Archive for February, 2006

WHEN IMPUNITY IS POLICY

Posted in Uncategorized on February 28, 2006 by Mizgîn
“The case is a stark example of how the judicial system can fail victims of of official abuse.”
~ Trial Observation Reports: The Diyarbakir Prison Killings, Fordham International Law Journal.

This week we hear the news that Turkish police and jandarma walk free after their slaughter of Kurds in Diyarbakir Prison some ten years ago. From Reuters via Khaleej Times Online:

ANKARA — Sixty-two Turkish policemen and paramilitary police were convicted yesterday of beating 10 Kurdish inmates to death a decade ago but walked free under an amnesty.

Sezgin Tanrikulu, a lawyer for the victims — who were accused of belonging to the autonomy-seeking outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, — immediately criticised the verdict as unjust. Turkey is also under pressure from the European Union to punish perpetrators of torture.

The court in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir initially sentenced the defendants to 18 years in prison for using excessive force to quash a prison uprising, during which 10 Kurdish inmates were killed in September 1996. But the court immediately commuted the prison term to six years, saying the defendants were acting under “heavy provocation,” and then reduced their sentence to five years in prison, citing “good behaviour” throughout the trial.

Eventually, the accused walked free as their five-year term was automatically suspended under a 1999 amnesty until they re-offend. The court also ruled that the defendants should be dismissed from office for three years; however that punishment was also eliminated under the same amnesty.

“Those who committed crimes against humanity have evaded prison under the amnesty without serving one day in prison,” the Anatolia news agency quoted Tanrikulu as saying.

A parliamentary committee report had concluded that there was evidence to show that some of the prisoners had been severely beaten.

Once again, impunity by Turkish security forces is permitted by the state’s legal apparatus, but this short notice in the news does no justice to what really happened behind the walls of Diyarbakir Prison on 24 September, 1996. Normally, I object to the use of the term, “Diyarbakir,” but in writing about the prison, I will use it because Diyarbakir Prison is an imposition, a monstrosity, a tool designed for the destruction of the Kurdish people.

A detailed account of the events of 24 September, 1996 can be found here, but what follows is a synopsis.

The prison was built in 1980, and from that time until 1988, it was operated under the Turkish military’s jurisdiction. During the time of the “state of emergency,” in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, the state’s legal apparatus, although notoriously bad throughout Turkey, was even worse there. At the time, the ECHR did not require anyone to take all necessary local judicial steps in order to bring a case against Turkey. Because the legal structure was nonexistent in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, one could apply directly to the ECHR.

At the time of an independent investigation of the 24 September event, Diyarbakir Prison, which had a capacity of 650 prisoners, 942 prisoners were found there. Of those, 85 had been convicted, while the remainder, 857 were remanded prisoners, meaning that they were being held for trial. Of the 857, 407 were PKK political prisoners.

At 1030 hours, on 24 September, 31 of the remand prisoners were on their way to the visitor’s area. Upon the prisoners’ request for containers, the prison guards refused to allow them containers to collect items brought to them by their visiting families. It was a normal procedure for the prison to give the prisoners containers for this purpose. There is no reason recorded for the refusal and it caused a fight to break out. Thus it appears that the guards used this as a provocation to begin the events.

The 31 prisoners were kept in the area for the next 5 to 6 hours, until the operation began. One would think that 5 to 6 hours of being locked in a confined area was enough time for the prisoners to calm down, at which point they could be returned to their cells. One would think that prison guards, who are supposed to be trained in handling exactly this kind of situation, would have been able to handle the situation after the 5 to 6 hour cooling-off period, but that was not the case. Instead, the police and army were called in to “assist.”

The event seems to have taken place between 1530 to 1630 hours, with police and soldiers entering the area from two separate directions. One prison informer noted that any prisoners holding metal pipes or bars dropped them to the ground immediately upon seeing the police and soldiers–an obvious sign of refusal to fight. A prisoner-witness gave the following testimony:

Prisoner-witness Altin saw police and soldiers appear from the kitchen side and Special Police arrive from the other direction shouting “Allah! Allah!” slogans. They charged the prisoners, attacking them and hitting them on their heads. He said that the prisoners had only tried to defend themselves: they bore no grudge against the informers, who had had nothing to do with what happened. He said that the situation could have been contained but the way it was dealt with was like a planned massacre.

The C-Block prisoner-witness confirms this. He saw soldiers and Special Police with wood and steel bars in their hands appear from the visitors¹ area. When the gates were opened, soldiers and riot police started to attack the prisoners- even those who were trying to hide in corners. He saw one prisoner being hit on the head, become disorientated, turn, fall to the floor and stop moving.

Tiftikci said that as one police unit entered, another unit prepared to back them up. He ordered another unit of soldiers from a group of 22 to leave their rifles and be ready to back up the others. While this was going on, the police removed one prisoner (the 2nd Informer?) On going downstairs Tiftikci saw Deputy Police Chief Hasan Senay and a group of police officers, gendarmes and the fire engine. Doctors and personnel were standing by. Tiftikci warned the hospital (at 16.00 hrs?) that there could be wounded. All the necessary tasks were then completed- such as checking the prisoners, regaining discipline and signing the prisoners¹ transfer documents. Documents required for putting the security forces on trial, if necessary, were sent to the Governor of Diyarbakir.

The 5 to 6 hours was not an attempt by the prison authorities to diffuse the situation. It was the time they needed to have everyone on hand and in place for the planned massacre.

Prisoner-witness Altin said that after the attack the authorities had dragged the injured prisoners to the visitors’ area and dumped them one on top of each other, where they were left for an hour before being taken to the hospital.

It is certainly possible that the prisoners had incurred their serious and fatal injuries very early on in the attack. Caca and the prison doctors agree that the prisoner casualties were not assessed until 16.30 hrs (an hour after the attack began) and emergency medical treatment for the gravely injured and dying prisoners was not everyone’s priority: Tiftikci reported that one of the army officers thought the wounded soldiers should be treated before the prisoners but was told to take these soldiers to the military hospital.

[ . . . . ]

As there was no space in the visitors’ area to enable the prison doctors to deal with the injured, they were taken to the control room. The doctors saw two prisoners whose heads had been broken open. Five or six others had puffed eyes and crushed skulls, and were bleeding from the head and ears. They felt that these five or six would not survive their injuries. 19 seriously injured and urgent cases were transferred to Diyarbakir Hospital and those who seemed alright- who had no injuries “likely to cause problems” and who were able to walk- were transferred to Gaziantep Prison.

Those prisoners with the worst injuries were transported to the Diyarbakir Hospital. The attending physician at the hospital testified to the following:

On opening the doors of one vehicle, Mizrak saw six to seven bodies piled on top of each other. Checking more closely he noted that all had head wounds and two had already died. The rest were taken to the emergency unit and seven were registered dead in the hospital records. Only 20 minutes later (17.00 hrs) Tiftikci was already meeting with the Governor of the State of Emergency region to discuss their burial.

Of the 19 prisoners sent to Diyarbakir State Hospital, a total of nine died: seven were found dead on arrival (Erkan Hakan Perisan, Cemal Cam, Hakki Tekin, Ahmet Celik, Edib Direkci, Mehmet Nimet Cakmak, Ridvan Bulut) and two others died in hospital (Mehmet Kadri Gumus, Mehmet Aslan). Of seven others who were seriously wounded, one was saved by an operation and all needed to be admitted to the intensive care unit (Ramazan Korkar, Iskan Ozal, Mehmet Batuge, Mehmet Emin Izra, Ramazan Nazlier, Yasin Alevcan, Abdullah Eflatun). The last three were treated for wounds (Kenan Acar, Hakki Bozkus, Bedri Bozkus).

Dr. Mizrak admitted that whilst he was not a pathologist, he was a surgeon with a great deal of experience of such incidents. In his experience, it was normal in such circumstances to find broken arms and legs but this time the autopsy reports showed hardly any broken limbs- which indicates that the prisoners had been held down and then beaten. The 2nd Informer was taken to the hospital to identify the dead. He reported that none had bullet wounds: all the men had died from blows to their heads.

It should be noted that none of the security forces suffered any serious injuries.

As 19 of the prisoners were transported to Diyarbakir Hospital, 14 other prisoners, who had been given a clean bill of health prior to transfer by the Diyarbakir Prison doctors, were transported to Gaziantep Special Prison. One of those prisoners was dead on arrival at Gaziantep, two were admitted to the intensive care unit of the Gaziantep Hospital while the remaining 11 were treated there before being taken to the Gaziantep Prison. It is normal procedure for doctors to lie about the medical conditions of prisoners, but in this case it looks like another “normal” procedure was administered:

Prosecutor Tiftikci admitted that although it should not happen, it was still general practice to beat prisoners during transfers. This practice is confirmed by the IHD Advocate Ercan Kanar. The delegation gave credence to the accusations of the PKK prisoners removed to Gaziantep Prison, who claimed that prison authorities had targeted them to become informers. They said that when they refused, they were deliberately put into a situation where they could be killed. Their accusation is borne out by the facts.

The delegation notes that although these 14 prisoners had apparently been given a clean bill of health for transfers to Gaziantep Prison, they must have been attacked in transit for one to be found dead on arrival and the others to require hospitalization- two in intensive care.

Kadri Demir was the prisoner who arrived dead in Gaziantep. His relatives brought charges against Turkey at the ECHR. The ECHR findings in the case side more closely with the prisoners’ view of events than with the prison authorities or special police and jandarma. The ECHR found Turkey guilty of Kadri Demir’s death, meaning the state is guilty of murder:

Since the Turkish Government had been unable to offer an adequate explanation regarding the origin of the “general physical trauma” that had resulted in Mr Demir’s death at a time when the State had responsibility for him, the Court found that Turkey was responsible for his death. Consequently, it held that there had been a violation of Article 2.

As to the effectiveness of the state’s investigation into the massacre, the ECHR had this to say:

The investigation as a whole had been very protracted since, eight years after the incident, the domestic criminal proceedings were still pending at first instance and had yet to yield any concrete results. Likewise, the pathologist’s report into the cause of death had not been placed in the court file until almost four years after the death.

The Court was also struck by the fact it had taken almost five years after the incident for criminal proceedings to be brought against the officers responsible for the prisoners’ transfer, despite repeated requests by the applicants for their prosecution and the statements of the other prisoners who had been transferred.

Those shortcomings taken as a whole sufficed for the Court to conclude that the Turkish authorities’ investigations into the circumstances surrounding Kadir Demir’s death were not effective. Consequently, there had been a violation of Article 2.

Additionally:

Having found that the scope of the judicial investigation had not enabled the circumstances of Mr Demir’s death to be established, the Court found that it was not possible to consider that an effective criminal investigation had been conducted in accordance with Article 13. Consequently, there had been a violation of Article 13.

In 1998, the Joseph R. Crowley Program in International Human Rights, from Fordham University Law School, sent a delegation to Amed to observe one of the hearings in this case. Another delegation was sent in 1999 for another hearing. The results of their hearing can be read in an appendix to a larger fact-finding work on the justice system in Turkey, published in the Fordham International Law Journal (the entire fact-finding report on Turkey can be found here ).

The final assessment of the Fordham delegation includes the following statement:

The case is a stark example of how the judicial system can fail victims of of judicial abuse. Public prosecutors,under a legal duty to investigate and prosecute crimes fully, look no further than the version of events supplied by the police’s internal interviews. Defendants fail to appear in court. Witnesses from the security forces cannot be compelled to appear. Inmates who witnessed the incident have been transferred to prisons in other towns, and the court continues to deny them permission to travel to Diyarbakir to testify. Some testimony from these ostensibly unavailable witnesses is taken in the remote locations in which they are now imprisoned. Judges and prosecutors unfamiliar with the case take that testimony without even the benefit of the case file. Victims’ lawyers are not present because the expense and danger are prohibitive.

The delegation further noted the delays and postponements, the lack of crucial evidence such as autopsies, the victim’s lawyers lack of access to evidence and the failure of prosecutors and judges to fully investigate and prosecute crimes, particularly those involving state security forces.

Shortly after the incident in Diyarbakir Prison ten years ago, people were predicting there would be a cover-up. As the Fordham delegation discovered, “The fact that the law provides such a double-standard [i.e. security officers not being arrested for their crimes pending trial, while many of the Diyarbakir prisoners were still under incarceration awaiting trial three years later] seems to be complemented by a sense that the victims here deserve the inferior treatment that they received.”

Indeed. The legal system that has permitted murderers to go free this week is final proof of the inferior treatment meted out to the victims. A lack of outcry against this injustice is the final proof of how well the passage of time has covered up the crime.

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ANOTHER BATTLE FOR REFORM

Posted in Uncategorized on February 26, 2006 by Mizgîn
“There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to institute a new order of things.”
~ Niccolo Machiavelli.

A piece of new came out last week about the Turkish Anti-Terror Law. Even though it came from the UN, and thus it is arguable whether or not the statement will have any real effect, it was good to see it because it does expose another aspect of Turkey’s faulty legal system. Here is a report from AFP, in its entirety, as carried by The Daily Star:

ANKARA: Turkey’s definition of terrorism is too broad and may lead to the prosecution of people with no direct involvement in terror acts, a UN envoy said here Thursday. Speaking at the end of a one-week fact-finding mission, Martin Scheinin, the UN special rapporteur on human rights and counterterrorism, singled out for criticism an anti-terror act, passed in 1991, aimed in particular at quelling a bloody Kurdish rebellion in the country’s southeast.

The law, he said, is too broad and vague with respect to local terrorist groups and fails to adequately address the international struggle against terrorism.

It “defines terrorism based on its purpose or aims rather than referring to specific criminal acts,” he said. “This may lead to a situation where people are convicted for terrorist crimes without sufficient connection to acts of terror.”

Scheinin estimated from his findings in Diyarbakir, the main city of the predominantly Kurdish southeast, that “only a small number of charges of terrorism relate to actual acts of terror.”

Eager to boost its bid to join the European Union, Turkey has several times amended its anti-terror laws, in particular easing punishments for the press and introducing compensation for Kurdish villagers who have suffered losses in army operations.

The security forces, however, have complained that democratization reforms in the anti-terror act and the penal code are hampering efforts against terrorism and other criminal acts.

Scheinin charged there was “lack of transparency and clarity” about how Turkish groups are classified as terrorist.

“We got estimates that their total number is maybe 40 or 50, but still it remains unclear where the list ends,” he said.

Besides Kurdish militants, extreme-left and Islamist underground groups are also active in Turkey.

Scheinin offered to help Ankara reform its anti-terror legislation in line with international norms and urged the government to sign several multilateral accords guaranteeing civic and political rights.

He praised Turkey’s progress in improving human rights standards, but noted that it was yet to set up a fully independent body to probe allegations of torture and a mechanism involving civic groups to monitor places of detention.

A long-term solution to the Kurdish conflict, he said, should ensure that Kurds freely use their language and have access to education “through at least initial immersion in the mother tongue.”

The conflict has claimed some 37,000 lives since 1984 when the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara as well as the EU and the United States, took up arms for self-rule in the southeast. – AFP

There is more info at Jurist and Jurist even has an archive section on legal news about Turkey.

The Anti-Terror Law went into effect in 1991, replacing certain sections of the old Turkish Penal Code (TCK) in order to more “effectively” handle communism, Kurdish nationalism and fundamentalism. The law also provided protection to the police, yet another example of how Turkish law is written to protect the state.

With the Anti-Terror Law, we see more of the same that we saw with the new and impoved TCK, meaning that the law is vague-by-design thus making it more convenient for wide interpretations. Everyone remembers the Pamuk scandal and interpretations of TCK’s article 301. Article 301 permitted an interpretation that allowed one to be prosecuted for denigrating such abstractions as “Turkishness,” with a harsher penalty for denigrating “Turkishness” outside of Turkey, something, I guess, that is akin to airing one’s dirty laundry in front of the neighbors.

UN remarks about the Anti-Terror Law really don’t do it justice, however, if you’ll pardon the pun. One really has to read it for oneself, which can be done here, in .pdf format. Let’s look at an example, from Article 7, item 2:

Those who assist members of organizations constituted in the manner described above or make propaganda in connection with such organizations shall be punished with imprisonment of between 1 and 5 years and with a fine of between 50 million and 100 million Turkish liras, even if their offence constitutes a separate crime.

What is the definition of making propaganda? Last August, Birol Duru of DIHA news and Daimi Açig of IHD were arrested for allegedly having video footage of members of a group allegedly linked to PKK. Apparently, Duru had been detained while investigating cannabis-trafficking, an investigation which allegations that a police chief was involved with the trafficking. In this case, the alleged possession of video footage of a forbidden organization under the Anti-Terror Law, was used as the reason to detain, arrest and charge the journalist. Duru was “provisionally released” at the end of December, 2005, but is still facing prosecution for alleged membership in PKK and, additionally, for “denigrating security forces.” This information is available at Reporters Without Borders.

In the case of Duru and Açig, there is the use of both the Anti-Terror Law as well as the new TCK, Article 301 to be specific. A similar problem is seen in the case of Roj TV, which has been accused of ties to PKK. In both situations, the question is one of differentiating between reportage of news and “making propaganda.” From another angle, what is the differentiation between a public discussion of the events of the 1980’s and ’90’s in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan or of current Kurdish issues, and “making propaganda?”

Last July, a Turkish commando was captured by PKK. He was treated well during his capture and his release was finally secured by a delegation of human rights workers. All members of the delegation, including the head of the Amed branch of IHD, the Turkish Human Rights Association, the leader of IHD, a Kurdish singer, a member of DEHAP, and others, were arrested after the commando’s safe release, charged with “making propaganda for a terrorist organization.” Is securing the release of a Turkish soldier “making propaganda?” Is reporting this release “making propaganda?”

Their case should be heard this week.

In January, the Turkish general staff came out against proposed reform:

Turkish armed forces Chief of General Staff Gen. Hilmi Ozkok has come out strongly against proposed changes to Turkey’s Anti-Terror Law, which would narrow definitions of terrorism, warning that terrorists would benefit from these changes.

Ozkok warned that the proposed changes would provide opportunities for Kurdish Workers Party militants. Ozkok said, “Turkey needs to determine and implement its measures according to its own conditions.” Ozkok stated his belief that the Anti-Terror Law should be updated as soon as possible and that Turkey must find the necessary political will to enforce the law. “If we have this will, then it will be easy to fight terrorists, he said.

While Ozkok believes that Turkey should adopt a law in accordance with current European Union legislation, Cumhurriyet reported that Ozkok claimed, “Some circles are supporting terrorism.”

Human rights lawyers have criticized current articles in Turkey’s Anti-Terror Law, particularly Article Six on “Publishing Statements of Terror Organizations” and Article Seven, “Terrorist Organization Propaganda” as opening the door to massive lawsuits.

Lawyer Hasp Kaplan, a specialist on freedom of thought and speech issues who has argued before the European Court of Human Rights, said that some aspects of the Anti-Terror Law are in conflict with the guarantee of freedom of expression found in the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 10, and could pave the way for lawsuits against Turkey in the ECHR. Kaplan said that Article Six is “an article that limits press freedom, that silences press contrary to its wishes without any criteria.”

There have been previous discussions on the Anti-Terror Law, in preparation for EU accession. Objections raised in 2003, by the Turkish general staff, included opposition to Article 8:

Article 8. (1) Written and oral propaganda and assemblies, meetings and demonstrations aimed at damaging the indivisible unity of the Turkish Republic with its territory and nation are forbidden, regardless of the methods, intentions and ideas behind such activities. Those conducting such activities shall be punished with a sentence of between 2 and 5 years’ imprisonment and with a fine of between 50 million and 100 million Turkish liras.

Later that same year, there was an amendment made to Article 8, but it still remains vague and can be interpreted according to the old Article 8.

Interestingly enough, on the day the UN statement was made, the following occurred:

On the same day when the U.N. envoy singled out for criticism an anti-terror act, passed in 1991, aimed in particular at quelling a bloody clash between security forces and members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the country’s Southeast, Hakkari gendarmerie officials told a parliamentary commission established to investigate recent bombings in the province that the PKK was responsible for a controversial Nov. 9 explosion in a Şemdinli bookstore owned by a former PKK member and that gendarmerie officials there at the time were about to go to the prosecutor’s office to share the information they had.

The commission heard the testimony of Hakkari Gendarmerie Commander Col. Erhan Kubat and Hakkari Gendarmerie Command intelligence chief Maj. Sefer Resuloğlu, who dismissed suggestions that the gendarmerie was responsible for the bookstore bombing.

Given the recent overuse of Article 301 of the TCK, as well as renewed special operations in “The Southeast,” I think it will be some time before anyone sees any significant change to the Anti-Terror Law, and those changes won’t come easily.

THE LUNATIC FRINGE–MOVING MAINSTREAM?

Posted in Uncategorized on February 25, 2006 by Mizgîn
“There is more stupidity than hydrogen in the universe, and it has a longer shelf life.”
~ Frank Zappa.

There is an interesting article on The New Anatolian. It looks like there’s a new political party in Turkey, which calls itself The Grand Turan Party. I have to agree with The New Anatolian’s judgement that if this party’s ideology is taken seriously, “it may prove to be more than terrifying.” Obviously, I think it is too early to tell what will happen with this party, but I do believe it is indicative of the rising nationalist trend in Turkish society in the last couple of years, a trend which has manifested itself in such warning signs as the bestseller status of Mein Kampf, the continuing interpretation of the new Turkish penal code which allows prosecution for “insulting” such abstractions as Turkishness, and the renewed “dirty war” in Kurdistan.

It may also be that the popularity of the film, Kurtlar Vadisi: Irak (Valley of the Wolves: Iraq), which tends to characterize Kurds, Christians, Jews and Americans as somewhat subhuman, is riding on the wave of rising Turkish nationalism. One thing about the movie is that it does provide a focus for discussion, both inside and outside of Turkey, to examine and expose certain attitudes, and it should be noted that a children’s NGO in Amed, Çocuk-Der, has begun just such a public discussion in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan.

But, back to the Grand Turan Party. . . for one thing, it seems that they won’t accept the 10% threshold either, but for different reasons than, say, DTP protests the 10% threshold:

Party won’t become govt and won’t accept any coalitions unless it receives 51 pct of the votes. But elections will be held and re-held until a party receives 51 pct.

So that’s the good news. They won’t accept anything less than a simple majority.

The bad news is that the ideology of the Grand Turan Party is Turanism. Think of it as a form of Turkish fascism, which isn’t a new idea. Kemalism was based on the Italian fascism of the early 20th century, a definition of which can be read here, penned by Mussolini himself. Fascism is not a rational ideological movement, but rather tends to base its ideology on myth, the idea of a long-past utopia which fascism desires to recreate in the present. To get an idea of the mythic foundation of Turanism, try to make your way through this. Otherwise, for a little backgrounder on Turanism, check out the Wikipedia entry on Gray Wolves. Gray Wolves (bozkurtlar–yeah, that’s the same kurtlar as in Kurtlar Vadisi: Irak, kind of funny, huh?–or ülkücüler, idealists) are the people who advocate Turkish fascism.

From The New Anatolian article, there is this on Turanism, or the pan-Turkic movement:

Pan-Turkic ideology, a.k.a. Turanism, is a political trend aiming at uniting all Turkic peoples into a modern state. Active during early years of the republic and the 1970s, Turanism showed a decline since the 1980s despite isolated efforts of revival.

Their decline in the ’80s was helped along dramatically by the 12 September coup, but they never died out. In fact, they proved themselves quite useful to the powers-that-be, in Turkey and eslewhere. These are the same people who brought you the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II and the Susurluk scandal. You can check out the Susurluk scandal here. As you read that, keep in mind the Şemdinli–and related–bombing and the fact that JITEM agents were caught in the act and that now everyone and their brother in the Turkish government is putting the blame on PKK.

Here’s a description of the Grand Turan Party’s “temporary” leader:

The party’s temporary leader Hakki Dedeler, whose name figures on the website, describes himself as a veteran journalist. His past includes the pro-Islamist National Order Party (MNP) — established by Necmettin Erbakan, leader of defunct (RP) Welfare Party, and disbanded in the 1971 military coup — and participation in Ulku Ocaklari (Nationalist Movement Party, MHP-affiliated nationalist groups) abroad. In other words, he boasts a background of nationalism mingled with politicized Islamism.

I guess he’s temporary because they haven’t gotten that 51% yet.

Here are a few points of the party’s platform, but I urge you to check out the entire thing at The New Anatolian:

  • Current political leaders and executive board members, civil servants, former military officers, professors, assistant professors, lecturers, columnists, artists, deputies and bureaucrats will all be barred from taking part in the party. The founding members are already under a selection process — one by one. People who came to Turkey from the Balkans, the Caucasus, Russia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, China and other countries and have become Turkish citizens will be given the priority in selecting the founding staff.
  • Every artisan and every civil servant will be recognized as part of the security force of the country and will be armed and have sufficient authority to ensure security.
  • The Turkish Army and democratic institutions will be restructured. If necessary, Turkish armies will be deployed outside of the country’s borders that were drawn in the National Pact during the War of Turkish Independence — which includes part of the Middle East.
  • No military officers will make any declarations, hold speeches or give voice to their opinion except on the defense and military issues of the country.
  • Non-kins to Turks: Jews, Armenians and Kurds who became Turkish citizens within the last 25 years will be expatriated and their movable and immovable properties appropriated.
  • A law will be implemented for trying assistant professors, professors and lecturers who were engaged in anti-Turkish activities, and they will face capital punishment.
  • Non-Muslim places of worship will be closed down unless they have the relevant community.
  • All Turkish citizens age 18 to 45 will be asked to engage in civil mobilization twice a month. They will be ranked and handed weapons and those weapons will not be taken back.

A website for the party is given at the end, just in case anyone would like to sign up and receive instructions for the secret handshake and the secret decoder ring. It might be a bit surprising to read some of their comments on the military officers, but given the nature of fascism, it doesn’t really change anything. The pashas remain safe for now because fascism does not accept peace and seeks to be in a continual state of war, ever marching, ever conquering, ever pressing for sacrifices toward a glorious end.

Right. Tell it to Berlin.

HAMAS, DEMOCRACY, AND UTILITY

Posted in Uncategorized on February 22, 2006 by Mizgîn
“Why does not Gul spend efforts to stop bloodshed in his own country? Is this not a contradiction?”
~ Murat Karayilan

Erdogan still appears to be in damage-control mode over the recent Hamas visit and it seems that the more he opens his mouth, the farther he inserts his own foot. From The New Anatolian:

Turkish PM strongly criticizes Israel’s isolation policy and sanctions against Hamas, saying this will by no means help democracy in Palestine. ‘If the intention is to discipline the new structure in Palestine through economic methods, this will not bring democracy,’ Erdogan says. ‘This will be a controlled democracy, and this stance disregards the Palestinians’

I wonder what Erdogan would say about Turkish policies in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, especially since 1980? After all, it was Turkish policies that destroyed Kurdistan, has forced the ethnic cleansing of somewhere between 3 and 4 million Kurds, the destruction of thousands of villages, and now accounts for an unemployment rate of 70%–maybe even more. The “state of emergency” that the region was under for some two decades was very convenient in keeping out nosy foreign journalists who might have wanted to write about the things they would have seen there. The presence of NGO’s in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan is still strictly controlled although the “state of emergency” has been lifted, at least temporarily.

Erdogan, a total stranger to the concept and practice of democracy continues:

“I call on both the relevant parties and the international community to carefully interpret the situation after last month’s democratic elections in Palestine and turn this situation into an opportunity for peace by acting responsibly,” Erdogan said.

Yet what is Mr. Erdogan’s government doing, at this moment, to a legal political party in Turkey? On 22 February, the DTP Provincial Chairman from Van was arrested. Death threats were sent by mail to former DEP leaders and to the two co-presidents of DTP. A DTP office in Adana was busted into by police, with a number of people attacked and arrested.

If these kinds of things were to happen to Hamas by Israelis, what would be Erdogan’s reaction? But here it is happening in Erdogan’s own backyard, to people who are supposed to be “citizens” of Turkey and the PM is totally silent on the matter. Since the darker forces of the Turkish state are behind all of this activity, at least Erdogan has the brains to know when to keep his mouth shut. Those great “forces of democracy,” such as the US and the EU, who are only too happy to shovel billions into Palestinian coffers so that Palestinians can buy French real estate for Suha and weapons for Hamas, are also keeping their mouths shut about all this activity against the Kurds.

Next door, in the fabulous Islamic Republic of Iran, Kurds continue to be murdered, as can be read at Kurdistan Observer or Kurdish Info. The US, for one, would like to shovel money at its Iran problem too, but there are no takers. However, the beggar looks like it will end up being a chooser:

The past week has seen renewed violence in Iran’s Kurdish region. The governor of Maku, a town close to the Turkish border, told Associated Press two demonstrators were killed on Friday during protests marking the 7th anniversary of the imprisonment in Turkey of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran and Komaleh are soon to launch satellite television stations – probably broadcasting from Europe – that might attract US funding. But the rise of Pejak, a group linked to the PKK, may be less to Washington’s taste.

Of course, it is great news that there will be more Kurdish satellite television, but the issue of US funding is problematic from a Kurdish perspective. How much independence will be permitted to these new satellite channels? Will their independence be inversely proportional to the amount of greenbacks they choose to accept? In a related item, Turkey has apparently figured out another scheme in order to close Roj TV, and it looks like this one will send a lot of people in the TC to prison. I guess this means Denmark didn’t cave like Turkey was hoping.

Thus the “Good Kurd/Bad Kurd” label continues to develop and Kurds continue to be useful for others’ purposes. From Spiegel Online, there is also this piece of information to illustrate that usefulness:

According to DDP, during his trip to Turkey, CIA chief Goss reportedly handed over three dossiers to Turkish security officials that purportedly contained evidence that Tehran is cooperating with Islamic terror network al-Qaida. A further dossier is said to contain information about the current status of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. Sources in German security circles told the DDP reporter that Goss had ensured Ankara that the Turkish government would be informed of any possible air strikes against Iran a few hours before they happened. The Turkish government has also been given the “green light” to strike camps of the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iran on the day in question.

I guess there’s a lot to be said for utility and none of it is good.

A RATIONAL STATEMENT ON THE DEATH OF KANI YILMAZ

Posted in Uncategorized on February 21, 2006 by Mizgîn

Finally, a rational statement on the death of Kani Yilmaz from Kurdistan Observer. Read the entire thing at the link, because I am only posting a part of it here:

It is almost two weeks since the dreadful incident and there is still great confusion as to what really happened. The security forces of Sulimania since then have four times stated that the incident was a mere accident and nothing more. However political opportunists and people who work against the interests of the Kurdish nation love to play the conspiracy drums and condemn the names parties for deeds which they have not committed.

The whole matter must be looked at rationally it is ludicrous to charge PKK or PCDK of a murder which has not been committed. Doctor Muhammad Nuri Muhammad Rashid the doctor appointed by the court of Sulimania by KRG government, has stated that the two had lost their lives as a result of sever body burns and that there are no signs of explosion or materials linked to explosives. For those wish not be misled and are sincerely interested in knowing what really happened, they can contact Dr Muhammad through this phone number 07701524940. The people of Sulimania all know him as a truthful and a straightforward man who is not linked with any political party.

I believe that Mr. Murat Karayilan President of Koma Komalen Kurdistan (KKK) summarizes the situation rather well. He states that “There are numerous factions whose actions are based on mere prejudice. For example if a stone was to fall out of the sky and hits someone in the head, they quickly claim it was PKK who threw the stone”. One or a hundred statement will not have any affect on this faction’s mentality towards PKK and PCDK because against defying odds succeeding will bring a great blow to these factions interests.

At a time when the brave sons and daughters of our nation are struggling for their nation’s mere existence I believe such baseless accusations are unhelpful and destructive. Declaring revenge and a jihad against PKK and PCDK is irrational and undeserved. In this whole sad episode not once fascist state of Turkey has been mentioned. What better plot than removing a Kurdish patriot like Kani Yilmaz and at the same time PKK is accused of an act which is not in any way linked with. Truly killing two birds with one stone.

Without a doubt Kani Yilmaz was a Kurdish patriot who had worked over thirty years for PKK and the Kurdish cause. His death was a great blow to the Kurdish nation. However what we must understand is that throwing accusations around does not help Kurdish nation nor sadly will it brings Kani Yilmaz back.

EXACTLY.

I don’t suppose that all those who ran all over creation shooting off their fat mouths, insisting on PKK’s guilt, insisting it was absolutely certain without any doubt. . . None of these will go around and admit they were wrong–least of all PWD, whose statements have been one long string of lies.

All the ülkücüler can go crawl back under their rocks now. Show’s over.v

BOYCOTT AUSTRALIA

Posted in Uncategorized on February 20, 2006 by Mizgîn
“The thing worse than rebellion is the thing that causes rebellion.”
~ Frederick Douglas.

Since everyone is on a boycott kick lately, I figured, what the hell? I might as well start a boycott too, and I found the perfect target: Australia.

Australia has formally joined the long list of hypocrites who support Turkey’s genocide against the Kurdish people, as can be read here, at Kurdish Media, or from the original source at the Sydney Morning Herald

Australian Kurds are furious after the Federal Government pronounced the Kurdistan Workers Party a terrorist group, even though it was allowing sympathisers to become refugees as recently as last year.

The party, which has been running a long campaign for autonomy for Turkey’s Kurdish minority, was listed as a proscribed terrorist group in mid-December, making it a criminal offence to recruit, train, fund or have “other forms of association” with the group. A person found to have links with the party or 16 related entities faces a jail term of up to 25 years.

This is nonsense of course, because there is not a single Bakurî who does not have “links” to the PKK. Everyone has someone or knows someone who, even if they weren’t gerîlas, were working politically for the rights of Bakurî Kurds. According to Turkey, it merely suffices to be a Bakurî to be a “terrorist.” What the Australian government is really doing is closing the door to all Bakurî who seek asylum.

We see the same thing in the US, with the legal battles that Kurds such as Ibrahim Parlak and Kani Xulam are engaged in. The only reason they face deportation is because they are Bakurî, Kurds from Turkey.

There are about 15,000 people of Kurdish origin in Australia, and roughly half have fled Turkey. Almost all have sympathy for the party, according to the Kurdish leader Mehmet Kahraman.

“We view it as a liberation organisation. We are against violence but we support the cause or support it emotionally,” he told the Herald yesterday.

“Most of the asylum seekers to Australia and Europe came because they were persecuted for working for the Kurdish people, the Kurdish cause.”

Exactly. Kurds don’t leave Turkish-occupied Kurdistan because they want to leave. They leave because they have to leave. They leave because they have no rights. They leave because Turkey has destroyed the region, the villages, the livelihoods, the culture. They leave because Turkey is a racist state built on a foundation of fascism. The only organization to stand up to Turkish fascism, has been the PKK, and that is why PKK has the sympathy of the people. That is why the people still go to the mountains.

The group had shifted its emphasis from creating a homeland to the protection of Kurdish culture, Mr Kahraman said. “The PKK is against targeting civilians. The PKK has accepted the Geneva Convention,” he said.

Yeah, that happened in 1995, in a statement to the UN. Does anyone see Hamas doing something like this? But Hamas is dedicated to the total destruction of the Israeli state and Turkey has a relationship with Hamas. Hamas leaders just visited Ankara. So the fact is that Turkey is behind Hamas’ ideology of the total destruction of Israel, which should come as no surprise to anyone, since Erdogan and his party (AKP) are a pack of Islamists. All of that may change abruptly in August, and I would advise Mr. Erdogan to start thinking about what happened to Ozal. Or maybe even Erbakan.

Meanwhile, PKK has been a party to the Geneva Conventions for eleven years.

Vicky Sentas, a spokeswoman for the Federation of Community Legal Centres, said the Refugee Review Tribunal approved one Kurdish person’s asylum claim last year because of links to the Kurdistan Workers Party.

“One year ago we considered Turkish Kurds as refugees. And now we consider them open to the charge of terrorism. It’s absurd,” Ms Sentas said.

“It’s a bitter irony that Australia considers the Kurds in Iraq to be their close allies, while over the border in Turkey they are terrorists.”

How familiar does that sound? Does “Good Kurd/Bad Kurd” ring a bell? But Australia isn’t too committed to Bashurî Kurds either, since Australia isn’t too committed to the Iraq Adventure. They only have 460 troops there, guarding some Japanese engineers who will be leaving soon. It does appear that Australia may make the huge sacrifice, and keep those 460 troops in Iraq, guarding, oh, I don’t know, girl scouts during their annual cookie sales, or something. But hey! Anything for the war effort, right?

The Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, pronounced the Kurdistan Workers Party a terrorist group just a week after the visit of the Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Erdogan, to Australia.

What a coincidence! Only a week after a visit by the man who said he would “oppose Kurdish autonomy even if it was in Argentina.” And then people scratch their heads and wonder why no one in Amed (Turkish name = Diyarbakir) paid any attention to Erdogan’s drivel about Kurds last August.

However, the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation has pointed to 14 incidents of violent attacks, some against civilians since July 2003.

“ASIO assesses the PKK is continuing to prepare, plan and foster the commission of acts involving threats to human life and serious damage to property,” it said.

Fourteen incidents of violent attacks where? I didn’t realize the PKK was operative in Australia. Until now, it has focused all of its attention on Turkish-occupied Kurdistan. Inquiring minds want to know exactly where and when these alleged attacks took place. After all, the Turkish state goes around blowing up bookstores in Kurdish cities and then blames it on PKK, even though it is Turkish police who are caught in the act by the local population.

Mr Ruddock told the Herald the listing of the party as a terrorist group had no link to the visit of Mr Erdogan. He said the US, the European Union and other countries had also outlawed the party.

“The judgement at an earlier point in time was that it didn’t warrant proscription. The judgement at this point of time is that it does,” Mr Ruddock said.

Ah, right. I know I believe you Mr. Ruddock.

But let me ask you, Mr. Ruddock, and all those who think PKK is a “terrorist” organization, What would you do if you were detained by security forces simply because you are Australian (American, European, whatever)? You are tortured while in detention because that is the normal course of things. I mean, you are an Australian, right? That alone makes you guilty. It is your crime.

You are awakened by police in the middle of the night in your cell and you are made to crouch for two hours in a barrel of water. After that, you are beaten with a truncheon. Or maybe some electrical shocks are applied to your penis. Or maybe you get falaka instead, with an order of human excrement on the side, which you have to eat.

Then a relative comes to the police station to protest that you have done nothing wrong and you should be released. Just to teach your relative a lesson, the police break both of his arms and his pelvis. Or maybe they would bring him in with you, and threaten to rape or torture him while you watch. Maybe they really do it.

Do you have children, Mr. Ruddock? Great! The police can bring them in and force them to watch your torture. If you have children, you must have a wife. Your wife will open great vistas of possibilities for the police. How about if they rape her in the cell next to you so that you can listen?

Or maybe all this will happen to you and your neighbors in your village, after which your village is destroyed and you are left homeless. You own nothing, Mr. Ruddock. Nothing. Whatever will you do now? What will you do with your family?

You think I’m making all this up, don’t you? OOPS! think again.

Remember, Mr. Ruddock, if you fight back against the terrorist regime that did all this to you, to your family, to your relatives, to your home, you will be the terrorist. Any of your relatives who fight back will be terrorists. Your entire people will be terrorists. No fair fighting back politically. You have no political rights, no political recourse. There is only one way for you to fight back. With weapons.

I hate to say it, Mr. Ruddock, but I think that you and your people (as well as Americans and Europeans and others) need to undergo a practical exercise in racism coupled with torture, just so you can get an idea of why it is that Kurds fight and why it is that they sometimes have to flee to seek asylum in foreign lands, because obviously, you are incapable of putting yourself in a pair of Kurdish shoes.

There do appear to be a handful of people in Australia who don’t need the racism or the torture to understand, but they are probably few and far between.

The rest of you just have to learn the hard way.

In the meantime, you can take all your Australian products and shove them where a Turkish police truncheon customarily goes.

THE PURPOSE

Posted in Uncategorized on February 19, 2006 by Mizgîn

PWD’s 13 February statement contains the following:

After the incident, the PUK Asayish (security) and bomb expert team formally informed the PWD following their investigation and enquiries that the bombing had been carried out by remote control. In response to this certain circles and government officials failed to report the truth for political reasons and claimed it was “related to a technical malfunction”.

“Certain circles and government officials failed to report the truth for political reasons.” What political reasons would those be? Everyone knows there is no free and independent press in South Kurdistan, but here PWD has found a means of its own free expression, through its own statements, and it fails to elaborate on the “political reasons.” But let us ask the simple question: Who stands to gain from this political assassination?

The PKK certainly does not stand to gain, and as Murat Karayilan stated, there has been a separation of two years between the former PKK members of PWD and the PKK. Intelligence information is time sensitive. Any knowledge that Kani Yilmaz still had of PKK would have become irrelevant now, two years later, and interesting only to historians. PKK itself has other concerns at this point, not the least of which is the renewed special warfare operations in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan and South Kurdistan by JITEM/JIT and MIT, operations which have resulted in recent months with the arrest and obliteration of a good number of PKK members in South Kurdistan.

The Semdinli bombing was the event which brought the black operations to light in the media, but there were other black operation bombings in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan in the month of November that were not covered extensively by the media. The visits in December, 2005, of the CIA and FBI, as well as the ATC, to Ankara, should be seen in light of the renewal of black operations by the Turkish government. All media reports of the visits mentioned PKK as a subject of discussion between Turkey and the US. Since 2003, Turkey has threatened that an autonomous South Kurdistan would lead to regional instability. The problem is that now Turkey is actively engaged in creating the very same instability in order to further its own interests and to prevent gains by the Kurdish people.

What is most illuminating about PWD Europe’s 14 February statement is who PWD holds responsible for the murder of Kani Yilmaz. The statement reads like an MIT wish list:

PKK Presidency Council Members Cemil Bayik and Murat Karayilan

PKK’s Legal Party in Iraq PCKD.

Roj TV based in Brussels

PKK’s European Representative/Authority Zubeyr Aydar.

PKK’s legal Party in Turkey DTP

PWD has so far failed to prove any PKK relationship to the murder of Kani Yilmaz because all of PWD’s claims regarding “evidence” raise too many questions, which result in the establishment of reasonable doubt.

From the 13 February statement:

The PWD stated that the incontrovertible evidence obtained shows that the PÇDK is being used as a base for the PKK’s murders, and for it to be able to continue to operate as legal party in “free Kurdistan” is an unacceptable affront. In this sense, they called upon the Kurdistan government to fulfil their obligations and treat this party as a terrorist organisation.

Who is it that consistently maintains that anything even vaguely associated with PKK is “terrorist?” The Turkish government.

PÇDK is flying the Koma Komalên Kurdistan flag in Kerkuk, and was doing so before the December elections, in which it ran as List 779. The leader of the PÇDK is a former PUK guy, Dr. Faiq Gulphi. The PÇDK ran on a platform of anti-corruption, with Dr. Gulphi holding a seminar in Hewlêr before the December elections, in which he urged Kurds to vote for national interests rather than tribal interests. Ankara protested the fact of PÇDK’s existence, as a legal political party in Iraq, to the Iraqi Electoral Commission (IEC). According to Turkish media, the IEC ignored the US State Department’s Coordinator for Iraq, Robert Deutsch, who Ankara claimed had pressed the IEC to remove PÇDK as a legal party eligible to run in the Iraqi elections. According to the IEC, no one in Baghdad had received any request from the State Department.

PÇDK did receive votes in the election, but not on any scale that would be a threat to anyone. What was significant about the PÇDK’s participation in the Iraqi elections, was that it was the first legal party of the PKK’s confederation to ever run in democratic elections. It marked the beginning of the end of the propagandistic accusations that PKK isolates itself from political participation. This is not good news for Ankara nor, apparently, for PWD.

PWD makes the wild claim that Roj TV is another organization responsible for the murder of Kani Yilmaz. This is an organization that has a legal broadcast license issued by Denmark, whom the Danish broadcast authorities have examined for the content of their programming, at the request of the Turkish government. Danish broadcast authorities found that Roj TV was completely innocent of “incitement to hatred,” the accusation the Turkish government made against Roj. Questions of Roj TV’s finances have been under the investigation of the Danish police and prosecutor’s office for almost a year. Nothing so far has been discovered to indicate that Roj TV has any connection to PKK. The Turkish government continues to beat this dead horse and, apparently, PWD has taken up Ankara’s cause.

PWD Europe makes the claim that DTP is PKK’s legal party in Turkey. Isn’t that a bit of a contradiction, given the Turkish position on PKK? Since Turkey is the only country that obsesses over the existence of the big, bad PKK, how is it that Turkey permits PKK to have a legal party in Turkey? While we wait for the answer to that puzzle, we will also wait for PWD’s “incontrovertible proof” that DTP is responsible for Kani Yilmaz’ murder. There is one government that has, over the years, labeled successive pro-Kurdish parties in Turkey “illegal” and shut them down. It looks like PWD has also accepted that government’s position and would also like to see the latest legal, pro-Kurdish party in Turkey shut down.

From the 14 February statement:

Previously PKK also murdered Sipan, Kemale Sor and Hikmet Fidan for leaving PKK

It’s unusual that PWD goes on about Sipan, when he was never a PWD member. Sipan maintained his ties with KONGRA-GEL and with PWD, even though he was critical of both. Sipan had his own group, which wanted to focus solely on working for East Kurdistan. If PWD were so certain of the existence of a PKK hit list, which included Sipan’s name, why, for his last journey, did Sipan choose to travel from Kerkuk to Hewlêr through Mexmur?

It’s unusual too, that PWD goes on about Hikmet Fidan, who willingly traveled to Amed for his last journey. If PWD or Hikmet Fidan truly believed in the existence of a PKK hit list, why would Fidan travel to the great capital of the Kurdish resistance movement, Amed? As it turns out Fidan’s friends killed him. Coincidentally, they were all PWD members. Coincidentally, the murder took place as Turkish black operations began to gain momentum.

Then there is the mention of Kemale Sor, the third in PWD’s trinity. He was the one who was involved with the murder of 5 PYD leaders in 2004 and the murder of 5 Turkish “police” a few weeks later. All of this took place near Mûsil.

For PWD, these deaths have no importance except insofar as they have a certain propaganda value among those who know absolutely nothing.

I am sure that everyone would like to see the evidence for all the claims that PWD has made in the last week, however, I have the feeling that the further we go in time from Kani Yilmaz’ murder, the less will be the chances of any evidence making it to light. It would be better to have the evidence come from the KRG-Silêmanî, but given the internal problems of the PUK, it is unlikely that the murder of a Bakurî is of any importance to the PUK. They will not rush to publish any evidence. After all, they didn’t seem too concerned with moving in and capturing Veli Çat and Serdar.

Kani Yilmaz had been a pawn once before, in late 1994. At the time, it served Turkey’s purposes and not PKK’s. Last week, Kani Yilmaz became a pawn once again and, this time, Kani’s death has served the purposes of the Turkish state, purposes which fit so seamlessly with PWD’s accusations. It appears that the Patriotic Democratic Party of Kurdistan is as democratic as the Turkish state.

What has not been answered yet, and what may never be publicly answered, is whether or not Kani’s contacts with German intelligence services were betrayed by the Germans to the Turks, or whether or not the Germans were acting as “mediators”.

In any event, once again, none of these purposes serve PKK.