A non-government information center on Turkey

Un centre d'information non-gouvernemental sur la Turquie

36th Year / 36e Année
2010 August
N° 384
53 rue de Pavie - 1000 Bruxelles
Tél: (32-2) 215 35 76 - Fax: (32-2) 215 58 60
Chief Editor /Rédacteur en chef: 
Dogan Ozgüden

Responsible editor/Editrice responsable:

Inci Tugsavul
Human Rights
Pressures on  media
Kurdish Question
Interior politics
Armed Forces
Religious affairs
Regional Relations
Cyprus and Greece

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Droits de l'Homme / Human Rights

Kurdish prisoners denounce jail conditions
Civil initiative calls for a bilateral ceasefire
Ex-Admiral Spoke, Families of the Missing Sued Officials of the 90s
Anti-Terror law changed but many children still in jail

Pression sur les médias / Pressure on the Media

Journalist Zengin in Detention for another 6 Months

Press Organizations Establish "Freedom for Journalists Platform"
Second Kurdish language newspaper shut down by Turkey in four days
TYB Demands the Release of Journalist Zengin and Writer Akhanlı
Writer, Activist Akhanli Arrested at Istanbul Airport
Un journaliste américain expulsé et interdit d’entrée sur le territoire turc
 Azadiya Welat shut down for the eighth time
Journalist Organizations Urge for "Fair Trials" for Journalists
Turkish police arrests American journalist in Diyarbakir
 Journalists are in Danger, 12 Attacks This Year
Award-winning Turkish journalist troubled by censorship
BIA Report on Crime of Thought: 249 Suspects in Three Months
 Prison Sentence for “Devrimci Hareket” Responsible editor
RSF: Un nouveau procès contre les voix de la minorité kurde

Kurdish Question / Question kurde

"Decentralization" remains central aim of Turkey's pro-Kurdish party

Appel à l’observation des procès anti-kurdes à Diyarbakir
Un député PS bruxellois en service militaire en Turquie
DTK Announced 5 Steps to Resolve Kurdish Question
Reprise des combats en Turquie suivie d’une trêve
Call from Diyarbakir: Ceasefire an Opportunity for Dialogue
Government Is Urged to Take Concrete Steps After the PKK's Ceasfire
Diyarbakir Mayor Baydemir Charged for Criticizing Security Operations
A second case against Orhan Miroglu over the same speech
European delegation barred from Diyarbakır prison
PKK calls unilateral ceasefire until 20th September
Desmond Tutu's Appeal to Erdogan on the Kurdish Problem
DTK Proposes Autonomy and Supports Boycott
BDP Demands the Silencing of Weapons
3 soldats turcs tués par des rebelles kurdes
Un soldat turc et six rebelles kurdes tués dans l'est
La Turquie va vers la guerre civile - Ahmet DERE
Time bomb found in Dersim city hall
Investigation against 17 people for speaking in Kurdish
Kurdish Mayor Baydemir prosecuted over his speech on Autonomy

Minorités / Minorities

Protestation à Istanbul contre les expulsions de Roms par la France
Dink's Lawyer Çetin: Violations Continue, New Trials to Come
No Investigation about the MIT's negligence on Dink's Assassination
European court finds Turkey guilty in Dink case
Sulukule Roma Association’s application to European court accepted
Service at Sümela Monastery - Yet no Equality
Turkey Criticized for Tainting The Memory of Slain Journalist
ECHR: Ankara Justifies Hrant Dink's Assassination
Une première messe depuis 88 ans au monastère turc de Sümela
La Turquie desserre l'étau autour du Patriarcat de Constantinople

Politique intérieure/Interior Politics

Erdogan admet des contacts avec Öcalan

BDP bargains for 'yes' vote in Turkish referendum
KCK Chairman Karayilan: We may reconsider boycott decision
Crisis deepens over judicial appointments in Turkey
IHD refrains from taking a stand as to ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘boycott’
La polygamie d'un conseiller d'Erdogan provoque la controverse
Gerger on YAS: "New round for Turkey power struggle"

Forces armées/Armed Forces

New Turkish military chief calls for fight against autonomy

 Nouveau livre d'Özkoray: "Turquie: Le putsch permanent"
 Military statement on Heron accusations left unanswered questions
 Turkey Accused of Using Chemical Weapons Against PKK
Fin du conflit, mais des faucons toujours à la tête de l'Armée
The Army also dominates, through OYAK, the country's economy
Annulation du mandat d'arrêt visant des militaires turcs accusés de complot
 A General's Sudden Retirement Deepens YAS Crisis
Top military posts left vacant amid probes
General Expecting Promotion Summoned for Interrogation
Nouvelle confrontation entre le gouvernement et l’armée

Affaires religieuses / Religious Affairs

Un chef de la police accuse une confrérie de machination

 Zawahiri dénonce les "liens" de la Turquie avec Israël
Media Sells Religion During Ramadan!
"TRT Violates Impartiality Principle Again With Ramadan Programs”
La police turque arrête 15 personnes soupçonnées de liens avec Al-Qaïda

Socio-économique / Socio-economic

4.7 Million Illiterate Women in Turkey
Attentat contre un gazoduc avec l'Iran
Turkey cannot protect women seeking shelter

Relations turco-européennes / Turkey-Europe Relations

Lech Walesa: "pas d'Europe sans la Turquie"

Un dirigeant serbe bosniaque dénonce l'ingérence turque en Bosnie

Turquie-USA/ Turkey-USA

Une mission turque à Washington pour dissiper les craintes

La Maison Blanche dément avoir lancé un "ultimatum" à Ankara
Flotille pour Gaza: Ankara "réprimande" Washington

Relations régionales / Regional Relations

Flottille: la Turquie constitue sa propre commission d'enquête
Ankara convoque l'ambassadeur d'Israël après des commentaires d'Ehud Barak
 L'ONU nomme des enquêteurs avec l'approbation d'Israël sur le raid meurtrier
Le leader du parti de la minorité turque soupçonné de corruption

Chypre et la Grèce / Cyprus and Greece

Profanation d'un cimetière musulman dans le nord-est de la Grèce
Bombe incendiaire contre le consulat de Turquie à Salonique

Immigration / Migration

Un député PS bruxellois en service militaire en Turquie
Assyrian Genocide Monument in Australia Vandalized
Australie: opérations policières visant des Kurdes
KON-KURD Chairman Toguç Released in Italy
Vanackere a parlé en Turquie du dossier de Fehriye Erdal

Droits de l'Homme / Human Rights

Kurdish prisoners denounce jail conditions

A Kurdish prisoner Ebedin Abi kept in Trabzon E Type Closed Prison said the food given to the prisoners is full of insects and they are left to languish in the prison. In his letter to the Human Rights Association in Turkey (IHD) Abi also said due to over-crowd they have to stay six inmates in 3-person cells.

Abi further said all their protest against the prison conditions were confronted with disciplinary punishment by the prison administration. He added: “Due to our objections we were transferred to a ward where the dormitory and the kitchen are in within the other. Because of the humidity the food goes off and even the beds became mouldy.”

Discrimination between political and non-political prisoners

Abi also said that although there is enough space in the prison the political prisoner are yet kept in “isolation wards” whereas the non-political prisoners are staying in twelve-person wards only five or six inmates. He further stated that the political prisoners are allowed to go to gym only twice in a month and they are deprived of any courses or other social activities.

Ward searches are provocative

He also said that in the course of monthly ward searches they are subjected to arbitrary treatments. For instance, the radios which were allowed by the administration before are collected during the searched without any reason. “Even the roses we grew in flowerpots were taken away. These practices are clear provocations” added Abi.

Abi also said that the families most of the political prisoners are living in the south east which is quite a long way for the families to visit them. Although they applied to be transferred to the prisons in the south east so that the families could come to visit them more often their requests have been rejected without any justification.

Abi further stated that he is diabetic and cardiac and needs to go under a check-up once in a month however, his requests are denied. He also said that he has never been informed about the test results of the samples he gave to the guards to be handed to the doctors in the hospital.

It is reported that IHD will apply the Ministry of Justice in relation to these violations taking lace in the prisons.
(AFN, 12 August 2010)

Civil initiative calls for a bilateral ceasefire

A total of 162 unions, organisations and formations in Ankara made a joint statement calling for the silencing of weapons and for the preparation of grounds for a permanent solution of the Kurdish problem.

"We are expecting the concerned parties to respond to our call so that we can all live together in peace and equality," said the organisation. Following are some parts from the joint statement:

Emotional disengagement is deepening: The insistence to solve the problem through violence is increasing emotional disengagement between the Turks and the Kurds and gradually rendering them enemies. State institutions' attitude, which protects and absolves the aggressive crowds and which depicts the victims as enemies and criminals, is inciting lynch attempts and deepening discrimination.

Weapons should be silenced: We the associations, unions, chambers, circles and platforms in Ankara, are calling on the sides to put an urgent end to clashes and create an atmosphere of peace that would clear the way for a political solution. For the democratic solution of the Kurdish Problem, a peaceful atmosphere should be created, the weapons should be silenced and the fingers should be kept off the triggers. The Turkish Armed Forces should cease operations and the PKK should stop its actions.

An atmosphere of dialogue: The process of dialogue should begin so that a permanent solution can be rendered possible. No actor, who sees himself as a side in solution should be ignored. An atmosphere of dialogue free of prohibitions should be created and the various suggestion should be discussed without prejudices.

New constitution: A democratic constitution to be prepared with the society's participation is crucially important for the solution of the Kurdish problem. We will support every effort for a pluralist, new constitution which is based on democratic values, freedom and equality.

Election threshold should be lifted: For politics to serve as a problem-solving mechanism, there is need for a political party regime in which all political views can freely express their views. The election threshold, which leads to unfairness in representation should be lifted. Political parties and the election law should be cleared of prohibitions.

Release Kurdish politicians and rights activists: All politicians, human rights activists and the peace ambassadors who were released for leaving their weapons behind and returning, should immediately be released.

Message to the media: It is important that political actors and the media adopt a language based on equality and freedoms and create a ground for negotiations. (BIA News Center, 12 August 2010)

Anti-Terror law changed but many children still in jail

Although anti-terror law (TMK) has been modified and more than 100 children who were on trial under this law have been released, because necessary amendments have not been done in the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) the children tried under TCK are not released by the courts.

Victims of the Turkish anti-terror laws better known with “stone-throwing terrorist” are still in custody due to insufficient legal amendments by the Turkish government. Istanbul Heavy Criminal Court Nr.9 refused to release the Kurdish children who have been in custody for 8 months on account of throwing stones to the police during a demonstration. The courts said the cases of the children fall within the scope of the Turkish Penal Code and unlike the other children whose files were within the scope of Anti-terror law the new legal amendments do not apply these children.

The lawyer for the children Filiz Kerestecioğlu said unlike the other children her clients are being charged with the article of the Turkish Penal Code and because the recent amendments are done only in Anti-terror Law her clients despite fact that they were imprisoned on account of the same acts cannot benefit from the amendments. She further says, irrespective of the legislation in Turkey the children should be released under International instruments and jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights.

Kerestecioğlu also stated that they challenged the decision from court and applied a higher court however; their demand has not been responded yet. She further said Articles 220/6 and 314 of the TCK under which the children are kept in custody should be amended immediately.
(ANF, 6 August 2010)

Ex-Admiral Spoke, Families of the Missing Sued Officials of the 90s

Human Rights Association's (IHD), Commission Against Disappearances Under Detention and Association of Those, Whose Relatives Went Missing (YAKAY- DER), have filed a criminal complaint against the political and military leaders of the 90s, following the statement of retired Vice-Admiral Kiyat.

Velat Demir, the brother of Goran Demir read the statement on behalf of the families, who gathered in front of the Sultanahmet Court House.

Demir, in his statement, said:

"We have been saying, for years, that it is the security forces of the state - which is supposed to protect lives - that caused our relatives to go missing. We have been saying, for years, that those, who caused our children, spouses, brothers, parents to go missing or die, are acting within the chain of command. We have been saying for years that the unsolved murders and the missing are state policy."

"We were declared as traitors, who defame the security forces of the state. Now the members of the Turkish Armed Forces and the ministers of the state are saying what we have been saying for years."

Demir listed the names of those against whom they have filed a complaint:

"Suleyman Demirel, Tansu Ciller, Mesut Yilmaz, Necmettin Erbakan, Dogan Gures, Ismail Hakki Karadayi, Hayri Kozakcioglu, Necati Cetinkaya, Unal Erkan, Necati Bilican, Teoman Koman, Aydin Ilter, Fikret Ozden Boztepe, Abdulkadir Aksu, Murat Basesgioglu, Mehmet Agar, Meral Aksener, Nahit Mentese, Mehmet Gazioglu, Ismet Sezgin and all others involved ..."

After filing the complaint, Lawyer Abdulbaki Boga made the following statement:

"The king is naked. Kiyat could no longer endure hiding the truth. Kiyat stated that the pain we have been suffering was a state policy. As the relatives of the missing, we believe that this problem may only be solved through a fair trial. Therefore, we demand that the judicial authority investigates the people we have filed complaints against."(BIA, Berivan TAPAN, 7 August 2010)

Pression sur les médias / Pressure on the Media

Journalist Zengin in Detention for another 6 Months

Suzan Zengin, journalist and interpreter at the Işçi-Köylü (Workers-Peasants) newspaper, had her first hearing on Thursday (26 August) after one year in detention. bianet talked to her lawyer, Gül Altay. She said that their request to release Zengin pending trial was dismissed despite a lack of concrete evidence.

The Beşiktaş (Istanbul) 10th High Criminal Court postponed the case to 15 February 2011.

Zengin stands accused of "membership of an illegal organization". She was detained on 28 August 2009.

Altay stated that they were going to appeal against the continued detention. The lawyer pointed out the following problems regarding the indictment:

No connections to the other defendants: The prosecution is concerned with the raid on a tea house and Molotov cocktails that were found in a vacant building. Five young defendants are in detention and two are being searched. The defendants state that they have no connections at all with Suzan Zengin and that they do not know her. In addition, the raid on the tea house, which Zengin herself has nothing to do with, was not carried out because of "organized crime" but was a judicial issue.

No concrete evidence: The evidence brought up against Zengin stems from telephone conversations she made as an interpreter or for the newspaper with union presidents, representatives of the Işçi-Köylü newspaper or publishers of other magazines. None of these phone talks contain any element of crime, they are not related to the incidents.

No new evidence since Zengin was detained: As one reason for the dismissal of the demand for her release the court mentioned the possibility of concealing evidence. Lawyer Altay on the other hand indicated that no new evidence was added to the file ever since the detention and since the file was given a classified status. (BIA, Tolga KORKUT, 27 August 2010)

Press Organizations Establish "Freedom for Journalists Platform"

Under the direction of the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC), 14 professional press organizations came together to emphasize that no journalist should be kept in detention on the grounds of his/her writings.

After discussing "disadvantageous provisions" related to freedom of press and communication in the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK) in a meeting at the Press Council, the participating organizations decided to establish a "Freedom for Journalists Platform" and a "Commission for Action".

TGC President Orhan Erinç became the first head of the newly founded platform. Erinç pointed out that the trials against journalists were not in line with the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The meeting was hosted by the TGC on 18 August. The President of the Press Council, Oktay Ekşi, stated that the political power did not pay attention to the criticism voiced by professional press organizations regarding disadvantages in certain provisions of the TCK after its enforcement in 2005.

In the first two months after the founding of the platform it will be chaired by Erinç. The presidency will alternate in bi-monthly intervals. Ekşi will be chair of the platform in November/December, followed in 2011 by Atilla Sertel from the Turkish Journalists Federation (TGF), the President of the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGS), Ercan İpekçi, the President of the Press Institute Association, Ferai Tınç and Ahmet Abakay as the President of the Contemporary Journalists Association (ÇGD).

TGF President Sertel emphasized, "As professional press organizations we do not want any journalist to be prosecuted on the grounds of their thoughts, utterances and writings". He assured support for the signature campaign "Freedom for Journalists" initiated by the TGS and the G-9 Journalists Platform. The campaign aims to end detention for journalists. Sertel explained that the lists of signatures will be submitted to the President, the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Justice and other competent bodies.

Sertel called other professional organizations to join the platform as well.

Organizations attending the meeting

Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) President Orhan Erinç, Turkish Union of Journalists (TGS) President Ercan İpekçi, Turkish Journalists Federation (TGF) President Atilla Sertel, Press Council President Oktay Ekşi, Press Council Secretary General Oktay Huduti, Press Institute Association President Ferai Tınç and Secretary General Yurdanur Atadan, Contemporary Journalists Association (ÇGD) President Ahment Abakay, Economy Reporters Association Deputy President Mehmet Kaya, Newspaper Owners Association Secretary General Rüştü Bozkurt, Haber-Sen Board Member Mehmet Demir, Izmir Journalists Association Deputy President Ali Ekber Yıldırım, Culture, Tourism and Environment Newspapers Association President Ali Tarık Hatipoğlu, Turkish Sports Writers Association Deputy Chair İlyas Namoğlu, Media Ethics Council President Halit Esendir and the Professional News Cameramen Association. (BIA, Berivan TAPAN, 26 August 2010)

Second Kurdish language newspaper shut down by Turkey in four days

Istanbul 11th High Criminal Court issued a shut down verdict today against Kurdish daily Rojev on the grounds of making propaganda of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and KONGRA GEL.

The decision came after shut down of another Kurdish daily Azadiya Welat on Wednesday.

This is the fourt shut down verdict for Kurdish newspapers in 2010.

The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly challenged decisions by the Turkish courts.

EU officials say the prevailing culture among judges and prosecutors, and the severity of several articles in the criminal code, pose serious obstacles to Turkey's bid for EU membership.

But despite many promises, the government has so far made little progress in reforming the judiciary.

Journalists to protest closure of Kurdish papers

Kurdish media will be holding a press statement today to show reaction against the closure of Azadiye Welat and Rojev papers within 4 days from one to the other.

Rojev newspaper, which began to be published on 24 August 2010 again, has been closed for one month on grounds of publishing PKK (Kurdistan workers Party) flag and the picture of Kurdish Leader Abdullah Öcalan on the front page a few days ago.

Following the closure decision by the court, Kurdish media members condemned the closure and stated that they will hold a press statement today concerning the case.

The statement, which was made yesterday on behalf of free media members, was as follows; “As Rojev Paper personnel, we will make a press statement today at 13:00  in Diyarbakır Southeast Journalists Union to call attention to the pressure developed on Kurdish media especially in recent periods.”

The statement also called all  freedom of press defenders to the press statement to give their support.
(ANF, 29 August 2010)

TYB Demands the Release of Journalist Zengin and Writer Akhanlı

Suzan Zengin, İşçi-Köylü ('Workers-Peasants) newspaper representative of the Kartal office (east of Istanbul) has been detained for a whole year now under charges of "membership of an illegal organization". The first hearing of her case is scheduled for 26 August. Ragıp Zarakolu, President of the Freedom of Publishing Committee of the Turkish Publishers Association (TYB), said that Zengin should be released.

The association held a press conference in the Istanbul branch of the Human Rights Association (IHD) to draw attention to the situation of Zengin and also to demand the release of writer Doğan Akhanlı. He had to leave Turkey in the course of the events around the military coup on 12 September 1980. Akhanlı returned to Turkey 18 years later. He was arrested at the airport and detained in Metris Prison (Istanbul).

Zarakolu criticized that the Anti-Terror Law (TMY) is used to oppress the socialist and the Kurdish press:

"A campaign against the TMY has to be initiated. As long as the TMY is in force as it is, arbitrary applications will be imposed on journalists. Zengin is being detained for more than a year without a reason. Akhanlı was tortured and imprisoned because of this struggle against the 12 September [military coup] fascism. It is the irony of history that he is being detained because of the mindset of 12 September just before the referendum on 12 September [on the constitutional reform package] which is meant to change that very mindset", Zarakolu stated.

Zengin: They wanted Suzan to lose influence

The husband of journalist Suzan Zengin, Bekir Zengin, talked about his wife's detention:

"Suzan was detained in particular because of her influence in Kartal. They wanted her to lose that influence and to leave the area. She was detained despite a lack of evidence. When they raided our house they told her not to take any personal belongings with her. We understood that she would be in detention for a while".

Abay: Press organizations should show Zengin the same sensitivity they showed Balbay

Necati Abay from the Solidarity Platform for Detained Journalists (TGDP) visited detained journalists Mustafa Balbay and Tuncay Özkan last week. After his visit he addressed the heads of the professional press organizations with an urgent call:

"I call Oktay Ekşi, Orhan Erinç and Ercan Ipekçi. They should show Suzan Zengin the same sensitivity as they are showing the two journalists who are detained in Silivri (west of Istanbul) in the scope of the Ergenekon trial".

"Poyraz, Özkan and Balbay are not detained because of journalism"

Abay later on said that according to his figures, 37 journalists are currently detained in prison.

"Seven people from the Azadiya Welat newspaper are in detention, seven from Atılım [Advance] newspaper, six people from the DİHA news agency, two from Gündem [Agenda] newspaper, two from Işçi-Köylü newspaper, and one person each from Özgür [Free] Radio, Özgür Gençlik [Free Youth] magazine, Gün [Day] TV, Özgür Halk [Free People] Magazine, Radio Dünya [World], Aram Publishing, Emek and Adalet [Labour and Justice], Eylül [September] magazine, Yürüyüş [March] magazine, Devrimci Demokrasi [Revolutionary Democracy] newspaper, Devrimci Hareket [Revolutionary Movement] magazine, Kadının Umundunun Rengi [Colour of Woman's Hope] newspaper and the Odak [Focus] magazine".

bianet asked Abay why the number he gave was different from the figures given by the professional press organizations. He replied:

"Some persons such as Mustafa Balbay, Tuncay Özkan or Ergun Poyraz are not detained because of journalism. Together with the ones released we counted 37 according to our evaluation".

Toğay Okay from the Isçi-Köylü newspaper and Yıldız Uygun from Özgür University reiterated the claim to release Zengin.

Zengin's hearing is scheduled for 10.00 am on Thursday morning (26 August) at the Beşiktaş (Istanbul) 10th High Criminal Court. Another press statement will be released in front of the Court House at 9.30 am. (BIA, Berivan TAPAN, 25 August 2010)

Writer, Activist Akhanli Arrested at Istanbul Airport

Well-known writer of Turkish origin Dogan Akhanli was arrested at Istanbul airport on August 10 and has been imprisoned at the Metris prison facility since then. He was in Turkey to visit his ailing father in Turkey. Akhanli had become a German citizens in 2001. This was his very first visit to Turkey since his escape in 1991.

Turkish prosecutors accuse Akhanli of having participated, in October 1989, in an armed robbery of a currency exchange store. The robbery resulted in the death of a person. Akhanli rejects the accusations and states that he has no knowledge of or connection to the robbery. His defense attorneys, Haydar Erol in Istanbul and Ilias Uyar in Cologne also dismiss the evidence presented by the Turkish prosecution as entirely unsubstantiated.

In fact, the first witness to implicate Akhanli in 1992 was tortured (for which medical evidence has been presented) and, therefore the witness statements cannot be used in a court of law. Police presented another witness, in this case the son of the person who died in the robbery, with photos that exclusively showed Akhanli and then pressured him to identify Akhanli. The witness agreed with the police and suggested that Akhanli was one of the three participants in the robbery and confirmed that he could identify him in person. In a proper court of law a person must be presented with photos of several potential suspects to be able to identify a person.

Akhanli’s friends and colleagues issued a statement noting that due process would require that the accused be set free because of the lack of evidence. However, the prosecutor responsible for this case decided after a mere 20 minutes that the case would go forward. A first official complaint on August 20, 2010 was rejected, followed by Akhanli’s transfer out of Istanbul to Tekirdag (on the Marmara coast). This transfer makes visits from his attorneys, German consular officials and his relatives difficult or impossible.

The statement further noted, “Akhanli was aware of vague accusations against him. Prior to his departure he had arranged for a defense team and alerted friends in case of his arrest. As his friends, colleagues and engaged citizens, we accept that the Turkish authorities have the right to investigate the armed robbery. But we also expect that the justice system examine the evidence very carefully and we expect the immediate release of the accused.”

Dogan Akhanli went underground following the military coup in 1980. From 1985-1987 held in a military facility in Istanbul, he was tortured. In 1991, he escaped to Germany where he was accepted as a political refugee. Turkey removed all his citizenship rights following his escape. Since the mid-90s he lives as a writer in the city of Cologne. In his writings he addresses topics ranging from memorializing genocides of the 20th century, intercultural dialogue, and reconciliation. Akhanli has received numerous awards and prizes. He is engaged in pursuing information related to Hrant Dink’s assassination.

The Armenian Weekly thanks Prof. Vera Eccarius-Kelly for translating from German the press release based on which this article was written. (Armenian Weekly, August 24, 2010)

Un journaliste américain expulsé et interdit d’entrée sur le territoire turc

Le 20 août dernier, le journaliste américain Jake Hess a été expulsé de Turquie, après neuf jours de détention. Le journaliste avait été interpellé le 11 août dernier dans la province de Diyarbakir, au sud-est du pays, peuplé majoritairement de Kurdes.

Dans sa réaction suite à l’interpellation de Jake Hess par la section anti-terroriste de la police de Diyarbakir, Reporters sans frontières avait réclamé la libération immédiate du journaliste et déclaré que son expulsion n’était en aucun cas une solution adéquate. L’organisation est indignée par la décision du ministère de l’Intérieur d’expulser le journaliste et de lui assigner une interdiction d’entrée sur le territoire turc.

«On prétend que les articles de mon client ont placé l’Etat turc dans une situation délicate. Les autorités ont justifié l’expulsion de Jake Hess et son interdiction d’entrée sur le territoire par le fait que son nom apparaissait dans le registre des personnes accusées d’entretenir des liens avec l’Union des communautés du Kurdistan (KCK)», a déclaré Serkan Akbas, l’avocat du journaliste. Jake Hess à confirmé à Reporters sans frontières son intention de porter plainte contre le ministère de l’Intérieur afin de faire lever l’interdiction d’entrée sur le territoire, et d’avoir recours à la Cour européenne des droits de l’Homme si cela s’avère nécessaire. (
Reporters sans frontières, 24 août 2010)

Azadiya Welat shut down for the eighth time

Published in the city of Diyarbakir since 1994, the newspaper Azadiya Welat, or Independent Homeland, shut down for the eighth time.
Istanbul District Court ordered Azadiya Welat to be shut down for one month for making PKK / Kongra Gel propaganda.

This is the third shut down verdict against Azadiya Welat since January 2010.

The European Court of Human Rights has repeatedly challenged decisions by the Turkish courts.

EU officials say the prevailing culture among judges and prosecutors, and the severity of several articles in the criminal code, pose serious obstacles to Turkey's bid for EU membership.

But despite many promises, the government has so far made little progress in reforming the judiciary. (ANF, 22 August 2010)

Journalist Organizations Urge for "Fair Trials" for Journalists

The Turkish Journalists Association (TGC), the Turkish Journalists Union (TGS), the Turkish Journalists Federation (TGF), the Contemporary Journalists Association (TGD) and the Press Institution Association demanded fair trials fo journalists and criticized that detention time is being transformed into punishment. The organizations demanded the government to acknowledge press freedom and the people's right to be informed.

"Journalists should have fair trials" was the title of the press conference held on Wednesday (18 August) at the Turkish Journalists Association. TGC President Orahn Erinç read out a joint statement on behalf of the journalist organizations.

Erinç emphasized that prison sentences handed down to journalists in Turkey obstruct journalists from fulfilling their duty and constitute a threat to press freedom.

"47 journalists and press employees are currently tried and detained in Turkey.  Besides the journalists detained pending trial, more than 700 criminal and compensation cases against journalists are being tried".

Erinç pointed out that six journalists are prosecuted in the scope of the Ergenekon case. "All of them have been in detention since the beginning of the investigation. Requests to release them are repeatedly rejected. It is obvious that detention is not used as a means of precaution but as a way of punishment", Erinç criticized.

Erinç in particular referred to the cases of Mustafa Balbay, Tuncay Ozkan, Deniz Yildirim, Ufuk Akkaya, Hikmet Cicek, Emcet Olcaytu and Ergun Poyraz, journalists who are being detained for a considerable amount of time. Erinç indicated:

"We would like to bring to mind these experiences to the people who are trying to put forward a defence on behalf of the 'state of law' and the 'rule of law'. No journalist has ever been detained for such a long time in the past 33 years, not even during the tyranny of Abdülhamit, the time of National Courts, the Sheikh Said Rebellion Martial Law or in the times of the Single Party or the Democratic Party".

Erinç said that journalists were detained for a comparable length of time only in the context of the 'Peace Association Trial' during the times of the military coup around 12 September 1980 which he described as the 'revenge of the AKP'.

Gazeteciler açısından uzun tutukluluk süresinin tek örneğinin "AKP'nin 'intikam almak'tan söz ettiği 12 Eylül dönemindeki 'Barış Derneği Davası' olduğunu söyleyen Erinç, şöyle konuştu:

"Personal freedom is the most basic freedom. According to Article 19/7 of the Constitution of 1982, detainees have the right to a trial within a reasonable time and to request their release pending trial or during the investigation. Additionally, articles 5 and 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights grant the protection of personal freedom in the broadest sense".

"We set off from the presumption of innocence and say that this is a breach of the rules regarding detention during prosecution and contrary to human rights. We trust in the fact that the result of the case will eventually show who is innocent and who is guilty. The offences imputed on our colleagues stem from their actions done as professional journalists. We do not ask why they are being prosecuted. Instead we raise the question if our colleagues are not tried in accordance with the rules of the European Convention".

After the statement was read out, there was time for questions.

One journalist asked Erinç how he evaluated the statement of State Minister Hayati Yazıcı who said, "One comes and blames Tuncay Özkan or Mustafa Balbay; somebody else will come and blame Mustafa Özbek and Veli Küçük [Ergenekon defendants]. Then you will not be able to differentiate. Everybody is equal before the law".

Erinç replied, "We are not concerned with politics, hence I cannot evaluate the words of a minister. We neither question why journalists are being tried, we say that the rule of law should be applied when they are prosecuted.

Ferai Tınç, President of the Press Institute Association responded:

"We see that indictments related to journalists were prepared within the framework of conversations and secret documents in the scope of their activities as journalists. We think this is a restriction of their professional freedom. We need legal amendments. Punishments to silence the press should be lifted. Whoever takes steps for press freedom should be supported".

The husband of Suzan Zengin, detained journalist of the Workers-Peasants (Isci-Koylu) newspaper, remarked, "They are not only in Silivri [where the Ergenekon case is tried]. I wanted to draw attention to this fact". Erinç assured, "As a professional organization we closely follow all journalists on trial".

Atilla Sertel, President of the Turkish Journalists Federation, indicated, "You are asking your questions almost like questioning the reason for this press conference. This is a wrong approach. We take a just and equal stance towards all journalists".

TGS President Ercan İpekçi pointed out that the list of 47 people detained pending trial gave the minimum figure. He anticipated the number on the list to expand further in the future. "We have to protect all journalists instead of saying a journalist from your newspaper is tried under these charges and a journalist from my newspaper is tried under those charges. The penalties are an award for the journalists but for the country they are a shame".

The press conference was attended by Oktay Eksi, President of the Press Council, Nazim Alpman on behalf of the Contemporary Journalists Association, Yilmaz Karaca, President of the Journalists Associations Press Foundation, Nail Güreli, President of the Turkish Journalists Association Press Senate, Sibel Günes, Turkish Journalists Association Secretary General, Ali Ekber Yildirim, Deputy Chair of the Izmir Journalists Association, lawyer Turgut Kazan as a member of the Press Council, TGC Legal Advisor Fikret Ilkiz, journalists Ahmet Altan, Şükran Soner ve Mine Kirikkanat.(BIA, Berivan TAPAN, 19 August 2010)

Turkish police arrests American journalist in Diyarbakir

An American journalist Jake Hess was detained last night by the Turkish police in Kurdish city Diyarbakir on account of “Aiding and abetting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party”. It is reported that the arrest falls within the scope of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) case, in which hundreds of Kurdish politicians were imprisoned since last year. The arrested journalist faces deportation.

Jake Hess who was working freelance and was the only western journalist covering the bombardment of the Turkish army over civilian settlements as well as the forest fires started by the soldiers during military operations against the Kurdish guerrillas. Jake Hess was based in Diyarbakir and his reports were mostly being published by a leftist opposition news agency called IPS.

Hess wrote his last article from Suleymaniye on 4 August in which he was mentioning the Turkish bombardments on civilians and the displaced people.

In his article of 13 July Hess also wrote about the forest fires started by the Turkish soldiers in the Kurdish region. He also wrote that while the Turkish authorities are not taking any actions to extinguish the fire they also prevent the locals from doing so.

In his report in May he also wrote that torture is still common in Turkey and he gave voice to the victims.

It was known that the Turkish authorities were disturbed by the reports written by Hess and eventually the police arrested him yesterday before his house. While he is still kept in Diyarbakir Security Directorate and will appear before a court 24 hours after his arrest he is expected to be deported.
(AFN, 12 August 2010)

Journalists are in Danger, 12 Attacks This Year

Since the beginning of the year, 12 journalists have been attacked by the security forces, various political circles, interest groups or the mafia, while on duty.

Complaints against those responsible don't prove to be deterrent.

Attackers of Tuna and Bogatekin on trial

The four people, who were arrested in relation to the attack against Durmus Tuna, the owner of the Soke Gercek (Soke Reality) newspaper on 26 July 2009, have all been released pending the outcome of the trial.

Gerger Firat newspaper's owner Haci Bogatekin was attacked by a municipality employee as he was trying to film the fire in the municipality dump. With the complaint of the journalist, mayor Arif Karatekin's brother Ilhan Karatekin is being tried by a local court. The trial continued on 22 July.

12 new cases in 2010

In addition to these two attacks last year, 12 new attacks happened so far in 2010. As he was trying to film a traffic accident in Bursa, Ihlas News Agency reporter Edip Tekin was attacked by those, who were involved in the accident. His camera was broken.

Dogan News Agency reporter Mehmet Halis Is argued that he was attacked by the police on 17 July as he was covering the protest by members of the Peace and Democracy Party, who claimed that PKK members' corpses were tortured.

According to the Media Monitoring Report dated 4 August by the Independent Communications Network (BIA) Media Monitoring Desk, in the period covering April-May-June, five reporters (Mehmet Ali Unal, Veysel Polat, Omer Celik, Murat Altunoz, Pinar Ural) and a media organisation (Dogan Media Holding) were attacked.

BIA: Local reporters not indifferent but...

BIA Media Monitoring Desk, in its previous Media Monitoring Report dated 2 May, had declared that in January-February-March, five journalists (Cenker Tezel, Emrah Guner, Tamer Topcu, Ertugrul Yilmaz and Ozan Ozhan) were attacked.

The report stated that, "Although local journalists are not indifferent about the violence directed to them, the elected or appointed officials of the state cannot be tried."

We have lost Dink and Hayirsevener, but it's not yet over!

Cihan Hayirsevener, the chief editor of the Guney Marmara'da Yasam (Life in South Marmara) newspaper of the Bandirma district of Balikesir, had been shot and killed in the middle of a street on 18 December 2009.

Before Hayirsevener, journalist Hrant Dink had been killed in Istanbul on 19 January 2007. (BIA, Erol ONDEROGLU, 7 August 2010)

Award-winning Turkish journalist troubled by censorship

Hürriyet columnist Sedat Ergin speaks at the Turkish Journalists’ Association's 2010 Press Freedom Awards on July 24. AA photo
It is essential that journalists in Turkey be free to express themselves, according to daily Hürriyet columnist Sedat Ergin, recipient of the 2010 Press Freedom Awards of the Turkish Journalists’ Association on July 24.

“Citizens need to have the right to freely express opinions which might be contrary to the government’s platform and their stance,” Ergin said in an interview with Sabine Erkuş for the Turkish Journalists’ Association’s portal, Bizim Gazete. “Such freedom should be able to hold up not only in matters relating to the government but in all power centers as well.”

Moreover, fear and democracy are not concepts that can co-exist, he said, adding that a journalist should not consider “Will the prime minister be upset with us if he reads this?” or “Will the tax auditors be visiting the boss’s companies again tomorrow if we put this in print?” when writing.

Freedom of the press is “the most fundamental life space, as far as democracy is concerned, just like the heart of a person,” Ergin said.

According to Ergin, the most significant characteristic separating democracies from other regimes is the ability of individuals to express themselves freely, without fear, and articulate their diversity and differences without hesitation. “The most important tool in terms of providing this fundamental of democracies is the freedom of press, which actually is intertwined with the freedom of speech, complementing it,” he said, adding that the quality of the democracy in a given country is measured by the state of the freedom of its press.

Ergin said he is not at all optimistic on the matter of censorship, as it continues to reign in different forms, even 102 years after its official abandonment and “continues to haunt us in the form of different identities.”

“Censorship can easily switch identities, and it can even easily render itself invisible,” he said. “The most dangerous version of censorship is this new invisible form, which leaves no fingerprints and yet could be as effective as its outwardly open brethren. Invisible subtle methods, which take place behind close doors, are utilized to this end. I simply call this ‘post-modern censorship.’”

Ergin told Erkuş that he had not expected the award at all, but that it was well-appreciated to crown his 35th year in the profession. “Let’s just say this award is the highest possible level attainable for a journalist working in Turkey,” he said.
(Hürriyet Daily News, August 6, 2010)

BIA Report on Crime of Thought: 249 Suspects in Three Months

It seems that Turkey will continue to be a country that has not internalised democracy and where everyone, who express their opinions, live under the threat of a prison sentence as long as the Kurdish problem is not solved through peaceful means, the parliamentary democratic system is not solidified and the problems are not openly discussed.

As the non-solution of the Kurdish Problem and the deadlock in politics deepens, violations of the freedom of media and expression have elevated to the level of the 90s, when there was a "low density" war between the Turkish Armed Forces and the PKK.

Limiting the investigation and prosecutions based on Turkish Penal Code 301 with the intervention of the Ministry of Justice, amending the Turkish Penal Code to convert prison sentences to fines, suspend them, "put off the announcement of the judgment," and similar arrangements have not proved meaningful in improving the standards of freedom of expression.

The number of thought criminals have doubled in a year!

According to the April-May-June 2010 Media Monitoring Report published by BIA Media Monitoring Desk, a total of 249 people, 53 of whom were journalists, are standing trial for expressing their thoughts. During the same period in 2009, a total of 125 people, 57 of whom were journalists, were on trial facing prison sentences or fines. The fact that there was a hundred percent increase in the number of people standing trial for expressing their opinions is worrisome.

The report, which covers a total of 471 people, 170 of whom are journalists, deals with the violations under the following titles: "attacks and threats", "detentions and arrests ", "cases of freedom of media and expression", "regulations and seeking one's rights", "European Court of Human Rights", "Reactions against censorship " and "RTUK (Radio and Television Higher Board) practices."

110 anti-terrorism law suspects!

The Anti-Terrorism Law (TMY) is one of the most effective means of systematically and illegally suppressing freedom of expression.

The number of TMY suspects is increasing steadily since 2008. In April-May-June 2010, a total of 110 people, 24 of whom were journalists, stood trial based on the anti-terrorism law. They all faced prison sentences. The number of suspects, which was 14 in 2008, rose to 20 in 2009.

The list of people, who were tried in the second quarter of the year, whose trial has just begun and those, who were acquitted or convicted: Ismail Besikci, Zeycan Balli Simsek, Cevdet Bagca, Ferhat Tunc, Fatih Tas, Leyla Zana (10), Ertugrul Mavioglu, Ali Kirca, Fehmi Kilic, Ziya Cicekci, Namik Durukan, Hasan Cakkalkurt, Roni Margulies, Adnan Demir, Ferhat Tuzer, Berna Yilmaz, Utku Aykar, 54 mayors of the closed-down Democratic Society Party (DTP), Mehmet Guler, Ragip Zarakolu, Ahmet Turk (8), Irfan Aktan, Merve Erol, Nedim Sener, Filiz Kocali, Ramazan Pekgoz, Hakan Tahmaz, Ibrahim Cesmecioglu, Bulent Yilmaz, Hamza Gunduz, Mehdi Tanrikulu, Vedat Kursun, Aysel Tugluk, Mahmut Alinak, Bedri Adanir, Selim Sadak (2), Hatip Dicle, 17 members of the Peace Group, Veysi Sarisozen, Veysi Urper and Ozlem Aktan.

Anti-Terrorism Law punishment handed to 10 people, 4 of whom are journalists

Azadiya Welat newspaper's head Vedat Kursun was sentenced to 166 years and 6 months in prison for publishing news that amount to "PKK propaganda." Cevdet Bagca, Mehmet Guler, Irfan Aktan, Merve Erol, Hamza Gunduz, Mahmut Alinak, Selim Sadak, Leyla Zana and Veysi Sarisozen were the others, who were handed punishments.

Widespread organisation accusations and arrests!

A total of 25 journalists are still in prison for "being related to an armed organisation" in Kurdish Communities Union (KCK), Kurdistan Labour Party (PKK), Marxist Leninist Communist Party (MLKP) or "Ergenekon" trials. Some suspects of PKK and Ergenekon files have taken their "prolonged arrests, which have turned into punishments" to the European Court of Human Rights.

Devrimci Demokrasi (Revolutionary Democracy) newspaper's head Erdal Guler and Azadiya Welat newspaper's former executive Vedat Kursun are currently in prison for "publications that praise" organisations such as PKK and the Maoist Communist Party (MKP). Guler will not be released before 2014.

A prosecutor has demanded a 50-year prison sentence for Bedri Adanir, the publisher of Aram Publishing and official of Hawar newspaper for "disseminating the organisation's propaganda" and "praising the guilty" in reports published in three books and magazines. Chief-editor Gurbet Cakar of Dengê Hevîya Jinê women's magazine, DIHA reporter Hamdiye Ciftci and Ali Konar from Azadiya Welat have recently been arrested.

Mustafa Balbay, the former Ankara representative of the daily Cumhuriyet (Republic), who was arrested within the framework of the "Ergenekon Organisation" operation has been in prison for more than 500 days for charges of "changing the constitutional order by force of arms." Under the same operation, Aydinlik (Bright) magazine's writer Emcet Olcayto and journalist Tuncay Ozkan have remained in prison since September 2008, for charges of "membership in the organization" in the case of Olcayto and "membership in the organization and attempted coup" in the case of Ozkan.

The preparation of the indictment regarding Gun (Day) TV official Ahmet Birsin, Adana Radio Dunya (World) chief editor Kenan Karavil and Seyithan Akyuz from Azadiya Welat, took more than a year. They had all been arrested in the operation against KCK.

Fusun Erdogan, the chief editor of Istanbul Ozgur (Free) Radio, and Ibrahim Cicek, publishing coordinator of Atilim (Dash) magazine, have been under arrest for almost four years now. They had been arrested in the MLKP operation.

Aydinlik magazine's chief-editor Deniz Yildirim and Ulusal (National) Channel's news chief Ufuk Akaya, have been in the Silivri Prison since 9 November 2009, for acquiring records of Prime Minister Erdogan's telephone conversations.

The G9 Platform, which represents 11 media organisations, has called for the abolishment of all articles in the Constitution, Turkish Penal Code and the Anti-Terrorism Law that limit the freedom of expression, and for the release of imprisoned journalists.

Jurisdiction more "sensitive"  towards "personal rights" than ever!

10 journalists have stood trial in suits for a total of 1 million 779 thousand 002 Turkish Liras in damages.

Harun Aksoy and Nuri Aykon from Vakit (Time) newspaper were ordered by the court to pay indemnification of 616 thousand TL in the "Onbasi" (Corporal) case. The fine comes to a total of " million 300 thousand TL together with interest and court costs. Separately, writer Yalcin Ergundogan of the Sesonline.net web site was ordered to pay a compensation of 1, 500 TL.

A total of 17 people, 7 of whom were journalists, stood "defamation" cases; Berrin Tursun, Erdem Buyuk, Mujde Ar and Mustafa Arigumus were sentenced to a total of 4 years in prison.

While Baris Yarkadas and Meral Tamer were acquitted, caricaturist Halil Ibrahim Ozdabak's cases was dropped due to statute of response.

Six months in prison for supporting conscientious objection!

A total of 21 people, one of whom i a journalist, stood trial for charges of "alienating the people from military service" based on article 318 of the Turkish Penal Code. Volkan Sevinc, Gokce Otlu Sevimli, Halil Savda and Zarife Ferda Cakmak were sentenced to 6 months in prison each, for supporting conscientious objector Enver Aydemir.

Attacks increased from 2 to 6; detentions increased from 2 to 3

While five reporters (Mehmet Ali Unal, Veysel Polat, Omer Celik, Murat Altunos, Pinar Ural) and Dogan Media Holding became the target of attacks, three reporters (Serkan Demirel, Cagdas Kaplan and Remzi Coskun) were detained. In 2009, two journalists had been attacked and two had been detained.

Dramatic increase in ECHR penalties in the last two years!

Turkey has been ordered by the ECHR to pay fines to Abdulkerim Bingol, 12 employees of the Yedinci Gun (Seventh Day) and Toplumsal Demokrasi (Social Democracy) newspapers, Ercan Gul, Deniz Kahraman, Zehra Delikurt, Erkan Arslanbenzer, Ozcan Sapan, Norma Jeanne Cox, officials Fevzi Saygili and Nizamettin Taylan Bilgic of the Gunluk Evrensel newspaper a total of 75 thousan euros for violating their freedom of expression.

ECHR penalties have increased 645 percent compared with the same period in 2009. In 2009, the penalty was 11 thousand 613 euros. The increase has been continuing since 2008 when the penalty was only 8 thousand euros.

Journalist murders remain unpunished!

None of the instigators of the Abdi Ipekci, Ugur Mumcu, Ahmet Taner Kislali and Hrant Dink murders in the last 30 years, have been brought to light. While the security forces' crimes against journalists remain unpunished, "state negligence" in the Dink murder was not discussed thoroughly. (BIA, Erol ONDEROGLU, 5 August 2010)

Prison Sentence for “Devrimci Hareket” Responsible editor
İstanbul High Criminal Court num.13 condemned Fehmi Kılıç the responsible editor of “Devrimci Hareket” (Revolutionary Movement) magazine to a prison term of 1 year and 3 months for “making propaganda of a terrorist organisation”. Kılıç was condemned for publishing articles praising the members of Devrimci Yol (Revolutionary Path) organisation Veysel Güney, Behçet Dinlerer and Ali Başpınar.
The court based its July 1 dated decision about the sentences over articles entitled "Behçet Dinlerer is revolutionary path", "After Ali Başpınar" and "We keep Veysel Güney alive" on a report of Home Ministry about the organisation Revolutionary Path dated 9 February.
It has been decided that in pages 36, 37, 38 and 39 of the magazine "activities of Güney, Dinlerer and Başpınar are praised, presented in a good way, there is an intention of recruiting supporters, the back cover of the magazine carried the name of the organisation and the name of a deceased member of the organisation with an emblem, and the organisation named “Devrimci Hareket” (Revolutionary Path) is the successor of the organisation named Revolutionary Path.” (
antenna-tr.org, August 4, 2010)
RSF: Un nouveau procès contre les voix de la minorité kurde

Reporters sans frontières dénonce l’ouverture d’un nouveau procès à l‘encontre de Mehmet Güler, auteur du livre « Le dossier KCK : L’Etat global et les Kurdes sans Etat » et de son éditeur, Ragip Zarakolu.
Ils seront jugés le 30 septembre prochain par la 10ème chambre de la cour d’assises d’Istanbul pour « publication de déclarations du PKK» (Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan) et « propagande du PKK ». S’ils sont reconnus coupables, ils encourent un minimum de huit mois de prison. Le PKK est en lutte armée contre la Turquie depuis 1984 et placé sur la liste des organisations terroristes par le gouvernement.
L’ouvrage d’investigation journalistique « Le dossier KCK : L’Etat global et les Kurdes sans Etat », a été publié en mai dernier par les Editions Belges, sous la direction de Ragip Zarakolu. Le KCK désigne le système politique du PKK, qui a pour projet d’établir un régime de « confédéralisme démocratique » en Turquie. Le livre a été saisi par la cour d’assises d’Istanbul dès sa parution, à l’occasion de la Foire de livre, à Diyarbakir (sud-est de la Turquie).
Le procureur Hakan Karaali a réclamé la condamnation du journaliste et de l’éditeur en vertu des articles 6 et 7 de la Loi antiterroriste (LAT). C’est en vertu de ce texte que de nombreux journalistes des médias kurdes sont poursuivis et condamnés à de lourdes peines.
L’éditeur Ragip Zarakolu a affirmé que l’ouvrage avait été publié afin d’assurer « le droit à l’information des lecteurs » et de pouvoir présenter « une autre version des faits ». Mehmet Güler affirme avoir « évité d’employer un langage qui soit au profit ou au détriment de quiconque ». « Les partis politiques des Kurdes sont interdits. Des anciens ministres et maires, des intellectuels, des militants des droits de l’homme et des avocats sont incarcérés. Les citoyens ont le droit de savoir ce qui se passe. J’ai rédigé ce livre en toute objectivité », s’est défendu l’auteur.
Ragip Zarakolu et Mehmet Güler avaient récemment été jugés en raison du livre « Des décisions à prendre plus difficiles que la mort ». Le 10 juin dernier, la cour d’assises d’Istanbul avait condamné Mehmet Güler à 1 an et 3 mois de prison pour « propagande du PKK » et avait relaxé Ragip Zarakolu. Les deux hommes craignent à présent le verdict de ce nouveau procès.
Reporters sans frontières s’inquiète de la situation des médias et de la liberté de la presse en Turquie. Les pressions judiciaires et physiques sont de plus en plus fréquentes sur les professionnels des médias, et en particulier sur les médias kurdes.
L’inquiétude de Reporters sans frontières porte également sur les nouvelles résolutions, concernant la diffusion des informations à la télévision, adoptées par le gouvernement turc le 15 juillet.
Le ministre de l’Intérieur, Besir Dursun, a annoncé que le haut conseil de l’audiovisuel avait déterminé, avec l’accord des responsables des chaînes nationales, que « certains principes devaient être suivis en situation de risques terroristes et autres circonstances extraordinaires ». Selon ces « principes », les chaînes de télévision s’engagent à limiter la durée et la fréquence des flashs d’information.
Une autre résolution, qui ressemble surtout à une mise en garde à l’adresse des médias, concerne la responsabilité des chaînes dans la diffusion « d’émissions, interviews et déclarations, qui semblent donner raison aux actes terroristes, susceptibles d’être interprétées comme de la propagande des personnes à l’origine d’attentats  ou encourager de futures attaques» .
Le ministre de l’Intérieur s’est félicité de ces « positions très décisives concernant le terrorisme ». L’Association contemporaine des journalistes a, elle, critiqué l’adoption de ces résolutions, « susceptibles d’entraîner des abus ».
Reporters sans frontières craint que ces formulations imprécises, qui laissent libre cours à de multiples interprétations, ne poussent les chaînes d’information à l’autocensure. Ces résolutions, qui viennent compléter la phase judiciaire de la LAT, risquent effectivement de fournir aux autorités de nouveaux prétextes pour procéder à des arrestations et engager des procès arbitraires. (europe@rsf.org, 2 août 2010)

Kurdish Question / Question kurde

"Decentralization" remains central aim of Turkey's pro-Kurdish party

Urging for decentralization of the Turkish state, the co-chairwoman of the country’s largest pro-Kurdish party says it is a possible solution to the Kurdish question that should be explored in-depth. 'Turkey’s strong centralist structure causes problems. There is a need to transfer some authority, responsibility and financial resources to the local governments,' says co-chair Gültan Kışanak

Turkey could face intensified ethnic conflict and potential dissolution if it fails to take advantage of current opportunities to resolve the Kurdish question, the co-chairwoman of the country’s largest pro-Kurdish party has warned.

“We have to be hopeful [about the future] because the continuation of the war or conflict is a very dangerous thing that could risk all our futures. Turkey could face ethnic conflict and ethnic separation,” Gülten Kışanak, co-chairwoman of the Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, said in an interview with the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review late Friday.

“Everyone should see this responsibly and act accordingly without thinking of daily political gains. We are at a crucial stage in which the people will determine their fate. Shelving plans to solve this question would certainly be the gravest betrayal to this country,” she said.

Saying the entire Turkish public was also ready for a solution, she called on all politicians and other influential persons to give correct messages to the people.

The BDP, which currently has 20 seats in Parliament, is perceived by some circles as the political wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, which has fought for Kurdish rights since the early 1980s.

Although the BDP does not acknowledge links with the PKK, its predecessor parties have been shut down by the Constitutional Court due to alleged connections with the banned group, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

The PKK announced a one-month cease-fire on Aug. 16 at the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan as a gesture to the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, government ahead of the crucial constitutional reform referendum on Sept. 12. The BDP has decided to boycott the referendum but signaled it could change its position if their demands for a reduction of the electoral threshold and the release of incarcerated Kurdish politicians are taken into consideration.

At the heart of the BDP’s call, however, is the party’s strive for “democratic autonomy” in Turkey.

“In fact, this is not a new proposal. It dates back to three years ago. However, due to our imperfection, it could not be sufficiently discussed in public,” Kışanak said.

‘Democratic autonomy’

Underlining that the proposal was a political one and did not contain technical details on how it could be implemented, Kışanak called on all politicians to actively discuss the matter in an effort to solve the Kurdish issue.

“Turkey’s strong centralist structure causes problems. There is a need to transfer some authority, responsibility and financial resources to the local governments,” she said. “[Strengthening local administrations] was already a matter of discussion in the country as part of its negotiations with the EU. But the government came out against it.”

According to Kışanak, the project envisages the creation of 26 political and administrative regions, each with the democratic means to self-govern. “There are 81 provinces and thousands of districts. They can no longer be ruled from one center,” Kışanak said.

The party has also proposed the establishment of regional parliaments that would have their own flags and symbols.

Last month, Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir brought the idea to the public’s attention when he said having the Kurdish flag fly next to the Turkish flag would be a good method of solving the problem. A prosecutor, however, launched a probe against him for the statement.

“In almost all European Union countries, there are such regions that have their own symbols or flags. We do not offer this model only for a certain part of the country. It’s valid for the entire country. There is a need for a new political and administrative model. Under this model, there will be a need for each region to symbolize its parliament through a flag or a pennant. The municipalities already have a symbol,” Kışanak said.

“What would be the harm if a region where Kurdish people live predominantly would choose a flag with their own color? For example the Istanbul region will determine its own flag and perhaps the region where Rize, Trabzon and Samsun are will have its own flag,” she said.

‘Changes would make the country more democratic’

For Kışanak, the project should not be discussed through technical details but through its advantages that would make the county more democratic. An organized society where people actively engage in the decision-making process is one of the most important aims of the project, according to the BDP co-chair.

“There is an important disparity between the regions. This project will also help in leveling this disparity,” she said.

“Kurds are located in a certain area where they constitute the majority of the population. This brings about social and psychological differences. Policies designed for a certain region could be meaningless for other regions. For example, it would be nonsense to open Kurdish schools in Samsun. In this kind of issue, the local government could produce policies to meet the needs of their own region,” she said.

“This would not only help Kurds express themselves but also all other identities would find a platform where they could do the same. In order to realize a multicultural Turkey with multiple identities, this democratic autonomy should be implemented,” Kışanak said.

The government, the opposition parties and the military, however, have remained strongly opposed to the idea of dismantling part of the unitary state system.

Despite this, some political observers have said the issue will be intensely debated following the referendum and the termination of the PKK’s cease-fire on Sept. 20.

“We have not come to this point easily. We have suffered a lot and paid its cost. But I can say that the Kurds’ political struggle has found its legitimacy,” Kışanak said.

She said her Kurdish was not good enough to campaign in the language in Kurdish-majority areas, adding that her inability to fluently speak the language was the result of long-standing repression of Kurdish.

“But now, thanks to this legitimacy, we could remove some of the legal obstacles for the use of our native language,” she said.

“However, we cannot say that we have been able to reach a desired level of social dialogue with the entire country. For example, some issues discussed in the [Southeast] region within the scope of liberties are seen in the western regions as ‘dangerous and [leading to] dissolution,’” Kışanak said.

 PKK is a result, not the main problem

One of the central factors polarizing opinion between the different regions of the country is the action of the PKK. Tens of thousands of civilians, soldiers, and PKK members have been killed during the nearly three-decade-long fight between the organization and the Turkish state.

While the locus of its activity has been in rural areas, the PKK has occasionally targeted cities as well, leading some sectors of Turkish society to label its actions as “blind terrorism.”

The group’s activities have fueled already-strong Turkish nationalism and caused occasional street battles between Turks and Kurds.

“The Kurdish question did not begin with the PKK. And it won’t finish after the PKK [lays down its weapons],” Kışanak said. “That’s why we say we should discuss the Kurdish issue. Tying the issue to the organization laying down weapons is not a democratic attitude. The PKK is a result. Let’s first talk about problems.”

Recalling that the state has defined everyone living in this county as a “Turk” since 1924, Kışanak said the current legal system had been in conflict with the society for the last 86 years. “The state has caused conflict since 1924. We have to resolve it.”

Arguing that the PKK shifted its position in 1999 after its founder and leader, Abdullah Öcalan, was captured and imprisoned, voicing the need for a peaceful solution to the matter, Kışanak said it was wrong to question the PKK’s objectives.

Noting that the PKK withdrew its forces from Turkey in 1999 and did not attack for five years, she said, “The PKK asks for dialogue and wants a peaceful solution. It’s time to do whatever we have not done before.”

Kışanak’s statement came as the opposition argued that the cease-fire was a result of negotiations between Öcalan and the government and that there had been constant dialogue between the organization and the government.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan denied the allegations but said the National Intelligence Organization, or MİT, had been having meetings with Öcalan since he was arrested 11 years ago.

“This is a political problem and can only be solved by politicians. We need courage to take responsibility if we will launch dialogue. We cannot reach a solution if the government delegates [everything to] the MİT,” she said.

“If you want a solution, you courageously should appear and say, ‘The bloodshed was stopped by Öcalan. We can meet with Öcalan.’ A month ago there was bloodshed in this country. Now there is someone who can end it. This is nothing to feel ashamed about,” Kışanak said.

Despite the call for dialogue between the government and Öcalan, Kışanak said: “We do not say Erdoğan should go and meet with Öcalan. What we mean is that Erdoğan should take all the responsibility. He can send his representatives to the meetings.”

Kışanak, however, is not very hopeful that such discussions will occur since she believes the AKP’s single objective is to eradicate the PKK.

“The steps taken regarding the Kurdish question were not for the democratic rights of the Kurds, but were part of a plan to eradicate the PKK,” she said.

When reminded that Erdoğan will be in Diyarbakır this week as part of his referendum campaign, Kışanak said: “We do not care what he will say in Diyarbakır. What is important is what he says in Ankara. Almost all prime ministers have given promises of democracy during visits to Diyarbakır.”

Kışanak also criticized Republican People’s Party, or CHP, leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s suggestion of a general amnesty for PKK members.

“If it is considered as part of a general understanding for the peaceful and democratic solution of the Kurdish question, then it could be useful. But if it is put with the condition that the PKK drops its weapons, then it won’t work. There is already an existing [law for that],” she said.
(Hürriyet Daily News, August 29, 2010)

Appel à l’observation des procès anti-kurdes à Diyarbakir

D'avril 2009 à ce jour, plus de 2000 représentants de la société civile, personnes politiques et syndicalistes kurdes sont mis en détention en Turquie. Parmi eux, on se rappelle l'avocat Muharrem Erbey, vice-président national de l'Association pour les droits de l'homme (IHD) et le maire de Sur, Abdullah Demirbas, libéré après plusieurs mois d'emprisonnement et de graves dommages portés à sa santé déjà précaire auparavant.

La Turquie met en œuvre une politique de destruction pure et simple de la société civile dans le Kurdistan turc. Cette politique refuse de reconnaître la société civile et la réalité qu’un parti politique kurde puisse être à l’origine d’un processus de paix. C’est une politique en faveur des lobbies de la guerre sale et une guerre sans fin contre le peuple kurde qui est l’œuvre.

C’est dans un tel contexte que  le 18 octobre 2010 va commencer le procès des maires kurdes et des représentants de  la société civile. Pour cela nous faisons appel à tous les démocrates, travailleurs de la paix, et personnes bénévoles pour qu’ils soutiennent par leur présence dans la salle d’audience les efforts de paix et la lutte pour la démocratie menée par ces représentants kurdes.

Toute personne sensible à notre appel peut contacter notre bureau, le Centre Kurde des Droits de l’Homme, pour les modalités de voyage en groupe. N’hésitez pas à nous contacter pour toute sorte de questions. Il aura un rencontre de préparation pour tous participants dans un proche avenir.

Pour Contacts:

Centre Kurde des Droits de l’Homme
Personne responsable: Ismail Varli
Tel.:  0765621365
E-mail: info@kurd-chr.ch <mailto:info@kurd-chr.ch> 
Septembre 2010 

Maison Populaire de Genève
Tel: 079 256 30 11
E-mail : info@assmp.org

Le réquisitoire contre le KCK met en cause le droit d’existence de la communauté

Attendu comme le champ d’un règlement de compte politique entre l’Etat et les Kurdes, le réquisitoire contre le KCK se distingue par son incohérence. Il vise à 99% des activités légales et démocratiques. Ainsi, les activités qui découlent du droit de manifester sont qualifiées d’activités menées pour le compte d’une organisation criminelle.
Le réquisitoire ne vise pas des comportements ou des personnes en particulier, mais le droit d’existence d’une communauté dans son ensemble, son droit légitime de prendre les décisions qui la concernent et son droit de former des structures collectives destinées à résoudre les problèmes de la population.

Le réquisitoire de 7578 pages établi par le Procureur de la République de Diyarbakir a été validé le 18 juin 2010 par la 6ème chambre de la Cour d’assises de Diyarbakir. Il requiert des peines d’emprisonnement allant de 15 ans à la perpétuité, contre 151 personnes, dont 103 sont détenues. Parmi les prévenus, on compte 28 dirigeants du Parti pour une Société Démocratique (DTP) qui a été interdit, 12 maires, dont Osman Baydemir, maire de Diyarbakir, 2 présidents de Conseils Généraux et 2 conseillers municipaux. Le réquisitoire a donné lieu à d’abondants débats qui vont sans doute s’amplifier avec le commencement du procès. Une analyse générale du réquisitoire contre le KCK permet de dégager les observations ci-dessous :

Les accusations pénales

1)    L’article 302-1 du Code pénal turc (TCK) sanctionnant les « atteintes à l’unité de l’Etat et l’intégrité du territoire » par la peine de réclusion criminelle à perpétuité, sera appliqué à 11 personnes.
2)    L’accusation de « direction d’une organisation criminelle par la coordination de ses activités » fondée sur l’article 314-1 du TCK vise 21 personnes.
3)    L’article 314-1 du TCK sur la « direction d’une organisation terroriste » sera appliqué à 14 personnes.
4)    L’article 314-2 du TCK sanctionnant le fait d’être « membre d’une organisation terroriste » sera appliqué à 90 personnes
5)    L’accusation de « faire partie d’une organisation terroriste sans en être membre » fondée sur l’article 314-2 du TCK vise 15 personnes
6)    L’infraction de propagande et de contravention à la loi n°2911 prévoyant une autorisation des autorités pour l’organisation de tout rassemblement ou manifestation pacifique
7)    La violation de la loi n°1163 sur les coopératives
8)    L’accusation de « propagande d’une organisation terroriste »

De nouvelles infractions

L’accusation de « direction d’une organisation criminelle par la coordination de ses activités » sera sans doute le point le plus discuté sur le plan juridique. Elle risque en effet de donner lieu à de nombreux débats dans la mesure où elle est contraire au principe de légalité. Une personne peut mener des activités pour le compte d’une organisation sans en être membre, mais elle ne peut diriger cette organisation si elle ne fait pas partie de ses organes de direction. Soit on est dirigeant, soit on ne l’est pas. On ne peut donner de directives sans être dirigeant de l’organisation. Parce que la crédibilité et la légitimité de telles directives seraient en cause. Il ne peut donc y avoir de direction d’une organisation par la coordination de ses activités. Cette accusation vise les représentants des partis politiques, des associations et des ONG. Elle sera utilisée pour remédier à la carence des éléments de preuve nécessaires à la condamnation de 21 personnes pour « direction d’une organisation criminelle ».

Le droit de manifester tombe sous le coup de la loi réprimant les activités menées pour le compte d’une organisation criminelle

D’après les normes de droit international ratifiées par la Turquie, les faits qualifiés d’infractions par le réquisitoire constituent des activités démocratiques. Les manifestations, les conférences de presse, les rassemblements organisés par les Kurdes sont considérés comme des infractions. De même, les manifestations qui ont eu lieu à l’occasion de la visite du Premier ministre Erdogan dans la région sont perçues comme des infractions, alors qu’elles ressortent du droit de revendication et de manifestation. Ainsi, ce sont des manifestations et activités démocratiques qui sont incriminées.

Le DTP est incriminé en étant désigné comme un parti illégal

Autre point frappant du réquisitoire, les faits qualifiés d’infractions se situent en grande majorité dans les périodes des élections nationales et locales. La détermination des candidats aux élections locales et aux élections nationales du 22 juillet 2007, la collecte de fonds pour le financement de la campagne électorale et les activités menées dans le cadre de cette campagne électorale sont interprétées comme ayant un but criminel. Bien que le DTP ait été un parti légal, toutes ses activités sont considérées comme illégales. Elles sont appréciées d’un point de vue politique et non juridique. De ce fait, la procédure engagée contre le DTP est intitulée « KCK-Turquie ». Appréhendé comme une composante du KCK, le DTP est présenté comme une structure totalement illégale, ce qui permet de justifier et légitimer l’arrestation et le jugement de ses membres et dirigeants. De même, le comité des pouvoirs locaux créé par le DTP de manière tout à fait légale est perçu comme le « quartier général de l’organisation criminelle ». En conséquence, toutes les propositions et idées émises par ce comité sont considérées comme des directives de l’organisation. Par ailleurs, la collecte de fonds pour le financement de la campagne électorale du DTP est qualifiée de « financement d’une organisation criminelle ». 

Ecoutes téléphoniques et sonorisations constituent les seules preuves de l’accusation

Le style et la construction du réquisitoire retiennent également l’attention. Rédigé comme un rapport des renseignements généraux, il ne prend pas la peine d’apporter la preuve des faits allégués. Les accusations sont uniquement fondées sur des écoutes téléphoniques et des sonorisations. Ainsi, l’accusation de collecte de fonds n’est aucunement étayée par des preuves écrites. 99% des faits qualifiés d’infractions correspondent à l’exercice de droits et libertés fondamentaux. Aucun des prévenus n’a été trouvé en possession d’armes, de munitions ou d’explosifs. Ils vont cependant se voir appliquer les dispositions les plus lourdes du code pénal, ce qui engendre un déséquilibre profond dans la balance des accusations et des preuves.

On juge une communauté et ses droits politiques

L’esprit du réquisitoire est de poursuivre, non pas des individus ou des groupes, mais une communauté dans son ensemble ainsi que son réseau de relations sociales. L’existence et la survie de toute communauté nécessite la création d’organisations et de structures. Dans la mesure où ces structures n’ont pas de caractère violent, elles correspondent à l’exercice d’un droit naturel et fondamental de la communauté. L’annihilation de ce droit met en cause le rôle de l’individu et des groupements en tant qu’acteurs de la société.

Ainsi, le réquisitoire ne vise pas des comportements ou des individus, mais une communauté, ainsi que son droit légitime de prendre les décisions qui la concernent et son droit de créer des collectivités pour répondre aux besoins de la population. En incriminant le fait pour une communauté de revendiquer des droits politiques et sociaux (les activités de protestation contre le système et ses représentations, la revendication d’un autre système, etc…), on incrimine aussi cette communauté. Comment assurer la paix et le consensus social si le système juridique turc ne reconnaît pas cette réalité ? Compte tenu de ces aspects, le jugement qui va débuter le 18 octobre 2010 à Diyarbakir sera suivi avec beaucoup d’attention et d’intérêt. (kurdish-info.eu, 25 août 2010)

DTK Announced 5 Steps to Resolve Kurdish Question

The Democratic Society Congress (DTK) announced their decisions after a two-day meeting in Diyarbakır, a Kurdish-majority city in south-eastern Turkey. DTK Co-Chair Ahmet Türk read out the results on behalf of the congress.

He conveyed the following issues:

Military operations should be stopped: We believe that the ceasefire announced by the PKK [the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party] provides a historic opportunity for social peace. After this we have to communicate our demands to the government. Once more we urge to de facto stop military and political operations.

A response should be given to the ceasefire: It is clear which road to follow since the regional non-governmental organizations compel the state and the government to take according steps. We urge the Turkish people to stake their claim for peace just like the Kurdish people do in order not to shed the blood of their brothers and sisters. If there will be no response to the ceasefire and if the deaths are continuing, then we would not have the heart to call for a ceasefire once more.

Agenda for a solution of the Kurdish question

Türk also put forward the necessary prerequisites for starting negotiations to resolve the Kurdish question. He emphasized that the negotiations should be on the Turkish agenda for the referendum on the constitutional reform package on 12 September and also afterwards. "Reassuring steps must be taken to initiate the negotiations", Türk indicated and considered five issues to be included in the process:

* The necessary conditions have to be provided to be able to ensure imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan's participation in the negotiations.

* A new and democratic constitution should to be worked out.

* Detained members of the peace groups and Kurdish politicians should be released.

* The national election threshold of 10 percent stipulated in the Elections Law must be lifted.

* Anti-democratic legal regulations have to be eliminated, first of all the Anti-Terror Law.

"Democratic autonomy unites"

"Democratic Turkey, autonomic Kurdistan" is the heading of a democratic autonomy project called the "life in unity project" by Türk.

"The permanent council bases a democratic Turkey on the proposal for an autonomic Kurdistan. This project is not based on separation but on a volunteer unity. A workshop will be held on the project of democratic autonomy and the results will be announced to the public".

Supporting the boycott

Türk also highlighted the DTK's support for the boycott of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) against the referendum on the constitutional reform package.

"Nobody is patient anymore"

"Our demand is to make the weapons fall silent", Türk said. "This is the demand of democrats and intellectuals. We contribute to the solution of the problem in a time of mutual understanding".

Türk stated that they would take efforts to talk to state officials and all parties involved in the process, including the PKK and Öcalan. "Neither the Turkish nor the Kurdish people have any patience left in this process. Everybody holds the responsibility to take an effort for resolving this issue", he said.

The DTK furthermore condemned the closing of the Kurdish Azadiya Welat newspaper. "We condemn the closure of a Kurdish newspaper in a time when we strove to strengthen democratic policies" Türk said and assessed the closure as a means to silence the press and democracy.(BIA, Tolga KORKUT, 24 August 2010)

Reprise des combats en Turquie suivie d’une trêve

par Amitiés kurdes de Bretagne

Un été meurtrier au scénario imprévisible:

L’abricotier planté il y a deux ans à Hasankeyf [1], qui était tout en fleur au printemps 2010, laissait perler un espoir de paix malgré les turbulences annoncées.

L’été 2010 fut en effet l’un des étés les plus meurtriers depuis une décennie, causant une, voire plusieurs centaines de morts dans les deux camps, lors de combats, embuscades et ratissages qui se sont déroulés sur le territoire de la Turquie, principalement dans la région du Kurdistan.

Après les déclarations Abdullah Öcalan constatant, depuis sa prison d’Imrali, l’inanité des offres répétées de dialogue, le PKK avait rompu le cessez-le-feu, décrété unilatéralement, et repris les hostilités.

Le coût humain est très lourd, beaucoup plus lourd que les bombardements des camps du PKK abrités dans les monts Quandil, au Kurdistan irakien [2], au point qu’il souleva une très forte tension ; des affrontements sanglants opposèrent Kurdes et Turcs, notamment dans des villes où les Kurdes sont minoritaires (comme à Dörtyöl - municipalité d’extrême droite MHP - dans la province d’Hatay, au fond de la baie d’Iskenderun, ou, à l’opposé, près de la Mer Noire à Inegöl – municipalité islamiste AKP - dans la province de Bursa). Le journal turc Hürriyet cite un habitant d’Inegöl : "j’ai eu l’impression d’un retour à la fin des années 70, à la veille du coup d’état militaire du 12 septembre 1980".

Et Hamit Bozarslan, Directeur d’études à l’École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, de déclarer à France 24, le 17 août dernier, qu’il constate une radicalisation des rapports turco-kurdes, une exclusion systémique des Kurdes malgré une reconnaissance de fait, et une politisation massive de la jeunesse kurde qui, pourtant, n’était pas encore née lors de la naissance du PKK.

La trêve

La trêve annoncée par Abdullah Öcalan, qui montre une fois encore que son autorité est intacte, n’est pas à proprement une surprise ; elle est la réponse kurde à de nombreuses pressions régionales, nationales et internationales qui se sont exercées sur les deux parties : le ramadan, qui va se terminer le 10 septembre, est une heureuse coïncidence ; la trêve décidée pour une période de 37 jours (14 août - 20 septembre) pourrait se prolonger à quatre conditions :

  Bilatéralité du cessez-le-feu ;

  Libération des détenus politiques ;

  Abaissement du seuil des "10"% [3] ;

  Transfert d’A. Öcalan de la prison insalubre d’Imrali dans une résidence surveillée.

Le président de la République turque, Abdullah Gül, a immédiatement réagi dans la soirée du 13 août en déclarant, bien évidemment, que la Turquie continuerait sa lutte contre le terrorisme, refusant toute tractation avec le groupe armé kurde.

Pour autant les tractations secrètes entre Ankara et Imrali n’ont jamais cessé et le gouvernement turc a besoin des voix kurdes pour gagner le référendum portant sur la réforme constitutionnelle qu’il organise le 12 septembre prochain ; les sondages mettent le "oui" et le "non" au coude à coude, et le BDP, parti pro kurde, prône pour l’instant l’abstention, au motif qu’il ne veut pas soutenir une réforme constitutionnelle qui n’a retenu aucune de ses revendications, mais il ne veut pas, non plus, mêler ses voix à l’opposition nationaliste turque.

La clef : le Congrès démocratique du Peuple (DTK)

C’est dire qu’il est attendu le discours que le Premier Ministre Erdogan doit prononcer le 3 septembre à Diyarbakir : il n’est pas impossible, dans ce contexte particulièrement délicat et complexe, qu’il fasse des ouvertures concrètes et que les cartes soient rebattues.

Il trouvera au premier rang de ses auditeurs deux "tricards" de la politique revenus au devant de la scène : il s’agit d’Ahmet Türk et d’Aysel Tugluk, tous les deux députés et co-présidents du DPT avant que ce parti ne soit interdit par la Cour constitutionnelle et qu’ils ne soient eux-mêmes déchus de leur mandat et bannis de la vie politique pour cinq ans.

Ahmet Türk et Aysel Tugluk viennent en effet d’être élus triomphalement co-président et co-présidente du Congrès démocratique du Peuple (DTK) à l’issue de sa 4° convention qui s’est achevée le 8 août dernier.

Le Congrès démocratique du Peuple (DTK) est une assemblée qui rassemble tous les élus issus des rangs du Parti pour la Paix et la Démocratie, le BDP (successeur de DTP) - c’est-à-dire les députés, les maires, les conseillers municipaux et provinciaux - mais aussi des présidents d’organisations civiles ou religieuses, des journalistes, des écrivains etc.

Après 4 jours de débat, le DTK a élu une Assemblée permanente de 101 membres dont des personnalités éminentes comme Osman Baydemir, maire métropolitain de Diyarbakir, qui réclame plus d’autonomie pour les collectivités locales, ou Hatip Dicle, ex-député de DEP, compagnon d’infortune de Leyla Zana - et de nouveau détenu - ou encore l’écrivain Faik Bulut et le journaliste Altan Tan.

Officiellement c’est une simple organisation mais, pour les Kurdes, c’est le Parlement kurde du Kurdistan de Turquie [4]. La représentation kurde, dans toutes ses composantes, est en ordre de bataille et est prête à ouvrir des négociations pour trouver une issue au conflit qui sera respectueuse des droits et obligations de chacun.

Dans sa déclaration finale, le DTK demande la libération de tous les hommes et de toutes les femmes politiques, de tous les militants et de toutes les militantes emprisonnés : "La détention de plus de 1 500 hommes politiques kurdes est un massacre politique" a déclaré Ahmet Turk qui estime que les amendements constitutionnels ne sont pas suffisants pour des solutions durables : "la question kurde est, par essence, une question constitutionnelle ; par conséquent, une solution constitutionnelle doit être trouvée à la question kurde".(André Métayer, 21 août 2010)

[1] Un barrage sur le Tigre devait engloutir le site archéologique d’Hasankeyf ; en mars 2008, une délégation d’AKB a participé à une manifestation regroupant élus locaux, population et organisations démocratiques au cours de laquelle furent plantés des abricotiers. Devant l’ampleur des protestations nationales et internationales, la Turquie a abandonné le projet.

[2] L’inefficacité relative des drones israéliens Heron a d’ailleurs soulevé une polémique soupçonneuse au sein même de l’armée turque qui, par ailleurs, travaille à la mise au point de son propre avion d’observation sans pilote (Anka) ; autrement redoutable est le drone américain MQ-1 Predator qui, armé de missile, est utilisé au Pakistan et en Afghanistan ; son l’utilisation contre les Kurdes n’est pas à l’ordre du jour.

[3] İl faut, pour qu’il soit représenté au parlement turc, que chaque parti franchisse, lors d’élections législatives nationales, la barre des 10% dans un scrutin proportionnel à un tour.

[4] à ne pas confondre avec le Congrès national du Kurdistan (KNK) - dont le siège est à Bruxelles - qui rassemble 28 partis politiques et autres organisations du mouvement social et politique des Kurdistan d’Irak, d’Iran de Syrie et de Turquie.

Call from Diyarbakir: Ceasefire an Opportunity for Dialogue

145 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from Diyarbakir in south-eastern Turkey said in a joint statement that the temporary ceasefire recently announced by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bears a huge opportunity for a peaceful solution of the Kurdish question. The organizations demanded to stop military operations in order to achieve permanent peace.

The joint statement was read out by the Head of the Diyarbakir Bar Association, Sezgin Tanrikulu. He emphasized that no section that sees itself as part of the solution should be left out.

"First of all, the government, other institutions within the state and the main opposition party are responsible for this process" Tanrikulu indicated. The problem should be tackled from different sides apart from bringing it up in current politics. All sections of society should be concerned and contribute to a solution, he claimed.

Representatives of the NGOs had gathered in Diyarbakir's Sümer Park to forward their joint statement. Tanrıkulu announced that the undersigned organizations were committed to fulfil their responsibility for a solution.

This period should not be wasted again

Ceasefires were decided many times within the last 25years. However, Tanrikulu emphasized, the state institutions did not make any use out of these periods to render a peaceful and liberal solution. He considered the following prerequisites necessary in order not to waste the current period either:

- Military operations should be halted since they would make the ceasefire fail. The ground has to be prepared for a peaceful and liberal solution within an environment of trust.

- The entire Turkish society should be concerned with the process. All sections of society must insist on stopping the operations.

- A solution based on freedom and equality has to be approached without prejudice and with concrete proposals that pave the way to a permanent ceasefire. The proposals should be considered to strengthen the base for a peaceful solution.


The NGOs reiterated their demands which they had previously voiced in the same context:

- Illegal and unjust applications directed against Kurdish politicians, elected mayors and human rights defenders should be stopped; un-detained prosecution should be ensured.

- A political parties system is needed where all political views can be expressed freely so that politics can function as a problem-solver. Thus, the election threshold has to be removed since it is the first reason for injustice in representation [of political opinions]. Alternatively, it should be decreased to an acceptable level and bans imposed on political parties should be lifted.

- A process of dialogue should be initiated in order to be able to render a permanent solution. Nobody who sees himself as part of this process should be excluded. A profound environment of dialogue should be established so that the armed conflicts can be stopped for good as the eventual aim of this process.

The proposals of proactive individuals and dynamics should be subject to unbiased discussion.  (BIA, Burçin BELGE, 19 August 2010)

Government Is Urged to Take Concrete Steps After the PKK's Ceasfire

After the decision for a ceasefire until 20 September taken by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the Istanbul Platform for a Peaceful and Democratic Solution called upon the government to stop military operations and provide permanent peace.

A group of around 50 people gathered on Istanbul's Galatasaray Square on Monday (16 August), namely members of the Workers Movement Party (EHP), the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), the Democratic Free Women's Movement (DÖKH), and the Movement for Democracy and Freedom. With their slogans they urged the government to stop military operations and to create peace.

The president of the Human Rights Association (İHD) Istanbul Branch, Abdülbaki Boğa, read out a statement as the spokesman for the platform. "The KCK [Democratic Confederation of Kurdistan (KCK), the umbrella organisation that includes the PKK] announced a ceasefire until 20 September on 13 August. This decision bears a historic opportunity. The state and the AKP [Justice and Development Party] should reply by stopping the military operations by entering a permanent ceasefire and peace".

Boğa continued, "The deaths will stop once the operations have been stopped. Recognize this opportunity for a conflict-free, permanent peace. Listen to the representatives of the Kurdish people. Talk. Listen. Get in touch".

"The logic of treating the Kurdish question as a problem of public order and perceiving violence as a means of solution is the reason for the deaths of tens of thousands of young people. Tens of thousands of deaths, outcries at the funerals of soldiers, the mourning of Kurdish mothers and fathers, hundreds of thousands of people disappeared in detention, thousands of villages were emptied, three million people were displaced, an inhumane life in the slums of the cities, children filling up prisons, lynch attacks in eastern provinces - all this shows that the military operations did not bear a solution".

Tuncel: PKK answered our call, the state has to take steps

The demonstration was attended, inter alia, by the BDP Istanbul Provincial Chair Mustafa Avcı, BDP deputy Sebahat Tuncel and Leman Yurtsever from the İHD. Also Tuncel addressed the crowd:

"The PKK answered our call. This is an important step but it is not enough. Also the state has to take a step. We expect a certain attitude of the political power and the members of parliament to answer our call. We cannot speak of peace where people die. We cannot speak of a solution where there is grief".

"If the AKP really wants a solution and wants to be taken to account on 12 September [the date of the referendum on the constitutional reform package] as they claim, the Kurdish question has to be solved first. The solution is up to the Prime Minister. Neither the Prime Minister nor the opposition party did utter a single word about the PKK's decision for a peace fire".

"The government has no time to lose"

bianet talked to Galip Ensarıoğlu, President of the Diyarbakır Chamber of Trade and Industry. He assessed the PKK's decision for a ceasefire as "a very important opportunity for permanent peace". He said, "The government has no time to lose to take concrete steps".

"The demands for democratic rights of the Kurdish people have to be put on the agenda to reach permanent peace. Once the circumstances have normalized, a democratic autonomy has to be discussed", Ensarıoğlu emphasized. (BIA, Berivan Tapan - Burçin Belge, 17 August 2010)

Diyarbakir Mayor Baydemir Charged for Criticizing Security Operations

Mayor Osman Baydemir of the Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality in the pre-dominantly Kurdish region of south-eastern Turkey stands trial on the grounds of a speech in which he harshly criticized the operations against the Democratic Confederation of Kurdistan (KCK) carried out in December 2009 in eleven different provinces. The KCK is the outlawed umbrella organisation that includes the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Baydemir cursed in his speech.

Now he is prosecuted under Article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Code under charges of "insulting Turkishness". The mayor is facing a prison sentence of up to three years.

According to the indictment, a total of seven people filed a complaint against Baydemir: three people from Samsun (Black Sea coast), one from Edirne (Thrace), one from Istanbul, one person residing in Balıkesir (southern coast of the Sea of Marmara) and one person detained in the Tekirdağ Closed Prison (Thrace). The complainants are merely mentioned as "plaintiffs" in the indictment.

Baydemir is a member of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP). The prosecution is based on a press release he delivered in the Diyarbakır Provincial Building of the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP), which was closed down by a decision of the Constitutional Court in 2009. In his statement made on 25 December 2009, Baydemir referred to the KCK operations in eleven provinces and criticized the categorization of "hawks" and "doves" in this context. He said, "Damn the ones who are saying this", using a rather rude Turkish expression. (BİA News Center, 19 August 2010)

A second case against Orhan Miroglu over the same speech

34 people including Taraf columnist Orhan Miroglu, former DEP MPs Leyla Zana and Selim Sadak, who were banned from politics as DTP was closed by the Court of Constitution will be tried for "making propaganda for PKK". When the Court of Constitution banned 34 people Ankara Public Prosecution Office had reminded that they were tried for their crimes but the Prosecution opened a second case against Miroglu over the same speech.
The indictment dated 13 July wanted prison terms between six months and 20 years for 34 people under article 117 of Political Parties’ Law number 2820.
Ankara Criminal Court of First Instance number 13 will begin trying the case on November 25.
Miroglu had been tried for a speech he delivered on 25 March 2007 as he was the vice president of DTP. He was charged with 'making propaganda” at Ankara High Criminal Court num.11. The court condemned Miro»lu to a prison term of 2 years and one month on April 11. The case is in the Appeal Court.
The accusation was included in the closure case against DTP. Miro»lu's lawyer Can Kayhan said a second case over the same action was unlawful and they would apply to the European Human Rights Court in the case of a condemnation. (antenna-tr.org, August 16, 2010)

European delegation barred from Diyarbakır prison

A European delegation was barred from Diyarbakir D Type Prison when demanded permission to visit Kurdish politicians who are in prison.

Jürgen Klute (MEP, European Parliament), Igrid Remers (MEP, Berlin Federal Parliament), Baerbel Beuermann and Rüdiger Sagal (MEPs, North-Rhein Westphalia) demanded permission from Turkish authorities to visit Kurdish politicians, Firat Anli and Muharrem Erbey, who are in prison. 

The prison administration told the delegation that they need a permission from Ministry of Justice before they can see the prisoners.

As their attempts were unsuccessful The European delegation left the prison building.

More than 1000 Kurdish politicians are kept in Diyarbakir D Type Prison in connection with the Kurdish Democratic Confederation (KCK) investigation. 53 of them are in prison since 13 April 2009 without trial. (ANF,
19 August 2010)

PKK calls unilateral ceasefire until 20th September

The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) announced on August 13, 2010, a new unilateral ceasefire that will last until 20th September. The Kurdistan Democratic Confederation (KCK), PKK's frame organisation, released a statement in which it said that Kurdish guerrillas will hold their fire until 20 September.

"Kurdish guerrillas would only defend themselves if attacked and will not attack Turkish army.
the unilateral ceasefire declaration is a new chance for the Turkish government to start a peace process," the statement said.

Calling on the Turkish government to halt all military operation against Kurdish guerrillas, KCK also demanded the release of the 1700 Kurdish politicians and activists still in jail.

"The Turkish government must lay out the framework for Kurdish national leader Abdullah Ocalan's active participation to the peace process", the statement said.

KCK also called on Turkey to lower the 10 percent election threshold and the international community, especially the United Nations, to play a constructive role for the peace process.

PKK had called off a two year unilateral ceasefire last June. More than 200 soldiers and Kurdish guerrillas lost their lives since 1st June when armed activities by the PKK started again. (ANF,
13 August 2010)

Desmond Tutu's Appeal to Erdogan on the Kurdish Problem

South African human rights activist and winner of the Nobel Peace Award Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote a letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, asking him to use his power and authority for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem.

In his letter, Tutu also reminded Erdogan of his statements on the Palestine problem. "I am concerned at the escalation of the conflict... in which ... young people from both sides are losing their lives," Tutu said adding that no winner could emerge from such a clash.

He stated that as it is the case in the Middle East, peaceful negotiations are the only lasting solution to problems. "We are firmly in the view that the Kurdish question can likewise be resolved through peaceful negotiations with the genuine leadership of the Kurdish people," Tutu added.

Tutu also suggested Erdogan to accept the help of the South Africa-based Kurdish Human Rights Action Group (KHRAG).

The letter was to be delivered to the Turkish Embassy in London by KHRAG Deputy President Priest Matthew Essau. He was accompanied by British parliamentarians Siobhain McDonagh, Jeremy Corbyn, liberal democrat politician Jonathan Fryer, human rights activist Frances Webber and former London mayor Ken Livingstone.

However, according to the report of the Firat News Agency (ANF), police officers in front of the embassy turned the delegation away.

Essau, in a statement, said that the Turkish Embassy has turned the letter down without even knowing its content. He stated that this is an incomprehensible attitude and added that letters are accepted even during the worst times. Essau said that the Turkish government has made an 'opening' to solve the Kurdish problem, but stated that this seems to be a deception. He added that it is very sad that the letter of Tutu, who is a person that spent his life struggling for peace, has been rejected.

KHRAG had launched an international petition campaign for the release of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan so that peaceful negotiations on the Kurdish problem could be carried out. (BIA News Center 11 August 2010)

DTK Proposes Autonomy and Supports Boycott

Ahmet Turk, who announced the final declaration of the Democratic Society Congress, which gathered in Diyarbakir, reiterated the call on the state and the PKK for the "silencing of weapons."

The congress, co-headed by Turk and Aysel Tugluk, the co-presidents of the closed-down Democratic Society Party, has gathered for the fourth time with the participation of around 800 representatives.

According to a report in the Gunluk (Daily) newspaper, these were the issues in the final declaration:

Democratic autonomy: The formation of autonomous regions and the carrying-out of some of the authorities of the central government through coordination of local administrations would reinforce the unity and togetherness in Turkey. This demand will be realised through the joint efforts of our peoples.

Support for the decision to boycott referendum: Our congress has expressed that boycotting the referendum would be a principled approach until there is a new democratic constitution, an end to the clashes, and until negotiations begin.

Demand for a new constitution: The current constitution has no freedoms regarding Kurds, Armenians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Arabians, who have been ignored for over 80 years; the other ethnic identities, Alevites, æzidîs and other beliefs; and labourers. In essence, the Kurdish problem is a constitutional problem, and thus its solution should also be constitutional.

Abdullah Ocalan should play a role: There is need to urgently begin dialogue and negotiations with the counterparts of the problem. We believe that a democratic constitution and the establishment of a Realities Commission would open the way for solution. Our Congress once again declares that there is no problem of a counterpart among Kurds. Our Congress would like to remind Ocalan's importance for a peaceful solution. The way for Ocalan should be cleared and he should be enabled to take part in the solution process so that his contributions can continue.

Call for participation: We call on all the differences and richnesses of our country to come under the Democratic Society Congress,  and to make efforts to turn the Congress into a joint platform. We also call on the brotherly Turkish people to be in solidarity with the will of the Congress.

The final declaration of the Congress also demanded that the Kurdish politicians and activists arrested and tried under the Kurdish Peoples' Confederation, are released.

The Democratic Society Congress had gathered for the first time in 2007 with the call of the Democratic Society Party. (BIA News Center 11 August 2010)

BDP Demands the Silencing of Weapons

After its Central Executive Board meeting, the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) made a statement and called on the state and the PKK to silence weapons, on the media to use a language of peace and on all circles calling for the silencing of weapons to strengthen their efforts.

Following the meeting in Diyarbakir, co-presidents Selahattin Demirtas and Gultan Kisanak made a press statement.

Some of the sections of the statement are as follows:

Call to stop the clashes: We are calling on the state, the government and the PKK to silence the weapons, so that a peaceful and democratic solution to the Kurdish problem may be given a chance, and the way for dialogue and negotiations may be cleared.

We will increase  efforts: As BDP, we will take initiative, adopt a more active political approach and increase our effort to find a honourable peace and solution, following a possible cease-fire.

Call on the society: We call on all sides and parties, all the NGOs that are calling for a cease-fire, and everyone, who wants the bloodshed to stop, to adopt a more active approach and to get involved in the process.

Call on the government: We call on the government to put forward a more serious approach for peace, to stop the military and political operations, to give chance a peace and to stop insisting on non-solution policies.

Call on journalists: The support of media organisations is crucial for the formation of a language of peace. We call on all media organizations, chief-editors, columnists and TV programmers to contribute to bringing the pain to an end and to finding a democratic solution.

"PKK has always responded to calls for a cease-fire," said Demirtas. "Good things may happen during Ramadan. We call on both the state and the PKK to appreciate all calls for peace. We are expecting a real cease-fire from the state."

"Our real expectation is from the state, the government, which insists on non-solution. We want to see it really bring an end to non-solution policies and operations. We expect concrete steps to be taken towards a permanent peace. " (BIA News Center 11 August 2010)

3 soldats turcs tués par des rebelles kurdes

Trois soldats turcs ont été tués dans un attentat à la bombe par des rebelles kurdes dimanche dans le sud-est de la Turquie, a rapporté l'agence de presse Anatolie.

Des rebelles du PKK ont actionné à distance un engin explosif sur une route reliant Nusaybin à Omerli dans la province de Mardin, ajoute l'agence de presse turque.

Deux soldats ont été tués sur le coup. Un troisième blessé est décédé par la suite, selon la même source.

Une opération a été lancée pour tenter de capturer les attaquants.

Dans une autre attaque, les rebelles du PKK ont tiré samedi soir sur des bâtiments de la police à coup de roquettes de type RPG dans la localité de Tatvan dans la province de Bitlis (sud-est), blessant un officier de police, a également rapporté l'agence Anatolie. (AFP, 8 août 2010)

Un soldat turc et six rebelles kurdes tués dans l'est

Un soldat turc et six rebelles kurdes ont été tués jeudi lors d'accrochages entre l'armée et les insurgés dans l'est et le sud-est de la Turquie, a indiqué l'agence de presse turque Anatolia.

La police a saisi des explosifs dans une voiture près de Diyarbakir, la capitale de la région à majorité kurde, et arrêté deux personnes suspectées d'être des militants du PKK, ont précisé les médias turcs.

Ces affrontements s'inscrivent dans une montée en puissance des attaques des rebelles kurdes depuis le mois de mai.

Trois insurgés, dont une femme, ont été tués lors d'une opération des forces de sécurité dans une zone montagneuse de la province d'Hakkâri, frontalière avec l'Irak et l'Iran, a indiqué à Anatolia le gouverneur local, Muammer Tumer.

Selon l'agence turque, trois autres membres présumés du PKK sont morts lors d'une fusillade avec la police alors qu'ils venaient de tirer contre le bureau du gouverneur dans la ville de Van, dans l'est du pays. Deux policiers ont été légèrement blessés lors de l'incident.

Enfin, dans la province d'Agri (est), un soldat est mort lors d'un accrochage près de Dogubayazit et un autre a été blessé quand des rebelles ont attaqué un bâtiment de la police à Dicle, près de Diyarbakir (sud-est). (AFP, 5 août 2010)

La Turquie va vers la guerre civile

Le conflit entre les Kurdes et la Turquie, qui dure depuis près d’un siècle, s’amplifie de jour en jour. Depuis le 1° Juin dernier, date où le PKK a déclaré un nouveau processus d’autodéfense, les affrontements sont devenus quotidiens, non seulement dans plusieurs régions du Kurdistan et aussi dans certains régions de la Turquie.

Si, selon mes observations, les autorités turques ne réagissent pas en prenant en compte les intérêts du pays et du peuple, ces affrontements amèneront la Turquie vers une guerre civile.
Il y a une semaine, deux districts, Dörtyol (district de Hatay) et Inegöl (district de Bursa), sont devenus les foyers d’un soulèvement des ultranationalistes turcs qui veulent briser la volonté du peuple kurde dont les droits fondamentaux sont bafoués : les habitations et les lieux du travails des Kurdes vivants dans ces deux districts et les locaux du BDP (principal parti kurde en Turquie) ont été attaqués  et, au lieu d’empêcher ces agressions et d’arrêter les coupables, la police et la gendarmerie ont protégé les agresseurs ; ce comportement a été encouragé par le gouvernement d’AKP.

Le 29 Juillet dernier, un groupe de députés du BDP ont voulu se rendre sur les lieux, le district de Dörtyol,  pour étudier la situation  et visiter les Kurdes victimes des agressions. Mais, ce groupe des députés a été empêché par le gouverneur de Hatay, à la demande des agresseurs et sur ordre du ministère de l’intérieur : nul ne peut donc nier que le gouvernement turc a ouvertement pris la position en faveur des fauteurs de trouble.

La police turque fait, ces derniers jours, des opérations dans plusieurs villes. Des dizains de Kurdes sont arrêtés pour avoir participé aux activités dont le but est de revendiquer les droits démocratiques.

Après un long processus de protestation  lancé par des organisations des droits de l’homme, dont Amnesty International, les autorités turques ont commencé, avec l'entrée en vigueur d'une nouvelle,  à libérer des enfants kurdes emprisonnés, certains depuis plusieurs années, pour avoir jeté des pierres sur les forces de l'ordre, La nouvelle législation abolit également les articles de loi autorisant les tribunaux pour adultes à juger des mineurs.

Entre 2006 et 2008, 2.500 mineurs, environ, âgés de 12 à 18 ans, ont été présentés à des tribunaux pour enfants ou pour adultes. 200 mineurs, environ, sont actuellement en prison.

Je dois dire que la loi antiterroriste a été utilisée par l’Etat turc comme un moyen de briser la lutte du peuple kurde. Si le gouvernement d’AKP abolit, aujourd’hui, cette loi, c’est qu’il veut se donner une image démocratique pour demander les votes des Kurdes en faveur du changement de la constitution, qui aura lieu le 12 Septembre prochain.

Dans ce processus, le PKK affirme que ses combattants sont prêts à déposer les armes sous certaines conditions, notamment si Ankara accepte un cessez-le-feu et un dialogue. Dans un entretien à la BBC, Murat Karayilan, un des responsables du PKK, a déclaré que, si le problème kurde est résolu de façon démocratique via le dialogue, ils sont prêts à déposer les armes.

Je me permets de répéter ce que je dis souvent ; malgré toutes les politiques hostiles aux Kurdes, notre peuple se déclare toujours en faveur de la paix et prône une solution pacifique. Si, aujourd’hui, des institutions internationales, comme par exemple, les Nations Unies ou l’UE, prenaient des initiatives en faveur du règlement de ce conflit, une grande force intellectuelle kurde se mettrait à leur disposition pour trouver les bons moyens nécessaires. (Ahmet DERE, 1er août 2010)

Time bomb found in Dersim city hall

A time bomb found in the building of Dersim municipality was neutralised by the police.

It is reported that the time-adjusted 250g C4 and A4 plastic explosive left in the city hall was discovered by the clerks. The security officials said the bomb was set to explode at midday on Saturday however, because its battery was dead the bomb did not explode.

The mayor of Dersim Edibe Şahin stated that the city hall was open during the last week’s cultural festival in town and the person or persons who placed the bomb took advantage of the crowd.

It is also reported that on Saturday there was panel in which the mayor of Diyarbakir, the biggest Kurdish city in Turkey, Osman Baydemir made a speech on the democratic autonomy project of his party BDP. Baydemir said they want to see a Kurdish flag flapping next to the Turkish flag in front of the governmental buildings.

The mayor also stated that the bomb was found by the municipality personnel who went down to the warehouse to pick up their equipments. She further stated that the police started an investigation and they are expecting the police to found out the responsible behind the bomb. Kurdish MP of BDP Seraffetin Halis also came to the building and visited the mayor.  (ANF,
4 August 2010)

Investigation against 17 people for speaking in Kurdish

BDP MP for Batman, Bengi Yıldız attended the opening ceremony of BDP Office in Muğla’s Milas district on 11 January 2009 and greeted people in Kurdish. Prosecution opened an investigation against Bengi Yıldız and 16 others for 'praising crime and criminal' and 'violating the law 2820 on political parties by speaking in Kurdish”. Prosecution sent an application to the Parliament for the removal of Bengi’s immunity to be able to open the investigation.

Prosecution letter said “It has been understood that he spoke in Kurdish in the beginning and closing parts of his public address he spoke in Kurdish violating the law 2820 on political parties, article 81/c, and the attached transcriptions of his speech and collected evidence proves that… Removal of Bengi Yıldız's immunity under article 83 of the Constitution…”

Governmental AK Party amended the law 2820 Political Parties in March 2010. The amendment removed the section that said 'using Turkish in political activities and election propaganda” and replaced it with 'using Turkish in propaganda is the rule'.
(antenna-tr.org, August 4, 2010)

Kurdish Mayor Baydemir prosecuted over his speech on Autonomy

Dersim public prosecutor office launched a criminal investigation against the mayor of Diyarbakir over his speech on Democratic Autonomy for Kurdistan.

Osman Baydemir, the mayor of the biggest Kurdish city in Turkey, Diyarbakir is facing a criminal investigation over his speech on Kurdish problem and democratic autonomy which he delivered at Dersim cultural festival on 31 July.

What did Baydemir say at the festival?

“We propose Democratic Autonomy Project against the AKP’s National Unity Project. It means the Turkish National Parliament will remain but also there will be local parliaments, including Kurdistan Parliament.” said mayor of Diyarbakir Osman Baydemir the other day at Munzur River Festival in Dersim.

Regarding the debates on negotiations for the Kurdish problem Baydemir said “Those who are looking for an interlocutor should look at the Newroz celebration on 2010 in Diyarbakir in which almost a million people were taking part. And people made it clear who should be addressed for the solution”.

In relation to the “Democratic Autonomy Project” of BDP Baydemir said “Autonomy is misunderstood in Turkey. It is not secession but the project of living together. There are peoples in Europe who have autonomy despite the fact that their population is not more than 2 millions. However, our democratic autonomy framework is much wider than the European autonomy framework.”

Baydemir added: “This project should be seen as ‘Democratic Kurdistan Autonomy in Turkey’ which means the Turkish National Assembly will remain but there will also be a Kurdistan Parliament. Besides the Turkish flag there will also be our flag of green-red-yellow colours. For instance, next to the Turkish flag flapping in front of the Dersim Municipality building there will be the Kurdish flag flapping next to it.”

Regarding Baydemir’s statement the state minister Cemil Cicek blamed him by being insane and not being aware of what he is talking about. (ANF, August 2, 2010)

Minorités / Minorities

Protestation à Istanbul contre les expulsions de Roms par la France

Les représentants de plusieurs associations de Roms de Turquie ont protesté jeudi devant le consulat de France à Istanbul contre les expulsions de Roms par la France vers la Roumanie et la Bulgarie, a constaté un journaliste de l'AFP.

"Nous sommes réunis ici pour protester contre le vent de racisme qui souffle en Europe et particulièrement en France contre les Roms", a affirmé le petit groupe dans un communiqué lu devant la presse.

"Nous en appelons à la Commission européenne: avertissez les dirigeants ségrégationnistes, arrêtez le racisme. Et si ça ne marche pas, excluez leurs pays de l'Union européenne", ont poursuivi les manifestants.

Ils ont ensuite déposé une gerbe noire où était écrit "Nous sommes désolés" devant le consulat.

La communauté Rom de Turquie est évaluée à deux millions de personnes, pour la plupart sédentarisées. (AFP, 26 août 2010)

Dink's Lawyer Çetin: Violations Continue, New Trials to Come

After Turkey has recently been convicted by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in the case concerned with murdered Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, joint attorney of the Dink family Fethiye Çetin says that it is not over yet: "We have experienced further rights violations in the cases and the investigation related to the Hrant Dink murder".

Çetin indicated, "The means of domestic remedies are being exhausted one by one. If we cannot achieve a result we will apply to the ECHR".

Hrant Dink, founder and then editor-in-chief of the Armenian Agos newspaper was shot in front of his office in Istanbul on 19 January 2007.

"The trial ends the way it started"

The joint lawyers of the Dink family await the investigation of all persons involved in the background of the murder, who played a role in and carried responsibility for the murder and also of the people to be held responsible for showing Dink as a target in the context of the press trials opened against Dink. However, Çetin does not expect much in the face of the developments.

According to the lawyer, the cases tried in Turkey and the investigation into the Dink murder constitute a violation of several articles of the European Convention of Human Rights. These are namely Articles 2, 6, 10, 13 and 14 on the right to life, the right to a fair trial, the right to freedom of expression, to an effective remedy and the prohibition of discrimination respectively.


In an interview with bianet Çetin referred to the ineffective investigations regarding the trials in Trabzon and Istanbul, the demeanour of the Istanbul Governorship and prosecutors and the lack of investigation into activities of members of the National Intelligence Agency (MIT). The lawyer mentioned the following examples for violations of the law:

- The investigation carried out in the scope of the case tried at the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court is not effective. The suspects on trial are the triggermen and their close friends. Yet, we know that this murder was planned and realized step by step. We informed the court how the murder was planned and who was involved in the different stages. The complaints filed at court against Dink were the result of a central organization; we reminded the fact that all petitions were made in exactly the same way. We requested an evaluation considering all facts. However, our efforts did not yield any results.

- The investigation carried out in the context of the case tried at the Trabzon 2nd Magistrate Criminal Court is not effective. Our request to merge the file of the eight gendarmerie officers with the murder case was dismissed.

- The Istanbul Governorship refused to hand us the investigation files and the analysis report of an investigation that we made a complaint about. We complain but the means of domestic remedies are being exhausted one by one.

- Our petitions submitted to the prosecutions regarding information on the investigation of the murder, documents and witnesses remained unanswered. Our request to investigate MIT executives was rejected.

Pronouncement of ECHR judgement expected in September

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) recently convicted Turkey in the case concerned with the files of Hrant Dink. In the defence recently submitted by Turkey to the Strasbourg court, Dink was compared to a Nazi leader and he was accused of publishing "hate speeches". Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin had both distanced themselves from the defence. The court decision is expected to be announced in September after the reasoning will have been prepared. (BIA, Burçin BELGE, 25 August 2010)

No Investigation about the MIT's negligence on Dink's Assassination
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan rejected the application of Istanbul Chief Public Prosecution to investigate if the negligence on the part of the members of National Intelligence Agency (MIT) played a role in the murder of Hrant Dink.

Prosecution’s application was first sent to the MIT and their opinion was asked for. MİT’s answer said  “we do not have any information or documents about Hrant Dink murder”. Prime Minister Erdoğan had Prime Ministry’s Law Office to examine the case. The final decision state that the permission for an investigation against MIT members was not granted.
Prime Ministry’s permission is needed to investigate high level MIT members. Article 26 of Law 2937 on National Intelligence Service states that Prime Minister’s permission is needed to investigate the crimes claimed to be committed by MIT members during duty or due to the nature of their duty. (antenna-tr.orgAugust 24, 2010).

European court finds Turkey guilty in Dink case

The European Court of Human Rights has ruled in favor of the family of slain journalist Hrant Dink, finding Turkey guilty of violating the right to life and freedom of expression, Turkish media reported Sunday.

Dink, a Turkish journalist of Armenian origin and editor of weekly bilingual Agos, was gunned down in January 2007 in front of his newspaper's office. Before his death, he had filed an appeal with the European court after he was tried for violating Article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code, which prohibits "insulting Turkishness."

The European court ruled in favor of Dink and his family, who continued the legal fight after the journalist's death, broadcaster CNNTürk reported Monday. The family had also filed another complaint saying the Turkish state failed to protect Dink before his death.

The court ruled that Turkey violated the freedom of expression by trying Dink for insulting Turkishness and violated the right to life by failing to protect Dink despite death threats. The court also condemned the inefficiency of the legal proceedings that took place after his death, daily Vatan reported on its website.

The European court did not release a statement Monday but was instead expected to make its official announcement in September.

Dink's trial made headlines earlier in August when the Turkish state cited in its defense the case against a leader of a Nazi organization in Europe as an example supporting its prosecution of Dink. (Daily News , August 23, 2010)

Sulukule Roma Association’s application to European court accepted

The European Court of Human Rights has accepted the application of the Sulukule Roma Association against a renovation project in the Fatih Municipality’s historical Sulukule area, despite the ongoing domestic court cases.

The association applied to the European Court accusing the ongoing urban transformation project in Sulukule of violating six articles, namely: “protection of privacy and family life,” “prevention of discrimination,” “protection of property,” “right to fair trial,” “respect of human rights” and “right to have efficient application.”

Hilal Küey, a lawyer for the association, said they applied to the European Court on May 20 with a 22-page file and 48 pages of supplements. “The European court usually does not accept applications if the domestic court cases are still ongoing. But they have accepted our application,” said Küey, adding that there are at least three ongoing court cases in Turkey over the renewal project in Sulukule.

Küey said the court accepted the application because the judiciary process in Turkey has not borne fruit for three years now and many people have been removed from their homes within that time.

Viki Ciprut, a member of the Sulukule Platform, a platform organized to support the Roma people in Sulukule, said the court cases on the renewal project are ongoing in Turkey but despite these court cases the authorities have continued the project, demolishing all the houses in Sulukule and removing the Roma people who used to live there. “In reality, everything has ended but the court cases are still ongoing. I think this is why the European Court accepted this application,” she said.

The Fatih Mayor Mustafa Demir denied the accusations of "evacuation of people from their houses" and said that he was surprised that European Court accepted the application.

The association and three locals filed a lawsuit in 2007, when the demolishment of houses in Sulukule started, against the renewal project, saying that it was damaging the Roma culture and historical fabric of this neighborhood, Küey said. She also said another court case was also ongoing, as some locals did not accept the expropriation sums that were offered to them by the Fatih Municipality, which is helming the renewal project.

“On behalf of some locals, I objected to the appropriation offers for being too low. According to the law, Fatih Municipality opened a court case asking for an examination of the real expropriation value for these properties,” said Küey, adding that this second case has continued since 2008. The Turkish Union of Engineers and Architects’ Chambers, or TMMOB, has also filed a compliant against the Sulukule project, and that case is still ongoing. (Daily News , August 23, 2010)

Service at Sümela Monastery - Yet no Equality

Assoc. Prof. Elçin Macar from the Department of Political Science and International Relations of Yıldız Technical University evaluated the permission issued by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for the first mass in 88 years at the Sümela Monastery (eastern Black Sea coast). He said that this did not happen in respect to the civil rights of minorites but that it expressed a "protectionist" attitude as practiced during the times of the Ottoman empire.

Macar indicated that the AKP is following a different policy regarding minorities:

"The government conveys the message to the Orthodox community and to Greece saying that 'we make peace with the minorities' by allowing the first service at Sümela in 88 years after the population exchange. This service indicates that the AKP is following a different policy from the previous governments. However, the AKP government actually runs a policy like in Ottoman times with a mindset of dispensing justice, tolerating minorities and perceiving their existence as necessarily to be protected. This is the point to criticize because this is not an acceptable policy in our times. Minorities must not be looked down at but they should receive equal rights as citizens of the Republic. Yet, I think that this egalitarian approach cannot be felt sufficiently in the government's policy".

Mutual greeting

Macar also commented a sentence voiced by Fener Greek Patriarch Bartholomew who officiate the service. Bartholomew said, "We came here to pray in the commemoration of the sultans who sincerely supported the monastery". Macar evaluated the sentence as follows:

"It is nothing new that the Patriarch would refer to the sultans. He frequently emphasizes that the rights and conditions during the 'nation system' of the Ottoman Empire were better compared to the times of the republic. Considering the fact that the AKP government refers to the Ottomans itself quite often, this can be seen as a mutual greeting".

Change of policies

"The service celebrated at Sümela shows that the policies followed during the past 10-15 years have been reviewed and that at least steps are being taken to change the direction of these policies", Macar stated and continued:

"A ship which visited harbours at the Black Sea coast as part of an environmental meeting organized by Rahmi Koç in 1997 was hindered from entering Trabzon. It turned out that the Interior Minister himself had officially addressed the governor with a written demand to deny access to Trabzon. In addition, the National Security Council had declared the area as a sensitive region regarding Greece because the neighbouring country was giving education on the 'consciousness of the Greek' by bringing young people from nearby villages who spoke Greek to Greece and taking Orthodox Christians from abroad to visit Sümela. Sections in the region that were sensitive to nationalism became vigilant. This state policy was followed in the region for the last 10-15 years. Now it has started to change. The opening of Cappadocia and Demre besides Sümela for worshipping once a year and Prime Minister Erdoğan's circular about minorities which in a sense is a confession are steps of this change".

Macar pointed out that after the exchange of population due to the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 there was no community left to celebrate a service at Sümela since all Greeks from the Black Sea region went to Greece. The monastery was transformed into a museum later on and lost its status of a place of worship. (BIA, 17 August 2010)

Turkey Criticized for Tainting The Memory of Slain Journalist

The 'Friends of Hrant' group, formed to bring light into the murder case of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, demanded the government to withdraw its defence recently submitted to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The group criticized the defence regarding the case opened by the Dink family at the Strasbourg court in a written statement.

"We feel ashamed" is the title of the groups statement that requests an apology to the Dink family and an investigation into the preparation and approval of the defence. The group demanded an explanation from the government and all state institutions that were involved in the defence.

The Dink family had applied to the ECHR because of Dink's conviction based on the controversial Article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Code which bans "insults" to the Turkish state. The Turkish government recently submitted its defence to the international court, accusing Dink of having written "hate speeches" and comparing him with a Nazi leader.

Read the statement of the "Friends of Hrant" group as follows:

We feel ashamed!

We, as the friends of Hrant Dink who was taken from us on 19 January 2007 by a dark murder and who told the truth, were hit once more!

On Saturday, 14 August 2010, Turkey's defence submitted to the ECHR regarding the case opened by the Dink family was published in the newspapers. The defence once more proved that we have no reason to expect justice. The shame we are feeling for three years together with the grief about the loss of our friend has increased once more.

We feel a great discomfort related to the course of events since January 2007. However, of course we are aware of the fact that the court procedures are being lead towards a deadlock, yet we are following it up since we have no other addressee. Of course we are aware that this murder is wanted to be closed by dismissing it as "the reaction of a few nationalist people".

Of course we are aware of the message given by awarding and appointing names like the former Governor of Istanbul Muammer Güler or the former Istanbul Chief of Police Istanbul Celalettin Cerrah to higher positions, instead of interrogating them. They are known to have neglected their duties and have remained silent.

The defendants and the defence lawyers carry on with their threats and racist demeanour inside and outside of the courtroom. [...] We are certainly aware of what the detained defendants who do not know what they are saying are trying to do.

But the point we have reached now has even confused us.

The Government of the Turkish Republic said in its defence submitted to the ECHR regarding the case opened by the Dink family, "Dink insulted "Turkishness" and constituted hate speeches. This kind of writing incites the public to hatred and constitutes a public offence", ""Dink would have applied to the local authorities and would have asked for protection if he had really been under an immediate threat". These are the sentences that paved the way to murder of Hrant Dink!

Dink was sentenced for "insulting Turkishness and provoking the public and the government referred to the case of Nazi leader Kuhnen against the German government as a precedent!

We feel ashamed of the state and the government that submitted the defence since they accuse Hrant Dink instead of prosecuting the public officials who neglected the murder. We feel ashamed of the impudent defence that gives the precedent of a Nazi leader in comparison with Hrant Dink.

The defence of the Turkish Republic submitted to the ECHR is unacceptable. We, as the friends of Hrant Dink, the victims of the Dink murder case, witnesses, observers and citizens of this country demand to immediately withdraw the defence submitted to the ECHR at once and to launch an immediate investigation into the preparation and approval of the defence. We demand an explanation from the government and all state institutions involved in the defence. We request an immediate apology from the state and the government of the Turkish Republic to the Dink family and the people following up this case. (BIA, Tolga KORKUT, 18 August 2010)

ECHR: Ankara Justifies Hrant Dink's Assassination

More than three years after the assassination of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, the Turkish government submitted their defence to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) related to the conviction of Dink because of "insulting Turkishness". The government accused Dink of "inciting the public to hatred" and claimed the journalist's article on subject to constitute a "hate speech".

Dink, founder of the Armenian Agos newspaper, was prosecuted on the grounds of one sentence in an article about the Armenian identity and the recognition of the events in 1915 as genocide. The journalist, then editor-in-chief of the Armenian weekly, had been shown as a target in course of the trial. He was convicted under article 301 of the Turkish Criminal Code (TCK) and after that he got killed in front of his office in Istanbul on 19 January 2007.

Dink had applied to the ECHR upon his conviction. After his assassination, Dink's family had furthermore applied to court due to alleged negligence of official authorities to prevent the murder. The ECHR merged both applications.

The person who threatened the newspaper was punished anyways...

According to the Turkish nation-wide Radikal daily, the government stated in their defence that the penalty for Dink had not been finalized yet by the time the journalist applied and thus he actually did not have the right to apply. Yet, the sentence handed down to Dink had been approved by the Court of Appeals Penalty Council.

In order to prove the legitimacy of Dink's sentence, the government referred to the Kühnen case previously tried before the international court. The ECHR had approved the decision by German courts to punish Kühnen, a neo-Nazi who had spread anti-Semitic hate speeches in various pamphlets.

The government was interrogated regarding the fact that public officials failed to prevent the murder even though they knew about an assassination plan prior to Dink's murder. "Dink would have applied to the local authorities and would have asked for protection if he had really been under an immediate threat", the government claimed.

Additionally, the government emphasized that a person who had sent threats to the Agos newspaper when Dink was the chief editor had been convicted. "If it is agreed that the protection of freedom of thought is a positive responsibility of the state, then the ideas expressed on a disputable matter as in the letters sent by this person should also be agreed on as discussable and these thoughts must be protected as well", the government stated.

Foreign Ministry: Unacceptable Criticism

Subsequent to the news in Radikal, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a written statement,

"It is out of the question to justify in any way the assassination of Hrant Dink, one of the extraordinary precious intellectuals of our country. Regardless of the legal processes involved, it is entirely unacceptable to even imply that the government takes any efforts to legitimize or justify this murder. The views of the government directed towards the ECHR were solely prepared under legal and technical aspects. It is both wrong and unjust to intentionally render political results in the context of the Hrant Dink murder based on this defence".

The Minister of Justice, Sadullah Ergin, also said that the issue 'could not be linked to a Nazi example' and that it was a "liberal interpretation" of the amended article 301.(BIA, Erhan ÜSTÜNDAĞ, 16 August 2010)

Une première messe depuis 88 ans au monastère turc de Sümela

Ankara a autorisé dimanche pour la première fois depuis 88 ans la célébration d'une messe au monastère orthodoxe de Sümela (nord-est), lieu emblématique de la culture des Grecs du Pont, dont les descendants dispersés en Grèce et en Russie ont afflué par centaines.

"Après 88 ans, les larmes de la Vierge Marie ont cessé de couler", a déclaré lors de l'office le patriarche oecuménique de Constantinople Bartholomée 1er, faisant référence à la mère du Christ, à qui le monastère a été dédié et qu'on célébrait dimanche, jour de l'Assomption. "La terre du Pont s'est à nouveau unie au ciel".

Le dignitaire faisait également référence à l'histoire tragique des Grecs du Pont, dont la région s'étendait au nord-est de l'actuelle Turquie et constitua un empire (1204-1461) autour de la ville de Trébizonde (l'actuelle Trabzon), et furent contraints de quitter leur terre après la Première Guerre mondiale.

Dimanche, leurs descendants constituaient un important contingent parmi les 500 fidèles admis dans l'enceinte du monastère, édifié au IVe siècle au flanc d'une imposante falaise à 1.200 mètres d'altitude, auxquels s'ajoutaient selon les autorités 2.000 personnes venues d'Istanbul, de Grèce, de Russie et de Géorgie mais contraintes de suivre la messe sur un écran géant, faute de place.

"La Vierge de Sümela, pour nous, compte plus que notre mère. Il faut être un Grec pontique pour comprendre l'importance de cette messe", a déclaré à l'AFP Charalambos Zigas, un mécanicien de 51 ans venu de Grèce.

Pour appuyer son propos, l'homme relate l'histoire de son grand-père paternel, originaire des montagnes entourant Sümela, et contraint en 1922 à un exode vers la Russie au cours duquel il perdu sa femme et son fils, "dévorés par des ours".

Lors de sa guerre d'indépendance, la Turquie a affronté la Grèce de 1920 à 1922, et plusieurs dizaines de milliers de Grecs pontiques ont péri dans des massacres ou au cours de leur exode forcé.

La Grèce évoque 350.000 victimes et parle de génocide, un qualificatif qui n'est pas utilisé par la communauté internationale et est récusé par la Turquie.

"Pour la famille, c'est un jour historique" estime également Katarina, une secrétaire russe de 30 ans, mariée à un pontique de Russie. "Il n'y a presque rien sur le Pont dans les livres et la culture se transmet oralement. Pour nous c'est l'occasion de raviver cette culture, et c'est aussi des émotions".

Pour de nombreux fidèles, la visite est l'occasion de rechercher la maison d'un aïeul, une trace de son propre passé.

"Tous les gens ici sont comme moi, ils sont venus voir la région, trouver une maison (...) Nous avons même rencontré deux personnes d'ici qui se disent pontiques et nous avons parlé en grec pontique", a affirmé Maria Piativou, une vétérinaire de 42 ans, venue de Salonique (nord).

En mai, le ministère turc du Tourisme et de la Culture a autorisé le patriarcat de Constantinople (l'actuelle Istanbul) la célébration une fois l'an, le 15 août, d'une messe à Sümela.

L'autorisation apparaît comme un geste de bonne volonté d'Ankara à l'égard de sa minorité grecque-orthodoxe, limitée aujourd'hui à 2.000 individus, avec laquelle subsistent plusieurs différends.

L'Union européenne, à laquelle veut adhérer la Turquie, réclame la réouverture du séminaire orthodoxe de Halki, à Istanbul, fermé depuis 1971.

Dans un geste à l'égard de sa minorité arménienne, Ankara a également autorisé la célébration en septembre d'une messe à l'église-musée arménienne d'Akdamar, dans la province de Van (est).

La Grèce salue la réouverture au culte d'un monastère orthodoxe de Turquie

Le Premier ministre grec, Georges Papandréou, a salué dimanche la réouverture au culte par une messe historique, du monastère orthodoxe de Sümela, en Turquie, y voyant un signe de rapprochement bilatéral.

 La célébration de cette messe pour la première fois depuis 88 ans "est un événement historique et important" qui atteste "d'un esprit de coopération et de paix entre notre peuple et celui du pays voisin", a-t-il déclaré.

Le Premier ministre, qui a relancé cette année le rapprochement gréco-turc qu'il avait lancé en 1999 s'exprimait à la sortie de la messe de l'Assomption, sur l'île cycladique de Paris.

Les médias grecs ouvraient dimanche leurs bulletins d'information sur la liturgie à Sümela, célébrée par le patriarche oecuménique orthodoxe Bartholomée 1er, qui siège à Istanbul. (AFP, 15 août 2010)

La Turquie desserre l'étau autour du Patriarcat de Constantinople

Le gouvernement turc vient d’annoncer un assouplissement des mesures administratives imposées aux évêques relevant du Patriarcat œcuménique de Constantinople à l’étranger. Cette décision, prometteuse, doit néanmoins être accueillie avec prudence.

La mesure est inédite. Le gouvernement turc a annoncé que les métropolites relevant de la juridiction du Patriarcat de Constantinople à l’étranger pourraient dorénavant acquérir la nationalité turque, ce qui était impossible jusqu’ici. Une décision qui pourrait aider le saint-synode du Patriarcat œcuménique – dont le siège se trouve à Istanbul – à trouver, le moment venu, un successeur au patriarche Bartholomeos Ier, chef spirituel des orthodoxes dans le monde.

Certes, cette question est loin d’être à l’ordre du jour – l’actuel patriarche n’est âgé que de 70 ans – mais la main tendue d’Ankara est de bon augure pour l’Église de Constantinople, considérablement affaiblie par la laïcité turque en l’espace de quelques décennies. La loi impose en effet que le patriarche soit citoyen turc, né et formé en Turquie.

Or, l’Église orthodoxe ne compte plus que 3 000 fidèles dans ce pays à majorité musulmane, contre 300 000 au début du XXe siècle, réduisant de fait le panel de prétendants à la succession patriarcale. Pour l’heure, seuls 14 archevêques de ce Patriarcat ont la citoyenneté turque, dont Bartholomeos. Mais selon l’agence Reuters, dix-sept autres viennent d’en faire la demande…
Une décision attendue depuis plusieurs mois

Parmi eux, Mgr Emmanuel, métropolite de France du Patriarcat de Constantinople et président de l’Assemblée des évêques orthodoxes de France (AEOF) pour qui « cette décision était attendue depuis plusieurs mois. Elle est très importante dans la mesure où ces naturalisations permettront d’élargir le nombre d’électeurs et de candidats possibles en cas d’élection d’un nouveau patriarche. » Mgr Emmanuel voit également dans cette mesure un « pas en avant » de la part du gouvernement turc en faveur de la liberté religieuse et une orientation à encourager.

C’était d’ailleurs l’une des demandes pressantes de l’Assemblée parlementaire du Conseil de l’Europe qui a adopté en janvier une résolution invitant la Turquie à « reconnaître la personnalité juridique du Patriarcat orthodoxe œcuménique d’Istanbul » et à « trouver une solution en vue de la réouverture de l’école théologique grecque orthodoxe de Heybeliada (séminaire de Halki) ».
Restituer les biens confisqués aux orthodoxes

Le cas de ce centre, fondé en 1844 avec une forte dimension panorthodoxe (330 évêques et 16 patriarches appartenant à diverses juridictions y ont été formés), fermé de façon arbitraire par les autorités turques en 1971, est emblématique des difficultés chroniques d’une orthodoxie locale empêchée de former ses pasteurs et sa relève, soumise à une forte émigration.

La réouverture – non encore programmée – de Halki reste l’une des revendications principales du Patriarcat de Constantinople. Des milliers d’autres biens, terrains et bâtiments confisqués ici et là aux orthodoxes sous prétexte d’inoccupation attendent aussi d’être restitués…

Prudence, donc, estime Sébastien de Courtois, historien spécialiste des minorités en Turquie : « Une porte a été ouverte, mais il faut voir si cela sera suivi d’effets. Ce n’est pas la première annonce de ce type. » Par ailleurs, « la naturalisation d’évêques étrangers suffira-t-elle à permettre à l’un d’eux de devenir patriarche, dans la mesure où la loi actuelle impose que ce dernier soit né en Turquie ? » s’interroge le chercheur. Les Turcs ont toujours « considéré légitime de pouvoir décider des conditions de succession et du statut du Patriarcat », explique-t-il. C’est aussi pour cette raison qu’Ankara refuse de reconnaître le titre de patriarche « œcuménique » (c’est-à-dire de primauté universelle) à Bartholomeos Ier.

Maintenir le dialogue avec l'administration

Ce dernier n’a d’ailleurs jamais cessé de revendiquer son enracinement en Turquie – dont il est natif – et veille à maintenir un dialogue avec l’administration. La situation semble donc s’être apaisée ces dernières années. D’autant que le premier ministre islamo-conservateur Tayyip Erdogan est paradoxalement « nettement plus ouvert à la question des minorités religieuses que les gouvernements socialistes précédents », remarque Sébastien de Courtois.

Les élections législatives prévues pour juillet 2011 sont attendues avec une certaine fébrilité du côté orthodoxe et des autres minorités chrétiennes : un changement de cap politique pourrait en effet compromettre ces avancées… Mais un mouvement de fond semble bel et bien engagé : « Ces évolutions ne sont pas forcément étrangères aux mutations que vit la Turquie depuis un certain temps », analyse de son côté Carol Saba, le porte-parole de l’AEOF.

« Sur le plan interne, la laïcité reste la question centrale, entre la laïcité radicale et une laïcité plus ouverte intégrant une expression plus présente de l’islam dans un cadre démocratique. » Selon lui, la Turquie vit par ailleurs un « tournant » dans sa politique étrangère, sous la houlette de son ministre des affaires étrangères, Ahmet Davutoglu, artisan d’une politique « néo-ottomane » qui capitalise sur la position géostratégique centrale de la Turquie entre l’Europe, le Moyen-Orient et le grand espace turcoman en Asie.
La Turquie, un « facilitateur stratégique »

La Turquie revendique selon lui un rôle d’acteur de premier plan et de « facilitateur stratégique » tant au niveau régional (rapprochement avec le Moyen-Orient arabe) qu’européen (rapprochement avec la Grèce et traitement du dossier de l’adhésion et des relations avec l’Europe).

Ce rôle pourrait, à terme, lui attirer les faveurs de l’Europe, ajoute Carol Saba, à condition que les virages soient bien négociés et que les évolutions annoncées au plan interne, notamment sur la question des minorités, soient suivies d’actes concrets : « La Turquie est comme un millefeuille. Si elle parvient à opérer une synthèse positive entre toutes les strates qui la composent, alors elle pourra évoluer vers une forme de laïcité positive. » (la-croix.com, François-Xavier MAIGRE, 2 août 2010)

Politique intérieure/Interior Politics

Erdogan admet des contacts avec Öcalan

Le Premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan a admis l'existence de contacts entre des responsables turcs et le leader emprisonné des rebelles kurdes Abdullah Öcalan, tout en niant qu'il s'agisse d'un dialogue politique, a rapporté mardi l'agence Anatolie.

Ankara considère le Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan (PKK), que dirige Öcalan, comme une organisation terroriste et M. Erdogan ainsi que son Parti de la justice et du développement (AKP) démentent toute forme de dialogue avec le chef rebelle qui purge depuis 1999 une peine de prison à vie.

"En tant que gouvernement, nous ne nous assierons jamais à la même table et n'aurons jamais de discussions avec une organisation terroriste ou ses représentants. Cela ne s'est jamais produit", a réaffirmé dans une interview à la télévision lundi soir M. Erdogan, selon l'agence Anatolie.

Le Premier ministre turc a toutefois ajouté: "Si certains contacts sont requis (...) l'Etat le fera".

"L'Etat, par exemple, dispose d'une agence de renseignement (...) pour débloquer, résoudre certaines questions. Il entreprend cela (ces contacts) mais le gouvernement, lui, ne peut jamais reconnaître (le PKK) comme interlocuteur et s'asseoir à la même table", a assuré M. Erdogan en soulignant qu'il ne fallait pas confondre les deux choses.

Les rebelles kurdes du PKK avaient affirmé lundi que l'Etat turc s'était pour la première fois engagé à un "dialogue" avec leur chef emprisonné, avait rapporté lundi l'agence pro-kurde Firat.

La trêve unilatérale décrétée le 13 août par le PKK pendant le mois musulman du ramadan est "le fruit du dialogue entrepris entre notre chef (Ocalan) et les organes compétents agissant au nom de l'Etat turc avec la connaissance du gouvernement" d'Ankara, affirmait le PKK dans un communiqué. (AFP, 24 août 2010)

Military statement on Heron accusations left unanswered questions

The General Staff broke its silence over claims of neglect and treason by the press. The military faces accusations of not taking enough precautions even though the PKK raids were allegedly known beforehand and of not sending sufficient support during the clashes. The official statement partially addresses only one of the attacks, but leaves many questions unanswered

The General Staff’s statement released over the weekend in response to accusations that the military knew the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, was planning attacks, said an investigation is ongoing, but has left many questions unanswered.

The General Staff said it did not release a statement earlier because it wanted to avoid misinforming the public.

The military’s response was limited to allegations regarding the Çukurca-Hantepe assault, even though accusations had included the Gediktepe assault, which was also in Hakkari province. The assaults took the lives of seven soldiers in Hantepe and 11 in Gediktepe.

The statement was posted to the official website of the General Staff around noon on Saturday and said an investigation is ongoing just like in any incident that ends with death.

The daily Taraf has accused the military of doing nothing to prevent the July 20 PKK attack on a post in Çukurca in the eastern province of Hakkari. Its headline said, “Generals watched soldiers die.” Citing video from a Heron, an unmanned surveillance aircraft, that showed the PKK methodically conducting its operation, the daily said the military failed to intervene even though the drone’s pictures were broadcast live to over 30 different military units, including the Chief of the General Staff. According to the statement, all 30 units do not receive the same broadcast. Which units were receiving the Hantepe recordings was not mentioned.

Top military brass has said the forces were unable to send air support to the military post under attack because of poor weather conditions. This claim is repeated in the statement with a minor change; helicopters lifted off, but they could not reach the scene due to fog and dust clouds in a nearby valley. The mentioned video, however, appeared to show the weather was clear enough to capture smoke from the bombs used. It is mentioned in the statement that the helicopters opened fire at the retreating PKK, alongside mortar support, two hours after the assault. However, it is not mentioned whether if any PKK members were captured or killed by this counterattack.

The General Staff argued the leaked Heron video of Hantepe begins 46 minutes after the attack since the Heron captured the video was at a different location. Taraf denied this in its Sunday edition; stating they have recordings before the attack. Also in its Sunday edition, Taraf asked how the DhSK guns, a Russian made anti-aircraft weapon also known as dhocka that weighs 175 kilograms when mounted, were transferred to the location by PKK without being noticed.

The General Staff has also faced criticism over the late deployment of support ground troops who arrived on foot hours after ambulance services had already reached the area. The Saturday statement did not mention anything about the ground troops.

Taraf also published a similar story on the June 19 Gediktepe assault, again based on images from a leaked Heron video, which has neither been verified nor denied by the Chief of General Staff. This accusation also remained unanswered in the Saturday statement. Apart from the videos, both attacks were also mentioned in the intelligence reports, which were also leaked to Taraf. (Hürriyet Daily News, August 22, 2010)

BDP bargains for 'yes' vote in Turkish referendum

The country’s main pro-Kurdish party might reconsider its call to boycott the Sept. 12 constitutional referendum if the government meets its demands, the deputy head of the party’s parliamentary group said Thursday.

“Almost 90 percent of the country’s people demand a new Constitution,” Ayla Akat Ata of the Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, told daily Radikal on Thursday. “We are not going to support a delay on this demand or the justification of continuing with a Constitution prepared by coup leaders.”

The deputy said the party’s supporters would vote “yes” on the proposed reforms if five key demands are accepted. These demands include the preparation of a new Constitution that does not favor any ethnicity and the lowering of the 10-percent election threshold. In addition, the BDP official said, military operations against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, should be halted, negotiations should be launched to find a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue and suspects – including many BDP mayors and local officials – detained in operations against the outlawed Kurdish Communities Union, or KCK, should be released.

The BDP had asked its supporters to boycott the referendum because the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, ignored its proposals and excluded it from the process of developing the proposed constitutional amendments. But announcements by nongovernmental organizations in the Southeast that they will vote “yes,” as well as the recent declaration of a unilateral cease-fire by the PKK, have forced the BDP to reconsider its position.

More than a dozen business organizations in the southeastern city of Diyarbakır recently announced that they would urge their members to approve the constitutional amendments package in the upcoming referendum.

Speaking on behalf of 14 organizations, including the Diyarbakır Chamber of Commerce and Industry, or DTSO, the Chamber of Agriculture and the Chamber of Pharmacists, DTSO Chairman Galip Ensarioğlu said the public’s will was seized 30 years ago by a military coup and Sept. 12 would give the people a chance for payback.

“We believe that the 1982 Constitution cannot be fixed by partial amendments; the way to solve the problem is to prepare a new Constitution that advocates the principles of democracy,” Ensarioğlu was quoted as saying by Anatolia news agency. “But we also value amendments that come at times when it is not possible to prepare a new Constitution.”

The chairman added that although “we believe the package is not adequate, we will vote ‘yes’ to support any possible steps in the future for a new Constitution.”

When asked if such a statement contradicted the BDP’s call for a boycott, Ensarioğlu said the group did not support or oppose any political party. “Political parties will decide what to do after inner-party discussions,” he said. “Our decision does not mean helping the government or hurting a political party. We believe that the amendments package is important for our country and thus we support it.”
(Hürriyet Daily News, August 19, 2010)

KCK Chairman Karayilan: We may reconsider boycott decision

Kurdish Democratic Confederation (KCK) president Murat Karayilan said they may reconsider boycott decision against constitutional referendum if ruling AKP takes certain steps in favor of Kurds.

Karayilan said if there were no declaration of ceasefire on PKK’s side, the possible outcome of the constitutional amendments would possibly be rejected on the September 12 referendum.

“It’s clear that Kurdish votes will have a direct impact on the referendum results” he said.

As Kurds are campaigning for boycott Karayilan signaled that the color of Kurdish votes may change.

“If Kurds' demands are met the Kurds and the Kurdish movement will reconsider the boycott decision” Karayilan said.

Karayilan underlined a need for a democratic constitution and said that only a new constitution will help to solve the Kurdish Question.

No change in Turkish stance against the PKK

National Security Council meeting says no change in its policy toward the PKK

Turkish National Security Council (MGK) said Turkey will continue its combat against the PKK despite PKK’s ceasefire declaration.

“Once again, with the support of our people, we underline our determination for the struggle against the separatist terrorist organization which threats our country’s unity, our citizen’s right to live and peace of our people will, continue” read the MGK statement.

This was the first MGK meeting after PKK declared another unilateral ceasefire that will last until September 20.

The National Security Council comprises the Chief of Staff, select members of the Council of Ministers, and the President of the Republic (who is also the Commander-in-chief). Like the national security councils of other countries, the MGK develops the national security policy.
(ANF, 19 August 2010)

Crisis deepens over judicial appointments in Turkey

The Justice Ministry overstepped its bounds Wednesday when it withdrew the summer list of controversial reassignments for judges and prosecutors, members of the country’s top judicial board said Thursday.

The draft list can only be withdrawn with the approval of all members of the Supreme Board of Prosecutors and Judges, or HSYK, the board’s deputy chairman, Kadir Özbek, said Thursday ahead of an HSYK meeting.

The ministry’s withdrawal of part of the list, which was announced Monday after negotiations that started July 6, has kept dozens of prosecutors and judges from receiving new appointments. The HSYK had also said late Wednesday that the ministry had no right to withdraw a list that had already been discussed.

Four members of the board convened Thursday without the justice minister and undersecretary, who also withdrew from the HSYK’s regular summer negotiations Wednesday. The board cannot make decisions in their absence.

Özbek said there could be some legal consequences to the absence of the justice minister and undersecretary, implying the HSYK is likely to file a criminal complaint against them if they insist on not attending the meeting.

Professor Metin Feyzioğlu from Ankara University’s Law Faculty said it was not possible for the ministry to withdraw the list as it was not a parliamentary motion.

“Even if a motion comes to Parliament’s General Assembly and the person who submitted it to Parliament wants to withdraw it, it can’t be done if the commission discussing the motion decides to discuss the motion,” Feyzioğlu told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

The Justice Ministry argues that the list could be withdrawn because it had not been signed. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has described the HSYK’s move as ideological.

The latest crisis in Turkey’s judiciary started Wednesday when the four HSYK members who come from judicial institutions in the country came up with a list of reassignments in addition to the list prepared by the justice minister and undersecretary, the two other members of the board.

The four members reportedly suggested changing the positions of judges and prosecutors who are dealing with controversial cases such as Ergenekon and “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer), both of which are investigating alleged attempts by prominent members of society and military officers to overthrow the government.

The way these cases have been handled has created uproar among society as many say well-known personalities, including journalists, rectors and professors, have been detained without strong evidence.

The board also reportedly demanded the replacement of Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor Durdu Kavak, who sent judicial figures to judge the members of the group of returnees – including some members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK – who entered Turkey in October through the Habur border gate. The mobilization of the prosecutors and judges to Habur drew harsh public reactions.

In a written statement Wednesday, the ministry said the HSYK’s proposals would lead to a direct intervention in ongoing trials.

A similar conflict over the appointments also occurred last year between the Justice Ministry and the HSYK’s four members from the judiciary.
(Hürriyet Daily News, August 19, 2010)

IHD refrains from taking a stand as to ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘boycott’

The Human Rights Association of Turkey (IHD) Head Office, pointing out that the referendum process is becoming political, asked its branches to limit themselves to explaining what the amendments at this stage mean while refrain from taking a clear stand as to ‘yes’, ‘no’ and ‘boycott’ position.

Together with political parties, while civil society organizations are also stating their stand as to the referendum for AKP’s (Justice and Development Party) constitutional amendment package; IHD will behave unbiased in this particular case.

Stating that IHD has demanded a new and democratic constitution from day one, the letter pointed out that despite some partial reformations, the amendment package doesn’t address the democracy and human rights problems of Turkey and doesn’t replace the soul of the military coup constitution.

The letter also drew attention to the fact that the referendum process is becoming quite political and went on as follows; “IHD must be contented with explaining what the amendments at this stage mean and refrain from a clear attitude for ‘yes’, ‘no’ or ‘boycott’.” (ANF,
11 August 2010)

La polygamie d'un conseiller d'Erdogan provoque la controverse

La nomination d'un homme polygame comme conseiller du Premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan, qui dirige un gouvernement islamo-conservateur, a provoqué une controverse en Turquie, pays musulman mais laïque où cette pratique est en principe interdite, rapporte vendredi la presse.

La presse laïque s'en prend à M. Erdogan, qui dirige le pays depuis 2002 à la tête du Parti de la justice et du développement (AKP), pour avoir nommé en juin comme conseiller Ali Yüksel, un homme qui a admis avoir trois femmes.

"Quels conseils demandera M. Erdogan à cette personne?", s'interroge le journal populaire Vatan.

M. Yüksel, dont la nomination a été annoncée récemment par des quotidiens, a affirmé, selon ces journaux, rechercher "une quatrième femme, comme le permet l'islam".

"J'entends aller jusqu'à quatre, mais c'est à Dieu de le décider", a dit l'interéssé en 2004, cité par le presse.

En 2004, l'AKP, accusé par les milieux laïcs de vouloir islamiser en catimini la société turque, avait tenté de criminaliser l'adultère avant d'abandonner son projet face à un tollé en Turquie et un impact négatif auprès de l'Union européenne à laquelle souhaite adhérer le pays.

Les dirigeants de l'AKP soutiennent en général des opinions conservatrices sur la famille et le mariage. M. Erdogan lui-même prône au moins trois enfants par couple.

La polygamie est interdite en Turquie depuis 1926, mais elle est tolérée dans certaines parties du pays et dans les milieux islamistes. (AFP, 6 août 2010)

Gerger on YAS: "New round for Turkey power struggle"

Writer and professor Dr Haluk Gerger commenting on yesterday decision by president Abdullah Gul to ratify promotion of generals except the two main army posts says to ANF that "the whole thing is a part of the "power struggle" between sections of the ruling classes."

"On one side - says Gerger - is the nationalists positioned around and under the leadership of the Armed Forces (Genel Kurmay. On the other side are the liberals of all shades. They represent the new section within the big bourgeoisie called the "green capital" or the "Anatolian tigers." This new section through its political representative AKP Government want to get rid of the "official ideology"--Kemalist, elitist, 'etatist'. They think that they now can impose their own "hegemony of values" (Gramsci) by relying on "İslam", "Anatolian conservatism"  and some sort of an synthesis of Turkism-Ottomanism."

It is why, argues Gerger "they therefore feel that they do not need to accept the tutelage of the state bureaucracy and the army. They ant the bourgeoisie class to dominate the bureaucracy rather that sharing power with it. They just want to be a "normal" capitalist system. So, the power struggle has nothing to do with democracy, liberties, modernization, etc. The armed bureaucracy is also having problems with imperialism- on the Kurdish Question, on cosmopolitan cultural influences of globalization, on the dismantling of state controls under neo-liberal onslaught of international capital and they fee that they are being disadvantaged (sold out) by imperialism to which previously (in the old order and the Cold War) it has so loyally served."

How much is America helping the AKP (Justice and Development Party) government then, ANF asked Dr Gerger.

"Well - he answers - Americans are also helping the AKP government to dismantle the much -exposed and out-moded Turkish Gladio and to reorganize it to suit new conditions and changed class relations.

They seems however to have reached some sort of an understanding concerning the Kurdish Issue. The previous State strategy was to nationalist-Kemalist "total liquidation through violence." This did not work. At least some in the ruling coalition thought so. This started with Özal. Now with the active aid of president Obama, the liberal coalition under the AKP government tried "Açılım" which meant a new phase==liberal phased liquidation, i.e. start with the forceful liquidation of the military wing of the PKK. Then continue with, support violence with, reforms to achieve the liquidation of the political side, and then the whole Question itself. Even this created serious cleavages within the ruling classes and now it seems that they have met again at the old strategy of nationalist total liquidation through force and violence."

As for the referendum set for September 12 to amend the Constitution, is this also part of the power struggle, ANF asked Dr Gerger.

"The referendum - he agrees - is also part of the power struggle. AKP and the liberals want to conquer the judiciary, the universities, etc. The other side want the institutional status quo to continue. So this is a trench war. Now I think the Government and Erdoğan has the edge through its psychological victory over the army through the YAŞ results. This I think will boost the "yes" vote."
(ANF, Nucan Cudi, 5 August 2010)

Forces armées/Armed Forces

New Turkish military chief calls for fight against autonomy

Newly appointed Turkish Chief of Staff Gen Işık Koşaner (R) takes over the post from İlker Başbuğ on Friday. DAILY NEWS photo, Selahattin SÖNMEZ
The new chief of the Turkish military outlined his plan of action after he took the reins on Friday, focusing on issues that experts say show his views are in line with those of his predecessors.

Without naming the Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, or the party’s call for autonomy, Koşaner focused on the need to take action in the face of demands for autonomy.

The four issues underlined by the new army commander and published in newspapers can be summarized as follows: taking effective legal measures against any initiative to build a second structure in the country; ensuring the central Iraqi government and the regional Kurdish administration will take measures against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, based in northern Iraq; preventing the support provided to the PKK and its members by some European countries; and continuing to give the Turkish Armed Forces, or TSK, authorization to launch military strikes at the terrorist bases in northern Iraq.

Koşaner is expected to focus on those four areas during his tenure. The first message reflects the military’s approach toward the demand for autonomy frequently brought to the agenda by the pro-Kurdish BDP and the PKK’s imprisoned leader, Abdullah Öcalan.

Political observers say Koşaner’s views are in harmony with his predecessors and reveal the military’s approach on sensitive issues. Most believe Koşaner’s tenure comes at a tough time and may even be the military’s toughest period. They say civil-military relations and the fight against the PKK under the umbrella of the 2011 general elections will postpone new developments until the Supreme Military Council, or YAŞ, meeting next year.

After stressing that the PKK is targeting Turkey’s nation-state and unitary state structure, Koşaner said the TSK would continue to be in favor of protecting the nation-state, unitary and secular state structuring.

The general felt the need to explain what he means while referring to the “unitary state” and said: “The unitary state represents the unity of the legislative, executive and judiciary within the country’s borders. The same laws are valid in any part of the country.”

He continued to say that the judiciary process takes place according to the same procedures in any part of the country. “The unitary state is the guarantee of protection of the principle of equality and of not being engaged regionalism or ethnic discrimination and not creating a minority,” said Koşaner, in what could be interpreted as an answer to the demands for autonomy.

While defining the unitary state structure, Koşaner also implied that there were attempts to bargain with the state. “Divisive and separatist movements threatening our country’s integrity, security and peace have entered in a new phase of realizing [their goal] in recent times,” warned the general. He said there were attempts to bring individual demands to the political sphere by hiding them behind a demand for collective rights.
(Hürriyet Daily News, August 29, 2010)

Nouveau livre d'Özkoray: "Turquie: Le putsch permanent"

L'Institut Tchobanian annonce, pour la rentrée, la publication d'un livre chez SIGEST :


"Erol Özkoray n’est pas seulement un journaliste ou un intellectuel, c’est un véritable combattant de la paix au sens d’Albert Camus. Son livre n’est pas un simple pamphlet mais un acte d’accusation". (Extrait de préface de Nikos Lygeros)

Le régime politique de Turquie est actuellement le plus anachronique et  le plus archaïque de l'Europe. Il s'agit d'un “totalitarisme sournois”,  dans lequel l'armée turque exerce le vrai pouvoir. Plusieurs  institutions comme le “Conseil National de Sécurité”, où siègent des  militaires, ont pour but de contrôler et de censurer le gouvernement civil.  Ce régime, issu du coup d'État militaire de 1980, est fondé sur la  Constitution de 1982, pour mieux asseoir le pouvoir militaire. Il existe  par ailleurs une pseudo-constitution secrète appelée “Acte politique de  sécurité nationale”, qui consiste à énumérer les lignes rouges de l'État  turc : le problème kurde, le problème chypriote, le Génocide arménien.  Aucune solution à ces problèmes majeurs n'est possible dans ce système  où les militaires règnent en maîtres. Ce régime schizophrénique, où le  vrai pouvoir n'a jamais appartenu aux élus, est qualifié par l'auteur de  régime de “Coup d'État permanent”.

Parution prévue : 10 septembre 2010

ISBN : 978-2-917329-18-4
12x16,5 cm, 52 pages, 9,90 Euros

(Offre valable 
pour les souscriptions reçues 
jusqu'au 10 septembre 2010).
Vous pouvez souscrire dès maintenant et économiser les frais d'envoi: 

Turkey Accused of Using Chemical Weapons Against PKK

German experts have confirmed the authenticity of photographs that purport to show PKK fighters killed by chemical weapons. The evidence puts increasing pressure on the Turkish government, which has long been suspected of using such weapons against Kurdish rebels. German politicians are demanding an investigation.

It would be difficult to exceed the horror shown in the photos, which feature burned, maimed and scorched body parts. The victims are scarcely even recognizable as human beings. Turkish-Kurdish human rights activists believe the people in the photos are eight members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) underground movement, who are thought to have been killed in September 2009.

In March, the activists gave the photos to a German human rights delegation comprised of Turkey experts, journalists and politicians from the far-left Left Party, as SPIEGEL reported at the end of July. Now Hans Baumann, a German expert on photo forgeries has confirmed the authenticity of the photos, and a forensics report released by the Hamburg University Hospital has backed the initial suspicion, saying that it is highly probable that the eight Kurds died “due to the use of chemical substances.”

Did the Turkish army in fact use chemical weapons and, by doing so, violate the Chemical Weapons Convention it had ratified?

Repeated ‘Mysterious Incidents’

German politicians and human rights experts are now demanding an investigation into the incident. “The latest findings are so spectacular that the Turkish side urgently needs to explain things,” said Claudia Roth, the co-chair of Germany’s Green Party. “It is impossible to understand why an autopsy of the PKK fighters was ordered but the results kept under seal.”

The politician said there had been repeated “mysterious incidents of this type that are crying out for an independent investigation.” Roth demanded that Turkey issue an official statement on the possible use of chemical weapons “in order to nullify further allegations.”

Ruprecht Polenz, a member of the German parliament with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratic Union and the chairman of the Bundestag’s Foreign Relations Committee, sees it the same way. “Turkey needs to urgently look into these accusations,” he told SPIEGEL ONLINE, adding that an international investigation would be the best approach.

Turkey has been suspected of using chemical weapons for years, points out Gisela Penteker, a Turkey expert with the international medical organization International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. “Local people have said that again and again,” she explained. Finding proof is difficult, however, she said, because bodies were often released so late that it was hardly possible to carry out a thorough autopsy.

In Turkey, human rights advocates have long demanded an investigation. The army, however, has refused to comment on the issue. Similarly, the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been stubbornly silent or tried to portray the accusations of war crimes as “PKK propaganda.”

“The prime minister is not interested in human rights violations,” says Akin Birdal, a member of the Turkish parliament whose pro-Kurdish BDP opposition party has repeatedly questioned in parliament if Erdogan’s war in the southeast of the country is really being conducted legally. In Birdal’s view, the only thing that matters to Erdogan is that the army eradicates the PKK problem once and for all “by any means necessary.”

The Turkish Foreign Ministry has rejected the accusations, according to the Berlin daily newspaper Die Tageszeitung, which reported on the case Thursday. Turkey is a signatory to the Chemical Weapons Convention, and its armed forces do not possess any biological or chemical weapons, the ministry reportedly said.

The newspaper also reports that it has obtained additional, shocking pictures in the meantime, supposedly autopsy photographs of six other killed Kurds. These images, too, have now been submitted to the Hamburg-based experts. (Reuters, August 13, 2010)

Fin du conflit, mais des faucons toujours à la tête de l'Armée

Le chef de l'Etat Abdullah Gül a approuvé tard dimanche la nomination de deux faucons à la tête de l'armée, afin de mettre fin au conflit qui opposait le gouvernement à la hiérarchie militaire au sujet de ces choix.

Le général Isik Kosaner, commandant de l'armée de terre, a été désigné chef d'état-major interarmées, remplaçant le général Ilker Basbug qui part à la retraite.
Le gouvernement a nommé le général Erdal Ceylanoglu à la tête de l'armée de terre.

Il y a deux ans, lors d'une cérémonie de sa promotion à la tête de l'armée de terre, le général Kosaner, parlant des effets nocifs de la mondialisation sur l’Etat-nation et de la nécessité pour l’armée de défendre résolument la laïcité, disait: «La diversité ethnique est devenue une menace pour l'unité nationale et pour la sécurité, face à la multiplication de mouvements socioculturels transnationaux. L’Etat nation, considéré par beaucoup comme le plus important obstacle à la mondialisation, est menacé par les pressions économiques et les provocations micro-ethniques.» Par une conclusion au ton alarmiste, le général Koşaner dénonçait «les réseaux de propagande, conçus par des puissances mondiales et composés de post-institutions de la société civile, d’universitaires, de groupes d’investissements et des médias nationaux (qui, selon lui, poursuivent une stratégie consistant à diluer les valeurs nationales)», et déplorait le fait que «les Etats nations soient poussés à la disparition et à la division, au nom de la démocratie et des droits de l’homme ».

Quant au général Ceylanoglu, il était en 1997 le commandant d'une unité des blindés qui a ordonné le défilé de vingt chars, quinze engins blindés et d'autres véhicules militaires dans la rue principale de Sincan (banlieue d'Ankara), afin de menacer le gouvernement d'Erbakan, leader du Refah, parti islamiste au pouvoir de l'époque. Après cette démonstration de force, le maire de Sincan avait été destitué et un mandat d'arrêt a été lancé contre lui. Quelques mois plus tard, le 28 février 1997, le gouvernement d'Erbakan a été forcé de démissionner par un ultimatum de l'Etat-Major.

Les postes de chef d'état-major interarmées et de commandant de l'armée de terre étaient restés vacants à l'issue d'une réunion, la semaine dernière, du Conseil militaire suprême (YAS), qui réunit politiques et militaires, en raison de l'implication supposée de certains généraux dans un complot visant le pouvoir.

Le Premier ministre Recep Tayyip Erdogan, qui dirige un gouvernement islamo-conservateur, a rejeté la nomination du général Hasan Igsiz au poste de chef de l'armée de terre en raison de son implication supposée dans un complot qui aurait visé l'AKP.

Le rejet par le gouvernement du candidat proposé par les militaires a été considéré par de nombreux analystes comme un signe de déclin de la puissance de l'armée.

Toutefois, la promotion de deux faucons aux postes clés de l'Armée suscite des doutes sur l'avenir des relations entre le gouvernement et l'Armée, qui a déjà renversé quatre gouvernements en 50 ans et est en conflit avec l'AKP depuis son arrivée au pouvoir en 2002. (Info-Turk, 9 août 2010)

The Army also dominates, through OYAK, the country's economy

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) continues to exert control and influence not only over the Turkish political arena, but also, through the Turkish Armed Forces Assistance Center (OYAK), which has become a large industrial conglomerate, over the country’s economy.

Already boasting of its fame as the most privileged army in the world with far-reaching connections in the economy, the TSK is running a center that commands economic assets amounting to $50 billion. OYAK has now grown into a giant holding incorporating 60 companies and affiliates. The areas in which these companies operate are incredibly diverse and include automobiles, cement, iron and steel, finance, energy, mining, agricultural chemicals, foodstuffs, construction, transportation and logistics, private security and information technology. OYAK even has investments abroad, including cement plants in Romania and Cyprus and two companies in Spain and the Netherlands.

The Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) recently released a report titled “Military-Economic Structure in Turkey: Present Situation, Problems, and Solutions” that pinpoints what makes the Turkish military unique among other armies of the world: “In cases when militaries step outside of their immediate universe, where they serve their core function, to act as economic actors through this or that corporate structure, the minimum requirements for democracy are not met.”

As the product of an extraordinary period, i.e., the military coup of 1960, the OYAK Law is still one of the most indomitable pieces of legislation in Turkey’s history. Established with the express purpose of providing members of the TSK with lifestyles that correspond to their social status, OYAK has not only erased the TSK members’ concerns for the future, but also given them a privileged status for 49 years.

Originally intending to equip members of the TSK with additional social security benefits, OYAK is capable of giving its members retirement pensions three times higher than that given by the state thanks to its for-profit activities. Now OYAK can truly implement its slogan of “one house, one car” for its members.

OYAK is exempted from restrictions on investing in revenue-generating activities with its savings funds, which would otherwise be placed with the Social Security Institution (SGK), which manages the social security affairs of all Turkish citizens.

While its affiliates pay taxes, OYAK itself is exempt from taxes. OYAK’s full-fledged tax exemption (including income, corporate, inheritance and estate transfer taxes, as well as revenue stamp duties) is under legal protection. Compulsory deductions from members’ salaries provide cost-free cash for OYAK, the constant supply of which becomes its greatest strength during times of financial crisis.

OYAK has also secured big profits by establishing a multitude of partnerships with local and foreign business groups. Among OYAK’s prominent partnerships are STEAG-AG, Nuh Holding, Eti Holding, Halkbank the Social Security Authority (SSK) (during the period when Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu acted as its head), Axa, Goodyear, Elf, Sabancı Holding, Koç Holding, Yaşar Holding, Gama, Yapı Kredi Bank, Garanti Bank, Kutlutaş Holding, Alarko, Cerrahoğulları, Ziraat Bank, the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) and Petkim.

Unique in the world

Although armies have partnerships with universities in many countries around the world, the Turkish case may be considered unique. The only army that has an assistance center like OYAK is the Pakistani army, where every force command has its own assistance organization.

In Iran, the Revolutionary Guard has more than 50 companies, but they are not active in every economic area.

In China, Honduras, El Salvador, Ecuador, Chile, Bolivia, Colombia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Indonesia, Thailand, Egypt, Pakistan and Syria, armies are known to have economic enterprises, but none of them is as ubiquitous as OYAK in the economic field.

The most privileged institution

OYAK, as defined in the law drafted by the military junta, is “an administratively and financially independent legal entity attached to the Ministry of Defense and subject to special legal provisions,” and this had bestowed considerable privileges on it. The same law also provides for all assets, revenue and claims of the organization to be eligible for the rights and privileges attached to state property and that offenders are subject to similar charges received by violators of state property. Thus, OYAK is the sole organization in Turkey that enjoys only the benefits of the private and public sectors.

Membership in OYAK is compulsory and the organization currently has around 250,000 members. As for its administrative structure, it has a board of representatives comprising 50 to 100 military-only officers and a 40-seat general assembly that has only nine civilian members. Although the law states that only three members of the seven-member board of directors may be military personnel, the military, in practice, occupies four seats. The present board contains two active-duty military officers. A supervisory board oversaw OYAK’s activities until 2001, when a private auditing firm started to carry out a financial audit of its activities.

According to TESEV’s report, the figures for year-end 2009 indicate that OYAK’s total assets are worth TL 12.676 million, the combined sales revenue of all OYAK companies reached TL 19.1 billion and their total assets TL 28.3 billion. OYAK is one of Turkey’s five largest holdings. For example, in terms of its rate of capital gains, OYAK ranked third after the Koç and Sabancı holdings in 1990 and fourth after Koç, Sabancı and Çukurova in 1996.

In 2000, Koç Holding stood at the top with $11.7 billion in annual turnover, followed by Sabancı at $5.6 billion and OYAK in third place with $4.9 billion. OYAK CEO Coşkun Ulusoy announced in 2005 that OYAK is the most profitable holding in Turkey.

TESEV’s report lists additional privileges OYAK enjoys as follows: “OYAK benefits particularly from the potentially high impact of the military’s political influence over the economy. OYAK enjoys this particular advantage when handing over its bankrupt companies to publicly owned enterprises, in entering into partnerships with public institutions and thereafter securing public procurement contracts and when using public resources.”

Selling its failing companies to the state

The fact that OYAK handed over two failing automotive companies --Türkiye Otomotiv Endüstrileri A.Ş. and Motorlu Araçlar Ticaret A.Ş., which had been in crisis since the early 1980s and had almost gone bankrupt -- to Ziraat Bankası, a public sector bank, is the clearest example of OYAK’s use of this particular advantage. Similarly, Emlak Kredi Bank bought shares in 1985 in four construction companies, which were parts of Oyak-Kutlutaş Holding, then in financial crisis.

An agreement signed with the SSK, headed at the time by current CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu, was one of the biggest supports given by the state to OYAK. Under this agreement, the SSK became a junior partner with 25 percent Oyak İnşaat shares in 1995 and agreed to pay $2.554 million to OYAK and to employ Oyak İnşaat in all SSK construction contracts with a 1 percent discount. Following the rewarding of nine SSK contracts, then worth TL 17 trillion, to Oyak İnşaat, the contractor handed the nine projects over to subcontractors at a 23.24 percent discount and kept the outstanding sum of TL 2.443 trillion as an additional profit.

It is known that after the 2001 crisis, a financial rescue operation was devised to channel public funds into banks in financial difficulty, and Oyakbank received special favor from the state during this operation. The Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) had decided that the rescue package would be extended only to banks controlling more than 1 percent of the total market share within the sector. But it turned out that Oyakbank was not entitled to benefit from the package, and Oyakbank merged with four other failing banks, including Sümerbank, to increase its market share above the specified threshold.

OYAK recorded huge gains through privatization efforts, which accelerated particularly in the 1990s. OYAK teamed with Sabancı affiliate OYSA to purchase two cement factories that were privatized in 1992. Today it has nine cement plants.

In 2005, OYAK bought one of Turkey’s largest and most profitable public sector companies, Erdemir, and it was the only organization that secured growth while other big groups shrank during the several episodes of financial crisis in 1994, 1999, 2001 and 2008. TESEV’s report further makes the following observations:

“OYAK reached the peak of its growth in the 1990s. While OYAK’s average rate of profitability was 16 units between 1961 and 1980, it jumped to 100 units in the period between 1981 and 2000, and then jumped to 165 units in the period from 1990 to 2001.”

Nationalist rhetoric at OYAK’s disposal

TESEV’s observations about how OYAK acted without restrictions with respect to privatization clearly depicts the distorted structure in Turkey. “A striking example is the sale of Erdemir to OYAK; both OYAK’s administration and public opinion agreed that Erdemir was strategically important to Turkey’s national security and must therefore remain in the hands of national capital holders when privatized. Consequently, when OYAK bought Erdemir, several institutions, ranging from TOBB to the Mining Union [Maden-İş] and the media, cheered. Neoliberal capital accumulation strategies, fueled by nationalistic rhetoric, helped ensure the transfer to OYAK of Turkey’s third most profitable public enterprise, whose 2003 profits equaled the total profits recorded by 40 OYAK affiliates,” the report said.

It is known that despite this nationalist rhetoric and without heeding the “total de-nationalization” of Turkey’s financial sector, OYAK sold Oyakbank, which was strengthened by the welcome addition of Sümerbank, an excellent bargain for OYAK, to the Dutch ING banking group for $2.7 billion.

Is EU aware of OYAK’s existence?

Surprisingly, not a single EU progress report mentions OYAK, although they categorically point out Turkey’s need to introduce the Court of Accounts audit to its military spending.

In 2005, one of the EU’s five core organizations, the European Economic and Social Committee, a 222-member committee representing interest groups of businessmen, laborers, farmers and cooperatives, pointed out in a draft report to be presented in the Council of Europe’s December 2004 session that oversight of military spending and OYAK were issues in urgent need of reform. However, the then-president of OYAK and of the İstanbul Chamber of Commerce (İTO), Hüsamettin Kavi, used his capacity as the co-chair of the EU-Turkey Joint Consultative Committee to lobby for the removal of OYAK from the draft report. Furthermore, since 2003 OYAK has been a member of the European Federation for Retirement Provision, a federation of associations of EU retirement funds. While no other EU member state would tolerate a structure like OYAK, the EU overlooked the fact that OYAK’s existence is a challenge to democratic oversight and regulation of the military in Turkey. OYAK’s long-standing partnerships with the French AXA Group is claimed to be what prevents the EU from focusing its spotlight on this organization.

Defense industry

Defense industry spending represents the second biggest area of economic activity for the Turkish military. The vast majority of the spending in this area is made via the companies and affiliates of the Foundation to Strengthen the Turkish Armed Forces (TSKGV). The TSKGV even owns gas stations.

The TSKGV’s affiliates account for a third of the sector’s total revenue. A total of 36 percent of revenue is generated by private companies, 33 percent by TSKGV affiliates and 31 percent by public sector companies. Of the sector’s top 10 earners, half are TSKGV affiliates. Among the foundation’s subsidiaries are Aselsan, Aspilsan, Roketsan, Havelsan and İŞBİR. TEİ, TAI, DİTAŞ, NETAŞ, MERCEDES-BENZ TÜRK A.Ş., HEAŞ, TAPASAN, TÜRKTIPSAN and HTR A.Ş. are the foundation’s affiliates. Mikes A.Ş., EHSİM A.Ş., ESDAŞ A.Ş. and STM A.Ş. are its indirect subsidiaries.

The foundation was planning to transfer TL 22 million in financial resources in 2008, and six out of 14 TSKGV affiliates are the largest companies owned by the TSKGV with the following percentages of shares: İşbir Elektrik (99.8 percent), Havelsan (98.9 percent), Aspilsan (97.7 percent), Aselsan (84.6 percent), TAI Tusaş (54.5 percent), Roketsan (35.5 percent), TAPASAN (25 percent), Türktıpsan (20 percent), DİTAŞ (20 percent), Netaş (15 percent), Mercedes-Benz Türk (5 percent), TEİ Tusaş (3 percent), HEAŞ and HTR Havelsan Teknoloji (2 percent).

Gendarmerie in water and oil business

Although it is attached to the Interior Ministry, the Gendarmerie General Command has a number of economic activities in many areas. These economic activities, conducted via the Gendarmerie Public Order Foundation (JAV), include defense and security, construction, food, cleaning materials, phone cards, flour-based products, insurance, military insignia, signs and plates, gift shops, driving and safety courses, etc. JAV owns two natural spring water plants in Kızılcahamam, Ankara province, two gas stations and an online retail store. (Today's Zaman, ERCAN YAVUZ,
8 August 2010)

Annulation du mandat d'arrêt visant des militaires turcs accusés de complot

Un tribunal stambouliote a annulé vendredi un mandat d'arrêt visant 102 militaires, dont 25 généraux et amiraux en activité, soupçonnés d'implication dans un projet de coup d'Etat, a rapporté l'agence de presse Anatolie.

La décision constitue le dernier rebondissement d'une série d'enquêtes controversées sur des projets de renversement du gouvernement islamo-conservateur, qui a conduit à l'arrestation de nombreux militaires.

La cour a considéré que les demandes d'annulation du mandat d'arrêt déposées par les avocats des suspects étaient recevables, a indiqué Anatolie.

Dix-sept généraux et amiraux à la retraite étaient également visés par le mandat d'arrêt, délivré le 23 juillet.

Au total 196 personnes ont été inculpées dans ce complot intitulé "Opération masse de forgeron", qui aurait été fomenté au siège de la Première armée à Istanbul, après l'arrivée au pouvoir en 2002 du Parti de la justice et du développement (AKP), issu de la mouvance islamiste.

Ce verdict intervient alors que les enquêtes en cours visant des militaires accusés de comploter contre le gouvernement islamo-conservateur ont été à l'origine de tensions entre les pouvoirs politique et militaire autour de la question de l'évolution de carrière des soldats suspectés. (AFP, 6 août 2010)

A General's Sudden Retirement Deepens YAS Crisis

Gendarmerie Commander Gen. Atila Işık, thought to be the most likely choice for Land Forces commander, submitted a petition for retirement, NTV reported Thursday.

Commentators said Işık’s petition could be interpreted as a protest against attempts by the government, which had suggested him for the post, to interfere in military decisions. Veteran journalist Fikret Bila, speaking to NTV, said Işık’s move could be considered a “counterattack” in response to the government’s blocking of the appointment of Gen. Hasan Iğsız.

Iğsız had been expected to be named Land Forces commander before he and 18 other officers were summoned earlier this week to testify in a probe of an alleged anti-government online propaganda campaign.

Following the final day of
the Supreme Military Council (YAS) meeting, President Abdullah Gül approved late Wednesday a list of appointments to senior military positions, but left empty the key posts of Land Forces commander and chief of General Staff.

The signing came after four days of talks between the government and the military failed to reach agreement on a number of army promotions, most notably the appointment of Gen. Iğsız. Pending promotions were also delayed for 11 officers caught up in an ongoing investigation of an alleged coup plot.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Defense Minister Vecdi Gönül refused to sign off on Iğsız’s appointment and thus did not send it to the president for final approval. No announcement had been made on the appointment of the next Land Forces commander when the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review went to print late Thursday.

The military’s inability to fill the Land Forces spot at YAŞ also kept it from appointing a new chief of General Staff, its top post. Current Land Forces Commander Gen. Işık Koşaner is expected to replace current Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ on Aug. 30. Koşaner met with Gül at the Çankaya Presidential Palace after hearing about Işık’s petition to retire.

Erdoğan’s objection to Iğsız’s promotion has played a key role in the stalemate, daily Milliyet reported Thursday. The prime minister reportedly believes the general is responsible for online news stories and commentaries that were used as evidence of anti-secular activity in the unsuccessful 2008 closure case against his ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP.

A few months ago, an anonymous military informant sent a letter to prosecutors in the Ergenekon probe, which is an investigation into an alleged gang accused of plotting to overthrow the ruling government, claiming that an anti-fundamentalist action plan had been prepared by Col. Dursun Çiçek, upon instruction by Gen. Iğsız. The letter also said Çiçek had signed and presented a memorandum to Iğsız that explained how the colonel had built websites aiming to undermine the government. These claims, Milliyet said, prompted the prime minister to fight Iğsız’s promotion.

The Anatolia news agency has meanwhile reported that an Istanbul court will issue arrest warrants for the 19 officers – including Gen. Iğsız – called this week to testify in connection with the alleged online propaganda campaign unless they come forward and testify within the defined period. Some of the 19 have already informed the prosecutor’s office that they are unable to testify because they are abroad, the agency said.

This year’s YAŞ also delayed decisions until 2011 on 11 generals and admirals awaiting promotion. Arrest warrants have been issued for the officers as part of the “Sledgehammer” (Balyoz) investigation, another alleged plot to overthrow the AKP.

Third Army Commander Gen. Saldıray Berk, the No. 1 suspect in the Ergenekon case in the eastern province of Erzurum, was meanwhile appointed as the military’s land forces doctrine and training commander, which some analysts deemed a less influential post rather than a promotion.
(Hürriyet Daily News, August 5, 2010)

Top military posts left vacant amid probes

The Turkish Government announced promotions for senior brass on Wednesday, but left the top posts of head of the General Staff and commander of ground forces unfilled amid investigations into senior officers for political meddling.

An ongoing investigation into an alleged plot to overthrow Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's government in 2003, known as "Operation Sledgehammer," had cast doubt over senior army promotions decided by the Supreme Military Council (YAS), which began a twice-annual meeting on Sunday.

The council had been expected to appoint General Isik Kosaner, the current ground forces chief, as chief of staff for NATO's second largest armed forces when General Ilker Basbug steps down at the end of August.

The state-run Anatolia news agency, which reported the promotions, said Basbug would retire as planned.

Analysts say Kosaner's promotion has been delayed because of uncertainty over who would replace him as commander of ground forces.

The general in line for the post, Hasan Igsiz, was one of 19 officers summoned earlier this week to testify in a probe into a campaign to discredit the ruling AK Party and Islamic groups on the internet.

Separately, arrest warrants in connection with "Sledgehammer" have been issued for 11 other senior officers who were up for promotion. None of those figured on the promotions list released by Anatolia.

The promotions panel normally uses its reviews to weed out suspected Islamist sympathisers among its officer corps, but unusually there were no expulsions announced this time.

Though Erdogan has curbed its powers through reforms introduced to support the country's bid to join the European Union, the military is still an influential force.

The government traditionally has lacked significant influence over the military-dominated 15-member council, as decisions are taken by majority vote, though Erdogan chairs the council and Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul sits on it.

Igsiz, commander of the First Army, had been tipped to succeed Kosaner as head of the Turkish land forces. But while the council was in session, a state prosecutor summoned Igsiz and 18 other officers to give statements in a case related to anti-AK Party websites.

According to newspaper reports, President Abdullah Gul, who signs off on the promotions, had told Basbug before the council convened on Sunday that promoting officers under investigation would send a wrong message.

The alleged "Sledgehammer" plot involved bombing mosques and triggering conflict with Greece in order to destabilise Erdogan's government. The military says "Sledgehammer" was merely a wargame exercise presented at a seminar. Trials in the case are expected to commence later this year.

General Expecting Promotion Summoned for Interrogation

Prosecutor Zekeriya Oz, who is one of the prosecutors carrying out the Ergenekon Investigation, has summoned 19 people for interrogation. First Army Commander General Hasan Igsiz is among those summoned within the framework of the investigation on a document named "Internet Memorandum."

Also among the 19 people, are, North Sea Field Commander Mehmet Otuzbiroglu and Colonel Dursun Çiçek, who has an arrest order under the Sledgehammer case.

400 sites used for psychological operations

There is a new development regarding the 'Internet Memorandum,' which came to light in the letters sent to the prosecutors by an informant about the 'Action Plan Against Reactionary Forces."

A military official delivered a sample document to the prosecutors called the "Chaos action plan," claiming that an original version exists. In November 2009, he emailed to the prosecutors and the media, the list of some 400 Internet sites, which the General Staff used for psychological operations.

It was alleged that the sites were created on the orders of General Hasan Igsiz with the aim of wearing the government out.

Investigation finalised: Summons

According to the daily Zaman, Prosecutor Oz, has also finalised a preliminary investigation on a document named "Hayhay," which was acquired from Ergenekon defendant retired Colonel Hasan Ataman Yıldırım.

The newspaper has written that Luitenant Generals Ismail Hakki Pekin and Mehmet Ersoz, Brigadier General Hifzi Cubuklu, Major General Mustafa Bakici, Colonels Orhan Guclu, Sedat Ozuer, Ziya Ilker Goktas, Hulusi Gulbahar, Cemal Gokceoglu and Luitenant Murat Uslukilic are among those summoned for statements. (BIA, 4 August 2010)

Nouvelle confrontation entre le gouvernement et l’armée

En délivrant, le 23 juillet dernier, un mandat d’arrêt, entre autres contre 11 généraux ou amiraux de haut rang en activité, impliqués dans le plan «Balyoz», la 10ème chambre criminelle d’Istanbul n’a pas seulement ramené cette affaire au premier plan de l’actualité, mais elle a relancé aussi de façon spectaculaire les conflits institutionnels au sommet de l’Etat et la question de la soumission de l’autorité militaire au gouvernement civil.

On se souvient que c’est le quotidien «Taraf» qui a révélé le plan «Balyoz (ou «marteau de forge», en turc)», le 20 janvier dernier (cf. notre édition du 21 janvier 2010). Élaboré en 2003, peu après l’arrivée de l’AKP au pouvoir, par des généraux aujourd’hui à la retraite, ce «plan d’opération de sécurité», aurait consisté, d’abord, en une série d’attentats à la bombe, visant notamment des mosquées d’Istanbul (en particulier, celles de Fathi et de Beyazit) afin de créer une situation de chaos. Il aurait également essayé de provoquer des tensions avec la Grèce (incidents aériens de frontière en particulier) pour montrer l’incapacité du gouvernement de l’AKP à gérer le pays. Un jour après la révélation du plan «Balyoz», «Taraf» avait fait sensation en publiant les noms de 137 journalistes considérés par l’armée comme de possibles auxiliaires zélés, et ceux de 36 autres journalistes qui, en revanche, auraient été immédiatement incarcérés, si le plan avait été mis en œuvre (cf. notre édition du 23 janvier 2010).

Un mois plus tard, le 22 février 2010, près d’une cinquantaine d’officiers, dont 11 généraux à la retraite, avaient été placés en garde-à-vue, lors d’une opération de grande ampleur, considérée comme la vague d’arrestations la plus importante menée contre l’armée depuis les débuts des affaires de complot (cf. notre édition du 23 février 2010). Parmi les personnes arrêtées, on relevait, en effet, les noms de généraux qui occupaient des fonctions de premier plan, en 2003, au moment où le plan «Balyoz» avait été conçu, notamment : le général Ibrahim Fırtına, ancien chef de l’armée de l’air, l’amiral Özden Örnek, ancien chef de la marine, le général Suha Tanyeli, ancien chef du Centre d’études et de recherches stratégiques de l’état-major, le général Ergin Saygun (souvent présenté comme le cerveau du plan en question parce qu’ancien commandant de la 1ère Armée, au sein de laquelle, «Balyoz» aurait été préparé) ou le général Engin Alan, ancien chef des forces spéciales (et connu pour avoir dirigé, en 1999, l’opération qui devait aboutir à l’arrestation du leader kurde du PKK, Abdullah Öcalan). Face aux très graves tensions provoquées par ce coup de filet spectaculaire (notamment aux fortes protestations de l’état major demandant des explications au gouvernement), le président de la République, Abdullah Gül prenait l’initiative de convoquer une réunion tripartite entre lui-même, le premier ministre, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, et le chef d’état-major, İlker Başbuğ (cf. notre édition du 26 février 2010). Cette initiative présidentielle fut néanmoins très mal perçue par de nombreux commentateurs, qui n’eurent de cesse de faire remarquer qu’elle interférait dans une affaire judiciaire en cours, et de se demander, si dans un Etat démocratique, un président et un premier ministre devaient absolument prendre en compte le malaise d’une instance militaire qui leur est théoriquement soumise. Mais force est de constater que cette réunion tripartite devait, si ce n’est éteindre l’affaire «Balyoz», du moins permettre l’établissement d’une sorte de trêve entre le gouvernement et l’armée, qui a tenu jusqu’à présent.

Le retour de «Balyoz» au premier plan de l’actualité n’est pas un hasard. Les mandats d’arrêt de la Cour d’Istanbul sont en effet intervenus contre 11 généraux et amiraux (Nejat Bek, Mehmet Otuzbiroğlu, Ahmet Yavuz, Gürbüz Kaya, Salim Erkal Bektaş, Abdullah Dalay, Halil Helvacıoğlu, Ali Aydın, Ahmet Türkmen, İhsan Balabanlı et Abdullah Gavramoğlu) qui doivent faire l’objet d’une promotion ; et ce, à quelques jours de la réunion de l’instance devant statuer sur ces promotions, qui n’est autre que le Conseil militaire suprême ou YAŞ (Yüksek Askeri Şura). Le YAŞ a donc ouvert ses travaux le 1er août (photo) dans une ambiance très lourde, dominée par les nombreux commentaires qui s’interrogent sur sa capacité à nommer, à de nouveaux postes de responsabilité, des militaires, qui sont sous le coup d’un mandat d’arrêt, et qui n’échappent actuellement à l’emprisonnement ordonné que parce qu’ils ont formé un recours suspensif contre celui-ci. Deux opinions juridiques s’opposent sur la question : d’une part, celle des ministères de la justice et de la défense qui estiment que les généraux concernés, du fait du mandat d’arrêt qui les frappe, ne peuvent fait l’objet d’une promotion, d’autre part, celle de l’état-major qui considère que rien n’empêche le YAŞ actuellement de promouvoir ces généraux. On est donc bien en présence d’un conflit institutionnel au sommet entre le gouvernement et l’armée. L’état major s’est d’ailleurs mobilisé, tant pour contrer la décision de la Cour d’Istanbul que pour éviter l’incarcération de ses généraux et la remise en cause des promotions ou nominations dont ils doivent être l’objet. Il aurait notamment placé ces personnes dans des quartiers de sécurité et s’occuperait très activement de leur protection juridique. Pour l’instant d’ailleurs, seuls quelques militaires à la retraite (dont le général Çetin Doğan), ont été effectivement arrêtés. Jeudi dernier, la réunion hebdomadaire entre le premier ministre et le chef d’état major a été particulièrement longue. La presse gouvernementale a révélé que Recep Tayyip Erdoğan aurait ouvertement demandé à İlker Başbuğ de ne pas mettre à l’ordre du jour la question de la promotion des généraux menacés d’arrestation. Cette demande a été réitérée, samedi 31 juillet, par le président Gül, qui a eu une entrevue, à Çankaya, avec le chef d’état major pour de faire le point sur la situation.

En réalité, ce qui se joue actuellement ne concerne pas que la promotion des 11 généraux impliqués dans «Balyoz», mais plus généralement la soumission progressive de l’armée turque au pouvoir civil. En effet, l’armée a toujours été jusqu’à présent une sorte de monde clos, gérant souverainement ses affaires propres, en particulier la question de ses promotions et de son commandement. Bien que le gouvernement ait théoriquement le pouvoir de décision en la matière, il a toujours jusqu’à présent entériné les décisions du YAŞ. En réalité, de longue date, et plus encore depuis 1980, l’armée coopte ses propres chefs et responsables suprêmes. C’est ce que le gouvernement prétend remettre en cause, en prenant un droit regard sur les promotions et les nominations effectuées par le YAŞ cette année, et en utilisant à cette fin la situation contestable dans laquelle se retrouvent un certain nombre de généraux destinataires de promotions, du fait de leur implication dans l’affaire “Balyoz”.

On ne peut manquer d’oberver, à cet égard, que la récente réforme constitutionnelle, qui doit faire l’objet d’un référendum en septembre, a prévu de soumettre les décisions du YAŞ au contrôle de la justice civile. Mais l’on remarque également que le premier ministre, qui préside les réunions de cette institution aux côtés du chef d’état major, et qui, l’an passé, n’avait assisté qu’à sa session d’ouverture, a prévu de participer cette année à l’ensemble de ses travaux. On est donc bien en train de passer d’une présidence formelle à un véritable droit de regard sur les travaux du YAŞ, et en particulier sur les nominations auxquelles cette institution procède au plus haut niveau. (JM, ovipot.blogspot.com/, 2 août 2010)

Affaires religieuses/Religious Affairs

Un chef de la police accuse une confrérie de machination

Le gouvernement islamo-conservateur turc était appelé mardi à faire la lumière sur les allégations d'un chef de la police qui a accusé une influente confrérie musulmane d'avoir manipulé des enquêtes concernant des complots anti-gouvernement.

Hanefi Avci, un dirigeant respecté de la police, a jeté un pavé dans la mare avec un livre publié la semaine dernière dont il est l'auteur.

L'ouvrage est devenu immédiatement un best-seller alors que les enquêtes sur des complots présumés visant le gouvernement du Parti de la justice et du développement (AKP) ont provoqué depuis 2007 l'incarcération de centaines de personnes, civils et militaires, et une tension au sein de la société entre partisans et opposants du pouvoir.

L'auteur affirme que des adeptes du mouvement dirigé par l'imam Fethullah Gülen, placés à des postes clé de l'administration policière et judiciaire, ont manipulé des preuves dans ces enquêtes afin de mettre au placard les forces laïques.

Les autorités gouvernementales ont lancé une enquête sur l'auteur, encore en fonction, et une enquête judiciaire a été lancée mardi après-midi sur ses allégations. M. Gülen, en exil aux Etats-Unis depuis 1999 pour des raisons de santé, a rejeté les accusations.

Un porte-parole de l'opposition laïque au Parlement, Kemal Anadol, s'est interrogé auparavant sur l'absence d'une enquête sur ces allégations. "N'y a-t-il pas de brave procureur dans ce pays?", a-t-il insisté.

Dans un entretien télévisé lundi soir, le Premier ministre Recep Tayyip Erdogan, dont la formation a d'étroits liens avec la communauté Gülen, a dénoncé un livre "malencontreux", sans rien dire cependant sur les accusations qu'il présente.

M. Avci affirme que des membres du mouvement islamiste dans l'armée ont fait sortir clandestinement des documents qui par la suite ont fait l'objet de fuites dans la presse --parfois "en falsifiant et créant des preuves pour déformer les événements"-- afin que des poursuites soient lancées.

"A mon avis (...) la police et les procureurs (membres du mouvement Gülen) font des plans ensemble et les documents sont ensuite remis à la presse", écrit le policier, qui laisse par ailleurs entendre que des caches d'armes découvertes lors des enquêtes pourraient être l'oeuvre de la police elle-même.

"Les personnes auxquelles nous avons affaire ici ne sont pas la police, les procureurs ou les juges mais les adeptes de la communauté (...) ils respectent essentiellement la loi du mouvement et non celle de l'Etat de droit", souligne l'auteur.

L'opposition parlementaire affirme depuis longtemps que les adeptes de cette puissante confrérie dans la police et la justice manipulent les preuves mais c'est la première fois qu'un haut responsable de la police, une personnalité également respectée des cercles gouvernementaux, les accuse publiquement.

M. Gülen, 69 ans, est un ancien prédicateur qui prêche un islam modéré. Il est à la tête d'un empire tentaculaire et contrôlerait des fonds estimés à des milliards de dollars

Ses journaux et ses télévisions ne réclament pas la charia mais une place plus large pour les valeurs musulmanes dans la sphère publique et une démocratisation de l'Etat --un discours qui fait écho a celui du parti au pouvoir.

Le mouvement pratique face à l'appareil d'Etat une stratégie d'entrisme où ses adversaires discernent la recette du cheval de Troie dans un pays musulman mais laïque. L'enseignement demeure le fer de lance du mouvement dans près de 2.000 écoles dans 110 pays. (AFP, 24 août 2010)

Zawahiri dénonce les "liens" de la Turquie avec Israël

Le numéro deux d'Al-Qaïda, Ayman al-Zawahiri, a dénoncé les "liens" qu'entretient la Turquie avec Israël ainsi que son rôle en Afghanistan, dans un enregistrement audio diffusé sur des sites islamistes.

"Le changement se produira quand le peuple turc aura demandé à son gouvernement de cesser de coopérer avec Israël, de le reconnaître et d'envoyer ses troupes pour tuer des musulmans en Afghanistan", a dit un homme identifié dimanche comme Ayman al-Zawahiri par le centre de surveillance des sites internet islamistes SITE dans cet enregistrement.

L'authenticité de ce message n'a pu être vérifié dans l'immédiat.

Le gouvernement turc "semble sympathiser avec les Palestiniens, faisant des déclarations (dans ce sens) et en (leur) envoyant de l'aide. Mais en réalité, il reconnaît Israël, avec qui il fait du commerce, mène des entraînements militaires et partage des informations", a-t-il affirmé.

Les relations entre la Turquie et Israël, proches alliés notamment sur le plan militaire, se sont détériorées depuis la fin 2008 avec l'offensive meurtrière de l'Etat hébreu à Gaza.

Elles ont connu une nouvelle crise lorsque des commandos israéliens ont donné l'assaut le 31 mai à une flottille humanitaire internationale pour Gaza, tuant neuf passagers turcs.

Mais Zawahiri estime que tout en "faisant des déclarations critiquant les crimes israéliens contre les musulmans de Gaza (...), elle (la Turquie) commet des crimes similaires contre les musulmans en Afghanistan".

La Turquie entretient 1.835 soldats au sein de la Force internationale d'assistance à la sécurité (Isaf) de l'Otan et dirige des unités mixtes de combattants et d'ingénieurs pour la reconstruction dans une province afghane.

En Afghanistan, les forces turques "assument la direction de (...) l'Otan participant au meurtre de musulmans et brûlant leurs villages et maisons", a accusé Zawahiri.

"Votre gouvernement joue un rôle fondamental en coopérant avec les Etats-Unis dans sa guerre contre l'islam. Il a arrêté plusieurs moujahidine (combattants) et les a remis à l'Amérique où ils sont torturés et condamnés à de longues années de prison", a-t-il ajouté.

Le peuple turc doit "s'opposer à ces crimes commis par votre gouvernement et votre armée contre l'islam et les musulmans", a-t-il ajouté, estimant que "la Turquie laïque nous livre aux ennemis de l'islam".

L'agence de presse turque Anatolie a rapporté le 8 août l'arrestation en Turquie de 15 personnes soupçonnées de liens avec Al-Qaïda.
 La police turque opère régulièrement des coups de filet dans les milieux des partisans présumés d'Al-Qaïda depuis des attentats meurtriers à Istanbul en novembre 2003 dont la responsabilité avait été imputée à une cellule turque d'Al-Qaïda.

Zawahiri s'en est également pris à l'Iran, l'accusant de collaborer avec les "croisés" en Afghanistan et en Irak.
Le numéro deux d'Al-Qaïda, dont la tête a été mise à prix par Washington pour 25 millions de dollars, avait fait des déclarations similaires contre le gouvernement turc dans un message diffusé sur internet en juillet, appelant le "peuple turc" à "assumer sa responsabilité en forçant son gouvernement à arrêter de reconnaître ceux qui ont occupé la terre de Palestine". (AFP, 15 août 2010)

Media Sells Religion During Ramadan!

With the start of Ramadan, mainstream media began distributing tables showing fast breaking times, Korans, and fast breaking dinner menus.

Following are some examples of the "Ramadan promotions" and special Ramadan content of mainstream media newspapers.

Star newspaper: A speacial page is prepared for Ramadan, which consists of religious articles. A table showing fast breaking hours are distributed to readers. There is a section in the Ramadan page, which includes an advice each day. Today's advice says, "It is good for men to be ashamed. It is even better for women to be ashamed."

Aksam newspaper: In addition to a special Ramadan page, the newspaper distributes a different prayer each day. There are special articles and fast breaking dinner recipes every day in addition to short news reports on the health benefits of fasting.

Vatan newspaper: Besides a Ramadan page every day, it distributes a Ramadan healthy diet guide. There is detailed information on who should not fast and which foods should be preferred.

Zaman newspaper: The newspaper prepares two special Ramadan pages. It organises a religious contest throughout Ramadan and gives Fethullah Gulen's books to the winner. There is a small section on Ramadan memories. Today's title is, "My Allah how quickly you accept prayers."

Sabah newspaper: Koran and its Turkish meaning and a VCD of "Koran by Kaaba imams" is distributed. There is also a special Ramadan page.

Milliyet newspaper: The newspaper gives a Koran and its Turkish meaning  in return of 39 coupons and a specially decorated Koran lectern as a gift. For 4 additional coupons, the gift is delivered to the readers. In the supplement of the newspaper, there are fast breaking dinner recipes. The recipe of today's fillet stake includes "half a glass of white wine."

Hurriyet newspaper: Gives a Koran that smells of roses and has a 3-dimension Kaabe visual on its cover "which is a first in the world," for 21 coupons. The newspaper also has a Ramadan page with verses.

Haberturk newspaper: Historian Murat Bardakci gives historic information about Prophet Mohammed in the newspaper's Ramadan page.

Yeni Safak: Has an interview with the Head of the Presidency of Religious Affairs, Ali Bardakoglu on its front page. The headline is "Fasting heals spiritual wounds." It also has a table showing fast breaking hours on its first page in a box which is an advertisement for the Kuveyt Turk bank.

Takvim: "Ali Rıza Demircan Hodca" answers questions every day. Today's question is: "Who goes to Heaven?"

Birgun, Cumhuriyet, Evrensel and Radikal newspapers do not have a Ramadan page. (BIA, Berivan TAPAN, 12 August 2010)

"TRT Violates Impartiality Principle Again With Ramadan Programs”

President Ali Balkiz of the Federation of Alevi-Bektashi (ABF) stated that the state radio and television TRT, which is expected to treat all citizens equally, has a problem with not only the Alevis, but with all democratic and secular citizens.

TRT, which is "supposed to be the institution of a so to say secular state, has become the voice of the Presidency of Religious Affairs and religious orders, said Balkiz.

"There is a reference to religious feelings and spiritual life in totally irrelevant programs and even in cartoons," he said. "People choose their faiths and decide on how to practice their faiths. What is the use of reminding these to the audience every three minutes?"

"This should not be the approach of an institution, which is supposed to respect secularity and be impartial," Balkiz added.

"Religiously inappropriate"

Balkiz said that in the previous years, during the fasting month of the Alevis, they asked TRT: "It is the fasting month of the 20 million Alevis of this country. Will you take this into account?" He said they never received any replies.

Balkiz added that, within the framework of the government 's "Alevi opening," a few programs were broadcast as a "conciliation" and there were live programs from the Alevi houses of worship (Cemevi). "Then again, we don't really prefer that," said Balkiz. "Believing is a very special and personal choice. It is not religiously appropriate to turn it into a show, a propaganda, and to broadcast ways in which people should practice their faiths."

"All faiths, cultures, religions should be treated equally "

Balkiz stated that TRT should be impartial and take into account the emotions of the unbelieving and those, who do not fast. It should treat all faiths, cultures, religions equally, he added. (BIA, Erol ONDEROGLU, 12 August 2010)

La police turque arrête 15 personnes soupçonnées de liens avec Al-Qaïda

La police turque a arrêté dimanche 15 personnes soupçonnées de liens avec le réseau Al-Qaïda, qui se seraient livrées à des actions de prosélytisme, a annoncé l'agence de presse Anatolie.

Parmi les suspects, appréhendés dans les localités de Gebze et Darica dans la province de Kocaeli, au sud-est d'Istanbul, figurent trois hommes qui auraient reçu des armes et appris à confectionner des bombes dans des camps d'entraînement en Afghanistan, indique l'agence.

Les personnes interpellées avaient créé une association à Darica où ils faisaient la propagande d'Al-Qaïda et s'efforçaient de recruter des adeptes.

La police et le procureur local devaient interroger les suspects avant de les relâcher ou de les déférer devant la justice.

La police turque opère régulièrement des coups de filet dans les milieux des partisans présumés d'Al-Qaïda depuis les deux séries d'attentats à la bombe qui ont frappé Istanbul à cinq jours de distance en novembre 2003.

Une cellule turque d'Al-Qaïda a été accusée d'avoir commmis ces attentats, au cours desquels des camions piégés avaient visé deux synagogues, puis le consulat britannique et une banque britannique, tuant 63 personnes dont le consul de Grande-Bretagne.

En 2007, sept hommes ont été condamnés à la prison à vie pour ces attentats, notamment un ressortissant syrien qui a financé et planifié les attentats. (AFP, 8 août 2010)

Socio-économique / Socio-economic

4.7 Million Illiterate Women in Turkey

According to data compiled by the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK) based on the 2008 Household Workforce Inquiry, a total of 5.647 million people older than 15 years are illiterate. There are 4.742 million women and 932,000 men who are not able to read or write. Thus, the percentage of illiterate women amounts to 84 percent within this group.

Illiteracy is the biggest obstacle for participating in economic and social life.

The report was prepared by researchers Assoc. Prof. Gökçe Uysal Kolaşin and Duygu Güner from the Bahçeşehir University Economic and Social Research Centre (Istanbul). It stresses the need for promoting campaigns for literacy and for public support in order to integrate illiterate people into social and economic life.

Gender discrimination persists in education

In their report, Kolaşin and Güner draw attention to obstacles that prevent women in Turkey from participating in education, social life and work life:

- 84 percent of all illiterate people are female. The disadvantages situation of women is not confined to a specific age group. 79 percent of all illiterate women are aged between 15 and 24 years. Even if the Turkish education system succeeds in time to make more people literate, this cannot close the gap between men and women.

- Illiteracy is a huge obstacle for the integration into social life. Illiteracy is most common with women, which puts them into a difficult situation in society and also oppresses their positions at home.

- The number of illiterate women amounts to almost one tenth of the Turkish population. An improvement of these women's situations will furthermore carry considerable importance for the future of the coming generations.

- Not being able to read or write has adverse affects on the conditions of the labor market as well. The vast majority of these women are being pushed out of economic life. Only a small minority is employed and 97 percent of these women work off the record.

- Most illiterate women cannot benefit from a stronger integration into economic life since they work as unpaid family workers.

- The situation of illiterate men looks better in comparison. Still, one third of them are self-employed and the remaining male illiterates are facing high rates of unemployment. (BIA, Burçin BELGE, 25 August 2010)

Attentat contre un gazoduc avec l'Iran

Un attentat a endommagé mardi soir un gazoduc irano-turc dans la province d'Agri (est de la Turquie), frontalière de l'Iran, et les rebelles kurdes sont les auteurs de ce sabotage, a déclaré mercredi le gouverneur local.

"L'explosion est l'oeuvre des membres de l'organisation terroriste séparatiste", a dit le gouverneur d'Agri, Ali Yerlikaya, cité par l'agence de presse Anatolie. L'expression "organisation terroriste séparatiste" est utilisée par les autorités pour désigner le Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan (PKK).

Un incendie s'est déclaré après l'explosion, survenue à la hauteur de la ville d'Eleskirt, mais il a pu être éteint rapidement, a souligné le gouverneur.

Des réparations sont en cours sur le conduit visé et la Turquie n'a pas à s'inquiéter d'une pénurie de gaz naturel, a déclaré à l'AFP une porte-parole de la compagnie publique de distribution de pétrole et de gaz Botas.

Interrogé par des journalistes, le ministre de l'Energie Taner Yildiz a indiqué que l'acheminement de gaz iranien serait rétabli d'ici "environ sept à huit jours", a rapporté Anatolie.

D'ici là, la Turquie ne souffrira d'aucune pénurie grâce au gaz provenant de Russie et d'Azerbaïdjan, qui couvre les besoins actuels, a ajouté le ministre.

La Turquie reçoit entre 15 et 18 milliards de mètres cubes de gaz par jour du gazoduc iranien, qui relie la ville de Tabriz (nord-ouest de l'Iran) à Ankara. (AFP, 25 août 2010)

Turkey cannot protect women seeking shelter

Although Seyma Gunes (17), Mediha Basturk (19) and Sidika Platin (30) applied to shelters because they were subjected to violence by their families or husbands, they were not protected. Seyma was killed by her brother and Mediha was killed by her husband. The police officers had reconciled Mediha with her husband. A court had decided to hand Sidika over to her husband, who had cut her ear off. Today, only after six month, she is in hospital again. This time, she is in a coma.

Experience shows that Turkey cannot protect the women, who take shelter in the state. State officials send those women, who ask for protection because they have no life safety, back to the violent environment. Women are dying.

ECHR has fined Turkey

It is the state's duty to provide a secure life for women, according to the Constitution, laws, and international conventions.

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) fined Turkey in June 2009, for not protecting Nahide Opuz, who was subjected to violence by her husband.

After the decision, a protocol was signed between the Interior Ministry and the State Ministry Responsible of Women and Family. According to this protocol, the woman's statement should be taken down when she goes to the police station without expecting her to prove the violence, and she has to be placed in a shelter if she does not want to go back home. But the protocol is not being implemented.

Institution capacity is inadequate

Coordinator Nese Hacisalihoglu of Hurriyet Campaign to End Domestic Violence is drawing attention to the inadequate capacity of institutions in Turkey:

"Police force, prosecutors, courts, and social security institutions are not cooperating."

"Police officials either don't know what they are supposed to do, or they act on traditional approaches. The same mentality is present at the Prosecutor's Office and social services institutions."

"Since there are not enough institutions and staff, a case cannot be followed in totality. According to the regulation, a woman can stay in a shelter for an average of three months. Women, who fear having nowhere to go at the end of this period, change their minds about applying to the shelter, or accept their husbands' offer to reconcile. Some women are handed over to their husbands or relatives with the assumption that the threat for their lives is over."

Family can sue the police

Lawyer Canan Arin believes that the police officers, who took Mediha Basturk from the shelter and handed her over to her husband, should be punished. Arin says it is also very important to prevent early marriages and reminds that a change in mentality is necessary.

"The family can sue the police officers for neglect of duty. They may also sue them for damages. A 16 year-old girl may only get married with her family's application and through a court decision. However, a girl that age should not be permitted to get married no matter what. To prevent early and forced marriages, the Juvenile Court must listen to the child in private and carefully evaluate all information. Public assess system and prosecutors should work very well." (BIA, Burcin BELGE, 4 August 2010)

Relations turco-européennes / Turkey-Europe Relations

Lech Walesa: "pas d'Europe sans la Turquie"

L'Europe ne se conçoit pas sans la Turquie qui devra entrer dans l'Union Européenne (UE) après avoir progressivement adapté son économie, a estimé mercredi l'ancien président polonais et Prix Nobel de la Paix, Lech Walesa.

"Il n'y a pas d'Europe sans la Turquie", a déclaré le chef historique du syndicat Solidarité, au cours d'un entretien accordé à l'AFP.

"La Turquie doit progressivement parvenir au niveau de développement de l'Europe et y entrer demain", a-t-il ajouté.

Ankara a entamé des négociations d'adhésion à l'UE en 2005, mais le processus n'avance que très lentement, en partie du fait des réticences allemandes et françaises à voir un pays musulman de 75 millions d'habitants entrer dans l'Europe.

"Les frontières et les divisions ont conduit à des conflits, notamment religieux", a commenté M. Walesa, fervent catholique, estimant que "la religion a été instrumentalisée" à travers l'Histoire.

"Mais la religion va revenir à sa place et les gens comprendront qu'en réalité Dieu est le même dans toutes les religions mais qu'il y a trop d'enseignants de la foi", a-t-il souri.

La Pologne, qui présidera l'Union européenne au second semestre 2011, soutient l'adhésion de la Turquie à l'UE. (AFP, 18 août 2010)

Un dirigeant serbe bosniaque dénonce l'ingérence turque en Bosnie

Le dirigeant des Serbes de Bosnie Milorad Dodik a dénoncé, lors d'une visite officielle en Israël, l'ingérence de la Turquie dans les affaires politiques bosniaques, accusant notamment Ankara d'agir en faveur des Musulmans, a rapporté lundi la radio nationale bosniaque.

"Nous estimons que la Turquie veut faire une Bosnie unitaire et centralisée, à la mesure d'un seul peuple", a déclaré M. Dodik à la radio, au lendemain d'un entretien dimanche avec le ministre israélien des Affaires étrangères Avigdor Lieberman.

Le Premier ministre de la Republika Srpska (RS, entité des Serbes de Bosnie) a ajouté avoir dit à M. Lieberman que sa communauté ressentait "une forte présence de la Turquie en Bosnie-Herzégovine, motivée uniquement par le soutien aux Musulmans bosniaques, sans volonté de comprendre le contexte dans lequel la Bosnie existe".

"J'ai dit au ministre (israélien) qu'on ne pouvait pas accepter un tel rôle intermédiaire de la Turquie", a-t-il déclaré, sans davantage de détails.

La Turquie est un allié traditionnel des Musulmans de Bosnie.

Depuis la fin de la guerre (1992-95), la Bosnie est composée de deux entités, la RS et la Fédération croato-musulmane, unies par de faibles institutions centrales.

Les dirigeants serbes bosniaques s'opposent au renforcement des institutions centrales, souhaité par des responsables politiques musulmans (communauté majoritaire en Bosnie), mais également par l'Union européenne. Ils redoutent que ce processus réduise leur autonomie.

Le chef du gouvernement serbe bosniaque devait rencontrer lundi le président israélien Shimon Peres à Jérusalem.

Les relations entre la Turquie et Israël, deux alliés traditionnels, se sont sévèrement détériorées après le raid israélien le 31 mai contre une flottille d'aide humanitaire se dirigeant vers Gaza, au cours duquel neuf Turcs ont été tués. (AFP, 16 août 2010)

Turquie-USA/ Turkey-USA

Une mission turque à Washington pour dissiper les craintes

Une délégation de diplomates turcs doit s'entretenir la semaine prochaine à Washington avec des responsables américains afin de dissiper leur inquiétude de voir la Turquie se détourner des Occidentaux, ont indiqué mercredi la presse et des responsables turcs.

La mission qui sera dirigée par le numéro 2 du ministère des Affaires étrangères, Feridun Sinirlioglu, s'entretiendra avec des responsables du département d'Etat, des membres du congrès et des représentants de la société civile, a précisé un diplomate à l'AFP.

Les Etats-Unis, alliés de la Turquie au sein de l'Otan,
avaient exprimé leur déception après le vote négatif d'Ankara à l'ONU contre de nouvelles sanctions contre Téhéran, adoptées par le Conseil de sécurité en juin.

Le "Non" de la Turquie était intervenu quelques jours après un abordage des forces israéliennes contre une expédition humanitaire pour Gaza. Neuf turcs ont péri dans l'assaut mettant à mal les rapports turco-israéliens.

Le gouvernement islamo-conservateur turc du Premier ministre Recep Tayyip Erdogan insiste qu'il reste attaché à l'Occident, tout en se présentant comme une force régionale à la recherche de nouveaux marchés en Asie et au Moyen-Orient.

La délégation turque transmettra le message selon lequel la Turquie "ne diffère pas tant que cela des Etats-Unis (sur les questions régionales), que les deux Etats partagent les mêmes objectifs mais pourraient diverger sur la manière de procéder (...) mais cela ne revient pas à un changement de cap" dans la politique étrangère turque, a affirmé un responsable turc sous couvert d'anonymat à l'agence Anatolie.

Le programme nucléaire controversé de l'Iran, les liens israélo-turcs, la guerre en Afghanistan et la situation en Irak seront au menu des entretiens.

La Maison Blanche a démenti lundi avoir lancé un "ultimatum" à la Turquie en raison de son attitude envers l'Iran et de ses récentes prises de position contre Israël comme l'avait affirmé le Financial Times (FT). (AFP, 18 août 2010)

La Maison Blanche dément avoir lancé un "ultimatum" à Ankara

La Maison Blanche a démenti lundi avoir lancé un "ultimatum" à la Turquie en raison de son attitude envers l'Iran et de ses récentes prises de position contre Israël, affirmant entretenir un "dialogue" avec Ankara sur ces questions.

Sous le titre "Ultimatum américain à la Turquie sur les armes", le Financial Times (FT) a rapporté lundi que le président Barack Obama avait mis en garde le Premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan contre ces positions, en soulignant qu'elles pourraient diminuer ses chances d'obtenir des armes américaines.

Interrogé sur ces informations du quotidien britannique, le porte-parole adjoint de la Maison Blanche Bill Burton a récusé le terme "ultimatum". "Je ne sais pas d'où ils ont sorti cela", a-t-il affirmé.

Le journal a assuré, citant un haut responsable américain, que "le président (Obama) a dit à Erdogan que certaines des positions que la Turquie a prises ont suscité des questions qui vont être soulevées au Congrès".

M. Erdogan, dirigeant d'un pays allié à Washington au sein de l'Otan, envisage d'acheter des drones américains pour lutter contre la rébellion kurde qui a des bases à la frontière turque dans le nord de l'Irak, après le retrait américain de ce pays à la fin 2011, selon le quotidien.

Les Etats-Unis avaient exprimé leur déception après le vote négatif d'Ankara à l'ONU contre de nouvelles sanctions contre Téhéran, adoptées par le Conseil de sécurité en juin.

Les relations entre la Turquie et Israël se sont par ailleurs détériorées après le raid israélien contre une flottille d'aide humanitaire se dirigeant vers Gaza, le 31 mai, au cours duquel neuf Turcs ont été tués.

"Le président et M. Erdogan ont parlé il y a environ 10 jours et ils ont
évoqué l'Iran, la flottille et d'autres sujets liés à cela", a reconnu M. Burton dans l'avion qui transportait M. Obama à Milwaukee (Wisconsin, nord).

"Evidemment, il existe un dialogue avec eux (les Turcs) mais aucun ultimatum de cette sorte n'a été lancé", a-t-il assuré.

Le Premier ministre turc a pour sa part assuré, au cours d'un entretien télévisé, que les relations turco-américaines allaient pour le mieux.

"En ce moment notre relation avec M. Obama et les relations entre la Turquie et les Etats-Unis vont tout à fait bien, nous n'avons pas de problème", a déclaré sur HaberTürk M. Erdogan, en réponse à une question sur "l'ultimatum", qualifiant de "chaleureux" ses contacts avec M. Obama.

"Les problèmes qui peuvent survenir lors de négociations sur l'achat d'armes sont des questions internes à chaque pays. Leur Congrès peut avoir une évaluation différente, tout comme nous avons notre Parlement et quand nous lui présentons nos évaluations cela conduit parfois à des reports", a-t-il dit. (AFP, 16 août 2010)

Flotille pour Gaza: Ankara "réprimande" Washington

La Turquie a convoqué un diplomate américain de haut rang pour se plaindre de récentes déclarations américaines sur l'enquête commanditée par l'ONU concernant le raid meurtrier israélien contre une flottille d'aide destinée à Gaza, a indiqué mercredi un diplomate turc.

Doug Silliman, le numéro deux de l'ambassade américaine à Ankara, a été convoqué lundi au ministère des Affaires étrangères "pour une réprimande" après des commentaires de l'ambassadeur des Etats-Unis auprès de l'ONU, Mme Susan Rice, a affirmé à l'AFP cette source, parlant sous le couvert de l'anonymat.

Mme Rice avait estimé que l'enquête diligentée par l'ONU sur le raid, au cours duquel neuf Turcs ont été tués par l'armée israélienne, n'était "pas un substitut" à des enquêtes nationales menées par Israël et la Turquie.

"Les Etats-Unis ont une vision étroite de la commission (d'enquête). La déclaration (de Mme Rice) donnait l'impression que les Etats-Unis orientaient le travail de la commission", a déclaré le diplomate.

Ankara a également désapprouvé l'approche américaine de l'enquête comme un moyen pour Israël et la Turquie "de dépasser les récentes tensions dans leurs relations et rétablir leurs forts liens historiques", exprimée par Mme Rice.

"Le raid est une question entre Israël et la communauté internationale, pas entre Israël et la Turquie. Il y avait des ressortissants de 30 pays sur ces navires", a souligné le diplomate. "Cette commission a pour mission d'enquêter sur l'incident. Son rôle n'est pas d'absoudre Israël et d'améliorer les relations turco-israéliennes".

L'assaut israélien le 31 mai contre la flottille avait mis à mal les relations entre Israël et la Turquie, autrefois proches alliés. Ankara avait immédiatement rappelé son ambassadeur en Israël et annulé trois exercices militaires conjoints entre les deux pays.

Ankara estime qu'Israël doit présenter des excuses, payer des compensations pour les victimes et lever le blocus de la bande de Gaza, avant de rétablir des relations bilatérales. (AFP, 4 août 2010)

Relations régionales / Regional Relations

Flottille: la Turquie constitue sa propre commission d'enquête

La Turquie a annoncé jeudi avoir constitué sa propre commission d'enquête sur l'assaut israélien contre une flottille d'aide à Gaza ayant coûté la vie à neuf Turcs le 31 mai, commission qui devra rendre compte à un panel d'experts mis en place par l'ONU sur cette affaire.

"La commission nationale d'enquête et de recherche", créée au sein du bureau du Premier ministre Recep Tayyip Erdogan, est chargée de présenter un rapport au panel d'experts de l'ONU "sur les circonstances de l'abordage (israélien) et le traitement infligé aux activistes du convoi", souligne un communiqué du ministère des Affaires étrangères.

Des responsables des ministères des Affaires étrangères, de la Justice, de l'Intérieur et de la Mer prendront part aux travaux de cette commission, ajoute le document.

Neuf Turcs avaient été tués dans de violents heurts avec les commandos israéliens lors de l'abordage du ferry turc Mavi Marmara dans les eaux internationales, alors que le navire bondé de militants pro-palestiniens tentait de forcer le blocus israélien autour de la bande de Gaza.

L'assaut contre l'expédition internationale a mis à mal les relations entre Israël et la Turquie. Ankara a rappelé son ambassadeur.

Israël a aussi mis en place une commission d'enquête nationale sur l'assaut.

Ankara estime qu'Israël doit présenter des excuses, payer des compensations pour les victimes et aussi lever le blocus de Gaza.

Bien que disposant d'un représentant au sein du panel de l'ONU, Israël a menacé mardi de boycotter ce groupe s'il demandait à interroger ses soldats. (AFP, 12 août 2010)

Ankara convoque l'ambassadeur d'Israël après des commentaires d'Ehud Barak

L'ambassadeur d'Israël a été convoqué au ministère turc des Affaires étrangères après des remarques du ministre israélien de la Défense Ehud Barak qualifiant le nouveau chef des services secrets turcs de "supporter de l'Iran", a affirmé mardi un diplomate turc.

L'ambassadeur Gaby Levy a été convoqué lundi au ministère pour un entretien avec le vice sous-secrétaire Halit Cevik qui lui a signifié le mécontentement de la Turquie concernant les propos de M. Barak, a indiqué à l'AFP ce diplomate sous le couvert de l'anonymat.

L'ambassade d'Israël à Ankara n'était pas dans l'immédiat disponible pour commenter l'information.

M. Barak a exprimé dans un discours diffusé dimanche par la radio militaire israélienne sa préoccupation concernant la nomination par la Turquie, fin mai, d'un nouveau chef de ses services secrets, Hakan Fidan, estimant qu'elle pourrait permettre "aux Iraniens d'avoir accès à des informations secrètes".

"La Turquie est un pays ami, un allié stratégique, mais la nomination ces dernières semaines d'un nouveau chef des services secrets turcs qui est un supporter de l'Iran nous inquiète", avait-il déclaré.

Hakan Fidan, 42 ans, a été nommé à la tête du MIT (Organisation nationale du renseignement, les services secrets turcs) le 27 mai.

Il a auparavant servi comme sous-secrétaire aux Affaires étrangères auprès du Premier ministre et a représenté la Turquie auprès de l'Agence internationale pour l'énergie atomique.

Ce dernier poste lui a permis, selon la presse turque, de jouer un rôle déterminant dans les efforts de la Turquie pour résoudre la question du nucléaire iranien.

L'Iran, le Brésil et la Turquie ont présenté le 17 mai une proposition, intitulée "Déclaration de Téhéran", visant à trouver une issue diplomatique aux tensions sur le programme nucléaire iranien, la communauté internationale soupçonnant le régime iranien, ennemi juré d'Israël, de vouloir se doter de l'arme nucléaire.

L'initiative des trois pays a été ignorée par les grandes puissances qui ont voté le 9 juin un quatrième volet de sanctions contre Téhéran.

Les efforts turcs ont été critiqués par Israël, le Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu qualifiant la "Déclaration de Téhéran" d'"imposture".

Les relations entre Israël et la Turquie, autrefois très proches, se sont dégradées ces dernières années tombant au plus bas après le raid d'Israël contre une flottille d'aide internationale pour à Gaza le 31 mai au cours duquel 9 Turcs ont été tués.

La Turquie a rappelé son ambassadeur, annulé des manoeuvres militaires communes, et exigé des excuses qu'Israël se refuse à lui présenter.

Le secrétaire général de l'ONU Ban Ki-moon a annoncé lundi la constitution d'un panel de quatre experts, dont un Turc et un Israélien, chargés d'enquêter sur le raid meurtrier, une décision considérée comme un pas important par Ankara. (AFP, 3 août 2010)

L'ONU nomme des enquêteurs avec l'approbation d'Israël sur le raid meurtrier

Le chef de l'ONU a annoncé lundi la constitution d'un panel de quatre experts chargés d'enquêter sur le raid meurtrier contre une flottille d'aide destinée à la bande de Gaza, après le revirement de l'Etat hébreu qui accepte désormais de soutenir l'enquête.

Un Turc et un Israélien feront partie du panel, a indiqué Ban Ki-moon. Il a précisé que le groupe d'experts entamerait ses travaux le 10 août et soumettrait un premier rapport d'ici la mi-septembre. Il sera présidé par l'ancien Premier ministre néo-zélandais Geoffrey Palmer, secondé dans sa tâche par le président colombien sortant Alvaro Uribe.

M. Ban n'a en revanche pas révélé l'identité de l'expert israélien, ni celle de son homologue turc.

Jusqu'à maintenant, l'Etat hébreu s'était opposé à la création d'une commission internationale d'enquête sur cette affaire et avait ouvert deux enquêtes internes.

Mais lundi, le bureau du Premier ministre israélien a indiqué que "Benjamin Netanyahu a informé aujourd'hui le secrétaire général de l'ONU qu'Israël prendrait part au panel".

"Israël n'a rien à cacher", a commenté M. Netanyahu. "L'intérêt national de l'Etat d'Israël commande que la vérité soit mise en lumière sur les événements. C'est ce principe-même que nous servons".

Ce geste fait suite à des consultations avec un groupe de sept ministres israéliens et des diplomates ces dernières semaines visant à s'assurer que ce panel "est effectivement doté d'un mandat écrit équilibré et juste", a-t-il ajouté.

Ankara, qui réclamait la mise en place d'un tel panel, a qualifié sa mise sur pied d'"avancée très importante vers la réparation de l'injustice subie par la Turquie dans ce raid".

Le ministre turc des Affaires étrangères Ahmet Davutoglu a estimé que la décision d'Israël montre que "tous les pays doivent rendre des comptes en droit international". Mais bien qu'elle soit "une première", cette décision "ne devrait pas être considérée comme une chose extraordinaire", a déclaré M. Davutoglu à l'agence Anatolie.

"En tant que membre de l'ONU, Israël doit répondre de ses actes devant la communauté internationale", a-t-il ajouté.

Les Etats-Unis ont également salué l'annonce de M. Ban, à travers leur ambassadrice à l'ONU, Susan Rice. Le panel des Nations unies "peut permettre à Israël et à la Turquie de dépasser les récentes tensions dans leurs relations et rétablir leurs forts liens historiques", a-t-elle déclaré.

Washington espère que les experts nommés par l'ONU vont "travailler d'une manière transparente et crédible" et que leur enquête va offrir à la communauté internationale "la matière première" pour "un rapport sur l'incident", a ajouté Mme Rice.

Neuf militants turcs, dont deux avaient aussi la nationalité américaine, avaient péri dans le raid contre la flottille qui s'apprêtait à contourner le blocus israélien de la bande de Gaza pour y livrer de l'aide humanitaire.

Israël assure que les membres du commando n'avaient fait que se défendre face à l'agression qu'ils avaient essuyée au moment de l'assaut.

Ban Ki-moon a remercié la Turquie et Israël "pour l'esprit de compromis et leur coopération". Pour M. Ban, il s'agit là d'une "avancée inédite".

"J'espère que l'accord aura un effet positif sur les relations entre la Turquie et Israël ainsi que sur la situation générale qui prévaut au Proche-Orient", a conclu M. Ban.

Son porte-parole, Martin Nesirky a précisé qu'"il ne s'agit pas d'une enquête criminelle". Il a indiqué que les experts auraient accès aux rapports des enquêtes israélienne et turque en cours. Ils auront la possibilité de demander des "clarifications et des informations complémentaires".

Ils auront pour tâche de mettre en lumière "les faits, les circonstances et le contexte de cet incident" et de décider des mesures à prendre pour que cela ne se reproduise pas, a poursuivi M. Nesirky.

L'incident de la flottille avait provoqué une crise profonde entre Israël et la Turquie, un temps proches alliés. (AFP, 2 août 2010)

Le leader du parti de la minorité turque soupçonné de corruption

Le député et leader du parti de la minorité turque en Bulgarie, Ahmed Dogan, sera entendu en septembre par la plus haute instance administrative du pays sur un possible conflit d'intérêts, a annoncé lundi la Cour suprême administrative bulgare.

La commission parlementaire en charge de l'éthique des députés affirme que M. Dogan aurait reçu 1,5 million de leva (770.000 euros) en tant que consultant pour une série de projets concernant l'énergie hydraulique, alors qu'il n'est pas qualifié en la matière.

M. Dogan a également omis de déclarer ces revenus auprès du parlement, a ajouté le comité.

L'audition aura lieu le 2 septembre prochain à Sofia.

Député depuis 1990, M. Dogan alimente depuis longtemps les rumeurs dans la la presse selon lesquelles il userait de son pouvoir pour obtenir des contrats publics aux entreprises qui lui sont proches.

"Chaque parti (politique) a son propre cercle d'entreprises, si on peut dire... Lors des quinze dernières années, peut-être la moitié des hommes d'affaires importants le sont devenus avec mon aide ou mon sourire", avait-il déclaré en 2005.

Le parti de M. Dogan, le Mouvement des droits et des libertés, a participé aux gouvernements de coalition entre 2001 et 2009. Bien qu'acteur clé des coalitions dans certains domaines, le leader de la minorité turque n'a jamais obtenu de portefeuille gouvernemental.

S'il est reconnu coupable, il risque une amende et pourrait devoir rembourser les sommes perçues.

Plusieurs membres du précédent gouvernement, mené par les socialistes, ont été accusés de corruption depuis l'arrivée au pouvoir de la droite en juillet 2009, qui a promis de lutter contre les abus de pouvoir. (AFP, 2 août 2010)

Chypre et la Grèce / Cyprus and Greece

Profanation d'un cimetière musulman dans le nord-est de la Grèce

Une dizaines de tombes ont été profanées dans la nuit de vendredi à samedi dans un cimetière musulman à Komotini, où vit une minorité musulmane de souche turque, dans le nord-est de la Grèce, un acte condamné par le gouvernement grec.

 Des plaques d'une dizaine de tombes du cimetière ont été brisées dans la nuit de vendredi à samedi, a annoncé samedi une source policière locale.

Une trentaine de membres de la minorité musulmane ont manifesté en signe de protestation dans le centre de Komotini, jusque devant le consulat turc de la ville.

Le porte-parole du gouvernement grec, Georges Petalotis, a condamné dans un communiqué cette profanation, qu'il a imputée à des "groupes marginaux investissant dans la haine".

"Leurs actes sont totalement condamnables et contraires à nos intérêts nationaux", a-t-il dénoncé.

Le sort de la minorité musulmane de souche turque de Thrace, à la frontière avec la Turquie, reste une pomme de discorde gréco-turque, en dépit de la levée à partir des années 90 de la majorité des discriminations ayant visé cette population pendant des décennies.

Jeudi matin, le consulat de Turquie à Salonique, le grand port du nord de la Grèce, avait été la cible de coktails molotov lancés par des inconnus.

M. Petalotis avait "catégoriquement" condamné cet acte "criminel", exprimant les "regrets" d'Athènes "au gouvernement turc".

Les Premiers ministres grec, Georges Papandréou, et turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan ont relancé en mai dernier l'effort de rapprochement de leurs deux pays, initié en 1999. (AFP, 14 août 2010)

Bombe incendiaire contre le consulat de Turquie à Salonique

Des assaillants inconnus ont lancé jeudi matin une bombe incendiaire, sans faire de victime, contre une clôture du consulat de Turquie à Salonique, une ville du nord de la Grèce, a indiqué une source officielle grecque.

La Grèce condamne "catégoriquement" cet acte "criminel", a déclaré le porte-parole du gouvernement grec George Petalotis, soulignant qu'il avait mis en danger la sécurité des policiers en faction à l'extérieur du consulat. "Nous exprimons nos regrets au gouvernement turc", a-t-il ajouté, assurant que les responsables seraient "arrêtés et jugés".

L'attentat n'a pas fait de dégâts, selon l'agence de presse nationale ANA.

Le ministère turc des Affaires étrangères a pour sa part fait état dans un communiqué de trois coktails molotov qui ont provoqué un petit incendie, rapidemment maîtrisé, à l'entrée de la résidence du consul,.

La Turquie a "pris note avec satisfation" des déclarations du gouvernement grec et de la "tristesse" exprimée au téléphone par le ministre grec adjoint aux Affaires étrangères Dimitris Droutsas au chef de la diplomatie turque Ahmet Davutoglu, indique le document.

Après des siècles de rivalités régionales, la Grèce et la Turquie se sont rapprochées en 1999 après avoir été frappées à quelques semaines d'intervalle par de violents tremblements de terre.

Le Premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan s'est rendu en Grèce en mai dernier pour y rencontrer son homologue George Papandreou, qui avait contribué à ce rapprochement en tant que ministre des Affaires étrangères.

Les deux dirigeants ont signé plus d'une vingtaine d'accords et prévu une coopération de haut niveau avec des réunions régulières pour résoudre les différends. (AFP, 12 août 2010)

Immigration / Migration

Un député PS bruxellois en service militaire en Turquie

Durant le mois de juillet 2010, le député socialiste bruxellois Emin Özkara (PS) s’est rendu en Turquie pour effectuer un service militaire de 21 jours dans le camp de formation militaire de Burdur. Dispensé de service militaire en Belgique depuis la création d’une armée professionnelle, le mandataire belgo-turc qui désire garder sa double nationalité est forcé d’effectuer, avant ses 38 ans, un service militaire de 21 jours s’il accepte de payer la somme de 5.112 euros au Trésor turc. S’il ne veut pas payer cette somme lui permettant d’effectuer un service militaire réduit à Burdur procurant d’importantes devises (dövizli askerlik) aux forces armées de la République de Turquie , il devra prester 15 mois de service militaire dans la région du choix de l’état-major. Ce système de dövizli askerlik est perçu en Turquie comme une faveur payante (5.112 euros) accordée aux citoyens turcs résidant à l’étranger qui échappent ainsi à un service dans les zones de conflit à la frontière turco-irakienne.

Pendant la formation militiare, tout soldat (dont Emin Özkara) prête le serment suivant :

En paix ou en guerre, sur terre, sur mer ou dans les airs, toujours et partout, à mon peuple et à ma république, je jure de rendre service de manière juste et sincère, obéir aux lois et à l’ordre, défendre l’honneur de l’armée et la fierté du drapeau turc en les considérant plus importants que ma vie, de sacrifier avec plaisir ma vie le cas échéant à la patrie et à la république.

Tout soldat turc perçoit également une indemnité (quelques dizaines d’euros) qu’il lègue généralement à une fondation de l’armée turque. La perception de ce montant créé un cumul financier qui devrait logiquement (au moins) figurer dans la déclaration des mandats et de patrimoine du mandataire belge.

Un soldat turc travaillant dans un cabinet ministériel belge

Emin Özkara n’est pas le seul mandataire belgo-turc ayant effectuer un service militaire dans son pays d’origine pendant l’exercice d’un mandat public en Belgique. Avant lui, l’ex-député fédéral Cemal Cavdarli (LDD, ex-SP.A) avait effectué son service militaire pendant les vacances parlementaires belges. Sevket Temiz (conseiller communal PS à Bruxelles-Ville, ex-MR à Schaerbeek) s’est également rendu en 2009 pour finaliser son service militaire en Turquie, de même que notamment Sadik Köksal (MR à Schaerbeek). Le cas le plus mystérieux reste celui d’Emir Kir (PS), secrétaire d’Etat bruxellois, qui à cause de son âge ne peut théoriquement plus échappé au service militaire mais M. Kir bénéficierait d’une dispense spéciale, d’après des mandataires locaux à Emirdag, accordée par le Président turc Abdullah Gül en échange de propagande en faveur du parti gouvernemental islamo-conservateur AKP.

Il n’y a pas de cas rapporté de député turc ayant effectué un service militaire dans un pays étranger pendant l’exercice de ses mandats. (PARLEMENTO, Mehmet Köksal, 16 août 2010)

Service militaire en Turquie: "congé sans solde" ou "congé exceptionnel" (rémunéré ?)

Un fonctionnaire binational belgo-turc a profité du mois de juillet pour aller faire son service militaire réduit (21 jours) en Turquie. Ayant ouï dire qu'il pourrait bénéficier de la formule "congés exceptionnels" (en étant payé sans utiliser de jours de congés), il a demandé une entrevue à son chef de corps, qui l'a catégoriquement refusé, estimant que cela ouvrirait la porte à d'autres demandes posant problème, notamment de discrimination vis-à-vis des autres fonctionnaires. Etant donné que ledit fonctionnaire n'avait, semble-t-il, pas été très clair dans sa demande, elle a été transformé en "congé sans solde" et il n'a donc pas été payé pour le mois de juillet. Bien fait. Il n'avait qu'à demander à être déchu de sa nationalité turque, une possibilité légale peu exploitée. Ce d'autant plus que ça lui aurait aussi fait économiser 5.112 euros. Petite anecdote, il a effectué son service en même temps que le député PS bruxellois Emin Özkara. (Pierre-Yves Lambert, 29 août 2010)

Assyrian Genocide Monument in Australia Vandalized

The Assyrian Genocide Monument, which was installed on August 7, has been vandalized. According to Fairfield police, the vandalism occurred around 4 AM. The police have no leads on the perpetrators. The vandals painted a Turkish crescent and star on the monument's globe, which sits on a pedestal resembling a hand, as well as writing "fuck Assyrian dogs" and "fuck Assyria" on the left and forward sides of the base of the monument. The plaque at the front of the monument was removed.

This act of vandalism comes as no surprise. After the dedication of the monument, Assyrian community leaders had privately expressed concerns about the safety of the monument.

The monument is dedicated to the 750,000 Assyrians that were killed by Turks in World War One, between 1915 and 1918.
(AINA, August 30, 2010)

Australie: opérations policières visant des Kurdes

La police australienne a lancé jeudi plusieurs opérations dans trois Etats dans le cadre d'une enquête sur le financement de groupes extrémistes, des opérations qui visaient, selon la communauté kurde, certains de ses membres.

La police fédérale australienne a mené des opérations dans plusieurs bâtiments à Sydney, Melbourne et Perth, notamment dans des locaux de l'Association kurde de l'Etat de Victoria.

Ces opérations "font partie d'une enquête antiterroriste sur des accusations de financement d'organisations terroristes", a déclaré la police dans un communiqué. "Cette enquête n'a aucun lien avec un quelconque incident ou menace terroriste", a-t-elle assuré.

La police a refusé de faire des commentaires sur une "opération encore en cours".

Aucun arrestation n'a eu lieu.

Le porte-parole de la communauté kurde, Twana Nwri, a affirmé que d'autres opérations de ce type à l'encontre de militants du Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan (PKK) avaient été menées ailleurs dans le monde, sous la pression du gouvernement turc.

Le PKK est considéré comme une organisation terroriste par l'Australie.

"Le gouvernement turc a fait du lobby auprès des gouvernements européens pour interdire les groupes de Kurdes et ils ont fait du lobby auprès du gouvernement australien pour mettre les Kurdes sur la liste des organisations terroristes", a-t-il déclaré à l'agence de presse AAP.

"J'ai parlé à un membre de l'Association kurde qui a dit qu'ils étaient très choqués par ces opérations", a-t-il ajouté. "Ils ne récoltent pas des fonds pour le PKK. Leur association n'est pas impliquée dans les activités pour lesquelles elle est accusée". (AFP, 19 août 2010)

KON-KURD Chairman Toguç Released in Italy

The Venice Court of Appeal decided on August 13, 2010, to release Nizamettin Toguç, Chairman of the Kurdish Associations Confederation in Europe (KON-KURD) who was detained in Italy on July 18 following a demand of arrest sent by Turkish authorities.

During the trial, the defense lawyer, Arturo Salerni, argued that Turkey actually offered the best defense of his client, basically admitting that the extradition request is indeed a political motivated request. Lawyer Salerni also reminded the Court of Appeal that Italy had granted political asylum to Abdullah Ocalan, president of the PKK, in doing so recognizing the persecution of the Kurdish political movement.

After the defense, the Prosecutor asked Nizamettin Toguc's release.The Prosecutor admitted that Toguc, who is a Dutch citizen, could be freed upon giving an address in Italy where he could be found at any time. The Prosecutor further asked for Toguc to sign at the police station.

Nizamettin Toguc has been living in Europe for nearly twenty years. In the '80s while still in Turkey, Toguc had been arrested because found in possession of a Kurdish music tape. He has been put in prison where he was tortured and he stayed behind bars for a long time. After being released he moved to Batman. There he opened a car shop. He was elected president of HEP (People Labour Party) provincial branch.

In 1991, he was elected to the Turkish Parliament and, together with 17 Kurdish deputies, he founded DEP (Democratic Labour Party) after HEP's closing down by the Turkish authorities.

In 1993, Toguc was victim on an attack on his life during a public meeting. He was badly injured and miraculously survived. The assassination attempt was claimed by Hizbullah, an islamic radical group linked, as it was unveiled in recent years, to the state.

In 1994, DEP too was banned and the parliamentary immunity for the Kurdish deputies was lifted. Six of the deputies decided to go abroad, among them Nizamettin Toguc. Those who stayed in Turkey (Leyla Zana, Orhan Dogan, Hatip Dicle and Selim Sadak) were arrested and spent ten years in prison until 2004.

Once in Holland, Toguc was given political refugee status in 1994.

In 1995 he was among the founders of the Kurdish Parliament in Exile. At the same time he was the acting president of the Islamic Movement of Kurdistan. In 2006, he was elected president of KON-KURD (a total of 12 Kurdish federation and 165 Kurdish associations are its members).

In 2010 he has been granted Dutch citizenship and he was given the new passport by the mayor of Middelburg.
(ANF, 13 August 2010)

Vanackere a parlé en Turquie du dossier de Fehriye Erdal

Le parquet fédéral veut renvoyer l'activiste turque Feriye Erdal devant les assises pour l'assassinat de l'homme d'affaires Özdemir Sabanci et de deux autres personnes en 1996 à Istanbul, a déclaré le ministre sortant des Affaires étrangères Steven Vanackere (CD&V) en marge de sa visite à quelques dignitaires turcs. "Selon nos informations, le parquet fédéral demandera sous peu le renvoi de Feriye Erdal vers les assises", a-t-il expliqué. Le procès se tiendrait en l'absence de l'accusée.

Toutefois, Belga a appris auprès du parquet fédéral que l'enquête relative à l'implication d'Erdal dans l'assassinat de Sabanci est encore à l'instruction. Il est donc prématuré de dire qu'un procès d'assises aura bien lieu comme l'a indiqué le ministre sortant des Affaires étrangères Steven Vanackere lors de sa visite en Turquie.
Fehriye Erdal est soupçonnée d'être impliquée dans l'attaque qui a coûté la vie à Özdemir Sabanci, à sa secrétaire ainsi qu'au directeur-général de Toyota Haluk Gorgün en 1996 à Istanbul. Fehriye Erdal, qui travaillait alors pour le compte d'Özdemir Sabanci, aurait laissé entrer les deux tueurs.
Fehriye Erdal, qui faisait partie du mouvement d'extrême gauche DHKP-C, s'est volatilisée après l'assassinat avant de réapparaître quelques années plus tard en Belgique où fin 2009, la cour d'appel de Bruxelles devait la condamner à deux ans de prison avec sursis pour appartenance au DHKP-C.
Les autorités turques ont entre-temps demandé à plusieurs reprises son extradition qui a toujours été refusée. Une instruction relative à l'assassinat de l'homme d'affaires a également été ouverte en Belgique. La question de la compétence de la justice belge s'est aussi posée mais la Cour de cassation a décidé que Fehriye Erdal pouvait comparaître en Belgique.
Enfin, lorsque l'instruction sera terminée, la chambre du conseil puis la chambre des mises en accusation devront se prononcer sur le renvoi vers les assises. (belga, 11 août 2010)

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