B u l l e t i n

c o m p l e t

Bulletin N° 196 | July 2001



On 17 July, the European Human Rights Court handed down its verdict in the case of Leyla Zana, former Member of Parliament of the Party for Democracy (DEP — banned, pro-Kurdish) and her colleagues Orhan Dogan, Selim Sadak, and Hatip Dicle. It unanimously found Turkey guilty of violation of Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights and ruled that the M.P.s had been tried by a Court lacking in both independence and impartiality, at the end of a trial that was not equitable.

Mrs. Zana, winner of the European Parliament’s 1995 Sakharov Prize and nominated, that same year, for the Nobel Peace Prize, is at present serving a 15 year prison sentence passed in 1994 by the Ankara State Security Court for “membership of an armed gang ” and “intense separatist activity under the banner of the PKK ” (Kurdistan Workers’ Party — banned). She, and three other Members of Parliament, had been arrested in March 1994 after their Parliamentary immunity had been lifted. These four former M.P.s petitioned the European Court, in Strasbourg, on the grounds of the inequity of their trial before the Ankara State Security Court, on which an Army Judge still sat at the time (before the amendment of the law during the trial of the Kurdish Chief, Abdullah Ocalan). In 1999 Mrs. Zana had already secured a verdict against Turkey in Strasbourg on a petition presented jointly with five other DEP M.P.s on the grounds of their excessively long period in detention (12 to 14 days) in 1994, outside any judicial authorisation.

The European Court unanimously concluded that the Ankara State Security Court was not an independent and impartial tribunal within the meaning of Articel 6 of the European Convention. The Court considered that “it is understandable (…) that the petitioners, who were answering a charge of attempting to harm the independence and unity of the State, should fear to appear before Judges, one of whom was a carreer officer of the Military Courts. From that fact they might legitimately fear that the Ankara Statte Security Court would be unduly influenced by considerations foreign to the nature of their case. Briefly, it can be considered that the doubts entertained by the petitioners, as to the independence and impartiality of this Court, were objectively justified ”.

The European Court also unanimously ruled that there had been a denial of the petitioners’ right to be informed, in a detailed manner, on the nature of the charges against them, as well as their right to have the time and facilities to prepare their defence. The nature of the charges against the DEP’s M.P.s had been altered during the last hearing of their trial. The prosecution at first had charged them with having proposed “separatism ” and of having “damaged the integrity of the State ”. However, on the day that the verdict was to be passed, the Court asked tem to develop, on the spot, their defence against a new charge, namely that of having been members of an illegal armed gang. It then rejected their request for additional time in which to prepare their defence against this new charge.

Furthermore, the European Court noted that, to prove the guilt of the former M.P.s “the two Courts before which the case was heard gave a determining weight to the written statements of witnesses (Editor’s Note: In particular of Sedat Bucak, a tribal Chief, who became a Member of Parliament for the True Path Party (DYP) in office at the time. He was the sole survivor of the Susurluk road accident which revealed the collusion between the State, the political caste and the Turkish mafia) who had affirmed to the Public Prosecutor prior to the trial that the petitioners had acted as spokesmen for the PKK ”. The Court noted that “neither during the preliminary enquiries nor during the trial itself were the defendants able to question these witnesses or to have them cross examined. They were thus unable to check their credibility or to cast doubt on their statements ”.

The European Court considered that the petitioners have suffered such denial of their right of defence that they have not enjoyed a fair trial. There had, therefore been a violation in their regard of Para. 3(d) of Articel 6 as well as of Para.1.

Leyla Zana and her colleagues also complained of having been sentenced for having expressed, in their role of Members of Parliament, the demands of the population of Kurdish origin in Turkey and for having developped, in the framework of their political parties, peaceful solutions to the Kurdish question Turkey. Moreover, the Interparliamentary Union had endorsed their theses and considered that they had been sentenced for having, inter alia, expressed their political opinions. It also noted that, by charging the petitioners with “membership of a separatist organisation ” it further prevented them from benfiting from remission of sentence or release on bail, options recognised for ‘crimes’ of opinion. Like the Commission, the Court considered that “the principal legal question raised by the present petition eas whether the accusations against the petitioners had been proved in the course of a fair trial in the sense of Article 6 of the Convention. Having already replied in the negative to this question, it endorses the conclusion of the Commission that it is no necessary to rule further regarding the complaints under Articles 10,11 and 14 of the Convention ”. The European Court thus considers that it is useless to consider other complaints raised by the petitioners on the violation of their freedom of expression, freedom of association and the banning of discrimination, since the inequitable nature of the trial has been established.

In conclusion the Court grants US$ 25,000 to each of the petitioners for dammages (a total of $100,000) and $10,000 total for legal costs and expenses.

The Court’s ruling could lead the Ministerial Committee of the Council of Europe to calling for a revision of the trial and, perhaps, for the release of the former M.P.s. The Ministerial Committee, which is the Council of Europe’s executive, has the responsibilty of checking the application of the Courts rulings in the 43 member countries of the organisation.

Moreover, Turkey was also found guilty in nine other cases on the same day. The full text of these rulings can be consulted on the following web site:

On 10 July, the European Human Rights Court in Strasbourg found the Turkish government guilty of the murder of Mehmet Serif Avsar.

This Kurdish civilian had been kidnapped by seven men, including five ‘village guards’ (civilian pro-government militia) and an unknown man, identified four years later as being an army sergent, at present on the run abroad. The victim’s corpse was found on 7 May 1994, just outside Diyarbekir. Nearly six years later the village guards were sentenced: one to twenty years imprisonment for murder, the others to six years and eight months jail for illegal detention.

In its ruling, the European Court stressed that this case threw a light on “the danger of using civilian volunteers for carrying out quasi police duties ”. The Court stressed that it waas established that, at that time, village guards were regularly used for all sorts of official operations, including the arrest of suspects. The European judges noted that no control had been exercised over the guards carrying out actions outside their district. Furthermore, village guards were not subjected to the discipline and training of gendarmes and police — a situation that could lead to abuse.

The European Court granted £80,000 to the victims family for dammages, costs and expenses.


In the absence of agreement on the “amart” sanctions between the five permanent members, the UN Security Council, to avoid a Russian veto decided, on 2 July, to continue the “Oil for Food” programme for another five months and to resume the debate on smart sanctions in December.

The so-called “Oil for Food” resolution, N° 986, adopted in December 1996, which now allows Iraq to sell unlimited quantities of oil to meet the humanitarian needs of its civilian population hd been the subject of many criticisms and controversies regarding its application.

In the context of this resolution Iraq had, in 1997, sold $4 billion dollars worth of oil. In 2000 it sold $18 billion, a substrancial amount that allowed the Iraqi regime to embark in an agressive policy of influence buying, rewarding its supporters in proportion to their ardour or diplomatic clout and ppunishing those opponents who campaigned for maintaining the sanctions.

France, a permanent member of the Security Council, which had been Baghdad’s principle trade partner from 1975 onwards (especially in regard to arms sales) remains the principle beneficiary of Iraqi contracts — at least for the period 1997-2000, when it had sold $3 billion worth of Renault vans and pick-ups, Peugeot mini buses Alcatel telecommunication equipment etc.

Until a few months ago, the Iraqi regime seemed to appreciate France’s diplomatic efforts in favour of lifting the sanctions which would, at last have enabled it to use the considerable oil sales income whaterver way it wished. At the present time the oil sales’ revenue is paid into a UNO blocked account from which 25% is earmarked to pay war reparations and the expenses of UN agencies in Iraq, and 13% for the three Provinces of Kurdistan under Kurdish administration.

Commercial contracts that Baghdad wishes to finance from its blocked account have to be approved by the UN Sanctions Committee which sees to it that the Iraqi regime does not acquire dual purpose (civil and military) equipment by this means which mught be used to produce arms.

The critics criticise the Sanctions Committee for its cumbersome bureaucracy and its nit-picking way of operating. For its part, the Iraqi regime refuses to use these revenues for its population’s food and health requirements, using it as a hostage so as to use the “civilians starved by American imperialism” arguement. Thus while the 13% of the revenuesallocated to Kurdistan have enabled a marked improvement in living conditions and in the education of the Kurdish population {see p.133 of the Press Review “Le Printemps fragile Kurde ” (the fragile Kurdish spring)} the condition of the Iraqi population remains a matter for concern while Baghdad keeps unused the enormous sum of $ 13 billion in its blocked account at the New York office of the BNP.

To fight the Iraqi propaganda, whihc has considerable impact in the Arab world, but also, thanks to powerful lobbying, in some sections of Western public opinion, a project of so-called “smart{ sanctions has been drevised by the British Foreign Office, after months of consultations with the other Europeans and the Americans, including their NGOs. Under this scheme, Iraq would be authorised to import all the products it needs except for a list of specific civil/military dual purpose items. However, its oil sales revenue will still continue to be paid into a UN blocked account with a percentage (13%) allocated to the Kurdish provinces and another amount to war reparations. Moreover, UNO will act to prevent the Iraqi regime’s illicit trade with its bordering states (Turkey, Jordan, Iran and Syria) which brings in another $1 to 2 billion that canbe spent at the sole discretion of the Saddam Hussein dictatorship.

After heated discussions, the United States, Breat Britain, France and China had agreed on a list of 12 pages of products that Iraq would not have the right to import.

However Russia, to whom Baghdad owes a debt of $8 billion for arms sales in the 80s, contoinues to press for a total lifting of sanctions in the hope of recovering its outstanding debts by the renewal of it trade with Iraq. On 2 July Moscow brandished the threat of using its veto and so prevented the project from being put to the vote “in the interest of unity of the Council”.


The head of the French Foreign Office, Hubert Vedrine, visited Turkey on 26 July for “a visit of reconciliation ”, after six months coolness, following France’s adoption of a Bill, that Turkey still has not swallowed, recognising the Armenian genocide.

Invited by his Turkish opposite number, Ismail Cem, Mr. Vedrine was received by Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit in the course of this short working visit — the first renewal of contact at this level since mid-January. France’s passing of the Bill recognising the massacre of Armenians under the Ottoman Empire and its endorsement by President Jacques Chirac, had unleashed a storm in Turkey, that denies a genocide.

Ankara had recalled its ambassador from Paris for four months ‘for consultations’ and French firms had, for several months, suffered from exclusions from invitations to tender, cancellation of contracts, and bureaucratic harassment. The serious economic crisis that Turkey is going through has, however, contributed to patching up relations, even if without much official warmth. Thus Mr. Ecevit had met, the previous week, a delegation from the French MEDEF (employers federation) at a time when Turkey has more need than ever for outside help. This, however, has not prevented Turkey from maintaining its commercial sanctions of arms purchases “We have decided that, in the future, we will forget the past ” Mr. Cem summed things up at a joint Press Conference. “There is a government decision (on the sanctions) and that will not change ”.

According to Mr. François Rivasseau, French Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mr. Vedrine and Mr. Cem are due to examine the process of the rapprochement of Turkey and The European Union, the thorny Cyprus question and the European Defence project — to which Ankara is opposed as it is expluded from any part in the decision-making process since it is not a member of the E. U. — and the state of the economic reforms being undertaken by Turkey to overcome the crisis. Other regional questions concerning both countries, in particular the Southern Caucasus, Iraq, the Near East and the Balkans will also be discussed. Paris, like Ankara, is arguing in favour of a lightening of the sanctions imposed on Iraq since its invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

The French M.P.s’ vote “has had a negative impact on our relations (…) but France, traditionally, is a member of the European Union that supports Turkey ” Ismail Cem continued. For his part, Mr. Vedrine simply explained that Paris hoped to express its “solidarity ” with Turkey, which is experiencing economic difficulties and stressed that the E.U. should take into account Turkey’s concerns, but also called on Ankara to “understand and facilitate ” Europe’s projects. A sign of the coolness of Franco-Turkish relations is that the President, Ahmet Necdet Sezer, decided to ignore Mr. Vedrine’s visit and, according to the Turkish press, did not meet him to protest against the French vote on the Armenian genocide.

Moreover, a delegation from the French Employers Federation, the MEDEF, which was received by Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit and his Minister for the Economy, Kemal Dervis, pleaded, on 13 July, for confidence in Turkey, which is in a state of crisis, and called for investment in the country. “Our visit is a signal of encouragement for investing in this country, in which we have confidence ” stressed Ernest-Antoine Seillière, President of the MEDEF, at a Press Conference. “The emerging countries have, in the past, experienced violent crisies (…) It is, perhaps, just at moments of doubt that one can advance the most rapidly ” he added, recalling that French firms are already the first in terms of investment in Turkey.

The MEDEF delegation’s visit which represented about fifty major French firms, took place at a time when Turkey, in the middle of a serious crisis, is shaken by doubts on the capacity of the government to carry out the programme of reforms agreed with the International Monetary Fund. It also signals the end of the period of turbulence in relations between the two countries following France’s recognition of the Armenian genocide in mid-January. On 12 July, the MEDEF delegation had meeting in Istanbul with representatives of TUSIAD, the Turkish Emplyers Federation.


On 31 July, the European Human Rights Court found in favour of the Ankara government by judging that its decision to dissolve the Refah Party, (the Islamist ‘Prosperity Party’) in the intesrest of the secular character of the State to be well founded. The European Court judges, by 4 votes against 3, jdged that the vlaues preached by the Prosperity Party, such as the application of the Sharia (traditional Islamic law) and the “holy war ” to achieve their ends, were incompatible with the European Convention on Human Rights, the more so insofar as the leaders of the Refah “had allowed a suspicion to remain on their position refarding the use of force to seize power and, in particular, to retain it ”.

The Refah Party, founded in 1983 and led by former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, had become the principal party in the following the 1995 elections, with over 4.5 million votes. Three years later, under pressure from the Army, the Constitutional Court decreed the dissolution of Refah (January 1998) on the grounds that the party had been transformed “into a centre of activity contrary to the principles of secularism, thus endangering Turkish democratic order ”. Mr. Erbakan, 74 years old, and two former Refah Vice-Presidents and members of Parliament, Sevket Kazan (former Moinister of Justice) and Ahmet Turmen then petitioned the European Court on the grounds that their rights to freedom to meet (Art. 11) and and express themselves Article 10) had been violated as well as freedom against discrimination (Article 14), the protection of property and the right to free elections.

Despite the dissenting voices of three judges (Austrian, Cypriot and British), four of the jusges Jean-Paul Costa (France), `Hanne Sophie Greve (Norway), Kristaq Traja (Albania) and Riza Turmen (Turkey) ruled that the punishments imposed by the Turkish Court upon the three leaders — stripping them of their Membership of Parliament and interdiction from any public office for five years could “reasonably be considered to answer an imperious need to protect democratic society ”. “Even though the margin allowed to States to dissolve political parties must be narrow, the pluralism of ideas and parties being itself inherent in democracy, the State concerned may reasonably prevent the achievement of a political project that is incompatible with the standards of the European Convention before it has been put into practice by concrete actions that carry the danger of compromising civil peace and democratic rule in the country ” the European Court insisted.

According to the European judges, “a political party whose leaders incite their followers to have recourse to violence cannot avail themselves of the protection of the Convention against the sanctions inflicted on those grounds ”. “Principles such as pluralism in political participation or the constant evolution of public liberties ” are foreign to Sharia, according to the Court. “It is hard to declare that one respected democracy and Human Rights and also to support a regime based on the Sharia, which sharply rejects the values of the European Convention ”, in particular those regarding penal rules, the use of torture used for penal punishment, the place of women in the legal order and its interference in the areas of private and public life to make it conform with religious standards, according to the ruling.

The question of the wearing of the islamic headscarf or the organisation of working hours to fit into payers or the Ramadan fast do not, taken in isolation, constitute imminent threats to the secualr regime in Turkey, the European Court ruled. However, in Turkey, the stand in favour of measures in support of these issues were “in conformity with an unavowed intention by Refah to install a political regime based on the Sharia ” added the ruling. The President of Refah, former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan, had encouraged the wearing of the Islamic headscarf in public and educatiobnal institutions, in particular in December 1995, by declaring that “the University Deans (would) bow down before the veil when Refah came to power ”, although the wearing of the headscarf had been declared unconstitutional since 1989.

The Austrian, British and Cypriot judges, nevertheless published a “dissenting opinion ” in which they protested agains the banning of a party on the sole basis of the statements of some of its leaders. “Nothing in the constitution (of Refah) or in its programme indicated that this party was hostile to democracy ” the three judges considered.

“It is a great relief for the country’s secularists. There had been a question of whether the concept of secularism in Turkey mwas compatible with the European Convention. Now this arguement is over ” was the analysis of Mehmet Birand, a journalist working for several newspapers.

However, the Court’s decision has been criticised by several representatives of liberal circles, which reflects a debate on the reality of the threat that political Islam raises for democracy when the means used against it are not considered to be particularly democratic themselves. For Yucel Sayman, dean of the Istanbul bar, “it is a very political decision, which betrays a very narrow sense of democracy ”. “Strasbourg has condemned an intentionm but not actual actions … For one cannot say that Refah’s actions, in office or in opposition, have ever confirmed any will to change the political regime in Turkey or to contravene democratic rules ” considered Ahmet Insel, Professor of Economics at Istanbul’s French language University of Galatasaray. “This ruling shows that Europe continues to view fundamentalism as a threat to itself too ” said Rusen Cakir, an expert on Islamism and a journalist.

The closing down of Refah by the Turkish Constitutional Court in 1998 had been preceded by an intervention of the Army, which considers itself the guardian of secualr principles in Turkey. It had exerted pressure for several months to secure, in June 1997, the resignation of Necmettin Erbakan, leader of Refah, who had been Prime Minister for about a year, in a coalition with Mrs, Tansu Çiller. This process has been widely described as “a post-modern coup d’état ”, after the more overt coups of 1960, 1971 and 1980. Refah’s successor, the Virtue Party (Fazilet), more moderate in tone, was banned in 2001.

In 1998 and 1999, Turkey had been condemned at Strasbourg for banning three political organisation of marxist or pro-Kurdish inspiration. The ruling of the Court is subject to appeal, any one of the parties having the right to call for the case to be heard befor the full panel of 17 judges within three months.


On 14 August, a new organisation resulting from the banning of the Islamist Virtue Party (Fazilet), was formed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, former Mayor of Istanbul. The Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) has emerged almost a month after the creation, from the ashes of Fazilet, of the Happiness Party (Saadet) by the Conservative wing of that party, formerly the 3rd largest in the country, which was dissolved by a decree of the Constitutional Court.

“This is the happiest moment of my life. It amounts to the opening of a new page for our people ” declared Mr. Erdogan at a press conference in Ankara, after the founder members of the party had filed the constitution and rules of the new party with the Ministry of the Interior, as required by Turkish law. Mr. Erdogan assured his listeners that “complete transparency and democracy ” would reign within the party, criticising the “oligarchy ” running the other organisations. “Believe me, nothing will be the same in Turkey ” he added.

None of the former Fazilet Members of Parliament was amongst the 73 founder members, who mostly consisted of academics, intellectuals and lawyers — all but Mr. Erdogan being unknown to public opinion. About fifty former Fazilet M.P.s (out of 100) are expected to join the new party in the next few days, while the Happiness Party, led by former Fazilet leader recai Kutan, has 49 M.P.s.

According to its founders, the Justice and Development Party (AK parti) hopes to address a wider public than Fazilet whose pro-Islamic rhetoric essentially attracted a religious electorate and irritated the leaders of this Moslem, but secular, state — particularly the all-important Army that considers itself the guardian of secular principles.

Mr. Erdogan was allowed to re-enter the political arena last month thanks to a decision of the Constitutional Court lifting the life ban on political activity which had been imposed on him two years ago for a speech considered an “incidement to race or religious hatred ”, He has also, meanwhile, served a four months prison sentence. Since then he asserts that hs has “changed ” with the aim of winning votes from the Centre Right. But his detractors accuse him of cynicism and opportunism, pointing out that a politician does not change in the middle of his carreer. The modernists have called for a reform of the Turkish political system which, they say, is a hot-bed of corruption and nepotism and which is responsible for the serious economic crisis sweeping the country. Regarding freedom of expression, the new party is in favour of broadcasts in Kurdish, according to Abdullah Gul, one of the party leaders. A pun that symbolises the will to change is embedded in the party name: AK — initials for the Justice and Development (Adalet and Kalkinma) also means ‘white’ in Turkish — that is free of any corruption.

The now officialised split between the “traditionalist ” and “modernist ” wings is liable to weaken the Islamist movement. And the two organisations will receive their ordeal by fire in the coming elections, in principle due in 2003, since each is likely to receive less than the 10% threshold needed to win seats in Parliament. Fazilet had received 15% of the votes in the general elections of 1999.


MORE VICTIMS OF THE HUNGER STRIKE IN THE TURKISH PRISONS. Ali Koc, 30 years old, died in an Ankara hospital on 8 July after having intermittently fasted for 251 days. He was detained in Ankara prison pending his trial for on grounds of his presumed membership of the People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front, a banned organisation in Turkey. He is the 28th person to die in Turkey in the context of the protest movement against the new high security penal system that isolated detainees.

Mahmut Gokham Ozocak,another member of the same organisation died in the home of a friend on 4 July, at Izmir six months ago, while serving a 14 year sentence for membership of a banned organisation. He had continued his hunger strike after his release in May 2001.

Muharrem Horoz, 28 years of age, died in an Izmit hospital, to which he had been admitted tendays earlier because of the seriousness of his condition after 236 days of hunger strike. Horoz, an alleged member of a tiny underground Maoist group, the Workers and Peasants Liberation Army of Turkey (TIKKO), was tried for a bomb attack against the governor of the Province of Cankiri, which caused 3 deaths and 10 injured.

With the death of Hülya Simsek, on 31 August, the number of deaths as a result of the hunger stike against the F-type prisons has risen to 32.

Hülya Simsek died on the 385th day of the hunger strike, on Friday 31 August. She had begun her hunger strike in Bursa at the end of the year 2000, when the Turkish authorities had started to forcibly transfer prisoners from a certain number of prisons towards the new Type-F jails. She later came to Küçükarmutlu (Istanbul), where she died.

Over 200 people — political detainees and members of their families — are on hunger strike since last year. The majority of them take salt and sugared water and vitamines to prolong their ability to move as long as possible. All are protesting agianst being transferred from traditional jails to these new prisons where the cells contain just one prisoner (three in the best of cases). According to the humger strikers, this new system places detainees entirely at the tender mercy on the guards — who are notorious for their tenderness. The first transfers, in December 2000, unleashed clashes which caused 30 deaths amongst the prisoners and 2 amongst the soldiers brought in to effect the transfers.

Furthermore, December 2000 operation by troops in the Turkish prisons, the so-called “Operation Return to Life ”, continues to be a source of controversy. The report of an autopsy on Alp Ata Alçoyöz, one of the detainees at Umraniye prison, victim of the operation, clearly shows that he had been killed by “a long range weapon ” — in fact by two bullets fired from a considerable distance.

In a letter addressed to the victim’s family (Editor’s Note: taken from the Turkish daily Milliyet of 10 July) Mehmet Akdemirun, one of his co-detainees, wrote: “They drilled three holes in the roof with pneumatic drills … and threw down toxic substances that burned us all over. It was like in a gas chamber … We began to leave in groups of three or four. Ata was in the first group … Then we heard three or four shots ”. The vicitim’s family protests and denounces the fact that they were only able to secure the post mortem report after seven months of struggle against red tape.

THE TURKISH VETO ON THE RAPID REACTION FORCE IS POISONING ITS RELATIONS WITH THE EUROPEAN UNION. Turkey’s maintaining of its veto on the effective setting up of the rapid reaction force decided on by the Fifteen is increasingly irritating the European Union. On 16 July, the Foreign Ministers of the European Union discussed Ankara’s refusal to give its green light to the use of NATO facilities for this force of 60,000 men that the E.U. is setting up.

“The general feeling is that Turkey should not attempt to slow down the setting up of the European Common Defence policy and that is should use more European methods in defending its opinions ” stated Hubert Vedrine, head of the French Foreign Office. The German Foreign Minister, Joschka Fischer, expressed similar ideas by considering that Turkey could not hope to speed up its joining by using NATO as a means of exerting pressure: “One cannot block matters on one side and think that one can gain something on the other ”.

All the members of NATO are agreed that the E.U. should be able to call on the planning tools and other means of the Alliance when using this 60,000 strong force which, as from 2003 should be able to carry out peace-keeping missions. But Turkey, which is a member of NATO but not of the E. U. wants to participate in any E.U. decisions, on the grounds that the majority of European operations would take place in its back yard and thus would affect its vital interests. Turkish diplomats often cite, as an example, a hypothetical European operation in Cyprus, carried out with NATO resources, without Turkey having any say in the matter.

In Nice, in December 2000, the European leaders committed themselves to informing and consulting with Ankara, but they cannot accept the intrusion of outside countries in their affairs. A compromise had been found at the end of May 2001, before the meeting of the NATO Foreign Ministers, the British acting as mediators with the Turkish authorities. But, according to several European diplomats, the Army chiefs — who hold the real power in Turkey — refused to accept the terms negotiated by Turkish Foreign Minister Ismail Cem.

The deadline for the lifting of the Turkish veto has been set for the end of the year: if it has not been done by that date, a real crisis could arise.

THE ILISU DAM: THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT WITHDRAWS ITS SUPPORT ON ENVIRONMENTAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS GROUNDS. The British government has decided to withdraw its support for the very contraversial project of building the Ilisu dam, after publication of an official report attacking the harmful effects on the environment and on Human Rights of this project, which is far from satisfying international standards. The report, commissioned by Stephen Byers, former Minister of Trade and Industry in 1999, shows that the project endagers the livelihood of tens of thousands of local inhabitants — in fact it reveals that it will cause the displacement of at least 70,000 Kurds and the destruction of the archaeological site of Hasankeyf.

THE IMF AND THE WORLD BANK UNFREEZE A $3.2 BILLION LINE OF CREDIT FOR TURKEY. On 12 July, the International Monetary Fund, approved the unfreezing of a stand-by line of credit of $1.5 billion to Turkey. The World Bank, the sister development institution of the IMF, for its part, granted, as agreed, a supplementary aid of $1.7 billion to Ankara.

The Board of Directors of the IMF finally backed the economic programme set up by that country, which is to be supported by IMF credits over a three year period. The unfreezing of these new facilities comes after the Turkish government accepted certain conditions demanded by the IMF.

The Turkish economy had been shaken, at the end of February 2001, by a serious financial crisis — the second on three months — which had involved a devaluation of the Turkish lire by almost 50% in relation to the dollar. The Turkish economy has experienced a 4.2% contraction in the first quarter of this year.

THE TURKISH CONSTITUTIONAL COURT REFUSES TO EXTEND THE AMNESTY LAW TO POLITICAL PRISONERS. On 18 July, the Turkish Constitutional Court decided to broaden the scope of the controversial amnesty law, which came into force in December 2000, but refused to include charges of “crimes against the State ” levelled against political activists and political prisoners, including Leyla Zana and her colleagues.

Hasim Kilic, Vice-President of the Court, announced that the broadening covered offences such as extortion of information by threats, escaping or complicity in escaping (from prison), arson and abuse of power by a government official …

On the other hand the Court rejected the extension of the amnesty to members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and thus of its chief, Abdullah Ocalan, sentenced to death in 1999 for treason and separatism, following the PKK’s 15 year armed struggle against the Turkish State.

The law provides for a reduction in sentences for the majority of prisoners, including murderers, — but excludes those sentenced for separatism, rape, money laundering, embezzlement, organising an armed gang or torture.

This controversial law, at first, merely aimed at emptying the grossly overcrowded Turkish prisons of a substantial part of their prisoners. To date, some 23,000 of the 70,000 prisoners being held, have been released under its provisions.

TWO KURDISH VILLAGES FORCIBLY EVACUATED AND OTHERS SUBJECTED TO A FOOD EMBARGO, VILLAGERS TORTURED AND EXECUTED BY TURKISH GENDARMES WITH COMPLETE IMPUNITY. Turkish Human Rights defence organisations sharply condemned the forcible evacuation of the Kurdish villages of Asat and Ortali (Bêzal) in Beytussebap district of Sirnak Province and the food embargo imposed on the villages of Ilicak (Germav), Dagalti (Tivor) and Hisarkapi, all in the same district, after the death of a soldier killed by a land mine. According to evidence collected by these organisations, villagers had been subjected to various forms of ill treatment and torture by the security forces on the spot. Yilmaz Ensaroglu, President of MAZLUM-DER, commenting on two events involving the responsibility of the gendarmerie, {Editor’s Note: their action in the township of Akkise (Konya Province — Central Turkey) and in Beytussebap} denouced the double standards in the treatment by the press and by the civil and military authorities of these events: “We sent observers to both events. In the first case (Konya) they were able to go immediately and draw up a report, whereas in the second case, we were full of anxiety for them until they returned safely. They were stopped at every turn and their cassettes and papers confiscated. This clearly shows the administrative and legal practices that are current in the country. The political parties and most of the media never cross the lines drawn by the State’s policies, public opinion is kept in ignorance of the situation. In fact, the State of Evergency (OHAL) does not mean a regime without law but just one in which certain rights are temporarily limited. In our OHAL, however, there is neither law nor justice ”.

The national dailies totally ignored the events in Betussebap, observers from various Human Rights organisations were harassed and man-handled by the authorities on the spot while making their enquiries. The villagers were disinclined to speak because of the pressure on them — their mayor, speaking for them said that they had left their land of their own accord. The only ones, including Cafer Aslan and Rasim Acar, who dared to speak openly to the observers, are still in detention, accused of “inciting the population to anger ”.

After Rasim Acar’s testimony, the lawyers who made up the delegations, fearing for his life, had taken him under their protection but the gendarmes, on the pretext that his identity papers might be false, succeeded in re-arresting him and placing him in detention. His lawyers have already denounced the torture (electric shocks) suffered by their client while in detention.

Unlike the situation in Konya, the local station commander does not seem to be bothered to the slightest extent by the Turkish legal authorities. Worse still, Colonel Levent Ersoz, in charge of Sirnak Province, who has been directly accused of brutalities by Cafer Aslan and by the Sirnak population, has been rewarded by promotion to the rank of General (effective as from 30 August) and will be put in command of the gendarmerie in Diyarbakir…

A TURKISH MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT BEING SUED FOR HAVING DENOUNCED TORTURE. On 24 July, the Ankara Public Prosecutor’s Office called for the lifting of Parliamentary immunity from Mrs. Sema Piskinsut, former President of the Turkishn Parliamentary Human Rights Commission whom it accuses of having “concealed ” the names of torture victims. Mrs. Piskinsut’s defence is that she was preserving the security of these victims, who had spoken in confidence to the members of Parliament. She,moreover, expressed astonishment that the Turkish authorities were seeking to prosecute those who had had the courage to denounce torture rather than put on trial and condemn the torturers.

Mrs. Piskinsut has been in disgrace ever since she denounced the violence practiced against detainees. She attracted the thunderbolts of wrath of the Turkish authorities — but also of her own party, which refused to renew her nomination as President of the Human Rights Commission — when she brought into Parliament the instruments of torture she had found in Turkish police stations. At her party’s Congress (the so-called ‘Democratic Left’ Party) she was booed and violently manhandled for daring to stand as candidate for President of the party against Bülent Ecevit.

THE ISTANBUL STATE SECURITY COURT RELEASED DR. ZEKI BUDAK. After six months detention without trial in Istanbul’s Bayrampasa Prison, Dr. Zeki Budak, a French citizen of Kurdish origin, wrongly accused of being “one of the leaders of the Cologne PKK ” was released on 24 July by the Istanbul N°1 State Security Court.

His release comes on the eve of the visit to Ankara of French Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine. He will know the final decision on his fate at his trial, set for 4 October. Till then he is forbidden to leave the country.

A dental surgeon, involved in peaceful political activity (the Turkish Human Rights Association, Erdal Inönu’s Social Democratic Party) in support of democracy and the recognition of the Kurdish people’s rights, Dr. Budak had been obliged to leave Turkey in 1992 following the assassination, by Turkish para-military forces, of three of his brothers, respectively aged 20, 22 and 24 years during the terrible campaign of “murders by unidentified people ” that had caused over four thousand deaths in the rang of Kurdish civil society between 1992 and 1998. His own life threatened by the political police (MIT), sentenced to 3 years 6 months imprisonment by a State Security Court for “having given medical treatment to terrorists ” he had sought refuge in France.

He has been living in Rouen since 1992. Married to a French teacher, having obtained French citizenship, and father of three children, Dr. Budak travelled to Turkey to visit his aged and seriously ill father. Since his earlier sentenced had been amnestied by a recent law, he had thought that there was no legal obstacle to his return to Turkey.

REBROADCASTING OF BBC AND DEUTSCHE WELLE TURKISH LANGUAGE BROADCASTS IS FORBIDDEN IN TURKEY. On 9 August, the High Radio and Television Council (RTUK), Turkey’s official organ for audiovisual supervision, decided to forbid Turkish language broadcasts by the BBC and Deutsche Welle. The authorities fear the broadcasting of news favourable to Kurdish or other dissident movements, be they Islamic or Left wing. In 1999, a local radio had been suspended for having broadcast a BBC report, in Turkish, on the “Kurdish Parliament in Exile” which has since disbanded. The report was considered a danger to the unity of the Turkish State.

However, Nuri Kayis, RTUK President, has explained that he did not support this decision, adopted by the Executive Committee on 8 August. He has even petitioned the Courts to secure an annulment of this measure. “The banning of these radios will put Turkey in a very awkward situation before international public opinion ” Mr. Kayis considered, describing the BBC and Deutsche Welle as two of the most prestigeous media in the world. The RTUK President has argued that these broadcasts did not violate any legislation and considered that this measure had been taken on the basis of a misinterpretation of the regulations. He has, however, admitted that he had been unable to change the minds of his colleagues on the Executive Committee and get them to reverse their banning decision. Whereas Ankara, which is trying to join the European Union, has to improve its record on Human Rights and freedom, this decision “could place Turkey in the position of an anti-democratic country, lacking in feedom of communication but not lacking in censorship ” he said in a communiqué.

The Executive Committee of the RTUK based its decision on an article of Turkish law regarding broadcasting which prevents foreign media broadcasting regularly to Turkey or live, by using the technical facilities of local networks. The BBC and Deutche Welle had recently begun broadcasting news programmes in Turkish via NTV, a radio station that is the subsidiary of a powerful media group running the principal TV network specialising in continuous news broadcasting. Thus the private continuous news NTV stopped broadcasting programmes by these two foreign radios on 10 August, after the High council had rejected its appeal. Turks can still hear BBC and Deutsche Welle on the short waves — if they have suitable radios.

Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) denounced this decision on 10 August, describing it as “an obstacle to pluralism of information ” and as “a step backwards in respect of Turkey’s international commitments, particularly within the Council of Europe ”.

ACCORDING TO DATA COLLECTED FOR THE YEAR 2000, 64% OF THE ‘UNSOLVED’ CASES ARE IN THE JURISDICTION OF THE DIYARBEKIR STATE SECURITY COURT. According to data for the year 2000 issued by the General Directorate for Statistics and Legal Records of the Turkish Ministry of Justice, 64.3% of the cases, that is 18, 247 cases, of the 8 Public Prosecutors Offices of the State Security Courts (DGM) in Turkey, “remain unsolved ”. The record is held by the Diyarbekir DGM Prosecutor’s Office with 81.9% of the cases unsolved (11,523 cases), followed by the Kurdish towns of Van (75%) then Erzurum with 74.4% and Malatya with 68.8%. In Ankara the rate is 39.9%, in Adana 18.2%, in Izmir 11.7% and in Istanbul 1.5%. …

THE TURKISH ARMY EXPELS 15 OFFICERS FOR “LINKS WITH ISLAMIC AND KURDISH MOVEMENTS ”. A Turkish Army communiqué of 4 August announced the expulsion from its ranks of fifteen officers accused of being “linked to Kurdish separatist movements and to Islamic movements ”.

According to the communiqué, the fifteen officers “have been dismissed because of conduct incompatible with Army discipline ”, an expression that usually carries the implication of activity in sympathy with “separatist Kurdish groups or Islamic movements ”. The decision, endorsed by Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit, was taken during a meeting of the Superior Army Council, which held its annual meeting over the weekend of 1 to 3 August. The Councils decisions are not subject to any appeal, nor can they be attacked in any civil court.

A record number of officers (232) had been retired during the period when the pro-Islamist Necmettin Erbakan was Turkey’s Prime Minister, from 1996 to 1997. The Army, at that time waged an anti-Islamist campaign that forced Mr. Erbakan to resign in June 1997. The Constitutional Court, subsequently, banned his party (the Prosperity Party — Refah) on the grounds of “anti-secualr activity ”.

ACCORDING TO THE UNITED NATIONS 2001 REPORT ON HUMAN DEVELOPMENT, TURKEY IS DOWN IN 82nd PLACE. The 2001 U.N. report on Human Development, made public on 10 July under the heading “Making New Technologies work for Human Development” places Turkey in 82nd place on the Human development index out of the 162 countries examined in 2001. This is a slight improvement on the previous year, when it held 85th place, but once again it fails to show any improvement in living standards for its 65 million in habitants, while military expenditure is the largest item of its public spending (5% of its GDP, against 3.5% in 1990). The proportion of its expenditure in education has slightly increased, but only 0.5% of its GDP is spent on research and development.

Alfredo Witschi-Cestari, U.N. co-ordinator and U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) representative in Turkey stated to the English language Turkish daily Turkish Daily News of 10 July that “What is important is not having technology but the way it’s used … For example, with regard to health, you can have the best medical treatment available in Istanbul but a very low level in Harran or Mardin (Kurdish regions) … Turkey has a substancial level in terms of revenue and growth, but not in education and health nor in women’s access to the economy ”.

ARMS: TURKEY SIGNS A ONE BILLION DOLLARS CONTRACT WITH SOUTH- KOREA FOR THE CO-PRODUCTION OF HOWITZERS. On 20 July, Turkey and South Korea signed a record arms deal for a billion dollars, to co-produce howitzers (i.e. heavy artillery). The 21 July issue of the Korea Herald, local English language daily, reporting the comments of the South Korean Minister of Defence, stated that it was the South Korean Samsung Techwin company that would supply Turkey with the howitzer components. Twenty 155mm self-propelled guns, to a value of $60 million, will be delivered in the next two years. This agreement is the first stage of a 10 years contract, in the course of which this Korean firm will supply components for over 300 howitzers.

Turkey, which is down to 82nd place in the list of 162 countries considered in the UN report on human development published on 10 July (N.B. see CILDEKT N° 208) and which is going through an acute economic and financial crisis, has not explained how it is going to finance this billion dollar contract. Observers note, however, Ankara’s determination to diversify its arms supply sources as a reaction against the restrictions that certain of its allies are imposing as a result of its poor Human Rights record. Thus Germany had earlier refused the technology transfer needed for production of these howitzers.

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION AGAINST RACISM AND INTOLERENCE CRITICISES TURKEY. In a report published on 3 July, the Council of Europe deplored that penal legislation for combatting racism and discrimination in Turkey were insufficiently used and even misused to repress separatism.

The European Commission against Racism amd Intolerence (ECRI), a delegation of which visited Turkey in November 2000, revealed that Article 312 of the Turkish Penal Code, which penalises public incitement to hatred on the basis of social class, race, religion or political convictions or regime “has been used, up to now, in cases of incitement to separatist or fundamentalist opinions ”.

On the other hand, this article “seems never to be used ” to punish cases of “oral, written or other behaviour attacking minority groups in Turkey and, in particular of antisemitism ” deplored the report, adopted by the commission in December 2000.

The report also reveals that “Turkey has not, to date, provided itself with any legal provisions specifially forbidding race discrimination in employment ”.


THE ECONOMIC AND POPULATION SITUATION IN THE KURDISH REGIONS, ACCORDING TO OFFICIAL STATISTICS. Mustafa Sonmez, in an article published on 15 July in the English language Turkish paper Turkish Daily News, reviewed the official description of the economic and population situation of the Kurdish regions. Here are extensive extracts from this article deals with official statistics that the Turkish authorities are disinclined to give or publish

“ There is no official effort to determine the numeric importance (of the Kurds. Until 1965, the census included a question on the mother tongue and secondary language with Kurdish being one of the choices. In the last such census in 1965, 2.2 million people declared Kurdish as their mother tongue, with 1.15 million calling it their second language.

In 1965 the population in Turkey was 31.4 million. These numbers show that a little over 10 percent of the population was familiar with Kurdish. Many social scientists and politicians believe that this number does not accurately reflect the population in Turkey with Kurdish roots. Only one thing is clear: Turkey has been discussing the Kurdish problem, which has occupied her agenda continuously, without proper demographic data, and in the dark.

Secondly, the question of how to geographically define the Eastern and southeastern regions must be answered. Which cities will be included in the "region" and which ones will be excluded? How will we "divide" up the country? According to the 1990 administrative division, 19 cities are included in the Eastern and southeastern regions. Gaziantep, Sivas, and Kahramanmaras are the three cities whose inclusion in the region is disputed. However, these are transitional cities (…)

Turkey ranks high among countries with a severe problem of regional inequality (…) The difference between Kocaeli in the west, the city which has the highest Gross National Product (GNP) per capita in Turkey, and Mus, which has the lowest, is 1 to 11. The most well-off cities of the east and southeast are Elazig, Malatya and Diyarbakir. However, even these cities fall short of the national average for per capita income. The poorest cities of Turkey and the region are Mus, Agri, Bitlis and Bingol. In these cities, the GNP per capita is below that of many countries in Africa.

(…) The region as a whole ranks last in economic growth and development. It also gets the smallest share from the national disposable income (…) Using the State Statistical Institute (SIS) figures, we get the following picture:

In the region where subsistence agriculture is still prevalent, land inequality is at monstrous proportions, the climate is harsh, and where for the past 15 years an off-and-on civil war has been fought, is home to 1.947 million families or 14.5 percent of all families in the nation. On the other hand, the region uses only 10.2 percent of the national income. In the region, the average income per family is $3,851, 30 percent below the national average.

The region's per family income is 43 percent below the Marmara and Aegean regions where the figure is $6,834, and 66 percent behind Istanbul where it is $11,637.

The richest province in the area is Erzurum, where the average income per family is $6,067. This figure is 10 percent above the national average. Another important center in the area is Malatya where average income is $4,600. The average income per family in Diyarbakir is $3,567. It is interesting that Gaziantep, usually considered the most economically developed city in the region ranks below Diyarbakir at $3,400. (…)

In the mid-80s, investments related to GAP (South-Eastern Anatolia Project) were a partial remedy for economic problems, but failed to produce positive effects that spread to the entirety of the region. The civil war that erupted in mid-80s put both lives and property in danger and played a determining role in the region's economic downturn. Several measures taken by the government like the "village guard" system, started a period when conditions of a "war economy" became dominant. This unproductive economy mainly dependent on government spending, while providing nothing more than limited sustenance of daily life for a part of the population, also contributed to the demise of the productive activity in the region. The methods used by the state to insulate the people from the Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK) appeal shook their trust in the government and had a discouraging effect on trade activities (…) The negative effects of manpower and capital desertion continued at an increasing rate during the '80s and the '90s, the years the region's population was squeezed between the state and the PKK. (…)

According to the 1990 census, the region's population was 9.365 million. The same data show that there are about 12 million people who were born in eastern cities. This means that 30 percent of the region's population, that is 3.607 million persons have migrated to the west and are living there. Due to both economic and political reasons, this ratio may have increased by 1 to 2 percentage points by 1997. Hence, one out of every three Easterners is living outside the region. For some cities, this ratio is over 50 percent. If we take Tunceli as an example: 53 out of 100 people have migrated. Only half of the 463,000 people who have registered Erzincan as their place of birth are still living there. Kars, whence migration has accelerated after 1980, has 45 percent of its people living in other places. 42 percent of Siirt's, 36 percent of Erzurum's, 35 percent of Mardin's people live away from their city of origin.

The cities with the lowest migration rates in the East and the Southeast are Diyarbakir, Urfa, Van, Batman, Sirnak and Hakkari. Some 15 to 20 percent of their people have left their land and migrated. However in these provinces there is considerable movement from rural areas to the city center. Mandatory village evacuations and fear of violence led the villagers to pour to the cities where most live in abject poverty.

Where did all these people go? To the big cities of course, with Istanbul as the favoured destination. Once more, the 1990 census shows that 1.057 million people born in the East are living in Istanbul. This means that close to 15 percent of Istanbul's population are easterners. The largest group of easterners in Istanbul are people from Kars, 215,000 strong. They are followed by 150,000 from Erzincan, 141,000 from Malatya and 130,000 from Erzurum.

The second center of attraction after Istanbul is Izmir. In 1990, 327,000 easterners were living in Izmir and half of all those were from Erzurum (56,000), Kars (51,000) and Mardin (46,000).

Adana is the third big city with eastern migrants. In 1990 there were 263,000 of them in Adana, which gets most of its migration from southeastern cities like Urfa, Mardin, Adiyaman and Diyarbakir (…)

In 1965, the 19 cities of the East and the Southeast generated 10.6 percent of Turkey's GNP (…) In 1979, this share dropped to 8.6 percent, and in 1995 to 7.4 percent. (…)

Finally, a few words must be said about GAP in the East- Southeast's development paradigm. (…) Hydro=electricity generation will have limited effects on the region (…) Three quarters of the power generated in Turkey is for industrial use. Since industries are established in the west, power generated in the east is consumed in the west. According to Turkish Electricity Corporation (TEAS) data, whereas the average power consumption per person in Turkey is 625 kWatt/hour annually, this figure is 349 kWatt/Hour in the east. A significant portion of the power generated by GAP will be consumed in the west, and the rest will be exported (…) The effects of hydroelectric power plants on unemployment will be very limited. Manpower needed to run a giant power plant is roughly 100-200 people.

The permanent positive effects to the GAP region will come from investments in irrigation. GAP, which will irrigate 80 percent of irrigable lands, will cause significant changes in production relations in agriculture. However the southeasterners will not fully benefit from the rents generated by these state investments. Because as noted earlier the Southeast has the most unequal land distribution in Turkey.

To state it briefly, 38 percent of peasant families in the region are landless. This ratio goes up to 48 percent in Sanliurfa where there is the highest concentration of land ownership, and to 45 percent in Diyarbakir. While 5 percent of families own 65 percent of the land, a vast majority of 70 percent own only 10 percent. (…)

The fact that GAP will not bear its fruits until well into the 21st century, the growth in agricultural production will meet serious market problems. Even if these problems are solved, GAP by itself is not enough to solve the developmental problems of the northeast. We need an Eastern Anatolia Project for that region ”

HE TURKISH ARMY’S “RED BOOK”.. Can Dundar, a journalist on the Turkish daily Milliyet seized the opportunity of a polemic launched by Deputy Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz who, in a speech at his party’s national Congress (where, on 6 August, he was re-elected President by an overwhelming majority for the fifth time) had called into question the concept of national security — a sacrosanct private domain of the Turkish Army. Mesut Yilmaz had thus drawn upon himself the anathema of the Army and of some conservatives, united in the “deep state” The Army had lost no time in declaring, on 7 August, that “it is dangerous to criticise the concept of national security as this could have negative effects in the country … National Security must not be exploited for political ends … all matters concerning the existence, the well being … of the Turkish nationshould be discussed on more serious platforms ”. Furthermore, according to the English language Turkish daily, Turkish Daily News on 8 August, the General Staff has drawn up a new national security policy document to replace its previous one, dated 1997. Here are extensive extracts from Can Dundar’s article, published under the title of “red book ” on 7 August:

In a State Secret drawer there is a book with a red cover. Few people know that it exists, but the initiates say it is “Turkey’s secret Constitution”. Thus Turkey is ruled by the laws laid down in this book.

Let us speak briefly about the period of the “editor” of this book.

In 1949, a high National Defence Council was founded in Ankara to “build a skeleton strategy of defence”. This Council consisted of 17 Civilian ministries and the Turkish Chief of Staff.

In 1961, the Army’s loss of confidence in civilians, which led to the overthrow of Menderes also had consequences on this institution. A National Security Council (MGK) was set up to give “recommendations” in matters of defence. The Chief of staff, who until then had only had one vote, brought along with him three other Army Commanders. The line up was then 4 Army chiefs and 8 civilians.

After the 1982 Constitution, the MGK began to give the government “notifications“ and no longer just “proposals” on matters of defence. The balance within the 10 member MGK was altered at the expense of the civilians — 5 military chiefs, 4 Ministers and the President of the republic.

It is probably this institution that is called the “deep State”, whose influence in the state adminstration has but steadily increased over the last 50 years.

The brains of the MGK is the “General Secretary”. His name is little known, but he is famous as the “shadow Prime Minister“. 250 people work under his orders. His role is “to ensure the continuity of the state” … If the State is compared to a horse, it is to ensure that the horse always gallops in the same direction, regardless of changes of rider …

How has this come about? …

“The president of national security”, who is one of the General Secretary’s four assistants, draws up the strategy. From the listing of ‘threats to the state’ to economic policy, from cultural priorities to preferences regarding foreign policy, everything will be drawn up in this document then cooked up in the General Secretariat and transferred to the red book. After the MGK it is first approved by the Council of Ministers. Parliament — without knowing the contents of this book — cannot vote laws that run counter to the book.

Any elected authoority is invited to a briefing at the MGK General Secretariat within three months of taking office. There “the national defence strategy” is explained to the new rider of the state horse…

And what if there were to be some contradiction between the new party in office and this book? …

A few years ago I questioned the former General Secretary of the MGK, General Dogu Bayazit, on this issue:

“The party in office changes several concepts of its programme when it is made aware of the basis of national security policy ” he replied …

So that is what Mesut Yilmaz is talking about when he says “the curtain must be lifted” on the “national security syndrome” …

The “red book” opens the way to those in uniform to exercise a despotic power over governments.

Even if the Army claims that “the national security policy document is approved by the Council of Ministers”, the events of February 28 openly show that, in practice, “the horse” can rid itself of any rider that does not observe its decisions.

For many years, on many occasions, in controversy with the army for its incursions (into politics), an obstinate defender of membership of the E.U. which would “upset the balance of power”, Yilmaz has touched a very sensitive cord with his proposals. (…)

Say what you will, after the end of the Cold War, when military expenditure has continually dropped throughout the world, the fact remains that Turkey, which claims to have beaten separartism and the Sharia, is increasing its military expenditure by over 50%. A giant like the USA devotes 3% of its GNP to defence — while the share of defence in a Turkey that is in a atate of economic crisis is 5.4% of the GNP — this should give us food for thought.

To know the contents of the “national security policy document” and to discuss the ratio between the threats faced and the money coming out of our pockets is a natural right.

If the cover if the “red book” were opened, Turkey would not be the only one to benefit, since the MGK, too often accused of being “the shadow power”, would also be able to use the occasion.