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


21st Year - N°230
January-February 1997
38 rue des Eburons - 1000 Bruxelles
Tél: (32-2) 215 35 76 - Fax: (32-2) 215 58 60
 Rédacteur en chef: Dogan Özgüden - Editrice responsable: Inci Tugsavul


For maintaining Turkey as the hostage
of the militaro-islamist complicity

"Baby face" of the Turkish mafia threatens  Europe

    Never in the world diplomatic history happened such a scandalous thing. A woman who has been declared an "accomplice of the mafia" not only by the opposition parties and the press of her own country but also by a foreign tribunal and the anti-drug institutions of many western countries can continue to head the diplomacy of a 60-million country.
    What is more, this "baby face" foreign minister can be received as a credible counterpart by the foreign ministers of five biggest partners of the European Union and she can menace them claiming that she can block the NATO's whole process of overture to the East if the country that her mafia rules is not accepted to the European Union,
    This is the same method that she used one year ago when Turkey's customs union with the European Union was strongly contested by the European Parliament because of the awful situation of human rights.
    Pretending to be the only obstacle against the Islamist rise in Turkey, she used then her first blackmail on Europe: "If you do not ratify the Customs Union I lose the coming elections and the Islamists come to power!".
    The first blackmail worked very well and many members of European Parliament, forgetting awful violations of human rights, voted for the Customs Union. It is mainly thanks to this vote that she could save herself from an electoral catastrophe in Turkey.
    However, after the elections, she did not hesitate for one moment to shock her European supporters by conducting the Islamists to power in exchange of saving herself from being sent to the Supreme Court for corruptions.
    One year later, when her obscure relations with the Turkish mafia become evident so as to shake her coalition with the Islamists, Ciller seems in need a new external doping to remain in power.
    In fact, Foreign Minister and DYP leader Tansu Ciller received a mortal blow from Germany on January 22, 1997, when Judge Rolf Schwalbe in the Frankfurt State Court accused her of having personal contacts with narcotics smugglers and protecting them.
    According to DPA agency, the German judge, after having sentenced three Turkish citizens for smuggling, said that one of the defendants revealed at the court that "two families supplying heroin to Europe, the Senocaks and the Baybasins, are protected by Ciller."
    The Turkish government vehemently reacted against the judge's statement and asked for an immediate apology from Germany, However, German Foreign Minister Kinkel, calling Ciller on January 28, told her that the German government could not comment on the judge's statement because of the principle of the division of powers and declined the demand of apology.
    Ciller and the Turkish government, in following days, received further blows from the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, France and Great Britain.
    The Paris-based Geopolitical Narcotics Monitor, an institution which regularly consults both the European Union and the United Nations, has overtly accused Turkey of being involved in the illegal narcotics trade. A Monitor official said 70 percent of drugs arriving in Europe came from Turkey and added, "Can this go on if it is not being supported by someone? It is impossible to say there is no political connection."
    British Assistant Home Secretary Tom Sackville said many narcotics operations had failed because of Turkish leaks. Sackville said more than 80 percent of heroin seized in Britain originated from Turkey, and further that they could not be sure of the accuracy of information conveyed to British authorities by Turkish security agencies with regard to drug smuggling. British anxiety stemmed from "disturbing reports and claims that members of the Turkish police and even members of the government are involved in drug trafficking," he said.
    Remarking that the involvement of government officials and politicians with convicted criminals tarnished Turkey's international image, Sackville added, "There are facts which have been uncovered as a result of certain events and investigations. We know that classified information regarding narcotics operations has fallen into the hands of drug smugglers in the past. What I mean is that when we informed Turkish authorities of these operations, they leaked the information to the drug smugglers and the operations failed."
    It is reported from the United States that, after the Scandal of Susurluk, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Congress started a study on the matter in collaboration with the US narcotics office DEA, the CIA and the State Department officials.
    In Holland, a parliamentary committee working on the organized crime said in its report: "The organized crime has closer ties with official authorities of Turkey. The milieu of organized crime, State services and businessmen constitute a combined force in this country." Recently, Holland bans money operations by Turkish banks in Holland which are under the suspect of clearing narcotics revenues.
    Meanwhile Greek Public Order Minister Yorgo Romainos said the European Union had been warned several times about drug smuggling in Turkey and asked the EU should set up an investigative body with power to impose sanctions against Turkey. Between 1991 and 1996 they had seized drugs weighing 957 kilograms worth $164 billion coming from Turkey, and 360 people had been arrested, he added.
    In Canada, police reportedly found the phone number (OO-312-417 04 76) of Ciller's cabinet chief Akin Istanbullu in the notebook of a drug smuggler recently arrested and asked from Turkey further information on the matter. However, Turkish authorities kept secret for a long time the holder of this phone number.
    According to a Özgür Politika report of November 13, 1996, confirmed by the daily Sabah of January 25, 1997, German intelligence service BND found out that Özer Ciller, husband of the foreign minister, had close relations with the Turkish underworld.
    On May 26, 1995, Ö. Ciller met a famous arms and narcotics smuggler, Hüseyin Duman, a former KGB agent and nuclear material smuggler, Metin Selvi, and the boss of the Turkish dailies Hürriyet and Milliyet, Aydin Dogan, at the Hotel Brenner in Baden Baden. They reportedly talked on the traffic of osmium (used in the production of nuclear arms) and gold from Ukraine. The meeting was also attended another international smuggler, Alaattin Cakici, ex-admiral Ibrahim Karabulut and a former coordinator of Grey Wolves in Europe, Enver Altayli.
    Besides, as seen in different articles of our bulletin, Ciller has always been the main protector of Grey Wolves, police chiefs, tribal chiefs who are involved in traffic and other obscure affairs.
    It is such a person that met, in Rome on January 29, 1997,  German, British, French, Italian and Spanish foreign ministers to review Turco-European relations. According to the pro-government Turkish press, Ciller, accusing the EU of making discrimination between Turkey and the former communist countries, hammered on the table: "We are going to pose again Turkey's candidature to the European Union during the coming EU summit in Amsterdam."
    Speaking later to Turkish journalists, she revealed her blackmail: "If Turkey does not take part in the photograph of European family, we shall use our veto to the enlargement of the NATO to the East."
    However, according to Hürriyet of January 31, Turkey's dream of becoming a full member of the European Union (EU) received a big blow in Rome despite Ciller's hammering the table! Foreign Ministers of Germany, Britain, France, Spain and Italy gave Ciller the following message: "It is impossible for you to become a full member with the existing problems."
    Germany's Klaus Kinkel made remarks like, "Turkey cannot even come close to Europe without solving its Kurdish and human rights problems." By saying, "Let us formulate a special status for Turkey," these five ministers offered to make Turkey a "second class member."
    Milliyet headline of the same day said, "Two disappointments in Rome. Ciller gets a no from the EU and meets with the protests of Italian deputies over the narcotics smuggling issue."
    In fact, 13 Italian deputies sent a letter of protest to PM Romano Prodi and Foreign Minister Lamberto Dini, asking them how they could meet with a person [Ciller] accused of protecting narcotics smugglers.
    Nevertheless, the United States, just as it was the case one year ago, did not delay to intervene again in favour of the Mafia regime of Ankara. White House Spokesman Nicholas Burns said, "The United States would not favour creating any artificial or any new conditions that might prevent Turkey from playing a full role in Europe. We are in favour of full inclusion by Turkey in western institutions."
    One may easily remember that one year ago the US Ambassador in Brussels had visited all political group leaders of the European Parliament for obtaining their approval for the Customs Union, and got it!
    Now it is the turn of the European diplomacy who is preparing the June summit in Amsterdam.
    Will Europe yield once more to this blackmail and include the "Baby Face" of the Turkish Mafia into the family photo of European Union?
    If yes, will the European Parliament digest once more such an insult to the moral and democratic values of European democracies that it has to defend?


    The Susurluk accident, which exposed the cooperation of a parliamentarian, a police chief and an outlaw wanted under an Interpol red bulletin, led to further allegations that the state is involved in dirty activities, protecting and supporting outlaws.
    A number of documents have also come to light which have resulted in new claims and allegations being made nearly every day. These allegations indicate the involvement of official figures and officials in shady activities in cooperation with wanted criminals.
    High-ranking security department chief Huseyin Kocadag, who lost his life in the Susurluk accident, was travelling with Correct Way Party (DYP) parliamentary deputy Sedat Bucak, a tribal chief with some 30,000 armed men, and Abdullah Catli.
    The revelation that one of the victims of the accident was Catli, responsible for the killing of seven youths in Ankara in 1978 in addition to drug smuggling and being wanted by Interpol under a red bulletin, led to serious question marks. According to the claims, Catli was a wanted criminal, an infamous ultra-right wing militant and his name had been mentioned along with the leading figures of the Italian Gladio organization. Has the state protected other outlaws in addition to Abdullah Catli?

    The unholy alliance: authorities meet criminals

    The Turkish Daily News of December 12, 1996, reports some allegations that a meeting took place in 1993 between the highest representatives of the Turkish state, top security officials and a group of 12 people, whom, it is alleged, were outlaws.
    At the meeting was Tansu Ciller, along with President Süleyman Demirel, the then speaker of parliament, Hüsamettin Cindoruk, the then General Commander of the Gendarmerie, Aydin Ilter, the Interior Minister of the time, Nahit Mentese, and the then General Chief of Police, Mehmet Agar. The 12 people they met included some who were allegedly outlaws responsible for killing soldiers, and police officers who were brought in from the South East secretly on a private plane.
    These people have been on state TV, on the "Aci" program and have been hosted in a police guest house. They have been introduced as the most influential Kurdish tribal chiefs.
    These "most respected Kurdish Tribal Chiefs" were Ahmet Zeydan, Tahir Adiyaman, Kamil Atak, Abdurrahman Özbek, Süleyman Tatar, Abdurrahman Seylan, Hazim Abat, Osman Demir, Ramazan Cetin, Dilbaz Uncu, Iskender Ertus and Hakki Türe.
    Tansu Ciller allegedly addressed these men, who have lengthy criminal records, saying: "We are going to overcome terrorism together." Reports suggest that she then went on to guarantee that all their needs were to be supplied. The said "needs" were heavy machine guns, such as MG-3s and BCXs, RPG rocket launchers and flame throwers. The state refused the tribal chiefs' demand of howitzers and police tanks, but agreed wage increases for the village guards, the local militias who are stationed in the towns and hamlets of the South East.
    The Susurluk accident revealed that according to the Turkish Criminal Code the leading figures of the state and the government had committed a crime by hosting "the state-friendly tribal chiefs" in their offices. Article 296 of the Turkish Criminal Code states: "Anyone who knows the location of those who have been sentenced or are wanted is subject to imprisonment of between three and five years if they do not inform the authorities."
    A former minister of public works and housing and a close witness of the meeting, Serafettin Elci, states the charge clearly.
    "In spite of the clear verdict of the Criminal Code, there were people among the invited who have been accused of manslaughter and drug smuggling, who were sentenced to death and wanted by the authorities."
    He adds that Tansu Ciller and others who attended the meetings were quite aware of this situation.
    "The state has to be a lawful institution and should maintain its security by lawful means," Elci states. "It should not need to cooperate with outlaws. If the state solves its problems through unlawful activities, its very existence becomes the subject of discussion. The state puts its self-esteem in jeopardy if it resorts to unlawful channels, as revealed by the Susurluk accident, and citizens will then have serious concerns. The authorities who have illegal intentions without the information of the higher authorities should be dismissed."
    Elci also says that the state made the decision to corporate with the outlaws in 1993.
    "The decision was made in 1993; few were briefed about it before the meeting. But by 1993, the National Security Council (MGK) was informed about the invitation of these people to Ankara and the arms aid. In other words, the MGK has approved and covered up the aid to these outlaws," Elci says.
    "Among the state-friendly outlaws, Tahir Yaman was charged with the killing of soldiers and a prosecutor in 1975 and should still be wanted since he was not acquitted. Yaman is also a military service dodger. It is dangerous for the state that an outlaw threatens people with the support of the state."
    Stating that there have been many examples since 1993 of the relations that came to light with the Susurluk accident, Elci says that there were many former PKK members in the state who had confessed and have been used in illegal activities.
    Elci then points out a statement by former Minister of the Interior Mehmet Agar.
    "Agar confirmed that they had organized thousands of operations. No one was informed about them. There have been thousands of summary executions in the South East and it is impossible that those responsible for thousands of murders cannot be found. If the murderers have not been found, it means that the state protects them. The unresolved murders would come to light if the state did not protect the murderers," he says.

    Who is who: portraits of the state-friendly criminals:

    * Tahir Adiyaman (Jirki Tribe): He has 350 armed village guards and owns eight villages. He was prosecuted for the murder of seven soldiers in his village in 1975. A court order for his arrest is still in effect. His name was mentioned in connection with the murder of the prosecutor Abdurrahman Caduk in December 16, 1976, who had survived from incident in which the soldiers were killed. Tahir Adiyaman has been wanted for 18 years and has been avoiding his military service. He was a fugitive in 1993.
    While Tahir Adiyaman was shaking hands with the state, the Criminal Court Prosecutor of Isparta demanded with an official letter, No. 988/22, to the Isparta Prosecutor's Office on September 29, 1993 that they rule "(...) the court order in the absence of the arrest of the accused who has not been caught to this date to continue until the accused is caught."
    * Hakki Türe (Beyzade Tribe): The population of his village is 500 and he has 70 armed village guards. It is known that his brother and his son served long prison terms for drug smuggling.
    * Süleyman Tatar (Tatar Tribe): He has 200 armed village guards. He does not own any villages. It is known that he has been on the run for a murder he committed, but it is unknown whether he served his sentence.
    * Hazim Babat (Babat Tribe): He represents a family of 1,500 people in Senoba, and has 80 armed men. It is known that a member of his tribe, Yakup Kara, and himself killed the Hilal district mayor and four of the mayor's men in 1990, as part of a blood feud between the families.
    * Ahmet Benek (Benek Tribe): He was prosecuted by the State Security Court of Malatya in 1986 for drug smuggling and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. He had served in Malatya and Mardin prisons until his release with the 1991 change of punishment law.

    Ciller addressing the DYP Parliamentary Group on November 26, 1996, publicly defended Abdullah Catli with the following words: "I do not know whether or not he was guilty. However, those who fired a bullet or suffered a bullet for the State are commemorated with respect. They are honourable for us."
    On December 27, 1996, Ciller said that the police force has lately been subjected to a "defamation campaign."
    "No incident can prevent your epic of bravery. You will cause those traitors who try to eliminate the defense reflex of this state to bow their heads," Ciller said.
    Ciller addressed students at the Police Academy in Golbasi, Ankara. She said that a defamation campaign against the police force has at times reached unbelievable proportions and regretted that the police force must endure this.
    The deputy prime minister continued, "Those who do not feel any responsibility to respond to any problems in this country may belittle the responsibility which you have undertaken and fulfill bravely. This should not upset your morale. You have not received your assignment order from them. It has been the laws, the state and your love for the nation and the country, which have given you this assignment order. I am here to tell you as one of the top executives of this state, that our state and the nation are proud of you."
    Ciller said, "If there are those who attempt to judge your honorary struggle today, we have one thing to tell them: Stop. Watch your steps." She said she and her colleagues would not give any opportunity to Turkey's enemies, regardless of how they acted, or which guns they use, or with which enemies they have cooperated.
    Ciller said she would continue to stand behind the police force with the same determination she had had in the past.


    The daily Cumhuriyet reports on December 12, 1996, that the Istanbul State Security Court, which is looking into the "state gang" allegations triggered by Susurluk, has in its hands a statement which incriminates Özer Ucuran Ciller, the husband of DYP leader and Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller.
    According to the statement, Özer Ciller and Catli had had several telephone conversations. The court is trying to determine whether there are any telephone records corroborating that claim.
    Meanwhile, it is reported that DYP Deputy Mehmet Agar, who resigned as interior minister following the Susurluk incident, had signed not one but two documents enabling Catli, alias Mehmet Ozbay, to get a gun licence as a "police expert." Agar rejected the allegation. An official said that the guns found in DYP Deputy Sedat Bucak's Mercedes, when it crashed into a truck in Susurluk, belonged to the Special Teams Department.
    Speaking in Parliament on December 18, the main opposition ANAP leader, Mesut Yilmaz, referred to the tale of Ali Baba and the forty thieves, saying, "the head of the forty thieves is the vizier of the country," referring to Tansu Ciller.


    According to the weekly Aydinlik of December 8, 1996, French journalist Jean-Marie Stoerkel said that he had determined beyond any doubt that Abdullah Catli and Oral Celik, both implicated in the assassination attempt against the pope, had been used by the Western secret services.
    He said that Catli and Celik had been doing business with another Turk, Bekir Celenk, who in turn was working with Henry Arsan, a man who cooperated with the CIA and with a number of secret organizations, fascist groups and terrorist gangs in Italy.
    According to Stoerkel, Catli received his false identification papers from France and the money he needed from Germany. But it was Italy's notorious secret organization Gladio which took him to the United States.     Stoerkel has been investigating Abdullah Catli and other members of the so-called "right-wing mafia" in Europe since the attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II.


    The daily Radikal of December 19, 1996,  reports that Abdullah Catli, a convicted drug smuggler and a prime massacre suspect, had flown to Cyprus in the same plane with casino king Omer Lutfu Topal who was killed in Istanbul on July 28, 1996.
    According to an item in daily Yeni Düzen, a Turkish Cypriot publication, Catli and Agar arrived in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on April 26, 1996, and Catli spent most of his time at the gambling facilities in Girne (Kyrenia), displaying interest especially in the "Oscar Casino," which was faced with a management crisis. Catli left Cyprus on May 1 and Topal on May 2.
    The Turkish Interior Ministry announced earlier  that Catli's fingerprints were found on the drum of one of the guns used in the Topal murder.


    The daily Cumhuriyet reports on December 22, 1996,  that Catli spent this year's Bayram holiday in Northern Cyprus. He made reservations with the OYAK tourism company for the May 26-April 1 trip, and stayed at the Jasmine Hotel, which belonged to casino king Omer Lütfü Topal.
    It has been determined that Catli, Alias Mehmet Ozbay, had made a TL 142 million cash payment to the OYAK representative at a flat in Istanbul's Nisantasi district.     By finding out to whom the flat belongs to, officials can clarify yet another piece of the puzzle in the "police-mafia-politician triangle" exposed by Susurluk. The flat had been occupied by a Jewish man until a month ago. The place may have served as a headquarters for secret operations.


    While a variety of gangs freely operated in the country, 10 people, in the 19-25 age group and most of them students of a high school in the Aegean town of Manisa, were given on January 17, 1997, prison sentences ranging from two-and-a-half years to twelve-and-a-half years for being members of an outlawed leftist organization.
    They have remained incarcerated for nearly a year.     There is no incriminating evidence other than their "confessions" and it has been determined that the 10 had been subjected to torture in detention.
    In fact, charges have been brought against the policemen involved but tribunals have not yet condemned them.
    The lawyers representing the students, say that the entire case has been a farce.

    Turkish court frees another top right-wing terrorist

    Oral Celik, a top rightist accused of complicity in the assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II and the murder of a Turkish newspaper editor, walked out of jail as a free man on January 22 by the decision of a provincial court.
    Celik, extradited by Switzerland where he completed a sentence for drug smuggling last September, was also ordered released by another court trying him for the journalist's murder some 20 years ago.
    The balding terrorist suspect had been accused of masterminding the attempt on the life of Pope in May 1981 but the Italian court which sentenced fellow Turkish rightist Mehmet Ali Agca to life imprisonment for wounding the pontiff could not prove the charges of complicity.
    The surprise release came just months after the death of Turkey's No.1 terrorist Abdullah Catli in a car accident which exposed scandalous links between Turkish police chiefs, crime lords and rogue politicians. Celik was one of the principal accomplices of Catli.


    A parliamentary commission responsible for investigating the assets of Deputy Prime Minister and True Path Party (DYP) Chairman Tansu Ciller, decided on January 15 not to send her to the Supreme Court, with a majority of votes cast by coalition deputies. The decision was taken by the votes of eight coalition deputies against seven from opposition parties.
    Similarly, two other commissions probing corruption charges against Ciller on TOFAS and TEDAS dealings had also blocked the way for legal prosecutions against her. Both of those commissions were also dominated by the coalition deputies.
    Turkish Parliament engaged in 1996 the most vigorous "checking activity" in its history. A series of parliamentary "research" and "investigation" commissions were formed to look into the irregularity claims with which the public was preoccupied throughout the year. But in the end, the investigation commissions, whose findings might have caused certain politicians to appear before the Supreme Court, failed to reach the expected results.
    During the first part of 1996, political party leaders harshly criticised one another. The RP especially put on the agenda one after another irregularity file directed against DYP leader Tansu Ciller. The RP, at that time in the opposition, asked Parliament to form three investigation commissions to look into these files. And, with the support of the other opposition parties, it attained that goal.
    In retaliation, the DYP put on the agenda of a special commission the claims that there is any illegal financial link between the Welfare Party (RP) and Süleyman Mercümek, who is on trial for failing to send the funds collected to help Bosnia to the relevant organizations.
    At that time the DYP-ANAP coalition was in power. The ANAP supported the opposition RP motions for investigation of the claims directed at ANAP's coalition partner Ciller. This angered Ciller and brought about the collapse of the DYP-ANAP coalition which had been formed with so much difficulty.
    And then, DYP leader Ciller formed a coalition government with the RP, the party which had spearheaded the drive against her in Parliament. That effectively killed the possibility of her being sent to the Supreme Court. In the second part of the year, RP deputies joined forces with the DYP deputies to clear Ciller of their own party's accusations at the investigation commissions.
    One of these commissions was formed on Apr. 24, 1996, with the aim of looking into the alleged irregularities involving the awarding of Turkish Electricity Distribution Company (TEDAS) projects through tenders. At that time the DYP-ANAP coalition was in power. A group of RP deputies led by Sevket Kazan, RP's N°2 man and currently the Justice Minister asked Parliament to form such a commission. Kazan had argued that Tansu Ciller was responsible as the prime minister of the time for the alleged irregularities. Kazan's motion was adopted by Parliament thanks to the ANAP support. The commission was formed. The DYP was upset by the ANAP stance on that issue.
    On May 9, 1996, again at Sevket Kazan's initiative, Parliament formed another commission, this time to investigate the claims concerning the sale of the state-owned shares in TOFAS car company. Kazan maintained that Ciller had committed an irregularity by personally opening at her residence the envelopes containing the bids made by the would-be buyers. That development shook the foundations of the DYP-ANAP coalition government.
    The last blow came on Jun. 5, 1996 when Parliament formed a third investigation commission, this one to look into the claims that Ciller had not acquired her fortune lawfully. The motion to this effect was presented by Lütfü Esengün, acting chairman of the RP group in Parliament, now a state minister. The DYP was indignant over ANAP's failure to prevent these developments. The DYP-ANAP coalition government collapsed.
    On Jun. 7, 1996, the President asked RP leader Necmettin Erbakan to form a new government. Erbakan offered to form a coalition with the DYP. Ciller accepted that offer on June 28, 1996. The RP-DYP government was formed.
    With the collapse of the DYP-ANAP coalition, DYP deputies claimed that ANAP leader Mesut Yilmaz was responsible for irregularities at Emlakbank, that is, the state-owned housing credit bank. An investigation commission was formed to look into that issue. Also formed was a commission which would hold Sinasi Altiner responsible for the irregularities in the awarding of TEDAS projects as the energy minister of the period in question.
    The five investigation committees formed in the first half of the year started "acquitting" the leaders involved one by one in the second half of the year. According to the Constitution, a parliamentary investigation commission can be formed only when a prime minister or a minister is charged with having committed an offence during his or term in office. On the basis of the findings of such a commission, a prime minister or a minister can be put on trial at the Constitutional Court serving as the Supreme Court. The commission report would be debated in Parliament's General Assembly and the person in question would be sent to the Supreme Court if a minimum 276 deputies out of a total 550 voted in this direction.
    The investigation work proceeded smoothly at the TEDAS and TOFAS commissions which involved Ciller until the time came for these commissions to draft their reports. In both cases a vote was taken to determine whether to pave the way to send Ciller to the Supreme Court. Each of these commissions comprised of 15 members, eight of which were from the ruling parties, that is, the RP and the DYP. Three opposition parties, namely, the ANAP, the DSP and the CHP, shared among them the remaining seven seats.
    The RP and DYP deputies voted in Ciller's favour as a bloc. The two commissions rejected even the allegation that Ciller had been guilty of neglect of duty, let alone finding her responsible of irregularities. Thanks to the support of her coalition partner Ciller was saved from being tried at the Supreme Court in both of these cases. Meanwhile, the third commission involving Ciller, that is, the one investigating her assets, has to complete its work by January 20 and present its report. The attitude of RP deputies in the commission will determine the outcome of the vote.
    Also formed in 1996 were numerous research commissions to brief Parliament on various topics. One of these was formed with the aim of determining what a RP member, Süleyman Mercümek, dubbed the "secret cashier of the RP", had done with the billions of liras collected from the people as donations for Bosnia. Following a time consuming research, it determined that there was indeed "an organic link" between Mercümek and the RP. In this case the RP and the DYP deputies reversed the roles. This time the DYP members in the commission supported the RP members who sought an amendment of the commission report. The RP was effectively saved from being sent to court.


    Special to The Washington Post correspondent Kelly Couturier reported on November 27, 1996:
    "Yüksekova... This bleak, gritty town near the Iranian border sits deep in Turkey's southeastern guerrilla war zone, a harshly beautiful mountain region that has been battered by 12 years of armed conflict between government forces and Kurdish separatists.
     "Like many other towns in Turkey's Southeast, Yüksekova is full of former villagers who have come here after losing their homes and livelihood, if not their loved ones, to the war. More than 21,000 people have been killed in the government's campaign against the Marxist Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), a conflict that is costing Ankara billions of dollars and has come to affect every area of Turkish policy, from economics to foreign relations.
     "And just like throughout this region, there are people here who have personal nightmares, stories of killings, torture, kidnappings and other crimes against them or their families that have left them tense and untrusting. Both sides in the war have committed human rights abuses against the civilian population, rights groups say, although the state has denied allegations of security force excesses.
    "But here in Yüksekova, authorities recently uncovered a gang that includes several members of security force special counterinsurgency teams and village guard contingents who have been arrested on charges of involvement in a kidnapping-extortion case. And, in a highly unusual development, a group of lawmakers, including a prominent former cabinet minister, is demanding a government investigation to "reveal the true extent of the involvement of the security forces" in the gang, which the lawmakers say was involved in extrajudicial killings, extortion and drug trafficking.
     "Two reports by the lawmakers, citing eyewitness testimony, point to the involvement of an armed forces officer in the gang.
    "No charges have been filed against the officer named in the report, Maj. Mehmet Emin Yurdakul, who has been transferred to a foreign assignment, according to his former brigade commander. The lawmakers' report quotes Yurdakul's commander as describing him as a "very successful" soldier and denying any allegations of wrongdoing involving the major.
    "But Ercan Karakas, a former culture minister and one of the authors of the report, alleges a cover-up in the Yüksekova gang case to protect any high-ranking officers who may have been involved. "Clearly the military must be involved in some way" in the gang, Karakas said recently in his office at the National Assembly.
    "Such allegations against the security forces by members of the assembly are extremely rare, given the privilege and power of the Turkish armed forces, considered by many to be the country's most respected institution. Others who have made similar allegations, including rights groups and journalists, have been accused by state officials of spreading PKK propaganda and often have landed in jail.
    "The government largely has been supported by the Turkish public and the mainstream press in its military campaign against the PKK, which began fighting for an independent Kurdish state in 1984. The United States also has supported Turkey against PKK acts of terrorism, though it has been critical of human rights abuses committed by the government.
    "But as the war drags on, the state no longer appears as immune from domestic criticism of its anti-PKK fight as it once was.
    "Karakas, a member of the opposition Republican People's Party who said he has been approached by private citizens who want the war stopped, claims a "war lobby" is now in place in Turkey "which is firmly opposed to ending the conflict in the Southeast, because a lot of people are making a lot of money from it."
    "Many of the alleged human rights abuses by the security forces in the Southeast, including in the Yüksekova gang case, are blamed on the special counterinsurgency teams and local Kurdish village guards enlisted by the government to fill the particular needs of a guerrilla war. A large number of special team members and village guards have criminal records, according to Karakas.
    "In the botched kidnapping case that uncovered the Yüksekova gang, a phone call by the kidnappers, who had passed themselves off as members of the PKK, was traced to the headquarters of a local special team, according to the report.
    "The village guard system, in particular, has been criticised heavily by rights groups for putting villagers in a dilemma: either to join the guards and risk being killed by the PKK, who frequently target village guards and their families, or to refuse to join and risk reprisals by security forces.
    "For many villagers in the Southeast, according to reports by rights groups and others, problems begin when security forces enter their village and give the men an ultimatum: Become village guards or we will evacuate and/or destroy your village.
    "That is what happened to Abdullah Canan, a wealthy businessman from a village near Yüksekova, according to the lawmakers' report.
    "Canan had filed suit against members of the security forces who had destroyed several homes in his village after the men there refused to become village guards, according to the report and accounts given by his relatives.
    "According to the lawmakers' report, Canan was warned by Maj. Yurdakul to drop his complaint against the security forces. When Canan failed to do so, he disappeared. His mutilated body was found a month later.
     "'What bothers me most was the signs of torture on his body,' Canan's son, Vahap, said recently in Yüksekova. 'They had carved pieces off his face and ears. Bits of his fingers were burned away by electric shocks. They had slit his throat and stuck his identity card inside,' he said. 'A very professional job.'
    "The lawmakers' report accuses the Yüksekova 'gang in uniform' of Canan's death and calls for the National Assembly to investigate similar extrajudicial killings in the Southeast, of which there have been hundreds, according to rights groups."


    The Human Rights Association (IHD)'s Diyarbakir branch reported on December 26, 1996, that the inhabitants of Diyarbakir's Lice district were under intense pressure from authorities for one week.
    According to reports, the incidents followed a visit to the district on December 11 by Diyarbakir state officials, led by the Diyarbakir Provincial Gendarmerie commander, to 67 village leaders .
    Officials reportedly expressed their disappointment that they could not recruit anyone from the district for the village guards, and asked the village leaders to prepare a list of names to be recruited as village guards. The leaders refused, arguing that joining the guards is voluntary.
    During a military raid in Lice on the evening of 20 December the entire male population between the ages of 15-60, around 2,500 men, was collected at the gendarmerie station yard. Resisters were reportedly beaten with rifle butts, and even the sick were dragged from their beds. A top military officer informed the crowd that 100 of them would be assigned as village guards, and if they refused no one would leave the yard.
    The mayor of Lice also addressed the men, saying he would provide food aid during Ramadan to the families of those who become village guards.
    The elderly and civil servants were released, and the rest remained until early December 21 morning, under pressure to volunteer as a village guard. Seven more were reportedly beaten.
    On December 22, the detainees were beaten and forcibly subjected to military training. The newly-assigned village guards were released on December 24 with rifles, and seven injured men were receiving care at home.
    The village guards are the paramilitary forces in the disturbed Southeast, armed civilians pitted against the separatist Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas. The exact number of village guards in the region is unknown, but one of the controversial names involved in the Susurluk accident, DYP Urfa Deputy Sedat Bucak, reportedly controlled 15,000 such armed men in the Siverek district of Urfa alone.     Reports from Southeast over the last decade abound of the predominantly Kurdish population of the region being forced to take up arms by the security forces.
    Lice is known to be a stronghold of the pro-Kurdish People's Democracy Party (HADEP), and has been subjected to similar pressure in the past. Large parts of the town were burned down by security forces in late October 1993, and the town partially evacuated.
    The population has decreased from 1993's 10,000-plus to little over 2,500 today. The district is sensitive from the continuous pressures from authorities, and the recent incidents can only serve to raise tensions even more for the remaining inhabitants.
    The Human Rights Association (IHD) Diyarbakir and Istanbul Branches, Istanbul based Lice Culture and Solidarity Foundation, People's Democracy Party (HADEP) and Progressive Trades Unions Confederation (DISK) have officially lodged protests against the recent government action in Lice.
    Lawyer Mahmut Sakar, the chairman of Diyarbakir IHD, said on December 26 that Lice is turned into a concentration camp.
    Sakar said that the IHD tried to contact the Lice governor upon the incidents but they were replied that the governor was on leave and the Gendarmerie Commander was the acting governor of the district.
    He said the administration, which is supposed to be civilian, has been caught red-handed, which proves that the Southeast is not governed by civilian authorities but by the military.
    HADEP Istanbul Branch condemned "the horror that is forced onto the inhabitants of Lice" in a written statement. HADEP statement claimed that the state is threatening the right to life and habitat of the people of Lice. The statement continued:
    "The Refah-Yol government, which is unable to overcome the Susurluk scandal, is seeking revenge on the people of Lice now. Instead of bringing the gangs to justice they are threatening the lives of Kurdish people with violence."
    The HADEP statement argued that the village guard system is bankrupt: "It is impossible to realise peace and democracy through village guards, nationalist murderers, special teams and drug smugglers. The paramilitarization and persecution in the region should be halted immediately."
    DISK chairman Kemal Daysal also protested the forcible paramilitarization attempts in Lice, stating:
    "It has come to the light recently how the tribes in the region are using the state facilities for their personal and illegal ends, how they commit every form of crimes. It is a great fallacy to insist on the village guard system at a moment when the falsity of this system is proven."
    IHD Istanbul Branch pointed out that the civilian officials, including the mayor of Lice, are powerless before the military authorities. The branch's statement recalled that during the October 1993 disturbances in the region even the parliamentary deputies were not allowed in the district.
    Chairman of the Lice Culture and Solidarity Foundation Tahsin Ekinci said at a press conference on Wednesday that they will bring the authorities to court for the recent Lice incidents.


    Chief of Staff Gen. Ismail Hakki Karadayi once again warned that any attempt to reverse secularism and any deviation from the founding principles of Atatürk was "completely unacceptable" and would have to face the might of the Turkish armed forces.
    Speaking to Anadolu, a monthly Turkish-language magazine published in Brussels, Karadayi said the military could not tolerate any action aimed at eroding the secular and democratic character of the republic.
    Gen. Karadayi said success in the military's fight against separatist terror should not disillusion the Turkish people to believe the menace had been fully eradicated. He said terror could only be exterminated in its entirety through a combination of military and non-military measures applied simultaneously.
    "Separatist terror can be fully exterminated only if foreign countries cut their support to the terrorist organization and a combination of military, social and economic measures are applied." said the military's top man.
    Karadayi also warned Turkish nationals living abroad to keep their eyes open for the activities of separatist organizations. The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and other terrorist groups are known to finance their activities in part by extorting money from Turkish nationals working in Europe.
    In his statement, Karadayi said he believed Turkey would eventually become a full member of the European Union  otherwise the exclusion of Turkey would be detrimental for both the EU and NATO.
    "I find it very difficult to see Turkey working efficiently as a NATO member if it is not admitted as a full member of the EU," said the chief of general staff.


    The Supreme Military Council chaired by the Islamist Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan decided on December 10, 1996, to remove 69 Turkish Armed Forces personnel, including 58 Islamic fundamentalists.
    Thirty-three officers and 36 non-commissioned officers were sacked by the highest level military board. The 58 of the dismissed personnel were fired for being involved in Islamic fundamentalist activities. Seven of them were removed for discipline problems and four were fired for being involved in separatist activities, according to a military source.
    A military source told the TDN that Erbakan, as the head of the council, approved the decision to remove the fundamentalists without objection.
    In August, 50 soldiers, including 18 officers, had been dismissed from the Turkish Armed Forces by the Supreme Military Council for similar reasons. With the latest decision, the number of the personnel removed from the Turkish Armed Forces in 1996 is 119.
    RP deputies were upset by the fact that the Council decision to this effect bears the signature of RP leader and Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan.
    RP deputy Halil Ibrahim Celik said: "The RP has become a tool for an execution without trial. In a democratic society there can be no decision outside judicial inspection. Article 125 of the Constitution amounts to constitutionalization of execution without trial. If the persons expelled from the army have committed crimes, the charges against them must be brought before the courts, and they must be punished if found guilty. Expelling those who are not guilty with a Supreme Military Council decision would be execution without trial. For that reason I protest vigorously the expulsion of full and non-commissioned officers from the army on the basis of Supreme Military Council decisions."
    Celik also said that the Chief of Staff should be attached to the Defense Ministry and the National Security Board should be scrapped immediately.


    Recently three political parties have entered the political scene of Turkey: the Democrat Turkey Party (DTP), the Democratic Mass Party (DKP) and the Peace Party (BP). So the number of political parties in the country climbed to 35, but only seven of them are represented in Parliament because of anti-democratic Electoral Law. Besides, eleven political parties have been closed down by the Constitutional Court for defending the rights of the workers or the Kurdish people.
    Ever since the end of military rule in the 1980s, during which all political organizations were banned, Turkey has had an extremely fruitful experience with political parties. Since 1983, 92 political parties have been established in the country, but many left-wing or Kurdish parties closed down by the Constitutional Court on grounds that their programmes or policies do not conform to the 1982 Constitution imposed by the military.
    According to data received from the chief state prosecutor of the Court of Appeals, the Nationalist Democracy Party (MDP) led by Turgut Sunalp, a former general, was the first party established following the Sept. 12 coup in 1980 with the open support of the military. The party abolished itself three years after entering the political arena.
    The Motherland Party (ANAP), then led by Turgut Ozal, followed the MDP, and has managed to survive in the diversity of political parties. Currently, ANAP is the main opposition party.
    Only 35 of the 92 parties have succeeded in surviving. Eleven of them have been closed down by the Constitutional Court. Below are some of the parties which have preserved their political existence:
    The Welfare Party (RP), the Motherland Party (ANAP), the True Path Party (DYP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the Nation Party (MP), the Democratic Left Party (DSP), the Resurrection Party, the Workers' Party (IP), the Republican People's Party (CHP), the Rebirth Party (YDP), the Democratic Party (the second party to have this name), the Turkish Socialist Workers' Party (TSIP), the Grand Unity Party (BBP), the Socialist Ruling Party, the New Party (YP), the Main Path Party (AYP), the People's Democracy Party (HADEP), the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP), the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), the New Democracy Movement (YDH), the Grand Justice Party (BAP), the Justice Party (AP), the Turkish Justice Party (TAP), the Revolutionary Workers' Party (DIP), the Democracy and Peace Party (DBP), the Party of Labour (EP), the Grand Turkey Party (BTP), the Socialist Workers' Party (SIP), the Democratic Peace Movement (DBH), the Workers' Party (IP), the Peace Party (BP), the Democratic Mass Party (DKP), and the Democratic Turkey Party (DTP).
    There are also other parties enriching Turkish politics, such as the party called "Turkey is happy with its disabled people," and the Turkish "Sultan" Party which is led by a man whose last name is "Sultan."
    Additionally, so-called "dummy parties" contributed to the abundance of political parties during the post-1983 era. There have been 21 dummy parties since then. They were usually utilised to facilitate party shifts in Parliament. Some of them even terminated themselves on the same day as their establishment.
    Currently the RP, ANAP, the DYP, the DSP, the CHP, the BBP and the DTP have representatives in Parliament.
    Since 1983 when the parliamentary process was restored, 11 parties have been banned from politics by the Constitutional Court. These are the Grand Anatolia Party (BAP), the Socialist Party (SP), the Green Party (YP), the People's Party (HP), the Turkish United Communist Party (TBKP), the People's Labor Party (HEP), the Freedom and Democracy Party (ÖZDEP), the Socialist Turkey Party (STP), the Democracy Party (DP), the Democratic Party (DP) and the Democracy and Transformation Party (DDP).
    Meanwhile, legal procedures to close down the Democratic Peace Movement (DBH), The Party of Labour (EP) and the Resurrection Party (YDP) are still underway.


    The four-month-long effort by deputies who resigned or have been expelled from the True Path Party (DYP) during Tansu Ciller's chairmanship and the group known as "the disappointed" to form a new party came to a conclusion on January 7, 1997. The formal request for the establishment of the Democrat Turkey Party (DTP) chaired by former Parliament Speaker Hüsamettin Cindoruk was submitted to the Interior Ministry.
    In a press statement on behalf of the new party's founders, Hüsamettin Cindoruk claimed that they would soon reach the minimum number of deputies needed to form a group in Parliament which is 20.
    The DTP, whose platform includes  a consistent fight against Ciller's dirty manoeuvres, a reorganisation of the state structure, aims at establishing a bicameral legislative system and a two-round presidential election, elimination of by-elections, and decreasing the number of ministers to 22.


    A new pro-Kurdish party entered the political scene, as former Housing Minister Serafettin Elci and a group of former Parliamentarians applied to the Interior Ministry on January 3, 1997.
    The new party called the Democratic Mass Party (DKP), is expected to convey the Kurdish problem to the democratic platforms through moderate policies, unlike its more radical predecessors such as the People's Labor Party (HEP) and the Democracy Party (DEP), which had earlier been closed down, and the People's Democracy Party (HADEP), which is facing closure by the Constitutional Court.
    Elci, who is expected to follow a similar political line with that of Massoud Barzani's Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in northern Iraq said the Kurdish issue was behind all troubles.
    "DKP is a political movement that will focus on finding a settlement to the Kurdish problem as its main objective. Once Kurds were promised to benefit from all the means provided by the state. But later those pledges were forgotten and Kurds found themselves part of a policy that was (going) to change their identity and bring an end to their existence. Our basic characteristic is our consistency with democratic methods and refusal of violence," declared the DKP founders.


    Following a move by the Constitutional Court to close down the Democratic Peace Movement (DBH) on the grounds that it's program challenges the role of the Religious Affairs Department, former members have set up another party along the same lines as the DBH.
    The new Peace Party (BP) was formally established when former DBH chairman Mehmet Eti applied to the Interior Ministry on December 8, 1996. Eti resigned from the DBH two weeks ago and is one of the BP's founding members.
    Eti said the BP would follow a democratic line that respects human rights and the state based on law. He added that the new party's program will not include the article about the Directorate of the Religious Affairs.
    The DBH's founder, Ali Haydar Veziroglu, is also one of the founding members and will run for the party chairmanship, along with Eti.
    The leadership of the DBH, including Veziroglu and Eti decided not to dissolve the DBH. Instead they have now resigned and left the leadership of the DBH to others. The DBH plans to fight its case in the Constitutional Court.


    Semsi Denizer, secretary-general of the Confederation of Turkish Labor Unions (Turk-Is), said that Turkey's present political parties were ineffective at solving the country's problems and that citizens were calling for a new party to be formed, the Anatolia news agency reported on December 12, 1996.
    "The public has lost hope due to the recent political developments in the country and, faced with a political vacuum, wants Turk-Is to fill this vacuum," he said.
    Noting that they evaluated this prospect during a Dec. 3 meeting of the Turk-Is board of chairmen, Denizer said that those present were in favour of establishing a political party. Referring to last year's amendment to the Constitution which gave trade unions an opportunity to enter politics, he said that the confederation was seriously considering the idea. 


    The anger of workers over widespread state corruption, their low income levels, abuses of their social rights, spilled on to the streets of Ankara on January 5 in a mass rally organized by Turkey's largest trade union confederation.
    More than 100,000 demonstrators from all over the country jammed the main avenues of the capital, to attend the year's first mass protest or, what was called a "struggle for democracy" launched by the confederation of Turkish Trade Unions, Türk-Is.
    The huge rally aimed at protesting the government policies started early in the morning in front of the city's Hippodrome district where a mass of workers, civil servants and members of civic organizations began marching to Kizilay district.
    The rally was also supported by the leftist parties. Deputies from the Democratic Left Party (DSP) and the Republican People's Party (CHP) attended the march, as well as members from the People's Democracy Party (HADEP) and the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP) who lined up.
    Turk-Is chairman Bayram Meral along with other union leaders and DSP deputy Mümtaz Soysal led the marchers who were carrying Turkish flags, Atatürk's portraits and Turk-Is symbols.
    The security was tightened early in the morning in Ankara and the main routes to Kizilay were closed to traffic. The participants were searched by the police. Minor skirmishes between the police and the protesters reported, but no arrest took place.
    Addressing to the crowd, Meral stormed at the government, accusing it for being a troublemaker creating a nearly three-digit inflation rate and increasing commodity prices thoughtlessly.
    Meral also criticised the "just order" policy of the Islamist government, saying that the policy proved useless as many rural people continued to immigrate to large urban centres, and thousands of workers had been laid off.
    Referring to the controversial Susurluk car crash of Nov. 3, 1996, which revealed the scandalous links between the state and the mafia, Meral said the government failed to prevent corruption and bribery, as well as falling short of launching a diligent probe against allegations of gang and clan involvements within the state's affairs.
    Stressing the impossibility of providing economic stability without restoring political stability, the Meral said the Turk-Is would continue to struggle for a solution of those problems.
    The Turk-Is chairman enumerated a series of demands from the government, including the changing of the current constitution which was written after the 1980 military coup, eliminating the alleged gangs, disarming village guards, ending the terrorism problem in the Southeast, controlling the inflation and minimising the unemployment, paying back of compulsory savings, restoring independent courts, limiting parliamentary immunity to the confines of the house and allowing civil servants the right to strike and collective bargaining.
    Meral said the Turk-Is would persist its strife through legitimised and democratic ways. He warned of more comprehensive and effective mass protests if the government refrains from meeting their demands.


    A report by the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD) proposing steps to raise democratic standards in Turkey was presented to Parliament Speaker Mustafa Kalemli on January 20, 1997.
    TUSIAD Chairman Halis Komili, speaking at a press conference in Ankara after presenting the report, said that nation-wide distrust was rife under the current system.
    Summarizing the content and aims of the report, Komili said TUSIAD had completed its economic mission, and Turkey needed to establish more comprehensive democratic rights following its admission to the customs union with the European Union.
    One of the motivations for a wider scale democratization process, Komili said, was the need for communal reconciliation and a more transparent government, and the other was the need to comply with contemporary democratic norms for better integration with the world's countries.
    Komili said that recent developments, such as the controversial Susurluk accident, the Aczmendi scandal and the surrender of a Sabanci-murder suspect, were all shameful detractions from democracy, human rights, clean politics and all of humanity. This is why all sectors of society have started to feel a deep distrust toward the current system, he added.
    The present system was short on self-questioning and criticising, and therefore not able to improve itself, said Komili. The current political regime, in an effort to preserve the status quo, even preferred silence to any kind of opposition.
    The TUSIAD chairman said the reason why religious sects or illegal gangs have had so much influence was the failure of the system to improve itself. In such circumstances, a new package calling for raising democratic standards was necessary.
    Calling on every citizen and institution to strive for wider scale democratic rights, Komili then described the contents of the report, which he said was derived from examples in Western democracies.
    The package contains five separate subjects prepared by various academics. One of the chapters, titled "Democratization Perspectives in Turkey" was suggested by TUSIAD's parliamentary affairs commission, and was written by Prof. Bulent Tanör. The chapter identifies the primary legal obstacles to the democratization process.
    The report also contains a chapter which suggests a new statute on organizations, and recommends changes to the law on political parties, stipulating that political parties must function in compliance with Atatürk's principles and reforms. It also suggests reducing the minimum age required for political party members from 21 to 18.
    Other chapters in the report contain proposals on a draft law on local and regional administrations, the prosecution of civil servants, and an examination into the institution of the ombudsman.

    The Turkish press of January 20, 1997, reports that Turkey may be getting ready to withdraw the right of individual petition by its citizens to the European Commission of Human Rights, and to revoke its recognition of the legal competence of the European Court of Human Rights.
    An increase in costly convictions for alleged gross violations of human rights, mostly relating to the crisis in the Southeast, and a favourable decision on behalf of a Greek Cypriot women, appear to have pushed Ankara to this point.
    Turkish State Minister and deputy government spokesman Gürcan Dagdas said on December 5 that of the 6,000 applications that have been made to the European Commission on Human Rights 1,500 were from Turkey.
    Recent press reports from Strasbourg indicated that Ankara has signalled that it may withdraw its recognition of the competence of the European Court of Human Rights.
    Turkey's main bone of contention vis-a-vis the European Commission of Human Rights is that it has been accepting as admissible, cases brought by Turkish citizens against the government even though full legal recourse in Turkey has not been exhausted.
    Ankara officials accuse the London-based Kurdish Human Rights Project organization and the Human Rights Association (IHD) in Ankara of masterminding these cases.
    In order to reinforce this view, officials point out that in its ruling on the Akdivar case, the European Court of Human Rights referred to the fact that the clashes in the Southeast are between "state forces" and sections of the Kurdish population -- particularly members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) -- who want autonomy.
    These officials say that these remarks, which do not reflect either the legal or the political truth, clearly indicate that the Human Rights Court is "engaging in politics of its own."
    "The European Court of Human Rights, with these rulings that coincide with the piquing of efforts to prevent Turkey from taking its place in the rapidly evolving new European architecture, has lost its impartiality," the source informing the TDN indicated.
    A recent ruling by the European Court of Human Rights in favour of a Greek Cypriot is being taken in Ankara as further evidence of anti-Turkish bias.
    In the "Loizidou case" the court upheld that a Greek Cypriot woman's rights had been violated by Turkey, which was preventing her from accessing her house on the Turkish side of the divided island.


    In December 1996, the European Parliament heard for the first time the chief editors of four leading Turkish dailies, namely, Sabah, Yeni Yüzyil, Hürriyet and Milliyet on the proposed amendments to the Press Law and the overall "civil liberties" issue in Turkey.
    One of these journalists, Sabah's Cengiz Candar wrote his impressions on December 12 in following terms:
    "Here I am in Strasbourg once again. I had been here about a year ago. At that time the weather had been colder but Turkey's relations with the European Parliament and the European Union (EU) had been warmer. The EU-Turkey customs union accord was going to be ratified. A new, decisive era was opening up in Turkey-EU relations.
    "A year later we observe that these relations have cooled off instead of becoming more firmly institutionalised. The distance between Turkey and Europe has grown. This is a fact.
    "The stance of the EP members was milder than we had expected. Even the Netherlands's Piet Dankert, Germany's Claudia Roth who heads the Greens and the deputy chairman of the Socialist group Ioannis Rubatis, who had served in the past as Papandreou's spokesman, took care to formulate their questions in such a way that would not hurt the Turkish feelings.
    "They skirted the Southeast issue with only a brief reference though that was a topic capable of causing Turkey a lot of headaches. They kept speaking about Turkey's importance for Europe. They seemed to seek advice on how they could help Turkey.
    "But that does not change the fact that Turkey was on Europe's agenda in the framework of a 'civil liberties problem.' It was all too obvious that Turkey and Europe were not perfectly attuned to one another.
    "Europe is faced with a serious difficulty on the Turkey issue. The Welfare Party's (RP) attitude is a veritable puzzle for them. They know that the RP views Europe and the issue of Turkish integration into Europe, with icy coldness. They do not want to do take any steps against Turkey that would justify RP's anti-Europe or anti-EU attitude.
    "A greater handicap is the fact that Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller has lost credibility almost totally. She has inspired an incredible amount of mistrust. She can do all she can but even if she happened to be speaking "honestly" it would be very difficult from now on for her to be convincing.
    "Justice Minister Sevket Kazan and some other RP figures have made statements such as, 'Turkey does not have a Europeanization problem. Turkey has been European for 600 years.' But these 'assurances' fail to eliminate the distance between Turkey and Europe. Being European means, in our day, acting in tandem with the European agenda, acting as part of the European institutions, and conforming to the European norms on economic and political issues.
    "Our being invited to Strasbourg was a sign indicating that Europe did not want to give up on Turkey.
    "We accepted the invitation and made at the European Parliament the kind of speeches which could help institutionalise these relations.
    "But that would not suffice. To put the Turkey-Europe relations on the right track we need a 'respectable" government.' That is, a democratic and freedom-loving government which has a 21st Century-oriented strategy."


    Journalist Metin Göktepe was remembered in the first week of 1997 with a series of activities on the first anniversary of his death.
    Goktepe was detained by the police on duty at the funeral of the inmates who had died in the clashes at Üsküdar E Type Prison in Istanbul.
    The Contemporary Journalists Association (CGD), Human Rights Association (IHD), Party of Labor (EP) and Republican People's Party (CHP) and a number of non governmental organizations organized a series of memorial activities.
    At a ceremony held in front of Eyüp Sports Hall, where Göktepe was allegedly killed by the police, Göktepe's brother said: "My brother was killed in this hall by the police hitting his head 365 days ago today. The suspects still have not been prosecuted. "The family wants the name of the hall to be changed to that of Metin Göktepe.
    Evrensel reporter Metin Göktepe was detained by the police at the funeral of Orhan Özen and Riza Boybas who were killed in the clashes in Üsküdar E Type Prison on January 8, 1996.
    He was taken to Eyüp Sports Complex along with other people at the funeral who were taken by the police. Goktepe was found dead in the tea garden in front of the sports complex the following morning. Eyüp Public Prosecutor Erol Canozkan said that he was killed in the tea garden after he was released, while the police said Goktepe fell of a chair and a wall and died.
    These conflicting explanations prevented the unveiling of the incident, but witnesses said that they saw the police taking Göktepe inside, and remembered that someone who said he was a journalist had been fatally beaten up by the police. The statements of the witnesses unveiled the fog over the incident in which Goktepe was beaten to death by the police.
    The head of the Istanbul Security Department at the time, Orhan Tasanlar, has accepted that Metin Goktepe was taken by the police. According to the investigation made by the inspectors of the Internal Ministry Security Department, Metin Goktepe was beaten to death by the police.
    The report prepared by the inspectors was sent to the City Administration Council requiring prosecution of the police. The High Council Court Second Office filed a suit in Istanbul Criminal Court No.6 according to the decision of the Council of the City Administration regarding the prosecution of the police officers and their superiors who were involved in the murder of Goktepe.
    But the hearing which was to be held on July 15, 1996 was transferred to Aydin for security reasons. According to the High Council Court Second Office approval decision, security officers Seydi Battal Köse, Suayip Mutluer, Saffet Hizarci, Fedai Korkmaz, Murat Polat, Burhan Koc, Ilhan Sarioglu, Selcuk Bayraktaroglu, Metin Kusat, Tuncay Uzun and Fikret Kayacanlar will be prosecuted for "Intended murder in a unresolvable fashion" under the 452/1 and 463 articles of the Turkish Penal Code.
    According to the articles the suspects should be convicted to between five and 15 years. None of the 48 police officers, including the 11 suspects, attended the hearing on October 18 in Aydin. The hearing was attended by the colleagues of Goktepe and a number of people from various NGOs demanding the prosecution of the criminals.
    The hearing was held in a sports complex due to the large number of people attending the trial. Göktepe's mother, brothers and sisters attended the hearing. Göktepe's mother protested at the transferring of the trial to Aydin and added: "Why are the suspects walking around freely? Why haven't they been suspended? My son was killed in Istanbul. The police officers should be tried in Istanbul."
    The witnesses said that Goktepe was beaten up while detained by the police. The lawyers required the arrest of the officers. The judge refused this requirement. The court postponed the hearing to November 29, 1996, to investigate whether the officers were still on duty. But the Aydin Public Prosecutor required the transfer of the trial to Afyon claiming a danger of provocation due to the large number of people at the trial. The High Council of Court Office No.10 transferred the trial to Afyon due to the requirement of the prosecutor, where the trial of Gazi District incident is also being held. The trial was postponed one more time to February 5, 1997 after claims that the transfer of files had been delayed.


     In a 10 December 1996 press release, RSF reported that the 1996 Reporters Sans Frontières - Fondation de France Prize had been awarded to the Turkish journalist Isik Yurtcu, former editorial director of the pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem, who is currently serving a prison sentence. The presentation was to take place on Tuesday 10 December 1996, 11:30, at the Espace Electra, 6 rue Recamier 75007 Paris.
    Isik Yurtcu was arrested in December 1994 and sentenced to 14 years and 10 months' imprisonment for offenses that included "separatist propaganda" and "insulting the government." He is currently being held at Sakarya prison, 150 km from Istanbul.
     Launched in May 1992, Özgür Gündem, finally yielded to official pressures and folded in April 1994. With a circulation of 30,000, the Turkish-language daily Özgür Gündem -- regarded by Kurdish activists as their "resistance" paper and by the Turkish government as the mouthpiece of the "terrorists" of the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) -- is memorable as the pro-Kurdish newspaper of record.
    Presented on 10 December, to mark the United Nations' International Human Rights Day, the 50,000 francs (US$ 9,600) prize has been awarded since 1992 to a journalist who, through her/his professional activities, willingness to speak out or general bearing, has demonstrated a commitment to press freedom.
     Isik Yurtcu was born in January 1945 in Adana (southern Turkey) into an ethnic Turkish family. In 1969 he began his career as a reporter with the left-wing papers "Ulus" and "Yeni Halkci" in the capital. After moving to Istanbul in the seventies, he achieved his first editorial posts, still with the opposition press. The titles for which he worked during this period were "Demokrat", "Politika", "Dünya" and "Cumhuriyet". His articles were already ruffling official feathers, and Isik Yurtcu received prison sentences which were subsequently commuted to fines. After the 1971 coup, in "Yeni Halkci" he published accounts by political prisoners who had been tortured in military jails. In 1974 he supported the campaign for a general amnesty for political prisoners. After the military take-over of September 1980, he was arrested for being one of the signatories of an "appeal by intellectuals" criticising the coup. In 1982 he was held for a short time for his membership of the executive of a newspaper workers' union.
    Numerous former colleagues are unstinting in their praise of the man they refer to affectionately as "Isik Baba" (Uncle Isik). "The first time I met him," recounted Ramazan Ülek, one-time chief editor of "Ozgur Gündem", "was before the launching of the paper. He helped us to define an editorial line, bearing in mind that we had very little experience. His skills made him a natural choice for the post of managing editor. And when we asked him to take it, he accepted without hesitation." That was in June 1992. Eight months later he resigned, being a defendant in no fewer than 26 press trials.
    On 28 December 1994, just after taking retirement, Isik Yurtcu was arrested and imprisoned. He may not be freed until 2009.
     Over five days -- from Tuesday 10 December to Saturday 14 December -- RSF raised awareness about the case through the pages of the French daily "Liberation". RSF took out five full pages of the daily as a testament to the resilience of the organization and its fight for the forgotten. From day to day, an image of Isik Yurtcu's face disappeared gradually, leaving a black page on the fifth day. Everyday, RSF asked "Liberation" readers to write to Turkish President Süleyman Demirel urging the release of Isik Yurtcu. The DDB ad agency came up with the campaign, which was donated to RSF by the former director-general of "Liberation", Jean-Louis Peninou.


    The government banned on January 5, 1997, the distribution of several publications allegedly propagating the PKK.
    The daily Özgür Politika, who has been published in Germany for more than one year takes place at the top of the list.  The ban also covers books written by PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan.


    Western governments fear that 1997 could be a year of war between Greece and Turkey, according to a British daily, The Independent, on January 10, 1997.
    "A steady deterioration in relations between Greece and Turkey is worrying the Western governments, which fear that 1997 could be the year when long-simmering disputes in the eastern Mediterranean explode into the war," the article signed by Tony Barber, European editor, claimed.
    Barber said the dispute among the two neighbouring countries had intensified in the recent months with "the arms race that is gathering pace in the region" the reason that has brought the already fragile relations to the edge of the war.
    Same day, on January 10, Turkey issued a strong warning against the deployment of Russian S-300 long-range antiaircraft missiles in southern Cyprus, not ruling out a strike despite an earlier warning from the U.S. State Department about use of force or threats.
    "These offensive weapons will either not be deployed or not be deployed," Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller told a news conference, using her familiar formula to indicate resolve. "If they are deployed, the necessary thing will be done. If strikes become necessary, they will be done," Ciller vowed.
    In a simultaneous step, the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) withdrew its commitment to the U.N.-proposed package of confidence building measures -- to pave the way for an elusive settlement -- and threatened to open the Famagusta suburb of Varosha to Turkish Cypriot Settlement.
    The hardline statements came a day after U.S. State Department slammed similar warnings from Turkish Defense Minister Turhan Tayan and said "such action would be completely out of bounds for Turkey."
    Same day, a spokesman of the Turkish General Staff said: "If all the good-intended Turkish diplomatic attempts to stop the transporting of the Russian S-300 missiles to Greek Cyprus for deployment failed, Turkey would hit these missiles in Greek Cyprus."
    State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said on January 11 that the "unwise public threats of the Turkish Defense Ministry" was now adopted by Turkish foreign ministry as well.
    Moreover, when reminded that Turkish Defense Ministry likened the impasse to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, Burns suggested "Turkish general staff re-read their history."
    Concerning Turkish foreign minister Ciller's statements, Burns said: "If Foreign Minister Ciller is being quoted accurately, we believe such dramatic statements from her or any other Turkish official are uncalled for and most unwise."


    Human Rights Watch has issued on January 19, 1997, a statement strongly opposing Turkey's plans to acquire new aircraft to combat the PKK, what it called "an armed opposition group."
    Turkey's various military orders have been either cancelled in the past or put on hold due to such pressures brought on by Human Rights Watch as well as anti-Turkish ethnic lobbies and arms nonproliferation groups.
    Super Cobra helicopters, built by Bell Textron, and cluster bombs are two examples of orders cancelled as a result of such pressures on the State Department, Pentagon and the U.S. Congress. After the $140 million sale of the Super Cobras was suspended by the U.S. State Department, Turkey announced in November 1996 that it had cancelled the deal.
    Decommissioned Knox-class frigates and 150-km range ATACMS (Army Tactical Missile System) are examples of orders that have been stalled by Washington. The ATACMS order, which was submitted back in December 1995, however, has been approved in December 1996 and sailed smoothly through the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the last days of the 104th Congress.
    Human Rights Watch said "negotiations for the following military aircraft and equipment for the Turkish military and police forces are under way:
    * "Four CH-47 Chinook large-capacity military cargo helicopters," at a cost of about $135 million. Chinook helicopters are manufactured by Boeing in the United States.
    * "Fifty S-70A Black Hawk armed transport helicopters." These would be part of a $1.1 billion deal signed with Sikorsky, the U.S. manufacturer, in 1992-93 for 95 helicopters. Turkey has already received forty-five of the Black Hawks under this arrangement, with the remaining aircraft to be co-produced. The deal is currently suspended over disagreements about the terms of co-production," Human Rights Watch said.
    * "Thirty AS-532 Cougar combat, search-and-rescue and utility helicopters."
    Ankara has already received delivery of 20 of these helicopters for $253 million as part of an earlier contract. A follow-up deal is currently being negotiated with the Paris-based German-French consortium Eurocopter for co-producing 30 helicopters, worth about $400 million, according to Human Rights Watch.
    * "Fifty-Four F-4 Phantom fighter jet upgrades."
    This is an estimated $600 million modernisation contract from Israel Aircraft Industries that was signed by Turkey's prime minister, Necmettin Erbakan, on Dec. 6, 1996, despite all the previous fears for Erbakan's anti-Israeli bias. The jets would receive new radar, electronic countermeasures, weapons and navigation systems.
     * Popeye missiles: "Turkey has also announced plans to purchase 30 Popeye precision-guided stand-off missiles from the Israeli company Rafael for the jets," according to Human Rights Watch.
    * "Logistical support for the F-16 fighter jet fleet."
    Turkey is negotiating a deal with U.S. defense contractors Lockheed Martin, the aircraft engine division of General Electric, the guidance and control systems division of Litton Industries, and Westinghouse Electric for $125 million.
    The Clinton administration has notified Congress of its intention to approve Turkey's request for authorisation of the deal.
    Human Rights Watch argued that "fighter planes and military helicopters similar to the ones listed above" were used in "Turkey's counterinsurgency campaign" and "has resulted in gross violations of international humanitarian law. This has included firing indiscriminately at villages, thereby killing civilians and destroying property; transporting troops to and from villages which are forcibly depopulated and burned; and abducting, torturing and killing civilians."
    To add some balance to its accusations, HRW also noted that "the PKK is also implicated in a pattern of serious human rights abuse, such as extrajudicial killings, indiscriminate fire, kidnappings and extortion."
    HRW has urged the United States and other Western governments "to refrain from further sales to Turkey of weapons that are likely to be used in violations of human rights and humanitarian law."
    "Both the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's principles on arms transfers and section 502B of the U.S. Foreign Assistance Act call for such a restriction on the sale of weapons," HRW said.


    Despite the reactions from ecologist circles, Turkey on December 17, 1996, took first tentative steps into the nuclear age, inviting bids for at least one major power plant near the Mediterranean coastal town of Akkuyu.
    The Invitation to Bid, published in the Official Gazette called for offers for a single or multiple unit plants with outputs ranging from 1,200 to 2,800 megawatts. The tender called for credits covering full cost of the investment.
    Industry sources earlier said a 1,400 megawatt plant costs about $2.5 billion and takes six years to complete.
    Announcing the tender at a press conference, Recai Kutan said the government was planning further nuclear plants in the coming years to address the country's aggravating energy shortages.
    The tender crowns an inconclusive 30-year quest which was impeded by financial constraints and bureaucratic obstacles.
    "Our government is determined to build several more nuclear plants after the one in Akkuyu to redress the country's worsening energy shortages" Kutan said, addressing himself to critics of the nuclear program who see it as a grave environmental threat.
    Kutan said conventional power plants and energy sources would not be capable of meeting the growing needs of the public in the coming decades. "We have to build nuclear plants every two or three years to save the country from darkness" the minister said, arguing that they would be less costly then hydroelectric power plants.
    The tender is open to any kind of reactor with minimum 600 megawatt output including pressurised-water reactors (PWR), boiling-water reactors (BWR) and heavy-water reactors (PHWR).
    Although more costly to build, the heavy water reactors, using natural uranium are cheaper to run because of the less expensive fuel compared to enriched uranium used in light-water reactors.
    General Director Afif Demirkiran of the state-run Turkish Electricity Generation and Transmission Corporation (TEAS) said they would look for bids offering latest technology and companies with no record of mishaps.
    The official listed ABB-Atom of Sweden, General Electric and Westinghouse of the United States, Framatom of France, Mitsubishi of Japan, KWU-Siemens of Germany, AECL of Canada or joint ventures led by these as companies having right credentials for the job.
    Demirkiran said the tender will expire on Jun. 30, 1997 and until then TEAS will hold talks with the bidders twice.
    Turkey's first effort for nuclear energy dates back to 1965 when the government invited bids for a heavy water reactor to be set up in the Akkuyu site.
    Similar efforts followed in 1976 to construct a nuclear plant at the 8.5-square-kilometre site in Akkuyu.
    These also proved fruitless as a Swedish firm, Asea-Atom/Stal-Laval which won the official tender later cancelled its guarantee in 1980.
    Later Turkey sent letters of intention to KWU and AECL for the construction of two separate plants in Akkuyu, and to General Electric to construct nuclear plants at the Black Sea province of Sinop. In line with the Build-Operate-Transfer model, Turkey proposed these firms to operate the plants for 15 years then transfer them to the Turkish Electricity Board (TEK). AECL which accepted the proposal, signed a preliminary agreement with the TEK in 1985. This project was also suspended.
    The construction of the Akkuyu Nuclear plant was on the agenda of the ministry of energy and natural resources last year. The tender for consultancy at the plant was given to the South Korean Atomic Agency which prepared the technical specifications of the tender for the construction of the plant.


    Deputy Prime Minister Tansu Ciller on December 17, 1996, said that in future years the Middle East would become a most important region, especially with respect to water, and added that we were moving rapidly toward a world which would see water, like oil, as an invaluable natural resource, the Anatolia news agency reported.
    Ciller, speaking as honorary chairman at the first meeting of the Foundation of Strategic Research of the Future World, noted that the global agenda of the 20th century was changing fast. She added that in future years the water issue and the scarcity of resources would become important strategic problems which would pose a threat to world peace.
    Pointing out that countries, through a rapid process of establishing blocks, achieved an integration which protected them from the outer world, Ciller said, "The United States protects its free market through customs. Then it moves towards a unification which emphasises political and even defense concepts. On the other side, we witness the European Union moving towards a different unification -- other than the one within its own body -- on defense and politics. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) has been formed, while the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), in which the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) is a member, still has a long way to go." She underlined that these three blocks, which look after 45 percent of the world's population, receive 90 percent of the world's income.
    Ciller also said that the Middle East would become a risky region, carrying global importance with respect to water. "Water will become the most important variable," she said, referring to the preservation of world peace.
    Orhan Özcanli, secretary-general of the foundation, said that the organization was established in September, 1996 with the aim to enable utilization of strategic data obtained through objective and scientific methods. He added that the foundation would organize meetings every two months, and announced that former U.S. President George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, the last president of the former U.S.S.R., will attend the meeting in Istanbul on April 6, 1997.


Jan PACAL, Turkish Daily News, 29 August 1996

    Despite the definition used by political leaders of a "colourful, mosaic Turkey", the fading and disappearing of those colors cannot be hidden any more -- and the most blatant example of colors that are about to disappear altogether are the 45,000 Assyrians out of a total of 50,000 who have emigrated from Turkey in the last 20 years.
    The number of Assyrians in Turkey today is about 5,000. This population is limited to the big cities only because every single once-Assyrian village has now become a ghost town. The Assyrians have been forced to look for a future outside Turkey. The villages that were burnt, unequal education, pressures -- many problems can be listed now -- all served to push them into searching for a country in which they could live in a more democratic way.
    It will be enough to look at recent history without rose-tinted spectacles to see and judge all these developments in a more objective way.

    A Citizen

    "My Dear Minister, I wonder if Abdullah Öcalan is circumcised or not? The evidence I am bringing to your attention here implicates a singer… His name is Coskun Sabah. My dear Minister, I do not know what his real name is, but I know this person, who earns money by playing his ud to millions of Muslims, is an Assyrian. I mean he is an Armenian... And I want to quote here a part of his song called Southeast, the lyrics and music of which belong to him. This is what the Assyrian says: 'Southeast, Southeast / The way of my parents/ I cannot stand this yearning/ I missed Diyarbakir.'
    "The South East has been the home of Islam for nearly 13 centuries. Is the `missing' Sabah mentions in his song a missing of his private life? Or is the Assyrian the translator of the thousand-year `missing' of the crusaders? The State Security Court has to open an investigation into this Assyrian, and, if necessary, this song that threatens our integrity should be banned…"
    This letter, which was sent to the Interior Minister of the period, Ismet Sezgin, and was also printed in the paper, Zaman, and continues in the same vein. However, it is not a simple letter, but an instrument to reveal the threatening approach the Assyrians face, and the owner of the letter, not even able to distinguish Assyrians from Armenians, uses Assyriano as an insult.

    Right to asylum for Assyrians

    In Turkey, such events do not only stay on paper: villages are burnt and people tortured. Given the fact that this reality is not hidden, the German Federal Court, after a resolution passed last year, explained that the Assyrians would be taken under consideration as a complete group.
    The reason of this decision was that the Turkish Government do not pursue the complaints of the Assyrian minority so as not to risk the loyalty to the state of the Aghas, local chiefs, the village guards and Hizbullah in the South East.
    Another interesting point was that Germany, which believes that Kurds can live securely outside the South East, has concluded that the Assyrians are safe nowhere in the country, and has given them the right to refuge.
    In addition, it is also true that emigration is not something new for the Assyrians, as they have been doing it for the last 20 years. Researchers are generally agreed that the reason for this emigration has not been economic, but people have been forced to emigrate because of pressures in the region.
    The pressure that started in 1970 has accelerated and, since 1980, people have started to see emigration as the only solution, researcher and journalist Yakup Bilge says.
    In the 1980s Assyrian emigration accelerated greatly, especially in the South East... The conflict has become more violent with the interference of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), and this has put the Assyrians in a worse situation. Although the Assyrians have taken no side, they have been submitted to unsolved murders and pressure. All these things have taken the Assyrians away from the land that they had been devoted to for 5,000 years. In other words, they have been forced to seek their future somewhere else -- out of this land, Bilge continues.
    Bilge draws attention to the fact that the Assyrian population was about 50,000 in the South East in the 1950s, but this number has by now decreased to 2,000, with the majority in Midyat and its surrounding villages. With the majority of Assyrians in Istanbul, the total population for the whole country is about 5,000. According to Yakup Bilge, the Assyrians do not see themselves as a part of the "Turkish mosaic" any more.
    Whatever the reason is, the Assyrians are living out their new lives in exile. But even if this color is fading away, it is still protecting its existence in Turkey. The final disappearance of this color completely depends on Turkish democracy because the Assyrians have decided not to live in a place where there is no peace and democracy. And the emigration will go on unless Turkey provides these two elements, Bilge warns.
    A representative of the Orthodox churches, journalist and writer Isa Karatas, draws attention to another point: In Turkey only Armenians and Greeks have the rights of minorities, but although Assyrians are Christian, they cannot benefit from these rights.
    The Assyrians are Christian, but not a minority, and because they do not have minority rights, they cannot establish their own schools, and as a natural result cannot provide for the development and learning of their own language. The language courses opened in the churches have not been able to expand due to various reasons. Unfortunately, the government cannot stand these kinds of courses and has tried to close them.
    The most blatant example of the situation was experienced in the Deyrulzafaran monastery in Mardin. In 1979 the education of religion and language was banned, and the reason that was given was that the Assyrian children who were being educated there were joining terrorist organizations. These false claims were also in the papers.
    Religion classes at school are one of the other problems of the Assyrians -- as with other minorities. Although this problem doesn't appear to be important, it is one of the greatest reasons for emigration because these people are kept away from defending their own religious values. In the official religion classes, religions other than Islam take only three pages in the course books, and are also not given within the framework of their own values. While Assyrian parents introduce their children to the Bible as the book that shows the way to God and the priests as respected people explaining this way, the ministry's books introduce the Bible as something that has been destroyed and changed and the priests as the ones who changed it to their advantage.
    Isa Karatas sums up the results of this situation with the question Should Assyrian children try to explain that these claims are untrue, or should they study their lessons? Some have tried to be silent and accept the situation, but the emigration has been a continuation of this; and that was the purpose, anyway.
    Majority or minority?

    Karatas, who states that the problem in Turkey is not that of being an Assyrian, but of being a Christian, brings forward the problem of religion rather than the concept of national or ethnic origin.
    He also mentions the 39th article of the Lausanne peace treaty, signed between Turkey and the Allied powers in 1922 and which established the sovereignty of the Turkish republic. The treaty states that: Turkish citizens categorised as minorities will benefit from the same political and social rights as Muslims. Religious belief and difference of sect cannot inhibit a Turkish citizen from benefiting from any civil or political rights or being appointed to any official position.
    Karatas continues, Today, no member of a minority can be a policeman or an officer. Assyrians had the rights of the majority and not of the minority, but to be Christian inhibited them in benefiting from the rights of majorities. The Assyrians living within Turkey's frontiers still do not have those rights.
    Another point Isa Karatas mentions is the media and intelligentsia. He claims that there are some writers who pretend they know a lot and write as if they knew much, but says that in one of the books of the Education Ministry, entitled Fast and sacrifice in Islam and other religions, writer Tahsin Feyizli declares in the section called "Fast in the Assyrians" that "The Assyrians have been so influenced by Christians that they are like a sect of Christianity," showing that this `respected' person does not even know that the Assyrians are indeed Christian.
    The article entitles Ahdi-cedid, in the first volume of the Islamic Encyclopaedia, also contains some false claims. One of them is that the Bible used by the Assyrians does not include two sections. But a more important distortion is in Professor Mehlika Aktot Kasgarli's book entitled Turco-Semites in Mardin and surrounding populations, published by Erciyes University.
    The professor writes of the Assyrians: These Turkish Christians, who accepted our language and traditions and who do not have the status of a minority, are called Turco-Semites, in consideration of their origin. Turco-semites are not a different nation from the Turkish nation, and they even have Turkish characteristics. We should not forget that Kasgarli has also called Kurds Mountain Turks, and so follows this new innovation, the Turco-Semites.
    Burnt and evacuated villages
    Karatas' revelations of facts and reasons do not seem to end, but the concrete data underlines once again the reason for emigration. In 1992, the graveyard of the village of Midyat Bulbuk was bombed, and the reason given was that possibly it was a place for a secret PKK arms cache.
    In another case, a fire which started in the Ogunduk Village police station, which was attacked by the PKK on July 21, 1992, led to the village and its fields and vineyard being burnt, and Sükrü Yalin, who was 17, being wounded.
    On August 2, 1992 Catalcam village, located in Dargecit, was attacked. The Assyrian graveyard and houses were destroyed. On January 21, 1993, Izbirak village located in Midyat was attacked by village guards and Melke, Süleyman, Borsoma and a woman whose name is unknown were kidnapped. The villagers were forced to be village guards. The incidents are listed like this, but in the last two years approximately 20 Assyrian villages have been evacuated. Here are some villages names and the provinces where they were located: Kosrali (Silopi), Elbeyendi (Midyat), Bardakci (Midyat), Baglarbasi (Midyat), Yamanlar (Midyat), Baristepe (Midyat), Murcemekli (Midyat), Gungoren (Midyat), Dagici (Nusaybin), Ocyol (Nusaybin), Guzelsu (Nusaybin), Dibek (Nusaybin), Taskoy (Nusaybin), Girmeli (Nusaybin), Sare (Idil), Yarbasi (Idil), Izbirak Koyu (Dargecit), Alayurt Koyu (Idil), Arica (Gercüs), Yamanlar (Gercüs) and Binkalbe (Gercüs).

    Citizenship revoked

    Not only were the homes of many Assyrians destroyed but the Turkish state in a number of cases went a step further, removing the citizenship of many supposed "Turco-semites". Here is the list of Assyrians whose Turkish citizenship has been revoked by the ruling of the ministry commission numbered 95-6805:
    Melke Davut (Midyat), Yakup Gonen (Midyat-Gevriye), Bulut Samuel Bulut (Midyat-Yemisli), Yusuf Aykil, Edibe Aykil (Midyat-Baglarbasi), Bahi Akil, Semun Unal, Yusuf Surer, Celil Buyukbas, Mardin Bulbul, Fehmi Yarar (Midyat), Aho Erdinc (Nusaybin-Taskoy), Ishak Tahan (Midyat), Afem Adil, Ismuni Adil (Midyat-Yemisli), Mihayel Bayru, Idil Fikri Aksoy (Midyat), Yakup Yontan (Kiziltepe) Circis Yuksel, Savur Dereici, Aydin Aydin, Nusaybin Uckoy, Musa Demir, Yusuf Ozbakir, Isa Koc (Midyat-Yemisli), Gevriye Durmaz, Midyat Dogancay, Gorgis Savci, Dargecit Anitli, Fuat Bayindir, Idil Hanna (Aydin), Dargecit Anitli, Yakip Mete (Midyat), Sukru Tutus (Idil), Aziz Ciftci (Mardin) Doctor Edvart Tanriverdi (Midyat).

    Kidnapped Assyrians

    Since 1980, 20 Assyrian girls, including children, have been kidnapped. Hasine Selege, aged 14, was taken in 1994 from Midyat Mercimekli village; in March, 1994, Turkan Gulec was taken from Midyat Altinbas village; Marta Ilik in September, 1944 from Nusaybin Odabasi village and Lahdo Barinc from Ogunduk village, who was kidnapped on February 22, 1993 by people claiming they were village guards. She was set free in return for DM 100,000 eight months later.
    The priest of Ogunduk village, Melke Tok, was kidnapped on January 9, 1994 by people suspected of being Hizbullah supporters. After being buried alive, he succeeded in escaping. He said he had been put under pressure to change his religion to Islam.

    The arrests and the missing

    Heylan Simsek explains how her husband and son, Hamdi and Hikmet Simsek, disappeared: On January 13, 1993, my husband and son were arrested by soldiers. They gathered us in the centre of the village. They hung the cross that signifies our religious beliefs on the neck of the imam of the village, Ibrahim Akil, and said, We will kill you all because you are Christian.
    The brothers Edip and Ercan Diril Idil, who wanted to go back from Istanbul to the Kumkaya village of Silopi, got lost somewhere near Cizre. The last news from them was that the road was filled with mines and the soldiers were not allowing them to pass. No one has heard from them since.
    On June 18, 1994, Hurmuz Diril was arrested and put in prison in the Beytussebab Attorney-Generalship, where he had gone to question why the Assyrian Keldani village that had been evacuated by security forces had been burnt. The alderman of the village is still in prison, his stated crime was that he offered help and was an accomplice to terrorists.
    In the face of such pressures the Assyrians of Turkey have drifted away from the country of their birth to find a new life in lands more accepting of their faith and identity. Another piece of the mosaic has been chipped away.


    According to the daily Radikal of November 18, 1996, an editor of different porno publications in Istanbul, Cengiz Aynaz, was put in prison on November 17, 1996, because of 2017 different legal proceedings against its publications.
    Prosecutors demand a total fine of TL 7 trillion. If he cannot pay these fines, he will be kept in prison up to 11 million years


    1.11, Istanbul SSC indicts 95 people for the May Day incidents.
    4.11, trade union officials Kadri Gökdere and Taha Gül are tried by the Diyarbakir SSC for aiding the PKK.
    5.11, security forces detain trade union official Ali Ürküt in Diyarbakir and nine alleged MLKP members in Istanbul.
    6.11, the Anti-War Association of Izmir is closed down by the governor's decision. - Hundreds of students are arrested during the demonstrations in protest against YÖK in different cities.
    7.11, six alleged DHKP-C members are detained in Marmaris.
    8.11, a penal court of Ankara sentences eight students to three months in prison for a protest demonstration. - The Malatya SSC sentences a PKK member, Seyit Bulut, to life prison. - 52 HADEP members are brought before a penal court in Istanbul for a press conference they held in protest against deaths in prison.
    9.11, KESK official Emrullah Cin is taken to custody in Diyarbakir.
    11.11, IHD chairman Akin Birdal, Mazlum-Der chairman Ilhan Arslan and IHD official Cemil Aydogan are tried by the Ankara SSC on charges of aiding the PKK because they visited a PKK camp in Iraq for liberating some Turkish prisoners of war. Each faces a prison term of up to 7 years and 6 months.
    13.11, the Malatya SSC sentences four people to three years and nine months in prison for PKK activities.- The Konya SSC sentences 14 PKK members to life-prison, 44 other members to different terms of 12 years and 6 months.
    14.11, in Ankara, 48 students are indicted for unauthorised demonstrations. Each faces prison term of up to three years.
    16.11, a meeting for peace organized by the DBH is banned by the governor's decision.
    18.11, the Istanbul prosecutor sent 343 students to a penal court for having held an unauthorised meeting. - In Mersin, fifteen people are detained for PKK activities.
    19.11, the Istanbul SSC sentences nine people to prison terms of up to four years and six months for DHKP-C activities. Again in Istanbul, four people are sentenced to prison terms of up to 12 years and 6 months for PKK activities.
    20.11, the Ankara SSC sentences a PKK member to capital punishment and another one to fifteen years.
    21.11, in Istanbul, 20 HADEP members are detained by police on charges of taking part in PKK activities. - The Diyarbakir SSC sentences a PKK member to life-prison.
    22.11, in Diyarbakir, the Association for Solidarity with the Families of Prisoners (TUHAD) is closed down by the governor. - In Istanbul, nine people are detained for being members of the Communist Party/Construction (KP/IO).
    23.11, in Istanbul, seven trade union officials are placed under arrest on charges of being MLKP members.
    25.11, the trial of 683 trade union officials and employees, accused of having participated in an unauthorised sit-in, starts at a penal court of Istanbul. Each faces a prison term of up to three years.
    26.11, in Istanbul, police raid the IHD and about ten other social and cultural associations and confiscate all documents inside. - The former chairman of the Istanbul Bar Association, Turgut Kazan is indicted on charges of having insulted the Justice Minister. He faces imprisonment of up to sixteen months.
    27.11, the Istanbul SSC sentences 17 persons to prison terms of up to 12 years and 6 months for PKK activities
    28.11, the emergency law is extended again for four months from November 30 by the National Assembly following the NSC's directive. Van, Bitlis, Tunceli, Sirnak, Hakkari, Diyarbakir, Batman, Bingöl and Siirt have been under emergency law since July 1987.
    29.11, a fifteen year old secondary school student, A.S., is brought before the Izmir SSC along with ten other people on charges of taking part in an outlawed organization. The teenager claims to have been tortured at police station for accepting the accusation. - A penal court of Ankara starts the trial of 48 students for a protest demonstration. - Danish member of parliament Soeren Soendergaard is expelled from Turkey on pretext that he does not have an entrance stamp on his passport. He was in Turkey for investigating Kemal Koc case (See: Info-Türk 229)
    30.11, Swedish trade union leader Ilka Parssinen is not allowed by the Ankara governor to speak at a panel organized in Ankara on democratic mass organizations.
    2.12, the chairman of the Anti-War Association of Izmir, Osman Murat Ülke is put in a military prison in Eskisehir for having refused to wear military uniform at a training regiment at Bilecik to where he was sent after his release by the military court of General Staff on November 19. - Former DEP deputies Mehmet Emin Sever, Mahmut Uyanik, Muzaffer Demir and Abdülkadir Zilan are indicted by the Ankara SSC prosecutor for aiding the PKK and separatist propaganda. Each faces prison of up to 7.5 years.
    6.12, the Ankara SSC sentences nine students to different terms of up to 18 years for having staged an unauthorised demonstration.
    8.12, the Izmir SSC sentences five trade union officials to prison terms of up to three years for a protest action. - In Istanbul, 15 people are taken into custody for having set up a radical Islamist organization.
    10.12, IHD Vice-president lawyer Eren Keskin is prevented to leave Turkey for participating an Amnesty International meeting in Germany. - A criminal court of Istanbul starts to try HADEP chairman Murat Bozlak for having insulted the Armed Forces in one of his speeches. The Malatya SSC sentences a TIKKO member to life-prison.
    11.12, thirteen Islamists are brought before the Ankara SSC for an anti-secular demonstration on October 4.
    12.12, a 22-year old Assyrian, Soner Önder is sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to 16 years and 8 months for having taken part in an armed PKK action in Istanbul. Droits de l'homme sans frontières in Brussels accuses the tribunal of having condemned the Assyrian youth without any proof. - The Diyarbakir SSC arrests Turkish soldier Ibrahim Yaylali, recently released as a prisoner of war, for having said "Dear President Öcalan" for the PKK leader. - A penal court of Istanbul starts to try 56 trade union officials and employees for having held a press conference on deaths in prison.
    13.12, a penal court of Kayseri sentences the local chairmen of six trade unions to 18-month imprisonment each for an unauthorised demonstration. - The Malatya SSC sentences three persons to life-prison and four other people to imprisonments of up to 16 years.
    14.12, in Ankara, during a rally of public sector employees, police detain 33 people.
    16.12, the Istanbul SSC starts to try 95 people for the May Day events during which three people were shot dead by police. - In Istanbul, police detain five of a group of primary school children holding a demonstration against Mafia-State relations. - The Court of Cassation ratifies a life-prison against lawyer Süleyman Altun for PKK relations.
    17.12, a peace and friendship festival organized by the IHD in Malatya is banned by the governor's decision. - The Ankara SSC starts to try the Socialist Power Party (SIP) chairman Aydemir Güler and three other party officials for their speech at the party congress. Each faces prison of up to three years.
    18.12, police raiding a dormitory of the Dicle University in Diyarbakir detain about twenty female students. In the same city, the chairman of the Architects' Chamber, Ahmet Cengiz is taken in custody. - In Istanbul, the Association for Solidarity with the Families of Prisoners (TUAD) is closed down by police.
    20.12, five TDKP members are sentenced by the Konya SSC to prison terms of up to 12 years and six months.
    23.12, the Diyarbakir SSC sentences trade unionist Kadri Gökdere and teacher Taha Gül to 18 years and nine months for aiding the PKK.
    24.12, the Istanbul SSC starts to try former IHD chairman Ercan Kanar and former HEP chairman Felemez Basboga for an unauthorised meeting.
    25.12, the Istanbul SSC sentences 14 members of the People's Revolutionary Party of Turkey (TDHP) to prison terms of up to 18 years and 9 months.
    26.12, former RP deputy Hasan Mezarci is detained by police at his arrival to Istanbul from self-exile in Europe. He has to serve a 18-month imprisonment for insulting Atatürk. - A penal court of Zonguldak sentences the local chairmen of six trade unions to 15-month imprisonment and a fine of TL250 thousand each for unauthorised meeting.
    28.12, the Court of Cassation ratifies prison terms of up to 12 years and 6 months for six DHKP/C members. - The Malatya SSC sentences a PKK member to life-prison and one other to three years and nine months.


    1.11, Islamist magazine Selam's columnist Mehmet Pamak is sentenced in Istanbul to 20 months and a fine of TL433 thousands, and editor Sukuti Memetoglu to a fine of TL 3 millions.
    4.11, two journalists of Alinteri, Merdan Özcelik and Salim Gümüs are taken to custody in Istanbul and Yildirim Dogan of Kizil Bayrak in Zonguldak.  Same day, the last issues of Özgür Gelecek, Nüroj and Alinteri are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC.
    5.11, Partizan Sesi and Genc Direnis are confiscated  by the Istanbul SSC. - In Istanbul, thirteen people working for Kizil Bayrak  and a member of the musical group Yorum, Hakan Alak, are detained in Istanbul.
    8.11, the Istanbul SSC decides to close down the periodical Özgür Atilim for one month.
    11.11, a new daily newspaper, Emek, successor of Evrensel, is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC.
    12.11, Kurtulus correspondent Umit Cirikliel claims to have been tortured at a police station in Ankara. Another correspondent of the same magazine, Ulas Sahintürk is detained same day in Samsun. - In Izmir, the Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural Association is closed for fifteen days. - The last issue of Atilim and a pamphlet entitled Özgür Atilim are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC.
    14.11, in Maras, the representation of Nazim Hikmet's piece, Inek, is banned by the governor.
    16.11, Kurtulus is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for praising an illegal organization.
    17.11, security forces detain Özgür Atilim correspondent Mikail Vayit in Antakya, Özgür Halk correspondent Salih Dinc and Demokrasi correspondent Hayrettin Celik in Batman.
    18.11, poet Yilmaz Odabasi is indicted by an Ankara prosecutor for his book entitled Dream and Life. He faces a prison term of up to three years. - The Istanbul SSC sentences the publisher of the journal Ronahi, Ihsan Türkmen, to a fine of TL 83 million and decides to close the journal for one month. The last issues of Ronahi and Özgür Gelecek are confiscated by the SSC.  - The Diyarbakir office of Özgür Halk is raided by police and two persons detained.
    19.11, Alinteri is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC. - Demokrasi correspondent and CGD Istanbul Secretary Muteber Yildirim is put in prison to serve a ten-month imprisonment for an article concerning worker strikes.
    20.11, in Van, Demokrasi correspondent Adil Harmanci and his wife are detained by police. - The Court of Cassation ratifies a one-year prison and a fin of TL 100 million against Naime Kaya, the responsible editor of the periodical Hedef. A one-month ban on Hedef is also ratified. - The periodical Deng is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC.
    22.11, in Izmir, police raid the house of Demokrasi correspondent Derya Bektas. Same day, in Batman, Özgür Halk correspondent Cuma Akin is placed under arrest.
    23.11, the Istanbul SSC confiscates Hasan Yildiz' book Politics and Modernism at the beginning of the 20th Century. - Alinteri correspondent Filiz Soylu is kidnapped by police in Eskisehir.
    25.11, in Izmir, a concert of musical groups Ekin and Günisigi is banned by the governor.
    27.11, the first issue of a new periodical, Hevi, is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC.
    28.11, police detain three Kizil Bayrak correspondents, Erol Malkoc, Bahri Colak and Gönül Sayginer, in Ankara and Özgür Atilim correspondent Selahattin Ünsal in Kayseri.- The Istanbul SSC confiscates the periodical Perspektif.
    29.11, Newroz correspondent Yilmaz Kaplan is detained in Antep. - The periodical Partizan is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC.  The same court closes Islamist review Akinci Yolu for one month.
    30.11, RTÜK bans the broadcasting of private Kanal D for three days.
    3.12, the Istanbul SSC decides to close the daily Demokrasi for five days and the periodical Devrimci Cözüm for one month. Demokrasi publisher Veli Mükyen is sentenced to a fine of TL 291 million.
    4.12, RTÜK bans the broadcasting of private Show-TV for two days and the private Ekin Radio for an indefinite time. - Former publisher of Newroz, Hüseyin Alatas, and the president of the Foundation of Women for Freedom, Berivan Bozkurt are placed under arrest in Gaziantep on charges of being members of the Communist Party of Kurdistan (KKP).
    5.12, Demokrasi correspondent Zülfikar Ali Aydin is detained in Istanbul.
    6.12, daily Emek is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC.
    7.12, the Istanbul SSC decides to close the periodical Proleter Halkin Birligi for one month and sentences publishers to a total fine of TL140 million.
    10.12, the Ankara SSC starts to try IHD officials Naciye Erkol, Yildiz Temürtürkan, Oya Ersoy, Mustafa Tüm, Adnan Okur, Ender Büyükculha, Meryem Erdal for having published a book entitled The Human Rights Panorama in Turkey.
    11.12, musician Hakan Alak of Group Yorum claims to have been tortured for twelve days after being detained on November 5. - RTÜK bans the broadcasting of the  private Demokrat Radio for one day. - The Istanbul SSC starts to try Aczmendi leader Müslüm Gündüz as well as two journalists of Milliyet, Eren Güvener and Murat Sabuncu for a reportage. - In Usak, the representation of the play Ash Colour Mornings about an executed young revolutionary is banned by the governor.
    12.12, former directors of the defunct daily Özgür Gündem, Gurbetelli Ersöz and Ali Riza Halis are sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to 3 years and 9 months each.
    16.12, the periodicals Odak and Direnis are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC.
    17.12, the Istanbul SSC sentences former chairman of the trade union Petrol-Is, Münir Ceylan and TL600 thousand in fine for an article he wrote to  the daily Demokrasi. The court also decides to ban Demokrasi's publication for ten days.
    19.12, the periodical Hedef is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC.
    20.12, writer Hamit Baldemir is sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to 16-month imprisonment and a fine of TL133 million for his book The Kurdish Woman in Metropols. - In Aydin, Azadiya Welat correspondent Ferec Cobanoglu is detained by police.
    23.12, a penal court of Istanbul sentences writer Orhan Gökdemir and his publisher Sirri Öztürk to TL75 million each for a book entitled From Secret State Organizations to the Welfare Party/ The Other Islam.
    24.12, a book entitled The Kurdish Question and Proposals for a Democratic Solution  and the periodical Alinteri are confiscated by the Istanbul SSC.
    26.12, the Istanbul SSC sentences Demokrasi publisher Veli Mükyen to TL 2 billion 411 million and the editor Ali Zeren to 6-month imprisonment and TL 1 billion 159 million in fine in four different trials. The court also decides to ban the publication of Demokrasi as well as that of the periodical Odak for one month.
    27.12, the broadcasting of the private TV Kanal-D is banned for one day by the RTÜK. - The periodicals Aydinlik, Enternasyonalist Devrimci Maya and Proleter Halkin Birligi are confiscated.
    31.12, in Osmaniye, two journalists of the daily Özgür Cukurova, Yeter Özcan and Bayram Dana are detained by police.