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International Legal Protections

International law protects the rights of persons to assert their membership in an ethnic minority and to express themselves in the minority’s traditional language. The U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, in particular, requires states to ensure that members of minorities “have adequate opportunities to learn their mother tongue,” explaining that such persons have “the right . . . to use their own language, in private and in public, freely without interference or any form of discrimination.”254 Although the declaration lacks the binding legal force of a treaty, it constitutes an authoritative explication of existing treaty norms protecting the rights to free expression and non-discrimination.

A similar concern for protecting minority-language speakers from discrimination on the basis of language is found in the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which bars such discrimination with regard to all of the rights within its purvey, including the right to free expression.255 Although the European Court on several occasions rejected the claim that language rights include the right to use the language of one’s choice in communicating with public authorities, it has struck down burdens based solely on “considerations relating to language” in a decision involving French-speaking residents of the Flemish community who wanted their children to attend French-language schools.0 In other words, the court has been reluctant to impose positive obligations on states to accommodate the linguistic preferences of their citizens, but has at the same time recognized the state obligation not to interfere in citizens’ use of their language.1 Consequently, legal obstacles in Turkey that preventindividuals from administering private language courses in Kurdish or a private Kurdish-language television station would violate the intent of such rulings.

The U.N. Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, whose mandate specifically includes the protection of linguistic minorities, has been even more active in support of language rights. In a landmark 1979 study, the sub-commission praised the efforts of numerous states that had taken steps to facilitate the use of minority languages in a variety of contexts, including in communications with state authorities.2 It has also shown that it regards the repression of linguistic minorities to be a serious breach of international law, passing a 1993 resolution condemning Yugoslavia for banning in Kosovo “the use of the Albanian language, notably within the public administration and services.”3

International legal protections on language, as well as the concern shown by numerous international bodies on the topic, reflect the central place of language in ethnic and cultural identity. Language is commonly taken as a prime indicator of the individual’s group identification; for this reason, language repression has almost always played a role in policies of group domination and forced assimilation.

Prohibitions Against the Use of Kurdish and Languages Other than Turkish

At present, the use of languages other than Turkish in education, politics and the broadcast media is—with certain exceptions—prohibited.4 Article 3 of the constitution declares Turkish to be the official language, while Article 42.9 goes further by stating that, “Aside from Turkish, no other language shall be studied by or taught to Turkish citizens as a mother tongue in any language, teaching, or learning institution.”5 While these strictures are, in theory, directed against all of the languages spoken by the different ethnic groups that live in Turkey, whether Circassians or Laz, the main targets are Kurds and Kurdish.

No official data exist concerning the size of ethnic minorities in Turkey since the early 1960s.6 Despite the absence of exact data, however, it is clear that Kurds are the second largest ethnic group in Turkey after Turks, and Kurdish is the second most widely spoken language after Turkish. The absence of such data on ethnicity stems from the fact that the state has not asked questions regarding ethnicity or religion during census polling.7 In addition, ethnicity is a rather fluid concept in Turkey.8

State-dictated rigidity concerning language and identity is the result of an attempt to build a modern nation-state based on a secular Turkish national identity and the Turkish language.9 That process began in 1923, when Mustafa Kemal,Atatürk, proclaimed the Republic of Turkey from what remained of the non-Arab lands of the former Ottoman Empire.10 Traumatized by the slow collapse of the multi-ethnic Ottoman empire, a demise accelerated by the nationalism of the Sultan’s Christian subjects and the meddling of the great powers, the new state countered with its own brand of nationalism: “In the circumstances, the need for self-assertion among the Turkish, Sunni majority following the collapse of the Ottoman empire and the struggle to free Turkey from occupying powers proved paramount.”11

Consequently, the many different ethnic groups living in the newly-founded Republic of Turkey were to be subsumed voluntarily or by force into a new Turkish national and linguistic identity that, while open to all, would broach no competitors.12 For the founders of the new Turkish Republic, the Treaty of Lausanne once and for all ended the “minorities question” by dividing the population into three non-Muslim minorities enjoying minority rights and a Muslim—soon to be Turkish—majority.13 One scholar has noted that,

Soon after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, its government embarked upon a radical program of nation-building. Ethnic diversity was perceived as a danger to the integrity of the state, and the Kurds, as the largest non-Turkish ethnic group, obviously constituted the most serious threat. They were decreed to be Turks, and their language and culture were to be Turkish. All external symbols of their ethnic identity were suppressed....There was no official discrimination against those Kurds who agreed to be assimilated: they could reach the highest positions in the state apparatus. Those who refused, however, often met with severe repression.14

The use of Kurdish—along with other languages—was prohibited in teaching as was its public use.15 By 1930, publishing in languages other than Turkish was prohibited by an act of parliament that was heralded under the slogan of “Citizen, Speak Turkish!” (Vatandas, Türkçe Konus!).16 The Kurdish names of towns and villages in southeastern Turkey were also changed to Turkish.17

In time, the architects of the new Turkish nation-state began to deny outright the existence of other ethnicities, especially Kurds, and attempted to create murky Turkish genealogies for them.18 Visions of a new civic nationalism basedon social traits transmitted by education rather than on “consanguinity”degenerated into a rigid ethno-nationalism.19 While there was no outright discrimination based on ethnicity, the lines between Turkish ethnicity and nationality began to be blurred beyond distinction.20 A leading analyst of Turkey writes that, “The Kurds were relegated to the status of ‘mountain Turks.’ The denial of identity went to absurd lengths. In case a Turkish soldier should hear the word Kurd mentioned while on duty in the southeast, his service handbook informed him that this was a nickname born of the ‘kürt, kürt’ sound made when crunching through the ‘mountain Turkish’ snow.”21

Blanket denial of ethnic identity—a reaction to the reemergence in the 1960s and 1970s of public expressions of Kurdish ethnic identity—reached a highpoint after the military coup of 1980. A month before the military relinquished power in the elections of November 1983, Law No. 2932, “The Law Concerning Publications and Broadcasts in Languages Other Than Turkish,” was passed. It declared that “The mother tongue of all Turkish citizens is Turkish ” and, defying anthropology, forbade the use of any language but Turkish “as a mother tongue.” It also prohibited all publishing in Kurdish.

Today, the situation concerning ethnic identity and language use has improved compared with the past. The late President Turgut Özal, himself of partial Kurdish origin, did much to break down the taboos concerning Kurds. In 1991, he successfully pushed to lift Law No. 2932 to permit publishing in Kurdish. The collapse of the USSR, which allowed the non-Kurdish ethnic minorities of Turkey such as Chechens and Circassians to reestablish links with relatives in the former Soviet Union, also helped break down the official doctrine of monoethnicity.22 Kurds now speak their native tongue throughout the country without the ineffective and absurd legal prohibitions of Law No. 2932, and Kurdish music and videos are widely available and played openly, including in the conflict region in southeastern Turkey.23 The so-called “Kurdish question” is discussed in the press, and in July 1995, for the first time, a survey was conducted among Kurds regarding their attitudes toward the PKK and an independent Kurdish state.24 In 1994 and 1995, the leader of the New Democracy Movement (YDH), Cem Boyner, made full cultural and linguistic rights for Kurds a major part of his platform. Finally, some limited radio broadcasting in Kurdish, although still prohibited bylaw, is taking place, and there appear to be plans to allow some sort of Kurdish-language television.

Despite these improvements, serious problems remain. The constitution, Political Parties Law, the Law Concerning the Founding and Broadcasts of Television and Radio, the Foreign Language Education and Teaching Law, and the Law Concerning Fundamental Provisions on Elections and Voter Registries Provincial Administration Law, all prohibit or restrict with certain exceptions the use of languages other than Turkish. Political parties are still banned for “creating minorities” if they demand linguistic and cultural rights for Kurds. A recent attempt by a private foundation to teach Kurdish ran head-first into a legal brick wall. Broadcasting in Kurdish and other non-Turkish languages spoken as a mother tongue by citizens of Turkey is still prohibited by law. While publishing in Kurdish and other languages is legally unrestricted, the constitutional basis for such prohibitions remains.

Sefik Beyaz, the head of the unregistered Kurdish Institute, joked that, “The authorities will not allow us to have a sign that says Kurdish Institute or to register as such, but when the police call they say, ‘Is this the Kurdish Institute?”25 Seraffettin Elçi, an ethnic Kurd and former public works minister, summed up the situation by stating that,

When I was a minister and said in public I was a Kurd, the whole society was shaken. It was treated as a manifesto. The whole state was in turmoil, and I was punished under Article 142. Now when someone says he is a Kurd there is no reaction. Things have changed, but this doesn’t mean that “Kurdishness” has a legal status.26

In Education

Under Article 42.9 of the constitution, Turkish is the official—though not exclusive—language of instruction.27 In fact, the country’s two most elite universities, the Middle East Technical University (ODTÜ) and Bosphorous University (Bo_aziçi), use English as the language of instruction; the most elite high school, Galatasary Lisesi, uses French. Article 2a of Law No. 2923, the Foreign Language Education and Teaching Law, passed in October 1983, regulates the teaching of foreign languages, “taking into consideration the view of the National Security Council.” In short, the National Security Council per decree decides which foreign languages may be taught in Turkey. At present, the following foreign languages can be taught in public and private learning institutions: English, French, German, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese.28

Consequently, state officials have blocked efforts to provide Kurdish-language instruction. While education in Kurdish takes place in informal settings and through tutors, such actions are, strictly speaking, illegal. A legally-registered foundation, however, the Kurdish Cultural and Research Foundation (Kürt-Kav), has been fighting a two-year battle to provide Kurdish language instruction at its headquarters in Istanbul. The foundation is the first organization in Turkey to havethe legal right to use the term “Kurdish” in its title. 29 Y1lmaz Çaml1bel, the chairman of Kürt-Kav, complained that,

In August 1996, we applied to the Istanbul Governor’s office to teach courses in Kurdish. This request was forwarded to the Education Ministry, which requested us to bring various documents. On March 20, 1997, we were denied the right to teach Kurdish courses under the Foreign Language Education and Teaching Law No. 2923.30

The Ministry of Education defended its decision by citing Law No. 2923: “In the Council of Minister’s decision number 92/2783 published in the Official Gazette no. 21177 of 20.03.92, the languages of instruction and education in official and private courses in Turkey have been determined to be English, French, German, Russian, Italian, Spanish, Arabic, Japanese, and Turkish. Because of this, the opening of courses outside of those listed is not possible because of the present body of law in force.”31

As a result of the ruling, in June 1997, police sealed the floor of the foundation where the classes were to be held. A case was opened at the request of the Ministry of Education against Mr. Çaml1bel and his aide, Mehmet Celal Baykara, for “opening a course illegally.” In May 1998, the court acquitted both men of the charge, but ruled that the foundation could not hold Kurdish language courses.32

For its part, Kürt-Kav appealed the Ministry of Education’s decision, but an administrative court rejected its claim on November 12, 1997. The foundation has subsequently filed an appeal with a higher court, where the case is now pending.

Efforts to teach Turkish in rural areas where ethnic Kurds predominate have had mixed results. In a recent interview, Dr. Salih Y1ld1r1m, the state minister responsible for southeastern Turkey, stated that one-third of those living in the region did not speak Turkish, a figure that rose to 50 percent among women.33 In practical terms, the inability to communicate often causes problems when dealing with state authorities, especially in attempts to access services like health care.34 The inability to speak Turkish among rural Kurds is a legacy of underdevelopment and poverty, traditional family structure, and, more recently, the conflict in the region. The PKK has a policy of assassinating teachers, while many schools have been abandoned as a result of the government’s counterinsurgency campaign.

Some argue that restrictions on the “teaching of a mother tongue” other than Turkish should be removed and that private instruction in Kurdish should be allowed. Professor Bülent Tanör, a constitutional scholar at Istanbul University, stated that,

In Turkey it is okay to have Turkish as the official language. But what the mother tongue is is a different matter. This raises two problems. Kurdish education in the state system and outside the state system. There are foundations outside the state system, likeKurt-Kav, but they face problems. These problems could be solved.35

In a study on democratization for the Turkish Industrialists and Businessmens’ Association (TÜS_AD), Mr. Tanör wrote that,

The...Foreign Language Education and Teaching very strange: “The mother tongue of the Turkish citizens cannot be taught in any language other than Turkish (2923-14.10.1983 Article 2/a).” The element of strangeness is...[that] according to the meaning of the sentence, it is possible for a Turkish citizen to have a mother tongue other than Turkish, but that mother tongue can be taught only in Turkish....the last paragraph of Article 42 of the constitution which rejects a natural and social phenomenon as the “mother tongue” and treats it as an official language is disturbing, even offensive. There is absolutely no need for this. The state, the constitution, and the laws have the right to decree that the official language be taught as the primary and mandatory language in all schools. But the expression of this should in no way be like the one in the stated provisions....It is also useful to mention...the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Turkey has ratified with reservations. [It] states that....States...agree that the education of the child shall be directed to...development of respect for the child’s parents, his or her own cultural identity, language and values....36

For their part, a majority of ethnic Kurds polled wanted the right to decide what the language of instruction should be for their children.37

In Politics

Prohibitions concerning the use of minority languages—together with general restrictions concerning the discussion of minorities—extend to politics. The use of languages other than Turkish in political campaigns is forbidden by law. Additionally, a general prohibition exists against parties that claim that there are minorities based, “on national, religious, confessional, racial, or language differences.” While these restrictions do not specify Kurds or the use of Kurdish, they are, de facto, the main target. Article 81 of the 1983 Political Parties Law (No. 2820), “Preventing the Creation of Minorities,” states that,

Political parties:

a) cannot put forward that minorities based on national, religious, confessional, racial, or language differences exist in the Republic of Turkey.

b) cannot advocate the goal of destroying national unity or be engaged in activities to this end; by means of protecting, developing, or disseminating language or cultures other than the Turkish language and culture and thus create minorities in the Republic of Turkey.

c) cannot use a language other than Turkish in writing and printing party statutes or programs, at congresses, indoors or outside; at demonstrations, and in propaganda; cannot use or distribute placards, pictures, phonograph records, voice and visual tapes, brochures and statements written in a language other than Turkish; cannot remain indifferent to these actions and acts committed by others. However, it is possible to translate party statutes and programs into foreign languages other than those forbidden by law.38

The election law reinforces the prohibition on the use of languages other than Turkish. Article 58 states that, “....It is forbidden to use any other language or script than Turkish in propaganda disseminated in radio or television as well as in other election propaganda.”39

. Article 81 of the Political Parties Law and associated legislation has hindered discussion of the Kurdish question in the political arena and has led to the banning of several non-violent political parties that advocated increased cultural or linguistic rights for ethnic Kurds.40 In the 1991 general elections, one of thebanned parties, the People’s Labor Party (HEP), won twenty-two seats in parliament.41 A leading constitutional scholar commented that,

As a legal scholar, the main point in the Kurdish question is to remove Article 81 from the Political Parties Law. Parties advocating Kurdish identity should be allowed to operate. This will provide some breathing space to Turkish politics and make the Kurds more part of the Turkish establishment. The biggest obstacle to achieving this is chauvinism and fear. If you can get rid of Article 81, you can get a breath of fresh air. Even if Article 81 is lifted, there will still be other actions that forbid separatist activity that are based in international law.42

Presently, the Democratic Mass Party (Demokrat Kitle Partisi-DKP) of Seraffettin Elçi faces closure under Article 81 of the Political Parties Law and associated legislation.43 The DKP advocates cultural and linguistic rights for all minorities and the decentralization of administration within Turkey’s presentborders.44 In June 1997, the state prosecutor filed a seventy-three page indictment with the Constitutional Court to close the DKP and ban Mr. Elçi from politics for five years because of the party’s program and various press statements made by Mr. Elçi.

The state prosecutor cited the statements below as reasons to close the party:

· “As a participatory, liberal, and democratic mass party that, together with solving all the country’s problems, places a peaceful and democratic solution of the Kurdish question at the center of its program, the Democratic Mass Party strives to restructure the state and institute a democracy in the country with all its rules and institutions....Kurds, like Turks, are a fundamental element of this country. Within Turkey’s unity and political borders...they want to live in peace and brotherhood....It is impossible to solve the Kurdish question by resorting to violence or repression” (Party Program).45

· “We use democratic and peaceful methods. As the Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK entered political life; we do not approve of their actions” (Statement to Cumhuriyet, Istanbul daily).46

· “....We say that injustices done to the Kurds must be rectified. As the President stated in 1992, ‘the Kurdish reality’ must be recognized. It must be recognized and legal protection must be given to the fact that Kurds are also a fundamental element in this society” (Interview with Sahin Alpay, Milliyet).47

The indictment against the DKP shows both the progress Turkey has made in acknowledging the existence of minorities as well as the great distance the country must still travel to make that recognition a working and meaningful proposition. The prosecutor does not argue that Kurds or other minorities do not exist. On the contrary, he states that such groups actually enrich society as a whole as long as they keep their activities at the level of the individual, and not demand group rights. The prosecutor argues that,

The State is neutral and disinterested regarding the origins of individuals’ lineages. There is no obstacle against anyone, including those of Kurdish ethnicity, from expressing his own identity. In fact, cultural identities and differences are elements that enrich a common culture based on social solidarity, experiences, honored judgements, unity (birliktelik), social life and a common past. In that respect, Article 81 of the Political Parties Law does not forbid individuals that constitute the [Turkish] nation from expressing different languages and cultures and ethnic differences. However, the necessary point that must be stressed and pointed out is that expressing identities must be done without claiming that one is a member of a minority or a member of a nation and within the spirit and knowledge that one is a member of the egalitarian and unifying wholeness of the Turkish Nation and its totality. There are no prohibited languages in Turkey today. Aside from public (kamusal) affairs, every citizen can use the language of hischoice in private life, for example books, newspapers, journals, and music cassettes can be produced in the Kurdish language.48

The election law prohibits the use of “languages” other than Turkish, which in effect targets Kurdish. Article 58 of the Law Concerning Fundamental Provisions on Elections and Voter Registries states that, “....It is forbidden to use any other language or script than Turkish in propaganda disseminated in radio or television as well as in other election propaganda.”49

Mr. Nurettin Basut, who ran as an independent candidate during the 1991 parliamentary elections and on the HADEP list in the 1995 general elections, faced prosecution under Article 58 of the Election Law both times for speaking Kurdish. According to the indictment in the second case, Mr. Basut and another suspect in the case “spoke Kurdish at a rally organized by HADEP in A_r1 province and [thereby] acted contradictory to the prohibitions outlined in Article 58 of Law No. 298...”50 Both men were found guilty and given seven-month sentences. This conviction superseded a one-year, four-month suspended sentence Mr. Basut received in the case stemming from the 1991 elections. He has appealed the second case, which is still pending.

In Broadcasting

Prohibitions still prevent the use of Kurdish in broadcasting. The abolition of Law No. 2932 of October 1983 (“The Law Concerning Publications and Broadcasts in Languages Other Than Turkish”) removed legal obstacles to publishing in Kurdish and other languages, but not impediments to broadcasting.51The constitutional basis for Law No. 2932, however, still exists.52 The 1994 RTÜK law, which regulates radio and television broadcasting, mandates the exclusive use of Turkish except in certain circumstances.53

Despite an absolute prohibition against broadcasting in Kurdish, Kurdish-language music and music videos—as long as they are not overtly political—seem to be tolerated. The army, in fact, runs a radio station called “Voice of the Tigris” (Dicle Radyosu) that broadcasts in the two major Kurdish dialects, Kurmanc1 and Sorani, as well as in Turkish and Turkmen. An observer of the Kurds in Turkey commented that, “Kurdish music is played, as long as it is not political. And there are music videos in Kurdish, some shot in Northern Iraq and some in Europe....There are no talk shows in Kurdish, however.”54 Dr. Haluk Sahin, the news coordinator at Kanal D, a mainstream private television station, noted that, “There are stories from the region [ethnic Kurdish areas of southeastern Turkey], and people speak in Kurdish so we subtitle them in Turkish. Occasionally, people have sung songs in Kurdish.”55 Mustafa Alt1oklar is planning to subtitle in Kurdish his film Heavy Novel (A_1r Roman), a bleak depiction of poverty and police abuse in Istanbul.56 Those who have tried to do more, however, have faced serious obstacles.57

Many state officials realize the need to legalize Kurdish-language broadcasting given that many ethnic Kurds—especially those living in southeastern Turkey—speak Turkish poorly or not at all. Without such a medium, the state is unable to reach a substantial section of ethnic Kurds. Professor Doctor Salih Y1ld1r1m, the state minister responsible for the southeast, recently commented that,

Kurdish language television is necessary. Sixty-one percent of our women in the region are illiterate, and one-half do not know Turkish. If for the seventy-five year history of the republic you have not taught your people Turkish, you have not introduced your culture, do you have the right to hold someone responsible for that? If television stations like MED-TV presents its own fallacies and says they are correct, isn’t the responsibility for this ours? There is nothing to be afraid of with Kurdish television. To explain your own facts to these people, you have to reach them in their own language, customs and usage, and traditions.58

Bülent Tanör, the legal scholar who authored the TÜS_AD report on democratization, echoed Professor Y1ld1r1m’s comments: “The military needs TV and radio in Kurdish to give its message. It sees that MED TV, which in effect is PKK TV, is effective. They [the military] have this “Tigris Radio” which broadcasts in Kurdish. It shows that the state recognizes that it has to do something.”59

The prohibition on broadcasting in Kurdish prevents market forces from operating and thus short circuits Turkey’s vibrant private sector. Restrictions raise transaction costs and make entry into prohibited areas attractive only to those ideologically committed or those able to flout the prohibition: in this case, a radio station operated by the Turkish Army and a satellite television station, MED TV,whose programming is largely sympathetic to the PKK and which regularly provides a forum for the PKK leader, Mr. Abdullah Öcalan. An ethnic Kurdish businessman from Diyarbak1r commented that,

You have to change the laws. If you don’t change the laws, you can’t do anything. It is because of the laws that there isn’t Kurdish broadcasting. RTUK, other laws. The lack of Kurdish broadcasting is not a question of economics. Local businessmen would open Kurdish-language newspapers, radio stations, and television stations. It is natural, the case of meeting a demand in a capitalist economy. People would do market research. If there were no legal obstacles from the state, we would have a non-PKK Kurdish TV and more people would watch it than MED-TV. I would want MED-TV not to be the mouth of the PKK. I would want them to broadcast all parts of our people, it would be better.60

Publishing in Kurdish

Only a handful of small weekly newspapers or journals publish entirely or partly in Kurdish despite the absence of legal restrictions. None of the mainstream newspapers do. Oktay Eksi, the head of Press Council of Turkey and chief columnist at the mass circulation daily Hürriyet, stated that lack of demand prevented his paper from publishing in Kurdish, even an insert or a single page. He argued that “Even they [those publishing in Kurdish] can’t maintain their own newspapers.”61

The Kurdish-language papers that do exist face legal pressure, but it is unclear whether such harassment is motivated by the content of the articles or the language in which they are written, or a combination of both. Koray Düzgören, a journalist who follows Kurdish issues, commented that, “The state doesn’t discriminate. It wants to close Kurdish publications. Those that produce culture and literature survive to a greater extent.”62 Even the state minister for human rights, Dr. Hikmet Sami Türk, admitted that, “There are Kurdish-language newspapers,but such repression against them, which does exist, shouldn’t happen. But such newspapers do exist.”63

The fate of the weekly, bilingual Turkish-Kurdish Hêvi (Hope), which started publishing in November 1996, is emblematic of the pressure that such publications face.64 A majority of Hêvi’s weekly issues have been confiscated on the day of publication or shortly thereafter by state prosecutors, allegedly for violating Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law or Article 312 of the penal code. The vast majority of confiscation orders are because of articles written in Turkish, not Kurdish. According to the paper’s editor, Fehmi Is1k,

The paper is printed both abroad and within the country because of confiscations. Of the various issues of Hevi, only three to date have not been confiscated; the other thirty-six have been confiscated by DGM under Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law or Article 312. Of all the issues we have published, in our various incarnations, only fifty were not confiscated. Confiscation decisions are strange. It is as if they don’t even read the paper.65

Often criminal cases are opened in connection with the confiscation order. Mr. Is1k added that, “At this point, in cases that have been confirmed by the appellate court, our responsible editor was sentenced to one year, six months and received a sentence of TL100 million (U.S. $624).” Other newspapers publishing in Kurdish have faced similar pressure.66

Book publishing in Kurdish also seems to avoid legal prosecution when compared with Turkish-language publishing done by the same publishing house. Sefik Beyaz, the head of the unregistered Kurdish Institute, stated that, “Until today we have had four books confiscated. All were in Turkish. They try not to open a legal case against the ones in Kurdish.”67 Abdullah Keskin, the head of Avesta Publishing, commented that, “Our Kurdish-language books are not controversial. We publish poetry, novels, and stories. They don’t confiscate these books....”68 Since late 1996, the Mesopotamian Cultural Center (Mezopotamya Kültür Merkezi-MKM) has been publishing a monthly Kurdish-language arts journal, Jiyana Rewsen, which had escaped prosecution.69

Mr. Keskin, the head of Avesta Publishing, argued that, “The authorities don’t confiscate these books because they don’t want to recognize the Kurdish language.” The lack of prosecutors and police officers who speak Kurdish may be another reason. Murat Batk1, the editor of Jiyana Rewsen, explained how he was asked by a prosecutor to provide a translation of an article for the prosecutor’s investigation: “The prosecutor called me and said that he was thinking of opening a case against us but that he hadn’t read any articles. He asked me to translate a few and bring them to him.”70 Most likely, both factors play a role.

254 G.A. Res. 47/135, U.N. GAOR, 47th Sess., 3d Comm., Annex, U.N. Doc. a/47/678/Add.2 (1992).

255 (European) Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, art. 14. This provision echoes Article 2 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which enumerates “language” as an impermissible ground for discrimination.

0 “Belgium Linguistic” Cases, 11 Y.B. Eur. Conv. on Human Rights 832 (1968), p. 942.

1 For related decisions of the U.N. Human Rights Committee, see, for example, Ballantyne, Davidson and McIntyre v. Canada, Comm. Nos. 359/1989 and 385/1989, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/47/D/359/1989 (1993) (finding that Quebec’s restrictions on languages permitted in outdoor advertising violate international protections on freedom of expression).

2 See Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, Study on the Rights of Persons Belonging to Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/Sub.2/384/Rev.1 (1979).

3 U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/1993/45 (1993), para.1993/9.

4 Since the abolition of Law No. 2932 in April 1991, no law prohibits publishing books or newspapers in Kurdish or other non-Turkish languages.

5 Unofficial translation.

6 A Turkish saying states that, “In Turkey there are seventy-two and a half people” (“Türkiye’de yetmis iki buçuk millet var”). The phrase captures the ethnic mosaic of Turkey’s population, which, aside from Turks, ranges from Kurds and Arabs living in Anatolia for hundreds of years to Chechens and Circassians who fled Tsarist persecution in the nineteenth century.

7 Estimates regarding the size of Turkey’s ethnic Kurdish population range from 10 to 20 percent of the populace. The last attempt to ascertain information concerning ethnicity and religion occurred in the early 1960s. The Ministry of Works and Settlement (_mar ve _skân Bakanl1_1) and the Village Affairs Ministry ( Köy _sleri Bakanl1_1) conducted a nationwide survey of villages, The Village Inventory (Köy Envanteri), in which questions concerning language and religion were posed. After data for one province was released, however, the study was repressed. See Peter Alfred Andrews, ed., Ethnic Groups in the Republic of Turkey (Wiesbaden: Dr. Ludwig Reichert Verlag, 1989), pp. 18, 42-44.

8 The fact that Turkey’s ethnic Kurdish population is far from monolithic further complicates counting them. Martin Van Bruinessen, a leading scholar of the Kurds, notes that, “There is, then, no unambiguous ethnic boundary separating Kurds from non-Kurds, and in the course of even recent history the boundaries as perceived by various groups have shifted. Large numbers of people have moreover purposively crossed what they perceived as the major ethnic boundary, not only individually, as is wont to happen virtually everywhere, but in many cases collectively.” See Martin Van Bruinessen, “The Ethnic Identity of the Kurds,” p. 616, in Andrews.

9 Linguistic and ethnic plurality had been the rule, however, in the Ottoman Empire. One scholar has noted that, “No attempt had been made to force Ottoman subjects to speak Turkish--in 1800 a large majority did not speak it as their first language and perhaps most Ottoman subjects did not speak it at all. Serbs spoke Serbian, Greeks spoke Greek, Bulgarians spoke Bulgarian, Arabs spoke Arabic.”

The Ottoman state was based on Islamic principles, not nationalism. The Sultan’s non-Muslim subjects were divided according to religion into a millet system that allowed minorities to control their own affairs, such as education, welfare, and civil law. While legally inferior to Muslims and under a heavier tax burden in lieu of performing militaryservice, Christians and Jews, as so-called “People of the Book,” (dhimmis), were afforded religious and other protections. See, Justin McCarthy, The Ottoman Turks (London and New York: Longman), especially pp. 106-8, 127-31, and 205-6.

10 The genesis of a new state can be found in the National Pact (Misak-I Millî), adopted in January 1920. That document, among other things, called for an indivisible state for the “Ottoman Muslim majority.” The fate of territories having an Arab majority would be decided by plebiscite. With the exception of the oil-rich Mosul province, the Republic of Turkey fits largely in the borders envisioned by the National Pact. Zürcher, pp. 143-4.

11 Andrews, p. 35.

12 The only exception, of course, would be the non-Muslim minorities (Greek, Jewish, Armenian) given special linguistic and cultural rights under the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne.

13 Signed on July 23, 1923, with the major Allied Powers of World War I, the Treaty of Lausanne recognized the new state created in what Turks call, “The War of National Liberation,” a four-year struggle led by Mustafa Kemal, Atatürk. Among other things, the treaty envisioned a population exchange between Greece and Turkey, whereby the majority of Turks in Greece and the majority of Greeks in Turkey would move to their nominal country of origin. The treaty, however, allowed the Greeks of Istanbul and the Turks of Western Thrace to remain in their homes and granted them certain linguistic, cultural, and religious rights outlined in Articles 37-45 of the treaty. Consequently, the Turkish state acknowledged no minorities aside from the non-Muslim minorities (Greeks, Jews, and Armenians) mentioned in the treaty.

An official explanation of Article 81 of the Political Party Law, which is titled “Preventing the Creation of Minorities,” states that, “Aside from those minorities recognized in the Treaty of Lausanne, there are no minorities in our country. In a particular country, theknowledge of some languages other than the official one or [the fact of those languages] being spoken from place to place does not create a minority.” See Osman Selim Kocahano_lu, Gerekçeli Siyasi Partiler ve Seçim Mevzuat1 (Annotated Political Parties and Election Body of Laws), (Istanbul:Temel Yay1nlar1, 1994), p. 68.

14 Van Bruinessen, p. 619.

15 Zürcher, p. 178.

16 Andrews, p. 34. The banning of Kurdish as a language of publication occurred almost at the same time as the switch to a modified Latin alphabet. Parliament passed a law to that effect on November 1, 1928, to be implemented as of January 1, 1929. According to the 1927 census, the literacy rate in Turkey was 9 percent. See Ahmad, p. 81.

17 Article 2/d/2 of the 1949 Provincial Administration Law No. 5442 (_l Idaresi Kanunu) was amended in 1959 to state that, “Village names that are not Turkish and give rise to confusion are to be changed in the shortest possible time by the Interior Ministry after receiving the opinion of the Provincial Permanent Committee.”

18 For a good accounting of this process, see Kirisci and Winroth, pp. 102-108. The authors argue that, “...In the 1930s great efforts were expended to prove that Kurds were Turks... according to this, Kurds were comprised of Turks who to a great extent had changed their language...”

Oddly enough, all three Turkish constitutions have conspicuously avoided linkingTurkish ethnicity with citizenship. Article 88 of the 1924 Constitution stated that, “In Turkey, from the point of view of citizenship, everyone is a Turk without regard to race or religion.” Article 54 of the 1961 Constitution stated that, “Every individual who is bound to the Turkish state by ties of citizenship is a Turk.” Article 66 of the present constitution, adopted in 1982, states that, “Everyone bound to the Turkish State through the bond of citizenship is a Turk.”

19 The early authors of Turkish nationalism envisioned no iron link between Turkish ethnicity and Turkish nationalism, i.e. citizenship in the Republic of Turkey. In his 1920 work The Principles of Türkism, Ziya Gökalp, the father of modern Turkish nationalism, wrote that,

...since race has no relationship to social traits, neither can it have any with nationality, which is the sum total of social solidarity rests on cultural unity, which is transmitted by means of education and therefore has no relationship with consanguinity...a nation is not a racial or ethnic or geographic or political or volitional group but one composed of individuals who share a common language, religion, morality, or aesthetics, that is to say, who have received the same education.

See Ziya Gökalp, The Principles of Turkism (Ankara, 1920, translated by Robert Devereux, Leiden, 1968), pp. 12-15 as quoted by David McDowall, A Modern History of the Kurds (London: I.B. Taurus, 1996), p. 189.

In fact, Gökalp was himself most likely a Kurd, born and raised in Diyarbak1r.

20 At the time, some saw the logical contradiction in using the identity of a specific ethnic group (Turks) as the national identity in a multi-ethnic republic. A short-lived “Anatolian” movement sought to adopt the geographic term “Anatolia” and “Anatolian” in place of “Turkey and “Turks.” See Andrews, p. 35.

21 Kurd in Turkish is spelled “Kürt.” Hugh and Nicole Pope, “Turkey Unveiled: Atatürk and After.” (London: John Murray, 1997), pp. 251-2.

The author of this report was told a similar story in 1987 by a Turkish friend who had completed military service in 1984 near Erzincan, a mixed Turkish-Kurdish area.

22 Ethnic conflict in the former Soviet Union, especially in Abkhazia and Chechnya, also helped to strengthen ethnic sentiment among non-Turks in Turkey. See a series that ran in the now-closed newspaper Günes (Istanbul), “Öbür denizin çocuklar1 ya da Ad1_ler” (The Children of the other Sea, or Adygei”), August 22, 1990. One of those interviewed refers to himself as an “assimilated Circassian.” See also a piece about the war in Abkhazia, Nebil Özgentürk, “Kafda_1n1n etekleri: Abhazya” (“The foothills of Caucasus Mountains: Abkhazia”), Sabah (Istanbul), October 4, 1992, and also a thoughtful essay by Thomas Goltz on Circassians and Chechens in Turkey in the wake of conflict in Chechnya, “The Turkish Carpet Frays,” The Washington Post, January 28, 1996, p. C2. In the spring of 1995, the intellectual journal Birikim devoted a whole issue to ethnic minorities in Turkey, Etnik Kimlik ve Az1nl1klar (Ethnic Identity and Minorities), No. 71-2, March-April 1995.

23 Several Kurdish-language music videos were played on inter-city buses while the author of this report was traveling in southeastern Turkey in the summer of 1997.

24 Do_u Sorunu: Teshisler ve Tesbitler (The Eastern Question: Diagnosis and Ascertations), TOBB, July 1995. The report was sponsored by the Turkish Chamber of Commerce and written by Professor Do_u Ergil.

25 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997. In 1991, a group of individuals tried to register officially as the Sheik Said Foundation, in honor of a Kurdish tribal leader who led a revolt in 1925. When that request was rejected, they tried again in 1994 as the “Kurdish Institute.” According to Mr. Beyaz, the court rejected the new name under Article 34b of a secret National Security Council directive (MGK genelgesi). The contents of the directive were not revealed to Mr. Beyaz or his lawyer. Undeterred, they founded the Mesopotamian Printing and Publishing Limited Company (Mezopotamya Bas1n ve Yay1n A.S.).

26 Interview, Ankara, August 1997. He is presently the leader of the Democratic Mass Party (DKP). In April 1979, Mr. Elçi stated in parliament that, “There are Kurds in Turkey. I am a Kurd.” Article 142, now abolished, criminalized a number of actions, including conducting “propaganda with the purpose of establishing the domination of one social class over another..or to eliminate or weaken nationalist feelings...”

27 Article 42.9 states that, “No language other than Turkish shall be taught as a mother tongue to Turkish citizens at any institution of training or education.” The Treaty of Lausanne, however, allows instruction in Greek and Armenian, and the constitution recognizes this provision.

28 Decision No. 92/2788, Official Gazette, March 20, 1992. Oddly enough, the now-abolished Law No. 2932, “The Law Concerning Publications and Broadcasts in Languages Other than Turkish,” was more liberal regarding teaching foreign languages. Article 2 of that law stated that, “ Apart from the first official language of states recognized by the Turkish State, the release, propagation, or publication of thoughts in any other language is prohibited.”

29 The official name of the foundation in Kurdish and Turkish is Weqfa Lêkolin û Çanda Kurdi/ Kürt Kültür ve Arast1rma Vakf1. After a four-year legal battle, the foundation won the right to use the word “Kurdish” in its official title in a January 16, 1996, decision by the High Appeals Court (Yarg1tay).

A Kürt-Kav member explained that, “We founded our institute in 1992, ninety-eight of us. We are not ideological—our goal is to build civil society by studying and teaching the Kurdish culture and language. It took us four years of struggle to get the right to have the name ‘Kurdish’ in our title.” According to Kürt-Kav’s statute, its main goal is “research on fundamental rights and freedoms (and) research and investigation in the areas of the Kurdish language, culture, and history.”

30 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997.

31 T.C. Milli E_itim Bakanl1_1 Hukuk Müsavirli_i (Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Education, Legal Department), Correspondence No. 97-200=11=897=12586.

32 "Turk Court Acquits Two in Kurdish Courses Case,” Reuters, May 5, 1998. Ironically, the Istanbul State Security Court uses Kürt-Kav to provide transcription and translation of Kurdish-language documents.

33 Nese Düzel, “Pazartesi Konusmalar1” (“Monday Chats”), Yeni Yüzy1l (Istanbul), Internet edition, April 27, 1997. Dr. Y1ld1r1m also stated that 61 percent of women in the region were illiterate.

In a ground breaking survey of Turkish Kurds released in 1995, 68.5 percent stated that they spoke Kurdish at home, while 15.1 percent reported speaking Turkish and 14.2 percent stated that they spoke both Turkish and Kurdish. The sample consisted of 1,267 individuals (Diyarbak1r, 237; Batman, 188; Mardin, 219; Adana, 188; Mersin, 185; Antalya, 250). See, Do_u Sorunu, pp. 12-13.

34 According to a report put out by the Turkish Medical Association (Türk Tabipleri Birli_i), half of the doctors working at health facilities in Diyarbak1r needed a third person to communicate with patients. Sixty-seven percent of midwives and nurses stated that they had language problems even when administering simple procedures, like vaccinations. See, Turkish Medical Association, The Report on the Health Services and Health Personnel Problems in the Southeast, Ankara, March 1995, pp. 44-48.

35 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997.

36 Perspectives on Democratization in Turkey, pp. 172-4.

37 According to the survey, 60.1 percent believed that every ethnic group should be able to obtain an education in its native tongue if its members so chose. 12.6 percent preferred Turkish language instruction, while 3.6 percent wanted only Kurdish. Economic realities, however, played a role. Most acknowledged that neither Turkish nor Kurdish would be sufficient as a language in the global economy. This view was summed up in the phrase, “If the prohibition is removed, very few would send their children to Kurdish schools. Would they let their kids be unemployed?” See Do_u Sorunu, pp. 43-44.

38 Political Parties Law/ Siyasi Partiler Kanunu (No. 2820, adopted April 26, 1983) in Kocahano_lu, p. 68 and pp. 100-101.

Part Four of the Political Parties Law deals with, “Prohibitions concerning Political Parties.” It is divided into Section One (Article 78), “Prohibitions concerning Goals and Activities” and Section Two (Articles 79-83), “Defending the Qualities of the Nation-State.”

39 The Law Concerning Fundamental Provisions on Elections and Voter Registries/ Seçimlerin Temel Hükümleri ve Seçmen Kütükleri Hakk1nda Kanun (No. 298, Adopted April 26, 1961), reprinted by State authority Kocahano_lu, pp. 252-253.

40 Banned parties include the following: Socialist Party (Sosyalist Partisi-SP), October 25, 1992; People’s Labor Party (Halk1n Emek Partisi-HEP), July 14, 1993; Freedom and Democracy Party (Özgürlük ve Demokrasi Partisi-ÖZDEP), November 23, 1993; Democracy Party (Demokrasi Partisi-DEP), June 30, 1994; Socialist Union Party (Sosyalist Birlik Partisi-SBP), July 19, 1995; Democracy and Change Party (De_isim ve Demokrasi Partisi-DDP), 1996.

HEP, ÖZDEP, DEP, and the present People’s Democracy Party (Halk1n Demokrasi Partisi-HADEP), are continuations of each other. Each new party was formed as the previous one was closed by the Constitutional Court.

In addition, members of these parties often faced criminal proceedings for free expression that is protected under international law. In December 1994, eight former DEP parliamentarians were convicted “of being members of an outlawed armed group” and “aiding and abetting” such a group in a trial fraught with procedural irregularities. Four are still imprisoned. All have appealed their case to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Unless otherwise noted, information in this paragraph comes from the annual reports of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (Türkiye _nsan Haklar1 Vakf1-T_HV). See 1992 Türkiye _nsan Haklar1 Raporu (1992 Turkey Human Rights Report), (Ankara: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, January 1993), pp. 189-99;1993 Türkiye _nsan Haklar1 Raporu (1993 Turkey Human Rights Report), (Ankara: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, June 1994), pp. 303-5; 1994 Turkey Human Rights Report (Ankara: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, September 1995), pp. 348-355; 1995 Türkiye _nsan Haklar1 Raporu (1995 Turkey Human Rights Report), (Ankara: Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, February 1997), pp. 394-406.

41 In 1991, in an election alliance with the Social Democratic Populist Party (Sosyal Demokrat Halkç1 Parti-SHP), twenty-two HEP parliamentarians were elected from the HEP-SHP list, all from southeastern Turkey. HEP was formed in 1990 after six ethnic Kurdish deputies from SHP were ejected from the party for attending an October 1989 conference in Paris titled, “Kurds: Human Rights and Cultural Identity.” The Kurdish Institute of Paris sponsored the conference.

When HEP was closed eighteen former deputies joined DEP. When DEP was closed it had thirteen deputies in Parliament; eight, as mentioned, were put on trial, and five fled abroad. HADEP, DEP’s successor, contested the December 1995 parliamentary elections and won 4.5 percent of the vote, but could not pass the 10 percent parliamentary barrier.

42 Interview with Bülent Tanör, Istanbul, August 1997. In his report for TÜS_AD, Mr. Tanör wrote that, “The provisions of this article (Article 81) are dramatic from the point of respect for logic and culture....The democratic and rational approach requires that political parties seeking to represent different ethnic and religious identities, on the condition that they are not separatist, should not be excluded from the system but included.” See Perspectives on Democratization, pp. 45-46.

43 Iddianame, (Indictment), SP.91 Hz.1997/138. The prosecutor alleges that the party has violated the preamble and Articles 2 ,3, 14, 68, and 136 of the constitution as well as Articles 78, 80, 81, and 89 of the Political Parties Law. See pp. 72-3.

44 Mr. Elçi complained that,

In Europe, there is a new movement: protecting regionalism, protecting difference, but then joining together. Look at Spain and Catalonia....There has been a serious change in the world. The bipolar world is over. The European Union gives importance to minorities and to regional differences. Whether Turkey wants to or not they are affected....The benefit of closing our party is not understandable by rationality. Powers in the state want a hard-line approach....[there is] a paradox about the state fighting the PKK. If they were serious, they would not interfere with democratic, non-violent movements like ours that defend the unity of the state...the state doesn’t want the voice of Kurds to be raised even in a peaceful, western fashion it seems.

Interview, Ankara, September 1997.

45 Demokratik Kitle Partisi Program1 (Program of the Democratic Mass Party), pp. 3 and 32-3. Cited in the indictment, pp. 5 and 8-9. SP.91 Hz.1997/138 as pp. 3 and 32-3.

46 "Elçi’den eyalet çözümü” (“Decentralization solution from Elçi”), Cumhuriyet, January 4, 1997, p. 5, cited in the indictment, SP.91 Hz.1997/138, p. 15.

47 "Gelece_e umutla bak1yorum,” (“I’m Positive About the Future”), Milliyet, February 10, 1997, cited in the indictment, SP.91 Hz.1997/138, p. 18.

On December 8, 1991, while on a trip to southeastern Turkey with his coalition partner and deputy prime minister, Erdal Inönü, the newly-elected prime minister, Suleyman Demirel, announced that “Turkey had recognized the Kurdish reality.” See Düzgören, pp. 123-4.

48 Indictment, SP.91 Hz.1997/138, p. 68. Italics added. The prosecutor is in error by stating that there are no prohibited languages. Restrictions still exist in broadcasting and education.

49 Seçimlerin Temel Hükümleri ve Seçmen Kütükleri Hakk1nda Kanun (no. 298, adopted April 26, 1961), reprinted in Kocahano_lu, pp. 252-53.

50 T.C. A_r1 Cumhuriyet Bassavc1l1_1, Iddianame, (Republic of Turkey, A_r1 Republic Head Prosecution Office, Indictment), No. 1996/9, January 11, 1996.

Interview with Mr. Basut, Istanbul, August 1997.

51 Article 2 of the law, for example, stated that, “Aside from the first official language of states recognized by the Turkish State, the announcing, disseminating, or publishing of thoughts in any language is forbidden.” Article 3a stated that, “The use of any language but Turkish as a mother tongue or being engaged in any type of activity of its dissemination is forbidden.” Article 23e of the Anti-Terror Law (No. 3713), passed on April 12, 1991, abolished Law No. 2932.

52 Article 28.2 of the constitution states that, “Publication shall not be made in any language prohibited by law....”

Article 26 states that,

No language prohibited by law shall be used in the expression and dissemination of thought. Any written or printed documents, phonograph records, magnetic or video tapes, and other means of expression used in contravention of this provision shall be seized by a duly issued decision of a judge or, in cases where delay is deemed prejudicial, by the competent authority designated by law.

53 Article 4t of the RTÜK Law, “Broadcasting Principles,” states that, “Radio and television broadcasts will be made in Turkish; however, for the purpose of teaching or of imparting news those foreign languages that have made a contribution to the development of universal cultural and scientific works can be used.” See Appendix for a text of the law.

State television has nightly newscasts in English, German, and French, and any number of foreign language channels are available through cable television.

54 Interview with Koray Düzgören, Istanbul, August 1997.

55 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997.

56 Yalman Onaran, A Heavy Film, Associated Press, January 31, 1998.

57 Nevzat Bingöl operated the first television station that broadcast both music and political programming in Kurdish. Based in Diyarbak1r, the station closed in 1997 under both political and economic pressure. See Amberin Zaman, “Kurdish Broadcasting,” Voiceof America, July 31, 1998.

58 “Pazartesi Konusmalar1” (“Monday Chats”), op. cit. In an August 1997 interview with Human Rights Watch, Dr. Hikmet Sami Türk, state minister for human rights, also expressed support for allowing Kurdish-language broadcasting.

Presently transmitting via satellite from the United Kingdom, MED-TV broadcasts several hours of programming a day overwhelmingly sympathetic to the PKK and its struggle. Many Kurds throughout Turkey watch MED as it represents the sole Kurdish-language television station available in Turkey.

59 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997.

60 Interview, Diyarbak1r, August 1997.

61 Interview, August 1997, Istanbul. The logic behind the statement is that those most in need of a Kurdish-language paper, i.e. those with weak or non-existent Turkish, are usually illiterate in Kurdish and too poor to purchase a newspaper.

62 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997.

63 Interview, Ankara, August 1997.

64 The editorial policy of Hêvi is sympathetic to the Socialist Party of Kurdistan (SPK) of Kemal Burkay, presently a non-violent political party. The party is outlawed in Turkey, and its leader lives in exile.

65 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997. Though not legally recognized as such, there have been various incarnations of the paper. Previous papers include the following: Deng (Voice), December 1989; Azadi (Freedom), 1991, published 104 issues then closed down by court order; Deng Azadi (Voice of Freedom), forty-two published, then closed; Ronahi, 1995, seventy-two published, closed.

66 Welat (Country), was a Kurdish-language weekly that published 115 issues from 1992-94. The responsible editor of the publication, Mazhar Günbat, was sentenced in two different cases under Articles 312 and 8 of the Anti-Terror Law. He has since left Turkey, and the paper was closed by court order. Its successor, Welatê Me (My Country), which published forty-six issues in 1994 and 1995, also faced legal pressure. The paper’s owner, Aynur Bozkurt, was fined TL100 million under Article 7 of the Anti-Terror Law, and the responsible editor, Mehmet Gemsiz, was sentenced to two years, six months under Article312 and Article 7 of the Anti-Terror Law. He fled abroad as well, and the paper was closed. Since January 1996, the paper has been publishing under the name, Azadiya Welat (Free Country). As of January 1999, the publication was confiscated three times and there were five cases pending against it. In one of these cases, which ended on January 25, the court sentenced the responsible editor to one year of imprisonment and a 3 billion 50 million TL fine (U.S. $9298) and banned the publication of the paper for ten days. Azadiya Welat appealed the verdict. Interview with the paper’s editor-in-chief, Sami Tan, Istanbul, August 1997; Interview with Azadiya Welat, January 1999.

67 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997.

68 Interview, Istanbul, November 1997.

69 Through August 1997.

70 Interview, Istanbul, August 1997.

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