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


17th Year - N°197
March 1993
38 rue des Eburons - 1000 Bruxelles
Tél: (32-2) 215 35 76 - Fax: (32-2) 215 58 60
 Rédacteur en chef: Dogan Özgüden - Editrice responsable: Inci Tugsavul

After the Kurdish proposal for a political solution, the government and
army of Turkey are expected to make their choice until April 25, 1993


    As the Turkish armed forces were preparing an extensive “spring” operation in Southeast Turkey, the Workers’ Party of Kurdistan (PKK) announced on March 17 a “unilateral cease-fire” between March 20-April 15, 1993, “if Turkish forces will not open fire on the PKK.” During a press conference held in Syrian-controlled Bekaa Valley in eastern Lebanon and attended also by Jalal Talabani, PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan said: “The cease-fire for Newroz [Kurdish new year] is a goodwill gesture and in response to calls by the international community.”
    Already a few weeks ago, on February 18, Kurdish deputies carrying on a hunger-strike in Brussels informed the European Parliament that the Kurdish side was ready to cease fire and to discuss with the Turkish Government the conditions of a peaceful solution to the conflict.
    Asked if it was a conditional cease-fire, Öcalan said at his press conference: “There is one condition -- that they don’t come on to destroy us. We believe that they [Turkish officials] feel the need for reevaluation of the situation. In order to make this possible, we think this [cease-fire] period is necessary... and we have done what is necessary. I hope it will be a beginning of a process of peace, friendship, historic brotherhood between Turks and Kurds.”
    “The basic question is whether the Turkish Government is ready to stop the bloodshed, open the way for political methods, give legal guarantees to our people and recognize the Kurdish identity — in short, democratic ways, “ he said.  But Öcalan warned that if the Turkish Government continued to say to the Kurds ‘you don’t exist’, the price would be a return to ‘continuous war.’ “The PKK has 10,000 guerrillas in eastern Turkey and the number can be raised to 50,000,” he added.
    Keeping the promise, PKK guerrillas and militants have not carried out any armed operation on March 21. So, contrary to the tragic incidents of the last year during which nearly 100 people were killed, the Newroz of this year was observed in calm except some sporadic incidents provoked by security forces. For example, in Cizre, a group of Kurds, mainly women and children, were peacefully dancing to celebrate the Newroz. A police armoured car brutally broke up the show. Yet, the PKK militants honoured truce.
    In a second move, the PKK put in evidence its intention to ameliorate its relations with other Kurdish groups as well in Iraq as in Turkey in a view to gather all Kurdish political forces on a democratic platform. After having reestablished a dialogue with Jalal Talabani whom he accused of treason during the anti-PKK operations in Iraq, APO leader Öcalan signed a protocol establishing the principles of their common struggle with Kemal Burkay, Secretary General of the Socialist Party of [Turkish] Kurdistan (PSK). Burkay who had always criticized the struggle methods of the PKK and, for this reason,  was considered a collaborationist of the Turkish regime in past. Both leaders agreed this time to strive for a democratic solution to the Kurdish Question in all parts of Kurdistan.
    Now, Ankara is at a turning point.  The PKK’s political offensive seems having badly cornered the Turkish regime which was in preparation of an extensive military operation in spring against the PKK forces.
    The present government had already missed an occasion of a peaceful solution when it came to power in 1991. Just after the elections, in an interview to the Turkish Daily News of November 26, Öcalan said: "Do they really have the intention of lifting emergency law, special war tactics, counter-guerrilla measures, village guards and similar things or do they want to make them more systematic? We are considering the measures which are being developed now. If some steps are taken, they will lead to developments. We have 900 years of togetherness with Turkey. Even if we wanted to, we could not break off from Turkey. We have a plan up create a democratic front.”
    However, Premier Demirel refused this first  olive branch declaring that the reports of the military-civilian bodies such as the Chief of General Staff, the National Security Council (MGK) and the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) would be determining in the establishing new policies against the Kurdish national movement. In fact, the new policies were established on the military option and the PKK had to pursue its guerrilla operations.
    So, as detailed in the recent Helsinki Watch Report (see in other columns), the situation of human rights in Turkish Kurdistan has worsened since the Demirel Government took office in 1991.
    The state of emergency is still in force in Turkish Kurdistan. The National Assembly, just a few days before Öcalan’s proposal, on March 8, voted the prolongation of the state of emergency in ten South-eastern provinces for four months from March 19. Although the SHP and DYP had been against this emergency regime when they were in opposition, the government and the majority of DYP and SHP deputies once again obeyed to the directive of the National Security Council to maintain the south-eastern region under emergency state.
    As reported in the preceding issue, the motions to open a parliamentary debate on the subversive activities of the Counter-guerrilla Organization were turned down by the government.
    The first reaction to Öcalan’s declaration was very far from a peaceful approach. The officials ruled out the possibility of any bargaining taking place between the “terrorists” and the state. Interior Minister Ismet Sezgin said that Öcalan’s call is due to the PKK’s isolation as a result of Turkey’s efforts both at home and abroad and the Turkish Army’s operations. Referring to Öcalan’s wish to return to Turkey and to participate in political life, National Defense Minister Nevzat Ayaz said: “There are judges and courts within this system. The Turkish courts will do whatever is necessary.”
    Will the Turkish Government and the Turkish Army, under the pressure of the world opinion, change their attitude and consider the PKK’s cease-fire proposal as an occasion to put an end to the worsening polarization and the bloodshed in Turkey. Will they accept, until April 25,  a constructive dialogue with the Kurdish movement?
    Ankara is under a very heavy responsibility not only as regards the Turkish and Kurdish peoples who wish to live peacefully in a really democratic country but also as regards the international public opinion suggesting both sides to enter a dialogue and to seek a peaceful solution in this troublesome region of the world.
    What can be the proof of good will by the side of the Turkish regime? No doubt,
    • lifting of state of emergency,
    • halting military operations in Turkish Kurdistan,
    • disbanding of village protectors,
    • putting an end to subversive counter-guerrilla activities,
    • lifting Anti-Terror Law,
    • changing the Constitution so as that the National Security Council can no more dictate to the National Assembly and all fundamental rights of the Kurds and the other minorities be recognized are the prerequisites of such a dialogue.
    As to the recognition of fundamental rights of nationalities and minorities, what are the minima? Coincidentally, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted on February 1st, 1993, a recommendation (N°1201) which asks that the Committee of Ministers adopt an additional protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights. Turkey should be one of the first signatories of such a protocol.


    The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe recommends to all member states, including Turkey, to adopt the following additional protocol for the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms concerning persons belonging to national minorities:
    “The member states of the Council of Europe signatory hereto;
    “1. Considering that the diversity of peoples and cultures with which it is imbued is one of the main sources of the richness and vitality of European civilisation,
    “2. Considering the important contribution of national minorities to the cultural diversity and dynamism of the states of Europe;
    “3. Considering that only the recognition of the rights of persons belonging to a national minority within a state and the international protection of those rights are capable of putting a lasting end to ethnic confrontations, and thus of helping to guarantee justice, democracy, stability and peace;
    “4. Considering that the rights concerned are those which any person may exercise either singly or jointly;
    “5. Considering that the international protection of the rights of minorities is an essential aspect of the international protection of human rights and, as such, a domain for international co-operation,
    Have agreed as follows:

    ARTICLE 1 
    For the purposes of this convention the expression "national minority" refers to a group of persons in a state who
    a. reside on the territory on that state and are citizens thereof,
    b. maintain long standing, firm and lasting ties with that state,
    c. display distinctive ethnic, cultural, religious or linguistic characteristics,
    are sufficiently representative, although smaller in number than the rest of the population of that state or of a region of that state,
    e. are motivated by a concern to preserve together that which constitutes their common identity, including their culture, their traditions, their religion or their language.
    1. Membership of a national minority shall be a matter of free personal choice.
    2. No disadvantage shall result from the choice or the renunciation of such membership.
    1. Every person belonging to a national minority shall have the right to express, preserve and develop in complete freedom his/her religious, ethnic, linguistic or cultural identity, without being subjected to any attempt at assimilation against his/her will.
    2. Every person belonging to a national minority may exercise his/her rights and enjoy them individually or in association with others.
    All persons belonging to a national minority shall be equal before the law. Any discrimination based on membership of a national minority shall be prohibited.
    Deliberate changes to the demographic composition of the region in which a national minority is settled, to the detriment of that minority, shall be prohibited.
    All persons belonging to a national minority shall have the right to set up their own organisations, including political parties.
    1. Every person belonging to a national minority shall have the right freely to use his/her mother tongue in private and in public, both orally and in writing. This right shall also apply to the use of his/her language in publications and in the audio-visual sector.
    2. Every person belonging to a national minority shall have the right to use his/her surname and first names in his/her mother tongue and to official recognition of his/her surname and first names.
    3. In the regions in which substantial numbers of a national minority are settled, the persons belonging to a national minority shall have the right to use their mother tongue in their contacts with the administrative authorities and in proceedings before the courts and legal authorities.
    4. In the regions in which substantial numbers of a national minority are settled, the persons belonging to that minority shall have the right to display in their language local names, signs, inscriptions and other similar information visible to the public. This does not deprive the authorities of their right to display the above-mentioned information in the official language or languages of the state.
    1. Every person belonging to a national minority shall have the right to learn his/her mother tongue and to receive an education in his/her mother tongue at an appropriate number of schools and of state educational and training establishments, located in accordance with the geographical distribution of the minority.
    2. The persons belonging to a national minority shall have the right to set up and manage their own schools and educational and training establishments within the framework of the legal system of the state.
    If a violation of the rights protected by this protocol is alleged, every person belonging to a national minority or any representative organisation shall have an effective remedy before a state authority.
    ARTICLE 10
    Every person belonging to a national minority, while duly respecting the territorial integrity of the state, shall have the right to have free and unimpeded contacts with the citizens of another country with whom this minority shares ethnic, religious or linguistic features or a cultural identity.
    ARTICLE 11
    In the regions where they are in a majority the persons belonging to a national minority shall have the right to have at their disposal appropriate local or autonomous authorities or to have a special status, matching the specific historical and territorial situation and in accordance with the domestic legislation of the state.
    ARTICLE 12
    1. Nothing in this protocol may be construed as limiting or restricting an individual right of persons belonging to a national minority or a collective right of a national minority embodied in the legislation of the Contracting State or in an international agreement to which that state is a party.
    2. Measures taken for the sole purpose of protecting ethnic groups, fostering their appropriate development and ensuring that they are granted equal rights and treatment with respect to the rest of the population in the administrative, political, economic, social and cultural fields and in other spheres shall not be considered as discrimination.
    ARTICLE 13
    The exercise of the rights and freedoms listed in this protocol fully apply to the persons belonging to the majority in the whole of the state but which constitute a minority in one or several of its regions.
    ARTICLE 14
    The exercise of the rights and freedoms set forth in this protocol are not meant to restrict the duties and responsibilities of the citizens of the state. However, this exercise may only be made subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health and morals and for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.


    Helsinki Watch, issuing on March 18 a new report, announced that killings of Turkish Kurds by Turkish security forces, as well as disappearances, mysterious killings and brutal torture of Kurdish civilians in southeast Turkey have increased since the Demirel Government took office in 1991.
    The below is the introduction of the report entitled The Kurds of Turkey: Killings, Disappearances and Torture:
    The situation of Turkey's Kurds has changed somewhat since we wrote that report; Turkish authorities no longer speak of the "mountain Turks," and Kurds are sometimes referred to by name in the Turkish press. In addition, a law outlawing the speaking of Kurdish on the street was repealed; but it is still illegal to speak Kurdish in court, in official settings, or at public meetings. And most of the cultural prohibitions remain in effect. In addition, the PKK's guerrilla war continues more strongly than ever, and appears to have far more support among Kurds than it did in 1988.
    Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel's coalition government, stating its commitment to human rights reforms, took office in Turkey in November 1991. During the pre-election campaign, candidate Demirel publicly recognized the "Kurdish reality -- a reference to the Turkish Kurds living in southeast Turkey. In January 1992, two months after his election, the prime minister told Helsinki Watch that he planned to win the confidence of Turkey's large Kurdish minority (estimated at about ten million of Turkey's fifty-seven million people) by restoring its cultural rights and ending the village guard system that forces local people to take up arms to support the military in its fight against the PKK.
    Unfortunately, the cultural rights of the Kurdish minority continue to be abused in southeast Turkey and the village guard system is as firmly entrenched as ever. The village guard system forces villagers to choose between serving as armed guards, vulnerable to PKK retribution, or abandoning their homes and lands. Moreover, Turkish security forces have decimated nearly 300 Kurdish villages and forced their residents to flee since the coalition government came to power.
    In addition, Turkish security forces have attacked Kurdish cities in the southeast with increased ferocity. They rained such intense destruction on the town of Sirnak in August 1992 that all but two or three thousand of the town's 35,000 inhabitants reportedly piled their belongings onto wagons and trucks and abandoned the town. Officials barred many journalists from most areas of the town and from interviews with the mayor or other officials or residents, suggesting that the government was trying to prevent the public from finding out what happened. Similar large-scale attacks against civilians reportedly took place in 1992 in Batman, Agri, Kulp and Cizre. As a result, Kurds have been leaving the southeast in the thousands and moving to other areas in Turkey.
    Moreover, the Turkish government has utterly failed to investigate the assassinations in southeast Turkey in 1992 of more than 450 people who were killed by assailants using death squad tactics. Among those killed were journalists, teachers, doctors, human rights activists and political leaders; many suspect government complicity in the killings. Some disappeared, only to turn up dead by a roadside some time later. Although some of the victims were last seen in the hands of police, the police usually deny having detained the victims or claim that they held them briefly and then released them. The Turkish government appears to have made no serious effort to find the murderers or to investigate possible police involvement in disappearances.
    Among the many victims of assassination were thirteen journalists and four distributors of a pro-Kurdish newspaper. All but two of the journalists wrote for left-wing or pro-Kurdish journals; several had written about purported connections between a "counter-guerrilla" force or a Hezbollah group and Turkish security forces. These journalists were apparently targeted as part of an on-going vicious campaign to silence the dissident press. Many were shot in the back—sometimes with one bullet to the back of the head—by unknown assailants.
    On coming to power, Prime Minister Demirel's coalition government promised significant improvements in Turkey's abysmal human rights record. Sadly, the promised reforms have not come about; on the contrary, killings, torture and other human rights abuses in Turkey have become significantly worse -- in western Turkey as well as in the southeast.
    During 1992, security forces shot and killed seventy-four people in house raids -- thirty four in the southeast -- and the evidence suggests that the killings were deliberate executions. Security forces also shot and killed more than 100 peaceful demonstrators in several incidents in the southeast in 1992.
    A promise to end torture has been repeatedly broken by the coalition government, despite the fact that Prime Minister Demirel came to power promising "police stations with glass walls." A legal reform bill was enacted in late November. Unfortunately, its maximum detention periods do not meet standards set by the European Court of Human Rights: ordinary criminal suspects can be detained for up to eight days, and political suspects for up to thirty days.
    In August 1992, Helsinki Watch interviewed at length 24 people in four cities in western Turkey -- Istanbul, Ankara, Adana and Antalya -- who told terrible stories of recent torture at the hands of police. Many of them were Kurds. Their accounts, some of which are recounted in a later section, and the stories of others like them, show that the vile practice of torture continues in Turkey. It permeates the criminal justice system and is not confined, as some believe, to suspected terrorists or Kurdish separatists. Moreover, sixteen people died in suspicious circumstances in 1992 while in police custody; police claim that six of them, including three children between the ages of 13 and 16, committed suicide. Ten of the sixteen deaths were of Kurds in the southeast. Prime Minister Demirel's government has made no serious effort to investigate these cases or to bring an end to torture.
    In January 1992, Prime Minister Demirel, Deputy Prime Minister Erdal Inönü and other Turkish officials told Helsinki Watch of their ambitious plans for change. Legislation to protect detainees from torture was only one of many planned reforms, including amendments to the constitution and revision of the restrictive press law.
    None of this has come to pass. In addition to the assassinations of reporters in the southeast, other members of the press—particularly left-wing opposition journalists—continue to be harassed, threatened, beaten, detained and tortured. Reporters are charged with the crimes of insulting the president, criticising the military or public prosecutors, disseminating separatist or communist propaganda, and praising acts that are considered crimes. Some have been sentenced to prison terms for such crimes of thought. The journals that have run into the most serious problems with Turkish authorities are small, pro-Kurdish journals.
    When asked to take responsibility for these abuses, Turkish officials are quick to blame the escalating terrorism in Turkey. To be sure, Turkey is experiencing a rising tide of terrorist incidents. In the southeast, according to the Turkish government, almost 1,000 civilians have been killed by the PKK since 1984. In western Turkey, assassinations of police, judges and other officials, most of them attributed to the left-wing extremist organization Dev-Sol (Revolutionary Left), are becoming more frequent in Istanbul and other major cities; at least fifty-four police and other officials were assassinated in 1992.
    But the Turkish government, in dealing with this deplorable situation, appears to have abandoned its initially declared commitment to a "state of law based on human rights and freedoms." Instead of attempting to capture, question and try people suspected of these killings, police have embarked on a campaign of house raids. During 1992 forty alleged terrorists were shot and killed in house raids in western Turkey -- twenty-six in Istanbul, nine in Ankara, and five in other western cities. A similar pattern can be seen in the southeast, where thirty-four alleged members of the PKK were shot and killed in house raids. Police routinely claim that these deaths occurred in the course of shoot-outs with suspects. But while the suspects were shot dead, police were almost never killed or even wounded, strongly suggesting that the raids were not shoot-outs but deliberate executions. Extrajudicial killings in which police act as judge, jury and executioner are outlawed by both international human rights law and the laws of war.
    Contrary to international laws and standards, police continue to shoot and kill peaceful demonstrators; at least 103 were killed in 1992 -- all but three of these were killed in the southeast. In March, during the celebration of Newroz, the Kurdish New Year, government troops opened fire and killed at least 91 demonstrators in three towns in the southeast. Another nine people were killed in the southeast in demonstrations in August. Peaceful demonstrators were also killed in 1992 in Izmir, Adana and Antalya. No one has been charged with any of these deaths.
    The government appears to have abandoned many of its early promises that could have afforded protections to the Kurdish minority. Among these promises were a commitment to replace the repressive 1982 constitution that was written following the military coup of 1980, and, in the interim, to abolish anti-democratic provisions in the current constitution that, for example, forbid university professors and civil servants from joining political parties. The government's programme included promises to change laws that discriminate against women, to provide trade union rights for civil servants and to enact trade union laws that comply with International Labor Organization standards, to abolish restrictions on political and religious freedom, and to abolish the Higher Education Council. These promises have not been kept either.
    In the initial days of the new administration some positive steps were taken: Eskisehir Prison, known for its brutality and isolation cells, was shut down; 227 people who had been deprived of their citizenship for political reasons regained it; and some films and cassettes were removed from a list of banned artistic works. The government ended a ban on the use of the Kurdish language on the street, although Kurdish is still banned in courts and other official and public settings; one Kurdish-language newspaper, Welat, was allowed to be published; and a  policy of allowing parents freedom in choosing their children names (including Kurdish names) was adopted. A Kurdish institute was permitted to open in Istanbul, although it was forbidden to hang up a sign outside its office. The institute was raided by police on November 15, 1992, however; its books and records were seized and its employees detained. On January 18, 1993, Cumhuriyet reported that an Istanbul court had denied official registration to the institute, since it was based on "a race." The decision is being appealed.
    Justice Minister Seyfi Oktay, Interior Minister Ismet Sezgin and Human Rights Minister Mehmet Kahraman all emphasized in conversations with Helsinki Watch in August 1992 that the government remains committed to change, to the establishment of "a transparent democracy," and to making changes in the constitution and laws, as initially proposed by the coalition government.
    But appropriate actions are not forthcoming. Killings, disappearances, brutal torture and other violations of human rights are still taking place. Prime Minister Demirel's government has not demonstrated the political will or ability to end these loathsome practices, either on paper or in reality.
    The Bush administration was extremely supportive of the Demirel government, even going so far as to congratulate Turkey on its "use of restraint" against the Kurdish population during Newroz, when government troops shot and killed at least ninety-one peaceful demonstrators. Turkey remains the third largest recipient of American aid, after Israel and Egypt. For fiscal year 1993 the United States will provide Turkey with $575 million in foreign assistance -- $450 million in military loans and $125 million in economic support grants.
    In light of the massive continuing abuse of human rights in Turkey, Helsinki Watch recommends that the U.S. government end all military and security assistance to Turkey until such time as Turkey no longer manifests a consistent pattern of gross human rights violations, or state clearly, as required by Section 502b of the Foreign Assistance Act, what extraordinary circumstances warrant provision of military and security assistance to Turkey in light of its pattern of violations. Helsinki Watch also recommends that the training of Turkish police officers under the Anti-terrorism Assistance Programme be promptly discontinued.
    Helsinki Watch recommends to the Turkish government that it end abuses of civilians in southeast Turkey and abide by the requirements of international humanitarian law, the laws of war; end restrictions on Kurdish ethnic identity; abolish the village guard system; abide by international standards requiring law enforcement officials to use lethal force only when absolutely necessary and in proportion to the immediate danger faced when conducting raids on houses suspected to contain "terrorists;" deploy nonlegal methods of crowd control; punish security forces who kill civilians without justification; investigate thoroughly and promptly all suspicious deaths and disappearances and prosecute those responsible; end all torture in police interrogation centers and prosecute torturers; shorten detention periods and provide detainees with immediate and regular access to attorneys; and end restrictions on free expression. Further recommendations are detailed at the end of this report.
    Helsinki Watch recommends to the Workers' Party of Kurdistan (PKK) that it end all abuses against civilians and observe promptly and scrupulously international humanitarian law - - the laws of war. 


    1.2, HEP deputies announce that the hamlet Güneyce in the province of Sirnak was bombed by military aircrafts on January 31 and five members of the Ekici family, known as a sympathizer of the PKK, were killed.
    1.2, unidentified gunmen shoot dead Ali Yildirim (31) in Diyarbakir and Kadri Balcik (55) in Silvan.
    2.2, in Ankara, security forces detain  eleven alleged militants of the Islamist organization IBDA-C. Same day, in Denizciler (Hatay), five people are placed under arrest by a tribunal for propaganda in favour of the Hezbollah.
    4.2, security forces have, during last ten-day operations, arrested 19 people in relation with the Islamic Action Movement (IHÖ).
    4.2, the Diyarbakir SSC sentences Cemalettin Cenap Arici to capital punishment for having participated in PKK activities. In the same case, two defendants are sentenced to life-prison and five others to different imprisonments of up to 12 years and six months.
    5.2, during recent operations in Ankara, Adana and Hatay, a total of 29 people have been arrested for taking part in the activities of the People's Revolutionary Vanguards (HDÖ).
    5.2, a Hezbollah team shoot dead Fevzi Kazici (50) in Silvan. In Pervari, Yusuf Akkan (25) is found assassinated. In Viransehir, unidentified people shoot dead worker Mehmet Kaya.
    6.2, in Malatya, Ekrem Kaval and Münir Colak allege at tribunal that they were tortured for 15 days after their detention on January 5.
    6.2,  in Ankara, 150 members of the religious group Aczmendi are stopped at the entrance of the city when the come from Elazig and Malatya for protesting against recent anti-Islamist demonstrations.  In the city, 25 people belonging to the same group are taken into custody for wearing gown considered incompatible with the Law on Dress.
    7.2, the food embargo imposed by security forces in Sirnak's Güclükonak town continues. Locals say the embargo started because of their alleged aid to the PKK militants. No telephone communication is possible between Sirnak and Güclükonak.
    8.2, in Batman, unidentified people shoot dead Ihsan Yesilirmak (45) and wounded his son Mahmut Yesilirmak (17).
    9.2, the Izmir SSC sentences eight officials of the People's Labour Party (HEP) to six months and 20 days in prison and TL 55,000 in fine, for instigation to ethnical hostility.
    9.2, unidentified people shoot dead Kerem Ozgen (29) in Diyarbakir and Mehmet Bagis (43) in Kozluk (Batman).
    10.2, in Istanbul, 12 people have reportedly been taken into custody for taking part in the actions of the Revolutionary Workers-Peasants Army of Turkey (TIKKO).
    10.2, Sabahat Varol, an IYO-DER (Istanbul based association of university students) member detained by police 16 times, claims at a press conference that police threatened her with execution.
    11.2, in Istanbul, the usual visits to political detainees at the Bayrampasa Prison is forbidden by the authorities without any pretext. Thereupon, a number parents hold a demonstration in front of the prison.
    12.2, at the Buca Prison in Izmir, all left-wing detainees were beaten by guards and gendarmes after an attempt to dig a tunnel was discovered . According to defense lawyers, ten prisoners were wounded.  In protest, 55 prisoners went on hunger-strike.
    12.2, the prosecutor of the Istanbul SSC indicted eleven people for participating in the activities of the Hezbollah. Five of the defendants face capital punishment.
    12.2, in Batman, a Hezbollah team  shoots dead  Yasar Bulus (33). In Mazidag (Mardin), Azad Adiloglu and Vedat Dilekoglu are assassinated by unidentified people.
    13.2, in Diyarbakir, HEP member Mehmet Akdag is assassinated by unidentified people. Same day,  in Mersin, Mehmet Tatli (35) is found assassinated.
    14.2, it is reported that SHP local chairman Hüseyin Demir and 29 other people were arrested during a series of police operations in Idil Sirnak province).
    15.2, in Gaziantep, eleven people are detained on charges of participating in PKK activities.  In Adana, six people are detained for belonging to the Communist Labour Party of Turkey/Leninist (TKEP/L).
    16.2, in Istanbul, a worker demonstration against redundancies in Istanbul is prevented by police, four workers detained.
    16.2, the Istanbul SSC sentenced two Hezbollah members to 10 years and 10 months each, a third one to ten month for some acts of violences. The three defendants are also sentenced to a total of TL 210,600,000 ($23,400) in fine.
    16.2, two Kurds, Mahmut Korunay (33) and Halil Erdemir (35) were found assassinated in Karacailyas (Mersin).
    16.2, Balikesir police arrest 21 people in a search operation for suspected Dev-Sol militants. Of the detainees, 10 are high school students, another three are university students.
    17.2, a doctor of the Diyarbakir Children Hospital, Ilhan Diken is brought before the Diyarbakir SSC on charges of supporting the PKK. He is accused to give medical care to a wounded person, allegedly member of the PKK.
    17.2, security forces raiding on the village Yesilyurt in Sirnak take into custody nine peasants. Among them are also some victims of the gendarmerie atrocity in 1989.  At that time, the peasants had been forced to eat human excrement by the gendarmerie officer. A complaint against this inhuman treatment is still on the agenda of the European Commission of Human Rights.
    19.2, in Istanbul, the IHD reports during a press conference that three people named Osman Korkut, Hüsnü Aydin and Ekrem Deniz were tortured at the Cinili Police Station. The fact of being tortures was certified by a medical report. Same day, twelve university students, detained after a sit-in on February 17, declare after their released to have been tortured by police.
    19.2, in Mersin, a demonstration by about a thousand people in support to the PKK was prevented by police using force.  13 demonstrators were wounded and about 100 people were taken into custody.
    19.2, security forces detain three alleged members of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey (TDKP) in Kirsehir.
    19.2, the Malatya SSC sentenced Hasan Hüseyin Karakus to life-prison for taking part in TIKKO activities.
    21.2, in Ankara, 24 left-wing students are expelled from the dormitory of the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ)because of their political activities. In the town of Hopa (Artvin), five students are taken into custody for the same reason.
    21.2, in Mersin, Süleyman Akyüz (44) is shot dead by unidentified people.
    23.2, the governor of Izmir banned the expedition of some material aid to the district of Güclükonak (Sirnak), surrounded for a long time by security forces. The material had been collected by the IHD in izmir.
    23.2, the Izmir SSC sentenced five HEP officials to 20 months in prison and TL 41,660,000 ($4,630) each for a declaration that they had issued last year in protest against the Newroz Operation.
    23.2, the Bolu section of the Finance Workers' Union (Tüm Maliye Sen) is banned by the governor.
    23.2, security forces have detained 12 people in Istanbul for pro-PKK activities.
    24.2, the prosecutor of Istanbul SSC started a legal proceeding against three persons who had been detained on January 28 for an attempt on the life of Jewish-origin businessman  Jak Kamhi. All of them face capital punishment.
    24.2, the prosecutor of Izmir SSC indicted 19 people for having carried out pro-PKK activities in Antalya.Seven of the defendants face capital punishment.
    24.2, the prosecutor of the Diyarbakir SSC opened a court action against a Hezbollah activist, Nedim Uysal, with the demand of capital punishment.
    25.2, a group of human rights activists who visit the National Assembly for lodging a complaint are harassed by the police and five of them wounded.
    25.2, in Alanya, local HEP chairman Abdullah Arslan and five other persons are detained for pro-PKK activities.
    25.2, in Siirt, local IHD Chairman Haci Oguz and seven other people are detained during a series of police raids.
    26.2, the Chief Prosecutor started a legal proceeding at the Constitution Court with the demand of banning the Socialist Turkey Party (STP). Founded on November 7, 1992, the STP is accused of having a separatist programme incompatible with the Constitution.
    27.2, the Agri section of the Finance Workers' Union (Tüm Maliye Sen) is banned by the governor.


    Kemal Kilic, 28, former reporter for the defunct daily newspaper Özgür Gündem and Urfa IHD official, was killed by a group of unidentified assailants on the Urfa-Akcakale highway on February 18. His colleagues report that he had demanded authorization to carry a fire-arm for protecting himself, but the authorities refused it. With the assassination of Kilic, the number of the journalists killed within a year reached 14.


    The State Council endorsed on February 24 an earlier court decision which rejected the poet Nazim Hikmet’s application to have his Turkish nationality returned.
    Hikmet is Turkey’s most renown poet whose works have been printed in different languages throughout the world. After having served 13-year prison for his political beliefs, he fled Turkey in 1951 when he was appealed to make his military service at the age of 46. He died in Moscow in 1963.
    The late poet’s sister Samiye Yaltirim put in application to the prime minister’s office back in 1988, for the Cabinet to overrule a 1951 decision to have the poet stripped of his Turkish nationality. She received no response.
    Yaltirim took this to mean an “indirect rejection” of her application, which prompted her to open a law suit to have her brother’s nationality restored.
    The court decided that Yaltirim had no “direct interest” in the issue and ruled that she had no “licence” to file a law suit.
    The court ruled that “the right to nationality is an individual and personal right. A sister has no interest in the matter.” This was endorsed by the State Council.


    The prosecutor of the Ankara SSC demanded on February 8 that sociologist and writer Ismail Besikci be fined TL 26 billion ($2,888,888) for his 13 books on the Kurdish problem. The demand for the proposed fine, if upheld,will be the largest ever imposed on published material in Turkey. All of these books had been confiscated by the authorities
    Besikci told the daily Cumhuriyet that Turkey is far from being a democratic country, despite its claims that it has established a “Western-style” democracy.
    “As the number of such cases increases, the state is dragging itself towards a dead end. These trials and indictments are proof as to why we don’t trust the judicial system in Turkey.”
    Meanwhile, Ünsal Öztürk, the publisher of Besikci’s book and owner of the Yurt Publishing House, said: “We don’t want to be tried by the Turkish courts. These courts do not even abide by the international agreements signed by the state. When the SSC makes its final decision, we will use our right to apply to the European Human Rights Commission.”


    2.2, the issue N°45 of the weekly Gercek was confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
    3.2, the former responsible editor of the weekly Mücadele, Erdogan Yasar Kopan is put in prison for purging a prison term of two years and four months. He was condemned by a penal court of Istanbul for praising certain acts considered crime and insulting the President of the Republic in an article.
    3.2, two journalists of the daily Hürriyet, Nuriye Akman and Hasan Kilic as well as famous humorist Aziz Nesin are indicted for an interview with the latter published on September 27, 1992. Nesin, in this interview said: "The Turkish people is stupid."  Accused of violating Article 159 of the Turkish Penal Code, they face a prison term of up to six years each.
    4.2, the responsible editor of the monthly Odak, Hidir Ates is sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to a 6-month imprisonment and a fine of TL100 Million  ($11,100) for separatist propaganda by virtue of Article 6 of the Anti-Terror Law.
    5.2, the Istanbul SSC condemned three journalists of the monthly Newroz for separatist propaganda: Columnist Remzi Bilget to a 20-month imprisonment and a fine of TL 41.666.000 ($4,630), responsible editor Celal Albayrak to a 6-month imprisonment and a fine of TL41,666,000 and publisher Hüseyin Alatas to a fine of TL83,333,000 ($9,260).
    7.2, the issue N° 14 of the monthly Newroz is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
    9.2, the issue N° 39 of the weekly Azadi is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
    9.2, the responsible editor of the monthly Emek, Tuncay Atmaca is sentenced to two years and six months in prison and TL 83,333,000  ($9,260) in fine by virtue of Article 8 of the ATL.
    10.2, Sedat Karatas, chief editor of the weekly Azadi, says that the Istanbul SSC committed a most curious faux pas when it decided to seize his paper for the alleged publication of an article that, in fact, did not make it to the the paper's pages at all. "This is proof enough that SSC prosecutors do not even have a look at the paper before deciding to seize it," Karatas says. Of 35 issues of Azadi, 15 have been confiscated by police acting on orders from various Istanbul SSCs.
    11.2, Hürriyet reporter Toygun Attila is harassed by police as he is covering the incidents in front of the Bayrampasa Prison in Istanbul. His camera and tape-recorder are confiscated.
    12.2, the issue N°9 of the monthly Newroz Atesi is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
    16.2, the issue N°33 of the weekly Mücadele is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
    17.2, three journalists of the big media, Togay Bayatli and Altan Öymen from daily Milliyet and Ridvan Yelekci from daily Hürriyet, are indicted for having criticized a court decision against a football star. They are to be tried by a penal court of Istanbul.
    19.2, after a concert of the Musical Group Ekin in Bergama (Izmir), 39 people are taken into custody. During their police detention, many of them are subjected to torture and two detainees are transferred to hospital.
    21.2, the governor of Diyarbakir bans the distribution of 23 musi-cassettes containing Kurdish songs chanted by Sivan Perwer, Nizamettin Ariç and Gönül Sahin.
    23.2, the trial of author Edip Polat for his book entitled The Kurds and Kurdistan in the Scientific Language - A Reply from Biology to the Official Ideology begins at the Ankara SSC. The prosecutor demands prison terms of up to five years as well for Polat as for Dr. Ismail Besikci who wrote the preface of the book and publisher Vedat Yeniceri. Each faces also a fine of TL 41,666,000 ($4,630) by virtue of Article 8 of the ATL.
    27.2, the prosecutor of Istanbul indicts once again sociologist Ismail Besikci for his article published in the weekly Yeni Ülke of October 25, 1992. He faces a prison term of up to three years for praising crimeful acts by virtue of Article 312 of the TPC. The responsible editor of the weekly, Bülent Aydin too faces the same punishment.


    Just before this new assassination, the Swiss Section of Reporters Without Frontiers issued a detailed report on the murders of journalists and other pressures on the Turkish press, entitled Intimidation.
    During a meeting in Paris with the Turkish Ambassador in September 1992, the French section of Reporters Without Frontiers (Reporters sans frontières, RSF) had proposed to send an international team to Turkey in order to investigate a series of murders where Turkish journalists had been victims, as well as to investigate continued difficulties experienced by certain journals. The proposal was favourably received by the Turkish authorities.
    The mission took place in Turkey from 10 January to 21 January 1993. The team conducted 22 formal meetings organized on its own initiative or on the initiative of the authorities: 6 with professional press organizations, 8 with journals and journalists, 4 with lawyers and human rights defenders, and 4 with government representatives. Beyond that, the team had several informal meetings, listened to spontaneous witnesses and collected extensive documentation.
    The team regrets not to have been able to meet in Diyarbakir, in spite of a request submitted more than one month in advance, the authorities in charge of the State of Emergency. The reason given was the visit of a government official in the region. The team believes, however, that it has been able to collect sufficient information .
    The following is the summary of the 65-page report:
    1. Having been able to confirm that they had been the authors of articles published by the press, and in the absence of any evidence of violent activity, we believe the 13 murdered individuals should be considered as journalists.
    2. It remained so determine if they had been killed due to their activities as journalists, and who could have been the perpetrators of these murders. In the absence of irrefutable evidence, it is not possible to give answers devoid of any doubt. This counts as well for the two cases where the two suspects, members of Hezbollah, were arrested by the Police (pending a Judgement, the details of the case have not been communicated to us).
    3. However, we believe that in certain cases we have sufficient elements to support very strong suspicions. They include the following:
    •  At least two journalists were killed by the PKK, the separatist Kurdish party pursuing its aims by armed means. One of the two had been accused of being a police informant; the motive of the murder accordingly does not appear to be tied to his (former) journalistic activity. The other was killed during an attack on his town; he may have been killed due to his profession.
    • At least four journalists were killed due to their journalistic activities in cases which directly, or indirectly, implicated the Police. The identities of the murderers remain the object of diverse hypotheses: the Counter-Guerrillas, Hezbollah, paramilitary groups. But we are convinced that there was at least the complicity, if not the participation, of the Armed Forces.
    • In the seven other cases, there are elements based on the testimony of witnesses which could support certain suspicions. But, the team feels they are insufficient as such to support any conclusion.
    4. However the delegation believes its suspicions concerning members of the Police are reinforced by numerous examples and accounts of other pressures experienced by journalists and publications in the region: obstacles to free movement, physical intimidation, threats, burned trucks and kiosques...etc.
    We have been particularly alarmed by he recent murders of three press vendors and distributors, all threatened before to cease selling certain publications. One vendor was attacked during the course of our mission, and his relatives and friends told us directly of previous threats originating from a Police Officer.
    5. The deaths of these journalists take place in a context of growing violence toward the civilian population. Hundreds of individuals from the Kurdish civilian population have been assassinated in a similar fashion — by mysterious killers who are never found. The authorities blame "terrorism" and retribution killings among terrorist groups. This exclusive blame does not convince us, if only because we have observed on several occasions the refusal of the Turkish authorities to investigate any case, no matter what it be, where the Police may be implicated.
    6. We confirm, and praise, the considerable freedom of expression enjoyed by the major papers. In addition, we noted that many publications abundantly give the point of view of the PKK. This is the paradox of a country which allows the publication of journals very close to organizations considered terrorist, but which subjects these same publications to constant judicial harassment, and notably frequent sequesters. The procedure is legal, but is based on laws which abusively limit freedom of expression. There still exists a large arsenal of repressive laws: 152 of their articles can be used against the press.
    7. We note with satisfaction the reform foreseen for the Law on the Press; but we judge it to be very insufficient. We believe in particular that Articles 6 and 8 of the Antiterror Law, which allows vague punishment for any type of separatist propaganda, should be repealed.
    The daily Cumhuriyet published at the end of January a list of journalists killed since the existence of the Turkish press. The total number is 34. Thirteen of them, i.e., more than one third, were killed in 1992.
    1891: Zeki Bey
    1909: Hasan Fehmi Bey
    1910: Ahmet Samim, Huseyin Hilmi Bey
    1919: Osman Nevres
    1920: Hasan Tahsin
    1930: Hikmet Sevket
    1974: Adem Yavuz
    1978: Ali Ihsan Özgür
    1979: Abdi Ipekçi, Ilhan Darendelioglu
    1980: Ismail Gerçek, Ümit Kaftancioglu, Muzaffer Fevzioglu, Recai Ünal
    1988: Mevlut Isik
    1989: Sami Basaran, Kamil Basaran
    1990: Çetin Emeç, Turan Dursun
    1992: Halit Güngen, Cengiz Altun, Izzet Kezer, Bülent Ülkü, Mecit Akgün, Hafiz Akdemir, Çetin Ababay, Yahya Orhan, Hüseyin Deniz, Musa Anter, Yusuf Aktay, Hatip Kapçak, Namik Taranci
    1993 (January): Ugur Mumcu
    The report gives the details on  the 13 murders reported and confirmed in the course of 1992, along with an evaluation in response to the following question: 

    Why they should all be considered journalists?

    “Those who were killed are not real journalists. They are militants disguised as journalists. They kill each other."  (Süleyman Demirel, Prime Minister, August 11, 1992).
    Due to this statement and similar statements made by other members of the Government, our delegation above all looked to determine whether the thirteen victims should, or should not, be considered journalists.
    To determine the status of a journalist in Turkey, there are two formal means (but without any legal value, according to a lawyer specialized in the field):
    • The Press Card, issued by the State, more precisely by the General Directorate for the Press and Information, attached to the Office of the Prime Minister. It is a yellow or blue card. To obtain one it is necessary to make an application, and this must be supported by the employer. It is issued after an apprenticeship the duration of which varies with the previous level of studies completed: 18 months if the candidate has completed a Press School, 24 for a university graduate, 30 for a high school or college graduate. Approximately 3000 people hold such a card
    • "Journalist identity cards" distributed by press organizations. This requires that the journalist is the officially declared employee of a press organization.
    According to our information, in only one of the thirteen cases (that of Kezer), it is not contested that the victim had a press card. However in one report entitled "Who is a journalist?"(see annex), the Press Council (l) explained that the majority of journalists have neither one nor the other. This is due to the following reasons:
    • The press card is not given automatically to candidates who fulfil the conditions. It seems for practical purposes there is a quota for each journal. On the other hand, from what we have been told by the Press Council, the card has been devalued by the fact it has been given to people "who have nothing to do with the profession of journalism"— notably ministerial civil servants. This abuse is due to the privileges which come with the card. notably price reductions.
    • The journalist identity card is not frequently issued since it obliges the employer to pay social security and other social charges.
    The possession of a card is insufficient to determine the status of a journalist. Consequently, membership in one of the professional associations is also not a reliable criteria. The Southeast Journalists' Association, for example, requires possession of one of the two cards to become a member.
    All the professional associations are of the opinion that the victims were journalists, this in spite of the fact that they were not members (only Kezer was a member of an association — in Istanbul):
    - "In or eyes they were journalists. They worked regularly in he information field. It matters little if this was not their only activity" (Necmi Tanyolaç President of the Journalists' Association in Istanbul).
    - "To say that they were not journalists, the Government bases itself on he fact hat they did not have a press card. For us this is incorrect. They were all journalists" (Orhan Erin, President of the Journalists' Union) .
    -"For us the essential thing is that they worked for a paper" (Ramazan Pamuk, President of the Southeast Journalists' Association).
    In light of all the opinions and testimonies we collected, our delegation believes that in every case, except one, it is established that all the victims exercised a journalistic activity.
    The doubtful case is in our eyes Mecit Akgün, former occasional correspondent with Yeni Ulke in Nusaybin. He ceased writing eight months before his murder, according to the paper. his cessation in his activities was confirmed to us by the majority of people with whom we spoke with two exceptions. Most notably, one journalist in Diyarbakir  claimed to have cooperated with Akgün on an investigation three months before his death. In any event, from what we can believe from two testimonies collected in Diyarbakir, he was still considered as a journalist in Nusaybin in spite of his political activities. We believe therefore that in the absence of conclusive evidence to the contrary, he should remain on the list as a journalist.
    In the majority of the cases it turns out that journalism was not a full time activity. In certain cases it was not even the principal activity. Our delegation believes however that this should not prevent them from being considered as journalists. The principal reason is related to the work conditions in the southeast region of Turkey, subject to a State of Emergency and plunged in an atmosphere of war. It is difficult for journalists to move freely. The papers therefore need a well supplied network of correspondents who, due to this, do not have full time positions. In a context of massive unemployment, numerous correspondents only work part time. But, journalism is considered their social identity. Even for those who have another principal profession, it is rather their journalistic activities which expose them to local public attention.
    In the course of discussions with the authorities, they did not share the opinion put forward by Mr. Demirel and other members of the government. Mr. Demirel, we were told, had probably talked too hurriedly. In our discussions at the Ministry of the Interior, the status of journalist was not called into question:
    -"Unfortunately some journalists were killed in the exercise of their profession. We are looking for their murderers. (...) Anter and Kezer in any case were  journalists. For us the the others were local correspondents for various papers." (Ali Pitirli, General Director for Research, Planning and Coordination) .
    However, they emphasized several times that some of them were "militants", the proof in their eyes being that seven of them had been arrested for, suspected of, or sentenced for illegal activities in the past. It should be understood that the term "militant" in Turkish generally means: a member of a terrorist organization.
    In any case, there is no proof, or even a serious indication, that the journalists were killed in the framework of "militant" activities. If this is the case, it is necessary to distinguish further whether their activities in the more general sense were violent or non-violent. Turkish legislation includes under the term terrorism mere opinions. This RSF finds totally unacceptable.
    It is at least surprising, if not scandalous, that the Turkish Government mentions sentences served, or indictments which did not result in convictions, to implicitly devalue their deaths, to take away their status as victims.
    Given that there is no evidence of violent activity, our delegation believes, following the example of the Turkish professional organizations, that the exercise of possible other activities by the victims has no impact on their status as journalists.
    [This report can be ordered from Reporters sans frontières, association suisse. Address: Case postale 162, 1010 Lausanne 10, Switzerland.]