· State Terror against Kurdish Population· ‘Tortured corpse of HPG members creates great anger among Kurds’· Emine Ayna:“Turkish army using acid on guerrilla bodies”· Karayilan: We are in a self defence position· Ocalan: Three practical suggestions for the government· Peace Parliament: Pave the Way to a Solution, not to NATO· Speaking in Kurdish slams 7 into prison for 35 months· Kurdish language not allowed in Courts· Bagca: "A Trial Like a Caricature!"· CPT: some progress in Ocalan’s detention but monitoring will continue· Turkey: “Too many children are detained”· 700 children are in jail often for throwing stones during demonstrations
· Amnesty International asks Syria to reveal fate of disappeared prisoners
State Terror against Kurdish Population
Kurdish Info 07.07.2010 – For already more than one month now, since 1 June 2010 the unilateral ceasefire of the Kurdish guerrilla ceased. It didn´t make any sense, after the Turkish state arrested thousands of Kurdish politicians, activists, mayors and a lot of children and youth under the anti-terrorism law and made massive military operations and airstrikes with the aim of annihilation against the Kurdish guerrilla as well as the burning of villages, and the rise in the number of torture and extrajudicial killings.
In the last month the guerrilla was able to launch many attacks and surprised the Turkish state with their ability to strike at any place, at any time. The chief of the Turkish general staff Ilker Başbuğ declared that he was not able to sleep anymore because of the continuous guerrilla raids. More than one hundred Turkish soldiers and about 25 guerrillas died in the fighting of last month.
The military has started to use strategies involving systematic violation of human rights and intimidation and humiliation against the Kurdish population as is takes its revenge for the guerrilla attacks on the civil population, the prisoners and the dead in a brutal way. So it has been observed numerous times during last month that soldiers attack civilians, their houses or vehicles after guerrilla attacks. Furthermore, Turkish warplanes and helicopters bomb the civil population and their lands for not being able to find the guerrilla. Meadows, fields, and herds belonging to the people are destroyed in southern as well as in northern Kurdistan. Because of this strategy a lot of civilians have been killed, children included, during the last month. In fact the Turkish military is using the population as hostages against the guerrilla.
MUTILATIONS OF GUERRILLA BODIES – EXTRAJUDICAL KILLINGS OF ARRESTED GUERRILLA MEMBERS
In Gümüşhane the body of guerrilla Özgür Dağhan (Sipan Amed) killed two weeks previously had been found gravely mutilated by the Turkish military. It was difficult for the family to identify the body of their son.When the family wanted to take their son from the morgue in Trabzon, they suffered a shock on seeing the mutilated body. The head of the body had been hacked to pieces. Their firm suspicion, that he had been killed after being arrested alive, because on the rest of his body there is no sign of harm. The family who was forced by the attorney to take the body with them was able to see two more bodies of killed guerrillas in the morgue. They had been mutilated in the same way. The mother of Özgür Dağhan (Sipan Amed), Gülistan Dağhan has not been able to eat or even to talk since she saw the cruelly mutilated body of her son. She started now to make a hunger strike till her death.
An often used practice in recent weeks: On 23. June similar mutilation could be detected in the same region on the body of killed guerrilla (Sendoz Amed),and on the body of killed Guerilla Bayram Dün in Diyarbakir Silvan. The heads of both had been smashed. The strong suspicion, that they had been killed after being arrested alive has proven to be a fact. He was arrested, wounded, together with his brother and was executed by soldiers afterwards.
New case of mutilations in Siirt: Last week the bodies of ten killed guerrillas were found to have been mutilated in Siirt, too. Especially the bodies of the three women who had been sexually assaulted by the soldiers, stated Firat news agency.
This form of psychological warfare against the Kurdish people by humiliating the bodies of the deceased, is nothing new. In 1995 pictures of Turkish soldiers posing with the chopped off heads of fallen guerrillas were circulated around the world.
TURKISH MILITARY TAKES REVENGE ON KURDISH CIVILIANS FOR GUERRILLA ACTIONS
In the last month it had been observed that the Turkish military attacked civilians and their properties after guerrilla attacks. It seems like the military is taking revenge on the people for the guerrilla attacks. In a declaration made by the member of the Turkish general staff general Fahri Kir, it is stated that: "There are difficulties to distinguish between the people and the PKK members." With this statement he accepted that the military is aiming at civilians, too. The Kurdish Guerrilla HPG warned the civilians not to enter military areas because the Turkish military "Sees in killing of people an honour and in murdering children an achievement."
Soldiers kill civilians after Guerilla attack: In Silvan on the 21. June soldiers started firing on a civilian car after a guerrilla attack. One person got killed, the other heavily wounded. There were twenty bullet holes in the car.
Military terrorizes population of Beytüşşebap: After a guerrilla attack on a police post in Beytüşşebap in the province of Şırnak, soldiers attacked shops and houses oft he villagers. Only by chance no one got killed. The 16 year old Fırat Akdağ was hit and wounded as he was sitting on the balcony of his family house and Ayde Durmuş was wounded standing in front of her door. The house of Islam Dursun was hit by a grenade. It was just luck that the three children, himself and his wife were left uninjured.
Villagers killed in Hatay: Soldiers on their way to ambush guerrillas, shot on 28.June in the full light of day two old villagers, one of them age 61, the other 62 and another 75 years old villager was wounded. The villagers had gone to the meadows to collect thyme when they got shot by the soldiers.
Two villagers killed in Lice: On 2 July 2010, Turkish soldiers in the region of Licet killed two villagers, another one was injured. Medical treatment for the dying villagers was delayed by the military.
Soldiers take revenge in Hakkari: After a guerrilla attack on 5. June against a police post in the region of Hakkari/Cukurca, the police and military blocked the whole region and raided lots of houses. During the raids a lot of villagers were beaten and harassed by Special Forces. Soldiers opened fire on houses of civilians and terrorized the inhabitants. One villager Zozan Adiyaman declared: "What’s our crime? Why does the state shoot at our houses? Our children are in shock, they are still scared. What´s our crime if the PKK launches an attack five kilometers away?" A seventeen old boy was arrested in this polce operation. He was so heavily tortured that his arm was broken.
Attempted murder on former DTP chairman: The former chairman of the banned Kurdish DTP was attacked by a policeman as he was passing by a police station in Şırnak. The police officer suddenly without warning opened fire. It was just by luck that the bullets missed the politician and his son.
Elaziğ/Karakocan soldiers kill seventy years old woman after guerrilla attack: After a guerrilla attack on a military post on the 25 June in Elazığ/Karakocan the soldiers opened fire on a family who was returning from field work. The 70 years old grandmother died while the rest of the family including a five years old child was wounded.
SOLDIERS DESTROY VILLAGES AND ENVIRONMENT IN KURDISTAN
As part of the campaigns of the Turkish military the natural environment of Kurdistan is being destroyed. To destroy any cover for guerrillas, the military is burning down huge areas of forests. In the last weeks there have also been three villages burned down.
The Cudi mountains in Şırnak are burning: Since the beginning of July huge areas of the Cudi mountains are burning. Civilians try to extinguish the fire without any effect. The fires have been started at the Bolu Komando Brigade in the village of Ikizce. Huge areas are burnt to ashes. A villager declared: "Nobody asks us about the situation. For twenty years now, every year everything is being burnt down. What shall we do, when our crop is burnt? Our animals are here, our gardens and plantations have been burnt. Everything is gone. What shall we do? Shouldn´t we emigrate? Here the damage is millions. The state doesn´t help us at all." The villagers are sure that the fire has been started by the military.
Human rights delegation visits burnt down villages: A human rights delegation who visited the three villages in the region of Hasankeyf/Batman, burnt down by soldiers, declared that the villages have been burnt down intentionally. In their report they warned that the military can burn down further villages: "Today villages are burnt for security reasons, tomorrow people could get killed for the same reasons." The military destroyed not only the village, it destroyed huge agricultural areas, too. This year more villages have been "evacuated" and mined for "security reasons" especially in the region of Hakkari, where there are at least 6 more cases. During the 1990s more than 4,000 villages were destroyed by military.
AIRSTRIKES ON VILLAGES IN KANDIL – THE USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS IS SUSPECTED
With great frequency rural areas in Southern and Northern Kurdistan are bombed by the Turkish military and it is especially the civil population who are hit because the military are unable to attack the guerrilla.
Presumed use of Napalm in Kandil: There is the reasonable suspicion that the Turkish military is using napalm bombs in the region of Kandil. During the attack at least two houses were destroyed and a large amount of cattle killed. Some bombs used immediately caused large-scale fires. The population is demanding an investigation into these bombs. Teacher Abdurehman Mine Ibrahim, who is working in Kandil, declared: "Kandil is being bombed with Napalm. That wasn´t allowed even in the Second World War, but the Turkish state uses it on Kandil. The Turkish state claims it is hitting the PKK, but so far they only aimed at the civilians in the Kandil region. The civilian population is harmed, people are dying and their houses are destroyed."
On the 10 June two civilians were killed and six more wounded by Turkish bombs. On the 19 June civilian areas in Xakurke were bombarded, the 15 year old Zahide Mihemed Mecid died in the attack while she was out walking to the meadow. A year old child and a 36 years old man were seriously injured. An artillery grenade fired from Cukurca hit a village house near Duhok. The owner of the house (27 years) and his wife died. Their children aged between four and nine were heavily injured. On 29 June Kobra helicopters bombarded rural areas near Hakkari. Fortunately the villagers were able to flee, but leaving their goods behind.
‘Tortured corpse of HPG members creates great anger among Kurds’
DIHA 10.07.2010- Representatives of the NGOs in Diyarbakir warned Justice and Development Party (AKP) administration for torturing People Defence Forces (HPG) members’ corpses by security forces; “Tortured corpse of HPG members creates great anger among Kurds instead of giving message to them. Humanity is going to judge this brutality.’
M. Emin Aktar, president of Diyarbakir Bar Association read out the joint press statement of NGOs Diyarbakir Branches; “The new period, full of conflicts, casualties, attacks against civilians, extrajudicial killings, tortures the dead bodies, forest fires, is not unfamiliar for the people of the region. Tense situation began to dominate the region, once again. It remains 90s when inhuman practices were all over Turkey, particularly in the Region. We do not want to go back at that term.”
Lawyer Sezgin Tanrikulu, representative of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV) Diyarbakir Branch also emphasized the increasing tension of the Region; “Torturing corpses cannot fit any kind of understanding or beliefs. This is unbelievable ferocity. Security forces need to respect people’s values and beliefs. We have already known that the records of Turkey about respecting human life are not good but the latest brutality proved us that this record is getting worst.”
Selahattin Coban, head of MAZLUMDER Diyarbakir Branch, has also a speech to condemn the last events and AKP administration.
Emine Ayna:“Turkish army using acid on guerrilla bodies”
ANF 11.06.2010- Emine Ayna accused government for brutal treatment of guerrillas.Turkish army used acid to destroy the bodies of Kurdish guerrillas. PM Erdoğan is using the most brutal techniques against the Kurdish rebels.” said Emine Ayna, a Kurdish MP of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).
Speaking in a demonstration against the brutality of the Turkish soldiers on the guerrilla bodies on Saturday Ayna said: “The PM Erdoğan who harps on democracy was on holiday for ten days. During these 10 days the bodies of 15 guerrillas were subjected to brutal treatments and they were burnt with acid.”
Ayna further stated that they will never accept such democracy which does not include justice, the right to mother tongue and culture or political will of the Kurdish people.
It is also reported that the shopkeepers in Diyadin district of Ağrı province have also did not open their shops in order to protest the treatment on the guerrilla bodies.
Karayilan: We are in a self defence position
Baki GUL 07.07.2010- "We are in a restricted self defence position and have not exercised our full power yet. It is a warning position where we are standing now. If the state launches an incursion on Medya Defence Territories or any other part of Kurdistan then we break the chain and the situation will be completely different." said head of Kurdistan Democratic Confederation (KCK) Executive Council Murat Karayilan.
Karayilan further underlined that they are still supporting the line living with people of Turkey on an equal and free basis and said “We will continue resisting does not matter if it takes a century. We cannot accept such dishonour; we cannot accept the assimilation policies on the Kurdish people. They will never be able to make us Turk.”
Since 1 June 2010 Kurdish problem entered a new phase. KCK executive committee had declared it by a public release. Following this declaration the clashes in Northern Kurdistan (Turkey) increased and escalated to the Turkish regions such as Mediterranean, Black sea and the Marmara Regions. Turkish army has launched several air attacks on ‘Medya Defence Territories’, a region in northern Iraq controlled by PKK. With the raise in the number of clashes the number casualties has also increased.
All these recent developments brought the Kurdish problem on the top of the agenda, as the most crucial problem of Turkey and whole region. While some are suggesting a military-security solution for the problem some others are suggestion new approach such a holding the problem with its all dimensions. What about KCK? How does KCK see the recent developments and discussions?
ANF interview Murat Karayilan, the head of Kurdistan Democratic Confederation (KCK) Executive Council. Karayilan explained what “Democratic Autonomy Solution” means.
* How do you evaluate the developments after 1 June 2010? What are the characteristics of this new era?
– Our leadership and movement have put great efforts for 18 years to develop a democratic solution for the Kurdish issue. Most recently on 13 April 2009 we declared a ceasefire which was ended on 1 June 2010. However, what we have seen is that AKP government and the Turkish state have no intention to make peace with the Kurdish people. They insist on their assimilation policies on our people and they want the Kurds unconditionally surrender. Our leader Abdullah Ocalan has declared that he is still supporting a democratic solution and he let the initiative to us. The responsibility of this new phase belongs to us. Nobody can blame our leadership for this.
* Mr. Ocalan has said that he can be part of a solution if there are negotiations. For your movement what is the role of your leadership Ocalan? How do you see the discussions about this issue?
– The role of our leadership is clear not only for our movement but also for the Kurdish people. As we have already underlined numberless times he is the leader of a people, he is the leader of the Kurdish people. His role is decisive for us.
He said the 3rd phase is over and he will withdraw until he is recognised as an interlocutor and negotiations start. He did it in the face of denial and destruction policies of AKP and the Turkish state.
We are a movement. We have a council, executive board and administration. We have been discussing for the last 6- 7 months how we can develop our own solution. Therefore, we decided to start a new phase. It was a necessity for us. If the state does not want to find a solution by negotiating with you then you have to find your own solution with your own dynamics. That is what we are doing now. Because the state does not want to solve the Kurdish problem but destroy the Kurdish people. This is a danger for our people. AKP has rejected all our reasonable proposals. This means I do not want to make peace with you but destroy you. This is the danger.
We consider the phase as “protecting our existence as a nation and building a free life”. We are developing a solution and are ready to welcome the state if they want to be a part of the solution. If not, we will make it with our own dynamics.
* There are some calls from NGO’s and some business unions for a cease fire and stopping the military operations. How do you see these calls? Is a ceasefire possible in this phase? If yes, depending on what?
– First of all I should say that following the call from the NGO’s in Diyarbakir in which they asked for a cease fire from us and stopping the military operations from the state the Turkish media disseminated false, fabricated news. This is a big lie. We respect all the calls from the NGO’s both based in and out of Diyarbakir. They are coherent and balanced. However, making calls itself does not suffice. A greater effort is needed. The framework proposed by the NGO’s is acceptable. If the state agrees on it too then we can start negotiations.
On one hand the Turkish PM is calling NATO and waiting USA on hand and foot. Despite all the tension with Israel, he is still sending delegations to Israel to buy Herons. Same with Syria and Iran. In order to destroy us they are holding security meetings one after another. One the other hand they are calling for a unilateral ceasefire. It does not make any sense. It is not acceptable. We have the power to resist the Turkish state, to stand on our own feet. All should be aware of this fact.
We are at a restricted self defence position. That means we have not exercised our full power yet. Because we are still of view of living together with Turkey and we are struggling for it. However, if the state as a result of these security meetings launches an incursion on Medya Defence Territories or any other part of Kurdistan then we break the chain and the situation will be completely different. We are following a well planned and organised self defence strategy. We gained experience during these years fighting in the mountains. We are limiting ourselves. It should not be thought that we are using all of our power. No. This is not our full power. Nobody should wrong calculation. We are at a warning position. But if they insist on deadlock, if they insist on denial and destruction then the Kurdish people have right to head other options. We have the power to resist. The palavers from the politicians saying that they finished the PKK in 1999 are their false theories. That time, upon the request from our leadership we withdrew out of borders. It was a way of showing good faith. The Turkish state should not be deceived and think that it was something that they managed themselves.
Ocalan: Three practical suggestions for the government
ANF 09.07.2010- If negotiations do not start then Kurdistan Revolution will extend. PKK cannot be destroyed with professional army or technological weapons. Moreover, there is a risk that the clashes might escalate in cities. In that case everybody will lose but the state at most” said Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan.
In the course of his lawyer visit in Imrali High Security Prison Öcalan also reminded the basic conditions for a solution. A bilateral ceasefire, establishing Truth and Reconciliation Commissions and legal framework and constitutional guarantees.??Regarding the statements of Ilker Basbug, Chief of the Turkish General Staff, who told MP’s of pro-Kurdish BDP to leave the parliament and go to mountains while criticising them for attending funerals of Kurdish Öcalan said: “Basbug is repeating himself. It is the reiteration of a tried but failed approach.”?
Kurdish leader further stated that he finds it important that BDP is opening a representative office in Hewler (Arbil) the capital of Kurdistan Region in Iraq. “It is important to have representatives in Brussels or in Washington but most importantly in Hewler because the people there are our own people. It is even too late while more than 500 Turkish companies are already there.” added Öcalan.
Öcalan’s statement as follows:
Autonomy promises by Mustafa Kemal
“The Kurds have played a vital role in the “Independence War” and this role found its place in 1921 Constitution. Mustafa Kemal promised autonomy for the Kurds. These promises can be found in the parliament reports. However, he neutralised by Ismet Inönü and Fevzi Çakmak as well as British. The British have sacrificed the Kurds.”
Three Suggestions ?
“I have three practical suggestions for the government, KCK and BDP so that the Kurdish problem can be solved:
First, there should be a bilateral ceasefire complied with by the both sides.
Second, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission like it was established in South Africa after the abolition of apartheid. This commission should be composed of experts. A parliamentary commission can also be formed in which experts, intellectuals and NGO’s can take part. The commission can hear all the sides of the conflict including myself. Then they can find the truth out, share them with public opinion and then reconciliation can be reached. It is not as difficult as it looks. It worked in South Africa and there is no reason why it should not work here too.
In a parallel way, the PKK forces can be gather in a certain area under observation of an international organisation such as UN. They can wait there until a solution is found and then the thirds step comes.
Third, bringing the PKK guerrillas back home. Not like the one in Habur [Peace delegation sent by the PKK upon the request from Öcalan on 19 October 2009], but en masse. All the guerrillas can arrive together. The security aspect can be discussed with KCK. BDP can work on a democratic constitution and the other political parties can contribute it. It means if the problem solved with in a legal framework and under constitutional guarantee then the weapon can be laid down.
Salvation for all
Some are manipulating my position and suggesting that I am trying to save myself. These are cheap approaches. A process which I am not a part of cannot be successful. This is clear. I do not have an aim of saving myself. If there is a salvation then it will be for all of us.
Either solution or revolution
For a peace process negotiations should be held. And if it does not happen then revolution starts which I explained in my previous meeting. And once they start they are uncontrollable. Turkey is confronted by such a risk. It should not be seen that I am giving tactics to PKK in order to increase the conflict. What I am doing is determining the facts. Because the PKK also has its own methods.
I am sorry for soldier deaths as much as I am sorry for guerrilla deaths. I endeavour to prevent these deaths. Neither CHP nor MHP not fake Islamists can solve this issue. They are still talking about operations, bombardments, killings. PKK cannot be destroyed with professional army or technological weapons. There are still Kurds all over joining the PKK. Moreover, there is a risk that the clashes might escalate in cities.
And if the war escalates then there will be radical groups from both sides which can make the problem more complicated and unsolvable. In that case, everybody loses but the sate at most.”
Peace Parliament: Pave the Way to a Solution, not to NATO
Tolga KORKUT 07.07.2010- The Turkish Peace Parliament warned the government to refer to NATO for a solution of the Kurdish question. Spokesman Bakkalci said, "The solution to the Kurdish question is not calling on NATO but negotiations by middlemen". The Turkish Peace Parliament (TBM) criticized the announcements made by the Chief of the General Staff and the Prime Minister. Calling the NATO on duty against the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) means to insist on a military solution. And that would deepen the deadlock of the Kurdish question, the Peace Parliament warned.
The current spokesman of the TBM, Metin Bakkalci, said in a statement issued in Ankara on Tuesday (6 July):
"The Kurdish Question is a problem of Turkey. It is a problem of freedom and democracy in Turkey that can be solved by developing democracy and by a voluntary co-operation of the people. Insisting on a military solution means to doom the problem to a deadlock. It means that the number of deaths is going to rise. The only possible solution is to have the issue discussed by negotiators. This can be achieved by relying on Turkey’s internal dynamics instead of counting on external forces".
At the G20 summit in Toronto, Canada, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that the NATO could take on the task against the PKK in Iraq similar to their duty in Afghanistan. The Chief of General Staff, Gen. Ilker Baþbug, had stated that the cut of economic support for the PKK was dependent on the attitude of the NATO member states.
Spokesman Bakkalci criticized the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in his statement:
AKP gave up on "opening initiative": The government abandoned the "Opening Initiative" announced last year. This became clear when they arrested representatives of Kurdish local governments and members of the peace groups that came from Mahmur and Kandil with the aim to contribute to peace. They squashed hopes of resolving the Kurdish question with democratic and liberal tools and methods.
NATO does not break the deadlock: The people that blocked a democratic and peaceful solution are now resorting to military measures on the highest level. On one hand they intensified military operations. On the other hand the Chief of General Staff and the Prime Minister declared their intentions to call the NATO on duty against the PKK. This means to insist on a military solution. Everybody knows what the NATO did in different countries in recent years and is concerned about what they will do in the powder keg of the Middle East. This is a multi-faceted problem with political, cultural and economic aspects. Referring to international military forces is wrong in all aspects and paves the way to deepening the deadlock.
Solution with negotiators: We issue a warning as the Turkish Peace Parliament. The people who cannot ensure peace in the country invite a war that leaves the people in poverty and carnage. The ones who gain from the war are trying to provoke the people against each other by inciting nationalism. Turkey is turning into hell by pressure imposed on Kurdish seasonal workers, by continuing to arrest Kurdish politicians and deaths and conflicts. NATO is not the solution for the problem but negotiations lead by middlemen. (TK/VK)
Speaking in Kurdish slams 7 into prison for 35 months
DIHA 06.07.2010- Seven people, all former members of the banned Democratic Society Party (DTP) and hosted a celebration for their political campaigns for the upcoming election, have been sentenced to five months in prison each because participants of the meeting made remarks in Kurdish during the ceremony in Ceyhan-Adana on November 29, 2008.
Zeki Karatas, former chairman of DTP Adana Branch, and Abdullah Aydemir, former member of DTP Assembly, made speeches in Kurdish during the feast. Immediately after, Ceyhan Criminal Court of Peace filed suit against the party’s organizing committee due to the speeches.
The trial concluded yesterday as Ihsan Nas, Seyfettin Aydemir, Huseyin Nas, Ismet Sendul, Ali Kaya, Adil Demez andMehmet Salih Demir, members of the committee, were sentenced to five months in prison each.
The prison sentences are based on Law Number 2820 Article 81/c targeting political propaganda: “No language is allowed to be used other than Turkish during election-time meetings. All responsible and involved individuals will be prosecuted if a violation transpires.”
Kurdish language not allowed in Courts
ANF 09.07.2010- While AKP government praising itself for abolishing the ban on Kurdish language, defendants who responded the judge in Kurdish were forcibly pushed out by gendarmerie. Kurdish was also described as an “unknown language” in the courts records, like it was done in 1991 when the first Kurdish female MP Leyla Zana took her oath in Kurdish. It looks the official approach towards Kurdish has not changed much since.
61 defended Kurds including those 46 who were arrested on 17 June 2009 within the scope of the operation against Kurdistan Democratic Confederation (KCK) were before the court in Diyarbakir, on Thursday.
In the course of the hearing held before Diyarbakir Heavy Criminal Court Nr.6 defendants responded the questions of the judge in Kurdish which annoyed the court board composed of three judges.
Although the court forced the defendants to answer in Turdish the defendants insisted on responding in Kurdish. The court then decided the defendants to be forcibly taken out of the room by gendarmerie. Upon this the defendant lawyers also left the room by saying it is not possible to defence themselves under these circumstances.
Kurdish is still “unknown language”
In the hearing records the following statements is written: “During the identification the defendants responded in a language other than Turkish. Despite the fact that the defendants have been repeatedly warned by the chief judge to speak Turkish they insisted on speaking in an unknown language as if they were making fun of the court.”
The audience also protested the racist approach of the judge however they faced the same fate with the defendants. The witnesses also reported that the defendants were subjected to mistreatment while being taken back to the prison. The hearing was adjusted 14 October.
No Kurdish allowed at court
On the other hand Izmir Heavy Criminal Court Nr.8 rejected the request from 18 defendants members of Democratic Patriotic Youth Assembly (YDG-M) who wanted to defence themselves in Kurdish before the court. While 3 non-Kurdish speaking defendant testified before the court the demand of the others were rejected on account of the defendants are fluent in Turkish.
Bagca: "A Trial Like a Caricature!"
Erol Önderoglu 06.07.2010-Singer Cevdet Bagca was sentenced to imprisonment of ten months for saying "Do not forget Kazim Koyuncu, Ahmet Kaya, Ozan Serhat and Delila. Do not forget Ugur Kaymaz" in a concert performed in the south-eastern city of Siirt.
Bagca had delivered a brief speech at a concert in Siirt on 29 September 2009. The opinions he voiced were recorded by the police as "sympathizing for an illegal organization and spreading propaganda about a member of the organization".
Freely available music CDs accepted as proof
The police records were presented as evidence as well as footage and photographs taken by the police. Bagca criticized: "So this is the opening process! A trial and a decision like a caricature".
"The court was established with the aim of punishing. We presented to the court CDs of Ozan Serhat and Delila that were approved by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, but they were not taken into account. We are reading the works of these artists in Turkey. No matter how they lost their lives, these people are artists", Bagca stated.
"This is like a joke. How can an expert committee be made of special operation police officers? A trial cannot be caricaturized that much. This is the opening!", Bagca said and referred to the Democratic Initiative put forward by the government.
The decision was taken by the Diyarbakir 5th High Criminal Court on 29 June but communicated only recently. Bagca’s speech was evaluated as "propaganda for an illegal organization".
The DIHA news agency reported that according to the official police report, Bagca praised Kazim Koyuncu and Ahmet Kaya, two persons who allegedly sympathized with the PKK/KONGRA-GEL organization (the militant Kurdistan Workers Party) and spread propaganda for the terror organization. It was furthermore claimed in the report that he praised Ozan Serhat and Delila, supposed PKK/KONGRA-GEL members who were killed in operations in rural areas. Bagca allegedly praised both people who were killed in conflicts between armed members of the organization and the armed forces, the police report continued. By doing so, Bagdaþ "spread propaganda for an illegal organization", the report determined.
Koyuncu and Kaya became "sympathizers with the PKK"
The police report furthermore called singers Kazim Koyuncu and Ahmet Kaya sympathizers with the PKK. Koyuncu is a musician from the Laz region on the eastern Black Sea Coast. Kaya became subject of a lynch attack after he had said "I will produce a Kurdish song and I know that there are people brave enough to publish it". He went to Paris later on where he died.
Numerous music festivals in the Black Sea region were organized in the name of Koyuncu as well as a festival on 3 July by the Republican People’s Party (CHP) in the Karabaglar District Municipality in Izmir. The description of Kouncu as a "sympathizer of the PKK" was reason for harsh reactions against the police report.
The report furthermore referred to Ozan Serhat and Delila not as artists but as "members of an illegal organization". Twelve year-old Ugur Kaymaz, who had also been mentioned by Bagca in his speech, was killed together with his father on 21 November 2004 in the province of Mardin because they were alleged members of the People’s Defence Forces (HPG), the armed wing of the PKK. Bagca’s words not to forget Kaymaz were assessed as "propaganda for an illegal organization" in the report. (EÖ/VK)
CPT: some progress in Ocalan’s detention but monitoring will continue
ANF 10.07.2010- European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) released the report on the condition of Abdullah Ocalan accompanied by Turkish government’s response. According to the report the conditions are getting better but not enough and will be monitoring after that by monthly reports.
Here are the requests of CPT and answers of Secretary of the State of Turkey.
The Committee fails to see why Abdullah Öcalan is denied all contact with other prisoners during outdoor exercise asks CPT. Here is the answer of Turkey; Ocalan has disciplinary punishments and that is why he has just two hours to meet with others instead of four hours.
The CPT also wishes to raise once again the issue of access to television for Abdullah Öcalan. Whereas all other prisoners at Imrali Prison had a television set in their cells, Abdullah Öcalan was still not allowed to rent or purchase a television set, despite the specific recommendation repeatedly made by the Committee in the past."The Committee would like to receive the Turkish authorities’ comments on this matter. Turkish authorities say the same excuse like above and adds “he can establish armed organization, send messages to the member of organization or lead the organization by TV.”
The CPT calls upon the Turkish authorities to take the necessary steps (if necessary, at the legislative level) to ensure that every prisoner is allowed to receive a “table visit” once a month from his/her closest living relatives (in the case of Abdullah Öcalan, his brother and sister). The Committee also recommends that all prisoners held at Imrali Prison be allowed to accumulate any unused visiting periods (bearing in mind the geographical isolation of Imrali island. And also the CPT would like to receive confirmation that all recently-arrived prisoners are now able to make two ten-minute telephone calls per month. Therefore, the CPT must reiterate once again its recommendation that Abdullah Öcalan be allowed to speak on the telephone with members of his family (calls being subject to monitoring and, if necessary, interrupted). Here the answer of Turkish government; he has disciplinary punishment that is why he cannot use these rights and his brother and sister are not contained as the close relative according to our arrangements on prisons.
The CPT recommends that the provision of health care to prisoners at Imrali Prison be reviewed, in the light of the remarks made in paragraphs 33 and 34. Immediate steps should be taken to open for every prisoner a comprehensive individual medical file which is accessible only to medical staff. Instead of fulfilling CPT requirements, government says; as of 12 May 2010, the practice of daily medical check of convict Ocalan has been terminated. But there are monthly check and other opportunities to access the medical care.
As a conclusion CPT said there is some development but they need to be maintain and also the new steps need to be taken by Turkish government. That is why the CPT will continue to observe the condition of Abdullah Ocalan and ask monthly and detailed report about the marked conditions which need to be improved. CPT also asked Turkish government to arrange the condition in order to receive the letters from prisoners.
Here are the last sentences of the CPT reports which shows its doubt about improvement of the conditions in the Imrali Prison; “However, it will continue to monitor closely the situation of Abdullah Öcalan (as well as that of the other prisoners at Imrali Prison), and will not hesitate to re-open the above-mentioned procedure if it becomes apparent that the above-mentioned improvements are not sustained.
Turkey: “Too many children are detained”
Strasbourg, 07.07.2010 – “There is a need of radical reform of the juvenile justice system in Turkey”, said Thomas Hammarberg, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, publishing today two letters sent to the Turkish Government on human rights issues.
Following the Commissioner’s visit to Turkey from 23 to 26 May 2010, the letters were sent to the Ministers of Justice and of Interior, focusing mainly on juvenile justice, and implementation of anti-terrorist laws, as well as on the human rights of internally displaced and of asylum seekers.
In his letter to the Minister of Justice, the Commissioner expresses his concern about the situation of children detained, prosecuted and sentenced particularly under anti-terrorist legislation in east and southeast Turkey. “Too many children are detained in Turkey. This situation is at variance with international and European standards. Detention of children should be an exceptional measure and a means of last resort.”
The very heavy sentences imposed under the Law on combating terrorism on children for acts deemed minor offences in other jurisdictions raise serious questions of proportionality between the sentences and their aim. “I hope that the proposal to reform the anti-terrorist laws and their future application to children will help establish a more child-friendly justice focused on education and alternatives to detention.”
In addition, the Commissioner remains particularly worried by the long-term pre-trial detention of a number of elected local representatives mainly in southeast Turkey, including two members of the Council of Europe Congress of Local and Regional Authorities.
In the letter to the Minister of Interior, Commissioner Hammarberg welcomes the progress achieved with regard to the human rights of internally displaced persons. He underlines the importance to fully and effectively respect their right to return, resettle or integrate locally, and to accelerate implementation of existing action plans. He highlights the need to step up demining of all contaminated areas and to review the law and practice concerning the system of village guards which is seen by internally displaced persons as an obstacle to their return home.
Addressing the refugee policy, the Commissioner recognizes steps taken to enhance protection of the human rights of asylum seekers in the stream of mixed migration. “Further and durable improvements in terms of access to the asylum procedures, alternatives to detention and protection of particularly vulnerable groups of migrants, like separated children, are crucial.”
Stressing that resettlement of refugees is a major humanitarian issue, the Commissioner notes with concern that the perceived limited capacity in receiving countries might reduce the progress made so far in this field. It is crucial that all European countries provide for resettlement of refugees. At the same time Turkey should ensure better integration opportunities for those who have to stay a long time in the country, said the Commissioner.
700 children are in jail often for throwing stones during demonstrations
ANF 04.07.2010- On 1 April 2006, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the following statement in relation to the incident: “I am addressing mothers and fathers. Those who let their children out and allow them to be used by the terror organisations will cry in vain tomorrow. Our security forces will do whatever is needed whether the subjects are women or children. No standards of democracy would condone such incidents of violence”.
After this incident that took place in Diyarbakir on 28 March 2006, according to official records 400 children, and according to unofficial records 700 children, have been detained and subjected to inhuman treatment.
A report released by Kurdish Info analyze the situation of the children in prison today. Many of these children have been arrested and sentenced to up to quarter of century in prison. In the meantime, there have been changes in the anti-terror law, local courts sent the cases of children to the Supreme Court for the purpose of appeal, which then sent them to the Supreme Criminal Court General Council, which enacted the law and, as a result, the implementations have been started to sentence each child who hurled stones and made a victory sign to 25 years.
Immediately after the incident that took place in Diyarbakir, changes have been proposed on the Anti-Terror Law, and finally on 29.06.2006, the law no 5532, “Law in Relation to Making changes in the Anti-Terror Law”, which has thus been rearranged and is a matter of controversy today. It has been enacted and published in the Official Gazette.
With these changes, it has been possible to regard the children aged 15-18 as adults to stand trial at high Criminal Courts, formerly State Security Courts, dealing with Criminal Procedure Law article 250 without remand or optional enforcements, while it also made it possible for the children aged 12-18 to be treated as organisation members and exempt from the rules that are applied to their peers, who stood trial for petty offences.
As far as the conditions of capture and detentions goes the report makes the following points:
Disproportionate use of force during the capture and detention,
Their rights are not explained to the children immediately and clearly, who are also not enable to benefit from their rights. (According to 90/4 it is compulsory to remind the person of their rights),
Many children are taken away from their homes early in the morning to the Anti-Terror Branch where they are beaten, threatened, and may or may not be subject to ID check.
Children are face to face with the risk of maltreatment as they are taken away without informing their relatives to the anti-terror branch without the knowledge of relatives,
And as far as the investigation goes, Kurdish Info has this to say:
Whilst the investigation in relation to juveniles has to be carried out by the Juvenile’s Prosecutor under the article 16 of CKK, they are immediately taken to the Anti-Terror Branch. (Children are taken to the Branch on the pretext of investigation, where they are kept standing up to 6 hours).
Reports are not prepared for the duration of detention of the children whose ages cannot be determined to be younger than 18 by the Anti-Terror Branch, and that they are sent to the Branch even after their ages have been clarified.
The children are kept at the Anti-Terror Branch for 3-7 hours and subjected to physical and psychological violence, intimidated and interrogated under undue influence only after which they are sent to Children’s Branch.
During the detentions, children are illegally forced to give a statement used to prepare interview records, which includes questions about the parents and relatives.
The reports prepared at the Anti-Terror Branch are placed in the court cases, and that children are interrogated through illegal methods such as intimidation used to write “interview reports”.
Evidence such as CD and photographs are not shown to the solicitors and the children are being interrogated without being informed of their existence during their time at the Anti-Terror Branch.
The secrecy in relation to the cases continues during the investigations. Solicitors are not given any documents or information, and are not allowed to see the CDs, which directly restricts the right to defence.
Interview records are used to prepare the police reports, which are used to prepare the indictment that turns into a verdict during the process of trial.
Children aged 15-18 are treated like adults by the judges and prosecutors, who apply psychological pressure. The prosecutors ask the children whether they have relatives in prisons.
Children are kept waiting to see the judges, and threatened while being taken to the prosecutor. Children show signs of acceptance as they are told that there are videos as a result of which solicitors find it difficult to convince the children, who cannot use their right to silence. Solicitors also face difficulties in reaching the documents on children.
Most recently, indictments are being prepared to include committing crimes on behalf of illegal organisations. It has been observed that children are ordered to stand still in military style during the interrogations while they face undue influence and intimidation, and a child has changed his statement upon being prompted by the prosecutor.
As a result of the increase in the number of children, who are the victims of anti-terror law, the activities and efforts of many NGOs brought into agenda the preparation of an “amnesty bill”. However, the children we describe as the victims of anti-terror law really are the victims of anti-terror law as accepted by the public opinion as well. Forgiving the children or declaring an amnesty will cause them to be victimised for a second time in the future. As is known, the word “Amnesty” means forgiving a crime or mistake. Declaration of an “Amnesty” will mean the acceptance of the victims as “guilty”.
Moreover, some of the children have not been detained during demonstrations, but collected from the streets or their homes. Although there is no evidence in the cases of more than half of these children, they have received very heavy sentences as a result of accepting the soldier or police reports as evidence. An “Amnesty” to be declared for the children will not subsequently rule out the fact that the children are the victims of anti-terror laws.
On the other hand, it is believed that the children, who are sentenced to 8, 10, 15 or 25 years of imprisonment, are also subject to individual and regional discrimination of Turkish laws. While a child, who is not Kurdish and captured during a demonstration in the West is sentenced on the grounds of the contravention of the Meetings and Demonstrations Law No 2911, today these children, as well as this law, are also subject to sentences for acting in contravention of anti-terror law, although not being a member of an organisation, committing crimes in its name, as well as carrying out propaganda.
Amnesty International asks Syria to reveal fate of disappeared prisoners
ANF 06.07.2010-Amnesty International has called on the President of Syria to reveal exactly what happened to 52 prisoners who went missing during and after disturbances at a military prison that also left at least 22 people dead. The clashes between inmates and military police at Saydnaya Military Prison near Damascus began on 5 July 2008. Unconfirmed reports say the violence erupted after police officers shot dead nine Islamist prisoners.
"It is high time that the Syrian authorities revealed what occurred at Saydnaya Military Prison two years ago, and what has happened to the more than 50 inmates who have not been seen since,” said Malcolm Smart, Amnesty International’s director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Families, lawyers and human rights organizations have campaigned for an independent investigation into the disturbances but the Syrian authorities have revealed few details about them or what happened afterwards.
An information blackout, including a year-long ban on all communication with inmates, has made it impossible to independently ascertain the exact nature of the disturbances, how long they lasted or who was responsible for sparking the violence.
According to unconfirmed reports, Military Police officers threw copies of the Qur’an on the floor during a routine search of the prison, and then shot dead nine Islamist prisoners who tried to pick them up.
Unarmed Islamist prisoners are said then to have overpowered the police, taking several hostages together with the prison director, and to have seized their guns and mobile phones – which they used to call their families to alert them and local and international human rights organizations about what was happening.
Amnesty International sent Syrian President Bashar al-Assad the names of the 52 prisoners missing from Saydnaya requesting that their fate and whereabouts be clarified.