A capricious arbitrariness characterizes the punishment of free expression. This arbitrariness reflects the general political atmosphere during any given period. A journalist writes an article on a controversial topic without incident. A year later, however, the same reporter writing a similar story faces criminal charges. A series of articles may be published in a newspaper uneventfully, only to confront a legal challenge when republished as a book. A cartoonist for the satirical left-leaning political comic book Leman commented that, One year it is okay, nothing happens. It seems as if they dont follow you. Then all of a sudden the authorities start to make a fuss over nothing.123 Mustafa Islamo_lu, an Islamic intellectual, commented that, There is a space that does exist. It was not given, but taken by force. There is no general tendency. It is not unidirectional. It is a hit-and-run type thing. Sometimes the oppressing forces attack and try to push away the alternative forces and vice-versa.124 Ahmet Altan, a leading columnist and novelist, observed that,
You can say there is no freedom of expression, you can say there is press freedom, and you are right in both statements. Its not like in a typical dictatorshipthe borders are not clear, you cant know where they are. The application of the law is arbitrary. But in many ways the arbitrariness is worse. You dont know when you will get into trouble.125
Turkeys antiquated legal framework provides a basis for arbitrary actions. Though amended numerous times, the Turkish Penal Code dates from 1926, whenit was adopted from Mussolinis Italy.126 During that period, according to Bernard Lewis, a leading scholar on Turkey, Political activity against the regime was banned and newspapers were under strict control.127 Another scholar, Kemal Karpat, has written that, The press was most tightly controlled, both in its daily work and in obtaining permission for founding new publications. A Bas1n Birli_i (Press Union) was instituted for controlling the press.128
In 1946, however, after twenty-three years of virtually unchallenged, authoritarian one-party rule, the Republican Peoples Party (CHP) agreed to the introduction of a multi-party system. As part of the transition, martial law was lifted in 1947 and liberalizations were introduced at universities and in the electoral and association laws.129 Furthermore, the Press Law was liberalized, a partial press amnesty was introduced, and the executive lost the power to close newspapers, which reverted to the courts.130 After a crushing defeat in the 1950 elections, the CHP peacefully handed power to the newly-founded Democrat Party.
Even after this peaceful transition to multi-party democracy, however, much of the restrictive legal framework of the penal code was left intact. In fact, new laws restricting free expression were passed, some directed against Islamists and some at communists.131 One scholar has argued that,
By definition, a transition to democracy necessitates an increase in freedoms; in Turkey, however, changes in the penal code atthe time of this transition increased penalties for already outlawed acts like left-wing propaganda and organization.132
Further reform was often counterbalanced by new steps backward. Many of the freedoms granted in the 1961 constitution, considered an extremely liberal and enlightened document, were rescinded by Law No. 1488, passed in September 1971 by a technocratic government installed by the military in the wake of the Coup by Memorandum of March 12, 1971.133 The 1982 constitution, passed after the military coup of September 12, 1980, further regressed from the rights granted in the constitution of 1961 and codified many of the restrictions of Law No. 1488.
Although numerous draconian laws exist on the books, the scope of what can be discussed without fear of prosecution has grown to include most topics. Even when cases are opened, people still speak their minds. Oral Çal1slar, a columnist with the Istanbul daily Cumhuriyet, commented that after he received a two-year sentence under Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law, Murat Karayalç1n, then chairman of the Social Democratic Peoples Party (SHP), the junior partner in the coalition government at the time, called him to consult about amending the very law under which Mr. Çal1slar had been convicted.134 He added that, It was hard for two Canadian journalists I know to understand this. For example, the fact that I was working for state television and I received a sentence for separatist propaganda. In one of his columns, he quipped that,
Watching Yasar Kemal on the television program Siyaset Meydan1, I started to say to myself: Turkey is a strange country of contradictions. Our famous writer, one of Turkeys outstanding people, has become the topic of one its mostimportant programs. For hours he is defending the ideas for which he was convicted.135
Erbil Tüsalp, a columnist for the Istanbul daily Radikal, had a case opened against him for insulting then minister of justice, Sevket Kazan. According to Tüsalp, I wrote that in a government with such people, I am ashamed to be a citizen. I guess Sevket Kazan took it personally. When I learned that I was going to be tried, I wrote another article saying that We would meet.136
A host of laws exist that can be employed when the state feels threatened or wishes to target certain individuals. A study on the Kurdish conflict has noted, for example, that, There is almost an indirect relationship between the level of PKK activities and the ability of columnists, as well as others, to discuss non-military solutions to the Kurdish question. The best example came about during the cease-fire of 1993, when newspapers were full of stories about the PKK, whichwhile mostly negativedid not exhibit the hard edge they usually do.137 Mr. Çalislar, the Cumhuriyet columnist, commented that,
When state wants to take steps for democracy there becomes a bit more freedom. Four years earlier, during the period of the cease-fire, you could discuss all, including a peaceful solution. When the cease-fire ended...if you talked about such topics, you could get into trouble.138
As in many criminal justice systems throughout the world, penalties in Turkey vary according to the social status of the violator. Without exception, most individuals whom Human Rights Watch interviewed stated that newspapercolumnists in the mainstream pressmany of whom enjoy near superstar statushave the most freedom to write as they please. Ahmet Altan, the novelist and Yeni Yüzy1l columnist, observed that, I am not a good example. I write a critical article, it is printed. Im older. I get into trouble, I get even more fame... If someone writes the same thing, it might not happen.139 Oral Çalislar, the Cumhuriyet columnist, put himself in the same category with Mr. Altan: I am one of the people who has the fewest limits. Even though I am not afraid of violating them, it is a factor.140
If criminal proceedings are brought against such writers, they are almost never detained and their cases usually end in acquittal or suspended sentences.141 Ali Bayramo_lu, a former professor and columnist with Yeni Yüzy1l added that, It depends on who you are if they effect you directly or indirectly. My identity saves me, and my cases often end in acquittal....[In one case] I should have been guilty [according to the law]. But I was acquitted.142
Those writing for Kurdish nationalist newspapers and for radical left-wing publications occupy the bottom rung of the hierarchy, and a large number of cases are opened against them.143 These publications are sometimes closed by state authorities, either temporarily or permanentlya punishment that rarely strikes mainstream newspapers. Yurdusun Özsökmenter, assistant general publishing coordinator for the Kurdish nationalist paper [Ülkede] Gündem stated that, We started the paper in July 1997. Since then twenty of the forty-one issues we have printed have been confiscated....In addition, almost every day one of our distributors has been harassed.144 When cases are opened, the indicted are often remanded into custody and sometimes face mistreatment and torture during police interrogation. Prosecutions often end in conviction.
The following three cases represent both the arbitrary and hierarchical application of laws limiting freedom of expression. In two of the cases, journalists were prosecuted for writing an article despite the fact that they had written similarstories at an earlier date without charge. In the third case, three journalists were prosecuted for writing about a topic on which others reported without incident.
A respected journalist who has worked for the BBC, AFP, the French daily Libération, as well as a number of Turkish publications, Ragip Duran interviewed the leader of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, twice, once in 1991 and again in 1994. In March 1991, Mr. Duran published articles based on the interview in the center-left Istanbul daily Cumhuriyet.145 No prosecution followed. A little over three years later, Mr. Duran again interviewed the PKK leader. This time, however, he published his article in the now-closed, Kurdish nationalist daily Özgür Gündem.146 Mr. Duran and a colleague were subsequently charged under Article 7.2 of the Anti-Terror Law, which prohibits conducting propaganda for illegal organizations.147 While a lower court found his colleague innocent, Mr. Duran was sentenced to ten months of imprisonment and a fine of TL333,333,333 (around U.S. $4,000 at the time).148 He is currently serving his prison term at Saray prison outside Istanbul.
Timing clearly played a role in the prosecution of Mr. Duran. In early 1991, when he interviewed the PKK leader the first time, then President Özal was pushing for increased rights for Turkeys Kurds.149 During the general elections of October 1991, then leader of the True Path Party (DYP) Süleyman Demirel,announced that Turkey had acknowledged a Kurdish reality. That same month, then President Özal told the daily Hürriyet that, We will solve the Kurdish issue. It will be the last service I will do for my country. We must discuss every topic openly, including a federation.150 By 1994, however, when the second interview was published, fighting between security forces and the PKK was at its height.
Furthermore, while many liberal-left columnists and contributors contributed to Özgür Gündem, the papers overall editorial line was largely viewed as sympathetic to the goals of the PKK.151 Cumhuriyet, on the other hand, although often critical of shortcomings in Turkish democracy and the rule of law, is generally seen as a pro-Kemalist paper.
The second case involves Oral Çalislar, a Cumhuriyet columnist. In early 1993, Mr. Çalislar conducted a lengthy interview with Mr. Öcalan and with Kemal Burkay, the head of the Socialist Party of Kurdistan (SPK). The interview ran for eighteen days as a series of full-page articles in Cumhuriyet. No criminal proceedings were opened against him or the paper. Mr. Çalislar even joked that a public prosecutor called him to congratulate him on the interview:
Let me explain something comical to you. The head public prosecutor then, Ahmet Koksal, called me and said, It was a great interview. Good job. He was talking about the interview I did with Öcalan and Burkay, which ran as a series in Cumhuriyet in 1993. There was a preliminary investigation, but it was dropped, absolutely no problem.152
When the series of interviews was published in book form in September 1993, however, the State Security Court in Istanbul banned the publication under Article 28 of the constitution, deeming it to be separatist propaganda.153 Shortlythereafter, Mr. Çalislar and the books publisher, Muzaffer Erdo_an, were charged under Articles 8.1 and 8.2 for conducting separatist propaganda.154 The indictment stated that, It is understood that separatist propaganda has been made by stating that one part of the land of the State of the Republic of Turkey was shown as Kurdistan, that the Kurdish people are a separate nation, and are fighting a war of national liberation...155 In October 1994, both men were found guilty: Mr. Çalislar was fined and given a two-year sentence; Mr. Erdo_an was given six months and fined.156 When Article 8 was amended in October 1995, the sentences were reduced, but the state prosecutor appealed to restore the original penalties. The case is being retried.
Again, timing played a role. The interview appeared during a cease-fire, which, although not officially recognized by state authorities, held for nearly two months. The banning of the book and the subsequent prosecution occurred during an escalation of the conflict.157
The third case involves three journalists who were prosecuted for interviewing two former PKK members, Murat Ipek and Murat Demir. Ahmet Sümbül and Zeynal Ba_1r of the now-banned Kurdish nationalist Demokrasi newspaper and Abdulkadir Konuksever of the mainstream ATV television station were remanded into custody in the summer of 1997 and charged under Article 169, aiding and abetting the PKK.158 According to the indictment, The suspects...acting according to the goals of the illegal PKK terror organization, by use of pressure and threat forced Murat Ipek and Murat Demir to make statements to the press and in television, and thus helped the PKK organization.159 In articles that appeared in Demokrasi, Mr. Ipek and Mr. Demir alleged that they committed in conjunction with security forces several death squad style murders, including those of the ethnic Kurdish poet Musa Anter.160
The two men, however, had previously made similar statements to two prominent journalists and appeared before a Turkish parliamentary commission investigating the January 1993 car-bomb murder of investigative journalist U_ur Mumcu. According to the Yasar Altürk, counsel to the three accused:
Murat Ipek and Murat Demir said the same things to my clients as they did to numerous other journalists. They [the two former PKK members] spoke to the U_ur Mumcu Investigation Commission in parliament. They spoke to Mehmet Ali Birand of the program 32nd Day. They spoke to Kadir Çelik of the Objektif program on Show TV. The prosecution says that my clients forced Ipek and Demir to speak and say these things in line with orders from the PKK. But there is absolutely no evidence for this. If what Murat Ipek had stated occurred only in Diyarbak1r, maybe one could believe such an allegation. But he said these things all over Turkey and to many journalists and others as well.161
On October 6, 1997, Messrs. Sümbül and Konuksever and Ms. Ba_1r were released from custody, though their trial continued until September 22, 1998, when they were acquitted.
Prosecution and Repression of the Kurdish-Nationalist Press and Writers
Ethnic Kurds who express a group or political identity that is uniquely Kurdish face severe prosecution and repression from the state.162 Pro-Kurdish or nationalist Kurdish publications and writers run a fairly broad ideological gamut. Some have an editorial policy sympathetic to the PKK or openly support the PKK. The head of the PKK, Abdullah Öcalan, even used to write a column under the pen name Ali Euphrates in one of the Kurdish-nationalist dailies, Özgür Gündem. Other Kurdish-nationalist publications support one of the smaller legal political parties or parties that, while not engaged in violence, remain outlawed in Turkey, such as Kemal Burkays Socialist Party of Kurdistan (SPK).
All these newspapers, however, share one thing in common: they all face serious abuses, such as the assassination of journalists by shadowy death squads, imprisonment, mistreatment while in police detention, and the confiscation and closing of newspapers. When cases are opened against those working at Kurdish-nationalist publications, the incidence of guilty verdicts and of remand into custody appears to be higher than with prosecutions involving mainstream journalists.163 Such cases usually, though not exclusively, involve prosecution under Article 312.2 of the penal code and Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law. The following cases, while not exhaustive, are illustrative of such prosecutions.
· In June 1997, Ahmet Zeki Okçuo_lu, a lawyer and owner of the Doz publishing house, entered prison to serve a ten-month sentence for his1995 conviction under Article 159 of the penal code.164 Mr. Okçuo_lu, along with his responsible editor, Sedat Karakas, were charged with insulting the moral identity of the Republic and Judiciary for an article Mr. Okçuo_lu wrote for the bilingual, Turkish-Kurdish weekly Azadi (Freedom).165 The court ruled that, In the article titled, The Turkish Republic Does Not Want to Make Peace with the Kurds, which is the subject of the trial and was written by Ahmet Zeki Okçuo_lu, the moral personality of the Turkish Republic was insulted [by stating that] the Turkish Republic took the Kurds under control by force, denied their identity and national rights, conducted genocide against Kurds, worked to assimilate them, denied the existence of Kurds, by illegal methods took their rights, and, furthermore, qualified the Turkish Republic as terrorist...166
· Y1lmaz Odabas1, a writer and journalist who has worked at various newspapers, faced three separate prosecutions connected with his book, Düs ve Yasam (Hope and Life). Two were directly because of the work and one was related to a statement he made during a court hearing. The three cases included one under Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law for separatist propaganda; a second under both Law No. 5816 for insulting Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish republic and under Article 145 of the penal code for insulting the flag or other symbols of state sovereignty; and a third case under Article 159 for insulting the court.167
In the first case, Mr. Odabas1 was sentenced to eighteen months of imprisonment and a fine of TL933 million (U.S. $7594) in March 1997, while his publisher was given a fine of TL67.85 million (U.S. $522) under Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law. In the indictment, the prosecutor charged that,
Having examined the contents of the book in question, it has been indicated that in Turkeydespite the existence of the Turkish peoplethere is another people with a perspective based on race, and that the struggle against the illegal separatist terror organization is actually a struggle of a people for their identity by stating that these people moan under state terror.168
For his part, Mr. Odabas1 stated that, I am not a supporter of the idea of an independent Kurdish state. However, in our country the existence of Kurds also cannot be denied. If mentioning the existence of Kurds is separatism, then I am a separatist.169 The case is presently on appeal.
In the second case, Mr. Odabasi and his publisher, Niyazi Koçak, were acquitted on appeal of charges of insulting Atatürk and insulting the national anthem in April 1998. In overturning the two-year and six-month sentence, the High Appeals Court (Yarg1tay) ruled that, The thoughts that Y1lmaz Odabas1 expressed and wrote remained within the borders of criticism. In the indictment, the prosecutor had argued that the following statement had insulted the memory of Atatürk:
Didnt Kemalism slaughter Mustafa Suphi and his comrades? Didnt Kemalism throw Naz1m in jail for years because he was a communist? In the southeast, from Dersim to the Sheik Said rebellions, werent hundreds of villages burned and tens of thousands slaughtered in the most frightening way under the directives of Mustafa Kemal and then under the special auspices of Fetih Okyar and others.170
Finally, upon the announcement of the sentence in the first case in March 1997, Mr. Odabas1 exclaimed to the chief judge of the State Security Court, I am ashamed to live in the same country as you. For this he was remanded into custody and charged with insulting the court. He was quickly released from detention, but on September 14, 1998, Mr. Odabas1 was sentenced to seven months in this trial.
· In August 1996, Fatih Yesilba_, who served as the responsible editor of the now-closed pro-Kurdish daily Özgür Gündem during the period between August and September 1993, was remanded into custody and put on trial under Article 159 of the penal code and Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law. He was released from prison after Law No. 4304 was passed in August 1997, which suspended the sentences and cases of responsible editors.171
Prosecution and Pressure on the Islamist Press
Pressure against the Islamist press, writers and others has increased markedly over the past two years, a result of the Turkish militarys fear of what it perceives as the increasing Islamization of society.172 Turkey has a broad spectrum of Islamist publications, ranging from independent to pro-Iranian. Major Islamist dailies include Zaman, Yeni Safak, Akit, and Milli Gazete. Zaman is a mass-circulation, quality daily published by a holding company associated with Fetullah Gülen, a moderate who preaches a Turkish-Islamic synthesis. Yeni Safak is considered a paper for Islamist intellectuals, while Milli Gazete supports the now-banned Welfare Party and its successor, Fazilet. Akit is considered the most radical of the lot. Islamist television stations include Samanyolu and Channel 7, among others.
Two main laws are primarily used to prosecute Islamists. The first, Law No. 5816, concerning crimes committed against Atatürk, penalizes anyone whopublicly insults or curses the memory of Atatürk.173 As the number of prosecutions has risen, however, state authorities increasingly use Article 312.2 of the penal code which prohibits, openly incit[ing] people to enmity and hatred by pointing to class, racial, religious, confessional, or regional differences... There has even been the suggestion of reinstituting Article 163 of the penal code which was used in the past to penalize Islamists and was abolished in 1991 after the passage of the Anti-Terror Law.174 Before its abolition, Article 163.4 punished those who, contrary to secularism, make propaganda or suggestions with the purpose of adopting, even partially, the basic social, economic, political, or judicial structures of the State based on religious principles or beliefs or with the purpose of obtaining political benefits or personal influence by making use of religion or religious sentiments or sacred things....
The following cases are representative of prosecutions against Islamist politicians, intellectuals, and writers.
· On April 22, 1998, the popular mayor of greater Istanbul, Recep Tayyip Erdo_an of the Islamist Fazilet Party, the successor of the now-banned Welfare Party, was sentenced to ten months of imprisonment under Article 312.2 of the penal code and fined TL716,666 (U.S. $14.58). Mr. Erdo_an was prosecuted for a speech he made in Siirt in December 1997 in which he quoted the following poem: The minarets are our swords, the mosques are barracks, the domes are helmets.175 The poem, which served as the basis for the prosecution, was written by Ziya Gökalp, an ethnic Kurd who is considered the intellectual father of Turkish nationalism. Initially, the Diyarbak1r State Security Court prosecutor, who has jurisdiction for Siirt, decided not to prosecute the case.176 In September 1998, the High Court of Appeals (Yarg1tay) confirmed the conviction. Mr.Erdo_ana favorite for reelection as mayor and possible successor as leader of the main Islamist partyis banned from politics for life under Turkish law because of the conviction.
· Mustafa _slamo_lu, an Islamist intellectual and writer, has been prosecuted several times and imprisoned twice because of his writings and speeches.177 In October 1995, he was remanded into custody after his sentence under Article 159, insulting Turkishness and the Republic, was confirmed upon appeal. Mr. _slamo_lu was prosecuted because of a speech in November 1993 at a forum on the Kurdish question organized by the Islamist human rights group, Mazlum-Der. The court ruled that,
He gave a talk on the Kurdish question. In this talk, with an Islamist philosophical point of view, he criticized the period of the Ottoman Empire starting with Tanzimat together with the Republican period. He stated that in Anatolia unity cannot be achieved on the basis of racism. He stated that people of many races lived in Anatolia. Racism gave way to disunity. He stated that the common identity of those living in Turkey is Islam. Consequently, unity could be achieved in an Islamic framework. He stated that the heart of the slogan How happy is he who calls himself Turk was a slogan that smelled of an ignorant and rotting racism...As outlined in the details above, the individual who openly insulted and ridiculed the Republic...shall be punished according to penal code Article 159/1 to one year of heavy imprisonment...178
While he was in prison on the first charge, a second conviction under the Law Concerning Crimes Committed Against Atatürk was upheld by the High Court of Appeals. The prosecution stemmed from a December 13, 1993, article, Black Voice (Kara Ses) in the weekly Selam.179 Theprosecutor instituted the charges because Mr. _slamo_lu allegedly referred to the founder of the Republic of Turkey, Mustafa Kemal, as a dictator. In his written defense, Mr. _slamo_lus lawyer argued that,
....When my clients article is evaluated, it is seen that [my] client has dealt with the 270-year period of Westernism and the Process of Westernization. A direct connection with Atatürk cannot be seen in the topic of the piece. In the writing the criticism is of the political movement that has the name Westernism and has its roots stretching from Ahmet III and Damad Ibrahim Pasa...the piece is a whole....The word Dictator mentioned has more to do with a party dictatorship, than with a person....Many documents have shown that the methods of administration of the Atatürk period could be qualified as a dictatorship, not a democracy. Even Atatürk himself personally established this determination. On July 23, 1930, he himself confessed to Fethi Okyar, one of the leading figures of the national struggle, that his administration was a dictatorship.180
Mr. _slamo_lu served a total of one year on both charges.
· On March 5, 1998, Ayd1n Koral, the general publications director of the weekly Selam was convicted of violating Article 312.2 of the penal code for a May 16, 1997, article, Secular Militarist Oligarchy and Jerusalem Occupier Zionism. Mr. Koral, was given twenty months, though the case is on appeal. Under the press law, the court closed Selam for two weeksbecause of the conviction.181 Korals article spoke of the danger of increasing ties between Israel and Turkey.182
Prosecution of the Mainstream Press and Writers
Although the mainstream press has the greatest latitude to debate sensitive issues, it too faces state censure. Those prosecuted are usually columnists or other high-ranking journalists who have the authority to write as they pleaseand thus the capacity to violate taboos. Copy of low-level journalists, on the other hand, usually is filtered through editors, who often tone down or eliminate problematic reporting.183 Mainstream journalists who are charged are rarely detained during their trial. Often they are acquitted or given suspended sentences, as if the members of the court feel unease at condemning individuals whom they most likely read and, possibly, admire. At times, however, even mainstream journalists are imprisoned. At present, this is the exception, rather than the rule. The following four cases are illustrative of such prosecutions.
· On June 16, 1998, Umur Talu, a columnist for the Istanbul daily Milliyet, reporter Zeliha Midilli, and their responsible editor, Eren Güvener, were acquitted on charges of insulting the court (penal code Article 159) for critical articles and columns about the Manisa trial.184 In a column titled, Torture, Truncheon, and Pocket Telephone, Mr. Talu complained that those on trial were found guilty despite the fact that little evidence of the crime existed apart from testimony allegedly taken under torture.185 Hecommented that,If the judiciary, in the trial of incident where torture has been proven, is not going to question the files submitted to the court, what is the use of hearings. Then, let the police stations give punishments. Its like that most of the time anyway, but what I mean is lets make it official and be done with it. So, this is what dependent judiciary is; in the sense of being dependent on torture. Ms. Midilli was charged for an article she wrote in the January 18, 1997, edition of Milliyet, Bu karar çok tart1s1lacak (This Verdict is Really Debatable.)
· After being interviewed by Nilgün Cerraho_lu in the Intellectual Viewpoint section of the daily Milliyet on June 28, 1996, Çetin Altan, a left-wing intellectual and columnist in the daily Sabah, was put on trial for insulting the state under Article 159 of the penal code for the following statement: I want the state to cease being a gang and base itself on the rule of law.186 The journalist who conducted the interview, Ms. Cerraho_lu, and her responsible editor, Eren Güvener, were tried on the same charges. All were acquitted in January 1997.
· On June 26, 1996, Ali Bayramo_lu, columnist at the Istanbul daily Yeni Yüzy1l, and his responsible editor, _smet Berkan, were acquitted on charges filed under Article 312 of the penal code for a column by Mr. Bayramo_lu, Why Was Ahmet Altan Sent Away? (Ahmet Altan Niçin Gönderildi).187 Mr. Bayramo_lu questioned the firing of the columnist Ahmet Altan by the daily Milliyet after Mr. Altan was charged under Article 312 for a column he wrote in the April 17, 1995, issue of Milliyet, Father Kurd.188 Mr. Bayramo_lu told Human Rights Watch that, I wasacquitted. The prosecutor said, Criticizing state policy is not the same as criticizing the state.189
· In January 1997, Mete Göktürk, a prosecutor at the Istanbul State Security Court, was arraigned under Article 159 for an October 14, 1996, article he wrote for the daily Yeni Yüzy1l and an appearance he made on the November 8, 1996, program of the political talk show, Siyaset Meydan1. Mr. Göktürk complained that the Higher Council of Judges and Prosecutors (Hâkimler ve Savc1lar Yüksek Kurulu-HSYK ), which appoints judges and prosecutors and regulates their professional life, was not independent from political manipulation.190 In a decision to send the case to the High Court of Appeals for prosecution, a lower court argued that Mr. Göktürks statements, did not comply with the requirements of his official title and could cause a false and denigrating understanding and interpretation of the moral personality of the Justice Ministry and the Higher Council of Judges and Prosecutors...191 Mr. Göktürk was eventually acquitted of these charges.
Restrictions on Reporting the Conflict in Southeastern Turkey
Since 1984, southeastern Turkey, largely inhabited by ethnic Kurds, has been the scene of armed conflict between government security forces and the PKK (Workers Party of Kurdistan). A militant armed Kurdish group, the PKK has voiced explicit claims ranging from complete independence to regional autonomy within Turkey. Although no independently-confirmed figures exist, between 1984 and 1996 the government reported that 23,000 individuals had been killed in the conflict, including 13,878 PKK members, 4,310 civilians, and 2,917 government soldiers. Since early 1996, the fighting has reduced in intensity and moved toremote mountain areas or to Northern Iraq. The PKK, while weakened, still maintains the ability to operate.
In July 1987, ten provinces in the region were placed under emergency rule because of an increase in fighting. This strict decree gave security forces special powers, including the right to hold security detainees in incommunicado detention for up to thirty days and to restrict the press. In July 1998, the parliament of Turkey approved a four-month extension of the state of emergency in the following provinces: Diyarbak1r, Hakkari, Siirt, Sirnak, Tunceli and Van.
The conflict has been characterized by severe human rights abuses by both security forces and the PKK. In 1992, the government intensified a counterinsurgency campaign against the PKK, forcibly evacuating and burning rural villages. The majority of the more than 2,500 villages and hamlets depopulated in the region since 1984 are believed to be the result of this campaign. Credible estimates put the number of displaced at 560,000. The PKK in turn launched attacks against both security forces and villages that had joined the government civil-defense village guard program, killing village guards and their families alike. The group also assassinated those suspected of cooperating with the state, such as teachers, civil servants, and former PKK members. A wave of so-called actor unknown murders struck Kurdish-nationalist intellectuals and journalists as well as suspected PKK members, with the number of such deaths rising to more than 1,200 between 1992 and 1995. Credible evidence points to the fact that these actor unknown murders were carried out by groups operating with or under the connivance of security forces.192
With each new year of fighting, journalists faced increasing pressure from both the state and the PKK. A Diyarbak1r-based journalist working at a mainstream daily for the past fourteen years, noted that, There is a conflict, two sides are fighting with guns, with weapons. But there is a psychological side to the conflict. And that is important. They didnt want journalists to make objective reporting. Period. Both sides did it from time to time.193
Reporting conducted through 1990 could only be dreamed about in 1992. Stories filed from the region in 1992 were, for the most part, impossible to write three or four years later. The vigorous investigative journalism of the late 1980s, such as reporting by Cumhuriyets Celal Baslang1ç about an episode in which gendarmerie troops forced villagers to eat human excrement, is a journalisticrelic.194 A Diyarbak1r-based reporter for an Istanbul daily complained that, From 1984 to 1987, it was easy to work as a journalist. You basically went where you wanted and there were no problems. After the PKK attacks increased, there were limits. After OHAL [State of Emergency Rule] was introduced in 1987, it became even harder to get information. After a while, 1990 or so, there was one source to get information, which was the emergency governors office.195 By the end of 1993, journalism, for the most part, was practiced in name only.
Three main reasons account for the collapse of journalism in southeastern Turkey: political violence; restrictive laws; intimidation from both the state and the PKK.
As previously discussed, political violence claimed the lives of twenty-nine journalists in Turkey between 1992-95.196 The majority were murdered in southeastern Turkey by shadowy counter-guerilla and Hizbullah deaths squads believed by many to be linked to, or tolerated by, security forces, though the PKK is believed to have murdered five. At the height of the killings in early 1993, the weekly of the Turkish Daily News stated that, It is evident, however, that without a degree of local official cooperation, carrying out attacks against this newspaper or its staff would not be possiblenot, at least, without any culprits being caught. 197 Y1lmaz Odabas1, a journalist and writer, who worked in Diyarbak1r during the height of the killings in 1992-93, stated that,
I was afraid. In 1993, I left Diyarbak1r because of this. Counter-guerillas were looking for me...I was in the office of the newspaper. It was in 1993, around 5-6 p.m. I had two guns with me. Two men came to my door. They said that they were fromthe Security Directorate. I call the Security Directorate, they said that they didnt send anybody. I didnt open the door obviously. That is what prompted me to leave Diyarbak1r.198
The second impediment was legal. A number of long-standing prohibitions threatened journalists with imprisonment for writing critical stories.199 Furthermore, most of the provinces that comprise the ethnically Kurdish areas of southeastern Turkey had been placed under emergency rule since 1987.200 The situation worsened in April 1990, when the Council of Ministers under then Prime Minister Turgut Özal passed Decree 413, the so-called Censor and Exile Decree (Sansür ve Sürgün Kararnamesi).201 Among other powers, Decree 413 and subsequent decrees that replaced it gave the Emergency Rule Governor the power to ban and confiscate publications and close the printing houses. The decree threatened penalties against publications that, wrongly represent incidents occurring in a region under a state of emergency, disturb[ing] its readers with distorted news stories or commentaries, caus[ing] anxiety among people in the region and obstruct[ing] security forces in the performance of their jobs.202 The decree had the effect of prior censorship: editors refused to run stories that they feared would lead to a closure of the paper and printing house.203 Although in December 1990 and May 1991 the Constitutional Court ruled that Decree 413 andits successors were unconstitutional, the decisions were not published in the Official Gazettethus giving them the force of lawuntil 1992.204
Finally, neither security authorities in the region nor the PKK trust journalists, and both sides try to use the press to its own ends. Police are extremely suspicious of reporters, whom they view as needless meddlers and troublemakers.205 One Diyarbak1r-based journalist working for an Istanbul daily complained that, No threats of late, but sometimes the security forces deal with us in a tough manner. Sometimes they hit you, give you dirty looks. About twenty days ago, at the airport, a policeman told me, If this wasnt a public place I would show you.206 Another griped that, I have been threatened by the police, film confiscated, beaten. The past couple of years, no beating. But this year, last year, they took our film. The reason was that we had met with the PKK. But the real reason was that they wanted to get pictures of the PKK.207 The editor of the Turkish-Kurdish bilingual weekly Hêvi, stated that,
We have an office in Diyarbak1r, but outside of Diyarbak1r we do not have an office because of pressure from the authorities. We have reporters, but they cant show their press cards that we issue them. That will bring even more harassment from the police. When they see it they say we are terrorists.208
When detained, journalists are often mistreated by the police.
The PKK has mirrored the repressive attitude toward journalists displayed by state authorities. According to the French group Reporters sans Frontieres, The PKK has always had a hostile attitude toward the mainstream press and private television stations because of the belief that they spy for military or intelligenceorganizations.209 In October 1993, the PKK ordered all the Diyarbak1r-based bureau chiefs of the mainstream dailies to gather at a camp outside of Diyarbak1r and ordered them to cease operations because of their biased and one-sided reporting... which favored state forces and acted like the henchmen of the...Emergency Rule Governor.210 If their offices remained open, the PKK warned that the journalists would became revolutionary targets.211 With few exceptions, almost all the papers closed their bureaus until mid-1994.212
The PKK has also threatened journalists who wrote unfavorably about their struggle. One journalist based in Diyarbak1r for an Istanbul daily reported that,
There are threats from both sides. When you go to the PKK side and try to interview them, they say, You are not writing the truth. I wrote one story. The PKK didnt like it so they threatened me. In the end, nothing happened. Even though we are Kurds, we work at mainstream papers and they do not trust us.213
Another ethnic-Kurdish journalist who reported from the southeast stated that,
I wrote an article once criticizing Öcalan for his inflated statements and the cult of personality around him. After this article was published, two or three young guys came to me. They pushed me against the wall and said, If you are not careful withyour pen we will destroy you. They were PKK, no doubt, but I dont know for sure if the PKK officially sent them. Once before I was threatened by the PKK. I wrote an article which was critical of certain aspects of their violence. Shortly thereafter I received a call from a PKK member who told me, If you continue to do reformism you should leave Diyarbak1r. Its funny, because when the PKK was threatening me, the death squads were threatening me, too.214
The PKK also has conducted a policy of kidnapping journalists who do not acquire press credentials from the ERNK, the political wing of the PKK. Since 1994, five journalists have been kidnapped; two were held for three months.215 The kidnapping of journalists, like that of foreign tourists, serves as a propaganda stunt to show that the ARGK, the military wing of the PKK, can operate in the southeast. As one local journalist explained:
Some journalists have been kidnapped and taken to the mountains at a PKK roadblock. Journalists have to get permission from the ERNK. They kidnap the journalist to make propaganda, say that we control the region, then they try to protect them from getting killed until the journalist is released.216
The ARGKs ability to kidnap journalist has been reduced along with their diminished military capacity in the region. The last kidnapping occurred on April 30, 1995, when Ferit Demir, a freelance journalist in Tunceli province, was held by the PKK for a little over a week . The previous kidnapping took place in March 1995, when an ARGK unit held AFP journalist Kadri Gürsel and Reuters photographer Fati Sar1bas for twenty-six days.217
The Present Situation
Present reporting on the fourteen-year conflict in southeastern Turkey is sketchy, at best. Despite the fact that almost all the major Turkish dailies have offices in Diyarbak1r, most daily reporting now consists of republishing statements on PKK casualties issued by the Office of the Emergency Rule Governor.218 When more detailed stories are written, they often deal with non-controversial topics, such as an article about the grand opening of a tennis court in Tunceli province, a scene of heavy fighting and wide scale displacement.219 Stories that attempt to deal with more sensitive topics often skirt delicate issues: an article on the displaced states that they left their homes because of terror without any further examination of that issue.220
The military has also begun to organize press tours, but this effort is aimed more at public relations than at facilitating good journalism. Oktay Eksi, head of the Press Council of Turkey and chief columnist at Hürriyet, summed up the present situation as follows: You learn something by chance in the southeast. You learn only what the government allows you to learn. That region is in darkness. Unfortunately, you cant see the real facts in the southeast....The cost is very high.221
From time to time, however, journalists do manage to travel to the region to conduct independent reporting, and columnists sometimes write unvarnished accounts of the strife, based on first-hand information.222 Two stories by Cumhuriyet correspondent Celal Y1lmaz on alleged abuses by Special Team members in the Varto district of Bingöl province provide an example of good reporting under tough circumstances. His reporting is based on multiple sources and on eyewitness testimony and seeks to verify independently statements given by state officials. In one of his columns in Cumhuriyet, Hikmet Çetinkaya quotes at length the parents of a young man, Mazlum Mansuro_lu, who was allegedly detained and murdered by security forces in Tunceli province. In addition, parliamentarians will sometimes travel to the region to investigate the situation, and the journalists who accompany them will report their often critical findings unfiltered. Such reporting is certainly the exception, not the rule.
Lack of access to the regionespecially to scenes of fighting in rural areaswas the major complaint of Diyarbak1r-based journalists. Over time, the area in which journalists can move freely has been reduced to Diyarbak1r and certain provincial capitals in the region. Rural areas have largely become a no-go zone. No journalist, foreign or Turkish, has been able to enter Northern Iraq since 1996 save for an occasional press pool organized and guided by the Turkish Army. In February 1997, the New York Times Istanbul bureau chief was detained by security forces for a day near a village in Batman province and interrogated.223 A journalist working in the Diyarbak1r office of a Istanbul daily noted that,
The regional governor sends us a fax, we accept it and write the news to the newspaper. For example, there is a fax that says that on Cudi mountain 150 PKK were killed. We dont have the possibility to go there and investigate. To see bodies, to find out details about the clash, where it happened, where are the bodies. Local people dont believe it, but the Turkish people out of the region do. If we dont write the story based on these faxes, thenthe Anatolian News Agency sends out the story and our editors complain to us why we didnt write the story.224
Another journalist working in Diyarbak1r for a mainstream daily had similar problems:
Sometimes you could follow the village evacuations. You went to a village. [Now] it is impossible to go to the scene of an armed clash or the scene of an incident....[you can go] only if the regional governor gives you his permission. You end up with an organized trip....So, for example, if I wanted to go to Lice, I would get sent back at the first checkpoint. I tried to go to Tunceli yesterday. I was given a policeman and he followed me the entire time. It is difficult to be a journalist on your own. At the border to Tunceli province, they [the authorities] take your press card and give you a policeman.225
The Confiscation of Publications and Books and the Closing of Newspapers 226
Both the constitution and the Press Law give prosecutors the power to stop distribution of a publication without previously obtaining a court order.227 A judge,however, must ratify the prosecutors action within forty-eight hours or it becomes invalid. A judge may also confiscate a publication for reasons of national security or if a criminal investigation has been opened against it.228 Acts triggering confiscation are broadly defined as threats to the internal or external security of the state... which tend to incite offense, riot or insurrection. Under the 1961 constitution, in contrast, prosecutors did not have the power to confiscate publications. Law No. 1488, passed five months after the March 1971 coup, however, amended the constitution to give prosecutors that power. This change was carried over into the 1982 constitution.
Periodicals may be temporarily closed by a court order if the writers at the publication have been convicted of certain crimes, such as threatening the unity ofthe state.229 In addition, publications that are deemed a continuation of banned publications are forbidden. Additional Article 2.2 of the 1950 Press Law (No. 7564) sets the temporary period of closure from three days to one month.230 In 1983, shortly before the military relinquished power to a civilian government, the press law was amended to include Article 2.2.231
Prosecutors primarily, though not exclusively, target far-left and Kurdish-nationalist publicationsespecially those whose editorial policy sympathizes with armed groups, such as the PKK or the armed extremist-left group Dev-Sol. In 1996, the French media watch-dog group Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF) reported that on twenty-nine different occasions twenty newspapers or other periodicals were suspended from publishing for varying periods of time.232 In addition, fifty-three daily, weekly, or monthly periodicals faced confiscation 201 times in 1996.233 In 1997, RSF reported the following figures: on thirty-four different occasions thirty-one publications were suspended from publishing for varying periods oftime; thirty-three daily, weekly, or monthly periodicals faced confiscation seventy-eight times.234
Confiscation and closure cases include the following:
· On August 16, 1995, the fifth Istanbul Penal Court closed down the Kurdish-nationalist daily Yeni Politika under Article 2.2 of the press law because it was deemed to be a continuation of its banned predecessor, Özgür Ülke. That newspaper had been closed under the same law in February 1995.
· On May 9, 1996, the now defunct, left-wing daily Evrensel was suspended from publishing for seventy-five days by order of the Istanbul State Security Court; the paper was deemed to have violated Article 312 of the penal code, which prohibits incitement of hatred based on ethnicity, religion, race, or confession, because of an interview with an army officer who alleged that he had carried out reprisals in southeastern Turkey
· On February 17, 1997, the mainstream-liberal daily Radikal was confiscated by order of a prosecutor. Its offense was to republish an Islamist critique of the role of Atatürk that appeared on February 15 in the mainstream French publication, Le Figaro Magazine. The article was deemed to violate a 1951 law protecting the legacy of Atatürk.
· On September 8, 1997, Istanbul State Security Court No. 2 banned the publication of Celal Alî Bedirxans 1934 work On the Kurdish Question (Kürt Sorunu Üzerine) by a small, independent Kurdish publisher, Avesta.235
· On May 8, 1998, the High Court of Appeals confirmed a ten-day closure of the Kurdish- nationalist daily, Ülkede Gündem. The paper was closed because of an August 4, 1997, article by the chairman of the now-bannedKurdish nationalist Democracy Party titled, The Tragedy of Dersim. The court ruled that the article violated Article 312 of the penal code.236
Even overtly non-political works can, at times, run afoul of the authorities. Emre Y1lmazs wry, inside look at Istanbul high-finance and big business, A Young Businessman (Genç bir _sadam1), was temporarily banned in 1996 on morals charges. 237
Self-censorship is a fact of life in Turkey, whether one speaks of the mainstream press or of Kurdish-nationalist publications sympathetic to the PKK. In the case of the mainstream press, self-censorship is motivated by two main factors: fear of prosecution and an internalized deference to state authority on the part of the editors. In the case of the Kurdish-nationalist press, self-censorship manifests itself as fealtyeither imposed or voluntaryto a purported higher political cause.
In the Mainstream Press
Self-censorship is imposed when writing on a number of sensitive topics, such as the proper role of the military, political Islam, the conflict in southeastern Turkey, the Kurdish minority, and the events surrounding the 1915 expulsion from eastern Turkey and subsequent massacre of large numbers of ethnic Armenians by the Ottoman government.239 Self-censorship is largely a function of the overallclimate: there is less during more liberal periods and more when outside restrictions are tightened. Some top-level columnists told Human Rights Watch that they never resorted to self-censorship, while others said they did. Self-censorship operates on at least two different levels: by journalists and by columnists when they write the actual piece; and, later, by editors.
Many journalists reported thatat the very leastthey were cognizant of the boundaries and of how far these boundaries might be pushed without evoking a legal response. Ahmet Altan, a popular novelist and columnist for the daily Yeni Yüzy1l, stated that, Among the administration of the press, there is self-censorship. Among the writers, it depends. Younger, lesser known journalists appear acutely aware of limitations and the need to pay fealty to them. A Diyarbak1r-based correspondent for a mainstream daily complained that, Some practice self-censorship, others do not. I try not to. If something happens, I write a story. But I dont write a story if I am sure that it will not be published.240 An Istanbul-based journalist working at a mainstream daily reported that, There are a lot of young journalists who want to reveal facts, but the editors tell them, Dont bring me news like this.241
Some older, more popular columnists, on the other hand, are less easily intimidated. Oktay Eksi, the chief columnist for the mainstream daily Hürriyet, stated that, I personally have the right to write what I want.
Other high-ranking, popular columnists disagree, while admitting that they have a large degree of latitude. Oral Çal1slar, a columnist at the Istanbul daily Cumhuriyet, complained that,
We journalists think about whether we will get into trouble if we criticize things like drug dealing connected with the war. Especially if it is aimed at a high level....I write everyday, and I am being careful not to commit a crime. If I were to write completely freely, I could have a court case against me....But I am one of the people who has the fewest limits. Even though I am not afraid of violating them, it is a factor.242
Koray Düzgören, a former columnist at the daily Radikal and long-time journalist, noted that, Even me personally, I question myself. If I timidly support what I believe in [because of the need for self-censorship], I pull my article.243
A second level of self-censorship is imposed by editors, who act as a filter to screen out stories that may cause problems. Often they serve as conduits for the interests of newspaper owners.244 Mr. Düzgören commented that: The main pressure....is from ourselves and our editors. In many cases, if people took a stand, the state would not care.245 A young journalist who worked at the daily Yeni Yüzy1l described the dilemma in which editors found themselves when they wanted to adopt a more critical tone:
For example, I worked at Yeni Yüzy1l for about a year, directly after it started publication. It started as a good paper and really took on sensitive issues, like the Kurdish question. But soon the editors working there began to have conflicted feelings. They wanted to be more sensitive, but they started not to want to write such critical things. To write news about torture means that you criticize the state, which means that you are a leftist. The stories the editor-in-chief rejected would be given to the news editor, who would try to publish it. He would publish it, but then he got in trouble and the practice stopped.246
Often the pressure comes from editors indirectly, in the form of suggestions or hints. A well-known columnist at an Istanbul daily reported velvet-gloved pressure from his editor in an effort to force him to stop writing about the now-banned Islamist Welfare (Refah) Party:
Up to six months ago [April 1997] I could do all I wanted, then I had to start to limit myself. That didnt happen with direct warnings, but I am in close contact with my executives. Not a censorship mechanism but an autocensorship mechanism. For example, when Refah was in power my editors wanted me tostop writing about them. I was trying to write about them objectively.247
In the Kurdish-Nationalist Press
Self-censorship also affects pro-Kurdish or Kurdish-nationalist newspapers and publications. As one ethnic Kurdish observer commented, The status of the Kurdish establishment and the Turkish establishment are largely the same: self-limiting and censoring. Whatever is going on in the Turkish circles is going on in the Kurdish circles.248 Usually, the self-censorship comes in the form of suppressing news or information that is critical of a Kurdish political faction, usually the PKK. A young, liberal journalist working at a mainstream paper commented that,
There is no difference between Sabah, Hürriyet, and Gündem in the following respect. Each paper has the right to make news according to its political beliefs and editorial policy. The news that they report and the way that they report it are different. In the first days of Özgür Gündem they wrote, Our side captured a Jandarma station. We know where they are coming from. They are supporting an organization through their thoughts. It is their legal right. Hürriyet does the same, but they do not pay a price [to the state]. As a result of not paying the price of self-censorship to one side, they pay the price of self-censorship to the other side. Mainstream papers have self-censorship.249
Two journalists working at Ülkede Gündem, a daily pro-Kurdish newspaper published in Istanbul, differed on whether self-censorship existed: one admitted to Human Rights Watch that it did exist, while the other denied such allegations outright.250
The PKKs intolerant attitude toward dissident voices has fostered self-censorship among Kurdish intellectuals and Kurdish publications. One observer of the Kurdish question in Turkey complained that, Last year I went to Germany for a conference of Kurdish intellectuals. They face a major problem: speaking about their own matters and problems without having to mention the PKK. In private they are open and critical, but in public different. The situation is worse in journals that are sympathetic to the PKK.251
A Kurdish intellectual who has been jailed by the state for writing about the conflict in the southeast and about Turkeys Kurds, lamented that,
In order to end the official ideology, they [the PKK] have become an official ideology that is closed to debate. In what I write I criticize their making arbitrary attacks, placing bombs in buses, taking hostages, killing village guard (korucu) families and children. In fighting between the donkey and the horse, the chickens get trampled....I really felt this pain as a Kurdish intellectual who lived there for many years. It is sad that the PKK has absolutely no tolerance for a critical approach. The Kurds cannot be a unitary entity because the PKK is against so many Kurdish intellectuals. The PKK calls Kemal Burkay a traitor. They call the party of Serafettin Elçi a korucu party. The PKK has left no choice to Kurdish intellectuals but to applaud them. It reminds me of a line by Baudelier: The wound is ours, the knife is ours, the victim is ours, the assassin is ours. We grew up in a semi-feudal environment. The state has despotic tendencies. I dont want Asiret [tribal] authority, I dont want PKK authority, I dont want state authority.252
Ahmet Altan, the writer and columnist, summed up the dilemma of Kurdish intellectuals:
There is self-censorship in the Kurdish press. This happens both to Kurdish intellectuals and Turkish intellectuals. We should see that they face difficulties themselves. I do not do that, I write the way I like. But, both Kurdish and Turkish intellectuals limit themselves, censor themselves. But the situation is different. They fire me, they sue me. When they fire me, I become some sort of a hero among those who choose to limit themselves. I am not left alone, I receive respect. When I dare to dispute my political authority, I become a "hero. When a Kurdish intellectual challenges his political authority he becomes a "traitor. You become a traitor against the Turkish state and also against the PKK. The Turkish intellectuals are also afraid of being declared a traitor by people of their side. But when we criticize our political authority we become respected by our friends. When they criticize their political authority they commit treason. At this point, it is impossible to understand the Turkish state. The Turkish chief of staff and PKK reinforce each other.253
123 Interview with Metin Üstünda_, cartoonist for the weekly Leman, Istanbul, Turkey, August 1997. As of August 1997, sixty-eight out of the 300 issues of Leman published to date were met with some type of criminal action from state authorities.
124 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997. In 1995-1996, Mr. Islamo_lu was imprisoned for one year on free expression charges for violating The Law Concerning Crimes Committed Against Atatürk/ Atatürk Aleyhine Islenen Suçlar Hakk1nda Kanun (No. 5816).
125 Interview with Ahmet Altan, novelist and columnist for Yeni Yüzy1l, an Istanbul daily, August 1997.
126 The Turkish Criminal Code, adopted in 1926, is based on the Italian Criminal Code of 1889. It has been amended on many occasions, and to date approximately half of the articles have been changed. See, Tu_rul Ansay and Don Wallace, Jr., eds, Introduction to Turkish Law (The Hague: Kluwer Law International, 1996), pp. 163-174.
Sometimes the amendment had made the penal code article more severe, as with the 1981 amendment to Article 312. See section, Domestic Law.
127 Bernard Lewis, The Emergence of Modern Turkey (London: Oxford University Press, 1968), p. 304. Lewis, adds, however, that, ...Apart from this, talk, and even books and periodicals, were comparatively free.
128 Kemal H. Karpat, Turkeys Politics: The Transition to a Multi-Party System (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1959), p. 74.
129 Ahmad, p. 106; Lewis, p. 309; Karpat, pp. 158-9.
130 Karpat, pp. 158-9.
131 For example, a law to penalize anyone who insults or curses the memory of Atatürk was passed in 1951. See section, Domestic Law, The Law Concerning Crimes Committed Against Atatürk/ Atatürk Aleyhine Islenen Suçlar Hakk1nda Kanun (No. 5816, adopted July 25, 1951).
132 See Taner Timurs essay, The Ottoman Heritage, in Irvin C. Schick and Ertu_rul Ahmet Tonak, eds, Turkey in Transition: New Perspectives (New York & Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987), p. 18.
133 Constitution of the Turkish Republic, translated for the Committee of National Unity by Sad1k Balkan, Ahmet E. Uysal, and Kemal H. Karpat. Ankara, 1961; Kanun (Law) No. 1488, passed on September 20, 1971. Published in the Official Gazette, No. 13964, on October 22, 1971.
134 Article 8 was amended in October 1995. Mr. Çalislars sentence was overturned. He was retried for the same case; the verdict is still pending.
135 Oral Çal1slar, "Çelismeler Ülkesi Türkiye, (Turkey, the Land of Contradictions), Cumhuriyet, October 28, 1996. In 1996, Mr. Kemal was convicted and given a suspended sentence under Article 312 for two articles he wrote that appeared in the book, Düsünce Özgürlü_ü ve Türkiye (Freedom of Thought and Turkey). Siyaset Meydani is a popular political talk show.
136 Interview, Ankara, August 1997. Tüsalp was acquitted in March 1998.
137 Barkey and Fuller, p. 122.
138 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997. The PKK declared a unilateral cease-fire in 1993. Although the state did not officially recognize the offer, there appeared to be a reduction in fighting and an easing of tension in southeastern Turkey, the main region of the conflict. The PKK ended its cease-fire in May 1993 when, after stopping a bus near Bingöl, it murdered thirty-three recently demobilized and unarmed soldiers and five civilians.
139 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997.
140 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997.
141 There is no bail system in Turkey. If one is charged, the prosecutor can demand that the suspect be remanded into custody during the trial (tutuklu) or be allowed to remain free (tutuksuz).
142 Interview, Istanbul, November 1997.
143 Such publications often have editorial policies sympathetic to armed groups, such as the PKK or Dev-Sol.
144 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997. Figure as of August 1997.
145 See Apodan 3 Mesaj (Three Messages from Apo), Cumhuriyet, Istanbul, March 23, 1991; Samda bir Kürt Zapatas1 (A Kurdish Zapata in Damascus), Cumhuriyet, Istanbul, March 24, 1991; Apodan Türkiye: Siyasi, askeri birli_e evet (From Apo to Turkey: Yes to a Political and Military Union), Cumhuriyet, Istanbul, March 24, 1997.
146 See Ragip Duran, Apo91/Öcalan 94", Özgür Gündem, Istanbul, April 12, 1994.
147 According to Article 7.2 of the Anti-Terror Law, Those who assist members of organizations formed in the manner described above or who make propaganda in connection with such an organizationeven if their offense constitutes a separate crimeare to be sentenced from one to five years and given a heavy fine from fifty to one hundred million lira.
148 On October 23, 1997, the High Court of Appeals (Yarg1tay), confirmed the sentence. In June 1998, Mr. Duran was remanded into custody and sent to prison. Under the Anti-Terror law, those sentenced under the Anti-Terror law must serve three quarters of their sentence.
149 On April 11, 1991, under pressure from Mr. Özal, parliament repealed The Law Concerning Publications in Languages Other than Turkish/Türkçeden Baska Dillerlerle Yap1lacak Yay1nlar Hakk1nda Kanun (No. 2932). For a chronology of the struggle to abolish the law, see Koray Düzgören, Kürt Ç1kmaz1 (The Kurdish Dead-end), (Istanbul: Vyay1nlar1, 1994), pp. 74-6.
150 See Düzgören, p. 110. Mr Demirel became prime minister after the elections.
151 Mr. Öcalan, for example, wrote a column in the paper under the byline of Ali F1rat, or Ali Euphrates.
152 Interview, Istanbul, August, 1997. The prosecutor issued a so-called takipsizlik decision, which means that there are no grounds for legal action.
153 Oral Çalislar, Öcalan ve Burkayla Kürt Sorunu (The Kurdish Question with Öcalan and Burkay), (Istanbul: Pencere Yay1nlar1, September 1993).
Müteferrik Karar (Banning Decision), No. 1993/297, Istanbul State Security Court No. 3, November 5, 1993. Article 28 of the constitution states that,
Anyone who writes or prints any news or articles threatening the internal orexternal security of the state or the indivisible integrity of the state with its territory and nation, which tend to incite offense, riot or insurrection, or which refer to classified state secrets and anyone who prints or transmits such news or articles to others for the above purpose shall be held responsible under the law relevant to these offenses....
154 Istanbul State Security Court No. 1, Iddianame (Indictment) No. 1993/1061, November 26, 1993. Both men were tried without being remanded into custody.
156 Istanbul State Security Court No. 1, Karar (Decision), No. 1994/237, October 27, 1994.
157 The book was banned in November 1993. October 1993 witnessed unprecedented violence. Between October 20-23, security forces destroyed much of the district capital of Lice, Diyarbak1r province, using disproportionate force following a small clash with the PKK. Approximately 640 homes and businesses were damaged, and at least thirty people died, most of them civilians. The use of such disproportionate force may have been retaliation for the death of Diyarbak1r Gendarmerie Regional Commander Brigadier General Bahtiyar Ayd1n, who was shot and killed in Lice on October 22, 1993. In addition, there were sixty-nine so-called unknown actor (faili meçhul ) death squad killings in October 1993. Many believe such attacks were carried out by shadowy groups linked to security forces or with the connivance of state authorities.
For its part, the PKK in October 1993 murdered at least 123 civilians, including thirty-eight in one reprisal attack against a town in the Çat district of Erzurum in retaliation for the violence in Lice. On October 24, President Demirel stated that, If these events go on like this, martial law can come on the agenda. See Duzgören, pp. 450-462; Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, 1993 Turkey Human Rights Report (Ankara, Turkey, June 1994), pp. 61-64 and 77-80; Ismet G. Imset, Fighting Separatist Terrorism, Turkish Probe (Ankara), November 4, 1993, pp. 4-6.
158 Diyarbak1r State Security Court Iddianame (Indictment), No. 1997/933, August 6, 1997. Messr. Sümbül and Konuksever were remanded into custody June 4, 1997; Miss Ba_1r, on July 24, 1997.
160 "Anteri biz öldürdük (We Killed Anter), Demokrasi, Istanbul, February 10, 1997; Hantepe katliam1 itiraf1 (Hantepe Massacre Confession), Demokrasi, February 11, 1997.
161 Interview, Diyarbak1r, August 1997.
162 There is no accurate term, either in Turkish or in English, to describe such individuals. For lack of a better term they are often referred to as pro-Kurdish or Kurdish-nationalist. More precisely, this means that they are unhappy with the officially monoethnic Kemalist state and want some type of legal anchoring of their Kurdish identity. This could run from minority language and cultural rights to autonomy.
Some ethnic Kurds, however, have made peace with the Kemalist state and do not seek a unique, legal recognition of their identity. All political parties, for example, have ethnic Kurdish deputies in parliament. Furthermore, intermarriage between Sunni Turks and Sunni Kurds is widespread.
163 This is probably due not to ethnicity, but to the fact that prosecutors and courts often view the publications for which they write as radical and thus a greater threat to public order.
164 Information on Mr. Okçuo_lu came from a September 1997 interview with his brother, Selim Okçuo_lu, as well as from documents provided.
165 T.C. Istanbul 2. A_1r Ceza Mahkemesi, Karar 1995/4, January 19, 1995. The article was titled, The Turkish Republic Does Not Want to Make Peace with the Kurds, (T.C. Kürtlerle bar1smak istemiyor), Azadi, April 11-17, 1993.
Azadi was forced to close under state pressure in 1993. It is now published as Hêvi (Hope), which has an editorial policy sympathetic to the Socialist Party of Kurdistan of Kemal Burkay.
166 T.C. Istanbul 2. A_1r Ceza Mahkemesi, Karar 1995/4, ibid.
167 The book is a collection of his articles that appeared in the weekly Ayd1nl1k and in the newspaper Siyah Beyaz. His publisher, Niyazi Koçak, was charged in the first two cases as well. Unless otherwise noted information comes from an interview with Mr. Odabas1, Ankara, September 1997.
168 T.C. Ankara Devlet Güvenlik Mahkemesi, _ddianame (Indictment) No. 1996/106, October 10, 1996.
169 "Sair Yazar Y1lmaz Odabas1 yarg1land1, (The Poet-writer Y1lmaz Odabas1 is on Trial) Cumhuriyet, November 20, 1996.
170 Press Office, Republic of Turkey, State Prosecutors Office, Indictment No. 1996/167, November 20, 1996.
171 Law No. 4304, The Law Concerning Suspension of Trials Opened Against and Penalties Given to Responsible Editors, resulted in the mandatory release from prison of a total of eight individuals, including another Özgür Gündem editor, Is1k Yurtçu. All eight received three-year suspended sentences.
172 The Islamist government of Necmettin Erbakanformed in June 1996 was forced from power in June 1997 thanks to a military-sponsored campaign. Mr. Erbakans Welfare Party was closed in February 1998. For more on the military, see, The Role of the Military.
173 Atatürk Aleyhine Islenen Suçlar Hakk1nda Kanun (No. 5816, adopted July 25, 1951). The law states that, Anyone who publicly insults or curses the memory of Atatürk shall be imprisoned with a heavy sentence of between one and three years....If the crimes outlined in the first article are committed by a group of two or more individuals, or publicly, or in public districts or by means of the press, they will have the penalty imposed increased by a proportion of one-half.
174 "Turkey Plans Military-Inspired, Anti-Islamist Law, Reuters, January 28, 1998.
175 "Erdo_ana 10 ay hapis (Ten Months Imprisonment for Erdo_an), Cumhuriyet Hafta, April 24, 1998.
176 Kemal Çelik, "Erdo_ana takipsizlik (Lack of Grounds for Legal Actions against Erdo_an), Milliyet (Internet Edition), February 2, 1998.
177 Unless otherwise noted, information comes from an interview with Mustafa Islamo_lu, Istanbul, August 1997.
178 Republic of Turkey, Heavy Penalty Court Number One, decision No. 1994/31, February 15, 1994.
179 Selam has a pro-Iranian editorial policy.
180 The defense makes reference to the memoirs of Fethi Okyar, Üç Devirde bir Adam (One Man in Three Epochs), published in 1980. Mustafa Kemal had asked Mr. Okyar to found an opposition party. Authorities, however, quickly closed the party Mr. Okyar founded, the Free Republican Party, shortly after its opening in 1930.
181 T_HV, Türkiyede Bas1n Özgürlü_ü (Press Freedom in Turkey), March 1998, p. 12. See also section, The Confiscation of Publications and Books and the Closing of Newspapers. In a related case, Mr. Koral was sentenced to two years, commuted into a fine, for another article he wrote, and Selam was closed for one month.
182 "Turkish Court Convicts Journalist, Associated Press, March 5, 1998.
183 See section, Self-Censorship.
184 On January 15, 1997, ten individuals, most of them high-school students from Manisa, were found guilty of membership in an illegal organization despite serious allegations that incriminating statements they gave while in police detention were taken under torture. Those statements provided the basis of the states case. Five others were acquitted in the case.
Article 159 punishes, those who publicly insult or ridicule the moral personality of Turkishness, the Republic, the Parliament, the Government, State Ministers, the military or security forces of the state, or the Judiciary.
185 Umur Talu, Iskence, Cop, Cep,( Torture, Truncheon, and Pocket Telephone,) Milliyet (Internet Edition), January 18, 1997.
186 Serpil Gündüz and Miyase _lknur, Düsünce sözde özgür (So-called Freedom of Expression), Cumhuriyet, October 25, 1996. Altan stated that, Ben istiyorum ki, devlet çete olmaktan ç1k1p, hukuka otursun.
187 Article 312.1 prohibits and penalizes those who openly praise an action considered criminal and Article 312.2 punishes those who openly incite people to enmity and hatred by pointing to class, racial, religious, confessional, or regional difference.
188 In the column, Atakürt (Father Kurd), Mr. Altan turned the founding myth of the Turkish republic on its head. Instead of Turks, according to Mr. Altan, Kurds founded the republic and in gratitude named their leader Father Kurd, a play on the title granted to Mustafa Kemal, Atatürk (Father Turk). In Mr. Altans spoof, Turks are referred to as Sea Kurds and forbidden to use their language. Throughout the 1980s, Kurds were often dismissed as mountain Turks. Mr. Altan was given a one year eight monthsuspended sentence in October 1995 along with a TL500,000 (U.S. $10) fine.
189 Interview, Istanbul, November 1997.
190 M. Mete Göktürk, Yarg1 içinde yarg1s1z infaz yap1l1yor! (Extrajudicial Acts are Committed Inside the Judiciary!), Yeni Yüzy1l, October 14, 1996.Mr. Göktürk also criticized the fact that HSYK decisions cannot be appealed
Mr.Göktürk is also a gifted political cartoonist whose drawings are collected in Karikatür Albümü: Sen Isine Bak.
191 Decision number 1997/32, Beyo_lu Heavy Penalty Court No. 1, March 18, 1997.
192 See section, VIOLENCE AGAINST JOURNALISTS: Political Killings.
193 Interview, Diyarbak1r, August 1997.
194 The villagers later appealed to the European Court of Human Rights of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. The court found Turkey guilty of violating the European Convention on Human Rights and ordered it to pay damages to the villagers.
195 Interview, Diyarbak1r, August 1997.
196 Most of those killed worked for radical far-left papers or for Kurdish-nationalist publications with an editorial policy sympathetic to the PKK, such as Özgür Gündem or one of its predecessors or successor publications. For a more in-depth discussion, see section, VIOLENCE AGAINST JOURNALISTS: Political Killings.
197 "Özgür Gündem Bids Farewell,Turkish Probe, Ankara, January 19, 1993. For a period of about three years, from 1991-1994, the English-language daily Turkish Daily News provided the best day-to-day coverage on the conflict in southeastern Turkey. _smet _mset, forced into political exile in London after running afoul of authorities, provided much of this reporting.
198 Interview, Ankara, August 1997. Journalists have the right to carry a gun in Turkey. Mr. Odabas1 relates his experiences in the book, To be a Journalist in the Southeast (Güneydo_uda Gazeteci Olmak), published in 1994.
199 See Domestic Law.
200 Emergency rule was declared on July 14, 1987, when decree (KHK) No. 285 was published in the Official Gazette. At present, Diyarbak1r, Hakkari, Siirt, Sirnak, Tunceli, and Van provinces are under a state of emergency.
201 Such decrees have the force of law (KHK-Kanun hükmünde kararname). They become law when approved by parliament and published in the Official Gazette.
202 For information on Decree 413, see Helsinki Watch, News from Turkey, June 1990, p. 2. Decree 413 was later superseded by Decrees 424, 425, and finally by Decree 430, which softened some of the harsher aspects of the earlier decrees, such as abolishing the penalty of indefinite closure of a printing house that violates the decree. See Kürt Ç1kmaz1, p. 57 and Department of State, Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 1990, (Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1991), p. 1294.
203 In his book, Kürt Ç1kmaz1 (Kurdish Dead-end), Koray Düzgören publishes several stories that he wrote at the time but which could not be published in the now defunct daily Günes because of Decree 413.
204 Türkiye _nsan Haklar1 Raporu 1991 (Ankara: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, January 1992), p. 16.
205 For an explanation of police-press relations and police violence against the press, see Violence against Journalists: Beatings.
206 Interview, Diyarbak1r, August 1997.
207 Interview, Diyarbak1r, August 1997.
208 Interview with Fehmi Is1k, editor of Hêvi, Istanbul, August 1997. For more on Hêvi, see, Restrictions on the Use of the Kurdish Language.
209 Türkiye Kay1p Düsler.
In May 1998, after an assassination attempt against Akin Birdal, the head of the Human Rights Association of Turkey, the ERNK, the political wing of the PKK, made the following threat against arch-conservative Hürriyet columnist Emin Çölasan, Kemalist _lhan Selçuk of the daily Cumhuriyet, and the chairman of the Press Council of Turkey, Oktay Eksi: In the future, we will not be so hesitant in using our right of defense. PKKdan Çirkin Tehdit, Hürriyet (Internet Edition), May 14, 1998.
210 "Consolidating Its Hold: PKK Bans Press in Southeast, Turkish Probe, Ankara, October 26, 1993, p. 6.
212 The PKK ban did not include the Kurdish-nationalist Özgür Gündem. That publication, however, had its own problems in the form of police harassment and shadowy death squads.
The ban was reportedly lifted a month or so after its imposition. By mid-1994, most of the closed news bureaus had reopened.
213 Interview, Diyarbak1r, August 1997.
214 Interview, Bursa, November 1997.
215 Türkiye Kay1p Düsler. Kutlu Esendemir and Levent Öztürk, both working for TGRT state television, were kidnapped on January 26, 1994, and not released until April 26, 1994.
216 Interview, Diyarbak1r, August 1997.
217 Mr. Gürsel wrote an excellent book about his experience that provides valuable insights into the motivations and tactics of PKK fighters and units. See, Da_dakiler (Those in the Mountains), (Istanbul: Siyahbeyaz Series, Metis Publishing, June 1996).
218 For example, 37 PKKli öldürüldü (37 PKK Members Killed), Milliyet (Internet Edition), June 9, 1998. The story states that, In a statement made yesterday by the State of Emergency Region Governors Office, 23 terrorists were killed in the Kelmehmet mountain region of S1rnak...for a total of 37 terrorists killed. It gives no analysis of the information or additional sources to confirm official statements. Consequently casualty figures reported by the militaryalong with those announced by the PKKenjoy little credibility.
219 See Tuncelide tenis, (Tennis in Tunceli), Hürriyet, August 28, 1997. A mountainous region bordering northeast and southeast Anatolia, Tunceli has witnessed heavy fighting since 1993 and suffered wide-scale displacement, most the result of the militarys counterinsurgency campaign. According to the 1990 census, Tunceli province had a population of 133,143. In 1997, its population had shrunk to 82,535. While the province has been losing population for years because of economic migration, the majority of the population decline in the 1990-97 period is due to the conflict.
220 A. Ressak Oral, Simdi de geriye dönüs s1k1nt1s1 (Even Now There is a Problem with the Return), Milliyet, July 28, 1995.
A good example of such journalism is the Lets Go Southeast press campaign initiated by the mainstream daily Milliyet in the summer of 1998. The reporting deals with issues that are considered safe, such as unemployment and under-development. It does little, however, to explore the ethnic or political aspects of the conflict.
221 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997.
222 See, Celal Y1lmaz, Halk Özel Timi Suçluyor (The People Blame the Special Teams), Cumhuriyet Hafta, November 11, 1996, and Vartolu ilçeyi terk ediyor (The People of Varto are Abandoning Their District), Cumhuriyet Hafta, December 5, 1996.
See Hikmet Çetinkaya, Mazlum!..., Cumhuriyet Hafta, August 23, 1996. In a black twist, Mazlum, the murdered mans name, means oppressed.
223 Interview with Stephen Kinzer, Istanbul, August 1997; American Reporter Detained by Turks, Associated Press, March 1997. Mr. Kinzer had participated in a military-organized press tour and then stayed on in the region after the official tour ended.
224 Interview, Diyarbak1r, August 1997. Anatolian News Agency is the semi-official wire service.
225 Interview, Diyarbak1r, August 1997.
226 In Turkish law, a distinction is made between periodicals (mevkute or süreli) and all other types of publication (süresiz or mevkute tan1m1na girmeyen bas1lm1s eserler). The law makes this distinction to enable prosecutors to determine criminal responsibility where there is no responsible editor. See also Article 16 of the Press Law in the Appendix.
By law, a printer must bring all published material after its release to the Collection Office of the Security Directorate (Derleme Bürosu). The publication is registered, quickly scanned, and sent on to the state prosecutor if it is believed to have violated the law. Stephen Kinzer, the New York Times Istanbul bureau chief, interviewed a state official who culls the press for offending articles. See A Terror to Journalists, He Sniffs Out Terrorists, New York Times, September 1, 1997.
227 Article 28.5 of the constitution states that,
....By taking the proper measures, distribution is stopped by a judges decision; in situations where problems could arise because of a delay, [distribution] can also be prevented by the order of an authority so empowered by the law. The proper authority that prevented publication must inform the relevant judge within twenty-four hours. If the relevant judge does not confirm this order at the latest within forty-eight hours, the decision preventing publication is invalid....
Additional Article 1 of the Press Law states that,
The distribution of any type of periodical or non-periodical publication that contains crimes outlined in the Second Book, first chapter, 1st, 2nd, and fourth paragraphs or in Articles 311 or 312 or secret information belonging to the state can be prevented by the decision of a local justice of the peace judge (sulh ceza) or, in cases where delay would cause a problem, by the written decision of a local republican prosecutors office. The republican prosecutors office must inform the police court magistrate of its decision at the latest within twenty-four hours. At the latest within forty-eight hours the police court magistrate will give a decision either confirming or overturning this decision. In case of non-approval, the decision of the state prosecutors office is invalid....
228 Article 28.7 of the constitution states that,
Periodicals and non-periodical publications can be confiscated by a judges decision in those circumstances when the crimes investigation has started and by the order of an authority so empowered by the law in cases of protecting the states indivisible unity with the country and nation, national security, public order, general morality, and with the goal of preventing a crime where problems could arise because of a delay. The proper authority that gave the confiscation order must inform the relevant judge within twenty-four hours. If the relevant judge does not confirm this order at the latest within forty-eight hours, the decision preventing publication is invalid...
229 Article 28.10 of the constitution states that,
By court order, periodicals that are published in Turkey and are sentenced in cases dealing with the states indivisible unity with its country and state, the basic principles of the republic, national security, or violation of general morality can be temporarily closed. Every publication that is openly the continuation of a closed periodical is forbidden; such periodicals can be confiscated by a judges decision.
230 Additional Article 2 states that,
A periodical publication can be closed by a court for a period of three days to one month if that publication is sentenced for crimes outlined in additional Article 1, or for behavior contradictory to national security or general morality. Every type of publication that is openly a continuation of a closed periodical is forbidden. One who continues to publish a closed publication or who publishes a new periodical that is clearly the continuation of a closed publication according to the first paragraph will be punished with imprisonment of one to six months and a heavy fine of from 100,000 to 300,000 lira.
231 Under provisional Article 15 of the constitution, legislation cannot be found unconstitutional that was passed between the coup of September 12, 1980, and the convening of parliament after the first post-coup elections which were held in 1983. Such legislation can only be changed if the government passes a law to replace or amend it.
232 RSF, Rapport Annuel 1997, Internet Edition.
234 RSF, Rapport Annuel 1998, Internet Edition.
235 Istanbul State Security Court No. 2, Confiscation Order, 1997/310, September 8, 1997.
236 "Ülkede Gündem Newspaper Closed for Ten Days, Turkish Daily News, Internet Edition, May 12, 1998; Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Daily Bulletin, May 11, 1998.
237 The book was confiscated on June 4, 1996, allegedly because it violated Article 426 of the penal code. That provision punishes one who, in the press or in theater or film, offends the publics sense of shame and modesty or incites and exploits sexual desires... . One offending statement from the book contained the phrase, Im forty and my you-know-what still can get as hard as a rock upon waking. Upon appeal, a court overturned the confiscation order three weeks later. See a short pamphlet Mr. Y1lmaz published, Hukuk Sergüzesti (A Legal Adventure), which contains the confiscation order, his defense, expert witness testimony, and the court order overturning the confiscation.
238 See also, The Role of the Media
239 The Republic of Armenia, diaspora Armenians, and some Westerners refer to these events as a genocide. Most Western scholars of the Ottoman Empire acknowledge the expulsion of Armenian communities from eastern Anatolia and the subsequent massacre of many of those uprooted, but point to the fact that it is unclear in the absence of archivalproof whether the act was genocide. For its part, the government of Turkey and some scholars argue that communal violence took the lives of Muslims and Armenians alike.
Until the government of Turkey allows full and unhindered access to Ottoman archives, no definitive answer can be reached, including on the number of those killed.
240 Interview, Diyarbak1r, September 1997.
241 Interview, Istanbul, September 1997.
242 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997.
243 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997.
244 See also, The Role of the Media.
245 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997.
246 Interview, Istanbul, September 1997.
247 Interview, Istanbul, November 1997. The columnist asked not to be identified. A coalition-government led by the Welfare Party was forced to resign under intense military pressure on June 18, 1997. In early 1998, the party was banned and its leader, Mr. Necmettin Erbakan, along with several other leaders, were banned from politics for five years. See also, The Role of the Military.
248 Interview, September 1997 in Turkey. The individual asked not to be identified.
249 Interview, Istanbul, September 1997.
Sabah and Hürriyet are mainstream papers whose coverage is often crudely nationalistic and blindly pro-state regarding the conflict in southeastern Turkey. In both papers, however, individual columnists and journalists can and do take a critical, hard-hitting line on sensitive issues. Ülkede Gündem, now banned, adopted an editorial line that initially was critical in general and later became sympathetic to the goals if not the methods of the PKK.
250 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997.
251 Interview with Koray Düzgören, Istanbul, August 1997.
252 Interview, Ankara, August 1997.
253 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997.