BLOODSHED IN KURDISTAN
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
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
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.”
A SHP REPORT CONTRADICTING THE GOVERNMENT
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
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
"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
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
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
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."
TURKISH BOMBING OF KURDISH VILLAGES
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
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
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.
US SUPPORT TO TURKISH OPERATION
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
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
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
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.
EMERGENCY STATE PROLONGED
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
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.
NO MORE SUPPORT TO THE GOVERNMENT
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
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
KURDISH DEPUTIES RESIGNED FROM SHP
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
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
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.
TEN INNOCENT DEMANDS OF THE KURDS
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
"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
"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.
DISCRIMINATION AGAINST KURDISH PRISONERS
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.
TURCO-GERMAN TENSION AFTER NEWROZ
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
After the German Government's decision, Demirel
continued to claim justifiable the State terrorism in Turkish
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
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
Austria joined Germany and Norway and delivered a
diplomatic note to Turkey on March 28 questioning Ankara's military
action in the Southeast.
GOVERNMENT SUPPORT TO FASCIST PARTY
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
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.
STATE TERRORISM IN MARCH
1.3, eleven people were arrested in Konya by the
State Security Court for having put on wall the poster of an outlawed
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
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
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
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
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
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
13.3, twelve people commemorating three left-wing
activists executed after the 1980 Coup were detained by the side of
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
KURDISH NEWSPAPER FORCED TO STOP
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
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
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.
A JOURNALIST KILLED BY THE MILITARY
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
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.
PERSECUTION OF THE MEDIA IN MARCH
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
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
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.
COAL MINE DISASTER
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
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
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.
POLICE TERROR AT BOSPORUS UNIVERSITY
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.
EARTHQUAKE DISASTER IN ERZINCAN
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
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
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.
ÖZAL THREATENED ARMENIA
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
TURKISH-KURDISH WEEK-END IN BRUSSELS
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
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
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,
On April 4, the second day was opened with the
projection of another film entitled Metin, dealing with the problems of
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
The programme of the group of Info-Türk/Sun
Workshops was composed of Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, Azerbaijani and