According to Max van der Stoel, special reporter to the UN Human Rights Commission which met in Geneva, more than 1,500 politically motivated "extrajudiciary executions", took place in Iraq during 1997. Refused entry to Iraqi territory since 1992, the special reporter bases his enquiry on information collected by two Human Rights specialists last February in Turkey, from refugees and other people who could be interesting sources of information on arriving from Iraq.
The report talks of "mass executions of hundreds of prisoners", mostly last November and December, during the prison purification campaign that mainly hit prisoners on a capital charge or sentenced to a minimum of fifteen years imprisonment. Members of the family wanting to reclaim the bodies had to reimburse the cast of the bullet used to kill him. The reporter pinpoints cases of summary and arbitrary "extrajudicial executions" of people suspected of being hostile to the government and also mentioned lists of people executed for plotting or making attempts on the life of a leader of the regime. A list of 145 prisoners who are said to have been victims of the purification campaign includes members of the Da’wa Party, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, the Iraqi National Council and the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq. The report also accuses the authorities of enforced displacement of Turkomen and Kurdish populations and several attacks on basic rights, concluding that "the situation has rather worsened in the course of 1997." It is the worsening of conditions on the spot that is the basic cause if the flux of Iraqi refugees to Turkey and Europe.
IN the morning of April 13th, a 40 man team of the Turkish Special Forces, aboard two helicopters, arrested Semdin Sakik, senior commander of the PKK forces, who recently sought refuge with Massoud Barzani. The airborne operation took place near the village of Qasrok, near the towns of Dohuk and Aqra, about 60 Km from the Turkish border. S. Sakik, his brother, and a few Iraqi Kurdish guards who were accompanying them to Irbil, the Iraqi Kurdish capital, were take by surprise in this Turkish Army ambush, which had been prepared in the greatest secrecy, apparently without the knowledge of the Prime Minister or the Minister of Defence. Arrested, Sakik and his brother were taken by helicopter to Diyarbekir, in Turkey.
Sakik, also called "fingerless Zeki", was the most famous PKK military leader. In conflict with the leader of this organisation, he sought refuge, on March 16th, with Barzani who, on March 23rd, had publicly committed himself not to hand him over to Turkey, and had said he could move freely in Iraqi Kurdistan. The PKK chief, Ocalan, had accused Sakik, in a log speech on MED-TV, of "betrayal" and called on Turkey to arrest him.
In a communiqué published in the afternoon of April 13th, the Secretariat of the Armed Forces General Staff announced that the operation of kidnapping S. Sakik "in Northern Iraq" had been decided following the repeated refusal of the Kurdish Democratic Party of Iraq to hand him over to the Turkish authorities.
For its part, the KDP, in a communiqué published a few hours after the kidnapping had taken place "Firmly condemns the Turkish operation and holds the Turkish authorities responsible for this serious act and for the safety of the people kidnapped, including our own men". "This action seriously undermines the good neighbourly relations and constitutes a serious violation of the sovereignty of our country" adds the communiqué which furthermore indicates that the kidnapping took place while "Semdin Sakik, his brother and their bodyguards were being transferred to a safer place in the Irbil region".
The KDP’s N° 2, Neçirvan Barzani, in a long interview published by the Turkish Daily News of April 16th, talks of "an act of highway robbery that will do serious harm" to his party’s relations with Turkey. "This Turkish military action has ruined the warm relations, based on mutual confidence, that existed between Turkey and the KDP". he stressed before asking "Was it worth while ruining our relation in this way?" He added: "Many PKK activists have surrendered to the KDP. Semdin Sakik was one of the latest leading figures to the PKK to surrendered. According to our sources, many more PKK people, at different levels of the chain of command also wanted to surrender. Sakik’s surrender was a test case for all those future defectors. They wanted to see if Sakik would remain in safe hands. Now that they see what has happened, no one in the PKK will dare to approach us".
According to Barzani, Sakik’s kidnapping "will serve the interests of the PKK and prevent the breaking up of that organisation". Stating that his party was in the process of "reexamining its relations with Turkey" which "have been deeply injured by this affair", the Iraqi leader also denounced the "Turkish bragging" about this kidnapping: "they (the Turkish helicopters) come into our territory and land. Our people have orders not to shoot at them. In consequent to present this kidnapping as a extraordinary military operation is senseless. Its like a third rate Hollywood film (…) If people in Turkey think our relations are based on the number of PKK people we have killed, they are mistaken. We are not you village protectors (Ed. Note : the pro-Government militia in Turkey) Our relations must be based on mutual respect, not on kidnapping people who are with us, so as to embarrass us". Finally Barzani evoked the dangerous precedent created by this Turkish military action: "Iran is always complaining about Iranian Kurdish leaders who have fled to Northern Iraq and demands them back. We have always refused to do this, and as a reprisal the Iranian leaders close the KDP offices in Iran and arrest our people. We have 18 KDP officials in Iranian prisons because of this".
Turkish press commentaries on Sakik’s kidnapping stress, above all, the way the Army kept the government in the dark about the whole business. The Ministers, including the Prime Minister, only learnt about the kidnapping from the newspaper publication of the Army communiqué. Reacting to these criticisms, the Minister of the Interior, Ismet Sezgin came out with the phrase "It isn’t necessary that everyone be informed about everything". A few journalists write that the Army wanted, by this operation, to abort any attempt to form a politico-military faction led by Sakik, which could have caused the break-up of the PKK. Unlike Barzani, who had banked on this option, the Turkish Army apparently don’t want to break up the PKK which is a "golden enemy" for them, which the political commentator, Dogu Ergil asks himself, in the Turkish Daily News of April 29th if this hasty kidnapping wasn’t also aimed at preventing Sakik revealing the financial links between the PKK and certain corrupt Turkish officials. "If such information were revealed any legitimacy that the present way of dealing with the Kurdish problem would collapse". he said.
Some Turkish papers consider that the capture of Sakik will have regional repercussions, to the extent that he could make revelations on "the PKK’s training camps in Syria, Iran Greece, Armenia and Southern Cyprus". To be continued, therefore…
As one could expect, the Turkish police is making enormous play with the "confessions " they attribute to Semdin Sakik to try and settle scores with all those, journalists, businessmen, politicians, that they consider "enemies" of the State and to relaunch their disinformation campaigns abroad. Thus, according to the popular Turkish daily Sabah if Tuesday 28 April, Semdin Sakik, former commander of the PKK, captured by Turkish troops in Northern Iraq on April 13 and since interrogated by the Turkish security services, is said to have declared that the PKK was responsible for the assassination of the former Swedish Prime Minister, Olof Palme, in 1986.
Ankara has, for years, tried to convince the West that the PKK is totally unscrupulous terrorist organisation. These declarations, which have not yet been officially published and are impossible to verify independently are in line with the whole Turkish strategy of disinformation. According to diplomatic sources "true or false, this information will give the Westerners, who call on Turkey to open up a political dialogue with the PKK, something to think about". Mesut Yilmaz, the Turkish Prime Minister, declared that "We do not know what he has said or even if he has said anything, nor what compulsion he was under … For everyone, the important thing will be what he says in Court when he is brought to trial". Furthermore Lars Nylen, Chief of the Swedish National Police, stated "several years ago the police enquiry on the Palme case investigated very thoroughly similar allegations coming from Turkey but they led nowhere".
Presented as extracts of Sakik’s interrogations, other sensational news aim at incriminating Human Rights activists and some political figures as being in the pay of the PKK. Akin Birdal, President of the Turkish Human Rights Association, who is said to be accused by Sakkik of being "more of a PKK fighter than himself" stated that he considered the PKK to be "an armed guerrilla organisation" and added that "it is a very primitive strategy" to accuse opponents on the basis of "alleged confessions extracted under torture". It is just a plot hatched up by the police to dirty the reputation of the Turkish and Kurdish democrats, he concluded.
Germany, Syria, Iran. Armenia and Greece, several Turkish businessmen and well known and respected journalists are all alleged to have been cited by Sakik as PKK sympathisers. In this context, Cengiz Candar and Mehmet Ali Birand, two outstanding newspaper columnists, have been suspended by their paper Sabah following these highly publicised campaigns of disinformation orchestrated by the political police.
Ilnur Cevik, Managing Director of the Turkish Daily News describes the situation in these terms in his editorial of the April 27"
"We feel that these statements should be regarded with the greatest reserve. It is easy to slander people but it is not easy to undo the damage. This sort of statement casts a doubt on important revelations that Semdin could make about the PKK since it damages the credibility of his confessions. Certain independant observers in the West already feel that the authorities are using Semdin just to ruin the credibility of some eminent public figures in Turkey… We must not play with people’s dignity and honour on the basis of the statements of a self-confessed terrorist. If this sort of thing is revealed in the press, we think that the authorities should be very careful of what is made available to the papers".
THE Turkish Prime Minister’s pretense of independence only lasted a few days. All that it needed, was for the Turkish Generals, at a General Staff meeting, to issue a tough communiqué to bring Mr Yilmaz to heel and abandon his claims to order the Army to "mind its own business" and leave it to the Government to deal with Islamist activities. Finally Mr Yilmaz was obliged to publicly state that "the coalition Government considers that there are no differences between the Cabinet and the Army" in the fight against religious extremism.
On Tuesday March 17th, 1998, Turkish President Suleyman Demirel was summoned by the Generals for a briefing on the subject of the struggle against fundamentalism, the activity of the large economic conglomerates that support the Islamists as well as of other Islamic groups in the country. Irritated by the heavy role being played by the Army on the Turkish political scene, the Prime Minster, Mesut Yilmaz had called on the Army to "mind its own business" and let the government look after the struggle against fundamentalism. that the Army has been considering as the country’s number one danger for the last year. The antagonism between the Army leaders and the Prime Minister has its roots in the General Staff’s refusal to put an end to the Western Working Group (BÇG) and the fact that the General Secretary of the National Security Council regularly gives briefings and directives to the University Rectors without advising the Prime Minister, thus displaying the General Staff’s independence of the latter. Last July, Mr Yilmaz had asked the Army to tone down the activities of the Western Working Group, which keeps an eye on Islamist activity on behalf of the Army, since this matter is in the Government’s jurisdiction. The Army has ignored this request.
On Friday March 13th Prime Minister Yilmaz had reacted in these terms: "There is no reason for this lack of concertation. All citizens are sensitive about the struggle against fundamentalism. The same sensitivity id felt by the government. But no one may use the struggle against fundamentalism as a means of appropriating power for themselves. The government’s aim is to overcome this by democratic means, like the struggle against terrorism. We will not set democracy aside for this struggle. We will find solutions within the framework of a democratic State of Laws to the terrorism as much as fundamentalism. … Anyone who supports options outside a State of Laws to fight terrorism or fundamentalism will just become a third threat to the Republic, on an equal footing with the two others. … One cannot struggle by using arbitrary methods. I call on everyone to struggle within the framework of a State of Laws". Mesut Yilmaz also recalled that "everyone must keep to his place and act in accordance with their role".
At the end of a meeting of the five highest ranking commanders of the Armed forces, the General Staff aimed directly at Mr Yilmaz by declaring, in a communiqué dated March 20th 1998 that "no one can, for their personal interests or political ambitions, make statements aiming at weakening the determination of the Armed Forces to fight separatism and fundamentalism which constitute dangers for the country’s security. … The struggle against fundamentalism and separatism (…) is a mission given to the Armed Forces by the Constitution".
This communiqué was interpreted as a last warning to the government, all the more so as the majority of newspapers compared it to the 1971 memorandum, by which the Army secured the government’s resignation and achieved a coup d’état. Understanding the message, Mr Yilmaz did an about turn by declaring, on Saturday March 21st that "the soldiers met to express their unease. I will not protest at that. … My task is not to create fresh tensions".
Giving way to pressure, the Prime Minister announced, on Monday 23rd March, a series of new measures to control the activities of institutions suspected of supporting the Islamists, and closer supervision of private radio and Television broadcasts. According to the terms of this Bill, a Government organisation, the Department if Religious Affairs, will have the sole authority to allow the building of new mosques; the penalties for breach of regulations regarding style of dress in the public service will be increased and the law on demonstrations altered.
On Thursday 26th March, General Ismail Hakki Karadayi, Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff. met the Turkish Prime Minister, after having discussions with the country’s four most senior Armed Forces chiefs, to "get up to date on the situation". After this meeting, Mr Yilmaz stated that the tension had now dissipated, and that civilians and Armed forces were on the same wavelength.
After these preliminaries, the meeting of the March 27th meeting of the announced National Security Council (MGK), as much feared as awaited, passed off "normally". The MGK announced that "in the struggle against reactionary religious movements that aim at bringing down the secular regime, the existing laws must be applied without concessions and new laws must be rapidly adopted by Parliament". The Army insists on a purge of all Islamist senior officials who had infiltrated into the State machine, principally in the Ministry of Justice. Already five sub-prefects have been brought to Court and charged with fundamentalist activities. and two prefects and 73 sub-prefects are subject to judicial enquiries run by a special Commission created from the ranks of the Ministry of the Interior accused of fundamentalist activities. According to the Army, "37 out of 80 provincial Governors, and 200 sub-prefects (actually in office now) are notorious partisans of the charia (Coranic Law)". On Tuesday March 31st, three Turkish mayors were stripped of office by the Ministry of the Interior, as part of this purge. The Islamist Mayor of Istanbul, Recip Tayyip Erdogan sued with "explicit provocation of the people to hatred by religious, racial or regional discrimination" appeared the same day before the Diyarbekir State Security Court. In a speech last December, he had declared "the mosques are our barracks, their minarets our bayonets, their domes our helmets and the faithful our soldiers".
In the course of the meeting, a report was also given regarding the activities of Fethullah Gulen, the influential leader of a religious sect whose aim, the Army believes, is to help institute an Islamic regime.
The supporters of the dissolved Refah Islamist Party, against whom not a single act of violence has been proven, denounce this "persecution" of their sympathisers and this "crusade that has all the appearance of a witch hunt".
Moreover the Turkish Government has placed a Bill before Parliament to change the voting system for municipal elections, from a limited form of proportional representation to one of straight majority with two rounds, which should work seriously against the Islamists who had succeeded in capturing several towns with votes of only 25% at the municipal elections in March 1994.
The Turkish Virtue Party (Fazilet), created in December following Refah’s dissolution for anti-secular activity by the Constitutional Court has criticised the measures proposed by the Government, which they declare to be "incompatible with a modern state". As for Tansu Çiller, she contented herself with the following laconic sentence "Corporal Yilmaz came to heel as the first sound of the Generals’ whistle".
A BBC report of March 31st 1998 shows up the tragic situation of the Kurdish refugees, trapped between the Turkish and Iraqi authorities. Here are some extracts:
(…) Four years after fleeing from Turkey, thousands of Kurdish refugees are trapped in Northern Iraq. Surrounded by mines, they are forced to live in makeshift installations.
Baghdad prevents them moving South and the Kurdish factions allied to the Turkish Army refuse to allow them to return to the North. About 7,000 people has settled down near an Iraqi Army base at Sheikhan. BBC correspondent, Roger Omaar is the first journalist to have visited their camp.
Even the most elementary needs of human existence are missing. Just supplying themselves with water or firewood means leaving the camp and crossing the mined fields. Inevitably, some are unlucky. In the last few months, 16 people have been wounded by walking on buried mines. Without any support or medical, they make do with any scrap found around to make themselves artificial limbs.
The United Nations and the Red Cross try to furnish the most essential supplies to the refugees. But relations with Iraq and the sanctions inflicted on that country by the International Community, makes their task more and more laborious.
An Iraqi Doctor and a German nurse, herself married to a Kurd and a refugee, are the only people authorised to help the refugees on the spot. "I can say that the Kurdish people lives in my heart and I want to stay with them, to help them as much as I can" the nurse. Medea Mustafa, told the BBC.
However, each day fresh obstacles are raised for this "forgotten" people. Apparently kidnapped by Turkish agents, the husbands of several women have disappeared. "Before talking of Human Rights one must have the status of a human being. It is necessary to have one’s own living space, ones home, to have preserved one’s own identity" Ali Ghan, camp leader summed up.
Like every year on March 21st, the Newroz festival was celebrated by the Kurdish people. This time the Turkish authorities had planned official celebrations, sometimes forcing the people to take part, in particular at Siirt, which the Turkish Prime Minister, Mesut Yilmaz, had decided to visit for Newroz. The authorities carried out arrests in Istanbul and police raids on the HADEP and Human Rights Association offices a few days before the festival, and the governors of several provinces had forbidden any alternative celebrations while at others, like Urfa, Konya and Agri had forbidden the great popular celebrations.
Foreign delegations from England, Germany, France Italy the Netherlands and Scandinavian countries visited Diyarbekir and other regions to observe the conduct of the festivities.
Three Italians, part of a group of European pacifists, Dino Frisullo, from the association "Sans Frontières" and two students, Giulia Chiarini and Marcello Muste, arrested in the course of an action of the Turkish police against thousands of people meeting to celebrate the new year, were interrogated by the police before being brought before a judge who decided, on Monday March 23rd to release two of the Italians and keep Dino Frisullo in detention. The Italians were charged with "instigating violence". The police action at Diyarbekir resulted in thirty people being injured.
The 29th March issue of the weekly Turkish Probe wrote on this subject: "The Newroz festivities took place in an atmosphere of atmosphere of "virtual holidays" in Turkey. Only those celebrations that were officially authorised were allowed, everyone being meticulously searched as they entered the designated for the celebrations, and anyone wearing the Kurdish colours (red yellow and green) refused entry.
In Ankara: a group of demonstrators wanting to celebrate Newroz assembled in Sihhiye Square and went towards Tandogan. The police set up barricades at the entrances to Tandogan and searched the demonstrators. Journalists carrying cameras and placards were present. Amongst these Suna Bayraktar, reporter for the magazine Kaldirac, was placed in detention for refusing to let go of his placard.
3,500 people took part on the Ankara celebrations. After a minutes silence, a message from Murat Bozlak, President of the People’s Democratic Party (HADEP), at present incarcerated in Elmadag Prison, was read out. In his message, Murat Bozlak declared that Newroz was a festival for all peoples: "It is these people, deprived of freedom and peace who light this fire. We share the same spirit with all peoples of the world. This the day for hearing the voice of the people struggling for freedom" he added.
Newroz was celebrated in Istanbul by several demonstrations. The police designated Kazlicesme as the place for celebration. 20,000 people were assembled, jointly by the Party for Freedom and Solidarity (ÖDP), HADEP, the Labour Party (EMEK) and the Socialist Labour Party. 10,000 police and also a number of soldiers were deployed. The security forces placed in detention anyone wearing the colours red yellow and green.
Izmir was also on holiday. At Kusadasi, the local papers and television networks were forced, by the police, to broadcast and publish articles regarding some of the Newroz activities. They began in Izmir’s Republic Square, under strict supervision. Some masked individuals, carrying the PKK flag were rapidly dispersed by the organising committee whose President, Hacay Yilmaz, opened the celebrations with a speech.
The Newroz celebrations began at Van with activities organised by the Provincial Governor at the Culture Park. A group that did not take part in these activities met outside the HADEP offices, dancing and lighting the traditional bonfire without prior authorisation. Shouting slogans in support of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) they went towards the Municipal Park. The police, troops and two helicopters followed the group and clashed with the demonstrators. Three policemen were injured by stones in the course of the clash. Once they were dispersed, the police intervened against other demonstrators who had regrouped in the same avenue. In the course of the confrontation 13 people were wounded and taken to hospital.
In Diyarbekir, the festivities began at 7 a.m. Children lit the Newroz bonfires in some suburbs (Batikent, Ziyapasa, Sento, Gursel and Dicle) and 15 people were placed in detention by the police, but Newroz was celebrated without any violent incidents, despite fears of them.
Sanliurfa was the town with the record number of detentions during Newroz. The tension was increased when the groups of celebrants spilled over from the areas previously designated by the governor. 36 people were arrested following the events."
The observers considered that the festivities took place in relative calm this year compared to previous years. 12 people were killed in 1991. In 1992, considered the bloodiest Newroz, there were 102 killed at Diyarbekir, Van and Hakkari- and in 1993 there were no celebrations.
Still smarting from the European Union’s Luxembourg summit to exclude Turkey from the E.U. expansion plan, Ankara doesn’t hesitate violently to attack those countries that opposed it. Thus, in an interview published by the Financial Times of Friday 13th March, Mesut Yilmaz compared the German approach to the expansion of the European Union to Adolph Hitler’s famous "Lebensraum" (living space). "The Germans continue the same strategy as before. They believe in living space… This means that the countries of central and Eastern Europe have a strategic importance for Europe and Germany, as in the past… Their long term aim is to include these countries in NATO and the EU and to divide Europe between Bulgaria and Turkey… Turkey must be a good neighbour of Europe but not a member of the Union" he stated to the financial daily.
Germany’s reaction was not delayed. Germany rejected these remarks as "inexcusable slanders" and "insults". Against this background of crisis with Bonn, the visit to Germany of the Turkish Minister of Labour, Nami Cagan has been canceled by Turkey since his German opposite number, Mr Norbert Bluem, had reduced his participation in the various meetings planned to start on March 15 to just a lunch with Mr Cagan. "I’ve enough to as it is and don’t think that this visit would be very useful in the present situation" stated Mr Bluem.
Furthermore, according to the press agency BTA, the Turkish Prime Minister, Mesut Yilmaz, stated on Saturday March 14, in the course of a visit to Bulgaria that "in the European Union there are some circles who see its future as a club for Christians… Turkey will continue to follow its European path despite the mistakes made at its expense. So long as those mistakes have not been corrected, there is no question of our changing our attitude". Meanwhile Turkey boycotted the European Conference in London on March 12th, to which it had been invited.
For his part the German Foreign Minister, Klaus Kinkel, stated that "the path that could lead Turkey into Europe has several major obstacles: firstly, the occupation of Northern Cyprus by Turkish troops in contravention of a UN resolution, secondly the Human Rights situation in Turkey, and thirdly the Kurdish problem".
• THE HADEP TRIAL: 500 PEOPLE PLACED IN DETENTION WITHOUT CHARGE. The trial of the officials of the People’s Democratic Party (HADEP), accused of breaches of Para 1, Article 168 of the Turkish Penal Code, began on Tuesday April 27th before the Ankara State Security Court. HADEP’s President, Murat Bozlak, its General Secretary Hamit Geylani, the Deputy President Mehmet Satan, the Assistant General Secretary Zeynettin Unay, and Ali Reza Yurtsever, Ishak Tepe and Melik Aygul were present in Court to answer to the charge of "organising an armed gang against the security of the State", for which they face a sentence of 22 years 6 months jail.
Severe security measures were set up by the police all round the Court building before the hearing. About 500 people who had gathered to support the HADEP leaders were all placed in provisional detention and will be released in due course and 10 HADEP car loads forbidden access to the city.
Many observers were also present in Court. Amongst them, Mark Muller, Vice-President of the British Union of Bar Associations and Gill Higgins, an official of Advocats sans Frontières, officials of the British, American, German, French and Spanish Embassies, Yucel Sayman, of the Istanbul Bar Association and Fikret Baskaya, Yilderim Kaya, Vice-President of the Party for Freedom and Solidarity (ODP) and former M.P.s of the Party for Democracy (DEP - banned) Sedat Yurttas and Sirri Sakik.
Yusuf Alatas, one of HADEP’s lawyers, asked that his clients be released, but this was rejected by the court, which adjourned the hearings till May 28 pending the decision regarding the "flag case", the deposition of Semdin Sakik’s evidence and to collect further evidence against HADEP.
•THE ISLAMIST MAYOR OF ISTANBUL SENTENCED TO 10 MONTHS JAIL. The Mayor of Istanbul, Recep Erdogan, has been sentenced to 10 month’s jail for remarks said to constitute "an explicit provocation of the people to hatred through religious, racial or regional discrimination". Mr Erdogan, in a public statement in December 1997, in the Kurdish town of Siirt had said "the mosques are our barracks, the minarets our bayonets, the domes are our helmets and the faithful our soldiers". This is a quotation from a poem by Ziya Gökalp, ideologist and founder of Turkish nationalism – a poem written, it is true, at the beginning of this century in the context of a struggle against "the Christian powers of the period". This is the reason that the Diyarbekir Public Prosecutor asked for the Mayor of Istanbul to be acquitted, but the semi-military Court, no doubt on orders of the military hierarchy, decided to find him guilty – no doubt with the aim of putting an end to the political career of this popular public figure, whose running of Istanbul seems to be appreciated by the Stamboulis. Having decapitated the Kurdish movement, the mayor of Istanbul, who many regard as the future leader of the Islamists in Turkey, will now be stripped of his elected office of mayor and disqualified from ever again standing as candidate, since the Turkish penal code makes any citizen sentenced for "crimes against the State" disqualified for life…
As is well known, Sukuru Karatepe, the Islamic mayor of Kayseri (central Turkey, was sentenced to a year’s jail, on the same charge, in 1997, and the sentence was confirmed on appeal.
Furthermore, the police carried out an unprecedented operation, during the night of Monday 20th/Tuesday 21st April, in the business quarters of Ankara, Adana, Bursa, Istanbul and Kayseri. About twenty businessmen were arrested, who the police say, were involved in laundering fraudulently obtained funds and illegally transferring the money to Islamic organisations. This was in the context of an enquiry launched by the Ankara State Security Court. Five sub-prefects and three Islamic mayors have already been charged an the grounds of Islamic agitation as part of the measures announced by Prime Minister Yilmaz.
• TURKEY AGAIN FOUND GUILTY BY THE EUROPEAN COURT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS. On Friday April 24 the European Court for Human Rights found Turkey guilty of the destruction of Kurdish homes in the course of anti-guerrilla operations in Kurdistan. The Court judged that the soldiers had been guilty of "inhuman treatment" thus violating the European Convention on Human Rights. The two plaintiffs, Keje Selcuk and Ismet Asker, saw their houses and their mill set on fire and, left without any resources, were obliged to leave their village of Islamkoy (Diyarbekir province) without any help.
Ankara was also found guilty of having violated the principals or the right to a privacy and family life and the free disposal of one’s personal goods.
This is not the first time that Turkey has been found guilty of such actions. In its defence, Ankara maintained that the plaintiffs had not exhausted all the legal proceedings at national level, but the Court noting that the plaintiffs letter to the district governor had remained a dead letter, decided that a plea before national Courts would have "been pointless". According to the Court, the Turkish authorities had not produces any effective evidence – the officers responsible for the operation and the witnesses in the village had not been questioned.
The Court awarded Keje Selcuk and Ismet Asker $ 46,080 and $ 53, 800 damages respectively as well as legal costs.
•TWO KURDISH EX-M.P.s OF THE PARTY FOR DEMOCRACY (DEP) SENTENCED TO JAIL. Mehmet Emin Sever and Muzaffer Demir, two former M.P.s of the Party for Democracy (DEP, now banned) were sentenced on Thursday March 12th 1998 to 11 months 2o days and 10 months jail respectively by a State Security Court "for public statements of support for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and for separatist propaganda". Since the sentences were suspended, the former M.P.s will have to serve them if the commit another offence.
•THE POLICE WHO TORTURED TEENAGERS ACQUITTED. The 10 police who were accused of having tortured 14 ’teen aged high school children from Manisa, suspected of membership of a leftist movement, were acquitted on March 11th by decision of the Court. The Court, which had changed judges six times, considered that there was not enough proof of the guilt of the accused, who were accused of stripping the youngsters naked, of having buggered them with their truncheons, subjected them to high pressure water jets and electric shocks. A report of January 2 1996, signed by Dr. Emin Keskin, forensic medical officer and Kenan Güler, Director of the Bureau of Forensic Medicine, had established that the high school children had, indeed, been tortured.
Acquitted even though the Public Prosecutor had called for sentences of three months to three years jail stating that "there is proof that the ill treatment did occur". When the Manisa case broke in 1995, Turkey was in the middle of an election campaign, in the course of which political leaders cried high and loud that the courts were independent. Firuz Çilingiroglu, then Minister of Justice, had stated, in that capacity, that "there was proof that torture had been used" and these remarks had been included in the trial record at the time.
The plaintiffs have already declared that they will appeal against the decision and that if they do not get justice they would appeal to the European Court for Human Rights at Strasbourg.
In Washington, the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights sharply criticised the acquittal. "Turkey is shooting itself in the leg by acquitting ten policemen accused of having tortured teenagers" said a communiqué of the LCHR, which added that "this strikes a blow at the Turkish Government’s claims to be engaged in a serious effort for improving the Human Rights situation".
Elsewhere, the Afyon Assize Court, on Thursday 19th March, sentenced the five of the policemen accused of having beaten Metin Göktepe, journalist on the daily paper Evrensel, to death to seven and a half years jail. The other six policemen were acquitter.
Beaten to death by policemen on January 8th 1996, as he was covering the funeral of two of the detainees killed during the repression of a prison mutiny in Istanbul, the Goktepe trial began, under pressure from the press and public opinion, in October 1996, first at Aydin, then at Afyon for "security" reasons. After several about turns, the verdict was anxiously awaited by the public, the more so as the Prime Minister, Mesut Yilmaz, had solemnly declared that the conduct and verdict of the trial would be a test for Turkey in Human Rights matters.
Reporter sans Frontières, in a communiqué dated March 19th, stressed the "iniquitous and unacceptable" nature of the verdict and deplored that "police or Army officers enjoy a certain clemency before the law compared with the lot of ordinary citizens". The organisation demands that the Senior Officers of the police, implicated in this trial, be also brought to trial. The Göktepe family has already announced that it will appeal against this verdict to the Court of Appeals.
•TORTURE REMAINS REGULAR PRACTICE DURING INTERROGATIONS. The Parliamentary Commission for Human Rights, Chaired by Mrs Sema Piskunut (DSP) is visiting Kurdistan to complete its enquiry on detention conditions in the Turkish Government prisons. In the course of their enquiries in Diyarbekir, Urfa, Batman, and Mardin, the members of the Commission noted a number of irregularities and have declared that they have found proof of the regular use of torture in the places inspected, despite efforts to hide or disguise them, used by the police to distract their attention. Cables used for electric shocks of 48 Volts, tackle for keeping prisoners suspended were found in the interrogation rooms of the Police Department at Batman and other police stations in the region. The members of the Commission also heard much shocking evidence backed by hundreds of photos of torture victims. In one week’s investigation, 2,000 victims were heard, thousands of documents and 50 hours of video recordings were collected. Moreover, many iron rings used for the "Palestinian hangings" were found. According to the investigators, they were used for suspending victims from the ceiling and, and hoops were used for rolling them on the floor. Sandbags also seemed to have been used as instruments of torture. Elsewhere, the investigators noted that, in many Police Stations, the floor was wet and that some were below the normal standards of hygiene.
Still according to the Commission, ill treatment of prisoners often occurred during transfers. Moreover, the Doctors working with the Parliamentary Commission observed signs of torture on many prisoners.
Faced with these tragic finding, the local police officials only had ridiculous replies to give the investigators. On the insistence of the Commission, a list, called the "list of fugitives" containing thousands of names given by the detainees, was given to the Members of Parliament. Sema Piskunsut, remarking on the illegality of the procedure, deplored the face that names were written down without and justification or investigation. The local officials, "joked" saying "you are also listed, Mrs Chairwoman". Questioned for the reason why no women ever attended interrogation, an official retorted spontaneously "no one with children could bear that". Another, unperturbed, remarked that "interrogation was a very amusing task".
•TURKEY, TOP OF THE LIST OF COUNTRIES WHICH IMPRISON THEIR JOURNALIST. The Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ)published, on Friday March 27th, its report for the year §997. As in 1996, Turkey remains the leading country for violations of the Human Rights of journalists, and this despite the release of 37 in the course of the last year.
In 1997, the number of journalists imprisoned in the world was 129, against 185 in 1996.. The releases in Turkey largely contributed towards this drop, moreover the CPJ considers that these releases have been the most important changes in Turkey for the year. However, Turkey remains top of the list of this report of countries with 29 journalists still in jail. With 20 journalists killed, it falls in only 7th place in this "Championship" of the number of journalists assassinated throughout the world.
While the Turkish Parliament’s Justice Commission was examining a Bill to amend the Turkish Penal Code to avoid imprisoning the lawyer Esber Yagmurdereli, the Istanbul State Security Court opened fresh proceedings against Haluk Gerger, Yalçin Luçuk and Kemal Burkay, accused of "separatist propaganda in the remarks they made during a MED -TV broadcast on November 19th 1995". The first hearing will take place on May 7th 1998.
Moreover, on the eve of the International Day for Freedom of the Press, which is May 3, Reporters sans Frontières published its Annual Report, taking stock of the violations of Press freedom in 140 countries. In 1997, 26 journalists were killed while exercising their profession and, up to April 14 1998, 102 journalists had been imprisoned for their professional activities.
Turkey is the country which has recorded the largest number of violations of freedom of journalists. According to the report, in 1997 almost 20 journalists were tortured in detention and at least 255 called in for questioning or detained without charge. The trial of 11 policemen accused of the murder of Metin Göktepe, extreme left journalist beaten to death, is copiously described, with all its incidents.
Similarly, the 1998 edition denounces the quasi systematic use of torture in Turkey and stresses that "the assistants of the pro-Kurdish or extreme left press organs are very often tortured on the premises sections responsible for anti-terrorist struggle. In 1997, at least 16 journalists suffered this fate".
Still according to the report, 91 journalists are in detention in Turkey "without it being possible to tell whether they are there for their opinions of for exercising their profession". 62 journalists have been subjected to physical attacks and 73 others have been harassed or threatened in 1997 (the lowest estimate). Moreover other means of pressure are used against journalists, such as legal, administrative or economic pressures; legal proceedings have been undertaken against at least 44 Turkish media organs in the course of 1997. 89 such organs have been suspended for periods of for varying periods or been closed down or suspended for an indefinite period, 33 daily papers or periodicals have been seized.
•THE VAL D’AOSTA REGION AWARDS LEYLA ZANA THE 1998 WOMAN OF THE YEAR PRIZE. The Val d’Aosta Regional Council (Northern Italy), in a ceremony regrouping leading figures from the worlds of culture, science and the press, awarded its Woman of the Year Prize to Leyla Zana. The jury, chaired by François Stévenin, President of the Val d’Aostan Regional Council, justified its decision in the following words: "First Kurdish woman elected to Parliament in all of Turkey’s history, she sacrificed Man’s most fundamental possession, freedom, to defend her people. Sentenced and jailed in Ankara Prison, she has become the symbol of Kurdish resistance for the recognition of democratic values based on peace and social justice".
Two other candidates, the Calabrian activist Mrs Teresa Cordopartri dei Capece and the Algerian journalist Salima Ghezali, also received awards.
Meanwhile, Mrs Claudia Roth, Member of the European Parliament and Vice-President of our Committee was refused permission to visit Leyla Zana in her Ankara prison. "Unfortunately everything happened as usual (…) The Foreign Minister, Ismail Cem, told me on Monday that he was unable to transmit my request" stated Mrs Roth, who was in Ankara for a meeting of the joint European Union-Turkish Parliamentary Commission.
•RENEWAL OF THE STATE OF EMERGENCY IN THE KURDISH PROVINCES. The Turkish Parliament decided, on Tuesday March 24th, to extend the State of Emergency in the Kurdish provinces for a further four months as from March 30th. This was declared in July 1987, to replace the state of Martial Law that had bee in force since 1979. Thus Diyarbekir, Hakkari, Siirt, Sirnak, Tunceli and Van will remain subject to a special regime under which a Super-Prefect holds extraordinary powers. In October 1997, the State of emergency was lifted in the Batman, Bingol and Bitlis provinces.
•THE TURKISH PARLIAMENT DECIDES TO SET UP A COMMISSION OF ENQUIRY ON MRS ÇILLER’S FORTUNE. The Bill against Mrs Tansu Çiller, former Turkish Prime Minister, was adopted by the Turish Parliament on Tuesday April 21st. Proposed by M,P.s of the three parties of the present government coalition, the Bill calls for an enquiry into her personal fortune. The government parties affirm that she had illegally acquired property to the value of $ 2.5 million while she was Prime Minister. A Parliamentary Commission will be set up to enquire into Mrs Çiller’s torture. Following this Commission’s report, which should be presented in about two months, the full House will be called upon to decide on her fate and if it is so decided she will be charged before the Constitutional Court.
Furthermore the Preparatory Commission is examining another petition calling for the lifting of the Parliamentary immunity of the leaders of the True Path Party (DYP), namely Mrs Çiller, Mehmet Agar and Meral Aksener, respectively Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior in the previous DYP-Refah (Islamic) coalition.
Mrs Çiller, who had already, under the previous Islamic led coalition, narrowly escaped three parliamentary resolutions accusing her of corruption, denies all the accusations against her and talks of a political settling of scores.
•WILLIAM COHEN VISITS TURKEY. William Cohen, American Secretary of Defence, and Marc Grossman, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs, arrived in Turkey on April 17th on a regional tour that included Jordan, Egypt, Israel and Greece.
The bilateral relations between the US and Turkey, as well as differences with Greece, – both member of NATO – mainly over Cyprus and the Russian missiles ordered by Nicosia which have provoked the anger and anxiety of Ankara, were on the agenda.
Mr Cohen’s agenda also included other equally important discussions – Turkey’s plans to acquire F-15s, its $ 3.5 billion helicopter gunship purchasing programme, its project for building at least 800 tanks for $4.5 billion and the issue of frigates in addition to the first three Perry class units already ordered.
The American Secretary of Defence also visited Incirlik to see American troops taking part in the "Northern Watch" operation of maintaining the air exclusion zone in Northern Iraq. He declared that Iraq would receive "no lightening" of the UNO sanctions so long as it failed to supply proof of the destruction of its chemical and bacteriological weapons.
The day after this visit, Turkey announced that it plans to issue an international invitation to tender to modernise its old American built M60 tanks, a contract worth over $500 million. American, Israeli and European firms are interested in this contract.
In addition to modernising its M60s, Turkey intends to build about 1,000 armoured cars jointly with a firm still to be selected, for a cost of $5 billion.
•THE RUSSIAN PARLIAMENT CALLS ON TURKEY TO SIT DOWN AT THE NEGOTIATING TABLE WITH THE KURDS. The Russian Parliament, the Duma, called on the Turkish Grand National Assembly to sit down at the negotiating table with the Kurds. In this connection, the Duma adopted a resolution called "An appeal for a solution to the Kurdish problem". The resolution stresses that the Turkish refusal of a peaceful solution subjects the whole region to incalculable risks. "The most intelligent solution would be the granting of a special political status for the Kurdish region" declared the Duma. To stop the bloodshed, it calls the Turkish Members of Parliament to use their authority to sit down at the negotiating table with the Kurds. "The source of the problem is the refusal of the right to self-determination for the people of the region and the application of a discriminatory and genocidal policy against the Kurdish people" the Russian Parliament added.
The Turkish authorities and media designated the recent meeting at Istanbul of the countries of the Caucasus to promote the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline as the principal reason for Russian policy. Russia is unhappy at seeing Caspian oil going through Turkey and Georgia. It stresses that such a pipeline would go through Kurdistan and so be vulnerable to attacks from the Kurdish guerrillas, active in this region. For its part, Washington favours projects that would strengthen the independence of the ex-Soviet republics of the Caucasus and Central Asia, so as to finally detach them from Russia.
•THE ARAB LEAGUE ADOPTS A RESOLUTION AGAINST TURKEY. In the course of a meeting of Arab League Ministers in Cairo, a resolution demanding that Turkey should review its co-operation with Israel was adopted on Friday March 27th 1998. The league equally called on its members to review their contracts with companies taking part in the building of dams on the Tigris and the Euphrates, and deplore that turkey is pushing ahead with building them without any concertation with Syria or Iraq.
•MED-TV’S LICENSE IS THREATENED IN ENGLAND. The British Independent Television Commission (ITC) has officially warned the Kurdish satellite TV station MED -TV about the content of its programmes. "In the last few days MED -TV has received a formal warning from ITC because of a programme in which a PKK commander indulged in an incitement to violence" declared a British official. He added that "at the end of January ITC sentenced MED -TV to a fine as the station had failed in its duty of impartiality…" According the Anatolia Press Agency was ordered to pay £90,000 to the Commission following complaints by the Turkish Foreign Ministry. The Turkish Authorities are exerting strong pressure to secure the closing down of MED -TV, the only Kurdish language television station, which is widely watched in Kurdistan.
• BLOODY REPRESSION DURING INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY IN TURKEY. Truncheons and tear gas were used on International Women’s Day in Turkey. On Saturday 8 March 1998, nearly 2,000 people, according to the police, marched down one of the principal avenues of the European part of Istanbul, towards Taksim Square. Forbidden to enter it and ordered to disperse, the crowd, joined by other demonstrators and now 3,000 strong faced up to the police. The forces of "public order" beat with truncheons and threw tear gas bombs at the demonstrators, who threw stones in response. The Turkish authorities accused the People’s Democratic Party (HADEP – pro-Kurdish), seven of whose leaders are threatened with 15 years imprisonment, of being the cause of the incidents since, amongst the demonstrators were women wearing the Kurdish national colours (red, green and yellow). But the only slogans on the banners, in Turkish and Kurdish, were "Long live March 8" and "Stop tortures in prison".
The police charged at least fifty people, including those of two reporters of the daily paper Ülkede Gündem, Faruk Aktas and Bülent Acar. Moreover many of the demonstrators were injured in the course of the incident.
According to the police, another demonstration, organised at the call of some associations and Trade Unions and assembling over a thousand women, took place in the Siali quarter and ended calmly.
At Diyarbekir, capital of Kurdistan, a march of women was banned by the police. The demonstrators dispersed peacefully at the demand of the forces of order, according to the Anatolia News Agency.
An initial agreement worth $ 441 million was signed on Thursday 12 March by the Turkish Defence Ministry and the French company Aerospatiale for the co-production of Eryx anti-tank missiles, which have a range of 600 meters and are very efficient against all kinds of armour plating.
Following on the last year’s agreement between Ankara and the Franco-German Eurocopter group for the production of 30 Cougar AS-532 helicopters, this is the second most important Franco-Turkish arms trade agreement interns of value. Moreover, a contract for $50 million was signed between the two countries last September for the sale, to the Turkish Navy, of five mine-sweepers of the French Navy’s Circé class.
Furthermore, following on the $430 million contract with the Franco-German Eurocopter Group for the sale and co-production of 30 Cougar helicopters in February 1997, the sale of French anti-tank missiles for $441 million in March 1998, and a $60 million contract for mine sweepers in September 1997, a $ 52 million has just been signed, on March 20th, with the Italian company Agusta for the sale of five AB 412 helicopters. According to the authorities, these units are used for fighting organised crime, smuggling and illegal emigration to European countries.
A $ 52 million was also signed, on March 20th, with the Italian company Agusta for the sale of five AB 412 helicopters. According to the authorities, these units are used for fighting organised crime, smuggling and illegal emigration to European countries.
THE ANNUAL REPORT OF THE AMERICAN STATE DEPARTMENT ONCE AGAIN CRITICISES THE APPALLING HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATION IN TURKEY. (Gamk, 2-3 March 1998), p.1.
SADDAM’S STRATEGY, OR THE DICTATOR IN DETAIL. (International Herald Tribune, 3 March 1998), p. 2
MAZLUM-DER: 237 OFFICERS EXPELLED FROM THE ARMY FOR THEIR RELIGIOUS OPINIONS. (Turkish Daily News, 4 March 1998), p. 2.
AN IRAQI OPPOSITION LEADER ASKS FOR U.S. HELP. (Turkish Daily News, 3 March 1998), p. 3.
THE SECURITY COUNCIL HAS FOUND A COMPROMISE ON THE WARNING TO IRAQ. (Le Monde 4 March 1998), p. 4.
ANKARA’S PRIORITY: BETTER RELATIONS WITH ITS NEIGHBOURS. (Turkish Daily News, 4 March 1998), p. 5-6.
A FRESH EUROPEAN INVITATION TO TURKEY – A MEETING BETWEEN LEYLA ZANA AND THE U.S. UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE. (Turkish Daily News, 4 March 1998), p. 7.
THE EUROPEAN UNION OFFERS TURKEY AN OLIVE BRANCH IN THE CYPRUS TALKS – TALKING SENSE TO TURKEY. (Financial Times, 5 March 1998), p. 8.
THE TWO CHIITE HOLY CITIES IN IRAQ STILL MOURNING THEIR PILGRIMS. Karbala and Najaf are paying the price of the 1991 uprising and the war with Iran. – JAQUES CHIRAC URGES SADDAM HUSSEIN TO FULLY RESPECT HIS COMMITMENTS. (Turkish Daily News, 5 March 1998), p. 9.
THE ELUSIVE YESIL, A CHP LEADER VISITS HADEP HEAD OFFICES. (Turkish Daily News, 6 March 1998), p. 10.
A TURN IN THE FORTUNES OF THE LEADER OF THE IRAQI OPPOSITION. (International Herald Tribune, 5 March 1998), p. 12.
GERMAN FURY AT THE TURKISH PRIME MINISTER’S INSULT. (Financial Times, 7/8 March 1998), p. 13.
THE GULF STATE SOVEREIGNS TROUBLED IN THEIR STAND REGARDING IRAQ AND IRAN. (Financial Times, 7/8 March 1998), p. 13.
FRANCE WANTS TO ADOPT A METHOD OF "TEACHING BY REPETITION" TOWARDS IRAQ. (Le Monde, 6 March 1998), p. 14.
THE POLITICAL CRISIS DOESN’T STOP MAJOR TRADING MANOEUVRES. (Le Monde, 8/9 March 1998), p. 15.
VERBAL ESCALATION BETWEEN GERMANY AND TURKEY. (Le Monde, 8/9 March 1998), p. 15.
TURKISH TROOPS HAVE KILLED 40 KURDISH SEPARATISTS, THE TURKISH OFFICIAL NEWS AGENCY CLAIMS. (AFP, 9 March 1998), p.16.
TURKEY CANCELS A MINISTERIAL VISIT AGIANST THE BACKGROUND OF ITS CRISIS WITH BONN. (AFP, 10 March 1998), p.16.
TURKISH ARMY OFFENSIVE AGAINST THE PKK IN THE SOUTH EAST. (AFP, 11 March 1998), p.16.
SADDAM’S DOUBLE GAME, THE AGREEMENT ANNAN IS BRINGING BACK FROM BAGHDAD MAY NOT LAST. (Time, 9 March 1998), p.17.
THE U.S. OFFER RUSSIA AN AGREEMENT ON SATELLITES IS IT STOPS SALE OF MISSILE TECHNOLOGY TO IRAN. (International Herald Tribune, 10 March 1998), p.18.
DAMASCUS URGES ITS KURDS TO JOIN THE PKK. (Turkish Daily News, 10 March 1998), p. 19.
ATHENS TRYING TO RALLY THE MOTHERS OF KILLED PKK ACTIVISTS. (Turkish Daily News, 10 March 1998), p. 19.
THE KEY ARMAMENTS INSPECTOR LEAVES IRAQ, THUS ENDING THE FIRST TEST OF THE AGREEMENT. (International Herald Tribune, 11 March 1998), p. 20
KOFI ANNAN’S SUCESSES. The agreement negociated in Baghdad is considered a great success for UNO and its General Secretary. "The General Secretary has been attacked for having a human relationship with Saddam Hussein. It was the only way to reach an understanding". (Le Monde, 11 March 1998), p. 21.
HALABJA, 10 YEARS LATER, IS STILL PHYSICALLY AND SPIRITUALLY POISONED. (International Herald Tribune, 12 March 1998), p. 23.
ANKARA WAITING FOR A SIGN FROM THE EUROPEANS; An analysis: on both sides, declarations of intent are no longer enough. (Le Monde, 12 March 1998), p. 24.
GERMANY CRITICISES ITS E.U. PARTNERS ON RELATIONS WITH TURKEY. (AFP, 11 March 1998), p. 24.
DEMIREL DEFENDS THE ARMY IN A CONTROVERSY IMPLICATING THE ARMY. (AFP, 12 March 1998), p. 25.
A $ 248 MILLION FINE ON IRAN, BUT HOW TO COLLECT IT? (International Herald Tribune, 13 March 1998), p. 26.
A JOURNEY TO THE HEART OF EASTERN TURKEY: SILENCE, BLOOD AND THE MAFIA. A REPORT: When a journalist from Istanbul lands at Urfa, the provincial city nearest to the Syrian border, she might feel that she had landed on another planet or century… Only the weaponry and the cars are of our century. (Courrier International, 12-18 March 1998), p. 27.
KINKEL CALLS ON TURKEY TO PUT ASIDE ITS QUARREL. (Turkish Daily News, 14 March 1998), p. 31.
MIT IS IN REGULAR CONTACT WITH THE CIA AND THE MOSSAD. (Turkish Daily News, 14 March 1998), p. 31.
TEN YEARS AGO, THE CHEMICAL TERROR IN HALABJA. On March 16th 1988, the Iraqis bombed this Kurdish town: at least 5,000 deaths. (Libération, 16 March 1998), p. 32.
THE IRANIANS SHOW A GROWING INTEREST IN NORTHERN IRAQ. (Turkish Daily News, 18 March 1998), p. 33.
55 KURDISH SEPARATISTS KILLED IN A TURKISH ARMY OPERATION. (Turkish Daily News, 16 March 1998), p. 34.
TURKEY IS DEFENDING ITSELF AGAINST THE PKK AND STATES IT HAS NO INTENTION OF INVADING IRAQ. (Turkish Daily News, 18 March 1998), p. 34.
HALABJAH: A GENETIC BOMB, (Dagens Nyheter, 16 March 1998), p. 35.
24 PKK REBELS KILLED IN THREE DAYS, according to Ankara. (AFP, 15 March 1998), p. 36.
FROM KURDISTAN TO THE SWEDISH PARLIAMENTM VIA TENSTA (an immigrant suburb of Stockholm). The life journey of Social-Democratic Member of Parliament Nalin Baksi. (Stadsdelstidningen, 16 March 1998), p. 35.
CALLING FOR A COURAGEOUS CHANGE OF POLICY, IRAQ CALLS ON THE U.S. TO BUILD A NEW RELATIONSHIP. (International Herald Tribune, 16 March 1998), p. 38.
THE ANKARA GOVERNMENT SURVI-VES A VOTE OF CENSURE PROVOKED BY THE BANNING OF THE ISLAMIC SCARF. (International Herald Tribune, 16 March 1998), p. 38-39.
IT IS TIME FOR AMERICA TO PREPARE ITS END GAME FOR IRAQ. (International Herald Tribune, 19 March 1998), p. 39.
THE KURDS, AN ENDANGERED PEOPLE. Parallel to Suayip Adlig’s exhibition, Kendal Nezan, President of the Kurdish Institute of Paris, awakens public opinion to the dangers threatening a people deprived of their identity. (La Dépeche, 19 March 1998), p. 40-41.
TURKEY, RELATIVE LENIENCY FOR THE KILLER POLICEMEN. (Libération, 20 March 1998), p. 41.
THE COURT FINDS 5 POLICEMEN GUILTY OF THE DEATH OF THE JOURNALIST GÔKTEPE. (Turkish Daily News, 20 March 1998), p. 41.
SPECIAL MUSIC FOR THE "SPECIAL FORCES" . (Turkish Daily News, 20 March 1998), p. 42.
TRIAL OF A GERMAN ACCUSED OF HAVING FAOUGHT IN THE PKK’S RANKS. (AFP, 20 March 1998), p. 43.
MURDER OF A JOURNALIST: THE FAMILY MAY APPEAL TO THE EUROPEAN COURT. (AFP, 19 March 1998), p. 43.
THE AUTHORS OF THE HALABJA MASSACRE MUST BE TRIED. (Turkish Daily News, 20 March 1998), p. 44.
KING HUSSEIN: NO PLANS FOR JOINING THE ISRAELI-JORDANIAN MILITARY CO-OPERATION. (Turkish Daily News, 20 March 1998), p. 44.
THE SURRENDER OF A MAJOR KURDISH REBEL COMMANDER, according to the Turkish Government. (AFP, 21 March 1998), p. 45.
MESUT YILMAZ TRIES TO EASE THE TENSION WITH THE ARMY. (AFP, 21 March 1998), p. 45.
THREE ITALIANS ARRESTED IN TURKEY. (AFP, 22 March 1998), p. 46.
UNDER ARMY PRESSURE, MR. YILMAZ COMMITS HIMSELF TO FIGHTING FUNDAMENTALISM. (AFP, 22 March 1998), p. 46.
THE TURKISH ARMY KILLS SEVEN KURDISH SEPARATISTS. (AFP, 22 March 1998), p. 46.
TURKEY: NECMETTING ERBAKAN DISAPPOINTS THE ISLAMIC YOUNG GUARD. Officially banned from all political activity for five years, the former Prime Minister leads, by proxy, the new fundamentalist party, Fazilet,, formed to replace the banned Refah. (Courrier International, 19-25 March 1998), p. 47.
THE KINGDOM OF LONGING, A CRITIQUE OF THE BOOK "KURDISTAN, IN THE SHADOW OF HISTORY". (The Nation, 23 March 1998), p. 48.
THE IRAQI KURDS EXCHANGE PRISONERS. (Turkish Daily News, 23 March 1998), p. 48.
HAVING SURRENDERED, SAKIK REMAINS IN THE KDP’S CUSTODY. (Turkish Daily News, 23 March 1998), p. 51.
CAN TURKEY MANAGE THE POPE’S VISIT? (Turkish Daily News, 23 March 1998), p. 51.
THE PKK CONDEMNS THE "BETRAYAL OF THE KURDISH CAUSE" BY ONE OF ITS COMMANDERS. (AFP, 24 March 1998), p. 53.
RENEWAL OF THE STATE OF EMERGENCY IN SIX KURDISH PROVINCES. (AFP, 24 March 1998), p. 53.
ITALIAN MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT BRANDISH THE KURDISH FLAG IN PARLIAMENT. (AFP, 26 March 1998), p. 54.
FRESH ARRESTS OF LEADERS OF A PRO-KURDISH PARTY. (AFP, 26 March 1998), p. 54.
TURKEY WILL FIGHT FUNDAMENTALISM WITHIN THE FRAMEWORK OF DEMOCRACY. (AFP, 27 March 1998), p. 54.
THE TURKISH GENERALS CRITICISE THE GOVERNMENT’S INEFFICIENCY IN FIGHTINGRELIGIOUS EXTREMISM. (Le Monde, 25 March 1998), p. 55.
BAGHDAD DENIES IT TRIED TO POISON GREAT BRITAIN. (International Herald Tribune, 25 March 1998), p. 55.
WHY DID TURKEY HAVE TO REPATRIATE SEMDIN SAKIK? (Turkish Daily News, 25 March 1998), p. 56.
A TENSE WEEK IN THE POLITICAL FIELD. (Turkish Daily News, 25 March 1998), p. 56.
THE CASE OF THE BANNING OF THE KDP BEFORE THE CONSTITUTIONAL COURT. (Turkish Daily News, 25 March 1998), p. 58.
IRAQ WILL ALLOW UNO ACCESS TO THE IMPRISONNED ARMS SCIENTIST. (International Herald Tribune, 26 March 1998), p. 58.
ARMENIANS IN TURKEY: "WE ARE HERE IN ISTANBUL, THE 1915 TERROR IS A FADED MEMORY". (International Herald Tribune, 26 March 1998), p. 59.
TURKEY WILL RELAUNCH ITS STRUGGLE AGAINST RELIGIOUS FUNDAMENTALISM. (AFP, 27 March 1998), p. 60.
FORMER MEMBERS OF THE PKK ARE JOINING THE KDP’S FRONT FIGHTING AGAINST THE SEPARATISTS. THE PRESENT DIVISIONS INSIDE THE PKK WILL AFFECT SYRIA’S POLICY, STATE CERTAIN SOURCES. (Turkish Daily News, 27 March 1998), p. 61.
IRAN AND GREECE ACCUSED OF HELPING THE PKK. (Turkish Daily News, 27 March 1998), p. 62.
THE STATE SECURITY COURT RELEASES AHMET TURK. (Turkish Daily News, 28 March 1998), p. 62.
MED-TV UNSUCCESSFUL IN OPENING AN OFFICE IN THE NETHERLANDS. (Turkish Daily News, 28 March 1998), p. 63.
TURKEY: THE GOVERNMENT AND THE ARMY AGREE ON THE ANTI-ISLAMIST STRUGGLE. (Le Monde, 29 March 1998), p. 63.
KURDISH SEPARATISTS IN CYPRUS TO FIGHT AGAINST ANKARA. (AFP, 29 March 1998), p. 64.
ANKARA ACCUSES GREECE OF HELPING THE TRAINING OF KURDISH REBELS. (AFP, 28 March 1998), p. 64.
TEHRAN STUDYING THE AMERICAN PROPOSAL TO OPEN AN OFFICE. (International Herald Tribune, 30 March 1998), p. 65.
A GREEK HAVEN; THE FLOOD OF KURDISH REFUGEES TO GREECE ADDS TO THE CYCLE OF VIOLENCE AND REVENGE. (Time, 30 March 1998), p. 66.
TURKEY: NIGHTMARISH TOMORROWS. Rejected by Europe, suspected by the the Arabo-Moslem world, confronted internally by the dangers of Kurdish irridentism, the drive of islamism and the general corruption of the political caste, Turkey nevertheless remains a key pieve on the Middle Eastern chess board. (Le Nouvel Afrique Asie, March 1998), p. 67.
WHEN "OUR" FRIEND SADDAM GASSED THE KURDS. US hegemony under test. (Le Monde Diplomatique, March 1998), p. 69.
THE ANKARA AGREEMENT AIMS AT MAINTAINING PRESSURE ON THE ISLAMISTS. (International Herald Tribune, 30 March 1998), p. 71.
COHEN WILL VISIT TURKEY IN APRIL. (International Herald Tribune, 30 March 1998), p. 71.
TOWARDS NORMAL RELATIONS BETWEEN IRAN AND AMERICA. (International Herald Tribune, 31 March 1998), p. 72.
THE AMERICAN GENERAL WESLEY CLARK VISITING TURKEY ON WEDNESDAY. (AFP, 31 March 1998), p. 73.
A SERIES OF HOSTAGE SEIZURES IN TURKISH PRISONS. (AFP, 31 March 1998), p. 73.
COULD THE IRAQI OIL EXPORT SITUATION WORK TO TURKEY’S DISADVANTAGE. (Turkish Daily News, 31 March 1998), p. 74.
AMERICA AND IRAN. (The New York Times, 1 April 1998), p. 75.
THE PROBLEM TO BE ELIMINATED IN IRAQ IS SADDAM HIMSELF. (International Herald , 1 April 1998), p. 75.
IRAN AND SAUDI ARABIA: THAWING TIME. For the last twenty years the Islamic Republic has unceased to show its hostility to the Saudi monarchy, going even as far as organising violent demonstrations at Mecca during the annual pilgrimage. Its new President, Mohammed Khatami is playing the reconciliation card. KURDISTAN – NO HOPE OUITSIDE IRAQ. (Courrier International, 2-8 April 1998), p. 76.
THE CYPRIOTE MUDDLE. (Interna-tional Herald Tribune, 2 April 1998), p. 76.
THE BATTLE FOR SECULARISM MOVES INTO A TURKISH COURT. The mayor of Istanbul faces charges of subversion. (International Herald Tribune, 6 April 1998), p. 77.
THE DETENTION OF THE MAYOR OF TEHRAN SEEMS TO THROW A LIGHT ON POLITICAL DIVISIONS IN IRAN. (International Herald Tribune, 7 April 1998), p. 77.
TURKEY: RELIGION – A MODEST PREACHER BECOMES THE STAR OF "MODERATE ISLAM". Viiewed favourably by the Ameriacans, Fethullah Hodja has raised himself to the top of a press empire. His community has 300 schools in Turkey and Central Asia. (Courrier International, 9-15 April 1998), p. 78.
ACCORDING TO THE PRESS, THE PKK BOSS PROPOSES A CEASE FIRE TO THE ARMY. (AFP, 7 April 1998), p. 79.
TURKEY THREATENED BY A FINANCIAL CRISIS AND GALLOPING INFLATION. (AFP, 8 April 1998), p. 79.
THE KURDS: THE STORY OF A PEOLE WITHOUT A COUNTRY. Their territory streatches mainly over Turkey, Iran and Iraq. They have never really been masters of it. Who are they? … (L’Express, 9 April 1998), p. 80.
THE MAYOR OF TEHERAN SHARPENS THE WAR BETWEEN THE FACTIONS. Jailed for "corruption" Karbastchi is to be tried in public. (Libération, 13 April 1998), p. 87.
A PRUDISH VEIL OVER THE IRANIAN PRESS. (Libération, 13 April 1998), p. 87.
THE ARMY CAPTURES THE PKK COMMANDER, SAKIK. (Turkish Daily News, 14 April 1998), p. 87.
THE REBEL COMMANDER SEIZED BY THE TURKS IN NORTHERN IRAQ. (International Herald Tribune , 13 April 1998), p. 88.
AN IRANIAN LEADER SUPPORTS THE MAYOR OF TEHERAN. (International Herald Tribune , 13 April 1998), p. 88.
TURKEY SCORES A POINT IN THE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE KURDISH REBELS. (CNN Interactive, 14 April 1998), p. 89.
TURKEY: DIALOGUE OR WAR, THREATENS THE PKK BOSS. (Reuters, 12 April 1998), p. 90.
THE KDP "CONDEMNS" THE TURKISH MILITARY OPERATION. (AFP, 13 April 1998), p. 90.
A KURDISH LEADER SENTENCED FOR FORMING "AN ARMED BAND". (AFP, 15 April 1998), p. 91.
IRAN: TCHADOR AND FOOTBALL, THE CONCERVATIVES AND REFORMERS IN CONFRONTATION. Iranian women may play football, but must unquestionably be shown veiled in the press. (Le Figaro, 13 April 1998), p. 92.
A FORMER PKK COMMANDER ARRESTED IN NORTHERN IRAQ. (AFP, 13 April 1998), p. 93.
THE DEFEAR OF THE PKK KURDS. ANKARA ARRESTS TWO "HISTORIC" LEADERS OF THE MOVEMENT. (Libération 14 April 1998), p. 94.
THE ARREST OF THE MAYOR OF TEHERAN PUTS THE MODERNIST CAMP HARSHLY TO THE TEST. A "FINAL QUESTIONING" FOR THE JOURNALIST MORTAZA FIROUZ. (Le Monde, 15 April 1998), p. 95.
TURKEY ANNOUNCES THE CAPTURE OF A PKK CHIEF. (Le Monde, 15 April 1998), p. 96.
AN ALLEGATION OF MASS EXECUTIONS IN IRAQ: THE "PRISON CLEANING" WAS ORDERED BY SADDAM’S SON STATES A UNO REPORT. (International Herald Tribune 15 April 1998), p. 96.
THE ARMY FEARED THAT SAKIK MIGHT BE "ELIMINATED". (Turkish Daily News 15 April 1998), p. 97.
TANSU ÇILLER, A CONTROVERSIAL FIGURE REPROVED BY THE ARMY. (AFP, 16 April 1998), p. 98.
SEMDIN SAKIK: A MAN PUSHED INTO REVOLT BY POVERTY, ACCORDING TO THE TURKISH PRESS. . (AFP, 17 April 1998), p. 98-99.
TURKISH ARMY OPERATIONS OVERFLOW INTO NORTHERN IRAQ. . (AFP, 16 April 1998), p. 99.
A KURDISH BANQUET IN CHERBOURG. Suayip Adlig has just opened, in Cherbourg, a restaurant devoted to his countries specialities. He has been actor, assistant film director and photographer, in France as a Kurdish political refugee for thirteen years. – Point of view: THESE KURDS THAT ARE BEING ASSASSINATED. . (La Presse de la Manche, 16 April 1998), p. 100.
THE KIDNAPPING OF SEMDIN SAKIK BY THE TURKISH ARMY IN IRAQI KURDISTAN. . (Gamk, 17 April 1998), p. 101.
THE TURKISH PARLIAMENT VOTES FOR AN ENQUIRY ON ÇILLER. . (International Herald Tribune, 17 April 1998), p. 101.
THE LEATING IRANIAN CLERIC PLEADS FOR UNITY. Khamenei seeks to patch up the divisions over the arrest of the mayor of Teheran, (International Herald Tribune, 17 April 1998), p. 102.
THE CONTROVERSY OVER SAKIK CONTINUES. (Turkish Daily News, 20 April 1998), p. 103-104..
TURKEY AND ISRAEL TO COOPERATE ON A NEW MISSILE PROJECT. (Turkish Daily News, 20 April 1998), p. 105
WITH THE REBELS IN FLIGHT, TURKEY IS BEING EVEN TOUGHER. (Christian Science Monitor, 22 April 1998), p. 106-107.
NO PROGRESS IN IRAQ. (International Herald Tribune, 20 April 1998), p. 107.
THE FORMER PKK COMMANDER RISKS A DEATH SENTENCE. (AFP, 18 April 1998), p. 108.
THE MAYOR OF ISTANBUL SENTENCED TO 10 MONTHS JAIL FOR SUBVERSIVE REMARKS. – Apro-Islamic mayor sentenced in Turkey. HE IS ACCUSED OF INCITEMENT "TO HATRED BY DISCRIMINATION. (AFP. 21 April; International Herald Tribune, 22 April; Le Monde, 23 April, 1998), p. 108, 111, 113.
THE TURKISH STATECONTINUES AT FULL SPEED ITS CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE ISLAMISTS. (AFP, 21 April 1998), p. 109.
POLICE OPERATIONS IN ISLAMIC BUSINESS CIRCLES - 20 ARRESTED. (AFP, 21 April 1998), p. 109-110.
ANKARA REFUSES PERMISSION FOR A MEMBER OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT TO VISIT A KURDISH EX-M.P. (AFP, 21 April 1998), p. 110.
,R. JUNKER DENIES BEING "KOHL’S EXECUTIONER" REGARDING ANKARA’S MEMBERSHIP. (AFP, 21 April 1998), p. 110.
THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE, VICTIM OF "STATE NEGATIONISM". (Le Monde, 23 April 1998), p. 111.
IN SOUTHERN IRAQ, THE 1991 REVOLT ENDED A LONG TIME AGO. (International Herald Tribune, 22 April 1998), p. 112.
A HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANISATION STIGMATISES IRAN. (International Herald Tribune, 22 April 1998), p. 113.
A TURKISH POLITICIAN, DENIZ BAYKAL, FORESEES ELECTIONS IN 1999. – Politicians in the South-East discuss elections. (International Herald Tribune, 23 April; Turkish Daily News, 25 April 1998), p. 113-115.
IN FRANCE, THE KURDISH COMMUNITY IS UNITED. – The Kurds of France form a strong network of solidarity that is ready, is necessary, to welcome fresh refugees, like those who have recently flooded into Italy, fleeing war and misery. (La Croix, 27 April 1998), p. 116.
39,900 KURDISH REBELS "PUT OUT OF ACTION" SINCE 1984, ACCORDING TO THE TURKISH ARMY. (AFP, 25 April 1998), p. 117.
THE TURKISH ARMY SHOWS PHOTOS OF GREEK LEADERS WITH THE PKK BOSS. (AFP, 25 April 1998), p. 117.
A SUSPECTED LEADER OF THE PKK IS HELD FOR QUESTIONING AND JAILED. (AFP, 27 April 1998), p. 117-118.
FOUR KURDISH REBELS KILLED NEAR A TOURIST AREA. (AFP, 27 April 1998), p. 118.
PARIS "VERY CLOSELY FOLLOWING " THE ARREST OF A FRANCO-TURKISH BUSINESSMAN. (AFP, 27 April 1998), p. 118.
BETWEEN POLITICAL ASYLUM AND PRISON, THERE IS SOMETIMES A VERY NARROW MARGIN. 10,000 Kurds have political refugee status in France. Six of them are in prison in the Paris region. (La Croix, 27 April 1998), p. 119.
THE UN SECURITY COUNCIL MAINTAINS SANCTIONS AGAINST BAGHDAD. (Le Monde, 29 April 1998), p. 120.
THE TURKISH GENERALS. (International Herald Tribune, 28 April 1998), p. 120.
HOW CRIDIBLE ARE SAKIK’S CONFESSIONS? (Turkish Daily News, 27 April 1998), p. 121.
OLOF PALME IS SAID TO HAVE BEEN KILLED BY THE PKK, ACCORDING TO ONE OF ITS FORMER COMMANDERS. (Turkish Daily News, 27 April 1998), p. 122.
THE STRUGGLE AGAINST THE REBELLION MOVES ONTO THE FIELD OF WORDS. (AFP 28 April 1998), p. 123-124.
THE ASSASSINATION OF OLOF PALME: several fruitless lines of enquiry have been followed up. (AFP 28 April 1998), p. 124.
UNO IGNORES IRAQ’S THREATS ABOUT SANCTIONS BUT THE COUNCIL AGREES TO REVIEW THEM EVERY 60 DAYS. (International Herald Tribune, 29 April 1998), p. 125.
ATHENS MAINTAINS ITS VETO ON E.U. FINANCIAL AID TO TURKEY. (AFP, 27 April 1998), p. 126.
TURKEY’S WARNING: AN "UNACCEPTABLE PROVOCATION" ACCORDING TO ATHENS. (AFP, 30 April 1998), p. 126-127,
TURKISH TROOPS PERUE KURDISH REBELS. (Reuters 30 April 1998), p. 127.
OPPOSITION AGAINST OPPOSITION: POLITICAL AND IDEOLOGICAL DISAGREEMENTS THREATEN THE IRAQI NATIONAL PROJECT WITH COLLAPSE. (Al Hayat, 29 April 1998), p. 129.
SAKIK’S 400 PAGE CONFESSIONS IMPLICATE OCALAN AS THE INSTIGATOR OF OLOF PALME’S ASSASSINATION. (Al Hayat, 29 April 1998), p. 130.
FIRST KURDO-ARAB DIALOGUE IN CAIRO. (Al Hayat, 29 April 1998), p. 130.
BAN GIVING MONEY TO KURDISH PARTIES AS YOU BAN GIVING IT TO SADDAM HUSSEIN. ‘Point of view’ of Sami Shoresh. (Al Hayat, 28 April 1998), p. 131.
IRAN ARRESTS TWENTY REPRESENTATIVES OF BARZANI’S PARTY AND OFFICIALS OF THE TURKISH INTELLIGENCE SERVICES IN NORTHERN IRAQ. (Al Hayat, 26 April 1998), p. 132.
DEATH OF 82 KURDS AND 11 TURKISH SOLDIERS IN DAYS FIGHTING. (Al Hayat, 26 April 1998), p. 132.
AN ATTEMPT TO WHITEWASH SADDAM. A writer’s criticisms. (Al Hayat, 20 April 1998), p. 132.
IN AN OPERATION TAKEN FROM AN ADVENTURE FILM, TURKISH SOLDIERS ENTER BARZANI’S ZONE AND KIDNAP A FAMOUS DISSIDENT FROM OCALAN’S PARTY. (Al Hayat, 14 April 1998), p. 133.
TALABANI CALLS FOR A "PROVISIONAL" GOVERNMENT INSISTS ON THE "LEGITIMACY" OF HIS PARLIAMENT. (Al Hayat, 14 April 1998), p. 133.