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Un service d'information non-gouvernemental sur la Turquie


17th Year - N°198
April 1993
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 Rédacteur en chef: Dogan Özgüden - Editrice responsable: Inci Tugsavul

The government’s first term of power ended in failure

500 DAYS

    The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV) issued in April 1993 a 58-page report dealing with the human rights violations observed during the first 500 days of the DYP-SHP Coalition Government, from November 21, 1991 to April 5, 1993.
    Below are the large extracts of this significant report which contradicts the government’s claim of success in democratization:
    The coalition government of the True Path Party (DYP) and the Social Democratic Populist Party (SHP) which was formed as the result of the elections of 20 October 1991, was announced on 20 November. Under the leadership of Süleyman Demirel 20 ministries were given to DYP and 12 to SHP. The new government took the office as of 21 October 1991. The coalition government’s program was read out by Premier Süleyman Demirel on 25 November and the government obtained vote of confidence on 30 November 1991.
    While reading the government’s program, Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel stated that Turkey will be changed completely, that the Constitution and the legal system will be formed according to contemporary democratic values. that inflation will be brought down, that union rights will be brought in line with ILO standards and that all civil servants will get the right to unionize. Some promises in the government’s program are as follows:
    • CSCE and Paris Charter has brought rights and freedoms for countries and their peoples. Those rules and acts are to be complied with by Turkey as a signatory part. Turkey will be a country in peace and security. A state of law based on human rights and fundamental freedoms will be established all over Turkey. While struggling with anarchy and terror, democratic means will be applied.
    • The area of eastern and southeastern Anatolia will be given a special weight, in this framework a regional development plan will be prepared and implemented. The Governorate of the Region under Emergency Legislation and the system of village guards will be reviewed. In the whole of the country a state of law based on human rights and basic freedoms will definitely be enforced. The people of the area will be met with tenderness and ties of trust will be created.
    • The length of detention will be shortened, events of torture will disappear. Education of the police on individual rights and freedoms will be secured, their authorities will newly be defined and legal changes allowing lawyers to be present during interrogation will be introduced. Police stations will no more be places of fear, transparency will be secured.
    • The practice to prohibit publications will come to an end; the Law to Fight Terrorism will be reviewed in the light of the principle of basic rights and freedoms. Press freedom and the right of the citizens to know the facts and to get the right news will be secured. In Turkey everybody is equal and a first class citizen. Research of everybody’s mother-tongue, culture, history, folk music and religious beliefs is part of basic human rights and freedoms which have to be protected and developed.
    • All political demands will only be enforced after discussion in parliament, with mass organizations and in the press. Provisions concerning meetings and demonstrations and the right to form associations will be rearranged. Everybody will be entitled to use these rights and everybody can freely express his or her opinion. Law on Political Parties and Elections will be changed and closed parties will be opened. Prominent problems of the country will be discussed at the National Assembly and on Turkish Radio and Television (TRT).
    Provisions concerning labour and trade unions will be brought in line with ILO standards, obstacles for leaders of trade unions and professional organizations to be elected for parliament will be removed. All workers including civil servants will be given the right to form trade unions.
    Scientific and administrative autonomy will be granted for universities and the system of YÖK will be lifted. It will be secured that institutions of higher education will be administered by people elected among the personnel. An institution of higher teaching and education formed by elected candidates will be created to secure coordination among the universities. Students will be allowed to join political parties.
    Except for one or two of these promises (Period for military service shortened but not put into practice right away, the ones deprived of their citizenship were given right to regain their citizenship and closed parties were opened again) which “raised high hopes” in the most parts of the society, none of them were put into practice during the 500 days. Besides, during the meeting in the night of 23 June 1992, the Council of Ministers agreed to lift certain powers which enable the Governor of the Emergency State Region “to censor or to send people into exile”. This decision was presented to the public as a great achievement. However, the lifted powers had not been applied since the beginning of 1991 owing to intense reactions. In addition, because the meeting was held without the President a legal discussion about the “invalidity of the decision” broke out.
    A great portion of the promises were not even tackled. A small portion was opened for a delayed discussion in public. Draft laws prepared on subjects such as “the criminal procedure code and presence of a lawyer during interrogation or “YÖK and elections of rectors”, were changed according to reactions by certain circles and passed under different conditions. The coalition government had promises to install “democracy” and “a regime respecting human rights” at the beginning of its term in office, but did not fulfil any of these promises and acted just to the opposite.
    During this 500-day period, basic human rights and freedoms, particularly the right to life were violated in a way that reminded very much of the dark days of the 12 September 1980 regime. Society was terrorized and left outside politics. Torture continued systematically. Torture allegations were not dealt with. Books, journals and newspapers were confiscated. Journalists were killed. The ones who tried “to speak up or write” were silenced and jailed. In the name of “fighting with terrorism”, unlawful methods were applied. The public only got one side of the picture and facts were turned upside down. Far from solving the Kurdish question, developments deepening the problem and opening the way for more serious clashes had to be observed. Towns were set on fire and destroyed. Demonstrators using their democratic rights were beaten and shot at. About 500 people (most of whom in the Emergency State Region), including journalists, political party leaders, intellectuals and human rights activists became victims of unclarified murders.
    In this period during which political violence spread, some groups appeared in public sympathizing with human rights violations or even applauding such practices by terrorizing certain parts of the society. Intensified PKK actions and the increase of assassinations and attacks by Devrimci Sol led to a radicalization of these “terrorized” circles. Human rights activists came under attack on a level never witnessed before. They were said to be prolongation, supporters and sometimes even members of organizations resorting to violence and accepting violence as a means of their struggle.
    This black account summarized above in some key-words relates to a period when a government was in power that made big promises in establishing democracy, a state of law and human rights. Turkey entered the 500-day period by listening to many positive promises but it was faced with the most brutal examples of disrespect for human rights. During this period, not human rights were protected, but those who violated them.


    Attacks on the most natural right of mankind, the right to life, increased during the 500-day period compared to the previous years. Within this period, many practices by the security forces resulted in death and were considered as extra-judicial executions. Murders by “unknown assailants” continued on a large scale. As a result of bomb and armed attacks carried out by illegal organizations such as the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), which stages a guerilla war, Devrimci Sol (Revolutionary Left) and TIKKO (Turkish Peasants’ and Workers’ Liberation Army), lots of people died. A number of attacks on civilians, some of which were carried out by illegal organizations while others were merely attributed to them and which resulted in death, took place.
    Within this 500-day period, 19 detainees died under suspicious circumstances (detailed information is available in the section entitled “Torture”). 7 persons who according to witnesses or similar strong evidence had been detained disappeared. A total of 233 persons were killed, of whom 38 were killed in fire opened on demonstrators, 80 were killed during house raids, 115 were killed as a result of fire opened at random or for disobeying order to stop, or in street executions. The bloody sheet of the Newroz events counted 95 deaths (92 of them in 1992 and 3 of them in 1993) and at least 500 wounded people. Furthermore, 44 persons died and about 100 were wounded during the violence which started with the bloody events in Sirnak and then was experienced in Çukurca, Musabey, Kulp, Varto and Cizre in the second half of 1992. The number of persons who died in the explosions of mines randomly planted or by picking up unclaimed hand grenades, was 52.
    Shortly a total of 443 persons died because of excessive force of the security force, by torture, through mine explosions, in extra-judicial executions and similar killings. If we add the number of the victims of unidentified murders (493), of the civilians, members of the security forces (802) and militants (1161) who died during clashes, of public officers, policemen, soldiers and village guards who were killed as a result of armed attacks, assassinations and of other persons who were killed for being “traitors”, “denouncers”, “state supporters” (331), of the ones who died during the attacks on civilians (224), to the previous number, the bloody scene becomes even more frightening. As a result, a total of 3454 persons died because of the existing atmosphere of violence between period of 21 November 1991 when the coalition government took the office, and 5 April 1993.
    Most of the deaths which take place in this report and which were caused by the security forces are “extra-judicial executions” as defined in the documents of the United Nations. Almost none of the “necessary criterion” defined by the U.N. with regard to extra-judicial executions was taken into consideration. Most of the death events which took place, were not thoroughly investigated. Instead of investigating, practices and statements were observed bound to encourage the security forces. Officers involved in the extra-judicial executions were awarded. In a statement he made at the end of December 1992, Interior Minister Ismet Sezgin claimed that there is no extra-judicial execution and that the operations were carried out in the presence and within that knowledge of public prosecutors. Ismet Sezgin stated that death events occurred when the security forces shot back at militants. In another statement Ismet Sezgin made on 14 February, he advanced that “As it was done once in Europe, we may gather all militants in same place and kill all of them. Then we may say that they have committed suicide”.
    The Ministry of Interior awarded TL 2,5 million to each of the police officers who participated in two separate house raids carried out in Maltepe and Küçükesat quarters of Ankara on 13 August 1992. Approving the event, a higher security officer claimed that money awards encourage the police officers who participate in operations, and said: “Such practices remove hesitation of police officers during operations. Therefore, police officers take part in operations aware that their duty will be awarded”. During the house raids on 13 August 1992 which resulted in the participating police officers to be awarded, 5 members of the “Devrimci Sol” organization were killed.
    In the meantime, security officers who were rarely brought to justice, were either found “innocent” or sentenced to very insignificant imprisonment terms. These imprisonment sentences were converted into fines and put on probation.


    During the 500-day period worrisome cases which can be termed as “execution on spot” were witnessed on the dark human rights picture. Security forces general opened fire at demonstrating crowds and thus many people died or were wounded. House raids carried out in the name of “operation”, resulted in deaths of many persons. People were shot as “they did not obey stop warnings”. As a result of fire opened by the security forces at random, innocent people lost their lives. Children and women died because of bombs thrown from war planes. In consequence of such kinds of events which are studied under three titles below, a total of 233 people died (38 of whom during demonstrations, 80 of whom as a result of house raids and the remaining 115 for not obeying stop warning, executing after being apprehended alive).


    During the 500-day period, a large number of armed and bomb attacks on civilians and defenceless people was carried out. In these attacks villages or settlements supporting either the state or the PKK, village protectors and their families, shopping centers and means of communal transportation were often chosen as targets. These attacks which caused an escalation of violence and gave fresh arguments for those circles who are in search for unlawful practices also caused reactions from the public. As a result of these attacks 224 people, 49 of them children, died and at least 187 people were wounded.
    In some cases, these types of attacks which presented a pretext to terrorize society and develop anti-democratic practices, were disclosed to have been carried out by village protectors. Attacks and subsequent events caused by village protectors were presented to the public as “actions of the PKK”. In addition, the damage caused by the security forces in civilian areas was extremely high. For many of the actions carried out in the Emergency Legislation Region PKK took responsibility. The number of attacks by the PKK against civilians and defenceless people showed a dramatic increase in 1992 compared to the years 1990 and 1991. (Attacks determined to have been carried out by village protectors were presented another chapter and, therefore, have not been included here). It has not been established by whom and why some of these attacks (such as on Closed Bazaar, Mess in Fenerbahce and on Istanbul Chamber of Commerce) were carried out.


    Meanwhile attacks on public officers such as soldiers, police officers, mayors and prosecutors, on village guards and on some persons accused of working as “police agents” or of being “state supporters”, continued intensively during the 500 days. As a result of these attacks and assassinations carried out by organizations such as PKK, Devrimci Sol, TIKKO and TIKB, a total of 331 persons listed below died.

    Enlisted man     15    Non-commissioned officer     10
    Retired General     1    Police officer     72
    Village guards     47    Night guard .    2
    Jugde-civil ser     7    Mayor     2
    MIT officer     4    Office driver     3
    Village head     6    Confessor     5
    Denouncer     52    State supporter     77
    Teacher     4    Stray bullet, by fault     8
    Other     14    Iranian opponent     14

    Many clashes were experienced between the security forces and armed groups particularly in the Emergency State Region and Istanbul. During the clashes, including attacks and raids on military stations and units in the Emergency State Region, a total of 1156 militants, 1079 of whom were PKK, 15 Devrimci Sol (Revolutionary Left), 33 TIKKO (Turkish Peasants’ and Workers’ Liberation Army), 9 Hizbullah militants and of whom 20 were militants whose organizations were not identified died. This number reached 1161 with the deaths of two TIKB (Turkish Revolutionary Communists Union) militants and one TKIH (Turkish Communist Workers’ Movement) militant, and with the death of one TKP (Turkish Communist Party-Sparkle) militant and one right-wing (ulkucu) militant as a result of bombs which blasted in their hands while preparing for an action. Furthermore, during the clashes, a total of 802 people (331 security officers who died in armed attacks and assassinations are not included in this total.), 426 of whom were enlisted men, 54 non-commissioned officers, 26 military officers, 36 police officers or special team members, 188 village guards, 6 night guards, 62 civilians and 4 persons by stray bullet, lost their lives.


    The Kurdish problem, one of the most important problems of Turkey for years, became more complex in the 500-day period. The political power preferred to apply military methods instead of a democratic and peaceful solution. On the other hand, the Workers’ Party of Kurdistan, PKK, staging a guerrilla war in the region, continued its attacks by increasing their dose. Promises like “the state of emergency provisions and the village guard system will be revised” were not kept and furthermore no concrete step was taken concerning this issue. In spite of different views among the coalition parties, the period for the state of emergency provisions was extended three times. PM Demirel criticizing persons who wanted the state of emergency to be lifted, was content in saying “This system will continue until a solution is found”. The village guard system was not even mentioned.
    The dimension of violence in the Emergency State Region grew bigger day by day. Gendarmerie stations were subject to hours-long PKK attacks. Clashes which arose in the region, lasted for days. Settlements were turned into ruins. Each day corpses of young soldiers who died during clashes, raids or traps, were sent to cities in western parts of Turkey. Turkey conducted many air and ground operations directed at PKK camps and units within or outside its national borders. The quantity of bombs used during the air attacks against the PKK, was several times higher than the quantity used during the Cyprus operation.
    Claims regarding inhuman treatment during the clashes and events following them were widely reported. Corpses of PKK militants who died in clashes and raids, were displayed. Corpses torn into pieces and women stripped off after being killed, were shown on TV. It was frequently claimed that the security forces killed militants after apprehending them alive. Another thing which caused great reactions was the sight of corpses of women and children actually or allegedly killed by PKK militants.
    The provocative attitude showed its effect in the second half of 1992 in counties of the western part of Turkey. After the funeral ceremonies held for the security officers who died in the Emergency State Region, tension increased and clashes were witnessed between the Turkish and Kurdish people in Urla district of Izmir (3-4 August 1992), in Fethiye district of Mugla (during the first days of October 1992), in Alanya district of Antalya (during the last three days of October 1992) and in Kusadasi, Bursa and Erzurum (while the events in Alanya were continuing). Similar events were witnessed in Igdir province on the days of 2 and 3 November.
    The authorities did not step up measures for prevention during repeated events which arose during funeral ceremonies. In November, Interior Minister Ismet Sezgin who gave an interview to the daily Cumhuriyet in November 1992 about events which sometimes turned into attacks against Kurdish people, said the following: “Effects cause reaction. The national feeling of our people makes them more sensitive. 0f course, certain agent provocateurs turn up everywhere, as usual. However, I believe that the great common sense of our people will be sufficient for the protection of our national unity”.
    Social life, educational activities, health services etc. almost came to a stand-still in the Emergency State Region during the 500 days . The population of many districts and towns decreased in an outstanding manner due to an enormous exodus. About 400 villages and settlements were evacuated. The buildings in the evacuated places became unusable. In the region, a total of 622 primary and secondary schools were closed during the last 3 years because of life security, village evacuation, lack of students and difficulties in finding teachers. According to the data released by the Ministry of National Education, 35 schools were closed in Van, 59 in Sirnak, 12 in Diyarbakir, 188 in Mardin and 201 in Elazig in three years. The number of the medical doctors and assistant health personnel in charge of hospitals and health institutions declined rapidly. Mass organizations, political parties and entertainment centers became places deserted by the people.
    Negative events in the Emergency State Region, was replaced with a hopeful waiting starting from the middle of March 1993. The existing tension decreased suddenly when the PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan disclosed in a press conference on 17 March 1993 that he declared one-sided cease fire for the period between 20 March and 15 April. Abdullah Öcalan who held a press conference in Bekaa Valley, stated that he wanted to turn the PKK into a political party and said: “We declared one-sided cease fire. In so far as no attacks are carried out against us, we will not open fire. None of the attacks during this period will not originate from us. The thing that I am afraid of is a possible provocation on Newroz Day. This cease fire is a response to the demands of both international society and of the Turkish and Kurdish public opinion. Let us stop the war and come to term. We believe that Turkish authorities need to review the situation. In order to enable such a review, we think that this cease fire is necessary”. Stating that he wants to return to Turkey and to occupy with the politics, Abdullah Öcalan said that Turkish authorities had to give a guarantee on this issue, because he did not want to be another Sheik Sait or Sheik Bedrettin. He also pointed out that he was ready to withdraw himself from negotiations if he was an obstruction before an agreement. Jelal Talabani,-leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) was present in the press conference.


    Demonstrations made during funeral ceremonies by police officers following armed attacks and assassinations, were one of the worrisome developments witnessed in the 500-day period. During the demonstrations, particularly the ones in Istanbul, Adana and Izmir, human rights activists, certain politicians and some press members were shown as targets. During the demonstrations, journalists were beaten and detained. The authorities connived at the demonstrations. Furthermore, the activists were encouraged and demonstrations were incited. With his statements and speeches President Turgut Özal showed an attitude to enhance tension. Interior Minister backed police officers with his statements and said: “The slogans shouted at the demonstrations are psychological. We should accept that police officers shout slogans due to their sorrow caused by the killing of their friends”.
    The unpleasant events observed in Lice on 28 November 1991, in Istanbul on the days of 5 December 1991 and 4 February 1992, in Izmir on 5 February 1992, in Istanbul and Adana on 7 February 1992, in Sirnak on 5 March and in Batman on 21 April 1992, may be show as examples on this subject. During the demonstrations in Sirnak and Batman, people were beaten and shops were damaged.
    Demonstrations by police officers were delayed for a long while upon in tense reactions and criticisms. Police officers who attempted to make demonstrations or to shout slogans, were silenced by their heads. Nevertheless, police demonstrations started again starting from November 1992. Police officers made demonstrations in Diyarbakir on 10 November 1992, in Istanbul on the days of 19 November 1992, 20 March 1993 and 2 April 1993.


    Torture cases continued during the first 500 days of the coalition government which resembled the ones witnessed in the previous years. However, promises such as “preventing torture and punishing torturers” occupied prominent places in the government’s program and in statements by government officials. In his first statement after taking office Justice Minister Seyfi Oktay said that the new government would make extensive legal changes to put an end to all kinds of cruelty, adding that he was opposed to detentions without a judge’s decision. Prime Minister Demirel frequently repeated similar statements. But none of these words was ever put into practice. Torture continued to be applied as an interrogation method like it had been applied for years. Changes of the Code of Criminal Procedures which was put on the agenda with a great noise and became law following long-term debates, could not prevent torture. Sayings of “Transparent Police Station” and “Walls of Glass” remained pleasant slogans of the election campaign. Police stations and interrogation centers turned out to be places surrounded by thick walls which could hardly be looked behind even if by deputies.
    Like before, most of the public officers responsible for torture who, despite all difficulties, were actually put on trial, were generally acquitted. In a trial which ended on 12 February 1992 at Istanbul Kadikoy Criminal Court, police officer Hüseyin Polat accused of having tortured MD Hüseyin Özkahraman was acquitted. The reason for the acquittal was that Hüseyin Özkahraman did not recognize the accused police officer Hüseyin Polat. Hüseyin Özkahraman detained on 6 July 1991, had been interrogated at Yeldegirmeni Police Station and tortured. He certified the torture inflicted on him with a medical report showing his inability to work for 15 days.


    During the 500 days , discussions on “torture” mostly focused on amendments of the Code of Criminal Procedures shortly called CMUK. These amendments which were among the important promises of the government, were put on the agenda of the National Assembly in April 1992 under the name of “draft law on the reform of Justice”. The draft which shortened the detention period, banned bad treatment and torture, enabled lawyers to be present during police interrogation, and limited the period under arrest was adopted by National Assembly on 21 May. In spite of many improvements, the draft included many deficiencies.
    The draft, despite all its deficiencies, disturbed many circles particularly the ones who accept torture as the only possible interrogation method. Subsequently President Turgut Özal blocked the draft law on 8 June 1992 and sent it back to the Assembly. In justifying his decision Turgut Özal pointed out that fundamental rights and freedoms may be limited in cases of curfew, emergency and wars, and said: “When ordinary crimes are considered under the same conditions as terror crimes, certain inconveniences will arise”. It was later established that the draft law was rejected upon reactions by certain security authorities, particularly the Emergency State Governor Unal Erkan, and in accordance with the demand of the National Security Council (NSC).
    Following lengthy debates the draft law was adopted on 18 November 1992 after being changed in accordance with the criticism of the National Security Council. The law numbered 3842 which was approved by President Turgut Özal this time, was promulgated in the Official Gazette on 1 December 1992 and came into force. Most of the amendments brought by the law will not be applied for political investigations (Article 31) under the jurisdiction of the State Security Courts (SSCs) and in the Emergency State Region. By excluding certain offences from the jurisdiction of SSCs, an attempt was made to silence some criticisms.(Actually by Article 29 of the law, the number of the crimes under the scope of SSCs was decreased. But at this point there is an attempt to cover up one important fact. Article 1 of the “Law to Fight Terrorism” is still in effect. Therefore, many crimes excluded from the scope of SSCs are considered as terror crimes under the “Law to Fight Terrorism”. It means that a writing, a speech or a leaflet found in a flat may easily be taken up under the “Law to Fight Terrorism”. Thus the defendant will be tried by a SSC, may be kept in detention for 15 days (30 days in the Emergency State Region), will not be allowed to have access to her/his lawyer, and her/his relatives will not be notified.)
    The amendments of the Code of Criminal Procedures caused various public discussions and criticisms by human rights activists and jurists. The focus of the criticisms intensified on the exclusion of political crimes from the improvements. The law was also criticized from the point of views that it does not bring an arrangement to lift torture, it is hard to believe that this will prevent torture without changing the staff who during years got used to torture, and that Articles 5 and 6 of European Convention on Human Rights are infringed.


    In the 500-day period, deaths in detention occupied a prominent place on the “dark human rights” balance sheet. Within this period 19 detained persons died under suspicious circumstances. 13 of the deaths in detention were witnessed in the Emergency State Region, 2 of them in Adana, 2 of them in Istanbul and the others in Artvin and Antalya.
    During the 500 days, along with the persons who died in detention, 7 persons disappeared after being detained. In addition, no information could be obtained about the fate of Yusuf Eristi, Haydar Altun, Ibrahim Gundem and Hüseyin Toraman who disappeared in 1991. The authorities did not give any satisfactory information to the families who said that their relatives had disappeared after they had been detained. No serious investigation was made into the fate of those persons. Furthermore, Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel replied to the families of the disappeared who visited the Prime Ministry’s Office on 8 November, saying that “your children are not in my pocket, so I cannot give them to you”. Police authorities were content with answers such as: “The aforesaid persons were not detained. We are looking for them too”.


    According to the statistics of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey a total of 804 persons, of whom 14 were children and 121 were women, were subjected to torture within this period. 226 of those persons certified with medical reports that they had been tortured. 27 of the tortured women reported that they were raped or sexually abused in detention. Within one year, a total of 177 persons allegedly tortured, applied to the treatment centers of the HRFT, 29 of them applied to treatment center in Ankara, 50 in Istanbul and 98 in Izmir. (This figure does not cover the persons who were recently released from prisons or the persons who applied to the HRFT although they were tortured before 21 November 1991) The cases established by the HRFT are only a small part of the torture cases that happened in Turkey.
    It is generally known, that torture is inflicted almost on every defendants, both political and ordinary offenders, as a systematic interrogation method in Turkey. Although there is a widespread use of well-known torture methods against suspects of ordinary crimes at police or gendarmerie custody, an important part of torture cases can not be revealed as these suspects do not insist on their rights.


    During the first 500 days of the coalition government, various inhuman cases were witnessed in prisons, too, highlighting another prominent problem of Turkey. Complaints about negative life conditions increased day by day. Hunger strikes started in some prisons. The coalition government which closed down Eskisehir Special Type Prison as soon as it came into power, created an impression that it would follow a policy respectful to human dignity. But various pressures and inhuman treatments witnessed throughout the year caused disappointment. Sometimes, prison inmates were ruthlessly beaten. Justice Minister Seyfi Oktay, who often objected to anti-democratic provisions of the “Law to Fight Terrorism” when he was in the opposition, did not make any legal attempts to lift these provisions. He preferred to keep silent on matters such as that “no defendant tried under Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code in connection with Kurdish organizations may benefit from conditional release” and that “political prisoners may not benefit from free visits”.
    Injustice faced by the defendants or convicts tried in connection with Kurdish organizations, particularly with the PKK, was not removed. The coalition government preferred to wait for the decision of the Constitutional Court related to conditional release of prisoners convicted under Article 125 of the Turkish Penal Code (TPC), instead of legal changes. The Constitutional Court did not cancel this section which foresees that “no defendant tried under Article 125 of the TPC in connection with Kurdish organizations may benefit from conditional release”. According to the decision, in trials launched against Kurdish organizations, defendants sentenced to death will stay in prison for 20 years instead of 10, and defendants sentenced to life imprisonment will stay in prison for 15 years instead of 8 in order to be released. This decision shows that two different standards are used for Turkish and Kurdish organizations, which is against the principle of equality in the Constitution.
    During this 500-day period, hunger strikes took place three times in Izmir Buca Closed Prison, 2 each times in Malatya E Type Prison, Kayseri Closed Prison, Elazig E Type Prison and Aydin E Type Prison, one each time in Ceyhan Special Type Prison, Ankara Central Prison, Urfa E Type Prison, Diyarbakir E Type Prison, Yozgat E Type Prison, Çanakkale E Type Prison, Amasya E Type Prison, Metris Closed Prison, Bursa Special Type Prison and Nevsehir E Type Prison, because of intensified pressures or beatings and with demand of improvement in life conditions. Besides, many prisoners and convicts were beaten, especially in 1993. As a result of beatings, hundreds of prisoners and convicts were wounded.


    The first 500 days of the coalition government were not positive from the view of the cultural life, and freedom of press, thought and belief, either. However, certain positive decisions taken at the end of 1991 and at the beginning of 1992, led to the impression that the limits and pressures on freedom of press and thought would decrease. During the first days of the government, “practice of prohibited publications” was brought to an end in libraries of the Ministry of Culture, prohibitions put on some art works and artists in previous periods were lifted, and the Council of Ministers cancelled prohibition orders given earlier for about 700 publications.
    During the same period, bans on Kurdish publications were completely lifted, and production and sale of Kurdish cassettes were allowed. The rights of 227 persons who had been deprived of their Turkish citizenship and whose properties and assets had been confiscated after the 12 September military coup, were restored. Nevertheless, the above mentioned positive developments and amendments remained ineffective in the face of pressures and restrictions on free thought and legal obstacles and physical attacks against the press. The number of the journalists killed was over the number of journalists killed during the last 30 years. Trials were launched against journalists and writers demanding tens of years in prison and fines totalling billions of TL. Almost all of the private radio and TV stations were closed.


    Within this period, a total of 16 journalists, 14 of them in the Emergency State Region, were killed as a result of armed attacks carried out by unknown persons. In addition, Burhan Karadeniz (20), Diyarbakir correspondent for the newspaper Özgür Gündem, was severely wounded in an armed attack he sustained on 5 August 1992. Burhan Karadeniz shot in his nape became paralyzed. It was put forward that those killed journalists were “militants” and a way was given to other assassinations.
    Along with journalists, persons in charge of distributing or selling the publications such as “Özgür Gündem”, “2000’e Dogru”, “Yeni Ülke”, “Azadi” and “Gerçek” were subject to attacks by unknown assailants in the Emergency State Region. As a result of such kinds of attacks, 4 newspaper distributors named Halil Adanir (Batman-21 Nov.. 1992), Kemal Ekinci (Diyarbakir - 15 Dec. 1992), Lokman Gunduz (Nusaybin - 31 Dec. 1992) and Orhan Karaagar (Van - 19 Jan. 1993) were killed. Furthermore, newspaper distributors Hasan Ozgun and Ali Ihsan Kaya were wounded in the attacks they sustained.
    The physical attacks by public officers on the press continued in the 500-day period during which 16 journalists were killed and one journalist was crippled. According to the figures determined by the HRFT, a total of 67 journalists were insulted or beaten with sticks, curbs or truncheons by public or security officers in 31 different incidents. Bahri Kayaoglu one of the correspondents for the newspaper “Meydan” was beaten by the guards of President Turgut Özal two times within a three-month period. Many journalists were detained. The newspaper Özgür Gündem (32) and the journal Mücadele (41) ranked first in connection with detained journalists. There were also bomb-armed attacks carried out by radical islamic groups or certain illegal leftist organizations against journalists and press organizations.


    In spite of several statements by authorities that “no books will be banned any more”, 244 magazines and newspapers were confiscated by court orders within the 500 days. In the same period, confiscation decisions were also given for 27 books. Books and newspapers were accepted as “crime means” and denounced on TV. Ismail Okçu (Hekimoglu Ismail - served 71 days in prison), one of the authors of the newspaper “Zaman”, Sukru Aksoy, former chief editor of the journal “Emegin Bayragi” (served 2 months in prison), Sinami Orhan, chief editor of the journal Ak-Dogus (served 3 months 18 days in prison) and Erdogan Yasar Kopan, (still in prison) former chief editor of the journal “Mücadele”, were put in prison because of sentences given in connection with their articles. In addition, one year’ imprisonment sentenced given for Mustafa Kaplan, one of the columnist for the newspaper “Yeni Asya”, on charges of insulting Atatürk in a meeting held in Usak in 1989, was approved by the Court of Appeals in January 1993. The sentences given for journalists or writers totalled 50 years 9 months 15 days, while the total of fines reached TL 17,358,200,000.
    Private radio stations functioning in many settlements first of all in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and Adana, were closed in the first days of April 1993. The Ministry of Transportation had sent a circular to the governorates and ordered them to close all private radio stations in March. The closure was not applied on private TV stations broadcasting from abroad. This implementation caused a great reaction. The Article 132 of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey foresees that “radio and TV broadcasting is able to be carried out by only the state”. In Turkey there are more than 500 radio stations most of which broadcast locally.

    One of several positive steps taken by the coalition government in this period concerned the Kurdish language and Kurdish publications. On the first days of 1992, some amendments were made which mollify prohibitions and limitations applied on Kurdish publications for years. Afterwards communication means such as cassettes, books and newspapers could freely be sold in the market. The ban put on the film “Mem-u Zin” based on a novel by the Kurdish poet and thinker Ehmedi Xani was lifted by Culture Minister Fikri Saglar. The film had been prohibited because of some Kurdish folk songs.The premiere of the film was realized by the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey in Ankara on 18 January 1992.
    By lifting the restrictions on names that could be given to newly born children, the Ministry of Interior started to implement the right that parents can choose whatever name they wish for their children. Following the 12 September Military Coup Kurdish names to be given for the children had been banned. In addition, in March 1993 studies began in order to give former names of the settlements whose names had been changed after the Military Coup.
    Nevertheless, all those amendments did not suffice to completely lift the pressures and limitations on the Kurdish language and Kurdish traditions.Certain positive step taken as to Kurdish, were replaced with pressures similar with the ones in the past, as of the second half of 1992. Unlawful practices were applied on the subjects such as Kurdish publications and traditions. Some people were detained because of Kurdish folk songs. Wedding ceremonies and circumcision feasts organized according to Kurdish traditions were prevented by security forces. The ones who attended the ceremonies were beaten, detained and arrested.
    Turkey did not sign the charter prepared by the Council of Europe which enables minority and regional languages to be protected and improved. The charter opened for signatures for member countries of the Council of Europe in September 1992, were signed by Germany, Luxembourg, Malta, Hungary, Liechtenstein, Spain, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Holland and Norway in its first stage. In the charter, the concept of “minority and regional language” is described as “A language which is spoken on a country’s soil by a group of people whose population is less than the population of the people of the state, and is different from the official language of the state”. The contract defines some obligations for signatory countries for the protection and improvement of minority and regional languages. If Turkey signs the contract, it has to consider obligations for many languages spoken in the country, particularly for Kurdish.
    The Kurdish Institute, founded as part of the Mesopotamian Culture Center which researches and develops the Kurdish language, history and culture, was opened in Istanbul on 18 April 1992. The plate of the institute which was prepared both in Turkish and Kurdish was taken down by the police 3 hours later. The plate was put up again. The Kurdish Institute was raided by the police in the morning of 15 November 1992 upon written directives of Istanbul SSC’s Prosecution Office. During the raid, many documents, publications, books, films, photographs and computer diskettes were seized and three persons were detained. Display of Mirin u Jiyan (Life and Death) performed by Jiyana Nu Theatre established within Mezopotamian Cultural Center, was prohibited in Ankara.
    The Kurdish Cultural Foundation which completed its founding procedures on 22 June 1992, applied to Istanbul First Instance Court No. 1 for registration. The Kurdish Cultural Foundation was established with the aim of conducting research on the Kurdish language, literature, geography, folklore, music and ethnography, and publishing and introducing such a research. The Kurdish Cultural Foundation was not registered by 31 December dated decision of Istanbul Court of First Instance No.l on the grounds that it is based on a race. Diyarbakir Deputy Hatip Dicle who is one of the founding members of the Kurdish Cultural Foundation said: “The thing prohibited is the name of Kurd. The things not wanted to be recognized are the national and democratic rights of Kurdish people.Thus, Turkish Republic acted in contravention to Paris Charter and CSCE.


    The coalition government did not cover the expectations from the view of freedom of organization, assembly and demonstration either. Pressures and attacks directed at certain political parties and mass organizations continued on an increased level. Anti-democratic provisions of the Law on Associations, the Law on Political Parties, the Law on Meetings and Demonstrations inherited from the “12 September period”, were often applied. Pressures and anti-democratic measures intensified during the Newroz Feast, before May Day and after the Sirnak events. In the extraordinary meeting of the National Security Council held in Diyarbakir on 27 August 1992, uneasiness stemming from activities of certain political parties and democratic mass organizations was depicted. It was decided to follow closely these parties and organizations and to keep their activities under control. Thus, existing pressures increased further.
    The coalition government made no serious attempt to execute the promises given during the election campaign. It rejected further proposal and attempts concerning this subject. Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel opposed the draft law prepared by Sirnak Deputy Mahmut Alinak which foresees the lifting of certain anti-democratic provisions under the “Law on Assembly and Demonstrations”. Demirel who notified the National Assembly in a writing about his opinion concerning the proposal, claimed that the demanded changes would prevent the administration from carrying out its duties and from taking necessary measures. Demirel also opposed the lowering of imprisonment sentences for persons participating in unauthorized demonstrations and marches, advanced that lower sentences would reduce the dissuasiveness and efficiency of them. Süleyman Demirel stated that if the authority given to governors for banning meetings and demonstrations would be lifted, it would constitute a crime against the Constitution.
    The Human Rights Association IHD) and its members were frequently exposed to various pressures and attacks.


    Other mass organizations along with IHD were exposed to similar pressures and attacks during the 500 days. Works of democratic organizations were prevented, their activities were banned, their leaders and members were detained or arrested. Many concerts, demonstrations, festivals and meetings were not permitted. Fire was opened by the security forces on people demonstrating particularly during Newroz Feasts. Many persons died and were wounded. (Newroz events and demonstrations resulting in deaths are presented in the part entitled “Right to Life”).34 mass organizations (4 of them IHD branches) were closed definitely or indefinitely.


    During the first 500 days, pressure intensified, obstructions increased and there were more physical attacks on political parties, especially the People’s Labour Party (HEP), the Socialist Party (SP), the Worker’s Party (IP), the Socialist Union Party (SBP) and the Greens Party (YP). Political parties were subjected to many pressures and attacks stemming from law or practices of the authorities. Trials and investigations were launched, including demands of the death penalty, against party leaders and even deputies, and in some cases they were convicted and sentenced.
     In the meantime, a positive change in legislation made which enables the political parties which had been closed following the 27 May 1960 and 12 September 1980 military coups, to be reopened. Benefiting from this opportunity many political parties including the Democrat Party, the People’s Republican Party, the Socialist Revolution Party and the Turkey Socialist Worker’s Party, were opened again. On the other hand, certain political parties (such as the Justice Party and the Turkey Workers and Peasants’ Party) invited their delegates to a congress in accordance with the;r legal rights but preferred to join other political parties instead of opening again.
    A great increase was observed in armed attacks on members of local administrators of political parties, and in the unclarified murders within this period. As a result of attacks with political aims, SHP Nusaybin District President Oktay Turkmen, one of the leaders of HEP Nusaybin District Organization Abdurrahman Sogut, one of the leaders of HEP Silvan District Organization Felemez Gunes, IP Cizre District President Resul Sakar, former president of HEP Gaziantep Provincial Organization Abdulsalem Sakik, HEP Kovancilar (Elazig) District President Rodi Demirkapi, leaders of HEP Antalya Provincial Organization Idris Celik and Yusuf Solmaz, one of the leaders of HEP Batman Provincial Organization Mehmet Ertan, OZDEP Erzincan Provincial President Cemal Akar and one of the leaders of the Socialist Party Sirnak Organization Omer Guven died.
    In the 500 days, many enquiries were launched demanding death penalties against HEP deputies. As known, Ankara SSC Prosecution Office had decided to launch a trial under the Article 125 of the TPC demanding death penalties against 22 HEP deputies in December 1991,and applied to the National Assembly Chairmanship for lifting the immunity of those deputies.

    Expectations about the trade union rights and labour life frustrated, and promises on this matter were not kept in the 500 days. In accordance with the Government’s Program, the Ministry of Labour started the preparations at the beginning of 1992 to amend the legal arrangement put into force by 12 September regime about workers’ rights and trade union freedoms. However, these studies were not completed. The only things performed were statements like that “the studies will be completed soon and sent to the National Assembly for debate”.
    In the meantime, 7 separate ILO (International Labour Organization) contracts were debated at the National Assembly and adopted in November 1992. 6 of the adopted contracts (No 59, 87, 135, 142, 144 and 151) were approved by President Turgut Özal and came into force. President Özal vetoed the 7th and the most important contract which is numbered 158. The vetoed contract foresees precautions for arbitrary dismissals, and provisions which make harder to dismiss workers and give right to apply to the Court of Appeals. Although the contracts were adopted, the necessary amendments could not be applied in practice.
    While the legal and constitutional changes which should be done, were delaying, negative applications were frequently witnessed in labour life. Dismissals were continued throughout the year. The most intensive dismissal cases were experienced on textile and metal sectors. The number of the workers dismissed from their jobs reached ten thousands. The workers responded to dismissals with resistance and various activities. Furthermore, strikes were intervened. Workers and trade unionists were harassed, beaten, detained, arrested and tried. Workers working in the factories, workshops etc. without healthy conditions and security of work, often confronted with industrial accidents. 


    The 500-day period did not let civil servants have trade union rights which have been awaited for years. Whereas, the promises that “the civil servants would be given trade union rights” took an important part of the government’s program. These promises were mentioned in many statements of Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel and Deputy Prime Minister Erdal Inönü. Nevertheless, any progress could not be achieved on this matter. Even, the circular of the Ministry of Interior which was published under the Motherland Party government in 1991 and which announced civil servants’ unions as illegal, was not lifted for a long time. In accordance with this circular, trade unions founded by civil servants and teachers were confronted with various administrative pressures and obstructions. The circular was able to be lifted by court decision. The Council of State annulled the 28 February 1991 dated circular of the Ministry of Interior which bans the civil servants to found trade unions, on 12 November 1992. In the justification of the annulment it was stated that the authority to determine the legal status of the civil servants’ union was in hand of courts not in that of the Ministry of Interior. With the annulment of the circular, an important step was taken towards the trade unions for the civil servants.
    According to HRFT determinations, 67 branches of the civil servants’ trade unions faced with the obstructions of governorates or their functions were banned. Besides, lots of their activities were not allowed. The persons who attended the activities arranged by civil servants’ unions, were beaten and detained by the police. Members or leaders of those unions were exiled or appointed to other places. 
    It has been revealed that the system used in France by 1960’s was taken as model for studies of the Civil Servants’ Draft Law conducted by the Ministry of Labour. In accordance with his system, civil servants’ trade unions which do not have any rights of collective bargain or strike, are only consulted about the wage increases and other rights, and the final decision depends on the political power. The draft being prepared taking into account of the similarity of the public administration and state personnel regimes between Turkey and France, proposes civil servants’ unions to be presented by a “Higher Civil Servants’ Council” and “Common Technical Committee”. With the draft, the functions which may be carried out even by means of an association, will be loaded on the civil servants’ trade unions.


    Any significant progress could not be realized regarding to death penalty in the 500 days. As is known, “Law to Fight Terrorism” which came into force on 12 April 1991, foresees not to execute death penalty decisions given for the crime committed by that time or to be committed. This application secured an temporary comfort on the matter of death penalty which has been on the agenda of Turkey for years. However, being presence of the criminal articles of laws which foresee death penalty, is still a threat.
    The coalition government did not make any preparations to lift the threat caused by death penalty during its first 500 days. Even, the draft which was prepared by the Ministry of Justice and which foresees certain amendments “Law on Execution of Sentences”, maintains death penalty exactly the same. In the draft, the single changing for the death penalty, is brought for the pregnant woman sentenced to death. The present provision commanding that “The pregnant women shall not be executed before they give a birth”. is turned into that “The death execution shall not be committed unless 6 months pass after the pregnant women give a birth”. In spite of the anti-death penalty statements by the SHP wing of the coalition government, trials with demand of death were launched. Death penalty threat was used even for deputies (Detailed information is available on the section entitled “Political Parties”).

    Disorder in the universities and YÖK (Higher Education Council) system lasted throughout the year. The government program had stated that after necessary changes on the Constitutional Court, YÖK would be lifted and that universities would be administered by means of professors elected by the universities. On the other hand, coalition protocol had said that a temporary legal arrangement would be made in direction with the thoughts of university professors, until the required amendments were made on the Constitution. First of those promises was not put on the agenda, and the second promise was legalized in an unwished manner. The draft law regarding to rectorate elections brought to the agenda of the National Assembly by the government, was mostly changed as deputies from the True Path Party collaborated with the deputies of the opposition parties. The draft was legalized in a manner which rarely affects the authority of the President and YÖK President about rectorate elections. 
    Along with the negative aspects of YÖK system, students were detained and tortured. Universities and students were kept under police or gendarmerie surveillance. Clashes and quarrels between the students in divergent opinions started. 


    In 1992, detentions owing to political activities and actions continued. During the year, thousands people were detained all over Turkey, particularly in the Emergency State Region. People were mostly detained because of authorized or unauthorized demonstrations, or on charges of being members of illegal organization or harbouring members of illegal organizations. Detainees were interrogated under torture for lengthy days. 2 of each 3 detainees were released on the prosecution office or first interrogation stages. If we take into account that almost half of the arrested were released at the first hearing or acquitted at the end of the trial, how the personal rights and freedoms were infringed by unlawful and  arbitrary attitude witnessed in detention cases. 


Suspicious deaths in detention     19
Those killed during Newroz events (1992)     92
Those killed during Newroz events (1993)     3
Those killed in Sirnak or similar events     44
Those killed in gun fire opened at demonstrators     38
Those killed during house raids     80
Those killed for disobeying stop warnings and etc.     115
Deaths because of mine explosions     52
Killings by unknown assailants     493
Those killed in the attacks on civilians     244
Those killed in armed attacks or assassinations     331
Security officers who died in clashes     802
Militants who died in clashes     1161

Total number of people killed in 500 days     3454


Suspicious deaths in detention     19
“Disappearances” after detention     7
Tortured individuals (known to HRFT)*     806   
*)    14 of them are children and 121 of them women. 226 out of 806 torture victims proved with medical reports that they had been tortured.


Killed journalists    16
Killed kiosk owners    4
Journalists attacked by officials     67
Confiscated newspapers and journals    244
Confiscated books    27
Total of imprisonment sentences
given to journalists and writers     50 yrs 9 months 15 days

Total fines given to journalists
and writers     TL 17.358.000.000

Journalists put into prison     4

Female students punished for
wearing headscarves in classes     63


Killed IHD leaders    3
Closed IHD branches    4
Closed democratic mass organizations     38
Obstructed civil servants’ trade unions     67
Killed political party leaders     12
Closed political parties
Political parties demanded to be closed     4
Banned strikes     2