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


18th Year - N°208
February 1994
38 rue des Eburons - 1000 Bruxelles
Tél: (32-2) 215 35 76 - Fax: (32-2) 215 58 60
 Rédacteur en chef: Dogan Özgüden - Editrice responsable: Inci Tugsavul


    The Turkish regime’s anti-Kurdish and anti-democratic offensive abroad took Brussels as a target on the first day of the new year. When a group of Kurdish intellectuals and activists holding a long march for freedom from Bonn arrived at Brussels, the Turkish extreme-right organizations, provoking a few hundreds of Turkish youngsters, staged a violent anti-Kurdish demonstration in Saint-Josse, a quarter inhabited by a mass of migrants coming from Turkey.
    As the Kurdish marchers  were meeting at the Ten Noey Hall, the provocateurs spread the rumour that they draped the PKK flag in front of the building and set on fire a Turkish flag.
    Thereupon, hundreds of Turkish demonstrators attacked on Ten Noey by shouting slogans such as “Saint-Josse is a Turkish quarter!”,  “Here, no place to Kurds!”, “Down with the PKK!”
    To save the Kurds from a possible massacre, police intervened and dispersed the crowd with a water cannon. Six police and five civilians were injured, several windows and car windscreens were broken during the incidents.
    Meanwhile, some Turkish groups attacked Kurdish centres and offices owned by Kurdish businessmen.
    After the clashes Belgian authorities moved the Kurdish meeting to a new locality outside Saint-Josse.
    Next day, some Turkish groups attempted to stage a new anti-Kurdish demonstration in Saint-Josse, but were dispersed by police arresting 63 people.
    The Belgian Interior Minister Louis Tobback declared that these anti-Kurdish demonstrations were provoked and led by Turkish extreme-right organizations according to the Gendarmerie’s reports.
    In fact, these organizations have good relations with the Turkish diplomatic missions in Brussels. The New Year demonstrations have been provoked with the purpose of discrediting Kurdish organizations in the eyes of the Belgian public opinion. It is known that, after the ban on the PKK in Germany and in France, the Turkish Government intensified its pressure on the Belgian Government  to take similar measures. Since the Belgian authorities refused this demand, the Turkish diplomatic missions staged the New Year incidents in order to label Kurdish organizations as a source of trouble and disorder.
    When Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller came to Brussels on January 10 for the NATO summit meeting, she used every occasion to ask Turkey’s allies, particularly Belgium, to ban Kurdish political activities in Europe. Referring to the New Year incidents, she claimed that the stance adopted by Brussels amounts to support for terrorism. On the same occasion, Ciller received a group of the representatives of Turkish right-wing organizations at her suit in Hilton and paid her only visit to Turkish population at a mosque.
    On these events, four migrant organizations, the Association of Democrat Armenians, the Mesopotamia Cultural Centre, Info-Türk/Sun Workshops and the Kurdish Institute of Brussels issued the following call to Belgian federal, community, regional and municipal authorities:
    “The undersigned organisations grouping citizens of different origins and working to promote a harmonious coexistence at the popular quarters of Brussels draw the attention to the lessons of the dramatic New Year events at Saint-Josse and Schaerbeek.
    1. The inhabitants of these quarters of high migrant’s concentration were always living in an atmosphere of fraternity and solidarity despite their ethnic, social, confessional and political diversity. Whatsoever be their divergence, each community was perfectly conscious of the fact that the problems of civil rights, education, housing, security, social, cultural and professional promotions are common for all inhabitants of these quarters and that they have to act all together for the equality of chances and rights.
    2. A peaceful and harmonious coexistence is first of all based on a reciprocal respect and tolerance in spite of all attempts of extremist circles to divide this population, to provoke one component against another and to discredit them in the eyes of the public opinion in order to justify racist and xenophobic policies.
    3. Despite political and philosophic divergences which are sometimes irreconcilable, cultural, political and religious demonstrations organized by different groups have been carried out until now without any incident by the opposing groups. It has been the case for tens of demonstrations organized at the Ten Noey Hall as well. Although the right to association and to demonstration is not respected in certain countries of origin, particularly by the repressive governments, the inhabitants of foreign origin of Brussels entirely enjoy these rights in their country of home.
    4. As it was confirmed by the Interior Minister Louis Tobback, on January 1, 1994, the attack on the Kurdish marchers lodged at the Ten Noey Hall and the devastation of Kurdish offices and shops at Saint-Josse and Schaerbeek were provoked by Turkish diplomatic missions and carried out by “Grey Wolves” of Turkish neo-fascist organizations set up for many years in Belgium under the benevolence of the Turkish Embassy and some Belgian authorities.
    5. The New Year aggression is a part of the Turkish Government’s plan to oblige the Belgian Government to close down the PKK offices in Belgium, following the example of the German and French governments’ decisions. The demands of Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller’s to Belgian authorities and her declarations to the Belgian media a few days after are the irrefutable proof of this plan. In other words, it is the putting in practice of a daring plan to extend the “Dirty War”, led by the Turkish Army, to European countries.
    6. Everybody and the Belgian municipal authorities in particular know very well that the community coming from Turkey to Brussels is composed not only of Sunni Turks, but also Alevi Turks, Kurds as well as of Christian Armenians and Assyrians. However, Mrs. Ciller, taking no heed of her role of prime minister of a secular state, chose a Turkish mosque of Chaussée de Haecht for getting in touch with the migrants from Turkey. So, she gave coup de grâce to a harmonious coexistence in the Anatolian microcosms of Saint-Josse et Schaerbeek.
    7. We also draw the attention to the occult visit of former colonel Türkes, chief of the neo-fascist Nationalist Action Party (MHP), to Brussels on February 1, 1994, just after the New Year events. It should be remembered that Türkes, principal responsible of the political violence in Turkey, is the most ardent partisan of anti-Kurd operations in Turkey and the principal ally of the present government and the Army in the adoption and application of their repressive policies against Turkey’s democratic forces. During this visit, he was allowed to hold a provoking meeting at the Sheraton Hotel, with his “Grey Wolves” and other extremists, and in the presence of the Turkish Ambassador in Belgium. This is another irrefutable proof of the dangerous relations of Turkish diplomatic missions with the extreme-right circles.
    8. What is the most dangerous, the New Year events already lead, near to the European and municipal elections, to the rise of xenophobic and racist speeches in the Belgian extremist circles in the name of maintaining law and order in Brussels.
    Considering all these facts, we are calling on all Belgian federal, community, regional and municipal authorities to take the following urgent measures:
    • The ethnic, philosophic and language diversity of the communities of foreign origin must be recognised and respected.
    • Every provocation, interference and manipulation of the repressive authorities or of the extreme-right organisation of the country of origin in the peaceful coexistence of the community of foreign origin must be stopped.
    • Enjoying the right to expression and organisation of the communities of foreign origin must be guaranteed so as that they never be menaced by the Belgian or foreign racist and xenophobic forces.
    • All measures must immediately be taken for protecting the life and the property of the minority communities against the possible attacks and devastations by extremists.
    • A new urbanism policy must be adopted in order to stop the segregation which favours provocations and manipulations.
    • The education policy must be developed in such a way that youths, open to any provocation and manipulation, be trained as citizens respecting universal democratic values and the diversity in a pluriethnic and pluricultural city like Brussels.
    • Finally, all the civil and political rights must be recognised to the citizens of foreign origin, without the condition of being naturalised, for that they can entirely be integrated in the social and political life of their country of residence and that they can save themselves from the recuperation and manipulation of the rulers of their country of origin.


    On February 25, the Turkish Parliament voted to extend the state of emergency for four more months in 10 south-eastern province from March 19 on. Despite their promise to put an end to this extraordinary regime, the majority of the social democrat SHP deputies too voted for the extension.
    The state of emergency had been proclaimed in the Southeast to replace martial law regime. Under the state of emergency, the governors of the ten provinces use unlimited authorities of martial law commanders and their repressive operations are being coordinated by a super governor. In fact, the super governor is acting according to the directives given by the military.
    The ten provinces under state of emergency are Batman, Bingöl, Bitlis, Diyarbakir, Hakkari, Mardin, Siirt, Sirnak, Tunceli and Van.


    The Constitutional Court ordered on February 10 the closure of the Greens Party (YP) on the grounds that the executives of this party have not submitted their financial accounts and other necessary documents for the year 1988.
    Since 1971, the Constitutional Court has closed down eight political parties. Seven of these parties were banned for “separatist activities”: The Workers’ Party of Turkey (TIP), the Labour Party of Turkey (TEP), the United Communist Party of Turkey (TBKP), the Socialist Party (SP), the Socialist Turkey Party (STP), the People’s Labour Party (HEP)and the Freedom and Democracy Party (ÖZDEP).
    The National Order Party (MNP) was closed down for anti-secular activities.


    The Human Rights Association (IHD), in its monthly report for February 1994, reports that the human rights situation in Turkey is deteriorating rapidly and the county is living through a “human rights disaster.”
    According to the report, 16 people held in police custody have been killed under mysterious circumstances in February while 29 people who had allegedly been detained by security forces were missing.
    The IHD reports that in February alone:
    • 877 people were taken into custody, 18 publications confiscated, three association raided and the Green Party (YP) closed down.
    • At the end of February 68 journalists and writers were in prison because of their views while nine were released.
    • Journalists and writers were sentenced to prison terms totalling 109 months and were fined TL 1.11 billion.
    • At pending court cases, journalists and writers risk prison sentences of up to a total of 664 months and fines in the range of TL 1.05 billion.
    • 17 villages in the Southeast were evacuated by force.
    • 15 party offices and association buildings were bombed.
    • There were a total of 39 mystery killings while 34 civilians were killed in various incidents. Police arrested 153 people throughout the month.


    1.2, unidentified gunmen shoot dead Cevdet Ceylan in Gaziantep, Hasan Aric and Fesih Kaya in Diyarbakir, Hakim Toprak, Hamit Elik  and unidentified young woman in Sirnak.
    1.2, security forces raid the village Asagi Söylemez  in Erzurum and shoot two children.
    1.2, in Igdir, two former HEP members, Faik Kizilay and Hüseyin Öden are assassinated by unidentified gunmen.
    1.2, a military patrol stopping a car at the entrance of the village of Igdeli in Pazarcik shoot dead Mehmet Pelen and his son, Hasan Pelen.
    1.2, in Istanbul, police raiding some houses detains seven DEP members.
    2.2, a trade union official, Nebi Delice who was detained by police is placed under arrest by the Istanbul on charges of being member of an outlawed organization.
    2.2, about 100 people attending the funeral ceremony of a TDKP (Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey) member, shot dead during a raid by security forces, are taken into custody by police in Adana.
    3.2, in Adana, IHD member Abdülkadir Sakar is reportedly tortured by police after his detention on February 1.
    3.2, at the Buca Prison in Izmir, political detainee Ekrem Tamir is brutally beaten by a security team.
    3.2, the Istanbul SSC places under arrest eleven alleged TDKP members  who were detained by police on January 26.
    3.2, police detains three DEP members in Adana.
    4.2, in Diyarbakir, Ömer Günes and Faruk Baran fall victim of political murders.
    4.2, in Istanbul, a woman named Songül Polat, in a letter addressed to the Human Rights Association (IHD) claims to have been tortured and sexually harassed by police after her detention on December 10, 1993.
    5.2, DEP Secretary General Murat Bozlak is wounded by two unidentified assailants raiding his home.
    5.2, DEP Digor Chairman Mehmet Yardimciel claims to have been tortured by police after his detention. He also reports that DEP Digor office was set on fire by unidentified people on February 4.
    5.2, two lawyers, Semih Mutlu and  Levent Tüzel are detained by police together with ten other people. The lawyers had accused the police, at a political trial on January 28, of having falsifying some documents.
    6.2, in Kiziltepe, local DEP chairman Ata Salman and eight other DEP members are placed under arrest by a tribunal.
    7.2, lawyer Levent Tüzel, detained on February 5, claims after his release that they were subjected to torture at police station.
    7.2, the Chairman of the Anti-War Association in Izmir, Aytek Özen is placed under arrest by a tribunal for his declaration against military service at a TV programme on December 8.
    7.2, security forces take into custody 30 people during their operations in Bitlis, Maras, Birecik and Nizip.
    8.2, four alleged TIKKO members are placed under arrest by the Istanbul SSC. In Bursa, five university students are detained by police.
    8.2, in Urfa, Mehmet Erek, Ramazan Erek and Ahmet Erek are found assassinated.
    9.2, worker Mehmet Sirin Akboga is shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Diyarbakir.
    10.2, the Workers’ Party (IP) candidate for the mayor of Usak, lawyer Gürcan Sagcan is detained by police as distribution party’s propaganda tracts.
    10.2, a police team shoots dead Adnan Tayyar during a traffic control.
    10.2, in Adana, Habib Gül claims to have been tortured for eleven days after his detention on January 14.
    10.2, in Bitlis, a young woman named Cemile Sanik who was detained during a raid on the village of Vanik is found decapitated.
    11.2, unidentified gunmen shoot dead lawyer Ufuk Demirel and two other people named Ali Dogru and Cavit Bitkin in Diyarbakir.
    12.2, IHD Balikesir chairman Mahmut Akkurt is sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to one-year imprisonment and to a fine of TL 100,000 for inciting the people to commit crime in speech he gave in 1992.
    12.2, two DEP mayors, Abdullah Kaya (Kozluk) and Cemil Akgül (Kurtalan) are dismissed from their posts by the decision of the Interior Ministry.
    12.2, DEP mayor candidates in Diyarbakir, Metin Toprak, Musa Özsat and Nebahat Akkoc are detained by police raiding their homes.
    13.2, in Salihli, a police team shoots dead 15 years old Nazli Duruk during a traffic control.
    13.2, a special security team throwing a bomb kills a 5-year old boy, Ibrahim Sefik and gravely wounds three others.
    14.2, security forces raiding a house in Viransehir shoot dead two people.
    14.2, the DEP Ankara office is bombed  and the Antalya office of the Socialist Unity Party (SBP) is set on fire by unidentified assailants.
    14.2, seven people are placed under arrest by a tribunal for their political activities in Adana.
    14.2, in Konya, the Association for Rights and Freedoms (Özgür-Der) is closed down by the governor for unauthorised activities. Three members of association resisting to police are detained.
    14.2, Ramazan Meral falls victim of political murder in Batman.
    14.2, the Military Tribunal of General Staff sentences two TV reporters, Erhan Akyildiz and Ali Tevfik Berber, to  a two-month imprisonment and a fine of TL 160,000 each for their program of December 8 on deserters.
    15.2, DEP mayor of Lice, Nazmi Balkas is dismissed from his post by the Interior Ministry.
    15.2, in Istanbul, police detains 14 alleged members of the Communist Labour Party of Turkey (TKEP).
    15.2, security forces detain nine alleged members of the Islamist IBDA-C in Gaziantep and Urfa.
    15.2, in Adana, 17 people are detained for PKK activities.
    15.2, Abdullah Yilmaz, kidnapped  in Cizre two months ago, is found assassinated.
    16.2, unidentified gunmen shoot dead DEP member Ömer Akpolat in Suruc, student Hakan Yalcin and Recep Kutlay in Diyarbakir. In Aralik, Tevfik Dogru and Isa Düzen fall victim of the explosion of a mine placed by security forces.
    16.2, police announces the arrest of 26 people in Izmir for pro-PKK activities.
    17.2, the trial of 20 lawyers accused of aiding PKK begins at the Diyarbakir SSC. At the trial attended by the observers from Amnesty International and the European Union of Bar Associations, the defendants claim to have been tortured during their police interrogation. The court decides to release eight lawyers who had been under arrest.
    17.2, security forces detain Deputy Mayor of Tatvan, Ahmet Engin, and ten other people in Tatvan and eight people in Istanbul for pro-PKK activities.
    17.2, unidentified assailants murder Mehmet Yoldas in Diyarbakir, Yasar Akgün, Yakup Mete and Mehmet Ali Akyüz in Midyat.
    18.2, the general headquarters of the Democracy Party (DEP) in Ankara is destroyed by a bomb explosion which kills Ekrem Akcakaya and wounds 16 people. DEP Chairman Hatip Dicle accuses the Counter Guerrilla Organization of organizing  a series of attacks and explosion in order to prevent the DEP from participating in elections.
    19.2, Ömer Alevcan (28) who was taken into custody on February 9 in Siirt dies at police station.
    18.2, unidentified gunmen murder Mehmet Tektas in Diyarbakir and Ahmet Demir in Cizre.
    19.2, a three-month pregnant woman, Zeynep Bal, claims to have been tortured at the Adana police headquarters  after being detained on February 1. She says that her husband, Hikmet Bal, is still under custody and subjected to torture.
    19.2, in Izmir, police opens fire on a group protesting price hikes and wounds two persons.
    20.2, in Sason, former HEP member Nuri Ekinci, wounded on February 16 by unidentified gunmen dies in hospital.
    21.2, a team of village protectors raiding the village of Baglan in Lice, wound seven villagers by beating. They also set on fire many houses in the village.
    21.2, in Izmir, security forces detain 30 people.
    21.2, in Ankara, six municipal employees are detained for Dev-Sol activities.
    21.2, IHD member Menderes Kocak and his friend Murat Avsar are detained in Istanbul.
    21.2, unidentified assailants murder Mehmet Aktas in Diyarbakir and Ihsan Irgat in Cizre..
    21.2, DEP candidate for Sincan mayorship, Ahmet Kizil is detained in Ankara.
    21.2, Ramazan Olgun and teacher Mustafa Baz fall victim of political murders in Cizre.
    22.2, the Association for Rights and Freedoms (Özgür-Der) is closed down by the governor of Ankara on grounds that two members of the association are under arrest.
    22.2, a gendarmerie team raiding the Diyarbakir E Type Prison beat all political prisoners and wound 25 of them.
    23.2, in Izmir, worker Gürhan Tamer who was detained on February 19 after a demonstration, claims to have been tortured under custody.
    23.2, the prosecutor of the Izmir SSC opens a court action against 21 people for PKK activities and demands capital punishment for four of the defendants.
    23.2, the Diyarbakir SSC begins to try four association and trade union officials for a common declaration considered separatist propaganda.
    23.2, in Istanbul, eleven people are detained for underground activities.
    23.2, unidentified gunmen assassinate Necir Acat in Nusaybin and Celal Baldan in Diyarbakir.
    24.2, in Tatvan, an armed group raiding the village of Emek shoots dead five peasants.
    24.2, in Viransehir, 18 DEP members or sympathisers are placed under arrest by a tribunal. In Istanbul, police detains six people.
    24.2, the prosecutor of the Izmir SSC starts three separate legal proceedings against the IHD Izmir Section on charges of having some banned publications, organizing unauthorised meetings and praising some traitors. Besides, IHD Izmir Chairman Yesim Islegen and two other officials of the association are indicted for a meeting that they organized.
    24.2, two DEP members, Soner Tekes and Ahmet Tekes are assassinated by unidentified gunmen in Diyarbakir.
    24.2, security forces open fire on the Heybetli village in Sason with heavy guns, kill six peasants and three children and wounds eight peasants and four children.  The villagers had earlier decided to retreat from pro-government forces named Village Protectors. Thereupon, the village had been raided and seven houses set on fire by pro-government terror groups one month ago.
    25.2, Kurdish lawyer Tahsin Ekinci who was kidnapped on February 22 in Ankara is found assassinated with seven bullets near the Gölbasi town. Ekinci was the defence attorney of the assassinated Kurdish businessman Behcet Canturk.
    25.2, unidentified gunmen shoot dead Giyasettin Parlak in Tatvan, Yakup Bicak in Diyarbakir and Zeki Yilmaz in Yüksekova.
    26.2, the prosecutor of the Istanbul SSC opens a court action against 88 people for pro-PKK activities. Eleven of the defendants face capital punishment and others imprisonments of not less than three years.
    27.2, unidentified gunmen assassinate Haci Hasan Gümüs in Nusaybin and Cengiz Baskin in Diyarbakir.
    28.2, In Batman, Yakup Cakto is assassinatedby unidentified gunmen.

    Turkish warplanes,  crossing the borders with Iran and Iraq on January 28, bombed Zaleh and some other Kurdish villages where PKK guerrillas have been based. Turkish premier Ciller described this air attack as “the most important operation of the past 10 years.”
    Although the Turkish military claim to have smashed the PKK’s military headquarters and training bases, the PKK denied this claim and said only seven militants died during the bombing. The PKK also claimed that two Turkish aircrafts had been shot down and called on journalists to visit the area and see a Turkish F-4 which had crashed. They claimed another plane, assumed to be an F-16, had crashed into Iranian territory.
    On the other hand, Iran accused the Turkish Army to bomb Iranian villages and claimed that nine Iranians had been killed and 19 Iranians injured during the Turkish attack. The Iranian Government demanded compensation and a formal apology from Turkey for the destruction of Iranian villages. Thereupon, the Turkish Foreign Ministry confirmed the bombing of Iranian villages and promised to provide compensation.
    Iraqi Ambassador to Ankara El-Tikriti too voiced his country’s dissatisfaction over the Turkish air raid on Zaleh.
    The daily Hürriyet claimed, in a front page report, that the air attack was designed to distract electoral attention from the government’s recent 13.6 per cent devaluation of the Turkish Lira.
    Earlier, on January 12, Turkish troops had crossed five kilometres into northern Iraq in hot pursuit of the PKK militants.
    On February 7, Turkish warplanes and helicopter gunships bombed two PKK targets in the border areas of northern Iraq.


    The Culture Ministry’s legal department revealed on February 15, 1994, that a book by the renowned Turkish poet Nazim Hikmet had recently been banned unlawfully in the town of Ayvalik in the province of Balikesir.
    HIKMET’S book, entitled Memleketimden Insan Manzaralari (Scenes of People From My Country), had apparently been seized in accordance with Article 142 of the Penal Code, a controversial article that was formally abolished in 1991.
    It was reported that a criminal court in Ankara, basing its ruling on the rescinded Article 142, ordered the banning of the book from circulation and that this decision had become final without being subject to appeal.
    The Culture Ministry’s legal department concluded that the book, which explored the various types of people living in Turkey, was neither provocative nor did it encourage a conflict among the social classes, as it was claimed by the Ankara criminal court.
    The legal department added that the Culture Ministry had applied to the Justice Ministry for a reversal of the seizure decision. 


    Mehmet Ali Baris Besli, owner and editor in chief of Ogni magazine—which is published in the Laz language—was indicted on February 15, 1994,  on charges of separatism by the Istanbul’ s State Security Court.
    The indictment of the prosecutor’s office states that certain .articles published in November 1993, in the first issue of the magazine, said that within the boundaries of the Turkish Republic there was a Laz nation which had its own language, adding that this community was separate to that of Turkey, and that it should struggle not only to make its language official but also for its independence.
    Defendant Besli denied the charges of separatism, pointing out that the culture of Laz could make an important contribution to that of Turkey. Besli said that Laz and its language were mentioned in Turkish dictionaries, adding that those who told  “Laz jokes” should also be tried for separatism.
    The court postponed the hearing, but it is claimed that Besli will be sentenced to between two and five years in jail and a fine of   TL 100 million for disseminating ideas against the sovereignty of the State.


    1.2, the editor of the periodical Mücadele, Cafer Cakmak is arrested by the Istanbul SSC for four different articles he published. Cakmak will be tried for separatist propaganda and praising outlawed organizations.
    1.2, the weekly Azadi N°90, Yeni Demokrat Genclik N°15 and Emegin Bayragi N°118 are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
    2.2, sociologist Ismail Besikci is sentenced by the Penal Court N°2 of Ankara to nine months in prison for his book in which he criticises the decisions of the Court of Cassation. The publisher of the book, Ünsal Öztürk too is sentenced to the same punishment.
    2.2, Aydinlik correspondent Ramazan Pinarbasi is detained during the funeral ceremony of a TDKP member in Adana.
    2.2, Igdir correspondent of Özgür Gündem, Meral Tikiz who was detained by police on January 21 is placed under arrest by a tribunal. She claims to have been tortured during her 13-day detention.
    2.2, police raiding Tokat office of Özgür Gündem detains employee Gürsel Eroglu.
    3.2, in Diyarbakir, police detains Özgür Gündem distributor Tarik Celik and confiscates all newspapers.
    3.2, the chief editor of the weekly Nokta, Ayse Önal, and correspondent Figen Turna are attacked with firearm by the wife of a smuggler.
    6.2, Aydinlik correspondent Nevzat Yilmaz and Gercek correspondent Metin Göktepe are detained by police as covering the funeral of a political militant. After his release, Yilmaz claims to have been tortured at police station.
    6.2, the periodical Özgür Gelecek, N°21 and Partizan N°14 are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for praising some outlawed organizations.
    7.2, Özgür Gündem distributors Seyfettin Öztürk and Erel Sütpak are detained in Urfa.
    7.2, the monthly Hedef, N°28 is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
    8.2, the weekly Azadi N°91 and Iscinin Yolu N°20 are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
    8.2, two correspondents of Özgür Gündem, Bülent Celik in Ankara and Ramazan Öcalan in Urfa, are detained by police.
    9.2, the Adana office of the periodical Mücadele  and the Diyarbakir office of the weekly Gercek are raided by police.
    10.2, Özgür Gündem publisher Yasar Kaya and Yurt Publishing House director Ünsal Kaya are brought before the Ankara SSC for a book they published in memory of Kurdish writer Musa Anter who had been assassinated in 1992. Each faces a prison term of up to five years.
    10.2, Özgür Gündem correspondent Orhan Cubuk is taken into custody in Ankara.
    10.2, the daily Aydinlik is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
    10.2, the prosecutor of the Istanbul SSC opened a court action against Gercek editor Pelin Sener for separatist propaganda. He also demands to ban the publication of Gercek.
    11.2, public prosecutor opened a legal proceeding against TV journalist Mehmet Ali Birand for his programme in which some official claims concerning the anti-PKK war were refuted by PKK spokesmen. At this trial opened at the High Penal Court N°5 of Istanbul on the demand of the Chief of General Staff, Birand faces a prison term of up to six years.
    11.2, the Adana office of the weekly Gercek is raided by police and all printed material inside confiscated. Police also raids in Adana the office of the periodical Taraf and detains Kenan Turgut.
    11.2, Özgür Gündem Igdir correspondent Emine Serhat, detained by police on February 3, is placed under arrest by a tribunal.
    13.2, Diyarbakir correspondent of the periodical Özgür Halk, Hüseyin Bora is detained by police.
    15.2, Özgür Gündem correspondent Ramazan Öcalan who was detained on February 8 is placed under arrest by a tribunal.
    17.2, a former editor of Özgür Gündem, Seyh Davut Karadag is sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to four-year imprisonment and a fine of TL 572 millions ($ 31,778) for some articles. The court also decides to sentence the daily’s owner, Yasar Kaya, to a fine of TL 431 millions ($ 23,944) and decides to close Özgür Gündem for one month.
    17.2, the Court of Cassation ratifies the sentence of the former editor of the defunct weekly 2000e Dogru,  Adnan Akfirat. The journalist was sentenced to one-year prison and a fine of TL 50 millions ($ 2,778) by the Istanbul SSC for a reportage on the PKK camps in Turkey.
    17.2, Viransehir correspondent of the daily Aydinlik, Osman Bayrak is detained by police.
    18.2, a former editor of Özgür Gündem, Mehmet Emin Baser is placed under arrest by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
    18.2, Emegin Bayragi N°108 and Azadi N°92 are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
    21.2, Izmir office of the periodical Alinteri is raided by police and correspondent Halime Özcelik taken into custody. In Ankara, Davut Koc and Zafer Kirbiyik are detained for putting Alinteri posters on walls.
    22.2, the weekly Azadi N°93 is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
    24.2, the last issues of the periodicals Militan Genclik and Odak are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist and anti-militarist propaganda.
    25.2, former editor of the periodical Toplumsal Dayanisma, Ese Yilmaz is sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to a 6-month imprisonment and a fine of TL 50 millions ($ 2,778) for separatist propaganda. The same journalist is sentenced also by the High Penal Court N°2 of Istanbul to ten months in prison and TL 1.5 million in fine for insulting the Armed Forces.
    26.2, Yeni Demokrat Genclik N°17 is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda. In Diyarbakir, police seizes all Özgür Gündem newspapers before being distributed.
    28.2, Diyarbakir correspondent of the daily Aydinlik, Ahmet Sümbül is tried by the Diyarbakir SSC for a reportage with PKK militants. He faces a prison term of up to 15 years.
    28.2, in Izmir, Aydinlik correspondent Eylem Sürer Kaya and Yeni Asir correspondent Deniz Sütcü are taken into police custody as covering a protest demonstration of high school students.


    Reuter Agency issued on February 15, 1994, the following report on the situation of Christian minorities in Southeast Turkey:
    Five months ago Father Tomas Bektas, predicted that migration would empty his Christian village in Southeast Turkey in one or two years.
    His forecast has proved too optimistic. Turkish authorities ordered the last 200 Syrian Orthodox, Catholic and Protestant inhabitants of Hassana, or Kosrah in Turkish, to leave their ancestral homes on November 1.
    Hassana lies in the foothills of the Cudi Mountains, where Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas have strongholds. “It was one of several villages we evacuated because it was under too much pressure from the PKK,” said Huseyin Avni Mutlu, state-appointed administrator of the nearby town of Silopi. ‘The PKK kept coming and demanding food, women and recruits.” Hassana people agree that nearby Kurdish Moslem villages had also been emptied, but deny that the PKK had harassed them. “We had no problems with the PKK or the government,” said the head of one of six Hassana families which took refuge in Deir al-Zafaran, an ancient monastery near the city of Mardin. “It was wrong to kick us out in winter,” said the old man blind in one eye and wearing baggy peasant clothes and a red head cloth. Government compensation had been promised but not delivered.
    “We can’t tell you everything,” said one Hassana villager. Syrian Orthodox villagers complain of intimidation, ranging from theft to kidnapping, by Moslem neighbours, Kurdish village guards paid by the state to fight the PKK, and the Hizbullah Moslem group, which they say works with the security forces. The government denies that accusation which is also made by Kurdish nationalists.
    Villagers say the PKK killed four Christians in Bulbul in 1990, allegedly because the village had accepted government guns. Only a dozen houses are still Inhabited in Bulbul, where most of the remaining people have applied for visas to join their relatives in Germany, Belgium or Sweden.
    “We can’t go on living here,” said one farmer. Even the aged priest, Yaacoub Guney, has stopped trying to persuade people to stay on. I’d go too if I could,” he said.
    He shows the way to Bulbul’s 1,300-year-old church, where he takes down a huge hand-written Bible and reads fluently in Syriac and Arabic from its Yellowing pages of Syriac script. The Syrian Orthodox presence in Southeast Turkey dates back to the sixth century, when the church was founded after a schism with the Orthodox church over the divine nature of Christ. The community has survived Persecution by Christian Crusaders and Mongols, clinging on even after the massacres of the dying days of the Ottoman Empire.
    Today, the sense of menace in an area ripped by guerrilla war has speeded up what has become an inexorable exodus. Metropolitan Bishop Samuel Aktas, who leads his dwindling flock from Mar Gabriel Monastery near the town of Midyat, says only about 1,000 Syrian Orthodox remain in the  Southeast. The once-flourishing community has shrunk  from 70,000 in the 1930s and about 250,000 in pre-World War One Ottoman Turkey. About 12,000 still live in western Turkey, mainly in Istanbul. “Many times I tried to stop people leaving for Europe, but I couldn’t,” said Aktas, a vigorous black-bearded cleric aged 49. “First they migrated for economic reasons, then the families followed the workers. Now everything is getting worse and we don’t know what will happen, he said. “We live by hope.” Not far from the monastery gate lies a truck blown up by a land mine a few days before Christmas. Possibly intended by the PKK for village guards, it killed a civilian driver. Last month Aktas red efforts to win the release of a priest kidnapped near Idil town. The priest was buried up to his neck and hung upside down by chains during his four-day captivity. A year ago kidnappers abducted a Syriac language teacher on the same road where the priest was seized and held him for seven or eight months before releasing him, Aktas, said.
    “We are living in fear,” said villagers in a hamlet near the town of-Nusaybin on the Syrian border. “Anything can happen.”  Most were waiting for visas to Europe, but said farmers in neighbouring Moslem villages were refusing to buy their land, even though it was rich and fertile. “They know they will soon be able to get it for free,” muttered one villager darkly. A dusty Christmas tree stood forlorn in the corner of the simple room where villagers squatted on mattresses around a wood-burning stove. “It’s been there for two years,” one joked. “Tell us one thing,” he demanded. “Why is it that you Europeans have  taken in 99 per cent of our people, but aren’t giving visas for the one per cent left?”.


    The March 27 local elections are expected to be a turning point concerning the political future of the country. Political observers share the opinion that these elections will be a test as well for the credibility of the DYP-SHP coalition as for the militarist policies concerning the Kurdish Question.
    Although more than ten political parties are participating in this country-wide test, it is not possible that the March 27 elections are to be held in a democratic manner. The Democracy Party (DEP), the only legal political organization defending the Kurdish people’s freedoms and rights, has already given the signs that it might not take part in the elections in the face of a violent campaign by “dark forces.”
    If the DEP’s intention not to participate in elections is confirmed, the results of the voting in the Turkish Kurdistan will be very far from reflecting the real choice of the Kurdish population.
    For the March 27 elections, beside the Correct Way Party (DYP), principal partner of the present coalition government, three other right-wing parties are running: the Motherland Party (ANAP), the Welfare Party (RP) and the Nationalist Action Party (MHP).
        On the left, three social democrat parties are taking part in the elections: the Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP), partner of the present coalition government, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Democratic Left Party (DSP).
    By the side of these seven principal parties, there are some other political parties that take part in the elections, but they do not seem having popularity to be elected to municipal assemblies.

Enemy brothers: ANAP and DYP

    Despite their claim that their ideologies are different, the ruling DYP and the main opposition ANAP are two centre right parties whose political structures and memberships are very similar.
    The founding leaders of both parties, the late Turgut Özal of ANAP and Süleyman Demirel of the DYP, purely out of eagerness to become president of the Republic, vacated their posts to two new leaders: Prime Minister Tansu Ciller for the DYP and former Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz for the ANAP.
    Those who are supporting the policies of centre right parties are floating between these two parties amid confusion and uncertainty. These people support the party that assigns them to important duties. This is made evident by the fact that those politicians who are known as members of ANAP are announcing their candidacy for the DYP in the local elections, and DYP members are switching to ANAP. And the ineffective members of these two parties are waiting for March 28 so that they can join the opposition ranks.
    Such an expectation is more visible in the DYP ranks. No one will be able to tolerate Tansu Ciller as the prime minister if her party is defeated at the local elections. Despite her “modern and beautiful woman” image, her popularity is rapidly decreasing because of the failure of her economic, social and human rights policies. If the DYP faces a considerable defeat in elections, the party ranks will look to President Demirel, who is very angry with her anyway, for assistance in removing her from office.
    The ANAP seems more comfortable in this respect. It has the advantage of being in opposition already. Due to its leading position in the opinion polls, it is less burdened by factional fighting, even though there is some division within the party, for example as regards the group consisting of Özal’s brother and his family.

Social democrat trinity

    A similar situation exists for the social democrat parties as well. Although their members share the same opinions, the SHP, the DSP and the CHP have not been able to unite their forces mainly because of personal quarrels of their leaders.
    The unrest is more evident within the SHP which has failed to keep its electoral promises such as a rapid democratisation and a more equitable social system. The new chairman, Murat Karayalcin shares the failure of Ciller’s policies. It should not be forgotten that he did not exactly win a crushing victory at the convention against his main rival, Aydin Güven Gürkan, and saw that Gürkan has clout in the parliamentary group. So now, the opposition within the SHP is waiting for the March results.
    The biggest showdown following the local elections will be between the SHP and the CHP. The SHP members who defected to the CHP led by Deniz Baykal in the belief that they would walk into forming a government, will realise the level of voter support for the social democrats.  If the SHP loses too many votes and the CHP gains, the equation will be different. If the CHP does not have a significant victory at the local elections, defectors will begin to return to the SHP.
    The social democrat party most at ease in the run up to the March elections is Ecevit’s DSP. As a one-man party based on Ecevit’s charisma, the DSP has never allowed any faction to develop within the party bodies and has been content with a limited number of members unconditionally obeying to their leader.

Fundamentalist RP phenomenon

    One of the main question marks of the coming elections is no doubt the level of popularity of the fundamentalist Welfare Party (RP)
    Led by Necmeddin Erbakan, the RP had obtained at the 1991 legislative elections 17,05 per cent of the votes and raised it to 24,52% at the partial local elections in 1992.
    The recent opinion polls indicate that the RP can come out from the March local elections as the party obtaining most spectacular results. The party leadership is hoping to do well in the polls by cashing in on public disillusion with secular parties.
    Erbakan claims his followers have doubled in number to 1.6 million over two years. He draws support from those who are dissatisfied with corruption and from the masses of rural migrants to the cities, many of whom find refuge from unemployment and poverty in the promises of religion.
    Although no statistics are available, analysts say Turks are becoming more observant. Women in ankle-length black robes, showing only a small triangle of face, are common in some quarters of Istanbul, a city of 11 million.
    Islamic revival takes different forms in Turkey. One is a kind of ‘cultural expression’ that hearkens back to the Ottoman past as the centre of the Islamic world.
    Analysts also point to a “liberal capitalist Islam.” The best example of that is Ihlas, a $ 200 million-a-year holding company that puts its profits back into operations and is modelled after Muslim charitable foundation. Ihlas own the largest-selling Islamic paper, Türkiye, which has a room of prayer at its istanbul headquarters, and runs a fundamentalist television station. It also has interests in construction, hospitals and publishing, and distributes Islamic books free outside Turkey.
    Afraid of the possible fundamentalist rise, mainstream politicians too take care to be observed going to mosques and Prime Minister Ciller very often repeats in public:  “Thank God I am a Muslim.”

Threat of a new military coup

    In February, remarks by President Süleyman Demirel, Deputy Prime Minister Murat Karayalcin and Parliament Speaker Hüsamettin Cindoruk set off a torrent of speculation that Turkey might be heading for its fourth military intervention since 1960.
    On February 21, Demirel said, “If the country loses its democratic calm, the people will seek calm through the fist.” Next day, Karayalcin claimed, “It is evident that some people are again preparing to interrupt democracy.” Thereupon, Cindoruk proposed a “broadly based national consensus government,” winning the support of some business groups who say that only a strong cabinet can implement tough economic reform.
    Such comments sparked a furore in a country which emerged from three years of military rule only a decade ago and still is under a semi-military regime.
    Mesut Yilmaz, leader of the main opposition Motherland Party, said the government had begun the coup debate on purpose to distract attention from its own failure.