ANTI-KURD OPERATION EXTENDED TO BELGIUM
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
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
“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
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
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.
STATE OF EMERGENCY EXTENDED
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 GREEN PARTY CLOSED DOWN
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
HUMAN RIGHTS DISASTER IN FEBRUARY
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
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
• 15 party offices and association buildings were
• There were a total of 39 mystery killings while 34
civilians were killed in various incidents. Police arrested 153 people
throughout the month.
STATE TERRORISM IN FEBRUARY
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
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
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
11.2, unidentified gunmen shoot dead lawyer Ufuk
Demirel and two other people named Ali Dogru and Cavit Bitkin in
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
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
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
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
14.2, Ramazan Meral falls victim of political murder
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
TURKISH JETS HIT IRAQ AND IRAN
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
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
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.
NAZIM HIKMET’S BOOK BANNED
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
A LAZ EDITOR INDICTED
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
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.
PRESSURE ON THE MEDIA IN FEBRUARY
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
1.2, the weekly Azadi N°90, Yeni Demokrat Genclik
N°15 and Emegin Bayragi N°118 are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
FEAR FUELS CHRISTIAN EXODUS
Reuter Agency issued on February 15, 1994, the
following report on the situation of Christian minorities in Southeast
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?”.
TOWARDS AN UPSET
IN TURKISH POLITICS
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
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
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
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
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.