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


16th Year - N°182
 December 1991
38 rue des Eburons - 1000 Bruxelles
Tél: (32-2) 215 35 76 - Fax: (32-2) 215 58 60
 Rédacteur en chef: Dogan Özgüden - Editrice responsable: Inci Tugsavul

Whatsoever be the steps taken by the government, the fundamental  demands of the 11-year struggle
should never be forgotten and all remnants of the militarist "democracy" should be eradicated


    The people of Turkey enters New Year in the hope of a "rapid democratization" as promised by the new government. Some timid steps have already been taken such as closing down the Eskisehir Prison, tolerating publication of a Kurdish newspaper, lifting the ban on some books, cassettes and films.
    However, as seen in the other articles of this issue, many anti-democratic practices such as arrests and trials for opinion, tortures, suspicious deaths, confiscations of publications, bans on meetings, etc. have not yet been stopped.
    The army's political and repressive organs such as the National Security Council, the Counter-Guerrilla as well as the the State Security Courts are still carrying out their sinister functions. The Anti-Terror Law and a number of anti-democratic articles of the Turkish Penal Code are still being used against as before. Turkish Kurdistan is still under the terror of the state of emergency.
    In fact, even the "democratization package" of the new coalition does not comprise all demands raised by democratic forces of the country in the course of a 11-year struggle against the 12th September regime.
    The question is not to make some superficial gestures, but to eradicate all institutions and remnants of the military dictatorship and to replace militarist "democracy" by a real democracy conforming to universal norms.
    Info-Türk, though supporting each positive step to be taken by the government, will continue to keep alive the ensemble of the demands raised by the country's democratic forces in hard days of struggle and to monitor whether or not they are adopted and put in practice.
    Below we remind, one again,  the principal ones of these democratic demands.
    • The 1982 Constitution should be replaced by a new democratic one
    • The National Security Council (MGK) should be dissolved
    • the Army's General Staff should be depended on the National Defense Ministry
    • The Counter Guerrilla Organization should be dismantled
    • The Anti-Terror Law should be lifted
    • All anti-democratic articles of the Penal Code suc as 125, 146, 155, 158, 159, 311, 312 AND All repressive decrees should be lifted
    • All political prisoners should be freed
    • The State Security Courts shold be dissolved
    • The period of police detention should be reduced to 24 hours and a detainee's interrogation should be made in presence of his lawyer
    • All political murders committed by the Army, the Counter-Guerrilla Organization and the police should be investigated and their authors should be punished
    • The electoral system should be rendered more equitable
    • The state of emergency should be lifted in Turkish Kurdistan
    • Special security teams should be withdrawn from the Kurdish area
    • The system of village protectors should be lifted
    • The Kurdish national identity should be accepted in  legislation
    • All reserves as regards Kurdish national identity put earlier in international conventions by the Turkish Government should be lifted
    • The Kurdish nation's rights to free expression and to have education in Kurdish language should be recognized
    • Kurdish radio and TV broadcasting should be allowed
    • It should be created a democratic order allowing to freely discuss the Kurdish national question and its solutions
    • The restrictions in the press legislation should be lifted and monopolization in the media should be prevented
    • The Higher Education Board (YÖK) should be dissolves
    • The right to trade union, collective bargaining and strike should be recognized to all working people including public servants


    Just at the beginning of the "democratization era", on December 21, the Prosecutor of the Ankara State Security Court completed a legal investigation about 22 Kurdish deputies elected on SHP tickets and claimed capital punishment for all of them by virtue of Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code. They are accused of "attempting to separate the whole or part of the State's territory" because of their electoral speeches and declarations on the Kurdish Question.
    Since the deputies have parliamentary immunity, the prosecutor had to ask the Justice Ministry to address to the National Assembly for lifting their immunity. If the Assembly accepts the demand, the 22 deputies will be tried before the State Security Court.
    At the National Assembly, new Kurdish deputies carry out their legislative work under pressures and menaces.
    After the incidents at the opening session of Parliament (See: Info-Türk, November 1991), during the parliamentary debate on security on December 26,  Kurdish deputy Mahmut Alinak, speaking on behalf of the Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP) Group, was attacked by the DYP deputies because he was defending Kurdish-Turkish brothership. When he said "few days ago our two brothers died in Digor. One of them was a soldier, the other was from the PKK," these words created furore among DYP deputies and they dragged Alinak from rostrum and prevented him from completing his address.
    After the incident, Alinak accused the pro-government deputies of obstructing a democratic debate on a burning question.
    "The Kurdish issue could only be solved through democratic means and should be discussed in Parliament. If not, people will start discussing it other forums and that will be very dangerous for the country."
    Alinak is a former member of the People's Labour Party (HEP) and was elected to Parliament on SHP ticket.
    HEP Chairman Feridun Yazar said the incident was shameful. "Alinak just wanted to say Kurds and Turks are brothers and it is wrong to kill each other and that we have to put an end to this. But those who have prejudices, who do not know what democracy really is brought him down from the rostrum. They can't even tolerate someone saying 'PKK' and they react without really listening. This is an insult to democracy. If we don't have freedom of speech in Parliament we will never have it anywhere else in the country," he warned.
    The tricolour (red-yellow-green) of the Kurdish national movement too is still considered a crime by State authorities. Young people are still being detained and even tortured for carrying tricolour. HEP Chairman Yazar has ironically suggested on December 21 to ban tricolour on the traffic lamps as well.


    Despite the fact that PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan expressed, after the elections, to create circumstances for a political solution to the Kurdish problem in Turkey, the Demirel Government still looks for military and repressive solutions
    Prime Minister Demirel, during the National Security Council (MGK) meeting on November 29 said the council is a constitutional institution and thus has certain duties regarding the preservation of security. "The MGK should fill its duties properly or else they should not come up to me in the future and tell me that the country is facing disaster." He asked the MGK Secretary General Nezihi Cakar to coordinate the activities of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT), the military and the cabinet ministers involved in security and prepare a project on how to combat terrorism in southeastern Turkey.
    As a result of this choice, one of the most dramatic events of 1991 happened in December when the military fired upon civilians in Turkish Kurdistan.
    First, the Turkish Army carried out air attacks on PKK guerrillas in the triangle of Diyarbakir, Bingöl and Mus. The PKK announced that during this attack claiming the lives of 14 ARGK (Kurdish National Liberation Army) militants, Turkish planes used chemical weapons.
    Families of the dead militants in the towns of Lice and Kulp  wanted to claim the bodies from the military on December 24, a local commander refused to hand over the corpses despite the fact that permission was granted by Interior Minister Ismet Sezgin. As a result, unrest hit both towns and security forces opening fire on crowds shot dead nine people.
    In retaliation, the PKK guerrillas attacked a gendarmerie post and killed 10 soldiers in Sirnak province.
     Next day, in protest against this State terror, tradesmen in the towns of Kulp, Lice, Hazro and Bismil in Diyarbakir refused to open their shutters. Middle school students in the four towns did not turn up for classes.
    Same day, in Istanbul, a group of around 20 people attacked a shopping center with hand-made fire bombs. The shopping center belongs to Emergency Rule Regional Governor Necati Cetinkaya's brother and killed 11 people.
    PKK leader Öcalan, in an interview with the BBC on December 26 said that the fire-bomb attack was not carried out on his orders. Warning that if Counter-Guerrilla forces escalated their activities, such incidents will take place in Istanbul, Ankara and all of Turkey, Öcalan called on the Ankara Government to keep the channels of political dialogue open.


    The human rights groups of Turkey announced on December 13 that within eight months since the adoption of the Anti-Terror Law giving the security authorities extraordinary powers, 95 people have fallen victims of State terrorism: Eight were killed under torture, 20 during raids on residences or ambushes, 32 during the Counter Guerrilla attacks in the region of emergency law and 32 as a result of police firing at random.
    The following are the murders in December 1991:   
    1.12, it is reported that a military team shot dead a 15-year old boy, Ismet Mirazoglu, at the Serinbayir Village in the province of Bitlis.
    1.12, Ismail Hakki Kocakaya who had been kidnapped on November 27 in Diyarbakir was found shot dead. Eye-witnesses said that two cars belonging to police had been used during the kidnapping.
    2.12, in Istanbul, a 18-year old student, Huseyin Fidanoglu, died by falling from the 8th floor of a building where is also the headquarters of the Association of the Women in Democratic Struggle (DEMKAD). The parents of the victim accused the police of killing Fidanoglu.
    3.12, in the district of Idil of the province of Sirnak, a citizen of Christian faith, Mihail Bayir was shot dead by two armed men. It is reported that the killers belong to a fundamentalist group named The Hizbullahci. In protest against this killing, the tradesmen of the district of Gercus (Batman) closed their shops for two days. Six of them were arrested on December 15 by a tribunal.
    4.12, it is reported that the village of Mutluca in the district of Solhan (Bingol) was raided by the military on November 18 and many villagers were beaten and tortured for obtaining information about Kurdish militants. Among the tortured people are also some aged persons: Selim Bukmez, 67, Abdurrahman Kilinc, 65, Abdurrahman Kusmez, 72 and Huseyin Demir, 65.
    5.12, the parents of Ibrahim Gündem from the village of Sarierik in the district of Hazro (Diyarbakir) announced that they have no information about his whereabouts since his detention on September 25.
    8.12, in Gaziantep, a university student, Murat Özsat who had been detained by police on November 23 was founded dead with burns on his body. His uncle Veysi Ozsat accused the police of killing the student because he had refused the proposals to be a police informer. About 4 thousand  students boycotted their school in protest against police repression.
    10.12, at the village of Yolacti in the province of Diyarbakir, a special security team opened fire on a car on pretext that it did not stop despite warning. The headman of the Erikyazi Village, Sigbetullah Eker as well as his wife and brother in the car were seriously wounded.
    13.12, the family of 25-year old Hüseyin Toraman who disappeared after being detained by police on October 27, asked the Human Rights Commission of the National Assembly to open an investigation.
    13.12, Sirnak deputy Orhan Dogan announced that a village headman, Agit Akibe and another Kurd, Ibrahim Demir, were founded dead in the district of Idil, a day after their arrest by the security forces.  The funeral of the victims in Sirnak on December 15 were attended by about 8 thousand people shouting slogans "Down with fascism, down with the Counter Guerrilla!"
    16.12, in the district of Dargecit in the province of Mardin, 25-year old Mehmet Ata Vural was shot dead by unidentified persons as he was returning home from work. In protest, the tradesmen of the district of Sirnak, Cizre, Silopi and Silvan closed their shops for a day.
    17.12, the family of Cengiz Kumanli, who had been detained by police in Istanbul on December 13, announced that they had no information on his whereabouts.
    18.12, in the district of Nusaybin of the Mardin province, a worker named Hayrettin Cetin was shot dead by unidentified persons as he was returning home from work. Next day, about 10 thousand people attending his funeral shouted slogans against the Counter Guerrilla.


    1.12, the Governor of Istanbul banned a panel organized by the Istanbul Bar Association on "Violations of human rights in the example of The Eskisehir Prison."
    1.12. during a police operation in the district of Siverek in the province of Urfa, 13 people aged of 14 to 18 were detained for aiding a separatist organization.
    2.12, in Izmir, 9 of 43 people detained on November 26 for having participated in the unauthorized celebration of the PKK's anniversary were put under arrest by a tribunal. Although released, the other 34 people too will be tried along with the arrested ones.
    2.2, in Izmir, 53 people were arrested for having held a press conference in solidarity with the political prisoners carrying out a hunger-strike in the Buca Prison.
    3.12, the trial of 14 people who had been detained during the opening of an exhibition on the occasion of the September 12, 1980 coup began at the Ankara SSC. They are accused of holding an unauthorized demonstration and outraging the police.
    3.12, in the district of Viransehir of the province of Urfa, 15 people were detained for giving shelter to separatist militants.
    4.12, in Istanbul, a woman named Hakime Esmeray, mother of two children, announced that, after having been detained in October, she was subjected to torture and some policemen raped her on November 4. Human rights groups asked the Prosecutor's office to pursue the accused policemen.
    5.12, security forces detained 13 alleged PKK sympathizers during a raking operation in the districts of the province of Gaziantep.
    5.12, in the district of Elbistan of the province of Maras, seven people were detained by security forces. Five of the detainees are high school students.
    8.12, in Diyarbakir, a high school student, Mahir Guneri, who had been detained five days ago for wearing pullover in Kurdish tricolor, red, green and yellow, said after his release that he had been tortured during his 5-day detention. The traces of torture were confirmed by a medical report.
    9.12, police detained nine people in the district of Palu of the Elazig province. Among the detainees are also two 60-year old men. Same day, seven people were detained in the district of Elbistan of the Maras province.
    10.12, in Istanbul, six people were wounded during a skirmish between left-wing and Islamist students of the Yildiz University.
    12.12, six alleged Dev-Sol members were placed under arrest by the Istanbul SSC.
    16.12, a legal proceeding was initiated against Turgut Kazan, chairman of the Istanbul Bar Association, for having criticized the anti-democratic practices of the Nusret Demiral, the prosecutor of the Ankara SSC.
    16.12, policed detained five people during a demonstration in respect for human rights organized by the Istanbul branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD) in Istanbul.
    16.12, a new skirmish between left and right-wing students of the Yildiz University in Istanbul resulted in 20 wounded.
    16.12, three SHP deputies, Uluc Gürkan, Salman Kaya and Selim Sadak claimed that a gendarmerie captain, Mehmet Göcmen, tortured inhabitants of the Akbag village in the province of Mardin and forced them to eat straws.
    17.12, in the district of Lice (Diyarbakir) about 3 thousand people carried out a demonstration in front of the governor's office in protest against the arrest of two Kurds in the village of Gökce.
    17.12, four students were brought before the Istanbul SSC for having put on walls the posters of the Union of Revolutionary Communists of Turkey (TIKB) in Istanbul. The defendants, including a 17-year old girl, Lale Colak, face each a prison term of up to 15 years.
    18.12, the death sentences against two Dev-Yol defendants, Mustafa Kantas and Omer Tunca, were approved by the Military Court of Cassation. By virtue of the Anti-Terror Law, these punishments were later commuted to life-prison.
    18.12, a fundamentalist group raided the canteen of the Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul and wounded two students. Police detained seven people. Same day, in Bursa, the security forces raided a student meeting at the Uludag University and detained 69 people. 16 of them were later placed under arrest by a tribunal.   
    20.12, the trial of 21 alleged PKK militants began at the Ankara SSC.
    21.12, at the village of Zirver in the district of Palu (Elazig), 17 Kurdish peasants were detained for resisting the gendarmerie during a raid.
    22.12, security forces detained seven Kurds in the district of Gercüs (Batman) and four in the district of Mazidag (Mardin).
    23.12, chairman of the Mine Workers' Union Semsi Denizer was sentenced  to 4 months and 2 days in prison for having criticized a minister's attitude during the miners' strikes in January 1991. The punishment was later commuted to a fine of TL 3,O32,000.
    24.12, a series of demonstrations was held at the universities of Adana, Diyarbakir and Bursa on the occasion of the massacre committed in 1978. Police detained 50 students in Adana, 30 in Diyarbakir and 16 in Bursa.
    24.12, the former HEP chairman of Adana, Kemal Okutan, was arrested by the Ankara SSC for his speech at the HEP Grand Convention in Ankara. The prosecutor claims capital punishment by virtue of Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code. Six other delegates are also pursued for their declarations at the Convention.
    26.12, in Izmir, 20 alleged PKK militants were detained by police and 12 of them were put under arrest by the tribunal.
    28.12, the Kastamonu branch of the Trade Union of Teachers and Scientific Workers (Egit-Sen) was closed down by the decision of the Governor on pretext that public servants have no right to organize in unions.
    28.12, police detained 22 alleged PKK militants in Sanliurfa. Same day, the Izmir SSC arrested 12 people on the same accusation.
    29.12, police detained 15 people during a marriage ceremony in Siirt for carrying Kurdish tri-colour.
    30.12, police announced the arrest of 25 people during security operations carried out in the province of Urfa.
    31.12, in Adana, 34 university students who had been detained on December 24 during the demonstration on the occasion of the anniversary of the Kahramanmaras Massacre, announced after release that they were subjected to torture for accepting to be police informers and girls were sexually harassed.
    31.12, as the common detainees and prisoners were being allowed to have open New Year visit by their families, about 1500 political detainees were deprived of this right by virtue of the Anti-Terror Law.


    Helsinki Watch, in a press release of December 15, 1991, announced that fifteen people died in the first eleven months of 1991 during police detention in suspicious circumstances.
    The deaths in detention of seven people had already been detailed in March. Of the eight most recent deaths, two died in Ankara, two in Istanbul, and four in outlying areas, mainly in southeast Turkey. In one of the cases, two security force members are on trial for the detainee's death.
    The eight deaths reported since March are:
    Imran Aydin, detained in Ankara as a political suspect on March 2, died on March 3. Police reported that Aydin died while trying to flee from a house to which he was taken for on-site inspection. The autopsy report stated that death was caused by bleeding in the pancreas.
    Haydar Altun, a member of the PKK died in March. Security forces reported that he had been killed in a clash during a raid on a PKK camp within Iraqi territory. On May 14, the Turkish Human Rights Foundation reported that Altun's mother had been told that her son had been captured alive and had died during torture while detained by security forces.
     Mustafa Ilengiz was reportedly killed by special team members of the security forces on April 2 in Cicekalan village of Pazarcik District, Maras. On June 22, a court case was filed against special team members Halil Ibrahim Cura and Esen Akbulut for his death. The trial is continuing.
    Hasim Sincar was detained as an ordinary criminal suspect in Bingol, Solhan, on April 4. He died at Solhan Gendarme Station where he was being interrogated. Officials reported that death was due to a heart attack.
    Veli Geles was detained as a political suspect in Ankara on April I . On April 5, his body was taken to the Emergency and Traffic Hospital. An autopsy revealed three gunshot wounds. Police reported that Geles was shot while attempting to flee from a house to which he had been taken for "on-site inspection." His family was notified of his death a month later.
    Alaadin Kürekci, detained in Istanbul on May 16 as a theft suspect, was sent to a hospital in a coma on May 17. He died on May 20. A relative reported seeing him in the hospital with purple bruises and marks of beating around his ears.
    Osman Ekinci, a shepherd, was detained on July 20 by three soldiers attached to the gendarmerie post at Görendoruk; there he was beaten with three others for about 13 hours. His body was then returned to his village with many traces of injuries.
    Yücel Özen, twenty-six-year-old, was detained on charges of theft in November in Istanbul. On November 12, Özen was hospitalized at Taksim Emergency Hospital after falling into a coma at Beyoglu Security Directorate. He died in the hospital on November 24. His lawyer charged that he had been tortured in detention and demanded an investigation.
    The Helsinki Watch Report draws attentions the following torture practice in Turkey:
    "Torture in Turkey usually takes place in special sections of police stations during the initial interrogation of a suspect. Human rights activists and lawyers who represent defendants continue to tell Helsinki Watch that between 80 and 90 percent of political suspects and 50 percent of detainees suspected of ordinary crimes report having been tortured in detention.
    "Torture includes suspension by the arms or wrists while naked; the use of electric shock to sensitive parts of the body; directing highly-pressurized water at victims; falaka (beating the soles of the feet), and other horrifying techniques.
    "Torture is not confined to adults; Helsinki Watch recently interviewed nine children between the ages of 13 and 17 who had been tortured by police.
    "Unlike the situation in police stations, torture in prisons subsided after 1984, but in recent months Helsinki Watch has again received reports of mass beatings with truncheons and wooden sticks in prisons."

    Helsinki Watch's Recommendations

    "For many years, Helsinki Watch has been reporting on the routine use of torture in Turkey and has urged the abolition of torture, suggesting specific steps that the government could take to accomplish that goal. A new government was recently elected in Turkey. On November 25, Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel announced the new program of his coalition government; one provision stated that torture is an inhuman crime that will be abolished. Helsinki Watch urges the new government to carry out this promise, and, more specifically, to:
    • Acknowledge the pattern of torture in police detention centers and take steps to end it.
    • Enforce a September 1989 decree that guaranteed detainees the right to be represented by attorneys from the moment of detention; the provisions of this decree have never been carried out.
    • Prohibit the use in court of confessions obtained by torture
    • Increase the possible sentences for the crime of torture.
    • Prosecute torturers.
    • Allow the International Committee of the Red Cross and other international organizations to visit detainees and prisoners on a regular basis."


    The effective development of human rights in Turkey requires legal amendments, education, and objective analysis by the international community, stated Ankara Bar Association President Özdemir Özok in an interview with Turkish Daily News on December 14, 1991. The Ankara Bar Association, a member of the Union of Bars of Turkey, has 7,000 members.
    The following are the demands of the Ankara lawyers:

    • Regardless of who the suspect may be, a terrorist or shoplifter, and regardless of the heinous nature of the suspected crime, they must be treated with dignity as defined by international standards.
    • The Ministry of Justice should outlaw incommunicado detentions which raise the likelihood of torture and mistreatment. The presence of a lawyer and friends provide checks on police behaviour. The right to immediate legal counsel is elementary in human rights.
    • A free legal counsel should be provided by the government to indigent defendants. While the Bar Association provides free legal assistance to qualified defendants,  the Minister of Justice should contributed to these efforts.
    • Repealing the post military coup anti-democratic laws is not sufficient, the people must be taught their fundamental rights and how to apply and defend those rights. Currently, an overwhelming percentage of Turkish citizens are aware neither of their most fundamental rights nor of the fundamental rights that they could manifest if they were to exercise their democratic powers effectively.
    • The government, in particular the Ministry of Education, and non-government human rights groups must actively research and affect educational and cultural development that emphasizes individual rights and expression. A great part of the Turkish population is young and energetic, and the nation's political experience has created a mature social context where it can be promoted a desire in the people to insist on a humanitarian life and humanitarian social order.
    • The mobilization of shame by the international media and community of governments is an effective incentive for countries to clean up their acts, but only under certain circumstances. The media or foreign government must first accurately assess an issue and, second, set its demands according to the realistic abilities of the country to accommodate those demands otherwise, the mobilization of shame fires back and undermines efforts to remedy the situation.


    Prime Minister Demirel, during his first foreign press conference on December 11 announced that lifting the death sentence is not on Turkey's agenda at the moment. In reply to a question he said that there are many countries in the world where the death penalty is still enforced.
    According to the Anti-Terror Law adopted this year, death sentences given or to be given for the acts committed before April 12, 1991 are not carried out. However,  those who will be sentenced for the acts committed after that date may face capital punishment.
    In fact, no execution have been carried out since 1984. Up until 1984 a total of 50 convicts were executed since the military coup of 1980. Of these 50, two convicts were executed in 1984, just after the election of Özal Government. During that period 18 left, 9 right activists, an Armenian and 22 common criminal were hanged.
    Of the 258 convicts whose death sentences were lifted, 100 belong to the Workers' Party of Kurdistan (PKK).
    Still tens of PKK militants are being tried by State Security Courts under the menace of capital punishment.


    1.12, Kozluk (Bingöl) correspondent of the weekly Yeni Ülke, Bengi Yildiz has reportedly been in police detention since November 26.
    2.12, the Istanbul SSC confiscated No. 54 of the fortnightly Emegin Bayragi for the news about a disappeared person and No. 7 of the weekly Yeni Ülke for the letter of a political exile.
    3.12, a 1992 calendar produced by the monthly review Newroz as confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for being printed in Kurdish tri-colour.
    3.12, the daily Cumhuriyet reports that 3,286 decisions banning publications are still in force despite the fact that Articles 140, 142 and 163 of the Turkish Penal Code were lifted in April 1991. 917 of these decisions were taken by the Council of Ministers and 2,369 by tribunals.
    4.12, the daily Yeni Tan was confiscated for obscenity.
    5.12, the trial of writer Yilmaz Odabasi began at the Istanbul SSC. He is accused by virtue of the Anti-Terror Law for his book entitled The Sheik Sait Revolt of 1925.
    8.12, the first issue of the monthly review Barikat was confiscated by the Istanbul SSC by virtue of the Anti-Terror Law and its responsible editor, Zekeriya Özdinc was taken into custody. Besides, an evening of friendship and solidarity organized by the same review was banned by the Governor of Istanbul.
    11.12, a bomb exploded during a commemoration ceremony by the tomb of Sedat Simavi, founder of the daily Hürriyet.
A fundamentalist organization, the Holy War Front of Turkey claimed the attempt.
    15.12, the last issue of the monthly Devrimci Emek was confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
    16.12, sociologist Ismail Besikci was again indicted by virtue of Article 159 of the Turkish Penal Code for defaming the Republic of Turkey in his book The State Terrorism in the Middle East. Liable to a prison term of up to six years, he will be tried by a criminal court of Ankara.  He had already been indicted by the Ankara SSC for the same book by virtue the Anti-terror Law on charges of separatism.
    19.12, three journalists from the weekly 2000e Dogru, Güner Tokgöz, Hasan Yalcin and Selami Ince were sentenced to prison terms of up to one year and three months for having fire arms in the review's Ankara office. They said that the arms were there for self-defence.
    19.12, it is reported that the trial of journalist Deniz Teztel and three lawyers, Bedii Yarayici, Murat Demir and Fethiye Peksen, along with 24 other persons will begin on January 17 at the Ankara SSC for aiding the Revolutionary Left (Dev-Sol). Four defendants are liable to capital punishment and the others, including Teztel and three lawyers, to prison terms of up to 15 years.
    20.12, the celebrations of the anniversary of the monthly Deng were banned by the Governor of Diyarbakir.
    22.12, two books, How we fought against the Kurdish People - Reminiscences of a Soldier by Abidin Kizilyaprak and The Ballad of A Revolt: Dersim by Hüseyin Karatas were confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatism and insulting State forces.
    23.12, sociologist Ismail Besikci was sentenced to one-year prison by a criminal court in Istanbul for his article about the Kurdish women's participation in guerrilla warfare, published by Yeni Ülke. The responsible editor of the review, Ozkan Kilic too was sentenced to one-year prison, but this punishment was later commuted to a fine. Both are accused of praising a crime by virtue of Article 312 of the Turkish Penal Code.  Besikci already spent 11 years, 3 months and 20 days in prison for separatist propaganda.
    24.12, two Turkish musicians, Melike Demirag and Sanar Yurdatapan, who have been self-exiled in Germany for eleven years returned to Turkey for a 15-day visit. Although acquitted by tribunals, they are still deprived of Turkish nationality along with 15,000 other people. Naturalized in Germany, they visited Turkey as German tourists.
    24.12, a concert of the musical group Yorum in Tekirdag was banned by the governor.
    25.12, a book written by Metin Ciyayi, Tales from the Country of Eternity, was confiscated by a penal court of Ankara for praising some acts considered crime by law. At the same time, the author was arrested in Izmir by the decision of the Ankara SSC.
    26.12, a book entitled Erotic Graffitti was confiscated for obscenity by a penal court of Istanbul.
    29.12, it is the first time in the 69-year history of Turkey, a newspaper entirely in Kurdish was published under the name of Rojname (Newspaper). Although the publication of the 40-page newspaper was not obstructed by the authorities, the advertisement campaign at the Radio-TV was not accepted on grounds that the broadcasting in languages other than Turkish is banned by the Law on Radio and Television.
    29.12, the issue No. 11 of the weekly Yeni Ülke was confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for an article in which Besikci criticized the functioning of the State Security Courts.


    After the elections putting an end to the Evren-Özal period, a Human Rights Week  (Dec. 10-17) was organised in Turkey with a view to raise public awareness about human rights issues through conferences, movies, art and other forms of communication.
    The organizers of this week are the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD)  and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV).
    In addition to these non-governmental organizations, recently a few governmental bodies have been set up with the aim of furthering the respect of human rights in the country.
    The Turkish Daily News, in its December 11, 1991 issue, gave the following information on these institutions:

    • The Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD)

    Established in July 1986 within the spirit of the U.N. Charter, which advocates non-governmental human rights organizations in member states today the Human Rights Association of Turkey has grown to 44 service branches and 20,000 members.
    The association's primary concerns include the prevention of torture, improving prison conditions and protecting and freeing prisoners of conscience. The association provides reports on these issues to Amnesty International, Helsinki Watch, the World Human Rights Federation, and other international organizations.
    Also, the association communicates with the Turkish public through human rights activities, such as the current Human Rights Week, and the press. Furthermore, the association communicates with the Ministries of Justice, Domestic Affairs and Foreign Affairs, as well as the Commission of Human Rights of the National Assembly and the newly established Ministry of Human Rights.
    The IHD has been nominated for three prizes: The Jimmy Carter Foundation Human Rights prize, the Gandhi International Peace Prize and the Triennial European Community Human Rights Prize.
    The IHD marked "Human Rights Week" between December 10-16 with various events such as panel discussions, lectures, plays and exhibitions. During the week, the fifth of its kind in Turkey, the prizes awarded to Human Rights Association Chairman Nevzat Helvaci and Human Rights Foundation Chairman Yavuz Önen by the French Government were given out with a ceremony on December 11.
    On this occasion, Helvaci drew attention to a report published by the United nations earlier this year, that gave Turkey a mere seven points out of a total possible score of 40 on its human rights scale, and with this figure, Turkey ranked 66th out of a total 88 countries. He added that by September 30 this year, 18 people had lost their lives in prisons or during interrogations. These deaths in suspicious circumstances were, the public was told, "suicides."
    Speaking with a touch of irony, Helvaci said that it was had to conceive why these young people -all of whom were between the ages of 19 and 25- would choose the security buildings as a place in which to kill themselves.
    Helvaci said that the Anti-Terror Law actually protects those who commit torture.     In research that the IHD made on this subject in 1987, of the 644 prisons in Turkey, none were found to meet the U.N. minimum standards of treatment of detainees and convicts, and things have not changed since then.
    • The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV)
    Established in Ankara in April 1990 as a counselling clinic for victims of torture and mistreatment, the Turkish Human Rights Foundation expanded its services to Izmir (Aug. 1991) and Istanbul (Oct. 1991). The foundation will open a branch in Diyarbakir (Southeastern Turkey) in 1992.
    The foundation provides rehabilitation for victims of torture and mistreatment through both psychiatric and physical therapy. It supplies both psychiatrists and physicians free of cost, allocating $1,000 per patient.
    TIHV Secretary General Haldun Özen stated that the foundation does not take a case ("project") without first having secured the necessary financial backing. In cases where the cost exceeds $1,000 per person, the foundation draws upon its private resources in order to raise the supplement.
    The foundation also maintains a computerized library and record keeping system, for relatively easy access. The computer files are updated daily. However, according to the foundation's computer-data bank specialist, the computer systems and software programs are inadequate for the amount of work. The foundation is researching into data retrieval programs used by other contemporary human rights organizations around the world.
    A third area which the foundation is newly developing is human rights education. Özen stated that education methods will be based on international models and will be tailored to Turkey's domestic environment, taking into account both regional cultures and educational deficiencies.
    Restricted by a tight budget, the foundation has been compelled to seek more efficient and creative methods for achieving its ends. Last summer, Theresa Park, an American human rights scholar, won a scholarship with the foundation on a grant from the Harvard School of Law.

    •The Human Rights Commission of the National Assembly

    In March 1990, the Turkish Assembly established the Human Rights Commission in response to the recent rise in global and domestic awareness towards the quality of human existence in the world.
    When the assembly determines that a complaint constitutes a prima facie case of an alleged human rights violation, the complaint is referred to the Human Rights Commission.
    The commission is charged with the duty to investigate the complaint in depth and provide a report with advise to the Assembly's Consultative Council. After studying the commission's report the council determines whether the assembly should address the complaint.
    Commission President Ahmet Türk (SHP - Mardin) said that the only substantial power the commission had was to investigate all public entities as well as private establishment for alleged human rights violations. "The commission cannot direct the legislature to act on a case; it is purely investigatory and somewhat consultative. The commission is seriously under-staffed in order to sufficiently investigate complaints. Parliamentarians must provide both political and technical support in order to enlarge the commission's staff and expand its power."
    The commission president emphasized that the Turkish people manifest the resources, culture and respect for the democratic process that are essential to improve human rights in Turkey. He, however, pointed out that presently the Turkish legislature and executive lacked the legal authority to improve Turkey's human rights.
    Turk explained that the laws that were enacted after the September 12, 1980 military coup seriously limited the personal and collective rights of the Turkish people. Turk stated, "These anti-democratic laws must be repealed and more democratic laws must be enacted in order to provide the legislature the freedom to legislate more effectively on human rights and the executive the power to put good laws into good practice."
    Turk emphasized that the recent Turkish ratification of the Paris Agreement on the equalization of international human rights standards, places Turkey in a serious contradiction if the Turkish Assembly does not make the necessary legislative changes.
    According to Turk, the greatest challenge for the new government, if it can make the necessary legislative changes is the Kurdish question in southeastern Turkey. Turk stated that the new government is theoretically heading in the right direction regarding democratic change, but practice and results will demonstrate the government's real commitment to human rights.

    Ministry of Human Rights

    It is the first time that a Human Rights Ministry has been formed by the new government. Human Rights Minister Mehmet Kahraman said: "As you know, the Ministry of Human Rights was newly formed. We have legal authority only to discuss issues and promulgate policies. As of yet, however, we have no infrastructure or implementing powers.
    "First, the legislature must enact new laws that address human rights.
    "Second, the legislature and executive must create the power and avenues by which the Ministry of Human Rights will execute the new laws.
    "Third, since the human rights issues comprise many dimensions, the Ministry of Human Rights may need to work with the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Justice, or any other ministry or combination thereof.
    "Consequently, the Ministry of Human Rights must coordinate efforts with the other ministries in order to create clear communication channels and efficient decision-making bodies. A good example of effective ministerial and legislative networking was the Eskisehir Prison case. Here, the Ministries of Justice, Health and Human Rights and the Assembly's Commission on Human Rights coordinated efforts to address a prisoners' rights issue. The government closed the Eskisehir Prison, using legal authority. maintaining respect for the democratic process and securing the confidence of the people." 

    Ankara University Human Rights Center

    The Political Science Faculty of the Ankara University has recently decided to revive its Human Rights Center.
    The Human Rights Center, established in 1978, experienced a good start, hosting two major human rights conferences by 1979. One conference concerned the state of human rights in the region around Turkey, and the second conference concerned human rights education through UNESCO.
    Due to the escalating political violence and consequent military coup, the Human Rights Center experienced no growth in 1980. The coup de grace was the 1981 University Law, enacted by the military government, which uprooted all university organizations and created laws that seriously limited the freedom of university organizations.
    Tekin Akillioglu, dean of the faculty, said :
    "Today, we are experiencing a refreshing spirit of intellectual freedom and maturity among professors and some students in order to effectively help address Turkey's human rights issues. 
    "In January 1991, the Human Rights Center took a major step and published its first edition of the Ankara University Human Rights Center Journal. In addition to covering one study per edition, the journal also summarizes the decisions held by Turkish Constitutional Court and the European Court of Human Rights. The January edition covered freedom of expression in the scrutiny of public figures. 
    "Presently, human rights courses at the graduate level are only electives at the Political Sciences Faculty. Also, there is only one graduate student researching and writing on human rights. The faculty will plan social interactions with the graduate students.
    "The Political Science Faculty and Human Rights Center are also interested in exchanges of scholars with the United States. There are many fine human rights scholars and lawyers in the United States that we wish to bring to the faculty for one or two semesters. In this regard, we need a bit of help. I am investigating the matter with the Turkish U.S. Fulbright Commission.  UNESCO, the European Council and the Geneva Human Rights Center have offered to finance any Turkish or Middle Eastern human rights related research that the Human Rights Center decides to conduct."

    A Human Rights Museum

    New Culture Minister Fikri Saglar announced on December 11 that a Human Rights, Peace and Democracy Museum will be established in Ankara.
    "The establishment of this museum will serve as a means to express our regret toward the people who have suffered injustices, were locked up in prison cells or tortured for their thoughts," he said.
    The museum will be set up in a police station or a prison, a place which has been the scene of such tortures. Various documents on human rights, peace and democracy, even those that were banned in the past, will be put on display in the museum.


    One of the historical figures of the Turkish trade union movement, Abdullah Bastürk died on December 19 after a brain hemorrhage. He was the chairman of the Progressive Trade Unions Confederation (DISK) and spent three years in prison after the military coup of 1980. He was also a member of the Board of the European Trade Unions Confederation (ETUC).
    He was born in an Anatolian village in 1929. He had to leave high school at the beginning because of his family's poverty and started his career as an agricultural worker from the age of 14. Later on, he worked in the public and industrial sectors. He entered trade union struggle while he was working in the municipality of Istanbul and set up a local trade union. In 1962, he founded with his comrades the national trade union GENEL-IS, gathering all employees in the public sector in Turkey, and was elected to its presidency. The Genel-Is was first affiliated with the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions (TURK-IS). However, criticizing the latter's pro-governmental attitude, the Genel-Is shifted to DISK with its 100,000 members and became the largest trade union in this progressive confederation.  Meanwhile, Bastürk was elected deputy of the Republican People's Party (CHP).
    He was elected the president of DISK at the 6th Congress held at the end of 1977.
    Bastürk and his comrades were among the first persons arrested and tortured following the coup d'Etat of September 12, 1980.
    After his release, Bastürk was elected deputy from the Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP) in 1987. In 1990, he left the SHP and founded with a group of progressive deputies the People's Labour Party (HEP).
    The Military Court of Appeals overruled  in July 1991 the lower military court's decision to ban the DISK. Thereupon Bastürk decided to leave political life and to give all his energy to the reorganization of the DISK.
    His death has lead a big sorrow in trade union and human rights circles of Turkey. His funeral was attended by thousands of people.
    It is just before his death that the General Council meeting of the Progressive Trade Unions Confederation (DISK) convened on December 8, after an interval of 11 years, and started work to change the confederation's bylaws in accordance with the new Trade Unions Law.
    Bastürk marked the importance of the meeting with an opening speech and stated that the principles his confederation has defended since foundation were valid and standing as firm as ever. "We were tried for a capital punishment offence, but we are still here," he said.
    In his speech, Bastürk said that DISK will make necessary changes in its bylaws to comply with Union Law No. 2821, but that this would not mean they were accepting this new law. "We shall continue to exert all effort to lift this law which is nothing but a false defence of labor rights, " he said. Bastürk defended the view that even after the military rule had come to an end in Turkey, labor was not given its deserved place in a society which had been damaged economically, culturally and politically.
    He said the new coalition government is defending in its government program all the views that DISK had defended and was convicted of 11 years ago. Bastürk, however, added that it will not be easy to fulfil all the promises the new government had made. As for DISK's demands of the government, Bastürk said that primarily it would demand that the International Labor Organization (ILO) Agreement No. 87, which deals with union rights, be approved by the government. He said DISK would secondly demand the abolition of differentiation between workers and government employees and that all be given the freedom of forming unions.
    Bastürk also said it would demand the return of the confiscated properties and assets of DISK and its affiliated unions.
    He said that DISK would not be defending only a difference of wages but also a change in the role of the workers in the society. "Since it is not easy to regain.all the loses we suffered during the last I I years, today the struggle of DISK will be more important when compared with the past," he concluded.