The March 26th local elections resulted in a genuine rout for Prime
Minister Ozal's ANAP and led Turkey to an unexpected political
upheaval. Despite the spectacular defeat of the ruling party and the
relative progress of each opposition party, none of the latter could
stand out as a real force able to govern alone the country without
making a coalition with another party.
Although 32 percent plurality in
national voting is sufficient for a minimum majority in parliament,
none of the three top parties alone would have a majority if the
local election results were duplicated in parliamentary elections.
In the November 1987 general
election Ozal's Motherland Party (ANAP) won 36 per cent of the vote. He
hinted at resignation during the recent electoral campaign that if the
vote fell below 30 per cent. His party won 21.88 per cent, way behind
the Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP) and the Correct Way Party
(DYP) which respectively obtained 28.36% and 25.37%.
When the current 21.9 per
cent score is compared with the 41 percent it won in the last local
elections five years ago, nobody can minimize Ozal's defeat.
"The vote was clearly a protest
against the government's inability to curb inflation. This peaked in
November at an annualised rate of 87 per cent, falling back in February
to 72 per cent. Turkish voters have become increasingly disenchanted
with Ozal's neo-Ottoman, opulent lifestyle, and distanced, personnel
rule surrounded by his family and close advisers. Added to this have
been rumours of nepotism and corruption in government." (The Financial
Times, March 28, 1989)
"Ozal's trick card -the threat
that unless the voters continue to choose him the country might go
"back to the years when there was blood in the country"- has not
worked. It convinced the bankers and the IMF more than his own people.
The side-effects of this sort of modernization are as familiar in
Turkey as in large areas of the Third World.
"On the other hand, the growing strength of the
conservatives indicates that Ozal's success in keeping a section of
Islamic opinion over his center is limited. Ozal had already fumbled in
his handling of recent "turban dispute" when there were demonstrations
in favour of the chador." (The Guardian, March 30, 1988).
Moreover, the "occidental" image
of Ozal's family, mainly Mrs. Ozal's public appearance with a glass of
whisky in one hand and a cigar in the other, have been detrimental to
the ANAP's electoral chance during the rise of fundamentalist wave in
Three right-wing opposition
parties led an electoral campaign accusing Ozal's party of taking no
heed of Fundamentalist demands and appealed many Conservative ANAP
voters. Such a campaign by Erbakan's Welfare Party (RP) and
Ex-colonel Turkes' neo-fascist Nationalist Action Party (MCP) was not
at all surprising. But this time former Premier Demirel's DYP too, in a
move to regain the title of the most powerful right-wing party,
resorted to demagogy such as demanding to turn the Saint Sophia in
Istanbul into a mosque.
It is noteworthy that best scores
of these right-wing parties were registered in the rural areas of
Turkey where religious concerns are still very strong. But this is not
the sole reason for Ozal's defeat in rural areas. The monetarist
policies imposed by the IMF and applied by Ozal for nine years, three
years as vice-premier and five years as prime minister, resulted in
more impoverishment of peasants and little town tradesmen and
The ANAP's most serious setback
in the elections for mayors, municipal councils, and local
representatives was the loss of big city power bases, including
Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Antalya and Adana. Sensational among these is
Istanbul, Turkey's biggest city, which the ANAP incumbent had expected
to win with a landslide. The mayor, Bedrettin Dalan, is possibly the
most popular politician in the country, yet he saw the ANAP vote
crumble and the Social Democrats take the seat.
Since the working people of the
urban areas have lost at least 50 per cent of their purchasing power
because of Ozal's monetarist policies and the inflation, running at
around 70 per cent, could not be brought down by Ozal, such a result in
big cities is not at all astonishing.
The scores in big cities exceeded
the Social Democrats' expectations. Of the two Social Democrat parties
of Turkey, the real winner is no doubt the Social Democrat Populist
Party (SHP) which obtained 28.4 per cent of the vote. As for the former
social-democrat prime minister Bulent Ecevit, his Democratic Left Party
(DSP) stayed under the bar of 10 per cent.
SHP and some left-wing newspapers
accuse Ecevit of dividing social democrat votes and carrying water to
Ozal's mill. In fact, if the 28.4 of SHP and 8.9 per cent of DSP are
oriented to a common list in the coming legislative elections, the
Social Democrats can easily come to power with 37.3 per cent of the
vote, if the current electoral system remains in force.
But a fusion or any kind of
coalition of the two social democrat parties do not seem easy for
different reasons. Ecevit's allergy towards some SHP leaders and his
hostility to many Marxist or Kurdish intellectuals working now within
the SHP seem as the main obstacles for such a fusion or an electoral
Aware of this fact, Ozal had
already provided Ecevit's party with financial possibilities prior to
local elections with a view to dividing social democrat votes. After
his electoral defeat, Ozal is still counting mainly on the division of
social democrats who are the only real alternative of his power.
After his electoral defeat, Ozal
is under a growing pressure for calling an early election. All
opposition parties say that confidence in Ozal's government had been
eroded and the balance of power had changed. They also argue that a
parliamentary majority without a popular support cannot elect the new
President of the Republic in November 1989.
As trade unions and businessmen
joined opposition politicians in the clamour for an early poll, several
senior ANAP figures acknowledged the significance of the protest vote.
The Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fahrettin Kurt, called for an
immediate general election. "The failure is not local, it is something
national," he said. "The developments on the agenda may create
economical and political instability."
"The Turkish leader Mr. Turgut
Ozal will have to work a real miracle to save the fortunes of his
Motherland Party following its humiliation in the nationwide local
elections," says The Guardian of March 30, 1989.
However, Ozal now displays
the arrogant streak in his style by saying he will hang on until the
next general election in 1992.
At his first press conference
after the elections, he said the result had been a message from voters
that inflation, running at around 70 per cent, must be brought down,
and added: "The people wanted with the election to give us a light slap
on the cheek, but it has turned into something stronger. Since ANAP
still has a parliamentary majority of 289 out of 450 seats, the
government would complete its second term."
Furthermore, Ozal made a veiled
threat to restrict municipal funding to cities and town which are now
under the control of opposition parties.
Despite Ozal's resolve, the
outcome of the voting seemed to presage a period of uncertainty as
opposition leaders seek to capitalize on their unexpectedly strong
Lack of government stability was
seen as a threat to the momentum of Ozal's economic liberalization and
quest for foreign investment.
"Turkey has gone through a
democratic earthquake and said no to five and one-half years of Ozal
rule, " Oymen.
A senior Western diplomat said:
"Ozal has set in motion changes that are basically irreversible,
especially on the financial side. Ozal was always able to appeal to the
people that he was the only person capable of maintaining stability in
Turkey. That was true up to the beginning of 1988. Now there are others
One of the "others", Demirel
challenged Ozal in the following terms: "Ozal said he would leave
office if the elections results made it difficult for him to rule. If
he is true to his word, then he should do this."
While the pressure for calling
early elections is getting stronger, the murder of an opposition deputy
by a deputy of Ozal's party in Parliament building on March 29 raised
more political tension.
MPs are allowed to carry guns in
Turkey, but not in parliament. The shooting took place in a corridor of
the parliamentary building.
The assailant, Idris Arikan, and
the victim, Abdurrezak Ceylan, both were from the south-eastern
province of Siirt, near the Iraqi frontier -an area where Kurdish
guerillas have been active for five years. Ceylan is a member of the
The incident happened when Idris
Arikan was discussing election results with Zeki Celiker, another
deputy from the same province. Ceylan threw himself between two
deputies for separating them. At this moment Arikan drew his gun and
shot Ceylan instead of Celiker. Ceylan died after being taken to
hospital for surgery for a gunshot wound in the chest.
This second murder at the
National Assembly since the proclamation of the Republic in 1923,
became a new heavy blow on ANAP's credibility.
Despite Ozal's statement, the
strength of the combined opposition might force Ozal to call early
general elections, possibly later this year.
Another immediate effect of the
election result is likely to be intensified strife between ANAP's right
and liberal wings and more desertions towards other right-wing parties:
While a part of Liberal deputies are picked up by the DYP, many
Islamist and Nationalist deputies will be seduced by the
fundamentalist RP and the neo-fascist MCP.
Meanwhile, the big business and
the military, in the fear of seeing the Left come to power, will do
their best with a view to reuniting all right-wing forces in a
Nationalist Front. Since the total of left-wing votes remain at 37 per
cent and the votes of five right-wing parties rise to a total of 63 per
cent, such a scenario is not at all a political fiction. In the near
past, it was already tried by uniting Demirel's AP, Erbakan's MSP and
These three right-wing leaders
are again at the head of their new parties: respectively DYP, RP and
MCP. Despite all his arrogance, Ozal too may join them at the end under
the pressure of the big business and may do it in the name of "saving
the country from the Left."
What is the situation of the Left
forces in this new political context?
This subject will be treated in
the coming issues of Info-Türk.
PRIVILEGES OF TURKISH OFFICERS
The Turkish army officers are
among the most privileged soldiers of the World. In comparison with
other public servants, the income level of army officers is extremely
For example, an Army major can
get a net salary of 495,306 TL per month, while a senior school teacher
hardly get 293,114 TL and a civil engineer 245,865.
An army general gets 1,092,889 TL
net per month. When he is retired, he gets a total of 15 million TL as
retirement premium and continues to get a monthly net salary of 926,400
TL. (Hurriyet, 5.7.1988)
It should be reminded that the
minimum monthly wage for a worker is only 85,000 TL and this sum hardly
climbs to 250,000 TL for a senior qualified worker.
Besides, all Army officers and
NCOs are shareholders of a giant finance holding, OYAK (Armed Forces
Mutual Aid Foundation). In addition to their different material
advantages, each gets a profit share from this holding which has
investments in all economic sectors. According to the annual report to
the Shareholders Assembly of June 1988, its annual profit climbed to
33.5 billion TL in 1987, while it was 10.5 billion TL in 1986. The
value of its properties is estimated at 74 billion TL. OYAK distributed
to its members in uniform a profit share of 63.9% in 1988. The Assembly
decided to make more investments in the war industry.
FORMER ARMY GENERALS IN BUSINESS
Following the example of the US
business, the big Turkish companies too began to engage retired army
generals in their service with a view to getting lion's share in the
affairs related to the growing war industry.
The daily Milliyet of September
29, 1988, revealed the names of 30 former army generals who are
currently either in administrative boards of companies or military
Prime Minister of the military
government between 1980-83, Retired Admiral Bulent Ulusu is in the
service of Aksa Co. Gen. Dogan Ozgocmen is engaged by Yapi Kredi Bank,
Gen. Namik Kemal Ersun by Kutlutas Construction Co., Gen. Recai
Baturalp and Gen. Talat Cetiner by Tekel Co.
Their payments rise to 10 million
TL ($5,000) per month with salaries, different kinds of supplementary
allowances and shares in profit. (Milliyet, 29.9.1988)
A giant venture recently set up
in the tourism sector is shared by former Army generals. This venture
named Kamelya Tourism Co. has already bought estates of 305,000 square
meters in the Manavgat district, at the Mediterranean Coast, and plans
to construct there the biggest tourist complex of the country. Among
the founders of the company are also former Air Force Commanders Tahsin
Sahinkaya ( member of the 5-man military junta in 1980) and Halil
Sozer, former Gendarmery Commander Mehmet Buyruk, former Land Forces
Commander Kemal Yamak as well as General Evren's daughter and
son-in-law. (Milliyet, 21.4.1988).
Cift sutuna 4. sayfa basindan acilacak
STATE TERRORISM THROUGOUT TURKEY
Routine police harassment of
students on university campuses in Istanbul, widespread arrests among
youths and a raid on a cultural center in the city last Sunday led to a
confrontation between students and police on February 27, 1989.
The chain of events began on
February 24 when a group of students at Yildiz University gathered to
protest new regulations on campus forcing them to immediately pay off
their education debts. The students marched to the offices of the
university rector and demanded to talk to him. Protesting students were
angered by plainclothes policemen taking pictures with video cameras.
They scuffled and one police officer fired into the air with his pistol.
Other police actions which caused
students to react were the closing down of the Ortakoy Cultural Center
and a raid on a bar in the same neighborhood.
Police teams from the political
department began questioning the director and the employees of the
Ortakoy Cultural Center after they held a commemoration night for the
late leftist poet Hasan Huseyin last February 22. Thereupon, the center
was closed and sealed upon the orders of a prosecutor.
To protest the closing down of
the cultural center, representatives from human rights groups, women's
organizations and associations of relatives of political prisoners held
a joint press conference. Several deputies from the opposition Social
Democratic Populist Party (SHP) also participated in the meeting.
Police raided the gathering and
detained 43 people. Fourteen were released but the remaining 29 were
sent to the state security court on February 28. The court released the
29 after questioning; but all win be charged with staging an
unauthorized demonstration, a violation which carries prison sentences
of one three years.
Among the detainees were a
15-year-old high school student who could not help giggling when the
judge asked her questions, and a Greek woman who has been studying at
Istanbul Technical University
The bar also raided by police
down the street from the Ortakoy Cultural Center is known to be
frequented by leftist intellectuals. The bar Bukalemun (Chameleon) is
run by Bedri Baykam, a famous contemporary Turkish artist.
Interviewed in Ankara Wednesday
at the opening of an exhibit which includes his works Baykam said the
raids would do a lot of harm to the government.
The artist said police searched
his bar "down to the toilet" without any warrant.
Then said Baykam the police chief
saw a painting he had done using enlarged newspaper clippings mixed
with other media The articles dealt with censorship and human rights
issues and one carried the headline "Pinochet Pasa, Aci ektin topraga"
("General Pinochet has sown pain in the ground").
"He looked as if he were very
happy to have found the proof of the crime," said Baykam, a graduate of
the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland. "I advised the
police just to go and grab the daily paper that day to "make life
easier for them."
Baykam said police in Turkey act
as though it is forbidden to talk about politics here.
"In spite of everything that is
said at the top level (of government) that there is a democracy, the
government is unable to change the bureaucratic system and the
educational level of the police," said the 31-year-old painter.
The raid sparked clashes between
police and university students. On February 28, students of the Yildiz
University began a protest march down the street from their campus to
Besiktas and were dispersed by steel-helmeted riot police squads. Some
110 students were detained. The next day, another group of students
marched to the governor's office demanding the release of detained
friends. They were also beaten by police using truncheons. Nine
demonstrators were arrested.
Other police operations in
7.2, nine alleged members of the
United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP) were detained by police in
8.2, police detained 17 students
for having put on wall some placards criticizing the 12 September
regime. Though released a few days later, they were expelled for one
month from their school.
17.2, sixteen people were
arrested in Istanbul on charges of being member of the Revolutionary
Communist Party of Turkey (TDKP).
22.2, in Ankara, 250 people
coming to attend the trial of the TBKP leaders were harassed and beaten
by police. Twelve people were reportedly wounded during the police
28.2, five PKK militants and a
policeman were killed in Bismil (Diyarbakir) during an armed clash
between Kurdish guerillas and security forces.
Political trials in February 1988:
14.2, twelve university students
who had participated last year in a trade union action were sentenced
to a 4-year prison term each by the State Security Court of Malatya.
16.2, a new trial against 31
alleged members of PKK began at the State Security Court of Diyarbakir.
21.2, a PKK member was sentenced
to capital punishment by the Diyarbakir SSC.
22.2, the Ankara SSC sentenced
three members of the Communist Party of Turkey/Union (TKP/B) to 5 years
and 10 months each.
24.2, A PKK member was sentenced
to a 15-year prison term by the Ankara SSC.
MEDICAL REPORT ON CALAYLIOGLU
The terror campaign against young
secondary school students was furthered on February 10 with the arrest
of 16-year old S.T. in Diyarbakir. The young detainee is accused of
distributing propaganda tracts of PKK and faces a prison term of up to
On the other hand, a team of six
psychiatrists who made a six-week-long examination of Melih
Calaylioglu, a 15-year-old high school student charged with making
communist propaganda, declared in their report that he was incapable of
deliberately committing the crime.
Calaylioglu, who was born in West
Germany, was brought to Turkey by his mother three years ago to get a
Turkish education. In September, Turan Baysal, the principal of the
Karatas high school, informed police that the youth was making
communist propaganda and discussing Marxism and Leninism with his
Calaylioglu was arrested by
police and sent to the State Security Court.
The report by the psychiatrists
pointed to "the different interpretations of the act he is accused of
in Turkey and in the country where he was born."
The report says that articles 46
and 47 of the Turkish Penal Code define 15-year-olds as mature enough
to be held accountable for their actions. It points to the fact that
Calaylioglu was 15 only 11 days before he allegedly committed the crime.
If the law is interpreted
strictly, Calaylioglu would not benefit from penalty reductions and
exemptions mentioned in those articles, the report said.
"However, the nature of the
offense and how it was committed should also be taken into
consideration along with the character structure and psychological
circumstances of the defendant," says the report.
Calaylioglu spent his childhood
in West Germany in a completely different culture and in an unstable
family, according to the report, which also claims that he has a
mentally disturbed aunt.
However, it also said that a
number of psychiatric tests made on Calaylioglu revealed that he is "an
intelligent, creative but restless young man."
The psychiatrists said
Calaylioglu committed the crime in response to questions by his friends
in an attempt to prove his knowledge and was motivated by his character
"It is not possible to see his
act as a deliberate and calculated violation of the offense described
in article 142, namely making propaganda promoting the domination of
one social class over the others," said the report.
STRIKE STOPPED BY GOVERNMENT
As the number of workers adhering
to trade unions is growing, the government, taking no heed of ILO's
warnings, resorts to repressive measures in order to prevent strikes.
According to the sector
statistics of the Labour Ministry, out of 3,525,956 workers in
industrial and service sectors, 2,277,898 are affiliated to trade
unions. (Cumhuriyet, 18.1.1989)
The new year opened with
collective bargainings for about 650,000 workers in State Economic
Enterprises. 14,000 workers already entered the new year on strike.
Since negotiations failed for 52,000 workers, they too were expected to
go on strike.
Lately, 23,000 workers of
Iskenderun and Karabuk iron-steel plants decided to start their strike
from March 23, 1988. At the last moment, the government announced that
this action was suspended for two months.
For giving an idea for the living
conditions of Turkish workers, the daily Milliyet of February 19, 1989,
reported that a Turkish worker has to work for 45 minutes in order to
buy 1 kilogram of bread, while this duration is only 12 minutes
in Germany. The working time for 1 kilogram of meat is 7 hours and 58
minutes in Turkey against 1 hour and 6 minutes in Germany, for a pair
of shoes 71 hours and 22 minutes in Turkey against 6 hours and 30
minutes in Germany, for a TV post 1593 hours in Turkey against 98 hours
in Germany. (Milliyet, 19.2.1989)
MONOPOLIZATION IN TURKISH ECONOMY
According to a survey carried out
by the Middle East Technical University, the Turkish economy is menaced
by a dangerous capital monopolization. Already in 86 out of 127
principal economic sectors, the monopolization has reached the level
which necessitates, in European standards, to take preventive measures.
1988 was a golden year for the
most powerful Turkish companies from the point of profitability. For
Akbank, with a 60.4% increase,
raised its annual profit to a 300 billion TL,
Vakif Bank, with 72.4%, to 150
Yapi Kredi Bank, with 63.9%, to
100 billion TL,
Garanti Bank, with 64.2%, to 46
Etibank, with 28.2%, to 100
As for the 17 foreign banks
operating in Turkey, their annual profit rate is among 4% and 20%.
However, according to another
survey, still there is a big gap between the leading European companies
and Turkish monopolies in the field of annual turnover. While the
annual turnover of Royal Dutch/Shell is $84.9 billion in Europe, the
total turnover of the 500 biggest companies hardly reached $33
billion in 1988. The biggest share in this turnover belongs to Tupras
with $3.9 billion. (Cumhuriyet, 27.11.1988)
As for the funds attributed to
research works, Turkey is again very far from the Western standards.
While the EEC countries, Japan and the USA are spending to research
works respectively sums equivalent to 1.9%, 2.9% and 2.8% of their
Gross National Product, this proportion is hardly O,2% for Turkey.
Besides, Turkey's need of the
personnel specialized on the subject of EEC is estimated at 25,000.
Currently, the number of specialized personnel does not pas over 1,000.
In order to fill this gap, special units are being set up in different
Turkish universities with a view to educating students on questions
related to the EEC. (Cumhuriyet, 14.2.1989)
INJUSTICE IN REGIONAL INVESTMENT
Although investments in the
framework of the Southeast Anatolian Project (GAP), brought 1.361
trillion TL to the area last year, the public and private sectors still
prefer to put most of their money in the Marmara and Aegean regions.
In 1988, total investment in
projects all over Turkey was 11.636 trillion TL.
The Marmara region is still the
most favored area for investors. Last year, 43.1 percent of investments
tied to government incentives, 5.19 trillion TL, went to this region.
The Aegean region was the second choice; 1.687 trillion TL was invested
Investments qualifying for
incentive investment certificates amounted to 1.335 trillion TL in the
central Anatolian region, 1.225 trillion TL in the Mediterranean
region, 443 billion TL in the Black Sea region, and 310 billion TL in
the eastern Anatolia
region. Major investments covering more than one city totaled 284
Distribution of incentives
according to regions
HUGE TAX REBATE FOR EXPORTERS
Tax rebates of 5.7 trillion TL
have been paid to exporters for the period 1984-1988, using January
1989 prices as a basis.
State Statistics Institute (DIE)
figures indicate the 329.1 billion TL tax rebate paid in 1984 would be
worth 1.8 trillion TL today. In 1988, these figures are respectively
674.8 billion and 904.3 billion TL.
Cift sutuna acilacak
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT'S REPORT ON TURCO-EUROPEAN ECONOMIC RELATIONS
The European Parliament, at its
session of March 15, 1989, adopted a report on economic and trade
relations between the Community and Turkey, drawn up by Carlos Pimenta
on behalf of the Committee on External Economic Relations.
With regard to the future of
these relations, the European Parliament:
"Points to the need that both
Parties guarantee that their economic development is compatible with
the aim of reaching the convergence of their economies provided for by
the final stage of the association agreement;
"Stresses that economic
convergence and the free flow of goods and services are only possible
if trade union rights are fully restored in Turkey and if working
conditions in Turkey comply with ILO standards;
"Remarks that some of Turkey's
most important investments in sectors such as agriculture and steel,
will increase the problems of complementarity between the respective
"Notes that, in order to attain
economic convergence and fulfill the objectives of the Agreement
concerning the free movement of persons, goods and services Turkey will
have to be fully informed on the evolution of the European Economic
Space, and an adequate coordination between both sides will have to be
guaranteed, in particular, in the following sectors:
"- norms and standards, as well
as procedures for tests and type approval,
"- rules of origin and custom
"- public contracts and subsidies,
"- intellectual property and
"Notes furthermore the increase
of counterfeiting activities and intellectual property violations in
Turkey, and asks for vigorous action by the Turkish authorities in this
"Considers, furthermore, that
efforts should be exercised in order to reach framework agreements with
Turkey on scientific, technological and student exchange programmes;
"Believes that economic
convergence implies approximation of standards for environment
protection between the EC and Turkey, with a view both to avoid
distortions in competition and to ensure the quality of life: points to
the protection of the Mediterranean as a crucial area of possible
cooperation between the Community and Turkey in the field of
environment policy, in particular within the broad framework of the
Barcelona Convention on combating the pollution of the Mediterranean
and related protocols;
"Welcomes the development of
investments in the services sector and notably tourism, in view of the
growing number of tourists from Community countries who visit Turkey
and hopes that these investments will take into account the environment
and environmental protection;
"Considers that economic
convergence is only possible if Turkey reduces its very high rate of
inflation by adopting suitable measures;
"Notes the increase in investment
in Turkey by EC investors, and calls for a unified guarantee system for
EC direct investments;
"Considers that the use of the
ECU in both official and commercial transactions between the EC and
Turkey should be increased, and a stable relation should be maintained
between the Lira and the ECU;
"Recalls that the Fourth
Financial Protocol, which has initiated in 1981, has yet to be
NATO TALKS AND TURKEY
Foreign Minister Mesut Yilmaz
returned March 8 from Vienna where he attended the conventional force
reduction talks between 23 NATO and Warsaw Pact countries, declaring he
was satisfied with the stance adopted by the Atlantic alliance.
"It is a position which takes
Turkey's political concerns and military interests into consideration
to a large extent," said Yilmaz.
A major disagreement developed
late last year between the majority of NATO allies and Turkey just
before the second round of the Vienna conference resumed.
Turkey opposed NATO plans to give
top priority to Central Europe in conventional disarmament and only
secondary importance to flank countries. A compromise solution offered
by Britain was accepted last week by all the NATO members, including
The Turkish press reported
earlier that the Turkish military was adamantly opposed to dividing
allies into categories of importance. "Now, all the areas coming under
the alliance are considered an integrated whole. This is what we have
demanded all along. The defense requirements of each particular area
are considered a part of the whole," said Yilmaz in Vienna.
Although the military in Turkey
did not openly comment on NATO plans, sources close to the defense
ministry said such a division in the alliance would lead to radical
changes in the military structure of the joint defense pact.
JEWISH LOBBY SUPPORTS ANKARA
Maynard Vishner, the leader
of the American Jewish Congress visiting Turkey, met on February 13,
1989, with Turkish Foreign Minister Mesut Yilmaz and promised his
group's support in lobbying for Turkey in Washington.
The group of 13 representatives
from American Jewish organizations arrived in Turkey to have talks with
members of the Turkish Jewish community, which has begun celebrating
the 600th anniversary of settlement in Turkey in 1492 when escaping the
"We told the foreign minister
that the American Jewish community is willing to extend assistance to
Turkey for the explanation of certain historical subjects in America,"
said Vishner after his meeting with Yilmaz.
According to the sources, the
Turkish foreign minister told the Jewish representative that Turkey
would not grant full ambassadorial status to the Palestine Liberation
Organization (PLO) representative office in Ankara until the borders of
the Palestinian state are clearly demarcated.
After the meeting, Vishner told
Turkish journalists that Yilmaz told them that ties between Turkey and
Israel are "good and constructive;"
The visit by the American Jewish
group drew criticism from the Islamic press. Zaman newspaper claimed
the American Jewish community sent $1.5 million to contribute to the
celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of the Turkish Jewish
community, but that despite the helping hand extended to the Jews of
Spain by the Ottomans in the 15th century, the Jews today fan
anti-Ottoman and anti-Moslem feelings.
The newspaper also severely
criticized Moslem Turks who joined the celebration committee set up by
the Jewish community.
RECENT DATA ON TURKISH IMMIGRATION
The number of Turkish immigrants
throughout the world increased by 1.9% in comparison with 1987. Out of
2,349,070 Turkish nationals, 1,056,014 are wage-earners. The number of
the Turkish immigrants in European countries is 2,110,210 of which
780,000 are younger than 18 years old. (Hurriyet, 1.12.88, Tercuman
The distribution of these figures
to different host countries as follows:
BELOW 18 YEARS
At the beginning of 1989, the
number of Turkish nationals in Belgium is estimated at 83,000. In one
year 1,100 Turkish children were born in Belgium. The birth rate for
Turks in Belgium is 3%, while it hardly reaches 0,1% for Belgian
people. Out of 32,000 Turkish wage-earners in this country 21% are
jobless and get unemployment benefit.
1.2 MILLION TURKS REPATRIATED
The number of Turkish immigrants
who returned to Turkey within a 10-year period, from 1974 to 1984,
reached 1,199,718. Of these people, 512,770 are younger than 18 years,
143,765 between 18-25 years, 475,013 between 25-50 years, 53,552
between 50-65 years and 13,720 older than 65 years. (Tercuman, 4.11.88)
Although Turkish workers employed
in Germany have the right to get retirement allowance at the age of 65
for men and 60 for women, few could have benefitted from this social
right because of the low longevity of Turkish nationals (57 years).
Until now 31,856 Turkish workers have been pensioned off, but only 707
of them currently get allowance because all others are no more in life.
In last years, the number of
returnees have showed a big failure. Despite the application of
repatriation premium, only 6,662 Turkish workers returned home in 1987.
(Cumhuriyet, 28.1.89) As for Belgium, the number of migrant workers who
have benefitted from the repatriation premium and returned home until
June 1988 reached 410, of whom 235 are Turks, 62 Moroccans and 35
Tunisians. (Le Soir, 24.8.88)
TURKISH BUSINESS IN GERMANY
In 1987, the total turnover of
about 30,000 Turkish businessmen or tradesmen in the FRG reached 23,400
million DM (13,294 million US dollars), a figure higher than the annual
exports income of Turkey. (Hurriyet, 30.11.88). The number of Turkish
businessmen and tradesmen in Holland reaches 2,100.
The majority of them are
immigrant workers who have, in the fear of a possible unemployment,
invested their savings in business for guaranteeing their future.
Besides, Turkish immigrants in
Germany remitted 13,618 million dollars to Turkey between 1980 and
1986, that is averagely 1,964 million dollars per year. Currently, the
foreign exchange accounts of immigrants in Turkish banks total to 7,535
About 170,000 immigrant workers
have placed their savings in so called "workers' companies" which are
operating in Turkey. Though their aim was declared to provide immigrant
workers with the possibility of working in their own enterprises in the
case of repatriation, many of them have already been taken over by big
finance holdings or banks. (Milliyet, 24.11.88)
Losing their hope to work at
their own workplaces in the country, immigrant workers place now their
savings in purchasing real estates in Germany. It is for this reason
that the annual remittance fell from 2.5 billion dollars in 1981 to 1.6
billion dollars in 1986. (Cumhuriyet, 3.8.88)
CLIMBING OF FAR-RIGHT IN GERMANY
The failure of the center and the
surprisingly strong showing of a xenophobic far-rightist Republican
Party in West Berlin municipal elections of January 29 sent shock waves
through the city and the rest of West Germany on Monday.
So unexpected was the result that
the RP had not fielded enough candidates to fill 11 seats it won. Under
the West German electoral system, seats are distributed according to
the share of the vote, but only among candidates who ran.
The RP based its electoral
campaign in Berlin, where live more than 150,000 Turkish immigrants,
on anti-Turk stereotypes. Its leader, Schönhuber is a former
member of Waffen-SS.
When it was unveiled that he
passes his holidays in a summer house that he owns in the city of
Bodrum in Turkey, Schönhuber said he was against Turks in Germany, but
he has many Turkish friends in Turkey!
About 10,000 protesters took to
West Berlin streets to demonstrate against the unexpected success of
the Republican Party.
The RP is not the only political
group campaigning against Turks.
The National Front was already
banned by the German Interior Ministry for its racist and xenophobic
In the city of Langen (Hessen),
another far-right organization, the Workers' Party for Freedom (FAP)
was protested on August 3, 1988, by 5,000 students and parents for
inciting German youths against their immigrant school mates.
Another neo-fascist party,
Deutsche Volksunion often distributes tracts against immigrant workers
in different German cities.
XENOPHOBIC AGGRESSIONS IN GERMANY
Dec 19, in the city of
Schwandorf, a 19-year old member of the National Front, Josef Saller,
set on fire a house inhabited by immigrants. Three Turks and a German
Dec 22, in Hamburg, a group of
Skinheads, attacking on foreigner, wounded five people.
Jan 10, in the city of Lindau, a
house inhabited by Turkish families was set on fire.
Jan 18, in Berlin, a Turkish
local was ransacked by a racist group.
Jan 27, unidentified people
destroyed the 125 years old Turkish graveyard in Berlin. The fact that
the incident happened just on the eve of Friday, the day Turks of
Berlin perform their weekly prayer at the mosque of this graveyard
shows that the authors of the aggression aimed to provoke them.
Jan 31, a Turkish local in the
city of Oberursel, near to Frankfurt, was ransacked by a group of
Feb 17, in the city of
Schluchtern, a group of Skindheads attacked a Turkish discothèque and
wounded two Turks and two other foreigners. Police arrested 16
Feb 26, a group of 30 Rockers,
shouting "Foreigners, Go Home!" and "Germany to Germans!", attacked
Turkish youths in front of a discothèque and wounded two of them.
FIRST MURDER RELATED TO RUSHDIE AFFAIR IN BELGIUM?
A double murder committed in
Belgium at the end of March might reportedly be the first execution
related to "Rushdie Affair". On March 29, 1989,the director of
the Islamic Cultural Center, Abdullah Ahdal, and the center's librarian
Salem Bahri, were founded shot dead in the office after the evening
The police spokesman said Ahdal
had received threats after a statement he made on Belgian television
about Salman Rushdie. A television reporter added that station
officials had received angry phone calls after the program. Ahdal's
remarks were believed to be relatively moderate, although he had
condemned Mr. Rushdie for his book.
According to the Belgian press,
the double murder might be a settling account within the staff of the
center as well. At the moment of editing this Bulletin, there was not
any evidence for finding out the real motive of the murder.
The Islamic Center and its mosque
are situated near the European Community's headquarters.
For years, two principal actors
of Islamic fundamentalism, Shiite Iranian regime on the one hand and
Sunnite Saudi regime on the other, both have been in a fierce quarrel
for gaining upper hand in the Islamic world.
The Islamic Center of Belgium was
established by the World Islamic League (Rabitat-ul-Alem-ul-Islam), led
by Saudi Arabia, with a view to spread Saudi influence on Moslem
migrant families in Europe. Khomeini's followers have been
contesting the Islamic Center's religious power recognized by the
Belgian Government. Besides, some Middle East countries such as Lebanon
and Turkey have, for a long time, been the scene of a real duel between
the two Islamic powers' agents acting under the guise of diplomat.
(See: Extreme-Right in Turkey, Info-Türk, Brussels, 1988)
AN APPEAL BY A GROUP OF TURKS AND MAGHREBIANS IN BELGIUM
Prior to this murder, a group of
Maghrebians and Turks living in Belgium issued a joint appeal
reproaching Khomeini's call for Rushdie's death and defending the
freedom of expression.
"Salman Rushdie's death will be
the death of our freedoms of opinion and creativity, and the silence an
indignant complicity," said an appeal signed by a group of Turkish and
Maghrebin intellectuals living in Belgium.
Among the first signatories of
this appeal appear journalist Dogan Ozgüden (editor of Info-Türk),
doctor Ilkay Alptekin, sociologist Nuran Cicekciler from Turkey and
engineer Mahfoud Romdani,sociologist Brahim Ameriah, librarian Belgacem
Ben Saad, society manager Sadok Boudoukhane, architects Jamil Daghrir
and Karim Faket, Islamologist Slah Dhaoui, journalist Moncef El Fliti,
social assistants Souad El Hafi and Hayet N'Ciri, artist Mohamed
Enanni, writers Leila Haouari, Hamadi and Ali Serguini, computer
scientist Brahim Lahouel, trade unionist Mohamed Maizi, psychologist
Salima Nacer from Maghrebian countries.