scandalous corruption and Yilmaz' immediate submission to the military
open all the ways to Islamist RP
The Major Way coalition, founded by Ciller's Correct
Way Party (DYP) and Yilmaz' Motherland Party (ANAP) to save the country
from a possible fundamentalist power, has short-circuited in one month
because of Ciller's scandalous corruption and Yilmaz' immediate
submission to the military. So all the ways of power for the Welfare
Party (RP) have been opened earlier than expected.
Although the two rival conservative parties agreed
to bury their bitter feud to form a minority coalition with the passive
support of Ecevit's Democratic Left Party (DSP) at the end of February,
the old enmities resurfaced shortly after with quarrelling over
ministerial turf and appointment of key bureaucrats.
As the cracks widened in the partnership, RP moved
to drive the wedge with a series of motions for investigation of
corruption charges against Ciller who led a past coalition with social
The RP campaign succeeded in its intended aim of
forcing Yilmaz' ANAP and Ecevit's DSP, both pledged to fight
corruption, to refrain from shielding Ciller in the interest of
The motions for the parliamentary inquiry against
Ciller on the irregularities in the privatisation procedure of two
State economic enterprises, TEDAS and TOFAS, have already been voted by
the National Assembly's majority.
Beside humiliating Ciller, the inquiry — to be
followed by others, particularly on her doubtful wealth — has put at
risk the premiership she was to take over from Yilmaz at the end of the
year under the terms of the five-year partnership.
Furious, Ciller holds Prime Minister Yilmaz
responsible for the fact that part of the ANAP deputies voted in favour
of the motions. She sees the parliamentary investigation as a political
plot against her. However, it is Ciller herself that gives all pretext
to her opponents, particularly to the RP, to shake the current
Indeed, very recently, the battle of corruption
accusations took a new twist as Ciller was accused of missing secret
funds allocated to prime ministers. The daily Hürriyet published an
official document showing that Ciller had withdrawn an amount worth TL
500 billion ($6.5 million) from secret funds on February 13, one day
after the ANAP decided to start coalition negotiations with the RP.
Earlier, on April 19, the press unveiled another
irregularity of Ciller's family. Former prime minister and her husband,
Özer Ciller, were reported to have registered to their own name a
90-acre ranch that their confidante Suna Pelister had bought near the
Aegean tourism resort of Kusadasi in 1994. At that time Ciller was a
minister and her husband Özer Ciller denied categorically newspaper
reports which had said that Pelister was a retired wage-earner with no
fortune of her own and that she must be a front for the Ciller.
Now, by registering this ranch on their name, the Ciller family itself
gave the proof that they had purposefully deceived the public opinion.
Despite these undeniable facts, this most corrupt
prime minister of the world continues to use cheapest demagogies by
claiming that all these accusations against her were parts of a smear
campaign launched by the RP, the PKK and the Dev-Sol with the purpose
of destroying the Turkish State.
Whereas, those who have been systematically
destroying the Republic of Turkey, encouraging the mounting of Islamic
fundamentalism and leading the country to disunion, are not other than
Ciller-type corrupt and bloodthirsty politicians.
It is these politicians that still tyrannise Kurdish
population and other ethnic communities, cede all powers to Army
generals, give all possible concessions to fundamentalist groups, make
the poor poorer and the rich richer by following economic policies in
the interest of a handful privileged like themselves.
This treacherous policy which had been started by
Turgut Özal and Süleyman Demirel, Prime Ministers and Presidents of the
Republic, and followed in a more disgusting way by Tansu Ciller and her
social democrat accomplices like Erdal Inönü, Yasar Karayalcin, Hikmet
Cetin and Deniz Baykal.
The prime minister of today, Mesut Yilmaz, has
proved in his one-month power that, despite his some good will
demonstrations at the beginning, he also opted for the same
anti-democratic, anti-popular and militarist policies.
In fact, whatsoever be his intentions and promises,
a political leader who has chosen Ciller as his partner and promised
her to hand over the post of prime minister ten months later was
condemned at the very beginning to follow the same way of treason.
Here are a few earmarks of his Major Way government:
• Just after taking over the executive, the
first thing he did was to attend a briefing of the General Staff and to
receive the military's instructions to follow repressive operations.
• The emergency rule was extended once again for
• In the second week of his power, he gave green
light for the military offensive code named "Operation Hawk" in Turkish
Kurdistan and a series of cross-border operations in Iraqi Kurdistan.
So he took no heed that the PKK has ceased its armed actions since
December 1995 for opening the way to a political and peaceful solution
and that international institutions like European Parliament called on
the Turkish Government to cease fire accordingly.
• One of the most spectacular assimilation
manoeuvres of the Republic was put in practice in the third week of
Yilmaz' power. As the world opinion was expecting a full respect to the
national identity and values of the Kurdish people, the Turkish
Government proclaimed that Newroz, celebrated for by Kurds on March 21
as their national New Year, is no more a Kurdish festival, but the
spring festival of Turks. As the Kurdish population was being forbidden
again to celebrate their own traditional Newroz, the Turkish Government
organized official ceremonies under the name of "Nevruz", and Yilmaz
personally rushed to attend such a ceremony held with the participation
of the military and the neo-fascist MHP Grey Wolves.
• Unbelievable but true, the national colours of the
Kurdish population, yellow, red and green, were proclaimed by the
Yilmaz Government as the national colours of the Turkish population. As
remembered, many Kurds, even Kurdish deputy Leyla Zana, have been
prosecuted for carrying these colours to show their ethnic identity.
Since it turned out that it was impossible to prevent this very
innocent gesture, it was claimed in a pamphlet printed on Prime
Minister's order that these three colours have never belonged to Kurds;
they were used by Turks during the periods of Seldjuk and Ottoman
• As for the State terrorism, all anti-democratic
laws and articles, including Article 8, are still kept in the Turkish
legislation and the new government has not taken any step to lift them.
On the contrary, as seen in the following pages, intellectuals and
human rights activists are continuously being accused and sentenced
under these laws and articles. Newspapers and periodicals are still
confiscated or banned from publication.
As to international relations, while Turkey is
getting more isolated because of its disrespect to democratic standards
and of its expansionist policies menacing neihbour countries, the
Yilmaz Government tries balance it by getting support from the United
States and Israel in the name of cooperation in combating terrorism.
Recently, a military agreement with Israel allowing its military
airplanes to have training flights in Turkish airspace and its naval
forces to have access to Turkey's harbours was put in force by the
` In exchange, Israel promised Turkey to help her in
the dirty war against Kurds and in its conflicts with Syria and Iran
which Ankara accuses of sheltering the Kurdish guerrilla.
Already angry against Turkey because of the
restriction in using the waters of Euphrates, Arab states all together
accuse the Turkish Government of betraying Muslim world by
collaborating with Israel.
As underlined by Cengiz Candar in the daily Sabah of
April 23, "Turkey, a big country which has stamped its mark on the
history and culture of this vast region, which governed it for
centuries, a country with a predominantly Muslim population, has now
been reduced to the level where it serves as a 'spare tire' for Israel."
The Islamic fundamentalism has already turned into
the first political force of the country due to the purblind policies
of the military and their allies in the government. The shameful
irregularities of Ciller and the unbelievable silence of social
democrats on the matter have given the RP the golden chance of
presenting itself as the only political force fighting against
corruption. So it can more easily gain over the reaction of the masses
suffering in misery.
In addition to this, the recent military and
intelligence cooperation with Israel to the detriment of Muslim world's
interests will no doubt accelerate the fundamentalist march to power in
this predominantly Muslim country. Such a Turkey will never be the
Turkey that Europe wishes to see in its union.
This is a price that the European Union has to pay
for its short-sighted ostrich policies of supporting corrupt and
repressive politicians like Ciller and hastily concluding customs union
with them in the name of preserving secular Turkey against Islam
TURKES FASCISM'S EXPANSIONISM SUPPORTED BY THE STATE
Although the neo-fascist MHP could not get necessary
vote to enter the National Assembly, the Turkish Government continues
to recognize MHP leader Türkes as the main authority in Turkey's
relations with the Turkic republics of the Caucasus and the Central
In a view to gather all Turkish peoples "from the
Adriatic to the Great Wall of China" and to keep them under the Turkish
expansionism, the representatives of these republics were gathered at
the so-called "Turkic States and Communities Assembly" on March 24 in
At the opening, President Demirel said, "From the
Adriatic to the South China Sea, across 11 million square kilometres,
there are 200 million Turks. The Turkish world emerged as a plane-tree
which could not be put back in the bag or neglected."
Türkes, also the chairman of the Turkic States and
Communities Friendship, Brotherhood and Cooperation Foundation (TUDEV)
which organized this assembly, asked for the acceptance of Turkish as
the official language in all Turkic states.
He also presented Demirel with a walking stick with
a grey wolf's head, symbol of the Turkish fascist movement, which was
enthusiastically accepted by the President of the Republic.
Former prime minister Ciller too was present at the
meeting and, conforming to the fascist ritual, hammered iron together
THE ARMY ATTACKS KURDS DESPITE THE CEASE-FIRE CALLS
Despite the European Parliament's call to take into
consideration the PKK's unilateral cease-fire, the new government
continues to maintain military operations in Kurdistan.
After the formation of the new government, the
Turkish General Staff, on March 19, gave a briefing to Prime Minister
Mesut Yilmaz and key Cabinet ministers on the security issues and
"threats facing the country." Before the meeting, Yilmaz had a private
meeting with General Staff Chief Ismail Hakki Karadayi.
The Turkish forces launched on April 5 an offensive
code-named "Operation Hawk" in Hani and Lice districts of the province
of Diyarbakir. The emergency rule authorities announced on April 11
that security forces killed 110 PKK militants and captured five. The
same authorities also admitted that 33 members of the security forces
were killed during the operation.
Interior Minister Ülkü Güney said that the operation
against the PKK would go on until there were no "terrorists" left.
Despite this bloody operation, the PKK announced
that it would not break the cease-fire. "Guerrilla forces will continue
to be in an active defense position," said a spokesman to pro-Kurdish
DEM agency in Germany.
The Turkish Daily News reported on April 11 that
tip-offs by friendly foreign intelligence services had played a key
role in the heavy loss of PKK militants.
"Beside the cooperation between Turkish and Western
intelligence agencies under NATO, Ankara has recently deepened
'technical cooperation' with Israel. In the last operation Turkey could
have had access to 'all' the intelligence facilities provided," said
the TDN sources.
EMERGENCY RULE EXTENDED ONCE MORE
One of the first things the new government made,
conforming to the military's directives, was the extension of the
emergency rule in 10 southeastern provinces granting powers to local
authorities to restrict freedoms.
On March 14, the bill extending the emergency rule
for four months from March 19 was adopted by the National Assembly by
227 votes to 179 with 51 abstentions.
THE GENERAL STAFF'S INSTRUCTIONS TO HIDE THE ARMY'S CRIMES
In a move to counter the accusations concerning
ill-treatment of the population, The Turkish General Staff has recently
warned the units engaged in anti-PKK combat against exhibiting the
mutilated corpses of the slain militants to the people.
According to the press reports of March 6, the
orders and directives issued regarding the conduct of relations with
the civilian population ever since the army units took up internal
security functions had been compiled in a book titled "The Guidelines
for Public Relations and Ways to Win over the Population"
The book contains the following instructions for the
troops taking part in the searches or operations against the separatist
"While conducting searches, do not harm the property
of the local people. If some damage is inadvertently caused, pay the
"Do not conduct searches with harsh and irregular
methods. Act with restraint towards women and the elderly. Do not
search the women yourselves. Employ policewomen, midwives, nurses,
woman teachers or trustable women among the locals.
"Do not assign the village guards to conduct house
searches by themselves. Coordinate the searches with the local
"After the searches make sure that you obtain signed
statements by the villagers that their property have not been harmed,
and keep these records. These documents should bear the signatures of
the village headmen or elders.
"In case some damage has been caused and its
exploitation is likely, try to record it with film or video cameras.
While conducting the searches, be vigilant against the booby traps or
active intervention from the terrorists. Never neglect the security
precautions so as not to cause any damage. Do not forget that you can
come face to face with a terrorist any moment.
"Carefully list everything taken from the slain
terrorists; don't allow any robbery. Avoid coercing people by
exhibiting the mutilated bodies of slain terrorists at village squares
with the intended message of 'see what happens.' Such attitudes may
indeed scare the people, but they will not give the state an agreeable
image; on the contrary it damages its reputation.
"Assist the poor, sick and destitute in their areas
of responsibility by organizing provision of water and food, the repair
of their houses and the harvest of their crops. "If
you see people walking on the road, give them a ride if you have a
place in your vehicle," the book advised.
"When you have to address the people, do not assemble the people at the
houses of the headman, sheikh or the wealthy, but pick open spaces as
the village square, village coffee-house, the mosque courtyard or the
school garden. Politely persuade the important personages that this was
meant as no offence to them.
"The villagers will make you offerings to ensure
that you will act tolerantly. Accept the people's offerings but
sparingly. Pay back with cigarettes, tea, sugar or canned rations.
"Make use of every opportunity to convince that you
are sharing their joy and grief. Help them bury their dead, attend
funerals, pay condolence visits. For, according to local traditions,
those who visit the house of dead for condolences cannot be an enemy.
"Attend the mass prayers at religious occasions.
Give tips to children. attend the weddings and join in the folk dances.
"Have prayers recited for your fallen soldiers and
invite the locals to the ceremony. In Ramadan, respond to invitation
from the villagers to break the fast together. Organize fast breaking
meals yourselves and make sure the village poor are invited beside the
"If you have to procure supplies locally, never
haggle over prices. On the contrary, pay more than the normal price.
Buy from different shops instead of taking only from one. Thus, you
will not only show that you do not discriminate between the people, but
at the same time you will win gratitude of the less well-to-do
"Never forget that you represent the state in the
places you serve. The trust and respect you evoke in people will
increase their trust, respect and loyalty to the state."
FOUR FORMER DEP DEPUTIES SENTENCED AGAIN
The State Security Court of Ankara, on April 11,
sentenced four former deputies of the now defunct Democracy Party (DEP)
to two years and two months prison terms and nearly TL 120 million fine
for violating Article 8 of the Anti-Terrorism Law and Article 80 of the
Turkish Penal Code.
Ahmet Türk, Sirri Sakik, Sedat Yurttas and Mahmut
Alniak had earlier been sentenced to prison terms of up to
seven-and-a-half years by the same court together with four other DEP
deputies, Leyla Zana, Orhan Dogan, Hatip Dicle and Selim Sadak, who
were sentenced to 15-year prison.
Although the verdicts against the latter were
ratified by the Court of Cassation, the SSC was ordered by the higher
court to retry four other defendants.
During the retrial Türk, Sakik, Yurttas and Alniak
accused the State of carrying out a policy of pressure and denying the
"Kurdish people" and rejected the accusation of intending to divide the
PRO-KURDISH DDP BANNED, BUT REPLACED BY THE DBP
The Constitutional Court decided, on March 25, to
ban the pro-Kurdish Democracy and Change Party (DDP) on charges that
its program contains some sections which violate the Constitution.
Prior to this verdict, on March 11, the DDP chairman
Refik Karakoc and other leaders resigned from this party to escape a
5-year ban from politics and founded a new party called the Democracy
and Peace Party (DBP).
Karakoc, as the president of the new party, said the
DBP too would make efforts for that steps toward solving the Kurdish
question should be taken as soon as possible.
The closed DDP's first chairman Ibrahim Aksoy, who
was succeeded by Karakoc, is still in jail in Ankara.
A NEW SOCIALIST PARTY: THE PARTY OF LABOUR (EP)
Following the foundation of the Freedom and
Solidarity Party (ÖDP), a group of left-wing activists and workers set
up a new socialist party on March 25 under the name of The Party of
The EP chairman Abdullah Levent Tüzel said: "Our
party which is formed mainly by workers and intellectuals committed to
the cause of the working class. We consider the Kurdish question not
only the cause of the Kurdish working people but also that of the
Turkish working people."
Tüzel added that the EP is ready to take part in an
alliance with other left-wing parties for the interests of the working
class, democracy and freedoms.
The other socialist parties are the Freedom and
Solidarity Party (ÖDP), the Workers' Party (IP) and the Socialist Power
TORTURE TREATMENT CENTRES UNDER PRESSURE
Turkish authorities launched a pressure campaign
with the purpose of closing torture treatment centres founded by the
Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV).
On March 22, the Ankara Chief Prosecutor asked the
TIHV for the names and addresses of the people who claimed that they
In another action, the Health Department's office in
Adana asked the city's rehabilitation centre for the names of the
doctors who work there as well as torture claimants. Besides, the
centre in Adana was investigated by the Health Department as to whether
or not it is giving patients treatment — an act which the department
says is illegal.
The TIHV chairman, Yavuz Önen, accused the Turkish
foreign ministry of being behind these pressures.
Önen said that the TIHV is a foundation that has
worked for six years under the control of the Foundations General
Directorate and that it obeys the law.
He said the current investigations are scare
tactics, aimed at trying to reduce the number of applications from
people who have been tortured, as well as trying to scare doctors who
volunteer their services.
The TIHV's only response to the prosecutor's demand
for the names of those who claimed to have been tortured, was a
description of their activities — that they help torture victims by
advising them of where to get treatment and in some cases pay for this
HABITAT II IN ISTANBUL BOYCOTTED BY HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS
Habitat II, the last major UN conference of the
century that is to be staged on June 3-14 in Istanbul is faced with two
crises that threaten the very success of the summit.
The first dilemma is that many NGOs may boycott the
conference because of Turkish NGOs not being allowed to take part in
The second dilemma is a conflict between Istanbul's
RP controlled Metropolitan Municipality and the Turkish Housing
Administration (TOKI), the body nominated by the government to be the
official host of the conference.
The non-governmental organizations such as the Human
Rights Association (IHD) and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
(TIHV) as well as many environmentalist organizations have stated that
they will not participate in the NGO's forums as a protest against the
rules governing the conference.
They declared that Turkey is not the right country
to host such a conference because of its numerous documented violations
of human rights.
A number of NGOs, holding a press conference on
April 22, declared that they would organize a series of activities
within the frame of the Habitat Alternative Platform.
Focusing on the effects of the civil war in Turkish
Kurdistan, they said, "Villages and forests are burned down in the
Southeast, people are forced to flee, 2.5 million are forced to leave
their homes because of this war. A big part of this population lives in
makeshift shelters or in camps."
The platform also criticised the aims of the Habitat
in following terms:
"The United Nation's basic target in such summits is
to facilitate market development of Northern countries and to determine
how it can abuse the best of the resources of Southern countries. The
construction fairs that will be opened within the frame of Habitat II
are the best example of this situation. Since life in our world is a
hierarchical structure determined by the dominant powers, the voices of
those who struggle for working class and freedoms are suppressed.
Ethnic groups, women, children, homosexuals and physically or mentally
handicapped people are devoid of any democratic rights and forced to
live in some determined cities, streets or even in closed areas."
The organizers of the Habitat Alternative Platform
also criticised the way of organizing the Habitat II:
"In Istanbul, street dogs and cats are killed to
give an artificial mask to the city. Istanbul gets ready for Habitat by
multiplying hotel prices by five. They make accounts to determine how
much Habitat will bring to Istanbul in means of exchange. All of these
take place in the media. But the only point that is neglected is
ISMAIL BESIKCI SENTENCED AGAIN
Sociologist Ismail Besikci is sentenced, on March
13, 1996, to 16 months in prison and TL133 million in fine for his book
The Stained Concepts, Science, Equality, Justice, published in 1994. In
the same trial, the director of the Yurt Publishing House, Ünsal
Öztürk, too is sentenced to 6-month imprisonment and a fine of TL 100
STATE TERRORISM IN MARCH
1.3, in Ankara, eleven university students are tried
by a penal court for having held a protest demonstration at the
National Assembly. Each faces a prison term of up to three years.
1.3, in Istanbul, 47 university students are
detained by police after a demonstration in protest against the hike of
1.3, in Pervari, 27 village protectors are
reportedly detained for having sheltered PKK militants.
1.3, the Ankara SSC sentences ten people to
different prison terms of up to 22 years and six months for taking part
in the Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) activities.
2.3, in Izmir, high school student Hikmet Öztan is
shot dead by unidentified gunmen.
4.3, in Diyarbakir, imam Yakup Veysioglu is
assassinated by the militants of a fundamentalist group.
4.3, in Kinik, Abidin Apaydin claims to have been
tortured at Manisa police headquarters after being detained on February
9 in the village of Taspinar.
5.3, in Van, Taceddin Ertas falls victim of an armed
5.3, the daily Demokrasi reports that 60-year old
Selahattin Akbulut, detained last year by gendarmes in Bismil, is found
7.3, in Catak, HADEP local chairman Nezir Ocek and
fifty other people are taken into custody.
7.3, in Tekirdag, two doctors named Sahin Bal and
Zehra Aydin are indicted for having delivered a medical report
certifying the torture traces on the body of a torture victim, Mehmet
Siddik Dogru. They are accused of discrediting the Turkish state by
issuing a groundless medical report.
7.3, security forces arrest twelve people in Ankara
for underground activities. Same day, in Istanbul, nine people are
detained by political police.
7.3, six people are tried by the Diyarbakir SSC for
armed actions. Three face capital punishment and three others prison
terms of up to 15 years.
7.3, the Istanbul office of the Workers' Party (IP)
is destroyed with a bomb explosion. The act is claimed by the
fundamentalist group IBDA-C.
8.3, the prosecutor of the Diyarbakir SSC indicts
eight members of the Hizbullah. Four defendants face capital punishment
and the other a prison term of up to 15 years.
9.3, in Ankara, a teachers' demonstration in protest
against the banning of the Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Personnel's Trade Union (Egitim Sen) is prevented by police using
force. 20 demonstrators are wounded and 32 taken into custody.
10.3, in Istanbul, a demonstration for peace is
banned by the governor.
11.3, five members of the Revolutionary Communist
Party of Turkey (TDKP) are sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to different
prison terms of up to 12 years and six months.
11.3, in Diyarbakir, police raiding a house arrest
12.3, a group of MHP Grey Wolves attacks left-wing
students at the Hacettepe University in Ankara and wound two of them.
12.3, in Diyarbakir, more than 20 university
students are taken into custody for a demonstration in protest against
the rise of university charges.
13.5, in Istanbul, seventeen youths who were
detained for political activities in February, claim to have been
tortured during 12-day police custody. Five of the victims are
younger than eighteen years.
13.3, in Istanbul, a demonstration on the first
anniversary turns into a violent confrontation when police intervene in
and seven people including some policemen seriously wounded. 35 people
are taken into police custody.
15.3, security forces arrest 23 people in Istanbul
and ten people in Adana for taking part in PKK actions.
17.3, during the student demonstrations against the
rising university charges, security forces detain 167 students in Bursa
and 77 in Eskisehir. During the incidents in Bursa seven students are
18.3, in Bursa, 26 students of the Uludag University
are arrested during protest demonstrations.
18.3, in Lice, 16-year old Hasan Pelin falls victim
of the explosion of a mine laid by security forces.
19.3, in Aydin, eleven high school students were
subjected to torture under police custody, their relatives said the
19.3, IHD Istanbul Chairman Ercan Kanar and seven
other IHD officials are indicted by the prosecutor of the military
court of the General Staff. Under Article 155 of the TPC, each faces a
prison term of up to two months for having allowed a group of women to
hold a press conference against the obligatory military service.
19.3, in Ankara, eleven students of the Hacettepe
University are taken to police custody for a protest action against the
rise of university charges.
21.3, in Istanbul, three detainees of Newroz
celebrations, Gonca Dönmezer, Cüneyt Tiskaya and Ali Eflek are
reportedly subjected to torture at police detention.
21.3, in Van, three HADEP officials, Cevdet Armutcu,
Mehmet Firat and Nezir Aksoy, claim to have been tortured after their
detention by police on March 17.
21.3, the Istanbul SSC sentences five people to
prison terms of up to three years and nine months for having occupied
YDH local in Istanbul for a protest action.
23.3, in Ankara, a mass demonstration of students in
protest against the rise of university charges results in the arrest of
224 students. More than 200 students are seriously wounded because of
violent police attack.
24.3, in Istanbul, a woman named Devrim Öktem claims
to have been tortured and miscarried her baby at the political
24.3, in Istanbul, ten people, parents of political
detainees, are indicted for outraging authorities during the incidents
of Umraniye Prison during which four detainees were killed.
24.3, in Istanbul, security forces report the arrest
of twenty people on charges of taking part in DHKP/C actions.
24.3, in Bingöl, a village headman, Siddik Bulut),
imam Ahmet Faruk Kaya as well as fourteen people are detained on
charges of giving aid and shelter to PKK guerrillas.
25.3, Kamil Dag, Turan Bulut, Aziz Yenigül and
16-year old S.A. who were detained on March 13 during the
demonstrations on the occasion of the first anniversary of the Gazi
massacre, are reportedly subjected to torture at police centre.
25.3, a 17-year old high school student, Deniz
Özcan, claims to have been tortured and threatened by police because he
witnessed the assassination of journalist Metin Göktepe.
25.3, in Silopi, the explosion of a mine laid
security forces costs the life of a bus passenger, Besir Yen.
26.3, the IHD Adana section was closed down for
fifteen days by the decision of the governor.
26.3, an attack by the MHP Grey Wolves at the
Vocational School of Balikesir results in the wounding of five students
and the arrest of fifteen others.
27.3, the Istanbul SSC sentences a member of the
Workers'-Peasants' Liberation Army of Turkey (TIKKO), Yilmaz Zurnaci,
to capital punishment under Article 146 of the TPC.
27.3, a police intervention in a student rally in
Malatya ends in the wounding three students and the arrest of nine
others. In Istanbul, the Letters Faculty's canteen is raided by Grey
Wolves. Two students are wounded and seven detained.
27.2, in Patnos, a 45-year old peasant, Ali Karatas,
is found killed after being taken into police custody.
27.3, in Diyarbakir, Ramazan Elen is shot dead by
28.3, a public servant named Metin Yildiz claims to
have been tortured after his detention on March 24. Same day, in
Istanbul, 40-year old Yilmaz Basinc said that he was tortured at police
29.3, IHD Hakkari Secretary lawyer Hüseyin Umit is
detained by police raiding his office.
30.3, the former chairman of the Oil Workers' Union
(Petrol Is), Münir Ceylan is tried under Article 8 by the Diyarbakir
SSC for a speech he gave in December 1995. Two editors of the
periodical Batman Postasi, Nizamettin Izgi and Ercan Atay, who
published his speech, are tried as well at the same trial.
30.3, in Samandag, 46 HADEP members are taken into
custody during a commemoration ceremony for a HADEP leader, Mehmet
Latifeci, who was assassinated one year ago.
30.3, in Diyarbakir, Hüseyin Senyigit is
assassinated by unidentified gunmen.
30.3, during the ongoing student demonstrations
police detain 15 university students in Ankara.
31.3, in Mus, Resit Dürre claims to have been
tortured after his detention by soldiers on March 18.
31.3, in Ankara, Mehmet Geckin who was detained as
reading the periodical Sosyalist Alternatif claims to have been
tortured during police custody.
31.3, a meeting organized in Malatya by the newly
founded Labour Party (EP) is forbidden by the decision of the governor.
31.3, in Batman, security forces arrest more than 40
people among whom are also some local HADEP officials. In istanbul,
police announce the arrest of three DHKP/C militants.
PRESSURE ON THE MEDIA IN MARCH
2.3, the political magazine Özgür Gelecek is
confiscated under Article 312 of the TPC by the Istanbul SSC by the
4.3, a former responsible editor of the defunct
daily Özgür Gündem, Besim Döner is sentenced by the military court of
the General Staff to two months in prison and TL 160 thousand in fine
for anti-militarist propaganda.
4.3, two political reviews, Partizanin Sesi N°36 and
Partizan N°14, are confiscated under Article 312 by the Istanbul SSC.
6.3, the chairman of the Human Rights Association
(IHD), Akin Birdal, and 16 other top officials are tried by the Ankara
SSC for having published a newsletter entitled The Solution in Peace.
Each faces a prison term of up to three years.
6.3, the chairman of the Human Rights Foundation of
Turkey (TIHV), Yavuz Önen and eight other top officials are tried by a
penal court of Ankara for having published a book on the defense of
human rights. Each faces a prison term of up to six months.
6.3, the Izmir SSC concludes a trial against Hasan
Karadag, chairman of the Mesopotamia Cultural Centre (MKM), Cevdet
Turgut, HADEP local chairman and the director of the Demokrat radio
station, Cengiz Tasdemir, accused under Article 8 for a radio
programme. Each is sentenced to a fine of TL86 million.
7.3, Atilim owner Aslihan Yücesan is held for
8.3, the political review Proleter Halkin Birligi,
N°8 is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC under Article 8.
11.3, the Istanbul SSC sentences a writer of the
periodical Mücadele, Metin Balca, to 16 months in prison and TL 133
million in fine under Article 8. The responsible editor Cafer Cakmak
too is sentenced to six months in prison and TL 50 million in fine;
publisher Gülten Sesen to a fine of TL 100 million.
12.3, the military court of the General Staff
sentences two journalists, Hale Soysü (Aydinlik) and Seyh Davut Karadag
(Özgür Gündem) to 2-month imprisonment and TL 160 thousand in fine each
for anti-militarist publications. Two other persons, Mehmet Akdeniz and
Bülent Yildirim, too are sentenced by the court on the same charges.
13.3, the periodical Hedef is confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC under Article 312 of the TPC.
14.5, the director of the Belge Publishing House,
Ayse Zarakolu, and the chairman of the Workers' Party (IP), Dogu
Perincek, are tried by the Ankara SSC for their speeches at the IHD
Congress held in October 1994. Each faces a prison term of up to three
years under Article 8.
15.3, a monthly arts magazine, Ada, is confiscated
by a penal court of Istanbul for an article on the assassination of
journalist Metin Göktepe.
15.3, Istanbul police arrest Ibrahim Cicek,
editor-in-chief of Atilim; his wife, Aysel Cicek; Haci Orman, a
journalist of the paper's foreign desk; Atilim owner Aslihan Yücesan;
and staff members Ali Hidir Polat, Sabahat Karahan, Zeynel Yesil and
Duran Sahin. Police force their way into the homes of the seven. Their
families and staff at the paper go on hunger strike to protest the
16.3, the editor of the periodical Kurtulus, Gökhan
Kiziroglu, who was detained on March 7 at a campus of the Istanbul
Technical University claims after his release to have been tortured
during police custody.
18.3, journalist Ahmet Altan is sentenced by a penal
court of Ankara to TL 15.3 million in fine for having insulted the
chief judge of the Constitutional Court during a TV programme.
18.3, the periodical Alinteri is closed down for one
month by the decision of the Court of Cassation because of some
articles about the assassination of HADEP officials. Alinteri had
already been closed down for twenty days between February 27 and March
19.3, a new periodical, Emekcinin Alinteri, is
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC under Articles 6 and 8 of the ATL.
20.3, the Diyarbakir representative of the
periodical Ronahi, Halil Ibrahim Dede is taken into police custody in
relation with the unauthorised Newroz celebrations.
20.3, the periodicals Atilim and Özgür Genclik are
closed down for 30 days each by the decision of the Court of Cassation.
20.3, the Court of Cassation ratifies a 6-month
imprisonment and a fine of TL 111 million against Ismail Akkin, as the
responsible editor of Atilim, and a fine of TL 100 million against the
same journalist as the publisher of Özgür Genclik.
20.3, the chief editor of the journal Demokrasi,
Mehmet Oguz, is sentenced by a penal court of Istanbul to ten months in
prison and TL 1 million in fine for an article he wrote to another
periodical, Özgür Yasam, under the charge of insulting the National
Assembly. The responsible editor of the latter, Ali Zeren too is
sentenced to TL 1.5 million in fine for having published that article.
20.3, a correspondent of the daily Demokrasi, Serpil
Korkmaz is taken into custody by police raiding her house.
21.3, Gonca Dönmezer, an employee of Kizil Bayrak,
is arrested and beaten by police during a demonstration in Newroz. She
is detained at Metris Prison, Istanbul, for "taking part in an illegal
22.3, a former editor of the periodical Devrimci
Cözüm, Hatice Onaran is imprisoned in Istanbul on the ratification of
her prison terms of four years and six months.
22.3, Hamza Yalcin, former editor of Odak, is
detained in Bayrampasa prison in Istanbul on suspicion of belonging to
an illegal organisation. Hatice Onaran, former editor of Devrimci
Cözüm, is also detained in Bayrampasa prison after her sentence to
four-and-a-half years in prison was enforced. She was convicted under
the Anti-Terror Law because of articles she had published in Devrimci
23.3, in Ankara, journalists covering a student
demonstration are subjected to police violence, six of them, Cemal
Gökcanli (Kanal 6 TV), Serkan Cinier and Gökhan Eren (Interstar TV),
Kemal Ertas (Partizanin Sesi) and Burhanettin Bilici (Associated
Press), wounded. Six other journalists are reportedly kept for a while
under police custody.
25.3, the daily Demokrasi reports that the
contributors of the periodical Atilim, who were detained on March 15,
are subjected to torture.
27.3, the responsible editor of the periodical Odak,
Erhan Duman claims to have been tortured together with his six friends
during their police custody in Istanbul.
27.3, poet Nihat Behram who has been a political
refugee in Europe for sixteen years is taken into custody at the
Istanbul airport when he returned to his country.
27.3, the periodical Proleter Dogrultu, N°3 and the
youth review Reheval N°3 are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC under
Articles 6 and 8 of the ATL.
27.3, Mustafa Temiz, an employee of the monthly
Özgür Cukurova, and journalists Deniz Koc and Latife Capik are arrested
by anti-terrorist police in Adana. They are ordered to be held in
custody for ten days. As well, Hidir Sari, publisher of Proleter Halkin
Birligi, is arrested and detained for 24 hours. He is accused of
keeping copies of the newspaper which had previously been ordered
seized by Turkish authorities.
29.3, in Alanya, the chief editor of the local
newspaper Memleketim, Serhan Altiparmak is taken into custody on
pretext that he refused to make his military service. He was released
after having proven that he had already accomplished his service.
29.3, three employees of the periodical Atilim,
Sabahat Karahan, Dogan Sahin and Zeynel Yesil, claims to have been
tortured during their police custody.
29.3, two correspondents of the periodical Kurtulus,
Yazgülü Güder Öztürk and Hamide Öztürk are detained by police raiding
30.3, the periodical Proleter Halkin Birligi, N°10
is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC under Article 312 of the TPC.
30.3, the editor of the periodical Kurtulus, Hüseyin
Gündüz, is taken into custody by plainclothes policemen raiding his
31.3, in Ankara, MHP Grey Wolves attack a number of
booksellers and wounded five people.
KURDISH PROVINCES MORE IMPOVERISHED IN SEVEN YEARS
Turkey's richer areas were slightly richer and
poorer areas even poorer in 1994 than in 1987, the national statistics
agency revealed on April 8, 1996.
National income statistics by region, as disclosed
by the State Institute of Statistics (DIE), showed that seven years of
government efforts between 1987 and 1994 proved futile in producing a
fairer picture of regional income distribution.
They disclosed that the top two richest areas,
Marmara and the Aegean, accounted for 52.8 per¬cent of Turkey's Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) in 1994, up from 51.9 percent In 1987. Marmara
alone represented 35.6 percent in 1994, slightly richer than its 35.3
percent in 1987. The Aegean share 1n national income also soared from
16.6 percent in 1987 to 17.2 percent seven years after.
As opposed to that, the two poorest regions, eastern
Anatolia and south-eastern Anatolia, mainly inhabited by Kurds, showed
decline in their combined share of GDP between 1987 and 1994. The two
poverty-stricken areas together accounted for 9.2 percent of national
income in 1994, down slightly from 9.3 percent in 1987.
Another indication confirmed widening income
disparities. The average GDP share of the eight "emergency rule"
provinces was 0.40 percent in 1987. These south-eastern towns were
Diyarbakir, Bingöl, Tunceli, Mardin, Adiyaman, Van, Bitlis and Hakkari.
In 1994, the 10 emergency rule provinces, with the addition of Batman
and Sirnak, averaged 0.33 percent of Turkey's national income.
Ten poorest provinces are Bayburt, Ardahan, Hakkari,
Igdir, Tunceli, Bingöl, Sirnak, Gümüshane, Bitlis and Agri,with 0.1
percent of the GDP,
On the part of the richest, the DIE said, Istanbul,
which represented 20.3 percent of Turkish GDP, retained its lead
although its share was a slightly higher 21 percent in 1987. Izmir
ranked second with 8.2 percent and Ankara third with 7.9 percent.
Industrial towns Kocaeli and Bursa ranked fourth and
fifth with 4.6 percent and four percent respectively.
The rest of the top 10 by rank were Adana (3.3
percent), Icel (2.9), Antalya (2.6) Manisa (2.6), and Konya (2.2).
HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS CONTINUE AS BEFORE
Although Turkey has been under the rule of a new
coalition having promised to respect fundamental rights and freedoms
since the beginning of March, 127 people were still in prison for their
opinions at the end of March.
The monthly report of the Human Rights Association
(IHD) shows that the violations of human rights have been continuing as
Below are the IHD figures concerning March 1996:
• Attacks by unknown assailants: 5
died, 13 wounded.
• Deaths in extra-judicial executions, torture and
• Killed in armed clashes: 97
• Missing in custody: 14
• Torture cases: 64
• Detained people: 2,076
• People arrested by tribunals: 208
• Bombed offices: 7
• Closed IHD sections: 2
• Banned publications: 9
• Media offices raided by police:
• Detained journalists: 46
• Confiscated publications: 13
• Sentences given: 6 years and 6
• Fines given: TL 2.1 billion
• Number of prisoners of opinion:
Earlier, in February 1996, the figures concerning
human rights violations were established as follows:
• Attacks by unknown assailants: 6
died, 17 wounded.
• Deaths in extra-judicial executions, torture and
• Killed in armed clashes: 37
• Civilian victims of attacks: 7
died, 13 wounded
• Missing in custody: 16
• Torture cases: 51
• Detained people: 874
• People arrested by tribunals: 203
• Bombed offices: 14
• Closed associations and unions: 2
• Associations and journals raided by
• Detained journalists: 19
• Confiscated publications: 13
• Sentences given: 5 years and 1
• Fines given: TL 474 million
• Demanded prison terms: 666 years
and 8 months
• Number of prisoners of opinion:
16 HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TORTURED
Sixteen high school students who had been detained
in December 1995 in Manisa were brought on March 12, 1996, before the
Izmir SSC on charges of having participated in the actions of the
Revolutionary People's Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C). At the opening
of the trial, the defendants, of whom four under eighteen years old,
said that they were tortured by police.
The court decided to try them in session without the
presence of journalists, on pretext that some of the detainees are
The public prosecutor claims prison terms of up to
15 years for underground activities.
On these claims of torture, Amnesty International
urged the Turkish authorities, on April 16, to reinvestigate fully and
impartially these allegations.
The Al press release said, "We are alarmed at
receiving an increasing number of reports that juveniles have been
tortured in police custody."
"During their detention between 26 December and 5
January 1996 at Manisa headquarters, police reportedly blindfolded the
defendants, stripped them naked, hosed them with cold water and
subjected them to electric shocks including to their genitalia. Police
raped the male detainees with truncheons and squeezed their testicles.
Female detainees were subjected to forced gynaecological tests and were
threatened with rape, virginity tests and defenestration."
It also argued that the youths' claims of torture
were supported by medical reports from the hospitals where they were
treated during their detention.
"A 17-year-old female had to be transferred to
hospital because of vaginal bleeding following electric shocks to her
genitals. A 16-year-old (who is still under arrest) was recently
transferred to Izmir State Hospital. Released juveniles are receiving
medical treatment from the Turkish Human Rights Association," the AI
The press release also quoted Sabri Ergul, a CHP
deputy, describing his unannounced visit at Manisa Police Headquarters
where the children are said to have been tortured: "I heard a cry and
opened the door of the next room to find out what was going on. The
young people were there, they were blindfolded and some of them were
AI said it was also monitoring the trials of
suspected torturers of children. "The trial against police officers who
reportedly subjected 13-year-old Abdullah Salman to electric shocks at,
Sisli Police Headquarters in Istanbul between 7 and 9 November 1994 is
still pending. Twelve-year-old Halil Ibrahim Okkali's arm was broken
while in detention at Cinarli Police Station on 27 November 1995 in
Izmir, and a trial has recently been opened," Al noted.
THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE'S CALL TO THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe,
on April 25, 1996, adopted a recommendation based on the report of
Hungarian Socialist deputy Andreas Barsony which mainly asks
Ankara to seek a peaceful settlement to the Kurdish question and to
lift Article 8 and other anti-democratic laws and articles in the
The Assembly asked Turkey to pardon four former
Kurdish parliamentarians and suggested a general amnesty in Turkey.
The recommendation makes reference to a previous
resolution which urges a "watch process" to Turkey and asked the
Council's legal and human rights committees to report about the
situation in Turkey to the Assembly's session in September 1996.
The Turkish deputies in the Assembly expressed their
reservations toward the recommendation. Irfan Demiral, head of the
Turkish delegation, said that the watch mechanism imposed on Turkey
should be extended over to "other members" to watch over racism and
TURKEY'S TRIAL BY THE EUROPEAN COURT AND THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION
For the first time, the European Court of Human
Rights heard charges by seven Turkish citizens of Kurdish origin on
April 25 that Turkish soldiers destroyed their village four years
Against the complaint of Akdivar and others, the
Turkish defense says that the village in question — Kelekci village of
Diyarbakir— was burnt by the PKK.
The Human Rights Commission, which screens
applications to the court, decided to take up the case after sending
experts to the scene to investigate both sides' versions.
It brushed aside Turkey's claim that the domestic
legal process has not been exhausted, so the matter should be taken up
in Turkey, rather than in the European Court.
On April 26, the court heard another case against
Turkey by Zeki Aksoy. He complained to the court in May 1993 that he
had been tortured by Turkish police. He was later assassinated. His
lawyers said he had received death threats ordering him to withdraw his
Both of these cases were brought before the European
justice by the assistance of the Kurdish Human Rights Project (KHRP)
and the Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD).
On the other hand, the European Commission conducted
hearing in Ankara from 15 to 19 April on six cases that it had
previously declared admissible. The Commission hearings aimed to gather
further information on allegations of forced eviction, torture and
ill-treatment, and destruction of property made against the Turkish
These cases too have been assisted by the KHRP and
Up to now, 54 KHRP assisted cases have been declared
admissible by the European Commission. Over 400 individuals have been
helped with cases before the ECHR by the project.
NORDIC COUNTRIES FOR A PEACEFUL SOLUTION TO KURDISH QUESTION
The Nordic Helsinki Committee, a branch of the
international Helsinki Commission human rights watchdog agency, has
decided to send a delegation to Ankara April 20-25 to prepare a
political initiative for promoting peace in southeastern Turkey.
The Committee Chairman Professor Erik Siesby, in a
letter addressed to PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan, said:
"We have no ready-made solutions to the Kurdish
question. All we hope to achieve is, as a first step towards peace, to
investigate the possibilities for a solution to the Kurdish question by
listening to various sides."
"I understand the Turkish government's point in not
responding the PKK's unilateral cease-fire by saying that they are not
willing to negotiate with a terrorist organization. But I think there
is no reason for the government to continue evacuating villages in the
"It is unacceptable that Turkey uses her army to
solve a social and cultural problem. An army is trained to kill, and
that is not the way in which social and cultural problems should be
handled. To leave the solution to the military does not make sense, and
it could only harm Turkey's image.
"The army has been used in evacuating over 3,000
villages, and making 2-3 million people homeless. This creates more
problems rather than solving anything. I feel sorry for the glorious
Turkish army, that they are used this way against their own people."
Siesby also called on "all peace-loving states" to
act as mediators between the Turkish government and Kurdish
representatives. "Nordic countries — Denmark, Norway, Sweden and
Finland — are some of these peace-loving countries", he declared.
"Although we have no direct interest in Turkey, we
feel very sorry about the situation there. This war is damaging
Turkey's image in the West, and Turkey cannot economically [afford]
anymore to hold on to this war in her borders."
TURKISH AMBASSADOR'S "YES GIFTS" TO MEP!
Several members of the European Parliament
reportedly expressed anger over Turkish gifts of classical music
cassettes which were sent to them after they voted "yes" on the customs
union in December 1995.
According to the Turkish Daily News of January 16,
1996, the cassettes, which are works by Western composers played by
Turkish orchestras, were returned by some member of the Socialist group
in the European Parliament as "bribery."
The Turkish Ambassador to the European Community,
Uluc Özülker, sent the cassettes with a letter of gratitude but the
gesture was rejected when some members said that would bring this up in
the general assembly meeting.
RACISM CLIMBS: ANTI-KURDISH PROVOKED IN ERDEMLI
Under the brainwashing campaign carried out by the
military and the Turkish media, a simple inter-family incident may
easily turn into a racist flare-up in Turkey.
In the Mediterranean township of Erdemli near to
Antalya, a quarrel broke out on March 9 between a local family and
another family which had moved to the town from the eastern province of
Agri. The case centred on the alleged harassment of a married woman
over the telephone by a member of the Agri family. The quarrel resulted
in the killing of Galip Cetin, a member of the local family.
Next day, on March 10, more than 2000 residents of
Erdemli gathered outside the government building shouting slogans like,
"We will drive the Kurds out of Erdemli," and, "Down with the PKK!".
They also caused serious damage to Kurdish-owned business premises by
attacking them with rocks and sticks and, in one case, starting a fire.
Similar incident had previously occurred in Alanya,
in Fethiye and in other areas where a local Turkish population comes
face to face with substantial numbers of Kurds who migrate for economic
reasons or to escape State terrorism in the East and Southeast of the
CPJ CALLS FOR THE RELEASE OF ALL JOURNALISTS IMPRISONED
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) delivered
on April 2 a petition to Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz signed by
50 "American journalists and media executives" calling for the release
of all journalists imprisoned in Turkey.
"Turkey holds more journalists in prison than any
other country," said Avner Gidron, CPJ's research director. "We are
sending this petition to Prime Minister Yilmaz as a way of letting the
Turkish government know that this is a matter of serious concern for
journalists in the United States."
The question of the 51 journalists in Turkish jails
was indeed raised at a Washington dinner hosted on March 28 for the
U.S. press by President Demirel. The president's answer that those in
jail were actually terrorists parading as journalists did not sit well
with the American journalists.
"Unfortunately, it appears that the new government
has not improved on its predecessor's dismal press freedom record,"
said Gidron. "Imprisonment of journalists and violence against the
press is continuing."
CPJ noted that at least "seven journalists have been
jailed in the past two weeks. And several reporters were brutally
beaten by police at a recent student demonstration in Ankara."
"Article 8, despite recent revisions, still
criminalizes news reports which are purportedly 'aimed at destroying
the indivisibility of the Turkish state. Article 7 similarly
criminalizes all news articles deemed by the state to be 'terrorist
propaganda.' And Article 312 of Turkey's Penal Code mandates up to
three years in prison for writing what allegedly 'incites hatred or
enmity,' the CPJ petition read.
Yilmaz was reminded that all such practices
"constitute a blatant violation of Article 19 of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, which upholds the rights of all citizens
of the United Nations member states 'to seek, receive, and impart
information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers."
The CPJ asked Yilmaz "to seek the repeal of Article
8 of the Anti-Terrorism Law and Article 312 of the Penal Code.
Further, it urged Yilmaz to seek a revision of
Article 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Law that aims at ending its use as a
weapon against the press.
TURKEY'S TRADE DEFICIT WIDENS 172.5%
The State Institute of Statistics (DIE) announced on
March 26 that Turkey's foreign trade deficit widened 172.5 percent in
1995 to $14.07 billion from $5.16 billion in 1994. Turkish exports in
1995 raised 19.5 percent to $21.6 billion from $18.1 billion in 1994
while imports in 1995 raised 53.5 percent to $35.7 billion from $22.3
billion in 1994.
The percentage of exports to imports decreased to
60.6 percent in 1995 from 77.8 percent in 1994.
TURKEY'S FOREIGN DEBT CLIMBED TO $73.3 BILLION
The Central Bank announced on April 19 that Turkey's
foreign debt stock, including private sector obligations, rose to $73.3
billion last year from $65.5 billion in 1995, reaching 44.3 percent of
gross national product.
According to estimations, Turkey will have to repay
$11 billion in 1996, $10.6 billion in 1997, $10.2 billion in 1998 and
$7.9 billion in 1999 even if she does not continue to borrow again.
With an annual foreign trade deficit of $14 billion,
the foreign debt stock of Turkey may exceed $100 billion in 2000.
THE DAILY EVRENSEL CLOSED DOWN FOR ONE MONTH
One of the main opposition dailies of Turkey,
Evrensel was closed down for one month by the State Security Court at
the beginning of April 1996.
Journalists and human rights activists held meeting
in Istanbul and Ankara to protest the pressure on Evrensel. In
Istanbul, on April 6, nearly 100 journalists and human rights activists
gathered in front of the Journalists' Association of Turkey (TGC) to
denounce the decision.
The daily's chief editor, Ihsan Caralan, speaking at
the meeting, said that 23 issues of Evrensel has been banned.
Metin Göktepe, a reporter for Evrensel, was beaten
to death while in police custody after attending the funeral of two
prison inmates in January.
99 INTELLECTUALS TRIED AGAIN BY THE SSC
Ninety-nine of Turkey's intellectuals who opted for
civil disobedience in an effort to expand the boundaries of freedom of
thought were tried again by the Istanbul SSC on March 13.
They are accused by the Prosecutor of violating
Article 8 by signing their names as publishers of the book Freedom of
The book consists of articles which have been
censured and many of its writers were imprisoned for promoting
BULGARIAN SUPREME COURT VALIDATED TURKISH MAYOR'S ELECTION
Bulgaria's Supreme Court confirmed an ethnic Turk as
the legitimate mayor of a region with a large Turkish population.
At the last October's elections, Rasim Musa had been
elected mayor of Kardzhali with 50.7 percent of votes against 49.3
percent for the candidate backed by the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP).
A local court, on the demand of the BSP, had
declared void Musa's election alleging voting irregularities.
However, the Supreme Court decided on April 26 that
the malpractices did not affect the outcome of the municipal election.
Musa is a member of the Movement for Rights and
Freedoms, which has 15 seats in Bulgaria's 240-seat national parliament.
Ethnic Turkish leaders have accused the BSP of
playing the nationalist card ahead of presidential elections due in
Bulgaria later this year.
On the other hand, the controversy over the chief
mufti's office has reached crisis level following the appointment of
Nedim Gencev as chairman of the High Islam Council in Bulgaria.
Last year, Fikri Salih was elected as chief mufti of
Bulgaria, but his appointment still has not been approved by government
Salih called Gencev a former KGB agent and accused
the BSP of playing dirty games to create conflict among Muslims in
He also said they have applied to International
Court of Justice at the Hague and to the World Islam Conference to
protest the pressure that the Bulgarian government was putting on
Muslims in the country.
U.S. WEAPONS AND VIOLATIONS OF THE LAW OF WAR
In a detailed report released on November 21, 1995,
Human Rights Watch charges that weapons supplied by Turkey's NATO
partners, especially the United States, play a central role in abuses
committed by Turkish security forces in their campaign to evacuate and
burn Kurdish villages in southeastern Turkey.
Below we reproduce the introduction and the chapter
"Arms Transfers And Military Aid To Turkey" of the 179-page report
entitled Weapons Transfers and Violations of the Laws of War in Turkey:
Since 1984, the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers Party, has
fought the Turkish state in an attempt to carve out an independent zone
for Kurds in Turkey's southeast, although there have been recent
indications the PKK might settle for less. The Turkish government,
however, has opposed concessions to the PKK, claiming that the
organization's ultimate goal remains the dissolution of Turkey.(1) The
Turkish government regards the PKK as a terrorist organization.
Turkey's rural southeast, where the majority of the
country's approximately ten million Kurds live, is the country's
poorest and most underdeveloped area. While western, urban Turkey has
increasingly developed its technological and industrial infrastructure,
linking the richer parts of Turkey to European markets, the southeast
has fallen further and further behind. Southeastern underdevelopment
has remained essentially unchanged despite limited government efforts
to spur economic growth, as in the case of the state-funded GAP
regional irrigation project.
Economic underdevelopment, however, was not the only
factor contributing to the rise of the PKK and to the sympathy it
enjoys among many Kurds. Economic underdevelopment in the southeast has
gone hand in hand with cultural repression of the Kurdish ethnic
identity. While Turks rightly point out that Kurds may integrate into
Turkish society with ease, reaching the highest positions in political
and economic life, they often neglect to mention that these Kurds must
do so as "Turks" who have renounced their ethnic heritage.(2) Until
recently, for example, the Kurdish language was banned in Turkey.
Practically speaking, although the Turkish government could not block
villagers from using their mother tongue at home, it has successfully
prevented Kurdish from being used in public platforms.(3)
The organizational origins of the PKK can be traced
back to the 1970s, when left-wing Turkish movements of all types grew
in influence among Turkey's intellectuals and working class. Abdullah
Öcalan, the PKK's leader since its inception, was originally a member
of a left-wing group at the department of political science at the
University of Ankara. In the late 1970s, a three-way struggle erupted
between right-wing Turkish quasi-fascist movements, the Turkish left,
and the Turkish government. In 1980, as the struggle became
increasingly violent, the Turkish military overthrew the civilian
government and instituted military rule. The subsequent crackdown on
political activists was especially harsh against the Turkish left.
Immediately prior to the September 12, 1980 military
coup, however, Abdullah Öcalan, together with other Kurdish leftists,
fled to Lebanon's Beqa' valley, which was then home to left-wing and
nationalist Palestinian organizations. Between 1980 and 1984, Öcalan
and his supporters founded the PKK and built a full-fledged
organization. In 1984, the PKK launched its first attacks on Turkish
state representatives, including military outposts, public school
teachers and civil servants (targeted because the PKK viewed them as
representatives of a "colonial state"), and members of the paramilitary
"village guards," local Kurds recruited by the state, and their
Turkey's Counterinsurgency Strategy
The war between Turkey's armed forces and the PKK
has been primarily a rural struggle. With its rugged mountains, myriad
of caves and difficult winters, Turkey's southeast is well-suited to a
determined guerrilla force enjoying the support of part of the rural
population. The PKK has exploited these advantages, hiding from Turkish
forces when pursued, emerging to attack military and state
installations as well as the state's own Kurdish militias when the
pressure is lifted. While there have been clashes in urban centres, the
PKK's campaign remains, at heart, a rural phenomenon.
Although the PKK and Turkish security forces have
struggled for control of the southeast since 1984, the war entered its
current brutal stage only in 1992, following the Gulf war. Previously,
the PKK's rear areas were primarily located in Lebanon's Beqa' valley,
which was not contiguous with Turkey's borders. PKK resupply efforts
were forced to follow a difficult, circuitous route into Turkey through
second, third and fourth countries. After defeating Iraqi forces in
Kuwait in early 1992, the U.S.-led coalition has treated northern Iraq,
inhabited mostly by Iraqi Kurds, as an autonomous quasi-sovereign area,
enforcing a no-fly zone against Iraqi aircraft and providing aid to
Iraqi Kurds through Turkey. The PKK used the new conditions in northern
Iraq to its advantage, developing forward bases near the Iraqi-Turkish
border and sending fighters and material to its forces within Turkey.
By 1992, the PKK's presence in Turkey's mountainous
areas was strong, and PKK cadres had made inroads into southeastern
cities such as Sirnak, Lice, and Cizre. A PKK network was set up
throughout villages in the southeastern areas, with special emphasis on
villages along the Iraqi border and in Diyarbakir province. The Turkish
security forces, which were unprepared for the PKK influx, lost their
monopoly of power in the area. In the cities, the PKK presence was
manifested in mass demonstrations, flag-waving, commercial strikes and
political meetings. The PKK was on its way to becoming a popular and
powerful political force in the southeast.
In mid-1992 the Turkish military reorganized in the
southeast and launched an urban offensive against the PKK. The region
was flooded with troops, both from the Jandarma and the military, and
the security forces adopted a policy of overwhelming and
disproportionate response to PKK actions. Security force assaults on
Sirnak, Lice and Cizre appear to have been harsh collective punishments
aimed at the entire population of those towns. In these incidents in
mid-1992, Turkish forces took advantage of PKK provocations to unleash
indiscriminate barrages of heavy weapons fire against the urban
population and buildings, killing a total of at least sixty-five
persons, according to estimates by the Human Rights Foundation of
Turkey, and causing extensive damage. Urban areas were rendered
uninhabitable, thousands of civilians fled their homes, and the
security forces successfully demonstrated their determination to
reassert control over the cities:
In addition to the assault on southeastern cities,
the security forces created and strengthened existing elite
counterinsurgency forces.(4) Experienced regular Army and Jandarma
troops were recruited into special counterinsurgency forces belonging
to the Jandarma arid the police, were given specialized training and
advanced equipment, and were ordered to take the lead in destroying the
PKK. These units quickly became the most serious abusers of human
rights in the region, with a reputation for brutality and impunity.
Most importantly, perhaps, the security forces
changed their rural strategy. Prior to 1992, Turkish forces had
remained in central bases and strongholds, moving into the mountains
only in response to a PKK attack. In 1992, however, the Turks adopted a
"regional defense strategy," drawing up a grid dividing southeastern
Turkey into zones of responsibility. Individual units were given the
task of patrolling a square on the grid, and security forces were
ordered to remain on patrol in the mountains for extended periods of
time. "It used to be that we were always in the bases, waiting until
the PKK came. Since 1992, however, we have been ordered to stay out of
the base for weeks on end," V.A., a former Turkish military officer,
told Human Rights Watch in 1995.(5) By keeping constantly on the move,
laying ambushes and observing remote areas, the military hoped to
reduce the PKK's freedom of movement and to increase contact with the
guerrillas. A second component of the new strategy was the creation of
"no-go zones," mountainous areas declared off-limits by the military,
regardless of whether the areas were inhabited. V.A. said that in the
region of Kars, where he served, an entire mountainside and its related
slopes and valleys had been declared "forbidden." "We fired artillery
at anything that moved in those areas," he said, "civilian or
guerrilla, it didn't matter. Anyone who goes in there is shot at."
According to Christopher Panico, several regions, including areas near
the Tendürek and Agri mountains, were declared "restricted military
areas," which were little more than military free-fire zones.(6)
Kurdish villages in the mountains presented a
particularly severe problem to the architects of the new
counterinsurgency approach. Controlling the thousands of individual
villages would require far more troops, helicopters and resources than
the Turkish state was willing to invest. The security forces dealt with
this problem in two ways, village eradication and strengthening the
"village guards," both of which have had grave implications for human
Village Evacuation and Destruction
It is an open secret within Turkey that the security
forces have destroyed large numbers of villages in an effort to deny
the PKK logistical support. The Turkish government has gradually
admitted the scope of the problem, although it continues to deny that
security forces are responsible for the large majority of forcible
evacuations. The government has given a series of different estimates
for village destructions: In April 1994, Interior Minister Nahit
Mentese said in a press conference that 871 villages and hamlets had
been evacuated; by the end of 1994, however, Mentese's estimate,
supplied in a written statement, had soared to 2,297 village and
hamlets partially or fully evacuated.(7) On June 27, 1995, Mentese told
the Turkish Parliament in a public briefing that 2,200 villages had
been "emptied or evacuated."(8) On July 25, 1995, the mainstream
Turkish daily Milliyet quoted the office of the Governor of the
southeastern emergency rule area as stating that 2,664 villages and
hamlets had been partially or fully evacuated.(9) According to a
respected Turkish human rights expert, the evacuations have displaced
some two million villagers, who have flooded into slums in all of
Turkey's major cities and towns.(10)
In 1994 alone, according to the Human Rights
Foundation of Turkey, 1,000 villages were destroyed or evacuated.(11)
In October 1994, Turkish State Minister for Human Rights Azimet
Koyluoglu visited Tunceli province, then the site of a massive
counterinsurgency offensive, and declared that the security forces had
engaged in "state terrorism" by burning villages and forcibly
evacuating villagers. The government minister, who was later forced to
retract his statements under pressure from conservative politicians,
said, "Security forces should avoid the psychology [sic] of burning and
destroying while in their relentless fight against terrorism. The
evacuated villagers must be given food and shelter.... We can't even
give them Red Crescent tents."(12) In October 1994, Human Rights
Watch/Helsinki published a twenty-seven-page report documenting the
campaign of forced displacement in the southeast. "In an effort to
deprive the PKK of its logistic base of support," the report stated,
"security forces forcibly evict villagers from their villages and
sometimes destroy their homes. Torture and arbitrary detention often
accompany such evictions.(13) According to the report, the security
forces destroy villages under three different sets of conditions: when
villagers refuse to join the official "village guard" system, a
state-supported militia (see below); in retaliation for PKK attacks on
state installations, when villagers are unlucky enough to be living in
the immediate area; or when villagers find themselves in an area of
counterinsurgency operations. In this case, the security forces'
attempt to ensure that the area is clean of PKK guerrillas and
potential supporters prompt them to burn the villages down.
B.G., a conscript in an infantry unit based in the
Silvan district during late 1994 and early 1995, told Human Rights
Watch that during foot patrols in the high mountains, he passed through
"hundreds" of empty villages. B.G. said that it was common knowledge
that the security forces burned villages down, although he had only
participated in one such burning. "Most of the villages in my district
were burned down by the time I arrived," he explained.(14) V.A., the
former Turkish military officer quoted previously, told Human Rights
Watch that in addition to forcing villagers to leave, security forces
in many cases burned the villages down to prevent the PKK from using
the empty houses as shelter during the cold winter months. "I have
slept in some empty houses during winter patrols," he said, "and they
were very useful. If the PKK had access to those houses, they would be
in good shape."
V.A. also said that in some cases villagers decided
to leave their homes because of pressure placed on them by local
security forces. "The Jandarma comes there again and again, demanding
that they be village guards, so of course people are going to flee.
They have no choice." When villagers leave their homes of their own
accord, he said, the security forces still often burn the structures
down to deny their use to the PKK.
B.G., the former soldier, said that he believed
officers in the field had only limited discretion where village
destructions were involved. "If you want to burn down a house or two in
one village," he explained, "that's no problem, you just do it." In
many cases he witnessed, he said, his officers burned down a few homes
that had not been fully destroyed in previous destruction efforts. "If
you want to burn down an entire village," he said, "you need
authorization from the senior Jandarma commander in Diyarbaklr." B.G.
said that in addition to the one village burning which he himself
witnessed, he recalled hearing over the radio an order to burn down a
village in the Silvan district. The directive was issued by a senior
commander in Diyarbakir to an infantry officer in a nearby unit.
B.G. said that most of the village burnings took
place in mountainous areas above a certain altitude. More accessible
villages in valleys or near major highways tended not to be destroyed,
because they could be more easily controlled. "We would search those
villages once a week or so," he said, "and we could keep an eye on
them." "The ones that were a problem were far from view," he explained.
Strengthening the "Village Guard" system
The current concept of a state-supported "village
guard" system in Turkey goes back at least to the mid-1980s.35 In
theory, the system appears relatively benign: Security forces, unable
to maintain a presence in all villages at all times, give local people
weapons so that they can defend their own homes against PKK attack. In
practice, the system includes a significant amount of forced
conscription, intimidation, bribery and incitement to commit human
The village guard system, which the authorities
hoped would reduce PKK access to civilian populations, has been only
partially successful. While financial incentives have resulted in the
officially recognized number of village guards increasing from 5,000 in
1987 to 67,000 in 1995, brutal PKK retaliations against village guard
members and their families, coupled with the politicization of the
Kurdish population, have militated against the spread of the village
guard system. Many villages refuse to cooperate because they support
the PKK and because the village guards are perceived as collaborators
with a brutal and illegitimate state. Others have refused because they
are scared of PKK retaliation.
The security forces typically give villagers a
choice between joining the village guard or being forced to leave their
homes. In some cases, unscrupulous tribal chiefs or local troublemakers
who have received weapons and security force backing have proceeded to
settle old feuds with state-issued weapons. The result is often
criminal, with village guards implicated in serious human rights
abuses. According to the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, in 1994,
"The number and authority of village guards has been increased. In
several areas, security affairs have been completely turned over to
village guards." (16) Because of their paramilitary status, uneven
command-and-control, as well as the government's failure to investigate
alleged abuses, the village guards often appear as little more than
forces operating with a government license for impunity. The potential
for abuse is enormous.
The introduction of the village guard system has
polarized the southeastern countryside. The Turkish security forces
view with suspicion civilians who do not belong to the village guard
system, while the PKK views as traitors all those who do. Neither side
has recognized in practice the status of "noncombatants," leaving no
neutral ground for the rural population. Turkish authorities often
attack and destroy villages that resist recruitment into the village
guards, while the PKK has targeted both guards and their families. In
late 1994 and 1995, the PKK issued statements declaring it would not
attack families of village guards or guards who had been coerced into
fighting for the government, but the PKK has not fulfilled these
promises. (See chapter VI).
Consequences of the Counterinsurgency Strategy
The Turkish strategy for defeating the PKK contains
elements such as forced dislocation that are common to
counterinsurgency campaigns worldwide, especially those confronting
popular and elusive insurgents operating in difficult terrain. The
military has crushed PKK hopes of establishing semi-autonomous zones
within southeastern Turkey and of moving toward a large confrontation
with the Turkish state. Although the PKK is still able to strike at
security forces in small scale raids and ambushes, where as many as
twenty soldiers may be killed, it can no longer move about freely
within the southeast, receive generous and open support from the rural
population, or act as vigorously as it once did in urban areas.
In the long term, however, the government's strategy
has had a number of dismal consequences for Turkey. Legally, Turkey is
in gross violation of its international commitments to respect the laws
of war. The security forces still seem unable to eradicate the PKK in
southeast Turkey. Moreover, the counterinsurgency has further damaged
Turkey's aspiration to be viewed as a liberal democracy on the verge of
integration with Europe. Turkey's abysmal human rights record has
earned it condemnation throughout the West. What is more, the singular
pursuit of a military solution to what is seen as "the Kurdish problem"
is closing non-violent doors to Kurdish identity and cultural rights.
The trial and detention of Kurdish parliamentarians in 1994, for
example, is emblematic of the way the Turkish state has sought to
forestall a political solution to the conflict. The result may well be
an increase in popularity of the PKK among the Kurdish population.
Perhaps more importantly, the government's
counterinsurgency methods have created a huge underclass of embittered
and impoverished internal refugees, whose homes and livelihoods have
been abruptly destroyed by the state. These refugees have moved to
squatter settlements throughout Turkey's cities, providing the PKK with
a potential base for future organizing and presenting Turkey with a
difficult social and economic crisis.
B.G. told Human Rights Watch that the Army has, in
recent months, begun to realize that it should be attempting to win
over Kurdish peasants to the state. On several raids in which he
participated, the Army searched homes and then offered medical services
to the villagers. "It used to be that if one PKK person was discovered
in the village, the entire village was considered to be PKK," he said.
"Now, they try just to find that one PKK person without hurting
everyone." He admitted, however, that the new policy had hardly begun
to trickle down into the field units. In any case, much of the
countryside has already been depopulated; much of the most severe
damage has already been done.
(1) Various theories have been offered by experts
for Turkey's hardline approach to Kurdish group rights. While some
maintain the Turkish government is keen to hold on to important natural
resources in the southeast, others point to Turkey's military-imperial
legacy and the trauma of the Ottoman Empire's collapse after World War
I. The PKK's legacy of indiscriminate violence, including the use of
bombs in civilian areas and the killing of non-combatants in the
southeast, has fuelled Turkey's powerful anti-PKK sentiments.
(2) Kurds who identify themselves as Turks and speak
Turkish have traditionally faced little discrimination based on their
ethnic heritage. The late Turkish President Ozal was of Kurdish
heritage, as was the previous Turkish Foreign Minister Hikmet Cetin. At
present, excluding the parliamentarians from the banned pro-Kurdish DEP
party, roughly sixty Turkish parliamentarians are of Kurdish origin.
Recently, however, as a by-product of the war with the PKK,
discrimination against Kurds who accept Turkish identity has increased.
(3) Until 1989, when it was repealed, the law
banning the use of Kurdish in public did not even mention the word
"Kurdish." Law 2932, passed in 1982, was called "The Law About the Use
of Languages Other Than Turkish."
(4) See Stephen Button, "Turkey Struggles with
Kurdish Separatism," Military Review (December 1994 - January-February
(5) The Human Rights Watch interview with V.A.,
cited throughout this report, took place in Istanbul on July 3, 1995.
(6) Christopher Panico, "Turkey's Kurdish Conflict,"
Jane 's Intelligence Review, vol.7, no.4 (April 1995), p.171.
(7) Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Turkey Human
Rights Report: 1994, A Summary. (Ankara: July 1995), p.7.
(8) Based on an oral account of Mentese's speech
given to Human Rights Watch by Jonathan Rugman, Istanbul correspondent
for The Guardian (London).
(9) Of these, 753 were fully emptied villages, 235
were partially emptied villages, 1,535 were fully emptied hamlets, and
141 were partially emptied hamlets. See Derya Sazak, "Göçerlerin
Drami," Milliyet (Istanbul), July 25, 1995.
(10) The figure comes from Akin Birdal, Chairman of
the Turkish Human Rights Association, supplied to Human Rights Watch
during an August 1994 interview. He based the estimate on population
data from census reports.
(11) Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Turkey Human
Rights Report, p.5.
(12) "Minister Accuses Turkey of 'State Terrorism,"'
Reuters, October 11,1994.
(13) Human Rights Watch/Helsinki, "Turkey: Forced
(14) The Human Rights Watch interview with B.G.,
cited throughout this report, took place in Istanbul on June 12 and
(15) The village guard system has traditionally
involved the manipulation of Kurdish tribal allegiances and
affiliations. In southeastern Turkey, some Kurds belong to tribes;
others do not. Out-migration and land reform have weakened the tribal
system. About 90 percent of all village guards belong to Kurdish tribes.
(16) Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Turkey Human
Rights Report, p.3.
Weapons Transfers and Violations
of the Laws of War in Turkey
Turkey has been a large recipient of economic and
military aid since it became a NATO member in 1952. Wealthy NATO
members have both sold and donated a full range of weaponry to Turkey,
including more than 500 combat aircraft, 560 combat helicopters, 5,000
tanks, and thousands of artillery pieces, mortars, machine guns and
assault rifles. Several studies indicate that Turkey was the largest
weapons importer in the world in 1994.(1)
The United States has been Turkey's dominant arms
supplier. In 1995, the U.S. government estimated that it had supplied
close to 80 percent of the defence equipment used by the Turkish Armed
Forces.(2) Over the past decade, the U.S. Congress has appropriated
$5.3 billion in military aid (grants and loans to purchase weapons) to
Turkey, making Turkey the third largest recipient of U.S. military aid,
after Israel and Egypt.
Germany has been Turkey's second largest supplier of
arms, and other NATO suppliers have included Italy, France, the
Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain and Canada. (3) Turkey has
traditionally been one of the poorest NATO member states, along with
Greece and Portugal, and the wealthier NATO countries saw the
bolstering of these nations' armed forces and defense industries as a
vital way of improving the southern allies' strategic value.
The 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty
has proven to be a tremendous boon to Turkey's security forces,
including those fighting in the conflict in the southeast. The treaty
obliges NATO and former Warsaw Pact countries to reduce conventional
firepower in central Europe, and allows transfer of those same weapons
to NATO's southern flank. Through this so-called cascading process,
arms siphoned off from CFE Treaty areas are donated or provided at very
low cost to Turkey, Greece and Portugal. The cascade program has
provided a major arms bonanza for the Turkish counterinsurgency effort
in the southeast, since southeastern Turkey is not included in the
As criticism has mounted in Europe over Turkey's
treatment of the Kurds, Turkey has increasingly turned outside of NATO
for arms, including to the Russian Federation, Israel, Pakistan and
other nations. Turkey has also attempted, with success, to develop
further its indigenous arms industry.
In further response to criticism about its practices
in the southeast, Turkey created a system in 1993 whereby it assesses
potential arms suppliers on their readiness to provide Turkey with arms
without criticizing Turkey's human rights record or attaching
conditions to arms transfers. Turkey will not buy arms from countries
on the "red" list; arms purchases from countries on the "yellow" list
require explicit approval by the Turkish government, while no prior
approval is needed for purchases from countries on the "green" list.(4)
The United States
Since it joined NATO, Turkey has been a close
military partner of the United States. Defense and Economic Cooperation
Agreements (DECA) signed between the two countries in 1980 and 1987
cemented close bilateral relations. The DECA provides the U. S. access
to airfields and intelligence and communications facilities.
During the past decade (FY1985-FY1994), the U.S.
sold Turkey $7.8 billion in arms. (5) For the past three years, as
Turkey's war in the southeast has escalated greatly, U.S. arms sales
agreements with Turkey have totalled $4.9 billion (exceeded only by
Saudi Arabia and Taiwan); actual arms deliveries have totalled $2.4
billion (exceeded only by Egypt).(6) Recent U.S. arms transfers to
Turkey have included fighter aircraft, attack helicopters, transport
helicopters, artillery, armored personnel carriers, light weapons and
small arms; all of these types of weapon systems have been used by
Turkey in violations of the laws of war.(7)
Because U.S. policy emphasizes the importance of the
strategic relationship with Turkey, Turkey has become a large recipient
of U.S. military aid, the third largest after Israel and Egypt. U.S.
military aid to Turkey flows through three programs: the Foreign
Military Financing (FMF) program, which allows nations to acquire U.S.
military equipment through grants and loans; the Excess Defense
Articles (EDA) program, under which nations receive weapons no longer
needed by the U.S. military free of charge or at a reduced rate; and
the CFE cascading program.
The majority of U.S. military aid to Turkey under
the Foreign Military Financing program has been committed to the Peace
Onyx program for F-16 fighter aircraft, which are built in Turkey under
a co-production agreement with the U. S. Lockheed Corporation. The
total value of the 240-plane program has been pegged at $7.6 billion.
FY1996 is the last year in which the U.S. will finance the program. The
160 planes in the Peace Onyx I program have been built. The remaining
eighty planes ordered under Peace Onyx II will be financed by the Gulf
War defense fund established in 1991 by the U.S., Turkey, Saudi Arabia,
Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. These nations pledged $3.5 billion
over five years to reward Turkey for its support of the U.S.-led
coalition against Iraq.(8)
As detailed in this report, Turkish fighters,
including F-16s, have been used to attack villages and to kill
civilians in violation of international humanitarian law. In other
instances, the planes have been used deliberately to destroy civilian
structures, contributing to the general process of forced dislocation.
During 1992 and 1993, weapons delivered to Turkey
under the EDA and cascading programs have apparently included 1,509
M-60-AI/A3 main battle tanks, 147 M-l 10 203mm howitzers, 489 M-l 13-A2
armored personnel carriers, twenty-eight AH-I attack helicopters, and
twenty-nine F-4E combat aircraft.(9) Human Rights Watch believes that
these weapon systems, or similar systems, have been used in the
southeast in incidents involving violations of the laws of war.
Congress was notified in FY1994 of the following
proposed deliveries under the EDA program: 110 M-85 machine guns;
88,000 rounds of 40mm ammunition; 1,314 rounds of 105mm ammunition;
fourteen SH-2F LAMPS antisubmarine helicopters; one ASROC
(anti-submarine rocket) launcher; parts for F-4 aircraft, and other
weapons parts.(10) In FY95, Congress was notified of the transfer of
515 Rapier air defense fire units, and 130 Sparrow air-to-air
Another big-ticket agreement for FY1995 pertains to
the co-production of M-l-AI Abrams tanks in Turkey. General Dynamics
Land Systems and an as yet unnamed Turkish company are planning to
produce fifty tanks per year over a period of ten years.(12)
Because of their widespread use in abuses in the
southeast, Human Rights Watch is especially concerned about the
transfer of combat helicopters to Turkey. In January 1993, Turkey
signed a contract to purchase ninety-five Sikorsky S-70A Black Hawk
transport helicopters worth $1.1 billion. Forty-five were purchased
directly, while the remainder were to be co-produced in Turkey.(13)
According to one source, five of these Black Hawks are designated for
the Jandarma.(14) However, the co-production plan for the remaining
fifty Black Hawks has been put on hold due to Turkey's budgetary
In addition to the Black Hawks, the air wing of the
Army is also looking to bolster its attack capability by purchasing
Bell AH- I Cobra attack helicopters. Thirty-eight Cobras were delivered
between 1990 and 1992. In evaluating this air power, one defense
journal stated, "Turkey will enter the next century with a military air
capability barely recognisable from the one with which it entered the
1990s. It is a combat capability which its NATO allies and its
neighbours hope Turkey never feels the need to exercise."(16)
Furthermore, Turkey is planning to purchase an
additional 200 helicopters over the next decade, including 106 attack
helicopters. Helicopter manufacturers from the U.S., Europe, and Russia
will be competing for the contract awards. Bell Helicopter in the U.S.
has stated that it would like to sell more of the AH-I W Super Cobra
attack helicopters, of which Turkey already has ten.(17)
Concern for the growing Turkish helicopter fleet
arises from the possibility that these attack helicopters may be used
to fire indiscriminately at villages or other civilian settlements, and
that the transport helicopters may be used to bring reinforcements and
supplies to troops who engage during their operations in illegal
practices such as forcible displacements, summary executions,
indiscriminate fire, or torture.
Turkey has also received a number of smaller arms
and light weapons from the United States. An undetermined number of
M-16-A2 rifles have been sold to Turkey under the commercial sales
program.(18) Commercial sales differ from Foreign Military Sales in
that exports go directly from the U. S. manufacturer to the foreign
government, but must be licensed first by the State Department's Office
of Defense Trade Controls. Figures on commercial sales are more
difficult to obtain than government-to-government sales because the
State Department will not release information on company sales.
The U.S. has also provided Turkey with grenade
launchers for M-16 rifles, including the M-203 40mm Colt grenade
launcher. The grenade launcher fires a wide range of 40mm high
explosive and special purpose ammunition and attaches easily to the M-
16 in five minutes.(19) Human Rights Watch has determined that the
Jandarma and police special forces, as well as the officers of some
Turkish Army units, use M-16s with M-203 launchers. These units are
also known to be the most abusive in terms of human rights.
Turkey has a number of U.S. mortars in its
inventories, including some 1,265 U.S.-made M-30 107mm mortars.(20) The
M-30 is a rifled muzzle loaded weapon which can be hand-carried for
short distances and fires eighteen rounds per minute.(21)
Other light weapons sold to Turkey between 1980 and
1993 under the Foreign Military Sales program include: 40mm M-79
grenade launchers; ammunition for assault rifles and machine guns; M-67
fragmentation hand grenades and M-14 incendiary hand grenades.(22)
The U.S. has exported more than 40,000 antipersonnel
and antitank land mines to Turkey since the early 1980s. There have
been reports of use of antipersonnel land mines by both Turkish and PKK
forces in the war in the southeast. The U.S. has provided Turkey with
conventional, hand-emplaced M- 18Al Claymore antipersonnel mines and
modern, remotely-delivered ADAM (Area Denial Artillery Munition) mines.
The ADAM is a 1 55mm artillery-fired projectile that contains
thirty-six M-74 antipersonnel mines inside. Each mine arms on impact
and sends out seven tripwires which, when disturbed, will cause the
mine to explode, spewing hundreds of fragments in all directions. The
U.S. has sold Turkey 952 ADAM rounds with a total of 34,380 mines.(23)
Human Rights Watch believes that any use of
antipersonnel mines is illegal under existing humanitarian law, because
of their indiscriminate nature.(24)
(1) See, for example, John Sislin and Siemon
Wezeman, 19941 Arms Transfers: A Register of Deliveries from Public
Sources (Monterey: Monterey Institute of International Studies and
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, March 1995).
(2) U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Export
Administration, European Diversification and Defense Market Assessment:
A Comprehensive Guide for Entry into Overseas Markets. (Washington, DC:
June 1995), p.286.
(3) According to the Stockholm International Peace
Research Institute (SIPRI), between 1987 and 1991 Turkey received 62
percent of its weapons from the U.S., 24 percent from Germany, 4
percent from the Netherlands, and the rest from various other NATO
members. Cited in Pax Christi International, The Turkey Connection:
Military Build-Up of a New Regional Power. (Brussels: 1993), p.9.
(4) For a discussion of this system, which Turkey
has not applied consistently, see Lale Sariibrahimoglu, "Turkey Bars
Defence Firms Over Politics," Jane's Defence Weekly, vol.19, no. l6
(April 17,1993), p.5.
(5) This includes $6.8 billion under the FMS program
and $1 billion in commercial sales. U.S. Defense Security Assistance
Agency, Foreign Military Sales, Foreign Military Construction Sales and
Military Assistance Facts, As of September 30, 1994. (Washington, DC:
1994), pp.18, 57.
Foreign Military Sales (FMS) are
government-to-government sales of defense articles carried out by the
Defense Security Assistance Agency. Under this program, the Department
of Defense buys arms from a U.S. manufacturer and resells them to a
foreign government. Many of the arms that Turkey has purchased under
the FMS program have been financed by U.S. loans and grants. Weapons
may also be exported through the commercial sales channel, in which
exports go directly from the U.S. manufacturer to the foreign
government, but must be licensed first by the State Department's Office
of Defense Trade Controls.
(6) U.S. arms sales agreements with Turkey for
FY1994 totalled $2.2 billion, exceeded only by U.S. deals with Israel.
FMS agreements are estimated at $576 million for FY1995 and $320
million for FY1996. In addition, commercial exports are estimated at
$261 million for FY1995 and $131 million for FY1996. U.S. Department of
State, Congressional Presentation for Foreign Operations, Fiscal Year
1996. (Washington, DC: 1995), pp.484, 491.
(7) According to SIPRI, the U.S. sold the following
defense items to Turkey between 1990 and 1993: forty F-4E Phantom
fighter aircraft, sixteen AH-IS helicopters, ten R-22 helicopters,
forty-five Black Hawk helicopters, seventy-two M—l 10-A2 203mm
selfpropelled guns, 550 M-l 13 armored personnel carriers (APCs), 164
M-60-AI main battle tanks, 1258 M-60-A3 main battle tanks, forty V-150
Commando armored personnel carriers, radars, Seasparrow ship-to-air
launchers for frigates, 350 AGM-65D air-to-surface missiles, twenty
AIM-120A AMRAAM air-to-air-missiles to arm the F-16 fighter, and 469
Stinger portable surface-to-air missiles. Stockholm International Peace
Research Institute, SIPRI Yearbook 1994. (Oxford: Oxford University
Press, 1994), p.544.
(8) "Turkey and U.S. Sign Accord for Gulf Defence
Fund," Reuters, October 3, 1994. See also, LTC Paul S. Gendrolis,
"Joint Programs Directorate: The Heart of It All," The DlSAM Journal of
International Security Assistance Management, vol. 17, no.3 (Spring
(9) This information is derived from the U.S. and
Turkey entries in the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms. Its
accuracy is uncertain because of contradictory submissions by the U.S.
and Turkey. United Nations, United Nations Register of Conventional
Arms. (New York: United Nations Publications, 1993 and 1994).
(10) Department of Defense, Excess Defense Articles
computer bulletin board. Available through modem access at (703)
(11) "Deals in the Works," Arms Sales Monitor, no.28
(February 15, 1995), p.7.
(12) Umit Enginsoy, "Helicopter Makers Line Up for
Sales to Turkey," Defense News, vol.10, no.38 (September 25-October 1,
(13)"Turkey Signs Contract for 95 Black Hawks,"
Jane's Defence Weekly, vol.19, no.1 (January 2, 1993), p. 10. The
commonly known designation for a Black Hawk is the UH-60; the S-70A is
a prominent export version of the same helicopter.
(14) "Air Power Analysis: Turkey," World Air Power
Journal, vol. 17 (Summer 1994), p.152.
(15) "Turkish Procurement in Disarray,"
International Defense Review, vol. 28, no.4 (April 1995), p.17.
(16) "Keeping up Appearances," Flight International,
vol. 145, no.4425 (June 1521, 1994), p.40.
(17) Enginsoy, "Helicopter Makers Line Up...," p.3.
(18) U.S. General Accounting Office, Greece and
Turkey: U.S Assistance Programs and Other Activities. (Washington, DC:
April 1995), p.17.
(19) Jane's Information Group, Jane's Infantry
Weapons 1994-95. (Surrey: Jane's Information Group Limited, 1995),
(20) International Institute for Strategic Studies,
The Military Balance 1994-1995. (London: Brassey's, 1994), p.66.
(21) Jane's Information Group, Jane 's Infantry
Weapons 1994-95, p 421.
(22) U.S. Defense Security Assistance Agency,
Foreign Military Sales/Deliveries of Light Weapons Purchased During the
Period FY 1980-1993, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
(23) "U.S. Landmine Sales by Country," Defense
Security Assistance Agency fact sheet provided to the Human Rights
Watch Arms Project, March 29, 1994.
(24) See Human Rights Watch Arms Project and
Physicians for Human Rights, Landmines: A Deadly Legacy. (New York:
Human Rights Watch, 1993).