A non-government information center on Turkey

Un centre d'information non-gouvernemental sur la Turquie

38th Year / 38e Année
2011 July
N° 395
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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Titres des évènements du mois
Titles of this month's events

Droits de l'Homme / Human Rights

13-year-old victim of police gas bomb dies

Prison Massacre 2000: Burnt Alive - No Chance to Surrender
72 People in Police Custody in Istanbul
 Government Prioritizes Drafts Against Financing Terror
 Suicide after Alleged Ill-Treatment in Police Custody
Prison Instead of School - Work Instead of Play
16-year-old boy killed by soldiers
Record number of human rights violations in first six months of 2011
Appel international pour la restitution de la dépouille d'un guérilla
Graves menaces sur les défenseurs des droits de l’homme en Turquie
F-Type prisons are killing machines
Charged with Armed Group Propaganda at 102 years of age
Urgent Call For Delegation To Support Hunger Strike
Barred MP Candidate Gürbüz Arrested
ECHR: ‘Turkey is by far the worst violator of human rights among the 47 states’

Pression sur les médias / Pressure on the Media

Claudia Roth empêchée de visiter des journalistes incarcérés

Journalist "Suspended from Profession" by Court
 Censoring of Arts Documented on "Black Band"
Prisoner Gazette: Resistance against Censorship
Journalists, politicians mark ‘Press Holiday’

Journalist Nedim Şener Applies to ECHR
Distributor of Welat and Gündem sentenced to prison
 Daily Evrensel goes to court for threats by TIT
Political Youth Magazine Banned for 1 Month
Anti-Terror Law (TMY) Should Be Cancelled for Freedom of Press
Kurdish singer Aynur Dogan attacked at Harbiye Concert
Clinton critique la Turquie sur la liberté de la presse
La mémoire des Grecs d'Istanbul menacée par la crise grecque
Former RTÜK chief undergoes questioning
Turkey has a bad record with books, says report by publishers
Arrested journalists to publish newspaper
Prosecution Request Journalists' Material on Hopa Unrest
Journalist Pehlivan at Court after 4-month Detention

Kurdish Question / Question kurde

Kurdish Political Figure Burkay Returned After 31-Years Exile

 Ocalan menace de mettre fin à son dialogue avec le gouvernement
Turkey back to the dark years?
Turkey, Iran step up operations against PKK, PJAK
Turkey heads to more ethnic polarization
One more young set him-self on fire
Tension Continues after Clashes in Silvan
Fifty injured and sixteen detained in Siirt
BDP building attacked in Zeytinburnu
Ocalan from prison: "Only I can end bloodshed"
Two Convictions at two  Court for one "Offence"
BDP offices attacked by crowds in protest against the Silvan Killing
"Democratic autonomy" requires assembly, flag and defense force, says DTK
Democratic Society Congress announced Democratic Autonomy
Prosecutor to investigate Democratic Autonomy proclamation
Ocalan: Deal reached on establishing Peace Council
Constitutional Court rejected application filed by Hatip Dicle
Court hands down sentences to 5 KCK suspects
  "Boycott" summit ended at presidential palace, crisis continues
Pro-Kurdish BDP applies to form parliamentary group
Quelle démocratie en Turquie? - Ahmet DERE

Minorités / Minorities

"Samast's Conviction is not Enough"

 Le meurtrier de Hrant Dink condamné à 22 ans et 10 mois de prison
Turkey’s minority newspapers seek salvation
 Christians in eastern Turkey worried despite church opening
Turkey’s Syriacs demanding right to own names
Greek daily Apoyevmatini struggles to survive
Le Vatican, co-éditeur d'un livre sur le massacre des Arméniens
Candidats et élus issus des minorités religieuses en Turquie

Politique intérieure/Interior Politics

Protesters demand removal of Kemalist pledge from schools

 Parliament Speaker Çiçek says new charter the most urgent issue
 BDP's demands from Turkish government
 Le CHP renonce à boycotter le Parlement
 Constitution, Kurdish issue top gov’t program
Erdogan présente son nouveau gouvernement
Arrestation d'un proche d'Erdogan dans une affaire de détournement de fonds
Le parlement a élu son président malgré le boycott
Parliament speaker to be elected amid ‘oath crisis’
 Erdogan refuse d'intervenir pour dénouer la crise de boycott

Forces armées/Armed Forces

Démission collective à la tête de l'armée turque

3 militaires tués dans une embuscade
 Court files complaint against former chief of General Staff
Colonel says former army chief behind illegal websites
Coup cases in Turkey fray trust in military, poll shows
 Turkish army to hire 5,000 career soldiers
NGOs and BDP goes to Silvan to research the suspicious deaths
13 soldats, sept rebelles kurdes tués dans des combats
JITEM was secretly established by gendarmerie, probe finds
Deux soldats et un fonctionnaire enlevés dans le sud-est
Deux soldats tués dans une embuscade
Arrestation de généraux turcs accusés de complot contre le gouvernement
Un soldat tué lors de combats avec des rebelles kurdes

Affaires religieuses / Religious Affairs

Conservatism on the rise in Turkey

 La Turquie va juger 14 membres présumés d'Al Qaïda
Police intervened thousands in front of Madımak
 Sivas massacre commemoration forbidden

Socio-économique / Socio-economic

Matches truqués: la fédération repousse le début de la saison

Women marched against violence in Istanbul
 AKP official warns of crisis, cautions Turks against overspending
 La parité hommes-femmes en politique s’éloigne de plus en plus!
Matchs truqués: Arrestation du président de Trabzonspor
Tempête sur le football turc
50 Thousand Workers Forced to Relocate

Relations turco-européennes / Turkey-Europe Relations

EP's Rapporteur's Comment on Turkish Top Commanders' Retirement

La Turquie remplace son ambassadeur à Vienne qui avait fait polémique
 Ankara parle d'un gel des relations avec l'UE lors de la présidence chypriote
No ‘magic formula’ to accelerate Turkey-EU talks
Westerwelle : Ankara doit être traité "honnêtement" dans sa candidature à l'UE
L'UE "préoccupée" par la situation politique en Turquie

Turquie-USA/ Turkey-USA

New CIA chief holds anti-PKK talks in Ankara

Le groupe de contact sur la Libye se donne les moyens d'aider les rebelles
Coup de filet en Turquie contre Al-Qaïda

Relations régionales / Regional Relations

PM seeks Armenian apology after Israel

Erdogan: Pas de normalisation avec Israël sans excuses
Israël refuse de présenter ses excuses à la Turquie
Erdogan déclare souhaiter se rendre dans la bande de Gaza
Une conférence des opposants syriens à Damas et à Istanbul
Lieberman: Erdogan a fermé la porte à la normalisation
La Turquie prolonge d'un an le mandat de son contingent de la Finul au Liban
La Turquie tente de restaurer son influence en Libye
Turkey recognises Libya rebels,  offers $200 million in aid
Un bateau irlandais de "la flottille vers Gaza" saboté en Turquie

Chypre et la Grèce / Cyprus and Greece

Erdogan exige une solution à Chypre d'ici fin 2011

 La Turquie veut un référendum à Chypre au début de 2012
Des journalistes chypriotes turcs dénoncent une tentative d'assassinat

Immigration / Migration

Un membre présumé du DHKP/C arrêté en Allemagne
Arrestation à Salonique d'un membre présumé du DHKP-C recherché par Berlin
 Turkish man killed under severe torture in Dutch police station
 The long life of Djemil Pasha’s grand-daughter

Droits de l'Homme / Human Rights

13-year-old victim of police gas bomb dies

Doğan Tayboğa, a 13-year-old boy who was seriously injured on July 24 after being hit by a gas bomb thrown by police during a demonstration in the town of Silopi in Şırnak province, lost his fight for life at Diyarbakır State Hospital and was laid to rest on Wednesday.
Following Tayboğa’s funeral service a convoy of mourners marched on to Başak Martyrs’ Cemetery carrying placards saying “We will multiply as you kill.”

A statement from the Şırnak Governor’s Office stated that during an illegal demonstration in Silopi on July 24 demonstrators attacked citizens, civilian vehicles and public buildings with stones, Molotov cocktails and fireworks, and that security forces had issued several warnings to demonstrators and was forced to intervene against those who did not heed their warnings. The Şırnak Chief Prosecutor’s office has launched an investigation into Tayboğa’s death.
(TODAY’S ZAMAN,  27 July 2011)

Prison Massacre 2000: Burnt Alive - No Chance to Surrender

For the first time, Special Gendarmerie Sergeant Altan Sabsız talked about what happened during the "Return to Life" operation in the Bayrampaşa Prison in Istanbul on 19 January 2000.

The "Return to Life" operation was carried out eleven years ago in several prisons in order to solve the so-called "prison problem" in Turkey and end the death fast of prisoners who protested against their transfer to F type prisons with smaller cells. The operation started in the early morning on 19 December 2000 in 20 prisons simultaneously and involved thousands of convicts and ten thousands of security personnel. 32 people died in the operation, among them two soldiers. Hundreds of detainees and convicts were injured.

Sabsız now stated that the prisoners did not set themselves on fire as it was alleged. Instead, the doors of the prison cells were kept closed although the prisoners wanted to surrender.

Gendarmerie Sergeant Sabsız gave his statement before the 1st High Criminal Court of Van (south-eastern Turkey) on 5 July. He said, "Gas bombs including different, unknown substances were used; the people in the burning cells were not let to come out to surrender; nobody intervened against the fire; blankets soaked in combustible liquids were thrown on top of the burning prisoners".

Sabsız said that throughout the past eleven years, nobody had asked for his statement, "So I am compelled to give my statement on this matter and to tell the truth I know". His statement was forwarded to the Bakırköy (Istanbul) 13th High Criminal Court that handles the correspondent trial against 39 private soldiers.

"They threw different gas bombs"

Only in the Bayrampaşa Prison, twelve detainees and convicts died and 55 people were wounded. Five women burnt to death. In an official statement issued after the operation it had been announced that the prisoners set themselves on fire. However, Sabsız's statement disproved the official statement and revealed that the prisoners were left to die. Moreover, his statement confuted the official announcement's allegation that the "prisoners resisted with the force of arms".

Sabsız made the following points in his statement:

* Members sent from the Ankara Gendarmerie Command Special Security Command (JKÖAK) and other personnel from I do not know where went in and intervened with gunfire. The detainees and convicts reacted by locking themselves in their cells.

* Wholes were being drilled into the prison walls and the ceilings to throw gas bombs. I do not know what was inside the bombs and they were not on our inventory. Even though I had been involved in the organization for a long time, automatic rifles that I had never seen before were used.

* When I was waiting on the corridor, inmates from a cell with women detainees and convicts banged on the door. They wanted to get out. They asked us to open the doors so they could come out. We did not intervene because we had no such order. After a short while, the cell was burning. The fire brigade team on the spot did not intervene either.

"They burnt them with blankets"

* When we entered the cell, we saw that the women were burnt like coal. It did not make sense to me that they burnt to that degree because the only items in the cell were a bed and a blanket and the burnt bodies were laying in a distance to the bed.

* Some of my ranked colleagues at JKÖAK that I met years later said that they told the prisoners, "We will save you. We are going to throw down wet blankets. Protect yourselves and wrap yourselves inside of them". In fact, these blankets had been soaked in combustible liquids and they said that they worked like a fire accelerant.

"Burnt alive"

Birsen Kars was incarcerated at the women's ward at the time of the operation. When she was taken to hospital afterwards she shouted, "They burnt alive!" She had said in her statement given earlier, "While they were opening fire on them, they continuously threw gas bombs through the perforated ceiling at the same time. Additionally, they used a black coloured gas that was a nerve gas. The inmates' hair and skin came off and later the fire broke out".

It was put forward in the trial that a "chemical weapon" had been used against the persons who burnt to death. This thesis was proven by claiming that "the clothes of the prisoners remained intact while their skin had peeled off from burning".

Prime Minister of the time, Bülent Ecevit, had declared after the operation, "These terrorists have to finally understand that they cannot keep up with the government". (BIA, Ayça SÖYLEMEZ 26 July 2011)

72 People in Police Custody in Istanbul

According to a written statement made by the Istanbul Police Directorate on Saturday (23 July), 43 people were taken into custody because "they organized events in Zeytinburnu/Istanbul that paved the way to provocation and to harming homes, offices and vehicles". The people taken into custody were interrogated at the Anti-Terror Branch Directorate.

Anti-Kurdish tensions occurred in the Zeytinburnu district of Istanbul last week after 13 soldiers had been killed in armed conflicts in the south-east of the country the previous week.

It was also announced on the website that a further 29 people were taken into police custody in the course of anti-Kurdish riots smouldering in the district since 18 July. Their cases were processed at the Police Branch Directory. According to a statement of the Police Directorate, 29 suspects were caught together with their offensive weapons. It was put forward in the statement that these people were involved in the riots and "demonstrated an aggressive attitude by prompting and prodding on the crowd and disregarding warnings".

Fırat News Agency reported that seven blank firing guns, 56 pieces of cartridge for blank firing weapons, quantities of drugs and many cutting, drilling and other dangerous objects were found during the search of the people who were taken into custody at their offices or homes. (BIA, 25 July 2011)

Government Prioritizes Drafts Against Financing Terror

Following a warning by U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis J. Ricciardone, the ruling Justice and Development Party has sped up work on a draft law on the prevention of financing terrorism. If enacted, the legislation would bring severe punishments to those who are involved in suspicious money transactions.

Under pressure from international bodies, the Turkish government is planning to give priority to the draft bill after Parliament reopens in October, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.

The United States has officially requested that Turkey pass the draft bill swiftly. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, meanwhile still describes Turkey as a "high-risk jurisdiction" in terms of implementing global standards in fighting money laundering and terror financing.

Turkey was given a June 20 deadline to complete the necessary legal regulations and meet demands by the Financial Action Force, or FATF, a group working on the behalf of the OECD. Turkey was placed on its "black-gray" list, which includes such countries as Syria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Bolivia.

Ambassador Ricciardone, in a meeting with recently elected Parliament Speaker Cemil Çiçek, demanded Parliament give priority to the legislation of the government-prepared draft bill, which could not be passed in the last legislative year due to a heavy workload. Sources told the Daily News that Çiçek said he would do his best to this end, recalling Parliament's determination in contributing to international efforts against terrorism.

The draft was signed Feb. 1, 2011, by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and was sent to Parliament, but was not passed in time, and will thus be renewed in the new term. The draft includes important regulations regarding the matter outlined by decisions by the United Nations. As the draft bill was ready, it will not take much time for the Parliament to conclude talks on it and pass the legislation, if no unexpected developments come to dominate its agenda, sources said.

The draft law includes enforcements and stricter regulations such as freezing the accounts of those funding terrorist organizations, as well as heavy penalties and fines. If passed, the law gives up to five to 10-year sentences to those funding terrorist organizations or terrorists, even if the money is not directly used for a terrorist crime. Individuals, companies or organizations listed by the United Nations will also have their funds frozen immediately after the decision is printed in the Official Gazette.

All decisions regarding the freezing of funds must be published in the Official Gazette, which will serve as a notification to the individual in question. The Financial Crimes Investigation Board, or MASAK, will be in charge of executing the freezing of funds.

In order to prevent funds from aiding terror, individuals with frozen funds must seek approval from the Financial Crimes Investigation Board before accessing real estate, movable estate, partnership interests in companies and the contents of safe-deposit boxes. Those who neglect the requirements of the decision will be sentenced to six months to two years in prison, or a judicial fine of 10,000 to 100,000 Turkish Liras.

If a foreign country requests the freezing of the funds of an individual, Turkish or foreign, the Evaluation Commission will make the final decision based on the principle of reciprocity between the two countries.

The draft also outlines that Turkey can request for funds to be frozen in other countries. As for freezing funds in Turkey, a criminal complaint must be filed to the Chief Public Prosecutor's Office. (
hurriyetdailynews.com, July 20, 2011)

Suicide after Alleged Ill-Treatment in Police Custody

The trial regarding the police custody of deceased architect Onur Yaser Can started on 15 July before the Istanbul 6th High Criminal Court. Can, graduate of the renowned Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ), was taken into custody under allegations of "possessing narcotic drugs". He was then summoned to the police three times to give his statement and did so after the first two calls. The police officers stand trial because they allegedly changed Can's statement. The trial was postponed to 22 November.

When he was summoned to the police for the third time, the architect jumped out of the window and committed suicide. At the first hearing of the case, Can's farewell letter was submitted to court. He stated in his letter that his previous statement given at the police had been altered and described the ill-treatment he experienced.

Police officers Sonay Gündoğdu and Salih Bahar stand accused of "counterfeiting documents" because they allegedly changed Can's initial statement. An expert study revealed that the record had indeed been altered.

Can's family had filed a criminal complaint about the police officers of the Vatan Rd. Narcotics Branch (Istanbul) by reasons of "torture, ill-treatment, sexual abuse and misconduct in office". However, the prosecutor decided to drop procedures. Thereupon, the family filed another complaint under the same allegations with the Beyoğlu (Istanbul) High Criminal Court.

Lawyer Ercan Kanar told bianet that the prosecutor of the case has been exchanged for three times already. Kanar criticized that the last prosecutor "decided to dismiss the charges without taking the statements of the witnesses into account".

"Psyche was severely harmed"

Can was taken into police custody on 2 June 2010 because he had supposedly bought marijuana. He was eventually released after he had given his statement. Two days later, he was called to the Narcotics Branch again because of "missing information in the documents". That time, he went to the police, signed the documents he was given and left again.

Can claimed that he was exposed to ill-treatment in police custody and that he had to fully undress when he was searched before he gave his statement. He told his friends that his "psyche had been destroyed". Can committed suicide on 23 June when he got to know that he was summoned to the police for the third time.

The family complained about the police officers and also about the doctors who in their opinion intervened too late after Can had committed suicide. Can's mother Hatice Can said in an interview with bianet that her son was forced to sign an altered statement without reading it.

Police officers reject allegations

The police officers stated at the first hearing that Can did not accept either of the records of his statement and hence they were not given to him. Therefore, the police officers continued, they did not take footage or voice records of the statement. They admitted that they only changed the date and time of the statement and claimed that they did not make any changes to the content.

"I signed without reading"

The letter Can wrote before his suicide was presented to court. Can described that he had to fully undress at the police and that he was made to kneel down that harshly that it made him cough.

The letter continues, "The prosecutor was called. I was released. I was called again the other day. I went on my own. They put some papers in front of me. I signed once more the document of my release, the record and the statement. I was stressed. The atmosphere was gloomy. I was hurried. I was afraid. I signed the documents without being able to fully read them". (BIA,  Ayça Söylemez, 21 July 2011)

Prison Instead of School - Work Instead of Play

The Turkish Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) and a number of other non-governmental organizations active in Diyabakır prepared a report on children and their families who were imprisoned on the basis of the Anti-Terror Law (TMK) and released later on due to according legal amendments. The NGOs studied the situation of the children in the Kurdish-majority city in south-eastern Turkey for a whole year.

According to the report, more than 4,000 children aged between 12 and 18 were taken into police custody and/or were kept in prison for the duration of between two months and four years.

One in three children abandoned education

Here are some of the issued highlighted by the report:

* 12 out of 30 children the NGOs established contact with after their release from prison abandoned school.

* The report also raised the question of how many children and juveniles would turn to the armed outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) after their experiences in custody and prison.

* Mustafa Malçok burned himself on 15 February.

* Some children are constantly being kept under observation by the police on their way to school, in the neighbourhood and on the street. After some time, this develops into harassment like saying "We will arrest you again" and into oppression such as saying "What are you doing on the street? Don't wander around or we will take you into custody".

* The families are anxious; they confine their children at home, send them to the military or let them do heavy jobs. The social life of these children is restricted.

* The judiciary became inclined to not to arrest but release the children subsequent to the legal amendments. However, the police continued to take children and juveniles who were walking on the street into custody. Ill-treatment in police custody and also at the moment the young persons are caught by the police has worsened.

"Children must be fully excluded from TMK"

The report is stating that children should be fully excluded from the scope of the TMK. Articles 220/6 (committing a crime on behalf of an organization without being a member of the organization) and 220/7 (knowing and willingly aiding and abetting an illegal organization) of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK) should be lifted. Moreover, the report points to Law No.2911 that still defines "stones" as weapons. The NGOs demand this definition to be abolished. "Molotov" cocktails should be covered by Article 174 TCK on "unauthorized possession or transfer of hazardous substances".

Mass organizations, local governments and political parties have to define serious policies regarding children. Children and juveniles should have their own areas where they can express themselves. The media has to put works and studies related to children on the agenda, the NGOs proposed.

22 children died in the region within six months

The "Children Report" issued by the Human Rights Association (İHD) for the region of eastern and south-eastern Anatolia covering the first six months of 2011 revealed that 14 children and juveniles were killed by the police or the military and one child was injured. 15 children were wounded because of mines or undefined explosives, three children died. Two children were injured along the border and three were killed. The death of two further children left doubts about the reason for their death. 485 children were taken into police custody, 139 children were arrested.

18 children committed suicide, three children attempted to do so. One child was exposed to domestic violence. Five children died as the result of violence, abuse and rape; eight children experienced abuse, eight children were raped.

Family profiles

17 of the families that participated in the study were forced to leave their villages in the 1990s and hence migrated to the centre of Diyarbakır. 12 families lost a first degree relative in armed conflicts between the army and the PKK. 18 families have at least one or more relatives who were/are still imprisoned mainly for political reasons.

A part of the surveyed families make a living as working or retired civil servants or working or retired labourers. Another part of the families have an income from temporary work such as scrap-iron business, construction or the service sector.

12 families are living in a rented flat, four families live in a house provided by another family member and 14 families own their homes. Members of 11 surveyed families suffer from serious health problems (cancer, bullet injury, hepatitis, bronchitis, asthma etc.) caused by bad conditions in prison and police custody.

Points of attention

* The demonstrations where children and juveniles play the main role must be seen under the aspect of their political identity and should be interpreted as a way to open up particular areas where the children and juveniles can express themselves.

* A part of the children that left the region after having finished secondary education return to their province due to adaptive difficulty and discrimination. Some continue their education and others abandon school.

* Schools in the region have an insufficient infra structure. Children attend overcrowded classes. Discriminative policies within the education system create the risk of estranging the child from his/her hometown and school.

* Kurdish children have been deprived of their village, their mother language and their culture. The children suffer an obvious trauma caused by oppressive and rough treatment at primary school and by a dominant language that is taught by force. At the same time, the child is being exposed to a number of political, economic and social risks in the city.

* In Kurdish-majority provinces, 10,000 school-aged children work in seasonal jobs instead of going to school.

* The child's identity is being used as a yardstick in processes like his/her prosecution, police custody or imprisonment.

The report was prepared by the following institutions:

Human Rights Association; Diyarbakır Bar Association; Diyarbakır Medical Chamber; Justice for Children Group (ÇİAT); Health and Social Service Workers Union (SES) Diyarbakır Branch; Education and Science Workers' Union (Eğitim-Sen) Diyarbakır Branch; Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality Social Support Centre; Local Agenda-21 Youth Assembly; Sarmaşık Association for the Struggle against Poverty and Sustainable Development; Psychologists Initiative for Social Peace. (BIA, 2 July 2011)

16-year-old boy killed by soldiers

Opening fire on brothers Gökhan Çetintaş (16) and Habip Çetintaş (18) who were walking to the Paşapınar Village while going back home from a wedding ceremony, soldiers of the Turkish army led to the death of Gökhan Çetintaş.

According to the information received, brothers Gökhan and Habip were fired over at Boğaziçi Site of Havza/Samsun last night on the grounds of being PKK members. While 16-year-old Gökhan Çetintaş lost his life at the scene due to the fire by soldiers, Habip Çetintaş managed to survive the attack unscathed.

Allegedly, two brothers were targeted by soldiers when they ignored the “stop” warning and responded to soldiers with their blank firing gun. While Gökhan Çetintaş’s body was taken to Havza State Hospital for autopsy, Habip Çetintaş was taken to Havza District Police Department for questioning. Father Hasan Çetintaş is also reported to have been taken into custody for giving a statement about the event.

Answering journalists’ questions while leaving from Havza Gendarmerie Command, Samsun Governor Hüseyin Aksoy said the followings; “Upon the notification about the possibility of separatist terrorist organization members to pass over the region, our security forces had performed search activities at possible transition points. As a result of the unconfirmed notification and works conducted in this context, the two persons going by the region were given a “stop” warning on suspicion of being terrorists. However, a clash broke out when the brothers ignored the warning and responded to soldiers firing three gunshots. The Public Prosecution Office has initiated a judicial investigation regarding the event and relevant units continue the investigation on the issue. Judicial authorities will evaluate whether there exists an omission or not. The process will reveal if there are any unknown points of the issue. In this sense I give my condolences to Çetintaş family.”

According to the 2011 mid-term report of IHD Diyarbakır Branch on the situation of human rights violations in Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia Regions, 6 1people were wounded and 11 were killed in the Kurdish geography alone due to “unidentified murders, extrajudicial executions or violations of the right to bear arms”.

As to the year 2010, 22 unsolved murders were lived in Turkey, while the number of “extrajudicial executions/ tortures to death/murder by village-guards/ suspicious deaths and deaths in custody” had been recorded as 100.
(AFN, 20 July 2011)

Record number of human rights violations in first six months of 2011

The Human Rights Association (IHD) has denounced the deep worsening of the situation of human rights in the Kurdish region in Turkey. The IHD has registered 16,482 cases of human rights violation in the first six months of 2011, against 13,219 cases over the same period of 2010.

The association on Friday has released in Diyarbakir the mid-term report on the situation of human rights in the Kurdish region.

The Secretary of the Diyarbakir branch of the association, Raci Bilici has said that the country is in a "critical" situation. Recalling that the AKP, the Islamic-conservative party in power, has won 50% of the vote in parliamentary elections on June 12, he called the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan "to show real political will" to solve the Kurdish question and "remove all anti-democratic laws."

According to the report, 16,482 cases of human rights violation have been recorded in the first six months of 2011, against 13,219 cases in 2010. The association denounced an increase of 200% in the cases of torture, arrests and violent police interventions against demonstrators.

Underlining that the government does not even tolerate posters being put up to denounce "torture by the police on the street," the association has stressed that "the justice protecting torturers" has ordered the seizure of these posters, which had been put up in the context of International Day against Torture, on June 26.


The report has recorded 1010 cases of torture and ill-treatment in the first six months of the year in the Kurdish region alone, against 433 in 2010. "The main reason for the increasing in the cases of torture has been the protection granted to the torturers by the political and judicial bodies," says the association.


The report also condemns the arrest of 4,015 persons in the first six months of 2011, against 2,430 in 2010.

1,145 people out of 4,015 have been remanded in custody.

Police has injured 762 people during operations carried out in 335 events, while 1,555 people were subject to prosecution, trial and conviction, the report says.

Despite the alarming figures being available to all, the government refuses to see the ongoing violation of human rights and claims to have developed a "mature democracy".

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had stated: "We have put an end to torture," during the election campaign of his party AKP. He also said that there was no restriction to freedom of expression. However, Turkey has become the world's biggest prison for journalists, with at least 60 journalists in jail, according to organization supporting imprisoned journalists.

On July 12, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe, Thomas Hammarberg, had also denounced the "particularly worrying" situation for freedom of expression and media freedom. He has done so when publishing's progress report on Turkey.The Commissioner in his report welcomes the progress made by Turkey in recent years concerning a free and open debate on a variety of human rights-related issues. However, in view of the very large number of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, for more than a decade, finding violations by Turkey of the right to freedom of expression, he remains concerned by the fact that Turkey has not yet taken all necessary measures to effectively prevent similar violations. He considers that the reported increase in criminal proceedings and arrests involving journalists in Turkey are the result of a failure to effectively address to date the underlying causes identified notably in the judgments of the Court. (MAXIME AZADI - ANF,
16 July 2011)

Appel international pour la restitution de la dépouille d'un guérilla

Communiqué du Comité international d’appui à l’association d’entraide avec les familles de détenus (TAYAD KOMITE):

Ali Yildiz était un guérillero du mouvement communiste DHKP-C (Parti-Front révolutionnaire de libération du peuple) actif dans la région zaza du Dersim (rebaptisée Tunceli par le régime kémaliste).

Depuis 14 ans, sa famille et ses amis étaient sans nouvelles de lui.

Jusqu’à ce jour de janvier 2011 où un ex-combattant révéla à la presse que 19 guérilleros, 17 du PKK et deux du DHKP-C, avaient été tués en avril 1997 lors d’une confrontation avec l’armée turque dans la vallée d’Ali Bogazi au Dersim et que leur corps, dont celui d’Ali aurait été jeté dans un charnier.

Dans la foulée, des villageois ont confirmé ces allégations, allant jusqu’à indiquer l’emplacement exact du charnier. Celui-ci se trouve dans le district de Cemisgezek, à 150 mètres d’une caserne de la gendarmerie.

La famille Yildiz a alors entamé des démarches judiciaires notamment auprès du Procureur de la république de Malatya pour pouvoir récupérer le corps d’Ali.

En juin dernier, devant l’indifférence des autorités, Sakine et Hüsnü, respectivement la mère et le frère d’Ali, ont planté une tente sur la place centrale de la ville de Tunceli pour y mener une grève de la faim.

Appuyés par l’Association d’entraide avec les familles des détenus (TAYAD), la famille Yildiz espère alerter l’opinion autour de deux revendications : l’ouverture des fosses communes et la restitution du corps d’Ali afin de lui offrir une sépulture.

En quelques jours, la famille Yildiz a reçu l’appui de nombreuses personnalités issues du monde associatif, juridique, littéraire et syndical.

Le 14 juillet, le président de la section stambouliote de l’Association des juristes progressistes (CHD) Me Taylan Tanay ainsi que l’ex-bâtonnier de Tunceli devenu le mois dernier député du CHP (Parti républicain du peuple, kémaliste) ont rencontré Sadullah Ergin, le ministre de la justice.

Les deux avocats ont demandé au ministre des mesures urgentes concernant l’ouverture des fosses communes, compte tenu de la grève de la faim de Mme Sakine âgée de 75 ans et dont la santé est fragile et de M. Hüsnü Yildiz. Leur jeûne au finish est sur le point d’atteindre le seuil critique des 40 jours.

La délégation a également souhaité que les travaux d’exhumation des corps soient effectués par des archéologues et des médecins légistes en respect du protocole de Minnesota de 1989 qui réglemente le traitement des restes humains et ce, pour éviter toute négligence et toute dégradation comme cela s’était produit lors d’une ouverture de fosse commune à Batman où les pelleteuses étaient entrées en action, endommageant les os des défunts et empêchant une identification formelle des corps.

Hüsnü et Sakine Yildiz voudraient légitimement savoir si Ali a été tué par balles, par la torture ou à coups d’armes chimiques.

A l’issue de l’entretien, le ministre Sadullah Ergin se serait engagé à satisfaire les exigences de la famille Yildiz.

En Turquie, le combat de la famille Yildiz est emblématique. Il rappelle qu’actuellement, sur base de témoignages oculaires et d’aveux, on a pu recenser 1479 corps répartis dans 114 charniers. La plupart de ces charniers seraient situés dans les régions kurdes du pays où, à la fois, les forces officielles et occultes de l’Etat se sont massivement livrées à des actes de terreur et de barbarie contre la population, les militants armés et les acteurs démocratiques.

L’aboutissement du combat de Sakine et Hüsnü Yildiz est essentiel car il permettrait aux familles des autres victimes de connaître la vérité sur leurs proches disparus.

Le Comité international d’appui à l’association d’entraide avec les familles de détenus (Tayad Komite) appelle donc l’opinion publique internationale et les institutions démocratiques en particulier, à se mobiliser dans ce combat pour la justice et la vérité en écrivant aux autorités turques dont nous vous envoyons les coordonnées ci-dessous. Merci de nous envoyer une copie de votre lettre à notre adresse électronique.

Tayad Komite
15 juillet 2011

H.E. Mr. Sadullah Ergin
Minister of Justice (Ministre de la Justice)
Adalet Bakanligi 06659 Kizilay ANKARA-TURKEY
Phone: +90 312 419 33 70
Fax: +90 312 419 33 70/ +90 312 417 71 13
Email: sadullah.ergin@tbmm.gov.tr ; ozelkalem@adalet.gov.tr

H.E. Mr. Abdullah Gül
Cumhurbaskanligi Cankaya Kosku
06550 Cankaya ANKARA-TURKEY
Phone: +90 312 470 11 00/+90 312 470 23 08
Fax: +90 312 470 13 16
Email: cumhurbaskanligi@tccb.gov.tr

H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Premier ministre
Basbakanlik Merkez Bina
06640 Kizilay ANKARA-TURKEY
Phone: +90 312 413 70 00
Fax: +90 312 417 04 76
Email: bimer@basbakanlik.gov.tr ; ozelkalem@basbakanlik.gov.tr

H.E. Dr. Ahmet Davutoğlu
Ministre des Affaires étrangères
Dr. Sadık Ahmet Cad. No: 8 Balgat 06100 ANKARA-TURKEY
Phone: +90 312 292 10 00
Fax: +90 312 292 27 55
Email: info@mfa.gov.tr ; duygu.duzgun@mfa.gov.tr
H.E. Mr. Ertuğrul Apakan
Ambassadeur et Représentant permanent de la Turquie auprès de l’ONU
Permanent Mission of Turkey to the United Nations
821 United Nations Plaza, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10017 USAhone: + 1 212 949-0150
Fax: +1 212 949-0086
Email: turkey@un.int

H.E. Mr. Nazif Murat Ersavcı
Ambassador to Belgium (Ambassadeur auprès de la Belgique)
 Embassy of Turkey to Belgium
4, Rue Montoyer
1000 Bruxelles, Belgique
Phone: +32 2 5134095
Fax: +32 2 5140748
E-mail: turkemb.brussels@mfa.gov.tr

H.E. Mr. Selim Kuneralp
Ambassadeur et Représentant permanent de la Turquie auprès de l’Union européenne
4 Rue Montoyer
1000 Bruxelles Belgique
Phone: +32 2 289 62 40
Fax: +32 2 511 04 50
E-mail: info@turkdeleg.org ; skuneralp@mfa.gov.tr
Veuillez par ailleurs signer la pétition en ligne via le lien suivant, http://toplumezarlaracilsin.com/addsite.asp en indiquant les données suivantes: Adi (prénom), Soyadi (nom), Meslegi (profession).  Veuillez ensuite enregistrer en cliquant sur Kaydet (enregistrer).
Vous pouvez également téléphoner à Hüsnü Yildiz au numéro suivant 0090 533 300 96 07 ou lui faire parvenir un message de solidarité : cenazemiziistiyoruz@gmail.com

Graves menaces sur les défenseurs des droits de l’homme en Turquie

Le Collectif VAN [Vigilance Arménienne contre le Négationnisme] est présent ce jeudi 14 juillet 2011 au sein du Village associatif* [stand T3] mis en place de 14h à 20h dans le cadre du "Concert pour l'égalité" organisé par SOS Racisme sur la pelouse du Champ de Mars à Paris.

Tout comme SOS Racisme, l'association Collectif VAN souhaite "réunir tous ceux, qui face à une ambiance lourde, faite de libération de la parole raciste sont attachés au vivre-ensemble et refusent de voir se construire une société de la haine de l'autre".

Fidèle à sa mission, le Collectif VAN s’attache par ailleurs à dénoncer les graves menaces qui pèsent sur les défenseurs des droits de l’homme en Turquie : la tristement célèbre TIT (Turkish Revenge Team) a multiplié ces dernières semaines les menaces de mort, non seulement à l’encontre des Arméniens de Turquie, mais également contre leurs défenseurs turcs et kurdes.
L’intellectuel turc Baskin Oran, ancien professeur de sciences politiques à l’Université d’Ankara, connu pour son action en faveur des minorités ethniques, religieuses et sexuelles et pour la pétition d’excuses adressée aux Arméniens, est qualifié par la TIT de « traître » et de « bâtard » (arménien) [1]. Il figure en tête de la « liste de la mort » rendue publique par ce groupe terroriste. On y retrouve les noms d’autres « traîtres à la patrie » tels qu’Etyen Mahçupyan, Osman Baydemir, Sebahat Tuncel et Akın Birdal. Ce dernier, président de l’IHD [Association des Droits de l’Homme de Turquie], avait déjà été victime de la TIT, laissé pour mort avec sept balles dans le corps.
Tuer de l’Arménien – réel ou supposé, comme c’est le cas pour le Professeur Oran, – est considéré comme légitime par ces extrémistes des Brigades de la Vengeance Turque reliés au réseau Ergenekon, et qui défendent la suprématie raciale turque.
Plus grave encore, la passivité et la complaisance de la justice turque sont symptomatiques des Etats qui valorisent tacitement le racisme et la haine de l’autre.
Rappelons que les commanditaires de l’assassinat, le 19 janvier 2007, du fondateur et rédacteur en chef d’Agos, le journaliste Arménien de Turquie, Hrant Dink, n’ont toujours pas été inquiétés : il semblerait d’ailleurs qu’en Turquie, l’élimination physique des Arméniens soit toujours d’actualité et acceptable au plus haut niveau.
Ainsi, cette même TIT (Turkish Revenge Team) a émis un ultimatum contre les Arméniens et les Kurdes de Turquie, promettant de commencer à les massacrer à Istanbul et à Diyarbakir s’ils n’avaient pas définitivement quitté le pays d’ici le 15 août 2011.[2]
Le Collectif VAN en appelle aux autorités françaises et européennes pour qu’elles incitent leurs homologues turcs à faire protéger les victimes de menaces de mort racistes, à appréhender les coupables, et éradiquer enfin de l’enseignement et des médias une rhétorique haineuse envers les Arméniens et les autres minorités, ainsi qu’envers leurs défenseurs. La politique discriminatoire et négationniste d’Ankara ne doit pas bénéficier du laxisme des instances internationales.
Le Collectif VAN exprime à l’intellectuel turc Baskin Oran sa pleine et entière solidarité et regrette profondément que sa situation suscite si peu de réactions en Europe. Si cet intellectuel turc modéré (il se refuse à utiliser le terme de génocide) est menacé de mort, on peut mesurer les risques encourus par les militants turcs, kurdes, arméniens ayant des positions plus nettes sur un sujet encore trop souvent tabou en Turquie.

Séta Papazian
Présidente du Collectif VAN [Vigilance Arménienne contre le Négationnisme]
BP 20083, 92133 Issy-les-Moulineaux - France
Boîte vocale : 09 50 72 33 46 - Email: contact@collectifvan.org

[1] Turquie : de la liberté de menacer de mort http://www.collectifvan.org/article.php?r=4&id=55092
Why the Turkish Revenge Brigade launches threats now http://www.todayszaman.com/columnist-249568-why-the-turkish-revenge-brigade-launches-threats-now.html
[2] “Brigade of Turkish Revengers” Threatens With New Genocide

*14h/20h : Village associatif et animations - 17h : Concert pour l’égalité - 23h : Feu d’artifice - Tour Eiffel /Ecole Militaire - 75007 Paris - Accès Bus : 42, 69, 80, 82, 87 - Métro : Ligne 8 – Attention : Fermeture des stations Alma-Marceau/ Ecole Militaire / Iéna, RER Champ de Mars / RER Tour Eiffel à partir de 19 h - RER C – Champ de Mars – Tour Eiffel

F-Type prisons are killing machines

The Solidarity Association with Prisoners’ Families (TAYAD) reported that 1,758 prisoners died in the F-Type Prisons in Turkey during the last decade. The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been in power during this entire time.

TAYAD members held a sit-in action in front of the Okmeydanı Health Care Centre in İstanbul to draw attention on the situation of prisoners in Turkey, today. “No isolation in prisons” and “we want justice” are the slogans the protestors chanted during the action.

According to TAYAD’s report, 401 prisoners committed suicide due to inhuman conditions in the prisons.
(DİHA, July 12, 2011)

Charged with Armed Group Propaganda at 102 years of age

Lalihan Akbay (102) faces a criminal investigation after attending a mawlid, organized for his son, Mehmet Rauf Akbay. He was a PKK member and died on April 16, 1985.

"She can't even speak, let alone making propaganda"

Bianet talked with her son, Tevfik Akbay. He said that the investigation was initiated after she talked with the media during the religious ceremony organized in the Tatvan Democratic Solution Tent on April 16, 2011. "She can barely hear and speak" he said.

Tevfik Akbay cannot understand how the prosecutor initiate an invesitgation for someone of her age and health condition. "She immediately forgets what she said."

"She is 102, can't speak, can't hear and her crime is going to the mawlid for her son who died 26 years ago. I really cannot understand the 'making propaganda for a terrorist organisation' allegation."

"Come back in 10 days"

The prosecutor started an investigation for Zahide Karakaşlı, Co-Chair of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Tatvan Branch, with the came charges.

The intestigation file was transferred to Van Prosecutor's Office from Bitlis. Tevfik Albay went to Van to talk with the prosecutor, but was told to go back again in 10 days. (BIA, Ekin KARACA, 7 July 2011)

Urgent Call For Delegation To Support Hunger Strike

The TAYAD Committee (solidarity committee with prisoners in Turkey) is mobilising for a solidarity delegation to Turkey in support of the mother and brother of Ali Yildiz. Yildiz was killed by the army in 1997, and his mother and brother are carrying out a hunger strike action to demand the handing over of his body and the opening of the mass grave in which he is buried.

Both have been staying for 28 days (July 7, 2011) in a hunger strike tent in the eastern Anatolian city of Dersim (Tunceli).

The delegation will visit the hunger strike tent of Husnu and Sakine Yildiz and also take the opportunity to speak to various human rights organisations and lawyers.

The family members of Ali Yildiz spontaneously decided to carry out this action, after new information came to light about the mass graves, and they demand the handing over of the corpse and the opening of numerous other mass graves.

As with many actions in which justice is demanded, international support is important here.

So we have taken the initiative to call for a delegation and invite all interested people who wish to show solidarity, to come if possible to Tunceli between July 9 and 13, 2011, where members of TAYAD (Association for Families of Political Prisoners) will greet them and look after them.

Information is enclosed on the subject of mass graves and the hunger strike action of Husnu and Sakine Yildiz. (
tuerkei.info@gmail.com, July 7, 2011)

Statement at Site of Mass Graves

Representatives of democratic mass organisations from the city of Dersim (Tunceli) issued a statement at the site of mass graves on Tuesday, July 5. First the organisations went to the court building and spoke to the state prosecutor. The latter stated that the relevant file had been sent to Malatya again. The participants in the action then marched from the court building to the site of mass graves, and there they read out a press statement. Information about the judicial cycle was given in the course of issuing the statement.

The participants in the protest demanded the excavation of the mass graves and described the situation as a judicial scandal. It was stressed that the elder brother of Ali Yildiz, whose corpse was found in one of the mass graves, has been on hunger strike for 26 days to demand the return of his brother’s body. The judicial and local authorities were called upon to excavate the graves and hand the bodies over to the next of kin.

The People’s Front, BDP (Peace and Democracy Party), EMEP (Party of Labour), Partizan, ESP (Socialist Platform of the Oppressed), the bar association of Tunceli, IHD (Human Rights Association) and KESK (civil service trade union) took part in the reading of the press statement .

Hunger strike to demand the opening of mass graves

In January a rumour reached the Turkish media that a mass grave had been found near the village of Akirek in Cemisgezek district, Dersim Province, located in eastern Turkey.

The mass grave was said to contain the corpses of 19 armed activists. According to the same rumour, 17 were members of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and two were from the DHKP-C (Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front).

The 19 were supposed to have been killed in Alibogazi valley during an operation by the Turkish security services. Witnesses at the time said Ali Yildiz, a fighter in one of the DHKP-C’s armed propaganda units, was killed on 13 and 14 April 1997 in the course of a clash with armoured vehicles in the area.

Ali Yildiz’s family decided to fight for the truth and for a proper grave for him.

In February 2011 the family petitioned the state procurator’s office for an investigation to be started.

After four months of waiting in vain, and in response to the procrastination of the authorities, Ali’s mother and his elder brother went to the Yeralti market, the centre of the city of Dersim (official Turkish name: Tunceli), in order to set up a tent in front of the municipal office and start a hunger strike.

Two days later the governor of Tunceli ordered the square to be cleared. Then the democratic forces of the region gathered there, many of them involved in politics and culture, and came to defend freedom of expression and to support the demands of the Yildiz family.

The family also started an online petition for the mass grave to be opened, with the support of archeologists and forensic medical doctors, as well as for the body to be handed over and the perpetrators punished.

The petition is to be handed to the Turkish Parliament (TBMM).

Sign at the following link:


If you want to support Sakine and Husnu Yildiz - mother and elder brother of Ali Yildiz - you can reach them by phone: 00 90 533 300 96

or sent an e-mail: cenazemiziistiyoruz@gmail.com

Barred MP Candidate Gürbüz Arrested

İsa Gürbüz, independent candidate in support of the pro-Kurdish Labour, Democracy and Freedom Block for Elazığ (south-eastern Turkey) was arrested on charges of "membership of an illegal organization" on Thursday (30 June). Gürbüz had been barred from running in the parliamentary elections held on 12 June by the Supreme Election Board (YSK).

Gürbüz is the district chairman of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) in Karakoçan. He was taken into police custody on 28 June. Gürbüz and the four people who where together with him when he was taken into police custody were interrogated at the Elazığ Anti-Terror Branch.

Three people were released after the interrogation. İsa Gürbüz and Sabri Acar were both arrested under the above mentioned allegations and taken to the Malatya E Type Prison.

"Accused of organizing activities for an illegal organization"

bianet talked to Sıddık Karagöz, the lawyer of detained Gürbüz. Karagöz said that they learned during the interrogation that an investigation had been launched in 2010.

According to the lawyer, all telephone conversations of Gürbüz and the other defendants have been wiretapped and recorded for a whole year. Additionally, pictures and videos of the defendants were taken secretly while they had been followed, Karagöz reported.

As the result of the surveillance of his client, Gürbüz's condolence visits to families of deceased members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and his attending of funeral ceremonies, press releases and demonstrations was eventually evaluated in the scope of "membership of an illegal organization", the lawyer said.

Karagöz continued, "Violence was not the subject of any of the telephone conversations. When there was a press release for instance, İsa Gürbüz as the BDP Karakoçan District Chair would call party members to tell them about the place and date of the press release or of a demonstration. Additionally, they stated that he paid condolence visits to families of killed PKK members and attended their funerals. On this basis, the police units accuse Gürbüz of organizing activities of an illegal organization".(BIA, Ekin KARACA, 1 July 2011)

ECHR: ‘Turkey is by far the worst violator of human rights among the 47 states’

In an annual report the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), the top judicial body to rule on human rights violations in Europe, found that Turkey is by far the worst violator of human rights among the 47 signatory states of the European Convention on Human Rights.

In statistical data on violation judgments by country for the period between 1959 and 2009, Turkey topped the chart with 18.81 percent of all violation judgments, followed by Italy with 16.57 percent and Russia 6.34 percent, reports ANF. Within this timeframe, 2,295 judgments were entered for Turkey and only in 46 cases did the court find no violations. The most common human rights violation committed by Turkey was the denial of the right to a fair trial. Italy scored second with 2,021 judgments against it. In 2009 alone, Turkey again topped the list in terms of violations of articles of the European Convention on Human Rights. In a tally of the number of judgments entered for Turkey, 356 cases out of a total of 1,625 put the country in the worst violator class. In only nine cases out of the 356 did the court find there was no violation, while stating that at least one violation occurred in the rest of the cases. Russia followed Turkey in 2009 with 210 judgments against it.

In terms of pending applications as of Jan. 1, 2010, the report found that Turkey has the second highest number of complaints lodged against it with 11 percent of the total 119,300 applications. Russia led the pack in this category with 28.1 percent of the applications. In its report, the court described Turkey as a ‘high case-count state.’

More than half of the judgments in which the court found a violation included a violation of Article 6 of the convention, the right to a fair trial within a reasonable time. In recent rulings, the court found that in most cases Turkey was in breach of this article and noted lengthy trials as a violation the convention. There have been excessive delays, in violation of the ‘reasonable time’ requirement, in civil and criminal proceedings taking place in Turkish courts.

In October 2009, the European Commission on Enlargement of the European Union attested that Turkey had made some progress on the observance of international human rights law. However, the implementation of some ECHR judgments requiring legislative amendments has been an outstanding issue for several years. Further efforts are needed to strengthening the institutional framework on human rights, in particular with regards to the establishment of an independent human rights institution and of an ombudsman.
(DIHA, June 30, 2011)

Pression sur les médias / Pressure on the Media

Claudia Roth empêchée de visiter des journalistes incarcérés

La co-présidente des Verts allemands, Claudia Roth, a tancé les autorités turques pour l'avoir empêchée de rendre visite jeudi à deux journalistes d'opposition emprisonnés à Istanbul, des critiques rejetées par Ankara, rapporte vendredi la presse turque.

Mme Roth a indiqué à la presse avoir longuement attendu devant la prison de Silivri, dans la banlieue d'Istanbul, pour y rencontrer Nedim Sener et Ahmet Sik, deux journalistes d'investigation connus, incarcérés depuis près de cinq mois dans le cadre d'une vaste enquête sur des complots présumés visant le gouvernement.

Elle a critiqué la "bureaucratie" turque, notamment le ministère de la Justice, qui tardait à lui fournir une autorisation demandée plusieurs jours plus tôt.

Mme Roth s'en est aussi pris au gouvernement islamo-conservateur, l'accusant de museler la presse, d'intimider les journalistes et de les forcer à l'auto-censure.

Le ministre turc de la Justice Sadullah Ergin a répondu jeudi à ces critiques, affirmant qu'une autorisation avait été donnée à la députée et que celle-ci aurait pu rendre visite aux deux détenus, "si elle avait attendu".

"On n'entre pas comme dans un moulin dans une prison", a-t-il ajouté, cité par la chaîne d'information NTV.

Dans un rapport publié en avril, l'Organisation pour la sécurité et la coopération en Europe (OSCE) avait dénombré plus de 50 journalistes incarcérés en Turquie, des centaines d'autres risquant des condamnations dans des procès, notamment dans celui dit d'Ergenekon, une organisation accusée d'avoir voulu renverser le gouvernement. (AFP, 29 juil 2011)

Journalist "Suspended from Profession" by Court

Journalist Havva Karakaya from the local Kırşehir Posta newspaper was treated like a civil servant by the Kırşehir 2nd Criminal Court of First Instance. As reported on Thursday (28 July), the court decreed to prohibit Karakaya from performing his profession as a journalist for 375 days on the grounds of a news item he wrote.

In an interview with bianet, Karakaya said that he was going to lodge an appeal with the Court of Appeals 4th Chamber. He added that the lawyers he had consulted were also surprised about the decision.

Judge Kamuran Haydar presided over the final hearing. The court handed down a judicial fine corresponding to 300 days or ten months imprisonment respectively. The sentence stemmed from an article written by Karakaya on irregularities at the Kırşehir Municipality. Judge Haydar regarded the profession of journalism as a "professional organization comparable to a public institution" and prohibited Karakaya from performing his profession as a journalist for more than a year.

Karakaya added that he also received a monetary fine of TL 7,200 (€ 3,500). He told bianet that he was not going to step back from what he wrote and expressed his hope for the Court of Appeals' reversal.

In the reasoned decision, Judge Arslanoğlu referred to previous decisions given by the Court of Appeals Criminal General Assembly related to insult via the media. "The use of press freedom has previously been restricted according to the requirements of a democratic society in order to protect [a person's] reputation and rights, public health and morality, national security, public order, public safety and territorial integrity; in order to prevent crime or the disclosure of state secrets and in order to ensure the authority and the neutrality of the judiciary. A journalist has to take these limitations into account when making news".

The comment on "the profession of journalism as a professional organization like a public institution" the reasoned decision started as follows:

"Since the action was realized by the defendant who, according to Article 53.1 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK), is exercising a profession subject to the permission of a public institution or a professional organization like a public institution; because of the resulting monetary fine; because of committing the crime by the misuse of right and authority according to Article 53/5 TCK, the prohibition of exercising the profession of journalism for the duration of 375 days as stated in the verdict [was deemed suitable] (...)" (BIA,  Özgür Öğret, 29 July 2011)

Censoring of Arts Documented on "Black Band"

The freshly founded Black Band platform ('Siyah Bant') will document censorship applied to arts in Turkey.

Black Band is an internet platform that researches cases of censorship applied to arts from various sides and by various methods. The website provides documentations of these cases and discusses them. It names the sources of censorship and shares examples for censorship abroad.

The platform does not only look at the concept of censorship under legal aspects. It rather studies the whole scope of different kinds of censorship applied by different parties.

The site gives several examples of institutions and persons that apply censorship such as state institutions, political groups, political parties, individuals considering the interest of the state, district organizations, cultural and arts institutions, curators, professional organizations, industrial representatives or funding agencies.

The Black Band website is accessible from June 2011 till February 2011. The platform will research cases of censorship applied since the year 2000 in the fields of fine arts, visual arts, cinema, music, dance and theatre. Methods like punishment, prohibition, targeting, threats, frightening, humiliation, obstruction, attack, delegitimization and othering will be disclosed.

Meeting the censoring and the censored

Within this process, the cases will be researched in order to be able to document them on the website. Field researches will be conducted in certain cities. Throughout these visits, the Black Band members will talk to artists, cultural and arts institutions, non-governmental organizations, the people who apply censorship and the people exposed to it. Eventually, a book entitled "Black Band - Freedom of Expression in Arts" will be published.

Black Band is an initiative run by the International Performance Arts Research and Production Association (PARC) and supported by the Embassy of the Netherlands and the Open Society Foundation.

PARC is an Istanbul-based non-profit arts organization that provides support and consultancy services focused on research and production in the field of performance arts. PARC also aims at contributing to the artistic development. (BIA, 26 July 2011)

Prisoner Gazette: Resistance against Censorship

"Prisoner Gazette" has been published today, at the 103rd anniversary of the first reaction given by journalists against censorship in the press on July 24, 1908 in the period of Sultan Abdulhamit. The gazette published by
the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGC) consists of 12 pages of the writings by 39 arrested and convicted journalists and a guest writer.

The gazette meets readers as a free supplement of Evrensel and Birgün journals in all Turkey, of the Cumhuriyet journal in Ankara and neighboring provinces and of the local Çanakkale Olay newspaper in Çanakkale.

The gazette, which is also sent to the journalists in prison, is made available at Dolmabahçe Palace on July 24 to be distributed to the guests of Freedom of Press award ceremony by
the Journalists Union of Turkey (TGC).

The arrested and convicted journalists writing in the gazette are: Bedri Adanır, Nedim Şener, Müyesser Yıldız, Vedat Kurşun, Ahmet Şık, Deniz Yıldırım, Barış Pehlivan, Tuncay Özkan, Soner Yalçın, Füsun Erdoğan, Barış Terkoğlu, Suzan Zengin, Sedat Şenoğlu, Musa Kurt, Barış Açıkel, Ali Buluş, Miktat Algül, Mustafa Gök, Seyithan Akyüz, Faysal Tunç, Rohat Emekçi, Kaan Ünsal, Fazıl Duygun, Bayram Namaz, Mehmet Yeşiltepe, Hatice Duman, Halit Güdenoğlu, Ozan Kılınç, Cihan Gün, Murat İlhan, Baha Okar, Sait Çakır, Mehmet Karabaş, Sinan Aygül, Kadri Kaya, Erol Zavar, Hamdiye Çiftçi, Ahmet Birsin ve Kenan Karavil.

Journalists, politicians mark ‘Press Holiday’

Turkey marked a bitter Press Freedom Day on Sunday with more than 70 journalists in prison, and many more facing trials and investigations.

Atilla Sertel, the president of the Turkish Journalists Federation, highlighted in a written statement that the pressure on the media is unbearable.

“The greatest outcome of increasing pressure on press freedoms, overt and covert [forms of] censorship and threats has unfortunately been self-censorship. Self-censorship is the truly great peril that stands alongside censorship,” he said.

The Turkish Penal Code and certain articles within the Anti-Terror Law constitute obstacles in the way of the freedoms of speech and press, pushing journalists toward self-censorship, Sertel added.

“[Censorship] ought to be everyone’s problem so that we can jointly back and support journalists whose pens and columns are seized due to repression, whose [TV] programs are banned and [who are forced out of] administrative [positions] on the 103rd anniversary of the removal of press censorship,” said Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP.

“May censorship be everyone’s problem so that we rid [ourselves] of the embarrassment of [having] journalists whose computer records of books they were thinking of writing are seized, who are barred from taking the [parliamentary] oath even when they were elected as deputies and who were imprisoned because they were doing journalism and defending the right of communication,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Although the criticism focuses on the government, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he is an advocate of press freedom.

“As a person who has gone through the punishment of threats and restraints applied on the freedom of speech in past years, I would like to express that we would not allow any member of the press to be [subjected] to repression due to their vocational activities, [or] the freedom of press to be threatened by such [forms] of repression,” Erdoğan said in a written statement.

“I believe that as more progress is attained in Turkey regarding rights and freedoms, and on the path toward democratization, our media will become even freer, and much greater strides will be taken with respect to our society becoming more transparent,” the prime minister added. “Our media leaders and laborers will also contribute to the development of our democracy by publishing in accordance with the principles of press and ethical values, and by showing respect for personal rights and private life.”

A march was held in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet district to commemorate the removal of censors July 24, 1908, a date that has been celebrated as a “Press Holiday” in Turkey since.

Speaking after the march, Istanbul Gov. Hüseyin Avni Mutlu said press freedom “is indispensable, just like water and food.”

Nearly a century ago, the autocratic rule of Sultan Abdülhamid II ended with the reinstallation of the Constitution and the reconvening of Parliament following the Young Turk revolution. In line with the headiness of the Second Constitutional Era, the new rulers also announced the lifting of censorship controls.

On July 24, 1908, the Istanbul journalists came up with a decision among themselves not to allow censorship czars in the printing houses. Previously, civil servants assigned to inspect press activities would visit printing houses before the ink was applied to paper and censor the stories they did not like. Sections of the newspapers would appear blank as a result.

That day, the journalists stood watch at their offices and printing houses until morning and did not let the czars do their jobs, telling them the press was now free after the declaration of the Second Constitution. The papers of July 25, 1908, were thus the first editions in the history of the Turkish press that did not comply with forced editing by the government. Since then, July 24 has been celebrated as a “Press Holiday” in Turkey.
(hurriyetdailynews.com, July 24, 2011)

Journalist Nedim Şener Applies to ECHR

139 days after his arrest on 6 March 2011, journalist Nedim Şener applied to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

Şener is being detained in the scope of the Ergenekon investigation into a clandestine ultra-national organization charged with plotting to overthrow the government of the Justice and Development Party (AKP).

In his application submitted to the ECHR via his lawyers, Şener claims a violation of Articles 3, 5 and 10 of the European Convention on Human rights regarding "the prohibition of torture", "the right to liberty and security" and "the right to freedom of expression" respectively. The journalist requests the international court suspend his detention as an interim measure.

"Şener's arrest intimidates journalists"

Şener's lawyer announced that they asked the ECHR to handle their petition with priority. The lawyer indicated that his client might be exposed to unfair treatment in case the court would not decide for this kind of measure.

He emphasized that the arrest of Şener had an intimidating effect on journalists and writers. He furthermore pointed out that Şener was identified as a target in the public by using unfair expressions and that this situation harmed his client's integrity.

Journalists Şık and Şener in prsion for 140 days

Journalists Şener and Ahmet Şık were taken into police custody on 3 March in the context of the Ergenekon investigation. They were both arrested three days later and have remained in detention ever since.

Government officials claim that Şık and Şener, detained for 141 days, were not arrested on the grounds of their journalistic activities but because of their membership of the Ergenekon terror organization.

Despite these allegations, no indictment has been prepared yet. (BIA,  21 July 2011)

* Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener can be reached by mail under the address of the prison in Slivri/Istanbul: Silivri 2 No'lu L Tipi Kapalı Ceza İnfaz Kurumu B-9 Üst Koğuş, Silivri-İstanbul

Distributor of Welat and Gündem sentenced to prison

The Malatya 3rd Heavy Penal Court sentenced Welat and Gündem daily newspaper distributor Sinan Sayan to six years and three month in prison on charge of “being a member of an illegal organization.”

Sayan served 18 months in prison before he was released for pending trial. He did not attend the hearing.

His lawyer will go for an appeal.

Azadiya Welat is the only Kurdish daily newspaper in Turkey and many of its chief editors and owners are currently in prison.
(DIHA, 22 July 2011)

Daily Evrensel goes to court for threats by TIT

Daily Evrensel's staff, together with other journalists, members of journalists’ unions, politicians and intellectuals, went to court together on Wednesday to hold a press meeting.

“Our newspaper was threatened by TİT last month, together with Agos [a bilingual daily in Turkish and Armenian], some academics and Kurdish politicians,” the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, Fatih Polat said. “On July 17, they threatened us again through an e-mail. In a time when Internet is so controlled, it is thought-provoking to see that the people who sent these emails haven’t been found.”

“In democracies, there is tolerance, not violence. We want to see who is behind these threats,” said Ercan Ipekçi, the chair of the Turkish Journalists’ Union.

Among the supporters of Evrensel was Istanbul deputy Levent Tüzel, who was elected in last month’s elections with the support of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP.

“Evrensel is being threatened because it defends the rights of the workers and the oppressed. It defends the rights of Kurdish people and their rights,” he said.

The TİT is believed to be responsible for more than 1,000 deaths during political clashes in the 1970s and 1980s.
(Hürriyet Daily News, July 20, 2011)

Political Youth Magazine Banned for 1 Month

The Yeni Demokrat Gençlik (YDG) Magazine ('New Democratic Youth) was shut down for one month upon the order of the Istanbul 14th High Criminal Court. According to the Özgür Gündem newspaper ('Free Agenda'), the Istanbul court suspended the publication of the YDG magazine on the grounds of "praising crime and a criminal" and "spreading propaganda for the PKK", the armed outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party.

Members of the YDG criticized the decision and said that it was the aim of this oppression to create puppets that do not think nor interrogate and that are stripped off their opposition identity within an ignorant system.

It was said in a statement that the magazine was subject to several attacks. The police allegedly left threatening letters at the homes of high school students in Izmir who were members of the YDG. The YDG members declared that the oppression and inhibition of the YDG magazine members was not going to deter them from their aims. (BIA, 19 July 2011)

Anti-Terror Law (TMY) Should Be Cancelled for Freedom of Press

By Necati Abay, Spokesman of the Solidarity Platform for Imprisoned Journalists

The Anti-terror Law (called TMY) had been come into force on 18th of July, 2006, on the basis of anti-terror law of 1991 which has been modified on 29th of June, 2006.  During the period in which the modification was being debated, the leading forces of the social opposition were underlining that the TMY was totally anti-democratic and that it would lead serious problems concerning the freedom of press, as well as freedom of thought and speech. Social opposition forces had made a democratic reaction pointing that the Anti-terror law would mean an “anti-society law”. But these warnings didn’t change the consequence and the law came into force. We must particularly indicate the main stream medias as well as the central medias kept their silence about the Anti-terror law, and still they do that.

It’s firstly in September 2006 that TMY has been put into practice, when five journalists, including weekly Atılım’s chief editor İbrahim Çiçek have been detained by the police operation called “Target”.

During the 6 years since TMY has come into force, thousands of opponents, including socialist and Kurdish journalists, writers, human rights defenders, trade union members, administrators of mass organizations, Kurdish and socialist politicians have been accused in being “member of terrorist organization”, “administrator of terrorist organization” or “making propaganda of terrorist organization”, and they have been detained under the demagogy “struggle against terror”. And thousands of press workers are under the constraints of TMY.

The TMY attack was not limited to those. Its application even brought the imprisonment of the journalists like Ahmet Şık, or correspondent of Milliyet journal, Nedim Şener, and writer of Hürriyet journal and Oda TV’s possessor,  Soner Yalçın. These journalists have been accused in being “member or administrator of terrorist organization”, too.  Today big masses do not rely on TMY anymore. We must indicate that recently, İzmir correspondent of weekly Halkın Günlüğü, İsmail Avan has been detained referring to TMY.

Solidarity Platform for Imprisoned Journalists state that actually 57 journalists and writers are in prison. All of the detained journalists have been detained on the basis of TMY. Additionally, it’s because of TMY that Turkey is the country having most imprisoned journalists in the world. Even if Mr. President Abdullah Gül, Mr. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the government representatives say that there’s no imprisoned journalist in Turkey and that they are members of terrorist organization, these explications indicate a siege mentality because national or international public opinion is interrogating the situation.

It is impossible to defend freedom of press and freedom of thought and speech without rejecting TMY. It is only by cancellation of this law that we may have a real progress concerning the freedom of press.

All of the democracy forces are under the threat of TMY, which is like the sword of Damocles.  And the cancellation of TMY require a unified struggle of the social opposition forces, defenders of freedom and democracy, defenders of freedom of press, thought and speech. 16 July 2011

CONTACT: Necati ABAY, Tel: +90 535 929 75 86,
E-mail: necatiabay@gmail.com,
Blog: http://tutuklugazeteci.blogcu.com/

Kurdish singer Aynur Dogan attacked at Harbiye Concert

Kurdish singer Aynur Dogan was heavily attacked while performing at the 18th Istanbul Jazz Festival. The singer had just began to sing in Kurdish when a group of people started to insult her and throw things on the stage to protest against the death of 13 Turkish soldiers on Thursday.

Other people started to sing the Turkish national anthem as chaos spread. The organizers of the festival, Istanbul Cultural Foundation, took the stage and said that music is a universal language. A group of people started to chant slogans like "Long live the brotherhood of peoples". At that point though Aynur was forced to live the stage in order to avoid being physically harassed.

"We are from Cuba. We are musicians", said Javier Limón who is actually from Spain. Limón was seemingly irritated after a part of the audience protested loudly against Kurdish singer Aynur during the Turkey premiere on 15 July of Limon's newest project called "Mujeres de Agua". Agua, water, here stands for the Mediterranean and brings together singers from Portugal, Spain, Greece, Turkey and Israel. The concert was part of the Istanbul Jazz festival in the Harbiye Open Air Theatre, which is located in one of Istanbul's most elegant quarters, Nisantasi. Boutiques, fancy shopping malls, cool bars and expensive restaurants coin the quarter and the audience seems largely to actually either live or go out in that quarter. Nisantasi is synonymous for the most Westernized, "cultivated" part of Turkish society, classical music, Western clothing, alcohol, foreign languages traveling abroad etc.. And ticket prices starting with 40TL ($25) and ranging up to 120TL ($75) assure that this layer largely stays among themselves.

The concert started as planned. Javier Limón and Sandra Carrasco opened with classical Flamenco, a guitar and a voice. Later, percussion and piano (from Cuba) was added becoming modern fusioned Flamenco. The concert also ended as planned, Greek singer Glykeria sang four songs in Greek. However, around in the middle of the concert it is was everything but planned. Turkey was represented by one of its most impressive younger voices, Aynur (Dogan) who released her latest album last year, Rewend. As the other singers too, Carrasco in Spanish, Glykeria in Greek, Buika in Spanish, Rita in Hebrew, also Aynur sang in her native language being Kurdish. Her first song was still "tolerated" by the whole audience. During the second song protests started by shouting "the martyrs' blood is not yet dried" (referring to the recent death of 13 Turkish soldiers) and "sing Turkish" and started whistling. When Aynur then even "dared" to sing a third song in Kurdish, the protest volume increased and forced her to leave the stage.

For the cultivated, surely English-speaking and well traveled protesters Kurdish is equal to terrorism, separatism and can not be accepted as representing Turkey. Therefore the Kurdish singer needed to be silenced. These protesters would define themselves as modern, pro-European, open-minded and tolerant.  However, besides the whistling and booing there was also cheering and "Aynur, Aynur" chanting, the audience was divided, and only few left their seats and moved towards the exits where they started singing the national anthem while next singer Buika was already on stage.

It took some minutes to cool down the atmosphere, then Buika, Guinean living in Spain, Rita from Israel and finally Glykeria from Greece could continue the concert. Being black, Jewish (and this in a country where concerts by Israeli artists nowadays get regularly cancelled because of threats) or Greek then was not a problem.

Aynur's performance was not a surprise, she was part of the program, on posters, in articles concerning the concert and in her repertoire are almost exclusively Kurdish songs. Did the protesters who were largely sitting in the more expensive seats, expect her to sing Turkish, why? However, years ago it would not have been possible to have such a performance at all and usually the Kurdish-language singers do not get invited to mainstream festivals in Western Turkey. So, these two and a half songs might be seen as a step forward, but also show that the bigger problem in solving the Kurdish issue lies in the West, not in the East, is with the Turks not with the Kurds.

Limón's next project will be Hombres de Fuego, Men of Fire. He should come back with that project to Istanbul too, and try to have more than two and a half songs in Kurdish then. (ANF-BIA, Ekrem Eddy GÜZELDERE, 16 July 2011)

Clinton critique la Turquie sur la liberté de la presse

Hillary Clinton, la chef de la diplomatie américaine, a critiqué samedi la Turquie à propos de la liberté de la presse, appelant les citoyens à exercer de la vigilance dans ce domaine.

"S'il est un domaine qui me préoccupe concernant des actions récentes en Turquie (...), c'est celui de la liberté d'expression et de la liberté de la presse", a déclaré la secrétaire d'Etat lors d'un entretien à Istanbul avec la chaîne d'information CNN Türk.

"La Turquie n'a pas besoin de réprimer les journalistes, les blogueurs et l'internet, parce que la Turquie est suffisamment forte et dynamique" pour autoriser l'expression de toutes les opinions, a-t-elle ajouté, jugeant cet aspect "incohérent avec toutes les avancées de la Turquie".

Le sujet, a-t-elle insisté, "mérite l'attention des citoyens et des avocats".

Dans un rappport publié en avril, l'Organisation pour la sécurité et la coopération en Europe (OSCE) avait dénombré plus de 50 journalistes incarcérés en Turquie, des centaines d'autres risquant des condamnations dans des procès.

Hillary Clinton s'exprimait au second jour d'une visite en Turquie, au lendemain de la réunion du Groupe de contact sur la Libye. (AFP, 16 juil 2011)

La mémoire des Grecs d'Istanbul menacée par la crise grecque

La crise grecque fait des dégâts jusqu'en Turquie. Apoyevmatini, le principal quotidien de la petite communauté grecque d'Istanbul, a survécu pendant 86 ans aux aléas des relations gréco-turques. Il est aujourd'hui menacé de mort, les annonceurs grecs ayant coupé les fonds.

Dans les locaux étriqués du journal, une pièce de 15 mètres carrés au fond d'un passage commerçant un peu désuet du quartier cosmopolite de Beyoglu, l'heure est au désarroi.

Bedri Sarica, l'ancien imprimeur du quotidien, est venu rendre un dernier hommage à cette petite publication qui a accompagné depuis 1925 le destin des Rums d'Istanbul --ces Grecs de Turquie qui étaient encore 90.000 au début des années 1960, avant de décliner jusqu'à n'être plus que 2.000 aujourd'hui.

"Je suis tellement triste qu'il fallait que je vienne te voir", déclare l'octogénaire au propriétaire du journal, Mihail Vasiliadis. Bientôt, l'homme s'effondre, en larmes, dans les bras de son ami: "C'est 60 ans de ma vie que j'ai passé ici. Je suis aussi triste que si mon fils venait de mourir."

La situation semble en effet très compromise pour le quotidien en langue grecque qui peut pourtant, avec ses 600 abonnés, se prévaloir d'être lu par toutes les familles rums de la ville.

"Depuis les années 1980-90, c'est grâce aux publicités de certaines entreprises grecques --des banques, des compagnies aériennes-- que nous avons pu survivre (...) Avec la crise en Grèce, ces publicités ont baissé et on est coincés", explique Mihail.

"Depuis le début de l'année, nous perdons 250 à 300 livres turques (109 à 131 euros) par jour. Je ne peux pas faire face à ça", poursuit-il.

Pour le propriétaire et unique salarié du journal, la crise grecque est le coup de grâce après des décennies de difficultés qui, petit à petit, ont eu raison du journal en faisant disparaître ses lecteurs.

Mihail énumère ces aléas qui ont réduit la communauté comme peau de chagrin: impôt extraordinaire prélevé par la Turquie sur les minorités pendant la seconde guerre mondiale, pogroms anti-grecs survenus en septembre 1955, et en 1964, expulsion de tous les Rums détenteurs d'un passeport grec.

Le journal a pourtant eu son heure de gloire, avec un tirage atteignant jusqu'à 30.000 exemplaires.

"Chaque Rum en rentrant chez lui le soir passait au marché au poisson pour acheter ses mezze et notre journal. Le slogan de notre journal, c'était: +A Istanbul, aucun Rum ne nait ou ne meurt sans qu'Apoyevmatini en soit informé+ (...) Toute la mémoire de la communauté Rum est là", se souvient Mihail.

Cette mémoire, des intellectuels turcs s'efforcent aujourd'hui de la sauver en menant campagne sur internet pour recueillir de nouveaux abonnements au quotidien.

"Ce journal constitue une archive inestimable de l'histoire de la République turque, qu'on peut suivre à travers le prisme minoritaire", estime le politologue turc Samim Akgönül, de l'université française de Strasbourg, à l'origine de la campagne.

"C'est aussi un organe de presse indispensable pour le ciment social de la petite communauté grecque, qui permet aux jeunes Rums de continuer à lire le grec", poursuit le chercheur.

La campagne a donné chaud au coeur de Mihail, mais ne suffira pas selon lui à sauver le journal.

"Des gens qui ne parlent même pas le grec ont commencé à s'abonner pour nous aider", se réjouit-il.

"Entre 10.000 et 12.000 livres ont été collectées, qui vont nous permettre de continuer pendant deux mois, mais après, si on ne reçoit pas un soutien institutionnel, ce journal fermera", prévient le journaliste. (AFP, 12 juil 2011)

Former RTÜK chief undergoes questioning

The former head of Turkey’s television watchdog underwent nine hours of questioning Thursday by prosecutors instead of police officers in a move intended to prevent information from leaking to the press.

Zahid Akman, arrested Wednesday along with the executives of a conservative TV station, was questioned on alleged fraud in a Germany-based charity, Lighthouse e.V., that is accused of funneling millions of euros into Turkey.

In addition to Akman, the former president of the Supreme Board of Radio and Television, or RTÜK, the other figures detained Wednesday were Kanal 7’s top editor, İsmail Karahan, as well as Vice General Manager Mustafa Çelik, Finance Manager Erdoğan Kara and Chief Executive Officer Zekeriya Karaman.

Akman answered around 20 questions asked by three prosecutors during the nine-hour questioning and denied claims that he served as courier to bring the charity money from Germany to Turkey.

The investigation of the officials from Kanal 7 was ongoing as the Hürriyet Daily News went to press Friday.

The prosecutor’s office has meanwhile reportedly uncovered new information that has further broadened the scope of the investigation.

According to the new claims, prosecutors investigating the case in Germany found documents that detail cash donations to Turkish citizens who had applied for a poverty certificate.

The individuals were tracked down and asked to testify, during which they revealed that they had never received any donations.

The Lighthouse e.V. case started in 2008 when German prosecutors launched an investigation that resulted in convictions in one of the biggest embezzlement cases in the country’s history.

The German court also highlighted links to a Turkish charity organization; records showed a total of 41 million euros were donated to Lighthouse e.V. while 17 million euros were sent to Turkey. Of that amount, 8 million euros were transferred to a Turkish foundation called Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse).

Turkey’s Kanal 7 was among the 12 companies that German prosecutors were investigating for having direct links to the case.

The Lighthouse e.V. case’s Turkish investigation was launched in September 2008, the same month that the German court handed down its first rulings in the case.
(Hürriyet Daily News, July 8, 2011)

Turkey has a bad record with books, says report by publishers

Law suits surrounding more than 100 books were filed in Turkey between 2008 and 2011, while around 30 writers and translators went to court during the first half of this year, according to reports published by the Turkish Publishers Association.

Comic magazines and websites have also been sued in court, some for “hurting people’s moral feelings,” and others in connection with anti-terror laws.

 “I cannot believe what I am going through, but I am determined to keep treading on this path insistently. Fancy a mindset, such that it brought even the Appolinare, a milestone of world literature, before the court,” İrfan Sancı, owner of Sel Publishing House, told Hürriyet Daily News in a phone interview.

A lawsuit was filed against Sancı when his publishing house began issuing copies of “The Exploits of a Young Don Juan” by the 20th century French literary figure Appolinare. Sancı, however, continued publishing books under the title “the Erotic Series,” which only intensified the legal pressure on him, as he was forced to face one trial after another.

“I sat before court in the morning and received an award in the evening. I was punished by my country and I was granted an award from abroad. That is a great irony,” said Sancı, who received the Freedom to Publish Prize Special Award from the Geneva-based International Publishing Association, or IPA, last November.

“I could not believe my ears when the prosecutor asked me whether I read these books with my family; I could not muster up any response,” he added.

Regarding the freedom of thought and expression, the year 2011 has turned out to be even grimmer than 1980 when the military delivered Turkey’s infamous coup d’état, according to Metin Celal, the president of the Turkish Publishers Association.

“Writers and translators are being sued, journalists are being jailed, statues are being demolished... As if all this was not enough, world-renowned director Emir Kusturica was invited to the Antalya Film Festival as a member of the jury, [only to be] protested against. Our Nobel laureate author Orhan Pamuk was almost sentenced to paying indemnities to each Turkish citizen [just] because he expressed his thoughts. Another Nobel laureate writer, Naipul, was invited to an organization in Istanbul and made into a pariah on the grounds that he insulted Islam,” Celal told Hürriyet Daily News in a phone interview.

“Each year we hope we do not [have to] grant this award, but unfortunately we cannot make any progress regarding the freedom of thought and expression,” said Celal, in reference to the Freedom of Thought and Expression awards annually granted by the Turkish Publishers Association.

“We are still far from the democracy we need. Turkey is not secular enough and it is getting worse. I need a term such as ‘debrainization’ to name the antidemocratic operations in our history,” Tarık Günersel, president of the Turkey branch for the PEN World Association of Writers, told Hürriyet Daily News by e-mail.

“As a society, to what extent are we adults? Only when we legally punish the generals who unlawfully abolished the parliament and when we make a democratic constitution, only then we can have the right to consider ourselves [as] adults. I think we are not even citizens yet,” Günersel said.

Even fictional novels are being put on trial despite all the talk about democracy, Mehmet Güler, a Kurdish writer, told Hürriyet Daily News by e-mail.

Güler was accused of making terrorist propaganda because of the fictional characters in his book “Decisions Tougher Than Death” (Ölümden Zor Kararlar), which was published last year by the International Belge Publishing House, only to be banned and confiscated soon after.

The book tells the stories of clashes between the right and left in Turkey during the 1970s, Kurdish youth who head for the mountains to join the ranks of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, and the prison torture experiences of characters Siti, Sadri and Hayri. The novel also features the autobiographical traces of Güler’s Kurdish origins and his arrest in 1990 while still a student at Ankara University for having contact with illegal organizations.
(Hurriyet, Vercihan Ziflioğlu, June 30, 2011)

Arrested journalists to publish newspaper

Journalists apprehended under the country’s anti-terror laws are planning to publish a newspaper called the “Arrested Journal” with contributions of other Turkish intellectuals.

The newspaper’s first issue will reach newsstands on July 28, the anniversary of the repeal of censure over the press in 1908.

“If an inch of progress is to be made in Turkey regarding the freedom of thought and expression, then anti-terror laws have to be entirely abolished. Since when has thought become a terrorist activity?” Necati Abay, the spokesperson for the Solidarity with Imprisoned Journalists Platform, or TGDP, recently told the Hürriyet Daily News in a telephone interview.

Some 60 journalists are currently in prison on anti-terror charges in Turkey, according to Abay, who said Turkey had managed to outscore China in this regard. The idea of publishing the newspaper was first advanced by the owner of Aram Publishing House, Bedri Adanır, who was arrested on anti-terror charges and jailed in Diyarbakır Prison, the TGDP spokesperson said.

The paper’s first issue will only feature the writings of arrested journalists, while future issues will also include the writings of other intellectuals from outside prisons, Abay said.

The aim is to create a newspaper without a fixed set of columnists, according to Abay. Instead, the writings of prominent intellectuals and journalists such as Yaşar Kemal, İsmail Beşikçi, Banu Güven, Ertuğrul Mavioğlu, Uğur Dündar, Murathan Mungan, Yıldırım Türker, Zülfü Livaneli and other writers will be featured in the paper from time to time.

The journal will be distributed as a supplement to other dailies, eliminating the need for other distribution channels, said the spokesperson.

The Arrested Journal is also counting on support from other media sources regarding content, typesetting, printing and distribution, including the Kurdish-language Azadiya Welat, as well as other dailies such as BirGün, Cumhuriyet, Evrensel, Özgür Gündem and Aydınlık.

 “It is more often papers with socialist leanings that support [us.] We want mainstream media to also lend their support [to us.] The mainstream media took notice of ongoing injustices only after Nedim Şener and Ahmet Şık were taken into custody. [They] turned a blind eye to the arrests of left-leaning journalists,” Abay said.

The idea of arrested journalists publishing their own journal is extremely fitting, said Ahmet Abakay, the president of the Ankara-based Contemporary Journalists Association, or ÇGD. Arrested journalists will then be able to address the public first hand.

“All arrested journalists will transmit their ideas to their readers freely and without any intermediaries or any discrimination. They will keep writing persistently,” Abakay said.

 The Turkish press today is in even more desperate straits than back during the aftermath of the 1980 coup, he said.

“[We] are almost going through a period of emergency rule; the state is casually imprisoning journalists with complete nonchalance and with no questions asked; this period will surely be remembered as a time [marked by] the oppression of the freedom of speech and expression,” Abakay said.

“Diyarbakır was the focal point of all the suffering. As such, there is a symbolic significance to the fact that this activism started there,” he added.

The Diyarbakır Prison was the scene of some of the most gruesome instances of torture that took place after the Sept. 12, 1980, military overthrow. The Culture Ministry recently decided to transform the infamous prison into a human rights museum.

The fundamental issue that sits at the heart of the problems afflicting the Turkish media has been the inability of journalists’ associations to cooperate and enter into dialogue with each other, Abakay said.

“It is difficult to foretell how much the newspaper will sell, but at least it will [represent] a critical stance,” said Aytekin Yılmaz, the mastermind of a literary project called the “Mahsus Mahal” (Reserved Locale) that helped young imprisoned writers write during the 1980s. Many contributors to that magazine have now become renowned authors today.

“Jails have unfortunately turned into spots for our intellectuals to gather in and produce [new] ideas, past and present,” said Yılmaz.

All thinking individuals with ideas have passed through prisons since the 1960s, he added, calling the prison journal “an extremely positive step, almost a point shot.”
(Hurriyet, Vercihan Ziflioğlu, June 30, 2011)

Prosecution Request Journalists' Material on Hopa Unrest

The Public Chief Prosecution of Hopa (eastern Black Sea coast) sent a writ to all press and publication outlets and institutions and requested them to forward their entire published and unpublished footage and pictures of the anti-government demonstrations in Hopa on 31 May before, during and after the public meeting of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The prosecutor's office also demanded their complete visual materials related to the funeral of protestor Metin Lokumcu.

Lawyer Sevinç Hocaoğulları told bianet that the pictures of the funeral "could be used as evidence". The Contemporary Journalists Association (ÇGD) announced, "It is not the duty of journalists to inform the judicial authorities about the pictures they have or to forward these to the authorities".

Facing legal action in case of refusal

According to Radikal newspaper, the letter was signed by Public Prosecutor Nihat Hırka of the Hopa Public Chief Prosecution Preparation Office. The recipients have ten days to abide by the request or to give a reason why they are not able to do so while fixing another date until when they are going to follow the request the latest. Otherwise, they will have to face legal action due to a breach of Article 257 of the Turkish Criminal Code (TCK).

13 people who attended the protests before the public meeting of PM Erdoğan in Hopa (Artvin) were arrested by order of the Erzurum Special Authority Court. 20 people were arrested in the scope of an investigation launched by the Ankara Special Authority Public Prosecutions after demonstrations in the capital. The protestors in Ankara took the streets after retired teacher Lokumcu had died of a heart attack as the result of the massive use of tear gas in Hopa.

Lawyer Hocaoğulları explained the prosecution's request: "Investigative authorities hold the authority to collect evidence. The prosecutor's office can make such a request during an ongoing investigation. However, I have no idea how they are going to find 'evidence for a crime' at a funeral ceremony".

"Ali Başpınar was the co-founder of the [now defunct] Alliance and Solidarity Association of all Teachers (TÖB-DER). People who attended his funeral on 6 September 2008 were accused of 'propaganda for an illegal organization'. There was no special investigation opened about the funeral. The same thing can happen now. We observe that people who attended funerals and commemoration ceremonies face this kind of allegations", Hocaoğulları indicated.

"Prosecution should fulfil their duty"

The ÇGD issued a statement on the letter of the prosecution and stated that "this cannot be the duty of a journalist.

"The prosecutor must know that journalists are not police officers who are paid to act as agents for the prosecutor's office staff or the judicial authorities. The journalists are covering dozens of incidents per day and in most of them violence is involved. It is not their duty to inform the judicial authorities or hand their pictures over to them", the ÇGD claimed.

"Article 257 TCK quoted by the prosecution for the journalists who refuse to forward their pictures regulates "misconduct of office" related to public officials. This matter added to the letter reveals how the state officers see the journalists".

"According to the Declaration of Rights and Responsibilities of Turkish Journalists, journalists reject all sorts of pressure and they cannot take any instructions related to their work from anybody but their managers. We recommend the prosecution to use the police forces subordinate to them for investigating evidence if there is an offence and not to load that duty on the press members", the ÇGD concluded. (BIA, Ayça SÖYLEMEZ, 1 July 2011)

Journalist Pehlivan at Court after 4-month Detention

Barış Pehlivan, publications director of the OdaTV.com website, is being prosecuted because he did not remove a reader comment from the website as he was requested to do. The reader comments were related to news about the Turkish preacher Fetullah Gülen and allegedly contained insults against the Muslim scholar who is living in the USA. Furthermore, Pehlivan did not publish the refutation sent to him.

The journalist was arrested on 18 February in the scope of the Ergenekon investigation into the clandestine ultra-national terrorist organization charged with the attempt to topple the government. Just a few days earlier, he had been taken into custody together with OdaTV administrators Soner Yalçın and news director Barış Terkoğlu. Their custody was based on allegations of "membership of the Ergenekon organization" and "inciting the public to hatred and hostility". An indictment has not been prepared yet for any of the three journalists.

Pehlivan is facing prison terms of up to two years according to Article 9/4-1c of the Law on Internet Crimes (No.5651) and Article 53 of the Turkish Criminal Law (TCK). He was brought from the Silivri Prison to the Beyoğlu (Istanbul) 5th Magistrate Criminal Court to attend the hearing on Tuesday (28 June).

The journalist stands accused of "failing to remove the contents from publication and failing to abide by the judge's decision regarding the right of reply".

The trial was opened on 17 February 2011. It is claimed that Pehlivan did not publish the refutation sent to him by the Beyoğlu Notary No.20 within one week as it was held by the Beyoğlu 3rd Magistrate Criminal Court. Furthermore, it was put forward that the reader comments that allegedly criticized Fetullah Gülen had not been removed from the website.

However, Pehlivan's lawyer Tugay Topbaş stated that the referring court decision did not specify which comments were to be removed. Even though this was contrary to the procedures, 49 reader comments had been removed, Topbaş said.

A change of judges prevented a faster handling of the trial and the case was postponed to 1 November.

The hearing was observed by the journalist's father, Turgut Pehlivan, representatives of the Freedom for Journalists Platform (GÖP) and the Press Institute Association, the President of the Turkish Journalists Union (TGS), Ercan İpekçi, and Ercan Atay from the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC). (BIA,30 June 2011)

Kurdish Question / Question kurde

Kurdish Political Figure Burkay Returned After 31-Years Exile

Kurdish political figure, lawyer and poet Kemal Burkay, who has been living in exile abroad since 1980 returned to Turkey on Saturday to support the peace process on the Kurdish issue.

Burkay, who was living in Sweden for the last 31 years, was greeted by a crowd of people, including Istanbul’s deputy governor Ahmet Aydın, members of the Rights and Liberties Party, or HAKPAR, and his daughter Berivan Kaya.

Collecting his luggage together with other passengers, Burkay left the airport under police escort and went to a hotel in Taksim to hold a press meeting.

He spoke to the press at his hotel in the evening, saying he was ready to start dialogue with all sections for a solution to the Kurdish question. He said the turning point in the Kurdish question was the period of easing of the state's Kurdish policy, which had been very strict until then, beginning in 1993 during Turgut Özal's presidency. Burkay said this first move for peace and reconciliation was later overshadowed by guns and violence.

Burkay also had things to say about the Justice and Development Party's (AKP) stalled Kurdish initiative, a program that was launched two years ago in hopes of marginalizing terrorism by maximizing the cultural rights afforded to Turkey's Kurds.

Burkay recalled that President Abdullah Gül recently said the Kurdish question is Turkey's most important question and that it can't be settled through violence. He said such a statement coming from the top of the state hierarchy was promising and important.

He criticized the Kurdish movement and socialists of Turkey for not supporting the government's initiative saying: “The strongest segments inside the Kurdish movement didn't support the initiative. They didn't even support the opening of [Kurdish language television channel] TRT 6. The right thing to do would be to support the government against the status quo in spite of the differences in opinion that there might be.” (Zaman - Hurriyet, July 31, 2011)

Ocalan menace de mettre fin à son dialogue avec le gouvernement

Le chef rebelle kurde Abdullah Öcalan, emprisonné à vie, a affirmé vouloir terminer son dialogue avec le gouvernement turc qu'il a accusé d'intransigeance dans le conflit kurde et demandé sa libération, rapporte vendredi l'agence pro-kurde Firat.

"Ce que j'avais à faire est terminé. Je ne ferai rien sans que l'on m'assure ma sécurité, ma santé et un espace de liberté", a indiqué le leader kurde qui dirige le PKK de sa prison et fait passer ses messages par l'intermédiaire de ses avocats.

Ce n'est pas la première fois que le chef historique du Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan (PKK), emprisonné depuis 1999, menace d'arrêter ses efforts de dialogue avec le gouvernement. Cependant cette fois il semble plus décidé et accuse aussi ses rebelles, de l'avis des observateurs.

"Les deux parties (gouvernement et PKK) se servent de moi pour leurs propres intérêts. Je mets fin à ce rôle d'intermédiaire (...) Il ne peut y avoir de discussions de paix dans les conditions actuelles", souligne Öcalan qui ne précise pas quand le contact avec Ankara sera rompu.

Le Premier ministre Recep Tayyip Erdogan a lancé en 2009 une nouvelle initiative visant à résoudre la question kurde. Les autorités ont associé Öcalan à cette initiative --qui n'a pour l'instant débouché sur aucun progrès-- par le biais de ses avocats ou par un contact direct avec des responsables de sécurité.

Mercredi de retour d'une visite en Azerbaïdjan, M. Erdogan a évoqué des "dissensions" dans la direction du PKK, affirmant qu'Öcalan n'avait plus un contrôle total sur ses rebelles.

Les combats dans le sud-est anatolien, théâtre de la rébellion du PKK depuis 1984, ont considérablement augmenté depuis les dernières élections législatives de juin.

Le 16 juillet, treize soldats et sept rebelles ont péri dans des combats dans le sud-est de la Turquie, région peuplée en majorité de Kurdes. Quatre militaires ont été tués dans les jours prochains dans des accrochages.

Cet incident, le plus meurtrier pour l'armée turque depuis octobre 2008, a suscité une vive émotion et M. Erdogan a prévenu que l'armée turque allait faire payer "un prix élevé" aux rebelles. (AFP, 29 juil 2011)

Turkey back to the dark years?

After the so called 'Democratic Opening' turned into a fiasco, the AKP government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has decided to turn the page on the Kurdish issue, going back to the practices of the '90s. The Turkish government has decided to strengthen the special units of police.

Erdogan, who today ignores and represses the demands of the Kurdish people, proposes himself as a mediator for the Palestinians. While denying the right to education in Kurdish in his country, he denounced assimilation in Germany and France, arguing that assimilation is a crime against humanity. Kurdish mother tongue is registered as an unknown language in trials.

The AKP government, in power since 2002, launched its 'Democratic Opening', a package of measures aimed to solved the Kurdish question, in 2009. But this proposals soon turned into a serious violation of human rights, including the closure of the main Kurdish party DTP, now BDP, and the imprisonment of about 4,000 active members of these parties, as well as the arrests of supporters and protesters. The people detained include mayors, MPs, trade unionists and journalists.


The international community avoids talking about these paradoxes. Instead, the media and Western leaders have long applauded and welcomed the Democratic Opening, ignoring the violations committed in the name of this policy. Since the launching of the Democratic Opening, not a single day passes without Kurds being arrested.

According to a report by the Association of Human Rights (IHD), 4015 people were detained during the first half of 2011, in the Kurdish region only, against 2,430 in the same period of 2010, 1145 people were sent to prison. The report found 16,482 violations of human rights in the first six months of this year, against 13,219 cases in 2010.

Torture no longer exists in this country, according to Prime Minister Erdogan who is speaking of an "advanced democracy," ignoring the 1,010 cases of torture and ill-treatment in six months in the Kurdish region in 2011, against 433 in 2010, established by the association. "The main reason for the increasing of torture is the protection enjoyed by torturers by political and judicial bodies," says the association.

Turkey is the world's biggest prison for journalists, with more than 60 journalists imprisoned, according to organizations providing support to imprisoned journalists. Most of these journalists are Kurds.

After the historical success of Kurds in the parliamentary elections of June 12, a Kurdish deputy, Hatip Dicle, was stripped of his legal mandate and the authorities have refused to release five other deputies. This led the main Kurdish party, BDP, to boycott parliament.


On July 14, 13 Turkish soldiers were killed during a military operation against the PKK. The operation was launched despite the unilateral ceasefire called by the PKK in August 2010. The Prime Minister reacted immediately and announced that there is no Kurdish question. There is indeed, said the Prime Minister, a PKK, Kurdistan Workers' Party, question. The authorities have pointed to the BDP as responsible for the deaths of soldiers, thus encouraging racist lynchings against the Kurds in the country. Many Kurds were victims of lynchings by racist Turks in many provinces including Istanbul, under the eyes of the police. According to the government, these racist attacks are "reactions of citizens."

The authorities have also decided to strengthen security forces in combat zones by special units of police, in other words "Özel Harekat", known for its practice.

This announcement reminds Kurds of the '90s when these special units have ravaged the region, committing executions and torture, leading the country into a dark period. Turkey had become a bandit country.

JITEM is one of the devices in the special war against the Kurds. According to Kurdish sources, they are still active in the region, are dressed in guerrilla uniforms. This structure of the state is also accused of the murder of Hrant Dink, Armenian journalist killed Jan. 9, 2007 in Istanbul by an ultra-nationalist.

JITEM was created in 1987 within the gendarmerie. Its existence was revealed in 1993 by major Ahmet Cem Ersever who was killed mysteriously in the same year.

During those dark years, more than 17 unsolved political murders were committed, 4,000 villages were burned or destroyed, hundreds of children and dozens of Kurdish journalists were killed. Thousands of bodies are still in mass graves waiting to be exhumed.

This war was unsuccessful and the PKK has now won the sympathy of millions of people in the four parts of Kurdistan, divided between Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. Going back to the dark years instead of responding to legitimate demands of the Kurdish people, will be a disaster for everyone and for the future of the country. (MAXIME AZADI-ANF, July 26, 2011)

Turkey, Iran step up operations against PKK, PJAK

Turkey and Iran have launched separate operations on the Iraqi border against Kurdish militants of the PKK and the PJAK.

The Iranian army has launched a powerful operation against the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan, or PJAK, in Iran, reportedly crossing the Iraqi border as it intensified its efforts in recent days to reach the group’s headquarters in the Kandil Mountains of northern Iraq.

In a separate move, the Turkish military began a limited operation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in the Şemdinli district of Hakkari province, on the Iraqi border, the private channel CNNTürk reported Tuesday. It said additional troops have been sent to the military outposts in the region and claimed some targets had been shelled. Turkey’s anti-terror operations have intensified following the killing of 13 troops July 14 in Diyarbakır’s Silvan district.

Diplomatic sources said the two countries’ operations were not linked and no military coordination had been sought thus far despite their continuous cooperation in the anti-terror fight.

PJAK is a banned group with alleged links to the outlawed PKK, which operates mostly in Iran from bases in northern Iraq.

The Iranian army launched its recent operation July 16 and clashes between the Sipah Pastaran Army of Iran and PJAK forces intensified over the weekend, the pro-Kurdish Fırat News Agency reported Tuesday, claiming that militants repelled Iranian forces and killed at least five troops. The Iranian army offensive was supported by a strong bombardment, it claimed.

The Iranian army, however, announced Tuesday that PJAK militants were trapped by a group of Kurdish Basij (volunteer) forces Monday night in the Kandil, Haji Ebrahim and Doleto areas near the towns of Piranshahr and Sardasht in West Azerbaijan province. “The PJAK terrorists were killed by the local Kurdish Basij forces. The bodies of the terrorists were left in the area,” the army said, adding that the operations would continue until the last militant was annihilated.

Ankara mulls new measures

In Ankara, civil and military officials held a security summit Tuesday to review measures taken against growing terrorism acts, including the government’s fresh proposal of giving police a larger role in the anti-terror fight.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Chief of General Staff Gen. Işık Koşaner’s weekly meeting turned into a summit as they were joined by Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin and Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay. No statement was made after the one-and-half-hour long meeting.
(Hürriyet Daily News, July 26, 2011)

Turkey heads to more ethnic polarization

Tension following the deaths of 13 soldiers in Southeast Anatolia has spread across much of Turkey, with pro-Kurdish political party headquarters assailed with stones and a Kurdish performer protested for singing in her mother tongue.

As the clashes continue, leading academics and other experts have criticized politicians and the media for casting blame rather than making an effort to solve the issue.

“I cannot believe that instead of really addressing the issue, the politicians are speaking like taxi drivers in answering each other,” Bekir Ağırdır, the general manager of the research firm KONDA, told the Hürriyet Daily News this week. KONDA recently published a survey showing that polarization between Turkish and Kurdish people in Turkey is quite high.

A subsequent clash between PKK supporters and opponents in Istanbul’s Zeytinburnu district lasted several days, only ending with police intervention, while some construction workers of Kurdish origin in the Black Sea province of Trabzon and the eastern province of Erzurum have claimed they were driven out of town after being attacked on the job.

Following the announcement of the terrorist attack, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said: “There is no Kurdish issue in this country. There is a PKK problem in this country. The terror organization and its [sympathizers] should not expect goodwill from us.”

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. Members of the group killed three more Turkish soldiers on Saturday night in the southeastern province of Mardin.

According to Ağırdır, the Kurdish issue is moving from the mountains – referring to PKK members fighting in many rural and mountainous areas of Turkey – to the Turkish Parliament. He added, however, that the Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, the country’s main pro-Kurdish political party, has not been successful in managing this process.

“The BDP acted childishly in going for a boycott [of Parliament]. They couldn’t really use this opportunity and the [ruling party] leaders made a show out of what happened,” Ağırdır said.

The BDP achieved success in the June 12 general elections by backing independent candidates for Parliament, but members of their bloc have refused to take the oath of office in protest of the continued imprisonment of their elected colleagues who are being held behind bars on terror-related charges.

“Politics is moving from being an institution toward [being] a neo-pagan ritual,” Süleyman Öğün, a political scientist and professor at Istanbul’s Maltepe University, told the Daily News. “Political leadership means managing the catharsis of this ritual, of which the language is violence. However, the leaders are just busy reacting to each other’s comments.”

Polarization debate

While the tension rises in the country, questions have been raised in the media about how the situation will develop. According to writer and economist Mustafa Sönmez, the current discourse will only serve to take Turkey back to the 1990s, when violence among Kurdish and Turkish groups was quite common.

“Many of the PKK supporters in Istanbul are young people who migrated to western cities and the state’s bureaucratic language will only cause Kurdish people to withdraw among themselves. By uttering these words they are repeating the 1990s discourse,” Sönmez told the Daily News, while also criticizing the BDP for not having a constructive political agenda.

“The democratic autonomy announcement is not clear, and this shows confusion among the BDP [ranks]. Such confusion brings along speculation,” Sönmez said.

On the same day as the PKK ambush in Silvan, an umbrella organization of the pro-Kurdish figures and groups, the Democratic Society Congress, or DTK, announced a declaration of democratic autonomy. The unilateral announcement has been much criticized by many, including some deputies elected with the BDP’s backing in last month’s elections.

When asked whether the clashes might lead to bigger incidents, Sönmez expressed optimism that they would not. “My observation is that there is a strong common sense among society, so I don’t expect anything big,” he said.

KONDA’s Ağırdır believes, however, that Turkey is walking on thin ice.

“The pro- and anti-Kurdish issue is not the only one; there are polarizations among several other groups, such as Sunni and Alevi groups, though they are not seen so clearly now,” Ağırdır said. “Yet when all of them come together, the violence might become quite severe. That’s why politicians need to act immediately.”
(hurriyetdailynews.com, Işıl Eğrikavuk, July 24, 2011)

One more young set him-self on fire

Protesting the pressure that Kurds are under, an 20-year-old Kurd, Mehmet Ayık, set himself on fire yesterday at 5.00pm in Side, town of Manavgat in Antalya, the anniversary of the beginning of four Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) members’ hunger strike in 1982. Ayık is now in the Akdeniz University Hospital’s burn unity with 90 percent burnt.

According to Ayık’s cousin, he sent a text message written, “No one has power to stop our people’s struggle for freedom.”

In 1982, four of PKK leaders went on hunger strike on July 14 to death in order to draw attention on inhuman conditions and tortures in the Diyarbakır Prison.

Eighteen-year-old Kurdish women, Evrim Demir, had set herself on fire on Saturday due to similar reason.

In addition, on February 15 of this year, Mustafa Malkoç set himself on fire in protest on the anniversary of the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in 1999.

Also, during the time of the 1980 coup d’état, Mazlum Doğan hanged him-self on March 21 and four others set themselves on fire to protest torture and violence in the Diyarbakır Prison in 1982.

According to some sociologists, self-immolation is not suicide in these instances, but an action caused by sociological conditions and also seems like the only way to obtain freedom for these children when democratic roads are closed, when there are political impediments, and when 12-year-old children are arrested and put into prison.
(DIHA, 22 July 2011)

Tension Continues after Clashes in Silvan

13 soldiers were killed in an armed conflict in Silvan close to the Kurdish-majority city of Diyarbakır in south-eastern Turkey on 14 July. One week later, tension in the country is still rising high.

Kurdish citizens were assailed throughout the past week and buildings of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) were attacked. On Wednesday (20 July) new clashed occurred.

A group of 300 people attacked the BDP district head office in Zeytinburnu (Istanbul). On the same day, a group of about 500 people reportedly made an assault on 200 Kurdish workers.

A "critical" night in Zeytinburnu

In Zeytinburnu, clashes occurred between BDP members who had gathered in front of the BDP district office and people from the district.

The group of BDP members apparently started chanting slogans supportive of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) at around midnight. Thereupon, an estimated 300 people carrying stones and clubs walked towards the BDP district office. The police intervened with water cannons when the people started throwing stones to the windows of the building.

Workers attacked in Erzurum

As reported by Fırat News Agency (ANF), a group of 500 people attacked Kurdish workers in the Aziziye district of Erzurum (eastern Turkey). The police, the district governor, the chief of police, the Erzurum governor and the gendarmerie came to the scene. Workers said that the police and the gendarmerie formed a barricade between the workers and their attackers before they were brought out of the district in groups.

Worker Şirin Gümüş from a TOKİ construction site told ANF that they were attacked two days earlier. Gümüş recalled, "Two days ago a group of 15 people came to the building site and beat one of our colleagues. He suffered a skull fracture and a broken arm. They came back today and attacked us again. They threw a Molotov cocktail to the tent we were staying in".

It was reported that the group was carrying stones, knives, clubs and planks.(BIA,  21 July 2011)

Fifty injured and sixteen detained in Siirt

Police raided the tent erected for condolences following People Defense Forces (HPG) member Mahfuz Aykaç’s death and injured 50 visitors, including Kurtalan Mayor Şakir Evirgen, Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) executive İsa Adırt and reporter Ekrem Tatlı, during the raid. It is reported that police confiscated Tatlı’s cameras and other belongings while the number of detainees rose to 16 during continuing house raids. Özgür Gündem and Azadiya Welat daily newspapers’ distributor Şeyhmus Gündüz is one of the detainees as well.

According to allegation, police heavily torture two anonymous detainees under custody at the police department.

Aykaç lost his life during an armed attack against police vehicle on July 15 in Siirt. A police commissioner also lost his life.

All of the detainees are at the Police headquarters still waiting for first hearing.

In addition, police took BDP Dersim Branch Chair Suat Demir into custody late last night in Dersim. He has been on trial for a press release that he made on the anniversary of Abdullah Öcalan’s capture.
(DIHA,  21 July 2011)

BDP building attacked in Zeytinburnu

There is yet another racist attack against Kurds in İstanbul’s Zeytinburnu district. A group of ultra-nationalists carrying big knives and chanting slogans such as, “martyrs never die and Turkey can not be divided,” and “Turkey is Turkish and Turkish it will stay,” marched to the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Zeytinburnu Branch building last night in the Veliefendi neighborhood.

After police deterred the group of ultra-nationalists from entering the BDP building with tear gas and pressurized water cannons, the group broke all the windows in the building with stones. The nationalist group responded to the police because their attack was prevented.

In the same district, in previous days, a masked group surrounded the BDP District Organization building and attempted to attack Kurdish citizens. (DIHA
,  21 July 2011)

Ocalan from prison: "Only I can end bloodshed"

Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, has said he is only the person who can end bloodshed in Turkey – a claim he says is also shared by state officials.

“I openly and clearly say: No one else except me can [force people] to drop their weapons,” Öcalan said, according to Fırat news agency, which often carries pro-PKK announcements.

“Everybody sees it, it even the state officials,” Öcalan said through his lawyers, who meet him frequently on the prison island of İmralı in the Marmara Sea. “‘Only you can do it,’ they tell me.”

Öcalan’s statement came days after the PKK killed 13 Turkish troops in a clash. The leader said he had a meeting with state officials’ right after the attack in which he further discussed his possible role in convincing PKK members to drop their arms.

“I can’t escape this role. Some practical means of a democratic solution should be introduced for me to play this role. This is my message to the prime minister,” he said.

Öcalan said the failure of the peace process could cause a further reaction among the PKK, which could then stage far more devastating attacks. “More casualties could occur on daily basis. And these would not be limited to rural areas,” but would also include urban areas, he added.

Öcalan criticized Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, officials for not being quick enough in establishing an umbrella party that would bring Kurdish and socialist politicians together.

“What is important is the work on the formation of this Democratic Bloc. They should have already started for it. Don’t they read what I am writing ?” asked Öcalan.

The PKK leader is serving a life sentence following his capture in 1999.
(Hürriyet Daily News, July 20, 2011)

Two Convictions at two  Court for one "Offence"

Selahattin Uzun, member of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), was recently sentenced to prison twice in the scope of two trials related to one and the same press release.

Uzun had read out a press release of the pro-Kurdish BDP issued on the anniversary of Abdullah Öcalan's exit from Syria. Öcalan is the imprisoned leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The press release was issued in the Viranşehir district of Urfa on 10 October 2010.

As the result of the two trials related to the press release, the 4th and 6th High Criminal Court of Diyarbakır sentenced Uzun to imprisonment of seven years and eleven months in total on charges of "committing a crime on behalf of an organization without being a member of that organization" and "making propaganda for an illegal organization" respectively.

Both courts charged Uzun with "propaganda". The politician's lawyer, Mahmut Vefa, filed an appeal against both decisions.

Vefa told bianet that different prosecutors had prepared separate proceedings regarding the very same action. He emphasized that a person could not be prosecuted for the same offence twice.

Lawyer Hürrem Sönmez reviewed the decision for bianet. In her opinion, the ruling is contrary to the law since both trials were opened on the basis of the same speech. In both cases, Uzun was sentenced under Article 223/7 of the Criminal Procedure Law (CMK).

Sönmez referred to Article 223 that stipulates "The cases, where there is [...] a pending case against the same accused because of the same conduct, the case will be declared inadmissible". The lawyer underlined that a perpetrator that committed several crimes is to be prosecuted according to the most severe offence. In any case, there should not be separate trials for each offence, Sönmez explained.

"Prosecuting and convicting a defendant twice for the same offence is a breach of the principle of a fair trial as guaranteed by the constitution and international agreements", Sönmez summarized and pointed to Article 4 of Additional Protocol No. 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Diyarbakır 4th High Criminal Court sentenced Uzun to imprisonment of six years and three months. In the reasoned decision the court board announced, "it was settled that the actions were done on behalf of the organization in accordance with the organization's information and request".

The Diyarbakır 6th High Criminal Court declared that the press release could not be considered within the scope of freedom of thought. The Dicle News Agency (DİHA) reported that the 6th High Criminal Court ruled for prison terms of one year and eight months. The court board pointed to the European Convention on Human Rights in the reasoned decision. (BIA, 19 July 2011)

BDP offices attacked by crowds in protest against the Silvan Killing

Hundreds of people across Turkey organized protests over the weekend condemning Thursday's terrorist attack that killed 13 Turkish soldiers. There were protests in various cities, including İstanbul, Ankara and İzmir, as well as in other provinces and towns including Çanakkale, Samsun, Bilecik, Kahramanmaraş, Adana, Yozgat, Kırıkkale and Bolu.
On Sunday, a group of 100 people marched with Turkish flags in Marmaris, chanting anti-PKK and anti-US slogans. Some protestors had more interesting methods, such as a group of bikers calling themselves the Anatolian Tigers MC, riding their motorcycles through Bandırma after a minute of silence in memory of the slain soldiers. In Muğla, a group of divers unfurled a banner under water condemning PKK.

In some places, the protests had an uglier face. Two Kurdish workers were attacked by an angry mob in Aydın on Saturday. One of them, Feyzi Çelik, turned out to be the cousin of Vefa Çelik, one of the 13 soldiers who died in Thursday's attack.

Assaults have taken more dramatic turn when BDP chair of the Beyoğlu (Istanbul) branch, İlhan Kalkmaz, has been wounded by a gunshot.

According to report a group of around twenty assaulted the office in Istanbul. The group was throwing stones and shouting slogans. The people inside the office was put under siege and the police only made things worse by throwing tear gas. BDP chair İlhan Kalkmaz, was standing at the door of the office trying to calm down the crowd outside when he was hit by a gunshot. He was quickly run to the hospital.

Meanwhile, families of the slain soldiers on Sunday said in separate statements that they were not going to participate in any of the protests against the PKK's attack.

In a similar development, Aynur Doğan, a Kurdish singer, was jeered by nationalists on Saturday as she sang in Kurdish during a concert at the Cemil Topuzlu Open-Air Theater in İstanbul as part of the 18th İstanbul Jazz Festival. The singer had to cut short the concert following the protest and left the stage. Protestors threw water bottles and the cushions they were sitting on at the stage and began reciting Turkey's national anthem.

Doğan released a written statement responding to the protest on Saturday and said it is thought-provoking that she was exposed to such a reaction. “[This happens] even among a group of people who are thought to be above a certain socio-cultural level. It is really upsetting that the empathy shown towards the songs sung in Spanish, Hebrew and other languages cannot be shown towards the sister Kurdish language and that this language elicits hatred. That said, my belief that we can overcome this hatred and enmity with the unifying power of arts was boosted upon seeing the support of the majority of the audience for me last [Friday] night. In fact, we and our brotherhood are in the majority and the arts will continue to boost this brotherhood,” Doğan said.

The İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Art (İKSV), the organizer of the concert, also released a statement in which it said the protest was very upsetting. “We would like to remind [the public] that the unifying role of arts and culture should not be forgotten and that the language of art is universal,” the statement said. 
(TODAY'S ZAMAN-ANF, 17 July 2011)

"Democratic autonomy" requires assembly, flag and defense force, says DTK

Thursday’s announcement of “democratic autonomy” in Southeast Anatolia has sparked new debate, but the system has already been tested in parts of Diyarbakır for a number of years, a leading pro-Kurdish figure has said.

The system has been in use for four years, said Cemal Coşkun, the speaker of the Democratic Society Congress, or DTK, an umbrella organization of pro-Kurdish figures and groups.

Autonomous regions “will have a flag, but [we] are not trying to set up a separate country,” Coşkun said. “‘Kurdistan’ is the geographical name of the region, not a country. We do not have a problem with the Turkish flag or the borders. We just want to handle our own issues internally.”

The DTK declared democratic autonomy during an extraordinary congress with 850 delegates in Diyarbakır on Thursday, inviting Kurds to introduce themselves as democratically autonomous Kurdistan citizens. The group will convene at the end of the month to announce its road map for 15 provinces in the country’s southeastern region.

The Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office on Friday launched an investigation into the Kurdish proclamation of autonomy. The prosecutor’s office in Diyarbakır, the biggest city in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast, said it was examining the declaration and would file a case if it determined any criminal element.

Fifty village communes, 21 neighborhood assemblies, four county assemblies and a provincial council have been operating in the region for four years, Coşkun told the Hürriyet Daily News, adding that the organizations set up by Kurds also included cultural branches, as well as commissions dealing with justice, economics, women and youth.

“Democratic autonomy is a process that starts in villages and grows up to the provincial level,” Coşkun said. “Those who disobey the rules are warned and punished by the regional assembly. For example, fights between individuals in neighborhoods will be solved through the assembly. Security forces will interfere with events such as drug use, prostitution, theft and violence against women. If the incidents continue, the individuals will be driven out of the community.”

Coşkun emphasized that the system only deals with small local issues. “We are not creating a separate judiciary system. If someone commits murder, the government has to deal with it. We will not have prisons,” he said. “But if two families get into an argument, the neighborhood commissions will intervene to prevent the fight from growing.”

Self-defense force

The regional assembly will have the authority to pass laws in the areas of traffic, health and education, said Coşkun, who added that the system will also include self-protection, something he described as “forces of the organized people.”

“It won’t be like police forces in the classic sense. And it’s not an urgent issue at this point,” he said.

The regional assembly is the largest branch of the system and is made up of 450 chosen delegates from village communities, neighborhood assemblies, faith groups, workers, NGO representatives, local authorities, women and youth. The regional assembly will also include a conviction commission, disciplinary commission, faith groups and commissions for women, youth, arts, culture and economy. An executive council made up of 34 members will convene once a week while the general assembly convenes once a month.

There are many models for such a system, Coşkun said, emphasizing that “two nations can live under the roof of one state.” He added that the DTK’s system was largely shaped by the democratic autonomy idea brought up after 1999 by Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.
(Hürriyet Daily News, Göksel Bozkurt, July 15, 2011)

Democratic Society Congress announced Democratic Autonomy

Congress for a Democratic Society (DTK), a platform for Kurdish associations and movements, the main Kurdish party, BDP, have proclaimed democratic self-government, saying that the Kurds do not want to live without a status.

The 850 delegates of the DTK, meeting Thursday, July 14 in Diyarbakir, the capital of Turkish Kurdistan, have decided to proclaim a "democratic autonomy" for the peaceful resolution of the Kurdish question.

"In the light of international conventions on human rights, respect for the territorial integrity of a common land and the prospect of a democratic nation, we, the Kurdish people, pledge our Democratic Autonomy, as well as national commitment to unity of the peoples of Turkey, "says the final declaration, read by the co-chair of the DTK, Aysel Tugluk.

Stressing that democratic self-government is the natural system of all communities, Tugluk indicates that this autonomy is not intended to destroy a state and build another.

For the DTK, autonomy is not a democratic state system, but a system in which the Kurdish people could govern themselves.

The DTK also claims that the Kurdish people will no longer accept living without a status and called on the international community to recognize that right.


This announcement comes as the main Kurdish party BDP continues to boycott the Turkish parliament since the elections on June 12

Kurdish MPs demand the signing of a bilateral protocol between the BDP and the ruling AKP of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But the government refuses to agree on draft legislation that could finally pave the way for the release of six Kurdish deputies in prison, including Hatip Dicle, a figure of the Kurdish movement. The parliamentary seat of the latter was removed on June 20, eight days after the election, by the High Electoral Board(YSK), under the pretext of his being sentenced to 20 months in prison for remarks under the Terrorism Act.

Independent candidates for the Bloc "Labour, Democracy and Freedom", supported by the BDP main Kurdish party, the poll came out victorious, winning 36 seats against 22 in 2007, despite a very unfair campaign and fraud across the country, especially in the Kurdish region. (ANF, July 14, 2011)

Prosecutor to investigate Democratic Autonomy proclamation

The Diyarbakır Chief Public Prosecutor has opened an investigation into the Democratic Society Congress (DTK) declaration of Democratic Autonomy. The prosecutor considered the news as evidence sufficient to open an investigation and asked the police department to give the recordings of the meeting which took place in Diyarbakır on Thursday.

DTK Co-Chair and Van Deputy Aysel Tuğluk announced on Thursday that the Democratic Autonomy proclamation had been unanimously decided by the 850 delegates. “Every community has a natural life system. - said Tuğluk - With the Democratic Autonomy, we are not establishing a new state nor are we destroying a state. Indeed, this is not a state system. This is a system in which people can participate in their own government without establishing a new state".

Tuğluk added that "All sections of the society, particularly women and young people, create their own organizations and take part in politics based on free and equal citizenship in this system as well as their power and capability. With the Democratic Autonomy, - the Van deputy concluded - we are not changing borders, and symbols we are trying to make common values recognized and we try to live with these common values based on a new social contract".
(ANF, July 15, 2011)

Ocalan: Deal reached on establishing Peace Council

Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan said he reached a deal with the Turkish delegation on establishing Peace Council which will work to find a solution to the Kurdish Question.

Speaking with his lawyers in Imrali Prison Ocalan said the negotiations between him and the Turkish state reached to a point of practical steps. He said the state delegation accepted creation of a civil initiative “Peace Council” within a month. Ocalan did not gave the details about how the Council will be established and who will lead the organisation.

Ocalan called a creation of another council which will guideline the process of creating a new constitution for Turkey. He said Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) should participate actively in this process.

On parliamentary boycott Ocalan said BDP should demand a written statement from the Turkish government which will meet with Kurdish demands before taking parliamentary oath and joining the new parliament.

“For example Hatip Dicle's situation, release of the other 5 elected parliamentarians, release of KCK suspects, lowering of election threshold and amendments to Turkish Anti-Terror Law should be in the statement” he said.

He said the new president of the parliament Cemil Cicek should play a role to find a solution to the parliamentary crisis and the Kurdish Question.

But Kurdish leader underlined that the BDP parliamentarians will only take oath if Turkish government gives written guarantees.

Ocalan emphasized the importance of an umbrella organisation which will bring together the BDP and socialist organisations. He said every local group, every city and town should be represented in this organisation.

“If they can create this democratic nation blogue the left will make huge gains. They can even take 20 percent of the votes in the upcoming elections” he said.

Ocalan said it's not his decision to declare about the ceasefire insisting that the KCK is the only organisation with the decision making power.

“I don't want to see an increase in conflict between guerrillas and the army” he said. “I am sorry for the losses.

On the Kurds in Syria Ocalan said the unified effort is the key to Kurdish interests in Syria and called all Kurdish parties to show an unified stance against Damascus regime.
(ANF, 8 July 2011)

Constitutional Court rejected application filed by Hatip Dicle

Has it was widely expected Turkey’s Constitutional Court has rejected an application filed by Hatip Dicle, who last month was stripped of his mandate by the Supreme Election Board (YSK). The rejection was motivated by the fact the Court lacks jurisdiction in the case.

The top court pointed to Article 79 of the Constitution (the decisions of the YSK are not open to judicial review). A rapporteur with the top court had already recommended the dismissal of the appeal as he also indicated that YSK decisions are not open to judicial review and so the application cannot be accepted.

Late last month Hatip Dicle’s lawyers appealed the YSK ban at the top court based on a constitutional provision which says no authority other than Parliament can strip a deputy of his or her mandate. They said although the Constitution says an appeal can be filed regarding a parliamentary decision to strip a deputy of his mandate at the top court and that YSK decisions are not open to judicial review, since the YSK usurped the authority of Parliament, they can still appeal the YSK decision.

According to Article 84 of the Constitution “The loss of membership [of a deputy], through a final judicial sentence or deprivation of legal capacity, shall take effect after the final court decision on the matter has been communicated to the Turkish Parliament.”

The YSK on June 21 voted unanimously to strip Dicle of his mandate because of an earlier, separate terrorism-related conviction. Dicle was convicted of “disseminating the propaganda of the outlawed [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK” in 2009 by the Ankara 11th High Criminal Court, and the Supreme Court of Appeals upheld the decision in March of this year. The court sentenced Dicle to one year, eight months in prison on terrorism charges.
(ANF, 7 July 2011)

Court hands down sentences to 5 KCK suspects
An Erzurum court on Tuesday sentenced five suspects in the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) case to 57.5 years in total in the first hearing of the trial.
The first hearing in the trial of the five suspects, Fırat Tanrıverdi, Erman İlboğga, Edip Akkoyun, Adem Varol and Levent Özden, who were detained in police operations against the KCK on March 11, was held at the Erzurum 2nd High Criminal Court.

The KCK is affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party’s (PKK). Dozens of people have been detained so far in the police operations against the organization.

The court handed down prison sentences of 14.5 years to Tanrıverdi, eight years to İlboğa, 14.5 years to Akkoyun, 12.5 years to Varol and eight years to Özden.

The defendants and their lawyers will appeal the court rulings at the Supreme Court of Appeals.

Diyarbakır Bar Association President Mehmet Emin Aktar who is one of the lawyers in the KCK trial held in Diyarbakır described Tuesday’s court ruling as “a rare decision.”
(Todays Zaman, 7 July 2011)

"Boycott" summit ended at presidential palace, crisis continues

President Abdullah Gül's meeting with Block MPs Ahmet Türk and Şerafettin Elçi has ended. Following the meeting, Türk said; "Our attitude will not change unless we hear a convincing statement about a solution."

Following the meeting with Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu at the Çankaya presidential palace yesterday, President Gül met Labor, Democracy and Freedom Block's Diyarbakır MP Şerafettin Elçi and Mardin MP Ahmet Türk to discuss possible solutions to the latest crisis. Answering journalists' questions after the meeting, Türk remarked that Gül gave the impression of intentness to take all kinds of initiative to solve the crisis.

Türk said the followings; "As you know, from past to present, our parties were closed and our deputies were stripped off. Despite all the constraints, we participated in the elections as we saw the parliament as the place of a solution. However, as seen, we have always faced with a mentality of threats. We now have a significant opportunity for a democratic constitution and for a democratic solution but this attitude blocks the process. However, I want to express once again that our being in the parliament will not to have a meaning if we will not have a function there against the mentalities that exclude us. We are giving an effort to overcome the problem but mutual steps need to be taken as unilateral efforts will not be sufficient. If legal steps are needed to solve the problem, the first step should be taken by the parliament and the ruling party. I hope everyone will labor over the problem."

Türk answered a question about Hatip Dicle as follows; "Hatip Dicle has been subjected to injustice and the government has some authorities to regulate these negations. The parliament and the ruling party have the authority to amend the constitution. We need to support each other in overcoming the crisis. The messages to be given to the public are important in terms of a solution to the problem."

Speaking to journalists Friday, BDP group chairman Selahattin Demirtaş said they were waiting for an appointment from either the government or the prime minister, but added that they had not yet requested a meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdoğan.

“If necessary, the problem could be solved via a by-election in Diyarbakır or Ağrı,” he said.

“We want Dicle’s deputyship back,” he said, adding that they could ask for an appointment if the prime minister or the government put forward a concrete proposal for a solution.
(ANF and Daily News, July 1, 2011)

Pro-Kurdish BDP applies to form parliamentary group

The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has officially filed an application with Parliament to form a parliamentary group, another sign that the party will most probably abandon its boycott of the assembly in protest of the imprisonment of its deputies.
A petition signed by BDP Hakkari deputy Selahattin Demirtaş that lists 29 deputies, who all became BDP members on Thursday, was delivered to Parliament on Friday in order to form a parliamentary group. Independent deputies Ahmet Türk (Mardin), Aysel Tuğluk (Van), Leyla Zana (Diyarbakır) and Kemal Aktaş (Van), who were all endorsed by the BDP, were unable to become members of the party because of previous bans on them participating in politics. The position of BDP's parliamentary group chairman will be undertaken by Demirtaş, while Şırnak deputy Hasip Kaplan and Iğdır deputy Pervin Buldan will be deputy chairmen.

A total of 36 independent deputies supported by the pro-Kurdish BDP were elected in the June 12 elections, and they were expected to form a group in Parliament under the BDP. However, six of the BDP-sponsored deputies are currently under arrest as part of the Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) trial. The Supreme Election Board (YSK) last week stripped Hatip Dicle, one the six jailed deputies, of his mandate over a prior terrorism-related conviction, which led to outrage among the pro-Kurdish party and its supporters.

The BDP earlier announced that it would boycott Parliament in protest of the board's decision regarding Dicle and five other jailed deputies and said its group would hold regular meetings in Diyarbakır -- a predominantly Kurdish city that carries symbolic importance for ethnic Kurds seeking emancipation, more autonomy and cultural rights. Reports on Thursday claimed that the party has gone back on its earlier decision and that it will hold its parliamentary group meetings in Ankara.

BDP Chairman Hamit Geylani is expected to maintain his post until a party congress, which will decide on a new chairman. Meanwhile, independent deputies Şerafettin Elçi and Levent Tüzel, who are supported by the BDP, are expected to return to the Participatory Democracy Party (KADEP) and Labor Party (EMEP), respectively. This will bring the number of parties in Parliament to six. With the BDP, there will be four parliamentary groups in Parliament.

Speaking to reporters on Friday, Demirtaş said he feels the Republican People's Party's (CHP) jailed deputies, who are Ergenekon suspects, are making it harder for the jailed independent deputies to be released. “We feel that if they did not exist, our deputies would be released more easily. I am not talking based on tangible thing, I just feel it,” Demirtaş said.

The CHP also refused to take part in an oath-taking ceremony on Tuesday of this week in protest of the incarceration of two of their deputies, Mehmet Haberal and Mustafa Balbay, on charges of being a part of coup plots.
(TODAYSZAMAN.COM, 1 July 2011)

Quelle démocratie en Turquie?

Ahmet DERE

Le 12 Juin dernier la Turquie a fait ses élections  législatives. AKP a eu 50% de voix, donc ce parti est de nouveau au pouvoir jusqu’à 2015. Cela fait sa troisième victoire consécutive à des législatives. Le principal parti d'opposition, le Parti Républicain du Peuple (CHP), est venu en seconde position, avec 25,9 % des voix et 135 sièges, suivi du Parti de l'Action Nationaliste (MHP) avec 13 % et 53 sièges. La listes du bloque du Travail, de la Liberté et de la Démocratie a eu 6.3 des voix, soit 36 sièges.

Malgré 50% des voix, l’AKP n’a pas pu augmenter ses députés, le nombre de ses sièges a baissé de 337 à 326. Comme AKP a promis, lors de la campagne électorale, de mener à bien son projet de changer la constitution, il ne pourra pas le réaliser avec ce nombre des sièges à l’Assemblé Nationale, alors il est obligé de négocier avec l'opposition. Mais, d’après ce que je voie maintenant, ce parti n’a pas de portes ouvertes pour dialoguer avec les partis à l’opposition. Donc, le tableau que nous voyons actuellement démente les premiers messages de Recep Tayip Erdogan qui disait ; "Nous ne fermerons pas nos portes, nous irons vers l'opposition".

Hatip Dicle est privé de son siège de député

L’Etat Turc, avec ses institutions, cherche toujours à créer des obstacles contre la volonté du peuple kurde. Après les élections, malgré 85 milles d’électeurs qui ont voté pour Hatip Dicle, le Haut Conseil électorale de Turquie (YSK) a refusé les son statut de député. Cette décision de YSK est en même temps contre la volonté démocratique des 85 milles électeurs kurdes de Diyarbakir, ceux qui ont voté personnellement pour  Hatip Dicle. Malgré que le droit turc permet aux personnes détenues d’être éligibles et de bénéficier de l’immunité en cas d’élection, les tribunaux, sous influence du gouvernement, ont refusé de libérer les 5 autres députés kurdes et 3 autres (2 de CHP et 1 de MHP). Donc, pour le moment, ces 9 nouveaux députés ne peuvent pas participer aux travaux de l’Assemblé Nationale de Turquie.

Hatip Dicle, qui est âgé de 57 ans, avait fait partie des premiers députés kurdes, revendiquant ouvertement les droits démocratiques du peuple kurde, à enlever un siège au parlement turc, en 1991. Maintenant, il fait partie des 36 députés en qualité d'indépendants, soutenus par le bloque du Travail, de la Liberté et de la Démocratie. Il faut souligner que Hatip Dicle a été arrêté en 1994 après l'interdiction de son parti (DEP) et il a passé 10 ans en prison. Il est retourné en prison en 2010 a cause de ces idées en faveurs d’une solution politique et démocratique pour la question kurde.

Après les élections du 12 Juin, la question kurde est toujours sur la seine politique turque. Si l’Etat turc ne fait pas de progrès vers une solution politique à la question kurde, et notamment à la question des députés emprisonnés, il y a un vrai risque d'une guerre totale.

Malgré 50% de voix, AKP est obligé de chercher un consensus

Avant tout, il faut souligner que, si le gouvernement d’AKP veut la stabilité du pays, il devrait se rendre compte et ne jamais oublier qu'il y a aussi 50 % en dehors des électeurs qui ont voté pour lui. En dépit de sa large victoire, ce parti n’a pas pu avoir la majorité des deux tiers (367) des députés afin de pouvoir réviser la Constitution par voie parlementaire. Avec 326 sièges à l’Assemblé Nationale, AKP ne profite donc pas de sa progression en voix.

Le premier ministre turc, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan avait demandé aux électeurs de lui faire gagner 367 députés pour éviter d’avoir à recourir au référendum. Après les élections, depuis le siège de son parti, il a déclaré notamment : « Notre peuple nous a demandé de faire une nouvelle Constitution. Et il nous a adressé un message qui nous demande d’élaborer cette Constitution par la voie du consensus et de la négociation. Donc, nous allons débattre de cette nouvelle Constitution avec les partis d’opposition, avec les organisations de la société civile et des universitaires ». Mais, la situation des 9 députés détenus démente ces paroles d’Erdogan.

Les nouveaux députés kurdes ont pris la décision de boycotter le parlement turc TBMM

Pour protester contre la décision concernant rejet du statut de Hatip Dicle et la détention des 5 autres députés kurdes, les députés  élus en qualités d’indépendants ont pris la décision de boycotter l’Assemblé Nationale de Turquie. Selon la déclaration faite par le BDP, ils ne vont pas  au Parlement tant que le gouvernement et le Parlement n'auront pas pris de mesures concrètes pour remédier à cette injustice et offrir des opportunités pour une résolution en ouvrant la voie à des politiques démocratiques.

La principale force kurde constituée du BDP, HAK-PAR et KADEP, avec le soutien aussi de la Gauche Turque, a remporté 6,3% des votes et 36 sièges. Donc, si une solution est trouvée pour la situation des 6 députés kurdes, cette force pourra jouer un rôle crucial en faveur de la démocratisation du pays, ainsi qu’en faveur de la résolution de la question kurde. 1.07.2011

Minorités / Minorities

"Samast's Conviction is not Enough"

The 19th hearing of the Hrant Dink murder trial is being heard at the Beşiktaş (Istanbul) Courthouse today (29 July). Dink, a Turkish journalist of Armenian ethnic origin, was killed in front of the Agos newspaper office in Şişli/Istanbul on 19 January 2007.

Erhan Tuncel and Yasin Hayal are detained defendants of the case that is observed by representatives of the Paris Bar Association and Claudia Roth, Co-Chair of the German Green Party and member of the European Union (EU) Greens.

Just like before every hearing of the trial, the Friends of Hrant Group gathered at the Beşiktaş Pier prior to the hearing this morning.

One group of the Friends of Hrant met in front of the Dolmabahçe Palace to join the group in Beşiktaş later, among them the wife of the slain journalist, Rakel Dink, MPs Ertuğrul Kürkçü, Sırrı Süreyya Önder and Osman Kavala, journalist Hakan Tahmaz, Bülent Aydın, human rights activist Zeynep Tanbay, Agos newspaper executive Robert Koptaş, politician Sema Solaklı, lawyer Turgut Kazan, Assoc. Prof. Ferdan Ergut and Masis Kürkçügil. They were carrying banners reading "We will not forget", "For Hrant, for justice" and "We will not forgive".

The group members were also carrying the small round black and white signs that became characteristic for the struggle for justice related to the Dink trial. The sings featured slogans like "This trial will not end like that", "Fascists strike, the AKP protect" or "Long live the brotherhood between the Turkish, Kurdish and Armenian people".

'We will not let go of the people behind Samast'

A press release on behalf of the Friends of Hrant was read out by Metin Eray. He said that the ones who believed that justice was delivered with the conviction of triggerman Ogün Samast were mistaken. Eray announced that they would not let go of the "big brothers" who masterminded the murder.

"In the darkness of unanswered questions our sense of justice is broken and our anger is growing constantly. But nobody should forget; this trial is not going to end that way! The ones who said that justice was delivered with the sentencing of Ogün Samast have to bear in mind that we will not let go of the "big brothers" who masterminded this issue. They are mistaken!"

"Who was under investigation until today?

Eray reminded that none of the persons responsible for the killing of Dink is on trial and that the court did not come anywhere near to the conviction of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

"The Ministry of the Interior did not issue permission for an investigation about the police officers from the Istanbul Police who were responsible. And is there anybody who interrogated Celalettin Cerrah [then Chief of the Istanbul Police]? Istanbul Governor Güler hid behind his deputyship but he will have to face the truth sooner or later".

"Why don't we hear anything from the State Auditing Commission appointed by the President? Eventually, the Prime Ministry gave their permission for investigating the MİT [National Intelligence Agency]! Who is under investigation?"

Eran pointed out that the ones who thought that the Hrant Dink case was going to disappear in the "memory dump" like other trials were mistaken. He declared that they would continuously follow up the procedures.

"ECHR recommendations must be followed"

The group went to meet the others at the Beşiktaş Pier subsequent to the statement. There, Olivier Guilbaud, Member of the Paris Bar Association Steering Board, stressed again that justice has not been delivered yet with the conviction of Ogün Samast. Only with the prosecution of all the people responsible for the murder justice could be delivered, he said. "The entire number of recommendations made by the European Court of Human Rights must be followed. We will follow up this case until the end", Guilbaud declared.  (BIA, Nilay Vardar,  29 July 2011)

Le meurtrier de Hrant Dink condamné à 22 ans et 10 mois de prison

Un tribunal d'Istanbul a condamné lundi à près de 23 ans de prison le meurtrier du journaliste turc d'origine arménienne Hrant Dink, dont l'assassinat en 2007 avait bouleversé la Turquie et soulevé une vague de critiques sur l'incapacité de l'Etat à assumer son devoir de protection.

Le tribunal, une cour d'assises pour enfants, a dans un premier temps condamné Ogün Samast à la prison à vie, puis a réduit sa peine à 21 ans et demi du fait qu'il n'était pas majeur au moment des faits. Mais il l'a aussi condamné à 16 mois de prison supplémentaires pour possession illégale d'arme.

Chômeur originaire de Trabzon (nord-est), Samast avait 17 ans quand il a abattu Hrant Dink le 19 janvier 2007 devant les locaux de l'hebdomadaire bilingue turco-arménien Agos, que celui-ci dirigeait, à Istanbul.

Cet attentat avait créé une onde de choc à travers la Turquie, et quelque 100.000 personnes avaient assisté aux obsèques du journaliste, qui plaidait pour la réconciliation entre les Turcs et les Arméniens au regard de leur passé sanglant.

Dink était cependant la bête noire des milieux nationalistes, qui lui en voulaient d'avoir employé pour le massacre des Armémiens sous l'Empire ottoman le terme de "génocide", qu'Ankara rejette farouchement.

Le meurtre avait aussi donné lieu à des accusations contre les services de sécurité, informés des menaces qui pesaient sur Dink mais qui ne sont pas parvenus à assurer sa sécurité.

Un tribunal a ainsi condamné le mois dernier un colonel de gendarmerie et cinq autres gendarmes de Trabzon à des peines allant de quatre à six mois de prison pour négligence en lien avec le meurtre de Dink.

A l'issue du procès, les avocats de la partie civile se sont dits satisfaits du verdict.

"La Cour a rendu un verdict qui est proche de la plus lourde sanction possible", a déclaré Me Fetiye Cetin à des journalistes.

"Cette punition est importante pour empêcher que de tels actes mettant en danger notre capacité à vivre ensemble se répètent", a-t-elle ajouté.

Lors de précédentes audiences, Ogün Samast a reconnu avoir abattu Dink parce qu'il était un "ennemi des Turcs".

Lundi, peu avant que la cour rende son verdict, l'accusé a mis en avant sa mauvaise éducation et a affirmé qu'il avait été manipulé par la presse.

"Où est-ce que j'ai entendu parler d'Agos ? Où est-ce que j'ai entendu parler de Hrant Dink, le traître à la patrie ? Dans (les journaux) Vatan et Hürriyet !" s'est écrié Ogün Samast.

Six mois avant sa mort, Dink avait été condamné à six mois de prison pour "insulte à l'identité turque" en raison d'un article sur la mémoire collective des massacres d'Arméniens de 1915-1917. Il avait alors été pris à partie par de nombreux quotidiens.

Bien que l'accusé ait admis le meurtre, son avocat, Me Levent Yildirim, a demandé en vain l'annulation du procès, arguant que le statut de mineur de son client n'avait pas été reconnu dès le début de la procédure.

Les poursuites concernant Samast ne sont pas closes, puisque celui-ci est également jugé pour sa participation à une organisation terroriste, avec 18 de ses complices supposés.

Les proches de Hrant Dink espèrent que ce deuxième procès sera l'occasion de faire la lumière sur le rôle joué par les forces de sécurité et de prouver la détermination de l'Etat turc à faire respecter l'état de droit.

Les procureurs affirment que la police avait connaissance dès 2006 d'un complot visant à tuer le journaliste, orchestré depuis Trabzon.

En septembre, la Cour européenne des droits de l'Homme (CEDH) avait estimé que les autorités turques n'étaient pas parvenues à prendre les mesures appropriées pour protéger Dink, et prévenir son assassinat. (AFP, 25 juil 2011)

Turkey’s minority newspapers seek salvation

Minority newspapers belonging to the Greek, Armenian and Jewish communities of Turkey are struggling against financial shortcomings. An overwhelming majority of their staff are deprived of their official status as journalists and are barely represented in vocational organizations.
After Mihail Vasiliadis, editor in chief of the Greek-language daily Apoyevmatini, a reputed source of news for İstanbul’s Greek Orthodox community, declared that he would shut down the 86-year-old newspaper two weeks ago, the minority newspapers came to public attention in Turkey. After Vasiliadis voiced their troubles, Efe Sözeri, a student in the Netherlands, initiated a campaign on Facebook. Later students of İstanbul’s Bilgi University supported the campaign and subscribed to the Greek newspaper. With nationwide support, Apoyevmatini was saved from bankruptcy and managed to survive. The issue also got international coverage. Although it is the only minority newspaper in the spotlight, Apoyevmatini is not the only one on the verge of collapse. Most minority newspapers published in Turkey are disadvantaged in terms of state support and they are not represented as much as others in journalist organizations.

Of all the employees of the minority newspapers Agos, İho, Nor Marmara and Şalom, only Vasiliadis and Ara Koçunyan, editor in chief of the Armenian daily Jamanak, are members of the prominent journalists’ foundation, Turkish Journalists Association (TGC).

Vasiliadis says he does not have a yellow press card and he became a member of the TGC last year. “I applied to the Press Bulletin Authority [BİK] last year. They rejected me. They said a newspaper should have a circulation of 5,000 copies [to be approved]; we have 600. It is a recent phenomenon to show interest for the minority press and to attempt to save it. In the past, the press minority press was a target board. It changed to an extent under the Justice and Development Party’s [AK Party] government. However, the wounds inflicted by troubles in the past are still there,” he told Today’s Zaman.

The BİK is an autonomous institution distributing official advertisements to national and local press institutions. Representatives from six newspapers and the authority’s General Director Mehmet Atalay convene on Tuesday in order to discuss a government initiative to issue official advertisements to minority newspapers.

While stating that minority newspapers have never drawn interest during the republican times, Rober Haddeciyan from the Nor Marmara daily, serving the Armenian community, welcomed the government initiative. “If Ankara intends to show sympathy, it is important. We have not had a relationship with the state before. There are one or two people among our staff who have press card. We are not members in vocational organizations,” he said, adding, “We can establish warmer relationships if the atmosphere changes. Our circulation is about 1,000. Our income was enough until three years ago, but now revenues cannot cover the costs.”

Rober Koptaş of Agos, an Armenian weekly, said they have never had a platform to discuss the problems regarding minority newspapers before. “We will talk for the first time,” he said.
(todayszaman.com, EMİNE DOLMACI,  24 July 2011)

Christians in eastern Turkey worried despite church opening

A group of Protestants in Van have finally succeeded in opening a house church in the eastern province after seven years of grappling with local governments, yet many in the congregation remain concerned by hostile rhetoric from officials.

 “They see us as persons who deceive people and who have a secret agenda,” Vahit Yıldız, one of the church’s elders, recently told the Hürriyet Daily News. “It is not just the concept of a mission that causes prejudice, but also the concepts of ‘house prayer’ and ‘house church.’ The quintessential reason behind the fear is the … rhetoric employed by some of [the country’s] leaders, which deeply saddens us, besides the prejudices formed by the public.”

Shortly after the church was opened, Mustafa Bilici, a Van deputy from the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, said, “It is great heedlessness to open new churches in Muslim societies that are acting as stooges for Zionist activities.”

Calling Bilici’s remarks “unfortunate,” Yıldız said the only desire of the congregation, which is composed of Turks, Azeris, Afghans, Kurds, Iranians and others, was to worship freely.

“Our doors are open to anyone who wants to get to know us,” the leader said. The group had been meeting in a two-story house for seven years and had appealed to local governments many times to obtain a license for the house to be recognized as a place of worship.

“Due to a lack of sufficient church buildings and [the authorities’ refusal] to grant a Religious Designation License, there are over 100 house groups and rented places of worship all across Turkey,” Yıldız said.

Yıldız also noted that Christian clerics have been attacked and threatened in eastern Turkey in recent years and highlighted the murder of Andrea Santoro, an Italian priest who was killed in Trabzon in 2006, and the Zirve Publishing House murders in Malatya in 2007.

“It is striking that [these] incidents have taken place in eastern provinces. For that reason, we are being very careful,” he said.

“The way is being paved for similar attacks as long as the true perpetrators remain unexposed and judiciary penalties are not applied. No one will have the courage to commit such heinous attacks if the judiciary mechanism functions as it is supposed to,” Yıldız said.

 Unless such measures are implemented, Christians in the east will continue meeting in house churches due to threats and attacks, Yıldız noted.

“We are waging a great struggle in this vein. Our true purpose in this struggle is to adopt an open and transparent attitude toward both local governments, as well as toward our state,” he said.
(Hürriyet Daily News, July 20, 2011)

Turkey’s Syriacs demanding right to own names

Members of Turkey’s Syriac Christian community are leading a legal struggle to adopt last names that reflect their identity despite a Constitutional Court ruling earlier this year that barred one Syriac from altering his last name.

“As with every other citizen of the Turkish Republic, we also adopted Turkish last names with the advent of the Surname Law [in 1934.] Naturally everyone would want to bear names and last names that are in accordance with their own culture,” Mor Grigoriyos Melki Ürek, the Syriac Metropolitan of the eastern province of Adiyaman, told Hürriyet Daily News in a telephone interview.

On March 17, 2011, Turkey’s Constitutional Court ruled against the abrogation of the Surname Law of 1934 that forbids Turkish citizens from adopting foreign last names in a lawsuit filed by Favlus Ay, a Turkish citizen of Syriac descent, who wanted to change his name to Paulus Bartuma. Ay first appealed to a court in Midyat, a district in the southeastern province of Mardin, but the suit was then sent to the Constitutional Court which rejected the appeal by a very small margin, with eight judges ruling against the law and nine in favor.

Citizenship bond

“Politicians say the important thing is the bond of citizenship, whereas the laws are forcing everyone to become a Turk. It is not only Turks who live in Turkey; this is an extremely chauvinistic attitude,” Ahmet Fazıl Tamer, a lawyer working for the Human Rights Association, or the İHD, told the Daily News by phone.

Another Syriac Christian, İskender Oktay, who holds both Turkish and Swedish citizenship, did not encounter any problems when he appealed to the court to change his last name to Debasso.

“The reason why the suit filed by İskender Oktay came to such a rapid conclusion was because he is a Swedish citizen; the possibility of this issue entering Europe’s agenda was surely taken into consideration,” Tamer said. “The important thing is to prove that the last name you want to adopt truly belongs to your family. Plus you have to explain well the meaning [of your name...] I guess the course that a lawsuit will take depends on the court of the province where your name is registered, the discretion of the prosecutor and the civil registry,” said Tuma Özdemir, the president of the Mesopotamia Culture and Solidarity Association, or Mezo-Der, who acted as a court witness on Debasso’s behalf.

Even though they encountered no problems in altering Debasso’s last name, some members of the Syriac community face hardships when they attempt to change both their first and last names, Özdemir added.

 “An individual bears no such responsibility in terms of explaining or proving anything. A person should be able to adopt any first and last name of their choice in a democratic system,” Tamer said.

Such appeals to the İHD by people who want to change their names have become more frequent, with the largest number of appeals coming from Kurds, he said. Ay could also bring his case before the European Court of Human Rights, based on the sixth and eighth articles of the Human Rights Treaty, he added.

Debasso said he had been living in Sweden for 35 years and that he had changed his last name while residing there. “I do not want anyone to be isolated because of my ethnic roots. I am a child of Mesopotamia, of this land. I did not immigrate back [into Turkey,] I [merely] stayed apart and returned back to my country. I wanted to be here,” he said.
(Hürriyet Daily News, Vercihan Ziflioğlu, July 13, 2011)

Greek daily Apoyevmatini struggles to survive

One of Turkey’s two oldest newspapers has been struggling to survive, but now that it seems impossible to continue to do so, the editors have decided to shut it down on July 12, the newspaper’s anniversary.
However, with people asking it not to be shut down, the decision is no longer up to them.

Mihail Vassiliadis, editor-in-chief of the Greek daily Apoyevmatini, which has been in publication since 1925, has said that he was pleasantly surprised by the reaction to the closure of the Greek-language newspaper.

“I mentioned that I was closing the newspaper at a [Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation] TESEV meeting recently,” he said in reference to a June 24-25 conference organized by TESEV.

When Vassiliadis went to the Turkish Journalists Association (TGC) on June 30, he found himself surrounded by his journalist friends asking him not to close the paper. He said that he had received several calls of support from respected academics and journalists. Among them was political scientist Baskın Oran.

“He called and said, ‘Look Mihail, you may be able to publish this newspaper by yourself, but your power is not going to be enough to close it by yourself’,” Vassiliadis said, adding that he was moved by the amount of support he received.

“I later found out that a young Turk who lives in the Netherlands started posting messages on Twitter about the closure of the newspaper after I mentioned it at the TESEV conference, which was aired live through the TESEV website,” Vassiliadis said. “Then people, Turkish speakers who do not know a word of Greek, started calling the newspaper to subscribe.”

Apoyevmatini managed to gain around 70 more subscribers, but this is not enough to keep the paper alive in the long run. Vassiliadis says he is in constant debt.

“That’s why I decided to shut it down. It is no longer viable,” he said, complaining about the lack of enough financial support to keep the paper running.

“My last chance was to ask for official advertisements, but they told me that I should have a circulation of 5,000+ in order to be able to get those,” he said.

The newspaper has a circulation of 600, which reaches almost 100 percent of the members of the Greek community in Turkey. Vassiliadis also distributes the paper in electronic format to the former Greek community of Turkey now living abroad, but this does not require a paid subscription.

Vassiliadis explains that the paper’s total expenditure is around TL 13,000 ($8,125), and that 30 percent of that cost can be met with advertisements coming from Turkey’s Greek community, whose numbers are estimated at around 3,000.

Even though the Greek population in Turkey was no less than 100,000 in the 1930s, tension between Turkey and Greece has greatly affected the Greek community’s survival in Turkey. Following the İstanbul Riots of Sept. 6-7, 1955 and then with the 1964 deportation of roughly 12,000 ethnic Greeks without Turkish citizenship, the Greek population has been in constant decline.

“Apoyevmatini lost its readership because of negative discrimination against the ethnic Greeks of Turkey. The damage can be repaired only through positive discrimination,” Vassiliadis said, dismissing news reports that the newspaper is struggling because of the financial crisis in Greece.

“The crisis has had some effect on the paper, but that’s not it,” he said.

When it comes to how Turkey’s Greek community feels about the closure of Apoyevmatini, Vassiliadis was reminded of their motto: No Greek dies or is born without the knowledge of Apoyevmatini.

“The paper is the glue that connects the Greek community together here,” he said, adding that Turkey should be proud of its young population.

“Young Turks, mostly university students, call me every day these days asking to subscribe to Apoyevmatini even though they do not know any Greek,” he said and added that he was particularly moved by one call. “A woman, a respected academic, called and asked for an urgent subscription because she was going to have an operation the next day. I have to keep the paper alive for as long as I can.”
(Todays Zaman, YONCA POYRAZ DOĞAN, 10 July 2011)

Le Vatican, co-éditeur d'un livre sur le massacre des Arméniens

Le Vatican va participer à la publication d'un livre de documents et de témoignages, dont certains viennent de ses Archives secrètes, sur "l'énorme massacre" des Arméniens perpétré sous l'Empire ottoman, a annoncé mardi un responsable du Saint-Siège.

Mgr Sergio Pagano, préfet de ces archives, a annoncé dans une conférence de presse la parution de ce livre "coédité par les Archives du Vatican", où il sera question des "procédures de torture auxquelles avaient recours les Turcs à légard des Arméniens, un énorme massacre".

Se basant sur la documentation vaticane, Mgr Pagano a fait état dactes barbares de la part de soldats turcs envers des femmes enceintes arméniennes, ajoutant que ces épisodes lui faisaient "éprouver la honte dêtre un homme". "Sans la foi", a-t-il ajouté, ces épisodes "ne me feraient voir que lobscurité".

Selon lui, certains documents décrivent comment les soldats turcs "pariaient et jouaient aux dés pour deviner le sexe de l'enfant avant de tuer le foetus avec une baïonnette, après l'avoir extrait du ventre de la mère".

Ces dernières années, le Vatican a évoqué plusieurs fois le sort des Arméniens chrétiens, dont 1,5 million avaient été massacrés par les Turcs en 1915/16.

Mgr Pagano s'exprimait lors d'une conférence de presse à l'occasion de la présentation d'une exposition de documents des Archives secrètes en février prochain aux musées du Capitole à Rome. (AFP, 5 juil 2011)

Candidats et élus issus des minorités religieuses en Turquie

Candidats et élue issue de l'émigration turque



Parlementaires turcs issus des minorités religieuses





Sources: http://tr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kategori:Türk_Azınlık_milletvekilleri


Politique intérieure/Interior Politics

Protesters demand removal of Kemalist pledge from schools

Protesters from two civil-society organizations gather Saturday in Istanbul’s Fatih district to demand the end of the daily recitation of “Our Pledge,” an oath that focuses on “Turkish values” and the greatness of founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

Members from the Free Thinking and Educational Rights Association, or Özgür-Der, and the Association of Human Rights and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples, or Mazlum-Der, gathered in front of Fatih Post Office with their children carrying signs that read, “We do not want a racist Kemalist syllabus. We are rejecting the racist pledge.“

“Schools have been turned into barracks and students have been turned into soldiers,” said the group’s spokeswoman, Zehra Türkmen. “They are trying to shape our children’s mentalities with stereotypical formal ideologies. They aim to raise generations that are unable to question anything.”

Türkmen said the group was also demanding the removal of national security classes from schools and that students be taught their mother tongue in school. The group also shouted slogans demanding that headscarves be permitted in schools.

“Our pledge’s content is in contradiction with Islamic belief and is a racist recital,” Türkmen said.

A fifth-grade student among the protestors also said being obliged to recite the pledge every day was cruel.

Protesters then sent letters listing their demands to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s office and the Education Ministry.

The removal of “Our Pledge” from schools was discussed last year, but former Education Minister Nimet Çubukçu said there were no current plans to end the classes.
(Hürriyet Daily News, July 26, 2011)

Parliament Speaker Çiçek says new charter the most urgent issue

As the Turkish Parliament looks towards the start of its new term on October 1, government officials have said drafting the country’s new constitution is one of the body’s top priorities.

Cemil Çiçek, the Parliament Speaker, called the Constitution Turkey’s most urgent problem, and has called on nongovernmental organizations to contribute to the creation of the new charter.

“I wish this will be in the agenda in the new [legislative] term. It should not delay. Otherwise time will be disadvantageous to us,” Çiçek said at a meeting with the Independent Industrialists and Businessmen’s Association, or MUSİAD, on Thursday in Istanbul.

In the meeting, Çiçek described the future constitution as the fundamental consensus text of the nation, calling on civil society to back the efforts of the political parties in drafting the new charter. He attributed several problems currently facing Turkey, such as terrorist attacks and the Kurdish issue, to the current Constitution.

“That’s why this Constitution should be changed immediately. One the one hand this is the commitment of our political parties and at the same time is the obligation of all parliamentarians toward the people.”

Political parties represented at the Parliament all pledged to renew the Constitution during the June 12 election campaign. Work on constitutional renewal is expected to begin as soon as the upcoming parliamentary session begins. The ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, has already called on all parties to start coming up with their own plans for the document.

“In this age of strong democracy, human rights and freedoms, it’s almost impossible for Turkey to continue its track with a Constitution prepared by undemocratic means and methods,” Çiçek said.
(Hürriyet Daily News, July 21, 2011)

BDP's demands from Turkish government

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) released the text of its demands from the Turkish government to solve the crisis after elected BDP members refused to take parliamentary oath in order to protest continuous imprisonment of elected independent candidates.

The BDP met AKP representatives yesterday and today but talks ended apparently without a common position.

BDP demands all candidates must be released from prison and Hatip Dicle should be given his deputyship back which was stripped by the High Election Board right after the election. For this BDP proposed constitutional amendments.

BDP also demanded amendments in election laws.

BDP underlined that the place where solutions can be discussed and found is the Turkish parliament and BDP deputies are willing to take parliamentary oath and start negotiations.

It's reported that ruling AKP rejected the demands by BDP.

The BDP party won 36 seats in last month's elections.  The pro-Kurdish deputies are calling for the government to introduce legal reform to secure the release of five deputies being held under Turkey's anti-terror laws. 

A sixth imprisoned Kurdish deputy, Hatip Dicle, lost his seat because of a conviction for a speech he made that was considered seditious.
(ANF, 14 July 2011)

Le CHP renonce à boycotter le Parlement

Le principal parti turc d'opposition a décidé lundi après des pourparlers avec la majorité de mettre fin à son boycott du Parlement, observé en raison du maintien en détention provisoire de deux de ses députés accusés de participation à un complot.

"L'endroit où doivent se résoudre les problèmes des partis politiques doit être l'Assemblée nationale", ont affirmé les représentants du Parti républicain du peuple (CHP, opposition sociale-démocrate) et du Parti de la justice et du développement (AKP, islamo-conservateur, au pouvoir) dans un communiqué.

"La décision de certains députés de ne pas prêter serment après les élections du 12 juin, qui les a empêchés de participer à l'activité législative, est dommageable", ont-ils poursuivi.

Les deux partis ont souligné qu'une "base de compromis a été atteinte" pour réformer la Constitution héritée du coup d'Etat militaire de 1980 dans un sens plus libéral et qu'il était indispensable de ne pas passer à côté d'une telle "opportunité historique".

Les 135 députés du CHP (sur 550 élus au Parlement) ont commencé à prêter serment au Parlement après la diffusion de ce communiqué.

Les élus du CHP avaient refusé de prêter serment après les législatives du 12 juin pour protester contre le maintien en détention provisoire de deux des leurs, le journaliste Mustafa Balbay et le médecin Mehmet Haberal, accusés d'implication dans un projet de complot contre le gouvernement.

Les députés du CHP et de l'AKP ont adressé dans leur communiqué un message discret aux juges, estimant de concert qu'il "est nécessaire d'interpréter et d'appliquer d'une façon qui étende les libertés (...) toutes les lois".

Les 35 députés du bloc kurde, qui ont eux aussi boycotté le Parlement en raison du maintien en prison de cinq des leurs, accusés de connivences avec les rebelles du Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan (PKK), et de l'invalidation de l'élection d'un sixième militant, n'ont pas participé aux discussions avec l'AKP et n'ont pas manifesté l'intention de prêter serment.

Le président Abdullah Gül a appelé lundi les élus kurdes, liés au Parti pour la paix et la démocratie (BDP, pro-kurde), au compromis.

"Tous les problèmes se résolvent en laissant ouvertes les portes du dialogue et en s'asseyant face à face. J'espère que les députés liés au BDP vont
participer à l'Assemblée et accomplir eux aussi leur devoir" de législateurs, a-t-il déclaré, cité par l'agence de presse Anatolie.

Répondant aux questions de journalistes, le Premier ministre s'est réjoui de l'accord trouvé avec le CHP et a démenti toute volonté d'ostraciser les représentants de la cause kurde.

"Il n'y a pas d'ostracisation. Leur place à eux aussi est ici (au Parlement, ndlr) (...) Je pense que d'ici peu eux aussi vont venir et prêter serment", a affirmer le chef de gouvernement, cité par Anatolie. (AFP, 11 juil 2011)

Constitution, Kurdish issue top gov’t program

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says preparaing a new constitution will be a priority for his government. ‘The coming charter will not be dismissive but unifying, Erdoğan said, adding that it should be written not only by constitutional experts but by the entire society, says the ruling party leader in Parliament

Turkey’s recently re-elected government is determined to draft a new charter that will embrace all and display the contributions of the entire political spectrum, the country’s prime minister said Friday.

“As the ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP], we want the new constitution to be a ‘social contract’ that will be prepared with the largest participation to reflect the demands of all segments of society. Our nation and Parliament are mature and experienced enough to achieve this,” said Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

“In the upcoming period, the most important expectation of our nation is a new constitution,” he said. “It is the nation who will decide how the Constitution will be.”

The coming charter will not be dismissive but unifying, Erdoğan said, adding that it should be written not only by constitutional experts but by the entire society.

The prime minister also said the new charter must be short, clear and consistent and based on the international human rights documents Turkey is a party to.

The parliamentary structure after the June 12 elections provides an opportunity to draft a new charter through the broadest representation and reconciliation, said Erdoğan, assuring that his government would demonstrate a strong will to succeed on the matter.

Will for Kurdish initiative

Erdoğan also said the Kurdish initiative would continue and that they would end assimilation policies. “We have taken steps to solve the Kurdish question in our former terms. We will continue our reforms with determination by reinforcing our brotherhood.”

Noting that they wanted to create an environment where everyone could express themselves freely and where all identities would be respected, Erdoğan said, “We ended the denial and objection policies and we are determined to end the assimilation polices.”

The government’s democratization steps are not directed toward just a single region of the country but its entirety. “Our slogan is more democracy, more rights and more freedoms. That’s why we say, ‘We are all together, Turkey.”

Erdoğan promised inclusive policies under which none of the country’s citizens would feel excluded. “We look equally upon all our citizens, all ethnic groups, Muslim or non-Muslim, Sunni or Alevi, headscarved or non-headscarved, poor or rich, woman or man, disabled or non-disabled, from this or that political camp,” said Erdoğan.

‘Fight against gangs will continue’

Erdoğan said the government’s principle of zero tolerance on torture was being implemented with resolve and added that Turkey was no longer a country associated with torture.

The prime minister also promised that the fight against criminal organizations, gangs and the mafia would continue, implying the alleged Ergenekon gang which is accused of trying to topple his government.

The government will provide all citizens with an electronic citizenship card that would enable them to have access to public services around the clock, Erdoğan said, adding that the provinces with populations of more than 750,000 would become metropolitan municipalities.

Erdoğan also promised to reform the education system and added that the higher education would become more autonomous.
(Hürriyet Daily News, July 8, 2011)

Erdogan présente son nouveau gouvernement

Le Premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan a rendu public mercredi la composition de son nouveau gouvernement après les législatives du 12 juin.

La nouvelle équipe gouvernementale comprend, outre le chef de cabinet, 25 ministres, dont seulement six nouveaux venus, a indiqué lors d'une conférence de presse M. Erdogan, qui entame son troisième mandat consécutif, après avoir obtenu l'approbation par le président Abdullah Gül de a nouvelle équipe.

Le ministre des Affaires étrangères Ahmet Davutoglu conserve son portefeuille, de même qu'Egemen Bagis, dont le secrétariat aux Affaires européennes devient un ministère.

Ismet Yilmaz remplace à la Défense le vétéran de la politique Vecdi Gönül tandis qu'un autre nouveau venu, Idris Naim Sahin, s'installe à l'Intérieur, le ministre sortant Besir Atalay devenant l'un des quatre vice-Premier ministres.

Le nouveau cabinet ne comprend qu'une femme, Fatma Sahin, ministre de la Famille et des Affaires sociales.

M. Erdogan a indiqué qu'il présenterait le programme de son gouvernement au Parlement vendredi, préalable à un vote de confiance la semaine prochaine qu'il devrait facilement gagner, son Parti de la justice et du développement (AKP) disposant de 327 des 550 sièges.

Le nouveau cabinet prend ses fonctions dans un contexte de tensions, les 135 députés du Parti républicain du peuple (CHP, social-démocrate) et les 35 élus de la mouvance kurde ayant refuser de prêter serment.

Le CHP proteste contre le refus de la justice de libérer deux de ses élus, placés en détention provisoire dans le cadre d'une enquête sur un complot supposé contre le gouvernement.

Les élus kurdes dénoncent le maintien en détention provisoire de cinq des leurs, dans le cadre d'une enquête sur une branche urbaine du Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan (PKK), considéré comme une organisation terroriste par Ankara, et l'invalidation de l'élection d'un 36e élu, condamné à 20 mois de prison pour "propagande terroriste".

M. Erdogan a critiqué mercredi l'attitude de l'opposition, invoquant le règlement interne de l'Assemblée.

"Nous voulons que les députés d'opposition prêtent serment et assument leur rôle", a-t-il déclaré.

"A quoi ça sert d'être un parlementaire si on ne participe pas au travail législatif? (...) S'ils ne parviennent pas à accomplir leurs obligations législatives, il est naturellement de notre devoir de faire ce qu'imposent les règles du Parlement", a-t-il ajouté. (AFP, 6 juil 2011)

Arrestation d'un proche d'Erdogan dans une affaire de détournement de fonds

La police turque a arrêté mercredi un ancien président du Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel (RTÜK), connu comme étant un proche du Premier ministre Recep Tayyip Erdogan, dans le cadre d'une enquête sur une affaire de détournement de fonds prenant ses racines en Allemagne.

Zahid Akman, qui a toujours des fonctions au sein du RTÜK, a été arrêté à Ankara en lien avec l'enquête sur "Le Phare" (Deniz Feneri), une organisation caritative islamiste dont des dirigeants ont été condamnés en Allemagne en 2008 pour le détournement de 14 millions d'euros, a rapporté l'agence Anatolie.

"Le Phare" a été accusé d'avoir transféré des fonds récoltés auprès de membres de la communauté turque d'Allemagne à la chaîne de télévision pro-gouvernementale Kanal 7. L'enquête sur le volet turc du dossier est toujours en cours.

Quatre dirigeants de Kanal 7, dont Zekerya Karaman, le président de son conseil d'administration, lui aussi considéré comme un proche de M. Erdogan, ont également été arrêtés mercredi à Istanbul et Bayburt (nord-est), puis transférés à Ankara pour y être interrogés.

L'affaire du "Phare" avait causé des remous politiques, l'opposition accusant le gouvernement islamo-conservateur de M. Erdogan de corruption.

M. Erdogan a nié toute implication dans le scandale et dénoncé une campagne de désinformation menée contre lui. (AFP, 6 juil 2011)

Le parlement a élu son président malgré le boycott

Le parlement turc a élu lundi son président, alors que l'opposition poursuivait son boycott de l'assemblée pour protester contre le maintien en détention de candidats élus lors des législatives de juin.

Cemil Ciçek, un des dirigeants de la formation islamo-conservatrice du Premier ministre Recep Tayyip Erdogan, le Parti de la justice et du développement (AKP), a été élu président avec le soutien de 322 députés sur un total de 550.

Les membres du Parti républicain du Peuple (CHP, social-démocrate) étaient présents, mais ils n'ont pas pu prendre part au vote puisqu'ils ont refusé de prêter serment lors de l'inauguration de la nouvelle assemblée, la semaine dernière, à la suite des élections du 12 juin.

Les députés kurdes, eux, étaient absents.

Les deux groupes protestent contre le maintien en détention par la justice de huit candidats élus, alors qu'ils sont en détention préventive, accusés de complot contre le gouvernement ou de liens avec les rebelles kurdes.

Un autre détenu, Hatip Dicle, figure de proue du militantisme kurde, a vu son élection invalidée en raison d'une condamnation pour "propagande terroriste".

M. Erdogan a affirmé la semaine dernière que "le Parlement continuerait de travailler" malgré le boycott de l'opposition. Il a appelé l'opposition à "respecter les décisions de justice".

L'AKP dispose de 327 sièges, le CHP de 135 et le bloc kurde de 35.

Le leader du CHP Kemal Kiliçdaroglu a répété lundi que ses députés refuseraient de prêter serment tant qu'une solution n'est pas trouvée pour libérer deux de ses collègues élus.

Il s'agit d'un journaliste et d'un médecin, qui sont détenus depuis plus de deux ans, et qui sont soupçonnés d'appartenir au réseau Ergenekon, accusé de vouloir comploter contre le gouvernement. (AFP, 4 juil 2011)

Parliament speaker to be elected amid ‘oath crisis’

Elections for Parliament speaker will be held today, with the ruling party’s candidate, Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek emerging as the strongest nominee to assume the post.

In addition to the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP’s, candidate Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Çiçek, who officially applied to Parliament for the post Friday, Turkey’s Nationalist Movement Party, or MHP, nominated Tunca Toskay for the post Saturday.

Zelkif Kazdal also applied for the post Saturday as the alternate nominee from the ranks of the AKP.

Çiçek, however, stands out as the most likely candidate for the post.

Known for preserving his “balanced, negotiator, central” stance, Çiçek is expected to assume a mediator role in finding a solution to the latest Parliament boycott crisis by the opposition parties over their jailed deputies.

If elected, Çiçek is thus expected to meet the leading figures of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, in an effort to resolve the “oath crisis.”

The CHP is expected to attend the Parliament’s General Assembly in Parliament at 2 p.m. where the election to be held but will not vote.

In his initial remarks after applying to the post Friday, Çiçek likewise called on opposition to open a new page, reconsider their decision to boycott the oath-taking ceremony in Parliament and solve the problem in Parliament. Speaking to media Sunday, Çiçek reiterated that the opposition first attend the legislative works and voice their demands there.

The CHP has approached positively to Çiçek’s candidacy as CHP chief Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, speaking to journalists in Athens on Saturday, said they would be pleased if Çiçek would contribute to the solution of the problem. Kılıçdaroğlu earlier said Çiçek was an “experienced name” in politics and that he would well-manage the legislative power.

In order to be elected in the first two rounds, Çiçek needs two-thirds of the votes, meaning 367 deputies. The AKP has 327 seats. The MHP submitted its own candidate; therefore, if the CHP or the BDP do not submit their votes due to the oath boycott, Çiçek will need 276 votes in the third round in which he is expected to be elected. (Hürriyet Daily News, July 3, 2011)

Erdogan refuse d'intervenir pour dénouer la crise de boycott

Le Premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan a dénoncé le boycott du Parlement par l'opposition pour protester contre le maintien en détention de deux candidats élus lors des législatives du 12 juin, et a refusé d'intervenir pour dénouer cette crise inédite en Turquie.

M. Erdogan, qui s'adressait aux députés de son Parti de la justice et du développement (AKP, issu de la mouvance islamiste), a affirmé que "le Parlement continuerait de travailler" malgré le boycott du principal parti d'opposition (CHP, social-démocrate), dont les députés ont refusé de prêter serment mardi.

Il n'a en outre proposé aucune solution à la crise actuelle, appelant l'opposition à "respecter les décisions de justice" et s'abritant derrière l'indépendance de la justice: "Ils disent que le Premier ministre doit résoudre cette situation. Qu'est-ce qu'ils veulent, que j'appelle les juges ?".

"Personne n'a le droit de ne pas reconnaître les décisions de justice", a souligné M. Erdogan.

Seuls les élus de l'AKP, au pouvoir, et du MHP (parti de l'action nationaliste, droite), ont participé à la cérémonie de prestation de serment.

L'AKP d'Erdogan a largement remporté les dernières élections, avec 50% des voix, lui permettant d'entamer un troisième mandat consécutif au pouvoir.

L'absence du CHP du parlement est un geste sans précédent en Turquie.

Sa demande de libération des deux élus, un journaliste et un médecin en attente de jugement, a été rejetée par la justice, qui les soupçonne d'appartenir au réseau Ergenekon, accusé de vouloir comploter contre le gouvernement islamo-conservateur.

Le parti estime que les juges n'ont pas respecté la jurisprudence et assure qu'il ne participera pas aux travaux législatifs tant que ses députés n'auront pas obtenu gain de cause.

Le CHP a emboîté le pas à 35 élus kurdes, qui ont décidé de boycotter le Parlement suite à l'invalidation d'un élu, Hatip Dicle, figure de proue du militantisme kurde, en raison d'une condamnation pour "propagande terroriste".

Dans la foulée, la justice a refusé de remettre en liberté six autres députés élus actuellement en détention, cinq militants kurdes et un membre du MHP.

Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, le chef du CHP, a rencontré jeudi le chef de l'Etat Abdullah Gül qui, a assuré M. Kiliçdaroglu au terme de l'entrevue, a critiqué "le maintien prolongé en détention des suspects". (AFP, 30 juin 2011)

Forces armées/Armed Forces

Démission collective à la tête de l'armée turque

Le chef d'état-major turc ainsi que les commandants des armées de terre, air et mer ont démissionné sur fond de désaccord avec le gouvernement islamo-conservateur sur la promotion de militaires de haut rang incarcérés dans des affaires de conspiration.

Le Premier ministre turc, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a nommé tard vendredi soir le commandant de la gendarmerie, le général Necdet Özel, chef d'état-major des armées en exercice, après la démission de l'actuel chef d'état-major sur fond de grave désaccord avec le gouvernement.

Le général Özel est par ailleurs nommé chef de l'armée de terre, l'actuel chef de cette armée ayant lui aussi démissionné, avec les chefs de l'armée de l'air et de la marine, a indiqué l'agence de presse turque Anatolie, citant un décret du Premier ministre et du président Abdullah Gül.

Les deux nouvelles fonctions occupées par le général Özel donnent à penser qu'il sera prochainement nommé comme successeur en titre du chef d'état-major des armées démissionnaire, le général Isik Kosaner, selon la presse turque.

Le général Kosaner et ses adjoints ont ouvert vendredi une grave crise politico-militaire en Turquie en démissionnant, sur fond de désaccord avec le gouvernement islamo-conservateur à propos de la promotion de militaires de haut rang incarcérés dans des affaires de complot contre le régime.

L'armée turque, autrefois intouchable et incontournable dans la vie politique, est depuis plusieurs années la cible de critiques et d'accusations, dont celle de complots présumés visant à renverser le gouvernement de M. Erdogan, dont le Parti de la justice et du développement (AKP) est issu de la mouvance islamiste.

Quarante-deux généraux, soit un sur dix, et plusieurs dizaines d'officiers d'active ou à la retraite, sont actuellement incarcérés dans le cadre de ces complots présumés.

Les chefs de l'armée exigent que les militaires en détention puissent bénéficier de promotions, même s'ils sont en prison dans l'attente de la fin de leur procès, et se heurtent au refus du gouvernement, selon la presse.

Parmi eux se trouve un général quatre étoiles, qui était censé devenir le prochain commandant de l'aviation.

Depuis 1960, l'armée turque a renversé quatre gouvernements, dont celui, en 1997, de l'islamiste Necmettin Erbakan, mentor de l'actuel Premier ministre.

Plusieurs réunions se sont déroulées ces derniers jours entre le chef d'état-major, le général Isik Kosaner, et M. Erdogan avant une réunion la semaine prochaine du Conseil militaire suprême (YAS) qui décide des nominations dans la hiérarchie militaire.

Outre le général Kosaner, les commandants des armées de terre, air et mer ont quitté leur poste, ce qui constitue une première en Turquie, pays membre de l'Otan, ont indiqué les chaînes d'information NTV et CNN-Türk.

L'agence semi-officielle Anatolie a précisé de son côté que le chef d'état-major et ses commandants avaient demandé un départ anticipé à la retraite.

Quarante-deux généraux et plusieurs dizaines d'officiers d'active ou à la retraite sont actuellement incarcérés dans le cadre de complots présumés visant à renverser le gouvernement du parti de la justice et du développement (AKP).

L'armée souhaiterait que ces militaires puissent a priori bénéficier d'une promotion, même s'ils sont en prison dans l'attente de la fin de leur procès, tandis que le gouvernement voudrait qu'ils partent en retraite.

Parmi eux se trouve un général quatre étoiles qui était censé devenir le prochain commandant de l'aviation.

La décision des généraux de quitter leur poste est symbolique en Turquie où l'armée a été affaiblie depuis 2007 avec le lancement de plusieurs enquêtes sur des projets de complots qui auraient visé à déstabiliser le gouvernement par le biais d'un coup d'Etat militaire.

Le général Kosaner avait été nommé pour trois ans en 2010. Les trois autres commandants devaient partir fin août à la retraite.

L'an dernier, s'appuyant sur l'offensive judiciaire anti-complot, les membres civils du YAS, en particulier le Premier ministre, avaient bousculé la routine habituelle des promotions.

Ils avaient refusé de promouvoir ceux dentre eux qui sont impliqués dans des affaires de complot, ce qui avait entraîné un retard inhabituel dans la nomination du chef d'état-major actuel.

L'AKP s'est confronté plusieurs fois à l'armée turque depuis qu'il a pris les rênes du pays dans le but de vouloir réduire son influence dans la vie politique et à chaque fois réussi à remporter la bataille. (AFP, 29 juil 2011)

3 militaires tués dans une embuscade

Trois soldats turcs ont été tués dimanche dans le sud-est de la Turquie dans une embuscade tendue par des rebelles kurdes tandis qu'un officier blessé vendredi dans des accrochages a succombé à l'hôpital.

L'embuscade s'est produite dans une zone rurale près de la petite ville d'Ömerli, dans la province de Mardin, a précisé une source de sécurité locale.

Par ailleurs, un officier grièvement blessé vendredi dans des heurts avec des rebelles à Semdinli, proche des frontières irakienne et iranienne, est décédé dans une clinique militaire d'Ankara, a annoncé dimanche l'armée sur son site internet.

Les accrochages entre les forces de sécurité et les rebelles se sont multipliés depuis les élections législatives du 12 juin.

Le 16 juillet, treize soldats et sept rebelles ont péri dans des combats dans le sud-est de la Turquie, région peuplée en majorité de Kurdes.

Cet incident, le plus meurtrier pour l'armée turque depuis octobre 2008, a suscité une vive émotion et le Premier ministre Recep Tayyip Erdogan a prévenu que l'armée turque allait faire payer "un prix élevé" aux rebelles.

Les autorités ont depuis décidé de renforcer les forces de sécurité dans les zones de combats par des unités spéciales de la police. (AFP, 24 juil 2011)

Court files complaint against former chief of General Staff

A court in tne eastern province of Van has filed a complaint against Former Chief of the General Staff Yaşar Büyükanıt and three other high-ranking officers.

A court in the eastern province of Van has accepted a lawyers’ request to investigate four high-ranking officers, including former Chief of General Staff Gen. Yaşar Büyükanıt, as part of the six-year-old Şemdinli case.

New hearings in the controversial case started Thursday, with two noncommissioned officers, Ali Kaya and Özcan İldeniz, as well as an informant from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, Veysel Ateş, appearing before a judge.

The accused are being tried on charges of allegedly bombing the Umut bookstore in Şemdinli, a district in the eastern province of Hakkari, on Nov. 9, 2005. The bookstore was owned by Seferi Yılmaz, a former PKK member.

In Thursday’s meeting, the lawyers requested that the court file a criminal complaint against Büyükanıt and three commanders, Erdal Öztürk, Selahattin Uğurlu and Erhan Kubat, who were on duty at the time of the bombings.

Büyükanıt and three other high-rank officers will be tried October following the Van court’s decision.

‘He’s a good boy’

This is not the first time that suspects in the Şemdinli case have been tried in court. In previous trials, the suspects were sentenced to 39 years in prison but a ruling from the Supreme Court of Appeals ordered a retrial on the grounds that the case should have been handled by a military court. The suspects were released following the first hearing of the military trial.

Ferhat Sarıkaya, the Van prosecutor at the time, ordered the arrests of the suspects, who were later indicted and tried in the Van court for “staging acts targeting the unity of the state and the territorial integrity of the country, murder, attempted murder and causing physical injury.”

Sarıkaya also opened a number of investigations into top army commanders, including Büyükanıt, then the Land Forces commander and later Chief of the General Staff. Büyükanıt had praised Kaya and said, “I know him, he’s a good boy.”

Later, however, Sarıkaya was disbarred by the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors, or HSYK; the ban was only removed after five years in April 2011.
(Doğan News Agency, July 21, 2011)

Colonel says former army chief behind illegal websites

A colonel testifying in court on Thursday in relation to allegations that the General Staff had established websites to disseminate anti-government propaganda has named former Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ as one of the many people he claims gave him orders to set up and run the websites that are currently the subject of an investigation.
These revelations by Col. Dursun Çiçek have added a new twist to the investigation. Çiçek said that certain generals, including Başbuğ, had given the orders to set up the websites.

Çiçek, currently in jail on suspicion of having drafted an alleged plot to overthrow the government called the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism, testified during the website investigation of his own accord.

“If any of the websites were really out of line, the General Staff can launch an administrative investigation into me,” he said. In a recent development in the case, the General Staff accused Çiçek of having abused his responsibilities and gone overboard on the content of the websites that were established with the innocuous purpose of informing the public and creating awareness of national security threats such as terrorism.

Sources close to the investigation said Çiçek named more than 10 generals and confirmed information included in an email written by an anonymous tipster who called himself the “unknown officer.” The unknown author had emailed various newspapers in 2010 claiming that the armed forces had created the websites to support their psychological warfare against religious communities and the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government.

Prosecutor Cihan Kansız is conducting the investigation, which was initially launched by Zekeriya Öz, the prosecutor previously running the investigation into Ergenekon, a clandestine network charged with plotting to overthrow the government. In addition to the names of those who gave the orders, Çiçek also provided the names of subordinates who assisted him in running the websites, sources close to the prosecution said.

Eleven officers, including former 1st Army Commander Gen. Hasan Iğsız, had testified to Öz in the earlier stages of the investigation as suspects. Kansız, who took over the investigation after Öz, has so far heard the testimonies of generals Mustafa Bakıcı, Hıfzı Çubuklı and Mehmet Eröz, as well as Çiçek. A total of 19 people have been summoned so far, with 16 having since provided their testimonies to the prosecution.

During an earlier stage of the investigation the General Staff claimed that the websites in question had been established under orders from former Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit, a claim that was later denied by officials from the Prime Ministry's archive department.

The investigation began in 2010 based on evidence found at the home of Col. Hasan Ataman Yıldırım, a suspect in the second Ergenekon trial. Later, the anonymous tipster sent an email to inform the public and prosecutors that the General Staff had established 42 websites for the sole purpose of disseminating propaganda about the government and religious communities. The prosecution was able to uncover the initial order for the General Staff website during the investigation. The order had the signatures of eight people, including those of Col. Cemal Gökçeoğlu and Çiçek. The document was dated April 2009 and originated from the office of the deputy chief at the General Staff Operations Department, who was Gen. Iğsız at the time.

The İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court is currently still hearing the website case. The prosecutor is arguing that the websites were set up by the General Staff Information Support Unit to secure public support regarding a possible military coup and mislead public opinion in line with the alleged coup plotters' aims. The indictment noted that the websites, which were hosted by TR.NET Middle East Software Services Inc., were created from Ministry of National Defense IP addresses. The content of the websites indicates that they were used as part of the Action Plan to Fight Reactionaryism allegedly drafted by Çiçek.

Prosecutors say two websites in particular -- www.irtica.org and www.irtica.net -- mention many of the plans and activities contained in the action plan and intensively focus on topics that are also frequently mentioned in the plan. The indictment also states that the purpose behind the websites was to win public support by disseminating fabricated information.

The initial tipster had given the names of 11 officers, including Çiçek, as being in charge of the websites.

Some of the websites which were shut down at the start of the investigation were; www.irtica.org, www.naksilik.com, www.nursi.info, www.ozgurgenc.net, www.genclik.info, www.aslar.org, www.askeriz.info, www.tskasker.com, www.turkatak.gen.tr, www.turkses.net, www.pkkgercegi.net, www.pkkapo.com, www.apopkk.com and www.armenianreality.com.
( TODAY'S ZAMAN, 21 July 2011)

Coup cases in Turkey fray trust in military, poll shows

Trust in Turkey’s military has decreased dramatically in the last three years, according to a recent survey that pegs the timing of the drop to the launch of investigations into alleged military coup attempts.

The results of the latest Turkey Values Survey, which were made public Thursday, show that 75 percent of Turks have trust in the Turkish Armed Forces, or TSK, a 15 percent drop compared to the survey conducted in 2008.

The timing of the drop coincides with the launch of the Ergenekon and “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) investigations, both of which deal with alleged plans to topple the government. Numerous military figures have been detained and jailed in both cases.

Members of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, formerly a key base of support for the military, have also lost their confidence in the army, according to Yılmaz Esmer from Bahçeşehir University, who headed the team that conducted the survey.

“The largest decrease [in confidence in the military] has been experienced in Turkey’s southeastern region,” Esmer told a press conference Thursday.

Trust in the government has meanwhile increased 32 percent over the past 10 years, the survey shows.

“If you consider the 2001 economic crisis, which caused people to lose their confidence in the government, and the recent economic growth, the increase [in trust] makes sense,” Esmer said.

Several soldiers have been detained in the Ergenekon investigation, accused of being members of an ultranationalist, shadowy gang that planned to topple the government by staging a coup, initially by spreading chaos and mayhem. Balyoz is the code name for an alleged military coup plot against the ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, drafted in 2003. According to the allegations, the military planned drastic measures to foment unrest in the country in order to remove the AKP from power.

The detentions and ongoing trials have not only caused people to lose their confidence in the army but also to worry about privacy violations due to widespread wiretapping and monitoring of personal emails, according to the survey. Half of the people surveyed said they are worried about such privacy concerns.

The fear of state control has also affected people’s participation in political issues, the data showed. The willingness to sign a petition, for example, decreased by 15 percent in 20 years. The rate of people who said they had signed a petition was 10 percent in Turkey, compared to 82 percent in Sweden and 58 percent in Germany.

According to Esmer, people also have become more hesitant about attending legal protests or labor actions.

The poll was part of the World Values Survey, which is run by a network of social scientists coordinated by a central body, the World Values Survey Association. The Turkey part of the survey included 1,605 face-to-face interviews in 128 districts of 54 provinces across the country. Interviewees were asked 350 questions on a variety of subjects, from life satisfaction/happiness to political participation, and from left- and right-wing ideology to tolerance toward the “other.”
(Hürriyet Daily News, July 21, 2011)

Turkish army to hire 5,000 career soldiers

The General Staff has announced that it will recruit 5,103 contracted soldiers this year as part of its plans to increase the number of more experienced troops to participate in the fight against terrorism.

The applicants should be no older than 26 and need to have completed their military service in the last three years. They will serve as privates in the army and will be paid 1,634 Turkish Liras per month, according to a statement published on the official website of the Turkish Land Forces. The contracted soldiers will go through a 10-week special training and receive compensation when they leave the army.

The career military forces will mostly be used in the fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. They will also take charge of guarding the country’s borders, particularly near northern Iraq.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Soldiers who are currently under arrest or suspension will meanwhile have their wages increased after a change to the personnel law in what is being seen as a government goodwill gesture ahead of crucial military council meetings.

Hundreds of military officers currently arrested as part of the ongoing “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) and Ergenekon coup-plot trials will benefit from the new bylaw, which will increase their wages from a half to two thirds of their full salary.

Relations between the government and the military have been tense for some time, and next month’s Supreme Military Council, or YAŞ, set to take place under the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to discuss the appointments of high-ranking military officials, is expected to result in several disagreements and crises.

Problems have emerged because 14 of the 43 generals arrested as part of the Sledgehammer case were up for promotion. According to the Turkish Armed Forces, or TSK, Personnel Law, military figures who are arrested cannot be promoted even if they are released pending trial.

Last year’s YAŞ also produced tension between the government and the military over appointing officials on trial in the Sledgehammer and Ergenekon cases.
(Hürriyet Daily News, July 20, 2011)

NGOs and BDP goes to Silvan to research the suspicious deaths

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) went to the countryside of Silvan to research the suspicious deaths of 13 soldiers in Silvan, a district of Diyarbakır, yesterday. NGOs, including Human Rights Association (İHD), trade union confederations, MAZLUM-DER, Bar Association, Chamber of Medical Doctors, Chamber of Commerce and Chamber of Architects and Engineers (TMMOB), will send a committee to investigate the allegations.

Security forces did not allow the first delegation from BDP Silvan Branch to enter the crime scene since the armed conflict.

Besides sending a delegation to the conflict zone, many organizations also released urgent press release to ask the government to open an extensive investigation on the case since the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its branch People’s Defense Force (HPG) are not likely to do this kind of attack during the current inaction term.

Turkish Military Forces (TSK) expanded its operation in the area and continued bombing around the area, following the 13 soldiers’ death while many BDP branch buildings and some of managers were attacked by unanimous people.

The BDP executives condemned the attacks and the government who targeted BDP as a responsible of this attack despite BDP managers’ press statements to present their condolences for the death soldiers’ families.

Particularly, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) executives blamed the BDP because of the attack without any certain information about the attack.

Suspicious situation on armed conflict in Silvan

According to allegation Turkish Military Forces’ (TSK) bombardment killed 13 soldiers in the countryside of Dolapdere Village in Silvan province of Diyarbakır yesterday, reports ANF.

Speaking to ANF, a village guard who witnessed the conflict said that soldiers’ and People’s Defense Forces (HPG) members’ location were bombed by two war planes and 13 soldiers and two HPG members were burnt to death because of the fire caused by the bombing.

Refusing giving his name, the guard pointed that; “We saw the scene. No hand grenade can cause such a large scale fire or death of 13 soldiers together. There was no ambush or opportunity for ambush of HPG members as TSK was conducting the large scale military operation for 3-4 days. Besides, ambushing is highly risky for the HPG during a day time. The TSK transferred many soldiers to the operation area after encountered with the HPG. All enters were taken under control by soldier. Two and a half hours after, we witnessed that war planes were flying over and bombing the operation zone where soldiers and HPG members telescoped.”

He also emphasized that the radio speeches during the event have to be revealed as well as autopsy reports of the death soldiers.

“The soldiers’ families need to involve this case to prove the real reasons of the deaths. If they died because of the TSK’s bombardment, those responsible need to be brought to court. If it is necessary we, as village guards who witnessed the clashes, are ready for testifying,” added the guard.

Besides his testimonies, two HPG members’ burnt bodies are also created suspicion. According to locals, no bullet marks on the HPG members’ bodies.
The Chief of Stuff made a written statement says; 13 soldiers died because of the HPG members’ throwing hand grenades around the operation zone. According to the statement seven HPG members were killed during the armed conflict.
(DIHA, July 15, 2011)

13 soldats, sept rebelles kurdes tués dans des combats

Treize soldats turcs et sept rebelles kurdes ont été tués jeudi lors des affrontements les plus meurtriers pour l'armée depuis trois ans dans le sud-est de la Turquie peuplé en majorité de Kurdes, faisant craindre un raidissement d'Ankara sur la question kurde.

Les combats sont survenus au cours d'une opération de l'armée dans une zone montagneuse connue pour être un bastion des rebelles du Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan (PKK) près de la ville de Silvan, dans la province de Diyarbakir, les soldats étant tombés dans un guet-apens, ont indiqué des sources locales de sécurité.

Au cours des heurts, 13 soldats ont été tués et sept autres blessés, dont deux grièvement, a affirmé le gouverneur de Diyarbakir, Mustafa Toprak.

Sept rebelles ont été tués dans les combats qui continuaient de faire rage jeudi soir, l'armée disposant du soutien d'hélicoptères, ont ajouté les sources de sécurité, précisant que les affrontements avaient provoqué un incendie de forêt.

Le Premier ministre Recep Tayyip Erdogan a convoqué une réunion extraordinaire à Ankara après l'attaque.

A l'issue de la rencontre, M. Erdogan a exprimé dans un communiqué la détermination d'Ankara. "Les objectifs des forces qui sont derrière cet événement sont clairs. (Mais) la Turquie a la force et la détermination pour surmonter la question du terrorisme", a-t-il dit.

Ces combats sont les plus meurtriers pour l'armée turque depuis la mort en octobre 2008 de 17 soldats dans l'attaque d'un poste militaire par les rebelles près de la frontière irakienne.

En octobre 2007, la mort de 12 soldats dans une embuscade avait conduit la Turquie à mener des raids aériens contre les bases arrière du PKK dans les montagnes du nord de l'Irak, puis une opération terrestre de huit jours en territoire irakien, en février 2008.

Le président du parlement Cemil Cicek a réagi avec virulence aux derniers combats en appelant les protagonistes de la question kurde à choisir leur camp.

"D'un côté la démocratie, la paix et la liberté, mais de l'autre le sang, la haine et la barbarie... Désormais, chacun doit dire quelle est sa ligne. Ou on est du côté de la démocratie ou bien on est avec ceux qui crachent leur haine et font couler le sang", a-t-il dit, cité par l'agence Anatolie.

Ses propos interviennent dans un contexte de tensions politiques avec les Kurdes.

Les députés kurdes --36 élus sur un total de 550 aux législatives du 12 juin-- ont refusé de prêter serment au parlement pour protester contre le maintien en détention provisoire de cinq des leurs, accusés de liens avec la branche urbaine du PKK, et l'invalidation d'un 36e élu en raison d'une condamnation à la prison pour "propagande terroriste".

Le président du principal parti pro-kurde de Turquie, le Parti pour la paix et la démocratie (BDP), Selahattin Demirtas, a présenté jeudi ses condoléances pour la mort des soldats, avant de dénoncer un manque de volonté politique pour résoudre la question kurde.

Les Etats-Unis, qui considèrent le PKK comme une organisation terroriste ont condamné l'attaque, survenue alors que la secrétaire d'Etat Hillary Clinton était en route pour Istanbul, afin de participer à la réunion du groupe de contact sur la Libye et de s'entretenir avec les dirigeants turcs.

Mme Clinton, arrivée dans la nuit de jeudi à vendredi, s'est dite "profondément attristée".

"Nous nous tenons auprès de la Turquie dans sa lutte contre le PKK (et) soutenons le combat de la Turquie contre le terrorisme", a déclaré la chef de la diplomatie américaine dans un communiqué. (AFP, 15 juil 2011)

Erdogan: les rebelles kurdes paieront "un prix élevé"

L'armée turque va faire payer "un prix élevé" aux rebelles séparatistes kurdes après la mort de treize soldats turcs dans une embuscade, a averti vendredi le Premier ministre Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"Nos forces de sécurité sont puissantes (...) et je crois qu'elles leur feront payer un prix élevé", a déclaré M. Erdogan à la presse à Istanbul, parlant des rebelles qui ont lancé jeudi une attaque contre des soldats turcs dans la province de Diyarbakir, dans le sud-est à majorité kurde de la Turquie.

M. Erdogan s'en est pris au principal parti kurde légal de Turquie, le Parti pour la paix et la démocratie (BDP), proche du PKK, lui-même considéré comme une organisation terroriste par Ankara, les Etats-Unis et l'Union européenne.

"Je dis ouvertement à l'organisation terroriste et à ses extensions qu'elles ne doivent s'attendre à aucune bonne volonté de notre part devant des actions aussi malintentionnées", a déclaré le Premier ministre.

"Si elles veulent la paix, il y a une chose à faire : l'organisation terroriste doit déposer les armes", a poursuivi M. Erdogan. "Si elles refusent de déposer les armes, les opérations militaires ne cesseront pas et le processus (de réconciliation) n'avancera pas", a-t-il prévenu. (AFP, 15 juil 2011)

JITEM was secretly established by gendarmerie, probe finds

A prosecutor has found that JİTEM, an illegal intelligence unit within the gendarmerie whose existence has been denied so far by the General Staff and other state institutions, was secretly established by the Gendarmerie General Command to fight against terrorism.
JİTEM is believed to have been responsible for thousands of unsolved murders in eastern and southeastern Turkey in the 1990s. It has long been debated whether the unit really existed as the Turkish military consistently denied its existence in the past despite a growing body of evidence suggesting otherwise.

As part of his probe, Ankara Public Prosecutor Hakan Yüksel asked many state institutions, including the General Staff, the Interior Ministry, the National Police Department and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT), whether JİTEM existed. All the institutions, including the General Staff, admitted that the unit existed and said it was a unit that operated in the sphere of counterterrorism efforts. The prosecutor said JİTEM was established as a body within the Gendarmerie General Command without the approval of the General Staff or the knowledge of the Interior Ministry.

The Gendarmerie General Command told the prosecutor that JİTEM's activities ended in 1990. The prosecutor decided that he lacks jurisdiction in the case involving military personnel and referred it to the Diyarbakır Military Prosecutor's Office.

In October 2009, the Diyarbakır 3rd High Criminal Court, which was hearing the case into JİTEM's alleged killings in the Southeast, asked the Gendarmerie General Command and the General Staff whether JİTEM exists or not and whether it still operates or not. The General Staff responded to the court in December 2009 and said no such unit existed. The İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court asked the Gendarmerie General Command about JİTEM as well but the command in response said in January 2010 that there was no such unit under the command and that there had been no such unit in the past.

The Ankara Prosecutor's Office, however, launched an investigation after remarks by retired Col. Arif Doğan, the prime suspect in the trial of the Ergenekon case who confessed to having founded the unit, and concluded that JİTEM did in fact exist. In January Doğan told the İstanbul 13th High Criminal Court, where he is standing trial for Ergenekon-related charges, that he was the official founder of JİTEM. “I am JİTEM. JİTEM exists with me. It is not official or permanent. It was an operations unit for intelligence set up for a temporary period,” he told the prosecution. “JİTEM belongs to me. It is the Gendarmerie Intelligence Group Command that I later handed over to Veli Paşa [retired Gen. Veli Küçük]. JİTEM exists with me. You will ask me if I am a state within the state. My response is, no I am not,” he said. He argued that nearly 80,000 soldiers would have died had JİTEM not existed. “They made me regret having founded JİTEM. We abolished it,” he added.

Doğan and Küçük are suspects in the case into Ergenekon, a clandestine criminal network accused of working to overthrow the government. Dozens of suspected members, including businessmen, journalists and members of the military, are currently in prison pending trial.

The retired colonel also provided further information about JİTEM and argued that “I have the JİTEM archives. No one can find it. JİTEM fought like a hero. It had 10,000 members. Will you try all its members if I give you their names? They walked to death so that a soldier or a Turkish civilian would not get killed.” Doğan also lashed out at those who deny JİTEM's existence. “Whoever denies JİTEM's existence should come to me,” he said.

“All of JİTEM's members are civilians. I was the only military officer in the organization,” Doğan noted.
(TODAYSZAMAN.COM, 10 July 2011)

Deux soldats et un fonctionnaire enlevés dans le sud-est

Deux soldats turcs et un fonctionnaire ont été enlevés dans l'est de la Turquie, ont indiqué dimanche des sources militaires, qui imputent ces enlèvements aux rebelles kurdes.

Deux voitures ont été retrouvées vides sur une route proche de la localité de Lice, près de Diyarbakir, la plus grande ville du sud-est, l'une appartenant à deux soldats en permission et l'autre à un fonctionnaire des services de santé, selon ces sources.

Des témoins disent avoir vu des militants armés du PKK qui stoppaient ces véhicules circulant de nuit. Des recherches, appuyées par hélicoptères, ont été lancées pour retrouver les disparus. (AFP, 10 juil 2011)

Deux soldats tués dans une embuscade

Deux soldats turcs ont été tués mardi dans une ville du sud-est anatolien, peuplé en majorité de Kurdes, au cours d'une embuscade imputée par les autorités aux rebelles kurdes, ont affirmé des sources locales de sécurité.

Les deux hommes, habillés en civil, se rendaient à leur travail lorsqu'ils ont été abattus sur l'avenue principale de Yüksekova, une petite ville de la province de Hakkari, proche de l'Iran et de l'Irak, selon ces sources.

Ils ont succombé à leurs blessures à l'hôpital, ont-elles ajouté, précisant que les soupçons se portaient sur les rebelles du PKK.

Une explosion est par ailleurs survenue mardi matin au passage d'un véhicule militaire à Ankara, sans faire de victimes, a rapporté l'agence de presse Anatolie. (AFP, 5 juil 2011)

Arrestation de généraux turcs accusés de complot contre le gouvernement

Cinq généraux turcs et un colonel ont été arrêtés lundi dans l'attente d'un procès concernant un projet présumé de coup d'Etat en 2003 contre le gouvernement islamo-conservateur, a rapporté l'agence Anatolie.

Les six responsables militaires, qui se sont rendus d'eux-mêmes à un tribunal d'Istanbul, figuraient parmi huit accusés visés par un mandat d'arrestation émis la semaine dernière dans le cadre d'une enquête qui a déjà conduit devant la justice quelque 200 militaires, selon l'agnce.

Au total 28 militaires seront jugés le 15 août dans le cadre de la deuxième étape des poursuites engagées pour un complot présumé portant le nom de code "Opération masse de forgeron" qui visait à commettre des attentats pour semer le chaos et justifier un coup d'Etat, selon l'acte d'accusation. Les suspects risquent 15 à 20 ans de prison.

Le plus chevronné est le général quatre étoiles Bilgin Balanli, chef des académies militaires turques, qui devait devenir commandant des forces aériennes cette année avant d'être arrêté en mai.

L'an dernier, un premier volet de cette enquête avait entraîné la comparution d'environ 200 militaires.

L'enquête, qui constitue une menace de taille contre l'institution militaire, jadis acteur politique de premier rang en Turquie, a mis en cause au total environ 30 généraux ou amiraux, soit un dixième de la haute hiérarchie militaire.

Les inculpés prétendent que le plan incriminé était un scénario pédagogique parmi d'autres, décrivant une situation fictive de tension pour évaluer les meilleures façons d'y faire face. Ils mettent également en cause l'authenticité de certains documents présentés comme des preuves. (AFP, 4 juil 2011)

Un soldat tué lors de combats avec des rebelles kurdes

Un soldat turc a été tué dans la nuit de vendredi à samedi lors de combats avec des rebelles kurdes du PKK, dans le sud-est de la Turquie, a rapporté samedi l'agence de presse Anatolie.

L'accrochage est survenu dans une zone montagneuse proche de la frontière irakienne, dans la province de Hakkari, a indiqué Anatolie, précisant que les opérations se poursuivaient dans la région.

Les rebelles ont présenté récemment de strictes conditions pour renouveler un cessez-le-feu décrété unilatéralement en août 2010. Ils exigent un arrêt des opérations militaires et la reconnaissance de leur chef emprisonné, Abdullah Öcalan, comme interlocuteur pour un règlement de la question kurde.

Celui-ci a transmis le mois dernier aux autorités des propositions pour mettre fin au conflit comprenant une autonomie régionale pour le sud-est anatolien, une éducation en langue kurde et une amnistie pour les rebelles, selon les déclarations d'un de ses lieutenants à la presse. (AFP, 4 juil 2011)

Affaires religieuses/Religious Affairs

Conservatism on the rise in Turkey

Both conservative and democratic values are being more widely adopted by Turkish society, according to a recent poll conducted as part of the World Values Survey.

“I do not have any findings that support the idea that [Turkish] people have become more religious in recent years; however six out of 10 people believe that we should involve more religious facts in our lives instead of science,” said Yılmaz Esmer from Bahçeşehir University, who headed the team that conducted the survey.

In this year’s survey, 44 percent of respondents said restaurants should be closed during fasting periods in Ramadan, a belief held by 39 percent in the 2007 poll.

The survey also noted a high rate of people, 84 percent, saying they do not like the idea of having gay neighbors. According to the research, while ideological differences are not a big problem anymore, as they were in the early 1990s, race, religion and sexual orientation remain issues between neighbors.

According to Esmer, the survey also reflected little progress on women’s issues.

“Contrary to developed countries, the situation of women did not change in Turkey,” said Esmer, a member of the board of World Values Survey Association.

He said it was “humiliating” to present the data on women’s issues to conferences abroad, noting that support for the idea that men can marry more than one woman is accepted by 23 percent of the Turkish population, up from 10 percent in 1996.

According to the survey, not only men but also women support the idea of male dominance, which increases discrimination against women. Some 60 percent of survey participants, both male and female, said women should obey men, a rate that did not change in 15 years.

“The rate of people who say some women deserve to be beaten by their husbands was 19 percent in 1996, however that has increased by 14 percent,” Esmer said, adding that 70 percent of respondents said children may be damaged by their mothers working outside of the home.
(Hürriyet Daily News, July 21, 2011)

La Turquie va juger 14 membres présumés d'Al Qaïda

Un tribunal turc a mis en accusation vendredi 14 militants présumés d'Al-Qaïda soupçonnés d'avoir fomenté une attaque contre l'ambassade américaine à Ankara et a ordonné leur emprisonnement jusqu'à l'ouverture de leur procès, annonce l'agence turque Anatolie.

Un quinzième suspect a été relâché à l'issue de son interrogatoire mais pourrait également être traduit devant un tribunal, ajoute l'agence qui ne fournit pas de précisions sur les accusations dont il fait l'objet.

Les procureurs sont en train d'élaborer l'acte d'accusation pour que le procès puisse se tenir.

Les suspects ont été arrêtés en début de semaine à Ankara et dans les villes de Bursa et Yalova (nord-ouest).

La police anti-terroriste a effectué ses recherches sur la base d'informations sur la préparation d'attaques contre des représentations étrangères dont l'ambassade américaine à Ankara, indique l'agence Anatolie.

Les forces de sécurité turques ont arrêté le suspect principal identifié sous les initiales C.I. au terme de six mois de filature après avoir constaté qu'il avait suivi un entraînement à la pose d'explosifs dans un pays étranger et qu'il était en contact avec des militants du réseau turc d'Al-Qaïda résidant à l'étranger.

La fouille de sa maison dans la banlieue d'Ankara a permis de découvrir 700 kg de produits chimiques servant à la fabrication d'explosifs, deux fusils et des munitions, poursuit l'agence Anatolie.

La police turque a poursuivi à plusieurs reprises des membres présumés d'Al-Qaïda depuis les deux attentats-suicide à la bombe qui ont secoué Istanbul à cinq jours d'intervalle en novembre 2003.

Une cellule turque d'Al-Qaïda est considérée comme responsable de ces deux attentats au cours desquels des camions chargés d'explosifs ont d'abord visé deux synagogues puis le consulat britannique et une banque britannique, faisant 63 morts dont le consul de Grande-Bretagne à Istanbul.

Sept hommes ont été condamnés à la prison à perpétuité en 2007 pour ces faits, dont un Syrien, considéré comme le cerveau et le financier des attentats. (AFP, 15 juil 2011)

Police intervened thousands in front of Madımak

On Saturday, nearly 10,000 demonstrators gathered at Ethembey Park in Sivas and marched to the city square to commemorate the massacre , despite Sivas Governor’s prohibition of the commemoration. The group, including relatives of those who were killed, held a ceremony to ask that those responsible for the Madimak massacre be found and brought to justice.

The group then marched to the Madımak Hotel, now a science and culture center, but police had barricaded the street on the governor's orders. Security forces allowed the relatives of the killed to leave flowers in front of the building together with political representatives and commemoration committee members, but tension escalated when the ensemble wanted to hang a banner on the building that read "Madımak museum of shame."

Meanwhile the large group demanded removal of the police barricade leading to the building and tried to pass over the iron obstacles, which prompted police to intervene with tear gas and batons and panic ensued. Announcements then came from the loudspeakers of the commemorator's bus, asking people "not to be provoked."

Eighteen years ago, in Sivas, a demonstration started as a protest against novelist Aziz Nesin, who translated and published Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses and criticized Islam. He was there to take part Pir Sultan Abdal Alevi Festival like thousands of others. It swiftly turned into a violent attack and eventually the crowd set fire to the Madimak Hotel.

Nesin was saved by security forces, but 37 other intellectuals and festival participants who were trapped in the hotel were killed. Security forces were criticized for not stopping the crowd.

A few of the perpetrators were arrested and convicted after a 13-year trial, but they were soon released under an amnesty law known as the “rehabilitation project.”

The Madımak Massacre was also remembered with ceremonies and protests in Ankara, İzmir, İzmit and Bodrum.
(DIA and Doğan News Agency, July 3, 2011)

Sivas massacre commemoration forbidden

According to reports from Sivas, governor Ali Kolat denied permission for a commemoration of the Madimak Hotel massacre. The governor did not give consent for either a demonstration in front of the hotel or for a press conference in the same place.

On July 2, 1993, a group of radical Islamists calling for sharia law and death to infidels gathered around the Madimak Hotel where the Pir Sultan Abdal Alevi Festival attendants were staying.

The demonstration started as a protest against novelist Aziz Nesin, who translated and published Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses and criticized Islam. It swiftly turned into a violent attack and eventually the crowd set fire to the Madimak Hotel.

Nesin was saved by security forces, but 37 other intellectuals and festival participants who were trapped in the hotel were killed. Security forces were criticized for not stopping the crowd.

A few of the perpetrators were arrested and convicted after a 13-year trial, but they were soon released under an amnesty law known as the “rehabilitation project.”

The Sivas massacre targeted not only Aziz Nesin and The Satanic Verses but also Turkey's Alevi minority, which is the second largest religious community in Turkey.

The Human Rights Association in Turkey (İHD) has also proposed that Hotel Madimak should be converted into a ‘Museum of Disgrace.’ The İHD stated that the Madimak Museum would help Alevis recover from the trauma caused by this massacre.

İHD has asked that those responsible for the Madimak massacre be found and brought to justice.
(DIHA, 30 June 2011)

Socio-économique / Socio-economic

Matches truqués: la fédération repousse le début de la saison

La Fédération de football turque (TFF) a annoncé lundi qu'elle avait différé d'un mois le début de la saison en raison de l'enquête judiciaire sur les matches truqués, selon l'agence de presse Anatolia.

Le président de la Fédération, Mehmet Ali Aydinlar, a déclaré que le coup d'envoi des matches de première division serait donné le 9 septembre et celui de la deuxième division le lendemain, a précisé l'agence.

Quelque 30 personnes sont inculpées et emprisonnées en attendant d'être jugées dans le cadre d'une vaste enquête concernant des matches truqués et le versement de pots-de-vin dans ces deux championnats.

Le président du champion en titre Fenerbahce, Aziz Yildirim, est le plus important des suspects incarcérés, au nombre desquels on trouve aussi le vice-président et l'entraîneur de Besiktas, l'autre club d'Istanbul.

Tous sont soupçonnés d'avoir truqué 19 matches la saison dernière alors que Fenerbahce n'a gagné le titre qu'à la différence de but avec Trabzonspor, la décision n'intervenant qu'au terme de la dernière journée.

L'enquête et la vague des arrestations qui l'ont accompagnée ont provoqué la furie des supporteurs turcs craignant de voir Fenerbahce perdre le titre.

Le 14 juillet, Besiktas, vainqueur de la Coupe, avait rendu le trophée à la Fédération en attendant que toute la lumière soit faite sur l'affaire. (AFP, 25 juil 2011)

Women marched against violence in Istanbul

Hundreds of women today marched down Istiklal Caddesi, Istanbul central street, to say enough to violence against women. In the past few weeks many women have been victims of horrible crimes. Some have been killed by their husbands or relatives in what still is called 'honour killing'. But as the famous women's slogan goes, what honour there is in killing? Many of these women were mothers. So their children have been left without the person who gave them life and looked after them. A recent research by the UN Women Commission shows that women have gained many rights but still when it comes to the right to life things are not so good, and in many countries included Turkey.

The march today in Istanbul was organized by several organizations, like the Platform to Stop Honour Killings, BDP (Peace and Democracy Party), LGBTT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual) organization, trade unions, the Human Rights Association, ODP, EMEP. The women (and men) met in Tunel and walked along the very crowded Istiklal Caddesi (today quite busy with different demonstrations). Chanting slogans against violence, the women remembered the many who have been killed or forced to comitt suicide, the many who have remained maimed, wounded, their lives destroyed forever. Many women were also carrying the photos of those killed in recent weeks. Horror and shock hit many some days ago at the news that a woman had been repeatedly tortured and beaten by her husband who also left her without foor and water for days. The police found her dead.

Women also pointed out to the fact that crimes against women still are not seen with the severity they deserve. And not just in terms of prison sentences. "Handcuffs - said the women - are not enough. The work needed is to begin at school, at home, where children need to be educated in a different way". What is distressing is also the fact that many of these murderers are comitted by young boys in the family. In this way, being often under age, the boys do not risk heavy sentences. But clearly prison is not the solution. At least not the only solution. It is a problem of mentality, of changing the way and the attitude of men towards women, said many of the speakers at today's demonstration.

The women also asked for a serious intervention on the part of the government. "Which also means, - said the speakers - the creation of a women ministery to address the issue of violence in relation to the education".
(ANF, NUCAN CUDI, 24 July 2011)

AKP official warns of crisis, cautions Turks against overspending

A senior official from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has warned that troubling developments in the world economy could have an impact on the Turkish economy, cautioning Turks against overspending.
“We are not trying to paint a rosy picture. We are telling the truth,” Bülent Gedikli, a deputy chairman of the AK Party, told the private TV8 television station on Tuesday. “I am giving you the bad news: The world economy will see worse times. Probably, the world economy will face another crisis. This will have a negative impact on Turkey,” he said. “Therefore, act with caution. Save whatever you can save. Do not overspend.”

Turkey's economy enjoyed one of the strongest growth rates in the world last year. But rampant growth, a low savings rate and increased dependence on flows of “hot money” have driven Turkey's external deficits to critical highs.

Gedikli's remarks are one of the strongest warnings of trouble in the Turkish economy. Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan said the risk for European economies was growing at an alarming rate, warning that a crisis reminiscent of that in 2008-2009 could be seen again. Babacan said if an “earthquake” hits the European economies, Turkey will also be affected, and added that Turkish institutions have already been given orders to prepare in case of a crisis in Europe.
(TODAYSZAMAN.COM, 20 July 2011)

La parité hommes-femmes en politique s’éloigne de plus en plus!

La confirmation de l’élection de tou(te)s les député(e)s n’ayant pas encore pu avoir lieu à la suite du contentieux politique sur les élus poursuivis en justice ou incarcérés, on ne dispose pas encore, à la mi-juillet, du nombre exact de femmes élues lors des législatives du 12 juin dernier: entre 50 et 60 vraisemblablement. C’est, au pire le même nombre (50), au mieux une légère augmentation par rapport à la législature précédente. Mais sur 550 sièges, cela ne représente toujours que 9 à 10% de femmes députées.

D’autre part, le premier ministre Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a rendu publique le 6 juillet la composition de son nouveau gouvernement: sur 26 ministres, une femme. Parlementaire depuis 2002, élue AKP de Gaziantep, Madame Fatma Şahin prend la tête d’un nouveau ministère, les Affaires familiales et sociales. Hiérarchiquement elle est en 6e position dans la liste des ministres. Par rapport au gouvernement précédent (formé après les législatives de 2007, déjà marquées par la victoire de l’AKP), le nombre de femmes ministres est donc… divisé par deux. Comme l’ont relevé les éditorialistes de la presse turque, et plus encore les mouvements féministes, le moins que l’on puisse dire, c’est que l’on ne progresse pas en matière de parité au sein de l’Assemblée et des gouvernements turcs…

À l’issue de ces législatives du 12 juin, la politique reste donc, en Turquie, une affaires d’hommes. Pourtant (on le répète d’ailleurs souvent pour critiquer le retard français en la matière), les Turques ont obtenu le droit de vote aux élections locales en 1930, et le droit de vote aux élections nationales en 1934, en pleine période de parti unique.  Aux élections législatives de 1935,  18 femmes on été élues députées. De 1934 à 1994,  124 sièges de députés à l’Assemblée ont été occupés par 90 femmes (compte tenu des réélections) : 49 entre 1935 et 1950 ;  49 entre 1950 et 1980 ; 26 entre 1983 et 1994. Avec trente à cinquante députées en moyenne dans les années 1990-2000 (pour 550 sièges), la Turquie se situe entre la 105e et la 110e place au classement mondial de l’Union interparlementaire, sur les 150 à 160 pays analysés. Pour s’en tenir au classement 2011, alors que la France est en 66e position avec 109 députées (18,9%), la Turquie avec ses 9 ou 10% est certes mieux placée que l’Égypte (1,8% avant la dissolution de l’Assemblée du peuple par le Conseil suprême des Forces armées le 13 février dernier) et que l’Iran (2,8%), mais elle est à peu près à égalité avec la Libye, l’Algérie et le Koweit, et (légèrement) en dessous de la Jordanie, du Maroc et de la Syrie. Quant à la Tunisie de Ben Ali, héritage du bourguibisme oblige, elle était à  la 29e position en 2010 avec 59 députées, soit 27,6%; et l’on sait que le projet de constitution actuellement discuté, suite à la révolution du début de l’année, prévoit la parité pour les élections législatives…

En pourcentage des sièges, c’est donc pendant la période kémaliste que le nombre des femmes a été le plus élevé: il est vrai qu’on peut considérer que les 18 députées de 1935 ont, en réalité, été désignées par Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk), dans un scrutin de liste, avec parti unique, donc dans un contexte non démocratique. Le passage au multipartisme en 1946 n’a cependant pas entraîné d’augmentation du nombre et du  pourcentage de femmes à l’Assemblée, celles-ci ayant alors perdu le rôle symbolique de porteuses du  projet de modernisation qui leur avait été assigné dans la période kémaliste.

Même si la Turquie a eu une femme  premier ministre (Tansu Çiller, de 1993 à 1995, avec un bilan d’ailleurs a posteriori très contrasté), le nombre de femmes ayant exercé des responsabilités ministérielles avant elle est dérisoire (5 femmes, la première en 1971), et l’est resté ensuite : en 2007, le gouvernement de l’AKP ne compte que 2 femmes sur 39 ministres (5%); en 2011, une femme sur 26 donc (soit moins de 4%). Cette très faible représentation dans les instances de décision politique est un vrai problème en Turquie, dénoncé dans le pays par des organisations féministes longtemps seules, ensuite rejointes ces dernières années par des organisations féminines (y compris, pour certaines, proches de l’AKP), et par de nombreux éditorialistes politiques.  En Turquie comme ailleurs (mais plus qu’ailleurs si l’on s’en tient aux statistiques européennes), le décalage est donc grand entre la présence des femmes dans le monde du travail, et la forte féminisation de certains secteurs d’activité (santé et enseignement scolaire, mais aussi justice et université), et la très faible représentation des femmes en politique, que ce soit donc  dans les municipalités (à l’issue des élections municipales de 2004, on relevait 18 femmes maires sur un total de 3215 municipalités, soit 0,37%), dans les conseils de province (33 femmes membres des conseils de province sur un total de 3.122, soit 0,96%), à l’Assemblée (entre en 5 et 10%), et dans les gouvernements eux-mêmes.

Vers la fin des années 1980 pourtant, d’après  les sondages d’opinion et les recherches sociologiques, les électrices (qui commencent alors à avoir des préférences politiques différentes de celles de leurs maris) déclarent faire plus confiance aux femmes, et clairement souhaiter voir davantage de femmes à des postes de responsabilité. C’est d’ailleurs pour promouvoir la parité en politique, et plus largement  l’implication des femmes dans les instances de décision, qu’avait été créée en 1997 l’Association pour le soutien et la formation des femmes candidates en politique (Kadin Adayları Destekleme ve Eğitme Derneği, Ka-Der). A travers formation et lobbying, veille citoyenne et animation, Ka-Der essaie depuis 15 ans de  sensibiliser les partis politiques à la participation des femmes, les invite à les intégrer à  l’agenda politique. D’autres associations sont apparues depuis, qui se sont fixées les mêmes objectifs. Toutes s’appuyent sur les textes européens et internationaux ressortant du gender mainstreaming (la nécessité d’avoir la préoccupation du genre dans la définition de toute politique publique, et la nécessité de la promotion des femmes dans l’espace public, et en particulier dans le travail et la politique), et participent aux réseaux de lobbying qui agissent à Bruxelles, comme l’European Women’s Lobby (EWL), qui fédère environ 3000 associations européennes.

A l’évidence cependant, les partis politiques turcs restent peu sensibles à ce dossier des femmes en politique. Ou, plus exactement (comme l’a bien analysé la thèse de science politique de Sebnem Çansun soutenue à l’IEP de Grenoble en juin 2010), ils ont bien compris la nécessité de rendre visibles les femmes dans leurs structures, et de montrer qu’ils s’intéressent à « la question des femmes ». L’AKP a ainsi organisé le 8 mars 2010 une grande « Conférence internationale sur les droits des femmes », à laquelle participait Mme Şahin. Et le premier ministre  Erdoğan n’a pas manqué d’être présent à la tribune et sur la photographie officielle, et de prendre la parole pour affirmer l’importance de la question des femmes pour son parti et son gouvernement (voir la photographie). Mais, au-delà des discours,  on butte sur le fameux « plafond de verre » dès qu’il s’agit que les femmes arrivent en position d’occuper des postes de pouvoir: être candidates éligibles lors des législatives, devenir ministres – et ministres occupant d’autres secteurs de responsabilité que ceux qui sont, classiquement, dévolus aux femmes -les secteurs sociaux, la famille, l’éducation.

Les politistes et éditorialistes peinent parfois, depuis 2002, à définir le parti AKP: post-islamiste? démocrate-musulman? etc. Au vu de la définition des femmes commes « filles, épouses et mères » que l’on a beaucoup entendue pendant la campagne électorale  de l’AKP (au moins quand le sujet a été abordé), et  au vu de la place effective qu’il accorde aux femmes dans l’espace politique, il paraît cependant évident que l’AKP est principalement un parti très conservateur. Ce qui n’exonère d’ailleurs en rien son concurrent du CHP (Parti républicain du peuple) de ses responsabilités, c’est-à-dire de son incapacité ces dernières années à renouveler le fond de son discours et de ses pratiques sur la place des femmes en politique. Il ne suffit pas de cultiver la nostalgie d’une forme de « féminisme d’Etat » kémaliste pour faire avancer le dossier du gender mainstreaming et de la parité dans l’espace politique turc.

En matière de progrès de la parité hommes-femmes, il n’y a donc pas, à l’évidence, de « modèle turc » … (http://ovipot.hypotheses.org, Jean-Paul Burdy,
10 juillet 2011)

Matchs truqués: Arrestation du président de Trabzonspor

La police turque a lancé tôt lundi une deuxième vague d'arrestations dans le cadre d'une vaste enquête sur des matchs de championnat truqués et a placé en garde à vue le président du club de Trabzonspor (1re. div.) Sadri Sener, a rapporté l'agence de presse Anatolie.

M. Sener a été transféré au siège de la police à Istanbul, d'où est partie l'enquête sur des soupçons de tricherie concernant 19 matches de première division de la saison 2010-2011, et diverses malversations allant de l'exercice illégal de la fonction de manageur à des irrégularités comptables.

Au total, 22 suspects ont été arrêtés lundi, dont un ancien dirigeant de la Fédération turque de football (TFF), Mehmet Levent Kizil, le gardien de but d'Ankaragücü (1re div.), Serdar Kulbilge, et un homme d'affaires de Trabzon, selon Anatolie.

L'ex-président de la TFF Mahmut Özgener a par ailleurs été convoqué au siège stambouliote de la police pour y être interrogé, a indiqué l'agence, précisant qu'il n'avait pas été placé en garde à vue, comme annoncé par plusieurs médias.

Les locaux de Trabzonspor avaient déjà été perquisitionnés lors d'une première vague d'arrestations, le 3 juillet, au cours de laquelle 61 suspects ont été arrêtés, dont 26 ont été placés en détention provisoire.

Dernier suspect incarcéré, le président du club de Fenerbahçe (1re div.), Aziz Yildirim, a été placé en détention provisoire dimanche soir, une décision qui a provoqué la colère des supporteurs de l'équipe stambouliote.

Le championnat reprendra comme prévu

Plusieurs centaines de supporteurs ont manifesté aux cris de "Les fans du grand Fenerbahçe seront toujours avec son grand président" et "brisons la main qui veut s'emparer de Fenerbahçe", a indiqué Anatolie.

Le groupe a été dispersé par la police à l'aide de grenades lacrymogènes alors qu'il tentait d'investir l'un des deux ponts traversant le Bosphore, selon l'agence.

Selon les médias turcs, Fenerbahçe et son président sont au coeur de l'affaire et sont soupçonnés d'avoir manipulé des matches au cours de l'exercice 2010-2011 qui a vu le club remporter le titre aux dépens de Trabzonspor lors de l'ultime journée grâce à une meilleure différence de buts.

Le Championnat turque ne devrait toutefois pas subir de changement immédiat: il reprendra, comme prévu, le 5 août a fait savoir à la télévision l'actuel président de la TFF, Mehmet Ali Aydinlar, ajoutant qu'aucune sanction disciplinaire ne serait prise dans l'immédiat.

"Nous pensons que cela ne serait pas juste de prendre une décision sans preuve, ni document. Nous attendons la mise en accusation. Pour moi, la mise en accusation est la preuve la plus importante", a déclaré M. Aydinlar.

La TFF a jusqu'à vendredi pour communiquer à l'UEFA (Union européenne de football) les noms des clubs qui disputeront les compétitions européennes de la saison à venir. (AFP, 11 juil 2011)

Tempête sur le football turc

La nouvelle rapportée par l'agence de presse Anatolie fait l'effet d'une bombe dans le football turc. Une quarantaine de personnes ont ainsi été placées en garde à vue, dimanche, dans le cadre d'une enquête de la police sur des matches truqués lors du championnat de première division 2010-11. Les autorités turques avaient déjà oeuvré en 2010 sur ce dossier, avec l'interpellation de dizaines de suspects à la clé, mais cette fois, les plus hautes sphères du football turc sont impliquées, à l'image du président de l'un des clubs phares de Turquie, Aziz Yildirim.

L'homme fort de Fenerbahçe, club aux 18 titres de champion de Turquie et lauréat de la Süper Lig en mai dernier, a été interpellé dimanche matin par des hommes de la direction de la lutte contre le crime organisé. Ces derniers ont également procédé à des perquisitions au siège du célèbre club stambouliote, situé sur la rive asiatique de la ville, ainsi que dans des établissements appartenant à des dirigeants du club dans lequel évolue l'ancien capitaine de l'Olympique de Marseille Mamadou Niang.

Six clubs inquiétés...

Le Fener' est loin d'être le seul club impliqué par cette vaste enquête puisque Trabzonspor a également fait l'objet d'une perquisition. Le président de Sivasspor, Mecnun Odyakmaz, comme l'attaquant Mehmet Yildiz et le gardien de but Korcan Celikay ont aussi été interpellés. Un sort subi par des dirigeants d'Eskisehirspor et des joueurs de Gençlerbirligi et d'Ankaragücü, que des clubs évoluant en première division.

En attendant de savoir précisément quelles rencontres sont dans le viseur de la police, le président du conseil d'administration de Fenerbahçe, Yüksel Günay, a déploré ce qu'il considère être une arrestation abusive de son président. "Je peux d'ores et déjà dire qu'il s'agit d'une affaire cousue de fil blanc. C'est l'État policier (...) A propos de quels matchs truqués est-ce qu'ils peuvent bien enquêter", s'est interrogé Günay, cité par Anatolie. (www.sports.fr, 3 juillet 2011)

50 Thousand Workers Forced to Relocate

With the enforcement of Article 166 of the "Sack Law" on 1 August, 50,000 municipality workers can be sent to work in rural areas. While the trade unions prepare meetings with representatives of political parties, workers in many parts of Turkey organize protest actions against the application.

The so called "Sack Law" was enforced on 25 February 2011. The controversial law comprises a package of revisions, among them also Article 166 as an amendment of the Turkish Labour Law. About 50,000 municipality workers are directly affected by the new law since they might be forced to work for rural police stations subordinated to the Ministry of the Interior or for schools affiliated to the Ministry of National Education.

This law means "exiling" the workers, said Kani Beko, Secretary General of the Turkish Trade Union for General Service Workers (Genel İş). Genel İş is part of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK).

"Being made redundant if they don't move within five days"

Beko explained that the places the workers will be sent to are going to be fixed within the coming month by a commission of the ministries and the unions. However, Genel İş decided to boycott the commission, Beko indicated.

"Once the lists are prepared, the workers have to start working at the place they have been appointed to within five days. If they do not go, their labour contract will be terminated. The workers have families with two or three children. There contracts will be terminated since they are not able to work at a remote spot. 50,000 people will join the army of the unemployed", Beko warned.

"No unions in remote places"

Beko pointed out that the rural places the workers will be sent to lack organized unions. Thus, it will be impossible to implement the Collective Agreement Act (TİS).

"The workers are all members of unions like Genel-İş, Belediye-İş [Municipality] or Hizmet-İş [Service]. However, there are no union organizations at the places they will go to. Hence, we are talking about the risk of losing the rights recognized by TİS".

Beko noted that they have voiced their demands in numerous meetings with faction leaders of the political parties. He said that the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) applied to the Constitutional Court for the lifting of 17 articles of the "Sack Law", among them also Article 166.

"Our life will be over if we have to relocate again"

A worker at the Municipality of Kocaeli (west of Istanbul) experienced being relocated in 2005 upon the closure of the SEKA factory. He said he would not be able to go through a second resettlement.

"In the beginning they told us not to worry and appeased the workers with saying that only the 'surplus' staff would be sent. But now people talk about sending workers who are out-of-favour because of their political opinion. However, we have no chance not to go to place we will be sent to. Otherwise, the labour contract will be terminated without severance payment. How can a person who worked for 20 years abandon his right to a senior severance payment? Our family will be torn. Things just started to fall into place for us here. If we go to a new place, our life will be over before we will be able to adapt", the worker deplored.

Workers in Istanbul, Adana, Ankara, Izmir and Gaziantep organized protest actions on Tuesday (28 June) and called on the parliament to amend the law. (BIA, Nilay VARDAR, 30 June 2011)

Relations turco-européennes / Turkey-Europe Relations

EP's Rapporteur's Comment on Turkish Top Commanders' Retirement

European Parliament's Turkey rapporteur Ria Oomen-Ruijten said on Friday that Turkey was getting more democratic day by day after the commanders of Turkish land, naval and air forces have tendered their retirements letters.

Oomen-Ruijten released a brief statement and said that Turkey was becoming a more democratic country where democratic institutions had control over military decisions.

Turkey’s main opposition party CHP has immediately criticized Ria Oomen-Ruijten for saying that the country had become more democratic with the Friday resignations of top generals.

“We are sorry and concerned that a European parliamentarian, who is so unaware that, instead of denouncing the unlawful attitude of the ruling [government] toward members of the Armed Forces who resigned from their posts because of this [government’s] attitude, has suggested that these [events amount to] ‘democratic institutions having control over military decisions.
The European Parliament’s main Turkey rapporteur is unaware that Turkey’s democracy is going backwards," Osman Korutürk, deputy chairman of the Republican People’s Party, or CHP, said in a written statement Saturday. (AA - Hürriyet Daily News, July 30-31, 2011)

La Turquie remplace son ambassadeur à Vienne qui avait fait polémique

La Turquie a nommé plusieurs ambassadeurs à travers le monde dont notamment en Autriche où le représentant diplomatique turc avait suscité une polémique après ses propos sur l'intégration des immigrés turcs, a-t-on appris dimanche de source diplomatique.

Kadri Ecvet Tezcan, ambassadeur à Vienne, sera remplacé en septembre par Mme Ayse Sezgin, chargée des questions européennes au ministère turc des Affaires étrangères et auparavant ambassadrice en Slovénie, a précisé cette source sous couvert d'anonymat.

Le ministère turc procède chaque été à des nominations d'ambassadeurs et de diplomates et cette nouvelle promotion ne signifie pas un rappel de M. Tezcan, demandé par certains hommes politiques autrichiens, a-t-on affirmé de même source.

M. Tezcan avait été très critiqué en Autriche en novembre 2010 après une interview au journal Die Presse dans laquelle il a reproché en des termes peu diplomatiques au gouvernement autrichien de ne pas favoriser l'intégration des Turcs et aux Autrichiens en général un manque d'intérêt pour les autres cultures.

La communauté turque représente quelque 112.150 personnes en Autriche. (AFP, 24 juil 2011)

Erdogan exige une solution à Chypre d'ici fin 2011

Le Premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan a demandé lors d'une visite mercredi dans le nord occupé de Chypre qu'une solution à la division de l'île soit trouvée d'ici la fin de l'année, affirmant que les négociations en cours "ne peuvent durer pour l'éternité".

"Nous croyons sincèrement à un objectif de paix mais maintenant c'en est assez", a-t-il dit lors d'un discours dans le côté nord de Nicosie où il s'est déplacé à l'occasion du 37e anniversaire de l'intervention militaire turque qui a abouti à la partition de l'île.

M. Erdogan a estimé que les négociations, sous l'égide de l'ONU, menées depuis 2008 entre les dirigeants turc et grec de Chypre ne pouvaient durer pour "l'éternité", réclamant une solution d'ici la fin de l'année.

Car, a-t-il de nouveau mis en garde, "si une solution à la partition de Chypre n'est pas obtenue d'ici là, la Turquie gèlera pendant la présidence tournante de Chypre (juillet-décembre 2012) ses relations avec l'Union européenne".

La Turquie ne reconnaît pas la République de Chypre (internationalement reconnue) qui ne représente que les Chypriotes-grecs. Les Turcs vivent dans la République turque de Chypre du nord (RTCN) qui n'est reconnue que par la Turquie, qui y stationne 35.000 troupes.

"Je le dis clairement: nous gèlerons tout nos rapports avec l'UE. Il ne nous est pas possible de discuter avec l'administration chypriote-grecque", c'est-à-dire la République de Chypre, a dit M. Erdogan, en exhortant l'ONU à déployer davantage d'efforts pour obtenir un accord de réunification.

Le dossier chypriote a très peu évolué depuis 2004, quand les Chypriotes-grecs ont massivement rejeté un plan onusien de réunification qui avait été accepté par les Chypriotes-turcs.

Peu après ce référendum, la secteur grec de l'île à adhéré à l'UE, une adhésion accompagnée de promesses européennes d'aides à la RTCN, qui selon les Turcs, n'ont pas été suivies d'effet. (AFP, 20 juil 2011)

Ankara parle d'un gel des relations avec l'UE lors de la présidence chypriote

Le Premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan a menacé de geler les relations avec l'UE si la question chypriote n'était pas résolue avant que Chypre prenne la présidence tournante de l'UE mi-2012, des déclarations condamnées par le président chypriote, Demetris Christofias.

"Nous n'aurons aucune discussion avec la présidence chypriote (qu'Ankara ne reconnaît pas). Les rapports avec l'UE seront gelés pendant six mois", a prévenu M. Erdogan dans un entretien publié mardi par le journal Milliyet.

"Nous considérons comme une honte de nous asseoir à la table de négociations avec eux (les Chypriotes-grecs) aux Nations unies. Nous ne négocierons pas avec un pays que nous ne reconnaissons pas", a-t-il assuré avant une visite mardi après-midi dans la partie turque (nord) de l'île, à l'occasion de l'anniversaire de l'intervention militaire turque le 20 juillet 1974.

"Quiconque interprète les déclarations de M. Erdogan, qui sont absolument condamnables et, je dois dire, transpirent le cynisme, jugera que la position de la partie turque est qu'il n'y a aucune chance de réelle avancée" dans les négociations de paix, a répliqué M. Christofias.

Le président de la République de Chypre s'exprimait après une rencontre avec le dirigeant de la République turque de Chypre-Nord (RTCN, reconnue par la seule Turquie), Dervis Eroglu, la première depuis la réunion de Genève du 7 juillet sous l'égide du Secrétaire général de l'ONU Ban Ki-moon.

"J'ai le sentiment que les Nations unies, elles aussi, ne vont pas apprécier les déclarations de M. Erdogan, car le souhait de son Secrétaire général, qui est aussi notre souhait, est de parvenir à de réelles avancées dans les négociations", a-t-il ajouté.

L'île méditerranéenne est divisée en secteurs grec au sud (le seul internationalement reconnu) et turc au nord depuis l'intervention turque en 1974, en réaction à un coup d'Etat fomenté par des nationalistes chypriotes-grecs qui cherchaient à rattacher le pays à la Grèce.

M. Erdogan a affirmé qu'il n'était plus question désormais de "faire des faveurs à Chypre". "Nous en avons fait assez. Nous répondrons seulement aux initiatives favorables", a-t-il poursuivi.

Selon le chef du gouvernement turc, la question chypriote doit être réglée d'ici la présidence européenne de Chypre, sinon le conflit perdurera. Il a aussi exclu tout retrait des troupes turques (actuellement 35.000) de la RTCN.

Le chef de la diplomatie turque Ahmet Davutoglu avait déjà prévenu la semaine dernière que la question chypriote devait être résolue avant l'accession de Chypre à la présidence de l'UE en juillet 2012.

Samedi lors d'une visite en Turquie, la secrétaire d'Etat américaine Hillary Clinton avait affirmé que le statu quo à Chypre "ne profitait à personne".

"Nous voulons une fédération avec deux communautés et deux zones, et nous le voudrions le plus vite possible", a-t-elle déclaré.

Des négociations de paix se poursuivent depuis septembre 2008 entre les dirigeants des communautés grecque et turque de l'île, mais sans résultat tangible alors que M. Ban a demandé aux deux parties de parvenir à un accord d'ici octobre. (AFP, 19 juil 2011)

No ‘magic formula’ to accelerate Turkey-EU talks

There is “no magic formula” to speed up Turkey’s slow-moving European Union membership negotiations, Warsaw’s top diplomat in Ankara said Friday on the day Poland took over the six-month rotating EU presidency from Hungary.

“There is no magic formula. These are things that have been going on for a long time. Some countries [such as Croatia] made progress faster than Turkey because they led negotiations in a way they could make progress faster,” Polish Ambassador to Ankara Marcin Wilczek told the Hürriyet Daily News on Friday. “We hope to see progress in the Turkish-EU accession negotiations. We’ll do our best as the presidency can do.”

Turkey has only opened and closed one chapter since its formal talks with Brussels began in October 2005. Croatia, which started negotiations with the EU at the same time, has concluded all the chapters and is set to join the bloc in July 2013.

Some EU diplomats are hopeful about possible progress during a United Nations-brokered, July 7 meeting in Geneva between Cypriot leaders. A settlement to the decades-old Cyprus dispute would give Turkey an upper hand as Brussels froze eight chapters in response to Ankara’s failure to open its ports to EU member Greek Cyprus.

“Hopefully, that meeting will inject some momentum into the process. Now there is a window of opportunity for the Cyprus talks,” said one EU diplomat, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Many EU countries do not want to see a divided island. We want to see an agreement before Cyprus takes over the EU presidency in the second half of 2012,” said the diplomat.

The Polish ambassador, similarly, hoped progress would be made in this month’s talks. “Then many things will become much easier,” said Wilczek.

During its presidency, however, Poland “cannot engage [itself] in solving only one particular issue as this is an issue that concerns the entire EU,” Wilczek said, adding that the EU should also think about the western Balkans, Serbia and the eastern neighborhood.

Asked if Poland would come up with a plan to accelerate Turkish accession, the ambassador said it was too early to speculate.

‘Growing, secure and open Europe’

The Polish presidency is expected to announce its official program next week. The ambassador said there would be three priorities.

“First, a growing Europe which means a Europe that has economic growth. We try to concentrate a lot on integrating the internal market that will provide a stable growth in current economic situation within the EU and to develop our economies more,” he said.

The second priority is a secure Europe. “We are thinking about energy supplies which play an important role,” he said, adding that the third priority was an open Europe. “When we come to Turkey, obviously we do hope to see progress in negotiations. We all know the situation is quite complex. Poland has been a strong supporter of Turkish accession negotiations.”
(Hürriyet Daily News, FULYA ÖZERKAN, July 1, 2011)

Westerwelle: Ankara doit être traité "honnêtement" dans sa candidature à l'UE

La Turquie, qui joue un rôle stratégique dans sa région, doit être traitée "de manière honnête et respectueuse" dans les négociations pour son adhésion à l'Union européenne, a déclaré vendredi le ministre allemand des Affaires étrangères Guido Westerwelle.

"La région dans laquelle se trouve la Turquie connaît des changements historiques. La Turquie joue un rôle clé. C'est la raison pour laquelle le processus de négociations pour une pleine adhésion de la Turquie doit se faire de manière honnête et respectueuse", a déclaré le chef de la diplomatie allemande, lors d'une visite en Turquie, selon l'agence de presse turque Anatolie.

"Nous ne parlons pas d'engagements, ni ne fixons de dates. Ce qui est important est qu'on se regarde en face, sur un plan d'égalité, et qu'on se traite mutuellement de manière honnête et respectueuse", a-t-il ajouté lors d'une conférence de presse avec son homologue turc Ahmet Davutoglu.

L'Allemagne et la France s'opposent à une adhésion à l'UE de la Turquie, pays de 73 millions d'habitants presque tous musulmans. Elles préconisent un "partenariat privilégié" entre ce pays et le bloc européen, une option que rejette Ankara.

L'Allemagne est cependant favorable à l'ouverture de nouveaux "chapitres" de négociations d'adhésion, en fonction de certains critères, a ajouté le ministre allemand, sans préciser quels sont ces critères.

Les négociations pour l'adhésion de la Turquie sont dans l'impasse. A ce jour, seuls 13 des 35 chapitres thématiques qui jalonnent ces négociations ont été ouverts et un seul a pu être bouclé.

Les discussions piétinent en raison de l'opposition de la France et de l'Allemagne à une pleine adhésion turque, mais aussi du blocage politique sur l'île divisée de Chypre, Ankara refusant d'ouvrir ses ports et aéroports à la République de Chypre, pourtant membre de l'UE. (AFP, 1 juil 2011)

L'UE "préoccupée" par la situation politique en Turquie

L'Union européenne a exprimé mercredi sa "préoccupation" concernant la situation politique en Turquie, où les députés du principal parti d'opposition refusent de prêter serment au Parlement, en solidarité avec deux d'entre eux maintenus en détention provisoire.

"La Commission (européenne) suit la situation de très près et avec préoccupation", a indiqué la porte-parole de la chef de la diplomatie européenne Catherine Ashton, Maja Kocijancic.

"La Turquie va être prochainement confrontée à des défis importants qui exigeront la participation de toutes les forces démocratiques", a-t-elle ajouté devant la presse.

En outre, "le Parlement (turc) sera au coeur des débats et des décisions concernant l'avenir de la Turquie, c'est la raison pour laquelle il est important que toutes les formations puissent contribuer à garantir son intégrité et son bon fonctionnement", a souligné la porte-parole.

Les 135 députés du Parti républicain du peuple (CHP, social-démocrate) ont rejoint 35 élus kurdes qui avaient déjà annoncé la semaine dernière leur boycottage du Parlement pour protester contre l'invalidation de l'élection d'un militant kurde en raison d'une condamnation pour "propagande terroriste".

Un tribunal stambouliote a rejeté jeudi les demandes de libération du journaliste Mustafa Balbay et de l'universitaire Mehmet Haberal, élus respectivement à Izmir (ouest) et Zonguldak (nord-ouest) sur des listes du CHP.

Les deux hommes ont été élus alors qu'ils étaient en détention provisoire pour appartenance supposée au réseau putschiste Ergenekon, qui visait selon l'acte d'accusation à créer, en multipliant les violences, un contexte favorable à un coup d'Etat militaire contre le gouvernement.

Sept autres candidats (six militants kurdes et un membre d'un parti nationaliste MHP) ont été élus alors qu'ils étaient en détention provisoire. Leurs demandes de libération ont toutes été rejetées.

Le CHP a accusé le Parti de la justice et du développement (AKP, issu de la mouvance islamiste) au pouvoir d'avoir fait pression sur les juges pour empêcher la libération des élus détenus. (AFP, 30 juin 2011)

Turquie-USA/ Turkey-USA

New CIA chief holds anti-PKK talks in Ankara

New CIA chief Gen. David Petraeus arrived in Ankara on Monday in an unannounced visit to hold talks with military and government officials about ways to reinforce bilateral cooperation in the fight against terrorism.

“This visit from Petraeus was planned two weeks ago,” a senior official told the Hürriyet Daily News on condition of anonymity. “This is a clear indication that U.S. support to Turkey’s fight against terrorism will continue.”

Petraeus came to Ankara from Afghanistan, where he handed over the command of his troops to Gen. John Allen. He is scheduled to begin his job as CIA chief in early September.

Petraeus met late Monday with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and senior military officials; he is scheduled to leave Turkey early Tuesday.

Sources said Washington’s potential contribution in helping Turkey fight against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, would top the agenda of Petraeus’ visit, which was made primarily to thank Turkey for its leadership in commanding the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, in Afghanistan and for cooperating with American troops in ending the terrorism threat.

“Petraeus’ visit was set two weeks ago with both sides’ confirmation that cooperation in the fight against terrorism will be particularly reviewed,” a source with knowledge of the meeting said. During her meetings with Turkish officials Saturday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promised to strengthen efforts to this end. Coming only days after a fatal PKK attack killed 13 Turkish troops, Petraeus’ visit is expected to be an important one in terms of discussing new measures to boost cooperation.

Sources said that although American troops would pull out from Iraq by the end of this year, there was still a possibility that they would give more support to Turkey in eliminating PKK elements based in northern Iraq.

With former CIA chief Leon Panetta having been appointed as the new U.S. defense secretary, Turkish officials said this duo will be important for Ankara in establishing direct contacts with Washington on the fight against terror.

Mideast on the agenda

In addition to the fight against the PKK, Petraeus’ and Turkish officials reportedly discussed a wide range of issues common to both countries, including the Syrian regime’s crackdown on protesters and diplomatic relations with Damascus, as well as Iran’s growing influence in Iraq at a moment when the United States is set to withdraw its troops. The ongoing NATO operation against the Libyan regime and other regional political and security matters were also reportedly analyzed.

No official meeting with MIT

As Petraeus has not assumed his job as CIA chief, he made the trip to Ankara in his capacity as the outgoing commander of the ISAF. For this reason, no official meeting with Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization, or MİT, was scheduled, an MİT official told the Daily News.
(Hürriyet Daily News, July 18, 2011)

Le groupe de contact sur la Libye se donne les moyens d'aider les rebelles

Les puissances mondiales et régionales réunies vendredi dans le groupe de contact sur la Libye ont pleinement reconnu la rébellion, ce qui leur permettra de lui apporter l'aide financière qu'elle réclame pour combattre le régime du colonel Mouammar Kadhafi.

Le groupe de contact reconnaît désormais le Conseil national de transition (CNT), organe politique des rebelles, comme "l'autorité gouvernementale légitime" du pays, selon la déclaration finale de la réunion du groupe à Istanbul.

"Jusqu'à ce qu'une autorité intérimaire soit en place, les participants ont convenu de traiter le CNT comme l'autorité gouvernementale légitime en Libye", affirme le document.

"Cela veut dire que nous allons pouvoir dégeler un certain nombre d'avoirs appartenant à l'Etat libyen puisque que c'est le CNT qui exerce désormais cette responsabilité", a expliqué le ministre français des Affaires étrangères Alain Juppé.

La démarche n'a pas impressionné le colonel Kadhafi: "Reconnaissez un million de fois le soi-disant Conseil national de transition, cela n'a aucune portée pour le peuple libyen qui va piétiner vos décisions", a-t-il déclaré vendredi soir dans un message retransmis par haut-parleurs à des milliers de ses partisans rassemblés à Zliten, à 150 km à l'est de Tripoli.

Le Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU a adopté en février des sanctions économiques contre le régime de Tripoli, incluant le gel des avoirs de la famille et des personnalités proches du colonel Kadhafi. Le CNT réclamait la cession de ces avoirs à la rébellion.

Les participants appellent désormais les pays détenant des avoirs libyens gelés à "ouvrir des lignes de crédit correspondant à 10 à 20% des avoirs gelés en considérant ceux-ci comme collatéraux".

"Le groupe de contact a aussi encouragé les participants à fournir une aide financière substantielle au CNT dans le contexte des lois existantes, y compris à travers des mécanismes autorisant les entités contrôlées par le CNT à exporter des hydrocarbures", affirme la déclaration commune.

La pleine reconnaissance du CNT est le résultat des assurances fournies par les rebelles, "notamment la promesse de poursuivre des réformes démocratiques ouvertes, tant géographiquement que politiquement", a affirmé la secrétaire d'Etat américaine, Hillary Clinton.

"Les Etats-Unis sont impressionnés devant les progrès accomplis par le CNT (...), ce qui renforce notre confiance dans le fait qu'il est le bon interlocuteur", a ajouté Mme Clinton, qui s'était entretenue dans la matinée avec Mahmoud Jibril, le numéro deux de la rébellion.

A Benghazi, le CNT a salué vendredi soir les Etats-Unis comme "protecteur et promoteur de la démocratie et de la liberté", et exprimé "sa gratitude et son respect au peuple des Etats-Unis d'Amérique pour avoir reconnu le CNT comme le représentant légitime du peuple libyen".

Dans sa déclaration commune, le groupe de contact demande aussi aux rebelles de travailler sans délai à établir un gouvernement de transition.

"Le groupe a appelé toutes les parties concernées à rechercher les moyens de favoriser la formation d'un gouvernement intérimaire pour assurer une passation de pouvoir en douceur et pacifique avec le plus grand soutien populaire possible", selon la déclaration.

Il réclame de nouveau le départ du pouvoir du colonel Kadhafi "selon des étapes définies qui seront annoncées publiquement".

Le groupe de contact a en outre demandé à toutes les parties de "coopérer avec l'émissaire spécial des Nations Unies (en Libye) et de coordonner avec lui leurs efforts pour contribuer à trouver une solution à la crise".

L'émissaire de l'ONU "est habilité à présenter un paquet politique incluant un cessez-le-feu et à négocier avec Benghazi et Tripoli", a expliqué le ministre italien des Affaires étrangères, Franco Frattini, rejetant "toutes les tentatives pour avoir des médiations secrètes, confidentielles".

La rencontre d'Istanbul réunissait tous les pays participant à la campagne de l'Otan contre le régime de Mouammar Kadhafi. La Chine et la Russie avaient décliné l'invitation.

Sur le terrain, après cinq mois de combats, les rebelles ont poursuivi vendredi leur offensive sur le front Est, assurant progresser en direction du port pétrolier de Brega, au prix d'au moins trois morts et 73 blessés dans leurs rangs.

Une unité de reconnaissance rebelle est entrée dans la ville par le nord, avant de se replier peu avant minuit heure locale (22H00 GMT), selon les rebelles.

Au lendemain de leur offensive sur trois axes depuis Ajdabiya, carrefour routier à 80 km à l'est de Brega, les rebelles ont annoncé avoir dépassé le point situé à mi-chemin, sur lequel ils butaient depuis des semaines, et assuré que les combattants de l'axe nord étaient désormais à portée de vue de Brega. (AFP, 16 juil 2011)

Coup de filet en Turquie contre Al-Qaïda

Un groupe de membres supposés d'Al-Qaïda arrêtés en Turquie lundi et mardi prévoyaient de commettre des attentats contre plusieurs représentations étrangères dont l'ambassade des Etats-Unis, a rapporté mercredi l'agence de presse Anatolie.

La police a arrêté lundi dans la banlieue d'Ankara, au terme d'une enquête de six mois, un individu identifié par les initiales C. I., au domicile duquel ont été retrouvés deux armes à feu de longue portée et leurs munitions, 700 kilos de produit chimique pouvant être utilisé pour la confection de bombes, des croquis et des documents, a indiqué Anatolie.

Le produit en question serait du nitrate d'ammonium, selon le quotidien Milliyet, qui affirme que les croquis représentaient les ambassades des Etats-Unis et d'Afghanistan.

L'interrogatoire de C. I., qui a suivi un entraînement au maniement des armes et à la confection des bombes à l'étranger, a permis l'arrestation mardi de neuf autres suspects à Ankara, trois à Bursa (nord-ouest) et deux à Yalova (nord-ouest), a indiqué l'agence.

Les interrogatoires se poursuivaient mercredi, selon Anatolie.

L'agence avait déjà annoncé mardi les arrestations, sans donner de détails sur les projets d'attentats imputés aux suspects.

La police turque procède régulièrement à des arrestations dans les milieux islamistes extrémistes.

Une cellule turque d'Al-Qaïda a été tenue par les autorités turques pour responsable d'attentats commis à Istanbul en novembre 2003 contre deux synagogues, le consulat britannique et la banque britannique HSBC, qui avaient fait 63 morts, dont le consul britannique.

L'an dernier, le numéro deux d'Al Qaïda, l'Egyptien Ayman al-Zawahiri, avait proféré des menaces contre la Turquie, alors que celle-ci s'apprêtait à
prendre le commandement des forces de l'Otan à Kaboul. (AFP, 13 juil 2011)

Relations régionales / Regional Relations

PM seeks Armenian apology after Israel

Recent remarks by the Armenian leader about “Western Armenia,” an area now in Turkey, were not suitable for a statesman and president, the Turkish prime minister said Wednesday, demanding an apology.

“The statements of the Armenian president are not an expression or an approach that suits a president. Equipping the next generations with hatred and enmity does not suit statesmanship,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said while visiting Azerbaijan.

In remarks over the weekend, Armenian President Serge Sarkisian called on Armenian youth to enable the return of “historic territories in Western Armenia” that are currently found in eastern Turkey, as his generation had done with the contested territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, sparking outrage from the Turkish side.

Erdoğan’s visit to Azerbaijani took place upon an invitation from President Ilham Aliyev. During his trip to Baku, the Turkish prime minister was accompanied by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Energy and Natural Resources Minister Taner Yıldız and Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan.

Following their meetings, Erdoğan and Aliyev held a joint press conference. Asked to comment on Sarkisian’s remarks, Erdoğan said: “The statements of the Armenian president are not an expression or an approach that suits a president. Equipping the next generations with hatred and enmity does not suit statesmanship. What Sarkisian does here is provocation. It is efforts to equip his own [country’s] youth with hatred and enmity.”

“How will the future of Armenian youth be? Possibly dark in this course. They will look at the incidents with these dark glasses,” Erdoğan said. “They should definitely know that there is an occupation in [Nagorno-Karabakh] and the occupiers are evident. Not only we say this, the United Nations also says this. This needs to be resolved.”

“It is the Armenian side whose approach has been unfavorable up till this moment. Azerbaijan has consistently put forth a constructive approach. [Saying] ‘Now that you have taken over Karabakh from us, you will handle [Western Armenia] yourselves when we die.’ What kind of reasoning is this?” Erdoğan said. “How could one transmit such a mentality, such a direction, such horizons to the youth? What does this mean? ‘Behold, our youngsters! From now on, Armenia can enter war with Turkey as it sees fit.’ We reject all this. There is no such statesmanship, no such diplomacy.”

“Sarkisian has committed a very serious mistake here. He has highlighted and affirmed a historic mistake. He must apologize and backtrack from his mistake,” Erdoğan added.
(Daily News with wires, July 27, 2011)

Erdogan: Pas de normalisation avec Israël sans excuses

Le Premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan a déclaré samedi qu'il est "impensable" pour la Turquie de normaliser ses relations avec Israël tant que ce pays ne s'excusera pas pour l'abordage meurtrier d'un navire turc, et ne lèvera pas le blocus de Gaza.

"Tant qu'Israël ne présentera pas des excuses à la Turquie, ne versera pas des compensations pour les familles des victimes, et ne lèvera pas le blocus de la bande de Gaza, une normalisation des relations est impensable", a-t-il dit à l'ouverture à Istanbul d'une réunion des ambassadeurs palestiniens, en présence du président palestinien Mahmoud Abbas.

M. Erdogan a accusé Israël d'avoir "tiré dans le dos" d'activistes sans armes et d'avoir perpétré un "massacre barbare", lors de cet assaut en 2010.

Jeudi, le ministre israélien chargé des affaires stratégiques, Moshé Yaalon, a affirmé que son pays n'est pas prêt à présenter des excuses à la Turquie.

"Il n'y a aucune raison selon moi de présenter la moindre excuse dans la mesure où cela signifierait que nous en assumons la responsabilité", a déclaré le ministre, réaffirmant qu'Israël n'est disposé qu'à "exprimer des regrets pour les pertes en vies humaines".

Après le raid israélien dans les eaux internationales sur le Mavi Marmara, le 31 mai 2010, qui avait tué neuf ressortissants turcs alors que le navire tentait de briser le blocus maritime imposé par Israël à Gaza, la Turquie avait rappelé son ambassadeur à Tel-Aviv et assuré que les relations bilatérales ne seraient "plus jamais les mêmes".

L'ONU devrait publier prochainement un rapport d'une commission d'enquête sur ce drame qui a mis au plus bas les relations entre les deux pays, autrefois alliés stratégiques.

M. Erdogan s'en est en outre pris à l'"intransigeance" d'Israël, qui refuse selon lui d'avancer vers une solution du conflit israélo-palestinien, et son refus de lever le blocus de Gaza.

"La tragédie provoquée par Israël à Gaza ne peut être expliquée. Il n'y a aucune autre réalité que celle de voir des femmes, enfants et civils innocents tués d'une manière barbare et inhumaine", a-t-il dit. (AFP, 23 juil 2011)

Israël refuse de présenter ses excuses à la Turquie

Israël n'est pas prêt à présenter des excuses à la Turquie pour l'abordage meurtrier du Mavi Marmara, navire amiral d'une flottille pour la bande de Gaza qui avait fait neuf morts turcs le 31 mai 2010, a affirmé jeudi un ministre israélien.

"Il n'y a aucune raison selon moi de présenter la moindre excuse dans la mesure où cela signifierait que nous en assumons la responsabilité", a déclaré le ministre chargé des affaires stratégiques, Moshé Yaalon, au cours d'une rencontre à Jérusalem avec des journalistes étrangers.

Le ministre a réaffirmé qu'Israël n'était disposé qu'à "exprimer des regrets pour les perte en vies humaines".

En outre, M. Yaalon a dit s'attendre à ce que le rapport de la commission d'enquête que l'ONU doit présenter sur cette affaire comporte "quelques critiques envers Israël", sans donner d'autres détails.

Mercredi, il avait déclaré qu'Israël attendait la publication de ce document après l'échec des efforts en vue d'une conciliation avec Ankara.

Après le raid meurtrier israélien dans les eaux internationales sur le Mavi Marmara, qui tentait de briser le blocus maritime imposé par Israël à Gaza, la Turquie avait rappelé son ambassadeur à Tel-Aviv et assuré que les relations bilatérales ne seraient "plus jamais les mêmes", tout en exigeant des excuses.

Les relations entre les deux pays, alliés stratégiques dans les années 1990, ont commencé à se dégrader après l'offensive israélienne "Plomb durci" contre le Hamas dans la bande de Gaza (décembre 2008-janvier 2009), au cours de laquelle 1.440 Palestiniens, en majorité des civils, avaient péri. (AFP, 21 juil 2011)

Erdogan déclare souhaiter se rendre dans la bande de Gaza

Le Premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan a déclaré mardi qu'il souhaitait se rendre dans la bande de Gaza gouvernée par le mouvement islamiste palestinien Hamas, soulignant que la diplomatie turque examinait les possibilités d'organiser une telle visite.

"Si les conditions le permettent, je pense à visiter Gaza", a déclaré M. Erdogan à des journalistes. "Le ministère (turc) des Affaires étrangères va y travailler. Je souhaite faire une telle visite, en fonction du résultat" des contacts du ministère.

M. Erdogan a précisé qu'il souhaiterait entrer dans l'enclave palestinienne à la suite d'une visite en Egypte dont la date reste à déterminer.

"Nous saluons cette visite de M. Erdogan, historique si elle a lieu, qui démontre l'intérêt de la Turquie pour le soutien à la cause palestinienne et constitue un soutien politique et moral pour briser le siège politique imposé à Gaza" par Israël, a déclaré Ismaïl Radwane, un dirigeant du Hamas à Gaza.

"Cette visite encouragera les dirigeants arabes et musulmans à briser le siège et visiter la bande de Gaza", a-t-il dit à l'AFP, alors que M. Erdogan a plusieurs fois appelé Israël à lever "le blocus inhumain et illégal" de Gaza.

Le ministère israélien des Affaires étrangères s'est refusé à tout commentaire, affirmant qu'il s'agissait d'une affaire entre l'Egypte, qui a une frontière avec la bande de Gaza, et la Turquie.

Cette visite risque néanmoins d'attiser les tensions entre la Turquie et Israël, qui considère le Hamas comme une "organisation terroriste" et a déjà réagi avec irritation à de précédents contacts d'Ankara avec le Hamas.

Les relations entre les deux pays, alliés stratégiques dans les années 1990, se sont dégradées surtout après l'arraisonnement par la marine israélienne le 31 mai 2010 d'une flottille de militants propalestiniens tentant de briser le blocus de Gaza, qui s'était soldé par la mort de neuf Turcs.

La Turquie exige comme préalable à toute restauration des relations des excuses d'Israël pour l'abordage meurtrier, mais ce pays s'y refuse jusqu'à présent.

Mardi, l'ambassadeur Özdem Sanberk, membre de la commission d'enquête de l'ONU sur cet abordage, a cependant exprimé l'espoir que la situation puisse se débloquer d'içi fin juillet. "Je serais surpris qu'il n'y ait pas d'excuses alors qu'il y a des deux côtés la volonté politique de résoudre cette crise".

Le gouvernement islamo-conservateur turc estime par ailleurs inconcevable une solution pacifique au conflit israélo-palestinien si le Hamas en est exclu. M. Erdogan, qui s'est acquis un statut de héros dans les populations arabes par ses fréquentes diatribes contre Israël, considère le Hamas comme un groupe de "combattants de la liberté qui luttent pour défendre leur terre".

Les relations turco-israéliennes avaient commencé à se détériorer après l'offensive israélienne dans Gaza en décembre 2008-janvier 2009 pour mettre fin aux tirs de roquettes à partir de Gaza. 1.440 Palestiniens, en majorité des civils, y avaient péri, ainsi que 13 Israéliens, des militaires pour la plupart, selon des sources médicales. (AFP, 19 juil 2011)

Une conférence des opposants syriens à Damas et à Istanbul

Une "Conférence de Salut national" réunira samedi, simultanément à Damas et à Istanbul, des opposants syriens et des militants animant le mouvement de contestation pour examiner les moyens de renverser le régime de Bachar al-Assad, ont annoncé les organisateurs.

"La Conférence de Salut national aura lieu le samedi 16 juillet
simultanément à Damas et à Istanbul pour rédiger une feuille de route qui sortira le pays du despotisme (pour le faire évoluer) vers la démocratie et définir les mécanismes en vue du renversement du régime, réclamé par la rue syrienne", souligne leur communiqué.

A Istanbul, une source diplomatique turque a confirmé à l'AFP la tenue samedi de cette réunion dans cette ville, sans plus de précision.

Cette réunion a été organisée à l'appel de personnalités nationales syriennes à l'intérieur du pays et à l'étranger. Plus de 500 personnes ont confirmé leur présence à cette rencontre dans la capitale syrienne et à Istanbul.

Un "organisme de Salut national" sera formé au cours de cette "Conférence", afin de "préparer la feuille de route pour le changement démocratique". Il sera composé de "représentants de l'opposition" et de "jeunes de la Révolution", selon le communiqué.

Une réunion sans précédent d'opposants et d'intellectuels s'est déroulée le 27 juin à Damas. Ses participants, qui ont débattu dans un hôtel en plein coeur de la capitale, ont appelé à la poursuite du "soulèvement pacifique" jusqu'à l'avènement de la démocratie en Syrie, gouvernée par le parti unique Baas depuis près de 50 ans.

Le 26 avril, des opposants syriens s'étaient déjà réunis à Istanbul.

Et en juin, de nombreux représentants de l'opposition syrienne s'étaient réunis dans une station balnéaire du sud de la Turquie et avaient exigé un départ immédiat du président syrien Bachar al-Assad.

Plus d'un million de personnes ont manifesté contre le régime en Syrie, en proie depuis quatre mois à un mouvement de contestation sans précédent que les forces de sécurité continuent de réprimer, tuant vendredi 17 manifestants, selon des militants.

Dans la seule ville de Hama, à 210 km au nord de Damas, plus de 500.000 personnes sont à nouveau descendues dans les rues, et elles étaient pratiquement autant à Deir Ezzor (est), a déclaré Rami Abdel Rahmane, de l'Observatoire syrien des droits de l'Homme. (AFP, 15 juil 2011)

Lieberman: Erdogan a fermé la porte à la normalisation

Le chef de la diplomatie israélienne, Avigdor Lieberman, a estimé dimanche à Jérusalem que le Premier ministre turc ne souhaitait pas une "normalisation" des relations entre son pays et Israël.

"(Recep Tayyip) Erdogan a fermé la porte à un arrangement avec Israël. Il ne veut ni arrangement, ni normalisation avec Israël", a affirmé Avigdor Lieberman à la radio publique israélienne.

"Tout ce qui l'intéresse, c'est de nous humilier et de miner notre position au niveau international. C'est dommage, car l'intérêt des Turcs comme le nôtre serait de normaliser les relations bilatérales", a-t-il ajouté.

M. Lieberman a fait allusion à un récent discours de M. Erdogan dans lequel il exigeait qu'Israël abroge son blocus maritime de la bande de Gaza, présente ses excuses pour l'abordage en mai 2010 du ferry turc Mavi Marmara et verse des indemnités aux familles des neuf passagers turcs tués dans l'assaut.

M. Lieberman a tenu ces propos alors que la publication du rapport de l'ONU sur cet assaut a été reporté pour accorder plus de temps aux discussions entre Israël et la Turquie, selon un responsable israélien.

Une source officielle israélienne a indiqué jeudi que les discussions à New York entre les représentants turcs et une délégation dirigée par le ministre israélien des Affaires stratégiques Moshé Yaalon avaient achoppé et qu'aucune nouvelle série de discussions n'avait été fixée.

Le 31 mai 2010, un commando israélien avait pris d'assaut dans les eaux internationales le Mavi Marmara, navire amiral d'une flottille internationale qui voulait briser le blocus maritime de Gaza, tuant neuf passagers turcs.

Après ce raid meurtrier, la Turquie avait rappelé son ambassadeur à Tel-Aviv et assuré que les relations bilatérales ne seraient "plus jamais les mêmes".(AFP, 10 juil 2011)

Mavi Marmara: Echec des discussions entre Israël et la Turquie

Israël et la Turquie ne sont pas parvenus à un accord, au terme de plus d'un an de discussions dans le cadre du panel d'investigation de l'ONU sur l'assaut meurtrier israélien du ferry turc Mavi Marmara fin mai 2010, a annoncé jeudi à l'AFP une source turque.

Ni Israël ni la Turquie n'ont apposé leur signature au bas du rapport de l'ONU sur le raid israélien, qui doit être remis ce jeudi au secrétaire général des Nations unies Ban Ki-moon, a précisé cette source qui a requis l'anonymat.

Le 31 mai 2010, un commando israélien avait abordé dans les eaux internationales le ferry turc Mavi Marmara, navire amiral d'un flottille internationale qui voulait apporter une aide humanitaire à Gaza. Neuf passagers turcs avaient été tués durant l'assaut de ce navire affrêté par une organisation islamiste turque, qui tentait de briser le blocus maritime israélien de la bande de Gaza.

Le refus d'Israël de signer le rapport vient du fait que la commission d'enquête conclut que le commando a agi de manière "excessive et déraisonnable" en abordant le Mavi Marmara à une grande distance du blocus, et sans donner une dernière sommation au navire.

"Des options non violentes auraient du être utilisées en première instance", dit le rapport, selon cette source turque.

Les morts et blessés qui ont résulté de ce raid sont "inacceptables", ajoute le rapport.

Le refus de la Turquie de signer le rapport vient notamment du fait qu'il déclare que le blocus de Gaza par Israël n'était pas illégal, a précisé cette source à l'AFP.

La Turquie répète depuis un an qu'elle exige d'Israël des excuses et des compensations pour les familles des victimes du raid israélien.

Après ce raid meurtrier, la Turquie avait rappelé son ambassadeur à Tel-Aviv et assuré que les relations bilatérales ne seraient "plus jamais les mêmes".

Cependant, tant Israël que la Turquie avaient donné des indications ces dernières semaines que les deux pays, jadis proches alliés, tentaient d'aplanir leurs divergences pour mettre fin à plus d'un an de crise diplomatique.

Mercredi, le Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu avait évoqué à Bucarest les signes d'un "rapprochement" entre son pays et la Turquie.

"Nous cherchons des moyens pour améliorer nos relations actuelles", a déclaré M. Netanyahu au cours d'un point de presse organisé durant une visite en Roumanie.

M. Netanyahu avait aussi envoyé à son homologue turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan un message pour le féliciter de la victoire aux élections législatives du 12 juin de son parti, une formation issue de la mouvance islamiste.

Et l'annonce par l'association islamiste turque IHH que cette année, elle n'enverrait pas le Mavi Marmara rejoindre une seconde flottille internationale vers Gaza, avait été interprétée par Israël comme une décision positive, inspirée par les autorités turques. (AFP, 7 juil 2011)

La Turquie prolonge d'un an le mandat de son contingent de la Finul au Liban

Le Parlement turc s'est prononcé mardi en faveur d'une prolongation d'un an à partir de septembre de la mission des troupes turques servant au sein de la Force intérimaire des Nations unies au Liban (Finul).

Il s'agit de la cinquième prolongation de la mission turque depuis son approbation initiale en septembre 2006.

La Finul a été mise sur pied en 1978 afin de surveiller la frontière entre le Liban et Israël. Sa mission a été prolongée après la guerre de 2006 opposant l'Etat hébreu et les militants libanais chiites du Hezbollah.

La Force dispose actuellement de 13.000 hommes provenant de plusieurs pays et déployés dans le sud du Liban.

La Turquie est le premier pays musulman à avoir fourni des renforts à la Finul renforcée.

La contribution turque s'élève à un millier d'hommes ainsi que plusieurs navires de guerre déployés au large du Liban pour empêcher le ravitaillement en armes du Hezbollah par la mer.

La Turquie s'est engagée dans une diplomatie active au Proche-Orient avec l'arrivée au pouvoir en 2002 du Parti de la justice et du développement (AKP), une formation issue de la mouvance islamiste.

Elle a tissé d'étroits liens avec les pays arabes et l'Iran mais ses rapports avec Israël sont au point mort depuis le raid d'un commando israélien contre un convoi maritime d'aide humanitaire à Gaza, le 31 mai 2010, qui a coûté la vie à neuf Turcs. (AFP, 5 juil 2011)

La Turquie tente de restaurer son influence en Libye

La Turquie a choisi de reconnaître les rebelles de Libye et tente de restaurer son influence dans ce pays, tournant la page d'une diplomatie qui peine à trouver sa voie depuis le début de la crise.

"La Libye et la Turquie ont une histoire commune et un avenir commun" a lancé dimanche le ministre turc des Affaires étrangères Ahmet Davutoglu à Benghazi, le fief des rebelles libyens.

M. Davutoglu, qui était accompagné de dirigeants d'entreprises pétrolière et aérienne turques, faisait allusion au passé ottoman de la Libye et aux importants liens économiques entre les deux pays, aujourd'hui remis en question par le conflit.

Ce message, le chef de la diplomatie turque l'a répété dans la soirée, lorsqu'il s'est adressé à plusieurs centaines de personnes, lors d'un bain de foule sur la Place de la Liberté, à Benghazi.

Entouré de gardes du corps, il a parcouru les étals des marchands ambulants, accompagné par des Libyens enthousiastes qui criaient "Turquie, Libye !" et, en anglais "Libya free, Kadhafi go away !" (Libye libre, Kadhafi dégage!).

Après un entretien avec le président du Conseil national de transition libyen (CNT), Mustapha Abdeljalil, M. Davutoglu a pour la première fois affirmé que le CNT est "le représentant légitime du peuple libyen".

"C'est une reconnaissance diplomatique, même si elle n'est pas officielle", puisqu'il n'y a pas d'ambassadeur turc à Benghazi, a commenté le rédacteur en chef du journal turc Daily News, Murat Yetkin.

"C'est une indication claire que la politique turque, qui traînait un peu les pieds, a changé", a-t-il ajouté à l'AFP.

Samedi, la Turquie avait déjà annoncé qu'elle rappelait définitivement son ambassadeur à Tripoli, qui avait quitté la ville en mars du fait des combats, et qu'elle adoptait des sanctions contre ce pays.

Le Journal officiel turc a ainsi publié un décret gouvernemental traduisant dans le droit turc les sanctions décidées en février par l'ONU contre le colonel Mouammar Kadhafi, sa famille et des proches.

Les sanctions visent la Libyan Foreign Bank, qui possède 62,37% des parts de la banque turco-lybienne A&T Bank. Cette dernière est placée sous le contrôle du Fonds d'assurances des dépôts d'épargne.

Seul pays musulman membre de l'Otan et important acteur régional, la Turquie durcit ainsi graduellement sa position à l'égard du régime libyen.

Elle s'était dans un premier temps opposée aux sanctions, avait critiqué les frappes aériennes occidentales, puis avait proposé, sans succès, sa médiation avec une "feuille de route" restée sans suite.

Début mai, le Premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan, qui entretenait de bonnes relations avec le colonel Kadhafi avant la crise, lui a finalement demandé de quitter le pouvoir et le pays.

Il y a, dans l'hésitation turque à l'égard de la Libye, des explications économiques et politiques, explique Murat Yetkin.

Avant la crise, des dizaines de milliers de Turcs travaillaient en Libye, notamment dans la construction, dans des projets estimés à 15 milliards de dollars (11 mds euros). Plus de 17.OOO Turcs ont quitté la Libye fin février, laissant d'importants chantiers.

Mais, ajoute Murat Yetkin, le "facteur politique est le plus important".

"La Turquie ne veut pas s'opposer aux pays avec lesquels elle a des liens historiques", dit-il.

Et le parti islamo-conservateur au pouvoir craignait de froisser son opinion publique en prenant des "initiatives contre un pays musulman, avant les élections" législatives du 12 juin, qu'il a remportées haut la main, ajoute-t-il.

"On a vu les conséquences de la guerre en Irak... Nous avons en Turquie un proverbe qui dit: "Celui qui s'est brûlé la langue sur du lait trop chaud souffle sur son yaourt". (AFP, 4 juil 2011)

Turkey recognises Libya rebels,  offers $200 million in aid

In Benghazi on Sunday, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu offered the rebels official recognition [AFP]
Turkey has extended official recognition to Libya's rebels and offered at least $200 million in aid as part of a diplomatic shift away from the regime of longtime leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Ahmet Davutoglu, the Turkish foreign minister, met with rebel leaders in Benghazi during a one-day visit to the country on Sunday. He said his country now recognised the opposition National Transitional Council (NTC) as the legitimate representative of the Libyan people.

At the same time, Turkey officially withdrew its ambassador from Tripoli. Salim Levent Sahinkaya had left the Libyan capital in March due to the fighting and had not returned or been replaced.

Turkey has long maintained business ties with Gaddafi's Libya and initially expressed disapproval for NATO air strikes that sought to halt a regime advance on the rebel-held east. But since that campaign began, Turkey has distanced itself.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Davutoglu called Libya a "rising star" and said Turkey wanted to see the country succeed.

Rebels back off Gaddafi 'retirement' offer

After Davutoglu's press conference, a spokesman for the rebels retracted a statement made earlier by the opposition leader that Gaddafi could be allowed to "retire" if he gives up all his authority.

Abdel-Hafiz Ghoga suggested that Mustafa Abdel Jalil, the chairman of the NTC, was expressing a personal view and said that the idea is "not part of any discussions on our part in negotiations".

"Let Gaddafi show us one place in Libya where he hasn't harmed, tortured or killed people and he could stay there, but this place doesn't exist," Ghoga said on Sunday evening.

In an interview with the Reuters news agency earlier in the day, Jalil said that the longtime Libyan leader is free to "retire" and stay in the country if he resigns from his position and gives up all power. Jalil said he made the offer to Gaddafi via the United Nations one month ago and had not received a response.

Gaddafi now a 'wanted man'

The International Criminal Court (ICC) last week issued an arrest warrant for Gaddafi, his son, Saif al-Islam and his intelligence chief, Abdullah Sanussi, citing evidence of crimes against humanity committed against political opponents.

The rebel leadership has said it will do its best to see the three men arrested, but it appeared from Jalil's interview that the offer to Gaddafi still stood.

"If he desires to stay in Libya, we will determine the place and it will be under international supervision. And there will be international supervision of all his movements," he said.

"As a peaceful solution, we offered that he can resign and order his soldiers to withdraw from their barracks and positions, and then he can decide either to stay in Libya or abroad."

Al Jazeera's Zeina Khodr, reporting from Benghazi, said news of the offer had been met with dismay by some residents and that it no longer stood, since Gaddafi was a wanted man.

But Jalil still seemed to stand by it. He said the rebel council believed Gaddafi could be held in a military barracks or a civilian building. Jalil is Gaddafi's former justice minister; he defected in the early days of the uprising, which began in mid-February.

There was no immediate reaction from the regime in Tripoli, where Gaddafi has been maintaining a tight hold in an effort to preserve his 41-year rule.

Zuma diplomacy

Meanwhile, South African President Jacob Zuma, who has failed so far in efforts to mediate an end to the conflict, announced he would be visiting Moscow to continue negotiations.

He visited Tripoli at the end of May as a representative of the African Union (AU) but failed to secure a concession from Gaddafi, and the rebels rejected his effort. One sticking point has been disagreements over Gaddafi's future.

The visit to Russia follows an AU summit in Equatorial Guinea, which sought to push a regional peace plan to end the conflict in the north African nation.

The Kremlin said in a statement late on Saturday that Zuma and Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, held a telephone conversation in which they agreed to meet as soon as possible.

"The heads of state agreed on a personal meeting in the closest time to agree and co-ordinate the ensuing steps for a solution to the internal Libyan conflict," it said. (english.aljazeera.net, July 3, 2011)

Un bateau irlandais de "la flottille vers Gaza" saboté en Turquie

Un bateau irlandais de "la flottille vers Gaza" a été saboté dans le port turc de Göcek (sud-ouest), ont affirmé jeudi le comité irlandais parrainant le navire et des membres de son équipage, en considérant Israël comme "le principal suspect" dans cette affaire.

Le Saoirse ("liberté" en gaélique) a été "victime d'un sabotage (...) dans le port turc de Göcek, où il mouillait depuis quelques semaines", a déclaré le comité organisateur irlandais dans un communiqué, ajoutant qu'"Israël doit être considéré comme le principal suspect".

"Israël est le seul susceptible d'avoir conduit cette opération et le gouvernement irlandais et les autorités d'Irlande du Nord doivent insister pour que les auteurs de cet acte de terrorisme soient traduits devant la justice", a indiqué Fintan Lane, chef du comité d'organisation.

Equipage et activistes confondus, 25 Irlandais et Nord-Irlandais devaient embarquer à bord du Saoirse dans le cadre d'une opération internationale visant à livrer de l'aide humanitaire à Gaza.

Interrogé par téléphone, le skipper du navire, Shane Dillon, a indiqué avoir détecté l'avarie --des dommages au niveau de l'arbre d'hélice-- lors d'une sortie d'essai en mer lundi soir. Il dénonce un acte qui aurait pu mettre des vies en danger.

"Très certainement, si nous avions navigué et lancé le moteur à pleine puissance, l'arbre d'hélice se serait rompu et aurait sans doute crevé la coque du navire, ce qui l'aurait fait couler assez rapidement. Les pompes n'auraient pas été capables d'écoper autant d'eau", a-t-il déclaré à l'AFP.

Le parti nationaliste d'Irlande du nord Sinn Fein a exigé dans un communiqué du Premier ministre irlandais Enda Kenny qu'il "demande immédiatement des explications au Premier ministre israélien Benjamin Netanyahu".

"Si les affirmations des activistes s'avèrent fondées, alors les responsables sont coupables de sabotage et de mise en danger de la vie de ressortissants irlandais", a poursuivi le Sinn Fein.

A défaut de réponse israélienne "comme c'est probable," M. Kenny "devrait demander l'ouverture d'une enquête immédiate en coopération avec le gouvernement turc".

Enda Kenny avait mis en garde mercredi Israël contre "toute action qui pourrait blesser" des militants prenant part à la flottille.

Devant le Parlement, il avait insisté pour que ne se répètent pas les incidents de mai 2010. Un commando israélien avait alors tué neuf passagers turcs d'un des navires d'une première flottille qui cherchait à briser le blocus maritime actuellement imposé à la bande de Gaza, soulevant une vague de réprobation internationale.

Israël s'est déclaré à plusieurs reprises "déterminé" à arrêter cette deuxième flottille qui compte au total près de 300 militants issus de 22 pays ainsi que 35 journalistes, selon les organisateurs.

Shane Dillon a souligné que le navire, maintenu en cale sèche à Göcek, n'était pas en mesure de participer à la flottille. "Nous avons redéployé certains de nos passagers vers d'autres bateaux", a-t-il précisé, ajoutant que l'équipage avait porté plainte jeudi matin auprès des autorités turques.

Le comité organisateur irlandais, qui a présenté des photographies des dommages lors d'une conférence de presse à Dublin jeudi, a estimé que l'avarie, provoquée intentionnellement, serait "très similaire" à celle qui aurait endommagé le Juliano, un autre navire de la flottille, en Grèce.

Le Juliano transporte des militants suédois, norvégiens et grecs.

Les militants pro-palestiniens de 22 pays ont prévu de se retrouver "jeudi ou vendredi" au large de la Crète (sud de la Grèce) pour partir livrer de l'aide humanitaire à Gaza à bord d'une flottille d'une dizaine de bateaux. (AFP, 30 juin 2011)

Chypre et la Grèce / Cyprus and Greece

La Turquie veut un référendum à Chypre au début de 2012

La Turquie espère que des négociations intensives sur la question de Chypre permettront la tenue d'un référendum sur la réunification de l'île au début de 2012, a déclaré samedi le ministre turc des Affaires étrangères Ahmet Davutoglu, cité par l'agence de presse Anatolie.

"Nous espérons qu'un large accord sera trouvé sur la question de Chypre d'ici la fin de l'année, qu'un référendum aura lieu au début de 2012 et que Chypre, unifiée, prendra la présidence de l'Union européenne en juillet 2102", a déclaré M. Davutoglu dans le secteur turc de Nicosie, la capitale divisée de Chypre.

"Cela doit être notre objectif (...) Il est évident que des discussions sans limitation de date (...) n'aboutiront nulle part", a-t-il ajouté.

M. Davutoglu s'exprimait après un entretien avec le leader chypriote turc Dervis Eroglu.

Jeudi, le secrétaire général de l'ONU Ban Ki-moon avait demandé à M. Eroglu et au président chypriote grec Demetris Christofias de parvenir à un accord d'ici octobre pour mettre fin à 37 ans de division de l'île.

Les négociations de paix se poursuivent depuis septembre 2008, sans résultat tangible.

Les dossiers que les deux parties doivent régler portent notamment sur les droits de propriété concernant les terres ou biens immobiliers perdus par les Chypriotes grecs et turcs lors de la partition, le droit de faire circuler des marchandises entre les deux parties de l'île, les ajustements territoriaux ou encore les garanties de sécurité.

L'île méditerranéenne est divisée depuis le 20 juillet 1974, lorsque la Turquie a envahi le nord de Chypre à la suite d'un coup d'Etat fomenté par des nationalistes chypriotes-grecs soutenus par la junte des colonels alors au pouvoir à Athènes et visant à rattacher le pays à la Grèce.

La République de Chypre est internationalement reconnue tandis que la
République turque de Chypre du Nord (RTCN) est autoproclamée et uniquement reconnue par Ankara.

M. Christofias a pour sa part déclaré récemment que la date idéale pour une solution serait avant que Chypre n'assume la présidence tournante de l'UE en juillet 2012. (AFP, 9 juil 2011)

Des journalistes chypriotes turcs dénoncent une tentative d'assassinat

Des journalistes chypriotes turcs ont dénoncé une tentative d'assassinat visant un de leur confrère opposé à la présence turque sur l'île méditerranéenne, lors d'une conférence de presse mardi.

Sener Levent, rédacteur en chef du quotidien Afrika et publiquement opposé à la présence turque sur l'île, a échappé dimanche à une attaque dans la partie turque de Nicosie.

Le responsable présumé de cette attaque, Moustapha Yalcin, 26 ans, originaire de la province turque d'Erzurum, a été interpellé en possession d'un pistolet et de balles, avait annoncé dimanche Pervin Gurler, chef de la police dans la partie turque de Nicosie.

Ali Osman Tabak, directeur du journal Afrika, a rapporté avoir ouvert la porte à M. Yacin.

"Il a frappé à la porte et demandé Sener Levent. Ali Osman a dit qu'il n'était pas là. (M. Yacin) a dit 'désolé' et a tiré. Heureusement Ali Osman a fermé la porte et survécu miraculeusement", avait écrit dans un éditorial M. Levent, qui se trouvait alors dans une autre pièce.

Il a échappé à une autre tentative d'assassinat en février lorsqu'une personne avait tiré sur la porte de la rédaction et laissé une lettre de menace de mort contre M. Levent, avant de s'échapper.

"Je ne pense pas que les attaques vont s'arrêter, elles vont continuer", a déclaré mardi M. Levent.

M. Yalcin était venu au journal deux semaines avant l'attaque, assurant qu'il était envoyé pour "tuer le traître", avait alors écrit le journaliste.

La photo du Turc avait été publiée dans le journal en juin, la police n'était alors pas intervenue, mais le cliché a servi à son interpellation dimanche, a ajouté M. Levent.

"Une double attaque armée contre un bâtiment situé à moins de 30 mètres du Parlement et de l'ambassade de Turquie à Nicosie est inacceptable", a ajouté le syndicat de journalistes Basin Sen.

La République chypriote turque du Nord n'est reconnue que par Ankara tandis que le sud grec de l'île, membre de l'Union européenne, est reconnu par la communauté internationale.

Chypre est divisée depuis juillet 1974, lorsque la Turquie a envahi le nord de l'île à la suite d'un coup d'Etat fomenté par des nationalistes chypriotes-grecs soutenus par la junte des colonels alors au pouvoir à Athènes et visant à rattacher le pays à la Grèce. (AFP, 5 juil 2011)

Immigration / Migration

Un membre présumé du DHKP/C arrêté en Allemagne

Un Turc de 37 ans a été arrêté mercredi à Cologne (ouest) et incarcéré jeudi pour appartenance à une "organisation terroriste" marxiste, a annoncé le parquet fédéral. Le prévenu, identifié comme Erol G., était visé par un mandat d'arrêt lancé par la cour fédérale le 11 juillet. Il est soupçonné d'être un "membre du Parti-Front de Libération du peuple révolutionnaire (DHKP-C) depuis février 2007", a précisé le parquet dans un communiqué.

Il est en particulier soupçonné d'avoir été "responsable de la distribution de livrets de propagande", d'avoir "collaboré à la réalisation d'événéments commerciaux pour le DHKP-C" et d'avoir participé à "la collecte annuelle de dons pour l'organisation en 2008-2009", a ajouté le parquet fédéral.

Le suspect avait été présenté jeudi matin devant un juge qui a ordonné son placement en détention provisoire. (AFP, 14 juil 2011)

Arrestation à Salonique d'un membre présumé du DHKP-C recherché par Berlin

La police grecque a annoncé l'arrestation vendredi à Salonique (nord) d'une dirigeante présumée du DHKP-C, recherchée par l'Allemagne pour "participation à activité terroriste", ainsi que d'un autre membre présumé du groupe.

Les deux personnes, arrêtées à leurs domiciles par la brigade anti-terroriste, sont de nationalité turque. Selon la transcription phonétique de leurs noms donnés par une source policière, il s'agit de Gulsal Gulafarit, âgée de 42 ans, et d'Hussein Pekin, 50 ans, un demandeur d'asile.

La police a précisé dans un communiqué avoir découvert à leurs domiciles des faux passeports et saisi leur matériel informatique pour enquête. Ils doivent être déférés samedi devant un procureur de Salonique.

Selon une source policière locale, la brigade a mené son opération dans la nuit, sur la base d'informations faisant état de trafic d'armes de la part des deux Turcs arrêtés.

Le DHPK-C, Front de libération du peuple révolutionnaire, est une organisation turque d'extrême gauche, qui a pris la relève du groupe Dev-Sol, et figure sur la liste des "organisations terroristes" établie par l'Union européenne. (AFP, 8 juil 2011)

Turkish man killed under severe torture in Dutch police station

A 22-year-old Turk was found dead in a detention cell at a Dutch police station last Sunday. His family and friends say his death was caused by police brutality, while Dutch officials claim the young man died of a heart attack.
İhsan Gürz, the 22-year-old victim of alleged police brutality, was detained by Dutch police on July 2, Saturday after he got into a fight with an owner of a bistro in the Dutch city of Beverwijk. Gürz and the bistro owner, according to witness accounts, got into an argument when Gürz, who was waiting for his order of French fries, insisted on using the bathroom on the top floor of the two-story bistro, which the managers didn't want over a reason that is not yet clear.

The argument began to get heated after Gürz reportedly kicked a chair out of anger. The bistro owner called the police, who detained the young man using physical force after he attempted to resist, according to witnesses. Gürz was found dead 12 hours after he was taken to custody in his cell at the police station he'd been taken to.

İhsan Gürz was killed on July 2 at a Dutch police station.

It wasn't clear whether an autopsy had been carried out before Gürz's funeral. A Dutch police official from the Kennemerland police station in Beverwijk told Today's Zaman over the phone that he wasn't authorized to speak about the matter, noting that the case had been referred to the Ministry of Interior Office. Another officer from the Dutch Police Department said the case had been referred to the Ministry of Justice. Dutch officials declined to comment further. The incident was covered only by a single local newspaper -- the Noordhollands Dagblad. The newspaper claimed that police had to use force when detaining Gürz because he resisted. They also claimed Gürz was under the influence of illegal drugs when the incident happened.

Turks killed in European prisons

Gürz has not been the first Turk to die under suspicious circumstances at a European police station. Yet, no satisfactory results have come out of investigations into suspected police officers connected with other incidents where Turkish or other immigrants have died after being detained or arrested by police.

Ekrem Şahin, a 23-year-old Turkish inmate, who was serving a two-year sentence in Denmark’s Kolding Prison, died earlier this year after he was severely beaten by prison guards and went into a coma.

Şahin, who was sentenced to two years on charges of robbery, was beaten by nearly 10 prison guards after he refused to be transferred to another prison in January 2011. His heart stopped after the incident and he was taken to the Odense University Hospital, where he died, despite doctors being able to resuscitate him briefly.

The Danish police, called the event resulting in Şahin’s coma, “an ordinary, everyday event.”

In February 2008, a Turkish man, who was reportedly subjected to physical abuse at the hands of German police in Hagen, near Dortmund, died from injuries he received whilst he was in police custody. His name was Adem Özdamar.

His family claim he had suffered strong blows to the head, but after under going emergency surgery doctors were unable to save him. 
(Todays Zaman, 7 July 2011)

The long life of Djemil Pasha’s grand-daughter

Pervine Jamil, the grand-daughter of Kurdish Djemil Pasha, has a long and rich experiences in her life. Her grandfather Djemil Pasha was a important official in the Ottoman Empire. But Turkey punished the Cemilpashazade family and Pervine ended up in Brussels via Kongo ... Pervine Jamil : The long life of Djemil Pasha’s granddaughter

By Anahit Khatchikian – Pervine Jamil, the grand-daughter of Kurdish Djemil Pasha, has a long and rich experiences in her life. Her grand-father Djemil Pasha was an important official in Ottoman Empire. He had also served as governor of Yemen in 1880-1881. But Turkish authority punished the Cemilpashazade family when they became active in Kurdish freedom movement already 100 years ago.

Pervine Jamil is a Nomadic Kurdish woman. Nomadic not as the Kurds from old time, who were moving from mountain to mountain and from hill to hill with their sheep and goats... Pervine is a modern Kurdish cultural nomad. Grand-daughter of Djemil Pasha, important official of the Ottoman Empire and governor of Yemen in 1880-1881, Pervine grew up as open-minded, well educated and patriot women. She has travelled all over Europe and in several African countries and she has embraced many different cultures. During the last 36 years she settled down in Brussels and she dedicated her professional activities to the Kurds and the Kurdish culture.  The life of Pervine Jamil has been rich and interesting from personal, but also from historical point of view because of the strong involvement of her family in the Kurdish struggle for national rights. Therefore Pervine’s life has been already retold in two books – “Djemil Pasha Zade from Diyarbekir and the Kurdish nationalism” by Malmîsanij (2004) and the newly published “Pervine Jamil, a Kurdish woman in Brussels. Her life, memories, opinions” by Doğan Ceren (2011).

Pervine with her family in Damascus in 1950.  Pervine was born in Damascus, Syria, in 1943. Her mother Cavide Dagum was Circassian (north Caucasian ethnic group) and her father Ekrem Cemil Pasha was leader of the Kurdish Liberation Movement in Diyarbekir in the beginning of the 20th century. The grand-father of Pervine Djemil Pasha had two palaces in Diyarbekir and 40 villages in the area. In his book, the Kurdish researcher on Ottoman archives Malmisanij, writes about the Armenians saved by Cemilpashazade family during the Armenian genocide. Since 1918 all the family became active in the Kurdish freedom struggle and has been persecuted by the Turkish authorities. In 1925, 11 members of the family were accused for preparing the famous armed rebellion of Sheikh Said. Pervine’s father was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but he got free after 3 years when his family had to buy a flight to the Turkish regime.

Between 1926 and 1936 members of Djemil Pasha’s family were displaced, deprived from all their belongings and persecuted by Kemal Ataturk’s regime. Pervine’s father fled to Syria in 1929 and 4 years later he and four of his cousins were deprived from Turkish nationality. The decision was signed by Ataturk. Pervine and her three sisters and one brother grew up between the capital Damascus and Talik, a village in the region of Djezire, South West part of Kurdistan (Syria). Pervine started her primary education in Damascus in multicultural environment and she spent her holidays in the village among the Kurds.

In 1953, after the tragic death of Pervine’s bigger sister, the family settled down permanently in Talik. Despite the village life conditions and the absence of school for girls, the three daughters of Ekrem continued their education at home, assisted by their own father and by a teacher from the nearby village. Five years later, while Pervin was still continuing her secondary education at home, she and her brother, bored from the village life, insisted to go back to study in Damascus and started hunger strike to push their parents to accept. Only one day later, their father gave up and the family moved again to Damascus.  In the Syrian capital Pervine went to high school belonging to French Christian missioners. After graduating in French literature from the University in Damascus, in 1969 Pervine went to Kinshasa, the capital of Congo (Africa) to work as French language teacher. That was not a usual decision for a Kurdish woman at that time and Pervine recalls that friends and family tried to dissuade her from going: “They were saying to me: “We are men with moustaches and we don’t dare going in Africa. How you would do it?”

However, Pervine had positive experience in Kinshasa and keeps good memories from her contact with the African culture and traditions. In 1973, she got married to Pieter Gerits, a Flemish Belgian who had Christian theology diploma, but that time worked in the field of the laic education. They met in Kinshasa where their first daughter Shirine was born.

The family moved to Belgium in 1975 and Pervine started working for MRAX (a Belgian Mouvement against the Racism and the Anti-Semitism). She had been helping immigrants to solve integration problems and adapt to the Belgian society. In 1978 Pervine’s second daughter – Nevine was born. The same year Pervine and some of her friends created “Têkoşer” – Union of the Kurdish Workers and Students in Belgium. The aim of the organisation was to present the Kurds and the Kurdish culture to the Belgians. The members of “Têkoşer” travelled all over the country and visited even the small villages to speak about Kurdish history, language and culture. The organisation founded Kurdish dance group and organised many concerts, expositions, book publications etc. In 1984 Pervine left MRAX and dedicated her entire professional life to the Kurdish community.

In 1989, Têkoşer was renamed to”Enstituya Kurdî ya Brukselê” – Kurdish Institute of Brussels. The activities of the organisation continued as before and in 1995 the Kurdish Institute became International Association according the Belgian law. The Institute moved to a five-floors building where they had a big library with more than 1000 books and magazines, as well as Kurdish films, music records etc.

In 1996 Pervine decided to leave the Kurdish Institute and she established “Buroya Kurdî ya Pêwendî û Agahdariyê” – Kurdish Bureau for Liaison and Information. The aims remained the same: “to inform the Belgian, European and other publics for the Kurdish history, actuality and culture and at the same time, to help the Kurds of Belgium to live in an intercultural society”.

The Kurdish Bureau* is open all the week and has social and cultural activities: social service and translation, language courses, library, redaction and translation of monthly newsletter in four languages (Kurdish, French, Dutch and English), monthly conferences on Kurdish history and culture and the integration in Belgium and Europe, collaboration with many Belgian and other organisations for the preparations of festivals, cultural events etc.  The life of Pervine Jamil and her predecessors worth more than just writing an article, because they were people with broad thinking who worked not only for the preservation of their own national identity and culture, but also for the mutual understanding and tolerance between different cultures, traditions and backgrounds. Today, when serving your community has becomes more and more rare in our individualist societies, such examples can be only strongly inspiring! (Anahit Khatchikian / ANP – www.araratnews.eu)
* http://www.kurdishbureau.be/

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