Berlin Wall, the shame of the East, collapsed;
Turkish prisons, the shame of the West,
are still full of political prisoners
IMMEDIATE FREEDOM TO
ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS!
A historical upheaval in the East: the Wall
collapsed, Berlin is no more a prison city. The wave of freedom is
conquering all Eastern countries. A process of democratization which
moves all the peoples of the world to enthusiasm. Already the
integration of Eastern countries such as Hungary, Poland and the GDR
into the big European family is the main subject of the talks of
European leaders. First step in this direction, Hungary has recently
knocked at the door of the Council of Europe.
The irony of circumstances: Turkey, one of the
founders of the Council of Europe and an associate member of the
European Communities is still a prison country. Always its jails are
full of political prisoners; thousands of people are deprived of the
right to travel abroad and hundreds of political opponents abroad
stripped of their nationality. Still martial law tribunals are trying
thousands of people, arrested after the 1980 coup, and State Security
Courts are pursuing journalists, scholars, artists and even secondary
school students for their opinions.
While Eastern Europe is promptly getting rid of
inhuman and antidemocratic practices, Turkey remains a shame to Western
One of the principal authors of this shame, Turgut
Ozal is now the President of the Turkish Republic. He was sworn in as
Turkey's eighth president on November 9, 1989, at a ceremony in
Parliament boycotted by the opposition parties. As Ozal took the
presidential oath, a 101-gun salute was fired in all of Turkey's major
cities. The same day, in a ceremony at the Presidential Palace, Ozal
took over the presidential office from General Evren.
To give the world opinion a new "democratic" image,
Ozal said at his inauguration speech that Turkey should strictly
observe three basic freedoms in order to be counted among the world's
leading nations. He enumerated these as: freedom of thought, freedom of
religious faith and conscience and freedom of enterprise.
"In the process of consolidating democracy every
effort must be made to establish human rights in universal dimensions,"
he said and proposed that a standing human rights committee be set up
in the Turkish Parliament. He also urged the nation to be tolerant and
show mutual respect for the rights of individuals. He concluded his
speech by saying that he would strive for "Turkey to become one of the
most distinguished members of the European Community in the short run."
Only two hours after he assumed the presidential
office, Ozal nominated Yildirim Akbulut, the speaker of the National
Assembly, as the prime minister. He is known for his full allegiance to
Ozal. Akbulut's government consists of most of the ministers already
serving in the Ozal's outgoing government. In a move to balance rival
factions in the Motherland Party (ANAP), the two leaders of the Holy
Alliance, Mehmet Kececiler for the Islamists and Mustafa Tasar for the
Nationalists, were appointed State Secretaries.
One week later later, the new prime minister was
elected the party chairman by the ANAP Extraordinary Congress held on
November 17, 1989. Though another candidate, former Vice-Premier Hasan
Celal Güzel too run for the chairmanship, he could obtain only 382 of
the votes while Akbulut was, thanks to pressure carried out by Ozal on
the party delegates, getting 739 votes.
Now Ozal is in such a position that he can do
whatever he wishes thanks to the presidential powers provided by the
1982 Constitution and the full allegiance of the new government. There
is no more obstacle to suppress antidemocratic articles and practices.
During his first meeting with the new government,
Ozal asked Prime Minister Akbulut to draw up a draft modifying Articles
141, 142 and 163 of the Turkish Penal Code.
Ozal, as an ardent Islamist, has always been a
partisan of the suppression of Article 163 banning religious
organization or propaganda.
As for Articles 141 and 142 banning communist or
separatist organization or propaganda, the Council of Europe and the
European Parliament which have among their members communist deputies
have been insisting that these articles should be lifted for the
normalization of Turco-European relations. Furthermore, since the big
upheaval in the Soviet Union and other Eastern European countries it
has become ridiculous to keep in the Turkish Penal Code such articles
which had been borrowed fifty years ago from Mussolini's Penal Code.
What is more, all of the political parties
represented at the National Assembly, including Ozal's ANAP, seem in
favour of lifting on communist organization and propaganda. Just after
Ozal became president of the Republic, the spokesmen of all these
parties declared during a public debate that they considered Articles
141 and 142 obsolete. Even before this debate, the Social Democratic
Populist Party (SHP) had already proposed to the National Assembly a
bill to lift Articles 141, 142 and 163.
Encouraged by this evolution, the outlawed United
Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP) organizes public meetings though its
two top officials, Nabi Yagci and Nihat Sargin are still in prison.
Many party officials have already returned to Turkey They, except few,
are free and can participate in public meetings. For the first time in
the Turkish history, police does not attempt to prevent the public
meetings of the communist party.
Under these circumstances, the modification of
Articles 141 and 142 and the legalization of the TBKP by Ozal's
administration will surprise nobody in Turkey.
The real question is whether to be content with the
legalization of the TBKP and the release of a few party leaders
remaining in prison or to put an end to all antidemocratic practices
and to free all political prisoners in Turkey.
As a matter of fact, the majority of political
prisoners in Turkey have been condemned or are still being tried by
virtue of Article 146 of the Turkish Penal Code for "attempting to
alter or change or abolish the whole part of the Constitution of the
Turkish Republic and to overthrow the Grand National Assembly." Many of
them have been condemned to or face capital punishment or life-term
There are also many opponents abroad who have been
stripped of Turkish nationality for their "anti-regime activities" in
Europe and face, by virtue of Article 140 of the Turkish Penal Code, a
prison term of not less than five years in the case of returning to the
What is more important, will Articles 141 and 142 of
the Turkish Penal Code be modified so as to legalize the Kurdish
organizations? Thousands of Kurdish political detainees have been
indicted and condemned, by virtue of Paragraph 4 of Article 141 and
Paragraph 3 of Article 142 for founding organizations or making
propaganda for "separatism." It should be reminded that even the main
opposition SHP has recently expelled from its ranks seven Kurdish
deputies for having attended an international conference on Kurdish
question in Paris (See: Page 3).
For a real democratization in Turkey all these
article should immediately be lifted or modified so as to legalize not
only the TBKP, but all left-wing and/or Kurdish organizations.
Accordingly, not a part of political prisoners, but all of them should
immediately be freed.
Otherwise, even if a communist party takes part in
the political fan of the country, Turkey will continue to remain a
shame to Western Europe.
Though Ozal said every effort must be made to
establish human rights in universal dimensions, he immediately
contradicted himself by saying "I shall continue to support our
constitutional institutions." Isn't it this Constitution drawn up by
the military that is the source of all violations of human rights and
AN IMPLICIT "NO" TO TURKISH ADHESION TO THE EEC
Turkey's application for full membership in the
European Communities should be shelved until 1993, a report drawn up by
the EC Commission said. The four-page report, which makes an assessment
of Turkey's application, is expected to be discussed at ministerial
level in December 1989.
Although the report does not close the door
completely on Turkey's request to become a full community member it
lists a number of factors which make the country's integration with EC
The report says Turkey's membership in the Community
would be a political and economic burden for the EC: "Turkey will
hamper the development of market integration in the Community and
constitute an obstacle on the road to political and economic unity.
Turkey's presence in the Community would slow down the decision-making
process in the EC headquarters."
The report lists cultural, political and economic
differences between the Community members and Turkey as the main
stumbling blocks for accepting Turkey as a full member. It says that
Turkey will have a population of 67 million by the year 2000 when one
out of five Europeans will be a Turk. This would require giving Turkey
20 percent representation at the European Parliament. With such a high
representation in the EC legislative body Turkey would have more say in
the Community's affairs than other members, the report said.
With all its cultural and political differences
Turkey should not be expected to behave like a "tame little country"
within the Community, the report said. "Turkey traditionally has a
nationalist disposition which somewhat contradicts the general approach
of the community. Ankara governments do not have a tradition of
political cooperation with other countries."
Furthermore, the report added that Turkey would have
to end its military occupation of northern Cyprus, an associate member
of the EC, before it could become a full member of the Community. Most
Europeans do not accept Turkey as part of a European cultural and
political heritage. They view it as a country with a different culture,
a different religion and one generally backward compared with Europe,
the report said.
Turkey's policy of maintaining close relations with
other Islamic countries sometimes puts it in difficult situations as
seen in the Salman Rushdie affair. Turkey failed to protest as did the
Community members earlier this year when Iran offered a reward for the
person who would murder Rushdie, the author of The Satanic verses, a
book that allegedly desecrated Prophet Mohammed. The report concluded
it would irresponsible for the EC to consider Turkey's full membership
now when the Community is struggling to overcome its own difficult
Jacques Delors' slap in Ozal's face
The report is, in fact, in the same spirit expressed
earlier by Mr. Jacques Delors, chairman of the European Communities
Commission. Just five hours before Ozal's arrival in Strasbourg, on
September 27, 1989, Mr. Delors said, in his address to the
Parliamentary Assembly, that the Community would not accept any new
members before 1993 and, furthermore, it is doubtful they would accept
any members after 1993.
Delors also stated in what was viewed as a slap in
the face to Ozal and the Turkish delegates, that one of the essential
properties of being European, and being in the European Communities,
was coming from a Christian culture.
"I clearly realized this fact, after reading 2,500
pages of books on European culture, that Europe is a product of
Christianity, of Roman law and of Greek humanism," he said.
In response to Delors' statement Ozal said at the
press meeting in Strasbourg that, "Ideas about the European Community
being a Christian community are completely old-fashioned in the 21st
century. If such ideas are supported in the community, then we do not
enter the community. Turkey will never give up being a Moslim country
for the sake of entering the European Community."
Delors' statement has provoked much controversy in
Turkey as to whether religion could be a stumbling block in the way of
Turkey's EC membership.
For calming Turkish public opinion, Mr. Bruno
DeThomas, spokesman for Delors, in an interview to the Turkish Dateline
of Oct 7, 1989, explained that there had been a major misunderstanding
on the issue of religion. "A Turkish journalist asked the chairman if
he meant Turkey could not become an EC member because it was a mainly
Moslem country, Delors told him firmly that this was not what he meant
at all," DeThomas claimed.
COMPARISON WITH 3 EC COUNTRIES
On the other hand, the Turkish Research Center,
which operates independently in Bonn, carried out a research comparing
socio-economic structures in Turkey and the last three EC members:
Greece, Spain and Portugal.
According to the research, while the Turkish
industrial sector held a 22.3 percent share of the gross national
income in 1960, its share increased to 36.2 percent in 1987. The same
figures in Spain showed an increase from 32.8 percent in 1960 to 38.9
percent in 1987, while Greece posted a 22.8 percent industrial sector
share in 1960 that grew to 24.7 percent in 1987.
The sector that lost value as a share of gross
national revenue was agriculture, which dropped from 38 percent to
16.77 percent between 1960 and 1987. This rate in Spain showed a
decline from 22 percent in 1960 to 5.4 percent in 1987. Greece posted a
decline from 20.2 percent to 13.7 percent during the same time frame.
One of the EC's main problems with Turkey's full
membership is the country's rapid population growth. The research
admits that with its 55 million population and 2.7 percent average
annual increase over the last 10 years, Turkey has very high population
growth. "However, while Europe is getting old, Turkey is getting
younger. This might be Turkey's chance in the future to meet a possible
employment shortage in Europe," the research stated.
The average annual population increases over the
last 10 years was 0.6 percent in Spain, 0.7 percent in Portugal and 0.2
percent in Greece. According to the rate of population increase
expectations of the OECD, population growth in Turkey will drop to 0.4
percent by 2040-2050.
PRIVATE SECTOR AND THE EC
In a communique released on behalf of the private
sector, representatives from five industrial bodies declared their aim
to full membership in the European Communities. However, "The Turkish
business does not accept the idea that it should adjust to and become
dependent on the Community's industry and agree to the principles of
its membership before it has become a full EC member," said the
Economic Development Foundation (IKV), Turkish Union
of Chambers and Stock Exchanges (TOBB), Istanbul Chamber of Commerce,
Istanbul Chamber of Industry and Istanbul Commerce Exchange, in the
communique, added: "We are aware that our negotiations with the EC
cannot start before 1993. In the meantime, our best option is to
develop in a way that is compatible with the EC and to prepare for full
Claiming that Turkish custom barriers had come down
rapidly since the country applied for full membership, the communique
concluded: "However, we will not achieve a custom union in the real
sense of the world until we have full membership."
THE KURDISH QUESTION IN INTERNATIONAL PLATFORMS
As the Turkish Army's failure in coping with Kurdish
guerrillas in the Turkish Kurdistan is being admitted by the opposition
and the press, two recent moves in a view to raising the Kurdish
question in international arenas have been a new headache for the
First, an international conference on the subject
"Kurds: Human Rights and Cultural Identity" was held in Paris on
October 14 and 15, 1989, with the participation of many Kurdish and
foreign public figures.
Sponsored by the Paris-based Kurdish Studies
Institute and the the Human Rights Monitoring Foundation of Mrs.
Danielle Mitterrand, wife of the French president, the conference
was attended also by Turkey's eight deputies of Kurdish origin. Ibrahim
Aksoy, the Malatya deputy expelled from SHP earlier this year over
remarks which the party's disciplinary committee interpreted as
favorable to Kurdish separatism, was among the eight deputies.
The participants, at the end of the meeting, adopted
a document claiming to take the Kurdish question to the General
Assembly of the United Nations and to the European institutions and to
set up to this end an organization representing all Kurdish people
living in five countries, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Iran and the Soviet
However, the most radical Kurdish organization of
Turkey, the Workers' Party of Kurdistan (PKK) contested the legitimacy
of the conference in the following terms: "This conference has been
organized by people who have no ties with the people. The organizers of
this conference are those who want to live in the lap of imperialism."
Just after this conference, in a second move, an
organized pro-Kurdish lobby emerged for the first time in the U.S.
Congress promising to take the Kurdish question to international
Ten U.S. congressmen and Mrs. Danielle Mitterrand
took part in a meeting in the Congress on October 24, 1989 organized by
the human rights caucus and co-chaired by Democratic congressmen Tom
Lantos and Republican John Porter.
Mr. Mitterrand said that establishment of an
independent Kurdish state in the Middle East is the choice of the Kurds
themselves: "You may remember that following a proposal by Woodrow
Wilson in 1920, the Treaty of Sevres envisaged giving the Kurds the
right to set up their own national state. However, the Treaty of
Lausanne in 1922 decided otherwise, and the territory occupied by the
indigenous Kurds was divided up among four states: Iran, Iraq, Turkey
"Since that time the Kurds have had to wage a
constant struggle within each of these states for their life, the
existence of their people, in order to preserve all that gives them
their originality. The attacks against their culture and the collective
memory of their people has at times been of unbelievable cruelty," she
She also expressed her criticism of the treatment
Turkey has given to the Iraqi Kurdish refugees: "These people are
totally dependent on what the Turkish authorities decide for them; they
are totally destitute, and they feel forgotten by the rest of the
world; They have already gone through untold suffering."
Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy also spoke out at
the meeting, expressing his determination to come to the aid of the
Kurdish people. "For too long, congress has ignored this tragedy.
Today's briefing is an important first step in raising the
consciousness of congress and the American people about the crisis of
the Kurds," he said.
The reaction of Ankara was so strong to these two
moves that the prosecutor of the State Security Court of Ankara started
a proceeding against the eight deputies. The Social Democratic Populist
Party (SHP) too started on October 17, 1989 a disciplinary action to
expel seven SHP deputies from its ranks for participating in the Paris
conference. SHP leader Erdal Inonu claimed that the deputies had failed
to inform party headquarters that they were taking part in the
The disciplinary move caused fresh disturbances in
the already turbulent opposition party being torn by rival factions. In
self-defense, SHP deputies Mehmet Ali Eren, Kenan Sonmez, Ismail
Hakki Onal, Ahmet Turk, Adnan Ekmen, Salih Sumer and Mahmut Alniak said
their behavior should not have offended party headquarters. Well-known
politicians and academicians on an international level participated at
the conference, the deputies argued.
They said Socialist International of which SHP is a
member, sent representatives to the conference as well.
CONTROVERSY OVER ARMENIAN BILL
The United States Senate Judiciary Committee
endorsed on October 16, 1989 the so-called Armenian bill to establish
April 24 as a day of commemoration for the genocide committed by the
Ottoman regime against the Armenians during World War I. An effort by
Democratic Senator Howard M. Metzenbaum to change the wording of the
bill and omit the reference to genocide was foiled by a vote of eight
In retaliation to this endorsement, the Turkish
Government considered a number of measures, including the building of a
monument in Ankara to commemorate the massacre of American Indians.
"If the erroneous step taken by the Judiciary
Committee is repeated in the Senate Turkey will put forward its
reaction actively," said Turkish Foreign Minister Mesut Yilmaz.
Sources close to the foreign ministry said the
Defense and Economic Cooperation Agreement (DECA) under which the US
military bases and installations in Turkey operate is considered
Ankara's main trump card to exert pressure on Washington. DECA will
expire in the fall of 1990. Ankara will demand from the United States
the signing of a treaty to replace DECA which would require endorsement
of the US Congress.
The Foreign Ministry is considering to insert into
the text of this treaty a stipulation saying that the signatories
cannot adopt measures or resolutions detrimental to the national honor
and interests of the other party.
Although President Bush's administration expressed
its opposition to Senator Doll's bill in the judiciary committee, the
feeling in Ankara is that the White House has not been sufficiently
active in trying to block the legislation in the Congress.
ARMENIANS IN SOVIET UNION
In Soviet Armenia, the local legislative assembly
decided to set up an ad hoc committee to challenge the validity of the
Soviet-Turkish border. The work undertaken by the committee might lead
to territorial claims on Turkey by Soviet Armenia.
Reports reaching Ankara from Yerevan, the capital of
Soviet Armenia, said the decision was made during the last week of
September 1989 According to the decision, the committee will be
studying the Moscow Agreement of March 16, 1921, which delineated
Turkey's present borders with the Soviet Union. The agreement was
signed shortly after the Soviets consolidated their power in Armenia,
foiling attempts by Armenian nationalists to set up an independent
The terms of the Moscow Agreement were disputed by
Armenia last year because of disturbances in the Nagorno Karabagh
district which is under the administration of Soviet Azerbaijan.
As the number of the Turks who went back to Bulgaria
because of their disappointment in Turkey was passing over 50,000, the
Turkish Government agreed to hold a meeting at the foreign ministers'
level in a view to breaking the impasse in relations between two
First, Turkey reversed a decision not to participate
at the environmental meeting of the Conference on Security and
Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) in Sofia. A low-level Turkish delegation
attended the meeting. Following Ankara's acquiescence, Sofia announced
that it was ready for a meeting between the foreign ministers of the
two countries. The session is set for October 30, 1989 in Kuwait. The
meeting came as a result of mediation efforts by Sheikh Jabir al-Ahmad
al-Jabir as-Sabah of Kuwait in Ankara and Sofia last month.
Despite the agreement to have the foreign ministers
met, both the Turkish and Bulgarian delegations lashed out at each
other, sometimes using expressions rarely found in normal diplomatic
"Holding the CSCE environmental meeting in Sofia is
a black stain in the history of the cooperation process in Europe,
because it is the capital of a country which has a complete disregard
for its commitments to the conference," said the head of the Turkish
delegation. Following these remarks, Bulgarian chief delegate Radoukov
said the Balkan nations suffered for centuries under the yoke of the
Ottomans. "Turkey is one of the most frequent violators of human
rights. II am talking about the Kurds in Turkey. A country with such a
human rights record now emerges before us as the champion of these
rights," he said.
MONOPOLIES IN THE TURKISH PRESS
The risks of monopolization and oligopoly in the
Turkish press has become one of the main concerns of the human rights
circles in Turkey. Monopolization in the press captured public
attention when Turkish-Cypriot businessman Asil Nadir, also the owner
of the Polly Peck Plc. in Britain, first bought the daily newspaper
Gunaydin and the Veb Ofset Group, thus owning the dailies Tan, Ulus,
Sakarya and Yeni Meram. Next, the businessman purchased Gun Holding,
publisher of the daily Gunes newspaper.
Monopolization fears deepened further among the
press and publishers when Nadir made a third move this year to buy
Gelisim Publications. He thus became publisher of the weekly and
monthly magazines, Nokta, Ekonomik Panorama, Gelisim Spor, Bando, Ev
Kadini, Kadinca, Erkekce, Marie-Claire, Mimarlik, Turist-Pasaport,
Hibir, and the so-called Beyaz Dizi (White Series), a series of Barbara
Cartland-like romance novels.
Nadir's wealth in the press sectors of Turkey and
Cyprus is estimated at $200 million.
Asil Nadir Group has recently obtained the privilege
of printing the Yellow Pages of the Turkish telephone.
The expansion of Asil Nadir's control over the
Turkish press has been supported to a great extent by Prime Minister
Özal as well as General Kenan Evren.
Erkan Gürvit, the son in law of General Evren, has
recently been engaged as chief advisor of Asil Nadir's press group in
Turkey. Gürvit, was a leading figures of the Intelligence Agency of
Turkey (MIT) and involved in many plots dressed by this organization
until his recent retirement.
On the other hand, the Chairman of the Journalists'
Association of Turkey, Nezih Demirkent too works as counsellor in the
service of the Asil Nadir Group.
The expansion of Asil Nadir is not limited to Turkey
and Cyprus, it extends its operations of taking over big companies
throughout the world.
Polly Peck Plc. has recently bought world famous
fresh fruit and vegetable producer Del Monte for $875 million. It has
concluded an accord in Japan for purchasing Sansui.
The Sunday Telegraph reports that Asil Nadir is
carrying out talks with the British press group Lonrho for taking over
According to the daily Cumhuriyet of October 9,
1989, the three principal press groups own for the timebeing 76.5
percent of the daily newspaper circulation.
The three press groups also own about all of the
A recent research carried out jointly by the
Communications Research Association (ILAD) and the Turkish Social,
Economic and Political Research Foundation (TUSES) concludes that the
State must play an important role in limiting such purchases, which
could result in monopoly or oligopoly in the press, just as it does in
other sectors of industry.
The State has not always supported that would help
maintain the independence of publishing groups, the report notes, a
lapse which has allowed more movement toward monopolization of the
Paper prices are set by the State, the report notes,
and the press does not enjoy paper discounts as it did before the
1980s. Price hikes increase the cost of publication, and those
newspapers that cannot meet increased costs are vulnerable to buy-out
by larger firms, the report establishes.
PERSECUTION OF THE MEDIA
5.10, a photoreporter of the
newspaper Inanis was arrested for having shot the photos of a class at
the Anadolu High School in Karadeniz Ereglisi, without an authorization
by the School director. Reporter Gunay Ciftci will be tried at the
State Security Court of Ankara for disrespecting the freedom of
8.10, Erdogan Yasar Kopan,
responsible editor of the monthly Yeni Cozum was sentenced to a
18-month prison term for an article praising some acts considered
"crime" by law. The sentence was later commuted to a fine of 2 million
Turkish Liras (about $1,000).
10.10, in Istanbul, the October
issue of the monthly 10 Eylul was confiscated by the State Security
Court for communist propaganda.
18.10, the responsible editor of
the weekly magazine of humour, Girgir, was indicted in Istanbul for a
cover on the subject of hungerstrikers in prisons. Suleyman Yildiz is
liable to a prison term of up to six years.
20.10, seven students of a
vocational school in Diyarbakir were deported to Ankara for not having
attended some religious ceremonies organized by the school direction.
22.10, in Samsun, five university
students were taken into custody as they were, at home, looking at
Yilmaz Guney's Cannes prize-winner film Yol, which is banned in Turkey.
24.10, the Control Commission of
the Culture Ministry declared two more musicassettes "harmful to law
and order and public interests": Gun Ola by the Group Yorum and
Yikilasi istanbul by folk singer Emekci.
25.10, the weekly review 2000e
Dogru was confiscated for having published an interview with the PKK
Secretary General Abdullah Ocalan. Beside, the public prosecutor
started a legal proceeding against Dogu Perincek, chief editor of the
weekly, who made the interview.
27.10, the Governor of Istanbul
banned two concerts by Zulfu Livaneli on grounds that the public
attending the concert might cry some slogans. The Governor of Ankara
too banned a concert by Ahmet Kaya, claiming that it might incite
university students of the capital city to riots.
A STUDENT SHOT BY POLICE
Police wounded a student on
October 12, at the Hacettepe University in Ankara. Murat Erdogan was
shot in the neck by the police at a bus stop without any warning. Left
there wounded for three hours, he was then taken to hospital for
Thirty university students in
Istanbul sponsored a one-day hunger strike on October 18, to protest
the shooting and the ongoing detention of several dozen students in
According to the strikers, open
police attacks against students started during the 1988-89 academic
year, when a policeman fired into the air at Yildiz University in
Istanbul to discourage a demonstration. Now, the protesters claim,
policemen are targeting students wherever confrontations occur.
ARRESTS AT DEV-GENC ANNIVERSARY
On October 9, 1989, police
detained 69 people for having made political demonstration during a
soirée celebrating the anniversary of the foundation of the
Revolutionary Youth organization (DEV-GENC) in Istanbul.
Among the detainees are also the
nine members of the musical group Yorum who had recently been released
following a 63-day detention in Mersin. The musicians announced that
they were tortured during police custody and started a hunger-strike.
On the other hand, on October 7,
thousands of people made demonstration in Istanbul for commemorating
four left-wing militants assassinated one year ago by security forces.
ARRESTS AND TRIALS IN OCTOBER
4.10, the public prosecutor
opened a trial at the State Security Court of Izmir against six alleged
members of the United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP). Each defendant
faces a prison term of up to 10 years.
5.10, the trial of eight members
of the Revolutionary Left (DEV-SOL) at the State Security Court of
Istanbul with the condemnation of all defendants to prison terms of up
to 36 years.
6.10 in Istanbul, police arrested
five alleged members of the Revolutionary Workers and Peasants Party of
6.10, in Istanbul, five alleged
militants of the Union of Revolutionary Communists of Turkey (TIKB).
9.10, in Istanbul, police raided
the offices of three lawyers, defense attorneys of the TBKP officials
and seized some documents related to political trials.
17.10, the public prosecutor
announced the arrest of 25 alleged members of the revolutionary Way
(Dev-Yol) in Izmir.
19.10, the trial of eleven women
accused of carrying out an unauthorized demonstration in protest
against the ill-treatment in prisons, began at a criminal court of
220,000 TURKISH REFUGEES IN EUROPE
According to the daily Milliyet
of October 17, 1989, the number of the Turkish citizens who have asked
political asylum in Western European countries since the September 12,
1980 military coup d'état has already reached to 220,000.
Of these asylum seekers, 129,0987
are in the FRG, 33,366 in Switzerland and 24,670 in France.
Only in the first eight months of
this year, 32,689 Turkish citizens arrived at European countries for
seeking asylum. The number for the last three years is estimated at
SUICIDE OF A KURDISH REFUGEE
Repressive measures taken by the
British Governments for preventing new arrivals from Turkey has
recently caused to the suicide of a Kurdish refugee.
A group of Kurdish refugees who
arrived at England five months were ordered to leave the country and
many of them were incarcerated in cells at the Heathrow Airport.
In protest against this decision,
two of the detainees, Siho Iyiguven and Dogan Aslan, saying set fire to
themselves on October 7. Though Aslan was saved by a medical
intervention, Iyiguven died a few days later.
Thereupon, about 80 Kurdish
refugees kept under custody started a hungerstrike in their cells. On
October 28, about 3,000 people made a 15-kilometer protest march
against the decision to expel the Kurds from England.
A delegation representing the
demonstrators left a black wreath in front of Downing Street 10, the
residence of Prime Minister Thatcher.
EUROPEAN COMMISSION'S MISSION
Since January 27, 1987, the date of Turkey's
recognizing the jurisdiction of the European Human Rights Commission,
250 people have applied to this international commission for seeking
justice. Of these demands, only 46 were considered receivable, while
the others were being turned down on grounds that they were not opened
in conformity with the conditions foreseen in the Convention.
One of the received cases belongs to the two
arrested officials of the United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP). Nabi
Yagci and Nihat Sargin, jailed since November 1987 when they returned
voluntarily from exile, complained to the European Human Rights
Commission that they could not obtain any result from their legal
action against policemen who tortured them under custody.
Three judges from Britain, Switzerland and
Luxembourg came to Ankara to get the testimonies of people involved in
Nusret Demiral, the chief prosecutor of the Ankara
State Security Court, refused on October 18, 1989, to be questioned by
members of the European Human Rights Commission. He reportedly said he
would resign his post as prosecutor rather than testify before the
GDF CHAIRMAN CRITICIZES TBKP
The interference of the United
Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP) in the Turkish migrant organizations
has been made object of criticism by Mr. Hasan Ozcan, Chairman of the
GDF (Federation of Turkish Migrant Organizations in Federal Germany).
In a communique he released after
his resignation from this post, Ozcan accused the leaders of the
United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP) of having used this federation
for political considerations.
Ozcan was beforehand the chairman
of the FIDEF, a migrant organization near to the Communist Party of
Turkey (TKP). After the merge of this party with the Workers' Party of
Turkey (TIP), the new TBKP's officials, according to Ozcan, forced the
FIDEF to merge with DIBAF (Union for Democracy), another migrant
organization near to TIP. Under this pressure, FIDEF and DIBAF
dissolved themselves and set up a new organization, GDF, near to the
Ozcan has accused the TBKP
leaders of not having respected pluralism and democratic functioning
within a migrant organization and said: "I will never again be in an
association deprived of pluralism and democratic functioning and will
never support such actions."
He also stated that he is ashamed
of not having reacted promptly against the political interference in
the organization that he led.
13 TRADE UNIONISTS IN THE DOCK
The Chairman of the Wood Workers' Union (Agac-Is),
Mehmet Ozturk, and 12 other officials were indicted, on October 6,
1989, for having incited 200 workers to unauthorized actions
during a strike at the State Wood Factory in Demirkoy, which has
recently ended. All unionists face heavy prison terms.
A KURDISH PEASANT TORTURED
The daily Hurriyet reported on October 23, 1989,
that a Kurdish peasant, Ismail Keskin was tortured at the Army
Headquarters in Hakkari for not having accepted to enter the Village
Protectors, a special force set up for dealing with PKK guerrillas.
After the torture, Keskin's wounds were treated at the State Hospital
SAUDI DIPLOMAT MAIMED
A timebomb attack staged on October 16, 1989,
against the Saudi Arabian Military Attache's office in Ankara left a
Saudi diplomat, Abdurrahman Al Shrawi, severely maimed without any
clues to the identity of his terrorist assailants. Possibilities were
reported that the bomb had been planted by an Iran-supported terrorist
organization, with suspicions also focused on the Islamic Jihad
Ankara State Security Court Prosecutor Ulkü Coskun
said, "There might be some countries' intelligence services or
organizations which have adverse relations with Saudi Arabia." He
recalled that Abdulgani Badawi, deputy clerk of the Saudi Arabian
Embassy, was slain in front of his house last year and his murderers
have not been found yet.
Turkish police authorities said that terrorist
organizations supported by Iran and Islamic Jihad in particular have
made a decision to take action against Saudi Arabian diplomats; "Ten
Iranians were executed recently for their role in the Hajj (pilgrimage)
incident in Saudi Arabia two years ago. After this, first Al Badawi in
Ankara and later another Saudi Arabian diplomat in the Far East, were
killed. The number of victims has increased to three. We think that the
attacks will continue from now on," officials said.
RISE OF PROSTITUTION IN TURKEY
A former Minister of Justice, Mr.
Sevket Kazan, claimed at a meeting in Sinop on October 9, 1989 that the
number of the women who have to prostitute for earning their life had
climbed to over 1 million in Turkey.
According to the daily Milliyet
of October 8, 1989, a survey carried out by the Aegean University
estimates this number at 338,000. At
least 20,000 women in Istanbul work as "call-girl". 76.9 percent of
these women have chosen the prostitution as a profession because of
The Ministry of Interior
announced that 35,800 women were carrying official permission for
exercising this profession.
CONTROVERSY ON ISLAM IN EUROPE
While the controversy is
developing in France on the question of Moslim girls insisting on to
keep the head covered in school classes, Belgium too, for its part,
found itself before a double defy coming from the Moslim community of
First, at the beginning of the
new school year, the Islamic and Cultural Center (CIC) announced the
opening of the first Islamic primary school in Belgium and demanded
Belgian authorities to recognize and subsidize this school.
According to the Belgian
legislation, all religious communities have the right to open their own
schools and get subventions from the State for financing these schools.
Actually, the catholic, protestant and Jewish communities run their own
schools by the side of secular schools of municipalities.
However, the CIC's move has given
rise to a controversy and the Belgian public opinion has been divided
on the issue. Some political leaders come against an Islamic school set
up by the CIC, arguing that this center is not an independent and
democratic institution of the Moslims of Belgium, but a Trojan horse of
the reactionary Saudi regime.
In fact, the CIC had been set up
by the World Islamic League (Rabitat-ul-Alem-ul-Islam) with a view to
spreading a fundamentalist version of Islamic education in Belgium.
This center is not administrated by a body elected by the Moslim people
of Belgium, but a group of clergymen appointed and paid by the Saudi
Info-Turk has already published
two surveys on the influence of the Saudi regime on Turkey as well as
the Turkish immigration in two pamphlets, one in English, Extreme-Right
in Turkey, and the other in French, Integrisme Islamique and
But some democratic organizations
argue that an Islamic school, whosoever behind the initiative, should
be recognized and subsidized as other religious schools for the sake of
respect to the freedom of belief. They also criticize Belgian
authorities of not having taken necessary steps to allow the Moslims of
Belgium to set up its own autonomous clerical body and of having
recognized the CIC, up to now, as the only authority in the matter of
naming religious teachers to the Belgian schools attended by Moslim
Two municipalities of Brussels
have banned Islamic lessons in their schools. For the municipality of
Schaerbeek this ban is purely an outcome of its xenophobic and racist
policies. As for Saint-Gilles its mayor Charles Picqué justifies his
decision to ban Islamic lessons with the his opposition to the Saudi
penetration into the Moslim community of Belgium. What is the more
important is the fact that Mr. Charles Picqué has recently become the
chief of executive for the Regional Administration of
The controversy on Islam has got
a new dimension at the end of October 1989 when some Moslim girls came
to schools with the head covered. The Belgian opinion has been divided
on this matter as well. While some political leaders were defending the
idea to force the Moslim girls to remove the cover when they come to
the school, some others argue that such a move will be incompatible
with the respect to individual freedoms.
As for the CIC, its chief imam
has promptly reacted by saying that keeping the head covered is a
prerequisite of the Islam even for the young schoolgirls.
Although the partisans of the
headcover are a little minority within the Islamic community of
Belgium, it seems that this issue will be getting more complicated
because of the fundamentalist attitude of the CIC on the one hand, and
on the other, the provocative attitude of xenophobic circles who
exploit this issue for inciting the Christian people of Belgium against
RACIST AND XENOPHOBIC ACTS
Parallel to the rise of
extreme-right Republican Party in German elections, the racist and
xenophobic have considerably increased in last six months:
2.4, in Hamburg, unidentified
assailants volleyed a Turkish shop and wounded one person.
3.4, in a club at Landshut
(Germany), a young German stabbed five foreigners of whom a Turk.
4.4, in Nijmegen (Holland), a
Turkish mosque was attacked by a racist group. The material loss is
estimated at 50,000 Florins.
17.4, in Hamburg, racist groups
distributed tracts saying "German People, wake up and do your duty!
Each German killing a Turk will be rewarded!"
20.4, about 2,000 immigrant
workers at the Volkswagen Factory in Kassel (Germany) raised their
voice against humiliation by the German administration.
21.4, in West Berlin, racist
groups attacked a Turkish graveyard and broke 38 gravestones. Besides,
on the occasion of the anniversary of Hitler's birth, they distributed
in Turkish quarters some tracts saying "Hitler lives. Germany belongs
25.4, in West Berlin, a group of
Skinheads attacked Turkish youths. Same day, in Neumünster, 20 Turkish
youths were assailed by a group of some 100 German racists.
27.4, in Hamburg, a Turkish
coffee was set on fire by unidentified persons. A Turkish couple were
wounded during the fire.
28.4, racist groups set on fire a
Turkish supermarket in Hamburg and a Turkish shop in Frankfurt. This
was a second attack in a short time for the latter.
7.5, in West Berlin, a group of
Turkish immigrants were assailed by German racists. A Turkish worker
9.5, in Stuttgart, a group of
Skinheads attacked foreigners attending a feast. Two policemen were
wounded as they were trying to stop the clash.
10.5, in Köln, German racists
attacked the class of Turkish Language and Culture at the Gemeinsam
Grundschule. They destroyed a portrait of Ataturk and a Koran printed
in German. They also painted "Turks, Go Home!" on walls and suspended a
portrait of Hitler.
14.5, in West Berlin, a 24-year
old Turkish worker, Ufuk Sahin, was dragged to death by a German.
18.5, in Hamburg, a hotel
inhabited by political refugees was set on fire by unidentified
persons. The members of a Turkish refugee family were gravely wounded.
26.5, in West Berlin, the
apartment of Turkish boxer Vedat Akova, who had been for a certain time
receiving calls of menace, was sacked by unidentified persons.
10.6, in Offenbach (FRG), a
building inhabited by Turkish families was set on fire.
14.6, in West Berlin, Skinheads
attacked immigrants after a football match and dragged a Turkish youth.
29.6, in Köln (FRG), Skinheads
assailed a Turkish woman and her two children, by shouting "Turks, Out!"
30.6, in Essen (FRG), a 16-year
old Turkish boy, Kemal Cipiloglu, was shot dead by police when he was
being chased after a theft of car.
28.7, a Turkish detainee, Ibrahim
Bayraktar, was found dead in his cell at the city prison of Stadelheim
in Münich. Police is suspected to kill him during interrogation.
24.8, in Antwerpen (Belgium), a
Turkish mosque was set on fire in early morning by unidentified
28.8, in Zürich, a Turkish
mosque, built 20 years ago, was set on fire by unidentified persons.
29.8, in the town of Bergedorf in
Hamburg, a group of Skinheads attacked Turks during a street feast.
30.8, in the town of Charvieu
Chauagneux (France), a Turkish mosque was set on fire as some people
were praying inside. Though the mayor promised to build another
mosque 60 kilometers far from the town, the National Front of Le Pen
provokes the population against the construction of a new mosque.
1.9, in Herne (FRG), the Neo-Nazi
groups distributed some tracts signed "Group SA" calling the people to
prevent Turkish children from going to school. The local school was
opened under strict police control for protecting Turkish
12.9, in Hannover, about 50
Skinheads attacked immigrants. Two policemen and six people were
wounded during the clash.
17.9, the daily Milliyet reports
that the Skinheads threaten Turkish families by telephone calls, saying
that they would be exterminated if they do not leave Germany within a
8.10, at the railway station Wald
in Zurich, some 10 Skinheads attacked on a group of Turks and wounded a
Turkish woman, Fatma Yavuz, and many Turkish youngsters.