10 YEARS OF THE MILITARIST "DEMOCRACY"
On September 12, 1990, the people of Turkey will
observe with indignation, for the 10th time, the black anniversary of
the Turkish general's coup of 1980.
The putsch of September 12 was a ferocious attack on
the acquired democratic rights and freedoms, setting loose an
unprecedented State terrorism marked mainly by the arrest of more than
630,000 people, mass trials, executions, tortures, dissolving of the
Parliament, banning of political parties, trade unions, associations
and newspapers and the impoverishment of the working people.
It was also the beginning of of a period during
which Turkey has been turned into a military power in the region with a
growing military-industrial complex. The United States has been the
principal supporter of the military coup and the militarisation of the
country with a view to having a militarily strong ally in the areas
away from NATO's traditional battlefields, more precisely in the Middle
The 10th anniversary of the coup coincides with
Turkey's direct involvement in the Gulf Crisis under the pressure of
the United States.
THE STATE OF WAR
The current regime "à la turque", despite the
holding a few elections since 1983, is still characterized by the
constant violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms.
- Although martial law was lifted, state of
emergency reigns in the southeastern provinces of the country where the
regional governor has, by the government decrees adopted in April 1990,
been empowered to use all repressive measures such as closing down
publications and associations, deporting anti-establishment people and
banning all meetings, demonstrations and strikes.
- Using the Gulf Crisis as a pretext, Özal
administration resorts to every means for proclaiming a state of war in
a view to reinforcing State terrorism.
- Innumerable mass or individual trials continue
before State Security Courts. Furthermore, some military tribunals set
up by the junta still continue to try thousands of people despite the
lifting of martial law.
- Turkish prisons are still full of political
detainees. According to the recent data given by the Justice Ministry
on July 8, 1990, the total number of detainees in Turkish prisons is
46,492. Of them 39,311 were purging their prison terms while 16,981
were under arrest waiting for the conclusion of their trials. The
number of those who are in prison for political reasons is 3,606.
- Tribunals still pronounce capital punishment
against political people and Turkey remains the only European country
which keeps this inhuman penalty in its legislation. On July 21, 1990,
the number of the capital punishments transmitted by the higher court
to the Grand National Assembly for ratification reached to 275. Of the
condemned, 138 are from the Left and 28 from the Right. In addition to
this, more than 500 deaths sentences are still being dealt by the Court
of Cassation and public prosecutors continue to claim death sentences
at State Security Courts.
- As a novelty of the Özal period, tens of children
have been brought before tribunals for political crimes, and recently,
on July 18, 1990, public prosecutor claimed death sentence for three
Kurdish children aged 11,12 and 14.
- Daily practice of torture in interrogation centres
and inhuman treatment of political detainees in prisons are still the
object of complaints by Amnesty International and other human rights
- The number of the Turkish nationals asked for
political asylum in foreign countries since the military coup of
September 12, 1980 until April 1990 climbed to 270,000. Of these
refugees 161,000 fled Turkey after 1986.
- About 14,000 self-exiled people have been deprived
of Turkish nationality and the government does not take any initiative
to abolish this inhuman practice as the East European countries are
embracing their former dissidents.
- Political rights of many left-wing and/or Kurdish
leaders who have been sentenced for their opinions are still suspended,
while the right-wing leaders such as neo-fascist Türkes are taking part
in political life and heading their new parties.
- Since the fascist articles 141 and 142 of the
Turkish Penal Code are still in force, those Socialist and/or Kurdish
people who have escaped any condemnation in the past and attempt today
to set up legal political parties are subjected to pressures and
- National, cultural and religious rights of the
Kurdish population and Christian minorities are not respected.
Recently, on July 30, 1990, Prime Minister Akbulut said: "There are no
Kurds in Turkey. The people who live in Turkey are Turks. We shall not
allow Turkey to be divided." The Turkish Kurdistan is under the
occupation of two thirds of the Turkish Army's troops and is subject to
state of emergency under the exceptional rule of a "super-governor."
- Social and trade union rights, as admitted by the
ILO, are still extremely restricted.
- The progressive trade union centre DISK is still
excluded from labour relations and its leading members still face heavy
prison terms at the Military Court of Cassation.
- Journalists are constantly harassed by the state
security courts and left-wing publications are often confiscated and
banned. Recently, on the occasion of the Press Day of July 24,
journalists associations made public that 32 journalists condemned by
military or state security courts are still in prisons, purging a total
of 3,315-year imprisonment. Besides, 13 journalists are being searched
by police for arrest.
- Only in 1989, prosecutors opened 394 legal
pursuits against journalists, of which 183 at criminal courts. They
face a total of 4,000-year imprisonment. In June, two periodicals were
closed down definitely by the virtue of the Decree No.424 and 18 other
reviews can no more be published because of the pressure exerted on
- Academic autonomy has not yet been restored and
univesities are still subject to the barrack discipline of the Higher
Educatiuon Council (YÖK), set up by the junta.
- More than 1.6 million people are still recorded as
"suspect." They are still deprived of the right to work in a public
service or to travel abroad.
All these facts show that the wounds opened during
the three years (1980-83) of the military dictatorship are still very
far from being healed.
TO TURKEY IN
THE GULF CRISIS
Turkey has captured international media attention in
August by halting the loading of Iraqi oil and opening its airbases to
US aircrafts just after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait. In fact, together
with the Great Britain, Turkey has been one of the two NATO members who
have hastily taken an active part in the application of the US plans
related to the Gulf. The Western newspapers have been full of praise
for Özal's crisis management.
However, Özal's all opponents in the country, as
well from the Left as from the Right, accuse him of having put national
interests in jeopardy. Critics say he has sacrificed too much in the
short term to protect US interests in expectation of problematical
long-term returns. He has also been charged with indulging in
self-promotion and being carried away by the praise lavished on him by
It is not at all astonishing to see Özal giving
priority to the US interests in the detriment of the national ones. It
is the United States that has, since the September 12, 1980 Coup,
played the greatest role in determining Turkey's foreign policy and in
keeping pro-American figures such as Özal at the head of the State.
In fact it is the United States that had pushed the
Turkish generals in 1980 to take over the country's administration in a
view to having more easily implemented the plans of the IMF and
the Pentagon in Turkey.
Until 1980, one of the tenets of the Turkish foreign
policy was to keep clear of trouble spots and hold Turkey's involvement
in international conflicts to the lowest possible level, a tenet
engendered by the events which drew Turkey into World War I.
In 1914, three pro-German generals -Enver, Talat and
Cemal- leading the Ittihad-i Terakki (Union and Progress) Party which
had run the Ottoman Empire, went along with a German ploy which led
Turkey into the war. This war ended in disaster for the empire.
The Republic of Turkey was built on the ruins of the
Ottoman Empire only after four years of fighting against the Western
Turkey's second president Ismet Inönü, the father of
Erdal Inönü -leader of the main opposition SHP- has always been lauded
for keeping the country out of World War II.
One of the major mistakes of the post-Inönü period
was Turkey's siding with the French and Americans against Arab nations
in the 1950s. During the Lebanon Crisis the Menderes Government
allowed the United States to use Turkish air bases. At the United
Nations, Turkey voted against the Algerian nationalist movement.
In the 1960s when Turkey became aware of the
importance of Arab oil it tried hard to put its relations with the Arab
nations on a normal footing. But the Arabs never forgot the position
Turkey took during the 1950s. From 1960 up to 1980, all governments had
carefully escaped any pro-American move in the Middle East which might
bother Arab countries.
After the Oil Crisis in the 1970s, the United States
seemed eager to put an end to Turkey's policy of prudence. Especially
the closing down of all US military bases and installations in Turkey
by the Demirel Government in a retaliation to the embargo on the
deliverance of US made arms to Turkey was a real headache of the
Pentagon. Although social-democrat premier Ecevit reopened in October
1978 the bases when the US Congress lifted the arms ban on Turkey, a
permanent status for all US and NATO bases and installations had been
confronted with a strong opposition of democratic forces. After the
ultimatum of the pro-American Turkish generals on January 2, 1980 the
Turco-American Defense Cooperation Agreement (DECA) was initialled.
A report entitled "Turkey's Problems and Prospects:
Implications for US Interests", issued by the US Congress on March 3,
1980, said: "...Turkey and the United States still have important
issues to resolve between themselves in the important area of defense
cooperation. Turkey's value as a NATO ally and partner of the United
States in helping stability and security in the eastern Mediterranean
and Middle East has been accentuated by the recent upheaval in Iran and
the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Successful resolution of these
matters would permit Turkey to assume once again an effective role in
protecting the vital security interests of NATO and the free world in
an increasingly volatile region of the globe."
It is the September 12, 1980 Coup that, eliminating
all democratic and peace-loving forces in the country, cleared the way
for an absolute US military hegemony on Turkey. One of the first thinks
that the 5-man junta did was the ratification of the Defense
Cooperation Agreement (DECA).
The Gulf and Middle East question was discussed to a
great extent between General Kenan Evren and US Secretary of State
Haig, during the latter's visit to Turkey on May 14, 1982.
At the time Turkey was still suffering from the consequences of the Oil
Crisis and was obliged to maintain good relations with oil-producing
Arab countries. Haig was informed that Turkey could deal the Middle
East Problems, not bilaterally with the United States, but within the
within the NATO framework.
A few days later, on the suggestion of the United
States, the Ministerial Council of NATO, held on May 17-18, 1982 in
Luxembourg, declared in its final communiqué that "Some members of the
NATO can take certain measures for defending any region out of the NATO
zone." This was a green light to bilateral cooperation between Turkey
and the USA, and to a US military intervention to the Gulf area.
The summit of NATO held on June 10, 1982, in Bonn,
confirmed the "common interest in the security, stability and sovereign
independence of the countries outside the NATO area" and readiness of
the members of the Alliance to "contribute either directly or
indirectly" to ensuring them. Having taken the US Rapid Deployment
Force under its aegis, the NATO Summit authorized Turkey to open her
territories to this force. And on October 7, 1982, it is the first time
that the US Rapid Deployment Force took part in the NATO manoeuvre
code-named "Determination 82" carried out in Turkey.
On October 31, 1982, Turkey and the United States
reached an agreement to improve and modernize the Turkish air bases and
facilities for use by US Forces "in time of major crisis or war."
On November 29, 1982, Turkey and the United States
signed in Brussels a new agreement stipulating to build new airfields
in Turkey and to give the USA the right of military storage on Turkish
soil. In the meantime, it was announced in Washington that the USA had
set up a new military command in the Middle East for defending US
interests in the Gulf Area and Indian Ocean.
On February 1, 1986, The Wall Street Journal
reported that Turkey's strategic importance had grown since the
construction of new pipelines which start from Iraq and run to the
Mediterranean Sea by passing through Turkey's south-eastern
territories. These new pipelines had also decreased the strategic
importance of the Iranian Gulf. While 41 percent of the oil exported to
Western countries were being sent from the Gulf ten years ago, in 1986
this had fallen to 15 percent. The newspaper also described these new
pipelines as "the major supply line of NATO." (See: Info-Türk,
Turco-American Relations after the Coup, Brussels 1988)
If, today, the USA rushed to the Gulf Area, it is
not for the sake of defending Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, but for
protecting US oil interests in the region.
As for Ozal's support to this intervention, he is
the USA's man-on-the-spot and he cannot act against the Pentagon's
expectation. It is the USA that had assured his staying in the
government after the September 12, 1980 Coup. Prior to the coup,
he was already economic brain behind the austerity government of
Demirel, charged with putting in force the drastic economic measures
imposed by the IMF and the World Bank. The Financial Times of September
13, 1980 reported: "Mr. Özal's fate will be a pointer to whether IMF
and World Bank relations will continue smoothly with Turkey." In fact,
in the new military government, Özal was kept as Vice-premier while
Demirel was being sent to prison.
When the military organized first legislative
elections in 1983, it was the USA that encouraged Özal to set up a
political party and gave all support to obtain absolute majority in the
new parliament. (See: Info-Türk, Black Book on the Militarist
"Democracy" in Turkey, Brussels, 1986).
Besides, Özal's family has very close relations,
both economically and ideologically, with the Saudi Arabia,
Kuwait and and the United Arab Emirates. Turgut Özal and his brother
Korkut Özal were among those young technocrats of Turkey who were won
over in 1960s by the Saudi Arabia in a view to propagating Saudi
Fundamentalism in Turkey. His two brothers, Korkut Özal and Yusuf
Bozkut Özal, are currently at the head of many joint ventures set up in
Turkey with Saudi investments. (See: Info-Türk, Extreme-Right in
Turkey, Brussels 1988).
No doubt, an old dream of the Turkish expansionist
circles too pushes Özal administration to take adventurist steps.
Already four years ago, the daily Milliyet of October 16, 1986,
referring to reliable sources, reported: "More than one million Turks
live in Mosoul and Kirkuk regions of Iraq. At the beginning of the
National Liberation War (1919), these regions figured inside the
borders claimed by the national liberation movement. But, after the
war, this question could not be resolved in a favourable way because of
Turkey's weakness at the time, and the Mosoul and Kirkuk regions were
left to Great Britain. However, Turkey historically has right to these
What will be the cost of this adventurist policy to
Already, the daily Cumhuriyet of August 17, 1990
estimates that Turkey's losses at 3 billion dollars: Iraq's debts: $753
million, exports: $600 million, pipeline revenues: $250 million,
transport revenues: $500 million, Turkish business in Iraq and
Kuwait: $250 million, Rise of oil costs: $800 million. It should be
added this the rise of military expenditures and their direct or
indirect effects on the inflation and unemployment rates.
That is why all Turkish opposition parties, both
from the left and the right, unanimously protest Özal's adventurist
stand and try to obstruct further steps in the detriment of Turkish
interests. The reaction is so great that, in a closed session on August
12, the National Assembly refused to give the government an
unconditional mandate to declare war. The bill which was later passed
by Parliament gives the government authority to use the armed forces
only if Turkey is attacked.
"Özal has been praised in the
Western media but at the cost of great sacrifices by Turkey. I would
like to ask Özal whether Turkey got any guarantees from the European
Community (EC) in return for these sacrifices" said Inönü, leader of
"The enemy is unknown, the threat
against Turkey is not specified, where the government felt the need to
ask for such authority from Parliament? No one can make promises on
behalf of Turkey that would jeopardize the security of the nation.
Turkey has no need to play the role of a hero or a saviour. Who is that
you are striving to please and get a pat on the back? You are throwing
Turkey into fire claiming you are promoting its image," said
Demirel, leader of the DYP.
Besides, both the SHP and the DYP rejected
Özal's invitation to go to Çankaya to discuss the Iraq
According to The Turkish Dateline of August 25,
1990, Özal's confidants justify his hasty support to the USA in
"The president's expectations are great. Through his
crisis management policy he hopes to shed problems which have troubled
Turkey's foreign policy for many years. The important role which Özal
considers Turkey is playing in the Gulf Crisis he believes will finally
remove the objections of European Community members to Turkey's entry
into the EC. He hopes Turkey's importance as an ally will impress
Washington enough to encourage the United States to tilt more favours
to Ankara than to Athens. Özal also believes European nations and the
United States are likely to remove trade restrictions on Turkey's
exports to offset the economic losses incurred by implementing trade
sanctions against Iraq."
Whatsoever be Turkey's sacrifices for defending US
interests in the region, will the European Community really accept it
as a full member. Can the European democracies forget the poor human
rights record of Turkey, detailed in the other columns of this issue?
ÖZAL VERSUS CONSTITUTIONAL COURT
The main opposition Social Democratic Populist Party
(SHP) has taken the controversial decrees that give extraordinary power
to the regional governor in the Southeast, to the Constitutional Court
and demanded their abrogation because they contravene basic
President Ozal has immediately reacted against this
action by saying that he would not let anyone change the emergency
Ozal's this stand has given rise a series of
protests from judicial circles.Yekta Gungor Özden, acting Chairman of
the Constitutional Court, said no one had the right to comment on cases
under study by the Constitutional Court. "Recently we have witnessed
incidents that should not take place in a country where government is
based on the rule of law. No one can do whatever he wants. Everyone
should abide by the law," said Özden.
The chief justice said the rulings of the
Constitutional Court were binding on everyone. He pointed out that it
was the Constitutional Court which tried cabinet members charged with
breaking the law.
On July 30, Önder Sav, chairman of the Union of
Turkish Bar Associations (TBB), announced his support for Özden: "It is
a constitutional crime to make comments on a case before a court that
should be completely independent. Loyalty and respect for the
constitution should be shown by those who have taken the oath to abide
by the constitution, democracy and belief in the superiority of law,"
He also criticized the power already given to the
President of the republic: "Presidents should no longer have the power
to select members of the judiciary including the constitutional court."
The opposition party spokesmen also accused Ozal of
violating the constitution by his remarks. Onur Kumbaracibasi, the
spokesman of the SHP parliamentary group, said the government decrees
were put in force without being submitted to the legislative assembly.
"With this attitude in government Turkey can have no place in the
community of modern nations, let alone become a member of the European
Community," he added.
On the other hand, a petition claiming that the
state of emergency be lifted in the Southeastern Anatolia, signed by
more than 15 thousand people was transmitted on June 22 to the Prime
Minister's Office by the representatives of 20 left-wing periodicals.
Since Prime Minister Akbulut refused to receive the delegation, the
petition was handed over to his press office.
PRESSURE ON TURKISH BIG BUSINESS
It is the first time in Turkey where until now only
the working class and Kurdish activists have undergone repression that
the State terror has recently been extended to the representatives of
the big business as well.
Cem Boyner, president of the Turkish Industrialists
and Businessmen Association (TUSIAD), appeared before the Sisli public
prosecutor in Istanbul on July 23. He may face charges of violating the
constitutional rule which bans professional associations from
participating in politics.
Boyner is one of the youngest businessmen of Turkey
and has been criticizing government policies since his election to the
head of this businessmen association. "The investigation was probably
instigated by the government to intimidate TUSIAD and stop it from
criticizing government policies," said a leading TUSIAD member.
Immediately after he testified before the
prosecutor, Boyner said the case "shamed Turkish democracy."
"My appearance here does not shame me. It shames
those who started this judicial process because they find it hard to
tolerate the basic conditions of democracy," said Boyner.
In a speech earlier this year, Boyner had said the
only way out of the present economic deadlock and political instability
was to hold early parliamentary elections.
Boyner found support in unlikely quarters: Two
social democrat parties as well as the United Communist party of Turkey
(TBKP) upheld his position.
ARREST OF TWO FOREIGNERS
Two foreign tourists, US citizen Chris Royer and
British citizen Allister MacDonald, were arrested in Istanbul on July 7
while distributing Christian propaganda leaflets. They were held in a
cell in the Sisli police station without food or water. Both were
refused a statutory telephone call to a lawyer or their consulate, and
were not told for over two hours why they were being held.
A trial, which lasted 20 minutes, was held the
following day acquitting the two men. Despite this acquittal,
police did not leave them alone and took them back to the police
station and locked them up again. They were made to stand to
attention in front of a statue of Atatürk for 20 minutes.
On July 9, Mac Donald and Royer were escorted to
Sirkeci train station and forcibly deported to Greece.
EXECUTION WITHOUT TRIALS
123 writers, artists, journalists and political
activists announced on July 17 that police shoot to kill instead of
trying to seize people suspected of terrorist activities.
The communique was published after police killed a
young man and woman on July 12 in an apartment in an uptown residential
neighborhood of Istanbul. Both of them were suspected of belonging to
an underground organization, the Armed Popular Units (SHB).
The parents of Gülay Arici and Alper Ersoy, both 20,
said that the policed killed the two deliberately although they could
have seized them alive.
NEW ACTIONS AGAINST CHILDREN
Despite protests from human rights circles, the
prosecution of children is being carried on throughout Turkey. To such
extent that recently three Kurdish children were put under the menace
of capital punishment at a tribunal.
On July 18, in Diyarbakir, 20 alleged PKK militants
were brought before the State Security Court on the charge of having
participated in an armed confrontation with security forces in
Beytusebap in April 1990. Among the defendants are also three Kurdish
children aged 11,12 and 14 and public prosecutor claims death sentence
for all of them.
Other legal actions against children:
June 27, in Istanbul, seven high school students,
aged between 15 and 18, were indicted by the State Security Court on
grounds that they were affiliated to an underground organization and
distributed its tracts. Seven youngsters, of whom two young girls, face
prison terms of up to 14 years each. Although they were, after being
kept under arrest for more than two months, released on bail at the
first session, the trial will be carried on.
July 12, two high school students, both 17 years
old, were brought before the State Security Court of Istanbul. Accused
of being members of an outlawed organization, two youngsters claimed at
the opening of the trial that they had been tortured under police
arrest. The court released them on bail.
July 22, four children aged 11 and 12 were
reportedly tortured by police in the district of Bünyan of the province
of Kayseri. According to the daily Günes, these children had been taken
into police custody after they quarrelled with a group of children of
police officers. A local clinic delivered a medical report establishing
torture bruises on the children's bodies.
STATE TERROR IN JUNE AND JULY
16.6, a soirée organized by the Association for
Solidarity With the Parents of Prisoners (TAYAD) to commemorate the
victims of hungerstrikes in prisons was banned by the Governor of
18.6, in Izmir, the Human Rights Association (IHD)
announced that unrest was growing again in the Buca Prison because of
the ill-treatment of political prisoners. 40 detainees were reportedly
deprived of the right of to communicate with the exterior for three
months on grounds that they had led a hungerstrike. Besides, the prison
cells are entirely filthy and a prisoner, Mustafa Aday, was bitten by
rats in his cell.
18.6, the prisons No.1 and No.2 in Diyarbakir again
became the scene of new fracas between parents and warders when usual
visits on the occasion of Fathers Day were banned this year on pretext
that the prison personnel had to pass some examinations that day.
19.6, in Istanbul, 34 automotive workers were taken
into police custody for having led a demonstration in protest against
the firing of some workers during collective bargainings at car
19.6, The Doctors' Order of Izmir, in a report
entitled "Hungerstrikes and Doctors", made public the pressures exerted
on doctors and medical personnel during the hungerstrikes led by
political prisoners in the Aydin Prison in August 1989. The
report reveals that prison doctors had been forced to work for 36 hours
without interruption and to sign some documents refuting torture
allegations by prisoners. According to the prison doctors, prisoners
were beaten up, tortured and chained to their bed when they were
20.6, a 70-year old peasant, Cumali Celik, was taken
into custody in Elazig in relation to the investigation on a bomb
explosion in Istanbul during which her daughter Suna Celik perished.
23.6, Chairman of the Municipal Workers' Union,
Hidir Bal, after being released, accused the Istanbul Police Chief
Hamdi Ardali of having tortured himself and other detainees of the May
Day incidents. "Police committed crime against humanity on May Day.
First they opened fire upon demonstrating workers and beat up with
truncheons all those apprehended on the spot. Then, all detainees were
subjected to torture at the police headquarters," he said.
25.6, political detainees in the Bayrampasa Prison
of Istanbul were brutally beaten up in the night by soldiers and
guards. The Human Rights Association (IHD) claimed that 39 inmates were
wounded during the discipline operation and three of them were
26.6, Chairman of the Izmir Section of the Human
Rights Association (IHD), Alparslan Berktay and 17 other persons were
brought before a criminal court in Izmir for having signed an appeal to
a meeting of the Socialist Party (SP).
27.6, the chairman of the Socialist Party (SP)
Adiyaman branch, Abuzer Yavas was taken into police custody.
28.6, the Military Court of Cassation approved death
sentences against nine members of the Revolutionary Way (Dev-Yol).
Eight life-prisons and 325 other prison terms varying between one year
and 20 years were also approved by the higher court. Only four death
sentences and two life prisons were overruled.
30.6, a group of political detainees, accused of
pro-Iranian activities, revolted at the Bayrampasa Prison. During the
skirmish six warders and three detainees were wounded.
30.6, Chairman of the Adana Section of the Human
Rights Association (IHD), Sener Ekiz was tried for having allowed a
group of parents of political prisoners to make a hungerstrike at the
association's local in July 1989. He faces a prison term of up to 3
years for breaking the Law on Associations.
3.7, driver Abdurrahman Uykur was indicted by the
State Security Court of Diyarbakir for having painted his lorry in the
colours of the PKK's flag. Tried under arrest, he faces a prison term
of up to 10 years.
3.7, the commander of a gendarmery post at the
village of Konur in the province of Mardin, Sergeant Teoman
Biresellioglu was accused by a SHP deputy, Ahmet Türk, of having shot
dead a taxi driver who refused to transport his personal luggages. Türk
claimed that the victim had earlier resigned from the pro-government
Village Protectors team and very often been subjected to menace for
this act. He also claimed that there were traces of torture on the
11.7, in Diyarbakir and its districts 30 people were
taken into custody for having forced local tradesmen to pull down their
shutters for protesting against emergency measures. The detainees are
also accused of being members of the outlawed Socialist Party of
Turkish Kurdistan (TKSP).
12.7, six officials of the Izmir branch of the
Teachers' Association (EGIT-DER) were indicted by a criminal court for
having organized an opinion poll on trade union rights of public
servants. Each faces a prison term of up to one year.
13.7, a Radical activist, Ibrahim
Eren, appeared in an Istanbul criminal court on charges of running a
homosexual prostitution service at Huzur Banyo, his Turkish bath
(hamam). The trial was adjourned until October 3 after witnesses and
the complainant withdraw their claims against Eren, testifying that
police had pressured them into signing documents incriminating the
13.7, the Doctors' Order of Ankara launched a new
campaign against the ill-treatment of political detainees subject to
medical care in hospitals. According to the order, political detainee
Sedat Karaagac who suffers from cancer and is under treatment at the
Hacettepe University Hospital, was chained to his bed, not allowed to
go to WC and to have in his room a TV or radio set.
14.7, the trial of 19 people accused of being
members of the outlawed Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey (TDKP)
began at the State Security Court of Ankara. The public prosecuted
claimed a total of 228 years imprisonment for the defendants.
16.7, the chairman of the newly founded Teachers'
Union (EGITIM-IS), Niyazi Altunya was dismissed from his post at the
Beyazit Vocational School in Ankara by the Governor of Ankara.
19.7, police reported the arrest of 11 militants of
the Armed Popular Units (SHB), military wing of the Revolutionary
Communist Party (DKP) in Istanbul.
21.7, the trial of 44 people accused of having made
unauthorized demonstrations on May Day began at he State Security Court
of Istanbul. A young woman, Gülay Beceren who was crippled by a police
bullet is taking part among the defendants. At the first session, the
court decided to ban all news and photos about this trial. Besides,
police brutally harassed the journalists and detained journalist Irfan
Yildiz from the monthly Yeni Demokrasi.
23.7, the trial of 34 Kurds, accused of being
members of the outlawed Vanguard Workers Party of Kurdistan (KOIP),
began at the State Security court of Diyarbakir. 26 of the defendants
claimed at the first session that they had been tortured under police
arrest. Many of the defendants are members of the Human Rights
Association of Turkey (IHD). Although they were released on bail, the
IHD announced that 12 more people were taken into custody same day on
24.7, the Chairman of the Steel Workers' Union
(CELIK-IS), Metin Turker was detained by police on the eve of a meeting
organized in Iskenderun by the union.
25.7, the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD)
announced that a detainee named Ibrahim Ates, taken into police custody
in Mersin ten days ago, was tortured during his interrogation and
killed by throwing out from the window of his 4th floor appartment.
25.7, the State Security Court of Istanbul sentenced
six people to different prison terms of up to 36 years for having taken
part in some political actions organized by the outlawed Revolutionary
26.7, the State Security Court of Ankara began to
try nine alleged members of the Revolutionary Communists' Union of
Turkey (TIKB). Each faces a prison term of up to 15 years.
26.7, a cultural club in the Sisli Quarter of
Istanbul was closed down by the governor of the province.
26.7, the trial of 20 alleged members of the Islamic
Party of Kurdistan (KIP) began at the State Security Court of Istanbul.
At the opening of the trial, all the defendants declared that they had
been subjected to torture during their police interrogation. One of the
defendants, Hamit Turgut said that he eyewitnessed a left-wing woman be
tortured and raped by police officers at the same police station.
During the trial a group of party sympathizers, mostly women, attacked
the police when they were refused to enter in the court room. During
the incidents two persons were wounded and 20 people detained.
27.7, the central office of the Nurses Association
in Istanbul was raided by a police team. During the operation, police
took into custody 22 nurses.
27.7, the State Security Court of Ankara sentenced
five alleged members of an outlawed organized, Ekim (October) to
different prison terms of up to 9 years and 2 months.
28.7, a student of the Medicine Faculty of the
Ankara University, Günay Kaptan alleged that he was tortured at police
30.7, a 19 years old person named Bayram Günes,
detained by police for having put posters on walls, said after his
release that he had been tortured at the police center of Izmir.
30.7, a naval NCO, Haci Bayram Yüksel, was indicted
for having sent a reproaching letter to the President of the
republic.He faces a prison term of up to 5 years.
31.7, a new incident broke at the Bayrampasa Prison
in Istanbul when an Army officer insulted a group of prisoners were
being taken to tribunal. Two officers, six soldiers and many prisoners
were wounded during the clash.
31.7, the mayor of the township Kozluca was
sentenced by the State Security Court of Izmir to a 20-month prison
term on the charge of antisecular activities.
STATE MASSACRED KURDISH PEASANTS
The bloodiest fight since 1987 in Turkish Kurdistan
claiming 27 lives, on June 9, has given rise a widespread polemics in
the Turkish press. The Turkish authorities accused the Workers' Party
of Kurdistan (PKK) of having killed in this attack thirteen children,
seven women, four village guards and three unarmed men. On this claim,
opposition parties blamed the government of remaining incapable to stop
the PKK raids.
However, on June 21, Chairman of the newly
founded People's Labour Party (HEP), Fehmi Isiklar announced that 27
peasants perished in the village of Cevrimli in Sirnak were in fact
assassinated not by the PKK guerrillas but by the security
forces. He said that they were killed because of refusing to adhere to
be Village Protectors in the service of the government forces.
This assertion was later supported by the Human
Rights Association of Turkey (IHD) as well.
As for the PKK, it announced in a press communique
putting the blame on the Turkish security forces.
After this massacre the armed clashes between PKK
guerrillas and security forces gave gained a bigger dimension claiming
about one hundred victims including army majors, captains and
lieutenants. The Regional Governor announced that only in last ten days
of July, 39 PKK militants and 15 security members had been killed in
Kozakcioglu also said that during his post as
security chief in the Southeast, 929 "separatists" had been either
killed or arrested by security forces. Since the beginning of this year
159 PKK members were killed and 133 members or sympathizers were
The regional governor added that 24,000 Village
Protectors are currently effective in warding off PKK attacks in
villages not easily accessible by security forces.
SHP'S REPORT ON THE KURDISH QUESTION
The Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP), which had
been widely criticized for not drawing up a well-defined policy
regarding the Kurdish question, issued on July 16 a report titled A
Look at the Problems of eastern and Southeastern Anatolia and
Suggestions, putting under fire the government's cultural,
economic, political and security policies in the Southeast region and
proposing alternative policies.
The report criticizes what it refers to as
government ill-treatment of the inhabitants of the region "for the sake
of safeguarding the integrity of the state." It defends the right of
the people to use language other than Turkish and calls for the
abolition of all emergency measures in the Southeast.
"The SHP will accept the Kurdish identity and allow
citizens of Kurdish origin the right to express themselves freely and
in all fields of life," the report says, promising that the party will
lift the ban on the use of ethnic languages if it comes to power.
The following are the main points of the SHP's
"The region's population of about five million
people has been subjected to 12 years of martial and emergency laws,
which, coupled with extraordinary living conditions, has created an
identity crisis among the inhabitants. There is a sense of alienation
and a lack of trust in the state.
"Citizens who are not directly involved with the
armed (Kurdish separatist) struggle are subject to mass interrogations,
arrests and injustices for the sake of capturing a single terrorist.
All inhabitants are considered potential subversive elements. This
attitude has resulted in resistance against state authorities in the
"The ban on speaking, writing and communicating in
ethnic languages did not exist even in the single-party era (1923-1945)
when 'fascist winds were blowing in the world.'
"The 1983 Emergency Law opened the way for several
bans which conflict with the international judicial system and with
international agreements to which Turkey is party. Also, a 1987 decree
on judicial measures applicable to regions under emergency law was
never brought before Parliament, despite constitutional obligations to
"New decrees were introduced in April 1990, which
sidestepped Parliament and further restricted rights and liberties in
the region through censorship, exile, and interference with court
"The village guard system used to differentiate
between pro- and anti-state sentiment among villagers. This 'security'
tool, a serious drain on the already weak economy of the Southeast,
should be abolished.
"The separatist struggle is not an important threat
on its own, but it becomes dangerous when the government seeks to crack
down on the people instead of getting to the root of the problem.
"If these measures cause the population to
sympathize with the terrorists, this shows the state has fallen into
the terrorists' trap. The best tool against terrorism is the support of
"If the SHP comes to power the party will review the
constitution and all laws restricting the use of basic rights and
freedoms.. Establishing full democracy is not a question of timing, as
the government claims.
''The SHP aims at giving priority to the human
element in creating a society where there is no discrimination between
citizens because of their ethnic roots or faiths."
Making comparative analyses of various economic
criteria between 1975-86, the SHP report claims the Southeast became
poorer during this period, before the Southeast Anatolian Project (GAP)
was launched, and stresses the importance of giving the Southeast a
special region status in development plans.
"About 20 percent of the Turkish population lives in
the 18 eastern and southeastern provinces, according to the 1985
census. The per capita monthly income in the Southeast was 24,744 TL in
1979, when the per capita income in the Marmara and Aegean regions was
71,954 TL. In real terms, income in the Southeast rose by 0.6 percent,
to 25,723 TL per month, between 1979 and 1986, while that in the
Marmara and Aegean regions rose by 2.9 percent to 88,164. This means
that while the per capita income in the Marmara and Aegean regions was
2.9 times that in the Southeast in 1979, seven years later this
discrepancy increased to 3.4 times,.
"Five percent of the inhabitants of the region owned
66 percent of the land, while 70 percent of the population owned only
10 percent of the land. These figures indicate a great inequality in
the allocation of land, and the continuing role of feudal relations in
the region. This feudal structure could only be changed through the
industrialization of the region.
"It is important to educate the local population,
only 43 percent of whom are literate as opposed to 77 percent in the
rest of Turkey, to make possible the industrial development of the area.
"The Southeast region, where 8.6 percent of the
population live, receives only five percent of the total investment in
Turkey. When GAP and the Turkey-Iraq pipeline project, which SHP
considers national projects as opposed to investments made specificly
to develop the region, are deducted from the amount of public
investments in the Southeast, the region is left with only 1.6 percent
of the all public investments in Turkey."
According to the SHP report, investment incentives
provided by the government to the private sector have had no effect.
"Industrial and infrastructural development in the Southeast should be
promoted at a faster rate than in other regions, for only then can the
region catch up with the rest of the country."
SHP announced that the report will be
translated into English, French and German and distributed to social
democratic and socialist parties that are members of the Socialist
PREMIER: "NO KURDS, ONLY TURKS!"
Prime Minister Yildirim Akbulut accused the SHP on
July 30, of encouraging separatism in Turkey by issuing a report on the
Kurds. "There are no Kurds in Turkey. the people who live in Turkey are
Turks. We shall not allow Turkey to be divided. Those who attempt such
a thing will regret their actions. But SHP prepares a report and calls
it the Kurdish report," he said.
Encouraged by the Prime Minister, the Prosecutors of
the Ankara State Security Court started an investigation on the SHP's
report. They said when the investigation is completed the file would be
sent to the Chief Prosecutor in Ankara who would decide whether to take
action at the Constitutional Court that could close down the SHP. Only
the Constitutional Court has authority to sue political parties on
charges of violating the constitution.
The public prosecutor of Ankara has also launched
investigations against some members of Parliament for their stand on
the Kurdish question.
On June 26, two deputies of SHP, Fuat Atalay and
Cumhur Keskin, who had proposed that the Turkish Radio and Television
Corporation (TRT) make broadcasting in Kurdish as well was indicted by
the SSC of Ankara. Next day, the deputy speaker of the National
Assembly, Halim Aras was subjected to the same action for having
claimed that speaking the Kurdish language be freed.
The Chief Prosecutor of the SSC announced that 25
members of Parliament had been subjected to legal investigation for
their declarations on the Kurdish question.
HEP'S LONG MARCH TO KURDISTAN
Eleven deputies of the newly founded People's Labour
Party (HEP) made a nine-day symbolic March, from Istanbul to
Diyarbakir, demanding freedom and human dignity in Turkey. The marchers
are all former SHP members who resigned last year.
When they started their march from Istanbul on July
17, police prevented other party members and sympathizers to take part
in the group on pretext that they had no authorization to march. Since
eleven deputies have parliamentary immunity, they were not obliged to
ask such a permission.
In all big cities which the
passed by, police took repressive measures and did not allow the people
to contact the marchers. On July 25, when they arrived in the township
of Batman, policed used force to disperse the people and harassed the
deputies as well.
PROTESTS ON THE PRESS DAY
Press associations of Turkey
refused to celebrate July 24, Turkish Press Day, and said the day would
not be one of festivities until censorship is truly lifted in Turkey.
The date for the Press Day was
set in 1948 by the Journalists' Association to mark the end of the
33-year reign of oppression by Red Sultan Abdulhamit II in 1908. During
his rule, all printed materials, from books to tram tickets,
advertisements and bottle labels, were inspected by a censorship
committee before being allowed onto the market.
However, the practice of
censorship again was put in practice after the September 12, 1980
military coup d'état.
"In a country where the most
loathsome censorship -self-censorship- is forced upon the press, we
cannot accept celebrating the anniversary of censorship being lifted
years ago," Oktay Eksi, president of the Press Council, said: "Sorrow,
not joy, is more appropriate for July 24."
Same day,the Contemporary
Journalists' Association (CGD) attempted to lay a wreath to Atatürk's
mausoleum in Ankara. However, an Army colonel charged at the place took
off the band on the wreath because it was written on it: "No to
censorship, Yes to democracy!".
ISMAIL BESIKCI RELEASED
Dr. Ismail Besikci, the Turkish
sociologist who had been jailed since March on charges of making
separatist propaganda in his three books recently published, was freed
on bail on July 25 by the State Security Court of Istanbul. His trial
A third case against sociologist
Ismail Besikci for his book entitled "An Intellectual, An Organization
and the Kurdish Question" was opened on June 16 at the SSC of Ankara
for "separatist propaganda."
Besikci, who faces a prison
sentence of up to 45 years in his three cases, said during the court
session that Turkey's official ideology concerning the Kurds was
incorrect. "When we say restrictions on the Kurdish people should
cease, we find the police in front of us. Making such a statement is
considered detrimental to the nationalist feelings of the Turks," he
said. He accused as well the Turkish State as some Turkish
intellectuals who are in submission to the official ideology.
Same day,the Labour Party of
People (HEP) and the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD)
transmitted to the Ministry of Justice a petition signed by more than
ten thousand people claiming Besikci be released.
The US Section of the
International PEN gave the title of "honorary member" to Ismail Besikci
and to a journalist in prison, Erhan Tuskan.
DOGU PERINCEK ARRESTED
Dogu Perincek, chief editor of
the weekly 2000e Dogru which was shut down under the Southeast Decrees
issued in April, was arrested on August 7 after his first trial at the
Diyarbakir State Security Court. The public prosecutor demanded a
25-year prison sentence for Perincek, who is currently on trial.
The Diyarbakir court had issued a
warrant April 10 for Perincek's arrest for speeches he made in February
and March at the Socialist Party (SP) meetings in five towns in the
Southeast, on grounds that they "weakened national sentiment and
Perincek reminded the court that
he was acquitted on August 1, in an Istanbul SSC trial, of separatism
charges brought against him for his speech last year in a Paris
conference on Kurds. Perincek made similar speeches in western regions
in Turkey last year, but was not taken to court. "The fact that my
speeches in the Southeast are considered crimes reveals the state's
attitude with respect to this region. The Kurdish problem cannot be
solved by bashing the Kurds," Perincek said in court.
Earlier, on July 14, the
responsible editor of 2000e Dogru, Tunca Arslan, was sentenced to a
prison term of 6 years and 3 months for an article entitled "Kurds are
one of the oldest peoples of the Middle East". His prison term was
later commuted to a fine of 11,4 million TL ($4,000).
TWO REVIEWS DEFINITELY CLOSED
The Interior Ministry, on June
29,, using its emergency powers, closed down two political reviews,
2000e Dogru and Halk Gercegi, on pretext that they gave falsified
information on the situation of the Southeastern Turkey.
The Ministry also closed down for
ten days the Ilicak Printing House which printed these forbidden
Following the ban on the weekly
2000e Dogru, 29 journalists of this periodical opened a suit at law
against the Interior Ministry and claimed indemnities and reparations
for their losses due to this interdiction.
The same journalists began to
publish from August 5 a new weekly magazine, Yüzyil (Century).
AI CONCERT CENSORED IN TURKEY
A video program of the Amnesty
International on a concert tour entitled Human Rights Now and
held two years ago, was censored by the Turkish Ministry of Culture's
Film Inspection Council on grounds that parts of the speeches made at
the concert "offended and humiliated all governments world-wide."
The Efes Film Company, which
imported the concert video to be screened in cinemas, said the council
had deleted a speech by Sting who accused governments of relying on
torture and military oppression more than ever to maintain their power.
Also cut from the video was a segment in which John Healey, US director
of Amnesty International, said governments should behave themselves.
On the other hand, the screening
in Turkey of David Zucker's comedy film The Naked Gun was first
censored and then, on July 30, banned following the pressure coming
from Iran. Along with Khomeini, Gorbachev, Arafat, Quaddafi and Idi
Amin Dada are all impersonated in the film.
As the film was being screened,
theatre operators in Istanbul received threatening calls from
UMRAN BARAN DIED IN EXILE
Journalist Umran Baran, a
distinguished Turkish intellectual who has been deprived of Turkish
nationality by the military regime, died in exile in July. Umran Baran,
59, was the founder and chief editor of the Turkish daily Yorum which
has been published in Australia since 1977. Umran Baran and his son
Askin Baran, also journalist, were stripped of their nationality
because of criticism they forwarded to the military rulers.
On the other hand, a petition by
Gultekin Gazioglu, the chairman of the defunct Teachers' Association of
Turkey (TOB-DER) asking for his Turkish nationality be restored was
rejected on July 12 by the Government. Gazioglu, one of the some 200
opponents of the September 12 regime who were deprived of their
nationality, is still living in exile. He also requested on June 6 a
special permission to visit his brother ailing in Turkey, yet this
demand has not been satisfied.
RECENT PROSECUTION OF THE MEDIA
16.6, journalist Alev Er was tried at the State
Security Court of Ankara for having published the minutes of the
Özal-Bush talks. He is accused of revealing top secret information.
19.6, in Istanbul, Cetin Tasci was detained by
police for having duplicated with a photocopier a forbidden political
22.6, in Istanbul, publisher Mehmet Ali Eser
appealed to the Prosecutor's Office by claiming that he had been
tortured after his detention on June 10, 1990 and requested a legal
proceeding against Police Superintendent Ibrahim Aslan. The traces of
torture on Eser's body were established by a forensic expert.
23.6, the responsible editor of the weekly Halk
Gercegi, Ismail Safter was arrested for two articles he published in
the magazine. He faces a prison term of up to 15 years for publication
weakening national feelings.
23.6, the weekly magazine of humour Limon was
confiscated by the order of a criminal court of Istanbul.
24.6, Muzaffer Tekek, Diyarbakir representative of
political magazine Medya Günesi, was arrested along with some 14 other
25.6, a musical concert organized by the
Municipality of Kadikoy and the Cumhuriyet Books Club was banned by the
30.6, a group of writers, journalists and artists
held a demonstration in Istanbul in protest against the practices
violating the press freedom.
3.7, a book about the Dev-Genc, a revolutionary
youth organization closed down in 1971, written by Lawyer Ali Yildirim,
was confiscated by the State Security Court of Istanbul. The author is
accused that he aims to incite the people to uprising.
14.7, the responsible editor of the monthly Devrimci
Genclik, Gülten Demir was sentenced to a one-year prison term for
separatist propaganda. Her imprisonment was later commuted to a fine of
1 million 840 thousand TL ($600).
16.7, famous folk singer Ahmet Kaya was indicted by
the State security Court of Istanbul for having caused to some
political incidents during his concert given in Istanbul.
19.7, the public prosecutor of Gaziantep opened a
legal proceeding against journalist Erbil Tusalp for his address to a
panel organized in Gaziantep by the Human Rights Association (IHD). He
is accused of separatist propaganda for having said "I esteem the
Kurdish people's struggle aimed at obtaining the recognition of their
20.7, a prison term of four years and two months
sentenced against the responsible editor of the monthly Emek Dunyasi,
Mehmet Emin Sert, was approved by the Court of Cassation. Sert had been
condemned by the State Security Court for having made separatist
propaganda during a press conference held in 1988.
21.7, two writers of the daily Cumhuriyet, Ilhan
Selcuk and Ali Gitmez were interrogated by the public prosecutor of
Istanbul for their articles criticizing President Ozal.
23.7, the July issue of the Islamist periodical
Ak-Dogus was confiscated by the State Security Court of Istanbul for
anti-secular propaganda. Six preceding issues of the review had also
been confiscated on the same ground.
24.7, the first issue of a new monthly review,
Mücadele, was confiscated by the State Security Court of Istanbul on
grounds that it contains communist and separatist propaganda. This new
review was published to replace the monthly review Yeni Cözüm which
could no more find any printing house.
25.7, a journalist for monthly review Deng, Mazhar
Kaya, was under arrest in Turkey according to a communique released by
the review's representative abroad.
26.7, a musi-cassette produced by folk singer Ozan
Cagdas was banned on grounds that it contains songs against law and
order and public interests.
27.7, the July issue of the monthly Adimlar was
confiscated on grounds that it contains separatist propaganda.
27.7, the public prosecutor of Istanbul started
legal proceedings against three journalists of the daily Cumhuriyet,
columnists Ilhan Selcuk, Oktay Akbal and responsible editor Okay
Gönensin. Each faces a prison term of up to four years for having
criticized President Ozal.