21st Year - N°231
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Rédacteur en chef: Dogan Özgüden
- Editrice responsable: Inci Tugsavul
WORSHIP TO WOLF
The military's demonstration of force, under the pretext of defending
secularism, to replace the Islamist Government by a Turco-Islamist
TURCO-ISLAMISM OF THE FÜHRER
OF GREY WOLVES INHERITED BY
THE MILITARY AND THEIR ALLIES
As the military and their allies in politics were
developing a new manoeuvre on behalf of defending Secularism and saving
the country from the Islamist RP rule, they engaged Turkey this time in
another dangerous adventure characterised by the submission to the
supremacy of the semi-military National Security Council (MGK) on the
one hand, and on the other, to the adoration of Grey Wolf, the symbol
of racism and expansionism.
Firstly, at a meeting of February 28, 1997, the
MGK issued a very detailed ultimatum, similar to those which
preceded the military coups of 1971 and 1980, to the Government and
ordered RP-DYP Coalition to take a series of measures such as stopping
anti-secular practices and demonstrations.
In fact, a number of declarations recently made by
Erbakan and other RP leaders already led to annoyance in secular
sections of the population.
Seizing this occasion, the military imposed
themselves again as the only powerful guarantee to protect secular
gains of the society against the RP's practices.
For example, in response to the "Al-Quds (Jerusalem)
Day" ceremony organized by the RP Municipality in Sincan near Ankara at
which Iranian Ambassador Muhammad Reza Bagheri praised Turkey's march
toward an Islam-based state, the military ordered a drive past of over
30 tanks, armoured personnel carriers and jeeps through the main street
This unprecedented demonstration of force was
highlighted by the media as a sign of the Turkish Army's intention to
stage a new coup d'état if the RP continues to rule the country.
The MGK, in this atmosphere favourable to the
military's interference, met on February 28 and ordered the government
to take the following measures:
* Acts against Turkey's democratic, secular
system based on the supremacy of the law should not be tolerated under
* The laws under the protection of Article 174 of
the Constitution concerning the inviolability of the reforms under the
republic should be implemented in full by the government.
* State prosecutors should act immediately in
situations where these laws are seen to have been violated. Religious
institutions considered to be violating these laws should be closed.
* People whose religious garb falls contrary to the
dress code should not be encouraged by any means.
* Education policy should once again be put in line
with the law on "Uniformity in Education."
* Compulsory basic education should be raised to
* Schools for raising Islamic clergy, which in
themselves represent a social need, should be retained at required
levels, while such schools which are in excess of requirements, should
be converted to vocational schools.
* Koranic schools in the hands of fundamentalists
should be closed and those of such schools that are necessary should be
attached to the Ministry for Education.
* There is a process of fundamentalist cadres being
placed in public offices. The government should halt this process.
* Iran's efforts at trying to destabilize Turkey's
regime should be followed carefully and where necessary countered.
* Personal attacks against the integrity of the
Turkish Armed Forces are seen to have increased of late. Such attacks
should be prevented.
* Officers discharged from the armed forces for
fundamentalist activities should not be given employment by sympathetic
municipalities or in the civil service.
* Parties should be made accountable for speeches
and statements by their mayors around the country.
* Finance organizations under the control of
religious sects should be followed closely and prevented from becoming
* Audio and visual media organs following an
anti-secular line should be followed closely and where necessary
brought in line with the stipulations of the Constitution.
* Financial transfers to municipalities from
organizations like the pro-Islamic Milli Görüs (National View) which is
based in Europe should be prevented.
It is under the increasing pressure of the Army that
the government discussed on March 13 the steps sought by the MGK
against fundamentalist movements, and decided to "formulate measures in
line with the MGK decisions."
The MGK is a military-dominated council composed of
five high commanders of the Army, prime minister and the ministers of
defense, interior and foreign affairs.
The controversial meeting of the MGK was followed by
the declarations of the military commanders threatening the government
and claiming themselves the real protectors of the Republic and the
secular principles of the State. Even during their visits abroad, Chief
of Staff Ismail Hakki Karadayi, in Israel, and Deputy-Chief of Staff
Cevik Bir, in the USA, gave declarations as if they were the real
masters of the country.
Erbakan is faced with not only the military's "coup
threat" but also his coalition partner's threat to withdraw from the
government. He counters both of these by threatening to stage an early
election. The tension has caused a rift inside the party. RP Deputy
Chairman Aydin Menderes and his six friends, for example, are saying
that the RP should abandon its "tension policy", adopt a policy of
compromise, and be the government of not only the Islamist segment of
the society but the government of everybody.
As for the DYP wing of the government led by
Ciller, some members of government in the fear of a military
coup, launched a campaign for immediately withdrawing from the
It is a fact that, the RP wing of the government has
intensified their Fundamentalist declarations and practices to give the
image of leading the country to an Islamist regime.
However, it is another fact that the rise of
Islamist is not the question of the last few months. This is a process
that started with the foundation of religious schools at the period of
Inönü, successor of Atatürk, in 1950.
During the period of Democrat Party (DP) in 50s,
first the call to prayer in Turkey was replaced by the one in Arab and
it was followed by the opening of Koranic courses, the encouragement of
Islamic brotherhoods and the opening the country to the influence of
the Saudi Fundamentalism.
Even the three military coups, in 1960, 1971 and
1980, changed nothing and the Islamist movement was strongly rooted in
every corner of the country.
Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan set up his first
Islamist party, the Order Party (NP), in 1970. After the ban of this
party by the Constitutional Court, he set up his second Islamist party,
the National Salvation Party (MSP) in 1973. Moreover, he was admitted
to take part in coalition governments, first by Bülent Ecevit in 1973
and later by Demirel in the following years.
Although Erbakan's MSP was closed down along with
all other political parties in 1980 by the military junta, it is the
same junta that, in a move to counter the left-wing movement, made
Islamic courses obligatory even in the secondary schools by inserting a
special article to the Constitution.
Again it is the same junta that encouraged the
construction of new mosques and authorized the Saudi Arabia to finance
the salaries of religious teachers for the children of Turkish
immigrant workers in Europe.
During the repressive operations against the Kurdish
opponents, it is the aircrafts of the Army that dropped tracts in
Kurdish areas calling on Moslems to support the Armed Forces, qualified
Army of Jihad (Holy War), against the "Atheist" Kurdish guerrillas.
The complicity of all Turkish politicians, including
Özal, Demirel, Ciller and Yilmaz, with Islamist brotherhoods is so
evident that during the last legislative elections all these leaders
had secret bargainings with fundamentalist leaders and asked their
support in exchange of giving more concessions if they come to power.
For example, Tansu Ciller, as claiming herself as
the only guarantee to prevent a RP power in Turkey during her lobby
activities prior to the Customs Union ratification by European
Parliament, did not hesitate at all to hold confidential talks with
religious godfather Fethullah Gülen. It is not astonishing since the
number of the new constructed mosques and new opened Koran courses
reached their record level during her two-year government.
It is always herself that, forgetting her promises
to European Union, repeated very often the slogans "Our eyes at the
Turkish flag, our ears at the Ezan (Islamic prayer)!" and "We'll take
our mosques to Europe!". Again it is Ciller who formed a coalition
government with the RP in exchange to save herself from supreme court
in her corruption affairs.
In Parliament, not only the RP group but also the
groups of DYP and ANAP are full of deputies belonging to different
religious brotherhoods. They, when necessary, constitute a powerful
block in Parliament without distinction of party and obstruct any law
they consider harmful to Islamist movement.
However, despite the existence of this multi-party
block, the life of the DYP-RP government does not seem long under the
increasing pressure of the military and their allies in politics.
Considering the concessions that were given to
Islamists by the military and its allies in politics, the recent
Secularist demonstration of force does not have any sense. Besides,
Erbakan's first acts as prime minister was to increase the military's
salaries and to approve all of the Army's costly armament projects.
The real reason of the Army's anger is the fact that
many RP officials and militants started in last months to challenge the
military's omnipresence in politics and to claim civilian supremacy, of
course in the name of Islamism.
The Army is in the fear that such an overture might
lead to the recognition of other civilian forces such as left-wing and
Kurdish ones. So, in the eyes of the military and their allies in
politics, this trend should immediately be stopped by cornering the RP
in a deadlock: Erbakan either should accept under the military's
pressure some secularist measures such as closing down the lower
sections of religious schools at the expense of losing his chance in
coming elections or should give up to govern the country.
If Erbakan chooses the second alternative, as long
as the military remains the master of Turkish politics, the RP's
successor will never be a government respecting European standards of
democracy, but a government strictly attached to a Turco-Islamist
policy developed first by the neo-fascist MHP and entirely adopted
after the 1980 Coup by the military.
The death of the historical Basbug (Führer) of the
Turkish fascist movement, Ex-colonel Alparslan Türkes, on April 6, gave
the military and their allies in politics a golden occasion to dictate
this Turco-Islamist orientation to all anti-RP sections of the
Türkes, champion of ultra-nationalism, arch-enemy of
all left-wing and democratic forces, founder of fascist Grey Wolves
organization, father of the idea of uniting all Turkish-speaking people
of the world, from Adriatic to the Chinese Wall, under the banner of
the Turan Empire, was proclaimed the most trustworthy leader of our era
and his image was imposed to the population by the authorities and the
media as the unique example to be followed by every Turk.
The Führer was put to rest amid ardent public
demonstrations on April 8, 1997, with an attendance of one million
people coming from all corners of Turkey. The funeral was a show of
force for Turkish ultra-nationalism.
The media have been searching through their
archives. Every day, they have been rediscovering new attributes to
exalt Türkes. Discussions and interviews on the "Türkes Mission" have
been piling on top of each other almost to the level of brainwashing.
His slogans such as "The 21st Century will be the
Turkish Century" were abundantly quoted by the press.
Nobody, excepted for a few left-wing columnists,
reminded the fact that Türkes was the responsible of the assassination
of more than 5 thousand people in political violence before 1980 and of
preparing the pretext of a military coup to follow its Turco-Islamic
policies. Nobody did not remember that he was the arch-enemy of a
peaceful solution to the dirty war in Turkish Kurdistan and the main
adversary of any reform for democratization in the country.
The fact that Grey Wolves constituted the backbone
of the criminal special forces in Turkish Kurdistan was not remembered
Even the most recent revelations about the
implication of Türkes' Grey Wolves in the dirty Mafia relations were
All the political leaders, including social democrat
Deniz Baykal (CHP) and Bülent Ecevit (DSP) were present at the funeral
and other ceremonies to praise him. Ecevit was the first political
leader who paid a visit to the MHP headquarters after Türkes' death was
Proper tears, crocodile tears and Ciller tears have
been interwoven with each other. The name of Alparslan Türkes has been
memorialised with attributes, new ones discovered in their hundreds
every day as well as the familiar ones such as "The Legendary Leader,"
"The Last Basbug," "Undoubtedly the Leader of Turkish Nationalism," "An
Expert in the Politics of Balance," "The Leader of Social Peace, Unity,
Integrity and Consensus," "A man with a Cause," and so on.
After the fall of Islamist RP, it will be the turn
of a Turco-Islamist government backed by the military whatsoever be its
composition. What is more, in order to counter the further
popularisation of the RP in opposition as a martyrised party, this new
military-backed government will not stay behind the outgoing government
in giving concessions to Islamists.
The proof is that during the funeral crowds carrying
three-crescent flags of MHP shouted "Allah is the Greatest!" along with
"Turkey, the Greatest!" and "The 21st Century, the Turkish Century!"
Respect to the European standards of democracy is no
more the concern of the military's allies in politics. They are
volunteers of reinforcing a Turco-Islamist and expansionist Turkey by
oppressing the Kurds and other national or religious minorities and by
doing all the possible to make Turkey "the Greatest" and to turn the
21st Century to "the Turkish Century."
It is the era of "Worship to Wolf" that has been
opened in Turkey.
GREY WOLVES WERE PAID $10,000 FOR ATTACKS ON ASALA
Oral Celik, one of Mehmet Ali Agca's accomplices in
the attempt against the Pope, told the parliamentary commission
investigating the Susurluk affair on January 29 that he and Abdullah
Catli had carried out their actions in the name of the state.
Notorious grey wolf told the commission, which was
looking into the mysterious traffic accident which took place in
Susurluk on November 3 and the "state gang" claims triggered by it,
that he and Catli had carried out attacks against the Armenian
terrorist organization ASALA and that they had received only $10,000
from the state to meet their expenses. He noted that the state had not
fulfilled other promises it had made to them.
Extradited to Turkey after serving prison sentences
abroad for narcotics smuggling, Celik, one of the people implicated in
the assassination attempt made on Pope John Paul II, has been cleared
of all the charges he faced in Turkey by all three of the relevant
courts and is now a free man.
In his more than two-hour testimony, Celik said he
and Catli had agreed with the state on the need to silence ASALA. He
said that the intelligence organization had covered their expenses and
that they had presented a list to the intelligence organization
containing a demand for the release of their jailed friends. They had
been promised that their demands would be met. Celik said he and Catli
had carried out operations in many places including France, Greece and
Canada against ASALA and that they had fulfilled their promises. He
asked the commission whether ASALA existed any longer.
Celik said that he and Catli had acted in the name
of the state after the Sept. 12, 1980 coup. He claimed that he had been
falsely accused of several crimes, including the killing of journalist
Abdi Ipekci. He said he had served long years in prison and that those
who had made agreements with them had not fulfilled their promises. He
repeated his previous defense that he had not been involved in the plot
against Pope. He was protected by four people whom he introduced as
relatives when he entered and left Parliament.
ANKARA OUTLINES $31 BILLION DEFENSE PLAN FOR NEXT DECADE
The Turkish Defense Ministry on April 11, 1997,
revealed a $31 billion defense modernization and procurement program
for the next decade, in an attempt to strengthen its armed forces.
A Ten-year Acquisition Program (OYTEP)
foresees the acquisition of thousands of armored combat and wheeled
tactical vehicles, more than 100 attack helicopters, tank-project,
air-refuelling and early-warning aircraft, warships, missile systems,
communication and satellite systems and modernization programs for
Defense Minister Turan Tayan noted it was the first
time that such a detailed and complicated defense program had been
announced, pointing out that they would present this program to the
private sector and to entrepreneurs in an effort to draw their
attention to the defense sector.
Tayan said that, during the 1980s in particular,
Turkey had accelerated efforts for its defense industry, making radical
changes such as the establishment of the Undersecretariat for the
Defense Industry (SSM). During a briefing last year, the General Staff
announced that $150 billion would be needed to fund arms procurement
and operations of the Turkish Armed Forces for the next 25 years.
During that period, the army would require $60 billion, the navy $25
billion, and the air force $65 billion in arms and equipment.
General staff officials earlier had pointed out that
while existing defense industry organizations in Turkey belonged to the
public sector, there existed many private companies with the capacity
to undertake projects in the defense field. They enumerated measures to
lure these firms to the military sector.
Turkey has the second largest force in NATO,
trailing only the United States in number of troops.
The defense industry is currently dominated by three
state bodies: the High Coordination Council of the Defense Industry,
directed by the prime minister, is composed of 14 members including the
chief of the general staff. The Defense Industry Executive Board,
comprising the defense minister and the chief of general staff, is also
administered by the prime minister. The SSM is the last of these
PARLIAMENTARY COMMISSION YIELDED TO PRESSURES
The parliamentary investigative commission looking
into "state gangs" or the so-called "mafia-police-politician triangle"
exposed by a traffic accident which occurred in Susurluk on Nov. 3,
1996, yielding to the pressure of the RP-DYP Coalition Government,
concealed the responsibility of Ciller and her accomplices in this
Delivered to the parliament speaker's office on
April 3, the report confirms the existence of gangs backed by state
security officials and many politicians, but at the same time rejects
allegations that many crime organizations were founded by the state
At the three-month probe's end, the Susurluk
Commission has given no coverage to any concrete issue related to gang
links. If not for the State Security Court's (DGM) report charging
former Interior Minister Mehmet Agar and DYP Urfa Deputy Sedat Bucak
with establishing gangs, the report of the parliamentary investigative
commission would be a complete fiasco.
The Susurluk Commission has attached the DGM report
to its own document. Curiously, the report regarding the lifting of
parliamentary immunity remains at the Prime Ministry, blocking official
action from being taken. Since the DGM document sent to the Susurluk
Commission was passed on for information purposes only, the
parliamentary speaker's office cannot take official action.
The names of mafia-linked politicians have not been
mentioned in the report because of the harsh stance of DYP and RP
During the Susurluk probe, the commission was
particularly careful not to mention the names of Deputy Prime Minister
Tansu Ciller and her husband Özer Ciller. A number of state officials,
including National Intelligence Organization (MIT) personnel, who
provided information to the commission had persistently given Özer
Ciller's name. Other statements that intelligence reports had been
given to Özer Ciller instead of the prime minister were not mentioned
in the conclusion of the report.
It was significant that the report mentioned that
the Office of Chief of General Staff had given a "tough response"
instead of providing information openly to the commission. The report
also said the MIT had not given information that was requested.
Chairman of the Susurluk Commission Mehmet Elkatmis
of the Welfare Party (RP) held a press conference to disclose the
commission report, saying that the "prime minister of the time" had
been responsible for the gang relationships extending from Agar to
Saying, "There should be no state secret hidden from
Parliament," Elkatmis complained that the commission was denied access
to a significant amount of information on the grounds that these were
"state secrets" or "commercial secrets."
Elkatmis said that six of the nine commission
members opposed the assessments made in the conclusion portion of the
report, that opposition members were expressing reservations while two
DYP members approved on the whole of the report.
Elkatmis noted that the crimes committed by the gang
had taken place in 1995, therefore Tansu Ciller had a political
responsibility as the prime minister of the time. He said that Agar, on
the other hand, had shifted responsibility to the National Security
Council (MGK) as well by telling the commission, "I did everything in
the framework of the MGK decisions."
The commission chairman said that in the report they
referred to the "political responsibility" issue by saying, "Persons
who been the subject of an MIT report have been given the highest
posts," and that these specific individuals and the particular posts
should be investigated. "The RP did not owe anything to anyone," he
said, "and the commission had decided against hearing Deputy Prime
Minister Tansu Ciller and her husband Özer Ciller due to being pressed
for time." He said they had done their duty and that he had a clear
Summarising more than 100,000 documents and
interviews with 57 people involved in the case, the most critical part
of the commission report is its section on results and proposals.
Critiques have also been concentrated on the same part due to
expectations that the commission finally should suggest to the
Parliament to start a process on restructuring the state, which is
allegedly involved in the illegal activities. The Parliament also
should purify itself of the existence of those who used their
parliamentary identity to cooperate with and secure the gang members.
But the report shows that eventually neither the
political extensions of gangs -- 13 have been officially revealed
throughout the process since the Susurluk accident -- nor the "black
connections" between the underground world and the state establishments
will completely be able to be determined and clarified. The commission
referred, in its report, to only 12 names connected to former Interior
Minister Mehmet Agar.
According to the report it has been determined that
some of the weapons and bullets found in the car which crashed in
Susurluk -- of a serious quality and quantity and of the kind that
could be used for assassinations and discreet murder -- were registered
as General Directorate of Security issue.
The general directorate failed to give a
satisfactory explanation when the commission asked how and why these
weapons and bullets found their way into the car. The commission
believes that the persons travelling in the Mercedes had received the
weapons and the documents -- which said that the bearers were
authorized to carry weapons and that the police force should try to
facilitate their work -- thanks to instructions from Mehmet Agar, who
was director general of security at the time and by Ibrahim Sahin, then
the acting head of the Special Operations Department.
It is understood that the gun permits and the green
(privileged) passports in the name of Yasar Oz and Mehmet Ozbay (whose
real name was Abdullah Catli) were also issued in line with
instructions given by Agar during his post as director general of
security. These documents enabled many fugitives who were known to have
taken part in numerous illegal acts to carry weapons and to leave and
return to the country easily. In other words, these persons were
granted many privileges with these documents.
When Special Team members implicated in the
assassination of casino king Omer Lütfü Topal -- namely, A. Carkin, E.
Ersoy and O. Yorulmaz -- were detained as suspects, Correct Way Party
(DYP) Sanliurfa Deputy Sedat Bucak attempted to have these persons
released and tried to prevent the expansion of the inquiry. In line
with instructions from Agar (currently a DYP deputy), Sahin, the acting
head of the Special Operations Department who is responsible for the
Special Team, went from Ankara to Istanbul, and the three were swiftly
transferred from the Istanbul Security Directorate to the Ankara
Security Directorate where they were interrogated and released
illegally after only a superficial investigation.
The section of the parliamentary commission's report
which provides a general assessment of the Susurluk issue mentions
"uncontrollable" forces and reads, "It seems a strong possibility that
these uncontrollable forces are connected to some officials at certain
state offices." The report continues that some affairs carried out in
the name of the state are hidden under the concept of "confidential
The strongest statement with regard to gangs reads,
"Interest-based illegal organizations have connections with the state
and there have been efforts to establish illegal organizations within
the state. The impression is that some security forces and some
politicians have links with outlawed crime organizations which could be
called mafia or gangs."
The report has failed even to reflect fully upon
incidents in which that gang had been implicated. For example, the
kidnapping of the owner of the Yaprak TV station has been completely
omitted by the report, though this incident has received considerable
The report gives no detailed information on issues
such as money laundering, the serial killings of Kurdish-origin
businessmen in a crime wave which was believed to have political
connections, and Turkish intelligence officials' role in massacre
suspect Abdullah Catli's escape from a Swiss prison and his secret
transfer to Turkey. Under the circumstances it is not surprising that
the report is largely unsatisfactory.
The 310-page "supplements" appended to the 22-page
commission report, on the other hand, contained some highly significant
information. Meanwhile, thousands of documents gathered by the
commission from various sources and the transcripts of testimony given
by the 57 persons heard by the commission, could not be attached to the
commission report and have been delivered to the parliament speaker's
This is why a publishing house has opened a campaign
under the name "You Write Your Report," while many magazines also are
printing alternative reports inspired by the ANAP deputies represented
on the investigation commission, who declared that they will prepare an
The Scala Publishing House has gathered the most
important minutes of the commission meeting within a book titled
"Susurluk Documents" which was published just one day before the
commission report was released. Synchronous with this unprecedented
book publishing, the Scala publishing house called on the public to
write their own reports by themselves, considering the original
documents presented by the book.
The 625 page book was prepared for publication by
journalist Veli Özdemir, who didn't reveal how he was able to provide
all the texts of the original documents. "But we still think we might
print the story of this book in another study," said the editor of the
TURKEY AND TRNC ACCUSED OF DRUG MONEY LAUNDERING
A BBC news report on April 11, 1997, named Turkey
and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) as major countries
where British drug dealers' money is laundered. On its lunch time news
program, the BBC 1 television channel claimed that 90 percent of heroin
found in Britain came through Turkey. It alleged that the TRNC was the
destination for many British drug dealers to launder their money. "The
heroin manufactured either in or near the lawless fringe of eastern
Turkey reaches Europe," the correspondent said.
"Northern Cyprus has more banks that its population
needs. More than 60 banks for 80,000 people. Regulations are loose and
supervision light for this green destination of shady money," a
correspondent from the TRNC stated. "Add in to this more than 30
casinos where money changes ownership illegally and quickly and it is a
perfect combination for money laundering," he added. Customs officials
are in no doubt that Cyprus is a destination for money laundering, the
BBC correspondent claimed. "What we are seeing is couriers taking money
out of this country in large quantities and taking it either to
countries that are supplying heroin or to other countries such as
Cyprus," Michael Newsom from Customs investigation told the reporter.
"The heroin coming through Turkey passes on into
Europe and eventually to Britain. But when it comes to paying,
Britain's drug dealers take their money to the more welcoming climate
of Northern Cyprus where it can be bandied around until its ownership
is confused and then it could be taken to Turkey," the correspondent
CILLER HAS LOST EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT CONFIDENCE
The depreciation of confidence in Deputy Prime
Minister and Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller has been observed during a
high-powered European traffic in Ankara in March.
After talks with the Human Rights Association (IHD)
and the People's Democracy Party (HADEP) on March 23, the chairwoman of
the Socialist Group of European Parliament Pauline Green said "We will
not pay attention to what Ciller wrote and signed -- from now on we
will only look at the implementation of these things," emphasising her
point by allowing a piece of paper she was holding to drop to the
IHD Chairman Akin Birdal said the European
Parliament had lost all confidence in Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign
Minister Tansu Ciller who, in intense lobbying efforts prior to the
customs union, had asked the European Parliament's socialist wing to
back her during the process, reportedly threatening that "the
fundamentalists will take over" otherwise.
Constantly pressured on the human rights issue,
Turkish government announced human rights legal reform, the deputy
prime minister stating specifically that "torture such as 'Palestine
Hanging'" was out of question, now and forever.
Green said she interpreted these words, which
indicated explicit knowledge of such torture techniques, "as a
confession" and was very specific about the role of the military,
reportedly emphasising the importance of civil conscience over any
organization, including the military.
Also mentioned by Green and her colleagues were the
handicaps created from lack of a democratic resolution to the Kurdish
issue. In this vein, the Socialist Group leader reiterated, "We will
force the implementation of human rights."
TURKISH-GERMAN TIES COME TO THE BOIL
Turkish-German relations have been on the decline
since Bonn reacted to Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Tansu
Ciller's threat that Ankara would veto NATO expansion if the EU took in
former Warsaw Pact members before Turkey.
While the German side interpreted this as "attempted
blackmail," Europe's Christian Democrats led by German Chancellor
Helmut Kohl had subsequently sent an equally blunt message to Ankara
saying it could not join the EU for "civilizational" and "cultural"
As a follow up to this round of tension, Prime
Minister Necmettin Erbakan's remark that leaders should "bow their
heads in shame" because of their treatment of Turkey, made just a few
hours before German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel's visit at the end of
March, almost resulted in the cancellation of the trip. However,
official word from the Turkish Foreign Ministry smoothed things over
and Kinkel's visit, though delayed, went as planned.
On March 26, after his talks with Ciller and Turkish
members of Parliament, Kinkel said that he had arrived in Turkey with
his head held high and that no German official would arrive here with
feelings of shame.
Referring to the question of NATO expansion, Kinkel
said every country had to act responsibly with regard to this issue.
The German Foreign Minister also declared that the
human rights issues and the "Kurdish problem" in Turkey were also among
the issues that were obstructing Ankara's path to the EU.
GERMANY IMPOSED VISA FOR TURKISH CHILDREN
The German upper house of Parliament on March 14
approved a ruling that children of foreign guest workers must acquire
visa and residence permits. The ruling requiring visas and residence
permits be held by foreigners and children under the age of 16 who are
from Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco and the former Yugoslavia, affects the
lives of an estimated 600,000 adults and 800,000 children.
Interior Minister Manfred Kanther noted that Germany
was not a country of immigration. He added that with the ruling
government, Germany will never become a country of immigrants.
Repeating that the new ruling aimed to combat the so-called "human
trade," Kanther said the visa and residence permit question would not
be a big problem for the families affected.
The Turkish ambassador to Bonn, Volkan Vural earlier
discussed the issue with Interior Minister Under-secretary Kurt
Schelter and told him the visa and permit application row had caused
Turks living in Germany to feel isolated.
FIRE IN HOLLAND AND GERMANY DEVASTATED TWO KURDISH FAMILIES
Two recent fires in Holland and Germany devastating
two Kurdish immigrant families have led a new tension between Turkey
and Europe. After the fires, assimilating Kurdish victims to Turkish
origin and reminding that 31 Turkish citizens lost their life in
criminal or racist attacks in last six years, Turkish media launched a
violent campaign against Dutch and German authorities.
First, a fire at the house of a Kurdish family in
The Hague, the Netherlands, caused the death of the mother and her five
children on March 25. The father and the other three children were
rescued safe and sound. The bodies of the victims were buried in the
township of Eleskirt in the eastern province of Agri on March 29 to
cries of "Damn Europe" from some at the funeral.
Media reports of a possible racist motive focused on
petrol bomb attacks on the same night on nearby buildings housing an
Azerbaijani-Turkish centre and a Turkish Islamic association.
Prime Minister Wim Kok told reporters that even the
suspicion of a racist attack was worrying for the country, which prides
itself on the tolerance of its society. "The thought that we could be
dealing with arson with some ethnic intention is dramatic. That would
be an entirely new phenomenon in the Netherlands and a serious signal,"
Another fire in the centre of the Lower Rhineland
town of Krefeld in Germany on March 31 devastated a Kurdish family.
Three members of the family died and three were injured after leaping
from their third-floor apartment window after the fire broke out in
their 13-story building.
This time Turkish political leaders as well as the
Turkish media, claiming that the arson attack was made by German
racists, violently attacked German authorities in a retaliation to
Kohl's stand excluding Turkey from the European family.
Turkish Interior Minister Meral Aksener told
journalists that Germans failing to get rid of Turkish migrants now try
to annihilate them by fire.
However, German police declared a few days later
that the blaze which killed three people appeared to have been started
by the father of the family concerned.
It is after this revelation that German media and
political leaders started to accuse their Turkish counterparts of
provoking Turkish population without having any evidence of the fact
and of causing to the deterioration of Turkish-European relations.
RACIST ACTS IN TURKEY IN THE YEAR AGAINST RACISM
In the year of fighting against racism and
xenophobia, Turkey remains to be one of the countries where racist and
xenophobic acts continue as before.
First of all, the repressive operations against the
Kurdish population have never ceased.
In addition to this, the IHD Committee to Monitor
Minority Rights issued on March 21 a new report reminding the following
facts of this year:
- A historical church in Erzurum is menaced to be
turned into a mosque.
- In Edirne, a 93-year old synagogue was demolished.
- In Diyarbakir, an Assyrian graveyard faces
demolition for the construction of a new high-way.
- In Eyüp, Istanbul, the Armenian Church Virgin Mary
was subjected to a bomb attack.
- In Istanbul, the Gypsy quarter of Sulukule was
raided by Grey Wolves and one person kidnapped.
Very recently, the Minister of Interior, Meral
Aksener insulted Armenians by using the words of "Armenian seed" for
PKK leader Öcalan in order to humiliate him.
EMERGENCE OF "HOLOCAUST DENIAL" IN TURKEY
In its first visit to Turkey as a formal delegation,
the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL), met with government
officials to discuss their concern that Turkey remains a country that
ADL National Director Abraham Foxman said on March
26 that the delegation is worried that an atmosphere ripe for
anti-semitism and intolerance is growing. "There have been disturbing
signs of anti-semitic comments, greater tolerance for them, and the
emergence of 'holocaust denial,'" said Foxman, whose group also met
with members of the Jewish community in Istanbul.
"We urged the government to be sensitive and
denounce this. We were assured that this is not part of the tradition
of this country."
As one example, ADL points to the publication last
year of a book in Turkey which denied that the holocaust happened. When
well-known artist Bedri Baykam wrote an article criticising the book,
says Foxman, "He was sued for defamation."
The book, bearing a title which translates to "The
Lie of the Jewish Genocide," was written by a Harun Yahya, which,
according to Bedri Baykam, is a pseudonym used by Islamist extremists.
TURKEY TO CELEBRATE 2000th ANNIVERSARY OF CHRIST!
As racist acts are continuing in Turkey, in a new
move to charm the Western world, Turkish authorities are gearing
themselves up for the 2000th anniversary of the birth of Christ, the
Anatolia news agency reported on March 26.
Selcuk, Demre, Tarsus, Iskenderun, Iznik, Capadoccia
and many other places all held important and substantial Christian
populations throughout time -- making Turkey an open-air museum.
Besides the places mentioned above, Istanbul is home to the Fener Greek
Patriarchate and Mardin holds the Deyr-ul Zafaran Church holds special
significance for Syriacs.
According to the information received from the
Tourism Ministry, an inventory of the three religions' relics and
places of worship has been prepared.
Since it is well known that Turkey's Christian
populations such as Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks were either massacred
or forced to leave the country, this plan to celebrate 2000th
anniversary of Christ is a new double-faced and mal-intentioned
manoeuvre of Turkish authorities.
TURKEY DARKENED BY HUMAN RIGHTS FOR ENLIGHTENMENT
"The One Minute's Darkness for Enlightenment"
campaign of the Citizen's Initiative for Enlightenment received
considerable attention and support all over Turkey from citizens who
turned off their lights every night at 21.00 throughout February.
The Citizen's Initiative for Enlightenment, various
non governmental organizations (NGOs), democratic groups, political
parties, writers, artists, actors and actresses, businessmen and
citizens attended the colourful meeting to celebrate the commencement
of the one-month-long campaign.
Major television channels broadcast the campaign in
their prime-time news programs and had a one-minute siren warning
throughout February to remind the public to turn off their lights.
The campaign was to highlight public concern at the
recent scandals in the country which have given rise to allegations
that a hidden "secret state" is in existence.
One of Turkey's most important businessmen, Sakip
Sabanci too turned off his mansion's lights every night at 21:00
throughout the campaign. The lights were off also in the headquarters
of Sabanci Holding, the Twin Towers, to support the campaign.
Despite popular participation, government circles
accused the campaigners of leading a conspirative action. Below
is a summary of criticisms that have been made.
- Necmettin Erbakan: "They (the campaigners) are
parasites and conspirators. These are people who have nothing to do but
- Mehmet Gölhan (DYP Deputy-Chairman): "Why should
people long for the light? As if there is any darkness in this
- Islamist daily Zaman: "We warn you not to turn
your lights off. Make sure that your lights are on every evening at
21:00 because one minute of darkness by this mentality can turn into
- Sevket Kazan: "The opposition is keeping itself
busy with childish actions. By playing with the electric switches,
Turkey will not be cleaned up. They play 'candles off' by this action."
Kazan's comments included a grave insult to the
country's millions- strong Alevi community and heralded the beginning
of a new crisis.
The term "candles off" refers to a conventional folk
fallacy about Alevi traditions. According to this belief, when Alevi
families gather together at night, they put the candles off and engage
in an incestuous orgy.
The origins of this belief lie in the fact that,
unlike Sunni Muslims, Alevi men and women pray together in their Cem
rituals. Moreover, the form of their prayers is not the classical
Muslim namaz, but a form of dancing accompanied in a sense, by a form
of religious music, performed by both men and women.
The infamous Sivas massacre of July 1993, in which
37 Alevi intellectuals were burnt to death by religious Sunni fanatics
was a mile-stone in the rise of tension. Prior to his assignment to the
post of minister of justice, Kazan worked as a defence lawyer of the
Sivas massacre suspects.
As expected, the leading figures of the Alevi
community quickly protested against Kazan. One of the leading Alevi
intellectuals, Riza Zelyut, demanded the minister of justice's
immediate resignation. The chairman of the Pir Sultan Abdal Cultural
Associations, Murtaza Demir, said that "Sevket Kazan has an exceptional
place amongst the Sharia supporters and the Refah Party as a sworn
enemy of the Alevis."
On February 16, the death of a campaigner, Celal
Cankoru, who was killed under arrest in a police car following the "one
minute's darkness for enlightenment" demonstration in Antalya led to a
new wave of protests.
Next day, demonstrators gathered once again under
strict police control extinguished their candles at 21.00, both to
demand a clean society and in memory of Cankoru.
To the previous slogan, "Don't be silent or your
turn will come," was added, "the citizens are here, where are the
HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES CONTINUE DESPITE NEW LAW
The amendment to detention procedures became law on
6 March and was announced by the Turkish Government as a measure to
combat torture and ill-treatment. The new law substantially shortens
the maximum terms of police detention from 30 days to 10 days in
provinces under a state of emergency legislation, and from 14 days to
seven days throughout the rest of the country.
People detained for offences within the jurisdiction
of State Security Courts will be permitted access to legal counsel
after the first four days' detention, according to the amendment.
However, this amendment is unlikely to prevent
torture and actually differs little from an earlier draft described by
the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (ECPT) as
"unacceptable", Amnesty International announced on March
"Although we welcome the long-awaited
reduction in detention periods, the provisions of this law are
insufficient in scope to combat what has become an ingrained system of
abuse," Amnesty International said. "We also regret that our call for
an end to incommunicado detention has not been answered."
Unfortunately, there is nothing in this law to
support Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Tansu Ciller's claim
that "from now on, Turkish norms conform with European norms on
detention periods". Neither European human rights law nor international
human rights law, endorse four days' incommunicado detention.
The Human Rights Association (IHD) announced on
April 9 that human rights abuses were continuing in Turkey despite the
The IHD reports that 12 people had applied to the
group in March claiming they had been tortured, up from three in
February. Again in March, one person died as a result of police
gunfire, 23 prisoners were beaten in prison or in court, 14 journalists
arrested and 29 publications confiscated.
As for January-February 1997, the IHD reported the
* Sixteen died in unsolved murders.
* 25 people lost their lives by execution without
trial, after torture or while in custody.
* 183 people died in armed clashes.
* Attacks on civilians left fifteen dead and twenty
* Thirteen people "disappeared" while in custody.
* 43 people were tortured or claimed to have been
* 1608 people were taken into custody, 32 of whom
were from the press.
* 171 people were arrested.
* Two villages and hamlets were evacuated.
* Nine places were bombed.
* 43 associations, trade unions and press agencies
* 32 associations, trade unions and press agencies
* 29 publications were confiscated.
* There were 157 prisoners of conscience in jail at
the end of February.
* Courts gave prison terms exceeding 34 years and
fines of over TL 3,095,000,000 for opinion and political activities.
ONE-YEAR BALANCE SHEET OF STATE TERRORISM IN 1996
The Justice Ministry announces on January 21, 1997,
that 56,082 people are imprisoned in 562 prisons of Turkey by the end
of 1996. Of them 9,241 are political prisoners: 528 right-wing and
The following is the one-year balance-sheet of the
state terrorism in 1996 according to the figures established by the
Human Rights Association (IHD):
* 78 died and 46 wounded in unsolved murders and
* 190 people lost their lives by execution without
trial, after torture or while in custody.
* 2,589 people died in armed clashes.
* Attacks on civilians left 119 dead and 133 injured.
* 194 people "disappeared" while in custody.
* 346 people were tortured or claimed to have been
* 20,434 people were taken into custody, 32 of whom
were from the press.
* 271 people were arrested.
* 68 villages and hamlets were evacuated.
* 109 places were bombed.
* 132 associations, trade unions and press agencies
* 134 associations, trade unions and press agencies
* 195 publications were confiscated.
* There were 140 prisoners of conscience in jail at
the end of 1966.
* Courts gave prison terms exceeding 173 years for
opinion and political activities.
* Prosecutors demanded prison terms of 1,856 years
and four months for opinion and political activities.
THE STATE OF EMERGENCY EXTENDED AGAIN FOR FOUR MONTHS
Despite the repeated promises to lift the state of
emergency, the National Assembly, yielding to the military's
directives, extended this repressive rule for another four months in
nine provinces from March 30.
The nine provinces inhabited mainly by Kurds and
subject to emergency rule for over nineteen years are Batman, Bingöl,
Bitlis, Diyarbakir, Hakkari, Tunceli, Siirt, Sirnak and Van.
At the National Assembly, 245 out of 421 deputies
present at the session voted for the extension of emergency rule. By
this vote, the Welfare Party (RP) which was an ardent opponent of the
exceptional regime proved once more its hypocrisy.
100th RALLY OF SATURDAY MOTHERS ON MISSING PEOPLE
Turkey's Saturday Mothers rallied on April 12, 1997,
for their 100th weekly vigil in an Istanbul plaza to demand information
on missing loved ones, a symbol of the country's intractable record of
human rights abuses.
About 200 people gathered in Galatasaray, holding
aloft black-and-white photographs of sons, daughters, fathers and
brothers last seen in the hands of the security forces.
They have met there every Saturday since May of
1995, and vow to carry on until the disappearances stop and their
relatives are accounted for.
"We will come here each week until the missing our
found," said the father of Hasan Ocak, whose body was later found in a
municipal grave."We must find the bones of all the 'disappeared.'"
Turkey's Human Rights Association (IHD) says it is
investigating 792 reports of disappearances from 1992 through 1996.
Amnesty International says it's investigators have solid documentation
of at least 135 cases.
However, experts say many 'missing' go unreported
altogether in nine restive eastern provinces, which remain under
emergency rule restrictions.
Most are believed dead, either at the hands of the
security forces or right-wing death squads. Rights workers say they
have found some bodies that still bore the ink from police
The authorities report they have no records of most
of those said to be missing, suggesting many have joined outlawed
guerrilla groups, such as the PKK, or are already in prison.
"Human dignity will defeat torture," chanted the
Saturday Mothers. "If you stay silent, they'll come for you next."
A special police "outreach" team set up to help
families track down their relatives sat by idly, mistrusted and spurned
by the families as another in a string of cosmetic measures on rights
"They are using up the petrol and salaries that we
pay for," said one demonstrator, waving a hand at the police mini-bus.
"They should save our money and just answer our questions."
Few police have ever been convicted in abuse cases,
with those found guilty often given light sentences.
"It's our opinion that (the reform) is more of a
farce, a theatre of the rule of law," said Bernd Marschang, a German
attorney from the International Association of Democratic Lawyers on
hand for the rally. "There is no interest in punishing those
responsible for political killings," Marschang told Reuters.
Nonetheless, the Saturday Mothers and other Turkish
rights activists say they will return each weekend until they learn the
truth, no matter how grim.
"We will turn out until the government accepts that
these people were lost in custody," said Eren Keskin, a lawyer and
deputy chair of the Human Rights Association. "But we will never be
able to find them because all are gone," she said.
UNSOLVED, MYSTERY MURDER RELATIVES COME TOGETHER
In another move, relatives of the victims of
mysterious, unsolved murders that have happened during the past twenty
years came together on March 26, 1997, to make their voices heard.
The Susurluk road accident of November 3 last year
allegedly revealed clues to the existence of a gang within the state
which should be considered as a prime suspect for the series of
sensational and mysterious murders that have occurred in Turkey since
Gathering at the Marti Art House on Istanbul's
Istiklal Street, the relatives of many victims of unsolved murders
called on those responsible to start investigating their cases
There, Sezen Oz, the wife of prosecutor Dogan Oz,
who was assassinated on March 24, 1979 in Ankara, shouted out: "This is
enough! We ask that murderers not be protected, and that all of them be
arrested, jailed, and immediately sentenced."
This was the voice of a woman who has been waiting
for nearly 20 years for the state to solve her husband's case, without
any successful prosecution or punishment of the perpetrators made.
In addition, around 15 wives, children, brothers and
husbands of victims -- ranging from those of the noted journalist Abdi
Ipekci (killed in 1979) to journalist Cetin Emec (killed in 1990),
expressed their feelings at the meeting, where a joint declaration was
also read out.
Addressing the public, the declaration underlined
that all these past events showed that it was wrong to define these
murders as "mysterious."
"The identities of the murderers were uncovered
through the internal settling of accounts within the state," the
statement read. "But despite everything, the murder cases have remained
'mysterious' due to murderers not being arrested and jailed."
The relatives of the victims asked the political
parties, the Turkish Parliament and the Presidency to inform the public
regarding the investigation process of all these cases, and to explain
why that process has still not been concluded.
UNSOLVED MURDER FILES INCREASE AT SSC
The chief prosecutors of the State Security Courts
in Turkey have a total of 13,665 files concerning "unsolved murders,"
according to data taken on February 11 from the General Directorate of
Criminal Records and Statistics covering the period up to the end of
The Diyarbakir SSC Chief Prosecutor's Office takes
the lead with 11,699 files, while Konya has the fewest, with 22 files.
Files related to unsolved murders comprise 56.4
percent of the total workload of the SSC chief prosecutors. A total of
2,401 files was submitted to the prosecutors' offices between January
1, 1995, and December 31, 1995.
The SSC offices in Malatya, Erzincan, Izmir and
Istanbul are among those with most files related to unsolved murders.
In 1995, 255 cases of this type were solved.
HRW ACCUSES TURKISH ANTI-TERROR UNITS OF TORTURING
In a report entitled Turkey: Torture and
Mistreatment in Pre-Trial Detention by Anti-Terror Police, released on
March 11, Human Rights Watch/Helsinki documents a systematic pattern of
torture and other abuse by anti-terror police units in Turkey.
"Torture by the anti-terror unit is neither
spontaneous nor rogue. This unit has methodically incorporated
torture and abuse into its daily operations, utilising special
equipment, including special straps to bind detainees, high pressure
hoses, racks for suspending suspects by their arms, and instruments to
apply electric shock," reports HRW.
HRW reminds in the report the following facts:
"In December 1996, Foreign Minister Ciller pledged
that the government would 'totally eliminate in practice the crime of
torture' shortly after the Council of Europe's Committee for the
Prevention of Torture issued a 'Public Statement' exposing the
widespread use of torture methods by police. While legal proceedings
are sometimes instituted against police for alleged abuse and torture,
the overall number of such actions is small relative to the problem and
proceedings are problematic.
"Under a law stemming from the Ottoman period
[Memurin Muhakemat Hakkinda Kanunu Muvakkat], police and other civil
servants cannot be brought to trial for malfeasance unless a Provincial
Administrative Council chaired by the state-appointed provincial
governor gives its approval. Such approval has been rarely given in the
State of Emergency region where many abuses occur.
"When trials are launched, they drag on. Police are
rarely arrested when they face criminal charges, and under the 1991
Anti-Terror Law, anti-terror police cannot be remanded into custody if
charged. Their legal fees are paid by the state. In April 1996, murder
charges were brought against eleven police for the January 1996 murder
in custody of journalist Metin Goktepe; since that time the court has
held only two hearings, and none of the police have been remanded into
"In the cases where police officers are convicted,
sentences are usually lenient. In one case in 1996, two policemen
convicted of beating and maltreating a twelve-year-old child had their
sentence commuted to a fine of TL750,000, about U.S.$8 at the time.
"Public prosecutors, who de jure have wide-ranging
oversight powers over police during a criminal investigation, do not
make full use of them, especially in cases involving security
The report sent along with a letter to Prime
Minister Necmettin Erbakan on March 14 contains recommends:
- The anti-terror police units should be disbanded,
and abusive police must be prosecuted aggressively.
- Laws hindering such actions must be amended.
- Detention periods for security detainees must be
reduced and immediate access to counsel be given."
SECRET PAPERS REVEAL STATE'S 1997 ANTI-PKK MEASURES
Secret papers from the Interior Ministry that reveal
the steps authorities plan against the military, political and the
cultural presence of the PKK in 1997, were revealed by the Turkish
Daily News on March 17.
The papers, originally circulated on Jan, 3, 1997 to
the State of Emergency Regional Directorate, to all provincial
governors, the General Gendarme Command, the General Security
Directorate, and the National Security Council General Secretariat,
include suggestions that anti-terrorist protests be organized, that
High school and university students who are likely to join the
organization be kept under surveillance, and that MED TV be prevented
from making programs in Turkey.
The classified four-page document lists the measures
to be taken against PKK activities under two titles:
* "Measures to be applied at specific times"
* "Measures to be applied continuously".
Measures to be applied at specific times
"In response to the PKK separatist terrorist
organization's steering of men of thinking and art and other
influential people who may impress the public at home and abroad to
serve its aims:
"People who may be qualified as thinkers and are
currently being used by the organization should be identified and their
past histories and intelligence information relating to them be secured.
"People the organization may use should be presented
to the public at home and abroad in such a manner as to remove any
influence they may have.
"International institutions and organizations should
be correctly informed regarding people the organization presents as
thinkers, and files prepared with this aim should be sent to
international institutions and organizations.
The document says the above measures should take
place between January and May 1997.
In other actions that are to take place during the
first five months of the year, the document proves that the village
guard system will not be abandoned, at least not in the sort term.
"In response to the possibility that the
organization will target people taking the side of the state and put
psychological pressure on them with accusations of spying and banditry,
or carry out massacres and various armed actions; practices should be
applied which will secure the raising of the morale of citizens
supporting the state, in particular temporary village guards, and the
public should be informed in a suitable manner in the matter of the
malintentioned reports in the press that the temporary village guard
system is to be abolished."
Special Project for Newroz
The celebration of Newroz, March 21 -- a festival
for the coming of spring -- is especially mentioned for action during
March. The festival is celebrated by many Middle Eastern peoples, but
in recent years it has taken on political connotations.
"With the aim of preventing the organization from
exploiting Newroz, the functions required by the special project to be
prepared in this matter should be carried out."
The "special project" mentioned in the document was
not elaborated on.
Measures to be applied continuously
Those activities which are to take place throughout
the year are mainly aimed at the PKK's recruitment strategies, its
propaganda -- both at home and abroad -- and the supporting of anti-PKK
groups and people.
"In response to the setting up of so-called front
headquarters in so-called provinces defined by the organization and
activities of the creation of institutions of logistics, education,
finance, health, military branches, people's courts and the like,
collaborators should be speedily exposed, persuasion should be applied
to them, a spectacle should be made of them, and if necessary they
should be penalized."
The Interior Ministry document also orders that
special enlightenment programs are to be organized, visits made, in the
presence of international visitors (representatives of nongovernmental
organizations, human rights activists and international institutions
which the ministry says are used by the PKK) to regional people who
have suffered from terrorism.
The paper also says that those who have suffered
from terrorism should be "made" to apply for recognition "to
organizations like the Helsinki Watch Committee and the International
Human Rights with documentation and information, and protests should be
made at the biased attitudes of these institutions."
Stopping PKK cooperation
In regards to the PKK cooperating with other legal
organizations in Turkey, such as extreme left-wing groups, the Yezidis
-- a religious group -- Alawites and radical Islamic groups the
document puts forward two plans.
"Possible leaders in thought of the left-wing
organizations will be enlightened and those who can not be directed
will have their influence over the public rocked as professional
The Interior Ministry also laid out the plans to
keep the Kurdish language at the fringes of society.
"Administrative and local measures should be taken
against those attempting to propagate the Kurdish language, form
institutions conducting research to make it a language of literacy and
to start education and Kurdish literacy courses directed at front
For the pro-Kurde MED TV, which broadcasts mainly in
Kurdish, the Interior Ministry ordered new campaigns by letter, fax and
telegrams addressed to the governments concerned. MED-TV will also be
prevented from making programs in Turkey.
Red, yellow, and green are Turkish colours
It was also ordered that academic meetings should
display the colors yellow, red, and green as if they were traditional
In order to prevent the PKK searching for new fields
of activity, Street trading will be prevented in the provinces of
Adana, Icel, Antalya, Sivas, Konya, Nevsehir, Kirsehir, Tokat, Ankara,
Istanbul and Izmir. Kurdish migrants from the Southeast often earn
their living in the big cities of the west through street trading.
Kuran courses which are considered as a possible
field of PKK activity, and which are likely to be "steered" by the
Kurdistan Islamic Movement, will be closely monitored.
In conclusion, the classified document states that
at the end of March, June, September and December, working reports of
the above orders will be sent to the Interior Ministry State of
Emergency Coordination Committee General Secretariat.
GOVERNOR READY TO "KILL FOR THE COUNTRY"
The number of the specially-trained village guard
forces in the southeastern province of Van, known as the "lightning
force" has grown from 100 to 420 since it was established last year.
Speaking on the occasion on March 2, Van Governor Abdülkadir Sari was
quoted by the Anatolia news agency as saying "We are not pleased with
killing people, but are ready to kill if necessary for the country."
The lightning force was established last year to
fight against PKK militants and its 400 members were equipped with
hi-tech equipment. The newly trained guards also received certificates
from Governor Sari.
Sari said the terrorist organization had declared
the southeastern provinces of Van and Hakkari as so-called liberated
zones, but it also suffered the heaviest casualties in the same areas.
Referring to the achievements of the force, Sari
said,"More terrorists were killed in 1996 than in the past 12 years."
ANKARA CONTINUES TO HIJACK KURDISH NATIONAL DAY NEWROZ AND COLOURS
With a scandalous manoeuvre, Turkish authorities
hijacked again the celebration of the Kurdish New Year (Newroz) on
March 21. While Kurdish people were being banned in many Kurdish cities
and towns to celebrate their own new year, Turkish officials renaming
this "Nevruz" organized many ceremonies with the participation of
ministers, high commanders and security forces.
In spite of repression, in Diyarbakir, more than 100
thousand Kurds celebrated their national day by dancing around fires
and singing songs. Official celebration could not gather more than 20
thousand people in the same city. Same day, in Diyarbakir, a march
organized by PKK sympathizers were attacked by security forces and many
For the Kurds these celebrations mark the legend of
the iron smith Kawa who slays the tyrant Dehhak and frees his people,
said by Kurds to be their ancestors.
To prevent Kurds from celebrating their national
day, Turkish authorities recently claimed that "Nevruz" marks the
departure of the Göktürk from the legendary land of Ergenekon in
Central Asia and the gaining of their independence.
This year, in a further move, Turkish authorities
also claimed that the Kurdish national colours (red-yellow-green) were
the colours of Turkish nation in the history.
Issuing a special message, President Süleyman
Demirel said, "We must not allow those who are trying to disrupt the
peace by means of Nevruz, which has in fact served peace for thousands
Minister for Culture Mehmet Kahraman, responding to
a question as to why these colours claimed as theirs by the Kurds were
predominant on official "Nevruz" posters printed by his Ministry,
maintained these colours were first used by the "Göktürk" Turks in
Central Asia centuries ago.
A statement from the Directorate for Religious
Affairs said, "Do not forget that preventing enemies at home and abroad
who want to abuse the day is a religious and national responsibility."
IHD Chairman Akin Birdal stressing the special
meaning that Newroz has for the Kurdish people called on the
authorities to let Kurds celebrate this day unencumbered.
HUNTERS' LICENCE FOR ASSASSINATION WEAPONS
A bill submitted to Parliament which called for a
ban on the sale of pump-action shotguns to people carrying hunters'
licences was rejected by the votes of RP and ANAP deputies on March 26.
There has been a boom in pump-action shotgun sales
since 1990 due to lax sales conditions. In fact, anyone who becomes a
hunters' club member is able to purchase such a weapon for $250.
Pump-action shotguns are sold mostly in Istanbul and have grown in
popularity among radical Islamists over the past two years. According
to the unofficial numbers, 500,000 people in Turkey own these shotguns.
The guns available carry a magazine of seven shells
and can be converted to automatically fire 12 rounds with a steel
addition to the barrel, a tactic much favoured by criminals.
An Eurasia ferry was hijacked in Turkey with these
licensed pump-action shotguns one year ago on the
Trabzon/Sochi-Istanbul route by members of an illegal organization
protesting the war in Chechnya. Five militants held passengers and crew
hostage for three days.
The weapons are also popular among mafia members.
They are used in half of all armed attacks in Istanbul, where the mob
has an internal settling of accounts almost every day. The rounds can
pierce armoured cars and mafioso carry these guns in their cars all the
Main opposition ANAP leader Mesut Yilmaz was among
those who voted against the ban on the sale of pump-action shotguns to
those bearing hunters' licences, though he had earlier charged that
certain RP voters were arming themselves with such weapons.
HADEP PROTESTS IMPRISONMENT OF FORMER KURDISH DEPUTIES
The People's Democracy Party (HADEP) members and a
group including relatives of the men imprisoned protested, on
March 2, the arrest and continued detention of former DEP deputies who
have been held since March 1994.
Deputy chief of HADEP, Sedat Yurttas, the attorney
in the DEP case, Yusuf Alatas, and former Deputies Mahmut Alinak and
Mehmet Emin Sever addressed people gathered in front of the Ankara
Central Closed Prison, where the former deputies, including the Kurdish
activist Leyla Zana, are being held.
The group left flowers at the prison gate for those
imprisoned. Plain-clothes and uniformed policemen were on duty in front
of the prison when the protesters arrived. Addressing the group,
Yurttas, Alatas and Sever stressed the urgent need for a democratic
approach to the Kurdish issue and emphasised the harm which "gangs"
have brought to the region, referring to the many mysterious killings
and political assassinations being committed in southeastern Anatolia.
"You have the right to establish murder gangs, and
kill people using the power of the state. However, you do not have
right to be involved in politics for the sake of the people," said
HADEP is now facing a trial regarding the party's
closure is because of an incident in which the Turkish flag was pulled
down during the party's second congress, and replaced by a giant
portrait of the leader of the outlawed PKK.
Murat Bozlak, the head of HADEP, remains in Ankara
Elmadag Prison with other leading party figures. The prosecutor is
calling for a 20-year sentence for him under the Anti-terror Law "for
running an illegal organization."
UNREST IN TURKISH PRISONS RESTARTED IN MARCH
Following an incident at the Buca Prison in Izmir,
unrest has been spreading in many Turkish prisons.
On March 24, in protest against the inhuman
conditions, a group of inmates in Buca prison in Izmir attacked
security guards with sharp objects after visiting hours, wounding four
security guards and a soldier and taking one guard captive, whom they
Political prisoners in Bursa, Bergama and Umraniye
prisons joined in the protest to give support to their friends in Buca.
The Human Rights Association (IHD) announced that
the reason for the riot was the mounting tension between the inmates
and prison officials after an escape tunnel was disclosed last month. A
circular was issued following the discovery of the tunnel to facilitate
strict control over the prison. The resulting tension was further
heightened by a decision to transfer 44 prisoners to another prison.
"We have sent delegations not only to Buca prison,
but also to the other prisons where the inmates are protesting. We want
to act as mediators in resolving this issue," IHD noted.
In the last four years, two tunnels were discovered
in Buca prison in the wards where the inmates are currently carrying
out a protest.
As the rebellion entered its third day on March 26,
Izmir Bar Association Chairman, Cetin Turan, said his organization had
sent a petition to the Justice Ministry demanding that the ministry
open a dialogue with the prisoners, in order to discuss the prisoners'
demands for better food and living conditions.
If the ministry refuses to speak to the prisoners,
and instead waits for bigger developments, then events could escalate
to the levels of last year when 12 hunger-strikers died, the petition
IP LEADER PERINCEK ACCUSED, EP CLOSED
The Workers' Party (IP) leader Dogu Perincek on
March 24 faced the Ankara State Security Court on charges that he had
spread separatist propaganda during a meeting on Dec. 27, 1992.
SSC prosecutors have demanded a prison sentence of
one to three years Perincek who said he was innocent of the charges.
Perincek said he had never made a separatist
propaganda speech in his life. He also noted that the text of his
speech could actually be used in his defense and demanded that the tape
recording of his speech be played to the court.
1On the other hand, the Constitutional Court decided
on February 14 to close the Labour Party (EP) for having in its
programme some articles on Kurdish question incompatibles with the
Constitution and the Political Parties Act.
ECEVIT EXPELLED THREE DEPUTIES FROM DSP
Three deputies, Bülent Tanla, Gökhan Capoglu and
Bekir Yurdagül criticising the attitude of DSP leader Ecevit and her
wife Rahsan Ecevit, were expelled from the party on April 3 by the
Disciplinary Board yielding to Ecevit's order. This brings down the
number of DSP deputies to 68.
Also at the instigation of party leader Ecevit, the
Board has issued warnings to five other DSP deputies, namely, Cevdet
Selvi, Fikret Ünlü, Tahir Köse, Yüksel Aksu and Hilmi Develi.
Criticising the expulsion decisions, DSP Deputy
Chairman Cevdet Selvi said that he found the decisions "wrong and
unfair". He said that instead of expelling these deputies from the
party "a more constructive solution" should have been found. He said,
"If this mentality continues at the DSP, it seems that uneasiness in
the party will continue to grow."
Since the last election, three DSP deputies have
joined the Correct Way Party (DYP) and one has joined the Motherland
FIRST TWO-MONTH STATE TERRORISM IN 1997
1.1, in Batman, Fuat Suna and Mehdi Suna are shot
dead by unidentified gunmen.
2.1, in Batman, Selman Suna, wounded during the
armed attack one day ago dies in hospital.
6.1, HADEP official Izzet Tepecik and a group of
party members are detained in Dörtyol.
7.1, in Istanbul, the office of the Lawyers for
People is raided by police and three lawyers, Efkan Bolac, Metin Narin
and Alper Tunga Saray taken to police custody. HADEP local chairman
Vakkas Bayhan and a party member are taken into custody in Aksaray.
In Diyarbakir, Mehmet Lala is found assassinated in a car. Tevfik
Kusun who was detained by police on November 29 in Diyarbakir is found
shot dead on the highway Adiyaman-Urfa.
8.1, the Ankara SSC starts the trial of 127 members
of the Aczmendi brotherhood for insulting Atatürk and disobeying
police. Halil Sahin and his son Giyasettin Sahin, 9, are shot dead in
Batman. A former political prisoner, Naziri Caliskan, 42, dies
of cancer in Istanbul because he was not treated during his
9-year imprisonment. In Cermik (Diyarbakir), Yasin Yerlikaya and
Yasar Aktan are killed at an armed attack by unidentified gunmen.
9.1, in Istanbul, HADEP member Adil Dizek claims to
have been tortured after being kidnapped by police agents on January 6.
In Izmit, Fahrettin Yildizhan is shot dead by police for having
refused to submit a police control.
10.1, in Istanbul, 14-year old D.H. claims to have
been tortured for three days after his detention on January 6.
11.1, in Izmir, twenty people are placed under
arrest for being members of the Marxist-Leninist Communist Party (MLKP).
12.1, the daily Demokrasi reports that two political
prisoners, Polat Iyit, in Istanbul, and Veysi Celikten, in Malatya, are
not allowed to have medical treatment as they are suffering from
13.1, the Diyarbakir SSC prosecutor starts a legal
action against the members of the IHD Committee To Monitor Torture
Cases who are carrying out an investigation the torturing of ten
prisoners on September 24, 1996, in Diyarbakir.
14.1, in Mus, the local office of the Confederation
of Public Servants' Trade Unions (KESK) is raided and searched by
15.1, in Istanbul, political prisoner Polat Iyit
dies in Bayrampasa Prison because he was not allowed by the Istanbul
SSC to have a medical treatment against lung cancer in a hospital. In
Istanbul, a group of MHP Grey Wolves raid the Istanbul University and
stab a left-wing student. Following a court decision, police close
down a series of Aczmendi prayer houses in Elazig, Malatya, Urfa, Antep
16.1, in Mus, three teachers, Güler Er, Nil Sarikaya
and Özlem Özaydin claim to have been tortured and sexually harassed by
police following their detention on January 14. In Adana, Erol Özkan
claims to have been tortured by police after his detention on January
14. In Izmir, police detain eleven alleged MLKP members. In
Istanbul, nurse Nuran Kovankaya, representative of the Health Workers'
Trade Union (SES), is detained by political police.
18.1, in Istanbul, during the funeral of Polat Iyit,
victim of ill-treatment in Bayrampasa Prison, police attack the
participants and wound many people including Özgür Gelecek
correspondent Bektas Topan and Partizan Sesi correspondent Serif Sezer.
The camera of the TV channel Samanyolu is also broken by police.
19.1, Chairman of the Istanbul University Students'
Union Fatih Sinan Aslan and former chairman Hakan Günaslan are detained
by police as visiting the student wounded Grey Wolves three days ago.
In Bolu, right-wing students beat other students refusing to fast in
the month of Ramazan. In Savur (Mardin), 15-year old Seydo Karatas
dies at the explosion of mine laid by security forces.
20.1, ten parents of political prisoners are brought
before a penal court in Izmir for having made a sit-in in protest. Each
faces a prison term of up to three years.
21.1, in Savur, security forces shoot dead Murat
Akman during a raid on a house. The Diyarbakir SSC starts to try
HADEP officials Niyazi Bulgan, Mevlut Ilkin, Vakkas Demir, Selahattin
Behcet and Kamber Turunc for supporting an outlawed organization. The
Ankara SSC sentences, in two trials against the Revolutionary People's
Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), fifteen people to prison terms of up
to 23 years and 7 months. In Van, fifteen people are placed under
arrest by a penal court for being PKK members.
22.1, former Istanbul Bar Association chairman
Turgut Kazan is brought before a penal court in Ankara on the complaint
of Justice Minister Sevket Kazan. In Diyarbakir, twenty lawyers are
tried by the SSC on charges of relations with the PKK. The IHD warns
authorities that political prisoner Mehmet Salk Celikpence faces death
because he was not allowed to have a fair medical treatment. In
Yatagan, the chairman of the Energy Workers' Trade Union (TES-IS), Erol
Soganci, and two other officials are detained by gendarmes. HADEP
member Tahir Han is sentenced by the Ankara SSC to one year in prison
and TL 100 million in fine for a speech.
23.1, former DEP deputies Mehmet Emin Sever, Mahmut
Uyanik and Muzaffer Demir, and former CHP deputy Abdülkerim Zilan are
brought before the Ankara SSC for aid to PKK and separatist propaganda.
Each faces a prison term of up to 7 years and 6 months. The Malatya
SSC starts to try 11 HADEP officials for separatist propaganda. The
Ankara SSC sentences eight members of the Revolutionary Communists'
Union of Turkey (TIKB) and nine members of the MLKP to prison terms of
up to fifteen years. University student Sadik Arslan, detained on
January 17 in Istanbul, is reportedly subjected torture at police
centre. The IHD reports that the prisoners who held a hunger strike
in prisons during which 12 prisoners died are not allowed to have a
fair medical care and some of them face death. In Diyarbakir, 24
political prisoner, who took part a resistance action during which ten
detainees were killed, are brought before a penal court for causing
damages to public property.
24.1, in Ankara, six persons are beaten by police
for having taken alcohol drink during Ramadan.
25.1, a group of students protesting the
condemnation of young high school students by the Izmir SSC and lawyer
Tülay Odabas are detained and harassed by police in Istanbul.
27.1, four representatives of the Labour Party of
Belgium (PTB), Hilde Meesters, Axel Bernard, Julien Verbsteegh and
Pascal Prielyncr are detained by police in Ankara during an attempt to
give a petition to the National Assembly on the condemnation of young
high school students.
28.1, Chairman of the Izmir Anti-War Association
(SKD) Osman Murat Ülke is sentenced by the military court of the
Turkish General Staff to 6-month prison and a fine of TL 540 thousand
for refusing military service. The court also decides to send him to a
military regiment in Bilecik. The Ankara SSC sentences two MKLP
members to 12 years and 6 months each. The trial of 28 Hizbullah
members are brought before the Diyarbakir SSC. 21 defendants face
capital punishment for having participated in the killing of 54 people
in different provinces. The Iskenderun office of the Party of Labour
(EMEP) is raided by police.
31.1, in Izmir, eighteen people are placed under
arrest for PKK activities. The Diyarbakir SSC sentences Türkiye Altun
to three years and six months in prison for aiding the PKK.
4.2, the leader of the Aczmendi brotherhood, Müslüm
Gündüz is indicted by the Ankara SSC Prosecutor for anti-secular
activities. He faces imprisonment of up to ten years. The Ankara SSC
sentences 22 students to prison terms of up to 20 years for being MLKP
5.2, police raiding a house in Istanbul shoot dead
high school student Kamuran Özcan. In Nusaybin, Musa Sayik is shot
dead by unidentified gunmen. The trial of IHD Vice-chairman Mahmut
Sakar and board member Vedat Cetin starts at the Diyarbakir SSC.
7.2, in Istanbul, seven members of Socialist Power
Party (SIP) are attacked by Grey Wolves.
12.2, in Istanbul, 433 university students are
indicted by prosecutor for a demonstration in November 6, 1996, during
which many students were brutally beaten by police. IHD Elazig office
is closed for ten days by the governor for having some illegal
13.2, IHD Chairman Akin Birdal and 21 other
association and party officials are tried by a penal court in Ankara
for an unauthorised meeting in solidarity with hunger strikes in
prisons. A political prisoner accused of being PKK member, Mehmet
Emin Cakan is found dead in Agri Prison.
16.2, political prisoner Celal Türker, sentenced to
12 years for PKK activities and suffering from tuberculosis, dies in
17.2, in Istanbul, police shoot dead 18-year old
Nurettin Demir, an alleged member of the Revolutionary Communists'
Union of Turkey (TIKB). During the victim's funeral police use force
against the participants and detain 35 of them.
18.2, a former DYP deputy of Kurdish origin,
Abdülmelik Firat is sentenced by the Ankara SSC to one year in prison
and a fine of TL 100 million for a speech he made in Germany. Five
people are sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to life-prison each for being
members of a radical Islamist organization.
19.2, twenty Iranian political refugees are detain
in Ankara for a sit-in in front of the UN Refugees Office.
21.2, Kurdish activist Hüseyin Deger is found shot
dead at the Dicle University campus in Diyarbakir. In Izmit, detainee
Hizir Akkus is killed during his police interrogation.
25.2, MHP Grey Wolves raiding the Letters Faculty of
Istanbul University wound 19 students and two journalists. The
Diyarbakir SSC sentences ten officials of IHD and different
associations to one-year prison and TL 100 thousand each for having
participated in a press conference by Leyla Zana in 1992.
27.2, At a trial against DHKP-C, the Ankara SSC
sentences one person to life-prison and twelve people to prison terms
of up to 13 years. The Istanbul SSC sentences six IBDA-C members to
prison terms of up to 20 years and 10 months.
28.2, thirteen people are brought before the
Istanbul SSC for having founded a radical Islamist organization
Ceysullah (God's Soldiers). Five defendants face capital punishment.
The Istanbul SSC sentences three IBDA-C members to life-prison and two
others to 33 years in prison.
WORLD-WIDE CAMPAIGN FOR FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION AND BESIKCI
The Human Rights Association (IHD) launched on March
14 a world-wide campaign to secure the release of 140 political
prisoners who have been prosecuted for their "thoughts." During this
campaign the attention of the world opinion was drawn to the
unprecedented case of Ismail Besikci who has been repeatedly jailed
since 1971 and still kept in prison for expressing his opinions against
the State's official stand.
In general, there has been increasing criticism and
irritation as well in Turkey as in the world against the prosecution of
the writers, intellectuals, journalists and students, who, normally,
would be expected to be the driving force of a civilised society.
Writers have been dragged from one State Security
Court to another for decades in rapidly increasing numbers every year.
The prosecution of the intellectuals has reached a level that the
society can not tolerate anymore.
As a protest against the violation of freedom of
thought by prosecuting books, writers and journalists, over one
thousand intellectuals have signed the book "Freedom to Thought" to be
prosecuted within the same file in case of prosecution.
A group from PEN (International Writers
Associations) from various parts of the world have also gathered in
Istanbul in March to express their support for the signers of the book
"Freedom for Thought."
Writers such as Vice Presidents of Sweden's PEN Lars
Erik Blomovist, USA's PEN Joanne Leedom and the President of Russia's
PEN Alexander Tkachenko and many other writers and PEN members from
Scotland, England, Germany, Palestine, Finland, Netherlands, Israel,
Canada and Mexico were present in Istanbul to file suits against
themselves to be prosecuted along with their Turkish counterparts who
have signed the book.
The application of guest writers has been rejected
by the State Security Courts. The writers wanted to attend the panel
discussions organized by the lecturers and the students of the Istanbul
University, but they were stopped by the police and they were rejected
admission by the president of the university.
The Israeli writer Abraham Heffner, commenting on
the police existence at the university, said, "Let them enter the
university. Let them in your lectures, so they can learn about the
atmosphere of knowledge, they will definitely learn something."
As the first activity of the campaign, the IHD put
out posters of Turkish sociologist Ismail Besikci, who has been
sentenced to 103 years for his articles and books.
Just after the launching of this campaign, on March
27, the Court of Cassation ratified another heavy imprisonment against
Besikci. He had been sentenced by the Ankara SSC to 4 years and 4
months in prison and to a fine of TL 333 millions for separatist
propaganda in his 15 different books.
With this last decision, Besikci's total
imprisonment ratified by higher courts climbed to 41 years and another
total of 37-year imprisonment is being dealt by the Court of Cassation.
Besikci also faces further imprisonment of a few centuries in his
pending trials at State security courts.
Besikci, 58, graduated from the Faculty of Political
Sciences of Ankara University and became a research assistant in
sociology at Atatürk University in Erzurum. Observing the dramatic
facts of Turkish Kurdistan on the spot during his military service and
academic works, he wrote his first critical study entitled The System
in Eastern Anatolia, Socio-Economic and Ethnic Foundations.
On the publication of this work he was dismissed from his university
post and was arrested in 1972 and remained in prison until the general
amnesty of 1974.
Deprived of the right to work at university, he was
again jailed in 1979.
Released in 1980, he was sentenced in 1981 for a
letter he had written to the Swiss Writers' Union while in jail and
remained in prison until 1987.
Besikci was arrested again in 1991 for a book on the
forcible resettlement of the Kurds, but released a few months after on
the amendment of the Turkish Penal Code.
Immediately after this release, he was arrested
again in 1991 for his different works by virtue of the new Anti-Terror
The never-ending imprisonment of Besikci and other
intellectuals of Turkey constitutes the biggest shame as well for
Turkey's leaders as for Europe of which Turkey is a privileged partner
in the European Union and the Council of Europe.
The defenders of human rights and freedom of
expression can send their support of this campaign to the following
address of the Human Rights Association (IHD) in Turkey:
Insan Haklari Dernegi Genel Merkezi
Tunali Hilmi Caddesi 104/4
SANAR YURDATAPAN VICTIM OF A POLICE PLOT
Composer and human rights activist Sanar Yurdatapan
was detained at Atatürk Airport in Istanbul on April 16, 1997, on his
return from a brief visit to Germany. After being interrogated
incommunicado until April 22, he was put under arrest by the Istanbul
SSC on charges of aiding illegal organizations.
Yurdatapan is the spokesman for the Together for
Peace (BIBA) initiative and also the prime mover of the Freedom of
Thought initiative, a group of more than a thousand intellectuals,
academics, writers and artists.
He also organized an investigation delegation to
Güclükonak, the scene of a massacre of 11 Kurds in January 1996. Later
on, he started investigation on the other killings committed bay the
State's security forces.
He was arrested in 1996 on charges of preparing a
programme for the Kurdish Med-TV.
Recently, he interviewed two former PKK activists,
Murat Demir and Murat Ipek, who had turned into agents of special
forces and took part in many assassinations of the latter. However,
after the Susurluk Scandal, these two men decided to reveal the facts
and accorded a series of TV interviews to Yurdatapan.
Yurdatapan is now accused by Turkish authorities of
bringing from Germany two fake passports for taking out Demir and Ipek
from the country in a move to launch with their participation a new
campaign abroad against Turkey.
Yurdatapan will be tried together with Demir and
Ipek by the Istanbul SSC under Article 169 of the Turkish Penal Code.
FARCE OF TRIAL ON ASSASINATION OF JOURNALIST GÖKTEPE
The third hearing in the trial of police officers
accused in the killing of journalist Metin Goktepe took place on 11
April 1997 in Afyon (300 kilometres east of Aydin). A delegation from
Reporters sans frontières (RSF) attended the hearing, as it had the 18
October 1996 and 6 February 1997 hearings.
After this third hearing, RSF denounces the lack of
good faith in the justice in this case. The hearing took place in a
small room in which several Turkish journalists among the hundreds
present could not fit. After two hours of confusing debate, the court
postponed the trial to 28 May with the heart of the case not even being
addressed. The defense lawyers have asked the three judges in the case
to withdraw, citing their lack of independence.
Metin Göktepe, a journalist with the daily Evrensel,
was arrested and beaten to death by Istanbul police officers on 8
January 1996. Under media and public pressure, authorities finally
opened an inquiry which led to 48 police officers being charged.
On the other hand, Reporters sans frontieres (RSF)
reported on March 9 that many more journalists were subjected to
violence at the hands of the police in Turkey in 1996 than the year
before. In 1996, 154 journalists were attacked, including one who was
There were also 31 journalists tortured in
detention. In 1995, RSF recorded 50 attacks on
CPJ: 78 JOURNALISTS IMPRISONED IN TURKEY
Turkey is "top of the list" as far as the number of
journalists in prison goes, with a whopping 78 out of a total 185
journalists imprisoned world-wide according to the report of the
Committee for Protecting Journalists (CPJ) in New York, the Anatolia
news agency reported on March 14.
The report "Attacks against the Press 1996" lists
Turkey followed by Ethiopia with 18 imprisoned journalists, China with
17, Kuwait with 15 and Nigeria and Burma with eight each.
Twenty seven journalists lost their lives while on
duty in 1996, the report read, adding that 26 of them were
assassinated, while one died in the airplane crash in Croatia in which
US Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown also lost his life.
A total of seven journalists were killed in Algeria,
known to be the most dangerous country for journalists, while six were
killed in Russia.
Noting that 57 journalists were killed in 1995, the
report said a total of 474 had been killed in the last decade.
TURKEY STILL A WORLD LEADER IN PERSECUTION OF JOURNALISTS
In March, 45 journalists were taken into custody and
a further eight were attacked according to the Journalists' Union of
Turkey (TGS), the Anatolia news agency reported on April 14.
114 journalists, writers and publishers are still in
prison. There have been three instances of the Supreme Board of Radio
and Television (RTÜK) shutting down radio and television channels, 17
warning penalties were handed out by RTÜK to radio stations and
television channels, and four books were banned.
According to TGS, three foreign journalists were
among those taken into custody, including New York Times reporter
Stephen Kinzer, as well as two journalists from Finland. The 1996
report of the Committee to Protect Journalists in the USA declared
Turkey to be the "country that imprisons the most journalists."
A statement published following the International
Press Institute's (IPI) 56th General Board Meeting said that Turkey was
on a par with Zambia and Colombia regarding freedom of the press, with
more journalists imprisoned in Turkey than in any other democratic
ZARAKOLU AND KÜRKCÜ SENTENCED FOR HRW REPORT
Writer-translator Ertugrul Kürkcü and publisher Ayse
Nur Zarakolu were sentenced on March 14 by the Istanbul SSC for having
published in Turkish the 1995 Human Rights Watch Arms project report,
Weapons Transfers and Violations of the Laws of War in Turkey. The
court also ordered the confiscation of the report. (This report was
reprinted earlier by Info-Türk)
Both are charged under Article 159/1 of the Turkish
Penal Code for "defaming and belittling the state military and security
Translator Kürkcü was given a ten-month prison
sentence, suspended for two years. If Kürkcü is seen to violate once
more the same article of the Turkish Penal Code during this two-year
period, he will automatically be sent to jail for ten months, in
addition to being prosecuted for the new infraction.
Ayse Nur Zarakolu, the owner of Belge Publishing
House that published the translation, was fined TL 1.5 million.
In the week directly following January hearing of
the trial, three additional charges were brought against Zarakolu for
publishing texts dealing with minority issues in Turkey. She now has a
total of 21 cases pending against her.
A HRW press release, protesting against the verdict,
states that in the case of the translator, in particular, the verdict
has effectively muzzled his activities as a translator, journalist and
intellectual for two years. And while Zarakolu's sentence is largely
symbolic, state prosecutors have more than compensated with an
unprecedented intensification of other legal proceedings against the
ZARAKOLU AWARDED BY PEN AMERICAN CENTER
Turkish publisher Ayse Nur Zarakolu was, on April
10, 1997, prized with 1997 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom-to-Write
Award by the PEN American Center for her fight to defend freedom
Mrs. Zarakolu, a founder of Turkey's Freedom to
Publish Committee and the director of Belge Publishing House, was
sentenced in 1995 to two years in prison for having published a book on
the 1915 genocide of Turkish Armenians by the Turkish army, which the
government of Turkey denies to this day.
While she has not yet been imprisoned for that
charge, she faces prosecution on charges relating to other
controversial Belge books, most notably "Weapons Transfers and
Violations of the Laws of War in Turkey", a report by the New
York-based Human Rights Watch, and she has already been fined more than
Zarakolu spent last fall behind bars for publishing
a book on the Kurdish civil war, and, although she is now free, she
could be reimprisoned at any time.
NEW YORK TIMES CORRESPONDENT DETAINED IN TURKEY
On 2 March 1997, The New York Times correspondent
Stephen Kinzer was detained at a military checkpoint near the town of
Kozluk and taken to the town of Batman, where he was held in custody
for 19 hours before his release. According to The
New York Times, Kinzer was subjected to seven hours of interrogation
during which security agents accused him of spying for the outlawed PKK.
During the detention and interrogation, he was also
denied requests to contact the United States Embassy and The New York
Times to alert them of his situation.
The New York Times, in a letter addressed to Prime
Minister Erbakan, said it was "astonished and deeply distressed" over
the "outrageous treatment" of its Istanbul correspondent at the hands
of the military and police in Southeast Turkey. "Kinzer was taken at
gun point to a police command post and detained for 19 hours. He was
interrogated for seven hours by police who accused him of being a
PKK spy. He was fingerprinted and photographed in the manner of a
common criminal. He was kept in a jail cell overnight. He was forced to
sign documents he could not understand."
FIVE JOURNALISTS ARRESTED AND TORTURED WHILE IN DETENTION
On 7 March, Hatun Temizalp and Ali Cankaya,
journalists with the bi-monthly newspaper Proleter Halkin Birligi, were
arrested during a police raid in the Istanbul neighbourhood of
The pretext for their arrest was the discovery by
police of copies of Proleter Halkin Birligi in their possession. Police
officers subsequently accused them of affiliation with an "outlawed
Both Temizalp and Cankaya were detained for seven
days and were subjected to varying degrees of torture. Based on
information recently received by CPJ, Temizalp was repeatedly punched
and kicked about her body over a period of two days by police officers.
In a separate development, three journalists were
arrested and taken into police custody on or about 12 March near the
capital of Ankara. They are Orhan Kavci of the weekly Kizilbayrak, and
Gülay Yücel and Nihat Ozcan, reporters with the weekly Kurtulus.
PUBLISHER RECEP MARASLI ARRESTED
Amnesty International has reported the re-arrest of
publisher Recep Marasli on 6 March 1997 with his wife, Nuran Marasli,
at Ankara airport as they attempted to flee the country.
They were taken to the Anti-Terror Branch of the
Ankara Police Headquarters. The couple appeared in court on 12 March,
after which Marasli was committed to prison and his wife released.
Amnesty International reports that his arrest is
connected to his publications and writings, although the exact details
of the charges against him remain unclear.
Marasli had been imprisoned for years after the 1980
military coup for her earlier writings and publications.
International PEN is seriously concerned for his
health, which is said to be permanently and seriously damaged as a
result of the torture he suffered during a previous detention. He
reportedly has difficulty in walking and in keeping balance, and is in
need of constant medical care and treatment.
YENI DÜZEN JOURNALISTS THREATENED WITH DEATH
On 5 March 1997, the Turkish Cypriot newspaper Yeni
Düzen reported that it had received death threats from Azmi
Karamahmutoglu, the Chairman of the "Idealist Hearths Organisation" in
Yeni Düzen reports in a front-page article entitled
"Death Threat" that Karamahmutoglu sent a letter to the journalists of
the newspaper in which he allegedly threatens them with death.
In his letter, Karamahmutoglu reportedly writes,
"What I understand is that you want to become `researcher journalists.'
That is, you want to be an Abdi Ipekci, and Ugur Mumcu or a Kutlu Adali
[three journalists who were assassinated], but there are some necessary
conditions for this." Adali was an editorial writer for Yeni Düzen
FIRST TWO-MONTH PERSECUTION OF THE MEDIA IN 1997
2.1, the editor of the defunct daily Özgür Gündem,
Bülent Balta, is put in prison to serve his prison terms given for some
articles he published. Two publishers of the journal Akdeniz in
Isparta, Ismail Rüstü Celik and Mehmet Ali Celik are attacked by two
armed assailants. In Osmaniye, the office of the local daily Özgür
Cukurova is raided by police and publisher Yeter Özcan taken into
3.1, Özgür Gelecek, N°88, is confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC on charges of separatist propaganda.
4.1, in Ankara, the offices of the periodicals
Kurtulus, Alinteri and Kizil Bayrak are raided by police who arrest
during the operation nine people including four members of the musical
group Ekin, Derya Güzel, Cigdem Dagkiran, Özgür Aktan and Deniz Sarigül.
8.1, the Istanbul SSC sentences the editor of the
periodical Özgür Gelecek, Murat Aricak, to one year in prison and TL
600 million in fine. The court also decides to ban the review's
publication for one month. The Istanbul SSC bans the broadcasting of
a programme on tortured children at the Show TV. Devrimci Genclik
correspondent Molla Zincir is detained in Istanbul.
11.1, a former editor of the periodical Sosyalist
Alternatif, Aliyar Gökce is detained in Canakkale.
13.1, writer Haydar Arslan's book Selected Articles
from Devrimci Yol is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC. A legal action is
started against the Gökkusagi Publishing House which edited the book.
The January issue of the review Yeniden Newroz is confiscated by the
Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda.
14.1, the Adana representative of the periodical
Tavir, Ayfer Arife Yildiz is placed under arrest by a court of Adana.
15.1, former DEP deputy Mahmut Alinak is put in
Ankara to serve a three-year imprisonment because he could not pay a
fine of TL 116 million for a speech he gave during the 1991 electoral
campaign. Sentenced by the Ankara SSC. He already served a nine-month
imprisonment in the same case. The periodical Devrimci Emek is closed
for fifteen days by the Istanbul SSC.
16.1, a book written by journalist Lissy Schmidt,
The Price of Freedom: Reportages from the Kurdish Region in Iraq, is
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda. After a
nine-year activity of journalist in Turkey Lissy Scmidt was not allowed
to stay in Turkey and killed on April 3, 1994, in Iraq. The Istanbul
SSC sentences the editor of the review Partizan Sesi, Hatun Yildirim,
to two years and six months in prison and TL 1.5 billion in fine. The
Izmir SSC sentences the editors of the dailies Hürriyet, Yeni Asir and
Ege to a fine of TL 90 million each for having revealed the names of
some policemen accused of torture. The SSC prosecutor starts legal
actions for same reason against the editors of Milliyet, Cumhuriyet and
19.1, the editor of the defunct review Emegin
Bayragi, Haydar Demir is put in prison in Ayvalik to serve his
three-year imprisonment. Two correspondents of the journal Kurtulus,
Mehmet Yildiz and Nebahat Aslan, are detained in Istanbul. The Istanbul
SSC confiscates the review Hedef N°63 for propaganda of an outlawed
organization. In Adana, the office of the review Alinteri is raided
and correspondent Melek Tukur harassed by police.
20.1, Dr. Haluk Gerger's book The regime of Turkey
and The Kurdish Question is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC.
21.1, the broadcasting of the TV Kanal D is banned
for one day by the Radio-TV Higher Board (RTÜK). The same board also
bans for an indefinite period the broadcasting of the TV MRT and the
radios Uzay, Ribat, Konya, Net and Ülkü in Konya.
22.1, poet Yilmaz Odabasi is again indicted by a
penal court of Ankara for his book Dream and Life while he is already
being tried by the Ankara SSC for the same book. He is accused of
insulting Atatürk and Turkish national anthem.
23.1, Istanbul offices of the Komal publishing house
and the periodical Sterka Rizgari are raided by police and four people
24.1, the Istanbul SSC confiscates the review Deng
N°39, Kemal Burkay's books Religion and Politics and Malmisanj, Kird,
Kirmanci, Dimili or Zaza Kurds, Munzur Cem's books Some Erroneous Views
on Alevis, Kurmanci, Kirmanci and Dersim and Czar's Rubais.
27.1, The RTÜK bans the broadcasting of private TV
channels Yildiz TV (Mardin), DRT, CRT-1 and CRT-2 (Ceyhan) and Kanal E
(Elbistan) as well as the radios TEK (Elbistan), Duyan FM and Ceyhan FM
(Ceyhan) for not having fulfilled certain official formalities. Two
journalists of the daily Cumhuriyet, Eren Güvener and Ayca Atikoglu,
and writer Emre Yilmaz are tried by a penal court of Istanbul for
having insulted a public prosecutor.
28.1, Haydar Isik's book Dersim Tertelesi is
confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda. The Adana
office of the periodical Tavir is put on fire by unidentified persons
after a raid to the same office by police.
29.1, the Istanbul SSC sentences periodical Hedef's
contributor Ismail Kalkan to 3 years and 9 months in prison for aiding
an outlawed organisation. Two journalists, Turan Gültekin (Yeni Asir)
and Göktay Koraltan (Yeni TV) are beaten by bodyguards during Premier
Erbakan's visit to Izmir.
30.1, The RTÜK bans the broadcasting of the radios
Vahdet FM, Hilal FM and Radio 27 for not fulfilling some formalities.
1.2, poet Can Yücel is indicted along with the
editor of the humoristic review Leman by public prosecutor for
insulting religious values. He faces a prison of up to two years.
Proleter Halkin Birligi N°30 is confiscated by the Istanbul SSC for
propaganda of an outlawed organization.
2.2, a panel organized in Diyarbakir by the
Democracy and Peace Party (DBP) is banned by the governor's decision.
Another panel on the assassination of journalist Metin Göktepe in
Istanbul is also forbidden. In Hatay, three journalists of the review
Güneyde Kardelen, Ismail Kilic, Mehmet Güzel and Semsettin Koyun are
indicted by the Malatya SSC Prosecutor for separatist propaganda. Each
faces imprisonment of up to five years.
3.2, The Court of Cassation ratifies a fine of TL
5,450,000 against the director of the Yurt Publishing House, Ünsal
Öztürk, for having published Ismail Besikci's two books, The 12
September Fascism and The Resistance of PKK and An Intellectual, An
Organisation and the Kurdish Question. Two journalists of the local
radio Safak FM in Gaziantep, Siddik Akdogan and Nisan Kumru are
arrested for having insulted Atatürk in a programme. The RTÜK bans
for one day the broadcasting of two radios, Hedef Radyo in Ankara
and Radyo Umut in Istanbul.
4.2, the editor of the review Sterka Rizgari is
arrested in Istanbul. Cartoonist Ahmet Erkanli is put in Bayrampasa
Prison in Istanbul for serving his ten-month imprisonment for a cartoon
published by the review Tavir.
5.2, H.C. Armstrong's book Grey Wolf, written in
1932 on Atatürk, is confiscated by a penal court of Istanbul for
insulting Atatürk. Police raid the offices of three periodicals,
Tavir in Adana, Özgür Atilim in Mersin and Deng in Istanbul. The
broadcasting of the Metro TV in Diyarbakir is banned for one day by the
6.2, IHD Vice-chairwoman and lawyer Eren Keskin is
sentenced by the Istanbul SSC to one year and 40 days in prison
and TL 111 million in fine for an interview she gave to Medya Günesi.
The review's editor Nesih Cilgin too is sentenced to same prison term
and a fine of TL 131 million. The former editor of Atilim, Eylem
Semint is sentenced by a criminal court of Istanbul to ten months in
prison and a fine of TL 1.5 million for having insulted the Republic.
In Osmaniye, the publisher of the journal Özgür Cukurova, Yeter Özcan,
is again detained by police raiding his office. Dayanisma
correspondents Dilek Korkmaz and Songül Demir are detained in Gebze.
7.2, in Istanbul, journalist Fatih Altayli is
detained together with eight other persons on charges of holding an
unauthorised demonstration in front of Ciller's villa in Istanbul.
RTÜK bans the broadcasting of TV Hizmet and Radio Hizmet in Ünye and
two other local radios in Korgan and Ulubey.
10.2, the editor of defunct review Hevdem, Siddik
Demirel is arrested in Eskisehir to serve his 20-month imprisonment.
11.2, the Istanbul SSC confiscates Odak N°61,
Devrimci Emek N°50, Aydinlik N°503 and the last issue of Emek for
12.2, police take into custody three journalists,
Kamber Saygili (Özgür Atilim), Zeynel Engin (Partizan Sesi) and Emine
Bas (Özgür Radyo) in Istanbul as they were covering a press conference
by a group of workers. The office of the review Alinteri is raided in
Istanbul and its issue N°90 confiscated by the SSC.
13.2, journalist Mustafa Aktas' book Come to My
Voice is confiscated by Istanbul SSC for separatist propaganda. RTÜK
bans Dost Radio and Dost TV in Erzincan.
14.2, RTÜK bans Radio Genclik FM in Batman and Radio
FM 12 in Bingöl.
15.2, in Iskenderun, the offices of IHD, HADEP and
the review Özgür Atilim are raided by police. In Istanbul, the last
issues of two newspapers, Selam and Radikal, are confiscated by
18.2, twelve human rights activists from the IHD and
the Izmir Anti-War Association (ISKD) are brought before a military
court of Turkish General Staff on charges of having published a
communiqué against military service. Each faces imprisonment of up to
two years. Twelve high school students are tried by the Istanbul SSC
for having constituted a committee for democratic rights.
19.2, journalists Faruk Demirel and Ragip Polat are
detained in Ankara as covering a trade union action against the
privatisation of an energy central.
20.2, writer and publisher Muzaffer Erdost is
sentenced by the Ankara SSC to one-year prison and a fine of TL 100
million for his book Three Sivas. The Istanbul SSC confiscates the
periodicals Sokak N°1, Proleter Halkin Birligi N°31, Partizan Sesi N°54
for separatist propaganda and Selam for fundamentalist propaganda.
21.2, police detain Partizan Sesi correspondent
Ahmet Özlü in Adana, Özgür Atilim correspondents Sultan Secik, Bayram
Namaz and Ferhat Akcay in Istanbul. The Court of Cassation ratifies
15-day ban on the review Hedef. The Ankara SSC sentences writer
Medeni Ayhan to one-year imprisonment and a fine of TL 100 million for
his book Kurdish Philosopher Ehmede Xane. RTÜK bans for one day TV
channels Kanal D and Kanal 7.
24.2, two journalists of Demokrat Radyo in Izmir,
Savas Öztürk and Necmi Aksoy are indicted for their programs on
incidents in prisons. RTÜK bans Metro TV in Diyarbakir and Sok Radio
in Icel for 30 days, and Kanal D and Show TV in Istanbul for one day.
Yalcin Kücük's book History in Brief is confiscated for insulting State
authorities. The trial of Demokrasi Van correspondents Adil Harmanci
and Ayse Harmanci starts at the Diyarbakir SSC. Özgür Halk publisher
Aral Yilmaz is detained in Elazig.
25.2, Hürriyet columnist Emin Cölacan and editor
Dogan Satmis are indicted by Ankara prosecutor for having insulted
Premier Erbakan. Alinteri office is raided by police in Adana and the
review's last issue N°91 confiscated by Istanbul SSC.
28.2, the wife of wanted journalist Zeynel Abidin
Kizilyaprak (Nû Roj), Rahime Henden, claims to have been kept as
hostage by police on February 27 until her husband's surrendering. She
also says to have witnessed the torture applied to Özgür Atilim
correspondent Sultan Secik and two others persons at the political
police station. The assassinated writer Turan Dursun's book The Taboo
in Ruins is confiscated by a penal court of Istanbul on charges of