Society for threatened peoples logoHOME | INFO | NEWS | DOSSIER | BACHECA / TERMINE | EDICOLA / KIOSK | LADIN


IHD's latest 6-month report on human rights violations in Turkey

September 2003

"Despite successive reforms, fundamental rights are not respected in practice".

Four harmonization packages concerning legislative amendments have been issued in the context of Turkey-EU harmonization process since the beginning of 2003. An overall assessment made by the Human Rights Association can be followed from the document attached herewith. It is possible to say that new amendments made in legislation are positive in general, despite the fact of methodological mistakes and exclusion of civil society from the process. Particularly, amendments not allowing the transformation of sentences of imprisonment into fine and the postponement of the execution of sentences; the amendments on Turkish Criminal Code which state torture cases shall not be subjected to the status of limitation, facilitating acquasition of property by the Community foundations; abolishment of the Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law, amendments on the National Security Council to draw its position back to an advisory level, amendment on the Article 169 of the Turkish Criminal Code; the amendments on the law on associations; improvement of private TV channels broadcast in languages other than Turkish; improvement of the teaching regional/local languages other than Turkish; elimination of different judicial practices of the State Security Courts by allowing the use of provisions imposed by the Criminal Procedures are significant and positive developments.

However, as it is very well known, making amendments in the legislation is not sufficient to solve human rights problems of Turkey and to advance democratic standards. Implementation of those amendments are equally even more important. As far as the implementation of those amendments made since the beginning of 2003 are concerned, it has been observed that legislative amendments have not been into practice. On the contrary, the situation in some areas has moved backwards.

It has been identified that during the period between January-June 2003 human rights violations have increased rather than improvement in the human rights field has occured. For example,

With regard to the right to life:
A total of 30 people lost their lives in extra-judicial executions, top warnings, by arbitrary firing and violation of authority to use armguns of security forces and village guards, in police detention and in prisons. This figure was 25 in the first six month of 2002. The number of murders by unidentified assailants reached to 40 in this year's first six months, whereas it was 51 in the same period of 2002. The number of clashes and operations between the security forces and the illegal organizations have risen this year; while the number of death were 7 for the six reporting months of 2002, this figure reached to 41 for the same period in 2003.

With regard to torture and impunity cases:
The 7th package approved by the President on 6 August made a very important legislative progress, since it officially recognises the priority of investigation and prosecution of case of torture and ill treatment, which cannot be adjourned for more than thirty days and will also be held during judicial recess. It fits into Government's commitment of "zero tolerance" towards torture. On the other hand the implementation in the area of torture so far has not been very significant. As the recent Human Rights report states, "the number of persons subjected to torture, maltreatment and degrading behaviour were 413 in the first six moths of 2002, whereas this number has risen to 715 in the first six months of 2003. The number of persons subjected to violent attacks by the security forces during demonstration marches has risen from 44 in first six months of 2002 to 241 in the same period of 2003." In first six months of 2003, 12 new court caseshave been launched against 52 police officers, 6 gendarmerie, 32 villageguards and 2 doctors for torturing 23 persons and raping 3 persons. The overall picture of impunity cases pending until 2003 and the cases that ended during the first six months of 2003 are far from being deterrent on torture inflictors. In the cases finalized.

During first half of 2003, out of the 63 police officers tried in 11 different court cases for torturing 42 persons, 29 police officers were not given any punishments due to superannuation; 13 were acquitted, and sentences given to 8 were postponed. The remaining 13 police officers were given a total of 65 years and 6 months of. These sentences issued were reduced under the Law on Execution of sentences. As a result, 80 percent of these torture cases ended either in superannuation, postponement of sentences or in acquittals, i.e. with impunity. The investigation opened for 2 security officers for torture allegations were ended in non-pursuit and decisions that there was no need for disciplinary investigation. For cases of death under detention, one out of the three cases ended in superannuation and therefore dropped (Faruk Tuna case). In the case of Süleyman Yeter who died under detention; one police officer was sentenced to 4 years and two months prison term and suspension from duty for three years; another police officer was acquitted in the same trial. In the case of Salih Karaaslan, each of the three soldiers was sentenced to 5 years and 4 months each. There are 4 ongoing cases of death under detention; one is risking to be subjected to superannuation (case of Birtan Altunba).

With regard to the freedom of expression:
The HRA reports that: In the first six months of 2002, 2260 persons were tried and a total of 5400 years of prison sentence, 1 billion TL of pecuniary fine was demanded. As a result 112 persons were charged with 165 years and 9 months of prison sentences and 58 billion TL of pecuniary fines. In the first six months of 2003, court cases are continuing for a total of 1321 persons. During period 92 new cases were launched against 904 persons. In the cases, which have been finalized, 229 persons were acquitted; 270 persons were subjected to 227 years and 15 days of prison sentences and a total of 153 billion pecuniary fines.

With regard to prisons:
Living conditions and treatments against convicts and prisoners continue to be a concern area in the field of human rights. It has been observed that not only in the prisons where political convicts and prisoners stay, but also in other prisons living conditions are getting worse. A recent example is; the torture allegations by children below 18 years of age in Aydin E-type prison. Some of these children applied to the Prosecutor's office, and some of them proved torture allegations by doctors' reports. Another important problem withing this reporting period was a circular issued by the Ministry of Justice concerning the defence lawyers' meeting with their clients in prisons. According to this circular the lawyers have to document the issue they are going to discuss with their clients. This is a restrictive clause on the right to defence. Our Association has made necessary attempts for removal of this circular.

Pressures on the human rights institutions and defenders
It has been observed that the pressures on human rights institutions and defenders have been increasing and activities in this area have been prevented. In this context, the raiding of the general headquarters of Human Rights Association and its Ankara branch by the police under the supervision of prosecutor and seizing of their documents and computers, the threat to the chairman of our Bingöl Branch, arrest of the chairperson of Mu_ Branch since she went a funeral of a convicted person in prison as an observer and the trials and prosecutions against almost all the branches of the HRA because of their press release and activities are the important signs of this pressure. In addition, the pressures on TAYAD, launcing a trial against Sezgin Tanrikulu,chairperson of the Bar Association of Diyarbakir and the representative of TIHV (Human Rights Foundation of Turkey) Diyarbakir Branch, and his lawyer colleagues because of their applications concerning the violations human right are the important signs of oppressive practices.

It is also important that, there has not been any effort made to build social peace. On the contrary, there are practices and attempts which may damage the social peace. As it can be seen from figures mentioned above in relation the "Right to Life", the number of people who died because of the armed conflicts was 7 in 2002 increased to 41 at the first six months of this year. This increase and tendency is a matter of concern for us. We, as human rights association, believe that the violence is not solution and social problems should be settled through process of discussions and dialogue. Everybody should avoid from the attitudes, attempts and statements that might damage the social peace.

In addition, we think that radical attempts need to carry out in order to remedy the destructions of long lasted violence. For instance, objective conditions for return of internally displaced people to their villages should be ensured and the necessary support for IDPs should be provided urgently. We find institutionalising village guard system and making these village guards to keep their arms permanently very dangerous. There should be a comprehensive programme planned and implemented to restructure and improve settlements, infrastructure and nature of the region that were destructed during the armed conflict. Local administrations and non-governmental organizations must be allowed to participate in these efforts effectively. We would like to explain our opinions about the new law, Law on Reintegration into society. We have defended a political general amnesty as an important step to make social peace. But, instead of an unconditional political general amnesty, the government made a new Repentance Law that was carried out the past and failed. Our association believes that this law can not provide a social peace and can not repair injuries of the past. Both the government and the EU state that next year shall be the year of implementation. Our Association also demands that those legislative amendments should be given life in practice and exercise of democratic rights and freedoms should be facilitated. Therefore, our Association will follow the amendments on legal provisions and their applications and share the results with the public opinion, as it was in the past.
(IHD, August 6, 2003)

January-July 2003 Human Rights Violations in Turkey Summary Table

I.1. Extrajudicial Executions
Extrajudicial Executions 3 deaths
Stop Warnings, and violation of authority on arm use by officials, arbitrary firing 9 deaths 11 injured
People killed/injured by village guards 2 deaths 7 injured
Total 14 deaths 18 injured

I.2. Deaths In Detentions 1
I.3. Deaths In Prisons
People who burned themselves 2
Deaths because of suicides 8
People murdered or injured by other prisoners 3 11 injured
Deaths because of illness 2
Deaths because of dead fasts or hunger strikes 2
Total 17 deaths 11 injured

I.4. Enforced Disappearances
People who might be disappeared 4 individuals
People whose corpses were found 1 individuals
I.5. Attacks by unidentified assailants 33 deaths 2 injured
I.6. Doubtful Deaths 7
I.7. Deaths and injuries in armed conflicts 41 deaths 27 injured
I.8. People Murdered and Injured by Illegal Organizations 1 death 11 injured
I.9. Official Negligence and Fault
Suicides of police and gendarmerie 9 deaths 2 injured
I.10. People attacked
University students 69
Journalists 13
Teachers 5
Members of Political Parties 7 (5 members of the DEHAP, a member of the CHP and 1 member of the municipal assemble)
Others 3
Total 97 individuals

I.11. Explosion of Land Mines and Unidentified Ordinances 6 deaths 15 injured
I.12. Violence and Sexual Assault Against Women and Children
I.12.1. Violence against women 21 deaths 11 injured
I.12.2. Honor killings 26 deaths 3 injured
I.12.4 Violence and assaults against children
Sexual Assaults and Harassments 13
Injuries 4
Total 17
I.12.5. Doubtful Women Suicides 25
Women attempted to suicides 12 individuals
I.13. Torture and ill-treatment
I.13.1. The people subject to torture or Inhuman and degrading treatment under detention 451 individuals
I.13.2. Ill treatment out of the official detention facilities 111 individuals
I.13.3. Torture and ill treatment by village guards 11 individuals
I.13.4. Torture in prisons 33 individuals
I.13.5. Violence in schools 26 individuals
I.13.6. Injuries at social demonstrations 241 individuals
I.13.7. Threatened and forced to be reporter 99 individuals
Total 972 individuals

II.1. Arbitrary Detention 5353 individuals
Asylum seekers and migrants taken under detention 901 individuals
Total 6254 individuals
II.2. Number of individuals who arrested 663 individuals
II.4. Right to Fair Trial
II.4.1. Launched Investigations 2
II.4.2. Trials Launched between April and June 9 (8 torture and 1 sexual assault cases)
II.4.3. Trials which are still pending on 27 (4 death in detention cases, 3 disappearances in detention cases, 8 torture cases , 6 extrajudicial killing cases , 1 retrial and 6 "others")
II.4.4. Trials resulted 24 (3 death in detention cases, 7 torture cases, 6 extrajudicial killing cases, 2 attacks by unidentified assailants because of political reason cases, 6 "others")

III.1. Banned, censored, restricted, confiscated
Banned Activities 23 (3 concerts, 4 theatre/play, showing of 2 movies, 3 poems and a competition on art, 3 panel, 1 campaign to gather signiture,1 mission visit, 1 musical, 1 festival, 1 activity on "mothers day", 2 press statements and 1 dinner)
Banned and Confiscated Publications
Journals 29 (total 48 issues)
Newspapers 13 (total 37 issues)
Others 15 (9 books, 2 albums, 3 posters and a flyswatter)
Total 57
Closed Newspapers and Journals 14 (2 journals' publication were stopped and 12 journals and newspapers were given total 143 days closure punishment)
Decisions of High Council for Radio and Televisions (RTUK)
Warned radio and television channels 59 (41 television and 17 radio channels)
Television and Radio channels that were decided to be started process against 4 (3 television and 1 radio channels)
Television and Radio channels that were demanded to give their defends 6 television channel
Television and Radio channels suspended from broadcasting 11 (3 television and 8 radio channels)
III.2. Actual Attacks and Raids
III.2.1. Raided Democratic , political and cultural Organizations or publishing houses etc. 21 (17 newspaper and journal's offices, 4 centers for cultural and artistic activities)
III.2.2. Attacks on Journalists 18 individuals
III.2.3. Arrested and detained Journalists 24 individuals
III.3. Arrested and detained Journalists 1
III.4. . Launched Trials
Trials Launched under Article 312 of the Turkish Criminal Code 7
Trials Launched under Article 169 of the Turkish Criminal Code 21
Trials Launched under Article 159 of the Turkish Criminal Code 28
Trials launched under Article 8 of the Anti Terror Law 7
Others 6
Total 70
III.5. Trials that have been pending on 14
III.6. Resulted Trials 45 (22 people acquitted, 66 people were sentenced total 53 years 6 months 7 days imprisonment and 97 billion 518 million 632 thousands Turkish Liras fine)

IV.1. Actual Attacks 39
IV.2. Bans and restriction 18 (demonstrations, campaigns and press statements)
IV.3. Launched Investigations 4
IV.4. Launched Trials 22
IV.5. Trials that have been pending on 3
IV.6. Resulted Trials 13 (140 people acquitted , 71 people were sentenced total 61 years 11 months 12 days imprisonment and 3 billion 492 million Turkish Liras fine )

V.1. Raided Organizations 20 (Province and district Offices of DEHAP and HADEP, TUHAD-DER, HRA Headquarters and Ankara Branch Office of the HRA)
V.2. Banned Activities 3
V.3. Launched Investigations 37 (against 250 members and representatives of political parties, trade unions, non government organizations)
V.4. Launched Trials 31 (against 241 members and representatives of political parties, trade unions, non government organizations)
V.5. Trials that have been pending on 20
V.6. Resulted Trials 26 (60 people acquitted, 83 people were sentenced total 94 years 9 months 14 days imprisonment and 28 billion 181 million 750 thousands TL fine)
V.7. Closure demands for organizations 7 (1 political party was closed (HADEP), Trials against 1 political party and 1 association resulted with acquittal decision, Trials that against 3 political party and 1 association is still pending on)

VI.1. Restriction on Right to Work, Discarded from job 9412 individuals
VI.2. Conditions for Working
Exiled People 320 individuals
VI.3. Security and Health Condition in place of employment
Deaths on job accidents 51 individuals
Injuries on job accidents 284 individuals

IX.1. Students prosecuted by the discipline committee of universities 324 students (because of taking part on press releases and meeting and organizing demonstration)
IX.2. Students punished by the discipline committee of universities 101 (7 high school students and 4 university students suspended their schools. 1 student for 1 term , 14 university students for 1 month, 1 university student for 15 days, 23 university students for 1 week suspension their schools, 44 students were given disapprovals and 6 students were given warnings.)
IX.3. Launched Investigation 100 students
IX.4. Launched Investigation 7 (122 students acquitted, 4 people were sentenced to 15 year imprisonment totally, 1 people was discarded from job).

January-June 2003 Human Rights Violation Balance Sheet was collected from personal applications and various newspapers, journals, televisions and Internet sources.

Vedi anche:
* (Italian or German): | | | |

* www: |

Last update: 5.9.2003 | Copyright | Search engine | URL: | XHTML 1.0 / CSS | WEBdesign, Info: M. di Vieste
HOME | INDEX | Versione italiana