“A Summary of the Ordeal of Political Captives in Turkish Prisons”;
By Garbis ALTINOGLU
JULY 2000; Revised-Updated; OCTOBER 2000
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part 1: The September 1999 Attack on Political Captives in Ulucanlar Prison Ankara.
Part 2: The Reality Of Prisons after the Military Coup D’Etat of September 1980
Table 1: An Incomplete list of those who lost their lives/ by date at Diyarbakir Military Prison between 1981 and 1984.
Part 3: April 1997: The Human Rights Commission of Istanbul Chamber Of Physicians Report
Part 4: The Aims of the Turkish Fascists In Their Brutal Prison Practices
Part 5: The Prisons Mirror The General Struggle In Turkey and Kurdistan
Table 2: List of writers, artists, intellectuals, hotel employee Victims of the Sivas massacre:
Table 3: Numbers Unsolved Murders over a Decade By Year
TABLE 4: List of Journalists Killed – by Newspaper, and date of death
Part 6: Attacks on the Families of Political Captives-Prisoners: The “Saturday Mothers”
Part 7: Attacks on Children
Part 8: Testimony of Members of Parliament
Part 9: An Incomplete List of the Worst Atrocities against Political Captives
A GLOSSARY OF TERMS
PKK Workers’ Party of Kurdistan
Devrimci Yol Revolutionary Road
TKP/M-L Hareketi Communist Party of Turkey (Marxist-Leninist) Movement
TKP/M-L Communist Party of Turkey (Marxist-Leninist)
THKP-C/M-L People’s Liberation Party-Front of Turkey (Marxist-Leninist)
MLKP Marxist Leninist Communist Party
DHKP-C Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front
TDKP Revolutionary Communist Party of Turkey
TIKB Revolutionary Communist League of Turkey
SHP Social Democratic People’s Party
DISK Revolutionary Confederation of Trade Unions
JITEM Intelligence and Counter-Terror Bureau of Gendarmery
TIT Turkish Revenge Brigade
HEP People’s Labor Party
MIT National Intelligence Organization
MHP Nationalist Action Party
DEP Democracy Party
ANAP Motherland Party
FP Virtue Party
IHD Human Rights Association (HRA)
TIHV Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
DSP Democratic Left Party
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION
What has prompted the preparation of this document?
First of all, it was the Ulancanlar Prison Massacre 26 September 1999 and its implications. This Massacre once more highlighted the fact that the bloodthirsty Turkish ruling classes and their servants were insistent on throwing all political captives,
[NOTE 1: It should be noted that, throughout this text, the phrase “political captive” connotes only the left-wing and revolutionary political prisoners. The reasons for this should be obvious. First of all this is so, because left-wing and revolutionary political prisoners, including Kurdish national liberation fighters have always constituted the great or overwhelming majority of those who have occupied the dungeons of Turkish fascism and have always been the main target of its functionaries. Secondly, because historically there have been very few right wing (that is fascist or Islamist) prisoners in Turkish dungeons, which ought to be quite understandable. These people, who justifiably consider themselves as part of the establishment and “voluntary assistants” of the repressive state machine may also be subjected to some torture, mistreatment and deprivation, but only under exceptional circumstances and to a much lesser degree]
into top security isolation cell dungeons, the so-called F-Type prisons, despite all opposition and protest actions. This was the reason why political captives and their relatives, their friends and supporters and human rights activists have conducted an almost uninterrupted campaign to enlighten and mobilize Turkish and international progressive public opinion. It should be underlined that the brutal repression Turkish authorities have unleashed on the relatives and supporters of political captives has been a logical extension of the white terror they have been employing against political captives themselves and workers and other toilers in general. Time and time again, people protesting peacefully against attempts to isolate, and slowly and silently – kill the political captives and crush their personalities – were attacked, beaten, arrested and tortured.
Secondly, it was the author’s concern over the state of amnesia prevailing in our society with regard to the ordeals that the political captives and their relatives have been through for years and decades. Throughout history, the loss or intentional distortion or destruction of the collective memory of exploited and oppressed masses, have been a most effective weapon in the hands of tyrants and ruling classes. Unfortunately, this state of amnesia prevails, though to a lesser extent even among the political captives and their supporters themselves in our country. This particularly dirty and bloodstained chapter in the history Turkish ruling classes must definitely be recorded and never forgotten. So, this study should also be considered a modest step in that direction.
This present document is a somewhat enlarged version of the First Edition, which had been prepared in May 2000 (A short version of this was on the Alliance web-site. It is now supereseded by this current full version. Minor editing has been done, and if any errors were introduced, it is the responsiblity solely of the Editors of Alliance). The fact that the author himself is a former political prisoner, well acquainted with the atrocities of the Turkish police, soldiers and prison guards, might be cited as another factor prompting the preparation of this document.
About two months after the first edition of this document was prepared, a somewhat smaller repetition of the Ulucanlar Massacre occurred in another dungeon. On 5 July 2000, specially trained Turkish soldiers from Konya Provincial Regiment of Gendarmery, elements of Special Team and prison guards attacked political captives in Burdur F-Type Prison, under the pretext of trying to take them to court. Allegedly the “security” forces were compelled to mount an operation against political captives, who were refusing to attend the trials. This of course, was not the case. The fact was that, they were systematically being beaten by the soldiers; whenever they were taken somewhere, whether it be court or hospital and this was repeated on the way back. So, they had been demanding definite assurances for the ending of this inhuman procedure. These assurances were not provided by the prison authorities, who had for quite a long time been trying to provoke a confrontation with the inmates. Naturally, these servants of the ruling classes were not acting on their own initiative. They were serving as a sort of advance guard for the fascist dictatorship in its attempt to impose the system of F-Type isolation dungeons on political captives. Therefore, they had to provide material for the deception of the public opinion, aimed to “prove” that “terrorist prisoners” were always on the rampage, and “convince” the masses that they were always making trouble and endangering the security of the prisons.
The political captives at Burdur dungeon had been expecting such an attack for some time. Upon understanding the murderous intent of the servants of fascist dictatorship on that fateful day, they prevented the former’s entry into their own quarters and immediately put up barricades. The assailants brought heavy-duty construction machinery and began to break down the walls of the prison wards. They were well prepared for this planned operation and not content with employing truncheons and cudgels and other regular instruments of torture, used tear gas canisters, chemical foam, firearms, flamethrowers and a variety of bombs against revolutionary prisoners. Both Kaya Uyar, the governor of Burdur and an army general were present during this “heroic exploit” of several hundred Turkish crack troops against unarmed political captives. Throughout the day, 61 political captives fought the armed thugs of the regime with their bare hands and had to withdraw inch by inch in the face of the intensity of the attack. The inmates were able to resist the overwhelmingly superior force of the enemy for a period of sixteen hours, that is from 8:00 in the morning till midnight.
Almost all of the 61 inmates were wounded during the attack, most of them seriously. It was a sort of miracle that none of the attacked was killed. The heavily wounded included Veli Saqilik from MLKP, whose arm was cut off from the elbow during the confrontation and Sadik Turk from DHKP-C, whose forehead was broken open when a bomb exploded near him. The cut off arm of Veli Saqilik would later be found with a stray dog in the district of Burdur.
Here are the names of the wounded political captives:
Asiye Guden, Ali Mitil, Huseyin Kilit, Yunus Aydemir, Inayet Kandemir, Halil Tiryaki, Yusuf Demir, Huseyin Bulut, Kazim Ceylan, Sahin Gecit, Birsen Dermanli, Cem Sahin, Ali Osman Copel, Tuncay Yildirim, Necla Comak, Fikret Lule, Veysel Yagan, Kemal Denli, Yilmaz Babatumgoz, Husne Davran, Muruvvet Kucuk, Ayten Yildirim, Yusuf Timur, Ozgiir Kilic, Gunul Aslan, Ibrahim Bozay, Hakan Baran, Ali Aslan, Yalar Cavus, Ali Aycan, Huseyin Ali Gunay, Selahattin Hira, Mustafa Hira, Mehmet Leylek, Hulya Turunc, Nuray Ozcelik, Makbule Akdeniz, Osman Ozaslan, Huseyin Tiryaki, Feryal Demiran, Sibel Ozcan.
Some of those who were seriously wounded were taken to hospital under guard and in chains. Wounded political captives however, refused to be treated, since they were being beaten both during their transfer to hospital and at hospital in the presence and in some cases with the assistance of doctors! Therefore, they were brought back to prison the following day and thrown into cells, where they continued to be beaten and tortured. The prison guards also sexually assaulted woman political captives and tried to rape at least two of them (A. Arzu Torun and Muruvvet Kucuk). On July 10th, eighteen political captives who were thrown into cells, were transferred to various other dungeons. They were not provided with water and food, their toilet needs were not met, and they remained lightly handcuffed during their transfer in extremely cramped prison vans. Most of them were beaten once again before they were put into the company of their comrades after arriving in their new abodes. One of them especially, Cemal Cakmak from TKP/M-L and a veteran of the Ulucanlar Massacre, was very heavily beaten by the prison guards when he arrived at Bursa Prison; as a result of this brutal beating, some of the bones in his one arm and legs were broken.
As shall be seen from the content of this document, these outrageous crimes are only single instances of the systematic oppression carried on by Turkish ruling classes against workers, toilers and Kurdish people in general and political captives in particular.
“FREEDOM TO KILL, OF A TERRORIST STATES
A Summary of the Ordeal of Political Captives in Turkish Prisons”
Part One: The September 1999 Attack on Political Capitives in Ulucanlar PRison Ankara.
During the early hours of September 26th; 1999,Turkish soldiers, Special Teams and the police mounted an armed attack against the political captives at Ankara Central Closed Prison (otherwise known as Ulucanlar Prison) who bravely defended themselves with all the extremely limited means at their disposal. 10 of them (Aziz Dinccr, Ahmet Savran, Nevzat Ciftci, Abuzer Cat, Mahir Emsalsiz, Zafer Kirbiyik, Onder Gcncaslan, Ismet Kvakhoglu, Halil Turker and Umit Alintal) were killed and more than thirty injured during the ensuing totally unequal fight. The killers tried to justify themselves alleging that the political captives had prevented them from conducting a general search in the wards and had fired upon authoriities. They also argued that they had received intelligence concerning an escape attempt – and to prove their case alleged that the political captives had not been attending the daily roll call since September 2nd. On the part of the fascist authorities, this was an extremely foolish pretext to conceal their aim of premeditated massacre. Anybody would easily understand that, if the political captives had had an escape plan they would not have wanted to draw the attention of the administration and therefore would not have attempted to prevent a search of the premises and would not have declined to attend the roll call.
Anyway. it soon became clear that the political captives had absolutely not fired on their killers from inside the prison. They had not done so for the simple reason that, they did not possess any firearms. In fact, none and absolutely none of the hired murderers of Turkish fascism were even seriously hurt, while 10 political captives were killed through gunfire and torture and more than 30 of them gravely injured under these circumstances. The authorities could readily have avoided a confrontation if they had wanted to, but that was the last thing they wanted. To hide their hideous critnes and to deceive public opinion, they not only concocted the lies about the wounded “security” personnel, but they also openly lied about a so-called big cache of arms allegedly captured after their “successful operktion” against unarmed political captives. To arrange false exhibitions of so-called captured weapons is known to be one of the standard psychological war tricks of the Turkish army and the police, who are accustomed to shoot first and ask questions later.
The facts have definitely shown and proved beyond a shadow of doubt that what happened at Ulucanlar Prison was a premeditated massacre. The massacre started at 03:30 when soldiers began shooting at political captives from watch towers. Halil Turker and Abuzer Cat were immediately killed in the first wive of gunfire. In the meantime the aggressors began to throw tear gas canisters into the wards and use chemical foam and water cannon. Accompanied with intermittent gunfire, this continued for hours. In the meantime several political captives were wounded and it became almost impossible to breathe due to the huge amounts of tear gas and chemical foam used against political captives. Toward noon, soldiers armed with guns, iron clubs and cudgels began to enter the wards. They immediately started to torture the defenseless, wounded and almost suffocated inmates. Later the “security” forces of the regime took them to the prison bath and this time round applied a more systematic torture. Most of the political captives were brutally beaten and tortured for hours in the prison bath by the Special Teams of the police and soldiers brandishing knives, acid, firearms, iron clubs, burning cigarette butts. All political captives, including those who had bullet wounds. were subjected to inhuman torture, but none capitulated to their tormentors. Most of the martyred had received blows on their skulls. Their bodies, faces and heads were so disfigured that later, even some of the parents could not recognize their beloved and dead sons. That was the reason why the authorities did not permit the lawyers to attend the postmortem examination of the martyrs.
As usual, both official and private TV channels and mainstream newspapers acted as they were told to do so, by the chiefs of Turkish fiscist regime and the military. They immediately ran to the defense of the murderers and hatched a series of lies to conceal the bloodstained hands of real culprits. Prominent among them were the Star and the Hurriyet newspapers, the mouthpieces of the Turkish General Staff and the police. Apart from their lies to the effect that the political captives had not allowed the search team in and had fired on the police and soldiers: they alleged that “there were enough weapons inside the prison to equip a small army”; and that “the police had received intelligence concerning an escape attempt through a tunnel”; and that “the prison authorities were unable to conduct searches inside the prison for almost two years.” Later, Hikmet Sami Turk, the “Justice” Minister of the fascist regime, would join this chorus and go so far as to say that the political captives killed in this attack were in fact victims of execution by their own comrades! The demagogy of the Turkish fascists knows no limits.
Naturally, all of these allegations were untrue. Furthermore. after the massacre, the authorities and their mouthpieces in the press conceded that no escape tunnel had been found, simply because there existed no tunnel dug by the inmates. They also had to concede the fact that, regular searches were being conducted at the prison by the authorities monthly. It was true that. political captives had cut a hole to another ward (Ward number 7) on September 2nd, to widen their living space. But, they had taken that action only because there was a great amount of overcrowding going on for months in 4th and 5th wards. where the political captives were being held. Two or three persons were forced to share the same bed. Political captives had tried to solve this particularly urgent question through negotiations. Not content with rejecting a solution to this problem, the authorities had also insisted on usurping other hard-won rights, such as visits, diet food for the sick inmates, a ban on various journals and books, and a ban on correspondence etc. To top it all, they had declined to talk to political captives and their semi-officially recognized representatives, to find a reasonable solution. Furthermore, they had rejected and sabotaged the mediation efforts of the Ankara branch of Human Rights Association (HRA). It was obvious that the genocidal ruling classes of Turkey were preparing another bloodbath. On September 23rd, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit had given the signal for the massacre when he had said:
“Some prisons are used as bases for education and bases for evil by terrorists and criminals… The architectural structure of some prisons permit terrorists to maintain their activities there unchecked. We have prepared projects relating to this matter.”
(Milliyet; 24 September 1999)
On 25 Septeriiber, just one day before the massacre, at a meeting held with the the representative of the Ankara brinch of the HRA, the prison administration said they would “solve” the problem in their own way. On the same day, Akin Birdal, the Chairperson of HRA. who was being held at the same prison was released in a great hurry, after his remaining six month term was deferred. It was obvious that the Turkish fascists, apart from their plan of making a show of “force and determination” over the dead bodies of defenseless political captives, on the eve of P.M. Bulent Ecevit’s imminent visit to Washington, prefered not to spill the blood of political captives in front of Mr. Birdal. Such an “unpleasant” scene would have led to a further exposure of their inhuman free. What is more, only half an hour before the start of the massacre, the anxious families of political captives, who were on watch in front of the Ulucanlar Prison for the prior three weeks without interruption, were forcibly removed by the police.
Of course, the murderers did not want any witnesses. Seriously wounded political captives (These included Filiz Gulkokuer, Resul Ayaz, Haydar Baran, Ozggur Saltik, Kemal Yarar, Gazi Arici, Savas Kor, Aynur Siz, Devrim Turan, Sevinc Sahingoz, Gurcu Cakmak, Filiz Ujzal, M. Kansu Keskinkan, Nihat Konak, K. Hasan Coban, Bulent Cutqu, Serdar Atak, Ilhan Emrah, Cenker Aslan, Gurhan Hizmay, Behzat Ors, Ozgur Soylu, Cemal Cakmak, Ercan Akpinar, Murat Gunes, Ertan Ozkan, Aydin Cinar, Veysel Eroglu and others) were either left in Ulucanlar Prison or transported to other prisons without being provided with any medical care – where they would be faced with another bout of beating and torture. All of them had already been beaten and tortured heavily. Most of them had bone fractures and a great many had bullet wounds. Some had broken fingers and serious damage in their eyes, ears and noses. All of them needed urgent medical treatment, but would not receive that until much later. Most of the surviving political captives were trainsferred to other prisons with almost nothing but their underpants. During the savage onslaught the aggressors had either destroyed or seized almost all of their personal belongings, including money.
The fascist killers were not content with murdering 10 political captives in cold blood and seriously wounding more than 30 of them. After the massacre they also attacked the families and relatives of the revolutionary martyrs, human rights campaigners and other anti-fascist people who protested against this barbarism and attended the funeral ceremonies of the martyred. But they couldn’t extinguish the flime of resistance. Despite all their attempts at prevention and suppression, the funeral ceremonies of Nevzat Ciftci (otherwise known as Habib Gul), Umit Altintas, Abuzer Cat and of others were conducted with the participation of hundreds of people, where revolutionary slogans were chanted and Turkish fascist regime condemned. The anti-fascist press. progressive trade unions, left-wing cultural centers, as well as human rights groups condemned the Ankara massacre of Turkish fascism. Political captives all over the country responded to the massacre by expanding their protest actions. They put up barricades and took hostage about 60 prison guards and 2 wardens in a series of prisons. The relatives and supporters of Political captives as well, organized protest actions in front of various prisons and clashed with the police. Peaceful protest actions were carried out in a series of cities in Germany, France, Britain. Switzerland, Austria and Holland.
Two months after the massacre the office of prosecutor-general, completed the investigation it had been conducting over the incident. Blaming the political captives themselves for the massacre, this document once more proved beyond a shadow of doubt, the limitless hypocrisy, ignominy and impudence of the criminal-fascist Turkish ruling elite. The political captives, who had been forced to defend themselves in the face of a premeditated and armed attack carried out by hundreds of thugs of the regime, were formally accused of rebellion, possession of firearms, destruction of prison property, manslaughter and attempted manslaughter. Therefore the office of prosecutor-general requested the trial of 85 political captives themselves, who luckily had survived the incident!
After the massacre, a parliamentary subcommittee was founded to investigate the matter. On May 2nd. 2000, the report prepared by this subcommittee attached to the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission was made public. Commenting on the findings of the subcommittee, Sema Piskinsut, a member of parliament from Prime Minister Bullent Ecevit’s DSP and the head of the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission said the following:
“The backs of three or four prisoners have been riddled with gunshot. Further, we came across widespread forensic data, including internal dermal hemorrhage and burns… We hadn’t expected the autopsy reports to be systematic and up to our expectations. This impression of ours was confirmed after we saw the photographs… In most of the photographs hands were closed tight, but one could see the swellings of the fingers in the pictures taken from close range. These are not mentioned in the reports… The photographs proved the fact that coroner’s reports were inadequate.”
Ms. Piskinsut also talked about the burns encountered on the faces of several political captives murdered at Ulucanlar Prison and said:
“These marks, which were not due to burning through fire gave rise to suspicion. We didn’t have an ordinary burning process at hand. These marks resembled very much those that arise as a result of acid burns… There is the probability that these marks have come about due to the use of various chemical materials, such as foam and fear gas simultaneously and in an airless environment.”
Eyup Fatsa, another member of the Commission reminded us, that he was extremely disturbed watching the photographs of the massacre and added: “Most of us could not watch the images on the screen. They were very, very bad…” (Milliyet, 3 May 2000).
Mehmet Bekaroglu, another MP, who was a member of the parliamentary subcommittee said:
“We knew that uncalled for violence had been used, but we didn’t expect it to be this much. Fingers of 6 or 7 prisoners have been broken. There are signs indicating to the fact that their testicles have been crushed. It was told that the marks showing physical blows were brought about during the confrontation, but this is not true. Heads and arms of prisoners have been pierced by bullets. These marks prove the fact that prisoners were tortured. These marks are typical marks of torture. It will be impossible to cover up the truth after these images.”
The suppression of basic human rights, disrespectful treatment, solitary confinement, denial of medical care, beating, torture and other physical and armed attacks on political captives have been and continue to be regular features of the Turkish prison system. Turkish fascism tries to justify this systematic aggression on the grounds, of maintaining order and discipline in its dungeons. Otherwise, they argue, the prisons face the danger of becoming foci of anarchy and chaos and ideological and political training camps for terrorists and present a challenge to the authority of the all-powerful Turkish state! The fact of the matter is that, from the point of view of the bloodthirsty Turkish ruling classes and the General Staff, all political captives, including the defendants are “terrorists”; and the best political captives are dead ones. Therefore political captives always are and have been obliged to fight for their basic human rights, including their rights to live in peace and dignity, to read books and newspapers, to defend themselves at court, to see their families and lawyers, to receive proper medical treatment, to send and receive letters and to not to be confined in solitary cells.
Part 2: The reality Of Prisons after the Military CoupD’Etat of September 1980
Prisons became a real battleground between the forces of fascism and militarism on the one hand and revolutionary and other left-wing political captives on the other, especially after the military coup d’etat of 12 September 1980. The military junta, headed by General Kenan Fvren tried to convert prisons into military camps, where all left wing political captives were regarded as enemies of the state and treated as detained military personnel to be “re-educated” and recreated in the image of Turkish fascism and militarism. According to the data collected by HRA, approximately 80 percent – of the more than 650,000 people who had been taken into custody during the couple of years following the coup d’etat – were tortured, and tens of thousands of them were thrown into Turkish dungeons. They also were forced under threat of beating and torture, to regularly chant the national anthem of Turkey and other military hymns, attend courses on religion, official history and Kemalism, join obligatory physical exercise sessions, salute the omnipresent military prison guards and all military personnel, to wear prison uniforms etc. All these exertions were designed to break the fighting mood, will and personality of the political captives. That is to shatter them morally and politically. This essential point should always be borne in mind in understanding the aims of Turkish criminal-fascist clique and the history of the struggle in Turkish dungeons.
In fact, we can say that, in their Nazi-style campaign, theTurkish ruling classes and the military as a rule have not primarily aimed at the physical destruction; that is the killing of political captives, although that has been one of their subsidiary objectives. Their primary aim has been to subordinate them, to get them to repudiate their political convictions and convert them into “exemplary” and submissive subjects of the fascist dictatorship; and if possible to transform them into defectors and renegades, totally crushed people granting the “superiority” of their masters. And moreover, to render them ready to collaborate with the police and the army intelligence.
This policy was openly and in a most hideous manner put into operation in the systematic torture and humiliation campaign waged against the Kurdish political captives in Diyarbakir Military Prison. Ordinary readers may find it shocking to hear the fact that between 1981 and 1984, thirty-four fighters and sympathizers of PKK and others, either died or were killed. While hundreds were maimed and wounded by officers and henchmen of The Turkish Kontrgerilla (The infamous secret paramilitary and police organization attached to the General Staff and responsible for a great many of the massacres and “disappearances”) in this Gestapo camp called “prison”.
Here is an incomplete list of those who lost their lives or were murdered and their date of death at Diyarbakir Military Prison between 1981 and 1984.
Cemal Zengin 21 March 1981
Tahir Sahin 21 March 1981
Ali Erek 20 April 1981
Abdurrahman Cecen 16 May 1981
Selahattin Kunduz 17 June 1981
Ali Saribal 13 November 1981
Onder Demirok 22 February 1982
Cemal Kilic 23 February 1982
Mazlum Dogan 21 March 1982
Kenan Ciftci 21 April 1982
Bedii Tan 17 May 1982
Esref Anyik 17 May 1982
Ferhat Kurtay 17 May 1982
Necmi Oner 17 May 1982
Mahmut Zengin 17 May 1982
Mehmet Ali Eraslan 9 June 1982
Aziz Ozbay 23 August 1982
Kemal Pir 7 September 1982
M. Hayri Durus; 12 September 1982
Akif Yilmaz 15 September 1982
Ali Cicek 17 September 1982
Seyfettin Sik 21 November 1982
Aziz Buyukertac 22 December 1982
Halit Atalay – 1983
Ramazan Yayan 13 January 1983
Mehmet Emin Akpinar 25 January 1983
Medet Ozbadem 7 May 1983
Ismet Karak September 1983
Yilmaz Demir 8 January 1984
Necmettin Buyukkaya 23 January 1984
Remzi Ayturk 28 January 1984
Orhan Keskin 2 March 1984
Cemal Arat 5 March 1984
Halil Ibrahim Baturalp 27 April 1984
Huseyin Yuce 23 May 1984
For months and years, a Kontrgerilla team headed by Captain Esat Oktay Yildiran deprived Kurdish political captives even of extremely modest amenities that had been conventionally available to all detainees and prisoners for decades in Turkish prisons. Such as buying food at the prison canteen, receiving visitors, writing and sending of letters, reading of newspapers, going to the prison bath etc. In Turkey this much was considered normal, especially in Kurdistan and under conditions of fascist dictatorship. Mr. Yildiran and his team however, were not content with that. At that time, Kurdish political captives had become targets of almost continuous insult and abuse and subjected to systematic beating and torture; put into cells filled with human excrements; forced to drink their own urine – after being denied water for days; forced to kiss the clubs they were beaten or were to be beaten with; forced to beat each other, forced to eat their and their comrades’ excrements; forced to copulate with each other; and perform several similar utterly humiliating and horrible acts, befitting of Turkish Nazis. Denial or restriction of food and even of water was an ordinary, and maybe an “mild” exercise under those circumstances.
What was the aim of Turkish fascism in creating the torture and concentration camp called Diyarbakir Military Prison? It simply was to stifle the democratic and national awakening of Kurdish people, to force its most brave and militant fighters to submission and to break their will to rebel. After all, the Kurdish people and youth had for the first time started to stand up and demand their basic rights. This, following the violent and barbaric suppression of the national liberation movements led by past generations of fighters in the 1920’s, and 1930’s.
Similar, but less intensive campaigns of subordination and “rehabilitation” were conducted against political captives in other military prisons, such as Mamik Military Prison in Ankara and Metris Military Prison in Istanbul. What Colonel Raci Tetik, the former warden of Mamak dungeon related in an interview some time after his retirement, summarizes the approach of Turkish fascism toward political captives:
“… We had a prison there. It was not a hospital, school, love boat or yacht club. Being too soft, my predecessors were unsuccessful.”
(Cumhuriyet, 12 September 1988).
To venture the guess that Hitler would extol his Turkish colleagues and would not conceal his admiration of them, if he were alive, would not be an exaggeration. In fact, he had expressed his admiration for the methods utilized by Ottoman hangmen, the forefathers of Turkish fascism, in solving “the Armenian question.” His “final solution” of the so-called Jewish problem was in fact, modelled on the Armenian genocide. It comes as no surprise to hear Prof. V. Minorsky to say:
“It is an astonishing coincidence that Hitler (evidence produced in Nuremberg) suggested that the extermination of enemy races could be carried out with impunity in view of human forgetfulness: ‘Who does now remember the Armenians – were the Fuhrer’s ipsissima verba.”
(Quoted by Christopher J. Walker. Armenia, The Surival of a Nation, p. 362).
Let us turn our attention once more to the conditions in the Turkish prisons. Political captives, in general have been successful in repulsing this onslaught of military-fascist junta during the period of 1980-1983 and the following period of “civilian” fascist dictatorship. But this was achieved at a terrible physical and psychological price. Between 1980-2000, hundreds of brave people have either died, been wounded or maimed; or have contracted various diseases, including cerebral complications – through years of incessant struggle conducted to preserve their political beliefs and human dignity and to defend themselves in the face of this premeditated policy of protracted and slow annihilation. Political captives died in hunger strikes and death fasts, they were murdered through beating, torture and physical attacks, including armed raids, they died due to the denial of proper medical treatment and, in some exceptional cases they committed suicide in protest of prison conditions. They died and were killed in their hundreds, not because they did not want to live or did not felt affection for life. On the contrary, they died, because they wanted to live; but only to live as opponents of this inhuman regime as befits dignified and honorable human beings. As has been said of them: “They loved life so much that they were ready to die for it.” It was under these circumstances that the hunger strike came to the fore as the general and most common form of self-defence of political captives.
Part 3: April 1997: The Human Rights Commission of Istanbul Chamber Of Physicians Report
To have an opinion, or rather an impression, of the extent of devastation suffered by political captives, we will refer to a study. In April 1997 the Human Rights Commission of Istanbul Chamber of Physicians conducted a medical survey on the state of health of 475 prisoners at Bayrampasa Prison (or otherwise known Sagmalcilar Prison) in Istanbul. The survey laid bare one of the very important aspects of the inhuman and deplorable nature of the Turkish prison system. The first of its kind in Turkey, the survey covered 157 political and 308 non-political prisoners and was carried out by 20 doctors, 2 lab assistants, 1 physiotherapist and several medical personnel. The report prepared at the end of the survey showed that the health of political captives, who had been obliged to go on long hunger strikes again and again had suffered a great deal and the rate of disability among them ran as high as 40 percent. Dr. Hasan Kendirci. a member of the medical team conducting the survey quite aptly summarized the situation at Bayrampasa Prison, when he related that there were 157 “living dead” there.
Dr. Kendirci stated that, as a result of long hunger strikes, extensive damage had been done to the brain cells of political prisoners, most of whom suffered memory losses and enfeeblement of various cerebral functions. According to the report, most of the diseases contacted by political prisoners and to a lesser extent the diseases contacted by non-political prisoners were related to torture and 46 percent of the diseases the patients suffered were contracted after detention, that is, under prison conditions. At the prison itself. there were only 4 practitioners and only 1 dentist. Dr. Kendirci said that almost all of the dental instruments were rusted and the dental surgery was in shambles. The report stated that, in case of illness, patients were being treated at the Bayrampasa Hospital, attached to the Prison, where there were no intensive care units, no ambulances and no ultra sound scans. There were 35 specialists commissioned there, who were on the verge of desperation and most of the 100 nurses commissioned, were the wives of officers and policemen guarding the prison and what is more, they usually were not on duty. If this was the situation at Bayrampasa Prison in Istanbul, home to more than 3,000 inmates, one could imagine the situation at other smaller prisons, in faraway provinces and towns.
Part 4: The Aims of the Turkish Fascists In Their Brutal Prison Practices
After a long and arduous process of struggle, Turkish fascism has tacitly and grudgingly had to admit the defeat of its onslaught to enforce capitulation on political captives. The latter had in general been able to repulse the attack on both the political and moral front. Besides they also had won several rights mainly through struggle – such as the right to civilian clothing, the right to communicate with the outside world. the right to have books, journals and papers, the right to be able to bring in special diet-foods for hundreds of sick inmates etc. It is obvious that the growth of the struggle of Kurdish and Turkish workers and peoples, especially after the second half of the 1980’s and the exposure of the crimes of Turkish Nazis nationally and internationally have also, though indirectly contributed to the achievement of this tactical victory. On the other hand, the tacit acknowledgement of this fact by the criminal-fascist Turkish ruling elite has not meant an end to its repressive and bloodthirsty policies; it has not meant that such hard won rights are there to stay. To the contrary. After each and every long hunger strike Turkish fascists have promised to end inhuman treatment and make a series of improvements in the living conditions of political captives. But they almost always have reneged on their promises and on the first possible occasion have tried to gain the ground they had lost. So, they have continued and what is more, after a brief lull at the end of the 1980’s and the beginning of the 1990’s, have once again intensified their repression of political captives.
If these hangmen, torturers and criminals could not subordinate the captives, they tried instead to silence and politically and socially isolate them, murder them in cold blood or by stealth – thereby to deprive the Kurdish and Turkish workers and peoples of their bravest, most devoted and most intelligent daughters and sons. They intend to continue this protracted massacre and through the destruction of political captives, to achieve the destruction of the hopes of Kurdish and Turkish workers and peoples for national and social liberation. Turkish fascists know very well that, in this unholy crusade of theirs, they can count on the covert, and at times overt, support of the US and Western European Powers, who while hypocritically criticizing the “gross violations of human rights” in Turkey and elsewhere, continue to arm and train Turkish army and police and equip them with sophisticated instruments of repression and torture. Therefore, in their relations with their imperialist overlords, the Turkish fascists feel themselves completely at ease, they are sure of their masters’ all-round support for their various stratagems to break the glorious resistance of political captives, as well as the struggle of the masses. Political captives in general know that they can only rely on the masses and progressive forces fighting for democracy and socialism, whether in Turkey or elsewhere; they expect assistance from those quarters only.
One of the most important measures, that the Turkish ruling classes have long been contemplating in this context, is to cram all political captives to special maximum security prisons, composed of solitary confinement cells. Here inmates will be totally isolated from each other and indeed from the outside world as well. They try to present these so-called F-Type, in fact coffin-style prisons as “the last word of civilization” in this matter, allegedly a more advanced and modern way of keeping the political captives under lock and key. In this manner. they expect to impose a sort of political isolation and intellectual starvation on political captives and destroy their political and ideological resistance and personality. They also aim to prevent them from organizing a strong and united resistance against torture and repression at the dungeons and to sever political captives’ ties with the struggle of masses outside. And if they are successful with this, they definitely will attempt once more the political and moral subordination of the political captives and at least try to neutralize, that is depoliticize this most advanced contingent of Kurdish and Turkish people. By neutralizing political captives numbering more than 10,000 at the moment, they will be able to get rid of one of the most effective foci of resistance against fascism, as well.
Both the Turkish ruling classes and political captives are well aware of the fact that, what is at stike in the strike at dungeons, is not only or even mainly the way the inmates are treated or the level of their rights. The struggle in Turkish dungeons is part of the much greater picture – it is a part of a much bigger struggle going on between the forces of fascism, imperialism and capitalism on the one hand, and the forces of democracy, national liberation and socialism on the other in Turkey and Kurdistan.
That is the reason why the ruling classes and their stooges directing dungeons will continue their efforts to suppress the political captives and to subordinate them. That why the US and Western European imperialists, who support the Turkish criminal-fascist clique economically, politically and militarily try to impose a conspiracy of silence over the prison massacres in Turkey. That is the reason why, Turkish fiscists have feverishly been building a series of special maximum security cell-type prisons all over the country, where they plan to bury thousands of brave. intelligent and devoted daughters and sons of Kurdish and Turkish peoples alive. That is the reason why, the struggle of political captives, their relatives, human rights activists and progressive public opinion against these maximum security and total isolation prisons (so-called F-Type Prisons) has been a long standing issue and will continue to be so in the foreseeable future.
For quite a long time, political captives have had no other way of defending themselves, their honor and dignity and winning their basic rights, other than that of long and frequent hunger strikes, this was the only way left them to fight back. Hunger strikes should not be considered a purely passive and defensive form of struggle. Combined with the struggle of families and relatives, enjoying the support of human rights activists and the university and shantytown youth, and the solidarity of progressive unions of workers and public servants, some hunger strikes encompassing political captives in several prisons have influenced public opinion, and played an important role in exposing the Turkish criminal-fascist clique forcing it to retreat, though temporarily. During the last couple of years however, political captives have begun to employ somewhat more active forms of struggle as well, such as taking under their control certain sections of prisons, refusing to attend roll calls, taking hostage of prison guards and wardens etc. Despite this development, hunger strikes remain the most common form of self-defense left for political captives, who are, as their name implie,. captives under lock and key and have very few choices as to alternative forms of struggle.
The families and relatives of political captives have always stood by their loved ones, and human rights activists have supported them. These supporters however, have received their “fair” share of a similar treatment at the hands of reactionary and barbaric authorities in a systematic manner. This “fair” share includes total bans on visits and correspondence, at times lasting for months and years; humiliating searches during visits; sexual harassment of all sorts; aggression of prison guards, police and soldiers; going on hunger strikes; keeping watch in front of prisons for days and weeks; being the target of attack and beatings during demonstrations; detention by the police; torture at police stations and gendarme barracks, and even death at the hands of the servants of criminal-fascist state. A case in point is the death of Didar Sensoy, an indefatigable fighter for the rights of political captives. She was beaten in front of the Turkish Parliament on September 1st, 1987, by the heavy-handed police and killed, when she was trying to present a petition to the authorities concerning the plight of political captives. This approach of the armed servants, of the regime has followed a consistent pattern and not changed up to this day. Twelve years after the death of Ms. Sensoy, that is on September 29th, 1999, more than I00 people, including leading human rights workers, such as Ms. Eren Keskin and Ms. Leman Yurtsever, lawyers, journalists and relatives of political captives were severely beaten by the police and some taken into custody, when they protested against the Ulucanlar Massacre in Sultanahmet Plaza in Istanbul. Many relatives of political captives have received prison sentences and become political captives themselves. They also have become targets of extra-judicial executions conducted by the agents of Turkish fascism, especially in Kurdistan. The legitimate and just struggle of the relatives of political captives for defence of political captives has awakened a great number of them to political activism, especially human rights work and has been instrumental in the creation of a strong tradition of solidarity with their loved ones. At the moment, they are one of the most concerned, conscious, selfless and progressive contingent of Kurdish and Turkish peoples. Turkish fascism always has to take this contingent into account as it treads its bloodstained path.
Part 5: The Prisons Mirror The General Struggle In Turkey and Kurdistan
We should once more remind the reader that the systematic onslaught of Turkish fascism on political captives, has been and is an integral part of its campaign against the workers, peoples and progressive forces of Turkey and Kurdistan.
In this sense, one can characterize prisons as locations mirroring the real workings of the regime and the contradictions of society, where the unjust, oppressive and exploitative nature of the established order stands almost totally naked. We assume that world progressive public opinion is aware to a certain extent, not only of the appalling living conditions of workers and toilers in Turkey and Kurdistan, but also of the level of oppression they have been subjected to and the systematic violation of their basic rights. Turkish ruling classes and the military have not only traditionally denied the national rights of the Kurdish people; but they have not admitted and do not admit to this day the existence and national identity of the Kurdish people as such.
Starting at the second half of the 1980s and especially after 1992, the criminal-fascist gang governing Turkey and their thugs have burned more than 3,000 villages and forced millions of Kurdish peasants to leave their land, conducted full scale military operations involving tanks and artillery against a series of Kurdish towns, such as Lice, Idil, Sirnak, Cizre etc.; they have turned Turkey and Kurdistan into a land of torture, extra-judicial executions and “disappearances”, which number in the thousands. Unfortunately, world progressive public opinion still does not recognize the nature of Turkish fascism sufficiently; it can not comprehend the scale of political demagogy perpetrated by these masters of deceit and the strength of the reactionary, anti-popular and genocidal traditions, that they have inherited from their Ottoman forefathers and maintained to this day. After all, the Turkish ruling classes, who usually take great pride in their Ottoman background, and dream of re-establishing a similar realm in the region, commemorated in 1999 the 700th anniversary of the foundation of the empire with great fanfare.
Turkey is still a country ruled behind the scene by the military high command and big capital allied with imperialism, a country where a constitution made by the military junta of General Kenan Evren in 1982 is still in place. This Turkish Pinotchet, is still considered a venerable figure by the ruling elite and is regularly being paid homage to. In one of his public speeches made on 1 October 1984, he, in the capacity of the president of the state had said the following on the political captives:
“I’ll bring him to justice and instead of hanging him, will feed him for years. Would you agree to that?”
After all, Turkey is a country ruled by a brutal criminal-fascist dictatorship entertaining ambitions of territorial expansion at the expense of its neighbors.Turkey, a tested vassal of the US and Western Europe has long been posing a threat not only to the peoples of the Balkans, Caucasia and the Near East, but also to the states in the region. Apart from the 40,000 troops it has been stationing in Northern Cyprus, since its invasion of the island in July 1974, Turkey has sent so-called peacekeeping troops to Somalia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo. In an interview given in May 1998, Prof. Hasan Kšni had related that the Turkish army was training soldiers from 26 countries, including soldiers from Albania, Macedonia and Georgia. Turkey has one of the biggest armies in the world. According to the 1998 Yearbook of SIPRI, together with gendarmery, Turkish armed forces, numbered about 800,000 and Turkey’s expenditure on armaments rose from 3.94 billion US dollars in 1988 to 7.46 billion US dollars in 1997. Turkish official sources themselves have admitted that between 1989 and 1993 Turkey had spent 7.7 billion US dollars on armaments; the comparable figures were 3.1 billion for Israel, 2.6 billion for Iran and 1.1 billion for Syria for the same period. At the end of 1999, the Turkish General Staff made public its intention to spend an incredible 150 billion US dollars to modernize its armed forces and buy main battle tanks, attack helicopters, early warning aircraft etc. over the next 25 years. This is done at a time when Turkey has definitely got the upper hand in its struggle against PKK and faces much less tension in its relations with almost all of its neighbors.
Therefore, one is justified in considering this drive for rearmament as an unmistakable sign of the expansionist designs of Turkish fascists, who coordinate their general foreign policy very closely with Washington. The US is known to accord a prominent place to Turkey in its Eurasian strategy, especially in its efforts to contain Russia, to maintain and consolidate its positions in the Near East, gain new ground in the Balkans and extend its influence to Caucasia and Central Asia. But the Turkish fascists have had their own ambitions of extending their power and influence to neighboring countries and becoming a regional superpower. These ambitions were given a boost when new Turkic states were founded in Central Asia after the liquidation of the Soviet Union in 1991. Talk of the emergence of a Turkic world extending from Adriatic Sea to the Chinese Wall became a fashion among Turkish politicians since then.
Home to various US and NATO bases and installations for decades, Turkey has supported the US and its allies during the Second Gulf War of 1991 and has permitted US and British warplanes to use its territory to conduct a systematic bombing campaign against Iraq, which continue up to this day. On the other hand, starting with the guerilla warfare in Kurdistan in 1984, Turkish troops have made dozens of incursions into Northern Iraq in pursuit of PKK fighters. These exercises of “hot pursuit”, however, also reflect the tendency of Turkish fascism to annex at least part of Northern Iraq (Southern Kurdistan). Turkish ruling classes have never concealed their ambitions over the “lost territories” of oil rich Mosul and Kirkuk, where also a small Turcoman minority lives. Starting from 1996, Turkey has further developed its already close relations with Israel and raised them to the level of a strategic alliance. Turkey, who had been on bad terms with Syria, over a number of issues and especially over its support to PKK, had threatened this country with military action in October 1998, reduced the amount of water it had been allocating from Euphrates to this country and secured A. Ocalan’s expulsion from Damascus. Turkish militarists had the covert support of the US in pressing their southern neighbor, itself in need of bringing Syria to heel to further promote the so-called peace process between Israel and Palestine.
Turkey has long been surreptitiously trying to create zones of influence in Western Thrace in Greece and Southern Bulgaria, where long established Turkish communities live. It also has been at loggerheads with Greece for decades, over a number of other issues, such as the status of Northern Cyprus, flight regions and territorial waters in the Aegean Sea etc. In recent years however, Turkey’s relations with Bulgaria and Greece have somewhat improved. This is closely related to the plans of the US and Western European powers to further penetrate Southwestern Europe and intensify the exploitation of the workers and natural resources of the region. In January 1999, Gen. H. Kivrikoglu, the Chief of Turkish General Staff informed the press about the leading role Turkey was eager to play in the projected “Balkan Peacekeeping Force”, to be based at Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Apart from its military base in Azerbaijan, Turkey recently has started to establish another one at Vlora, Albania. Turkish fascists have also been trying to influence and manipulate Turkish minorities in Macedonia, Kosovo, Moldova and Bosnia-Herzegovina and have been posing as a big brother allegedly aspiring to protect Muslim communities in the region. Needless to add, they have been doing the same with respect to Turkish, or rather Turkic communities in Syria, Iraq and Iran for quite a long time.
In March 1995, Turkish militarists had tried unsuccessfully to overthrow Haydar Aliev, the Azeri President, despite all pretensions at good relations between the two countries. In 1999, they have tried to do the same with Islam Kerimov, the President of Uzbekistan, but failed once again. These embarrassing experiences however, do not seem to have deterred Turkish ruling classes from trying to extend their influence and hegemony over the Turkic republics of former Soviet Union. Ankara at the same time acts as an instrument of US influence in the region rich in natural resources, especially petroleum and natural gas. Turkish agents have not only been infiltrating the Central Asian republics under various guises and maintaining their ties with some anti-Taliban groups in Northern Afghanistan, but have also been trying to destabilize Western Iran, where a very sizable Azeri minority lives. They have extended their dirty hands as far as the Sinkiang region of China and tried to incite and manipulate the already existing legitimate discontent of the Uighur community against the repressive policy of Chinese reactionaries. On the other hand, Turkey has consistently provided military support to Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia, helped to bolster Georgia’s defenses in the face of Russian expansionism and provided some support to Chechen fighters. Recently, with the support of the West, it also has been trying to form a tripartite bloc together with Azerbaijan and Georgia under the auspices of NATO.
The 7 July 2000 issue of Hurriyet newspaper carried a news item about the new initiative of Turkish military in Africa. According to the news item the Turkish army, who already has stationed gendarmery troops in Gambia and Senegal, was making preparations to provide military training to various African countries. Among the countries to receive such training were Burkina Faso, Mali, Nigeria, Algeria, Ghana, Ethiopia, Chad, Zimbabwe and Morocco.
Turkey is a country where the activists and chairmen of human rights groups themselves are the targets of physical and armed aggression; where progressive writers and artists are burned to death besides being silenced by a tight military-bureaucratic censorship; it is a country where thousands of people have lost their lives through so-called disappearances and summary executions; one where Kurdish peasants suspected of PKK sympathies are readily shot and dumped into mass graves; a country where even the lives of mainstream, that is well-known and high placed politicians and writers are at risk.
To illustrate this latter point, note that Bulent Ecevit, the present prime minister himself had faced an attempt on his life on 29 May 1977. His case too, was never investigated properly and not brought to court. Furthermore, when Ms. Guldal Mumcu, widow of prominent columnist Ugur Mumcu, who was killed on 24 January 1993, asked Mr. Ecevit in 1997, to use his political clout to solve his husband’s murder case, she received an interesting and revealing answer. According to an account in the 24 January 1999 issue of Milliyet, Bulent Ecevit, who was deputy prime minister at the time, told her that, he himself was prevented by great barriers in investigating the attempt on his own life and went on to comment that Mr. Mumcu had also gone too far! And he was right. Much before that conversation, sometime after the murder of Mr. Mumcu, the State Security Court Prosecutor Ulki Coskun, commissioned to investigate the case, had himself openly told Ms. G. Mumcu:
“This is the work of the state. If political power wants this case to be solved it will be solved.”
The characterisation of the state as fascist is clear. We wil use the term also, of a criminal-fascist ruling element. There is a considerable body of evidence implicating Turkish ruling classes in drug trafficking. A revealing statement of a non-commissioned officer, whose name was not disclosed, was published in the 15 June 1992 issue of a Turkish weekly, 2000’e Dogru. The officer alleged that JITEM was directly involved with drug trafficking. According to him, JITEM officials were transporting drug coming from Iran and Iraq in civilian cars and even in military helicopters. In his book (Die Verbrechen Holding) making use of German police records, Jurgen Roth exposed the involvement of Germany-based Turkish fascists (Turk-Federation connected to MHP or Nationalist Action Party) in drug and especially heroin trafficking, money laundering and extortion. He argued that, gangs composed of Turkish fascists were delivering the heroin brought from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Italy, Germany, Belgium etc. Furthermore, the Turkish ruling elite has been accused more than once by official bodies of various states and by international bodies for being directly involved in drug trafficking and money laundering.
For instance in 1995, drug enforcement departments in the US, Germany, Britain, France and Canada argued that Turkey was the source of about 70 percent of drug consumed in Europe. On 31 October 1995 in its letter to the Turkish police, the Canadian police stated that one of the telephone numbers disclosed by David Dingwall, a drug trafficker apprehended in this country, belonged to the office of Turkish PM, Ms. Tansu Ciller and that the Turkish police did not cooperate sufficiently with Canadian authorities in the fight against drug trafficking. In its report entitled “International Narcotic Control Strategy 1996”, the US State Department alleged that Turkey was one of the three most important countries involved in money laundering connected with drug trafficking. The report stressed the fact that the presence of a sizable Turkish community and the big Turkish drug gangs in Europe facilitated the transfer of drug related money to Turkey, which was laundered and utilized in the financing of “legitimate” investments.
It is no different in Europe. In 1996, three German courts at Frankfurt, Hannover and Trier in their rulings implicated the government and PM Tansu Ciller herself. They accused Turkish authorities of non-cooperation in the fight against drug trafficking and besides for their support and involvement in “the business”. In Britain Tom Sackville, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs responsible for drug enforcement made similar accusations against Turkish authorities and alleged that more than 80 percent of the drug brought from Asia to Europe and especially to Britain was passing through Turkey. In September 1997 OGD, a French anti-narcotic body watching drug trafficking repeated the accusations against Turkish authorities and argued that so-called Village Guards, part of Turkish intelligence community and Grey Wolves, that is MHP militants were controlling “the business”, which was providing a revenue approaching to 12 percent of GNP or 45 percent of the current budget of Turkey. The OGD report also said: “The army is utilizing the money from drug trafficking to finance some of its military operations.” In February 1999, a US State Department report, entitled “International Narcotic Control Strategy 1998” made the same accusation. Here it was reported that 75 percent of the heroin captured in Europe had had a Turkish connection; that is, it was either processed in Turkey or transported over this country.
To be able to understand the situation in Turkish prisons and the plight of political captives, we will take a look at some of the hard facts of Turkish political scene and present a sample of, some data relevant to the workings of the fascist dictatorship. Only then will it be possible to gauge the depth of the systematic oppression political captives are subjected to. Only then will it be possible to see why stubborn hunger strikes of political prisoners (at times exceeding 50 or even 60 days) have long become a characteristic feature of Turkish prisons.
Before proceeding to present a somewhat detailed and chronological account of the repression in Turkish dungeons, we shall try to highlight the overall and extremely dirty record of Turkish fascism, with the help of some concrete and irrefutable facts.
In 1986, Fikri Saglar, an MP from SHP was quoted saying:
“I was shocked from what I saw and heard. I was ashamed and mortified as a citizen and a member of parliament… At present, more than 800 people are missing in Turkey. In other words, they have been taken to police stations and prisons, but have not been able to get out from there. Either, they have been killed under torture and their cases have been brought to courts. Or they have been portrayed as suicide or accident victims. Or they have been alleged to have been killed during attempts at escape. In cases where their families were unaware of their whereabouts, they were described as people on the run, while they in fact were in custody. There are more than 800 such people. This is a frightening figure, just like in the countries of South America. Look, many people are being killed; but their pictures are being printed afterward and they are being presented as people on the run. Besides, for the purpose of deception, the police are raiding their houses and acting as if they are looking for them.”
(Cumhuriyet, 1 February 1986)
Vedat Aydin, head of the Diyarbakir provincial branch of HEP (People’s Labor Party) was abducted from his own house by agents of Kontrgerilla, who introduced themselves as members of the “security” forces on July 5th, 1991. He had been at Diyarbakyr Military Prison for 4 years after the coup d’etat of 12 September 1980 and had lived through the hellish conditions of this dungeon. Later he was involved with the founding work of Diyarbakir branch of HRA and became a member of its steering committee. After his abduction, his family and friends did everything they could. But, all appeals to the government and the authorities would come to nothing. Mr. Aydin’s dead body, was found on 8 July near Maden town of Elazig. His body bore marks of torture and his head was broken and shot at. Following the funeral procession, a demonstration was held at Diyarbakir on July 10th, with the participation of about 50,000 people, despite the threats of the police and the army. But the Turkish fascists were determined to give the Kurdish people a scare and shed its blood. They had massed thousands of troops and elements of Special Teams at Diyarbakir. At 15:30 thugs of the fascist regime opened fire on the peaceful demonstrators without any warning. 8 people were killed and about 300 wounded as a result of indiscriminate firing by the police, Special Teams and soldiers. Ibrahim Aksoy, an MP from HEP and 17 journalists were among the wounded.
Lord Avebury, chairman of the Parliamentary Human Rights Group, spoke at the Kashmir/ Kurdistan Benefit Concert, Conway Hall, London on 21 November 1992. In his speech he said:
In Turkish Kurdistan, where 13 million of the Kurdish people live, MPs elected by the Kurdish people are prevented from voicing their demands by a law which makes the advocacy of self-determination a crime punishable by death. Many brave journalists and human rights activists have already paid for their views with their lives and that without the formality of a trial. Only yesterday the twelfth journalist to be murdered this year, was gunned down on the streets of Diyarbakir. Namik Taranci, a 37 year old man married with one child, who wrote for the weekly Gercek, was shot and killed by two gunmen.
Thousands of non-combatants have become victims of the oppression, crushed under the rubble of their homes, tortured in police stations or shot as they demonstrated peacefully. Whole cities have been devastated by tank and artillery bombardment. Sirnak, Kulp and now Cizre have endured the Turkish blietzkrieg against unarmed civilians and the general who demolished Sirnak has been publicly congratulated.”
In April 1993 the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TIHV) issued a 58-page report detailing human rights violations recorded during the first 500 days of the DYP-SHP coalition government led by Prime Minister Suleyman Demirel and Deputy Prime Minister Erdal Ionu, covering the period from 21 November 1991 to 5 April 1993. This was a government which came to power amid promises of “democratization” and granting of the national identity of Kurdish people. Its performance however, would be totally at variance with its promises. According to the TIHV report, a total of 3,454 people were killed over this period. Here is an extract from this report:
“During this 500-day period basic human rights, particularly the right to life, were violated in a manner reminiscent of the dark days of the 12 September 1980 regime. People were terrorised and systematically tortured. Books, journals and newspapers were confiscated and journalists were killed. Those who tried to speak out against torture were silenced and jailed. The government openly flouted the law in the name of “combating terrorism”. The public were denied the facts and kept in the dark. Towns were burned and destroyed. Demonstrators exerting their democratic rights were beaten and shot. Around 500 people (the vast majority of whom were based in the region where a State of Emergency had been declared) including journalists, political party leaders, intellectuals and human rights activists were victims of unsolved murders.. . . .
“Most of the deaths described in this report were carried out by the security forces and were “extra-judicial executions” as defined by the United Nations… The vast majority of deaths were not investigated but instead those responsible were encouraged and rewarded, officers involved in killings were decorated. In a statement issued December 1992, Interior Minister Üsmet Sezgin claimed that there were no extra-judicial killings and all operations had been carried out with the knowledge of the public prosecutors… In another statement on 14 February, Sezgin said: “We may round up all militants and kill them, as was done once before in Europe. Then we can say that they all committed suicide.”…
“Members of the security forces are rarely brought to justice. Those who stand trial are generally found innocent or get light sentences. Many sentenced to terms of imprisonment had fines imposed on appeal or were put on probation…”
Thirty-five people, including many well-known progressive writers, artists and intellectuals were choked and burned to death on July 2nd, 1993, while visiting Sivas to attend a local festivity. This is a middle sized city only 439 kilometers away from the capital. At first glance, this savage crime seemed to be committed by a bunch of Islamic reactionaries acting on their own, but that was not the case. In time there would surface several signs indicating this incident to be a premeditated massacre of Kontrgerilla. On the day of the incident, Madmak hotel where the guests stayed, was surrounded by a mob, who first shouted insults and afterwards stoned and set fire to the building. The “security” forces, who had proved themselves so effective and “determined” in dealing with all peaceful demonstrations, were extremely “kind” toward the aggressors. The fire brigade came too late and was prevented from doing its work. Neither the police forces, nor the gendarmery and the army at Sivas intervened in the aggression which virtually lasted for eight hours. The besieged guests even phoned Ankara and informed the coalition government itself, headed by Tansu Ciller and her deputy Erdal Ionu; but didn’t receive any response or help. The Minister of Internal Affairs, who arrived at Sivas after the incident did not say a word against the aggressors, but accused Aziz Nesin, the world-famous Turkish writer – who had miraculously survived the massacre and was at hospital at the moment.
The trial of second or third rate culprits, who had definitely been manipulated by Turkish Kontrgerilla has not been consummated and the real culprits behind this shameful crime have not been found up to this day. Nor is there any hope that they will be found and properly tried under this regime. Besides, it later emerged that, a great number of Islamic reactionaries had been brought to Sivas days before the massacre from adjoining provinces. It also became known, that first a police officer and, just after him a captain had come to the hotel some time before the fire started. They had inquired, whether there were any policemen and soldiers inside the hotel. And about 10 minutes before the incident the commander of the Sivas brigade had withdrawn the soldiers waiting in front of the hotel. Therefore, the Sivas massacre was a perfect example of a subversive action a la Kontrgerilla, a case of state terrorism of the worst kind.
Big and impressive demonstrations were held in protest of the Sivas massacre of the fascist dictatorship, where hundreds of thousands of people denounced fascism and Islamic reaction.
Here is the list of writers, artists and other intellectuals and hotel employees who lost their lives at the Sivas massacre:
Koray Kaya, Menekse Kaya, Asuman Sivri, Yasemin Sivri, Ozlem Sahin, Nurcan Sahin, Belkis Cakir, Serpil Canik, Serkan Dogan, Yesim Ozkan, Huriye Ozkan, Handan Metin, Sait Metin, Ahmet Ozyurt, Inci Turk, Muammer Cicek, Gulsum Karababa, Murat Gunduz, Mehmet Atay, Gulender Akca, Hasret Gultekin, Sehergul Ates, Erdal Ayranci, Asaf Kocak, Ugur Kaynar, Behcet Aysan, E.Sulari Aybaba, Muhibe Akarsu, Muhlis Akarsu, Metin Altrok, Nesimi Cimen, Asim Bezirci, Carina Cuanna, Kenan Yilmaz, Ahmet Ozturk.
According to the TIHV report, titled as “File on Torture”, during the five year period between 1989 and 1994, 2,689 people had resorted to the organization and declared themselves as victims of torture. Of these, 433 were women and 78 children. The real figures are naturally much higher, since only a small proportion of people tortured do or are able to report their cases, especially in Kurdistan. The report also stated that, since the military coup d’etat of 12 September 1980, over 420 people had lost their lives under police interrogation and at prisons.
Six years later, that is on January 24th, 2000, Husnu Ondul, the Chairperson of HRA made a written statement over unsolved murders. Mr. Ondul stated that in the course of the last 10 years, 1,964 unsolved murders had taken place according to their records. Of these, about 80 percent were committed in Kurdistan.
The distribution of the number of unsolved murders over the last decade on a yearly basis, showed the following pattern:
1989-91: 42 murders,
1992: 210 murders,
1993: 510 murders,
1994: 292 murders,
1995: 321 murders,
1996: 78 murders,
1997: 109 murders,
1998: 192 murders,
1999: 210 murders.
In June 2000, Yavuz Onen, the Chairperson of TIHV gave the number of those tortured during the last ten years as one million. At a press conference to mark the tenth anniversary of the organization Mr. Onen stressed the fact that the torturers could not be prosecuted, owing to the obstruction of the authorities. Onen also added that torture was aimed at the destruction of the personalities of the victims.
Amnesty International (AI) has also been very much interested in the appalling conditions of human rights in Turkey, for quite a long time. It is a fact that, even this extremely cautious and magnanimous institution has been forced to condemn Turkish regime time after time. Grossly underestimating the level of state terrorism, an AI source published in 1994 said:
“The persistence of torture has dominated Amnesty International’s work on Turkey for over a decade. Today this continuing pattern of torture is, in southeastern Turkey, overshadowed by a new pattern of human rights violations. Scores of people known for their criticism of Turkish Government policies have been targets of selective assassination. Journalists, human rights activists and supporters of opposition parties and lawful groups associated with Turkey’s Kurdish autonomy movement have been victims of political killings, often following a history of short-term arrest and police harassment.
“Increasing evidence has come to light that since 1991 Turkey’s security forces have engaged in a campaign of extrajudicial executions…
“Although numerous killings in disputed circumstances by the security forces have been reported in many parts of Turkey, it is in the southeastern provinces that the toll of the such deaths has been the greatest.”
(Disappearances and Political Killings, Human Rights Crisis of the 1990s, A Manual for Action, p. 55.)
The criminal-fascist gang governing Turkey has been targeting not only the armed and radical movements; it has also been trying to silence and crush all democratic opposition and criticism, including those of trade unionists, journalists, writers, progressive women’s groups, students, conscientious objectors, the most conservative of Kurdish groups and human rights activists. Amnesty International conceded this in the same source, where it was said:
“Among the important sources of information about killings in southeast Turkey are journalists from various publications, and the Turkish Human Rights Association (THRA), which has branches in all the provincial capitals in the area. The harassment and killing of journalists and THRA members threatens to result in a situation where human rights violations will increasingly go unreported.” (Ibid, pp. 65-66)
The book relates the following typical example of the mode of operation of Turkish “security” forces:
“On the evening of 21 February 1993 Metin Can, the President of the Elazig branch of THRA, received a telephone call after which he and his friend Dr Hasan Kaya drove away in Metin Can’s car. Six days later their bodies were found about 100 kilometers away. Both had apparently been tortured and then killed with a bullet to the head.”
(Ibid, p. 66)
It should be added that Can and Kaya were interrogated for 6 days after they were abducted by Kontrgerilla. In the meantime appeals were made to H. Cindoruk, Speaker of the Parliament, S. Demirel, the Prime Minister, I. Sezgin, the Minister of Internal Affairs, E. Ionu, the chairman of SHP (Social Democratic People’s Party) and mass demonstrations were held for their release. But these were not and could not be sufficient to supersede the power of Kontrgerilla and of the General Staff behind it, and save Can and Kaya. The murderers were not content with brutally killing these two men under torture, but also had tape-recorded the screams Can and Kaya uttered during torture. Before the remains of two men were found the murderers phoned their homes, where the anxious families were expecting to receive news of their loved ones and made them listen to those screams. Major A. Cem Ersever, himself involved in a series of crimes against Kurdish people and guerillas, had admitted the responsibility of Kontrgerilla in the torture and killing of Can and Kaya, in an interview he had given to Soner Yalcin. A murderer and an intelligence officer working with JITEM, Ersever himself was killed later by his criminal colleagues.
Of the Kurdish human rights activists, murdered up to 1994 – these include Vedat Aydin (d 5 July 1991), Siddik Tan (d 20 June 1992), Orhan Karaaiar (d 8 January 1993), Kemal Kilic (d 18 February 1993), Cemal Akar (d 2 k3 February 1993), Metin Can (d 27 Subat 1993), Sevket Epizdemir (d 25 November 1993) and Muhsin Melik (d 2 February 1994)
At a comparatively late date, that is on May 12th, 1998, Akin Birdal, the Chairperson of the HRA himself was targeted by two gunmen in Ankara, at the Center-General of HRA. The killers fired six bullets at Mr. Birdal and left the place assuming him dead. But, though seriously injured, he survived. Later investigation conducted half-heartedly by the authorities led to the apprehension of 6 culprits. They were members of TIT, a shadowy right-wing para-military organization formed in the 1970s and connected to Kontrgerilla and fascist MHP (the Nationalist Action Party). MHP has been nothing but, the open political form of Kontrgerilla. (This “party” was founded by Alpaslan Turkes and after his death led by Devlet Bahceli, has been a partner of the present coalition government that came to power after the general elections of 18 April 1999, where Mr. B. Ecevit holds the office of prime minister and and Mr. Bahceli is one of his two deputies.) The real culprits were not the hit men sent to do dirty work of their masters, but the bourgeois parties and the military, who consistently have tried to portray HRA as an extension and adjunct of the PKK. A case in point was the then Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz, who right after the attack had the audacity to blame it on PKK! Since then, he has never apologized for that untruthful and misleading statement.
Turkey has also been a country, where journalists are under intense pressure to toe the line of the fascist regime and regularly receive prison sentences.
Not content with repressing press freedom, the Turkish ruling classes have directly organized many assassinations – especially those of progressive and Kurdish journalists. It was none other than Prime Minister Tansu Ciller, who openly advocated the silencing of the progressive and pro-Kurdish Ozgur Ulke newspaper. After her announcement, the center-general of the newspaper in Kadirga district of Istanbul was bombed on 3 December 1994. Ersin Yildz was killed and 23 people including employees and guests of Ozgur Ulke wounded as a result of the blast. Here we present the list of journalists, who were killed by the thugs of Turkish fascism between 1988 and 1999.
Name and surname Newspaper Place and date of death
Mevlut Isik Turkiye Ankara, 1 June 1988
Seracettin Muftuoglu Hurriyet Nusaybin, 28 June 1989
Sami Basaran Gazete Istanbul, 7 November 1989
Kamil Basaran Gazete Istanbul, 28 February 1990
Cetin Emec Hurriyet Istanbul, 7 March 1990
Turan Dursun Yeni Yuzil/2000’e Dogru Istanbul, 4 September 1990
Gunduz Etili Yeni Gunaydin Istanbul, 18 September 1991
Halit Gungen 2000’e Dogru Diyarbakir, 18 February 1992
Cengiz Altun Yeni Ulke Batman, 24 February 1992
Izzet Kezer Sabah Cizre, 23 March 1992
Bulent Ulku Korfeze Bakis Bursa, 31 March 1992
Mecit Akgun Yeni Ulke Nusaybin, 2 June 1992
Hafiz Akdemir Ozgur Gundem Diyarbakir, 8 June 1992
Cetin Abayay Ozgur Halk Batman, 29 July 1992
Yahya Orhan Ozgur Gundem Gercus, 31 July 1992
Huseyin Deniz Ozgur Gundem Ceylanpinar, 9 August 1992
Musa Anter Ozgur Gundem Diyarbakir, 20 September 1992
M. Sait Erten Azadi/Deng Diyarbakir, 3 November 1992
Yasar Aktay Turkiye Hani, 9 November 1992
Hatip Kapcak Hurriyet Mazidagi, 18 November 1992
Namik Taranci Gercek Diyarbakir, 20 November 1992
Ugur Mumcu Cumhuriyet Ankara, 24 January 1993
Kemal Kilic Ozgur Gundem/Yeni Ulke Urfa, 18 February 1993
M. Ihsan Karakus Silvan Gazetesi Silvan, 13 March 1993
Ercan Gurel HHA-Bergama Bergama, 20 May 1993
Ihsan Uygur (missing) Sabah Istanbul, 6 July 1993
Riza Guneser Halkin Gucu Istanbul, 14 July 1993
Ferhat Tepe Ozgur Gundem Bitlis, 3 August 1993
Aysel Malkac (missing) Ozgur Gundem Istanbul, 7 August 1993
Muzaffer Akkus Sabah-MILHA Bingol, 20 September 1993
Ruhi Can Tul Turkish Daily News Kirikkkale, 14 January 1994
Nazim Babaoglu (missing) Ozgur Gundem Siverek, 12 March 1994
Kamil Kosapinar Zaman Erzurum, 19 March 1994
Erol Akgun Devrimci Cozum Gebze, 8 September 1994
Bahri Isik Cagdas Marmara Istanbul, 17 September 1994
Ersin Yildiz Ozgur Ulke Istanbul, 3 December 1994
Onat Kutlar Cumhuriyet Istanbul, 11 January 1995
Bekir Kutmangil Yeni Gunaydin Istanbul, 23 May 1995
Nail Aydin Son Haber Giresun, 28 July 1995
Seyfettin Tepe Yeni Politika Bitlis, 29 August 1995
Metin Goktepe Evrensel Istanbul, 8 January 1996
Yemliha Kaya Halkin Gucu Istanbul, 27 July 1996
Mehmet Topaloglu Kurtulus Adana, 28 January 1998
A. Taner Kislali Cumhuriyet Ankara, 21 October 1999
An even more recent example of the impudence of Turkish fascism, is the attack on the Center-General of HRA, definitely arranged behind the scenes by Turkish intelligence. On November 25th, 1999, a group composed of 30 fascists, masquerading themselves as the relatives of the soldiers killed in action in Kurdistan and openly accompanied by four police cars, mounted an attack on Center-General of HRA at Ankara in broad daylight. They had come to Ankara on the pretext of attending the trial of A.Ocalan at the Court of High Appeals. Under the protection of Turkish police, the aggressors destroyed the furniture and office machines and beat the people there. Husunu Ondul, Chairperson of the Association, Avni Kalkan, Vice General Secretary and 4 other human rights activists (Zeki Inanc, Turkan Demir, Esa Toper and Muttullah Demirci) were lightly injured in the incident. After the attack, the aggressors went straight to the Center-General of the MHP. Victims of the attack had issued a distress call to the police. But it would take more than an hour for these “protectors of the people and representatives of the law” to arrive at HRA, which happens to be in the center of Ankara, the capital of Turkish Republic. What is more, police took no legal action against the aggressors, whose criminal activity was as open as possible and whose identity were known. And to top it all, the culprits were interviewed by some private TV channels, where they spoke “proudly” and boasted of their “heroic feat”.
Part 6: Attacks on the Families of Political Captives-Prisoners: The “Saturday Mothers”
Turkey’s famous “Saturday Mothers” have too suffered the same fate at the hands of “security” forces.
The growth and development of the movement of “Saturday Mothers”, was closely related to that of the struggle of the families and relatives of political captives and “disappeared”. The immediate starting point of this movement was a well organized campaign to discover the fate of Hasan Ocak, a member of MLKP (Marxist-Leninist Communist Party). As emerged later, Kontrgerilla had kidnapped him, and then killed him after torture. After a lengthy battle, the remains of Hasan Ocak were found on March 26th, 1995. Later the Ocak family and their friends and supporters organized themselves, into a movement. The “Saturday Mothers” of Turkey and Northern Kurdistan had been meeting every Saturday in Galatasaray district of Üstanbul, to learn of the fate of their lost loved ones and to protest against “disappearances”, extra-judicial killings, torture and massacres conducted systematically in dungeons by the fascist authorities. Just like human rights activists and families and relatives of political captives, these champions of the “missing” people, themselves became target of the attack of the police right from the start. But they were not intimidated and vowed to continue their just struggle with the support of a wide spectrum of democratic forces in Turkey and abroad. A series of foreign progressive and anti-fascist fighters, including the famous Las Madres de Plaza de Mayo (Mothers of Plaza de Mayo) of Argentina visited and supported them.
A member of the Ankara branch of Amnesty International had made the following comment on “Saturday Mothers”:
“You took them alive, we want them alive!”
“Since March 1995 mothers, sisters and partners are organizing actions on every Saturday, with this demand, on one of the busiest streets of Istanbul (Turkey). They demand an explanation about their relatives in front of the armed policemen, but they know they will never be reunited with them. Sometimes “Saturday Mothers” get arrested and removed by the police, or sometimes they unwillingly turn a blind eye to their action.
“According to the statistics, more than 400 people have disappeared between 1980 and 1994. The real amount is much more than that. People get disappeared by the security organs of the state every day (by civil or uniformed policemen, anti-terror teams, counter-guerillas, the intelligence services, the army). They take people while on their way to work, from their houses or at political meetings. The disappeared people in Turkey in the 1990s are defenders of human rights, trade unionists and political opponents. The number increases every day that passes. But the farmers and workers get disappeared too – especially from the Kurdish towns, which have been declared by the state to be special security areas. Being Kurdish is generally enough to be accused of committing terrorist crimes…”
Toward the end of 1997, Turkish state intensified its wanton attacks on “Saturday Mothers”. The fascist regime was not content with massing hundreds and at times thousands of policemen to cope with a few dozen elderly women and men and their supporters inquiring about the fate of their “missing” daughters and sons; its servants were also manhandling them in front of the whole world. “Saturday Mothers” were surrounded, beaten, dragged on the pavements, detained and even tortured at times. Especially since September 1997, “security” forces began systematically to prevent people from participating at Saturday protest actions; they detained the protestors even before they arrived at the site. The movement continued despite these barbaric attitude of the armed thugs of Turkish criminal-fascist clique. Considering the decline in the number of participants as repression grew and the almost total encirclement of the protest site, the organizers at the beginning of 1998 had decided to restrict themselves to making press statements in front of the Istanbul branch of HRA. But even this most innocent form of protest was too much for Turkish hangmen, torturers and killers, who massed their armed servants in front of the Association and tried to prevent the “Saturday Mothers” and their supporters from making their voices heard. Therefore, approximately from April 1999 on, the organizers had been obliged to call off their protest actions. Although the “Saturday Mothers” movement in Istanbul has been suppressed temporarily, the fighting spirit of the movement is far from dead; its organizers and participants continue their protest actions against the repression of Turkish fascism in dungeons and other manifestations of human rights violations. The “Saturday Mothers” movement has already performed an important task, that is, it has dealt a heavy blow at Turkish fascism and exposed its inhuman face in front of world progressive public opinion more than any other form of protest actions had done or could do. What is more, an offshoot of “Saturday Mothers” movement continues in Ankara, with the participation of hundreds every week.
Part 7: Attacks on Children
Apart from wantonly exploiting millions of child workers and denying the basic rights of children, the Turkish ruling classes, regularly detain, torture, sentence and murder children, especially in Kurdistan.
In March 1999, Musa Cam, Aegean Regional Representative of DISK, made a statement over child labor in Turkey. He stated employment of children to be very widespread in textile and leather sectors, in small and medium scale enterprises and repair shops, where children were compelled to work extremely long hours, under dangerous conditions and without any real job safety. According to him, most of these child workers were less than 16 years old, worked in return for very low wages and indeed far below the legal minimum wage and were subject to frequent beating and sexual harassment from their employers, who could dismiss them any moment.
On the other hand, as of April 2000, there were 10,532 children between the ages of 11 and 20 behind bars. The issue of 16th March 2000, of Milliyet newspaper, carried a news item, where it was said that, during the last six years one million, Yes one million children! – were taken to court and 60,000 of them received various prison sentences amounted. Let us be reminded that, up to this day, Turkey has not even been a signatory to the Declaration on the Rights of the Children, which in itself is totally insufficient to guarantee the enforcement of these rights. Notwithstanding all these facts, Turkish ruling classes pay lip service to the rights of children and have the temerity to portray themselves as champions of children and of their rights. The Turkish criminal-fascist clique, whose hypocrisy knows of no limits whatsoever has even been organizing a Children’s Festival every year on 23 April, where tens of countries are represented!
To give a graphic description of the approach of Turkish fascists to children, we will discuss the murders of two infant sisters, Dilan and Berivan Bayram. This incident by itself should be sufficient to expose the barbarous, bloodthirsty and inhuman character of the Turkish fascism. On 9 August 1996, Turkish fascists killed Dilan and Berivan, aged 1.5 and 3 and together with three other people during an operation in Kucukdikili town of Adana province. The incident began with the detention of Ridvan Altun, who was taken by a small army of police and Special Teams to the house of Mr. Omer Bayram, who happened to be a relative of the detainee. The goons of the fascist regime surrounded the house in Cinarli district of Kuckdikili town with about twenty cars and two armored cars at midnight and started to pour fire on it at 04:20, without any warning whatsoever. They fired upon the house and its residents indiscriminately and this continued for about half an hour, despite the fact that nobody had been firing on them from inside the house. Ridvan Altun, Omer Bayram, the owner of the house, Dilan and Berivan Bayram, his two infant daughters and Abdurrahman Sari, Mr. Bayram’s guest were all killed. Yeter Kaplan, the wife of Mr. Bayram was heavily injured and Gokhan Bayram, the male child of the house, survived the attack by mere luck.
Following Albania’s signing of the 6th Protocol of the European Convention on Human Rights, Turkey remains the only country among the 41 members of Council of Europe, who has not eliminated the death penalty. It should be underlined that, the Turkish authorities may in the near future abolish death penalty, since their ambition to enter European Union requires them to do so. This, however, will not mean much in a country of summary executions, systematic torture and widespread mistreatment of political captives. On the other hand, it should be admitted that, such a move will especially relieve Western European imperialists, who will be able to justify their overt and covert support of and alliance with the criminal-fascist Ankara regime.
A more recent incident is indicative and typical of the barbaric approach of Turkish criminal-fascist clique, not only to the progressive and radical opponents of the regime and Kurdish people, but to people of all nationalities in general. On May 12th, 2000, mainstream newspapers carried a small news items on one their back pages. In Dogubeyazit, a town neighboring Iran, Turkish soldiers had opened fire on a large group of civilian and unarmed Afghan refugees, who had been trying to cross to Turkey, without even bothering to fire a warning shot. According to the information provided by the military itself, of the 153-strong group, 9 had died on the scene and 5 (Ishak Rizai, Mahmut Esref, Muhammet Bilal, Ahmet Akbarni and Mehmet Ali Fazlu) were wounded. The authorities did not even bother to disclose the identities of those killed. As to the remaining members of the group, they were interrogated and immediatelly sent back to Iran.
Part 8: Testimony of Members of Parliament
From time to time, even the representatives of the establishment do, or are obliged to, grant the repressive and barbaric nature of the Turkish regime. Here we present the testimonies of two MPs.
The 23 October 1999 issue of Milliyet, one of the mainstream newspapers, carried a revealing statement by Sadik Avundukluoglu, an MP and the head of the Parliamentary Commission for the Investigation of Unsolved Political Murders. This Commission, first of its kind in the history of Turkish Republic, was established in 1993, following the murder of prominent journalist Ugur Mumcu, on January 24th, 1993. In his statement Mr. Avundukluoglu said that, none of the 908 unsolved political murders committed between 1975 and 1993, which had come to the attention of the Commission had been solved. According to the report, 412 people had “disappeared” in police custody between 12 September 1980 and June 1985. On the other hand, the report alleged that in 1995 only, 105 dead were buried at the cemetery of unidentified, in Istanbul alone; and that a total of 369 dead were buried at the same cemetery in 1995-1996.
In passing, it should be pointed out that, these definitely understated figures show a clearly rising trend, following the “transition to democracy” after the 1983 elections, when the military junta formally handed over power to a civilian government presided by Turgut Ozal.
The report also admitted the fact that JITEM and other repressive bodies of the state were involved in arms and drug trafficking, in extra-judicial murders and extortion directly or through criminal gangs composed of “Village Guards” and PKK defectors under their control.
After a two-year long period of work, the above-mentioned Commission, was finished and ready to present its 200 page report to the Turkish Parliament. The report was prepared with the support of various experts and amounted to 10,000 pages, together with several appendices. What was even more revealing was the fact that, this report and its appendices were never discussed at the Parliament; they were not even brought to the agenda of this body. Majority of the members of the Commission itself quite sincerely confessed the reason for that. They rejected the report on the grounds that it “degraded” the state and its “security” forces. The report and its appendices were stashed away in the Parliamentary Archives after the elections of 1995, where nobody bothered to take a look at them.
Mr. Algan Hacaloglu, an MP and the spokesman for Turkish Parliament’s Commission of Inquiry on Internal Migration made a statement in August 1997 on the state of internally displaced Kurdish peasants, who were forcibly evacuated from their villages. He said that, a fund to the tune of 5 billion US dollars would be needed for the resettlement of these impoverished and traumatized people. In his statement, he conceded the fact that, 900 villages and 3,200 smaller residential units were evacuated and part of them were burned for “security” reasons. He also related the following:
“These people are hungry and destitute. They are living in tents and shelters and under extremely unhealthy conditions. Families, amounting to 10-15 people have to be content with just one room, without a kitchen, toilet or bathroom.”
The extremely arbitrary, high-handed and anti-democratic character of the Turkish regime was conceded even by one of the highest ranking judges of Turkey. The 8 September 1998 issue of Milliyet carried an interesting and revealing news item. At the opening of the judicial year, attended by all dignitaries of Turkish state, including the President of the State, Suleyman Demirel; Mehmet Uygun, the President of the High Court of Appeals told the audience the following:
“The state should be democratic, it should uphold justice and the precedence of law should be realized in a definite and unequivocal manner. Can we, in the light of these principles boast of a completely independent judiciary where judges have total assurance? No, we can not. Are our judicial organs provided with opportunities to execute their functions in an effective and perfect way? No, they are not.”
We, however should not forget that, the defenders of the established order make such somewhat sham critical statements very rarely; furthermore even in such cases they definitely do not blame the repressive policy of the state in general. Such “critics” restrict themselves with denouncing certain acts of some “security” personnel and organs and at best grossly underestimate the level of state terrorism targeting all progressive forces, including political captives, Kurdish people, workers, trade unionists, students etc. And they never forget to compensate and therefore nullify such criticism with denunciations against the “terrorism” of the radical opposition movements fighting the regime. It is hoped that, the facts presented in this text on state terrorism in dungeons and elsewhere will shed some light on the real situation on the ground in Turkey.
Banking on the political credit generously provided them by their US and Western European masters and overlords, the Turkish criminal-fascist ruling classes have been making a great deal of hue and cry over over terrorism, alleging that they themselves have been a victim of “terrorism” and particularly of “PKK terrorism”.
They intensified this propaganda campaign of theirs especially during the days and weeks following the capture of Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of PKK on 15 February 1999. They systematically repeated the lie to the effect that, Kurdish guerillas and Ocalan himself above all, were responsible for the death of more than 30,000 people. To expose their lies and to indicate the facts, it will be sufficient to quote a report prepared by their own Ministry of Internal Affairs and published in Milliyet, on 16 January 1998. According to this report, at the clashes between Turkish “security” forces and PKK guerillas, a total of 23,190 people were killed between 15 August 1984, when the Kurdish guerilla activity began and 1 September 1997. The report, which definitely overstates the losses of PKK and understates those of the “security” forces, says further that, of this total 3,965 were civilians, 4,389 “security” personnel and 14,836 PKK guerillas.
The hard facts, of which only a sample is presented in this text themselves testify to the level of the insolence and flagrancy of the Turkish ruling classes, who have been practising state terrorism all along. Throughout their history, they have organized with and supported all sorts of “non-official” criminal and terrorist gangs not only against their radical and progressive opponents, but utilized such groups against one another.
Apart from the use of such “non-official” terror, they have built a criminal-terrorist state, which directly organizes counter-revolutionary terror against workers, other toilers, Kurdish people and progressive intellectuals and is directly responsible for similar activities in Turkey and Kurdistan and even beyond. ´The overwhelming evidence implicating them with state terrorism notwithstanding, they have the temerity to accuse the Kurdish people and national liberation fighters and other radical opponents of the regime with terrorism. The demagogy of the Turkish fascists matches their barbarism. They are not content with the Kurdish massacres they have conducted in the 1920s and 1930s; they are not content with denying the existence of Kurdish nation and dictating an official ban on the use of Kurdish language and they are not content with systematic destruction of Kurdish intellectuals and other community leaders sympathetic to the cause of national liberation. They also evacuate millions of Kurdish peasants from their villages, burn their houses and forests, kill their cattle and sheep, torture and murder thousands of unarmed Kurdish people and dump their remains into unidentified mass graves. They pose with the the heads of dead guerillas they have decapitated and desecrate the stripped bodies of dead woman guerillas etc. and still they complain of Kurdish terrorism!
Part 9: An Incomplete List of the Worst Atrocities against Political Captives
Here we present an incomplete list of the more serious attacks and atrocities Turkish fascist authorities have committed against political captives. It should be born in mind that, in very few of these cases of torture, murder and massacre, the aggressors and their abettors are brought to trial and almost none of them have been punished according to the law.
*On September 14th, 1980, only two days after the coup d’etat of 12 September, Irfan Celik, one of the leaders of a revolutionary organization was found dead in his ward in Davutpasa Military Prison in Istanbul. Captured by the political police some months before the coup, he was subjected to intense torture during his interrogation and later brought to this dungeon. Celik and another political captive named Huseyin Karakus were taken to a solitary confinement ward after the coup. Here they both were subjected to another bout of torture by police and officers, who were after fresh information. They both resisted the torture, which lasted for weeks. It later emerged that Celik had committed suicide, most probably not to divulge any information to his torturers.
*On December 7th, 1980, publisher Ilhan Erdost was beaten and killed at the entrance of the notorious Mamak Military Prison in Ankara. After they were arrested, soldiers put him and Muzaffer Erdost, his elder brother and colleague into a military van, which was supposed to take them into the prison. They, under the command of Sukru Bag, a non-commissioned officer attacked and beat them brutally on the road to prison. Ilhan Erdost died minutes after he got off the van and was put into a prison ward. The real culprits were the Commander of Ankara Martial Law District and the military warden of Mamak Military Prison, who personally gave the order for their beating. At the end of the trial Sukru Bag received a very light sentence, whereas Raci Tetik, the well known fascist colonel and warden of Mamak Military Prison tried to defend himself stating that he hadn’t ordered the soldiers to kill, but only had exhorted them to beat the two brothers!
*On October 4th, 1981, Hasan Alemlioglu died at Gulhane Military Hospital in Ankara allegedly of kidney problems. In fact, Mr. Alemlioglu was brought there from Mamak Military Prison, after being beaten brutally.
*On December 5th, 1981, Ismet Tas, a political captive, died at Metris Military Prison in Istanbul. Indeed, Mr. Tas was to be released from prison the day after. He felt a pain in his heart at 22:000 hours. His comrades tried very hard to summon a doctor until 03:00; but the prison authorities did not respond. When he was taken to Capa Hospital of the Faculty of Medicine, he already was dead.
*On December 24th, 1981, soldiers fired tear gas canisters at the wards during an attack on political captives at Alemdag Military Prison in Istanbul. The immediate excuse for this attack was the political captives’ refusal to let some of their comrades to be taken to police interrogation, that is torture, for a second time. Two of them (Hakan Mermeroluk and Serif Yazar) died in the attack due to poisoning and dozens were affected by the gas and had to be treated.
*On January 1st, 1982, Bahadir Dumanli lost his life at Haydarpaaa Numune Hospital in Istanbul. He and his wife were detained by the police in Ankara, then sent to Istanbul, where they were he æavily tortured. Later, he was held in Alemdag Military Prison and taken to hospital before his death.
*On June 8th, 1982, Mustafa Tunc, a member of TKP/M-L Hareketi, died at Sultanahmet Military Prison. He had been taken into custody in 1981, had undergone torture in Uskudar, Umraniye and Dogancilar police stations in Istanbul. Mr. Tunc was denied medical treatment, despite his worsening state of health and left to die.
*On March 21st, 1982, Mazlum Dogan, a member of PKK was martyred at Diyarbakir Military Prison, which was converted into a Turkish version of Nazi torture and death camps. Dogan hanged himself in his cell in protest of the horrendous prison conditions, including denial of all basic human rights and the right of political captives to defend themselves at court, systematic beating and torture and continuous insult and humiliation of the worst kind targeting all inmates by the thugs of Turkish fascism.
*On May 17th, 1982, four Kurdish national liberation fighters of PKK (Ferhat Kurtay, Necmi Oner, Esref Anyik and Mahmut Zengin) burned themselves to death in their wards at Diyarbakir Military Prison to protest against the hellish conditions there. Their bodies afire, they shouted at people, warning those, who intentionally or unintentionally tried to interfere and douse the fire. They were heard calling, “Ignite the fire! Do not pour water to douse the fire!… Those who pour water are traitors! This is a political action! Do not break the action!” Their martyrdom would be an important milestone in the coming struggle against the hangmen and torturers of Diyarbakir.
*On July 14th, 1982, that is on the anniversary of the Great French Revolution of 1789, a group of PKK Central Committee members and fighters (Kemal Pir, M. Hayri Durmus, Akif Yilmaz and Ali Cicek) informed the judges of the Diyarbakir State Security Court during their trial to the effect that, in protest of the horrible conditions under which they were forced to live, they would begin a death fast. Despite the exhortation and threats of the Kontrgerilla officers directing the prison they immediately put their decision into effect and built up an insurmountable barricade to resist and challenge the intolerable repression of the enemy with their already weakened bodies. Pir died at the 56th (7 September), Durmus at the 61st (12 September), Yilmaz at the 64th (15 September) and Cicek at the 66th (17 September) day of this glorious action. This would herald the beginning of the turning of the tide at Diyarbakir dungeon.
*On August 23rd, 1982, Aziz Ozbay, a PKK sympathizer was killed through torture and beating at Diyarbakir Military Prison. The authorities tried to hide their murder alleging that he had died of cirrhosis.
*On October 15th, 1982, Zafer Muctebagoglu, revolutionary student from ODTU (Middle East Technical University) died at a hospital in Ankara. At the time he was held at Mamak Military Prison pending his trial. Systematic beating and torture by soldiers undermined his health and led to his death.
*On January 13th, 1983, Ramazan Yayan, a PKK sympathizer, died at Diyarbakir Military Prison. Already a sick person, his health had further deteriorated due beating and torture he had undergone at Diyarbakir dungeon.
*On April 8th, 1983, Mustafa Tepeli from TKP/M-L Hareketi lost his life after he was operated on at Gulhane Military Hospital in Ankara. Mustafa Tepeli had been arrested in 1982 and had undergone torture at the hands of the interrogators of military junta. This, coupled with his already poor health and inhuman conditions prevailing in military prisons at the time contributed to the worsening of his health. He was diagnosed as having cirrhosis, but it was already too late for his treatment.
*On May 15th, 1983, Abdullah Gurbudak, a political captive, died at Mamak Military Prison. The alleged cause of his death was revealed to be heart failure. In fact, he was the victim of torture systematically applied at Mamak dungeon.
*On July 4th, 1983, Hamdi Filizcan, a political captive, held at Canakkale E-Type Prison, died at Canakkale State Hospital. Mr. Filizcan was not feeling himself well for quite a long time; but his treatment was delayed and he was killed by stealth.
*On April 1st, 1984, political captives from TIKB and Devrimci Sol began a hunger strike against the compulsory single-type prison uniforms and denial of their basic rights. A section of the hunger strikers, however would convert it into a death fast, as decided on at the beginning; that is they would continue the action until their demands would be met. Between June 14th and 24th, 1984, after a more than two month-long death fast, four political captives (M. Fatih Oktulmus from TIKB and Abdullah Meral, Haydar Basbag and Hasan Telci from Devrimci Sol) were martyred at Sagmalcilar Military Prison in Istanbul. Their heroic struggle was supported by other political captives’ hunger strikes of varying durations.
*On April 15th, 1985, Adil Can, a member of THKP-C/M-L, died at Haydarpasa Military Hospital in Istanbul. He was taken into custody in December 1983; but was taken to police interrogation, that is torture twice more, in April 1984 and September 1984, when he was at Metris Military Prison in Istanbul. The level of torture he was subjected to was overwhelming, especially in April-May 1984. He did not make any statement in the face of all torture and openly challenged the torturers; but he had to pay a high price for it. The torturers of Turkish fascism had almost totally destroyed his body. He was in a state of coma, when taken to Haydarpasa Military Hospital at the time. Adil Can shared the fate of countless political captives, who were refused medical care and murdered by stealth.
*On May 4th, 1985, Fikri Sonmez, the former mayor of Fatsa, a town in Northeastern Turkey, died due to a heart attack at Amasya State Hospital. A very much loved and respected man by the people and a member of Devrimci Yol, he had undergone torture not only at police interrogation and but also at prison, where he was one of those political captives who resisted the attempts of the prison authorities to force capitulation on them. He was not treated and left to die.
*In September 1985, Sazuman Kansu, a political captive, held at Bayrampasa Prison, lost his life. His already bad health had further worsened due to the torture at the police. For his treatment he was first taken to the much better equipped Istanbul Medical School Hospital. But, he was not admitted to that hospital, because of a ban adopted by the martial law authorities in Istanbul. So, Mr. Kansu was left to die at Bayrampasa Prison Hospital.
*On January 27th, 1986, Recep Tuna, a political captive, lost his life at Bayrampasa Prison. His health had been adversely affected over the torture he had been subjected to at Istanbul Security Directorate. Nothing was done toward his treatment and he was left to die.
*On March 13th, 1987, Ahmet Cetin, a member of Devrimci Yol, died at Hacettepe Hospital in Ankara. The health of Mr. Cetin, who had been in jail since 1975, had deteriorated especially after he was tortured by the police in February 1984. As has almost always has been so in similar cases, his kidney problems were left untended and he was murdered by stealth.
*On February 9th, 1988, M. Emin Yavuz, a member of PKK, died at Diyarbakir Prison, on the eleventh day of a hunger strike of political prisoners organized to secure the right to speak with their visitors in Kurdish, their mother tongue.
*On May 21st, 1988, prison guards and soldiers attacked political captives at Aydin E-Type Prison and beat them brutally with clubs and cudgels. The excuse for the attack was a decision of the prison administration to transfer inmates to different wards, to which political captives allegedly objected. 200 captives began a hunger strike to protest against this inhuman treatment, which would last 30 days.
*On May 22nd, 1988, political captives who were transferred from Diyarbakir Prison began a hunger strike at Gaziantep Special-Type Prison. This precipitated an attack by prison guards and soldiers, during which 60 political captives were beaten severely.
*On September 30th, 1988, prison guards and soldiers led by warden Recep Colak attacked political captives at Bursa E-Type Prison to force them to wear single-type prison uniform. Almost all of the inmates were beaten and injured, about 30 of them seriously. 60 of them were transferred to Canakkale E-Type Prison following the attack.
*On May 14th, 1989, 22 political captives, who were to be transferred from Sagmalcilar (or otherwise known as Bayrampasa) Special-Type Prison to Sagmalcilar-1 Prison in Istanbul, were kept in closed prison vans under stifling conditions and without being provided with water and other basic needs for nearly 12 hours. After they were put into cells in Sagmalcilar-1 Prison, hundreds of soldiers under the command of lieutenant-colonel Haydar Aksu attacked and brutally beat them.
*On August 2nd, 1989, H. Husnu Eroglu and Mehmet Yalcinkaya members of PKK, died due to suffocation under conditions totally befitting Turkish fascism. At the time they were being transferred from Eskisehir Special-Type Prison to Aydin E-Type Prison together with other inmates. This, however was no ordinary transfer of political captives from one prison to another. Eroglu, Yalcinkaya and others were on hunger strike in Eskisehir to protest against the seizure of their rights, after the prison authorities had discovered a tunnel dug by political captives. On the 35th day of the hunger strike, they were told to prepare their belongings in one hour. Then they were forcibly packed them into windowless prison vans and in the heat of August taken on a 12 hour-long journey toward Aydin, without being provided with rest, ventilation and water in the meantime. On their arrival at Aydin E-Type Prison, groups of soldiers and prison guards brandishing hoses, cudgels and club received them. Eroglu and Yalcinkaya were already dead and the others in a state of unconsciousness or semi-consciousness. This however, did not prevent fascist thugs from forcibly stripping and beating political captives mercilessly, from shaving their hair and moustaches and throwing them into cells without providing any medical care.
*In January 1990, Mehmet Covendere, a non-political prisoner held in C-8 ward of Bayrampasa Prison felt himself ill and fainted. Despite insistent demands of other inmates, he was not taken to Bayrampasa State Hospital just adjacent to the prison for 2.5 hours and lost his life.
*On June 3rd, 1990, S. Cekic Abbasoglu, a non-political prisoner detained on a charge of pilfering died at Ankara Central Closed (or Ulucanlar) Prison, as a result of the torture he was subjected to. He was taken into custody on June 1st and brought to the prison after police interrogation.
*On October 7th, 1990, the authorities forcibly transferred 95 political captives from PKK at Diyarbakir Number 1 Prison to Nazilli, Bartin, Malatya, Aydin, Bursa, Amasya and Canakkale Prisons. Special Teams, soldiers and police attacked political captives on the pretext of taking them out of their wards and beat everyone indiscriminately. A great many inmates were wounded during the operation and almost all of their personal belongings destroyed.
*On October 30th, 1990, political captives at Amasya Prison, who were denied the right to receive their visitors protested against this arbitrary behavior of the authorities. Thereupon they were taken from their wards and put into solitary confinement cells. During the one-week long confinement at the cells, soldiers and prison guards beat and wounded several inmates, including Omer Gazel, Salih Sezgin, Sahin Binici, Ahmet Kilic, Kemalettin Kahraman, Musa Arslan, Ali Temel, Necat Coskun, Bedrettin Altun and Fikri Var. Thereupon political captives began a hunger strike.
*On November 1st, 1990, Necmettin Coban, a non-political prisoner died at the end of his 70-day long stay, in Siirt Prison, due to an unknown illness. He was not provided with any medical treatment and left to die.
*On April 16th, 1991, armed soldiers commanded by a major entered the wards number A-1, A-2, B-3, C-3 and C-4 of Ceyhan Special-Type Prison in Adana. The authorities carried out the attack under the guise of a regular search operation, during which 9 political captives (Halit Aytic, Abdulkadir Altun, Yilmaz Uzun, Abdurrahman Savgat, Osman Yildrim, Hidir Akteke, Cumali Cataltepe, Gazi Ersoy and Huseyin Gevher) were heavily wounded. Personal belongings of the inmates were ransacked and destroyed during the attack, including money, books, watches, clothing, foodstuff etc.
*On November 2nd, 3rd and 4th, 1991, Turkish authorities collected 213 political captives forcibly from different prisons in Turkey. These captives were transferred to Eskisehir Special-Type Prison, composed of solitary confinement cells. As they arrived at the dungeon, they were met by groups of specially trained and prepared teams of soldiers and prison guards, armed with clubs; were all beaten and tortured, forcibly shaven and thrown into cells, whereupon they began a hunger strike. In the encounter, most of their personal belongings were destroyed, lost or confiscated. The Eskisehir encounter of November 1991 was the first attempt of Turkish fascism to isolate political captives in cell-type prisons. This onslaught of fascism was met with a hunger strike that spread to almost all prisons and forced it, though temporarily to close down the Eskisehir “coffin”.
*On March 20th, 1992, the presiding judge ordered the police and soldiers to attack on Filiz Ustunalan, Kazim Ardic, Erdal Ozen, Murat Eker, Tayfun Uzunkaya, Faruk Tarla and Mustafa Ergun from TDKP/GKB organization during a session at Izmir State Security Court. The immediate excuse for the attack arose, when political captives attempted to read a statement censuring the fascist regime for its dismissal of a great number of workers and other crimes. The aggressors beat the political captives brutally and wounded some of them.
*On April 26th, 1992, prison guards and soldiers under the direction of the prison warden attacked on 19 political captives at Elazig E-Type Prison and beat them mercilessly.
*On September 14th, 1992, hundreds of prison guards, soldiers and policemen attacked on political captives at Buca Prison in Izmir and savagely beat them. Books of the inmates were burned and their personal belongings plundered. 58 inmates were injured in the attack, 18 of them seriously. The political captives began a protest hunger strike following the incident. Here are the names of some of the wounded political captives: Faruk Tarla, Huseyin Kurt, Halim Sik, Halil Urgan, Halil Erol, Kazim Ardic, Halil Burtu, Alisan Ozdemir, Tuncal Babus, Aydin Oran, Tayfur Uzunkaya, Ali Mitil, Mustafa Ocakturk, Recep Aykan, A. Emrah Pak, Recep Genel, Deniz Sarikaya, Cafer Alp, Mehmet Denizli, Mehmet Govel, Huseyin Akduman, Timur Celik, Murat Coban, Iskender Deniz, Ayhan Katikaya, Ismet Kalabaktas, Ercan Karakas, Tevfik Durdemir and Tarik Dursun Demir.
The official investigation started at the time was closed on November 2nd without any positive conclusion. It stated that “the prisoners themselves were to blame for their injuries and the authorities had only carried out their task.”
*On October 2nd, 1992, political captives at Elazig Prison tried to prevent one of their comrades (Abdulrezzak Sari) from being taken to police interrogation, that is torture for a second time. Thereupon hundreds of soldiers and prison guards brandishing clubs and cudgels attacked on inmates, severely beat them and took away Mr. Sari by force. The political captives began a hunger strike in protest of this brutal assault.
*On January 9th, 1993, about 1,000 soldiers attacked on political captives at Malatya Prison, who were protesting against the seizure of their previously won rights and the insistence of the prison administration on humiliating methods of search etc. 62 political captives were wounded, 10 of them (Serdar Demirel, Ali Sahin, Kerim Yalcintepe, Recep Inan, Suleyman Matur, Kalender Kayapinar, Bedii Yildiz, Kenan Guler, M. Bali Ozmen and Suat Kilinc) seriously in the attack. The seriously wounded inmates were taken to hospital for a superficial examination and soon brought back and thrown into solitary confinement cells. The books, clothes, medicine, food, money, watches and other personal belongings of the political captives, were either pillaged or destroyed during the encounter.
*On February 3rd, 1993, “security” forces attacked on political captives from PKK at Diyarbakir E-Type Prison wounding 25 of them, including 5, who were wounded seriously.
*On February 9th, 1993, the servants of the fascist regime mounted an attack political captives at Buca Prison in Izmir. More than 20 of the inmates were wounded, some of them seriously as a result of the attack, which followed the discovery of a tunnel dug by political captives.
*On February 9th, 1993, elements of so-called Special Teams, commandoes and prison guards conducted a vicious and large-scale attack on political captives at Diyarbakir E-Type Prison, who were on hunger strike in protest of the seizure of their hard won rights. More than 200 inmates were wounded, 69 of them seriously and almost all of their belongings were destroyed. Ismet Sezgin, the Minister of Internal Affairs, tried to vindicate the aggression, stating that “separatists at Diyarbakir E-Type Prison were conducting activities and this state of affairs necessitated the intervention of security forces.” Here is the list of seriously wounded inmates: Edip Yalcinkaya, Ebadin Kaplan, Fehmi Cetiner, Besir Keklik, Mufit Eren, Nedim Altun, Nedim Corak, Yilmaz Adsiz, Cabbar Palabiyik, Gaffar Kan, Mesin Zumrut, Metik Aladag, Seyfettin Humartas, Esat Beyazgul, Izzettin Sevilgen, Kadri Kanay, A. Kadir Dogan, Hasan Yilmazoglu, Aziz Gungormus, Recep Kilic, Tahir Elmas, Serhat Tuncer, Ercan Taylan, Behcet Danli, Fahris Baran, Nurettin Solmaz, Serdar Haran, M. Sah Yavas, Kenan Cakar, Fuat Cetiner, Ergun Taylan, Aydin Ocalan, Faruk Toptas, Fesih Erkaplan, Seyfettin Ertas, Mumtaz Aydere, Mecit Gumus, Sadullah Sari, Ahmet Gunasan, Ibrahim Malgir, Stephan Waldberg, Hanefi Kuzu, Fahrettin Sahin, Guri Ozel, Emin Bahceci, Sirin Ovunc, Sefik Akyol, Tahir Aras, Suat Cakik, Giyasettin Can, Saban Turan, Idris Tuna, Ahmet Kosenlioglu, Hamit Ak, Bedri Karatay, Bahattin Dogan, Lokman Belena, Yukset Artes, Talat Ayhan, Metin Senokan, Tahir Sutcu, Metin Aktepe, Melik Baki, Ali Dalgeli, Seyhmus Ersutay, Masallah Katmeral, Aydin Ek, Seyhmus Sari, Serhat Gullu.
*On April 12th, 1993, Abdullah Fidan, a political captive from PKK died during a hunger strike at Mus Prison. He had a stroke of cerebral hemorrhage on the fifteenth day of the action begun to protest against the the repressive policies of the fascist regime in prisons.
*On February 14th, 1994, political captives staying at ward number 5 of Mardin Closed Prison protested against an attempt to take Ahmet Basboga, one of their comrades once more to police for interrogation, that is torture. Thereupon ward number 5 was raided by soldiers and prison guards, brandishing cudgels and clubs. 18 inmates (Ibrahim Karaaslan, Resul Altan, Ismail Gurgen, Ibrahim Kaya, Mehmet Yemez, Ali Kanat, Ilhan Kaya, Cemil Apaydin, Naci Seyitoglu, Suphi Dagdan, Vahap Karaaslan, Adil Yemez, Sakir Cari, Ali Simdi, Ekrem Kus, Bedri Ertas, Suleyman Karaaslan and Memduh Simdi) were injured as a result of the attack.
*On February 22nd, 1994, prison guards and soldiers mounted an attack on part of the captives from PKK, at Diyarbakir E-Type Prison. 25 of those attacked were injured seriously.
*On May 3rd, 1994, political captives at Kayseri Closed Prison protested against price hikes. Prison administration made use of this incident to conduct an operation against the inmates. As a result, they were brutally beaten by soldiers and prison guards, who entered the wards forcibly. 10 political captives (Hamdi Kayisi, Aziz Dogan, Husamettin Ciner, Benhur Duygun, Uzay Turkmen, Sifai Sahin, Halil Aksu, Ali Asker Yildrim, Safak Sazli and Esref Avci) were wounded due to the attack.
*On July 15th, 1994, soldiers, who raided the premises beat political captives in 3rd and 6th wards of Malatya E-Type Prison. 40 political captives were injured, 9 of them (Nazif Cetinkaya, Siracettin Hassas, Bilal Ozen, Kazim Yakut, Mehmet Aka, Osman Balduz, Haydar Gokalp, Mehmet Altun and Ferhan Turan) seriously during the operation, conducted under the supervision of Sefik Gul, the prison prosecutor.
*On August 19th, 1994, prison guards and soldiers raided ward number 5 of Ankara Central Closed Prison (or Ulucanlar Prison). The immediate pretext for this attack was the refusal of the political captives to let three of their comrades to be taken to another prison for corrective solitary confinement. 16 inmates (Recep Bekik, Zafer Kirbiyik, Ali Efe, Yasin Sahiner, Hasan Kosturacak, S. Riza Hurmeydan, Vezir Baris, Onder Birol, Hakan Ictenbas, Nurettin Adamis, Nesimi Yaman, Ramazan Bulut, Eraslan Karatas, Nuri Akalin, Ibrahim Bozay and Baki Tas) and one prison guard were injured at the incident.
*On September 3rd, 1994, prison guards and soldiers attacked on woman political captives at Konya E-Type Prison and beat them with cudgels, clubs and hoses. Four of the attacked (Hicran Bilici, Zubeyde Arabaci, Nirgul Cinar and O. Banu Gulcan) were wounded in the operation.
*On September 8th, 1994, “security” forces, brandishing clubs and cudgels attacked wards at Elazig Prison, where 400 political captives had gone on hunger strike. 35 of the brutally beaten political captives were taken to solitary confinement cells, at the end of the operation.
*On October 3rd, 1994, H. Ibrahim Kirik, a political captive at Ceyhan Special-Type Prison died of a heart attack. As in similar cases, he was systematically denied proper medical treatment and left to die.
*On October 4th, 1994, the authorities conducted a “security operation” against political captives at Diyarbakir E-Type Prison, who were trying to prevent one of their comrades from being taken for a second time to police for interrogation, that is torture. The attack lasted a whole day. As a result of this attack, one captive (Ramazan Ozuak) was killed and more than 50 captives wounded, some of them by gunfire. On October 5th, part of the political captives were forcibly transferred to Gaziantep E-Type Prison, without being given the most rudimentary medical treatment. Here are the names of the wounded political captives: Ismail Dursun, Bisar Ozalp, Ali Alatas, Ismail Saka, Zulfikar Bayram, Seref Kan, Mehmet Yaldiz, Abdulrezzak Sogut, Mufit Baran, Ilyas Gunes, Cetin Kayak, Yusuf Ecevit, Ihsan Topuz, Ahmet Yildirim, Sakir Akkurt, Hamit Alatas, Ahmet Tomrik, Hakki Dere, Tarik Dagtas, Hasan Orak, Mehmet Akgul, Esref Topuz, Mehdi Yaman, Suleyman Biren, Esat Dikin, Sahabettin Fidan, Murat Ipek, Ahmet Esen, Seref Acar, Mehmet Kacar, Abdulrezzak Yildaz, Hanefi Haram, Feyzi Dursun, Feyzi Erek, Sirin Bilen, Kadri Alkoc, Faysal Tas, Nihat Kaldas, Remzi Altintas, Ahmet Dirbik, Ihsan Palut, Seyhmus Karagoz, Mehmet Yildiz, Salih Kaya, Hasan Onur, Hakan Omur, Muhyettin Pirinclioglu, Metin Akdogan, Suleyman Ongun, Mehmet Kaya, Aydin Gezer and Ali Aktas.
*On October 10th, 1994, ten political captives (Hayriye Gunduz, Ibrahim Dalkaya, Gultekin Beyhan, Erdal Ertasoglu, Dursun Dil, Ahmet Genc, Filiz Yalcin, Dogan Karakis, K. Hakan Erkan and Koksal Ay) at Bayrampasa Prison, were taken to State Security Court in Istanbul. Soldiers beat them, brutally in front of the judges under the pretext of body search and afterwards brought them back without letting them to attend the trial.
*On December 4th, 1994, prison guards beat and tortured 7 political captives, who were transferred from Diyarbakir Prison to Urfa Prison and put them into solitary confinement cells.
*On December 6th, 1994, as a result of an operation conducted by soldiers, under the supervision of the prison warden, 25 political captives were wounded at Konya Prison.
*On December 14th, 1994, 6 soldiers and prison guards at Bursa Special-Type Prison, mounted an attack on political captives in an attempt to confiscate their flags and political symbols. Several of the inmates, who resisted the attempt were wounded during the first attack. The resistance of political captives, who had barricaded themselves in their wards continued on 15th and 16th. The servants of the fascist regime mounted a second attack on December 16th and broke down the walls of the wards, in which political captives had barricaded themselves. A great number of inmates as well were wounded in this second round of the operation. The wounded political captives were forcibly put into prison vans and sent to Amasya, Yozgat and Bartin Prisons, where they were met with the customary “welcome beating” and thrown into cells.
*On December 17th, 1994, several inmates were wounded at Ankara Central Closed Prison (or Ulucanlar Prison) during a clash between “security” forces and political captives, who objected to and tried to prevent the execution of an arbitrary search operation.
*On January 20th, 1995, Suleyman Ongun died at Gaziantep Special Type Prison due to the wounds he had been inflicted. He was one of those political captives heavily injured during the attack at Diyarbakir E-Type Prison in October 1994. He and his comrades had been transferred to Gaziantep Special-Type Prison after the incident. Here, the newly arrived political captives continued to be denied any medical treatment, which led to the deterioration of their already shattered health. The captives were not provided with drinking water for some time in Gaziantep, so they were forced to drink their own urine.
*On January 25th, 1995, three political captives (Ercan Hacin, Cengiz Kaya and Yusuf Temel) were transferred from Erzurum Special-Type Prison and Erzurum E-Type Prison to Bartin Special-Type Prison. They described the horrendous conditions in the above-mentioned two prisons and appealed to progressive public opinion for urgent action on behalf of political captives there. Here is a resume of the letter they sent to the progressive press:
“On August 15th, 1994, soldiers, commandos, elements of Special Teams and prison guards brandishing chains, iron clubs, cudgels attacked on us and brutally beat and tortured all political captives. Many of us lost consciousness as a result of the attack and all were thrown into cells. Our belongings, including clothes, books, journals, radios, pictures were destroyed and rendered unusable. Starting from this date, all political captives were forced to confess and defect under systematic torture. Those who resisted, were taken to prison bath and forced to endure various sorts of torture, such as beating by traditional Turkish falaka (beating of soles by clubs), application of electrical current to different parts of the body, forced crawling on the cement ceiling without any clothing on, dousing with cold water etc. Almost all political captives were isolated from each other and put into cells. Those who go to court or hospital are being tortured regularly at the prison entrance. Inmates, who are bodily harmed as a result of torture are not being treated and left to die. There are an unknown number of political captives who have attempted suicide. Selami Zor, has lost his life by hanging himself on August 30th, 1994. Arap Koseoglu had also tried to hang himself, but was saved when the rope was broken, injuring his neck permanently in the attempt. Ismet Orhan had set himself afire, but had not died. Afterwards he was dubbed deranged and sent to a mental institution in Elazig, despite the fact that his body was half burned and he was not treated. Abdullah Kaya had tried to strangle himself using his own prison uniform, but was saved and heavily injured in the attempt. Those who go on hunger strike to protest against these atrocities are forced to quit the action under torture.”
The plight of political captives at the two hellish prisons of Erzurum would continue during the following years; but the resistance of political captives would continue as well.
*On March, 1st, 1995, soldiers and prison guards attacked political captives who were being taken to court at Buca Prison in Izmir. Later they attacked the wards, on the pretext of search for forbidden material. 53 inmates were brutally beaten and gravely injured in the attack and almost all of their personal belongings pillaged and destroyed.
*On April 4th, 1995, soldiers attacked political captives, who were commemorating a revolutionary occasion during a visit, at Aydin E-Type Prison. 20 of them were injured and thrown into solitary confinement cells. The inmates, including the gravely injured Ali Cemal Ulag were refused medical treatment and began a hunger strike to protest against this barbaric act of prison authorities.
*On April 28th, 1995, M. Salih Isik, a PKK sympathizer died at Buca Prison. He was one of those political captives, who was denied medical treatment, despite the fact that he had had an almost continuous headache and a heart problem. He had a Á heart attack about 1.5 hours before his death, but was not taken to hospital on the pretext that there was a ward search in progress.
*On May 4th, 1995, prison guards and soldiers armed with iron clubs and cudgels mounted an attack on political captives in 10th and 11th wards at Elbistan Prison. 12 inmates were wounded, 2 of them seriously in the operation.
*On May 6th, 1995, several political captives who were on the 23rd day of their hunger strike and death fast at Batman E-Type Prison were injured as a result of an attack by the ÒsecurityÓ forces. During the operation 21 political captives, including 12 in death fast were forcibly taken from their wards and sent to Gaziantep Prison. Prison guards beat them at the entrance of the prison and put them into solitary confinement cells. The extremely anxious families informed the public opinion about the deteriorating health of at least 4 political captives (Abdullah Inan, Resul Ceker, Emin Kultur and Hayrettin Tatli).
*On June 27th, 1995, soldiers and prison guards led by Mr. Huseyin Sebekoglu, one of the wardens, attacked on political captives and their visitors during a visit at Aydin E-Type Prison. 17 visitors and 22 political captives were injured as a result of this operation.
*On June 29th, 1995, soldiers and prison guards brandishing iron clubs and cudgels attacked on political captives at Ankara Central Closed Prison (or Ulucanlar Prison). 36 inmates were wounded, two of them (Eyup Bas and T. Ozgur Elci) seriously during the operation.
*On June 30th, 1995, some former political prisoners who had betrayed their comrades and defected to the fascist regime, attacked political captives in 33rd and 36th wards at Diyarbakir Prison. Several political captives were injured in the ensuing clash with these chain, club and cudgel brandishing traitors, who were incited and directed by prison authorities and supported by a contingent of prison guards.
*On July 23rd, 1995, Fesih Beyazcicek, a member of PKK died during a hunger strike at Yozgat Prison. The prison authorities had refused to take him into a hospital, despite his deteriorating state of health.
*On August 12th, 1995, Remzi Altintas, a member of PKK, died at Amasya Prison because he was denied medical treatment. Altintas, who had been wounded during the homicidal attack carried out at Diyarbakir E-Type Prison on 4 October 1994, had a heart problem and stomach bleeding, exacerbated through his participation at long hunger strikes.
*On September 21st, 1995, three political captives (Ugur Sariaslan, Turan Kilic and Yusuf Bag) of DHKP-C were killed at Buca Prison in Izmir following an attack on 6th and 7th wards by the police and soldiers. More than 80 of the inmates were injured, 38 of them seriously. The murderers had attacked the captives brandishing chains, iron clubs and guns. Active resistance of the political captives prevented the death toll from rising. As usual, the injured inmates were refused proper medical treatment after the incident. In their report prepared after this unholy onslaught the prison authorities denied their responsibility for the deaths and alleged that three political captives had died as a result of their fall on the cement ground of the prison! Besides, the authorities started an official investigation in an attempt to put the blame of the events of 21 September on the political captives. Not only the atrocity, but the hypocrisy of Turkish fascism as well – knows no limits. The Buca massacre was met with the 45-day long solidarity hunger strike of political captives in 23 dungeons, which meant a slap on the face of Turkish fascism. Here is the list of 38 seriously wounded inmates: Nevzat Kalayci, A. Gedik Osmanogullari, Mesut Ors, Yusuf Sarp, Murat Candar, Enis Aras, Metin Bozoglu, Murat Karaoglan, Umit Kanli, Metin Yapan, Riza Dogru, Esin Kurt, Yasin Kilic, Mustafa Tokur, Ibrahim Sertel, Murat Karakus, Ahmet Kurban, Sahin Yilmaz, Dogan Unal, Baris Kaya, Inan Coban, Mesut Avci, Mehmet Gocekli, Erdal Arikan, Murat Becerikli, Yusuf Karatas, Serdar Karabulut, Bernar Satar, Sinan Guler, Halil Bozkurt, Murat Kus, Baris Yildrim, Savas Kocabas, Ali Dogru, Kaan Toksoy, Ismet Avel, Harun Toraman and Mustafa Yuksel.
*On November 10th, 1995, twenty-five political captives were transferred from Umraniye Prison to Sagmalcilar Prison, after each of them brutally being beaten by soldiers.
*On November 14th, 1995, prison guards, soldiers and elements of Special Teams led by warden Mete Erdem, made a raid on political captives at Erzurum Special-Type Prison. Several political captives were wounded during the clash, one of them seriously.
*On November 16th, 1995, soldiers brutally beat 8 political captives, being taken to court from Malatya Prison. The inmates were attacked and beaten for the second time by prison guards on their return from court.
*On November 16th, 1995, soldiers tried to seize the flags, pictures and other symbols belonging to political captives at Bursa Prison. Upon being repelled, they brought in reinforcements and mounted an attack on the wards in F bloc. Two inmates were seriously wounded during the first wave of the attack. Political captives organized a resistance, put up barricades in different sections of the prison and fought off the aggressors. A great many soldiers were injured and the prison administration backed down; political captives removed the barricades when they were promised that no soldiers would participate in regular searches.
*On November 24th, 1995, U. Dogan Gonul, a political captive from DHKP-C lost his life at Aydin Prison due to denial of medical treatment.
*On December 15th, 1995, prison guards, policemen and soldiers mounted a large scale attack on political captives at Umraniye Prison in Istanbul. More than 50 political captives were wounded due to the vicious attack of the servants of the fascist regime using firearms, tear gas and iron clubs. Another massacre was avoided only thanks to the active resistance of the inmates, who immediately put up barricades and bravely fought back.
*On December 30th, 1995, Mustafa Kaya, a political captive at Bursa Prison lost his life due to denial of medical treatment. He was twice taken to Bursa State Hospital on December 23rd and 29th; but on both these occasions he was not treated and sent back to prison to die.
*On January 3rd, 1996, a political captive (Kalender Kayapinar) died only three days after he was released from Sagmalcilar Prison in Istanbul. He was recently transferred there from Canakkale Prison. Kayapinar had a prostate cancer and was systematically denied medical treatment by the authorities. à
*On January 4th, 1996, prison guards, soldiers and elements of Special Teams attacked on political captives at Umraniye Prison in Istanbul. 3 political captives (Abdulmecid Seckin, Orhan Ozen and Riza Boybas) were killed and 56 of them were wounded, 5 of them seriously in the attack. The death toll rose to 4, when, on January, the 8th another seriously wounded political captive (Gultekin Beyhan) was martyred as well at the hospital. Here are the names of the wounded political captives: C. Sadik Eroglu, Haydar Ozdemir, Ibrahim Yerlikaya, Halil Acar, Izzet Cetin, Akin Olgun, Cetin Donmez, Suleyman Metin, Gokhan Gunduz, Ahmet Genc, Kazim Arslan, Cahit Bedir, Levent Nevruz, Ilginc Ozkeskin, Rasim Oztas, Ahmet Ozdemir, Oktay Yildirim, Ismail Bahadir, Asim Ozdemir, Baris Pehlivan, Malik Koparan, Ahmet Cay, Mustafa Gok, Ali Riza Demir, Muharrem Karademir, Erol Arikan, F. Yucel Batu, Dursun Dil, Savas Kircan, Metin Simsek, Turan Ada, Halil Onder, Kemal Gomi, Cemalettin Gorzoglu, Mustafa Atalay, Umit Gungor, H. Ibrahim Sahin, Ismail Topkaya, Serdar Adali, Serdar Yildirim, Nurettin Aslan, Sezgin Celik, Erdal Koc, Serhat Aktug, Kenan Tandogan, Ibrahim Erler, Tekin Temel, Metin Turan, Aga Yildirim, Akin Durmaz, Cengiz Calikoparan, Suleyman Acer, Gultekin Beyhan, Ibrahim Dalkaya, Ergul Acar and Hasan Ozdemir.
The Umraniye Prison massacre was met with various protest and solidarity actions of political captives in a string of Turkish dungeons, including Sakarya, Yozgat, Kayseri, Cankiri, Buca, Bartin, Ankara, Konya, Canakkale, Bursa, Malatya prisons, which lasted from January 5th to January 10th. The atrocities of the Turkish fascist regime and its stooges were protested by hunger strikes, putting up of barricades and refusal to attend roll calls etc.
Police attacked about 1,000 people, including children, women and people, who participated at the funeral ceremony of the martyrs of the Umraniye massacre. Hundreds of people were taken into custody, crammed into Eyup sport hall and beaten indiscriminately and brutally, on January 8th, 1996 in Alibeykoy district of Istanbul. During this wanton attack the police specifically targeted certain progressive journalists. One of them, Metin Goktepe, a correspondent of Evrensel newspaper, was beaten to death. The murder of Metin Goktepe aroused a great wave of indignation against Turkish fascism. More than 10,000 people took part at his funeral ceremony held on January 11th, 1996 and condemned the crimes of Turkish fascism.
*On May 24th, 1996, prison guards at Eskisehir Special-Type Prison attacked political captives and beat them severely. Seven of the political captives were wounded as a result of the attack. This aggression of the thugs of Turkish fascism was the direct offspring of 6, 8 and 10 May circulars of the government and its “Justice” Minister Mehmet Agar, a former police chief directly responsible for the execution of dozens of revolutionary militants and a dirty warrior of the Turkish Kontrgerilla. In accordance with these circulars, Eskisehir Prison and similar maximum security prisons composed of solitary confinement cells were opened and preparations were begun to send political captives to these dungeons. Political captives all over Turkey and Kurdistan reacted with a general hunger strike against these circulars symbolizing a new wave of assault on their dignity and hard-won rights.
*On May 29th, 1996, soldiers and prison guards attacked political captives from PKK, who were on the 35th day of their hunger strike at Diyarbakir Prison. 19 of the captives, who resisted against the attack were wounded. 17 of the wounded were sent to Gaziantep Prison without being provided with any medical care.
*On May 20th, 1996, more than 1,500 political captives at 33 prisons in Turkey and Kurdistan began a hunger strike that would last 69 days. The aim of the strike action was to protest against plans to transfer political captives to maximum security total isolation prisons and deteriorating conditions in Turkish dungeons. This most famous and massive instance of prison struggles determined the political character of the period of May-July 1996 in Turkey. On July 3rd, the 45th day of the action, 161 of the strikers converted their action into a death fast and the remaining went on with the hunger strike. 12 political captives (Aygun Ugur, Altan Berdan Kerimgiller, Ilginc Ozkeskin, Huseyin Demircioglu, Ali Ayata, Mujdat Yanat, Tahsin Yilmaz, Ayce Idil Erkmen, Hicabi Kucuk, Osman Akgun, Yemliha Kaya, Hayati Can) were martyred between July 21st and 28th and dozens of fighters were left with permanent physical and mental injuries and complications. The action was ended on July 28th when the fascist regime grudgingly accepted defeat and granted most of the demands of the political captives. Supported not only by “Saturday Mothers” and the relatives of political captives, but also by progressive people from all walks of life in Turkey and abroad, the May-July 1996 death fast and indefinite hunger strike – dealt a heavy blow at the Turkish fascist regime and laid bare its brutal and inhuman face in front of the world progressive public opinion once more.
*On July 2nd, 1996, five non-political prisoners with left-wing sympathies, (Muharrem Akkulak, Abdulgafur Yavuz, Metin Sumbul, Mete Unsal and Kadir SubasÝ) who had begun a hunger strike in support of death fast and hunger strike struggle of 1,500 political captives at 33 prisons, were killed and 2 (Mahmut Atabay and Hamit Kaymak) wounded at Usak Prison. The killing was carried out by a gang of fascist criminals led by Ibrahim Cici and incited behind the scenes by the prison administration. The attacked inmates, who were killed when the murderers slashed their throats, had long been demanding their transfer to another prison, asserting that they were under threat.
*On August 5th, 1996, twenty political captives were heavily tortured for 5 hours at the entrance of Diyarbakir Prison by soldiers and forced to confess and work for the authorities, just after they were brought from police interrogation. Among them was Selim Bingol, a wounded guerilla who had lost both of his eyes. Upon hearing about it, political captives protested against this outrage by shouting slogans. The following day, hundreds of soldiers led by the prison prosecutor and the warden, entered the wards, severely beat the inmates and destroyed almost all personal belongings of political captives.
*On August 29th, 1996, soldiers fired a volley over the heads of 85 political captives, who had been transferred from Eskisehir Special-Type Prison to Umraniye Prison in Istanbul. The shooting was a signal for the “welcome beating”, political captives waiting in prison vans would receive a little while later. Specially prepared groups of prison guards and soldiers attacked political captives as soon as they left the vans. They were brutally beaten and thrown into cells, without even being provided with any medical treatment.
*On August 30th, 1996, Yunus Yaman from PKK died at Ankara Numune Hospital. He was so heavily tortured after he was apprehended in May 1996 that, he had to remain at Elazig State Hospital for three months. Later he was transferred to Ankara Numune Hospital and from there to Ankara Central Closed Prison. Due to the intentional neglect of doctors, who themselves were under the pressure of the authorities, Mr. Yaman died within three months after his capture.
*On September 17th, 1996, ten political captives from MLKP were transferred from Iskenderun Prison to Malatya Prison. They were thrown into solitary confinement cells and severely beaten by soldiers and prison guards. The same day three relatives of the tortured inmates, (Fatma Bulut, Kemal Bulut and Seyfi Sonmez) who were waiting in front of Malaty Prison to hear of their loved ones and to show their solidarity, received their “fair” share as well. They were taken into custody, tortured and later released.
*On September 24th, 1996, ten political captives from PKK were massacred at Diyarbakir E-Type Prison as a result of a planned attack of the thugs of the fascist regime armed with iron bars, wooden clubs and firearms. Edip Donekci, Nimet Cakmak, Erkan Perisan, M. Sabri Gumus, Ridvan Bulut, Hakki Tekin, Ahmet Celik, Kadir Demir, Mehmet Batuge and Cemal Cam were martyred in the attack and a great many of their comrades wounded. Almost all the martyrs and the wounded had received heavy blows almost exclusively on their heads; a fact which definitely proved the homicidal intent of the soldiers and policemen who carried out the attack. 25 wounded political captives were transferred to Gaziantep Special-Type Prison immediately after the massacre without even provided with the most rudimentary medical care and beaten on the way.
It emerged later that the Diyarbakir Prosecutor had notified the doctors at the State Hospital much before the attack and told them to be ready to receive a great number of dead and wounded people! Turkish fascism had planned to avenge its defeat at the May-July 1996 death fast action, by raiding Diyarbakir Prison. The Diyarbakir massacre was protested by the 3-day long general hunger strike of 11,500 political captives that began on 27 September. The 16-page report of the Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights published later, confirmed the murderous intent of the aggressors. In that report it was explicitly informed that the deaths were “caused by 30 soldiers and 38 policemen who had exceeded the limit of their authority in the quelling of the rebellion.” The report also stated that the “security” forces had beaten one political captive (Kadir Demir) to death and heavily wounded two of them during their transfer to Gaziantep Prison.
*On January 8th, 1997, Naziri Caliskan, a sympathizer of PKK who had spent 9 years in prison died of cancer in Istanbul. Naziri Caliskan was released toward the end of December 1996 and died about two weeks later.
*On January 15th, 1997, Polat Iyit, who had contacted lung and brain cancer while in dungeon, lost his life at Sagmalcilar Prison. A member of TKP/M-L and a veteran of 69 day-long death fast struggle, Polat Üyit was neither treated, nor released despite repeated appeals by his family and lawyers.
*On January 21st and 22nd, 1997, three woman political prisoners (Necla Comak, Ayla Taskaya and Serpil Gunes) at Usak E-Type Prison were wounded when soldiers and prison guards conducted a raid on their ward.
*On February 26th, 1997, soldiers and prison guards attacked on political captives at Konya Prison alleging that a so-called escape tunnel was discovered. Tens of political captives, including Erol Altiokka, Demiral Yigitalp, Neset Hidir, Atilcan Saday, Osman Kaan, Zeki Demircivi, Ayhan Demirci and Hidir Durmaz were wounded in the attack and thrown into cells.
*On April 11th, 1997, M. Salih Celikpence, a PKK sympathizer, died of cirrhosis. Mr. Celikpence was a healthy person, when he was detained and thrown into prison in 1992. He caught jaundice after a time, but was staunchly denied medical treatment, despite various appeals to the authorities by his family, as his state of health deteriorated. In a protest action organized in Istanbul on April 12th, Ms. Eren Keskin, Vice Chairperson of HRA stated that there were about 500 political captives awaiting death in Turkish prisons and they were victims of a silent and deliberate murder strategy.
*On April 11th, 1997, soldiers and prison guards attacked on and beat several woman political captives, including Medine Yildiz, Emine Yildirim, Hanim Polat, Fadime Ozturk, Nagihan Ozer, Melek Aktas, Sermin Demirdag, Perihan Dindar, Fatma Bektas, Fatma Demirtas, F. Ulkem Tetik and Besime Konca at Sivas Prison. Conducted on the pretext of a ward search, the attack was led by Ozen Korkmaz, the warden of the prison.
*On June 5th, 1997, five political captives from PKK (Haci Nehsan, Bedri Kaya, Celal Yel, Veysi Celikten and Idris Hesen) were injured in an attack by soldiers and prison guards, at Malatya Prison. The immediate excuse for the attack was the refusal of political captives to attend the roll call on June 5th, in protest of beating of their comrades on June 3rd and 5th.
*On July 9th, 1997, “security” forces killed 5 non-political prisoners and gravely injured more than 20 of them at Metris Prison in Istanbul. The inmates who had mutinied, informed the public about their plight and demands through a cell phone before “security” forces crushed their action in a brutal manner. The prisoners had complained about transfers to other prisons, the rough treatment accorded them and the privileges provided to various rich gang leaders, while three ordinary prisoners had to share a single bed. They were demanding better living conditions, humane treatment and a general amnesty.
*On August 29th, 1997, soldiers attacked 5 women political captives at Adana Kurkculer Prison, who had been taken to hospital for medical examination. The captives shouted slogans in protest of this attack, whereupon elements of the Counter-Terrorism Branch of the Police present at the hospital joined the aggressors. The soldiers and the police continued to insult and beat the political captives on the way back to prison. One of the inmates (A. Arzu Torun) was seriously injured at the encounter.
*On September 9th, 1997, a special contingent of fascist prison guards called “the A-team” attacked on political captives at Elazig Prison. Several inmates were injured, one of them (Ersoy Aydin) seriously and all thrown into cells.
*On September 10th, 1997, nineteen political captives were transferred from Iskenderun Prison to Konya Prison. Included among them were Bayram Saritas, Turac Solak, Hasan Baran and Riza Sertkaya from MLKP, the veterans of the May-July 1996 death fast struggle. Soldiers and prison guards brutally beat them upon their refusal to be put into solitary confinement cells. They had to be taken to hospital, including Hasan Baran and Riza Sertkaya, who were seriously injured.
*On December 12th, 1997, Erkut Direkci, a member of MLKP and a veteran of the famous May-July 1996 death fast and hunger strike struggle, died at a hospital in Stuttgart, Germany. The death fast had dealt a severe blow at his health; but he had succeeded to hold death at bay through his high morale and will power for nearly 1.5 years. About 2,000 people from various revolutionary organizations participated at his funeral ceremony.
*On December 27th, 1997, Osman Das, a political captive from PKK, who was being held at Ankara Central Closed Prison, died at Ankara Numune Hospital. Osman Das was taken into custody in 1994 in Adana and had a partial stroke due to the torture he had undergone at the police. He was put into jail and sentenced to 12.5 years. His health deteriorated as time passed by; but he was neither released, nor treated.
*On December 29th, 1997, soldiers attacked on political captives from EKIM and several visitors attending a trial at Ankara 2nd State Security Court during a court session. The attack occurred when Habib Gul, a leading member of EKIM was reading aloud a petition in which he exposed the cell-type prisons. Turgut Oktay, the presiding judge ordered soldiers to silence him and to charge at political captives and visitors, who were beaten in the middle of the courtroom. Eight of the visitors, who expressed their support for the attacked captives were also detained.
*On January 12th, 1998, soldiers and prison guards attacked woman political captives at Usak Prison. The attack was personally led by the prison prosecutor and the warden themselves.
*On February 12th, 1998, prison guards armed with clubs attacked on political captives at Nevsehir Prison. The immediate excuse for the attack was the objection of political captives to the transfer of 10 of their comrades (M. Okcul, I. Garez, A. Keskin, S. Bagci, M. Bagci, I. Bozdemir, S. Golul, A. Oral, E. Ozturk and G. Azbay) to Erzurum Prison. When they refused to let their comrades to be taken away at the late hours of the night, they were beaten severely. The 10 were not even allowed to put on their clothes and taken away forcibly. Prison guards renewed their aggression the next day attacking the women’s ward and wounding several woman inmates.
*On April 28th, 1998, after Sabiha Sunar, a woman political captive from PKK set fire to herself at Sivas E-Type Prison, prison authorities mounted an attack on inmates. Prison guards and soldiers led by prison prosecutor Huseyin Yavas, fired tear gas canisters and beat woman political captives brutally. Several of the attacked, including Songul Celebi, Leyla Balcilu and others were injured.
*On May 2nd, 120 woman political captives at Sivas Prison began a hunger strike, in the face of persistent physical attacks.
*On May 5th, 1998, hundreds of soldiers and prison guards attacked on political captives from PKK just after they ended a 40-day long hunger strike and beat them brutally at Mus Prison. 10 inmates were wounded during the attack, two of them (Osman Buldan and M. Sami Bahadir) seriously.
*On June 11th, 1998, Cengiz Celik, a political captive from PKK was beaten by soldiers at Buca Prison as he was taken to hospital. Celik had set fire to his body on 16 March and was almost unconscious at the moment. The doctors, who checked him up, prepared a report confirming the fact that he had been subjected to torture.
*On July 4th, 1998, by soldiers and prison guards attacked on and brutally beat several political captives, who were transferred from Adana Kurkculer Prison to Gaziantep E-Type Prison after an earthquake hit Adana region. Many of the assaulted inmates were wounded, including A. Arzu Torun, Cennet Gunes, Esma Aslanboga, Bulent Oner, Sahin Gecit, Mehmet Akgun, M. Bakir Yigit and Mehmet Leylek during the attack led by chief guards Ahmet Mert and Ali Kivli. The aggressors carried on their attacks on the 6th and the 9th of July.
*On August 6th, 1998, over 100 prison guards and plainclothesmen headed by the warden Ali Kilin attacked on woman political captives at Gaziantep E-Type Prison and beat them severely with clubs and cudgels. The immediate pretext for the attack was the refusal of the inmates to clear the walls of the ward of their flags, pictures and symbols. Several woman political captives were left with bone fractures and various wounds on their heads and limbs. Assailants, who denied medical care to the captives also destroyed and pillaged their personal belongings, including foodstuff, clothing, books, pictures etc.
*On October 14th, 1998, hundreds of soldiers and prison guards mounted an attack on 37 political captives from PKK, who had been boycotting the State Security Courts, at Adana Kurkculer Prison. Several captives were wounded, some of them seriously. At the end of the attack, all were thrown into solitary confinement cells.
*On October 19th, 1998, prison guards and soldiers raided C-4 ward of Ceyhan E-Type Prison, after a tunnel was discovered there. Political captives had already barricaded themselves against a probable attack. “Security” forces attached to Ceyhan Prison, supported by more than a hundred policemen used tear gas and broke through the wall of the C-4 ward. In the ensuing clash 31 political captives were injured, one of them seriously. The police also attacked the relatives of political captives on watch near the prison and detained 4 of them.
*On February 6th, 1999, Engin Huylu, a political captive at Cankira E-Type Prison died as a result of the premeditated policy of slow and protracted annihilation. Despite the fact that he suffered from very intense headache for years, he was denied treatment. At the last moment the desperate efforts of political captives would not be sufficient to secure his urgent transfer to hospital.
*On April 20th, 1999, Ugur H. Gurdogan, a member of TIKB lost his life. He died only hours after he was taken from Umraniye E-Type Prison to Haydarpasa Numune Hospital. His death was in effect a murder, since he was suffering an unknown illness for a long time and was never treated. Gurdogan was conscious, when taken to hospital. But the doctors reported his death a few hours later and made contradictory statements as to its cause.
*On July 14th, 1999, Esref Ozkaya died at Ankara Numune Hospital. A political captive from PKK, Ozkaya was systematically denied medical treatment, despite the fact that he had been ill for a long time.
*On December 25th, 1999, 61 year old Necmi Akgun, a sympathizer of PKK died at Aydin E-Type Prison. During the 9 years he had spent in various prisons, he had contacted lung cancer. Since he was not treated, the disease had progressed and infected almost all of his body. Turkan Aslan, his lawyer had appealed to the authorities for his release, but had not received a positive answer.
*On January 30th, 2000, seventy year old Halef Ozer, a sympathizer of PKK, died at Aydin E-Type Prison. In prison since 1994, Mr. Ozer suffered from diabetes, heart complication, high blood pressure and prostate problems. On 25 August 1998, a campaign was begun by the Prison Commission of Izmir branch of HRA for his release; but the authorities adamantly refused to free him and thereby caused his death.
*On April 4th, 2000, soldiers and prison guards severely beat 6 political captives (H. Ali Gunay, Kemal Denli, Selahattin Hira, Mustafa Selcuk, Erdal Gokoglu, Muruvvet Kucuk and Baris Gunulsen) at Burdur Prison, on their return from the court. Three of the captives were wounded as a result of the attack.
*On July 5th, 2000, Murat Dil from TIKB lost his life at Beyoglu State Hospital. He was released from prison on June 9th, 2000 for medical treatment, but it was already too late. Murat Dil was arrested in 1996 during the actions to support those on death fast and indefinite hunger strike struggle and was serving his 8 year 10 month long prison sentence. He was suffering from Hepatitis B. Later he was diagnosed as having cancer of liver. Nothing, however, was done for his treatment; on the contrary his treatment was prevented and he was left to die. His comrades launched a tenacious and determined campaign, which was supported by a wide spectrum of forces. Unfortunately, when the fascist regime was forced to release him, his body was already too weak to overcome the disease. Murat Dil’s funeral was a slap or the face of his killers. 300 of his comrades, relatives and friends bade him farewell in a militant spirit and vowed to take his revenge and not to let other political captives to die.
* * * * *
The struggle of political captives for their cause, convictions and rights continues. It shall continue, as long as Turkey continues to be an open air torture chamber, a dungeon and a real killing field; it will continue as long as Turkey is ruled by a criminal-fascist gang exploiting and oppressing not only its “own” people, but also bent on exploiting and dominating the peoples of the region; it will continue as long as Turkish militarists, abetted and supported by the US and Western Europe, remain a serious source of war and expansionism.
In this sense, we are justified to say that the struggle of political captives is an organic part not only of the struggle of Kurdish and Turkish workers, other toilers and progressive intelligentsia against their bloodthirsty oppressors, but an organic part of the struggles of peoples of the Balkans, Caucasia and the Near East against political reaction, national oppression and imperialism as well. That is the reason why, it is they, together with the advanced sections of the working masses who deserve to represent the Turkey of the future and not the utterly degenerate and corrupt criminal-fascist Turkish ruling classes.
The Political captives in Turkish dungeons, form one of the most advanced, bravest and the most devoted section of the people. They are not only a thorn in the side of Turkish fascism and militarism, but also a thorn in the side of imperialism; they are not only the pride of Kurdish and Turkish peoples, but also the pride of the peoples of the region and the world. And that is the reason why, peoples and progressive forces throughout the region and the world are duty bound to support their just struggle, by elevating their own struggle against fascism, imperialism and capitalism.