Diabolic manipulations to rehabilitate
the Army and
Kemalism are dragging Turkey to a
Turkish journalist and author Ugur Mumcu was
assassinated on January 24, 1993, as a bomb planted in his car
exploded in front of his house in Ankara. Contrary to the silence as
regards the 12 preceding journalist assassinations within last one
year, this murder has given rise to country-wide protest actions
asking the government to find out and punish the murderers. However,
diabolically exploiting this reaction to rehabilitate the prestige of
the Army and Kemalism, the military and secret organizations in
their service are dragging Turkey to a dangerous polarization.
Mumcu, a columnist of the daily Cumhuriyet, was
renown both in Turkey and abroad for his investigative reporting. He
gained international fame for his investigation into the attempted
assassination of Pope John Paul II by Turkish extreme-right gunman
Mehmet Ali Agca in 1981. He was also an outspoken voice against
The Mumcu assassination is the third major
assassination of a prominent journalist in Turkey since 1979.
Abdi Ipekci, the editor in chief of daily Milliyet
was killed in February 1979 by Mehmet Ali Agca who later gained
international notoriety as the would-be assailant of Pope John Paul II.
The editor-in-chief of Hürriyet, Cetin Emec was
gunned down in October 1990 as he entered his car in front of his home.
His assailants remain unknown.
In addition to these three journalists, twelve other
journalists working for left-wing newspapers have been assassinated in
recent years, and none of their killers has been identified.
After the Mumcu's assassination, Premier Demirel
said that there were only three unsolved murders on the police
shelves. In reply to Demirel, the Human Rights Foundation of
Turkey (TIHV) announced that a total of 360 unsolved murder cases
challenge Ankara and 90 percent of these were committed in the
Southeast region. Excluding Mumcu, 12 journalists have been killed in
the one-year period of the Demirel-led coalition has run the country.
All of these journalists were writing articles or reports about the
oppression of Kurds.
Facing this time a big popular reaction, Interior
Minister Ismet Sezgin and other senior government officials pledged to
catch the culprits --stating that this was "a matter of honour" for the
government. However, in the following days, the government again failed
to meet public expectations.
What is more, the following questions have remained
• Why did the Interior Ministry fail to protect
Mumcu at a distance, knowing the number of threats he had received?
• Has any action been taken against the policemen
who are on guard around the clock across from Mumcu's house and only 20
meters from where his car was parked?
• How could they have not seen the explosives being
Considering these questions, one can easily arrive
to the conclusion that, whosoever be the killer, this assassination was
well covered by some obscure forces within the State apparatus, for
example by the National Intelligence Organization and the
The fact that the murderers of the 12 other
left-wing or Kurdish journalists are still at large credits the
hypothesis that these assassinations might have been instigated and
covered by subversive organizations of the State.
After the Mumcu’s assassination, instead of naming a
reliable personality, the government charged the notorious prosecutor
of the Ankara SSC, Nusret Demiral, who is known as a tool of the
Counter-Guerrilla Organization, to conduct the investigation on the
assassination of Mumcu. In his articles, Mumcu persistently
voiced his distrust for Demiral. For this reason, Mumcu's wife declared
that she would not give Demiral the computer disks on which Mumcu had
registered all his findings as regards terror in Turkey.
The recent increase of political assassinations
remind people of past military coups, which almost always follow
periods of assassinations. One can ask: Is there any reason for a new
military coup in Turkey since the Army is actually the master of the
country and can impose what it wishes by the means of the National
Although Army is still in a position of dictating to
the government, the popular opposition has been getting grower since
the government failed to keep its promises. This opposition might lead
to such radical changes in parliamentary plan that the Army can no
longer stay in the position of supreme power.
The growing opposition of the people to the
Government’s policies on Turco-American relations has been annoying the
United States as well. The Turkish public opinion reacted against
striking Iraq from Incirlik Base as the Western powers rest inactive as
regards the Bosnia-Herzegovina drama. Mumcu was one of the spokesmen of
Although he was recently in good relations with the
military and the State intelligence services and was receiving from
them confidential information on the Kurdish movement for using them in
a book on which he was working, he was also a critics of the
government's pro-American policies. He was against the presence of the
Provide Comfort force in Incirlik and criticized the recent air
operations of this force against Iraq.
In the fear of losing Turkey’s support in the
region, Washington might have provoked some spectacular assassinations
in a view to justify an Army intervention and to take under guarantee
US interests in Turkey under a more authoritarian regime. It is well
known that the National Intelligence Organization and the
Counter-Guerrilla have always served to the US interests and
collaborated with the US secret services.
In a move to prevent such kind of comments from
getting more credibility, security authorities immediately hinted that
either the PKK or a fundamentalist organization supported by Iran might
be the author of this assassination.
Although Mumcu, as a Kemalist writer in defence of
“unitary state”, had recently entered a polemic with some Kurdish
intellectuals and accused PKK leaders of following a separatist policy
and collaborating with the world of crime, even the most ardent
anti-Kurdish circles and newspapers could not produce elements enough
to prove a “PKK connection.”
Thereupon, the security authorities and the
pro-government media launched a well orchestrated anti-Iran campaign,
accusing Tehran of sending terrorists to Turkey to destabilize the
Kemalist State. In this atmosphere that an estimated 200,000 people
attending the funeral procession of Mumcu in Ankara on January 27,
chanted slogans such as "Turkey will not become a second Iran," "No to
Shariah", "Turkey is secular and will remain secular" and
"Mullah's to Iran."
The presence of the Chief of General Staff Dogan
Güres and other army commanders at the funeral had an exclusive
publicity in the media and many newspapers attributed to the Army which
had lost all its credibility in public opinion after the 1980 Coup, the
mission of "supreme protector of the stability."
Just prior to the funeral, General Güres paid a
visit to the Chief Justice of the Constitutional Court, Yekta Güngör
Özden, and said "This is not only a courtesy call because this
institution [Constitutional Court] has come under various attacks. In
Turkey, intellectuals, young people and the military are all strong,
and they uphold the principle of secularism. " Addressing to Özden,
Güres added: "The Army is behind you." Özden, as an
Ultra-Kemalist and an ardent supporter of the 1980 Coup , has always
been in the service of the military and obeyed to the directives of the
National Security Council as regards socialist and Kurdish movements.
Just after the funeral, the arrest of 19 suspects in
relation to an abortive attempt on the life of Turkish-Jewish
businessman Jak Kamhi on January 28 amplified the anti-Iran campaign as
if only Teheran was responsible of the rise of Islamic fundamentalism
in Turkey. If the secularity of Turkey is menaced today by the Islam
fundamentalism, this process had been started by Iran now, but 35 years
ago by the Saudi Arabia under the instigation of the United States.
It is Saudi Arabia that really controls today
religious institutions and an important part of economic and financial
sectors in Turkey. Iran might recently have introduced some subversive
elements into Turkey, but the fertile soil of Islamic fundamentalism in
this country has been prepared by Saudi Arabia on the instigation of
the USA and with the complicity of so-called “secular” governments and
the Army. (See, Extreme-Right in Turkey, Info-Türk, 1988).
Without pronouncing a single word against Saudi
Arabia and its influential collaborators in Turkey, all possible
scenarios were developed as regard “Iranian connection” on behalf of
defending Kemalism and Secularism.
At the end of January 1993, Turkey was promptly
being dragged to a polarization between the country's practising Muslim
majority and urban-based secularists on the one hand, and on the other,
between the Turkish and Kurdish sections of the population.
Exploiting Mumcu’s Kemalist and Unitarianist
reputation, this polarization was systematically being provoked by the
Army and the Ultra-Kemalist writers in the media.
It is such polarizations that can, as seen in the
past, easily justify any possible Army intervention claiming to defend
Kemalist principles and national interests in Turkey and to guarantee
the stability in the Middle East.
HUNGER-STRIKE BY KURDISH DEPUTIES
In retaliation to the pressures on the Kurdish
deputies at the Turkish National Assembly, the Kurdish national
movement has launched a campaign to constitute a Kurdish National
The first part of the election was held in Europe in
November-December 1992 and 87,720 Kurdish migrants and refugees
elected their representatives to the Kurdish National Assembly. In the
four parts of the Kurdistan shared by Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran as
well as in former Soviet republics, Kurds are continuing to vote for
electing their deputies.
The first public action of the 15 Kurdish deputies
elected in Europe has been to start a hunger-strike, together with
other 700 Kurds, in Brussels on January 24.
At a press conference held on January 26 at the
Saint-Géry Hall, 15 Kurdish deputies explained the aim of their action
in following terms:
"In Kurdistan the inhuman measures which the Turkish
State started at the beginning of 1992 have reached hitherto
"Towns are being bombed, villages burnt and
demolished, people murdered in the streets and the civilian population
forced to migrate. They want to depopulate our country.
"Almost every day public servants, workers, writers,
political activities and people from all walks of life are being
slaughtered by paramilitary forces, in what the state calls "murders by
unknown persons." It is well known in Turkey that these forces have
state support and protection.
"It is no coincidence that the bloodiest measures
carried out by the Turkish State in Kurdistan in the last 50 years.have
occured under the rule of the coalition government of the DYP and the
SHP. The fact that one of these parties wears a liberal mask and the
other a social democratic one serves to deceive Western governments and
"We are seriously concerned that in the event of
Turkey being unable to depopulate Kurdistan it will take advantage of
the silence of Western public opinion and the general lack of interest
in massacres in our country to perpetrate a Kurdish genocide. The
measures used so far by the coalition government serve to increase our
"We, the 15 members of the Kurdistan National
Parliament elected from Europe, launched an indefinite hunger strike on
24 January to protest against the policies of the Turkish state, to
make known to the world the tragedy of our people's situation and to
make Western public opinion aware of approaching genocide with a view
to preventing it.
"We call on governments, human rights organizations,
trade unions, political parties, the international media and public
"• To condemn the Turkish State's torture and
slaughter of our civilian and defenceless people, and counter-guerrilla
murders of democratic, patriotic journalists and individuals,
"• To put pressure on the Turkish State to consider
a democratic solution to the desire for freedom of the people of
"• To demand an end to military aid to the Turkish
"• To stop Turkey's dirty war against our people,
"• To call for delegations to be sent to Kurdistan
by the European Parliament and national parliaments to investigate
developments on the spot."
ASSYRIANS OF TURKEY UNDER MENACE
A minibus carrying a group of Assyrians from Midyat
to the village of Cayirli on January 13 was attacked by the village
protectors and a Hezbollah team. The assailants shot dead five
Assyrians: Aziz Kalayci, Yusuf Özbakir, Aydin Aydin, Isa Koc and
Gevriye Durmaz and wounded others.
Although security authorities attributed this murder
to the PKK, the Cultural Centre of Mesopotamia in Brussels accused the
Turkish military and para-military groups and launched the following
appeal to international organizations, particularly the European
Parliament and the Council of Europe to react for guaranteeing the
Assyrian population in Tur Abdin (in Southeast Turkey).
(For further information: Centre Culturel de
Mésopotamie - Rue des Eburons 12 - 1040 Brussels, Tél: 32-2-230 71 89)
STATE TERRORISM IN JANUARY
5.1, lawyer Hasan Güler reported after his release
that he had been subjected to torture during his 6-day police detention.
6.1, the Chief Prosecutor opened a law suit at the
Constitutional Court against the Greens Party (YP) for not having
submitted its accounts of 1988 to State control.
4.1, in Ankara, 30 people were detained during
4.1, in Istanbul, seven detainees declared after
their release that they were forced to discharge coals at police
4.1, in Istanbul, the Cultural Research and
Solidarity Association of Beykoz was closed down for disposing some
6.1, in Elazig, the Association for Solidarity and
Culture (EHADKAD) was closed down by the governor.
7.1, in Hazro, seven people were detained during
security operations in different villages.
9.1, IHD Vice-Chairman Yavuz Binbay was detained at
the Istanbul Airport as leaving Turkey or participating in an
international conference in Denmark.
9.1, Interior Minister Ismet Sezgin disclosed that
1,300,000 people have been registered as "suspects" by security
authorities and banned to travel abroad. Of these people, 300,000 have
been put on registers for political reasons. Sezgin stated that
if a political "suspect" had not committed a political offence within
last five years, his "suspect card" would be destroyed.
9.1, 63 political detainees were beaten and wounded
by gendarmes and guards in the Malatya E Type Prison.
11.1, the chairman of the People's House of Trabzon
and 12 other people, detained when they were returning from a New Year
celebration in Rize reported that they had been tortured by police.
11.1, more than 50 people were detained in Adiyaman
during a series of police operations.
12.1, in Adana, a 2,5-month pregnant woman, Dilek
Onat, reported after her release that she miscarried under police
detention as a result of torture. She had been detained on January
together with 16 people.
12.1, the Istanbul SSC Prosecutor opened a court
action against 30 alleged Dev-Sol militants with the demand of capital
punishment for 16 and prison terms of not less than 10 years for the
12.1, police announced the arrest 16 alleged PKK
militants in Istanbul at the beginning of January.
14.1, the Istanbul SSC Prosecutor opened a new court
action against 18 alleged Dev-Sol militants with the demand of capital
punishment for 16 and prison terms of not less than 10 years for two
15.1, in Istanbul, during a worker demonstration in
protest against redundancies, police detained Ömer Ergül,
deputy-chairman of the Leather Workers' Union (Deri-Is) and five other
16.1, in Mugla, Serif Celik and Ekrem Ograk reported
after their release that they were subjected to torture at police
station after being detained 34 other people.
17.1, in Istanbul, police announced that 35 people
had been detained since January 8 on charges of participating in the
Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey (TDKP) activities.
20.1, in Istanbul, police intervened in a workers'
demonstration by using force and wounded trade union official Hasan
Gülüm and 7-year old Serap Uzuncayir.
20.1, the Izmir SSC Prosecutor started a court
action against 30 people detained for PKK activities. Three of the
defendants face capital punishment .
21.1, security forces detained 27 people in Nusaybin
and 31 people in Gaziantep on charges of separatist activities.
22.1, former HEP Istanbul Chairman Osman Özcelik was
taken into custody as he was going to his work in Istanbul.
22.1, in Eskisehir, 18 university students were
detained for separatist propaganda during a musical concert.
27.1, IHD member Gülseren Baysungur reported that
she had been tortured after her detention by police on January 15.
29.1, a protest rally by the families of 350
dismissed workers in Istanbul was stopped by police using force. 30
people including a 10-year old boy were wounded and 25 detained.
29.1, the Chief Prosecutor started a court action
against the Party for Freedom and Democracy (ÖZDEP) and asked the
Constitution Court to close down the party for separatist activities.
30.1, a missile launched by a Turkish military
aircraft hit a house at the hamlet of Ciftekavak in Sirnak and killed
two women, Hatice Ekici (80) and Ayse Ekici (35) and three children,
Naze Ekici (12), Hamza Ekici (6) and Semsi Ekici (4).
31.1, the Istanbul section of the Construction
Workers' Association (YITED) was closed down by the governor for having
some banned publications.
31.1, the Cultura and Research Association of
Sultandag (SULKAD) was searched by the police, some documents and
publications inside were seized and four members detained.
NEVER-ENDING PRESS TRIALS
The daily Cumhuriyet of January 24, 1993 reports
that 14 journalists have been sentenced to a total of 228 years and 5
months in prison and fined a total of TL 4,756,775,000
($594,500).and 341 court actions continue against 31 journalists by
virtue of the Anti-Terror Law.
Although the 141 and 142 of the Turkish Penal Code
had been lifted two years ago, the Anti-Terror Law adopted on same day
seriously menaces the freedom of expression.
All the journalists condemned or tried are accused
for revealing the names of the security members pursuing terrorist
organizations (Article 6), praising terrorist organizations (Article 7)
or separatist propaganda (Article 8).
Below are the names of the periodical publications
with the number of the cases in which they are tried:
Azadi 6, Barikat 3, Deng 7, Devrim 1;, Devrimci Emek
11, Devrimci Genclik 13, Devrimci Yurtsever Genclik 7, Direnis 3,
Emegin Bayragi 32, Gercek 7, Halkin Gücü 3, Hedef 1, 2000e Dogru 1,
Iktidar 1, Iscilerin Sesi 3, Iscinin Yolu 6, Komün 3, Kurtulus 28,
Medya Günesi 4, Mücadele 27, Newroz 15, Newroz Atesi 4, Odak 3, Özgür
Halk 9, Özgürlük Dünyasi 2, Partizan 6, Serketin 9, Toplumsal Kurtulus
8, Vatan Günesi 3, Yeni Ülke 115.
The names of the responsible editors sentenced to
prison terms are as follows:
Zekeriya Özdinc (Barikat) 10 months, Kamil Ermis
(Deng) 16 months, Hüseyin Durmaz (Devrimci Emek) 22. months and 15
days, Tayfun Yüksekbas (Devrimci Genclik) 9 months, Naile
Tuncer(Devrimci Proletarya) 11 months, Mustafa Kemal Begün (Devrimci
Yurtsever Genclik) 6 months, Dursun Ali Kücük (Devrimci Yurtsever
Genclik) 24 months, Özer Degistirici (Direnis) 5 months, Nazim Taban
(Emegin Bayragi) 71 months, Günnor Ilhan (Iscilerin Sesi) 20 months,
Fethi Özdemir (Komün)5 months, Cemal Turan (Kurtulus) 6 months, Nejdet
Kanbir (Toplumsal Kurtulus) 10 months, Riza Erdogan (Özgür Halk) 5
months, Süleyman Altin (Özgür Halk) 5 months.
They have been sentenced a total of TL4,756,775,000
($594,500) in fine.
CONFISCATIONS AND INTERDICTIONS
According to daily Cumhuriyet of 5 January, 546 out
of 1454 issues of 39 newspapers and magazines carrying on their
publication have been confiscated by the decision of the State Security
Below are the number of the confiscated issues of 39
newspapers and magazines:
Ak Zuhur 4, Azadi 11, Barikat 3, Deng 13, Devrim 1;,
Devrimci Emek 25, Devrimci Genclik 19, Emperyalizme Karsi Devrimci
Genclik 2, Devrimci Proletarya 11, Devrimci Yurtsever Genclik 6,
Direnis 6, Dogru Secenek 6, Ekimler 2, Emegin Bayragi 58, Emek 22,
Genclik Yildizi 4, Gercek 4, Halkin Gücü 3, Hedef 14, 2000e Dogru 32,
Iktidar 2, Iscilerin Sesi 5, Iscinin Yolu 4, Komün 6, Kurtulus 19,
Medya Günesi 21, Mücadele 40, Newroz 9, Newroz Atesi 4, Odak 4, Özgür
Gündem 32, Özgür Halk 18, Özgürlük Dünyasi 24, Partizan 3, Serketin 4,
Taraf 22, Toplumsal Kurtulus 26, Vatan Günesi 7, Yeni Ülke 50.
PERINCEK SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS
Labour Party (IP) Chairman Dogu Perincek was given a
two-year prison term and fined TL50 Million ($6,097) by the Ankara SSC
on the grounds that he supported separatism in his election speeches
Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law, according to which
Perincek was sentenced, states:
"Regardless of methods, goals and opinions, no
published or verbal propaganda, meetings, demonstrations and marches
targeting to destroy the integrity of the Republic of Turkey's
territory and its nation can be organized. Those who conduct such
activities shall be sentenced from two to five years in prison and
given a heavy fine from TL 50 million to TL 100 million."
SANCTION FOR A LENIN BADGE
A 16-year old high school student, Serkan Koc was
suspended from school for an academic year because he bought a Lenin
badge, sold freely everywhere in Turkey.
The Naci Eksi High School in Istanbul has a
fundamentalist administration that conducts out-of-date practices, and
this causes problems for hundreds of students in the school.
The Koc family said the teachers were searching for
cigarettes but had come upon the badge which Koc had bought in his
native city of Tokat, one of the many cities where Russians gather to
sell their commodities.
ÖZGÜR GÜNDEM SUSPENDED
The daily Özgür Gündem had to suspend its
publication on January 15, 1993 because of a series of pressures.and
The daily's publisher, Yasar Kaya, in a public
declaration, said: ""They advanced on us from four sides. Recently, the
company which distributed our newspaper in Diyarbakir, Urfa, Mardin,
Elazig and Van has refused to do it. We attempted to distribute the
newspapers by using our own possibilities. The volunteers who
distributed Özgür Gündem were menaced, attacked and even assassinated.
This was a part of a global plan aiming to destroy us. Our financial
loss has reached TL 30 Million ($3,750). Besides, a number of our
writers and correspondents have been shot dead by obscure forces. It
was impossible for us to carry on the daily's publications under these
GERMAN JOURNALIST CONDEMNED
The Diyarbakir SSC sentenced on January 22 a German
freelance journalist, Stephan Waldberg, to three years and nine months
imprisonment, having found him guilty of serving as a courier for the
Custom police arrested Waldberg in November 1992
when he was about to enter the country through the Habur border gate in
southeastern Turkey. In his defence, Waldberg said that he came to
Turkey to do general research and broadcast it on Radio Dreyeckland.
"In Northern Iraq, my purpose was to search whether the aid given by
various organisations are used on the sport or not. I do not know PKK
people in Germany," he said.
He also alleged that he had been threatened with
torture in Cizre and Silopi during his police detention.
On January 21, the German Union of Journalists
issued a written statement asking the Turkish government for Waldberg's
release, claiming that a fair trial for the freelance journalist was
not possible in Turkey.
Before the verdict, Waldberg's Turkish lawyer put
forward a plea of not guilty, saying Waldberg had been to the PKK camps
in northern Iraq for interviewing only and that he was not a PKK
courier at all.
PRESSURE ON TWO POLITICAL EXILES
Two political exiles have undergone repressive
practices after their return to Turkey and they are not allowed to
leave again the country.
Gönül Baki who had been in Germany for over 12 years
and stripped of his nationality in 1984, returned to Turkey at the
beginning of this year on the government's claim that political
refugees can come back without any anxiety.
After his arrival, he was summoned by police for a several political
charges. Baki was not allowed either to return to Germany where
he is naturalized and working as a school teacher. This practice was
protested by the Teachers' Union of Bremen.
Kurdish writer Mahmut Baksi, after a 22-year exile,
returned to Turkey on the same promise, but was not allowed, following
a short stay, to leave the country when he was passing the border gate
Kapikule. He was informed by the border police that he should go to
Diyarbakir for an investigation.
Thereupon, Baksi informed the Swedish daily Dagens
Nyether that, in the fear of being subjected to ill-treatment he began
to hide himself in Istanbul.
The Trade Union of Swedish Journalists and the
Association of Swedish Writers have protested the attitude of the
Turkish authorities and asked for the immediate liberation of
Baksi who is a Swedish citizen.
PRESSURE ON THE MEDIA IN JANUARY
3.1, the daily Özgür Gündem (N°214), the weeklies
Yeni Ülke (N°115) and Mücadele (N°27) were confiscated by the Istanbul
SSC for separatist propaganda.
5.1, a distributor of Özgür Gündem, Ali Ihsan Kaya
(19) was stabbed in Diyarbakir by six unidentified assailants. Besides,
in the same city, two children selling Özgür Gündem, Enver Yakut (15)
and Hamit Yakut (13) were beaten by policemen.
6.1, the monthly Partizan (N°7) was confiscated by
the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
7.1, the issues N°218-219 of the daily Özgür Gündem
were confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
7.1, the responsible editor of the monthly Emegin
Bayragi, Nazim Taban was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months in prison
and fined 153 Million TL (18.658 $) by the Istanbul SSC for separatist
8.1, two movie owners, Irfan Demirkol and Fatih
Cilkadaroglu as well as their two technicians, Saban Sondül and Mustafa
Altiparmak were fined 30 Million TL (3,658$) each for screening Basic
Instinct contravening a ban put by prosecutors.
8.1, the Van office of the daily Özgür Gündem was
raided by police, distributor Orhan Karaagar was detained and many
publications inside were seized.
9.1, Meydan correspondent Bahri Kayaoglu and
Milliyet correspondent Torun Dede were harassed by police as they were
covering a visit of President Özal in Istanbul.
9.1, Van correspondent of Özgür Gündem, Sadun Keve
was put under arrest by a tribunal.
10.1, the recent issues of the weekly Yeni Ülke and
the monthly Newroz were confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist
11.1, the weekly Azadi (N°35) and the monthly
Devrimci Emek (N°17) were confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for
separatist and anti-militarist propaganda.
12.1, the Court of Cassation approved a sentence
against Mustafa Kaplan, columnist of the daily Yeni Asya. He had been
sentenced to one-year prison by a penal court in Usak for insulting
Atatürk during a public meeting.
13.1, the recent issue of the weekly Gercek was
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
16.1, an Istanbul court rejected an application to
establish a Kurdish Cultural Foundation with the aim of conducting
research into the Kurdish language, literature, history, geography,
folklore, music, sociology and arts.
18.1, the recent issues of five magazines, Yeni
Ülke, Azadi, Medya Günesi, Emegin Bayragi and Özgür Halk, were
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC by virtue of the Anti-terror Law.
19.1, an Özgür Gündem distributor, Orhan Karaagar
was assassinated by unidentified people in Van.
20.1, the owner of the Dönüsüm Publishing House,
Fikret Öntas was sentenced to a fine of 1,503,076,000 TL (187,884$) by
the Istanbul SSC for having printed a book entitled The Situation in
the World and in Our Country.
20.1, a court action was started against the Urfa
correspondent of the daily Özgür Gündem for having criticized Urfa
Governor Ziyaeddin Akbulut for his practices against the press.
21.1, Devrimci Proletarya correspondent Ecman Sisman
was assailed by three policemen as he was taking some articles to
printing house in Istanbul.
22.1, the responsible editor of the monthly Devrimci
Emek, Hüseyin Durmaz was sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to 20-month
imprisonment and a fine of 41,666,000 TL (5,081$) by virtue of the
22.1, the Istanbul SSC sentenced two journalists of
the weekly 2000e Dogru, owner Mehmet Sabuncu and responsible editor
Hale Soysü, respectively to fines of 41,666,000 TL (5,081$) and
20,833,000 TL (2,540$) by virtue of the Anti-Terror Law.
22.1 Cüneyt Can Oguzer, editor of the Turkish
edition of Penthouse, was sentenced to a total of 8,099,838,000 TL
(987,785$) for four different issues of the magazine on charges of
24.1, the editor of the fortnightly Medya Günesi,
Osman Aytar was arrested by the Istanbul SSC in virtue of the
28.1, the trial of four journalists of the daily
Zaman, Ahmet Yusuf Gencer, Mehmet Yale, Ilhan Bardakci, Servet Engin
and Ismail Okcu, began at a penal court in Istanbul. They face varying
prison terms and fines.
29.1, Diyarbakir correspondent of the daily Özgür
Gündem, Mehmet Senol was detained by police.
30.1, the issue N°37 of the weekly Azadi was
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
EUROPEAN COMMITTEE FOR THE PREVENTION OF TORTURE AND
INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT
As reported in the last issue, the Council Of
Europe's Committee For The Prevention Of Torture released a
highly critical report on December 21, 1992, about police torture
The report, which proved particularly embarrassing
for the Turkish Government having just completed the six-month
presidency of the Council, concluded that "the practice of torture and
other forms of severe ill-treatment of persons in police custody
remains widespread in Turkey and that such methods are applied to both
ordinary criminal suspects and persons held under anti-terrorism
Below are the extracts of the report:
1. The European Committee for the Prevention of
Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) has to
date organised three visits to Turkey. The first two visits, carried
out from 9 to 21 September 1990 and 29 September to 7 October 1991,
were of an ad hoc nature. They were visits which appeared to the
Committee "to be required in the circumstances" (Article 7, paragraph
1, of the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman
or Degrading Treatment or Punishment). The circumstances in question
were essentially the considerable number of reports received by the
Committee, from a variety of sources, containing allegations of torture
or other forms of ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty in
Turkey. The reports related in particular to persons held in police
custody. The third visit took place from 22 November to 3 December
1992, and formed part of the CPT's programme of periodic visits for
2. Throughout 1991 and 1992 an on-going dialogue has
been maintained between the Turkish authorities and the CPT on matters
of concern, based on the reports drawn up by the Committee after its
first and second visits and the reports provided by the Turkish
authorities in response. This dialogue culminated in a number of
meetings between the Turkish authorities and a delegation of the CPT
held in Ankara from 22 to 24 September 1992.
Subsequently, at its 14th meeting (28 September to 2
October 1992), the CPT reviewed the action taken by the Turkish
authorities upon the recommendations made by the Committee in its visit
reports. The Committee concluded that the continuing failure of the
Turkish authorities to improve the situation in the light of its
recommendations concerning (i) the strengthening of legal safeguards
against torture and other forms of ill-treatment in police (and
gendarmerie) establishments and (ii) the activities of the Anti-Terror
Departments of the Ankara and Diyarbakir Police, justified resort to
Article 10, paragraph 2, of the Convention.
3. The Turkish authorities were informed of the
conclusion reached by the CPT and, in accordance with the Convention,
invited to make known their views. Those views were received on 16
November 1992. The CPT examined the views presented by the Turkish
authorities at its 1 5th meeting, held from 14 to 17 December 1992; on
the same occasion, the Committee considered the facts found by the
delegation which carried out the periodic visit to Turkey in
November/December 1992, in particular insofar as they related to
matters of police and gendarmerie custody. By the required majority of
two-thirds of its members, the Committee decided to make a public
The Ad hoc visits
a) first visit
4. In the report drawn up following its first visit
to Turkey in 1990, the CPT reached the conclusion that torture and
other forms of severe ill-treatment were important characteristics of
police custody in that country. More specifically, in the light of all
the information gathered concerning the Anti-Terror Departments of the
Ankara and Diyarbakir Police, the CPT concluded that detectives in
those departments frequently resorted to torture and/or other forms of
severe ill-treatment, both physical and psychological, when holding and
questioning suspects. A variety of elements led the Committee to those
5. In the first place, the CPT was struck by the
extremely large number of allegations of torture and other forms of
ill-treatment by the police received in the course of the visit, the
wide range of persons making those allegations, and their consistency
as regards the particular types of torture and ill-treatment said to
have been inflicted. It should be noted that the allegations emanated
from persons suspected or convicted of offences under anti-terrorism
provisions and from persons suspected or convicted of ordinary criminal
offences. As regards the latter, the number of allegations was
especially high among persons detained for drug-related offences,
offences against property (burglary, robbery, theft) and sex offences.
Concerning the types of ill-treatment involved, the following forms
were alleged time and time again: suspension by the arms; suspension by
the wrists, which were fastened behind the victim (so-called
"palestinian hanging", a technique apparently employed in particular in
anti-terror departments); electric shocks to sensitive parts of the
body (including the genitals); squeezing of the testicles; beating of
the soles of the feet ("falaka"); hosing with pressurised cold water;
incarceration for lengthy periods in very small, dark and unventilated
cells; threats of torture or other forms of serious ill-treatment to
the person detained or against others; severe psychological
6. The CPT's medical findings must also be
emphasised. Indeed, a considerable number of persons examined by
doctors in the CPT's visiting delegation displayed physical marks or
conditions consistent with their allegations of torture or
ill-treatment by the police. The delegation also met several persons in
police custody who, while not stating openly that they had been
ill-treated, displayed clear medical signs consistent with very recent
torture or other severe ill-treatment of both a physical and
psychological nature. Some specific cases were described in the
7. Other on-site observations in police
establishments visited (relating in particular to the often extremely
poor material conditions of detention, the interrogation facilities and
the general attitude and demeanour of police officers) did nothing to
reassure the CPT's delegation about the fate of persons taken into
custody. The same can be said of the circumstances under which certain
of the visits took place, in particular at Ankara Police Headquarters,
where the delegation was subjected to a series of delays and diversions
(and on several occasions given false information) and a number of
detainees were removed in order to prevent the delegation from meeting
8. In its report the CPT recommended a series of
measures to the Turkish authorities designed to combat the problem of
torture and other forms of ill-treatment. These measures related in
part to the introduction or reinforcement of formal safeguards against
such methods (shortening of the maximum periods of custody by the
police or gendarmerie; notification of a person's custody to his next
of kin or a third party of his choice; access to a lawyer; medical
examination of detained persons; a code of practice for the conduct of
The Committee also placed considerable emphasis on the need for a major
and sustained effort by the Turkish authorities in the areas of
education on human rights matters and professional training for law
enforcement officials. It is axiomatic that the best possible guarantee
against ill-treatment of persons deprived of their liberty is for its
use to be unequivocally rejected by such officials.
As for the Anti-Terror Departments of the Ankara and
Diyarbakir Police, the Committee recommended that appropriate steps be
taken immediately to remedy the situation identified in those services.
9. The implementation of these recommendations was
the subject of numerous exchanges between the Turkish authorities and
the CPT during 1991. However, by the time of the Committee's second
visit, few tangible results had been achieved, with the exception of
the drawing up and subsequent revision of Regulations for the conduct
b) second visit
10. In the course of its second visit to Turkey in
the Autumn of 1991, the CPT found that no progress had been made in
eliminating torture and ill-treatment by the police. Many persons
alleged that they had received such treatment during the previous
twelve months. The types of ill-treatment alleged remained much the
same; however, an increasing number of allegations were heard of
forcible penetration of bodily orifices with a stick or truncheon. Once
again, a number of the persons who claimed to have been ill-treated
were found, on medical examination, to display marks or conditions
consistent with their allegations. The delegation also had access to a
considerable number of reports drawn up during the previous twelve
months, at the end of periods of police custody, by doctors belonging
to Forensic Institutes; many of them contained findings consistent with
particular forms of torture or severe ill-treatment. As regards more
specifically the Anti-Terror Departments of the Ankara and Diyarbakir
Police, the only conclusion that could be reached in the light of all
the information gathered was that torture and other forms of severe
ill-treatment continued unabated in those services.
11. In the report on its second visit to Turkey, the
CPT reiterated the previously-made recommendations designed to prevent
torture and other forms of ill-treatment. Further, the Committee
recommended that a body composed of independent persons be set up
immediately, with terms of reference to carry out a thorough
investigation of the methods used by police officers of the Anti-Terror
Departments of the Ankara and Diyarbakir Police when holding and
questioning suspects. In the light of the information gathered in the
course of the CPT's second visit, it was also pointed out that it would
be appropriate for the terms of reference of that body to include the
Anti-Terror Department of the Istanbul Police.
Review of action taken on the ad hoc visit reports
12. One year after submission of the CPT's second
report, at its meeting of September/October 1992, the Committee
reviewed the action taken by the Turkish authorities upon all the
recommendations set out in the reports drawn up after its two visits.
It was noted that some progress had been made on certain issues.
Measures of both a legal and practical nature had been taken in
response to the CPT's recommendations on material conditions of
detention in police and gendarmerie establishments. The dialogue
between the Turkish authorities and the Committee on prison matters
also appeared to be bearing fruit. However, implementation of the
central recommendations concerning torture and other forms of
ill-treatment in police establishments was clearly at a standstill.
13. Legislation going in the direction of the
recommendations made by the CPT on the strengthening of legal
safeguards against torture and other forms of ill-treatment had been
approved by the Turkish Grand National Assembly on 21 May 1992.
However, it was Subsequently returned by the President of the Republic
to the Assembly for reconsideration; and at the time of the Committee's
review of the situation, the fate of that legislation was a matter of
14. Further, no satisfactory action had been taken
on the CPT's recommendation concerning the Anti-Terror Departments of
the Ankara and Diyarbakir Police. The Human Rights Inquiry Commission
of the Grand National Assembly - to which the task of carrying out the
investigation recommended by the Committee was entrusted - had failed
to act expeditiously. It was only on 29 June 1992 that the relevant
Sub-Committee of the Commission visited Ankara Police Headquarters for
the first time (apparently a second visit was carried out on 7 July
1992). Further, at the time of the meetings between the Turkish
authorities and a delegation of the CPT held in Ankara towards the end
of September 1992, the Sub-Committee had still not apprised the Human
Rights Inquiry Commission of its findings. Nor had the Sub-Committee
carried out any visits to the Anti-Terror Department of the Diyarbakir
Police (or for that matter the Anti-Terror Department of the Istanbul
Police). Moreover, from the information provided to the CPT's
delegation by a member of the Sub-Committee, it was clear that the
visits carried out to the Ankara Police Headquarters had been of a
quite perfunctory nature. Furthermore, it was also clear that the
Sub-Committee possessed neither the powers nor the relevant
professional competence necessary to carry out a "thorough
investigation" as envisaged in the recommendation made by the CPT in
its second report.
15. It should be added that in the course of the
above-mentioned meetings in Ankara in September 1992, information
received from officials of the Ministry of the Interior indicated that
no credible action had been taken at the internal administrative level
in response to the successive recommendations of the CPT concerning the
Anti-Terror Departments of the Ankara and Diyarbakir Police. The only
investigations instigated had been entrusted to the very police forces
which the Committee had concluded were resorting to torture. Not
surprisingly, they had led nowhere.
16. In short, more than two years after the CPT's
first visit, very little had been achieved as regards the strengthening
of legal safeguards against torture and ill-treatment and no concrete
steps capable of remedying the situation found by the Committee in the
Anti-Terror Departments of the Ankara and Diyarbakir Police had been
taken. At the same time, the Committee continued to receive reports of
torture and other forms of severe ill-treatment in those departments,
as well as in many other police establishments in Turkey.
It was under those conditions that the CPT decided
on 2 October 1992 to set in motion the procedure provided for in
Article 10, paragraph 2, of the European Convention for the Prevention
The periodic visit
17. The information gathered in the course of the
CPT's periodic visit to Turkey, from 22 November to 3 December 1992,
shows that the problem of torture and other forms of ill-treatment of
persons in police custody has not been resolved, despite the importance
which had been attached to this subject by the present government when
it came to power at the end of 1991. The Committee's delegation was
inundated with allegations of such treatment, from both ordinary
criminal suspects and persons detained under anti-terrorism provisions.
Further, numerous persons examined by the delegation's doctors
displayed marks or conditions consistent with their allegations.
18. By way of illustration, reference might be made
to the following cases:
- several prisoners charged with offences against
property, encountered in the reception unit of Bayrampasa,a Prison
(Istanbul), who bore fresh haematomas consistent with their allegations
that they had recently been subjected to falaka and to beating on the
palm of the hands and ventral face of the wrists;
- a prisoner charged with a drug-related offence
being held for observation in a forensic section at Bakirköy Hospital
(Istanbul), who had a fresh rounded mark on his penis (reddish-brown
and slightly swollen edge, whitish centre without induration),
consistent with his allegation that an electrode had been placed by the
police on that part of his body some five days earlier in order to
deliver electric shocks;
- a prisoner charged with smuggling examined at Adana
Prison, who displayed haematomas on the soles of his feet and a series
of vertical violet stripes (10 cm long/2 cm wide) across the upper part
of his back, consistent with his allegation that he had recently been
subjected to falaka and beaten on the back with a truncheon while in
19. Comparable cases in Ankara and Diyarbakir could also have been
described, including of persons who had been held by the Anti-Terror
Departments of the Ankara and Diyarbakir Police (in particular, cases
of motor paralysis of the arms and severe sensory loss consistent with
allegations of suspension). However, the CPT shall instead draw
attention to highly incriminating material evidence found in police
establishments in those cities.
20. Acting in each case on concordant information
independently received from several different sources, the Committee's
delegation carried out two impromptu visits to specific rooms situated
on the top floors of both the Ankara Police headquarters, the
delegation discovered a low stretcher-type bed equipped with eight
straps (for each side), fitting perfectly the description of the item
of furniture to which persons had said they were secured when electric
shocks were administered to them. No credible explanation could be
proffered for the presence of this bed in what was indicated by a sign
as being an "interrogation room".
In Diyarbakir, the delegation found the equipment
necessary for suspension by the arms in place and ready for use (i.e. a
three meter long wooden beam which was mounted on heavily-weighted
filing cabinets on opposite sides of the room and fitted with a strap
made of strong material securely tied to the meddle). On both
occasions, the delegation's discoveries caused considerable
consternation among police officers present; some expressed regret,
Conclusions based on the ad hoc and periodic visits
21. In the light of all the information at its
disposal, the CPT can only conclude that the practice of torture and
other forms of severe ill-treatment of persons in police custody
remains widespread in Turkey and that such methods are applied to both
ordinary criminal suspects and persons held under anti-terrorism
provisions. The words "persons in police custody" should be emphasised.
22. The Committee has heard very few allegations of
ill-treatment by prison staff in the different prisons visited over the
last two years, and practically none of torture. Certainly, there are
problems which need to be addressed in Turkish prisons, but the
phenomenon of torture is not one of them. As already indicated, the
CPT's dialogue with the Turkish authorities on prison matters is on the
whole progressing satisfactorily.
23. Further, in the course of its third visit to
Turkey, the CPT visited the largest psychiatric establishment in the
country, namely the Bakirköy Mental and Psychological Health Hospital.
No allegations of torture or other forms of ill-treatment by hospital
staff were heard by the Committee's delegation in the course of that
visit; nor was any other evidence of such treatment found. In fact, the
delegation was favourably impressed by staff-patient relations.
24. As for the gendarmerie (which is responsible for
police functions in rural areas), the CPT has heard allegations that
suspects are frequently handled roughly and on occasion even beaten by
members of the gendarmerie, in particular when apprehended. Further,
the CPT has reason to believe that from time to time, ill-treatment
occurs in the course of the transport of prisoners (which is another
task performed by the gendarmerie). However, the CPT has heard fewer
allegations _and found less medical evidence_ of torture or other forms
of premeditated severe ill-treatment by members of the gendarmerie.
25. To sum up, as far as the CPT can judge, the
phenomenon of torture and other forms of ill-treatment of persons
deprived of their liberty in Turkey concerns at the present time
essentially the police (and to a lesser extent the gendarmerie). All
the indications are that it is a deep-rooted problem.