B u l l e t i n

c o m p l e t

Bulletin N° 188 | November 2000



Ahmet Kaya, the famous Kurdish singer died of a heart attack in Paris on 16 November at the age of 43.

Born on 28 October 1957 at Malayata in a Kurdish family, Ahmet Kaya committed himself, from an early age, to the political struggle for socialism and the rights of the Kurdish people. In the course of years he became the best known musician of protest songs and "authentic music". Adulated by millions of Turks and Kurds who identified with his committed songs, that spoke not only to their hearts but to their intelligence as well, he was elected Best Musician of the Year in 1998. During the Prize giving ceremony, in February 1999, before the TV cameras reminded the audience that he was Kurdish and that he intended to also compose a song and make a film clip in Kurdish. This statement of his intentions earned him an almost on screen lynching, detention and legal proceedings.

Persecuted, subjected to a series of charges for his ‘criminal opinions’ before the State Security Courts of the Turkish State, and liable to several years imprisonment, Ahmet Kaya was obliged, in June 1999, to go into exile in France. On 10 March 2000, one of his trials resulted in a sentence of 3 years 9 months imprisonment for "separatist propaganda" arising from a concert given in Berlin in 1993.

a resolute fighter for freedom, a lover of justice, Ahmet Kaya, to the very end and despite a terrible home sickness, wanted, uncompromisingly, to defend his ideals at the price of enormous personal and family sacrifices.

His death is an immense loss for the Kurdish people, for music and for the world. His powerful voice will be missed by millions of Kurds and Turks ground down and marginalised by the Turkish regime.

Fearing provocations by extreme Right gangs and harassment by the Turkish police, his family decided not to repatriate his moral remains. "Ahmet was not angry with Turkey. He opposed a system thart threatened him with13 years jail for his opinions and his songs and which forced him into exile. He had solen nothing, had killed no one, was one on the biggest contibutors to the country’s inland revenue. His only crime was to demand equality of rights between Turks and Kurds, respect for Kurdish identity, for human dignity and freedom of expression. He died for this. Out of respect for his ideas and for his conception of dignity, I decided to bury him in Paris. He will rest there until Turkey becomes a democracy worthy of the name and until the day that Turkish public TV chanels broadcast Kurdish music " declared Mrs. Kaya at a Press Conference at the Kurdish Institute on 18 November.

The funeral took place on 19 November. The ceremony began at 11 am at the Kurdish Institute, of which he was an honorary member, where a mortuary chapel had been set up. Thousands of Kurds and also many Turks, Armenians and French people came to pay their respects and sign the book of condolences. Starting from the Kurdish Institute, the funerary procession reached P`ere Lachaise qt qbout 3 pm making its way laboriously through a crowd of about 15,000 friends and admirers who had gathered from all corners of the European continent. After speeches by Kurdish, Turkish and French public figures and by his wife, in accordance with Kurdish tradition two singers, Sivan Pewer and Ferhat Tunç, sang Kurdish elegies. Then Ahmet Kaya was buried accompanied by his own songs, sad and poignant, on death in exile and on freedom. His body lies a few yards from that of his friend, Yilmaz Güney, the great Kurdish film director, author of Yol who also died in exile

The Kurdish satelite TV chanel, Medya TV, broadcast Kaya’s funeral live. During the broadcast, the streets of Kurdish towns and villages in Turkey were deserted. Most shops were closed. In many towns of Iranian and Iraqi Kurdistan there were also commemorative meetings which thus gave Ahmet Kaya the status of a national symbol of struggle for Kurdish freedom and identity.

As for the Turkish media, despite the dissident artist’s immense popularity, they conformed to the instructions of the police and Army authorities by providing only a minimal coverage: broadcasting of factual information and some extracts from interviews with family and friends, but no special programmes or broadcasting of his songs.

Finally, braving the disguised Turkish censorship, some friends of the deceased artist have just created an Internet site in Turkish (www.amhetkaya. com). For its part, the Kurdish Institute displays detailed information about Ahmet Kaya on its Internet site in French and English (

Below, by way of an In Memoriam are extensive extracts of an article by the Turkish democratic writer, Ahmet Altan, who, in the weekly Aktuel of the November 23, wrote in memory of the deceased artist:

He had jast entered his forties and been sentenced to a life he disliked, in a country "whose acoholic drinks I don’t even enjoy". "I miss my home" "How I miss the glasses of raki shared with friends on my veranda, heated by a braisier with a broken leg" he used to say. But he was banned from returning home, because he had said "I want to sing in Kurdish". Then he had feverishly sought friends in the places of exile, which made even harder the road of return. If he had been born into a stronger, more robust society, it would have noticed his solitude and his infantile anger, si clearly felt in his revolted speaches and his songs, sung with cleched first raised, and it would have embraced him once more.

We have all heard, without wincing, the song begining with the words "On my death" – words that only assume their full meaning on the death of their author.

The other evening the rebellious head of Ahmet Kaya was saying on the screen "On my death, let no one say, behind my back that he didn’t love his country. Myself, I love this country from Ardahan to Edirne".

It was a man who expressed himself before me. "On my death…" " On my death, let no one say that he didn’t love his country " (…)

Who should an artist, who sang the songs of this country imagine that some would say, after him: "He didn’t love his country"…

One evening, taking the mike, he had said "I am going to sing in Kurdish". For this innocent phrase he was branded a "traitor", sent into exile and insulted, to finally die in the prime of his life.

The first stoone on the road to his death was that phrase "I am going to sing in Kurdish". He didn‘t even know how to speak Kurdish, but he was angry, in an infantile but foreseeable way. He loved to compose, to sing , to drink and talk amongst friends, unheedingly, with the sort of sweet liberty natural to children. (…)

In fact, he was like a great child, like all those who devote thmselves to art, and, like many others in this country, he carried within him the wounds of his childhood and youth, the painful wounds that led him, at times to rage against society as a whole.

In an outburst he said "I am going to sing in Kurdish". And for these words we sent him into exile. We sentenced him to wander alone through the streets of cities "where he didn‘t even know the rain". He strolled through streets that were foreign to him, without ever passing a familiar face ot smelling a well known odour.

During all those months, he abandonned himself to his loneliness. Whereas he was used to affectionand admiration, he was left loveless. Each time more carried away, he made speacheswhich still further distanced him from the land he loved so much.

People were coming to forget this brilliant musician, andm as if he was a political leaderm to note every one of his remarks, to make him bear another identity. The adventure that begain with "I am going to sing in Kurdish" became more and more perilous.

After hundres of songs, written, sung, listened to by millions of people, the man who had expressed the joys and sorrows of the men and women of this country had become "a traitor" for having wished to "sing in Kurdish". Through all his acts and gestures, all his remarks; step by step they set about hunting him to prove, yet more surely, his "treachery".

As for him, he saw he was being driven into a dead end but, out of sheer rage, he ran all the faster along this road. Each time faster and still faster yet.

After the stormy songs and speeches came dreary walks through streets where even the rain was foreign to him.

He missed his home. He missed his country. He came to realise that he would never be able to return to all the things he missed. And it hurt him (…)

There where he was born, people were afraid of words and songs. He had given these people sons of their joys and their sorrows, but today these same people would not forgive him. He had said "I am going to sing in Kurdish" – and he had been sent into exile. While the rulers of his country branded him as a traitor, he probably felt that he himself had been betrayed by those who had formerly loved and admired him, by his friends and fellow citizens.

He took part in political meetings. He sang with this clenched fist held high. Even though the way back became ever harder, he was unable to control his fury. He was a singer, He was childlike. Zounded to the quick.


He died in the arms of his wife and daughter, in a country whose language he could not speak. He died suddenly. He died like a child. Like all those who die in exile, he died devoured by loneliness. He has been buried in a country he didn’t know. For saying he wanted to sing in Kurdish , he died abandonned.


The danger of his singing in Kurdish has now been avoided. Ah! if only I knew how sing – I’d sing a song in Kurdish for him. A song about loneliness, another about death. A song that said: "Love the children who sing". A song that would tell of someone whose last wishes were "On my death do not say I didn‘t love my country".

I zould have sung a song in Kurdish for him – if I only knew how to sing. But he was never able to sing the song I am unable to sing. In a country where he didn‘t know the rain, he died alone, impetuous and melancholic.

There remains only a song that has not yet been sung but is waiting to be… Perhaps one day, on the day when that song will be sung, then perhaps he will forgive us.


The European Com-mission showed itself very critical of Turkey, reproaching it of continuing to disregard Human Rights but, at the same time, offering it "a partnership for membership " to help it progress. The annual progress report of the Commission on the candidate members, published on 8 November, is very severe regarding the Human and Minority Rights situation in Turkey. "Many aspects of the global Human Rights situation remain worrying " stresses the report. "Torture and ill treatment are far from eradicated " "conditions in the prisons have not improved" and "freedom of expression as well as freedom of association and meeting are still regularly subject to restrictions ". As for minorities, the European Commission is concerned that "all Turks, whatever their ethnic origin " should enjoy "the same cultural rights ". "The situation in the South-East, where the population is predominately Kurdish, has not changed substantially " notes the report.

However, so as not to offend the notorious "Turkish sensitivity" regarding the Kurdish question, the "partnership for membership " avoids any mention of the words "Kurd" or "Kurdish" or any allusion to the Kurdish minority, thus, in practice, .striking its colours" and dodging the recurrent resolutions of the European Parliament on this issue, in particular the resolution of 12 June 1992 on the "rights of the Kurdish people ", passed practically unanimously. Clearly the Kurdish victims of massive and systematic violations of Human Rights in Turkey no longer even have the right to be described as such. Failing to ‘Europeanise’ Turkey, the Commission is ‘Turkising’ itself by submitting to Turkish official censorship, at the risk or arousing bitterness and despair amongst the 15 to 18 million Kurds in Turkey and the one million already living in the Union, from France to Sweden where they are, nevertheless, recognised as such, with their language, their identity and their culture in the majority of the member states of the Union.

Before the European Parliament, to which he went to present the report, Gunter Verheugen, the European Commissioner for enlargement, considered that "Turkey must improve the situation of the Kurds and put an end to the State of Emergency in the four South-Eastern provinces ". He described as "violations of Human Rights" the ban on "the use of the Kurdish language in broadcasting ". He also expressed the E.U.’s concern about the "role played by the Army in political life through the National Security Council". Mr. Verheugen felt it necessary to stress that one of the priorities of the "partnership for membership " was also to achieve "the lifting of the State of Emergency in the South-East of the country and the recognition of cultural rights of ethnic minorities "

The report, moreover, recognises that the granting of candidate status to Turkey, at the Helsinki summit in December 1999, created a dynamic for change in Turkish society and "stimulated the forces for reform ". "The report on torture drawn up by the Turkish National Assembly’s Human Rights Commission is a concrete example" stated Mr. Verheugen who also recalled that in September 2000, the Turkish Government had set "priority objectives " for reaching the political criteria required for membership of the Union.

Unlike the other twelve candidates, the report excludes the possibility of opening negotiations for membership with Turkey, which therefore remains just a candidate for membership. To help it to achieve its objectives, the European Commission proposed to Ankara "a partnership for membership " which would draw up a package of short and medium term priorities, in the political and economic fields, that Turkey will have to reach to fulfill the membership criteria.

Turkey welcomed the European Commission’s programme even as it stressed that it would ignore a passage on Cyprus. "Turkey refuses the establishment of a link between its membership of the EU and the Cyprus issue and is determined to maintain its position " declared Sükrü Sina Gür, Turkish Government spokesman. Ismail Cem, Turkish Foreign Minister, for his part, stated that the paragraph on Cyprus "had no validity for us ". Ankara had insisted that the issue of the island, divided since the Turkish Army’s occupation of its Northern third in 1974, should not appear in the document.

The People’s Democratic Party (HADEP – pro-Kurdish) sharply criticised the European Union or having avoided the use of the words "Kurd" or "Kurdish" in its programme. "The EU has not used the word "Kurdish". We consider this a lack. When there is a problem concerning a certain community, this problem should be defined by its name ", said a HADEP communiqué. Despite this criticism, HADEP described the document as "satisfactory " overall, and considered that "the achievement of these reforms will contribute to the democratisation of Turkey ". In the opinion of Human Rights Watch, the "partnership " is not sufficiently clear and detailed on the issue of Human Rights.

Furthermore, the report by Philippe Morillion on Turkey’s appliication for membership of the European Union, adopted by a very great majority on 14 November by the Foreign Affairs Commission, considers that Turkey does not, at present, fulfill the Copenhagen criteria and repeats its proposal for setting up discussion forums bringing together political leaders from the European Union and Turkey as well as representatives of civil society.

The report urges the Turkish government "to intensify its efforts towards democratisation, particularly its efforts regarding the separation of powers (in particular the impact of the Army on political life) and to apply the United Nations Conventions regarding political social and cultural rights it has recently signed".

Furthermore, the Foreign Affairs Commission demands that "concrete measures for tthe protection of minority rights " be added. Pending a reform making the Penal Code compatible with the principle of freedomof expression, it calls for an amnesty for Press "offenses". Similarly, the moratorium on the death sentence must be maintained pending rapid abolition.

The Foreign Affairs Commission recalls its concern for the recognition of the basic rights for the identities that make up the Turkish mosaic and, recalling the tragic past of the Armenian minority, calls for support for the latter by the Government and National Assembly. It also demands that "a peaceful solution, that respects Turkey’s territorial integrity accompanied by indispensible political, economic and social reforms " should be sought for the Kurdish conflict.

But the point that upset Turkey most was the Cyprus question. The Commission called upon "the Turkish Government to [take part], without preconditions, in discussions between the Cyprus communities, Greece and Turkey so as to reach a negociated, global, just and lasting settlement which would conform to the Security Council resolutions and the recommendations of the U.N. General Assembly ". The Commission demands that Turkey "withdraw its occupying forces from the Northern part of Cyprus ". From Ankara’s point of view, Cyprus is the knottiest part of the issue. The Turkish authorities have always said that they would not accept the linking of their membership, in any way, to the resolution of the Cyprus problem. And for a good reason – they want to keep the stus quo …


IN 26 November, the People’s Democratic Party (HADEP) elected its new President, Murat Bozlak, at aa congress held under strong police and legal pressure. Murat Bozlat had already once Presided over the Party, before M. Demir, who was one of the 6 candidates who withdrew in his favour. M. Boslak had been obliged to leave his post after being sentenced to jail for "separatist propaganda last February. "We are following a policy of dialogue which is rallying all of Turkey" declared Mr. Bozlak to an exited audience, only a fraction of which had been able to find room in the 3,000 seat indoor sports stadium. Over 50,000 people had travelled to Ankara (supervised by some 2,000) in 1,300 specially hired coaches to attend this congress –the fourth since the party was created in 1994.

Following this Fourth Congress, HADEP, which is already facing a threat of being banned for "organic links" with the PKK, was subjected to another investigation by the Ankara State Security Court. Many diplomats and representatives of European parties came for the Congress, including Miss Feleknas Uca, a German Member of the European Parliament of Kurdish descent who tried to speak in Kurdish from the platform – but was prevented. A government inspector attended the Congress to officially report on its proceedings. Former Italian Prime Minister Massimo d’Alema sent a message that received great applause. The delegates also observed a minute’s silence in memory of Ahmet Kaya "who has left for the land of stars and flowers ".

On the eve of the Congress, the HADEP leadership denounced a wave of arrest in theoir ranks. The President of the Adana Provincial organisation was called in for questioning, with eight of his assistants on 23 November. Fatih Sanli, and the principle officers of his party were released on the evening of the 24th, but four other members remain in jail and will be tried by the State Security Court for "help amd propaganda on behalf of an illegal organisation". The Provincial Secretary of HADEP, Ahmet Yildiz, said that the summonses had begun in the province on 19 November, 48 hours beforeOcalan’s appeal to the European Human Rights Court. Mr. Yildiz also denounced the police pressures being exercised in the provinces of Hakkari, Van and Siirt, where the transport companies were obliged to refuse to hire out their coaches and where buses were unable to do their rounds.

On 14 November, the President of the People’s Democratic Party (HADEP), Ahmet Turan Demir, was sentenced to six months jail for "separatist propaganda " by an Izmir State Security Court. "Mr. Demir was sentenced for having made a speech containing separatist remarks in 1998 while he was Izmir provincial leader of HADEP " stated his lawyer Mr. Sedef Ozodogan.

According to the charge sheet, Mr. Demir, in his speech, promised to "our martyrs who guide us along the road to freedom, to reach the objective to which their aimed as soon as possible ". The court considered that he was alluding to the fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). But, according to Mr. Ozodogan he was alluding to the Kurdish political leaders who have been killed, not to PKK activists. Last

In February and in June last, Mr. Demir had already been sentenced to one year, and then to 3 years 9 months imprisonment on similar charges.


IN 28 November, Senkal Atasagunm head of the Turkish Intelligence Service (MIT), in the course of an exceptional Press Conference given with the Prime Minister’s approval, expressed himself in favour of Kurdish language television as a means of countering the "propaganda for independence of the Kurds". The authorisation of Kurdish language broadcasts is the subject of a lively debate in Turkey since the publication, on 8 November of a European Commission document listing the political and economic reforms Turkey has to carry out if it wants to join the E.U. Several of its items cover the Kurds (without directly naming them) and one of them calls for the lifting of the bans against the use of their mother tongue. But the National Action Party (MHP – neo-fascist) is opposed to Kurdish language broadcasts, regarding that they would stimulate aspirations for independence. The Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit, recently stressed that the government would haveto rapidly consider this matter, and his Deputy, responsible for European affairs, Mesut Yilmaz, of the Motherland Party (ANAP) has argued in favour of broadcasts in Kurdish. Moreover, after the capture of Abdullah Ocalan, the MIT drew up a report for a National Security Council (MGK) meeting on 25 February 1999 in which it detailed the measures that would have to be taken in the Kurdish region. The report, which also includes cultural measures, had shaken the MGK at the timem but many consider that the recent MIT statements follow the same trend.

In rare discussion with the Turkish press, Senkal Atasagun stressed that: "Medya-TV, which follows the line of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is watched by large numbers of people in the South East. It deforms reality. Would it not be better to compete with it?" The Medya-TV satelite broadcasts can be received all over Turkey.

Still on the same theme, Mikdat Alpay, the MIT’s number two, who took part in the Press Conference, recalled his year’s service on the Urfa criminal courts in 1965 to stress that at that time they had needed an interpreter for Arabic and Kurdish to understand the local population and that "this situation hasn’t changed today. If you want to win over the people you must be able to be understood by them. But how is this possible? By sign language? If you want to win thwm over you must reach them. Their mother tongue is Kurdish. How are you going to explain the facts to them in Turkish? We must be able to use Kurdish in the greater interest of the Turkish Republic in the same way as we have used Ocalan. So we must not consider this as if it is something we have been obliged to do, but something we want to do. Look – a theatre company playing in Kurdish and committed to Kurdish nationalism is one thing ± the use of the Kurdish language by the State to be understood by its citizens is something completely different. The Turkish Republic is incapable of winning the hearts of their mothers. According to some research, 60% of the mothers in the region do not know how to speak Turkish. We have never set up a system to win them over. This State does not know how to talk to mothers. If we had succeeded in winning them, the problem would never have lasted to our times."

Moreover, Mr. Atasagun stated that the position of the all-powerful Turkish Army was "100% in accordance with ours" and that the opposition to Kurdish language broadcasts came "principally from the politicians". "The Turkish Security forces have made a specially concerted effort. But time is short. This man (Ocalan) has been here for about two years already, but the majority of the things that should have been done have not been… We must abandon our habit of blaming the foreigner and outside factors when we have to share responsibility for our own mistakes. We must took inside ourselves more…"

Questioned as to whether the different components of the State had previously been made aware of the MIT’s position, Mr. Atasagun stated : "When we were asked, we gave our views – the same as we have explained to you. We are equally opposed to the execution of Ocalan… Because it is not in Turkey‘s interest. It is not that we are afraid of the consequences of his execution, of clashes and chaos. But simply that Ocalan is more useful to us alive. Everyone has hsed Ocalan. Why should we not, now, use him ourselves in Turkey‘s interest?" Furthermore, according to the MIT chief, the PKK, that announced a cease fire and the withdrawal of its troops in September 1999, "will continue to be a threat so long as it continues to have 4,500 men under arms abroad and 500 inside Turkey".

Following the statements of the intelligence services, the Prime Minister, Bulent Ecevit declared "those in command of the MIT are acting with full knowledge of the situation. That is why Atasagun‘s statements should not surprise us and should be beneficial". The MHP sharply criticised these statements through the defense Minister, Sabahattin Çakmakoglu who said "I do not think that this commits the Government".

The media evidently gave wide coverage to the MIT chief‘s statement, made following the HADEP Congress and in an atmosphere of strong populat feeling aroused ny the deathof Ahmet Kaya, driven into exile because he wanted to sing in Kurdish. In the view of some editorial writers, S. Atasagun is Turkey‘s Andropov, who is not veiling the country‘s realities for ideological reasons.

Reacting to all this, Mehmet Ali Birand wrote in his column in the Turkish Daily News of 29 )ctober : "If this is the situation then who is opposed to it?… Seen from the outside, the Democratic Left Party (DSP) and the Motherland Party (ANAP), both coalition partners, seem to have a positive reaction whereas the National Action Party (MHP) as well as the Army are against… Now the MIT gives a counter argument and announces that the Army shares its views. And, thanks to the Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit‘s statement it is clear that this declaration was made on the Prime Minister‘s instructions. It remains to be seen if the Army really does share these views. The Director of MIT meets the Chief of Staff every week and gives him his opinions. He is far too experienced to speak in this way before the press in a matter likely to be hotly contested in the General Staff… Ecevit is trying to weaken the MHP and the Army… Failing an intra-governmental decision, he is using the State institutions. That is our democratie à la Turca… Its not too serious. Lets take a few steps on certain questions – if not one way, then another.


Invited to a conference in Turkey on 21 November organised by Initiative Against Crimes of Opinion, Mrs. Claudia Roth, German Member of the European Parliament and our own Vice-President, was allowed to visit Leyla Zana at the Ulucanlar Prison in Ankara, but was prevented from visiting the other three Kurdish former M.P.s imprisoned in the same jail. Mrs. Roth had been refused this visit last year.

Mrs. Roth also met Hikmet Samu Türk, Turkish Minister of Justice, Mesut Yilmaz, Deputy Prime Minister responsible for relations with the European Union, and Mehmet Akgül, President of the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission. Mrs. Roth and the German delegation that accompanied her were then due to visit Diyarbekir, Mardin and Batman. Mrs. Roth stressed, in all her discussions, the progress that needs to be made with regard to democracy and the respect for human rights in Turkey.

In Diyarbekir, Mrs. Roth had a "rather violent argument" with the Turkish police in Diyarbekir. A team of policemen set about following the German Parliamentary Human Rights delegation every step of their way, continually filming them and taking notes of their discussions with the people they met on 23 November.

The five M.P.s in the delegation became indignant at what they perceived to be "checking on us and our informants " added Mrs. Roth. While saying she understood the need for some security during the visit of foreign members of Parliamment to the Kurdish region, Mrs. Roth considered that the police had gone over the top. The German Ambassador to Ankara had to approach the Turkish Government to smooth the way and the Turkish police then kept at a discrete distance.

In the course of her visit to Diyarbekir, Mrs. Roth met Feridun Çelik, Mayor of Diyarbekir. Echoing the statement of the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz, she declared "The road to Europe goes by Diyarbekir… That is why I consider the Mayor of Diybekir as important as an ambassador "

On her return, at a Press Conference given on 27 November, Mrs. Roth said "There is no development regarding Human Rights in Turkey. But we will support Turkey’s application for membership of the E.U. once the necessary reforms have been carried out. The Kurds must benefit from the right s of all minorities and their cultural identity must be preserved ".

Mrs. Roth’s visit and statements provoked sharp criticism in Turkey, including from the Foreign Minister Ismail Cem who said her remarks were "disturbing and absurd". The press was unleashed against this "insolent German woman ". The director of the daiky Sabah called on the government to "silence this German woman who claims be able to give us lessons ".


The examination of Ocalan’s appeal began on 21 November at the European Court for Human Rights. Over 21,000 Kurds and Turks demonstrated in Strasbourg in separate processions. Ocalan’s supporters brought together, according to the police, 18,500 demonstrators, come with their wives and children from the four corners of Germany (Editor’s Note: 100,000 according to the organisaers). The opposing, sparser, procession mobilised about 2,800,according to the police.

The following article by Mehmet Ali Birand, a journalist on the English language Turkish daily Turkish Daily News, well ilustrates the points of view and expectations of the different protagonists in the Ocalan case. Here are extensive extracts from the article entitled "We already know what the verdict will be " :

" Abdullah Öcalan’s application to the European Court of Human Rights has resulted in a "first". For the first time ever, all parties in the case are expecting the same outcome.

The Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) is expecting the same thing…

Turkey is expecting the same thing…

The court is expecting the same thing…

Everybody both expects and wants the trial to go on for as long as possible. Everybody is acting with different motives but with the same aim in mind.

If the verdict goes as expected, it will go like this:

"Turkey did not try Öcalan in accordance with all articles in the [ European human rights] agreement…" What follows this sentence is even more important…

Ruling that Turkey did not try Öcalan in accordance with all articles in the agreement is going to mean that the European court will suffice itself with pointing out that the execution of a man not given a fair trial will be in contravention of the agreement…The rest is up to Turkey. Öcalan will either be given a retrial or will stay in prison for life.

Turkey does not want to execute him.

Turkey wants the European court to rule Öcalan’s trial null and void ant to call for a stay of execution.

Most of the country’s leaders believe in the necessity of hanging Öcalan; they just do not express this belief openly.

You can even quite comfortably include the senior members of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK), the National Intelligence Organisation (MIT) and the Interior Ministry among these people.

You might be surprised to learn that a large number of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) members are of the same opinion.

They know that Öcalan’s execution will cause chaos in Turkey and severely disrupt the peace that has been so difficult to achieve. Nobody wants to rock this boat and return to a new state of war. Those who are in the minority are not able to make themselves heard.

The only problem that the Turkish political and security structures have is the possibility of others granting a stay of execution to Öcalan. Nobody has the courage to stand up and say, "It is in the national interest not to hang him". Some are afraid of losing votes and are thinking about the reaction of the grieving families of fallen soldiers.

It is for this reason then that Turkey both wants the trial do drag on…

The PKK think the same way but for entirely different reasons. The organisation knows that should Öcalan be executed they will fall into even greater disarray. Öcalan has a symbolic quality. His execution will destroy this mystique and will see the start of a major internal power struggle. Furthermore, in spite of everything, Öcalan has a certain influence within the EU. This will also be lost if he hangs.

Along with this there are those within the PKK who want Öcalan out of the way permanently… They believe this will provide the PKK with a reason to fight on.

With the exception of a small minority, the majority of the PKK wants the European court to overturn the execution order.

With the exception of those with ill intentions, the powers in the region (including Syria, Iran and Iraq) all want to see Öcalan saved from the gallows. They all have the same reason too. They know that with Öcalan’s execution the PKK will come back to life and the return to a state of conflict will disturb all of them. Their relations with Turkey will become strained again…

The European court knows the symbolic nature of this case and the repercussions its verdict will cause. It knows that should it rule, "Turkey gave him a fair trial", then Ankara will be forced to hang him, as much as it doesn’t want to. This is because the agreement allows Turkey to do this…

For all these reasons then you can see now what the verdict is going to be".


• THE EUROPEAN HUMAN RIGHTS COURT FINDS TURKEY GUILTY OF VIOLATION OF LIFE. On 14 November, the European Human Rights Court found Ankara guilty of "violation of the right to life "of a man who didappeared after his arrest by the police in 1993 in Cizre. The petitioner, Besir Tas, alleged that his son, Muhsin Tas, who disappeared while in detention, had been killed by the police, who had also tortured him. Mr. Tas, who lives in Tarvan, also complained that no effective investigation had been carried out into his son’s disappearence.

The Court, which did not consider the charge of torture proven as regards Mohsin Tas, nevertheless considered that there were grounds for "presuming that he had died after his arrest by the police " . It also concluded that no investigation "had been carried out regarding his disappearence at the time ".

Furthermore, the Court found Ankara guilty of "torture and of inhuman and degrading treatment " of Besir Tas, considering that the latter had suffered from the authorities’ behaviour tha they judged indifferent and insensitive.

The European Judges granted £ st. 20,000 damages to the heirs of Mohsin Tas, £ st. 10,000 moral damages ro the plaintiff and £ st. 14,795 for legal costs.

Anakara has paid $ 3 million over the last 5 years for 45 cases in which is was found guilty by the European Court for Human Rights. The majority of the cases related to Kurdistan, 14 for violation of freedom of expression, 7 for "unsolved " murders, 6 for torture and degrading treatment, 3 for unfair trial, 2 for banning of a political party, and 2 regarding the composition of the State Security Courts (DGM).

• A MESSAGE OF COOPERATION FROM SADDAM HUSSEIN TO THE TURKISH GOVERNMENT. Turkey is engaged in an increasingly intense flirtation with Saddam Hussein. The Turkish Press has announced a further phase in the relations between Baghdad and Ankara, which claims to have lost $ 40 billion since the embargo was imposed by the United Nations.

Thus Tunca Toskay, Turkish Minister for Foreign Trade went to Baghdad on 30 October with a delegation of eleven people, including Fuat Miras, President of the Chamber of Commerce and of the Turkish Stack Exchange, thus inaugurating the first flight to Iraq by the Turkish National air carrier (Turkish Airlines). They were welcomed with great pomp by Mohammed Saleh, Iraqi Trade Minister. Iraqi President, Saddam Hussein delivered a personal message to the Turkish Government: "You have pushed the European borders right up to our gates. You do not need to go looking for natural gas thousands of kilometres from here. Our resources in oil and natural gas are at your disposal and our ports are yours ".

Turkey decided to alter the status of its diplomatic representation in Baghdad to allow "humanitarian flights" to the Iraqi capital, to open a second border crossing point and re-establish rail traffic between the two countries. Ankara is to supply technical equipment to Iraqi civil aviation and also train its personnel in exchange for which services supplied to Turkish Airlines will not be charged.

• THE TURKISH COURT OF APPEALS CONSI-DERS THAT A NEWS REPORT IN KURDISH IS NOT A CRIME. The 10th Chamber of the Turkish Court of Appeals, on 16 November, ruled that the "partial " broadcasting of conversations in Kurdish in the course of a news report on televison was not a violation of Turkish law. In this case, the RTUK (the Turkish TV watchdog), informed by the Diyarbekir Directorate of the Police, had complained that CAN-TV a local Diyarbekir chanel, had allowed some remarks in Kurdish to slip into a programme in Turkish. The Court of Appeals justified its "lenient decision " by the fact that "the programme in question had only contained an infinately small part in another language than that of the official language, Turkish ".

• THE TURKISH PARLI-AMENT PROLONGS THE STATE OF EMERGENCY IN FOUR KURDISH PROVINCES. The Turkish Parliament, on 21 November, decided to prolong the State of Emergency existing in 4 Kurdish provinces, whose lifting is one of the measures required by the European Union for Turkey’s eventual membership.

The provinces involved are Tunceli, Diyarbekir, Hakkari and Sirnak. The measure applies for four months, as from 30 November. The state of emergency is thus renewed for the 41st time.

The decision came on the same day as the European Human Rights Court began examining a complaint filed by the PKK chief, Abdullah Ocalan, sentenced to death in Turkey in June 1999, for separatism and treason. The PKK had, in September 1999, officially ended its armed struggle to secure the creation of an independent Kurdish State at Ocalan’s request, but the Turkish Army is determined to continue hunting down its fighters to the end, unless they surrender to it.

The lifting of the State of Emergency is amongst the "medium term" political measures demanded by the "application partnership" set up by the European Commission. The 4 provinces have been placed, since 1987, under the rule of the office of the State of Emergency Governor in Diyarbekir, responsible for coordinating the fight against the PKK.

• THE TURKISH GENE-RAL STAFF AUTHORISES, AS AN EXCEPTIONAL MEASURE, JOURNALISTS TO VISIT IRAQI KURDISTAN. Some of the most prestigious Press Agencies, such as Reuters, the BBC and AP have been authorised, by the Turkish General Staff, to visit Iraqi Kurdistan, according to the Turkish daily Milliyet of 19 November. Turkomen leaders explained this exceptional authorisation declaring "authorisation was given to show the existence of Turkomen in Northern Iraq as well as Kurds ". The second Turkoman Congress began in Irbil on 15 November. The journalists had been refused permission by the Turkish army at the time of the first Congress.

•ARMS: BOEING WINS A $ 1.5 BILLION CONTRACT WITH TURKEY. Turkish Prime Minister, Bülent Ecevit announced, on 27 November that Turkey had finally negotiated a $ 1.5 billion contract with the American firm Boeing for the supply of at least six radar control planes (AWSCs) to strengthen its capacity for radar surveillance and control of the country. The first delivery is planned for 2003. The prime Minister also specified that, in the event of failing to reach agreement with Boeing, negotiations would be opened with the American firm Raytheon Corp.

• READ IN THE TURKISH PRESS: THE MILITARISM OF THE TURKISH PRESS. On the occasion of the appearence of his new book, "Medyamorfoz ", the well known Turkish journalist and academic Ragip Duran, granted an interview with the daily paper Yeni Gündem, which appeared in its 27 November issue. Here are some extracts:

Q: In your book, you particularly stressed the militarism of Turkish media. What can a Turkey that is candidatr for membership of a civilian European Union do with a militarist media?

A: The origin of the media’s militarism lies in the fact that they are politically and ideologically tied to the Armed Forces General Staff. The militarism of the Turkish media is noticeable not only in what it publishes but in its internal organisation. The main front page heading and even of a news item on page seven is directly decided through the lips of whoever is the top man on the paper. In other words, newspapers are run in exactly the same way as a barracks. I would even say that the papers are more militarist than the Defence Ministry. If Turkey really envisages such a membership (to the E.U.) it must organise the demilitarisation of society as a whole, the media included.

Q: In Turkey, the press organs’ relations with Ankara influence editorial policy. The concept of "media groups" has given way to that of "interest groups". Are there other countries where this takes place so blatently?

A: This is not specific to Turkey. The representatives of political parties also have the right to express their opinions. But the difference is that, in Turkey, the media are not linked to the government but to the State. For example, during the Refahyol coalition {Editor‘s Note: The coalition government between Mrs. Çiller‘s True Path Party (DYP) and Necmettin Erbakan‘s Prosperity Party (the since ‘disolved’ islamist Refah)}as acolytes of the secular Ataturkist cult, they succeeded in laying the ideological basis of the post-modern type of coup d‘état with the help of the Turkish Army. There is yet another Turkish particularity in that the independent media are entirely committed to the State. If you hide the names of the most important papers and of the journalist writing the articles, you would be completely unable to tell in which paper an article appeared. Because they all say exactly the same thing. All tryn to pour out the politico-ideological orientations of the State and make ideological propaganda. There is an appalling poverty in all this. Everyone feeds from the same trough. And that trough is the official ideology. But Turkish official ideology is neither very rich nor varied nor is it liberal and democratic. This situation tends to screw everyone into their place in society. This cannot occur in the West. Obviously, in the West each paper has its own ideological preferences, but they are all different from one another.

• THE EUROPEAN HU-MAN RIGHTS COURT FINDS TURKEY GUILTY OF VIOLATION OF THE RIGHT TO LIFE. On 14 November, the European Human Rights Court found Ankara guilty of, in particular "violation of the right to life " of a man who disappeared after his arrest by police in Cizre. The appellant, Besir Tas, alleged that his son, Muhsin, who disappeared while in detention, had been killed by the police who had also tortured him. Mr. Tas, who lives in Tatvan, also regretted that no enquiry had been carried out into his son‘s disappearence.

The Court, which did not find proveed the accusations of torture on Muhsin Tas, nevertheless considered that there were grounds for "presuming that he had died following his arrest by the police ". It also concluded that "no investigation had been carrioed out into the disappearence at the time ".

Moreover, the Court found Ankara guilty of "torture and of inhuman and degrading treatment of Besir Tas, considering that the latter had suffered from the behaviour of the who, it considered had been indifferenct and insenitive about his concern.