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


16th Year - N°186
April 1992
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


    The Spring Syndrome in Turkish Kurdistan reached its utmost when celebrations to observe the Kurdish new year (Newroz) was turned by the security forces into a bloody show of force between Turkish troops and the Kurdish people.
    The violence first broke out in Cizre on March 21 after police and gendarmes tried to stop a march of villagers waving Kurdish national flags and shouting slogans from entering the town. The marchers were trying to join a crowd of town's people already gathered at the local cemetery when troops fired tear gas and smoke bombs and then used live ammunition to chase people off the main highway into side streets.
    The security forces carried out similar repressive operations in other Kurdish towns. In some towns they reportedly used cannons against the civilian people. On March 21 and following days, more than 100 people, including women and children, were shot dead by the security forces and hundreds of people wounded.
    According to a report made public in Brussels on March 26 by the National Liberation Front of Kurdistan (ERNK), the number of the victims rise to 47 in Sirnak, 29 in Cizre, 15 in Nusaybin, 6 in Yüksekova, 5 in Van, 2 in Gercüs, 2 in Ergani, 3 in Adana and 1 in Istanbul.
    The ERNK also claimed that during the military intervention, many houses were destroyed  by using bombing, thousands of people detained without a court warrant, soldiers have systematically plundered homes and shops.
    The state terror has given rise a number of protest actions throughout the country. Many demonstrations have been dispersed by force and hundreds of people were arrested.
    One of the most dramatic acts of protest was the suicide of a Kurdish young women, Resan Demirel, by immolating herself in Izmir on March 22.
    Prior to the Newroz celebrations, the Spring Syndrome which had been  triggered by the declarations of the President of the Republic (See: Info-Türk, March 1992) was escalated by General Teoman Koman, chief of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT). He told the daily Milliyet of March 9, “There are great risks in the coming days. When the PKK starts its operations, we will respond militarily. Then the PKK and its supporters will escape to Iraq, near the 36th parallel. Then Saddam Hussein will start an operation toward the north, where the Kurds are and try to annihilate them. This will be the main concern then: a Kurdish massacre.”
    Police forces, in complicity with the Islamist terror organization Hezbollah, intensified their anti-Kurdish acts on every occasion. For example, on March 5, policemen attending the funeral of one of their colleagues who perished during an armed confrontation with Kurdish guerrillas staged a demonstration in Sirnak and shouted, “Sirnak will become a graveyard for the Kurds” During their march through the streets of the city they harassed fifty people, both insulting and threatening them, and destroyed many shops.
    Moreover, on March 10, the Government issued orders to all local officials to intervene in the Newroz celebrations if people open flags or turn the celebrations into political demonstrations.
    On march 12, the People’s Labour Party (HEP) reported said that about 200,000 commandos were being sent to the troubled region to fight against Kurdish nationalists.
    In retaliation, the PKK, saying that they were determined to open the red, green and yellow flag, warned the government: “We will celebrate it as we like and if they intervene, they will be responsible for a massacre.”


    Although the Turkish Government accused the PKK of provoking the troubles, a special fact-finding mission of the Social Democrat People’s Party (SHP), partner of the coalition, contradicting the government, accused the security forces to provoke the bloody incidents by using excessive force.
    Three senior SHP executives and two deputies also claimed that local officials had lost control over the security forces in the troubled region.
    SHP officials, in two reports submitted to party chairman and deputy-premier Erdal Inönü on April 7, stated that in many incidents it was the security forces who opened fire on the people first. They said that even in cases where it was not clear who triggered the violence, there was suspicion that provocateurs could be involved.
    They also called for a revision of Turkey's policy with regard to the Southeast, pointing out that all the people wanted was equality and democracy.
    The first report, 16 pages long, was drawn up by the party's general accountant Ziya Halis, Deputy secretary General Ercan Karakas, executive board member Mustafa Gazalci and Malatya Deputy Mustafa Yilmaz.  It claims that "security forces in Sirnak opened fire on the people," when a group tried to break through a police barricade. "At that moment," it said, "17 people died and many others were wounded."
    "Following the killings," says the report, "the security forces continued their gun fire between 10 o'clock and 12. "The wounded were placed in ambulances. The ambulances were stopped near Nusaybin and those inside were beaten," it adds. According to the report, gun shots started once again at 19 p.m. and March 22" and continued without a break for 22 hours."
    "Amid the tension, a small spark started the incidents. Perhaps it was truly the PKK or those who are in the middle of preparations for a coup and want to hurt the government or a provocateur within the state setting on another motivation who fired the first shot.
    "Because the state forces cannot always see the PKK, which uses the hit and run method, they can shoot for hours saying the PKK is among the people. This is what happened in Sirnak. They opened fire for 22 hours. The authorities say it was a clash while the people say it was a one-sided attack by the security forces."
    As for the "official statements" emerging from the region, the report claims local authorities "believed what the soldiers and police told them. In any case, they have lost their strength and authority against the police and soldiers."
    Noting that the PKK has strengthened in the region because of the repressive policies followed after the September 12, 1980 military coup, the report says:; "In fact, it cannot be said that the majority of the people are with the PKK. All they want to do is to live as human beings without repression and with equality, democracy and peace. It is still impossible to determine who started the incidents, while it is not clear whether the people said ‘to appear during the night’ were the PKK militants coming down from the mountains or those living among the people. Because of this, there are extraordinarily strong measures. The province and districts in the region, with the intensified presence of police and soldiers, give the impression of being under martial law."
    In a section entitled "state officials," the report claims that no one could talk about a democratic, judicial state in the region, claiming that authorities took different attitudes depending on their whereabouts and opinions.
    "Some have given in to military authority and are too cowed even to make a phone call," it says, pointing at Sirnak Governor Mustafa Malay. Referring to reports that Cizre Governor Cavit Erdogan is said to be a National Labour Party (MCP) sympathizer, the document says, "he can openly talk about blowing up the minaret."
    The report also criticises regional governor Ünal Erkan for siding with hard line measures and accepting that "anything can happen" in the war with the PKK and even civilians can die. "In short, the administrators are not administrative people who approach the people with affection or understand human and social psychology," the report says. "They [the officials] have either given in to military authority or see everything acceptable in the opinion that they are the state."
    The report emphasizes that not everything has been lost in the Southeast and that although there is a lack of confidence in the state, serious democratic solutions could still win back the people of the region.
    In its "conclusion" section, the report points out that the March 21 Newroz holiday could have been celebrated in peace in line with the coalition government's democratization drive. "Unfortunately, against the demonstrations and activities in the region, a part of the security forces have shown impatience, and by opening fire on the civilian population, have led to bloodshed and an escalation in the incidents. The painful experiences have shown once again that the Kurdish problem cannot be solved through violent methods. The problem can be overcome with new policies which pay attention to ethnic origin and cultural identity," the report concludes.
    This report has apparently been criticised by SHP chairman Inönü for being "against the government and security forces."
    The second report was prepared by SHP Sirnak Deputy Mahmut Alniak following his visit to the Southeast along with the party delegation.`
    Alniak charges in his report that the police and soldiers have replaced civilian authority in the region, establishing  an authority independent of the government. He says that it is not clear whose orders the police and military are listening to. related to development in Sirnak where 23 people were killed in two weeks of violence and tens of other were wounded. Alniak reports that the SHP delegation could not find anyone in authority to allow them to speak to detained people.
    Upon hearing rumours that local women were being held in custody with nothing on but their stockings, the delegation applied to the Sirnak governor to see and speak to people detained. The governor said he was not in authority to grant them such permission.
    "Who is administrating this province?" asks Alniak, claiming that civilian authority in the city has fallen under military rule.
    He says that even influential people from the SHP and the DYP believe that the security forces are the only ones to blame for the damage which will cost hundreds of millions of liras.
    He concludes, "The authority is not with the government but with the soldiers, police and special teams."

    After weeks of mounting tension and expectation in the troubled Southeast region, on March 1st, Turkish forces launched a major air operation on the  PKK camps in northern Iraq.  The cross-border air raids continued with Turkish jets soaring over the border and dropping their bombs some 10 kilometres into Iraqi territory.
    The aircrafts reportedly bombed the Cudi mountains on the Turkish side of the border as well.
    The Iraqi Kurdistan Democrat Party  protested to the Turkish Foreign Ministry for the bombing of Kurdish villages in Iraq. The party's spokesman in Ankara, Safeen Dizai said that Turkish planes, hit the villages of Sejek, Lilkan and Bozan and killed 12 civilian people. He also noted that these settlements were some 20 km off course from the PKK camps and 40 km from the Turkish border.
    On March 11, Iraqi Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani criticized Turkey for its contradictory policies, and said recent Turkish air attacks on refugee camps
have killed nearly 50 people.
    On the other hand, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHRC) Sadako Ogata, on March 5, expressed "great concern over the deaths of innocent civilians" in bombing attacks.
    Nine people, including two mothers and their three children, were killed in Khazhak, one of the bombed villages, 30 kilometres from the Turkish border, which UNHRC workers reached within 24 hours of the raid, Ogata claimed. The bombers destroyed 29 of the 40 houses in the village, he added.
    UNHCR workers in the region said five other villages reconstructed by the U.N. agency for Iraqi Kurds had also been bombed in the raid, causing extensive damage and several casualties.
    Turkey had already launched three operations on alleged PKK targets in Iraq in the autumn of 1991 but was heavily criticised by the Iraqi Kurds for hitting civilian settlements and causing heavy casualties.  Barzani himself said that 40 civilians were killed and acres of agricated land was burned down in the 1991 air strikes and his own home town was also hit.


    The United States, on March 10, expressed understanding for Turkey’s air raids into northern Iraq, saying they responded to continued attacks by Kurdish separatists. During Premier Demirel’s visit to Washington in February, the United States had already promised him to give sophisticated arms including six Cobra helicopters in next month.
    According to a UPI report of March 31, Turkey used U.S. intelligence to direct air raid operations against PKK camps in northern Iraq.  The USA had been gathering intelligence through satellite technology, agents on the ground and electronic technology.  One of the intelligence satellites is in fixed orbit over Iraq.
    The report also said the air operations were flown by jets sold to Turkey by the United States, including F-16s and F-4 Phantoms. It stressed that the sale agreement stipulates that the weapons may be used for internal security and legitimate intervention operations.


    The Islamic Hezbollah (Party of God) , backed by the police and the Counter-Guerrilla Organization, has intensified its attacks in March against the Kurdish nationalist leaders and militants.
    At least 15 people have died in the Southeast due to attacks attributed to the Hezbollah, 19 people wounded and 25 shops have been set ablaze.
    Most of the attacks have taken place in areas known to be under PKK control.
    The Hezbollah emerged after the security forces were infiltrated by radical Islamic activists during the ANAP Government.
    The weekly magazine 2000e Dogru, claimed on February 16 that a group of Hezbollah-based militants were even being trained at the headquarters of the special counter-terrorist crack teams in Istanbul. The reporter of the weekly, Halit Güngen, was killed by the Hezbollah by a bullet to the head two days after the publication of the information.
    PKK sources point out that those involved in the recent wave of killings and attacks are very young militants aged under 16. “People at this age could be forced to believe anything and once a gun is put into his hand, could become a killer,” they said.
    In several settlements mainly around Mardin and at the Syria border, the Hezbollah is also carrying out its own propaganda campaign with Arab language tape cassettes being freely sold on the market. Several market places in larger towns are actually run by Hezbollah members and local sources claim this is known to the police.
    In Nusaybin, police patrol cars often play Hezbollah cassettes, in Arabic and Turkish, while cruising the streets.
    Villages on the border have turned into ghost towns at night, with iron shutters drawn in front of shops. People lock themselves into their houses and no one but special counter-terrorist teams are seen on the streets.
    Almost every night, doors are knocked on by people identifying themselves as “guerrillas” but everyone has learned not to answer. Opening a door could well mean being hauled off for a self-styled Hezbollah interrogation before being killed or facing death on the spot.
    Recently, on March 6,  a dental technician, Serif Akinci was gunned down by three Hezbollah militants in the middle of the street. Akinci survived the attack, though badly wounded.
    A PKK team traced the gunmen down. One was killed and two others were wounded before escaping from the scene.
    The PKK has already captured 10 of the Hezbollah militants and interrogated two of them. They reportedly confessed the names of a 200-man group cooperating with local police team.


    On March 17, just four days before Newroz,the Turkish Parliament voted overwhelmingly to extend the emergency state for a further four months in ten of the southeastern provinces. This was one of the main reasons of the escalation of the Spring Syndrome.
    Out of a total of 450 parliamentarians, 382 attended the session, 321 voted for emergency law to be extended. Fifty-eight voted against, one abstained and two votes were declared invalid.
    29 of those who voted against the extension of emergency rule were SHP deputies, 18 of them being former members of the People’s Labour Party (HEP). The remaining 29 no votes were from the two independents, Leyla Zana and Hatip Dicle, and 27 deputies of the Welfare Party (RP).
    The neo-fascist MCP voted together with the two coalition partners, SHP and DYP, for the prolongation of the emergency state.
    The SHP had, during its opposition years, been against this extraordinary regime in Turkish Kurdistan, and after the last legislative elections it had entered the government with the promise of lifting it.
    Despite a strong opposotion from the party members, the majority of the SHP parliamentary group vote for the prolongation of the emergency state.


    Prior to the Newroz , the People’s Labour Party (HEP) addressed a series of warnings to the government for calming the situation, but the DYP-SHP coalition taking no heed of these warnings escalated the tension.
    Thereupon, the HEP announced on March 11 the withdrawal of
all regional support in the Southeast for the coalition government in Ankara, ending a three-month “Kurdish mandate” given to the Demirel rule to pull things together.
    Concluding a 4-day fact-finding mission to various provinces, cities, towns and villages in the region, HEP Secretary General Ahmet Karatas said:
    “We had already warned the government to stop the human rights violations and violence in the Southeast.  Now, we have decided to withdraw our mass support and to stage mass protests against all government officials."
    Karatas accused the coalition government of continuing the “special warfare” which started in the region under the Motherland Party administration and said that although it had promised to restore human rights and freedoms, bringing a transparency to the system, in the past three months there had been only increased violations in the region.
    A group of newspaper representatives accompanying the HEP delegation on its tour of the region heard claims everywhere of massacres, arson attacks and harassment by the State forces and the Hezbollah.


    Considering the government takes no heed of all warnings and the party leadership does not keep its promises concerning democratization in Kurdistan,  14  of the SHP deputies of Kurdish origin resigned from the party on March 31, by making public a three-page letter.
    The statement accused the government of attempting to label the Kurdish issue as "terrorism." Recalling that Prime Minister Demirel's earlier remarks "recognizing the Kurdish reality" had received the support of the people, the letter said: " We also gave support, time and credit. But the promised democratization process is not being put into practice.”
    "In a short time, acting on the methods recommended by some centers and circles, it [the government] has put into practice policies of repression, fear, execution without judgement, terrorism, counter-guerrilla activities and the bombing of civilian targets, which can be summarized as 'destruction.' It has left behind pain and tears," the statement said.
    The statement refuted claims that the Kurdish issue was an artificial problem to destroy Turkey's integrity and explained that it was "just the opposite, it is the country's own problem and its own reality."
    It also said that in order to create a strong Turkey in the world and in the Middle East, Turkey had to solve the Kurdish issue in a contemporary and democratic way.


    14 deputies summarized in the letter the "innocent demands" of the people in the Southeast under ten headlines:
    "1. The lifting of all anti-democratic laws and regulations which are the product of the September 12 military regime, which have prevented Turkey from embracing democracy.
    "2. The abolition of the Emergency Law practice with all its regulations and institutions.
    "3. The provision of the right for people to live in security and an explanation for all 'unexplained' crimes.
    "4. The enshrinement of the Kurdish identity in the constitution, laws and in international documents, the acceptance of the Kurdish language as an educational language, broadcasting in Kurdish and the right to develop and expand Kurdish culture, art, folklore, society and in other fields.
    "5. The creation of circumstances for the regional people to be able to freely debate their rights of expression and the right to organize and determine their future and in doing so, destroy the conditions which forbid these rights and  led to an escalation of terrorism.
    "6. To civilianize the society and abandon the village guard system.
    "7. To overcome the imbalance between different regions and to speed up investments with the state support and to encourage private investments.
    "8. To lift ban on villagers preventing them from living in hamlets or going up to the mountains and to compensate those who have been moved from their villages immediately.
    "9. To approve the much expressed judicial reforms to introduce modern standards of interrogation procedures and contemporary trials.
    "10. To improve working conditions to the standards of the International Labour Organization."
    The statement said that instead of meeting these "innocent requests," the government concentrated on police measures and violence in Southeast Turkey. "In order to show that the state was strong, blood and tears have been poured in the region."
    The statement ended with a promise to support all democratic steps and reforms which may come out of Parliament on the Kurdish issue, emphasizing that the deputies who resigned were willing to make every sacrifice.


    The Constitutional Court has recently confirmed the discrimination against Kurdish prisoners by turning down an appeal to annul a controversial part of the Anti-Terror Law
    The said law adopted on April 12, 1991, lifted some articles of the Turkish Penal Code such as 140, 141, 142 and 163 and stipulated the probational release of more than 40 thousand prisoners . However, according to the provisional article 4  of the new law, the reduction of sentences related to crimes against the state (dealt with by virtue of Articles 125 and 146 of the Turkish Penal Code) was more restricted: Capital punishment were commuted to 20 years; life sentences reduced to 15 years and other sentences reduced to one-third of the total sentence term.
    The Constitutional Court, on July 22, had lifted the restriction concerning the victims of Article 146. So, those who were sentenced by this article, mainly the militants of the Turkish left-wing organizations, had been released.
    As for the Kurdish political prisoners, mainly militants of the PKK, they have been accused or condemned by virtue of Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code.
    The Constitutional Court has been dealing, for about one year, with the appeal concerning the victims of Article 125 of the TPC. Finally it pronounced its verdict on March 31, 1992, just after the Newroz bloodshed.
    Refusing to lift the restriction as regards Article 125, the Constitutional Court  has condemned the political prisoners of Kurdish organizations to stay behind iron for more years and has proved by doing so  that it shares the discriminating stand of other State organs against the Kurds.


    After the Newroz incidents, on March 26, the German Government decided to stop arms shipment to Turkey because Ankara used German-supplied weapons against the Kurdish minority of the country. A cargo ship carrying military aid to Turkey was ordered back immediately.
    Bonn's decision has been riposted in Turkey by an anti-German campaign and Germany has been accused of supporting the PKK. Accusing Bonn of supporting the PKK, several pressure groups have called upon the public to boycott German products.
    In fact, the German Government's decision to stop the arms shipment to Turkey was provoked by Demirel's insolent attitude against the western media's criticism as regards the oppression of Kurds in Turkey. On March 24, addressing to the DYP Parliamentary Group, referring to criticisms by the Western press and human rights organisations, Demirel said: "We have no intention of bowing to Western pressure. I am not afraid of the foreign press or any other international reaction."
    After the German Government's decision, Demirel continued to claim justifiable the State terrorism in Turkish Kurdistan.
    At a press conference Demirel said that the German reaction was based on false press reports. "I'm asking any country in the world: What do you do to those who take rockets, mortars, anti-aircraft guns in their hands and spill the blood of children, youth or soldiers indiscriminately.? Well, Turkey does the same. What they have done to the Baader-Meinhof Gang, we'll do for incidents in our country. We are as correct as they [Germans] are," he added.
    Demirel also contrasted Germany's reaction with that of the United States, Britain and the Netherlands.
    What is more, Turgut Özal, as the president of the Republic went further and increased the tension between two countries by invoking Germany's Nazi past.
    In an interview to the daily Cumhuriyet of March 29, Özal said: "Germany changed a lot after the unification. It is as if it is trying to intervene in everything, interfere with everyone, trying to prove it's a great power. Europe, obviously, must be aware of this. But this is a mistaken behaviour. In the past, Hitler's Germany did the same thing. But, of course, it did so in  other ways. If today's Germany also does this, not in that [Hitler's] way, but through the misuse of its economic power, or by hurling threats, it will soon discover it has taken a wrong course.
    In the interview, Özal also charged that Genscher was trying to secure the alliance of groups sympathetic to the PKK.
    Chancellor Helmut Kohl's government responded angrily to Özal assertion, branding the "Nazi" reference as "excessive and absurd."
    After Germany, Norway has announced that it is cancelling permission for a private firm to sell military equipment to Turkey. "We cancelled the export license because the situation in Turkey doesn't fit the export conditions," said the Norwegian Foreign Ministry spokesman.
    Austria joined Germany and Norway and delivered a diplomatic note to Turkey on March 28 questioning Ankara's military action in the Southeast.


    In a surprise move, the center-left coalition has recently decided to give financial support to the Nationalist Labour Party (MCP), neo-fascist organization of Former Colonel Alparslan Türkes.
    The Parliamentary Plan and Budget Commission approved, on March 23, a proposal which stipulates allocation of state financial aid to the MCP on a par with the amount the Democratic Left Party (DSP) receives.
    The MCP would reportedly get around TL 6 billion ($1 million) from the Treasury.
    The proposal was signed on behalf of the SHP by Deputy-Chairman of the party's parliamentary group, Aydin Güven Gürkan, without demanding the opinion of the other members of the group board.
    This fait accompli was severely criticized by the other deputy chairman of the parliamentary group, Alniak, who is a Kurdish deputy of HEP origin.
    According to political observers, the Government, by financing the neo-fascist party, paid the price of the support given by the latter to repressive measures which it has been taking such as the prolongation of the state of emergency.


    1.3, eleven people were arrested in Konya by the State Security Court for having put on wall the poster of an outlawed organization.
    2.3, police prevented by using force a protest demonstration by a group ow workers in front of the office of a transport company. Eleven workers were beaten by police and about 200 trade unionists and workers detained.
    2.3, in Rize, two university students were detained for putting on wall the poster of a left-wing organization.
    2.3, six students were wounded during a skirmish between left and right-wing groups at the Istanbul University. Police detained ten students.
    2.3, during a raid on a house in Van, police shot dead three people and detained eight people among them are three children. During the operation a 90-year-old women, Halime Benek,  was wounded and hospitalized.
    3.3, in Izmir, the tentative of transport workers in protest action to pitch a tent was prevented by the police using force. 35 workers were detained.
    4.3, in Izmir, a 20-year-old university student, Eralp Yazar was shot dead when the police opened fire on a group carrying out an unauthorized demonstration. Fifteen people were detained.
    4.3, in Adana, police operations in Kurdish quarters resulted in the arrest of ten people.
    5.3, in Istanbul, lawyer Seref Turgut was beaten at the Police Headquarters when he went there to see his client in custody.
    5.3, in Izmir, the canteen of the 9 Eylül University was raided by right-wing groups and three students were wounded during the confrontation between opposing groups.
    6.3, in Izmir, five people were taken into custody as they were distributing the Socialist Party (SP) tracts on the occasion of the International Women's Day.
    6.3, a confrontation between right and left groups at the Ankara University resulted in ten wounded. After the incident police detained 20 students.
    7.3, in Istanbul, a round-table on Atatürk, organized by the Foundation of Scientific Researches, was banned by the Governor.
    7.3, security forces detained four people during raids on some houses in Bingöl.
    8.3, in Karaman, tea-house owner Mehmet Zeki Özirmak was subjected to torture at the police station to where he had been taken for an investigation. 
    8.3, in Diyarbakir, police announced that nine people, of whom five doctors, were arrested during the operations of last week.
    8.3, in Adana, a demonstration by a group of 150 people on the occasion of the International Women's Day was prevented by police and 50 people were detained. Same day in Istanbul, during another demonstration, police wounded two people and detained eight.
    9.3, in Midyat (Mardin),  18-year old Mehmet Emin Dikmen said that he was subjected to torture at police station following his detention on February 24 and his two ribs were broken during the torture.
    10.3, the Erzincan SSC sentenced a Syrian national, Muhammed Isa Sahin, to capital punishment by virtue of Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code for having taken part in some PKK actions.`
    10.3, security forces, during the anti-PKK operations, detained twelve people in Adana and 34 in Diyarbakir.
    10.3, in Izmir, police detained HEP official Mehmet Zeynettin Unay.
    10.3, police detained six students in its last three-day operations in Adana.
    11.3, the Istanbul SSC began to try 23 people accused of setting on fire a supermarket in Istanbul and causing to death of 23 people. The prosecutor claims capital punishment for eight defendants and prison terms of up to 20 years for the other.
    12.3, in Istanbul, three women were detained for putting on walls posters concerning Newroz celebrations.
    13.3, in Antalya, a non-political detainee, Seki Böckün was reportedly killed under torture during his interrogation at police station.
    13.3, in Izmir, police announced the detention of 60 people during an operation against an outlawed organization.
    13.3,  in Cizre, a 12-year-old boy was shot dead during an attack by the Hezbollah and another boy wounded. A protest demonstration against this murder was prevented by the police.
    13.3, in Izmir, a meeting on professional matters organized by the Union of Education Workers (Egit-Sen) was banned by the governor.
    13.3, twelve people commemorating three left-wing activists executed after the 1980 Coup were detained by the side of their tombs.
    14.3, security forces detained 43 people at the Kilavuz village in the province of Mardin, and 11 people in the province of Batman.
    16.3, two persons, Abdullah Bakir and Hanefi Yildiz, who had been detained in Elazig, revealed after their release that they were subjected torture for accepting to be police informers.
    16.3, the Court of Cassation approved the condemnation of 12 trade unionists for having carried out an unauthorized May Day demonstration in Istanbul in 1990. Each of them had been sentenced by a local court to a 18-month imprisonment and a fine of TL 40,000.
    17.3, nineteen political detainees at the Kayseri Prison went on a hunger strike in protest against the prison conditions. They claim that, after the evasion of a group of prisoners in last month, they have been very often subjected to torture and  solitary confinement.
    17.3, a rightist group attacked left-wing students at the Bosporus University in Istanbul. A student was seriously wounded.
    17.3, in the town of Cukurca (Hakkari), a meeting on the occasion of the 4th anniversary of the Halabja Massacre in Iraq was prevented by police using force and 20 people were detained.
    18.3, in Istanbul, a young women, Ayse Koc claimed that she was subjected to torture and sexually harassed at the Alemdar Gendarmery Post to where she had been taken for an investigation.
    18.3, five people were indicted by the Ankara SSC for their talks at the HEP Convention of December 15, 1991? Each faces a prison term of five years for separatism.
    18.3, a high criminal court in Bursa began to try three persons for having committed a political murder. Each faces capital punishment.
    19.3, in Nusaybin, a high school student was shot dead and another wounded by unidentified persons.
    19.3, in Derik, a teacher was found dead with a bullet in the head. Same day, in Midyat, a public servant was killed by unidentified persons.
    20.3, in Gercüs (Batman), police opened fire on a crowd celebrating Newroz. Two persons were killed and eight wounded.
    20.3, in Istanbul, the offices of ten associations, including the Human Rights Association (IHD) and the Patriotic Women’s Association (YKD), were raided by police and all documents inside were confiscated.
    20.3, in Elazig, the Association for Solidarity with the People of Elazig was closed down by the governor.
    20.3, police detained seven of a group of transport workers carrying out a protest action in Izmir.
    20.3, in Ankara, four high school students were detained for unauthorized demonstration.
    20.3, during the trial of the Union of Young Communists (GKB), gendarmes in guard beat the defendants attempting to read a communique concerning Newroz and wounded four of them.
    23.3, in Izmir, 30 people detained in last weeks were sent to the State Security Court. Their parents coming to see them in front of the court were dispersed by police using force. Five parents were wounded.
    23.3, security forces detained more than 20 people during an anti-PKK operation in seven villages of Mardin and wounded two persons.
    23.3, the provincial officials of the HEP were indicted by the Istanbul SSC on charges that the placards that they used during a demonstration on march 1 were containing separatist slogans.
    24.3, the former mayor of Diyarbakir, Mehdi Zana was imprisoned immediately after his return from Paris for serving a prison term of two months and twelve days. He had been sentenced for having told journalists, when he was in prison, that he supported the national liberation struggle of the PKK.
    24.3, the People’s House of Adana was closed down by the Governor for activities incompatible with its aims.
    25.3, at the E-Type Prison of Diyarbakir, 260 political detainees went on a hunger strike in protest against the State terrorism during Newroz celebrations.
    25.3, in Istanbul, police detained nine people for taking part in PKK activities.
    25.3, in Izmir, trois people were detained for insulting policemen.
    27.3, thirteen people who had been detained as coming to the funeral of Resan Demirel in Izmir claimed that they had been tortured during their interrogation. The traces of torture were certified by a medical report.
    27.3, in Istanbul, 72 out of 159 people detained during the Newroz demonstrations were placed under arrest by the State Security Court.
    27.3, in Ankara, a demonstration by the Middle East Technical University (ODTU) students in protest against the attacks by the Islamists was stopped by gendarmes using force, 16 students were detained. Besides, police detained three students at the Ankara University.
    27.3, in Istanbul, 27 students aged less than 18 years were detained as they were attempting to occupy the Hasköy High School in protest against the Newroz Repression.
    27.3, in Nusaybin, security forces shot dead a person on pretext that he attempted to escape during an identity control.
    28.3, in Sirnak, police announced that a young woman, Biseng Anik, detained during the Newroz incidents, committed suicide at the police post.
    30.3, in the district of Selcuk, twelve persons of Kurdish origin, of whom seven children, were detained for having destroyed the Atatürk bust at a primary school.
    30.3, in Edirne, police detained 48 students who attempt to occupy the SHP office in protest against the Newroz repression. Many of the students were brutally beaten.
    30.3, security forces detained eleven people in the town of Dargecit for giving shelter to PKK militants.
    31.3, in Iskenderun, Bahattin Ekin, Ali Celik, Hasan Aykal and Idris Yildiz claimed that they had been subjected torture after being detained on March 28.
    31.3, police announced the detention of eleven alleged TKP-ML members within last 15 days.
    31.3, in Bursa, 19 people were detained for participating in Dev-Sol actions.
    31.3, in Adana, eight persons who attempted to place a black wreath in front of the Governor’s office in protest against the Newroz repression.


    Turkey's first Kurdish newspaper Rojname announced on March 27 that it would stop its publication because of the pressures coming from police authorities.
    Police raided  on March 25 the Istanbul facilities of the newspaper and conducted an extensive search for non-existing rocket launchers and grenades after an employee was hauled off and tortured.
    Ahmet Zeki Okcuoglu, publisher of Rojname, said in a press conference that the newspaper had ceased its publishing activities having concluded that "it was impossible to publish under these conditions."
    Okcuoglu said that newspaper employees had been continuously threatened with anonymous phone calls since its first publication on December 29, 1991, and added that an 18-year-old employee, Cengiz Celik, was almost killed by the police.
    Celik was detained and tortured before he was thrown in front of a speeding minibus which barely managed to stop before running over him.
    Okcuoglu claimed the police had tried to force Celik into confessing that there were rocket launchers and grenades in the newspaper office and burned his face with cigarette butts, beat his feet with clubs and hit his head against walls after he resisted.
    During the raid, which followed Celik's detention, police cars and minibuses literally surrounded the office with sirens echoing through the streets, but nothing illegal was found on the Rojname premises.
    Okcuoglu charged the coalition government had actually increased the pressure on Turkey's Kurdish people and accused the administration of failing to protect the newspaper's staff.
    "Like they do to all of the Kurds, they want to kill us and they are oppressing us," he said.
    The publisher also said he intended to apply to various international bodies for protection and the applications would also be made to the United Nations to "inform that Turkey is applying terror against its citizens."
    After the closure of Rojname, it remains only one weekly Kurdish newspaper in Turkey: Welat, published by Siirt deputy Zübeyir Aydar. The first issue of Welat appeared on February 22 and it reportedly sells 40 thousand copies.


    During the  Newroz incidents in Cizre, not only the local people, but also journalists and foreign observers were subjected to police violence and a Turkish journalist was killed on March 23.
    Izzet Kezer, a photographer with the daily Sabah, was shot dead when security personnel in an armoured carried opened fire on a group of journalists in Cizre, although they were carrying white flags wrapped around poles.
    Sabah was the only Turkish newspaper on March 22 to report on its front page that Cizre violence had erupted after the security forces opened fire on the crowds first.
    Before the killing, police told the manager of the Kadooglu Hotel, where most reporters in Cizre are based, to warn journalists not to venture outside. "If they do, we are not responsible for their safety," the manager quoted a policeman as saying.
    The police's hostile attitude towards journalists and observers was confirmed by The Guardian correspondent Jonathan Rugman in Cizre. In his article of March 23, he reports: "The police on the outskirts of Nusaybin became so enraged at the disintegration of law and order within that one of them roughed up a group of passing journalists and human rights activists. Several of us were kicked and hit in the face, and in one instance a gun was held to a Turkish journalist's head. 'Where are the human rights people when we are getting killed?' the policemen shouted."
    After the killing of Kezer, hundreds of journalists in Ankara marched to the mausoleum of Atatürk on March 24 to protest the police's behaviour.
    The silent demonstration, which was organized by the Contemporary Journalists Association (CGD), ended with an appeal for Kezer's murderers to be caught and urged the government to take effective measures to protect reporters working in the troubled region.


    1.3, Swiss journalist Barbara Kistler was sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to a prison term of 3 years and 9 months for having translated the texts of an underground organization. Three Turkish defendants tried together with her were acquitted.
    1.3, Hani correspondent of the Yeni Ülke, Tahsin Acay was detained by police and later placed under arrest by a tribunal in Mardin.
    3.3, a new trial of three journalists of the weekly Yeni Ülke began at the Istanbul SSC. Prof. Yalcin Kücük, author of an article entitled "Öcalan [PKK leader], My Brother", Serhat Bucak, publisher of the weekly, and responsible editor Yusuf Cacim face each a prison term of up to 5 years by virtue of the Anti-Terror Law.
    8.3, the issue N°3 of the monthly review Barikat was confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
    13.3, the responsible editor of the monthly Devrimci Emek, Hüseyin Durmaz was detained in Izmir for his speech during the commemoration of three left-wing political activists, executed after the 1980 military coup.
    14.3, in Diyarbakir, police detained, after a ceremony of engagement, about 100 people including Kurdish singer Nasir Rezazi, the members of the Kurdish musical group Koma Denge Azadi and the members of Kurdish theatre group Sanoya Roja Azadi. Many of the detainees were brutally beaten.
    15.3, the issue N° 8 of the monthly Devrimci Proletarya was confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for propaganda of an outlawed organization.
    18.3, the public prosecutor opened a legal proceeding against Erol Simavi, publisher of the daily Hürriyet, and Hasan Kilic, responsible editor, for having reported the press release of a left-wing organization. By virtue of Article 6 of the ATL, each faces a fine of up to TL 50 million ($ 7,700).
    21.3, one hundred and ten members of the Motherland Party (ANAP) --83 of whom are deputies-- have filed an indemnity suit worth TL 550 million ($84 million) against Hürriyet columnist Emin Cölasan for an article in which he accused them of corruption.
    26.3, Urfa correspondent of the weekly Yeni Ülke, Abdülvahap Turan was taken into custody on the charge of having taken part in a political violence act.
    27.3, sixteen intellectuals were detained as they were placing a black wreath in front of the Press Council's office in protest against the partial stand of the big media on the Newroz events. Among the detainees are also sociologist Ismail Besikci, publisher Serhat Bucak, musician Bilgesu Erenus and writer Musa Anter.
    30.3, in Siirt, the chief editor of the local newspaper MÜcadele, Cumhur Kiliccioglu was sentenced to a fine of TL 39,900,000, (%6,138) for having insulted some State officials in an article as regards an affaire of corruption.
    31.3, in Ankara, Murat Koc, correspondent of the daily Günaydin, was injured by a policeman hitting on the head with a wireless set when he was verifying an information that the SHP Cankaya local office would be raided by the police.


    On March 4,  Turkey's worst coal mine disaster claimed 265 lives after the methane gas explosion occurred 560 meters below the surface in Kozlu, 10 kilometres from the Black Sea town of Zonguldak.
    Only the bodies of 118 victims could be recovered, 147 miners were entombed in the blazing coal pit.
    A total of 525 workers have died in mine accidents in Turkey since 1942.
    The Miners' Trade Union of Turkey stated after the disaster that the explosion was the result of serious negligence on the part of the  employers and claimed the concentration of methane gas was not monitored carefully. "Mine engineers were supposed to register methane gas levels in a daily log book but neither the engineers nor their chiefs had done so before the disaster," said the statement.
    After the disaster, a series of demonstrations were organized in protest against the responsibles.
    On March 3, in Zonguldak, police riposted to the demonstrators by resorting to violence and arrested 41 people. Same day, the Association of Popular Culture and Solidarity (ZOHKAD) was raided by police.


    A group of students from Bosporus University in Istanbul occupied on March 10 the President's office in protest at the deaths of the workers in the mine explosion in Zonguldak.
    After the students said their sit-in would continue for two days, a great number of special security forces were sent in on special "Puma" helicopters imported from France. The students said that the police helicopters made a show in the courtyard, "as though they were making an attack on PKK guerrillas in the Southeast."
    The university administrative board, after a decision taken in an emergency meeting, instructed the police not to intervene and to leave the university.
    Despite this demand, three buses packed with rapid-deployment forces and security forces were stationed at the university ready to act against a possible incident.
    Next day, police detained 27 students by using force and sent them for trial to the Istanbul SSC. Public prosecutor claimed for each prison terms of up to 18 years.


    Turkey has undergone a second disaster with an earthquake on March 15 in the eastern province of Erzincan, claiming 492 deaths and thousands of injuries.
    This is the second time that Erzincan was destroyed by an earthquake. The 1939 quake, Turkey's worst in modern times, killed at least 30,000 people in Erzincan --more than half of the 58,000 victims claimed by 33 major earthquakes in Turkey this century.
    It was entirely rebuilt after the 1939 cataclysm and now has about 175,000 residents. However, many of the major buildings, built after the 1939 quake, too  collapsed like a pack of cards during the quake. A modern high-rise office block was in ruins, leaning at a drunken angle. A concrete-and-glass building was shattered, with a whole section of glass wall sliding to the ground. The quake flattened a hospital, a school, an orphanage, two hotels, a police headquarters and parts of a sugar factory.
    The experts believed the disaster was a result of negligence. Certain contractors, who built the district offices in Erzincan which collapsed causing the highest number of casualties, had been favoured by the state.
    According to official figures, during the quake 1,084 houses and 769 workplaces were completely ruined, while 2,077 houses and 392 workplaces were receiving a medium level of damage and 3,220 houses and 124 workplaces were being slightly damaged in the tremor.
    The families of the victims accuse the State authorities and contractors of being responsible of the disaster.
    Besides, the insufficiency of the relief distribution has given rise to angry protests. On March 18, hundreds of demonstrators, carried out a march through the ruined streets of Erzincan, protesting against Governor Recep Yazicioglu whom they accused of malpractice in the distribution of aid to the earthquake victims.
    The black market price of aid tents which have been coming in by the thousands reached TL 2 million. There were widespread claims throughout the city that much of the aid was on sale on the black market and that people from other provinces came in with trucks, loaded up whatever they can, and moved out.
    The CNN television reported on March 18 that no aid had reached even the villages nearest to Erzincan and there was no effective distribution network.


    The Turco-Armenian tension continued to rise  on March 5, when President Turgut Özal said: "the Armenians should be scared a little."
    Next day, the Turkish Government decided to declare the cities of Ardahan and Igdir on the eastern border with Armenia as provinces. As a result of this decision, gendarmerie regiments were positioned there. Governors appointed to the border provinces also hold the title of "Supreme Border Commission" chairmen.
    On March 24, during his visit to Turkey, the president of Nakhichevan, Haydar Aliev, signed with Turkish Premier Demirel a protocol for a $100 million Turkish loan as well as cooperation in telecommunications, tourism, transport, industry, agriculture, education, and cultural exchanges.
    The protocol also makes provision for the construction of a bridge over the river Araks, air and railway links between Nakhichevan and Turkey, and measures to incite investments in Nakhichevan.


    As the Turkish authorities were developing anti-Kurdish campaign as well in Turkey as abroad and instigating Turkish migrants in European countries to demonstrate against the Kurdish national movement, Brussels witnessed on April 3-4, 1992 a cultural event bringing to the fore the friendship of the Turkish and Kurdish peoples.
    In the frame of intercultural meetings entitled “D’Ici et d’ailleurs” and organised by the Foyer Culturel of Etterbeek, Info-Türk, the Kurdish Institute of Brussels and the Jacquemotte Foundation  organized a Turkish-Kurdish Weekend at the Espace Senghor.
    On April 3, an exhibition composed of photos from Turkey and Kurdistan, Turkish and Kurdish handicrafts, objects created by the young adherents of the Info-Türk/Sun Workshops and paintings by Turkish artist Nazife Can, was opened in the presence of the Etterbeek municipal authorities. Same evening, the 1991 Oscar winner film Travel to Hope, relating the drama of a clandestine immigrant family,  was projected.
    On April 4, the second day was opened with the projection of another film entitled Metin, dealing with the problems of immigrant children.
    It was followed by a panel on the Turkish and Kurdish immigrations in Europe and particularly in Belgium. Research worker of the Liège University  Altay Manço, Kurdish Institute Chairwoman Perwine Jamil and European Parliament councillor Ali Yurttagül informed the public of the characteristics of these two communities coming from Turkey.
    Finally, the dance and music groups of the Info-Türk/Sun Workshops and the Kurdish Institute as well as the folk music group Kubat Brothers performed popular songs and dances from Turkey.
    The programme of the group of Info-Türk/Sun Workshops was composed of Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, Azerbaijani and Chaldean danses.