RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IN 1994
The Human Rights Association (IHD), at a press
January 15, gave the details of human rights violations in Turkey
1994. The IHD Secretary General, Hüsnü Öndül said that 1994 had been a
bad year for human rights.
The following are the figures reported by the IHD:
Those convicted 1,209
Those detained 14,473
Alleged disappearances under
Suspicious murders 292
Extrajudicial execution and deaths under
Alleged torture cases 1,000
Those killed in the clashes 5,000
Civilians victims of actions 458
Burned down/evacuated villages,
Burned forests 31
Closed organizations, parties,
Raided organizations, parties,
Bombed places 191
Ordered imprisonment sentences 533
years 5 months
Ordered fines TL 55 billions 725
Demanded imprisonment sentences
1,081 years 6 months
Demanded fines TL 7 billions 233
Confiscated publications 450
Journalists, scholars, writers, MPs in
Dismissed workers 700,000
In January 1995
Despite the protests from international
organizations, the human
rights violations considerably increased in January 1995 compared to
the same period last year.
At a press conference on February 20, IHD Chairman
Akin Birdal gave the following figures:`
Those convicted 253
Those detained 1,233
Alleged disappearances under
Suspicious murders 15
Extrajudicial execution and deaths under
Alleged torture cases 23
Those killed in the clashes 242
Civilians victims of actions 28
Burned down/evacuated villages,
Closed organizations, publications
Raided organizations, publications
Bombed places 19
Ordered imprisonment sentences 10
years 6 months
Ordered fines TL 1 billions 434
Demanded imprisonment sentences
131 years 5 months
Demanded fines TL 2 billions 750
Confiscated publications 61
Journalists, scholars, writers, MPs in
Dismissed workers 524
Birdal said if Turkey wanted a green light from the
Parliament for the customs union it should change its legislative and
executive practices. He listed the necessary steps that should be taken
to gain the approval of the European Parliament as follows:
- People who were in prison for their thoughts
should be released immediately.
- The relevant articles of the Turkish Penal Code
Law, which caused people to be persecuted for their thoughts, should be
- As a result, the ongoing trials of those charged
with crimes of expression should be stopped.
- The legislation against freedom of the press
should be changed and censorship should be abolished.
- Former DEP deputies should be released and the
should be implemented in the Constitution for those deputies to regain
their places in the Parliament.
- Oppression of human rights activists should be
- The necessary regulations should be implemented to
torture, the disappearance of detainees, extrajudicial executions and
- Evacuations and burning down of villages in the
Eastern Turkey should be stopped and the losses of the villagers should
- The village guards and special crack teams that
have been operating in the same region should be dissolved.
- The state of emergency in the Southeast and
should be abolished and a civilian, democratic system implemented.
COST OF ANTI-PKK WAR: $12.5 BILLION
Interior Minister Nahit Mentese announced on January
28 that the
financial burden of combating Kurdish guerrilla in the Southeast is
around TL 500 trillion ($12.5 billion). However,
meeting of the Aegean Young Businessmen's Association (EGIAD) in Izmir,
Mentese discounted any suggestions of a "political solution", claiming
that a political settlement with the PKK would mean in effect the
division of Turkey.
On the other hand, the Interior Minister, on January
16, gave the following statistics on the anti-PKK War:
PKK militants killed 4,060
PKK militants wounded 149
PKK militants captured 11,852
Security personnel killed 1,089
Security personnel wounded 2,586
Citizens killed 1,062
Citizens wounded 1,775
EUROPALIA ALLA TURCA
As the Ankara regime is very often being condemned
as well by the elected representatives of Europe, notably at the
Council of Europe and the European Parliament, as by the
international media, the European governments, taking no heed of public
opinion, have honoured this bloodthirsty regime with two unmerited
1. According to an agreement already signed on
January 31, 1994, Turkey will be the "star country" of the Europalia
2. According to an accord to be signed by the
Council of Ministers on March 6, 1995, Turkey will be, from January
1st, 1996, an associate member of the European Union having a Customs
Union with 15 countries.
Although the European Parliament announced on
February 16 that the human rights situation in Turkey is too serious to
allow the formation of the proposed customs union at present and it
would not ratify this union as far as human rights are not respected,
Mrs. Tansu Ciller already started loudly speaking of a historical
victory over the opponents of the regime.
In this issue, we are giving the text of the
European Parliament and certain preoccupations of the Turkish
media concerning the outcome of the Customs Union.
The further analyses on the Customs Union and the
European concessions on the matter will be given in the coming
As for Europalia, despite the warnings coming from
human rights organizations, the International Europalia Foundation
disqualified some democratic countries to the benefit of the Ankara
regime and signed the agreement Europalia 96-Turkey agreement on
January 31, 1994, in Istanbul with the Turkish Prime Minister Hikmet
Prior to the signature of the agreement, Belgian
daily Le Soir, on January 29, 1994, said: "Having regard to the
political situation of this country and few weeks after the
confrontations between Turks and Kurds on the Belgian territory, this
obviously raises certain questions."
No doubt, one of the principal questions was: "How
will Belgium welcome the rulers of such a country during the 1996
Festival as the men of culture and science, Turkish or Kurdish, are
still the principal target of the State terror?"
Does Belgium consider the respect to human dignity
and fundamental rights less important than the financial investment of
Turkey to the organization of this festival? It had already been
announced in the Turkish press, the Ankara Government considered this
festival as a political conquest rather than a cultural event.
Months ago, the Turkish Foreign Minister Hikmet
Cetin had held a series of meeting with Turkish businessmen and called
them to allocate maximum resources to this festival for gaining over
the European opinion and to make it forget Turkey's shameful human
What is more, as the Anatolia is the cradle of many
civilisations, how can the Europalia-96 make the propaganda of a regime
that systematically destroy all remnants of these civilisations?
In Le Soir of January 29, 1994, Baron Godeaux,
Chairman of the International Europalia Foundation, admitted that the
financial preoccupation rather than respect to human rights and
cultural values was the main reason of their shameful choice:
"We are blamed of presenting the culture of the
State-nation alone. We have many times researched other formulas, but
without the aid of States, all organization would fall on our
shoulders, which is unthinkable from the financial point of view."
The signature of the agreement was announced by the
pro-government Turkish press with the following headlines: "It is
Belgium that will make us recognized in Europe," "A historical
occasion," "Turkish flags in Brussels," "A European chance for Turkey!"
According to a law adopted by the Turkish National
Assembly on September 22, 1994, the organization of the Europalia-96 is
being carried on as a work of the Turkish State's propaganda apparatus.
The law first describes the Europalia as "a festival
consisting of political, economic, commercial, cultural, social and
The festival's organization is conducted by the
National Europalia Board of Turkey chaired by a State Secretary and
composed of the representatives of foreign affairs, finance, culture
and tourism ministries.
After the condemnation of DEP deputies and
devastation of the Özgür Ülke offices, Info-Türk Chief Editor Dogan
Özgüden, by an article to Le Soir of December 23, 1994, called again
the Europalia Foundation to cancel Europalia-96 Turkey:
"As sociologist Ismail Besikci, who is Turk, serves
imprisonment totalling more than sixty years and faces hundreds years
at pending trials for his essays defending the Kurdish identity and
culture, how will Belgium receive his jailers?
"If one speaks of the splendour and richness of
Anatolia's cultural and artistic values, it should be admitted that
they are also masterpieces of its native peoples. Because, before
Turkish arrival in Anatolia in 1071, Kurds, Greeks, Armenians and
Assyrians were already there.
"Whereas, these peoples and their artistic, cultural
and religious values are systematically destroyed by the Ankara regime.
It remains, at present, only tens of thousands Armenians, Assyrians and
Greeks in Turkey. Aren't their last cultural and religious sanctuaries
menaced by destruction? As for the Kurds, their villages and
birthplaces are in flames under the assault of raging chauvinism of the
Turkish Army and the Extreme-Right.
"How will the King of Belgians and the federal,
community and regional leaders be able to 'embrace' the representatives
of such a regime on the pretext of making recognized the Anatolian
"Europalia '96 is already a battle horse for a
diplomacy at the service of the State Terrorism.
"However, despite this clumsy decision, above all
after the condemnation of Kurdish deputies, isn't it thinkable to
simply renounce the Europalia-Turkey, to postpone it to a further date
— a date when Turkey will prove its democratic maturity and will no
more imprison its men and women of culture and science, when all the
peoples having created Anatolia's cultural splendor, Armenians,
Assyrians, Greeks and Kurds as well as Turks attached to European
democratic values will no more be subjected to State terror.
"It seems indispensable for that Europalia-96 does
not risk turning into festivities of shame."
This article has been responded defensively by the
Europalia Foundation, but aggressively by the Turkish Embassy.
In their joint reply (Le Soir, December 27, 1994),
Europalia Chairman Baron Jean Godeaux and General Commissioner Marcel
van de Kerckhove, arguing that they are criticizing and reproaching the
condemnation of Kurdish deputies as much as the author of the article,
say: "Surely, the risk of political taking over does exist. But out
public have always been able to take things into account. With this
conviction, we have believed — and always believe — that we are not
taking part of Kreon against Antigone. (...) We are thinking of Jean
Monnet's these words: 'We are not uniting States in coalition, but we
are uniting the peoples.'"
Unfortunately, since then the situation has not
changed, on the contrary, many new spectacular violations of human
rights have happened in Turkey. But nobody heard a single reproaching
word from the Europalia officials in Brussels, neither after the
prosecution of two internationally renown intellectuals, Aziz Nesin and
Yasar Kemal, nor after the publisher of The Armenian Taboo, Mrs. Ayse
Nur Zarakolu was sentenced to two years for this book!
The risk of political taking over of the Festival by
the Ankara regime is getting greater each day. What does it mean to
define in the Turkish law the Europalia as "a festival consisting of
political performances" among the others? Of whom are these political
Why is the Turkish National Europalia Board composed
of the repressive government members alone and why there is not any
representatives of Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians or Greeks in Europalia
committee and sub-committees?
Is this the way of uniting peoples?
Anyway, since financial preoccupations of the
Europalia Foundation administrators are more important than human
rights, let them enjoy that Turkey has already guaranteed $25 millions
of the $40 million Europalia budget.
As for the answer of the Turkish Embassy's Press
Councillor (Le Soir, December 30, 1994), like all official
declarations, it is full of insinuating and paranoiac arguments: "Once
again, Mr. Özgüden endeavours with a suspect attention not to touch the
real problem that Turkey is currently confronted: the terrorist action
of the PKK. By laying into Turkey tooth and nail nobody can annihilate
its importance and make it disappear from the map."
In another injurious answer (Le Soir, January 10,
1995) signed by a servant of the Turkish Embassy, after a hysterical
cry, "Turkey belongs to Turks!", the shameful persecution of Besikci is
justified in following terms: "If Mister Ismail Besikci is
condemned while many other men and women of letters are in peace,
it is his fault. Because, democracy is done of a whole of all rules to
be respected and these rulers are being applied to everyone in an equal
and just manner. It is to you to think it over!"
Yes, the Europalia-96 has already turned into
a festival of shame which rather merits the title of Terropalia!
Now it is to the International Europalia Foundation,
but also and particularly to Belgian human rights organizations to
think over this clumsy choice!
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT'S PREREQUISITE FOR CUSTOMS UNION
The European Parliament, at its February 16 sitting
in Strasbourg, adopted a new resolution describing Ankara's human
rights record as "too grave to allow for the formation of the proposed
custom union at present."
Same day, the European Parliament adopted another
resolution concerning the persecution of novelist Yasar Kemal.
According to the first resolution, even if the
EU-Turkey Custom Union Agreement is signed in Brussels on March 6 as
scheduled, the European Parliament will not ratify it unless Turkey
makes progress considerable amelioration on the situation of human
The EP resolution reads:
"The European Parliament,
"A. whereas the Turkish political parties have
agreed to examine the modifications to be made to the Constitution,
which may effect the very provisions that led to the trial of the
"B. whereas, however, the latest Amnesty
International report, the Turkish Human Rights Association and the
Human Rights Foundation all record a serious deterioration in the human
rights situation in Turkey,
"C. whereas, with regard to agreements with third
countries, the conditionality clause on human rights is deemed
important by all EU institutions,
"1. Believes that the human rights situation in
Turkey is too serious to allow the formation of the proposed customs
union at present;
"2. Appeals to the Turkish Government and to the
Turkish Grand National Assembly to undertake a fundamental reform of
its Constitution in order better to guarantee the protection of
democracy and human rights in Turkey, and to contribute to a solution
of the Cyprus problem;
"3. Calls on the Commission to establish a system of
interim reporting on the modifications currently being made to the
Turkish Constitution and, more generally, on the measures taken and to
be taken to strengthen the rule of law; reminds the Commission and the
Council that the planned agreement establishing a customs union between
the European Union and Turkey must be submitted for Parliament's
assent, which it intends to make conditional on the interim reports on
THE CUSTOMS UNION: VICTORY OR CAPITULATION?
Although the signature of the Customs Union with the
European Union has become a matter of prestige for the Ciller
Government, the outcome of this union has recently been the object of a
polemic in Turkey.
In fact, many people do not know exactly what means
a customs union with the European Union. As the pro-government circles
consider the conclusion of the union as a further step toward Turkey's
full membership of the European Union and consequently as a political
victory, many observers often raise the following questions:
- Does the customs union give Turkey an advantage
over the Central and Eastern European countries?
- How will Turkey, the only non-member country to
achieve customs union in 1996, be placed in the neo-concentric circles
theory of France and Germany, the self-declared core states of the EU?
- Will it be in the second ring with the "slower EU
states" or will it be in the third ring with "the rest of Europe"?
- Will Ankara be able to play a leading role in the
Recently, the chief editorialist of the daily
Hürriyet, Oktay Eksi qualified the customs union as a Turkish
capitulation to an international union, because Turkey will have no say
in the EU's economic and political decisions and will, by this union,
be obliged to apply them even if they are against its own interests.
On the other hand, The Turkish Daily News of
November 24, 1994, resumed the pros and the cons of the customs union
1. The removal of non-tariff barriers in sectors
where Turkey has a high level of international competitiveness, like
textiles and food industry, will lead to a boom in exports, which might
in turn give a major boost to economic growth. Investment volume and
employment will increase considerably, the latter due to the fact that
these sectors are mostly labor-intensive ones.
2. The adoption by Turkey of common customs tariffs
against third countries will offer the same preferential trade options
that are enjoyed by the EU. Besides, certain industries will have
access to cheaper inputs thanks to common tariffs enabling them to
boost their competitiveness.
3. Foreign investment in the Turkish economy, both
from the EU states and other international investors will significantly
increase. Increased foreign investment will not only create new jobs
but will also help to boost exports.
4. Turkish industries will have to use European
production standards and this will lead to a massive utilization of
European technology. Turkey will renovate its existing technology while
firms, particularly large-scale firms, will increase innovative
activity. Experts anticipate a rise in Turkey's research and
development spending in real terms after completion of the customs
5. In macro terms, the customs union will help by
automatically imposing better economic discipline on Turkey, which will
have no alternative other than to adopt the EU's practices and rules in
economic management. This, in the medium to long-term, might help build
macroeconomic stability. Administrative and regulatory disciplines will
6. Turkish consumers will be offered a wider range
of choices at better prices and higher quality, especially in the
automotive industry and home appliances sectors.
7. Turkish consumers will also enjoy the protection
of an "official shield" against exploitation. Consumer protection law,
which is an essential to achieve customs union, will help to legally
defend the basic rights of millions of consumers.
8. Illegal gains from violations of intellectual
property rights will partly be removed as Turkey will have to conclude
legislation on this issue. Turkey will no longer be called a
9. The government will have practical and legal
means to maintain surveillance on cartel agreements within the
framework of a competition law, which is another legislative essential.
Antitrust laws will further protect consumers.
10. There will be better surveillance of environment
protection issues. Both Turkish and EU manufacturers will be required
to make environment protection investments to support their original
investment projects. Environmental experts anticipate better
environmental care after customs union.
...and the cons
1. Turkey's sectors of low competitiveness will have
to confront tough rivalry from EU counterparts and some of them may
possibly fail. The automotive industry (including spare parts
manufacturing) is a potential candidate to suffer from customs union.
Other critical sectors are home appliances, iron-steel, electrical
devices and chemical products. Experts point out that while sectors of
low level competitiveness may fail, there are further sectors which
show promise in the longer-term but currently have a low level of
competitiveness, that may be unable to withstand the competition at the
2. All this does not mean Turkey's
highly-competitive sector will be perfectly comfortable either. Almost
identical sectors in four member states, Italy, Portugal, Greece and
Italy are very competitive, possibly pushing Turkey into a situation of
cut-throat rivalry. Turkey's traditional export items of textile and
food industry products also appeared in the top ten list of Turkey's
imports from the EU in 1993, showing the potential competition from the
3. The failure of certain industries will cause
massive layoffs. This might in turn lead to social problems.
4. Patent laws will cause a rise in the general
level of medicine prices, which will in turn make the Government's bill
for transfer payments higher.
5. Increased imports from the EU will widen Turkey's
trade gap, raising the Country's need for foreign exchange and
depressing the Turkish lira. Continuous depreciation of the lira would
make it far more difficult to build economic stability.
6. If Turkey adopts the Union's common customs
tariffs against the rest of the world, it will have removed protection
against several countries against which it now protects domestic
industries. Turkey may therefore become a concession-granting country
while it is now a concession-taking country in international trade.
7. On the other extreme, Turkey will have to remove
the concessions it grants to preferential trading partners. This might
mean these countries will have to remove their trade concessions to
8. When Turkey fully adopts common tariffs, it will
have imposed a protective wall against the United States and Japan.
Under such circumstances these countries might review Turkey's current
status as a preferential trading partner.
9. Since customs union does not mean full membership
in the EU, the fact that Turkey will not be represented in the EU's
decision making mechanisms means it will not be able to defend its
rights and put forward arguments in negotiations.
10. Turkey will have to remove the mass housing fund
(and therefore its receipts) together with customs duties from imports
of EU products. This will lead to a major erosion of Turkey's tax
receipts, possibly widening fiscal deficits unless corrective measures
TRAINING OF TURKISH EUROCRATS
Sure of the signature of Customs Union and even
Turkish adhesion to the EU, the Ankara Government has decided to take
measures for preparing necessary staff for future European posts.
State Minister Ali Sevki Erek said on February 19
that a European Union Academy will be established within Istanbul
University, in order to train Turkish Eurocrats.
Fore the time being, the academy will provide a
four-year education for those who want to become administrators in the
public and private sectors that have links with the European Union.
CRITICISMS AT THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
The Standing Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly
of the Council of Europe is expected to debate in London on March 15
the proposal of suspending Turkey from the Council because of its
worsening human rights record. The proposal is expected to be sent to
the Political Affairs and Legal Affairs Committees.
The situation in Turkey was already discussed by the
Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg on January 30 and many members
accused the Turkish Government of not having kept its promises on the
Presenting the Standing Committee's Progress Report
to the Assembly, its rapporteur Mr. La Russa regretted very much that
sufficient progress had not been achieved by the Turkish authorities in
honouring their commitments.
Dutch socialist Mrs. Baarveld-Schalman informing the
Assembly that the Socialist Group decided to request suspending Turkey
from the Council of Europe.
"The Assembly and the Committee of Ministers have
been 'very reasonable' to Turkey. The Socialist Group, however, is
unwilling to be reasonable any longer, despite Mrs. Ciller's
announcement about constitutional change. Behaving reasonably has not
resulted in any change in Turkey, in fact the problems there have got
worse. Those problems do not just affect that section of the population
which calls itself Kurdish. I remember, for example, the report
presented by the Committee on the Prevention of Torture, which was
shocking literature. Even after the report, however, the Assembly did
British socialist Mr. Cox: "Our fellow parliamentary
Assembly, the European Parliament, has been scathing in its criticism
of Turkey and of the trial [of DEP deputies]. Our colleague from Turkey
said, 'Do not push us, we are doing as much as we can', but, with all
respect, we have heard that year after year and, sadly, there has been
no improvement. If there had been, would those parliamentarians really
have stood trial so recently? Time has run out and if, in the next few
months, we have no clear evidence of a constitutional change, we should
consider whether Turkey has any right to remain a member of this
Finnish Left Alliance deputy Mr. Laakso: "The
delegation of the Council of Europe visited Turkey last September,
under the leadership of our President, Miguel Martinez. I had the
opportunity to be in the delegation. We met the Prime Minister and
other prominent representatives of Turkey. I admit that I was naive to
believe their promises. The Finnish delegation has previously asked for
the consideration of the credentials of the Turkish delegation if
that police of promises does not change to the policy of deeds. Until
now, I have opposed that, but if that policy of promises is only
promises, and if it continues, we must take another type of approach."
Finnish Social Democrat Mrs. Halonen: "The situation
in Turkey is not an easy one, but we have been very patient. We have
perhaps been too patient for too long. We have not seen the positive
steps for which we have waited. I fully sport the decision that the
Socialist Group had made today."
YASAR KEMAL: TARGET OF STATE TERRORISM
After hundreds intellectuals persecuted, the State
Terrorism has recently taken as target internationally renown writers
such as Aziz Nesin and Yasar Kemal.
As the Ankara State Security Court was ordering
prosecutors to open legal proceedings against Aziz Nesin for having
published the extracts of Salman Rushdie's Satantic Verses, the
Istanbul SSC indicted Yasar Kemal for an article he wrote for the
January 10 issue of the German magazine Der Spiegel.
Yasar Kemal, author of Memed My Hawk, which has sold
600,000 copies around the world, is the only Turkish writer to have
been shortlisted for the Nobel Prize for Literature.
In the said article, Yasar Kemal strongly criticized
the Turkish policy on the Kurds and called for an end to the conflict
in Southeast Turkey. The Istanbul SSC prosecutor accuses the 72-year
old writer of "disseminating separatism".
After the publication of his article in Der Spiegel,
Prime Minister Tansu Ciller resorted to her usual tactics for provoking
the public opinion and prosecutors and qualified the author as
He was officially charged by the Istanbul SSC the
under Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law in court on January 23. Many
distinguished Turkish and Kurdish intellectuals accompanied him to
court and expressed their solidarity with him.
In another legal action on February 9, Yasar Kemal
was indicted by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda in a
collection of essays entitled Freedom of Thought and Turkey.
The publisher of the book, Erdal Öz too was charged
for the book which was confiscated.
In a letter to Premier Ciller on February 14, PEN
American Centre condemned the government's wide application of the
Anti-Terror law which has been used in the past year to silence over
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION ON YASAR KEMAL
The European Parliament, at its sitting on February
16, 1995, in Strasbourg adopted the following resolution on the
charging of Yasar Kemal.
"The European Parliament,
"A. whereas, on 13 January 1995, the State Security
Court in Istanbul ordered an investigation of the Turkish writer Yasar
Kemal and, on 23 January, decided to institute proceedings against him
on the grounds of 'separatist propaganda',
"B. whereas the reason for this action is an article
by the aforementioned writer published in the 2 January 1995 edition of
the German weekly Der Spiegel, in which he condemned Ankara's crackdown
on Turkey's Kurdish minority and criticized the ambivalent tone of the
authorities' voice, which is conciliatory towards the West but ruthless
within Turkey's own frontiers,
"C. whereas Turkey is a members of the Council of
Europe and has signed and ratified the European Convention for the
Protection of Human Rights,
"D. whereas systematic persecution of writers,
journalists and intellectuals is continuing under the current Turkish
"E. whereas the number of people arrested and
imprisoned in Turkey for 'the offence of holding a particular opinion'
continues to grow,
"F. whereas, under the Turkish anti-terrorism law,
the 'offence of separatist propaganda', with which Yasar Kemal has been
charged, is punishable by two to five years' imprisonment and a heavy
"G. whereas the writer, who is 72 years old, acts as
his country's conscience and was imprisoned soon after the military
coup in March 1971 for having criticized the social situation in his
"1. Emphatically condemns the charging of Yasar
"2. Considers that the charge of 'separatist
propaganda' brought against him is totally unjustified and that the
article in Der Spiegel does not contain any objective element which
would give grounds for such a charge;
"3. Considers, therefore, that this action is
tantamount to a political trial and constitutes a serious violation of
human rights and the right of freedom of expression;
"4. Deems such proceedings to be unworthy of a
country which claims to be democratic and which is associated with the
"5. Calls on the Council and the Commission to bring
pressure to bear on the Turkish authorities in order to ensure that
Turkey shows greater respect for human rights and that all proceedings
against the author Yasar Kemal are dropped;
"6. Recalls and reaffirms its previous resolutions
on the human rights situation in Turkey and, in particular, its
resolutions of 29 September 1994 and 15 December 1994 on the trial of
Turkish Members of Kurdish origin of the Turkish Grand National
THE DARK CLOUD OVER TURKEY*
One of the greatest tragedies in Turkey's history is
happening now. Apart from a couple of hesitant voices, no one is
standing up and demanding to know what the Turkish government is doing,
what this destruction means. No one is saying: "After all your
signatures and promises you are riding towards doomsday, leaving the
earth scorched in your wake. What will come of all this?"
Turkish governments have resolved to drain the pool
to catch the fish; to declare all-out war.
We have already seen how it can be done. The world
is also aware of it. Only the people of Turkey have been kept in
ignorance; newspapers have been forbidden to write about the drainage.
Or maybe there was no need for censorship: maybe our press, with its
sense of patriotism and strong nationalist sentiment, chose not to
write about it assuming the world would neither hear nor see what was
happening. The water was being drained in so horrendous a fashion that
the smoke ascended to high heaven. But for our press, deceiving the
world and our people — or, rather, believing they had succeeded in
doing so — was the greatest act of patriotism, of nationalism. They
were not aware that they had perpetrated a crime against humanity.
Their eyes bloodshot, their mouths foaming, they were shouting with one
voice: "We will not give one stone, one handful of soil." Cries of "Oh
God" rose upon the air. Dear loyal patriotic friends, no one wants a
single stone, nor a handful of soil from us. Our Kurdish citizens want
their language, their language and culture that are being slaughtered.
Our Kurdish brothers are now at war to win their
rights. Those Kurdish brothers with whom we have always been together
in sorrow and in joy. During the War of Independence we fought shoulder
to shoulder. We established this state together. Should a man cut out
the tongue of his brother?
Oh friend, is there anything in those declarations
you signed — the UN Bill of Human Rights, the Council of Europe, the
Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Helsinki
Final Act ¬ to say that if I give my people human rights they will
demand their 'independence'? Did you lay down such a condition? In
those declarations you signed did it not say that every nation, every
ethnic community should determine its own destiny?
The water has begun to dry up. The houses of nearly
2,000 villages have been burned. Many animals as well as people have
been burned inside them. The world press has written about this, as
well as our so nationalistic newspapers. Our ostriches still bury their
heads in the sand. The country is awash with blood and how can our
illustrious media remove its head from the sand? They burnt people too
in many houses.
The draining of the waters has cost Turkey and
humanity much. And looks like continuing to do so. Already over 1,700
people have been the victims of murder by persons unknown.
Intellectuals in the West have begun to debate whether a new genocide
is taking place; the possibility of a Human Rights Court for Turkey's
politicians and an economic boycott against Turkey is being discussed.
Choose between these delightful alternatives!
The most horrific aspect is the inhumanity of
outright war for the sake of a few fish. They have burnt almost all the
forests of eastern Anatolia because guerrillas hide out in them.
Turkey's forests have been burning for years. Not much that could be
called forest is left and we are burning the remainder to catch fish.
Turkey is disappearing in flames along with its forests, anonymous acts
of genocide, and 2.5 million people exiled from their homes, their
villages burnt, in desperate poverty, hungry and naked, forced to take
to the road, and no one raises a finger.
Turkey's administrators have got so carried away
that intellectual crimes have been regarded as among the most serious;
people have rotted away in prisons, been killed and exiled for such
crimes. Today over 200 people are serving sentences for crimes of
thought in our prisons. Hundreds more are on trial. Among these
intellectual criminals are university lecturers, journalists, writers
and union leaders. Conditions in the prisons are so fearsome that a
country, a world, could sink into the earth in shame.
As if a racist, oppressive regime were not enough,
there have been three military coups in 70 years. Each coup has made
the Turkish people a little more debased, brought them a little lower.
They have rotted from the root, with their culture, their humanity,
their language. There is no reason at all for this inhuman, purposeless
war in Anatolia. I repeat, the Kurds want nothing but human rights.
They want to use their language, to have their identity restored, and
develop their culture to the same extent as the Turkish people. You
will ask if the Turkish people have these rights themselves. If things
continue as they are, it will not be long before we encounter waves of
resistance from the Turkish people. These 70 years have crushed all the
people of Anatolia like a steamroller; not a blade of grass has grown
in its path. For the moment, all we can ask is that all the Anatolian
people be granted full human rights.
These things I speak of have a single cause: to
appropriate the liberty of the Anatolian people. This government has
done everything it can to exploit the Anatolians, humiliate them and
leave them hungry. There is nothing they have not suffered for the last
70 years. If they have managed to survive such a wind for so long, that
is because the soil of Anatolia is so rich in culture.
This world is a graveyard of wrecked languages and
cultures. What cultures whose names and reputations we have never even
heard have come and gone in this world? As a cultural mosaic, the
cultures of Anatolia have been a source of modern cultures. If they had
not tried to prohibit and destroy other languages and other cultures
than those of the Turkish people, Anatolia would still make major
contributions to world culture. And we would not remain as we are; a
country half famished, its creative power draining away.
The sole reason for this war is that cancer of
humanity, racism. If this were not so, would it be possible for
right-wing, racist magazines and newspapers to declare that "The
Turkish race is superior to every other"? The brother of this statement
is "Happy is he who calls himself a Turk". I first went to eastern
Anatolia in 1951, and saw that on the mountain sides everywhere they
had written in enormous letters visi"le from a distance of three, five
and 10 kilometres, 'Happy is he who calls himself a Turk". They had
embellished the slopes of Mount Ararat, too. The entire mountain had
become happy to be Turkish. And, worse even, they made the children
declare: "I am a Turk, I am honest, I am hard-working", every morning.
And much more is happening in Turkey! Having exiled
2.5 million people, now they have put an embargo on food in eastern
Anatolia. No one who does not get a certificate from the police station
can buy food, because the villagers give food to the guerrillas. The
crops, nut and fruit trees of villagers who prefer exile to taking up
arms to protect their village from guerrilla attack are burned along
with the forests. Their animals are slaughtered. Why are the villages
being burned and razed? So that they may not harbour guerrillas and be
a source of food for them. From what we hear in Istanbul, the
guerrillas receive their needs from the village watchmen. A few days
ago the newspapers reported that guerrillas had stolen 700 sheep
belonging to the village watchmen, the bastion of the state. There are
50,000 paid watchmen in eastern Anatolia; it is the slave of these
people. They are the state in eastern Anatolia, they are everything.
They can kill, destroy and burn. They recognise no rule of humanity and
What else is happening in Turkey? The village elders
of Ovacik who said that soldiers had burnt their village were found
dead in the burned forests nearby a few days later. The government
minister [for human rights] Azimet Köylüoglu who had claimed that
soldiers were burning villages went back on his words a few days later:
"How can anyone say that the army is burning villages? It is the PKK."
And our "free newspapers" reported this.
What else is happening in Turkey? I swear that the
newspapers wrote this too. I was dumbfounded. Listen, in a district of
Van they woke up one morning and found the town covered with red
crosses. How could the newspapers resist such a piece of news? The SS
had done the same.
And there are no shepherds left in the mountains.
They have killed the adult shepherds, and now they send children on the
assumption that they won't touch them. But a few days later they gather
up the dead bodies of these tiny shepherds from the mountains.
What else is happening in Turkey? God damn them, one
is ashamed of being human. I will write this too. One morning a
journalist friend of mine rang. We had worked together as journalists
for years. "Do you know what is going on?" he asked. "What?" I replied.
"The police have taken away everyone who works for Özgür Gündem
newspaper." I immediately went to the newspaper offices and saw that
police had cordoned off the building. I asked to go in but the police
wouldn't let me. There was no one left to produce the newspaper. They
had taken all 120 employees into custody. They had even taken the poor
tea boy. If it had been summer they would probably have been ordered to
arrest the flies at the newspaper.
That is enough. I cannot bring myself to talk longer
about the historic achievement of the Turkish Republic. To battle
against oppression in Turkey today is a challenge not everyone can take
up. There is the risk of going hungry. It is a strong tradition in the
Turkish Republic to make a mockery of its opponents. And, and, and, it
is only at the risk of your life that you oppose the state today. The
cost of opposing the Turkish-Kurdish War is heavy. What can we do but
The coup of 12 September 1980 not only forced
intellectuals to keep their heads down, not only threw hundreds of
thousands of people into prison and tortured them. The entire country
cowered in fear, was made degenerate and driven further from humanity.
It made informers of ordinary citizens, created bloody wolf-mouthed
confessors, and totally destroyed human morality. A country where
universal morality has become atrophied is a patient in a coma.
The Constitution which the leader of the coup Evren
Pasha passed in the shadow of his weapons and bayonets was ratified by
90 per cent of the population in a referendum. For exactly 12 years
Turkey has been governed according to this Constitution. Yes, Turkey
has a parliament. Its parliamentarians are like kittens, even when they
catch them by the neck at the door of parliament and take them to
prison. There is even a Constitutional Court. A Constitutional Court
that, according to the Military Constitution, decides whether a law
shall be enforced or not.
Some people here are scared stiff of the military
launching a new coup. What difference does it make? A new coup would
not lead to the abolition and repeal of the Evren Constitution.
There will be no coup. There is no need for a coup.
Some of my friends, my old journalist colleagues,
friends whom I love and who don't want anything to happen anxious. Some
say I am taking sides.
What is more natural than for me to take sides? As
long as I can remember I have been on the side of the peoples of
Turkey. As long as I can remember I have been on the side of the
oppressed, those treated unjustly, the exploited, the suffering and the
I am on the side of Turkish, the language in which I
write. I feel the obligation to do what I can, and what I can't, to
enrich and beautify Turkish. My greatest cause of anger against Kenan
Pasa is his closure of the Turkish Language Institute.
Of course I take sides. For me the world is a garden
of culture where a thousand flowers grow. Throughout history all
cultures have fed one another, been grafted onto one another, and in
the process our world has been enriched. The disappearance of a culture
is the loss of a colour, a different light, a different source. I am as
much on the side of every flower in this thousand flowered garden as I
am on the side of my own culture. Anatolia has always been a mosaic of
flowers, filling the world with flowers and light. I want it to be the
If the people of a country choose to live like human
beings, choose happiness and beauty, their way lies first through
universal human rights and then through universal, unlimited freedom of
thought. The people of countries that have opposed this will enter the
twenty first century without honour.
Saving the honour and bread of our country, and the
cultural wealth of its soil is in our hands. Either true democracy
*) Index on Censorship, 1/1995, London
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT ON TURKEY
"Turkish security forces are committing human rights
violations every day and will continue to do so until the Turkish
Government ends its policy of blank denial," Amnesty International said
in a report released on February 8, 1995.
"In an attempt to conceal the scale of human rights
violations 1n Turkey the government has prosecuted Turkish human rights
defenders, closed down branches of the Turkish Human Rights Association
and taken other measures curtailing the freedom of opposition press and
political organizations. In September 1994 Amnesty International's
researcher on Turkey was forbidden entry to the country."
"The Turkish Government's policy of denial has led
to the increase in torture, 'disappearance' and extrajudicial killings
perpetrated with impunity by security forces throughout the country,"
the 37-page report said.
"In 1991, there were a "handful of reports" on such
'disappearances' and several more in 1992. In 1993 there were at least
26. In 1994 there were more than 50 reported 'disappearances'.
"As for extrajudicial executions, there were over 20
such killings in 1991. There were 362 in 1992, over 400 in 1993 and 380
by November 1994.
"While villagers in the provinces of Southeast
Turkey under a state of emergency are still the most frequent victims
of violations, the atmosphere of impunity in which soldiers in that
area have been allowed to act has spread to police and other security
force personnel across the country.
"Victims of torture are not only suspected political
opponents, but those detained for ordinary criminal offenses too. Last
December Abdullah Salman, a 13-year-old boy, was wrongly accused of
stealing a wallet at his work place. Abdullah was held in police
custody for three days during which he was blindfolded, kicked, beaten
and subjected to electric shocks."
In one page devoted to "human rights abuses
committed by PKK guerrillas," the teachers and the wives and children
of village guards killed by the PKK were mentioned.
"The increasing number of human rights violations by
the security forces 1n the south-east of Turkey has been matched by the
actions of the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) which has carried out
summary 'executions' and killed civilians during attacks on Kurdish
communities believed to support the government. These abuses have
continued despite a declaration by the PKK, on December 1994, that 1t
would abide by common Article 3 of the Geneva Conventions which
protects civilians and prisoners. All that suggests that contrary to
the assurances given to Amnesty International, the PKK has established
the murder of civilians as open policy," says the report.
At the end of the report are pictures and stories of
eight Kurdish activists and one Turkish teacher who have been either
allegedly tortured by the Turkish security forces, killed by the PKK or
simply "disappeared" and never heard from again.
In its report, Amnesty International makes a number
of specific recommendations for urgent measures that the Turkish
Government could immediately take to address systematic human rights
The human rights organization is also calling on the
international community to translate its expressions of concern at
escalating human rights violations in Turkey into appropriate action by
organizations such as the OSCE and the United Nations.
"In November 1994, a joint statement by the European
Union with Austria, Finland, Norway and Sweden at the Conference on
Security and Cooperation (CSCE) Review Conference in Budapest, urged
Turkey to invite a CSCE mission to look at the human rights situation
1n the country and to make proposals for reform. Turkey has so far
refused to accept such a mission.
"Members of the international community should also
ensure that transfers of military and security equipment do not
contribute to human rights violations. Amnesty International has
received reports that armoured vehicles, helicopters and other aircraft
have been used in security force operations 1n Southeast Turkey when
human rights violations were committed. In several cases, people who
have since 'disappeared' were last seen being taken away 1n helicopters
by the security forces. France, Germany, Russia, the United
Kingdom and the United States are among the countries which supply such
types of equipment to Turkey.
"We are urging governments which authorize the
supply of military and security equipment to Turkey to ensure such
supplies are not used to commit human rights violations. If they do not
not receive and monitor such guarantees, governments should halt their
transfers," Amnesty International said.
THE US REPORT ACCUSE TURKISH GOVERNMENT
US State Department human rights report, released in
Washington on February 2, 1995. provides a comprehensive chronicle of
alleged human rights abuses by Turkish authorities in 1994. The 36-page
section in the report on Turkey includes, on the basis of findings
provided by US. diplomats in Ankara and other Turkish cities, that "the
human rights situation in Turkey worsened significantly in 1994."
"Despite the Ciller government's pledge in 1993 to
end torture and to establish a state of law based on respect for human
rights, torture and excessive use of force by security personnel
persisted throughout 1994," the report says in its introductory
"The police and security forces often employed
torture during periods of incommunicado detention and interrogation and
continued to use excessive force against non-combatants (in the fight
against the PKK)," the report adds.
"Various agencies of the government continued to
harass, intimidate, indict and imprison human rights monitors,
journalists, lawyers and professors for ideas which they expressed in
"Disappearances and mystery murder cases continued
at a high rate in the Southeast. The PKK and the radical Islamic
Hezbollah (not related to the Lebanese Hizbullah) appear responsible in
some cases. In other cases, however, the evidence implicated government
"In many human rights cases, the targets of abuses
were ethnic Kurds or their supporters. Moreover, the government
infrequently prosecutes police or security officers for extrajudicial
killings, torture and other abuses, in the cases which produce a
conviction, lenient sentences were usually given. The resulting climate
of impunity that has been created probably remains the single largest
obstacle to reducing unlawful killing, torture and other human rights
abuses," the report concludes on this subject.
The 36 pages devoted to Turkey in this year's report
was surpassed only by the 39 pages devoted to China. The report devotes
only 16 pages to human rights violations in Syria, 23 pages to Serbia,
29 pages to Russia. 32 pages to Israel and the occupied territories, l7
pages to Iran, 26 pages to Iraq and 26 pages to Greece.
John Shattuck, assistant secretary for democracy,
human rights and labor, during his introductory remarks at a State
Department briefing, said countries like China, Iraq. Iran Burma, North
Korea and Cuba were engaged in "flagrant and systematic abuses of basic
But he noted that such flagrant abuses were not
limited only to authoritarian governments. "Torture, arbitrary
detention or repression of free speech and dissent existed in a wide
variety of other governments, for example Saudi Arabia, Egypt, India,
Guatemala and Turkey."
Dealing with "Respect for the integrity of the
person including freedom from political and other extrajudicial
killings" in Turkey. the report says in categorical terms that
"Government authorities were responsible for the deaths of detainees in
official custody, suspects in houses raided by security forces; and
other types of civilian deaths in the Southeast."
Indicating that under Turkish law authorities are
obliged to investigate all deaths in police custody, the report says
that prosecution of security force members for such deaths is rare.
"Despite the Constitution's ban on torture, Turkey's
accession to the UN and European conventions against torture, and
public pledges of successive governments to end torture, the practice
continued. Human rights attorneys and physicians who treat victims of
torture state that most persons charged with or suspected of political
crimes usually suffer some torture during the period of incommunicado
detention in police stations and gendarmerie headquarters before they
are brought to a court."
According to the report, the commonly employed
methods of torture in Turkey reported by the Turkish Human Rights
Foundation include: "high-pressure cold water hoses, electric shock,
beating on the soles of the feet, beating of the genitalia, hanging by
the arms, blindfolding, sleep deprivation, deprivation of clothing,
systematic beatings, and vaginal and anal rape with truncheons and, in
some instances, gun barrels."
"In south-eastern Turkey, a security official
boasted of having deprived a suspect of sleep for six days to obtain a
confession," the report said.
Pointing out that Turkey recognizes the jurisdiction
of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Commission of
Human Rights, the report says Turkish citizens may file complaints
alleging violations of the European Convention on Human Rights with the
Commission. It adds that there are currently 250 cases before the
The report goes on to say that there is no
guaranteed attorney access under law for persons whose case falls under
the jurisdiction of the State Security Court. These cases include those
charged with smuggling and with crimes under the anti-terrorism law.
"Attorneys and human rights organizations affirm
that this lack of access is a major factor in the continuing,
widespread use of torture by police and security forces. The decision
concerning access to council in such cases is left to the independent
prosecutor, who generally denies access," the report says.
Referring to the activities of the State Security
Courts (DGM) the report says the following:
"In 1994, State Security Courts predominantly
handled cases under the anti-terrorism law. The state claims these
courts were established to try efficiently those suspected of certain
crimes. In fact, the law provides that those accused of crimes falling
under the jurisdiction of these courts may be detained twice as long
before arraignment as other dependents and the courts may hold closed
hearings and may admit testimony obtained during police interrogations
in the absence of council."
Dealing with "Respect for the integrity of the
person, including freedom from use of expressive force and violations
of humanitarian law in internal conflicts" in Turkey, the report says
that "the PKK's campaign of violence in Southeast Turkey is directed
against both security forces and civilians, most of whom are Kurds,
whom the PKK accuses of co-operating with the state.
"The Turkish National Police, Gendarmerie and Armed
Forces in turn have waged an increasingly intense campaign to suppress
terrorism, targeting active PKK units as well as those they believe
support or sympathize with the PKK, and committing many human rights
abuses in the process.
"On March 26, a Turkish Air Force plane bombed up to
four villages in Sirnak province, killing approximately 20 persons,
according to press reports. Journalists were not allowed into the area."
"Section 2 of the report on Turkey goes on to deal
with "Respect for civil liberties, including freedom of speech and
Touching in detail on the trials and conviction of
the pro-Kurdish deputies of the former Democracy Party (DEP), the State
Department reports also highlights the cases of trade union Chairman
Münir Ceylan, journalist Haluk Gerger, academic Dr. Fikret Baskaya and
former Diyarbakir Mayor Mehdi Zana — all convicted to prison sentences
for expressing their views in writing or otherwise.
It goes on to quote Turkish government figures and
says 407 newspapers, 490 periodicals and 35 books were confiscated in
the first nine months of 1994.
It indicated that while legislation has partially
removed the ban on the use of the Kurdish language, Kurdish language
broadcasts are still illegal.
"President Süleyman Demirel stated that Kurdish
television and education would constitute concessions to terrorists and
should be allowed only after terrorism ends," the report says.
Indicating that the "pro-PKK" daily ÖzgUr Gündem" had been harassed
consistently since its April l992 inception, the State Department
report says the following of the Turkish press coverage of the
situation in the Southeast:
"Turkish press coverage of the situation in the
Southeast tended to be unreliable underreporting in some instances and
grossly sensationalizing in others. Government decree 430 requires
self-censorship of all news reporting from or about the Southeast and
upon the request of the regional governor, gives the Interior Ministry
the authority to ban distribution of any news viewed as misrepresenting
events in the region. In the event such a government warning is not
obeyed, the decree provides for a 10-day suspension of operations for a
first offence and 30 days for subsequent offences."
The State Department goes on in its report to touch
upon the demonstrations during the year by Turkish civil servants
seeking union rights and said one of these demonstrations was dispersed
by the police "through kicking and the use of truncheons." Also
touching upon religious freedoms, the report says the following
regarding the Alawis:
"Turkey's Alawi Muslim minority (an offshoot of
Shi'ite Islam) is estimated to number at least l2 million. There are,
however, no government-paid Alawi religious leaders, no Religious
Affairs Directorate Funds go to the Alawi community, and some Alawis
allege informal discrimination in the form of failure to include any
Allawi doctrines or beliefs in religious instruction classes. Alawis
are disgruntled by what they regard as the Sunni bias in the Religious
Affairs Directorate and the Directorate's tendency to view the Alawis
as a cultural group rather than a religious sect."
Referring to the governmental attitude regarding
groups or organizations investigating human rights allegations, the
report says: "Government agents have increasingly harassed human rights
monitors, as well as lawyers and doctors involved in documenting human
It says that since 1991 the Turkish Parliament has
had a human rights commission but adds that this commission has been
"inactive and ineffective."
"While representatives of diplomatic missions who
wish to monitor the state of human rights in Turkey are free to speak
with private citizens, security officials may have an intimidating
effect upon those interviewed," the report says.
A KURDISTAN PARLIAMENT-IN-EXILE
After the closure of the Democracy Party (DEP) and
the imprisonment of its eight deputies, those DEP deputies who fled
Turkey took the initiative for founding a Kurdistan Parliament-in-exile.
At a press conference held on January 12 in
Brussels, the organizers of the parliament-in-exile said: "None of the
four occupying states or their parliaments have ever represented the
will of the Kurdish people. The Turkish Grand National Assembly is
nothing more than a Turkicizing assembly which sanctions the genocide
in Kurdistan and is in reality run by generals. The MPs elected by our
people are either in graves, dungeons, or in exile. Our people who are
in exile will, by electing their own representatives, express their
right to self determination with their own parliament."
The committee organizing the election of the
Kurdistan Parliament-in-exile is composed of the DEP deputies in exile
Remzi Kartal, Mahmut Kilic, Ali Yigit; DEP Honorary Chairman Yasar
Kaya, ERNK Representative Ali Sapan, former Yüksekova Mayor
Necdet Buldan and the representatives of some Assyrian, Yezidi and
Alawi organizations in Europe.
According to press reports, first of all a Kurdistan
National Congress is expected to be held on March 21 (Kurdish new year
Newroz) in a European city with the participation of the delegates
representing peoples of Kurdistan. This congress will in turn elect a
85-member Kurdistan Parliament-in-exile. The parliament, in turn, will
elect the Kurdish government-in-exile.
The Turkish Government has immediately reacted
against this new Kurdish project and asked its Western allies to block
any attempts to form a Kurdish parliament on their soil.
ZANA'S LETTER TO MITTERRAND
Mrs. Leyla Zana, one of the DEP deputies who was
sentenced to 15 year imprisonment, has written a letter to French
president Mitterrand requesting his support for a dialogue between
Kurds and Turks aimed at instituting peace and enhancing democracy
within the present borders of Turkey.
In her letter, dated February 9, Zana said: "Our
endeavour and desire to stop the bloodshed and establish peace will
continue if all democratic ways are blocked. Our effort is for creating
a Turkey where all the barriers to freedom of expression are lifted,
where young people do not get killed, briefly a Turkey with a smiling,
contemporary and happy people.
"We call on the western democracies not only to
watch the tragedy of our people but to initiate a process of peace and
dialogue that would contribute to stopping the bloodshed and tears. We
believe that Turkey could be a stable, reliable and strong ally if only
it had a functional democracy and internal peace."
VIRGINITY TEST IN SCHOOLS
The new discipline regulations in secondary
education allowing the Disciplinary Council to subject female student
to virginity test has sparked a big protest in Turkey.
Article 17 of the new regulations published in the
Official Gazette on January 31 includes a provision which states that
"in cases of proven dishonesty or an attack on someone's honour, the
student can be expelled from the school and banned from entering any
other Ministry of Education School."
Education Minister Nevzat Ayaz said at a TV
programme on February 8 that the article in question only targets
female students and the Disciplinary Council.
Many parents have immediately reacted saying they
were the only ones responsible for their children's honour, not a
Women's groups and many teachers said that this was
not acceptable and was a violation of human rights. They also argued
that such practices would psychologically scar a female student for
This scandalous debate created by an age-old
mentality was like a confirmation of the US State Department's human
rights report for 1994 which stated that Turkish police force women in
custody to undergo virginity testing.
In 1992, two female students committed suicide after
being forced to have virginity tests.
TWO SOCIAL DEMOCRAT PARTIES UNIFIED
Two of the three social democrat parties of
Turkey, the Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Social
Democrat Populist Party (SHP) finally decided on February 18 to merge
under the roof of the CHP.
According to the merger protocol adopted by the
respective congresses of the two parties, the Republican People's Party
(CHP) emerged as a new party having extended administrative organs
comprising the members of each side.
The former Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin was
unanimously elected party chairman as the only candidate.
Although this is billed as the "merger" of two
left-wing parties but in essence it was the closure of the SHP, partner
in the coalition government, and its joining an opposition party.
After the disappearance of its left wing, Ciller's
coalition government is expected to be confronted with many problems in
Firstly, the former CHP has been one of the most
ardent critics of the prime minister and her coalition government.
The new CHP has to prove itself to the voters and show that it will not
commit the same old mistakes as the SHP which had to give up all its
social democratic ideals and bow to the DYP simply to remain in power.
Secondly, Chairman of the new CHP, Hikmet Cetin had
last year been forced by Ciller to resign as foreign minister in a very
humiliating and degrading manner.
Beside his personal disappointment as regards
Premier Ciller, Hikmet Cetin know well that Bülent Ecevit's Democratic
Left Party (DSP) has gained over many left-wing voters at the cost of
the SHP and the CHP. He is also aware that CHP's former leader Deniz
Baykal has set his sights on the CHP leadership and will now wait for
Cetin to make mistakes to topple him in the new CHP's convention to be
held in August.
Therefore Cetin is expected to be more assertive in
his new position if the new CHP decides to remain in the government.
WAR OF TURKISH GODFATHERS
The war within the Turkish Mafia has gained a
political dimension implicating the family of the late President of the
Republic Turgut Özal, after the assassination of the daughter of a
notorious godfather by a man of another godfather., Alaaddin Cakici.
The victim of the murder committed at a Uludag hotel
in Bursa on January 22 is Ugur Cakici, the daughter of Dündar Kilic.
She was assassinated by the order of Alaaddin Cakici, a rival godfather
to whom she had been married for a certain time.
Dündar Kilic claimed that the family of the late
President Turgut Özal is behind the murder.
The feud between Kilic and Cakici started after an
attempt on the life of former Emlakbank director general Engin Civan.
According to press reports, Civan, who was considered by the press as
one of the Turgut Özal's "princes" had received a $5 million bribe from
businessman Selim Edes with the promise of delivering a substantial
loan, but failed to keep his promise. After this
incident, Dündar Kilic claimed that the Özal family members, wife Semra
Özal, daughter Zeynep Özal and sons Ahmet and Efe Özal, are also
implicated in the bribery affairs and asked the "intervention" of Kilic
and Cakici clans to threaten Engin Civan.
Özal's son, Ahmet Özal, owner of a private TV
Channel, Kanal 6, has reportedly often asked Aladdin Cakici's service
to force another bank, Bankekspres, to reduce his $5 million debt to a
reasonable level. This adds weight to the argument that behind Engin
Civan's shooting lies an attempt to save Kanal 6 from financial
Dündar Kilic's daughter, Ugur Cakici testimonied to
the press that Mrs. Semra Özal had personally called herself and asked
such an "intervention."
Thereupon, according to Dündar Kilic, Ahmet Özal
told Cakici, who is also known as an ardent supporter of the Grey
Wolves: "Let us do whatever is required to prevent my mother from being
taken to the police station." Cakici called his former wife and told
her, "I had given my word to mother Özal to keep the alleged
Edes-Özal-Cakici connection in the shooting and wounding of Engin Civan
secret. Why did you make such statements to the press?"
Finally, Ugur Kilic paid the price of his testimony
with her life.
According to Milliyet of February 15, Dursun Kilic
set five "death teams" on the trail of his ex son-in-law Alaaddin
Cakici, to punish him for the murder of his daughter. The "death
teams", each consisting of two men, are making the rounds in Britain,
Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and France, trying to find Cakici.
On the other hand, Hürriyet's grand reporter Ugur
Dündar revealed in a series of TV programmes the secret accounts in
Swiss banks belong to Engin Civan and to the Özal family members.
PRIME MINISTER'S IRREGULARITIES
The wealthiest prime minister of the world, Tansu
Ciller was accused by the main opposition ANAP to conceal the real
volume of her wealth in the United States.
Deputy Chairman of the ANAP parliamentary group
revealed on February 3 the outcome of an investigation which was
carried out by the US law firm Kaye Scholer.
According to the report, besides the two pieces of
real estate the Ciller family declared in their official statements,
they possessed three other properties which were registered in the name
of the company CGD Incorporated they owned in the United States.
The three properties reportedly consist of a
123-room hotel, a shopping centre and an 18-story building.
The sum of the assets of the Ciller family in the
United States is nearly $4.7 million . In her official statement dated
January 20, the prime minister had declared that she had a sum of
$270,000 worth of assets.
Quoting Ciller as stating that she had purchased the
assets in the US with $925,000 she had transferred from Turkey through
official means, Asik said that statement did not reflect the truth,
because the sum of the money paid for the purchase of those assets had
reached $3.9 million and that an additional $1.1 million had been spent
for the repair of those properties. He claimed that foreign currency
had been smuggled outside of Turkey for the purchase of the assets
totalling more than $4.5 million.
Asik also alleged that the source indicated for the
$925,000 was doubtful. He said that the MARSAN firm, which the Ciller
family showed as the source for the $925,000, had not paid any tax to
the state between 1987 and 1990 and that it only paid a tax of TL 23
million between 1991 and 1993.
On the other hand, according to an investigation
undertaken by the Finance Ministry, in the origin of Prime Minister's
wealth are many irregularities of his husband Özer Ucaran Ciller. When
Mr. Ciller was he general manager of the Istanbul Bank he transferred
considerable sums to the MARSAN Holding that the Ciller family owns.
Due to Mr. Ciller's irregularities the Istanbul Bank went bankrupt with
outstanding debts of TL50 billion. The report describes the transfer of
funds to MARSAN as being carried out with "evil intention and
In Ciller's biography published in Britannica
Yearbook 1994 it was disclosed that she had "amassed a fortune of some
sixty million dollars through real estate speculations."
TWO-MONTH STATE TERRORISM
4.1, a police team raiding the IHD Mersin office
confiscates many publications and 300 exemplaries of a new year
calendar prepared by the association.
6.1, the mayor of the Rize city, Sevki Yilmaz (RP)
is indicted by the Istanbul SSC prosecutor for his electoral speeches.
6.1, in Mardin, the headman of the Kocasirt Village,
Cemil Bingöl who kidnapped one day ago is found assassinated.
7.1, in Kigi (Bingöl), security forces opening fire
on a minibus shoot dead Hasan Akdemir and wound six other passengers.
8.1, in Batman, Sirin Karabay is stabbed to death by
8.1, in Kurtalan, Abdülmecit Yildiz, Medeni Yildiz
and an unidentified woman fall victim of the explosion of a mine laid
by security forces as they are going to Siirt on a tractor.
9.1, in Diyarbakir, Yildiz Aytek is assassinated
with an axe by unidentified murders.
10.1, in Sason, Selahattin Aygül is found
11.1, in Mazgirt, two children are killed at
explosion when they are playing with a bomb they found in the street.
11.1, unidentified gunmen shoot dead Zagir Balan in
Batman and Izzettin Gönce in Diyarbakir.
12.1, IHD Chairman Akin Birdal and four other human
rights activists are tried by the Ankara SSC for their speeches during
the Human Rights' Week celebrations in 1992. Each faces imprisonment of
up to five years for separatist propaganda and instigation to hostility.
12.1, in Diyarbakir, a police team raiding a house
shoots dead four university students: Hüseyin Deniz, Refik Horoz, Havva
Ipek and Selim Yesilova. The witnesses say that these students have
never been involved in political activities and accuse the police of
having executed them arbitrarily.
12.1, in Adana, unidentified assailants raiding a
café shot dead Bahattin Oguz and wound six other people. Same day, in
Nusaybin, Serif Kaplan is shot dead by unidentified gunmen.
14.1, in Urfa, three persons are detained after a
police raid on a house.
16.1, the IHD Ankara Section, at a press conference,
accuses the police of having tortured a 12-year old girl, D.T., who was
held under custody for five days after being arrested on January 12 in
Cubuk on charges of having stolen a roll of bread.
16.1, about 200 people protesting against the
disappearance Ismail Bahceci after his arrest are dispersed by police
using force. Some demonstrators are wounded and fifteen people are
taken into police custody.
16.1, security forces have reportedly detained 17
people in Izmir for pro-PKK activities.
17.1, in Batman, HADEP official Zeki Adlig is
assassinated by two unidentified gunmen.
17.1, The Communication Workers' Trade Union (Tüm
Haber Sen) Chairman Ismail Cinar, Secretary General Metin Kocan and 23
other trade union officials in Istanbul are banished to eastern
provinces for having called PTT employees to a sit-in on December 20,
1994. When the PTT employees start a protest action against this
decision, police disperse them by using force. Beside, nine employees
are taken into custody.
17.1, a team of gendarmes opening fire on a minibus
in Tarsus shoots dead driver Mustafa Sari.
17.1, in Diyarbakir, Mutlu Demir is shot dead by
18.1, security forces have reportedly arrested eight
people during their operations in Ankara.
19.1, the Ankara Prosecutor opens a legal proceeding
against 35 people including Greenpeace activists for having carried out
a demonstration in Ankara in protest again the construction of a
nuclear central in Akkuyu (Sinop). Nine foreigners including Greenpeace
Mediterranean Coordinator Mario Damato and 26 Turkish national face
prison terms of up to three years each by virtue of contravening the
Law on Meetings and Demonstrations.
20.1, Garip Aygün and his wife Sultan Aygün who were
detained on January 18 for a traffic accident claim to have been
tortured by police. The traces of torture are certified by the Legal
21.1, in Izmir, security forces arrest fifteen
alleged members of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey (TDKP).
22.1, political prisoner Süleyman Öngün who was
wounded during a quarrel with security officers at the Diyarbakir
Prison on October 3, 1994, died at the infirmary of the Gaziantep
Prison to where he was transferred after the incidents. Accusing the
prison authorities of not having taken care of Öngün, other political
detainees at the prison start a hunger strike.
23.1, the Diyarbakir SSC begins to try 30 people
accused of belonging to the fundamentalist organization Hizbullah and
having committed political murders. 21 defendants face capital
punishment and nine others imprisonment of up to 20 years.
23.1, carrying out an operation in the Kurdish
quarters of Adana, security forces detain more than 20 people.
23.1, in Diyarbakir, Garibe Can is assassinated with
an axe by unidentified assailants.
24.1, the Ankara SSC sentences three youths to 12
years and six months in prison each for Dev-Sol activities.
24.1, the trial of two German nationals, Andreas
Günter Landwern and Karen Braum, accused of carrying documents for the
PKK, starts at the Istanbul SSC. Although released at the first sitting
after a 3-month detention, two Germans will be tried with the demand of
imprisonment of up to five years.
25.1, in Ankara, security forces arrest seven people
for Dev-Yol activities.
25.1, in Samsun, twelve of sixteen people detained
for Dev-Sol activities are placed under arrest by a tribunal.
26.1, unidentified assailants assassinate Halfe
Ökzür in Gaziantep and Nesat Vanli in Diyarbakir.
30.1, in Adana, a 21-year old woman, Adile Atabay
claims to have been tortured by police for three days after being
detained on January 22 during a raid on her house.
30.1, in Batman, HADEP official Vasif Cetin is
assassinated by unidentified gunmen. HADEP Provincial Chairman Mehmet
Salih Altun says that in last one month in Batman eight people fell
victim of the assassinations and none of the murders was identified.
31.1, in Bodrum, Mehmet Arslan claims to have been
tortured after being detained on January 24 together with his fiancee.
The traces of torture were certified by the legal medicine.
31.1, in Mersin, during repressive operations at the
Kurdish quarters, police shoot dead Fesih Akburak and Suat Yildiz.
31.1, the Izmir SSC places under arrest 19 out of 30
people taken into custody by police in January for taking part in the
activities of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey (TDKP).
1.2, in Adana, a woman named Behiye Demir claims to
have been tortured after her detention on January 30.
1.2, in Gaziantep, an administrative proceeding is
started against 250 teachers for having participated in a protest
action on December 29, 1994.
1.2, in Izmir, a doctor of the Atatürk State
Hospital, Senol Varnali is beaten and wounded by a group of gendarmes
headed by a sergeant for having parked his car in a place reserved to
2.2, in Balikesir, worker Enver Zambak claims to
have been tortured after his detention on January 29. He says that his
son Sait Zambak, who has not been released, was also subjected to
2.2, in Mersin, security forces detain 40 people
during a series of repressive operations in the Kurdish quarters. Many
of the detainees are the parents of Fesih Akburak and Suat Yildiz who
were shod dead on January 31.
3.2, in Izmir, 93 people holding a protest action at
the SHP building in solidarity with their parents on hunger strike at
the Buca Prison are taken into custody.
4.2, the dead body of an unidentified person,
reportedly strangled, is found in Batman.
5.2, in Aydin, police announce the arrest of nine
alleged PKK militants.
5.2, in Batman, Chairman of the Municipal Workers'
Trade Union (Belediye-Is), Osman Küntes, and his son are kidnapped by
6.2, after a six-year trial, 16 police officers,
accused of having shot dead four people on October 7, 1988, in Tuzla,
are acquitted by an Istanbul High Criminal Court.
6.2, the Ankara SSC starts to try nine people for
having participated in Dev-Sol actions. Four of the defendants face
capital punishment and the others imprisonments of up to 20 years.
6.2, in Istanbul, unidentified gunmen open fire on a
group of workers carrying out a strike in a depot and wound two
workers. Three weeks earlier, another worker was wounded by
unidentified gunmen. The workers accused the employer, who is known as
a member of the Nationalist Action Party (MHP), neo-fascist, of having
these Grey Wolves attacks for intimidating the strikers.
7.2, in Nevsehir, taxi driver Güner Karatas claims
to have been tortured after his detention on January 21. The fact of
torture is certified by legal medicine.
9.2, a former victim of torture, Mazlum Sarisaltik
is detained in Tunceli. His lawyer, reminding that his client was, as a
torture victim, treated by the Rehabilitation Centre of the Human
Rights Association (TIHV) in Izmir, says his life might be in danger if
he is subjected to torture for a second time.
9.2, in last ten days, security forces have taken
into custody 27 people for pro-PKK activities.
11.2, in Kastamonu, 16 people are detained for
Dev-Sol in relation to Dev-Sol activities.
11.2, in Diyarbakir, a woman named Türkan Sert is
assassinated with an axe.
13.2, in Izmir, worker Dursun Yildiz claims to have
been tortured after being detained on February 8 together with a group
of cargo workers carrying out a protest action. The fact of torture is
certified by legal medicine.
14.2, Islamist Mahmut Kacar who publicly contested
the official ceremony commemorating Atatürk on November 10, 1994, at
the Mausoleum, is sentenced by a penal court in Ankara to four years
and six months in prison. During his interrogation Kacar said to have
been tortured at the Ankara Police Headquarters.
16.2, two workers, Tekin Aktas and Tekin Atalay
claims to have been tortured after being detained during a strike at a
cargo company. The torture practice on them are certified by legal
16.2, the trial of 35 people accused of having
carried out a Greenpeace demonstration in Ankara in protest again the
construction of a nuclear central in Akkuyu (Sinop) starts at a penal
court in Ankara. Nine foreigners including Greenpeace Mediterranean
Coordinator Mario Damato and 26 Turkish national face prison terms of
up to three years each by virtue of contravening the Law on Meetings
19.2, in Malatya, the Association of Haci Bektas-i
Veli is attacked by unidentified assailants.
19.2, security forces, during a series of repressive
operations, detain HADEP Iskenderun chairman Hayrettin Yilmaz and 16
20.2, the chairman of the Socialist Power Party
(SIP), Aydemir Güler is tried by the Istanbul SSC Prosecutor by
virtue of Article 312 of the TPC. Accused of inciting to the people to
hatred and hostility on the basis of racial and regional differences,
Güler faces a prison term of up to three years.
20.2, in Van, Halil Benek, Halit Benek, Halime Benek
and Ömer Bora are placed under arrest by a tribunal for pro-PKK
activities. The accused, detained on January 25, claim to have been
tortured during police custody.
21.2, in Batman, unidentified gunmen shoot dead a
45-year old woman named Nimet Bal.
22.2, the Council of Ministers suspends the strike
of airline workers for sixty days on grounds that this worker action
might harm the expedition of soldiers to the emergency law region and
the pilgrimage to Mecca.
23.2, more than 2,000 airline workers in Istanbul
staged a mass demonstration in protest against the suspension of their
23.2, in Istanbul, eight people are taken into
custody for having participated in the IBDA-C activities.
23.2, five people were wounded during a skirmish
between right and left wing students at the Inönü University in
23.2, in Bursa, police detain 15 youths during a
demonstration by high school students in protest against administrative
pressures at schools.
24.2, ten people were wounded during a skirmish
between right and left wing students at Faculty of Letters, History and
Geography of the Ankara University.
25.2, in Istanbul, 15-year old Bülent Erdönmez, who
was wounded and detained on February 15 during a skirmish between right
and left-wing students before the Vefa High School, claims to have been
tortured for 48 hours at the police station.
25.2, in Iskenderun, HADEP chairman Hayrettin Yilmaz
and 12 other people are placed under arrest by a tribunal.
25.2, in Batman, three women, Sabahat Izmir, Ayse
Sahin and Aliye Narin, are wounded at the explosion of a bomb placed by
26.2, in Istanbul, Kazim Gedik, Kasim Genc and Meral
Balikci, who were detained on February 25 during a raid on a cafeteria,
claim to have been tortured by police.
26.2, police announce the arrest of eleven alleged
Dev-Sol militants in Gebze.
27.2, IHD Diyarbakir Office is again raided by
police and four IHD members as well as an employee are taken into
28.2, in Izmir, three cargo workers carrying on a
protest action, Fikret Dinler, Mustafa Erol and Orhan Polat are taken
to custody. After their release, the workers claim to have been
tortured at police station.
ÖZGÜR ÜLKE WAS SILENCED BY ILLEGAL PRACTICES
Özgür Ülke, the only daily newspaper openly
defending the rights of the Kurdish people and disclosing the atrocity
of the state security forces in the Turkish Kurdistan, was definitively
closed down on February 4 by a court decision.
A penal court of Istanbul decided on February 2 that
"Özgür Ülke was the continuation of the now defunct Özgür Gündem and
that therefore its publication violated the Press Law."
The said law says that "any publication that is
clearly a continuation of a publication that was shut down by court
order is banned from publication and will be confiscated."
The penal court stated that there are 24 closure
decisions against Özgür Gündem. These decisions add up to closure for
more than a year. This decision being in effect to shut down Özgür
Ülke, editor in chief Baki Karadeniz announced on February 4 that
"the newspaper was put in the position of no longer being able to
In the history of the Turkish press, Özgür Ülke
(Özgür Gündem) is the newspaper that holds the unapproachable record of
seized copies and sentencings.
Only in 1994, 102 out of 104 issues of Özgür Gündem
published until April 14 were confiscated by the State Security Court.
As for Özgür Ülke, 220 out of its 247 issues were confiscated as well.
On December 2, Özgür Ülke Istanbul and Ankara
offices were destroyed by bomb explosions following Prime Minister
Ciller's confidential directive to state authorities to silence this
newspaper whatsoever be the cost.
Recently, following a decision of the National
Security Council, almost each issue of Özgür Gündem was confiscated at
the printing house before the distribution. The issue was reprinted
with blank columns carrying "Censored" stamp in the place of the
original article, but the security forces, considering it a new crime,
confiscated it as well.
Many journalists of Özgür Gündem/Ülke have been
assassinated, detained or sentenced to heavy prison terms and unpayable
fines. More than 20 journalists or workers of Özgür Ülke are still in
prison. Even the distributors and sellers of the newspaper have become
target of assassinations or harassments.
The following are the recent examples of these
4.1, Diyarbakir correspondent of the daily Özgür
Ülke, Salih Güler is taken into custody by a police team.
16.1, Özgür Ülke Mardin correspondents Hüsnü Akgül
and Hidayet Pehlivan are taken into custody during a police raid on the
newspaper's local office.
19.1, Özgür Ülke Diyarbakir correspondent Ismail
Hakki Kelleci is taken into police custody.
24.1, Özgür Ülke Van office is raided by a police
team and correspondent Dogan Denizhan taken into custody.
30.1, Özgür Ülke Diyarbakir correspondent Salih
Güler, detained on January 4, says after his release that he was
subjected to torture. Besides, Özgür Ülke Diyarbakir office is again
raided by police and five correspondents, Zekine Türkeri, Vedat Percin,
Adil Denk, Mehmet Emin Alagöz and Cengiz Kirik are taken into custody.
After their release on February 2, these journalists claim to have been
tortured at police centre.
9.2, Özgür Ülke Agri office is raided by police and
two persons inside are taken into custody.
PROTESTS AGAINST BAN ON PUBLICATIONS
The closure of Özgür Ülke and other publications
have created a world-wide reaction and many organisations sent protest
messages to the Turkish Government.
The Committee To Protect Journalists in New York, in
a message to Prime Minister Ciller on February 27, said:
"The CPJ is alarmed by apparent trend in the
silencing of non-mainstream publications in Turkey. Four days after the
court decision banning the publication of Özgür Ülke newspaper, two
other publications, Denge Azadi and Kurtulus, were informed by the
authorities that they could not publish because they are successors to
publications which have been shut down temporarily by courts. This is
the same reasoning used against Özgür Ülke to shut it down on February
"The left-wing weekly Kurtulus was accused of being
the continuation of Mücadele magazine, which stopped its publication
last October, because the writers who worked for the latter are working
for the former, the addresses of both magazines' bureaus are the same
and the editorial line of Kurtulus resembles the line advocated by
"The same 'evidence' was cites in the decision
against the pro-Kurdish weekly Denge-Azadi (claiming it was continuing
Azadi, which disbanded last May) and Özgür Ülke.
"If this reasoning is applied to all formerly closed
publications, journalists who used to work for such publications are in
effect banned from working in publications with similar editorial lines.
"As a non-partisan organization of journalists
dedicated to upholding press freedom world-wide, we view the suspension
of Kurtulus and Denge-Azadi magazines as a flagrant violation of the
right to 'seek, receive, an impart information and ideas through any
media and regardless of frontiers,' guaranteed by Article 19 of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations, as well as
a violation of the Turkish Constitution."
BESIKCI'S SENTENCE RATIFIED
The Court of Cassation ratified on January 15, a
total of six years in prison and TL 750 million in fine against
sociologist Ismail Besikci.
Besikci had been sentenced by the State Security
Court for his three books: On the Kurdish Community, The Ismail Besikci
Trial 1 and An Intellectual, An Organization and The Kurdish Question.
With these new punishments, the total of the
ratified prison terms against Besikci has reached to 22 years and 6
months and the fines to TL 1 billion 850 million. He is purging his
punishments at the Ankara Prison.
With the pending punishments, Besikci's total prison
term rises to 67 years and one month, and the total fine to TL 5
billion 24 million.
The Court of Cassation also ratified a 18-month
imprisonment and a fine of TL 150 million against Yurt Publishing House
director Ünsal Öztürk who published Besikci's three books. With this
new sentence, Ünsal's total prison term rises to four years. Ünsal has
been in prison since November 23, 1994.
TWO-MONTH PERSECUTION OF THE MEDIA
6.1, in Istanbul, unidentified assailants throw a
bomb to the editorial house of the daily Hürriyet.
6.1, the weekly Newroz N°43 is confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
7.1, the responsible editor of the periodical Stêrka
Rizgari, Mete Demirkol is put under arrest by the decision of the
7.1, the publisher of the periodical Devrimci Emek,
Yilmaz Eksi is imprisoned in Istanbul for not having paid the fines to
which he was sentenced.
9.1, the periodicals Taraf N°31, Gercek N°45, Newroz
N°44 and Denge Azadi N°34 are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC.
11.1, two officials of the Human Rights Foundation
of Turkey (TIHV), Chairman Yavuz Önen and administrative board member
Fevzi Argun, and three officials of the Human Rights Association (IHD),
Chairman Akin Birdal, Vice-Chairman Sedat Arslantas and administrative
board member Erol Anar, are acquitted by the Ankara SSC. They were
accused of separatist propaganda in two booklets, on the torture
practices and the burned villages, published by their organizations,
according to Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law. However, the SSC asks
the Public prosecutor to open a new case against Birdal, Öndül and
Arslantas according to Article 159 of the Turkish Penal Code for the
same books. If accepted, three officials will be tried by a criminal
court for having insulted State security forces.
11.1, a special issue of the periodical Kizilbayrak
on trade unions is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist
11.1, Devrimci Emek editor Sedat Hayta and Jiyana Nû
editor Ali Demir are placed under arrest by the Istanbul SSC for
12.1, the Istanbul SSC confiscates Denge Azadi N°34,
Alinteri N°38 and the last issue of Medya Günesi for separatist
15.1, a former editor of the defunct daily Özgür
Gündem, Mehmet Emin Baser is taken into custody in Istanbul.
16.1, police raid the editorial office of the
periodical Özgür Gelecek and arrest Chief correspondent Kenan Taskin
and correspondents Ali Bozlu, Bektas Toptas and Murat Yildiz.
16.1, police raiding a series of houses in Trabzon
detain Özgür Karadeniz editor Kemal Evciman and Mücadele correspondent
Esra Yildirim as well as 12 other people for having taken part in
17.1, the Diyarbakir SSC Prosecutor opens a new
legal action against seven officials of the IHD Diyarbakir Section. IHD
Diyarbakir Chairman Halit Temli and six other officials face prison
terms of up to ten years for separatist propaganda in a 1992 report on
the unlawful practices in the emergency law region.
18.1, four periodicals, Atilim N°15, Newroz N°45,
Alinteri N°39 and Odak N°38, are confiscated by the decisions of the
Istanbul SSC and a local penal court for separatist propaganda and
praising outlawed organisations.
18.1, in Ankara, four journalists, Abdullah Güler
(Medya Günesi), Ali Toprak (Atilim), Gülseren Duman (Direnis) and Yeter
Yalcintas (Kizil Bayrak) are placed under arrest by a tribunal on
charges of separatist propaganda.
19.1, the magazines Aktüel N°185 and Hedef N°39 are
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
20.1, journalist-writer Erhan Altun is sentenced by
the Istanbul SSC to 20 months in prison and TL 208 million in fine for
separatist propaganda in an article he wrote to the periodical Gercek
of September 23, 1994. The tribunal also sentences Gercek editor Pelin
Sener to six months in prison and TL 50 million in fine.
22.1, the Istanbul SSC confiscates Jiyana Nû N°17
and Atilim N°16 for separatist propaganda.
26.1, the Istanbul SSC confiscates for separatist
propaganda a book entitled Marxism and Civil War and published by the
periodical Devrimci Emek.
27.1, Gencligin Sesi editor Seher Karatas is
sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to six months in prison and TL 100
million in fine for separatist propaganda. The tribunal also decides to
ban the publication of the review for ten days.
27.1, the Istanbul SSC sentences Devrimci Genclik
editor Sabahat Varol to a fine of TL 50 million and decides to ban the
review's publication for one month.
27.1, the Workers' Party (IP) Chairman Dogu Perincek
is tried at the Ankara SSC by virtue of ATL for separatist propaganda
in an article he wrote to the review Özgür Bilim. He faces imprisonment
of up to five years and a fine of TL 100 million. Three responsibles of
the review, Medeni Ayhan, Sait Cakar and Cengiz Yasar too are being
tried together with Perincek.
28.1, on the demand of the Directory of Wireless
Broadcasting, the Diyarbakir Governor stopped the broadcasting of five
private TV and 16 private radio stations in the city.
28.1, in Istanbul, the house of a columnist of the
journal Beklenen Vakit, Yasar Kaplan, is destroyed by a bomb explosion.
The attempt is claimed by the Islamist organization IBDA-C.
29.1, the Chairman of the Petroleum Workers Trade
Union (Petrol-Is), Münir Ceylan, is released after having served eight
months of his imprisonment at the Saray Prison. He was sentenced for an
article he wrote to the weekly Yeni Ülke.
30.1, the distributor of the local newspaper Güney
Uyanis, Serap Aladag claims to have been tortured by police after her
detention on January 28.
30.1, the Istanbul SSC confiscates the magazine
Alinteri N°40 for inciting the people to commit crime.
31.1, Newroz N°47 is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC
for separatist propaganda.
2.2, a book entitled Freedom of Opinion and Turkey
is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC. The prosecutor starts a legal
proceeding against novelist Yasar Kemal and the Director of Can
Publishing House for inciting the people, in the book, to hate and
hostility on the basis of racial and regional differences.
9.2, the Court of Cassation ratifies a sentence
against Mustafa Pala for a book entitled Talks and Answers that he
prepared to publication. For the book dedicated to the memory of Musa
Anter, an assassinated Kurdish author, Pala was sentenced by the Ankara
SSC to two years in prison and TL 250 million in fine. The director of
the Yaba Publishing House, Aydin Dogan too was sentenced to six months
in prison and TL 100 million in fine for the same book.
9.2, a correspondent of the German newspaper Junge
Welt, Corinna Guttstadt is expelled from Turkey for activities harmful
to public order. She was detained on February 8 in Izmir as covering
12.2, in Istanbul, Müslüm Catak and Saliha
Yaptaterek, respectively responsible editors of Newroz and Alinteri,
are placed under arrest by the Istanbul SSC.
14.2, in Istanbul, a penal court starts to try
journalist Abdurrahman Dilipak on charges of contravening the Law on
Protection of Atatürk in a speech criticising Kemalism. He faces a
prison term of up to five years.
14.2, the weekly magazine Newroz announces that 47
out of its 49 issues published in 1994 have been confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC and its three responsible editors, Müslüm Yilmaz, Mehmet
Kesli and Müslüm Catak, arrested. Although two editors were later
released, Müslüm Catak is still in prison.
15.2, the director of the Basak Publishing House,
Hikmet Kocak is sentenced by a penal court in Ankara to three months in
prison and TL 78 thousand in fine for having mailed to members of
Parliament a book entitled To Newroz We Turned Dawns. Kocak was already
sentenced to six months in prison and TL 100 million in fine for having
published this book written by poet Edip Polat.
15.2, the editor of the defunct magazine Emegin
Bayragi, Haydar Demir is sentenced by the military court of the Turkish
General Staff to two months in prison and TL 160 million in fine for
16.2, the director of Yurt Publishing House, Ünsal
Öztürk is sentenced by the Ankara SSC to six months in prison and TL 50
million in fine for having published a book entitled A Grandiose Oak -
Kurdish Sage Musa Anter. Öztürk is currently serving other prison terms
to which he was sentenced for some other publications.
19.2, the last issues of the magazines Azadi and
Kurtulus are confiscated by the decision of a penal court in Istanbul.
20.2, Özgür Gelecek N°44 and Devrim N°33 are
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda and praising
21.2, the Ankara prosecutor indicts folk singers Sah
Turna Dumlupinar and Ali Ekber Eren as well as the chairman of the
Seaport Workers' Trade Union (Liman-Is), Hasan Biber, and an official
of the Pir Sultan Abdal Association, Emel Sungur, for their speeches at
a protest meeting on July 2, 1994 in Ankara. Accused of inciting the
people to commit crimes, each faces a prison term of up to five years.
21.2, two journalists of the daily Cumhuriyet,
publisher Berin Nadi and editor Ibrahim Yildiz are tried by the
Istanbul SSC for propaganda in favour of the Islamist organization
22.2, the Higher Radio-TV Board decides to stop for
one day the broadcasting of the Best FM and the Milas FM radio stations.
23.2, an Anadolu Agency correspondent, Bünyamin
Toprak is harassed and detained by police as covering a student
24.2, a former editor of the magazine Medya Günesi,
Nurettin Yüksekkaya is sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to six months in
prison and TL 50 million in fine for some articles he published. The
court also decides to close down the magazine for month.
27.2, a correspondent of the Greek newspaper
Adosmeftos Typos, Ionnis Kokkidis, and his translator Mikaili Gunis are
taken into police custody in Diyarbakir where they had interviews with
IHD and HADEP officials.
ONAT KUTLAR FELL VICTIM OF ISLAMISTS
Onat Kutlar, a leading film critic and writer, died
on January 15 at hospital where he had been taken after being severely
injured in the bomb explosion in the Marmara Hotel in Istanbul on
December 30, 1994.
The responsibility of the bomb attempt was claimed
by a fundamentalist organization, the Great Eastern Islamic
Raiders-Front (IBDA-C), which had launched a campaign against the New
Year celebration "in a Moslem country."
Thousands of people attending Kutlar's funeral
condemned Islamic fundamentalists and protested against the
Government's practices against the secular principles of the Republic.
Islamic groups which are against secularism and want
to establish Shariah in Turkey were responsible for 464 incidents in
After the shocking rise of the pro-Islamic Welfare
Party (RP) at the local elections and its taking under control many big
cities such as Istanbul and Ankara, Islamic extremists increased their
terrorist acts. A declaration of RP leader Necmeddin Erbakan in
Parliament, "The question now is whether we will come to power with
peace or with bloodshed," encouraged Islamic activists. The defence of
the murderers of the Sivas Pogrom by the RP leaders at the tribunal too
has been another factor encouraging these extremist groups.
Hizbullah continued its attacks against the Kurdish
activists in the Southeast in 1994. Hizbullah, which began operating
only a few years ago, is supported by the state security forces. The
organization has killed around 200 people, mainly in the Eastern cities
of Diyarbakir, Mardin and Batman.
However, it has split into two groups — "Ilim Grubu"
(the Science Group) and "Menzil Grubu" (Range [of a weapon] Group).
Clashes have also taken place between these two groups.
Another radical Islamic terrorist organization, the
Great Eastern Islamic Raiders-Front (IBDA-C), claimed
responsibility for 90 incidents of terrorism, including five
bombings in various cities.
The last victim of the IBDA-C in 1994 was the
prominent Turkish intellectual Onat Kutlar.
ISLAMIST ATTACKS IN RAMADAN
February 22, an extreme-right group raiding the
Marmara University campus with draggers, axes and clubs wounded eight
students by accusing them of not observing religious fast in the month
February 23, at the Marmara University campus, Grey
Wolves attack a group of students carrying out a demonstration against
the fundamentalist attack and wound some of them.
February 24, police forces raiding the Marmara
University campus in Istanbul beat and arrest more than 150
left-wing students. Same day, Grey Wolves attack the Political Sciences
Faculty of the Istanbul University and wound the students not observing
February 27, in Ankara, the headquarters of the
Atatürkist Thought Association (ADD) is destroyed by a bomb explosion.
An alleged member of the Islamist organization IBDA-C, Cahit Ayaz is
killed at the explosion of the bomb that he placed there.
February 27, in Sivas, a fundamentalist group
raiding a cafeteria in the city centre on pretext that religious fast
is not observed there and wounded seven clients.
THE PUBLISHER OF "ARMENIAN TABOO" CONDEMNED
The publisher of the book entitled Armenian Taboo,
Mrs. Ayse Nur Zarakolu was sentenced on January 30 by the State
Security Court of Istanbul to two years in prison and a fine of TL 250
millions ($6,250) on charges of instigating the people to hatred and
hostility on the basis of racial, religious and regional differences.
The court also decided to confiscated all
exemplaries of the book, to open legal proceeding against Mr.
Abdülkadir Konuk, translator of the book, and journalist Ragip
Zarakolu, who wrote a preface to the book.
Armenian Taboo is the translation of Yves Ternon's
book Les Arméniens, histoire d'un génocide, published in Paris by Seuil
Publishing House in 1977.
Mrs. Zarakolu qualified the verdict "scandalous" and
said she will appeal to the Court of Cassation.
Same day, at another trial, Mrs. Zarakolu, owner of
the Belge Publishing House, was sentenced to a 6-month imprisonment and
a fine of TL 50 millions for having published a book collecting the
articles of Yasar Kaya, honorary president of the DEP and publisher of
the defunct daily newspaper Özgür Gündem.
The court also decided to ban the activities of the
publishing house for one month for having published this book.
TURKEY'S ARMENIANS BANNED TO ELECT RELIGIOUS LEADER
The Turkish Government has banned the participation
of an Armenian delegation from Turkey to the election of new Armenian
religious leader in Armenia at the beginning of April 1995.
After the death of the Catholicos of Armenian Church
Vasken I, the Armenian communities of all the countries are called on
to send a delegation to Armenia for electing new Catholicos.
The Armenian Patriarch of Istanbul Kazandjiyan asked
the Governor of Istanbul on January 20 to authorize the election of a
nine-man delegation by the Armenian community of Turkey.
However, the Patriarch was summoned to the
Governor's office on January 27 and informed that, according to the
directive of the Interior Ministry such an election could not be held
because it would be against the Lausanne Treaty and Turkish laws.
NEW PRESSURES ON ARMENIAN SCHOOLS IN TURKEY
As the talks are going on to normalize
Turco-Armenian relations, the Turkish Government decided to reinforce
Turkish control on the Armenian minority schools in Turkey.
For this purpose, a special section was constituted
within the Turkish Education Ministry.
As a first measure taken by this section, the
Education Directorate gathered Armenian directors and Turkish
vice-directors of the Armenian schools in Istanbul on January 27.
During the meeting, Education Director announced
that the Turkish vice-directors of Armenian schools are, as
representatives of the Turkish national view, charged with surveying
whatsoever be in these schools and immediately informing the Education
Directorate of them.
Although, according to Article 40 of the Lausanne
Treaty, the minority schools have been recognized autonomy, the Turkish
Government appoints to each minority school a vice-director of Turkish
origin. These vice-directors have unlimited authority over the Armenian
director and teachers.
TER-PETROSSIAN'S REAL POLITIK!
The daily Milliyet of February 3, 1995, reported
that Armenian President Ter-Petrossian had a meeting with the
neo-fascist Turkish leader Alparslan Türkes for the normalisation of
the relations between Turkey and Armenia.
Two days later, MHP chairman Türkes confirmed that
he met with Ter-Petrossian in 1993 following a request by the Armenian
lobby in France.
Indicating that he had informed the prime minister
and foreign minister of Turkey at the time that a meeting was planned
between himself and Ter-Petrossian, Türkes said that the Turkish
ambassador and counsellor were also at the meeting which was aimed at
trying to see if the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan could be
stopped. He added that another aim of the meeting was to explore the
possibilities for developing friendly ties between Armenia and Turkey.
The daily Cumhuriyet of February 5 reported that a
second meeting between Türkes and Ter-Petrossian was held in 1994 in
Since Türkes is known as one of the most ardent
enemies of Armenians who is still using the word "Armenian" as an
insult against left-wing or Kurdish activists, this meeting caused a
big confusion as well in Armenia as in Armenian Diaspora.
Besides, Türkes had played an important role in the
rising ultra-nationalist and anti-Armenian currents in Azerbaijan after
the collapse of the Soviet Union. Türkes' many notorious "Grey Wolves"
had been placed by the former President Elcibey to key posts in
Azerbaijan administrative and military establishment.
According to the press reports, as the Armenian
Diaspora is preparing spectacular commemorations on the occasion of the
80th anniversary of the genocide of which were victims more than 1.5
millions Armenians during the First World War, Ter-Petrossian seems
ready to set aside the genocide for normalising relations with Turkey.
Although similar commemoration demonstrations are being prepared in
Yerevan, Ter-Petrossian's private adviser Jirair Libaridian reportedly
said that he hoped the "historical reality" of genocide would not
prevent the improvement of bilateral ties.
In the meantime, the Armenian newspaper Gamk of
February 27 reported that Armenian Education Minister Achot Bleyan
ordered announced the interdiction of the education on Armenian
genocide in the nursery, primary and secondary schools of Armenia.
This gesture and the closure of the nationalist
Dashnak Party in Armenia is considered by Ankara as another sign of
Ter-Petrossian's will to normalise relations with Turkey.
Recently, Libaridian had a series of talks with
Turkish officials in Ankara on February 24-25. The Turkish side told
Libaridian that to defuse tension in Yerevan's ties with Ankara,
Armenians should pull out from the occupied Azeri lands — excluding the
disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh — and drop their rejection of
Turkish participation in a planned peace-keeping force for Karabakh.
During the talks, two sides also discussed
"potential economic cooperation, including border trade and the passage
of Azeri oil pipeline to Turkey through Armenian territory" in the
event of normalized bilateral ties.