CILLER AND HER ALLIES DRIVE TURKEY TO
New prime minister Tansu Ciller who came to power
with the promise of restoring peace and order by respecting fundamental
rights and freedoms has already disappointed all those who pined their
hope on her. After having obtained the vote of confidence in
Parliament, she opted, like her predecessor Demirel, for military
solution to the Kurdish Question and adopted a series of drastic
economic measures to the detriment of working people.
Even her doubtful relations with the big business
which is the source of her fabulous wealth of more than $ 50 million
and the further revelations that she concealed her being a U.S. citizen
did not prevent the Iron Lady à la turque from managing to form a new
coalition government with the social-democrat SHP and obtaining a
confidence vote from the National Assembly. A total of 432 deputies
attended the plenary session of July 5 where 247 votes were cast in
favour of the government, 184 against and there was one abstention. In
addition to the DYP and SHP, the deputies of the neo-fascist MHP too
voted for Ciller. It is not surprising at all because it was the the
Grey Wolves that surrounded Ciller at the DYP convention and assured
her victory in exchange of a ultra-nationalist rhetoric by the future
However, the most significant support to Ciller came
from the military before the parliament. Just on the eve of the vote,
Chief of General Staff General Dogan Güres and other army commanders
visited Ciller in Parliament and asked her for full authorization in
their operation against “separatist Kurdish terrorist activity.” In
return, according to the daily Hürriyet of July 6, Ciller promised the
Turkish Army the full backing of the government.
Ciller declared next day to the daily Hürriyet that
she would escalate military operations against “terrorism” and closed
all doors on a political dialogue with the Kurdish movement, arguing
that demands for Kurdish broadcasts and education were a step-by-step
plan to divide the country. “The military have said that they are very
pleased with me. I know they are sincere. I have always had a good
dialogue with the soldiers,” she added.
Even before getting the vote of confidence from the
Parliament, Ciller had assured the confidence of the military by
forcing the coalition parties to extended once more the emergency
regime in the Southeast. The National Assembly had decided on June 26
to extend the state of emergency for four months in ten provinces:
Bitlis, Tunceli, Sirnak, Mardin, Van, Hakkari, Diyarbakir, Batman,
Bingöl and Siirt. 207 deputies voted for the extension and 71 against.
After the vote of confidence, in a further move to
satisfy the military, the Ciller Government, adopting a special decree
on July 27 to delay the retirement of General Güres, allowed him to
remain at the helm of the Turkish Armed Forces for another year,
despite the fact that Güres is past the compulsory retirement age.
Although such a practice is unprecedented and unpopular, President
Süleyman Demirel and the social democrat Deputy Premier, Erdal Inönü,
did not object to this extraordinary application.
Just on the eve of the publication of this special
decree, one of the scandals created by General Güres’ sons was covering
the first pages of the dailies. Serdar and Hakan Güres had reportedly
stayed at the Fenerbahce military lodging for weeks and never paid the
bills for a large number of banquets, meals and drinking bouts of which
the debt reached a gargantuan TL 491 Million ($ 49,000). Even this
scandal was not taken into consideration when the government decreed to
keep General Güres at the head of the Army.
After having consolidated her alliance with the Army
chiefs, Ciller clearly shut down all doors for a political dialogue
with the Kurdish Movement during her first visit to the Kurdish area.
In Hakkari, she said: “There are those who do not want our unity and
who will plot against it. But they will not be able to achieve this
because they will find me, your mother, your sister opposing them. The
Turkish state is a very strong and can deal with the tiny PKK, which
only has 10,000 militants. This is like the struggle of the elephant
and the fly. At times we may face problems in our fight against
terrorists because of the methods used. Some citizens may get hurt.”
In fact, not some citizens, but about all citizens
of the Turkish Kurdistan have been getting hurt because of the methods
used by the military. It is the using of these methods that aggravate
the hostility between the Turkish and Kurdish peoples and between the
Sunnis and the Alevis and drive Turkey to a civil war.
A SPECIAL ARMY OF GREY WOLVES
Recently, the Ciller Government adopted a decree in
the force of law to create a professional army, instead of the
compulsory army, to deal with the PKK. According to the decree, all
voluntary commando soldiers may apply, at least 18 months after their
discharge, to become part of this force.
In practice, the first 5,000 who have announced
their intention of joining the new force have come from the ranks of
the Nationalist Action Party (MHP). Many circles see this as a turn
toward the creation of an army of Grey Wolves which can amplify racial
conflict between Turks and Kurds.
The new move was commented by the Turkish Daily News
of August 16 in following terms: “Ciller has been tricked into agreeing
to a highly dangerous solution. her administration, backed by the SHP,
is now moving to create an ‘idealist army’ of about 25,000. A
great majority of those who have applied to participate in this are
ultra-nationalist Ülkücüs [Grey Wolves] who, before the 1980
military coup, were responsible for countless massacres and atrocities
while the-then Prime Minister Demirel was making public statements
saying, ‘You cannot make me say nationalists are killing people.’ 7,000
Ülkücüs who have already been armed and trained for Azerbaijan will be
integrated to this special force. With the authority they will be
given, massacres will be unavoidable "
IS CILLER A U.S. CITIZEN?
Workers' Party (IP) Chairman Dogu Perincek, at a
press conference on July 2, told journalists that he had conclusive
evidence that new Premier Ciller is an U.S. citizen. He announced
the date and the number of Ciller's application form, according to
which Ciller applied to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
for U.S. citizenship in April 1973. Her application was accepted six
years later and Ciller became a U.S. citizen in July 1979.
Arguing that the official Turkish translation of the
documents concerning Ciller's U.S. citizenship, Perincek added: "The
fact that a U.S. citizen recently became Turkish prime minister is a
new step taken towards the ultimate goal of 'Haitisizing' or better
still "Philippinizing' Turkey."
Reminding that Ciller, as other naturalized U.S.
citizens, declared on oath that she "absolutely and entirely renounced
and abjured all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign state to which
she had heretofore been a citizen", Perincek argued that Ciller must
immediately be disqualified as Turkey's prime minister.
In answer to Perincek's revelation, government
spokesman Yildirim Aktuna, instead of denying Ciller's U.S.
citizenship, claimed that one is irresistibly drawn towards U.S.
citizenship as soon as he/she has been a lawful resident of the USA
continuously or five years. Making this terrible faux pas, Aktuna
happened to admit that Ciller had really become a U.S. citizen.
Moreover, the relevant U.S. law does not have any article stipulating
that anyone can automatically become U.S. citizen, no matter how long
one has resided in the USA, if he/she does not apply for citizenship.
It means an indirect confirmation, although Ciller herself claimed
furthermore that she has never been a U.S. citizen.
CILLER'S ANTI-WORKER CAMPAIGN
The anti-social policies adopted by Premier Ciller
have already lead to a country-wide unrest and hundreds of thousands
public and private sector employees and workers have gone on different
protest actions in last two months.
It would be illogical to hope something else from a
prime minister who had been counsellors of the big business and the
Confederation of Employers’ Unions of Turkey (TISK) when she was a
university professor and turned into one of the wealthiest persons of
the country thanks to these doubtful relations.
When a collective bargaining between the government
and the trade unions representing more than 700,000 public sector
workers failed, Ciller in a TV address on August 11 complained
the workers to the other strata of the society.
"This is all we can grant to the workers under the
present budgetary constraints. Thousands of small tradesmen, farmers
and jobless expect government help to better their situation. Now I
appeal to you. Shall we grant what is demanded by the workers, or make
more national investment for the use of the whole nation?" she asked
the TV viewers.
This provocative attitude of the prime minister
angered not only the workers and the opposition parties, but also her
own coalition partner. The SHP Secretary General Cevdet Selvi said:
"The prime minister's speech was full of remarks so as to provoke
different sectors of the society and to disturb the social peace. This
is unfair and an example of social separatism."
As the new government was putting each day a new
drastic measure in practice to the detriment of the workers, new
revelations about Ciller’s wealth became the object of the opposition
press. The daily Aydinlik, in a series of articles, revealed that
Ciller had fooled the public opinion by keeping secret the existence of
her other estates. According to a table published by Aydinlik of August
21, including the estates kept secret, Ciller’s real wealth rises to TL
889 billion ($ 89 million).
THE BALANCE-SHEET OF THE 9-YEAR DIRTY WART
On August 15, Turkey entered the 10th year of the
“dirty war” against the Kurdish national movement. Instead of
annihilating the Kurdish resistance, nine years of continuous combat
only served to strengthen the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) 50-fold
since 1984, expanding its grassroots' support among the local Kurdish
people and forcing Ankara to accept that it cannot overcome the crisis
with a regular army. It is no more a fly against the elephant as seen
by the “Iron Lady.”
On August 14, 1993, the Association Press reported:
“The government kept up a pounding offensive, assaulting a mountaintop
stronghold and killing more and more rebels. The only achievement
of the Turkish policy -- which still denies the existence of a Kurdish
problem in this country -- is that it has recruited for the guerrillas.”
The following evaluation of the situation was made
on August 16, 1993, not by a PKK propagandist, but by the Turkish Daily
News of which the chief editor was the principal counsellor of Demirel
when he was prime minister:
“In Ciller’s words, the PKK numbers around 10 to 15
thousand. This actually reflects only the number of its mountain units,
the so-called professional fighters of the armed flank, the ARGK. Along
with its militia, the Kurdish version of the Vietcong, the number is as
high as 60,000. In a recent report prepared for the presidency, it was
stated that, with its sympathizers and supporters, the PKK man-force in
the Southeast region alone is as high as 375,000 -- about one-fifth of
the whole adult population in the area.
“And Turkey still claims it is succeeding. It denies
there is a war going on and attempts, systematically, to change the
realities. It also attempts to dictate a fabricated version of the
truth to the domestic press, perhaps to cover up for the immense
mistakes and human rights violations committed in the troubled region.
“PKK statistics disclosed this weekend claim that at
least 22,356 people have died in the nine-year old war. The Kurdish
rebels maintain they have killed 13,518 soldiers and policemen as well
as 2,507 agents and ‘collaborators.’ It says only 3,041 fighters were
killed in this period and the number of ‘Kurdish patriots’ killed by
troops was 3,290. A report by the daily Hürriyet on August 14 showed
that Turkey’s economic losses out of the war in the Southeast have
reached TL 50 Trillion ($ 5 billion). A total of 1.5 million people
have moved out of the troubled region and 600 state schools have been
forced to close down. The overall losses which the guerrilla war has
inflicted on Turkey is too great to dismiss now as a mere ‘terrorist
incident’ or the work of ‘bandits.’
“The Southeast of Turkey now stands somewhere
between Pinochet’s Chile and US-occupied Vietnam.”
The PKK's Military Council chairman Cemil Bayik said
1993 would be a year of survival for the organization, which would give
special emphasis on mass organization and the creation of a centralized
and stronger military force, which would have its own commanders.
Acting on the Vietcong example, the PKK now targets the creation of
underground tunnels for its militia, is about to complete the
construction of an underground hospital and will expand its grassroots
support even further.
In the fear of growing PKK influence in the region,
President Süleyman Demirel said to the Turkish Daily News of August 19:
"If the issue cannot be overcome, postponing the elections [local
elections of March 1994] will not be the end of the world." The
government circles are seriously afraid of an eventual victory of the
candidates supported by the PKK in the Kurdish provinces.
FAILURE OF THE 1st COALITION GOVERNMENT
A report published by the Human Rights Foundation of
Turkey (TIHV) on July 2 claimed that the 1st DYP-SHP Coalition
Government failed to improve Turkey's bad human rights record,
protected the violators of human rights instead of the victims, and
missed an historic opportunity to establish peace an order in the
troubled Southeast following the unilateral declaration of a cease-fire
by the PKK.
The following are the highlights of the report
entitled In the Wake of the Coalition Government:
• On the pretext of fighting against terrorist
activity, the security forces engaged in illicit practices and
encroached upon the basic human rights of the people.
• An intentional campaign of misinformation was
embarked upon... The consequences are terrifying.
• In addition to a total of 3,929 deaths, thousands
of people have sustained serious injuries, both physical and mental.
• An average of 7 people died every day while the
first coalition government was in power.
• Despite the government's promises to revise
decisions on the state of emergency and the practice of hiring
state-paid village guards, nothing substantial was done except that the
government went on pushing with its military solution.
• The peace process opened with the unilateral
cease-fire by the PKK was destroyed because security forces continued
attacking PKK militants (killing a total of 91 during the cease-fire),
raiding villages, and forcing the local population to evacuate their
• During the reign of the first coalition government
a total of 806 people were tortured at police stations, 9 people went
missing whilst in police detention, and 26 people died whilst under
• 16 journalists were killed during this time, a
total of 335 books, newspapers or periodicals were seized by police
acting on order from State Security Courts.
• Journalists and authors were sentenced to a total
of 67 years imprisonment and fined a total of TL 22.40 billion ($2.24
million) mainly on charges of spreading subversive Kurdish propaganda.
ARMY'S ASSAULT ON KURDISH VILLAGES
At the 10th anniversary of the beginning of the PKK
guerrilla warfare, the Ciller Government kept up a pounding offensive
in the Southeastern region., assaulting Kurdish villages and killing
hundreds of Kurdish villagers no matter if they are supporting the PKK
The violence heated up in May after a two-month
cease-fire called by the PKK. During the one-sided cease-fire period,
instead of going along with a truce or talks, Ankara said it won't deal
with terrorists and intensified military assaults on Kurdish villages.
When the PKK restarted its actions in retaliation, the military
extended repressive operations as well near the Iraqi border as in the
Kurdish towns and villages in the East and South-East.
The Government disclosed on August 11 that 773
people have been killed and 297 others injured in the region in the
period between May 10 and August 10.
Marking the 10th anniversary of its armed campaign,
the PKK once again moved the masses in Southeast Turkey, similar to
Newroz celebrations on march 21 last year. In Sirnak, militants clashed
with security forces throughout the night Heavy weapons were used
and more than 100 were detained. In the town of Digor, Kars, security
forces opened fire on thousands of demonstrators killing at leas nine
people and wounding 60 others. In Silvan, Diyarbakir, PKK flags were
paraded in the streets while all traffic halted in Cizre, Mus, Bingöl
and Tunceli-Erzincan highway. In the border area, the military forces
massacred more than 70 Kurds during an operation against a Kurdish
In addition to these operations,some 500 Kurdish
villages had been evacuated by security forces in order to establish a
security belt. This number given on August 16 by two members of
the Parliament's Southeastern Commission, Esat Canan (SHP) and Algan
Hacaloglu (CHP) revealed on August 16 that .. This figure was confirmed
by the governor of the state of emergency region, Ünal Erkan. According
to two deputies, the mayor of Siirt complained of an influx of 10,000
people in one week; the mayor of Diyarbakir complained that the town's
population had doubled in the last two year, today exceeding one
Canan said that despite official denials, people
insisted that some villages were set on fire by the government-hired
village guards. The number of the burnt villages rises to 80 in Sirnak
ANTI-KURD AGGRESSIONS INTENSIFIED
Anti-Kurd demonstrations and assaults have gained
impetus in western towns of Turkey. In past months, bloody attacks had
occurred in tourist resorts along the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts
where locals have clearly expressed their desire to "purify" their
towns of settlers or temporary workers of Kurdish origin.
Anti-Kurd mass rallies are very often organized
throughout Turkey on the occasion of funeral ceremonies for the Turkish
soldiers killed in action in the Southeast.
Furthermore, some insignificant disputes between
individuals may lead to anti-Kurd demonstrations. Recently:
On June 26, in the town of Domanic, Kütahya, a crowd
of more than thousand people carried out an anti-Kurd demonstration by
shouting "Kurds, go home!" and "Down with the PKK" after an incident
between a Turk and a Kurd.. The mob also stoned a house inhabited by
Kurdish construction workers and the governor's office where the latter
On July 13, in Ezine, Canakkale, about 5,000 people
people attacked a hotel and Kurdish employees after a dispute over an
inflated bill. Infantry soldiers were dispatched to prevent the
incidents from getting out of hand as security measures were taken in a
neighbourhood where some 20 Kurdish families live.
On August 4, in Gümüscay near Biga, Canakkale,
incidents started as Hasan Cetin, of Kurdish origin, was ousted from a
wedding ceremony. A group of 300 gathered in the town's center and
started a rally, breaking windows of shops owned by Kurdish-origin
HEP CLOSED DOWN AND REPLACED BY DEP
Turkey's Constitutional Court closed down the
country's first legal pro-Kurdish party, the People's Labour Party
(HEP), on July 15 and ordered top strip parliament acting Speaker Fehmi
Isiklar of his immunity so he can be put on trial with a demand for
capital punishment for a speech had had in late 1991 as HEP chairman.
The Constitutional Court had earlier closed down two
left wing parties, the Unified Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP) and the
Socialist Party (SP).
The court's recent decision rules that former
Chairman Isiklar as well as other officials and deputies of the party,
violated the Political Parties Code with their declarations on the
In 1991 elections, all HEP deputies had been elected
on the SHP ticket thanks to an electoral alliance between the two
parties, but later 16 of them, being disappointed with the SHP's
anti-democratic practices as a partner of the coalition on the Kurdish
question, returned to the HEP As for Isiklar, he preferred
to stay in the SHP.
Isiklar declared the verdict as against the essence
of the Constitution and said he was sorry for the judges who had taken
the decision under political pressure.
In a surprising declaration, Justice Minister and
SHP deputy Seyfi Oktay said the Constitutional Court was the most
important guarantee of the regime and the superiority of law. "It is
everyone's duty to show respect for its decisions," he said.
Prior to the Constitutional Court's decision, 16
deputies of the HEP joined en bloc the newly established Democracy
Party (DEP) on July 13. However, this new party too is under the menace
of being closed by the Constitutional Court.
A SYMPOSIUM ON KURDS BANNED
The Ankara Governor banned a symposium on the
Kurdish Question to be held on June 25-27. In a letter to the Human
Rights Association (IHD), which was to organize the symposium, the
governor said that the symposium was forbidden because it would have
irrevocable consequences when the circumstances of the day and
developing events were considered.
In protest against the governor's attitude, the IHD
secretary General Hüsnü Öndül said: "The decision showed once again
that the solution to the Kurdish problem is still only seen from a
military point of view. To this convention we had invited the President
of the Republic, the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the National
Assembly, political parties, trade unions and professional
organizations. It was a chance for everyone to freely raise his stand
on this question and to seek a just, democratic and peaceful
solution. By banning the convention, the authorities banned the free
thinking on the question as well."
ABDUCTION OF FOREIGN TOURISTS BY PKK
In a move to draw the attention to the repression in
Turkish Kurdistan and to hit Turkey’s tourism revenues, the PKK
launched a new campaign to abduct foreign tourists.
After a series of explosive attacks on tourist
resorts in the West, the PKK guerrillas abducted in July four
Frenchmen, a Briton and two Australians,but released them after
having holding for several weeks.
In August, two German, a New Zealander, two Italian
and two Swedish tourists were abducted in eastern Turkey. The Kurd-Ha
Agency announced that the tourists had been kidnapped for
travelling in the area without PKK permission. It said the tourists’
home countries should contact ERNK, the political wing of the PKK, not
the Turkish authorities. Besides, the PKK warned the tourist-exporting
countries that Turkey’s tourism revenues are used in the armament of
the security forces to raid Kurdish villages and to kill Kurdish
In fact, the attacks on tourist resorts and the
kidnapping of foreign tourists have already put in peril the expected
expansion of Turkey’s tourism revenues.
The Turkish tourism industry has undergone a
considerable growth in the past four decades, with a sky-rocketing
number of visitors and tourism revenues.
The number of tourists visiting Turkey increased
radically from only 36,372 in 1950 to more than 7 million last year, an
almost 40-fold rise in 42 years.
Turkish tourism revenues jumped from $2 million in
1950 to $3.639 billion in 1992. Tourism receipts represent the Turkish
economy's second largest source of foreign currency earning. Income
from Turkish tourism exceeded the $1 billion mark as early as 1985,
gradually rising every year but 1991, a disaster year for many hotels
due to the Gulf War.
The Turkish authorities were expecting 9 million
visitors and $4.5 billion revenue during 1993.
AI REPORT ON THE TERROR IN KURDISTAN
Amnesty International, in a message released on
August 1st, expressed concern about more human rights violations of
Kurdish villagers in Southeast Turkey.
AI reported that Turkish security forces were
carrying out intense operations in villages which have refused to
participate in the systems of government-appointed village guards.
"During the past weeks destructive searches were
followed by the burning of all or part of dozens of villages and
enforced migration of their population. In Cayirdere, near Ergani in
the Diyarbakir province, villagers were reportedly ill-treated by
gendarmerie, given pick-axes and ordered to destroy their own homes,"
"Any villagers taken into police custody are at
serious risk of torture or worse. For example, Siddik Öncü was taken
into gendarmerie custody from the village Kerkatik of Cinar, Diyarbakir
on June 21 and his body was found in the city morgue by his relatives
on July 8.
"Both male and female detainees have reported
various forms of sexual assault and rape. There are reports of
extrajudicial execution and disappearance of Kurdish villagers,
supposed carried out by Turkish security forces."
Amnesty International also reproached the PKK
with arbitrary and deliberate killing of prisoners. "Such killings of
village guards are apparently carried out with the intention of
discouraging villagers from participation in the village guard corps."
An earlier report by Amnesty International on June 8
accused the U.S. Government of systematically providing military aid to
Turkey along with a list of other countries with poor human rights
"The U.S. Government cares more about its
relationship with the governments of these countries than about the
people who are so grossly abused," the report said. Among countries
with rights problems cited in the report were longtime U.S. friends as
Turkey, Israel, Guatemala and the Philippines.
For Turkey, the report make the following evaluation:
"Torture is widespread and systematic in Turkey,
especially during the first few days of detention following arrest.
Torture and ill-treatment continue to be routinely inflicted on
political and criminal prisoners. Methods include beatings on the soles
of the feet, electric shocks, hosing with cold water under pressure and
being blindfolded and stripped naked. Turkey is receiving $3.1 million
for military training this year."
HELSINKI CITIZENS ASSEMBLY'S CALL
Turkey's branch of the Helsinki Citizens Assembly
issued on July 16 a communique calling on all citizens to put pressure
on the media and the political and religious leaders so that Turkey
avoids the danger of living, like the people of Bosnia, for example, in
cities divided into green zones and under the protection of a peace
The statement also calls for an end to the rhetoric
of the "external enemy" and outside provocations," saying: "No outsider
can set a hotel on fire in the middle of Anatolia and no external force
can work out the havoc that we have seen in east and southeast
Anatolia. It is the people of this country that are killing each other.
"So we have to be careful. For thousands of years,
people have been living in this land. Hundreds of cultures have
blossomed here. We all carry their imprint. No one can erase this
heritage. It is impossible to exterminate all that are unlike us. The
only way is to give the others the same rights as we recognize for
"We have to stand against all kinds of unjust
behaviour, starting with that coming from our own ethnic or religious
community. Besides being Turks, Kurds, Muslims, Christians, Jews,
Sunnis or Alevis, we are all human. We have an independent mind and a
free conscience. These are enough to judge what is right and what is
wrong. We have to put these in front of all other ties."
The assembly's statement was supported by
organization like the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DISK),
the Association for the Protection of Religious Rights (Mazlum-Der) as
well as many publication houses.
THE POGROM IN SIVAS FORESHADOWS A WAR OF SECTS IN TURKEY
The alarming rise of Islam fundamentalism in Turkey,
encouraged by Ciller’s ultra-nationalist and conservative campaign, was
marked on July 2 by an arson attack on a hotel which killed 37 people
and injured 60 in the central Anatolian city of Sivas. All of the
victims were guests, including authors and poets attending a cultural
festival in memory of the famous Alevi leader, Pir Sultan Abdal, who
was executed in the 16th century by the Ottoman rulers.
The Sivas riots were the worst fundamentalist
violence in secular but dominantly Muslim populated Turkey since 1978,
when 117 people died in a Sunni riot in Kahramanmaras.
As detailed in the preceding Info-Türk issues, the
radical groups of the Sunni majority in Turkey had been preparing
themselves to a holy war against the Alevi minority and distinguished
It is noteworthy that the horror occurred in a city
of which the municipality belongs to the fundamentalist Welfare Party
(RP). The foundations established and backed by the RP mayor of Sivas
are the principal centers of anti-secular activities. The provincial
Chamber of Commerce said that the municipality does not issue license
to operate or creates difficulty for those who do not make donations to
In Sivas there is also an important Alevi community.
When the Alevis started to organize a series of festivities in Pir
Sultan Abdal's memory, the RP officials began to provoke the Sunnis
against them. Leaflets signed "Muslims" and "Muslims of Turkey" and
calling for "holy war" had been distributed before the festivities
The State authorities, despite warning from the
local people, did not take any measure in Sivas and let free the
fundamentalist groups to commit one of the most shameful horrors of the
The presence of writer Aziz Nesin in Sivas was used
a pretext for instigating the people to riot. He was already a target
of fundamentalists for publishing Turkish excerpts from Salman
Rushdie's controversial book, The Satanic Verses in the daily Aydinlik
of which he is the chief editorialist. Aydinlik offices in Istanbul,
Izmir and Diyarbakir had been attacked and wrecked by fundamentalist
protesters in May and June after the excerpts were published.
A day before the riots, local newspapers had blasted
Nesin for remarks he made during a speech at the festival, criticizing
Islam and declaring that he was a non-believer. According to observers,
if it were not for Nesin, it would have been another incident, once
again putting the Islam fundamentalists of Sivas on the street and
directing them at the Alevis.
Further provoked during Friday prayers, an initial
group of about 500-600 people started to march through the streets of
the city shouting slogans against Nesin and governor.Ahmet Karabilgin
who had recently made erected Pir Sultan Abdal monument in front of the
city's cultural center. They gradually built up force and marched
to the Hotel Madimak where Nesin and others guests to the Pir Sultan
Abdal festival were staying.
They first attacked the hotel with stones and
sticks. Men tried to climb up to first-floor balconies. Thousands
chanted slogans in favor of Islam. Under the siege, Aziz Nesin and many
other intellectuals staying in the hotel called many times SHP leader
and deputy premier Erdal Inönü and asked him to order security forces
to stop the attack, but no help arrived. The demonstrators were not
stopped and the security forces were not directed in a coordinated and
active way. It was later understood that such a stance on the part of
officials stemmed from instructions and suggestions which had come from
Ankara, particularly from the President of the Republic.
Finally, in the evening, a group set the hotel on
fire. "This is Hell's fire," demonstrators were heard shouting.
Although Aziz Nesin was saved at last moment and
escorted from Sivas under police protection, other guests including
distinguished authors and artists such as Asim Bezirci, Muhlis Akarsu,
Nesimi Cimen were killed in arson attack. Most of the victims were
members of a Semah (traditional Alevi dance) group who were there to
attend the Pir Sultan Abdal festival.
In the meantime, the demonstrators attacked newly
erected Pir Sultan Abdal monument, pulled it to the ground and
The State authorities who did not take a shred of
measure to prevent the massacre, instead of pursuing Fundamentalist
instigators of this massacre, attempted to accuse Aziz Nesin of having
provoked the people to riot by talking against Islam.
As for new Prime Minister Ciller, she first shocked
everyone in Parliament by minimizing the incident and claiming that the
hotel was burned down by its own owner. She and the DYP ministers in
her government never pronounced a word expressing sorrow on the events.
They refused to participate in the funerals of the victims.
In fact, Ciller herself has a big responsibility
in the recent upsurge in fundamentalist violence. At her
provocative speeches during the Correct Way Party (DYP) emergency
convention which named her chairwoman, she frequently expressed the
desire "to hear the Islamic call for prayers (ezan) in every
neighbourhood of Turkey" and continuously referred to Allah, Islam. and
the Turkish flag.
After the massacre, although 96 people were indicted
for having participated in the riot, the following questions still
remain without a satisfying answer:
• Why did the State, very well informed of the
preparations and the execution of the fundamentalist assault, merely
watch the incidents?
• Policemen and gendarmes could not dispel the
crowd, which grew bigger and bigger. Why?
• Where is Cafer Ercakmak(Sivas Municipal Assembly
member representing the RP) who is currently sought by police for
provoking the riot?
• An indictment prepared by the Kayseri SSC
spotlights a fundamentalist organization, "Muslims" as the group behind
the Sivas incident. Even the intelligence services and police have not
heard of such an organization, and while there are known outlawed
Muslim organizations in Turkey, why did the indictment mention a new
organization? Is this to cover-up well-known Islamic organizations
including the RP and the Hezbullah?
• The local people in Sivas strongly maintain that
96 suspects who were captured were not the leaders of the gang, but the
figureheads. What about those who came from Malatya, Amasya, Ankara,
Istanbul and Yozgat?
• Why weren't the local intelligence chief and
brigade commander sacked by the government as the Sivas governor and
security chief were? Didn't they share the same responsibility?
• Even the government put the blame for provocation
on Aziz Nesin for angering the crowds with his atheistic remarks. What
about the local press? Is the same claim of provocation not valid for
the local newspapers?
The anger of the Alevi community is so great that at
the funeral ceremony in Ankara on July 6, SHP leader and Deputy Premier
Inönü were booed by some 20,000 people and his attempt to address the
crowd was stopped by strong protests. In 1991 elections the Alevis had
supported the SHP and in the DYP-SHP Coalition government some Alevi
personalities became ministers.
The Alevi leaders said: "The government is
responsible for the arson attack and the reactionary pro-Shariah
violence. The SHP was insensitive to fundamentalist aggression for the
sake of their Cabinet seats. The government has not even officially
expressed its sadness, if not apologies, over the bloody incident. The
state, the police, the soldiers, the government and the party [SHP],
all of them have responsibility. The SHP ministers should immediately
Taking no heed of this growing anger, the State is
continuing to discriminate the Alevis and to increase its support to
the Sunni majority.
The daily Aydinlik reported on August 14-15 that
Sunni villagers were being armed and trained and in the 3rd Army
headquarters in the province of Erzincan in what appears to be an
attempt to use them against the local Alevis. The armed Sunnis started
to monitor the main roads during the night. The villagers are blocking
the roads and demanding to see the identities of drivers and passengers
of all vehicles. Following a Kurdish guerrilla raid on Uluköy in
Erzincan, telephone lines to at least five Alevi villages in the area
The failure of the government to prevent the Sunni
attacks on Alevis led to a big anger in this community. Now, in
reaction to the horror in Sivas, Turkey's nearly 20 million Alevis, who
have been taking side with the center-left so far, might toughen their
stance and become a more radical opposition by the side of the Kurdish
HIGHER PENALTY ORDERED FOR PERINCEK
The Court of Cassation ordered the Ankara State
Security Court to try again Workers' Party (IP) Chairman Dogu Perincek
and to sentence him to a heavier punishment on July 5..
Perincek had been sentenced by the Ankara SSC to a
2-year imprisonment a fine of TL 50 Million ($5,000) for the
declarations concerning the Kurdish Question he made during the 1991
electoral campaign as the chairman of the Socialist Party (SP), closed
by the Constitutional Court.
Considering this punishment insufficient, the SSC
Prosecutor resorted to the Court of Cassation with the demand of
increasing 13 times the sentence.
Since this demand was approved by the higher court,
Perincek will be tried again in coming days by the Ankara SSC.
TKEP MEMBERS FACE CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
The Istanbul State Security Court prosecutor asked
on August 11 for the death penalty for six outlawed Communist Labour
Party of Turkey (TKEP) members, among them General Secretary Teslim
Töre. They had been captured by security forces on May 5 in Istanbul.
They had been searched since they broke out of prison 22 years.
They are accused by virtue of Article 146 of the
Penal Code of having tried to change the constitutional system and
hinder Parliament from performing its work through the use of force.
A BRITISH PEER DETAINED IN TURKEY
British peer Lord Ennals, member of the British
Refugee Council's executive, on his way back from visiting Kurds in
northern Iraq was detained overnight on July 19 by Turkish police in
The 70-year old life peer who had spent a week in
northern Iraq on a fact-finding mission was detained as he and other
members of his team tried to check into a hotel. He said a Kurdish
woman who was acting as a research assistant was wearing a T-shirt with
the slogan "Kurdistan for the Kurds," which had apparently alarmed the
Lord Ennals, a former Labor Party member of
Parliament and Foreign Office minister, was released after British
diplomats had interceded on his behalf.
STATE TERRORISM IN JUNE-JULY
2.6, in Viransehir, municipal worker Mahmut Bicak
(33) and his 2-year old son, Ibrahim Halil Bicak, were assassinated by
unidentified gunmen. Same day, in Silvan, peasant Ali Sükut was founded
assassinated. He was reportedly tortured and his body was set on fire.
4.6, in Istanbul, 19-year old Metin Yüksel alleged
that he was tortured by police after being detained on June 1st.
5.6, police raiding a house in Ankara shot dead an
alleged Dev-Sol militant, 22-year old Murat Gül.
5.6, the local ANAP chairman of Varto, Kerim Geldi
(46) was kidnapped by unidentified people claiming to be policemen and
7.6, in Silvan, HEP member Eyüp Adiyaman and his
friend Muhterem Demir were assassinated by unidentified gunmen.
9.6, the former Mayor of Gercüs, Nuri Kaya was shot
dead by four unidentified people. His driver Aziz Bagci and another
person named Garip Bagci too were assassinated. Kaya's two sons had
reportedly joined the PKK. Same day, in Kurtalan, a teacher named Riza
Pekgöz was killed by unidentified gunmen.
10.6, the Ankara SSC Prosecutor started a legal
proceeding against HEP Chairman Ahmet Türk and Diyarbakir Deputy Leyla
Zana for the declarations that they made during their visit to the USA
10.6, in Erzincan, seven university students
were taken into custody during police raid on their homes. In Malatya,
ten people were put under arrest by the SSC for PKK activities.
11.6, at the village of Bucuktepe in Diyarbakir
province, two teachers named Nuriye Ak (25) and Elif Livan (31) were
assassinated by unidentified people raiding their home.
12.6, in Lice, a gendarmery team raiding the village
of Mala Mihe Biro killed a 75-year old Kurdish peasant, Ahmet Aydemir,
12.6, in Yüksekova, Enver Oktay detained on June 9
alleged after his release that he had been subjected to torture at
police station and his arm broken.
13.6, in Istanbul, police detained 30 people during
a 3-day security operation in different quarters.
15.6, the parents of Vakkas Dost (30), who died at
the Kumkapi Police Station in Istanbul on May 29, accused three
policemen of having tortured him to death and asked for a legal
15.6, the local secretary of the IHD, Rifat Karakus
was detained in Cankiri as going home.
16.6, a special police teams and village protectors
raiding a house at the village of Oruclar in Pazarcik shot dead 55-year
old Mustafa Dogan in his bed.
16.6, in Istanbul, 30 people were detained by police
for having participated in ceremonies commemorating the victims
of a hunger strike held at the Metris Prison of Istanbul in 1984. Same
day; police detained two alleged Dev-Sol militants in Izmir.
16.6, in Kurtalan, police took in custody nine
tradesmen for having closed their shops in protest against
16.6, two tradesmen, Haci Bahattin Erdem (37) in
Cizre and Aydin Talip (35) in Siverek were assassinated by unidentified
16.6, four youths were detained in Ankara.
17.6, the Prosecutor of the Ankara SSC started a
legal proceeding against five public figures for their declarations
during the Human Rights' Week in December in Ankara. IHD Chairman Akin
Birdal, former Izmir IHD Chairman Alparslan Berktay, former deputy
Hüsnü Okcuoglu, lawyer Ali Yildirim and author Yalcin Kücük are accused
of separatist agitation.
17.6, the Izmir Chairman of the Contemporary
Lawyers' Association (CHD), Mehmet Yatar was insulted and threatened at
the Izmir Police Headquarter when he went there to see one of his
clients under arrest.
17.6, in Bismil, 17 tradesmen were detained for
having closed their shops in protest against extrajudicial executions.
18.6, in Cinar (Diyarbakir), 30 year-old Kurdish
peasant Veysi Kaymaz who had been taken into custody on June 11 was
18.6, security forces detained seven people in Ahlat
19.6, the Mersin Section of the IHD was closed down
by the governor for having supported a protest action by workers.
19.6, thirty alleged members of Dev-Sol were
indicted by the Istanbul SSC prosecutor. Five of the accused face
capital punishment by virtue of Article 146/1 of the Turkish Penal Code.
20.6, Üzeyir Elcicek alleged to have been tortured
at the Beyoglu Police Station in Istanbul after his detention on June
19.6, in Bingöl, a police teams shot dead Süleyman
Bingöl (25) and Firat Turgut (22) during a dispute.
21.6, unidentified gunmen assassinated teacher
Ikrami Han and public servant Hamit Pamuk in Diyarbakir, and pharmacist
Fadil Bulut in Cizre.
21.6, in Bursa, police detained thirty people of
whom the majority are members of the Democracy Party (DEP).
22.6, security forces announced the detention of 18
alleged PKK militants in Istanbul and nine militants of the
Workers'-Peasants' Liberation Army of Turkey (TIKKO) in Adana and
22.6, in Kiziltepe, unidentified gunmen shot dead a
60-year old woman, Zeyno Yücesoy, and wounded his son Ismet Yücesoy.
23.6, in Suruc, the house of a SHP member, Mehmet
Yalcin, was bombed by unidentified people. Yalcin's mother Cemile
Yalcin (50) and daughter Devran Yalcin (10) were killed at the
24.6, in Istanbul, the People's House of Pendik was
closed by the governor for activities incompatible with its aims.
25.6, in Kozluk, Siddik Katan alleged to have been
tortured during 14 days after his detention on June 1st. Still under
arrest, Katan suffers from a fracture
27.6, in Alapli (Zonguldak), Mehmet Alapli was found
killed at the police station after his detention.
28.6, in Incirlik (Adana), nine youths alleged to
have been tortured at a gendarmery station during one week after their
detention on charges of theft. The fact of torture was certified by a
28.6, in Ankara, 20 workers of the Central Bank
Printing house were subjected to torture after being detained in
relation with a theft.
28.6, in Kiziltepe, security forces detained eight
people for separatist activities.
29.6, in Ankara, the police detained 12 alleged
members of the Movement TKP-ML.
29.6, the Izmir SSC sentenced a person to
life-prison and eight others to different prison terms of up to 12
years and 6 months for PKK activities.
29.6, in Sereflikochisar, police raiding a number of
houses detained eleven people of Kurdish origin.
1.7, in Urfa, Salih Kurt was reportedly subjected to
torture at the police station after his detention on June 26. Another
detainee recently released said that Kurt was taken to torture at least
five times during the night of his detention.
2.7, unidentified gunmen assassinated 61-year old
Ibrahim Altunsoy in Adana and Fethi Korkut in Diyarbakir.
2.7, in Ankara, shopkeeper Riza Ürün was found dead
at the police station to where he had been taken for an investigation.
His family accused the police of having tortured Ürün.
2.7, the 1st International Congress for Homosexual
Solidarity in Istanbul was banned by the governor on grounds that the
meeting is incompatible with the moral values of the society and can be
harmful to public order
3.3, on the ban of the Congress for Homosexual
Solidarity, 27 delegates of different countries attempted to hold a
press conference at the Human Rights Association, but they were stopped
and detained by police as entering the association's local.
3.7, in Güclükonak (Sirnak), the security forces
raiding the village of Ozbasoglu shot dead five out of six Kurdish
peasants taken into custody.
6.7, in Istanbul, about 500 people carrying out a
demonstration in protest against the Sivas Massacre were attacked and
dispersed by police using force, 50 people were taken into custody.
7.7, in Tunceli, about 4,000 people protesting
against the Sivas Massacre were dispersed by force and about 50 people
wounded when the special teams opened fire on the crowd.
7.7, former HEP Aydin Chairman Lezgin Culduz and two
other party officials, Hamdullah Kuran and Ethem Kiskir, were sentenced
by the Izmir SSC to 12 years and 6 months in prison on charges of being
members of the PKK.
8.7, in Izmir, security forces raiding a house shot
dead a man a woman inside.
10.7, in Mersin, about 500 people protesting against
the Sivas Massacre were dispersed by force, seven wounded and 30 taken
11.7, the family of 40-year old imam (Moslem priest)
Siddik Öncü accused the military of having killed him under detention
after a raid on the village of Kerkatik on June 21.
11.7, in Derik, security forces arrested more than
40 people during anti-PKK operations. Among them are also IHD officials
Mehmet Günes and Seyhmuz Yükler.
12.7, in Ezine (Canakkale), a dispute in a hotel
turned into an anti-Kurdish demonstration. Mobs surrounding the hotel
shouted slogans against Kurds and attacked on the people of Kurdish
origin with clubs and stones.
13.7, in Istanbul, the Marmara Association for
Freedoms and Rights (Özgür-Der) was closed by the governor for
activities incompatible with its aims.
13.7, a gendarmery team carrying out a raid
destroyed by burning a number of houses and killed many domestic
animals at the village of Kumur in Mardin. They also tortured many
people in the village for having refused to join the Village Protectors.
14.7, security forces arrested a total of 25 persons
during their operations in Istanbul, Konya and Maras for their radical
15.7, the IHD announced that more than 500 villages
and hamlets in the state of emergency region were dispeopled by
security forces within last two years on pretext that the Kurdish
population of these villages were supporting the PKK.
16.7, in Derik, a young woman named Sükran Aydin
alleged that she had been tortured and raped at a police station after
her detention on June 16. The traces of torture and raping were
certified by a medical report.
16.7, seven lawyers, Hasan Ürel, Ayse Ülkü Oguzer,
Bahri Belen, Salih Gökhan Duran, Resat Kadayifcilar, Ergin Cimen and
Ülkü Söylemezoglu, were sentenced by a penal court in Ankara to 5-year
prison term each for having insulted the Ankara SSC Prosecutor Nusret
Demiral during the trials of Nihat Sargin and Nabi Yagci (Haydar
Kutlu), respectively chairman and secretary general of the United
Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP). The prison terms were later commuted
17.7, in Mersin, DEP local chairman Zeynettin Alp
alleged that he had been subjected to torture after being detained by
police on July 2.
17.7, in Istanbul, five people were detained by
18.7, in Kirikkale, the local chairman of the
Association for Rights and Freedoms (Özgür-Der), Aysel Bölücek was
taken into custody.
18.7, the PKK defendants at the Adiyaman Prison Type
E started a hunger strike in protest against ill-treatment and unlawful
practices. They claimed that the prison administration forced them to
turn into informers. The hunger strike of 180 political detainees in
the Elazig Prison Type E entered its 25th day.
19.7, in Mersin, a police team raiding a house shot
dead three alleged PKK militants inside.
19.7, security forces took into custody 20 people
during recent operations carried out in Hani (Diyarbakir). Among the
detainees are also DEP local chairman Fikri Ekin and ANAP local
chairman Saban Bari.
20.7, in Istanbul, police announced the arrest of
seven alleged militants of the Revolution Party of Turkey (TDP).
20.7, in Cizre, security forces detained about 50
people during a repressive operation.
20.7, in last week, security forces dispeopled five
villages in the district of Mazidag (Mardin). The IHD claimed that the
inhabitants were forced to quit the villages for having refused to join
the Village Protectors.
21.7, five defendants tried at the Izmir SSC were
harassed and beaten by gendarmes when they open a placard of protest at
the court room.
21.7, in Istanbul, Hakan Sarac was sentenced by the
SSC to 12 years and six months in prison for TDKP (Revolutionary
Communist Party of Turkey) activities.
21.7, in Dargecit, the headman of the Village of
Degerli, Hüseyin Ergen was shot dead by village protectors.
22.7, the Kayseri SSC sentenced seven people to
capital punishment for PKK activities.
22.7, in Mersin, security forces detained about 50
people among them are also 14 or 15-year old children. In Trabzon, nine
alleged Dev-Sol militants were detained.
22.7, the Izmir SSC sentenced four youths to prison
terms of up to 12 years and 8 months for Dev-Sol activities. In Tokat,
a high-school student, Kazim Dogan, was sentenced to one-year
imprisonment for putting some political posters on walls.
23.7, in Ankara, Osman Tiftikci alleged to have been
tortured after his detention. The traces of torture were certified by a
23.7, cultural festivals organized by Alevi
communities in Sarkisla, Silivri and Sorgun were banned by local
23.7, former DEP Mersin Chairman Sedat Kalaba was
detained by police.
23.7, in Ergani, security forces raiding the village
of Gisgi detained 21 people.
24.7, in Istanbul, Sadik Celik alleged to have been
tortured by police after his detention on July 20.
24.7, the Mersin IHD Section as well as two
restaurants and a disco were closed by the governor on pretext of
giving shelter to PKK militants.
24.7, in Izmir, a police team raiding a market
arrested two vendors for being dressed in three colors of the PKK flag:
yellow, green and red.
24.7, in Derik, Sehmuz Coban and Hüseyin Kaya were
25.7, a doctor of the Mersin State Hospital, Sabri
Soysal (35) was detained on charges of giving medical treatment to PKK
25.7, in Diyarbakir, driver Sedat Celik, shopkeeper
Abdullah Sapan and peasant Behcet Acisi were assassinated by
25.7, in Izmir, Doctor Alp Ayan and two other
persons were detained during a picnic.
26.7, in Dogankent (Adana), 14-year old Ümmühan
Tekin was shot dead by gendarmes for not obeying the order to halt.
26.7, security forces detained 20 people for aiding
the PKK in Viransehir and seven people for Dev-Sol activities in Ankara.
26.7, in Yüksekova, local DEP chairman Serif Han and
village headman Sahabettin Timur were detained by police.
28.7, unidentified gunmen assassinated Mehmet
Hafifar in Batman, Remziye Akin in Batman and Kerim Anil in Kurtalan.
28.7, gendarmes dispeopled four villages in Siirt
and set on fire all houses emptied by their owners. During the
operation, two villagers were wounded and a pregnant woman
miscarried her baby.
28.7, in Izmir, a demonstration of public servants
claiming trade union rights was prevented by police taking about 40
people into custody.
29.7, in Edirne, a policeman shot dead a youth named
29.7, in Nusaybin, peasant Ahmet Yildirim was
assassinated by unidentified gunmen.
30.7, the Van section of the Education Workers'
Trade Union (Egitim-Is) was closed down by the governor.
31.7, unidentified gunmen assassinated DEP member
Mehmet Yasar in Batman and tradesman Cemalettin Burkay in Diyarbakir.
DAILY ÖZGÜR GÜNDEM TARGET OF THE “PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE”
The new government, conforming to the military’s
advice, has launched, to accompany military operations, a major
repression campaign against the radical opposition in the form of
On July 11, Premier Ciller received an exclusive
briefing from the military commanders on the Kurdish Question and
resolved to intensify the military operations against the PKK while
also concentrating on the propaganda war.
Later, owners and directors of major newspapers with
the exception of Aydinlik and Özgür Gündem were invited to the chief of
general staff office where they were asked to unconditionally support
the military and security forces.
In the evening, Ciller hosted this select group for
dinner as part of her bid to found a “national consensus against
terrorism” and give a free hand to the military.
Since then, all Turkish newspapers, with the
exception of Aydinlik and Özgür Gündem, have been carrying on a total
black-out on the State terrorism and the guerrilla’s success while the
front pages are full of headlines praising the military’s heroism and
groundless reports insulting the Kurdish national movement.
As another result of this campaign, the repressive
practices against the media of left-wing and Kurdish opposition reached
On July 14, a criminal court in Istanbul ordered the
daily Özgür Gündem to cease its publication on grounds that relevant
offices had not been notified of a change in the newspaper editor’s
address since the initial declaration. The newspaper reports that even
if that was the case, the sanction to be applied would not be an order
to halt publication. According to Article 23 of the Press Code, those
who fail to notify the changes in their declaration within a period
stipulated by law will be given a fine ranging from TL 3,000 ($0.30 to
Next day, on July 15, the newspaper’s chief editor,
Davud Karadag, was arrested in Istanbul by the Istanbul State Security
Court for separatist propaganda in 30 articles that he published in
recent days. On the other hand, the SSC prosecutor opened a new court
action against Özgür Gündem with the demand of closing the daily for up
to 30 days.
On the other hand, the Özgür Gündem announced that
41 out of its 68 issues published between April 26 and July 2 were
subjected to confiscation. Besides, in the legal proceedings opened
against the Özgür Gündem, the prosecutor demanded prison terms of up to
493 years in total and TL 8,617,441,000,000 ($ 861,744,100) in total.
Özgür Gündem had initially started publication on
May 30, 1992, but ceased it a few months later under increasing
pressures. After having collected funds and reinforced its editorial
board the newspaper restarted publication on April 26, 1993. After the
rebirth of the daily Özgür Gündem, the weekly Yeni Ülke which had
shared the same politics joined it.
It is known as the first daily in Turkish language
which defends the views of the Kurdish national movement in Turkey. The
owner of Özgür Gündem, businessmen Yasar Kaya, is a distinguished
Kurdish intellectual. He was recently elected as the chairman of the
newly established Democracy Party (DEP) claiming that its aim is to
unite the Turks and Kurds of Turkey for defending fundamental human
rights and freedoms.
Özgür Gündem writers are mainly Kurdish and Turkish
left-wing intellectuals who are committed to fight against the official
State ideology and to raise the voice of the Kurdish national movement.
Almost every day, front page reports in Özgür Gündem
concentrate on village raids and torture incidents in the South East
region. Also, it is running extensive reports on PKK activities and
politics, including interviews with senior PKK leaders.
Under a constant pressure, many writers,
correspondents and distributors of Özgür Gündem have been killed,
threatened, harassed or detained for their opinions.
During its first period of publications, five
journalists of Özgür Gündem had been assassinated: Hafiz Akdemir (June
8, 1992), Yahya Orhan (July 31, 1992), Hüseyin Deniz ( August 10,
1992), Musa Anter (September 20, 1992) and Kemal Kilic (February 18,
1992). None of the murderers could be traced.
After its restarting publication, the assassination
of Özgür Gündem correspondents started again.
On June 2, 1993, Batman correspondent Tegmen Demir
was assassinated by unidentified gunmen.
On July 28, Bitlis correspondent Ferhat Tepe was
kidnapped by unidentified people. The action was claimed by an
extreme-right organization called Turkish-Ottoman Vengeance Brigade.
(TOIT). The body of Ferhat Tepe was found on August 9 near the town of
Sivrice in Elazig province.
On August 13, the newspaper reported that its
another correspondent, Aysel Malkoç disappeared nine days ago in
Istanbul. Her colleagues are worried that Malkoç may have been
kidnapped by security forces and could be dead.
In addition to killings, many journalists of Özgür
Gündem have been arrested for their articles or activities: Ahmet Hamdi
Akkaya on May 26, Mahmut Dogan and Abdullah Koc on June 3, Yusuf Cacim
and Bülent Ciftci on July 2, Tacettin Demir on July 13, Nezahat Özen on
July 16 and Mehmet Yazici on July 20. Nezahat Özen who was
detained in Mardin and subjected to torture although she was 7-month
Recently a campaign has been launched to support
Özgür Gündem and a solidarity committee formed. The Contemporary
Journalists’ Association (CGD), the Human Rights Association (IHD) and
the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV) as well as a number of
deputies and intellectuals forming the committee said “invisible
forces” in Turkey were attempting to crush opinion and thought but
warned the country’s democratic forces were determined to resist this
On the other hand, the monthly periodical Newroz too
has been subjected to a permanent persecution. Out of its 24 issues
published until now 18 have been confiscated for separatist propaganda
and prosecutors opened 24 legal proceedings for many reports and
articles published by the review. Four of these proceedings ended in 5
years and 4 months in prison and LT 594 Million ($ 60,000) in fine. In
the other on-going trials, the journalists of the review face 100-year
imprisonment and TL 3.5 Billion ($ 350,000) in fine.
NEW PUNISHMENTS TO ISMAIL BESIKCI
Although not of Kurdish origin, sociologist Ismail
Besikci has always been one of the main targets of the anti-Kurd
repression because of his courageous stand on the Kurdish Question.
On July 1st, Besikci was sentenced by the Istanbul
SSC to 20 months in prison for his book entitled The 1931 Program of
the CHF - The Kurdish Question. As for his publisher Mrs. Ayse
Zarakolu, she was sentenced to five months in prison and TL 21,666,000
($ 2,166) in fine by virtue of Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law.
Next day, in another case concerning his 15 other
books, the Ankara SSC sentenced Besikci to 4 years and 8 months in
prison and TL 58,473,000 ($ 5,847) in total. The owner of the Yurt
Publishing House, Ünsal Öztürk who published these books was sentenced
to 2 years and 4 months in prison.
Recently, the Istanbul SSC confiscated Besikci’s two
new books,The way that the tribunals Opened on July 15 and The Rise of
Conscience and A Nation Discovering Itself: Kurds on July 22, for
TWO-MONTH PRESSURE ON THE MEDIA
1.6, the Istanbul SSC confiscated the last issues of
the political reviews Newroz, Devrimci Proletarya and Devrimci
Emek by virtue of the Anti-Terror Law.
7.6, the last issue of the weekly Azadi was
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
8.6, the Istanbul SSC sentenced the responsible
editor of the weekly Gercek, Yücel Özdemir, to six months in prison and
TL 150 Million ($ 15,000) in fine for having praised an outlawed
organization in some articles. The owner of the review, Kamil Tekin
Sürek too was sentenced to a fine of TL 300 Million ($ 30,000) for the
8.6, the chief editor of the political review Medya
Günesi, Osman Aytar was sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to two years in
prison and TL 100 Million ($ 10,000) in fine for separatist propaganda.
8.6, the first issue of a new political review,
Devrimci Cözüm, was confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for praising an
outlawed organization and its armed actions.
8.6, Professor Ilhan Arsel was indicted by the
prosecutor for his last book, Intellectual and "Intellectual, on
charges of having insulted the Holy Books and Prophet Mohammed. Arsel
and the editor of the book, Hikmet Ersavas both face a prison term of
up to two years.
9.6, the public prosecutor open a legal action
against cartoonist Ertan Aydin for his cartoons published by the daily
Özgür Gündem. Aydin and the daily's responsible editor, Isik Yurtcu,
face a prison term of not less than two years for insulting the State's
9.6, in Istanbul, a group of journalists covering a
protest action of public servants were harassed and detained by police.
11.6, the sentence about author Edip Polat, two
years in prison and TL 50 Million ($5,000) in fine, for his book
entitled We turned the Dawns into Newroz, was ratified by the Court of
11.6, the soloist of the folk music group Ekin,
Murat Özdemir was taken into custody when he went to the Ankara SSC for
taking back his belongings that police confiscated in April during a
raid on the Ekin Cultural Centre.
12.6, another member of the musical group Ekin,
Metin Turan was detained in Antalya.
12.6, a concert which was to be given in Malatya by
folk singers Deste Günaydin and Hamza Dogan was banned at last moment
by the governor's order.
12.6, a police team raided the office of the review
Devrimci Cözüm and detained Hatice Onaran and Yusuf Büyükdag.
13.6, the weekly Azadi N°57, the weekly Gercek N°11
and the monthly Partizan N°12 were confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for
13.6, in Ankara, police detained three people for
having distributed a special issue of the monthly Kurtulus.
14.6, in Diyarbakir, a newspaper vendor, Hasim Yasa
(34) was assassinated by unidentified people. Earlier, he had been
threatened several times. His nephew Esref Yasa had been wounded during
an attack by unidentified people.
17.6, the issues N°9 and 10 of the weekly Panorama
were confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for some articles on the
Dev-Sol and the PKK. The political review Emegin Bayragi N°91 was
confiscated for separatist propaganda.
18.6, the responsible editor of the daily Aydinlik,
Mrs. Hale Soysü was indicted by the Istanbul SSC Prosecutor for having
published Salman Rushdi's The Satanic Verses. She faces
imprisonment of up to 30 months for insulting the Islam.
19.6, the Bursa representative of the political
review Emegin Bayragi, Metin Arikan, and two other persons were
arrested for organizing a protest action.
20.6, the weekly Azadi N° 58 was confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC for an article on extrajudicial executions.
21.6, the Istanbul office of the political review
Mücadele was raided by a police team and 20 people inside detained.
Same day, an armed group raided the Istanbul office of the monthly
Devrimci Cözüm and wounded chief editor Nurcan Güzel and four other
22.6, in Adana, a distributor of the daily Özgür
Gündem, Ali Celikten was arrested for instigating local tradesmen to
close their shops in protest against security operations.
25.6, the Malatya SSC sentenced five people to 20
months in prison and TL 83 Million ($8,300) for having chanted Kurdish
songs during a wedding ceremony in Gaziantep on October 9, 1992.
27.6, the recent issues of the daily Özgür Gündem
and the weeklies Gercek, Mücadele and Azadi were confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
29.6, the fortnightly Emegin Bayragi N°93 and the
last issue of the monthly Devrimci Emek were confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
4.7, the weekly Azadi N°60 was confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC for an interview with the mother of a PKK militant
killed by security forces.
6.7, a correspondent of the daily Sabah, Ihsan
Uygun, and his driver Yüksel Alptekin are reportedly disappeared for
two days. They had been sent to cover a fire incident at the quarter of
Kartal, their car was later found destroyed and burnt in a woody area.
7.7, the Court of Cassation ratified the sentence
for writer Hacay Yilmaz. Accused by virtue of Article 8 of the
Anti-Terror Law, he had been sentenced to 20 months in prison and TL 42
Million ($4,200) for a declaration he made in Söke in 1992.
10.7, in Mersin, Milliyet correspondent Cumhur
Soylar and Toros correspondent Ahmet Özdemir were harassed as covering
a demonstration in protest against the Sivas Massacre.
10.7, the chief editor of the monthly Devrimci Emek,
Erhan Il was arrested by the Istanbul SSC for an article published in
10.7, in Istanbul, a police team raided journalist
Metin Ciyayi's house and took him into custody.
12.7, the monthly Direnis N°20 was confiscated by
the Istanbul SSC for praising outlawed organizations.
13.7, the recent issues of the political reviews
Emegin Bayragi, Newroz, Serketin and Newroz Atesi were confiscated by
the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda and praising outlawed
14.7, a penal court banned the publication of the
magazines Yeni Demokrat Genclik, 69 Erkek and Firtboy on grounds that
they did not communicate the address of their responsibles to the
Istanbul Governor's office.
14.7, two journalists of the monthly Taraf,
Abdülkadir Takis and Osman Hira were detained by police for radical
16.7, a new book entitled The Path and Tasks of the
Revolution of Turkey, published by the Zagros Publishing House was
confiscated by the Istanbul SS. The tribunal also decided to confiscate
the monthly Gencligin Sesi N°2.
16.7, the responsible editor of the political review
Medya Günesi, Mahmut Metin was arrested by the Istanbul SSC for some
articles in the issue N°32.
18.7, the representative of the political review
Hedef, Fatih Danisan was taken into police custody.
19.7, the responsible editor of the political review
Newroz, Adil Kurt was arrested by the Istanbul SSC for some articles
that he published.
19.7, the political reviews Mücadele, N° 54, and
Iscinin Yolu, N°13, were confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist
propaganda and praising some outlawed organizations.
21.7, a 7-month pregnant journalist, Nezahat Özen
was arrested for having reported to the daily Özgür Gündem a news about
the rape of a 17-year old female detainee by policemen.
21.7, the fortnightly Özgür Gelecek N°8 was
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for propaganda in favour of an outlawed
22.7, in Kayseri, the correspondent of the
periodical Özgür Gelecek was arrested.
23.7, the July issue of the periodical Yurtsever
Egitimciler was confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for an interview with
28.7, the periodical Yeni Demokrat Genclik N° 10 and
the special issue of the periodical Hedef were confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC for instigating the people to revolt.
29.7, the printing house Aydinlar was set on fire by
30.7, the weekly Azadi N°64 and the fortnightly
Medya Günesi N°34 were confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist