HUNGER STRIKES IN ALL PRISONS
About 2,000 political prisoners in military and
civil prisons have been carrying out a hunger strike, protesting
against the new instructions from the Justice Ministry which made
prisons return to the conditions of the early 1980s, when they were
under the military administration.
The strikers demand the compulsory dark blue prison
uniforms be abolished, an end to the practice of chaining a groups of
prisoners together while being transported, a ban on all inhuman
treatment, including beating and torture, the lifting of restrictions
on their correspondence and reading material, a reduction in the prices
of food at prison canteens to the level of the normal market, and
permission to have typewriters, radios, cassette players and television
sets in their cells.
On November 16, the Human Rights Association of
Turkey (IHD) announced that 270 political prisoners were on hunger
strike in Diyarbakir, 311 in Eskisehir, 23 in Ceyhan, 28 in Adana, 199
in Gaziantep, 126 in Malatya, 27 in Amasya, 271 in Canakkale, 300 in
Bayrampasa (Istanbul), 200 in Nazilli, 30 in Buca (Izmir), 43 in
Erzincan, 65 in Mamak (Ankara) and 74 in Central Prison (Ankara).
In Bursa prison 214 prisoners launched a hunger
strike on September 30, following the guards beat them and wounded 30
inmates during a discipline operation. For preventing the hunger
strike, the Justice Ministry transferred 60 leading strikers to the
Canakkale prison. The ∂HD declared that the only way
to put an end to the problematic situation in Turkey's prisons was to
raise their standards to the levels practiced in European Council
Many of the strikers were decided to carry on their
action until death and some of them were already taken to hospital
because of the deterioration of their health.
Prisoners and their families protested the Ministry
of Justice's notice that sugar and salt water should not be given to
the prisoners on strike. The general secretary of the Chamber of Ankara
Doctors said the action would lead the ministry to commit a crime.
In 1984, a similar action of political prisoners had
resulted in the death of four strikers.
Justice Minister Mehmet Topac said in the Parliament
that "the anarchists and terrorists who have been thrown into jail are
trying to cause trouble by going on hunger strikes." He added that the
prison uniform will continue to be compulsory despite demands by
prisoners to banish it.
∂n anouther disciplinary move in October, political
prisoners were shuffled around various prisons in Turkey after the
discovery of escape tunnels dug in an eastern correction facility.
A tunnel 60 meters long was discovered connecting
the Diyarbakir military prison to the Kaynartepe district in the town.
Prison officials said the tunnel was being dug from outside toward the
penitentiary. Police reacted by setting up floodlights in the streets
around prison and searching homes in the area. More than 30 people were
taken into custody and 10 construction workers from a nearby project
were held for questioning.
In the midst of the search, a second tunnel, 40
meters long, was found inside the prison.
A group of 130 prisoners were sent from the
Diyarbakir military prison to Eskisehir prison afterward.
In Istanbul 257 political prisoners were transferred
from the military prison Metris to the Bayrampasa Prison, 50 prisoners
from Eskisehir prison to Bursa.
According to a report issued by NACRO in Great
Britain, Turkey holds the first rank among the member countries of the
Council of Europe as regards the rate of prisoners and detainees. In
Turkey 51,897 people, that is to say 99.4 out of 10,000 people are in
Amnesty International has sent letters to Ozal and
Justice Minister Mehmet Topac urging them to conduct an unbiased study
of complaints by the prisoners. AI emphasized the number of complaints
coming from the relatives of prisoners in Turkey has increased
considerably in recent weeks.
PROTEST ACTIONS BY PRISONER FAMILIES
In solidarity with political prisoners on hunger
strike, their families too have started different kinds of protest
actions such as hunger strikes, sit-ins, rallies, etc.
The mother of a Diyarbakir prisoner set herself on
fire in Istanbul, on November 9. Mrs. Hanim Sπnmez, 50, who had been
part of a press conference called by the relatives of strikers, set her
clothes on fire after sprinkling herself with gasoline on TΩrkocagi
Street. People around her tore off her blazing clothes and took her to
the hospital where she was treated and released. She had claimed that
she had not heard from her son after his transfer to Eskisehir from
Earlier, on October 31, 1988 in Ankara, irate
relatives of political prisoners staged a five-hour sit-in inside the
Parliament building, demanding the cancellation of the prison rules. As
the relatives left the Parliament after sunset, police promptly
arrested 22 of them on the streets. Seven of them were arrested on
November 10 by the State Security Court in Ankara on charges of illegal
COUNTER-GUERILLA TURNS INTO TERRITORIAL FORCE
The Turkish military has proposed setting up a
paramilitary territorial defense force similar to the National Guard in
the United States sparked criticism from the opposition parties.
The project, which is still being finalized in the
Ministry of Defense, was discussed first at a meeting of the National
Security Council, composed of army chiefs and the cabinet ministers
responsible for defense and security matters. Despite the return to
civilian rule, it is this council that determines, by the virtue of the
1982 Constitution, the policies as regards national security.
According to the plan, the territorial defense force
would be made up of civilians who have undergone military training for
short periods of time. It will be responsible for services behind the
frontline, such as defending strategically important facilities,
helping communications, assisting intelligence gatherers, protecting
from enemy sabotage, and controlling the refugees and prisoners of war.
All men between 40 and 60 years of age and women
between 20 and 40 will be eligible for mandatory service in the
territorial defense force for a week to ten days every year.
The law also asks that those who refuse to respond
when they are called to service to be punished with prison terms
ranging from six months to two years and fined not less than 50,000 TL
When the details of the proposal are ironed out, the
plan will be put to a vote in Parliament.
Former prime minister Demirel showed a strong
reaction to the idea of a new paramilitary force. "Isn't the
800.000-strong army enough? The people are now forced to undertake
additional responsibilities. There is no point in imposing
responsibilities on civilians in a country which feeds the fifth
biggest army in the world," he said.
Cumhuriyet columnist Ugur Mumcu expressed the
concern of many when he wrote about the counter-guerilla department
which functioned under the headquarters of the general staff in the
1970s. At that time the members of this department were blamed for
torturing left-leaning Turkish intellectuals.
The Counter-guerilla Department played a sinister
role in the preparation of the military coup d'état of 1980. By
instigating political violence and protecting extreme-rightist Grey
Wolves, this department took the country to an instability which was
used a pretext of the coup by the military. (See: The Black Book on the
militarist "democracy" in Turkey, Info-TΩrk, 1986, Brussels)
"Could the paramilitary units envisaged today be
used as a political force when strains increase? Or will the civilians
in these paramilitary units one day stray from their original task with
political motives and become the armed wing of a certain political
party or organization? We have gone through bitter experiences in the
past. That is why we are overly cautious today," Mumcu wrote.
GENDARMERY UNDER THE COMMAND OF THE ARMY
Land forces began taking over gendarmerie units at
Turkey's southeastern border with Iraq and Syria on October 12, 1988.
The headquarters of the Turkish General Staff had
earlier decided that border security should be turned over to the army
instead of the national gendarmerie which is mainly responsible for
internal security in rural areas.
The first gendarmerie unit to be transferred to the
army Land Forces Command was the brigade located in Gaziantep, which
was then renamed "Border Brigade". Officers at the army headquarters in
Ankara said gendarmerie units in Van and Mardin would be transferred to
the land forces shortly.
GOVERNMENT CEDED BEFORE THE MILITARY
For the first time in Turkey's recent history the
government announced cutbacks in the defense budget, but few days
after it had to cede before the pressure coming from the Army chiefs.
The headquarters of the Turkish General Staff had
asked the government to allocate a total of 4,258 billion TL ($2.1
billion) for defense in the coming fiscal year. During the current
fiscal year 2,399 billion TL ($1.23 billion) has been allocated to
The government announced it would provide only 3,5OO
billion TL ($1.8 billion) for defense in line with its plan to reduce
government spending drastically so that inflation could be brought down
to around 20 percent by 1992.
After the announcement of defense cutbacks, General
Necip Torumtay, the chief of the Turkish general staff, met with Ozal
explaining to the Prime Minister that the government's plan might pose
certain risks for national security.
On the Army's pressure, the prime minister agreed on
a total of 3,883 billion TL ($2.04 billion) for defense spending in the
STATE OF EMERGENCY EXTENDED
The National Assembly voted the extension of the
state of emergency in eight Eastern provinces for four months from
November 19. The Assembly decided also to lift state of emergency in
the province of Istanbul.
PUTSCHISTS ACCUSED AT PARLIAMENT
A move to introduce a resolution in the Turkish
Parliament seeking a debate on the military coup of September 12, 1980,
stirred up the controversy on the subject.
The social-democrat deputies who drafted the
proposal flinged bitter criticism at General Kenan Evren and the
military, and called the regime created by them a "fascist regime".
Mahmut Alniak, SHP's deputy from the eastern
province of Kars who wrote the motion, said at the party group meeting:
"The fascist coup on September 12 was carried out son the ruling
circles of Turkey can exploit people more early. It should be discussed
in the Grand National Assembly."
Hasan Fehmi GΩnes, a former interior minister, said:
"Those who carried out the coup wanted terror to escalate in Turkey."
Another left-wing deputy, Ekin Dikmen said:
"September 12 is a movement planned by the United States and its
supporters here. They escalated the terror and used it as a pretext for
the military takeover. September 12 was not carried out because of
violence, the latter was instigated to justify September 12."
The fiery attacks on General Evren, "President of
the Republic", and on the military takeover drew angry reaction from
Premier Ozal. "This is insolent. Those people are hiding behind their
parliamentary immunity to insult the president," Ozal said.
Alniak challenged Ozal, saying he was not afraid of
his parliamentary immunity being lifted by the Parliament.
"If President Evren is so confident of the
correctness of what he has done and said, why did he escape judicial
inspection with provisional Article 15 of the Constitution," Mehmet Ali
Eren, another left-wing deputy, asked.
Article 15 of the 1982 constitution prohibits law
cases against the military administration between 1980 and 1983.
However, the SHP leader Erdal InπnΩ said he did not
think it appropriate to discuss the September 12 motion in the National
Assembly. "Those who committed a crime or an injustice in Turkey will
sooner or later be made to account for it. But in doing this we must
give utmost care not to harm the basic social institutions."
After this intervention, the motion is likely to be
shelved for a while.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL'S NEW APPEAL
Amnesty International issued in November 1988 a new
detailed report on the situation of human rights in Turkey in which it
describes how human rights are still systematically and brutally
violated in this country.
After having given well documented examples of the
violation of human rights, Amnesty International arrives in its report
to the following conclusion:
"Eight years after the military coup and almost five
years since it came to power, the civilian government of Turkey still
seems reluctant to take elementary steps to ensure respect for human
"The Constitution, the penal code and other laws
still allow for harsh sentences and long-term imprisonment of prisoners
"A proposed amendment to the penal code could reduce
the number of defendants and the length of imprisonment. However, it
would not end the imprisonment of political and religious activists for
the peaceful expression of their beliefs.
"Martial law was lifted in 1987, but trials at
military courts continue. State security courts follow the legal rules
established by military courts, which violate international standards
of fair trial.
"Thousands of allegations of torture have not been
investigated thoroughly. Persistent, frequent and recent allegations
are still met with blunt denials.
"People are still sentenced to death, some on
evidence obtained under torture. There have been no executions since
October 1984 and proposed amendments to the penal code might reduce the
number of offences punishable by death. However, only total abolition
would guarantee that there will be no further executions.
"Amnesty International has called on the Turkish
Government to take the following steps to protect human rights:
"1. Amend those sections of the Constitution, the
Turkish Penal Code and other laws which allow the imprisonment of
prisoners of conscience.
"2. Stop the trial of civilians before military
courts. Either replace state security courts or ensure that
international standards of fair trial are observed;
"- Ensure that defendants have adequate time and
facilities to prepare their defence;
"- give detainees the right to consult their lawyers
"- bring detainees to trial within a reasonable time
or release them.
"3. Take effective steps to prevent torture. The
most important are:
"- give detainees immediate access to lawyers,
doctors and relatives;
"- implement effective measures to prevent the use
of statements extracted under torture;
"- issue clear instructions to the security forces
that under no circumstances will torture be tolerated;
"- establish an independent body to supervise
interrogations by the security forces and investigate allegations of
"4. Abolish the death penalty in practice and in law:
"- commute all existing death sentences;
"- amend the relevant Turkish legislation;
"- ratify the Sixth Protocol to the European
Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,
which abolishes the death penalty for peace-time offences."
A MILITARY TORTURER SHOT DEAD
The former security commander of Diyarbakir military
prison, which at the time of his service was described by international
human rights groups as one of the worst prisons in the world, was
killed on October 22, 1988, by unidentified people who claimed to be
meting out his just punishment.
Army major Esat Oktay Yildiran was shot dead in
Istanbul by two men while his wife and younger son watched. The gunmen
escaped in separate cars.
Unidentified callers to local newspaper offices said
Yildiran was "punished by the Workers' Party of Kurdistan (PKK) for
crimes he committed in Diyarbakir."
While he was posted at the prison, Yildiran was
accused of torturing prisoners and numerous lawyers complained about
him to the local military prosecutors. No case was brought against him.
The government said between 1981 and 1984, 32
inmates died at the prison of Diyarbakir, but unofficial reports have
placed the toll as high as 67, the highest rate for any prison in
Turkey. Several prisoners burned themselves to death to avoid further
torture, according to the Helsinki Watch report. Other claims of abuse
of prisoners, some of which appear in court records, include
stories of a prisoner being forced to eat a live rat, prisoners put in
septic tanks and forced to eat excrement and drink urine and the brutal
torture of a lawyer which included being pulled around by a rope tied
to his penis. Most of the prisoners, until after 1984, were Kurds
accused of separatist activities.
A deputy of the ruling Motherland Party (ANAP),
Nurettin Yilmaz, who served a sentence in the prison in 1981 on charges
of Kurdish separatist activity said: "I know this man. Who among the
inmates of the Diyarbakir prison wouldn't? He was the primary person
responsible for torture when it was at its peak at the Diyarbakir
Ahmet TΩrk, a deputy of the main opposition Social
Democrat Populist Party (SHP), who was released from the Diyarbakir
military prison only two weeks before national elections in November
last year, claimed he was tortured by Yildiran. "One day when we were
returned from the court, Yildiran accused me of saluting another
inmate, which was banned by him. He ordered the soldiers to beat me
with truncheons. I couldn't lie on my bed for two weeks after that,"
The headquarters of the Turkish general staff issued
a statement on the execution, praising Yildiran as an "honorable
officer loyal to AtatΩrk's principles."
A few days later, on November 6, police announced
that another plot to assassinate Former General Recep Ergun was
uncovered accidentally during an investigation of a robbery. Ergun,
currently the deputy chairman of the ruling Motherland Party (ANAP),
was the martial law commander of Ankara during the military regime.
ARREST OF FOREIGN OBSERVERS AT TRIAL
The arrest of four Greeks who staged a demonstration
inside a military courtroom in Ankara on November 4, 1988, became a new
point of friction between Turkey and Greece.
The four Greeks were among a group of 24 protesters,
including eight West German citizens, who began chanting slogans and
waving placards against political trials in Turkey during a recess at
the trial in a courtroom of the Mamak military prison. The military
court was hearing the case against 714 members of the left-wing
Slogans such as, "Freedom for Political Prisoners",
"General Amnesty", and "Dev-Yol" were written in Turkish and Greek on
the streamers unfurled by the protesters. Soldiers cordoned off the
demonstrators and some foreign reporters who were standing near the
group and forced them out of the courtroom and into a yard.
The following day, twelve Greeks and eight West
Germans were sent to Istanbul by plane in three separate groups to be
deported to Greece and Germany, while four Greeks were detained at the
The event took on international dimensions when the
deported Greeks declared in Athens that they were mistreated by the
Turkish police and that the incident demonstrated there are no
democratic freedoms in Turkey.
Angry demonstrations by students were held before
the Turkish diplomatic missions in Athens, Komotini and Khania.
The refusal of the police to allow the Greek Embassy
officials to visit the four men when they came under police custody
made Turkey come under fire for violating article 36 of the 1963 Vienna
Convention. The article stipulates that the host country should allow
members of diplomatic missions to have access to detained nationals
On November 7, the ambassadors of the OECD in Ankara
were called to the foreign ministry and were told that the
demonstration was a plot against Turkey.
Next day, the four Greeks were taken from the police
headquarters to the State Security Court building under heavy police
guard. About a group of 40 Greeks, mostly relatives and friends of the
detained men, gathered in front of the line of police, some chanting
"Eleftheria", meaning "freedom" in Greek. After the interrogation, the
four detainees were formally arrested and sent to the State
penitentiary in Ankara.
On the other hand, after the 14 October hearing of
the trial of Yagci and Sargin, two top officials of the United
Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP), police attacked on a group of
sympathizers who were carrying out a demonstration and some journalists
following the trial. At the end of the conflict, 23 people were taken
into custody. All detainees were releasedafter one-week police arrest.
Holding a press conference, the detainees declared
that they had been tortured at the police center.
FOUR INNOCENTS ASSASSINATED BY POLICE
The Istanbul police, overstepping their authority,
opened a barrage of automatic gunfire on a car in Tuzla, Istanbul on
October 7, killing all four men inside.
Istanbul police were alerted by an unidentified
caller on October 5 that fugitives from the Kirsehir prison would
arrive in Istanbul in a car with West German license plates. Metin
GΩnay, chief of the political department of the Istanbul police, gave
radio order to stop the car. Thereupon, police ambushed a car in Tuzla
and an undetermined number of shots were fired on it.
Policemen claim that the four men belonged to the
extreme left-wing TKP-ML (Communist Party of Turkey/Marxist-Leninist)
and its military arm TIKKO (Workers and Peasants Liberation Army) and
that shots were first fired from the car.
However, when press probed into the matter, only one
of the four slain was found to have a police record while there was
scant information on the others.
Nine lawyers representing the families of the
victims filed a complaint with the Prosecutor's office, saying: "It was
possible to capture them alive. Police could have shot the tires of the
car to stop it. There are indications that the police shot to kill in
Relatives and friends of the four youths held a
silent protest, carrying the portraits of the victims, before the city
morgue where they came to collect the bodies.
On the complaints and the criticism in the press,
sixteen policemen who took part in the shooting in Tuzla, were indicted
on October 17. The prosecutor demanded a 56-year prison sentence for
each man, charging them with manslaughter.
On the other hand, police announced on October 24
the arrest of nine alleged members of the Liberation Army of Northern
Kurdistan in Turkey (TKKKO) in Istanbul. But four days later, three of
the detainees were released by the prosecutor.
22-YEAR PRISON TO A KURDISH MAYOR
The trial of a Kurdish group, ∏zgΩrlΩk Yolu (Road to
Freedom) resulted on October 12, in sentencing 27 defendants to prison
terms of up to 15 years. At the same trial, the Martial Law Court of
Diyarbakir pronounced two different sentences for the former Mayor of
Diyarbakir, Mehdi Zana: 15 years for being member of this group and 7
years and 6 months for carrying fire arm without authorization.
On October 25, the same court tried again Mehdi Zana
in another case for making a declaration in favour of the Workers'
Party of Kurdistan (PKK).
For the time-being Mehdi Zana is at the Prison of
On October 14, the State Security Court of Istanbul
sentenced seven members of the PKK to prison terms of up to 12 years
for having provided the guerrilla units with sustenance.
On October 6, a new case opened against 11 alleged
members of the PKK at the State Security Court of Diyarbakir.
OTHER POLITICAL TRIALS
The public prosecutor opened, on October 2, a new
legal pursuit against the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD) and
its leading members. Accusing Chairman Nevzat Helvaci and 10 other
members of the administrative board of leading political activities by
demanding general amnesty and abolition of capital punishment, the
prosecutor claimed the ban of the association and 3-year prison term
for each defendant.
On October 6, the State Security Court of Izmir
sentenced three journalists of the monthly Yeni Cozum, Mujdat Yanat,
Leyla Buyukdag and Recep Guler, to 18-month imprisonment each for
having led a demonstration on May Day.
In Ankara, on October 11, the State Security Court
sentenced three alleged members of the Revolutionary Left (Dev-Sol) to
ten-month prison term each.
MIDNIGHT ARREST OF INTELLECTUALS
Halit Celenk, a prominent Ankara lawyer known for
his defense of political prisoners, and Muzaffer Erdost, a left-wing
publisher, were taken from their homes by police midnight October 25.
Erdost's brother, also a publisher, had been
killed at the Mamak Military Prison in 1982 after being brutally beaten.
The arrest of the two eminent intellectuals has
stirred protests from opposition circles.
The Chief prosecutor of the State Security Court of
Ankara, Nusret Demiral, claimed the two men made communist propaganda
in articles published in a monthly magazine in Ankara.
Celenk and Erdost were released 18 hours after their
detention following interrogations by a judge at the State Security
Court, ruling that what they wrote in the magazine can only be
considered legitimate criticism.
Onur Kumbaracibasi, the deputy chairman of the SHP's
parliamentary group, said the way police and the prosecutor acted was a
"shame in a country where justice and law should prevail."
27 EDITORS IN PRISON
The daily Cumhuriyet of October 10, 1988 issued an
update list of editors who were in prison by May 1988. The following
editors have been sentenced to 2242-year imprisonment in total.
Veli Yilmaz (Halkin Kurtulusu): 748 years and 6
Alaaddin Sahin (Halkin Yolu): 130 years
Candemir Ozler (Savas Yolu): 23 years and 10 months
Erhan Tuskan (Ilerici Yurtsever Genclik): 123 years
Bektas Erdogan (Kitle): 36 years
Irfan Asik (Partizan): 17 years
Feyzullah Ozer (Kitle): 17 years and 6 months
HΩseyin Ulgen (Genc Sosyalist): 12 years and 3 months
Mehmet Uzgen (Bagimsiz TΩrkiye and Devrimci
Militan): 41 years
Nevzat Acan (Halkin Kurtulusu): 21 years and 7 months
Ali Rabus (Birlik Yolu): 18 years
Fuat AkyΩrek (Saglikcinin Sesi): 10 years and 8
Mustafa Colak (OzgΩrlΩk): 9 years and 3 months
Galip Demircan (Halkin Kurtulusu): 15 years
Ersan Sarikaya (GΩney): 7 years and 6 months
Osman Tas (Halkin Kurtulusu): 661 years and 2 months
Fikret Ulusoydan (Halkin Sesi): 66 years
Mete Dalgin (Halkin Birligi): 30 years
Muhittin Gπktas (Kivilcim): 7 years and 6 months
Remzi KΩ•Ωkertan (Devrimci Proletarya): 7 years and
Mustafa TΩtΩncΩbasi (Halkin Sesi): 42 years
Haci Ali Ozer (Emegin Birligi): Prison term unknown
CPJ Update, periodical of the Committee to Protect
Journalists in the USA reports in its October 1988 issue the names of
five other editors in Turkish prisons. Their prison terms total up to
244 years and 4 months.
Mehmet Coban (Iktibas): 7 years and 6 months
GΩzel Aslaner (Halkin Birligi): 146 years
Resat GΩvenilir (Emegin Birligi): 29 years 9 months
Ayhan Erkan (Kivilcim): 25 years
Ilker Demir (Kitle): 36 years
NEW PURSUITS AGAINST INTELLECTUALS
Mrs. Fatma Yazici, responsible editor of the weekly
2000e Dogru, was condemned in two different case.
Oct 5, the State Security Court of Istanbul
sentenced her to three years in prison for "making propaganda
detrimental to national feelings." The case was brought against the
magazine because it published an announcement commemorating the death
of an alleged leader of the PKK. The court also ruled the seizure of
the copies of the magazine in which the announcement appeared.
Oct 27, Mrs. Yazici was sentenced by the same court
to a 7-year prison term for an article on the cultural rights of the
Oct 20, two journalists of the weekly Tempo, Engin
Ardic and Yetkin Iscen are condemned by a criminal court in Istanbul to
21-month imprisonment each for an article criticizing Premier Ozal.
Oct 26, a criminal court in Istanbul sentenced two
journalists of the daily Cumhuriyet, CΩneyt ArcayΩrek and Okay
Gπnensin, to five months, 25 days in jail on charges of insulting
Premier Ozal. The court later commuted the prison sentences to fines of
81,O66 TL ($46).
Oct 27, the martial law court of Diyarbakir
sentences poet Yilmaz Odabasi to 8-year prison for being member of the
outlawed Kurdish group OzgΩrlΩk Yolu (Road to Freedom).
Oct 30, the public prosecutor opened a lawsuit
against journalist Erbil Tusalp at the State Security Court of Ankara
for having unveiled the deposition of the presumed author of the
attempt on Premier Ozal's life. He faces a 13-year imprisonment.
PROFESSOR KUCUK TORTURED
The daily Cumhuriyet of October 17, 1988 reported
that Professor Yalcin KΩ•Ωk was tortured on September 18-19 when he was
taken into custody in Gaziantep.
The 50-year old professor, one of the distinguished
researchers of Turkey, had been dismissed from his university post
after the military coup d'état. He has written up to now 18 books of
which one was confiscated. He is also the chief editor of the monthly
Toplumsal Kurtulus. He has been arrested many times for his articles
Recently he went to Gaziantep for participating in a
conference organized by the monthly Emek DΩnyasi. After the conference,
he was taken by police to the interrogation center. KΩ•Ωk said that
during the interrogation, policemen insulted, beat and kicked him until
A BALLET CHOREOGRAPHER IN TROUBLE
The Bulgarian-born former chief choreographer of the
Istanbul State Opera and Ballet, Sonya Aslan, found herself in trouble
when she complained about Turkish dancers to the West German ballet
director Peter von Dyk three years ago.
When two of the dancers failed to show up for the
rehearsal, Aslan told the upset director that things in Turkey work
this way. A case was brought against her on charges of insulting the
Turkish nation when one of the ballerinas complained about her
comments. The case is still going on.
At the hearing of November 8, Aslan said the German
director wanted to fire the dancers and she wanted to prevent this by
saying there was a different sets of rules in this country.
CONFISCATION OF PUBLICATIONS
On October 1988, The State Security Court of
Istanbul ordered the confiscation of five monthly reviews, Yeni CπzΩm,
GΩnese Cagri, DΩnyaya Bakis, GπrΩs and Yeni Demokrasi.
In Ankara, the State Security Court ordered the
confiscation of the monthly Toplumsal Kurtulus and Losovsky's book
entitled On Trade Unions.
Oct 3, four musicassettes produced by three famous
singers, Ahmet Kaya, Selda and ZΩlfΩ Livaneli were forbidden by the
governor in the province of Bilecik.
On the other hand, the Ministry of Culture and
Tourism issued, on October 11, new regulations on the selection of folk
songs to be printed or broadcasted. According to the new rules, the
words of a folk song should not contravene the Constitution, laws and
public morality. Besides, a consultative board will be charged to
verify the words and notes of folk songs and to make, if necessary,
changes on the words and notes before their printing or broadcasting.
PROTEST DEMONSTRATION OF DOCTORS
About 2,500 doctors staged a protest march in Ankara
on October 23 carrying placards with slogans such as "You cannot save
on human health," "Public health cannot be protected only through
The demonstration comes in the wake of criticism
leveled at the doctors by Labor Minister Imren Aykut accusing them of
Doctors employed by government-owned hospitals
complain about low pay, long working hours and the government's policy
of cutting back on health spending.
NO REINSTATEMENT OF CITIZENSHIP
Reinstating the citizenship rights for more than
14,000 Turks living in self-imposed exile outside the country is not
possible, Prime Minister Turgut Ozal said in a written note to a
parliamentary committee on October 31.
A bill tabled by Social Democrat Populist Party
deputy Erdal Kalkan to abrogate the government's authority to take the
citizenship rights of people born as Turkish nationals was refused by
the government majority at the Parliament.
NO CITIZENSHIP TO NAZIM HIKMET
The Supreme Administrative Court ruled on October 24
it cannot hear the case opened by lawyers of the family of the late
Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet demanding reinstatement of his citizenship
rights which were abrogated by a government decree in 1951.
The poet died 25 years ago in Moscow. After spending
13 years in jail on charges of inciting the army to rebellion, Nazim
Hikmet was released from prison by a general amnesty declared following
a change of government in 1950.
After his release he received a conscription notice
instructing him to report to the military authorities for compulsory
service. Hikmet, who was suffering from heart disease at the time,
decided to leave Turkey fearing that he would not survive the ordeal.
Nazim Hikmet is the most famous Turkish poet whose
works have been translated into many languages.
The lawyers of Hikmet's family have said if all the
judicial possibilities in Turkey are exhausted they would apply to the
European Human Rights Commission in Strasbourg.
A NEW VICTIM OF PASSPORT BAN
A 46-year old journalist has been the victim of the
ban on travelling abroad.
Ismail Hakki Inanc, suffering from a heart disease,
was invited by Amnesty International and the German Senate for a
treatment in the FRG. But all his attempts to obtain a passport were
failed by the authorities because his name was placed in the list of
Inanc was the managing editor of the daily Politika
prior to the military coup of 1980. Although prosecutors opened two
political cases against him, he was acquitted by tribunals.
WORSENING CONDITIONS OF KURDISH REFUGEES
Worsening weather conditions in the eastern and
southeastern provinces of Turkey led Turkish authorities to move Iraqi
Kurdish refugees from temporary tent camps to more protected places. It
is officially reported that 91 Kurdish refugees have died in the five
Out of 54,000 Kurds who fled Iraq in August, about
3,000 have left either for Iraq or Iran. It is expected that between
3,000 and 4,000 more refugees will be accepted by Iran.
On the other hand, Kurdish refugees were given
questionnaires by Turkish authorities in order to find out their future
plans. About 27,000 said they wanted to stay in Turkey, while around
25,000 refugees wanted to go to 12 different countries including
France, Sweden, Holland and Iran. But none of these countries with the
exception of Iran seemed eager to accept them.
Eventually, the Iraqi Kurds will be taught basic
Turkish and will be given job training in order to turn them from
consumers to producers.
Beside the problems of employment and shelter,
thousands of Kurdish children living in camps face educational
problems. None of them speaks Turkish, so they cannot study in Turkish
Providing school education in the Kurdish language
is against the government's domestic policy denying the existence of
such a language. The government declared to take measures with a view
to assimilating these children into the Turkish culture.
On October 14, a social democrat deputy, Cumhur
Keskin announced that 13 Kurdish refugees who had been arrested on
September 17 for an incident in the tent camp of YΩksekova were
tortured during their interrogation by police.
US AMBASSADOR'S STRANGE VISIT TO THE EAST
A recent visit to the Turkish Kurdistan by Robert
Strausz-Hupé, the ambassador of the United States in Ankara, created a
controversy in Turkey. He flew on November 6 to Van, accompanied by his
wife and four other U.S. diplomats. Deputy Governor of the province
said: "The ambassador and his wife wanted to see the historical and
natural attractions in our area."
However, the ambassador's presence in this sensitive
area poured fuel on the fire of public debate over a proposed project
to build a vacation village for retired American citizens in Van.
The U.S. group travelled the following days to
Hakkari, Diyarbakir and Mardin for visiting the tent camps where Iraqi
Kurdish refugees have been staying since they crossed the border into
Turkey in August. In Mardin, the U.S. Ambassador visited the Assyrian
Church, Day Rul Zafaran as well.
PROTEST ACTIONS BY UNIVERSITY YOUTH
The first national youth conference, aimed at
solving problems facing young people in Turkey, was opened on October
24 in Ankara amid student demonstrations and resulting police violence.
Of the 473 delegates invited to the Youth Council
conference only 99 represented the youth. Others attending were
government ministers, university professors, educations experts and
There were only six elected representatives of
student bodies from Turkish universities. The rest of the 30 student
representatives were hand picked by university rectors.
During the election of a presiding board for the
council meeting, the elected student delegates, pointing to
plainclothesmen they recognized among the spectators, left the
conference room shouting slogans of protest.
Outside the convention hall anti-riot police teams,
plainclothesmen and detectives began assaulting them. Students who
tried to stage a sit-in were clubbed, kicked and punched before being
carried to police vans.
DRAMA OF MIGRANTS RETURNING HOME
An estimated 1.5 million Turks live in Germany, many
of whom moved there in the early 1960s when Germany had jobs to fill.
Tired after so many years abroad and feeling discriminated against as
German unemployment rises, they are moving back to Turkey, often with
high school age children.
But they often bring with them not only much needed
capital and useful language skills, but a host of social and
intellectual attitudes which conflict with Turkey's conservative Moslem
This conflict mainly surfaces in the children, who
were often born in Germany and had studied in German schools. Their
visit to Turkey tended to be short and infrequent, and while they spoke
Turkish at home, this left them poorly prepared to function in Turkish
schools and society.
Ironically, many people are returning because they
believe their children will be discriminated against in Germany when
they apply to a university or look for a job.
What they find here instead is a strongly
nationalistic culture that is not receptive to people who have lived
abroad and return with different ideas and attitudes.
When the German government in 1984 began actively
encouraging Turkish migration through a cash incentive programme,
schools in Turkey were suddenly faced with the problem of absorbing
thousands of students who could barely speak the language and who knew
very little about Turkish history or behavior.
The Ministry of Education first started a one-month
orientation programme to aid students from Germany. The programme
focused on teaching them the national anthem, showing them the Turkish
flag and explaining the basics of Turkish history such as who was
Mustafa Kemal AtatΩrk, founder of the Turkish Republic.
This orientation programme was widely seen as a
failure, and by 1986 it was completely phased out and in its place the
Education Ministry began sending these children to separate schools
where German was the primary language of instruction.
While this allowed them to do better academically,
it neither helped the adjust socially nor prepared them for the highly
competitive university entrance exams in which an average of 600,000
students compete annually for 150,000 slots.
The Dateline Turkey of October 29, 1988, quoted Miss
Nuran Ozbemar, 22, saying: "We came to Turkey three years ago because
it's our homeland, but we learned that it's not our homeland. I can't
say I'm more German, but I know now I'm also not a Turk."
Already her parents, unable to find work in Turkey,
have returned to Germany. She is now making plans to return to Germany
when she finishes her university programme.