As the menace of military coup is haunting the country, Ciller flirts
with Islamists for saving herself from the justice. As for the
Islamists, champions of the "clean hands" campaign, they seem ready to
forget all their accusations against her for taking over the government
in coalition with the DYP
After the spectacular defeat of the coalition
parties in the last local elections and the consequent resignation of
the DYP-ANAP coalition, Turkey has entered a new period full of Ottoman
The Islamist Welfare Party (RP) won a fresh victory
in the June 2 local elections, while the two partners of the Major Way
coalition, the Correct Way Party (DYP) and the Motherland Party (ANAP)
In the 41 settlements where the local elections took
place, the RP's votes rose from 28.8 percent in the December 24, 1995,
general election to 33.5 percent on June 2. The ANAP vote fell from
26.8 percent to 20.9 percent, and the DYP vote from 16.7 percent to 12
percent. The Nationalist Action Party (MHP), on the other hand, managed
to increase its vote from 5.1 percent to 6.4 percent.
On the same basis, the Democratic Left Party (DSP)
vote declined from 12.1 percent to 9.1 percent and the Republican
People Party (CHP) vote from 7.7 percent to 6.7 percent.
As a rule, parties in power should be in an
advantageous position in local elections. Despite this advantage, the
aggregate of the DYP-ANAP votes fell from 43.5 percent in the December
24 general election to 32.9 percent, behind the RP's 33.5 percent. The
drop in DYP vote was spectacular especially in Istanbul's Bakirköy
district. There, the DYP vote fell from 28.7 percent to 17.8 percent.
Even before the elections, the Major Way coalition
had already short circuited because of the revelations on DYP leader
Ciller's scandalous irregularities and corruption.
After the disastrous election results, the second
blow came from the Constitutional Court invalidating the vote of
confidence the DYP-ANAP Government received three months ago.
In an appeal to the court, the RP had said the
coalition needed an absolute majority of those who attended the
assembly, in this case 273 "yes" votes. Whereas, the Yilmaz Government
won the confidence by 257 votes against 207 with 80 abstentions.
Although the supreme court found the RP's appeal valid, the written
decision was published in the Official Journal after the elections.
Thereupon, Prime Minister Yilmaz submitted his
resignation to President Demirel on June 6. President Demirel first
held a series of meetings of all party leaders in a view to form a new
coalition government, but they failed to present him with a viable
alternative. Without losing time, on June 7, Demirel asked pro-Islamic
leader Necmettin Erbakan to form the new government.
This time, as well the political circles as mass
media, in the light of the results of the last elections and
consequently in the absence of a valuable alternative from so-called
"secular" parties, seem more tolerant to the possibility of a new
coalition government headed by Islamists.
Even the Turkish business world which has close
relations of interests with the United States and Israel declared that
such a government might be unavoidable. The businessman N°2 of the
country, Sakip Sabanci, stated that a government headed by Erbakan
happened to be necessary for putting an end to the stagnation in the
However, the Western world, particularly the United
States and Israel seem to be extremely annoyed from the possibility of
a coalition with the RP. According to a news analysis sent from
Washington to the Turkish Daily News on June 11, 1996, the Clinton
administration is debating the pros and cons of several future
scenarios that does and does not include the RP as a senior coalition
"The bottom line is, the White House, as well as the
Pentagon and the State Department would all prefer to see RP stay in
the opposition — although they'd rather be caught dead than admit so in
public, especially after RP increased its votes to 33.5%," reports the
"The silent opposition to Refah in Washington seems
to have intensified in the aftermath of the military agreement that
Turkey and Israel signed in February. RP opposes this agreement
vehemently, just like many Arab governments.
"Sources claim that the Clinton administration would
like to see a second Major Way minority coalition without Ciller or
Yilmaz, under the Prime Ministry of a 'third name'. Such a coalition is
also believed to be one of the best ways to stop another rumour which
is circulating lately in Washington: that a military coup might be on
its way unless a quick solution is found this summer to Turkey's
mounting economic and political problems."
Already, in Turkey, neo-fascist MHP leader Alparslan
Türkes, the main instigator of the previous three military coups,
started to openly talk of the possibility of a new military coup.
Under these circumstances, all political leaders,
putting aside their earlier declarations, start to resort to
Ottoman-type duperies for their short-term interests.
First of all, DYP leader Tansu Ciller, knowing very
well that she lost all her chance of being again prime minister, has
started to flirt with Erbakan in a view to form a DYP-RP coalition.
She counts on such a coalition for saving herself
from being sentenced for irregularities before the Constitutional
Court. In addition to her irregularities on the privatisation of some
State enterprises and her fabulous doubtful wealth, Ciller was also
accused by Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz of embezzling TL 500
billion of secret funds before leaving office.
Erbakan too, in order to come to power with the
support of the DYP, seems ready to forget all the accusations against
Ciller that his party brought to the Parliament. Furthermore, isn't
Erbakan himself, despite his vicious attacks on Ciller for her
millions, that has the difficulty to explain how did he become the
owner of many real estates, 148 Kg of gold in ingots and hundreds of
thousands of German Marks and Swiss Francs.
So, despite their supposedly irreconcilable
political and moral differences, the people watched in amazement as Mr
Erbakan and Ciller quietly agreed to bury the hatchets and to
form a new government
After her talks tête-à-tête with Erbakan, Ciller
said: "This country is unique and united, and always will remain so.
Turkey which has one hand in Asia and the other in Europe will imprint
its stamp on the coming century. To do it, we should impose our flag
and our mosque to Europe. We are nationalist, we are conservative. Our
eyes are at the flag, our ears at the ezan [call to prayer]!"
This is the latest message of the Turkish iron lady
so appreciated once by the European Union as the only guarantee against
the rise of Islamism in Turkey. Now she takes over the mission to
impose Turkish flag and Moslim mosque to Europe.
As to the two social democrat parties, Baykal's CHP
and Ecevit's DSP, instead of raising the policies to defend the
interests of impoverished people, they are continuing to quarrel by
accusing each other of causing to lose the chance of being the spare
wheel of past or future right-wing governments.
MAY DAY SOCIAL EXPLOSION IN THE METROPOLIS OF HABITAT II
In last two months, the biggest metropolis of
Turkey, Istanbul became the scene of two spectacular events: Bloody May
Day celebrations on May 1, 1996, and the Habitat II meetings on June
3-14, 1996. All the matters discussed at the Habitat II were, in fact,
the real reason of the May Day social explosion in Istanbul: Wild
urbanisation, unemployment, lack of democratic rights, ethnic and
opinion discriminations, etc.
The peaceful celebration of working class unity,
solidarity and struggle day, organized by trade union confederations
turned into open warfare when police attacked demonstrators and shot
dead a young man.
The response of the demonstrators was also violent.
Angry youngsters broke shop windows with sticks in their hands and
burned cars. Three civilians were killed and more than one hundred
demonstrators, policemen and bystanders injured during repeated
confrontations throughout the day.
According to officials, these people who damaged the
district of Kadiköy were terrorists, militants and enemies of the
State. They had only one aim: to topple the existing order and bring
about the alternative order they want.
It is the same argument used by the authorities in
the analysis of the never-ending conflict in the South-East of Turkey.
For them, there is not any Kurdish question in Turkey. It is a handful
"PKK terrorists" that are responsible for the 13-year old war. If the
powerful Turkish Army annihilate this "band of terrorists",
Southeastern Turkey will turn into a paradise!
In the same reasoning, the authorities, closing
their eyes to social and economic realities of metropolis like
Istanbul, launched a man-hunting after the May Day incidents. Hundreds
of young people were arrested and sent to tribunals.
However, millions of young people are still living
in the insupportable conditions of shanty towns which represent 60
percent of the population of Istanbul. The youth and children of
Istanbul participate in work life in increasing numbers each day. The
rate of 12-19 year-old working youth increased by 64 percent between
1980 and 1990.
Whatsoever be their political options, either
radical left or Islamic fundamentalist, they are seeking solution to
their problems in radical ways, because they have not been allowed to
opt for democratic ways. Many of them are seeking revenge for the death
of their comrades, revenge for everything that they are deprived of.
Their actions very often take violent forms when
they see that the most corrupted people of the country can occupy the
posts of prime minister and minister and police chiefs get profit from
the mafia which exploits shanty towns.
Social democrat parties who had once a big popular
support in big cities have already lost all their credibility because
of their complicity with the corrupt right-wing politicians and their
direct implication in irregularities and repressive practices.
The Gazi events of the past year were one of these
violent social explosions. May Day events of this year are a new step
in the radicalisation of the opposition in shanty towns of metropolis.
Another sign of this radicalisation was no doubt the
successful results obtained by the Islam fundamentalist RP in the June
2 local elections.
HABITAT II HELD UNDER POLICE REPRESSION
As the official Habitat II organized by the United
Nations was being held in the most beautiful valley of Istanbul, one of
the most polluted cities of the world, during the first half of June
1996, Turkish authorities have not failed to show their hostility
against human rights defenders.
After human rights topics were excluded from the
official programme of the conference, on May 31, Turkish police banned
all Alternative Habitat activities organized by 35 non government
organizations that boycott the official Habitat II Conference.
Alternative Habitat was to be a forum for
organizations not involved in the official Habitat activities to
highlight a number of issues, such as human rights abuses in Turkey,
that were not on the official conference agenda.
The activities of the Alternative Habitat started on
May 29 in the meeting halls outside of the Habitat Valley, the venue in
central Istanbul for the official summit. However, Turkish authorities
could not support this alternative action more than two days. They gave
as the excuse for banning the Alternative Habitat that the NGOs had not
got permission from the governor office to convene their counter
The Istanbul Chairman of the Human Rights
Association (IHD), Ercan Kanar said that the state was afraid of the
realities and its crimes that were to be attacked at the Alternative
Habitat and announced that the state was caught red handed by this act.
By the side of a series of routine police
interventions, the most spectacular police action during Habitat II was
the detention of about 1,500 people, including several foreign
participants at the UN Habitat II Conference, on June 8 when they
staged protests for the defense of human rights in Turkey.
One of the demonstrations was organized by the
Public Workers Trade Union Confederation (KESK) for the recognition of
trade union rights to public servants. The other one was the
traditional Saturday meeting of mothers staging a protest for their
sons and daughters missing when in custody.
Police immediately attacked the demonstrators with
wooden batons and arrested the protesters who were staging a sit down
demonstration on Istiklal Street at Galatasaray Square.
This repression was protested against next day by
representatives of NGOs at the Habitat Valley. Hundreds of Habitat II
participants from different countries gathered at the ITU Taskisla
Campus with black stripes covering their mouths signifying the gagging
of free speech. A spokesman then read a declaration protesting the
police brutality against peaceful demonstrators.
The declaration said Turkish police should go and
catch their colleagues who are responsible for 400 people who have gone
missing in custody rather than attacking the missing persons' families.
The NGOs also expressed support for Turkish public
servants' struggle for their trade union and social rights.
Same day a further 15 people were arrested when they
gathered in front of the Police Headquarters in Aksaray asking for
information as to the fate of those arrested on Saturday.
Istanbul Chief of Police Kemal Yazicioglu said, "It
should be known that we shall not allow illegal actions to go ahead
which aim to give a bad impression to the world by putting Turkey and
the Turkish police into a difficult position."
Whereas, it is not such kind of actions but the
repressive attitude of the Turkish Government and police that put
Turkey into shameful position.
TURKEY: THE MAFIA REPUBLIC
Below is an analysis by Hakan Aslaneli, published in
The Turkish Daily News on May 19, 1996:
The name appears behind the debt-collection crimes,
the cases of impropriety and scandals that have been gaining greater
prominence in the media and in the courts over the last few last years.
Turkey, accustomed to living under the threat of coups d'état living
with governmental failings and bureaucratic weaknesses, has begun to
understand the severity of a new problem in society — the mafia.
Claims about senior state representatives and their
staff being involved in irregularities have been dominating the
Does the mafia, whose name is repeatedly mentioned
in rumours, work with the representatives of the state? Or are the
representatives themselves a part of the mafia? For many Turkish people
the mafia, and the undermining of society that it represents, is one of
the greatest problems facing the country today. What is the mafia? Who
are its members? What kind of power is behind it? How far has its reach
extended? What do mafia members eat, drink, wear? How do they earn
their money? What are the differences between the Turkish mafia and its
counterparts in the rest of the world? Today, Turkey accepts the
reality of the existence of the mafia in all its forms and acknowledges
the trillions of lira that it sucks out of the economy. The mafia
itself has become part of the living tissue of the country.
The Street Mafia
The street mafia, made up of people calling
themselves külhanbeyler (roughnecks) who started to appear in numbers
in Istanbul in the 1930s, is known today as the "gang." The Street
mafia, which once was thought to earn its money through courage and
power, now attacks houses and work places and even commits mass crimes
in groups of up to 100 people. So how does one become a member of the
street mafia? The major requirement is to be ruthless enough to kill a
man without hesitation. The gang will not accept a new member unless he
is close to one of its members who will vouch for him. First of all,
the new member is given routine duties such as making tea, cleaning the
gang's headquarters, driving the car. If he is able to adapt himself to
the gang, he will be assigned a real mission. The first thing that he
will be called upon to do is to kill someone. Since the gang would not
risk the possibility of one of its experienced men going to prison, the
new young members are used in these cases, taking the risk of
imprisonment if arrested. A member of the street mafia has to spend
some time in prison otherwise he doesn't earn the respect of his
The tesbihler or worry beads of the gang members are
their most characteristic accessories. The qualities of the tesbihler,
consisting of 33 beads, also show the worth of its owners. The most
precious tesbihler are those made of obsidian from Erzurum and embedded
with gold or diamonds. His tesbih is the only thing that a mafia member
Even in death it plays a part, being placed on the
coffin. The second thing in the life of a mafioso, one that is as
important as the tesbih, is drugs. Members of the Turkish mafia usually
smoke hashish. A new member has to know how to make a hashish cigarette
called a "couple" or "trio." The hashish cigarettes that are prepared
by the new members are smoked by the more senior gang members during
discussions. The long-established members of the criminal organizations
are especially recognized by their eyes. Their eyes are red and
exhausted looking due to the hashish that they so freely use. The older
members, who have become weakened by the continuous use of drugs, don't
undertake "business" that necessitates great physical exertion.
This is to say the street mafia members are
generally retired after they reach 30 years of age. These people have a
very active life between 18-30, but age before their time and seem to
be in their 50s when they are only 30. Their clothing is another
distinguishing feature and is common to most gang members.
In summer they prefer to dress in clothes made of
thin, brilliantly colored materials, especially silken shirts decorated
with flower patterns. Many have a taste for shoes which are sharply
pointed with raised heels. This somewhat extravagant style of dress is
complemented by the characteristic attitudes and behavior patterns of
mafia members, who like to play the part of the larger than life
A preferred form of entertainment for gang members
is to send flowers to the singers at casinos and to mingle with the
elite of the social and entertainment worlds. Apart from their
excessive drug use many like to indulge in drinking whisky. And there
is a great danger from wild gun shots once both the drugs and alcohol,
so freely used, start to take their toll on temper and judgement.
Mafia members prefer to marry when very young and to
have sons who will follow in their criminal footsteps. Those who become
wealthy like to send their children to private colleges and even abroad
to provide them with a good education. Despite being married, it is the
accepted thing for mafioso to take a lover or lovers. They are not
afraid to attend social events with their lovers. It is part of this
male-dominated world that their wives have no right to object to this
What Do They Do?
The mafia, which justifies its crimes by claiming to
defend the weak and poor people of Turkey and not to make money, has
many branches in Turkey. The reality is that some of those branches
have moved from the streets and, like a cancer or virus, have entered
into the organs of the state itself, thus giving the mafia far greater
opportunities to garner wealth. The street mafia earns money in
the following ways:
• Debt Collection
Members of the mafia who are engaged in debt
collection intervene when there are problems in collecting money in the
trade sector and are known for their ruthless methods. The underworld
takes 50 percent of the amount that has to be collected as well as a
payment from the creditor to cover the gang's "expenses." So, for the
collection of a debt, gang members get up to two-thirds of the total
sum of the money owed.
The mafia members use the name of some powerful and
famous mafia leader with whom they are associated to threaten their
target in order to extract money. Should this threat be insufficient to
motivate the debtor to pay, the mafia resorts to violence and guns.
They are in action every day and their activities are often featured in
the newspapers, making them the most well known branch of the mafia in
The mafia was involved in gambling in Turkey long
before the opening of the big casinos, which gave new life to an old
profession. In the gambling world, where huge amounts of money
circulate, mafia members are known by their wealth and their luxurious
Members have invested their earnings in Switzerland
and in the United States and are renowned for their dislike of news of
their activities appearing in the media. A mafia member who hears that
his activities will be featured in the papers or on radio or television
is never loath to use the threat of mafia intervention to kill the
story. There is also a rumor that huge amounts of money play a role
when the threat of mafia intervention is not effective enough.
• Sale of State Owned Land
The mafia has branches within the state agencies in
cities like Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Bursa and Adana. It sells
state-owned land to encourage the development of shanty towns and
manages its business without using guns. Members are known to be close
to the municipal representatives of their region and are known for
• Parking Lot Operations
A new mafia activity stemming from the sale of
state-owned land, which is most prevalent in the big cities and run by
migrants to the major centres involves parking lots. The occupation of
the streets by these people, their extortion of money from car owners,
and their expansion to nearly all the streets of the big cities lead to
questions of whether the municipal officials and the police are also
associated with this branch of the mafia. Members of the parking lot
mafia don't hesitate to damage the cars of those who fail to give
money. Car owners who lodge complaints with the authorities are
ignored, strengthening the belief that the municipality and police may
be involved with organized crime.
• Running of Tea Gardens and Market Places
Tea gardens and market places are dominated by the
famous names of the world of crime and are big money earners. The mafia
transforms every empty location on the shores of the Bosphorus in
Istanbul into tea gardens or market places without any legal lease.
This branch of the mafia is well known for its close relations to
officials at every level of government. These gang members are able to
maintain their illegal way of life due to their friends in the
government and they determine the prices of the products in their
marketplaces on their own. For example, the price of a cup of coffee in
a tea garden with a beautiful view can amount to TL 250,000. The
non-intervention of the municipal authorities again brings to mind the
same question. Are they partners in crime?
• Inside Information
Some mafia members make their living by informing
people of state property that is to be put on sale or when bids are to
be invited for a contract before it is officially announced. These
people are usually elegantly dressed and frequently appear in official
circles, carrying on the business of their bosses who do not appear in
They hold meetings with members of Parliament,
ministers and bureaucrats in the luxurious hotels of Ankara and
especially like to take pan in the construction of highways and plaza
buildings as well as of the parking lots and gardens belonging to the
• Inside the Judicial System
There is a rumor that various branches of organized
crime are also interfering with Turkey's judicial system. Their
influence on some lawyers and Judges concerning serious cases of
corruption or cases concerning famous families and their interests have
been receiving much attention in the media of late.
• Obtaining Visas
Active in the streets where foreign embassies and
consulates are located, these mafiosi help obtain visas for Turkish
citizens to allow them to enter countries that demand visas. These
members approach people who want to get a visa, ask them to follow the
procedures they outline, and give guarantees to them that they will
receive the required documents.
The charge varies according to the country; they can
ask DM 2000 for Germany and $3000 for the United States. A person who
enters into an agreement with the mafia pays half of the sum in advance
and the rest after he or she gets the visa. They are frequently robbed
by the mafia member who can easily disappear after taking the money.
The mafia is expanding its activities throughout
society in order to strengthen its hold on the economy and on power and
has become a reality that has to faced. The mafia is developing daily
and is drawing to its ranks many young people who are attracted to the
potentials of a life of crime due to the lack of opportunities in the
work place and the inadequate educational system that offers little
hope of gainful employment for many. The mafia's activities appear
attractive to the young and enrich those who become involved in them.
In a society where the acquisition of wealth is
becoming more of a central focus for many, especially the young, the
mafia is a heaven-sent fast track to the goals to which they aspire. In
a country where the population has the improprieties of the rich and
powerful paraded before it daily in the media, where corruption is seen
as an acceptable way of life, where crime and injustice are seen to go
unpunished and indeed rewarded, is it any wonder that the ranks of the
mafia are being swollen by eager recruits?
Members of organized crime are known for their blind
courage and willingness to take any risk.
They do not fear being killed and do not quit their
job until the end of their lives. The mafia is a way of life rather
than a way of making money, and it is a way of life that is being
adopted by more and more people in Turkey. We will see in the coming
days how successful Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz will be in keeping his
promise to eliminate the mafia.
HUNGER STRIKES IN TURKISH PRISONS
As thousands of delegates from the world were
gathering in Istanbul for Habitat II, about 10 thousand political
prisoners in 37 prisons of Turkey were on hunger strike in protest
against inhuman prison conditions.
The protest began last year in December with the
occupation by inmates of Umraniye Prison and then spread to other
prisons and reached a bloody end with the intervention of security
Now the prisons, which for a while have been quite
silent, are once more beginning to boil over because of the repressive
attitude of Justice Minister Mehmet Agar.
The new wave of protests started with a hunger
strike in the Diyarbakir E Type prison and has spread to other prisons
just as happened last year. Yavuzeli Prison, Gaziantep and Bursa
Prisons, Tokat Zile Prison and the Mardin Closed Prison followed suit
after Sakarya with hunger strikes from 23 May onwards. The people being
held in these prisons have announced that they will continue their
hunger strike if their demands are not met.
It has further been announced that the condition of
11 of the prisoners who are on an extended hunger strike is not good.
Attention has been drawn to the fact that the prisoners are continually
bleeding internally, have blood circulation problems and are suffering
from fainting spells to the point that they might die at any moment.
The daily Cumhuriyet of June 16 reports that the
hunger strikes in prisons since September 1980 coup had cost the life
of fifteen prisoners. Last year, political prisoner Fesih Beyazcicek
lost his life on July 23, 1995, at the Yozgat Prison, and Remzi
Altintas, on August 13, 1995, in the Amasya Prison.
The prisoners have said that they feel that the
prime minister and other officials including the president of the
Republic are playing "blind and deaf" where their rightful demands are
concerned and they have decided to completely boycott the state courts.
The families which are supporting the hunger strike
in the prisons have started their own hunger strikes in many cities and
In Europe, thousands of immigrants from Turkey too
have carried out hunger strikes in an act of solidarity.
HADEP Chairman Murat Bozlak has named the new
Justice Minister as the person who will be responsible if there are any
deaths. Bozlak drew attention to the fact that pressure in the prisons
has been on the increase.
The Human Rights Association's (IHD) too accused
Agar of being the instigator of the hunger strikes. "In spite of the
innumerable charges which have made against him Agar has now been made
the Minister of Justice, This situation again brings out the reality
that he continually wants a police state. The police who intervene in
many community affairs are being used in a way in which they are acting
not to prevent something or break up an incident but are being used to
open fire on the people," said an IHD communiqué.
"The result of opening fire is either death by
struck in the head or chest or remaining maimed or wounded. In many of
the assaults in the prisons many of the prisoners and those in custody
lost their lives.
"The same style that applies on the street is used
in prison and the cells are entered using tear gas bombs and iron bars.
Even the wounded who were taken to hospital are struck inside the
ambulances and their treatment prevented. In this situation then
government statements concerning the murders are aimed at making the
murders legitimate in a defensive manner and deceiving public opinion.
"If the Justice Ministry were to turn into an
organization which encourages state terrorism, this is to say that the
future of the people in the society and their basic rights and freedoms
will be in danger of falling into deep darkness and danger."
"TURKISH JUSTICE MINISTER IS A SUPER TORTURER"
Turkish Minister of Justice and former Director
General of Police Mehmet Agar was accused, on May 8 at the US Congress,
of being a "super torturer."
Dr. Inge Genefke, a Danish expert on torture and
medical director of the International Rehabilitation Council for
Torture Victims (IRCT), testifying before the U.S. House Subcommittee
on International Operations and Human Rights, said that in Turkey
torture was conducted by police. She referred to Mehmet Agar, the
former chief of Turkish police, as the "super torturer of Turkey."
The hearing is conducted to call attention to the
trial in Adana of Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TIHV) members on May
10. "The IRCT was behind the foundation of [the TIHV] centres [in
Turkey] and has a close collaboration with our colleagues in Turkey
concerning rehabilitation of torture victims," Genefke said.
"The reason a doctor and a lawyer from Adana HRFT
centre was put on trial in Turkey was because they refused to give to
Turkish Ministry of Health the names of their clients treated at these
"The IRCT is deeply concerned about this. Our
principle is to protect our clients as much as possible, and bearing
this principle in mind we work under the strictest professional secrecy
which is a universal and basic condition for all medical treatment. An
attack on this professional silence would be totally destructive for
our work for torture victims.
"Furthermore, in a country like Turkey where the
state is behind the execution of torture, it is obvious that only an
inconsiderable percentage of the victims dare come forward and risk
their own safety, life and the safety and lives of their family," she
TURKEY TO BE TRIED BY EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS
The European Commission of Human Rights has accepted
two more cases against Turkey as "admissible" and referred them to the
European Court of Human Rights on April 17, 1996.
The first case, "Aziz Mentes and others vs. Turkey,"
involves allegations on the part of four women that Turkish soldiers
burned their homes on June 25, 1993. The report said that according to
the applicants, Turkish security forces had arrived the day after an
attack on the village of Sagoze in Bingöl province by the outlawed
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on June 23. "Again according to the
applicants, the security forces burned their homes the following day on
the basis that the villagers had helped the PKK separatists."
The commission has declared admissible the
applicants' complaints that on June 25, 1993, state security forces
burned their homes, destroying their property and forcing them to
evacuate their village and causing, in the case of Suriye Uvat who was
pregnant at the time, the premature delivery of twins, who died shortly
afterwards. The commission found Turkey in violation of Article 8 of
the European Convention of Human Rights, which assures the right to
respect for family life.
The report also cites Turkey as being in violation
of Article 3, which protects from torture and inhuman or degrading
treatment. According to the report, Turkey is also in breach of law in
regard to Articles 6.1 and 13, which call for effective domestic
remedies. "Turkey's decision not to pursue the cases of these women in
the domestic legal system is fundamentally flawed," the report argued.
The second application that was accepted as
"admissible" by the commission is Sükran Aydin's complaint that she was
raped while in custody.
"In the early hours of June 29, 1993, the applicant,
her father Sevdo Aydin and her sister-in-law Ferahdiba Aydin were taken
from their village Tasit, in Derik district, by the village guards and
gendarme officers. They were taken to Derik gendarme headquarters.
During her detention, the applicant was blind¬folded. She was taken to
a 'torture room' where she was beaten, stripped naked, placed in a tyre
and hosed with pressurised water. In another separate room, she was
stripped and raped by a member of the security forces. She and the
other members of her family were released after three days on or about
July 2, 1993," the report said, quoting the applicants' alleged
According to the report, the commission has found
Turkey in violation of Article 3, considering Aydin's treatment while
in custody to be so severe as to amount to torture. It further stated
that the right to a fair hearing by the judicial system (as defined in
Article 6.1) was also violated.
"WHERE IS TALAT TÜRKOGLU," ASKS THE IHD
The IHD Istanbul Branch held an open air press
conference in Istanbul to raise their claim that Talat Türkoglu has
disappeared in the state forces' hands.
Talat Türkoglu has been missing since April 1. His
wife and family claim that Türkoglu was arrested and is in custody. The
IHD said that their queries since April 26 to Minister of Interior Ülkü
Güney and other authorities have not been answered yet.
"We ask to the state once again," said the IHD
declaration, "where is Türkoglu? You who govern us, how long will you
continue to keep silent? If Türkoglu does not reappear alive the
responsibility will be on the present government and the existing state
2-MONTH STATE TERRORISM
3.4, in Istanbul, Ali Ocak who was detained on March
15, claims to have been tortured in police custody.
3.4, a group of Grey Wolves raids a university
canteen and seriously wounded six left-wing students.
3.4, security forces announce the arrest of 16 PKK
militants in Istanbul and six DHKP-C militants in Adana.
4.4, in Birecik, a 15-year old high school student,
F.I., is placed under arrest by a local court for having raised Kurdish
flag in school.
4.4, security forces arrest 22 people for DHKP-C
activities in Istanbul.
5.4, the public prosecutor of Ankara indicted 385
university students for holding demonstrations without authorisation
and occupying university buildings. The defendants face heavy
imprisonment of up to nine years.
6.4, in Adana, Zeki Zeper claims to have been
tortured at a police station.
6.4, the daily Demokrasi reports that the village of
Dilek, in Mardin, was depopulated by security forces and about 150
inhabitants had to migrate to the town of Dargecit.
7.4, in Diyarbakir, Ramazan Uran who was wounded
during an armed attack died in a city hospital.
7.4, the IHD Kirsehir branch was set on fire by
unidentified assailants. A press conference organised to protest
against this attack was forbidden by police. Seventeen people are taken
into custody for unauthorised demonstration.
8.4, in the village of Besikkaya in Mardin, 37-year
old Hasret Gündüz falls victim of the explosion of a mine laid by
9.4, in Eskisehir, 24 university students are
indicted for a demonstration they held on March 17 against the hike of
9.4, the Ankara SSC sentences three members of the
Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey (TDKP) to prison terms of up to
10.4, the trial of 51 university students for
protest actions against the hike of university charges starts at a
criminal court of Istanbul. The prosecutor asks for imprisonments of up
to 19 years.
10.4, in Ankara, a group of university students are
attacked by Grey Wolves as they are protesting against the earlier
attacks by the same assailants. Grey Wolves wound nine students and a
Cumhuriyet photo reporter, Tarik Tinazay.
10.4, security forces announce the arrest of fifteen
people in Elazig and nine people in Bingöl for supporting outlawed
10.4, in Diyarbakir, Hasan Gen is shot dead by
11.4, IHD Aydin Chairman Abdurrahman Saran is
indicted for his speech at a meeting in protest against the Umraniye
Prison incidents. He faces a prison term of not less than three months.
11.4, in Karakocan, the headman of the village of
Cayirgülü, Kaya Altun, and two other people are taken into custody for
aiding the PKK.
12.2, in Istanbul, IHD member Tamis Akpinar is taken
into custody and subjected to torture when he goes to the police
headquarters for receiving his passport.
13.4, former CHP Tunceli deputy Sinan Yerlikaya is
accused by the prosecutor of the Ankara SSC of having given help and
shelter to TIKKO militants. Under Article 169 of the Turkish Penal
Code, Yerlikaya faces a prison term of up to five years.
13.4, security forces detain a total of eight people
in Rize and Artvin for PKK activities.
14.4, at the Hacettepe University of Ankara, eight
students are taken into custody for refusing to show their identity
cards to gendarmes.
14.4, in Nusaybin, Yusuf Demir is shot dead by
14.4, demonstrations for peace, democracy and trade
union rights, organized by the Confederation of Public Servants Unions
(KESK) are banned by the governors of Gaziantep and Samsun. This
decision is protested in Samsun with an unauthorised demonstration and
about eighty people are taken into custody.
14.4, the Giresun office of the Freedom and
Solidarity Party (ÖDP) is raided by police and some documents
confiscated. Police also detain ÖDP local chairman Mustafa Erol and
another party official.
14.4, in Mersin, security forces raiding a house and
an orange garden shoot dead four people on charges of being PKK
sympathisers. The IHD accuses police of executing people without trial.
14.4, in Izmir, five people are taken into custody
for having waves Kurdish tricolour (green-yellow-red) scarves during a
14.4, police raid on some houses in Gaziemir result
in the arrest of four people.
14.4, in Hasankeyf, security forces arrest 40 people
including HADEP local chairman Hayrettin Topkan.
15.4, in Ankara, Grey Wolves raid the canteen of the
Gazi University and wound three left-wing students.
16.4, in Adana, student Meral Ordu claims to have
been tortured during her police detention.
17.4, the Ankara prosecutor opens a legal proceeding
against the representatives of a series of democratic organizations and
trade unions on charges of having supported a student action against
the hike of university charges.
17.4, in Ankara, security forces detain 33
university students during a discipline operation.
18.4, the central campus of the Hacettepe University
in Ankara is raided by a group of Grey Wolves. In Istanbul, police
wound a student during a protest demonstration.
19.4, in Istanbul, twelve people are detained by
police on charges of illegal activities.
20.4, in Diyarbakir, Mehmet Senyigit is
assassinated at police detention and his dead body is found at the
mortuary of the State Hospital.
21.4, after a meeting for peace and democracy,
organized by the HADEP in Istanbul, six participants are detained by
22.4, a penal court of Ankara starts to try former
SHP deputy Mahmut Alniak for insulting the defunct president of the
Republic, Turgut Özal, and his family. He faces a prison term of up to
22.4, in Istanbul, tens of militants of the Party of
Labour (EP) and the Socialist Power Party (SIP) are taken into custody
as distributing May Day tracts.
22.4, HADEP's Siirt provincial office is raided by
police, nine party members taken into custody.
22.4, in Maras, three teachers, Nurettin Arslan,
Haci Ömer Serin and Aydin Yilmaz, are shot dead by unidentified gunmen.
23.4, some May Day posters produced by the Freedom
and Solidarity Party (ÖDP) are banned by the governor of Istanbul.
24.4, the prosecutor of Istanbul opened a legal
proceeding against 453 political detainees for their resistance action
in the Bayrampasa Prison at the beginning of January 1996.
24.4, a student demonstration in Istanbul is
attacked by police and more than 50 students taken into custody.
25.4, HADEP Batman chairman Rifat Basalak is taken
into police custody.
25.4, the Kayseri SSC sentences four people to
prison terms of up to 18 years and 9 months for participating in the
activities of the Workers'-Peasants' Liberation Army of Turkey (TIKKO).
26.4, HADEP deputy chairman Osman Özcelik is
arrested by the Ankara SSC for his press release on the assassination
of eleven Kurdish peasants by State forces in Güclükonak on January 15.
Same day, in Hasankeyf, HADEP local chairman Hayrettin Topkan is placed
under arrest by a tribunal. In Diyarbakir, a HADEP official, Veli
Türkyilmaz is taken into police custody after a raid on his house.
27.4, a HADEP official in Turgutlu, Seyhmus Celik
and four other people are put under arrest by the Izmir SSC. Same day,
in Batman, security forces arrest 16 people.
28.4, a private soldier, Ömer Marulcu, is arrested
by a military tribunal for having participated in the meeting for peace
and democracy, organized by HADEP in Istanbul on April 21.
1.5, in Tunceli, 58-year old Hasan Tuntas who was
shot on April 30 by soldiers, dies at a city hospital.
1.5, security forces announce the arrest of eight
people accused of taking part in TIKKO activities.
2.5, seven university students who were detained by
police on April 17 are placed under arrest by the Ankara SSC's
decision; The IHD claims that the students were subjected to torture
during their police custody.
2.5, in Siirt, a 17-year old girl, Hazal Sevim is
shot dead by security forces as she was pasturing animals.
2.5, in Ankara, a high school student, Yasin Akkaya,
who was detained on April 12, claims to have been tortured by policemen
forcing him to turn into a police informer.
2.5, in Mersin, four people who were detained in
April are placed under arrest by a tribunal.
3.5, in Istanbul, an unidentified person is shot
dead by military guards on pretext that he did not obey to the order
not to enter a forbidden zone.
3.5, in Karacabey, Hasan Tanis who was detained one
day ago, is found stabbed at the police station. He dies as being taken
3.5, in Izmir, seven alleged members of the
Revolutionary Communists' Union of Turkey (TIKB) are placed under
arrest by a local court.
4.5, during a commemoration ceremony for a former
mayor of Fatsa, Fikri Sönmez, who was one of the victims of the
September 12 regime, security forces take more than 50 people into
4.5, in Izmir, two members of the Party of Labour
(EP), Özgür Turna and Ferhat Kanza, claim to have been tortured at a
Grey Wolves local to where they were taken after being detained for a
time at a police station.
5.5, the chairman of the Diyarbakir Doctors' Chamber
and the Chief of the Social Security Hospital, Seyfettin Kiziltan, is
taken into custody by police raiding his house. Accused of aiding the
PKK, Kiziltan had already been taken into custody last year for giving
medical care to a wounded PKK militant.
6.5, the Ankara SSC sentences three Hizbullah
members to capital punishment under Article 146/1 of the Turkish Penal
Code, for attempting to overthrow the constitutional regime and to
establish a religious order. Death sentences are later commuted to life
prison. In the same case, six other defendants are sentenced to prison
terms of up to nine years under Article 169 of the TPC.
6.5, the Istanbul SSC sentences three PKK militants
to imprisonments of up to 12 years.
7.5, a penal court of Ankara begins to try 115
university students, of whom 26 under arrest, for having occupied on
March 23 some buildings of the Ankara University in protest against the
hike of university charges. The prosecutor asks for sentencing the
defendants to imprisonment of up to nine years.
7.5, in Hakkari, a HADEP official, Mustafa Gümüslü
is taken into custody by police raiding his house.
7.5, in Siirt, Tahir Özer and Ali Cetinkaya who were
kidnapped on May 2 by unidentified assailants are found assassinated.
8.5, in Siirt, HADEP official Abdülsamet Calapkulu
and eighteen other people who were taken into custody on April 22, are
placed under arrest by a local tribunal. In Istanbul, four members of
the HADEP Youth Section are detained by police. Same day, in Adana,
police detain five people for PKK activities.
8.5, a former SHP deputy, Mahmut Alniak is indicted
again by the prosecutor for a press conference he held in 1993 in
Sirnak. Under Article 159/1 of the TPC, Alniak faces a prison term of
up to six years for insulting the Armed Forces.
9.5, two representatives of the Human Rights
Foundation of Turkey (TIHV), Mustafa Cinkilic and Dr. Turan Köse are
brought before a penal court of Adana. Accused of not having informed
the police directorate of the identities of the victims of torture
asking for rehabilitation treatment, each faces a prison term of up to
six months under Articles 526 and 530 of the Turkish Penal Code.
9.5, two members of the Socialist Power Party (SIP),
Cengiz Sucu and Nihat Sular claims to have been tortured after being
detained on May 8 while putting party posters on walls.
9.5, a HADEP provincial official, Veli Türkyilmaz is
taken into custody by police raiding his house. His two sons too were
11.5, the Ankara chairman of the War Industry
Workers' Union (Harp-Is) Necmettin Dogan, Vice-chairman Ibrahim Yalcin
and three other union officials are indicted by Ankara Prosecutor for a
press release they issued in 1994. Each faces imprisonment of up to two
11.5, tens of university students have reportedly
been taken into custody by police in last days.
12.5, in Istanbul, a group of 200 people visiting
the grave of one of the victims of May Day incidents are dispersed by
police using force and ten people wounded. 60 people coming to the
visit in bus are also stopped at Tuzla and all of them taken into
12.5, in Hakkari, three former DEP officials,
Ferzende Abi, Sirin Abi and Bazi Bor, are placed under arrest by a
local tribunal. Same day, HADEP member Rifat Özbek and his son, Sahin
Özbek, are taken into police custody in Seyhan.
12.5, in Istanbul, security forces announce the
arrest of fifteen people for participating in the activities of the
Communist Labour Party of Turkey-Leninist (TKEP-L). Same day, police
operations in Denizli, Aydin, Mugla and Manisa end in the arrest of
nine alleged DHKP-C members and one TDKP member.
13.5, in Istanbul, 17-year old Irfan Agdas is shot
dead by police as he was selling the periodical Kurtulus.
13.5, in Mersin, a woman named Remziye Karakoc
claims to have been tortured and sexually harassed by police after
being detained together with her father Mehmet Karakoc.
14.5, about one hundred university students are
dispersed by police using force as they are holding a protest
demonstration during the opening ceremony of the National Education
Council meeting. 81 students are detained.
14.5, in Istanbul, during the funeral of Irfan
Agdas, shot dead a day ago by police as selling Kurtulus, more than 300
people are dispersed by security forces and fifteen people taken into
14.5, two student canteens of the Ankara University
are raided by Grey Wolves and eight left-wing students seriously
14.5, sixteen years old Sükran Polat who was
detained on May 8 in Istanbul, claims to have been forced under custody
to being a police informer.
14.5, in Sirnak, a public servant, Ahmet Ürün, and
another unidentified person are found assassinated in the waste area of
the Brigade Headquarters. Ürün's parents claim that they were killed
under torture at least two weeks ago and buried there by soldiers for
hiding their crime.
14.5, HADEP Bingöl chairman Niyazi Azak is taken to
15.5, in istanbul, 17-year old Önder Ürün claims to
have been tortured by Grey Wolves after being kidnapped on May 13.
16.5, police detain fifteen people in Istanbul on
charges of participating in DHKP-C activities.
16.5, the prosecutor of the Ankara SSC starts a
legal action against a former member of Parliament, Hasan Mezarci, for
a speech he gave in 1992. Accused of separatist propaganda, Mezarci
faces a prison term of up to three years.
17.5, in Ankara, 130 students from different
provinces of Turkey organize an alternative educational council
meeting. When they go to the Ministry of National Education, the
students are attacked by police and 60 of them taken into custody.
Detainees are brutally beaten in police cars as being taken to police
headquarters. Same day, at the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ),
gendarmes take into custody fifteen students.
18.5, in Istanbul, an international congress on
disappearances under custody is harassed by police. During an action to
lit candles to the memory of the victims, 33 people including a British
and a French citizen are taken into custody. Another action to visit
the grave of a victim of May Day too ends in the arrest of 30 people.
18.5, in Ankara, a new demonstration in protest
against the detention of students a day ago ends in the arrest of 148
18.5, in Van, 45-year old Nazmi Balik is found
assassinated in his house.
19.5, in Izmir, two suspects of theft, Hüseyin Sunal
and Hüseyin Türkmen claim after their release to have been subjected to
torture under custody.
19.5, in Izmir, a meeting organized by the Freedom
and Solidarity Party (ÖDP) is banned by the governor.
20.5, eighteen years old Akin Rencper who was kept
in police custody in Istanbul in relation with the May Day incidents
dies in Ankara because of ill-treatment he got at police headquarters.
20.5, in Erzincan, 18 people are detained by
security forces in relation with an operation against the
Workers'-Peasants' Liberation Army of Turkey (TIKKO).
20.5, in Adana, security forces announce the arrest
of thirteen people on charges of being members of the Marxist-Leninist
Armed Propaganda Unit (MLSPB) and October (Ekim).
21.5, the Court of Cassation ratifies a one-year
imprisonment against Imam Hasan Hüseyin Kiymik for having insulted
21.5, in Adana, the Culture and Solidarity
Association of Yüregir is closed down by the order of the Adana
21.5, in Adana, seven people are detained for being
members of the Revolutionary Communists' Union of Turkey (TIKB).
22.5, a new trial against former SHP deputy Mahmut
Alniak starts at a penal court of Ankara. Accused of having insulted
former Interior Minister Mustafa Kalemli, now the speaker of the
National Assembly, Kalemli faces a prison term of up to two years.
22.5, in Bursa, Grey Wolves attack a bus carrying
left-wing students and wound seven of the latter.
23.5, in Van, police detain former DEP members Zahir
Kartal and Burhan Keskin.
23.5, a quarrel between Grey Wolves and left-wing
students at the Political Sciences Faculty of the Ankara University
ends in the wounding of two left-wing students.
23.5, a festival organized in Balikesir by the ÖDP
and a concert of folk singer Ferhat Tunc in Izmir are banned by local
23.5, in Ankara, security forces detain thirty
people in relation with PKK and thirteen other people in relation with
October (Ekim) in Ankara.
23.5, five students in the Gazi University in Ankara
and four students at the Atatürk University in Erzincan are taken into
24.5, Grey Wolves attacking the Akdeniz University
in Antalya wound four students.
24.5, twelve top officials of the Confederation of
Public Servants' Trade Unions (KESK) are taken into custody in front of
the Istanbul Governorship during a protest action.
27.5, in Van, former DEP official Ferzende Abi
claims to have been tortured during his 15-day police custody. Same
day, in Ergani, 42-year old Hasip Erdogan too said to have been
27.5, in Ankara, the Maltepe section of the Freedom
and Solidarity Party (ÖDP) becomes the target of a bomb attack.
28.5, in Ankara, Yasin Cetin and Hakki Seker claims
to have been tortured.
28.5, in Istanbul, seven officials of the Health
Workers' Union (Tüm Saglik Sen) are taken into police custody. Same day
fort people too are detained for DHKP-C activities.
28.5, in Pervari, security forces looking for Tahir
Aydinalp, arrest her 80-year old mother Maver Aydinalp and his wife
Diyari Aydinalp when they fail to find him.
29.5, sixteen high school students who were
subjected to torture and are still being tried by the Izmir SSC for
DHKP-C activities are indicted again. They are to be tried by a penal
court under Article 536 of the TPC. Each faces a second prison term of
up to two years for unauthorised poster campaign.
29.5, in Istanbul, ten people are detained for
JOURNALIST GERGER SENTENCED AGAIN
Writer and journalist Dr Haluk Gerger was, on May
15, sentenced by an Istanbul court to 20 months in prison and fined TL
500,000 for an article published in the 30 June 1995 edition of the
daily Evrensel on the state of emergency in Southeast Turkey.
In the same trial, Fatma Bayer, the former
editor-in-chief of Evrensel, was also sentenced to 20 months in prison;
however, the sentence was later commuted to TL 3.5 million.
They are both sentenced under Article 312 of the
Turkish Penal Code for "inciting the public to enmity against each
other by making regional and racial discrimination."
Gerger is a writer and freelance journalist
specialising in nuclear weapons and strategy, the United Nations, and
international issues. Formerly an assistant professor of International
Relations at the University of Ankara, he is a founding member of the
Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD) and was Secretary General of
the Turkish United Nations Association from 1984 to 1994.
On 9 December 1993, he was sentenced to twenty
months in prison and fined TL 208 million in connection with a message
of solidarity he had sent to a 23 May 1993 meeting in Ankara. This
meeting was held to commemorate the 1972 execution of three political
prisoners. He was tried under Article 8 of the Anti- Terror Law for
"separatist propaganda." His twenty month sentence was ratified by the
Appeal Court in late April 1994, although he was made to serve 15
YASAR KEMAL AWARDED HELLMAN\HAMMETT GRANT
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) awarded a
Hellman/Hammett grant to world-renowned Turkish writer Yasar Kemal, who
was tried and convicted in March 1996 on charges of "inciting racial
hatred by way of regional and racial discrimination."
Kemal, who was given a 20-month suspended sentence,
"was warned that if he repeated his crime in the next five years, the
sentence would become active."
In recognising Kemal, HRW "noted the courage he has
shown in defending freedom of expression for himself and the others
currently on trial. It is ironic that Turkey, which prides itself on
Kemal's place on the short list of candidates for the Nobel Prize, is
at the same time harassing him and his colleagues for expressing
INTERNATIONAL PEN CENTRES HELD DAY OF ACTION ON TURKEY
Writers around the world held a day of solidarity
with their imprisoned and censored colleagues in Turkey on 30 May,
reports the Writers in Prison Committee (WiPC) of International PEN.
Members of International PEN centres around the
world lobbied Turkish authorities, their own governments and Turkish
representatives in their countries, "calling for the Turkish laws to be
brought into line with international norms protecting freedom of
For its day of action, the WiPC noted, many writers
and intellectuals in Turkey are being tried in connection with the
publication of the book "Freedom of Expression in Turkey", which
includes the article by Kemal for which he was charged. "Ninety-nine
intellectuals who signed up as responsible editors of the book to
challenge the government over freedom of expression restrictions were
investigated and charged," says the WiPC, adding, "One, the well-known
author Aziz Nesin, has since died and a second trial has been launched
against 86 others who were identified after investigations."
The 98 intellectuals went to court on 31 May.
At a recent International PEN meeting in Denmark,
writers from 19 countries signed up as responsible editors of "Freedom
of Expression in Turkey" as a gesture of solidarity. The writers are
from Denmark, Sweden, the United States of America, England,
Switzerland, Australia, Canada, Austria, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Kenya,
Germany, Norway, Nepal, the Czech Republic, Malawi, Finland and
The WiPC reports that, in 1995, "human rights groups
concentrated on pressuring the government to amend Article 8 of the
Anti-Terror Law," and, in October, this law was slightly amended and
several writers released as a result. However, some
of these writers have now been sentenced again, says the WiPC, citing
Dr. Haluk Gerger, another 1996 Hellman/Hammett grant recipient who was
imprisoned from June 1994 until late 1995 under Article 8. He was
sentenced for "inciting racism" on 15 May to 20 months in prison for an
article on the state of emergency in Southeast Turkey. "Turkish human
rights groups have identified around 500 laws which can be used to
restrict freedom of expression in Turkey," says the WiPC.
The PEN American Centre released a "Message of
Solidarity to 98 Turkish Writers and Intellectuals Standing Trial in
Turkey on May 31, 1996, from 98 Writers around the Globe", in both
English and Turkish.
CPJ NAMES MESUT YILMAZ "ENEMY OF THE PRESS"
Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz is among 10
world figures identified by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
as "Enemies of the Press."
The fourth in the list of the "enemies" of the
press, "Yilmaz runs a government that at any given moment holds
more journalists in jail than any other in the world," says the CPJ,
adding, "Yilmaz has done nothing to improve on his predecessor Tansu
Ciller's dismal press freedom record."
The Committee to Protect Journalists says, "All are
responsible for brutal campaigns against journalists and press freedom,
as documented by CPJ in its ongoing monitoring of press freedom
The Enemies of the Press list is released annually
on 3 May to mark World Press Freedom Day.
"Each of these 10 men is actively committed to the
eradication of the independent press," said CPJ Executive Director
William Orme. "Scores of working journalists were killed, imprisoned,
or driven into exile as a result of their direct or covert actions."
The other Enemies of the Press are, in order, Abu
Abdul Rahman Amin, the head of Algeria's rebel Armed Islamic Group,
Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, Nigerian President Sani Abacha,
Tajikistan's President Emomali Rakhmonov, Indonesian President
Suharto, Cuban President Fidel Castro, Saudi Arabia's King Fahd bin
Abdulaziz Ibn Saud, Kenya's President Daniel arap Moi and Slovakia's
Prime Minister Vladimir Meciar
2-MONTH PRESSURE ON THE MEDIA
2.4, the military court of the General Staff
sentences a former responsible editor of the daily Özgür Gündem, Besim
Döner, to four months in prison and TL 320 thousand in fine for
anti-militarist publication. The military court also sentences Ali
Akkaya, Selma Genc and Mesude Basigüzel to 2-month imprisonment each
for anti-militarist propaganda.
3.4, in Istanbul, a correspondent of the periodical
Proleter Halkin Birligi, Muammer Kalkan claims to have been tortured
during his police custody.
3.4, former DEP deputy Hatip Dicle who is prison
together with three other Kurdish deputies, is sentenced by the
Istanbul SSC to a 2-year imprisonment for an article he had written for
the daily Yeni Politika. Same day, the publisher of Yeni Politika,
Necati Taniyan is sentenced for another article to a fine of TL 163
4.4, the responsible editor of the daily Evrensel,
Ali Erol is sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to two years in prison and TL
600 thousand in fine. The court also decides to ban the newspaper's
publication for month.
4.4, a former responsible editor of the daily Özgür
Gündem, Ömer Özdemir is sentenced by the military court of General
Staff to two months in prison and TL 220 thousand in fine for an
anti-militarist publication. The author of the article, Arif Hikmet
Iyidogan too is sentenced to the same punishment.
4.4, a penal court of Istanbul sentences six members
of the musical group Yorum, Hakan Alak, Satilmis Lüker, Irsad Aydin,
Özcan Senver, Güner Algül, Olcay Karadah, Ahmet Latif Tiftikci and
Fatih Ertüre, a one-year imprisonment each for a protest action they
carried out in August 1995. The imprisonments are later commuted to a
fine of TL 150 thousand for each.
5.4, the chairman of the Kurdish Institute, Sefik
Beyaz is put in prison for serving his one-year imprisonment. He was
sentenced by the Istanbul SSC for his speech at a meeting organized by
the Greens Group of the European Parliament in Istanbul on April 29,
1994, on the subject of "nationalism and racism in Europe." The
punishment is based on Article 312/2 of the Turkish Penal Code.
8.4, the director of the Yurt Publishing House,
Ünsal Öztürk is sentenced by a penal court of Ankara to 18 months in
prison for having published PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan's book entitled
The 12th September Fascism and the PKK's Resistance. The imprisonment
is later commuted into a fine of TL 2.7 million.
9.4, the responsible editor of the daily Evrensel,
Ali Erol is sentenced to two years in prison and TL 74 million in fine
for an article he published. The court also sentences the newspaper's
publisher, Vedat Korkmaz, to a fine of TL 146.5 million and bans the
newspaper's publication for one month.
10.4, the Court of Cassation ratifies an 18-month
imprisonment against sociologist Ismail Besikci for his book entitled
An intellectual, an organization and the Kurdish Question. This
sentence had been given by a penal court of Ankara on charges of
insulting Atatürk. For the same book, Besikci is also being tried by
two other courts for two different accusations. The Ankara SSC is
trying him on charges of separatist propaganda, and a criminal court,
on charges of insulting the National Assembly, the government and state
security forces. Besikci has been in prison since November 13, 1993.
12.4, the special May Day issue of the periodical
Öncü Partizan is confiscated by the decision of a penal court of
13.4, a 30-day ban on the publication of the
periodical Hedef is ratified by the Court of Cassation and put in
practice. The higher court also ratifies a one-year imprisonment and a
fine of TL 4 million against the review's former responsible editor,
15.4, a cartoonist of the daily Evrensel, Ertan
Aydin is imprisoned in Istanbul for serving his ten-month imprisonment
for a cartoon he made for the defunct daily Özgür Gündem. He is accused
of insulting the State under Article 159 of the Turkish Penal
Code. Aydin had already served a four-month imprisonment in 1995
for another cartoon.
16.4, security forces take into custody the
responsible editor of the periodical Odak, Erhan Duman, and two
employees of the Günes Ülkesi Publishing House, Nazif Cetinkaya and
18.4, the Istanbul SSC sentences the publisher of
the daily Evrensel, Vedat Korkmaz, and the responsible editor Ali Erol,
respectively to TL 160 million and TL 80 million in fine for having
published a communiqué of the DHKP-C. The court also decides to ban the
newspaper's publication for ten days.
17.4, two Batman correspondents of the daily
Demokrasi, Salih Güler and Lale Kurt are taken into custody during a
private visit to the home of their friends.
17.4, a penal court of Istanbul bans the publication
of three reviews, Sosyalizm Yolunda Kizil Bayrak, Ekim Gencligi and
Kizil Bayrak, on the pretext that the publisher and editor of these
reviews, Ahmet Turan, is no more at the head of this publications.
17.4, the head office of the daily Hürriyet in
Istanbul is attacked by armed assailants.
18.4, the Istanbul SSC decides to ban for one month
the publication of the periodicals Partizan Sesi and Atilim.
19.4, the chief editor of the periodical Zülfikar,
Hüseyin Karatas is sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to 16 months in prison
and TL 133 million in fine for his poems book entitled Dersim is the
ballad of a revolt.
19.4, two editors of the daily Akit, Abdurrahman
Dilipak and Yilmaz Yalciner are tried by a penal court of Istanbul
under Articles 311 and 312 of the TPC. Each faces a prison term of not
less than two years.
20.4, a penal court of Istanbul bans the publication
of the reviews Liseli Arkadas and Karadeniz Günesi on pretext that they
have not fulfilled some bureaucratic formalities.
21.4, the periodicals Yeni Demokratik Genclik, N°42,
and Özgür Gelecek, N°73, are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for
22.4, theatre actress Bilgesu Erenus is put in
prison in Ankara for serving her two-month imprisonment given by the
Military Court of General Staff because she called all mothers to
refusing to send their boys to military service. The sentence was
ratified by the Military Court of Cassation.
22.4, the Giresun correspondent of the daily
Türkiye, Bekir Bayram is reportedly beaten at a police station.
22.4, the periodicals Odak, N°53, and Öncü Partizan,
Special N°3, are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC under Article 6 of the
23.4, in Istanbul, the responsible editor of the
periodical Partizan Sesi, Özlem Dalmaz, and correspondent Sadeli Aydin;
five employees of the periodical Sosyalizm Yolunda Kizil Bayrak, Safter
Korkmaz, Canan Kaya, Selma Baran, Ali Taskale and Zehir Colak were
taken into custody for distributing May Day posters.
23.4, the latest issues of the periodicals Emekcinin
Alinteri, Proleter Halkin Birligi and Kaldirac are confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC under Article 6 of the ATL.
24.4, a 10-month prison term against IHD Istanbul
chairman Ercan Kanar, for his article published by the defunct Özgür
Gündem, is ratified by the Court of Cassation. However, the execution
of the punishment is suspended on condition of not committing another
25.4, The Higher Board of Radio and Television
(RTÜK) decides to ban the broadcasting of Kanal 50 TV in Nevsehir for
one day and issues warning to many local TV and radios.
29.4, a penal court of Istanbul confiscates the
periodical Gencligin Sesi, N°15, under Article 312 of the TPC, for
having published photos of assassinated youth leaders.
30.4, the governor of Diyarbakir bans the selling of
some music and video-cassettes containing songs in Kurdish.
2.5, the Adana offices of the periodicals Alinteri,
Kurtulus and Tavir are raided and searched by police. All printed
materials are confiscated and twelve people in the offices detained.
2.5, a book entitled Philosopher Ehmede Xane of
Kurdistan, written by Medeni Ayhan, is confiscated by the Ankara SSC
under Article 8.
3.5, in Istanbul, Atilim correspondents Sabiha
Budak, Incigül Basel, Mehtap Kurucay and Filiz Budak are taken into
custody during a police raid to Budak's house. Father Ibrahim Budak too
is detained during the operation.
3.5, the responsible editor of the periodical
Devrimci Genclik, Attila Yesil, is sentenced to sixteen months in
prison and a fine of TL 133 million for an article he published in
1994. The court also decides to ban the publication of the periodical
for one month for separatist propaganda under Article 8.
4.5, in Fatsa, all journalists covering a collective
visit to the grave of a May Day victim are expelled by force from the
5.5, Ankara RP deputy Hasan Hüseyin Ceylan's book
The Treason of Saint Sophia is confiscated by the Ankara SSC under
Article 312 of the TPC. Besides, the periodical Proleter Halkin Birligi
N°12 is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
6.5, Evrensel Adana correspondent Necati Öztürk and
employee Izzet Sarikaya are taken into police custody.
7.5, security forces raiding the Sivas office of the
periodical Kurtulus detain correspondent Hülya Dagli.
7.5, IHD Istanbul Chairman Ercan Kanar is sentenced
by the Istanbul SSC to a fine of 83 million for some articles in a 1993
issue of IHD press release, Insan Haklari Bülteni. The responsible
editor of the press release, Izzet Eray too is sentenced to five months
in prison and TL 42 million in fine.
8.5, Seyit Soydan and Halit Elci are sentenced by
the Istanbul SSC to a fine of TL 4.2 million each for their articles in
a the review Savasa Karsi Baris. The responsible editor of the review,
Ömer Ucar too is sentenced to the same fine.
8.5, the Istanbul SSC confiscates Özgür Gelecek,
N°74 under Article 312 and Partizan N°16 under Article 6 of the ATL.
9.5, Atilim correspondent Incigül Basel, after her
release, claims to have been beaten and sexually harassed by police.
9.5, Evrensel editor Ali Erol is sentenced by the
Istanbul SSC to two years in prison and TL 600 thousand in fine for an
article published on December 18, 1995.
12.5, Evrensel Lüleburgaz correspondent and a Kizil
Bayrak correspondent in Ankara are reportedly taken into custody by
police raiding their houses. Same day, during a visit to the grave of a
May Day victim, the correspondents of Özgür Gelecek, Yeni Demokrat
Genclik and Uzun Yürüyüs are detained together with sixty people.
14.5, the soloist of the musical group Kizilirmak,
Ilkay Akkaya is sentenced by the Malatya SSC to one year in prison and
TL 100 million in fine. Her prison term is later commuted to a fine of
TL 93 million. She is accused of separatist propaganda in a song under
16.5, the director of the Yurt Publishing House,
Ünsal Öztürk is sentenced by a penal court of Ankara to a 18-year
imprisonment for having published Besikci's book entitled An
Intellectual, An Organization and the Kurdish Question. His prison term
is later commuted to a fine of TL 2 million 725 thousand.
17.5, Cumhuriyet columnist Ergin Yildizoglu is kept
under custody five hours in relation with a former court warrant
17.5, in Samsun, a concert of the musical group
Gündogarken is attacked by Grey Wolves.
19.5, the Istanbul SSC confiscates periodical Odak
N°54 and Roza N°2 for separatist propaganda.
18.5, in Adana, an employee of the periodical Özgür
Halk, Veysel Erol claims to have been forced under police custody to
converting to a police informer.
19.5, in Izmir, four people putting Evrensel posters
on walls are taken into police custody.
20.5, the Iskenderun office of the periodical Özgür
Atilim is raided by police and two employees, Altan Koman and Bülent
Inanc taken into custody. Same day, Adana offices of Alinteri, Kurtulus
and Tavir are raided by police, two people detained.
21.5, the Istanbul SSC sentences the editor of the
periodical Newroz Atesi, Nedime Tunc, to one-year imprisonment and a
fine of TL 160 million under Article 8. Same day, the Istanbul SSC
sentences another person, Hüseyin Durmaz, to sixteen months in prison
and a fine of TL 333 million for separatist propaganda under Article 8.
21.5, the periodical Ri Heval N°5 and Uzun Yürüyüs
N°3 are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC under Article 8, Yeni Demokrat
Genclik N°43 and Özgür Gelecek N°75 under Article 6 of the ATL.
22.5, in Istanbul, Evrensel correspondent Irfan Kurt
and Kurtulus correspondents Bülent Sari, Banu Güdenoglu, Arzu Uzun and
Özcan Özgül are taken into custody as going to a press conference
concerning the assassination of Irfan Kurt in Alibeyköy.
23.5,, Istanbul police arrest Finnish Broadcasting
Company journalist Leena Reikko along with her cameraman, Kemal
Gokakan, and two Kurdish refugees she was interviewing. Police
confiscate the videotape of the interview.
23.5, Evrensel editor Ali Erol is sentenced by the
Istanbul SSC to one-year imprisonment and a fine of TL 550 million for
propaganda of outlawed organizations. The newspaper's publisher Vedat
Korkmaz too is sentenced to a fine of TL 146.6 million. The court also
decides to ban the newspaper's publication for twenty days.
23.5, the Istanbul SSC sentences Cumhuriyet
correspondent Oral Calislar to a fine of 5 million under Article 6/2 of
the ATL for his book containing reportages with Kurdish leaders Öcalan
and Burkay. The director of Yar publishing house, Muzaffer Erdogdu too
is sentenced to a fine of TL 25 million. The court also decides to
confiscate the book.
23.5, Özgür Atilim employee Tarip Kizilkaya is
detained in Istanbul.
26.5, the periodical Aydinlik is confiscated by a
penal court of Istanbul for preventing the publication of a reportage
accusing the Justice Minister. Same day, the periodicals Partizan Sesi
and Öncü Partizan too are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC under
articles 6 and 312.
26.5, the Iskenderun correspondent of the journal
Güney Uyanis (Adana), Sükran Kaplan is taken into police custody.
27.5, lawyer Eren Keskin is sentenced by the
Istanbul SSC to thirteen months in prison and a fine of TL 111 million
for an article she wrote to the defunct daily Özgür Gündem. In another
case, Keskin is sentenced to a fine of TL 50 million for having
published a book about a Kurdish conference in Paris in 1993.
ANKARA'S REACTION TO THE HRW REPORT
The Human Rights Watch report has led Turkish
authorities to angry reactions. The most spectacular reaction was no
doubt the confiscation of its Turkish version in Turkey in January 1996.
On April 24, the publisher of the Turkish version,
Seyit Soydan, was brought before the Istanbul State Security Court
under Article 312 of the Turkish Penal Code.
Soydan, chief editor of the review Savasa Karsi
Baris (Peace Versus War), is accused of inciting peoples against each
other on the basis of regional differences. He faces a prison term of
not less than two years.
On the other hand, the deputy director general of
the Department of Human Rights in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in
Ankara, Türel Özkarol, accused HRW of falsifying the facts and being
Thereupon, Human Rights Watch Executive Director
Kenneth Roth responded in writing to critical comments made by Ozkarol,
In a letter which was made public at the beginning
of May 1996 through Inter Press Service (IPS), Roth pointed out that
his organization and the government of Turkey had "widely divergent
positions on the key issues" but the readiness to maintain a dialogue
over human rights was appreciated.
Among the issues under contention were the
applicability of international law, the methodology used in arriving at
the report's findings and the substance of the findings.
Roth rejected the idea that the report's referring
to "the Turkish-Kurdish conflict" was a way of characterising the
conflict as a civil war. He insisted that the report "characterised the
violence as an internal armed conflict (as opposed to an international
armed conflict) under international humanitarian law." Therefore Common
Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions to which Turkey is fully bound
was applicable, that is, armed hostilities over time and at least one
of the protagonists, a relatively organized group.
Roth further rejected an assertion by Özkarol that
it was "deliberately" invoking humanitarian law in order to put the
Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on an equal basis with the Turkish state
and thus bestowing a measure of legitimacy on the organization.
Pointing out that another Turkish official, also in
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, had referred to United Nations'
resolutions against terrorism were "soft" law, Roth noted that existing
international law on terrorism only applied to certain kinds of attacks
such as airplane hijacking. However, if international humanitarian law
does not apply to the conflict in the Southeast as the Turkish
government claims, then the standards regarding police behavior must
apply. And these standards such as only using lethal force to stop an
immediate threat to life, are much stricter.
Roth also notes that Human Rights Watch is accused
of being one-sided in its selection of violations; however, he accuses
the government of trying to hijack the attempt made to investigate PKK
abuses thereby putting the mission's integrity in jeopardy. The mission
was aborted. Accusations over the withholding of names of people
interviewed were rejected in the letter as being done in order to
prevent retaliation against those people who spoke with Human Rights
As for the substance of the findings, Roth rejected
the idea that their information was only based on media sources,
pointing out that where they had taken information from such sources it
had been where the latter had quoted government officials and figures.
Roth concluded his letter by expressing the hope
that the report which is also available in English would be read by
officials of the government of Turkey and the general public.
WEAPONS TRANSFERS TO TURKEY AND ARMEMENT INDUSTRY (II)
In this issue, we are reprinting a second extract
from the Human Rights Watch report entitled Weapons Transfers and
Violations of the Laws of War in Turkey. This part contains the arm
deliveries to Turkey from its European partners and the Turkey's own
Since the 1960s, Germany has been the second largest
military supplier of Turkey. Germany has delivered numerous defense
items ranging from communications equipment to fighter aircraft.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
(SIPRI), Turkey ordered the following items from Germany between 1990
and 1993: forty-six F-4F Phantom fighter aircraft, forty-six RF-4E
Phantom reconnaissance aircraft, 131 LARS 110mm rocket launchers, 131
M-110-A2 203mm self-propelled guns, 300 BTR-60P armored personnel
carriers (former GDR equipment), one hundred Leopard l-AI main battle
tanks, and twenty M-48 armored recovery vehicles. These figures
represent the number of items ordered; information on actual deliveries
In the 1994 U.N. Register of Conventional Arms,
Turkey reported receiving in 1993 eighty-five Leopard tanks (from the
original one hundred ordered as cited by SIPRI), 187 M-113 armored
combat vehicles, fifteen F-4 combat aircraft, and one training ship
from Germany. Germany's report to the register concurs.
The German F-4E Phantom has been in service with the
Turkish Air Force since the 1970s. The Turkish Air Force is reportedly
fond of the Phantom for its capacity to carry Laser Guided Bombs and
Germany supplies not only the Turkish armed forces
but the police as well, in the form of equipment and training aid. This
aid has consisted of cash donated to facilitate the purchase of arms
for the police force; equipment such as computers, supplied by the firm
Siemens; and training of special police forces in "counter-terrorism."
According to one defense trade journal, Germany has
supplied Turkey with 256,000 Kalashnikov rifles, 5,000 machine guns,
and a hundred million rounds of ammunition from former East German Army
stocks. Other weapons transferred from ex-GDR Army stocks include
ammunition for BTR-60 cannon, trucks, 5,000 RPG-7 rocket propelled
grenades, and various unnamed missiles and bombs with fuses. The German
government stated that these weapons must not be used against-the Kurds.
In 1992, the German aid organization Medico
International investigated the use of German weaponry in Turkey. It
found that GDR Leopard tanks and BTR armored personnel carriers were
used in the depopulation of several Kurdish villages.
Despite the close military ties between Germany and
Turkey, this relationship has been disrupted several times during
Turkey's war in the southeast. Germany instituted an arms embargo
against Turkey in 1992 in reaction to Turkish attacks against the
Kurds, but the embargo was lifted three months later. In April 1994,
Germany halted arms sales again while it investigated allegations that
Turkey used German supplied BTR-60 armored personnel carriers in
southeastern Turkey. The embargo was lifted after Turkey asserted that
the BTR-60s had come from Russia, not Germany. Following Turkey's March
20, 1995, invasion of northern Iraq to rout the PKK there, Germany
again froze military sales to Turkey. That embargo was lifted at the
end of September 1995, when Germany released frozen military aid worth
$ 110 million to support the manufacture of two frigates for the
The Russian Federation
Because Russia's requirements for the selling of
weapons are not as strict as those of many western countries, Turkey
has recently turned to Russia for much of its equipment. Turkey's
economic crisis has also prompted it to consider less expensive Russian
weapons. In early 1994, the Turkish defense minister visited Moscow and
signed a military cooperation agreement to allow joint production of
arms and import of Russian weapons.
In 1994, Turkey reported to the U.N. Register that
it had received 115 BTR-60/80 combat vehicles from the Russian
Federation. The Russian submission to the register noted that these
vehicles came "with ammunition." As noted above, Turkey has
acknowledged that Russian BTRs have been used in the southeast. BTRs
are used by Jandarma and Army troops en route to committing violations
such as village destructions, summary executions and torture.
In 1992, Russia sold Turkey an undetermined number
of Mi-8 Hip-E and Mi-17 Hip-H transport helicopters, armored vehicles,
rifles and night vision goggles. SIPRI notes that this sale consisted
of seventeen of the Mi-17 helicopters and was worth $75 million.
However, although the deal for the Mi-17s was finalized in February
1995, in September 1995 Moscow announced that it was suspending their
delivery, pending settlement of a dispute over payments. Despite the
problems with this particular agreement, Russia is now hoping to sell
its Ka-50 attack helicopter to Turkey following Turkey's announcement
that it will purchase 200 new helicopters over the next ten years.
Also according to SIPRI, ten BTR-60 personnel
carriers were delivered to Turkey in 1992 for the Jandarma, as part of
a larger deal worth $75 million. Russia is continuing to promote
further sales of armored vehicles such as the BTR-80. For example, the
BTR-80 was featured at the International Defense Industry and Civil
Aviation Fair held in Ankara in September 1995.
France has not been a major supplier of arms to
Turkey, but has been involved in cooperative agreements. For instance,
France and Germany co-produce the Cougar AS-532UL transport helicopter
(Eurocopter), twenty of which were sold to Turkey in 1994 in a deal
worth $253 million. Although France condemned Turkey for its spring
1995 incursion into Iraq, it did not reverse its plans to carry out the
sale. In a June 1995 agreement, France approved the sale of a further
thirty Cougars to Turkey for $370 million. Since transport helicopters
have been used in villages where abuses take place, there is reason to
be concerned about the Turkish helicopter build-up.
Italy became a key arms supplier to Turkey in 1975,
after the U.S. imposed an arms embargo against Turkey for its invasion
of Cyprus (which remained in force until 1978). At that time, Turkey
purchased Starfighter aircraft from Italy. More recently, the Italian
company Agusta completed a deal for forty training aircraft, most of
which were built in Turkey under a license production agreement.
According to SIPRI, Italy transferred one hundred
M-113 armored personnel carriers to Turkey in 1991 as part of the CFE
cascading process. Between 1990 and 1992, Italy also sold radars and
Aspide ship-to-air missiles for MEKO-type frigates to Turkey.
The Netherlands has had a small portion of the arms
market to Turkey. In 1988, the government decided to increase aid to
the three poorer NATO countries: Greece, Portugal, and Turkey. The
Netherlands supplied Turkey with sixty NF-5 fighter aircraft between
1989 and 1993. Dutch personnel will train Turkish forces in the use of
the NF-5 aircraft, as well as the older F-104 Starfighter aircraft sold
to Turkey in the early 1980s.
The Dutch company Eurometaal also signed a contract
with Turkey to supply M-483-AI artillery shells. M-483-AI shells are
designed to be delivered by 155mm howitzers and have a range of up to
thirty kilometres. This is a coproduction deal in which the majority of
the shells will be produced in an MKEK factory in Turkey. Other sales
or potential sales to Turkey include radars, combat information systems
for the Turkish Navy, 40,000 fuses for howitzer shells, and Leopard-l
This defense relationship ceased briefly in April
1995, when Turkey announced that it would no longer purchase military
equipment from the Netherlands, placing it on the "red" list, because
the Netherlands had permitted the self-declared Kurdish parliament in
exile to meet in The Hague. Then on June 24, 1995, Turkey lifted the
ban, supposedly "because of Dutch efforts to help Turkey combat the
PKK." The Netherlands is now bidding to supply Turkey with eight
Other NATO and non-NATO countries have had minor
defense relationships with Turkey. The United Kingdom for example, has
recently been mainly involved with supplying radios, night vision
equipment and mine sweepers.
Spain sold second-hand Phantom fighter aircraft to
Turkey in the 1980s, and more recently has signed a contract to supply
light transport airplanes. This deal will involve coproduction of
fifty-two CN-235 aircraft between the Spanish company CASA and the
Turkish company TAI.
Switzerland was a regular supplier of small arms and
ammunition to Turkey until 1991, when it imposed an arms embargo
against Turkey because of Turkish human rights violations. Despite a
series of short embargoes since 1991, Turkey has managed to obtain
Swiss technology and equipment through licensing. Furthermore, the
Italian branch of the Swiss company Oerlikon Contraves has supplied
Turkey with 25mm cannon for armored vehicles.
In 1986, the Canadian government transferred fifty
CF-104 aircraft from its bases in Germany to Turkey. According to one
source, "The CF-104s, together with F-4s and F-Ss, are frequently
called upon to attack Kurdish PKK bases." The Canadian government is
also considering the sale of CF-5 trainer/fighter aircraft to Turkey.
The Czech Republic has apparently targeted Turkey as
a potentially lucrative market. In 1993, the Turkish police force was
the largest customer of 9xl8mm CZ-75 pistols, produced by the Czech
plant Uhersky Brod.
In 1994, Turkey purchased an unspecified number of
500 lb. and 2,000 lb. bombs from Pakistan. The Turkish government
stated that the reason it had turned to Pakistan was the delays in
receiving such ordnance from the U.S.
Israel has also expressed an interest in sharing
technology with and selling arms to Turkey. Turkey and Israel are
currently discussing the sharing of air force technology such as
night-targeting systems. Earlier this year, Turkey chose Israel
Aircraft Industries (IAI) to upgrade its F-4 Phantom aircraft in a deal
worth $500 million. The deal, which will provide for the upgrading of
fifty-four F-4s, was finalized in September 1995. Israeli officials see
this deal as the beginning of "future bilateral strategic projects."
Hints of possible closer military ties came in 1994, when Turkey and
Israel agreed to exchange military attaches, the first such exchange
The Turkish Arms Industry: Joint Production
Turkey began to pursue an indigenous arms industry
after the U.S. imposed an arms embargo on Turkey for its invasion of
Cyprus in 1974. Presently, Turkey is involved in a number of
co-production operations as well as production of its own weapons
systems. The creation of Turkish Aerospace Industries in 1984
spearheaded Turkey's move toward independent arms production. Further
impetus to develop its own arms industry came with the German decision
to suspend arms sales in March 1995 (revoked in September 1995). A new
Turkish law stipulates plans "to convert its local industries for
military production to meet…the requirements of its armed forces."
Many of the arms produced in Turkey today are still
licensed or coproduced by foreign industries. The largest joint venture
has been the U.S. F-16 Peace Onyx program mentioned above. The Turkish
company TUSAS Aerospace Industries (TAI) was established to produce the
F- 1 6s for the Turkish Air Force. TAI is also involved with an Italian
aircraft company, Agusta, which is providing a license to produce
Another joint production project in which Turkey is
involved is the Euro-Stinger project, licensed by the U.S. company
Raytheon. In the 1980s, Turkey became the largest partner in a joint
venture with Germany, Greece and the Netherlands to develop a European
version of the U.S. Stinger shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missile.
The four participating countries manufacture parts and assemble the
final product in either the German plant Dornier or the Turkish plant
The U.S. company FMC entered into a joint venture
with the Turkish Nurol SS in 1989 to form the company FNSS, which has
been assembling and producing, under license, 1,698 armored combat
vehicles. The designation of these vehicles is unspecified; the Defense
Institute of Security Assistance Management notes that they will be of
"various configurations...based on an FMC design," and parts will be
supplied by various U.S. companies. However, this program has been
delayed indefinitely due to a lack of funds.
Other examples of joint production include:
• the Turkish company Aselsan collaborating with
Philips (Netherlands), Texas Instruments (USA) and Litton (USA),
producing components for the F-16 fighter and night vision equipment
for infantry vehicles; Aselsan also collaborates on the Euro-Stinger
• the Arifiye Tank upgrading plant collaborates with
Zeiss, Rheinmetall, MTU and GLS (all in Germany) on M-48 tanks.
• Baris assembles M-72 rocket launchers and
launching tubes for the Euro-Stinger missile.
• ENKA assembles the Black Hawk helicopter in a
joint venture with United Technologies in the U.S.
• Eskisehir collaborates with Rolls Royce (U.K.),
producing motors for the F-104, F-4 Phantom, and Northrop F-5 combat
• Kayseri Werkplaats is engaged in joint ventures
with Sergant Fletcher (USA), SIAI-August (Italy) and MBB (Germany) in
upgrading M-113s and producing components for the F- 16.
• MKEK produces anti-aircraft artillery, rocket
launchers, machine guns and ammunition, working with Oerlikon Contraves
(Switzerland), Heckler&Koch (Germany), General Defense Corporation
(USA), Rheinmetall (Germany), Eurometaal (Netherlands) and GIAT
Other Turkish plants also upgrade systems and
produce parts and non lethal equipment. As Turkey faces further cuts in
foreign and military aid, especially from the U.S. and Germany, it will
likely continue to develop its own arms industry with self-sufficiency
in all facets of weapons production as ultimate goal.
CRITICISMS AGAINST ANKARA AT THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
As we reported in the preceding issue, 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
antidemocratic laws and articles in the Turkish legislation.
Below our readers will find some extracts from the
criticisms of European deputies during the debates on the
Mr GJELLEROD (Denmark).- Recommendation No. 1266
from the Assembly to the Committee of Ministers clearly states four
conditions to be implemented on the Turkish issue. Unfortunately, the
committee has not been able to follow the recommendation, and now, one
year later, we are still discussing the same issues.
First, we must recognise that Turkey has fulfilled
its obligation to withdraw its troops from northern Iraq. However, the
Turkish authorities are still creating problems in the region,
preventing international humanitarian organisations from entering
northern Iraq from Turkey.
Another condition in Recommendation No. 1266 is that
the Committee of Ministers set a specific timetable for Turkey to bring
its constitution and legislation into line with the principles and
standards of the Council of Europe. That is a clear statement, but the
Committee of Ministers seems to have paid no attention to the words
stipulated by this Assembly. Consequently, the timetable is blowing in
the wind, and developments in the spheres of human rights and democracy
in Turkey are still far too slow.
On the positive side, we are happy to learn that
Prime Minister Yilmaz has expressed his willingness to solve the
language aspect of the Kurdish issue. Another positive element comes in
the form of Turkey's small legislative steps in the right direction. I
hope that such developments will continue, and that the Committee of
Ministers will in future show more support.
The human rights situation in Turkey looks somewhat
desperate. Torture is still common when people are questioned at
Turkish police stations. Even in some prisons people are subject to
In the past five years nearly 3 000 victims of
torture have been treated at the four rehabilitation centres for
torture victims in Turkey. Those centres are not appreciated by the
Turkish authorities, who demand to know the names of all who are
treated at the centres. I need not add that it is an impossible
demand people are afraid of being tortured yet again.
I therefore appeal to the Turkish authorities: if
you want the centres to close, stop torturing your citizens instead of
trying to interrupt the humanitarian work of the centres.
We all know about the four parliamentarians who are
still in prison. In October of last year, Mr Ibrahim Aksoy, a former
parliamentarian, was gaoled too. Throughout his career he has fought
for Kurdish identify and political freedom in non violent ways. He was
put in gaol simply for his opinions.
I feel confident that the Committee of Ministers has
been strongly supportive of efforts to find a peaceful solution to the
Kurdish problem. But we have not seen much willingness on the part of
Turkey - nothing has happened. On the contrary, in the past couple of
months there has been some of the worst violence in the entire unhappy
conflict in south east Turkey.
Turkish politicians and civil servants are much too
sensitive when it comes to discussing minorities. They have to learn
that they can solve most of their problems by introducing democracy and
self determination locally and regionally, without posing any threat to
the integrity of the state. Indeed, that could be the way to a
politically negotiated peaceful solution.
I appeal to our colleagues in the new Turkish
delegation to take this message back with them. I also stress that
these problems will not be solved by Kurdish and Turkish lobbyists
writing to us and phoning us all the time. Colleagues, your efforts to
solve your problems are appreciated, but progress is too slow. Please
understand that we say this to you as your close colleagues and friends
in the Council of Europe.
Mr SPERONI (Italy) said that although some progress
had been made by the Turkish Government to develop democracy and
freedom of expression, it was insufficient to allow congratulations. In
particular, despite the changes that had been made to Article 8 of the
anti-terrorism law, written or oral propaganda or advocacy challenging
the territorial integrity of the Turkish state was punishable by three
years imprisonment. This was an obvious fettering of the right of free
speech. While terrorism was indefensible, the will of the people had to
be understood and accepted.
Mrs HOLAND (Norway).- As the report states, Turkish
forces have been withdrawn from the territory of Iraq. I remind the
Assembly, however, that the Turkish authorities still exercise
considerable and unacceptable influence in the area. For quite some
time Turkey has sabotaged the Danish-Norwegian mine clearance project
in northern Iraq. Implementation of it has been delayed due to the
illegal confiscation of material owned by the United Nations by Turkey.
That is totally unacceptable.
Secondly, let us consider Turkey's attempts to set a
specific timetable for changing laws. As the rapporteur states, some
improvements have been made to the legislation and I welcome those
steps, but they are far from satisfactory according to the obligations
inherent in Council of Europe membership. Although several articles of
the anti-terrorist law have been amended, it still raises serious human
rights issues. It is necessary for the Assembly to call for the
abolition of Article 8 in that anti-terrorist law, together with the
abolition of similar provisions in other legislation.
The cultural rights of minorities and freedom of
speech must be granted. We are still waiting for the timetable as
stated in the recommendation made by the Assembly.
I have read the letter from the Turkish delegation
to the Assembly with great interest and astonishment. It is most
depressing and I hope that the chairman of the delegation does not
speak on behalf of all of it when he says of the Kurdish question
addressed in the draft, "We don't define the problem as one of ethnic
character, but that of terrorism afflicting the whole region, including
South East Turkey". One simply cannot deny the existence of a large
minority in one's country. The first condition when solving a problem
is to accept the existence of that problem. Although there are many
difficult problems to solve, the first step must be open dialogue.
There has been no progress on human rights and
attempts to get a peaceful solution to the conflict. I remind the
Assembly that the PKK declared a unilateral cease fire in December 1995
- a cease fire that the European Parliament welcomed in 1996 in the
hope that it would facilitate dialogue. It is tragic that up until now
the Turkish authorities have not been willing to seek such a peaceful
solution. The operation launched three weeks ago, which cost more than
150 lives, was shocking.
Mr LUMMER (Germany) said that there were many Turks
in Germany, many of whom regarded themselves as Kurds. Turkey might
resent interference in affairs it regarded as internal, but the truth
was that the Kurdish problem went beyond the borders of Turkey. There
must be open discussions. He noted that the Kurdish problem had been an
expensive burden for Turkey. The new prime minister had given promises,
but those who were sceptical would note that promises had been broken
in the past. Progress should not, however, be ignored. There could not
be a military solution.
Turkey was entitled to territorial integrity, but
those Kurds who desired a degree of autonomy were also entitled to
that. Not all Kurds, however, were in favour of complete autonomy. It
would be a good thing if claims for separatism were dropped. Minority
rights were much discussed in international forums and Turkey had more
progress to make. It was not up to the Assembly to spell out the
detailed measures Turkey should take, and members should not pretend
that no other country had problems in their human rights records.
The problems in Turkey had to be solved in the
country itself. They had continued for years and should not be allowed
to continue much longer. It was not good enough for the Turkish
government to refuse to talk to any people it considered to be
Mr BERGQVIST (Sweden).- Last Monday, we
received a letter from the new Turkish delegation defending the
imprisonment of the four parliamentarians. Mrs Holand also referred to
that letter. It states that the revised Article 8 of the Anti-Terrorism
Law no longer raises serious human rights issues and that, with its
recent constitutional and legislative reforms, Turkey has attained
standards that are equal to those of any other member of the Council of
Mr Demiralp asked the Council of Europe to launch a
thorough study into the legal framework of all member countries in
order to detect and overcome any shortcomings. It appears, however,
that he himself has carried out such a survey, as he jumped to the
conclusion that Turkey has attained the same standards as those in
other member countries of the Council of Europe.
I am sorry to say that I do not agree with that
letter. Turkey still has a long way to go in order to safeguard human
rights and the rule of law. We cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that
invading a neighbouring country is a flagrant violation of
international law. That is clearly stated in the United Nations charter.
Human rights in Turkey have improved due to
constitutional and legal reforms. That is good, but the reforms are
fairly small in comparison with the lack of human rights. Amnesty
International and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey continue to
report many serious violations.
It is claimed that Turkey's legislative and
constitutional standards are not inferior to those in any other member
country, so I shall give a concrete example to the contrary. The
Swedish author, Riza Erguven, wrote a novel in which he voices
controversial opinions about certain religious matters. His book was
published in Turkey and now his Turkish publisher, Ismet Arslan, has
been indicted and Riza Erguven has been accused of blasphemy. I know of
no other member country where that could have occurred. In Turkey,
those convicted for blasphemy may be imprisoned for six months. I hope
that the so-called blasphemy paragraph of the Turkish criminal code
will be abolished without further delay.
Mr BENETATOS (Greece).- As the report states, Turkey
complied with our recommendation that it should withdraw its troops
from northern Iraq. However, as any military expert could tell us, a
raiding army would have withdrawn after the successful raid, but an
invading army remains in the occupied territory, and that is the case
in Cyprus. Therefore, Turkey complied only with the military
considerations and not with our institutional recommendations.
I now turn to the limited progress that has already
been made. Let us put it to the test. This morning, we were talking
about the fact that four colleagues of ours, who are elected
representatives, are still in gaol. Is that a cause for rejoicing?
Perhaps it is because they are four and not 14, as they were a few days
ago. However, tomorrow they may be 104. Perhaps we should rejoice
because gaol is better than the grave, as many journalists and Kurdish
activists would advise us, if it were not too late for them.
We should continue urgently to examine events in
Turkey because lives are at stake. Yet our collective effort and the
work of Mr Bársony has not been lost. It has had a good effect because
it has made us realise that the real cause of human rights violations
in Turkey is the Turkish regime's perceived fear of minorities. We can
no longer identify as terrorists those who have the nationalist
aspirations of the Kurdish people. The Turkish state has shown in the
past similar fears and those fears have resulted in tragedies and a
great loss of life and property. I will not refer to history here, but
we should all give a clear message to our distinguished colleagues from
Turkey that the answer to the Armenian problem will not be acceptable
for the Kurdish problem. That message must be carried back to Turkey
and to the Turkish authorities for the benefit of its people, including
the Kurdish people.
I believe that no representative in this Assembly
wishes ill of the territorial integrity of Turkey. Examples have been
given of countries with minorities, such as Canada, and Turkey must
come to understand that oppression will only result in more violence.
We can condemn violence but we cannot stop it unless the Turkish state
changes its view of the problems. No ostrich has saved itself by
burying its head in the sand for too long.
Mr BOLINAGA (Spain) said that his experience of
Kurdistan was of being detained, interrogated and followed by the
police or the military all the time. The official reason was terrorism
and drug trafficking but the underlying reason was that there was armed
conflict in the country. He was no apologist for terrorism, but the
fact was that villages were being razed to the ground in Kurdistan and
it was not a matter of a few terrorists but of a desperate people
involved in armed conflict.
Mr RUFFY (Switzerland) said that democracies showed
their maturity by the extent to which they recognized minorities. Given
what had happened in Turkey in the previous 10 years, it was legitimate
to question the usefulness of attempts to persuade Turkey to act
differently. The Council of Europe could not demand that Turkey change
its constitution. He wondered why it was not possible for Kurds to be
It was not necessary to make concessions to Turkey
with regard to human rights because of geo-strategic concerns. Human
rights should be paramount. When a population was prevented from
speaking its own language, people were deprived not only of their
identity but also of many aspects of their culture. This was
Turkey had said that it hoped that the Council of
Europe would be a useful forum to discover how other countries changed
their constitutions. Switzerland had recently introduced a new criminal
code on xenophobia and racism. This had been in response to the influx
of immigrants, many of whom had themselves escaped violence.
Switzerland had reacted to this situation by introducing new laws, but
had not succeeded in overcoming certain impulsive reactions.
Mr KORAKAS (Greece) said that Mr Ruffy should have
been given more time to speak since he had identified the crucial
The Turkish constitution had been drawn up by a
military dictatorship. Mr Demiralp [Chief of the Turkish delegation]
had said that the constitution had been reformed as far as possible. It
was absurd when the existence of a people was not recognized. It was
not possible for a person to call himself a Kurd because he would be
labelled a separatist. Apparently, Turkey did not consider that it was
possible to have autonomy without destroying the country.
Article 8 of the anti-terrorism law was
anti-democratic. Any opposition to the regime was deemed a crime. The
PKK was used as a pretext to act against all Kurds. He reminded the
Assembly that during the Nazi occupation of Greece resistance fighters
were described as terrorists by the Germans.
Turkish prisons overflowed with Kurds and Turks who
had pleaded for their rights. Hundreds had been killed and dozens of
villages razed. Although Turkey had withdrawn from northern Iraq, Mr
Demiralp had told the Assembly that Turkey would enter the country
again if necessary.
The Kurds were still not recognised by the Turkish
Government, which had seemed to rule out a peaceful solution. The two
released parliamentarians had been deprived of their political rights
for the whole of their lives. Some 100 000 people had lost their
liberty. The Rapporteur had not even been allowed to visit Turkey and
the new delegation had attempted to delay consideration of the report.
Mr LIE (Norway).- We have noticed that various
statements have been made by the former as well as the new Turkish
Government on the issue. It is noted that promises have been made but
they are not enough. Now it is time for deeds to follow words through
the proper implementation of stated intentions. Those intentions should
include safeguarding the cultural rights of the Kurdish population,
broadcasting in their own language and educational reforms for that
I urge the new Turkish Government to lift the state
of emergency in south-east Turkey. It must immediately provide
assistance to evacuated villagers so that they can return in safety and
dignity. Humanitarian organisations must be granted access to the area.
The fulfilment of those promises will also constitute an important step
towards a peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem in Turkey.
The Kurdish conflict must be solved by political
means and not by military or paramilitary actions. Lawfully elected
Kurdish representatives such as Leyla Zana should be released from
prison immediately to be able to participate in the political process
of solving that minority conflict.
It goes without saying that we condemn all forms of
terrorist acts. Furthermore, I am convinced that self realisation by a
minority can be very well achieved within the framework of the state.
That desire would not necessarily have to find territorial expression
because it could be realised through legislation to promote and develop
the identity of that minority in various sectors, for example
education, local government, culture and so on.
In relation to northern Iraq, I take note of the
information about the withdrawal of Turkish forces from the territory
of Iraq in accordance with one of the four requirements in
Recommendation 1266. However, I should like to remind the Council that
Turkish authorities still exercise considerable and unacceptable
influence on the situation in this area. For some time, Turkey has
sabotaged a Danish/Norwegian mine clearance project in northern Iraq.
Implementation of the project has been delayed due to the illegal
confiscation of UN-owned material by Turkey. That is unacceptable.
Mr PAVLIDIS (Greece).- The report is not a product
of a visit. It does not give me any proper new information. Mr Bársony
asked Turkish government for permission to visit Turkey to collect
proper information and they did not help him.
I have in my hand a document from the Office of the
Clerk dated 29 January 1996. It states "The Bureau of the Assembly, at
its meeting on 26 January 1996 in Strasbourg, with Mrs Fischer in the
Chair…authorised the visit of the Sub-Committee on Human Rights to
visit Turkey. Dates to be confirmed". But they have not yet been
confirmed due to Ankara's tactics. That is why there is no proper
information for the Assembly.
I have more information from Amnesty
International and from a Belgian international organisation - "Lawyers
without Frontiers". I can let you see them, Mr Demiralp. We also have
the most recent report from the State Department. Of course you know
that, Mr Demiralp. You can read the text, which runs to 62 pages and
does not support the idea that everything in Turkey is fine in regard
to the respect for human rights, and not only of Kurdish people but of
Turks. I have, also in my hands, press releases, even from the Council
of Europe, and many Turks have made applications to the European Court
of Human Rights here in Strasbourg. That court will be presenting its
decision from tomorrow.
We have collated much information from various
sources, but not from Mr Bársony, who did not visit Turkey, or from our
colleagues of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, who have
repeatedly asked to visit Turkey. A week ago, in the lovely city of
Istanbul, or Constantinoplis, there was a great conference - the
Inter-Parliamentary Union ¬which was attended by 140 parliamentarians.
The Committee of Experts on Human Rights declared, officially, that the
imprisonment of Turkish members of parliament to be absolutely