.
        Genscher told the press that he would work towards scheduling another meeting of the Association Council sometime before June. But in Turkey, the atmosphere was not as optimistic as Genscher would like to have it. According to the Turkish press, all the euphoria from the so-called "Spirit of Davos" or the new rapprochement between Turkey and Greece was now gone.
        Worsening of relations between Ankara and Athens was sudden. Three months earlier, the summit meeting between Turkish and Greek prime ministers in Davos, Switzerland, had led to improving relations between the two countries. At the Brussels summit on March 3, two government chiefs had issued a joint communiqué claiming a full understanding on many points of conflict.
        At the beginning of April, a Greek delegation headed by popular musician and politician Mikis Theodorakis, made a three-day visit to Turkey and delivered a goodwill message from Papandreou to the Turkish people. This message was followed by a communiqué of the Turkish-Greek Friendship Association, a new organization in Turkey with 46 founding members.
        Finally, on April 20, the adaptation protocol between Turkey, Greece and the European Community, which was left without full endorsement for the past seven years, was signed in Brussels.    But a day before the council meeting, a personal envoy of the Greek prime minister arrived in the Turkish capital with a verbal message, asking Ozal to reduce the number of Turkish troops in Cyprus as a sign of Turkey's goodwill. This demand was shared later on by the other eleven members of the European Communities and led so to the failure of the Council meeting.
        Responding to the criticisms from Ankara, Greek Prime Minister Papandreou said he did not understand why the developments in Luxembourg should harm the atmosphere of detente between the two countries. He insisted that an indication of Turkey's willingness to withdraw Turkish troops from Cyprus would be a key to the solution of the Cyprus problem.
        On the other hand, pursuing efforts to meet with Ozal, the new Greek-Cypriot President George Vassiliou said he was ready to talk also with the Turkish Community chief Rauf Denktash.
        Vassiliou said the international aspect of Cyprus problem, namely the presence of Turkish troops on the island, should be separated from national issues such as the discussion over the constitution of the island republic.
        "It would be appropriate to discuss the international aspects of the question with Ozal while relations between the two communities could be talked over with Denktash," he said. "Cyprus is the only issue where no progress is seen. Our sincere expectation is an announcement by Turkey that it will withdraw its troops and settlers. Such an announcement as a consequence of Davos will show that Turkey is ready and willing to pave the way for such progress."
        Ankara has not yet responded to this new approach by the Greek-Cypriot leader. A top-ranking foreign ministry official said no changes in Turkey's policies regarding Cyprus should be expected.


        A top level Soviet delegation led by the first deputy foreign minister Yuli Mikhailovich Vorontsov arrived in Ankara on April 26, 1988, and concluded some new accords with the Turkish side.
        The first agreement signed between the two countries was a document regulating the consular activities of the two on each other's territory.
        Other topics discussed include the long-term trade agreement and the purchase of Soviet natural gas. There is a major project underway in Turkey for switching the energy use in major industrial and population centers such as Istanbul and Ankara to Soviet natural gas.
        Turkey's exports to the Soviet Union amounted to $169.5 million in 1987. Of this total, $122.2 million involved trade through normal procedures, about $27 million consisted of trade through compensation in kind, and the remaining $10.3 million was trade realized through the Gas Agreement.
        Turkey exports mainly agricultural products and crude materials to the Soviet Union.
        Imports, on the other hand, amounted to a total of $341.2 million. Of this, $30 million dollars was allocated to gas imports and $14 million to electricity imports.
        Turbot fishing in the Black Sea, which is banned by the Soviets in their 200-mile economic zone, was also discussed. The two sides decided to collaborate on monitoring the turbot stock in the Black Sea as a first step in concluding a bilateral fisheries agreement.
        Vorontsov put out feelers to find out whether Turkey was ready to accept additional short-range nuclear weapons to beef up the defenses of the Western alliance in the wake of the INF agreement between Reagan and Gorbachev. Turkey has come under pressure from its Western allies to accept more nuclear responsibilities to offset the effects of the INF agreement.
        The delegations also worked on the schedule of Soviet Foreign Minister Edouard Shevardnadze's visit to Turkey sometime in this year.


        Amnesty International has published a 7-page document in April 1988 under the title of "The Death Penalty in Turkey: Recent Developments and Sample Cases. Below is the first part of the document:
        "In 1987, 28 new death sentences were passed by civilian and military courts in Turkey. In March 1988 the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet reported 192 people currently under sentence of death who had exhausted all legal remedies. These sentences only need ratification by the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) and the President, after which those condemned can be executed at any time. On 8 November 1987 the journal Yeni Gündem reported 700 death sentences at various stages of the legal process. No executions were carried out in 1987 and the Judicial Committee of the TBMM did not address itself to any of the death sentences awaiting its confirmation.
        "In 1986 two deputies from one of the minority parties submitted to the Judicial Committee a draft law for the abolition of the death penalty but withdrew it in April 1987, anticipating its rejection out of hand. They foresaw a possible re-submission at a more opportune time. A draft amendment to the Turkish Penal Code, reducing the number of offences punishable by death but not proposing total abolition, was submitted by the government to the media and professional organizations at the beginning of 1987, which provoked further discussion of the death penalty. Although organizations such as the Turkish Union of Bars, the Turkish Medical Association and the Human Rights Association in Turkey publicly announced their opposition to the death penalty, no further steps were taken by the government towards abolition.
        "The ANAP has been in power since November 1983 and it is unlikely that the party will adopt a position against the death penalty. The main opposition party, the SHP, is opposed to the death penalty. Having won only 99 seats, however, it lacks major influence on legislation. The leader of the conservative DYP, Süleyman Demirel, announced shortly before the elections that he was in favour of a referendum on the death penalty.
        "Leading weekly journals in Turkey made a major contribution to the public discussion on the death penalty during 1987. On 10 May Nokta carried a cover story calling for a campaign to abolish the death penalty. The journal 2000e Dogru, in its cover story of 20 September, concentrated on the execution of Erdal Eren in December 1980 and raised serious doubts about the lawfulness of the verdict. On 8 November Yeni Gündem contributed to the debate with a leading story called "Hope for People on Death Row. The Vice-President of ANAP, Bülent Akarcali, was quoted as saying that death sentences to which the Judicial Committee did not address itself within a certain time or which were not confirmed by the TBMM should be commuted to life imprisonment. Some deputies followed this up by announcing publicly, shortly after the elections, their intention of submitting a draft law to the effect that any death sentence which had not been dealt with by the Judicial Committee within six months, should automatically be commuted to life imprisonment.
        "Minister of Justice, Mahmut Oltan Sungurlu, talked to journalists on 24 January 1988. While admitting that to take a decision on the life of a human being was a burden to politicians, he refused to take a definite stand on the abolition of the death penalty. Although in principal not opposed to abolition, he judged the time as being too early 'as long as the fighting in east and southeastern Anatolia was continuing'. Alpaslan Pehlivanli, President of the Judicial Committee, answered the next day. He welcomed the initiative taken by the Minister of Justice to discuss the death penalty and made a proposal similar to that of Bülent Akarcali mentioned above, by suggesting a time-limit of one year for parliament to deal with the death sentences.
        "The main event in 1987 regarding the death penalty, however, was an initiative by the Human Rights Association in Turkey founded in 1986. On 10 September the association launched a campaign for a general amnesty for prisoners and the abolition of the death penalty.
        "Appeals made by Amnesty International members for abolition of the death penalty also reached the Turkish public.
        "On 21 January 1988 the European Parliament adopted a resolution regarding Turkey which, under item 1 says: '(The European Parliament)...calls on the recently re-elected head of Government of Turkey, the Turkish Parliament and the President of the Republic to take the necessary steps to commute all death sentences pending in the country, until such time as this abominable penalty is abolished.'"


        The Military Court of Cassation approved, on April 12, 1988, the death sentences for three alleged members of  Union of Action (THKP/C-EB), life terms for three and different prison terms for 17 others.
        On April 26, in Ankara, the State Security Court condemned a member of the National Liberation of Kurdistan (KUK) to a prison term of four years and two months.


        A group of Turkish, Kurdish and German organizations and personalities organize, on the occasion of the 8th anniversary of the military coup of 1980, an international tribunal against the Turkish regime.
        The trial will take place on September 9, 10 and 11, 1988.
        The objectives of the tribunal have been announced as follows:
        - Condemning the justice of September 12.
        - Obtaining the liberation of prisoners condemned by the fascist junta of 12 September.
        - Asking Turkey to respect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the convention of the International Labour Organization.
        - Allowing the political refugees and those who have been deprived of nationality to regain their nationality and to return to their country.
        The tribunal will try also to obtain:
        - Lifting bans and pressures on the mass.
        - Recognizing all the rights of the Kurdish people.
        - Putting in practice a democracy conforming to European norms.
        - Restructuring the State and official administrations in conformity with democratic principles.
        - Punishing torturers and the assassins of Turkish and Kurdish peoples.
        - Free elections without any restriction.
        - Defence of workers against monopolies.
        - Freedom of press and political association rights.
        The jury will be constituted by the representatives of trade unions, democratic states, human rights organizations. The place of the tribunal will be announced later on.
        For the time being, the liaison with the initiative of international tribunal is carried out by Türkei Informationsbüro (c/o R. Oncan - Postfach 91 08 43 - 3000 Hannover 91 - FRG; Tel: 49-511-210 20 07.)


        The family and friends of famous Turkish movie director Yilmaz Güney launched a campaign for erecting a monument by the side of his grave in Paris.
        Yilmaz Güney, director of the Cannes prize winner "Yol", fled Turkey in 1981 while serving a prison term. He was deprived of Turkish nationality by the military government for his democratic struggle abroad. After the shooting of another film, "Wall", he died in 1984 in Paris.
        The Güney Productions has recently issued a video film of 112 minutes illustrating the art, struggle and private life of Yilmaz Güney.
        All income of this video film will be used in financing the erection of the monument to Yilmaz Güney.
        The video film can be ordered at 265 FF per copy to the following address:
        Güney Productions
        41, rue Barrault
        75013 Paris
        Tel: 33-1-43 36 20 67