ISBN 1-56432-161-4, November 1995



For the past eleven years, the government of Turkey has been mired in an increasingly bitter war with insurgents of the Kurdistan Workers Party, the PKK. To date, the war’s toll is estimated at over 19,000 deaths, including some 2,000 death-squad killings of suspected PKK sympathizers, two million internally displaced, and more than 2,200 villages destroyed, most of which were burned down by Turkish security forces. In an effort to root out PKK fighters and sympathizers from southeast Turkey, the government has adopted increasingly brutal counterinsurgency measures, in clear violation of international law. The PKK, for its part, has also systematically engaged in violations such as summary executions and indiscriminate fire.

Both before and during this period, Turkey’s NATO partners have extended generous political and military support, helping Turkey to develop a formidable arms industry and supplying it with a steady stream of weapons, often for free or at greatly reduced cost. The United States government in particular has been deeply involved in arming Turkey and supporting its arms production capacities. Although several NATO governments have occasionally protested Turkish policies, most have continued to supply Turkey with arms.

This report documents the Turkish security forces’ violations of the laws of war and of human rights, and their reliance on U.S. and NATO-supplied weapons in doing so. Drawing on investigations of twenty-nine incidents that occurred between 1992 and 1995, the report links specific weapons systems to individual incidents of Turkish violations. Supplemented by interviews with former Turkish soldiers, U.S. officials and defense experts, the report concludes that U.S. weapons, as well as those supplied by other NATO members, are regularly used by Turkey to commit severe human rights abuses and violations of the laws of war in the southeast.

The most egregious examples of Turkey’s reliance on U.S. weaponry in committing abuses are its use of U.S.-supplied fighter-bombers to attack civilian villages and its use of U.S.-supplied helicopters in support of a wide range of abusive practices, including the punitive destruction of villages, extrajudicial executions, torture, and indiscriminate fire.

According to Human Rights Watch’s investigation, U.S. and NATO-supplied small arms, tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery are also used in the abuses. One particularly troubling example is the preference displayed by Turkey’s special counterinsurgency forces, who are renowned for their abusive behavior, for U.S.-designed small arms such as the M-16 assault rifle and for British armored cars. Other Turkish forces, many of whom routinely engage in human rights abuses, rely on German-designed rifles and machine guns, Belgian rifle grenades, German-supplied armored personnel carriers, and a wide variety of other military products sold or donated by NATO governments.

In June 1995, the U.S. Department of State issued a ground-breaking report admitting that Turkey engages in gross abuses such as torture, extrajudicial executions and forced village evacuations. According to the report, U.S.-origin equipment, which accounts for most major items of the Turkish military inventory, has been used in operations against the PKK during which human rights abuses have occurred. One official told Human Rights Watch, “The majority of what their military has is from us, so of course U.S. weapons are involved in whatever it is they do.” Obtaining concrete proof of the use of U.S. weapons in specific incidents, however, was far more problematic. “The Turks won’t tell us what they used in specific incidents,” he said. Even so, the State Department report did cite at least one incident in which U.S.-designed F-16s were used to bomb Kurdish civilians; the Turkish government, however, blandly asserted that “no air raids took place” on that day in the area.

Despite documenting the fact that Turkey has misused U.S. weapons, the Clinton administration, which says it supplies Turkey with 80 percent of its foreign military hardware, has consistently refused to link arms sales to improvements in Turkey’s human rights record. Shortly after publication of the June 1995 State Department report, the U.S.’s top military officer, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General John Shalikashvili, wrote a letter to the U.S. Congress urging U.S. lawmakers not to cut military assistance to Turkey because of its human rights record.

In fact, based on Human Rights Watch interviews with U.S. military personnel, it appears that Pentagon representatives in Ankara are more eager than ever to sell Turkey U.S. weapons, including M-60 tanks, helicopter gunships, cluster bombs, ground-to-ground missiles and small arms. The U.S. is also involved in co-production agreements with the Turkish defense industry, most notably helping to build the F-16 fighter-bomber, which the U.S. State Department acknowledged may have been used indiscriminately to kill Kurdish civilians, and a new armored personnel carrier.

According to senior U.S. officials, Turkey is NATO’s “frontline” state, supports U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, and shares the West’s fear of Islamic fundamentalism. Consequently, these officials argue, Turkey should not be punished for its misuse of U.S. weaponry and for its systematic violations of the laws of war and human rights. The argument is reminiscent of U.S. statements during the Cold War, though the enemy has been redefined: once again, the U.S. is arguing that special allowances must be made for strategically important friends, no matter how abusive they may be to their own citizens.

The June 1995 State Department report, while acknowledging the role of U.S. weapons in Turkish abuses, is marred by a series of systematic flaws and contradictions which facilitate the policy of continued military sales to Turkey. Most importantly, the report’s authors claimed they were unable to determine whether U.S. weapons have been used to commit grave abuses such as torture, summary executions and disappearances. If the report had identified the involvement of U.S. weapons in such abuses, the Clinton administration might have been forced to take more direct action against Turkey. Other serious flaws include the report’s understatement of the role of U.S. weapons in the Turkish village eradication campaign, its failure to provide more than three concrete examples of Turkish misuse of U.S. weapons, and its failure to provide original investigative findings. The majority of information contained in the report was drawn from the local press, local and international nongovernmental human rights organizations, and Turkish military authorities. It appears that despite being ordered by the U.S. Congress to conduct a serious investigation into Turkish misuse of U.S.-supplied weapons, the State Department made little use of the U.S. government’s vast resources and knowledge of Turkish military activities.

One reason officially offered for the State Department report’s lack of detail was a May 1993 to May 1994 ban on travel to the southeast imposed because of the “precarious security situation” there. The official restriction was in place at a time precisely when the counterinsurgency campaign was in its worst phase, so that the ban effectively blocked most U.S. access to the southeast when independent evaluations were most vitally needed. Even when the State Department permitted its personnel to visit the region, however, Turkish authorities stopped them from visiting specific sites where villages were alleged to have been razed by Turkish security forces. In interviews with Human Rights Watch, U.S. officials acknowledged that before and after the ban on travel, trips by U.S. government personnel to the southeast have always been monitored by Turkish authorities. It appears that the U.S. government has not made independent and full access to the southeast a top priority in its dealings with Turkish authorities.

The U.S. government’s professed inability to seriously evaluate the actions of a major NATO ally does not appear credible, given the immense investigative resources at its disposal. Were the U.S. truly interested in determining the full extent of U.S. weapons’ involvement in Turkish abuses, it could do so by insisting on full and independent access to the southeast, and insisting that Turkey be more forthcoming with information. One U.S. Embassy official in Turkey conceded that the U.S. government had not made a serious investigative effort to examine the role of U.S. weapons for the congressional report: “We’re not an investigative body,” the official said. “We can’t spy on an ally,” another government official claimed in Washington D.C.

Human Rights Watch is particularly troubled that throughout Turkey’s wide-ranging scorched earth campaign, U.S. troops, aircraft and intelligence personnel have remained at their posts throughout Turkey, mingling with Turkish counterinsurgency troops and aircrews in southeastern bases such as Incirlik and Diyarbakir. Some U.S. troops are in Turkey on NATO-related duties, while others operate within the framework of Operation Provide Comfort, a no-fly zone in northern Iraq designed to defend Iraqi Kurds from Saddam Hussein’s Air Force. While the effort to defend Iraqi Kurds has been pursued with great vigor since 1991, U.S. military and diplomatic personnel have studiously ignored the abusive actions of their Turkish allies. It appears that in return for Turkey’s support for Operation Provide Comfort, the U.S. has agreed not to publicly criticize what Turkey does with its own Kurdish citizens, located directly across the Iraqi border from the zone protected by U.S. warplanes.

Given Turkey’s status as an important NATO ally and as a major base for U.S. troops, including U.S. intelligence units, as well as U.S. nuclear weapons, it appears likely that elements within the U.S. government possess detailed knowledge of the full scope of Turkish abuses as well as the key role played by U.S. weapons. This information is probably far more detailed than the material published in the June 1995 report to Congress. Interviews with U.S. officials suggest such information exists but has not been disseminated within the U.S. government and was not made available to the authors of the June 1995 report.

The U.S. government has adopted a significantly less critical attitude toward Turkey than have other governments. At least five nations have at some point suspended military sales to Turkey because of its abuses in the conflict in the southeast: Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and South Africa. Moreover, Turkey has declared that it would not import arms from four other nations because of their critical comments about the war in the southeast: Austria, Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.

Other NATO nations, and Germany in particular, have debated arms transfers to Turkey far more vigorously than the U.S. and have examined Turkey’s human rights practices in greater depth. On more than one occasion, Germany has suspended arms sales to Turkey, including after receiving information from non-governmental organizations about the use of German-supplied weapons by Turkish counterinsurgency forces. Unlike the U.S., Germany applies strict conditions on the weapons it supplies Turkey, requiring that they not be used against the Kurds.

NATO itself has done nothing to set up oversight mechanisms to restrain Turkey’s armed forces, many of which are integrated into NATO’s operational structure and are slated for U.N. peacekeeping missions. In addition, powerful interests throughout Western Europe are pressing for Turkey’s entry into a customs union with the European Union and have deflected opposition to the union based on Turkey’s human rights record.

Turkey’s Counterinsurgency Campaign
Chapter II of this report provides background on the origins of the conflict with the PKK and discusses the nature and consequences of Turkey’s counterinsurgency campaign, focusing on the village evacuation and destruction strategy and the village guard system. Turkey’s counterinsurgency strategy has had a number of dismal consequences for Turkey. Legally, Turkey is in gross violation of its international commitments to respect the laws of war. The security forces still seem unable to eradicate the PKK in southeast Turkey, and the counterinsurgency has further damaged Turkey’s aspirations to be viewed as a liberal democracy on the verge of integration with Europe. Turkey’s abysmal human rights record has earned it condemnation throughout the West.

More importantly, the government’s counterinsurgency methods have created a huge underclass of embittered and impoverished internal refugees, whose homes and livelihoods have been abruptly destroyed by the state. These refugees have moved to squatter settlements throughout Turkey’s cities, providing the PKK with a potential base for future organizing and presenting Turkey with a difficult social and economic crisis.

Turkey’s Arms Acquisition Program
Chapter III of this report traces arms flows from NATO nations and others to Turkey in detail. Turkey has been a member of NATO since 1952, and has benefited from a wide range of weapons transfer programs. Wealthy NATO members have both sold and donated a full range of weaponry to Turkey, including more than 500 combat aircraft, 500 combat helicopters, 5,000 tanks, and thousands of artillery pieces, mortars, machine guns and assault rifles. The United States has been Turkey’s dominant supplier, providing about 80 percent of Turkey’s arsenal. Over the past decade, Congress has appropriated $5.3 billion in military aid (grants and loans to purchase weapons) for Turkey, making Turkey the third largest recipient of U.S. military aid, after Israel and Egypt.

Germany has been Turkey’s second largest supplier of arms. Other NATO suppliers have included Italy, France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Spain and Canada. As criticism mounted in Europe over Turkey’s treatment of the Kurds, Turkey has increasingly turned elsewhere for arms, including the Russian Federation, Israel, Pakistan and other nations.

Turkey’s Security Forces
In Chapter IV, Human Rights Watch examines the different Turkish units involved in the fighting and describes their composition and arsenals. The role of each unit in the counterinsurgency is evaluated, with special emphasis on responsibility for human rights abuses.

The worst abusers are regular forces belonging to the Jandarma (or Gendarmerie), Turkey’s rural police force, and special counterinsurgency units belonging to both the Jandarma and the police. These special forces, designed to spearhead the anti-PKK campaign, reportedly are recruited from far-right Turkish nationalist groups notorious for their hatred of Kurdish nationalism. The Turkish special forces use U.S.-designed arms and British-supplied armored vehicles.

Contrary to arguments made by U.S. officials, however, all Turkish units, including the regular Turkish Army and Air Force, are implicated in abuses. Human Rights Watch’s research demonstrates that Turkish units are integrated and intermeshed in the southeast, making it impossible to argue that the Army and Air Force which are integral components of NATO have played no role in the violations. The Turkish Army has deployed about 150,000 troops to the southeast and routinely supports the Jandarma and special forces during village destructions and other abusive operations. Three former Turkish Army personnel interviewed by Human Rights Watch have stated that their units directly participated in abuses, as well as having backed up Jandarma and special force units while they engaged in violations. The Air Force, which relies almost exclusively on U.S.-designed aircraft, frequently raids suspected PKK positions and has been implicated in bombings that killed civilians in violation of the laws of war.

Case Studies
Chapter V contains twenty-nine case studies based on Human Rights Watch interviews in Turkey and northern Iraq in June and July 1995, as well as a number of incidents investigated by reliable domestic and international organizations. Human Rights Watch used a variety of methods to determine the type and, whenever possible, the supplier of the weapons used. Cumulatively, these cases demonstrate that Turkey has engaged in a pattern of abuse and that NATO-supplied weaponry, with special emphasis on U.S.-supplied products, plays a key role in these abuses. Among the violations investigated, the most important are forced evacuation of the rural population and destruction of their villages, indiscriminate fire, torture, and summary executions.

Forced Evacuation and Destruction of Villages
Turkey’s forced depopulation strategy is by far the most severe human rights issue in Turkey today. By eradicating large portions of the Kurdish rural population, the Turkish military hopes to eliminate the PKK’s networks of logistical support in the countryside. Largely as a result of this policy, over 2,200 Kurdish villages have been fully or partially destroyed since 1984, with the vast majority eradicated by Turkish forces since 1992.

B.G., a former Turkish soldier interviewed by Human Rights Watch, said that he walked through “hundreds” of destroyed villages during his mountain patrols in late 1994 and early 1995. The villages were usually destroyed by burning, B.G. said, and were ordered destroyed by senior commanders in Diyarbakir, the counterinsurgency center of the southeast. V.A., a former Turkish officer, said that soldiers destroyed the homes after forcing residents to leave because they wanted to deny the PKK access to shelter during the winter months.

Human Rights Watch found that Turkish troops use a wide variety of transport vehicles and weapons during village depopulations, many of which are of NATO origin. In the following cases, for example, helicopters supported village burnings by resupplying troops. Given the composition of the Turkish helicopter fleet, it is highly likely that they were U.S.-supplied Black Hawks or Hueys:

In October 1994, Turkish helicopters landed twice a day to resupply a column of Army commandos engaged in a week-long search and destroy mission in the Mercan valley of Tunceli province. The witness who described the events to Human Rights Watch was kidnapped from the village of Bilgec to act as a porter for the troops. He said the column burned down six villages. (Case 14).

In late September 1994, security forces burned down the village of Cevizlidere, located in the Ovacik district of Tunceli province. They remained in the village for three days, using it as an operational base. During that time, helicopters repeatedly landed and took off from the village’s central square, ferrying in troops and supplies. (Case 18).

At the end of August 1994, troops landed in three helicopters at sunrise near the village of Comak, located in the Kigi district of Bingol province. The troops burned the village down and ordered the residents to walk to the nearest town. (Case 12).

In other cases, helicopters have been used to drop explosives or strafe villages, contributing to the displacement and destruction of civilian settlements. The helicopter gunships involved were most probably U.S.-supplied Cobras. On October 22, 1993, for example, five witnesses said that helicopters and other aircraft pounded the village of Zengok, located in Mu province. The air bombardment followed the forced evacuation and partial burning of the town by ground troops. Although no civilians died in the initial attack and sweep by Turkish troops, five civilians were found dead in the village two days later, captives left by the troops to be burned alive while bound and tied, linked together with electric cables and a chain. There were reportedly no guerrillas in the village at the time of the raid. (Case 24).

Indiscriminate Fire
Human Rights Watch investigated incidents of indiscriminate fire in which civilians were terrorized, wounded or killed and during which troops did substantial damage to civilian property. Indiscriminate fire is a persistent and troubling phenomenon in Turkey’s southeast; Human Rights Watch does not, however, have sufficient information to evaluate with any precision how many unjustified deaths or village destructions were caused by indiscriminate fire. It is clear, however, that indiscriminate fire causes scores of casualties each year.

Indiscriminate fire by Turkish warplanes is particularly grave because of the destructive potential of air-delivered weapons, typically 500 or 1,000-pound bombs. Turkish warplanes routinely take part in raids against suspected PKK bases, both within Turkey as well as in northern Iraq. On occasion, these planes have dropped bombs on civilian settlements, killing civilians and destroying villages. While some of these attacks may have resulted from gross negligence, others appear to have been deliberate. The worst air raids took place in late March 1994, when Turkish warplanes struck a number of villages in the Sirnak province, killing scores of civilians.

Witnesses from the village of Kuskonar in Sirnak province, for example, told Human Rights Watch of a March 26, 1994 air strike by two Turkish warplanes that killed twenty-four civilians and wounded several more. A helicopter first overflew the village; two warplanes then buzzed Kuskonar at low altitude; finally, after having examined the village at close range, the jets made two bombing runs, dropping a total of four bombs. Both the airplanes and the helicopters were most probably U.S.-supplied. (Case 3).

In the cities and towns of the southeast, Turkish security forces have used massive and disproportionate force to crush PKK urban strongholds. A former Turkish soldier told Human Rights Watch that on August 18-20, 1992, troops used U.S.-supplied M-48 and M-60 tanks, 105mm artillery, U.S.-supplied M-113 armored personnel carriers, U.S.-designed M-16 rifles and LAW anti-tank rockets to assault the town of Sirnak following an alleged PKK provocation. Twenty-two civilians died in the assault, sixty were wounded, and many of the town’s 25,000 residents fled in panic. Much of the town was destroyed. (Case 28).

Torture and Ill-Treatment
Human Rights Watch found that torture and ill-treatment of civilians was commonplace during village displacements and that NATO equipment was commonly used in these incidents. In the following incident, for example, U.S.-supplied helicopters were almost certainly used:

On February 21, 1993, Turkish troops, some of which were helicopter-borne, came to the snow-bound village of Ormanici located in the Guclukonak district of Sirnak province. In retaliation for an earlier PKK ambush the troops burned Ormanici down and ordered forty-two civilians to lie in the snow for hours. Six men and a boy were later taken for interrogation, badly tortured, and exposed to extreme cold. Five developed gangrene; four subsequently had their legs amputated, and one died. The witnesses were transported at one point during their interrogation to another base by helicopter. (Case 19).

Summary Execution and Disappearances
Summary executions, a serious problem in Turkey for the past several years, are perpetrated by both government forces and PKK guerrillas. This report documents several summary executions by security forces in which NATO-supplied weapons played a role.

On April 19, 1995, according to B.G., the former Turkish soldier, Turkish security forces ambushed and shot and wounded Ali Ihsan Dogsleigh, a suspected PKK supporter, in the village of Kurucayir, located in the Savur district of Diyarbakir province. The troops holding Da l prisoner were joined by a senior Turkish general, who flew to the village in a U.S.-supplied Huey helicopter, and carried a U.S.-designed M-16. The general helped other soldiers beat Da l , as well as other villagers. The troops then burned the village down and took Da l with them. B.G. was later told by a military officer that Da l had been killed in custody, an allegation supported by the fact that Da l has been on a list of missing persons since April 1995. (Case 1).

On May 10, 1994, a Jandarma non-commissioned officer threw three suspected PKK guerrillas to their deaths from a helicopter flying near the town of Kulp, located in Diyarbakir province. The guerrillas had been captured, interrogated and tortured. A fourth prisoner who witnessed the incident said he survived by promising to provide his captors with crucial information. (Case 8).

PKK Violations and Sources of Weapons
In Chapter VI Human Rights Watch highlights the PKK’s substantial violations of the laws of war, as it has done in past reports on the war in Turkey. The most common PKK abuses are summary executions, indiscriminate fire and the intentional targeting of non-combatants. Until late 1994, the PKK openly acknowledged that it targeted civilian state employees and the families of paramilitary village guards, who are protected persons under international humanitarian law. Although the PKK recently announced its intention to abide by international law, evidence from 1995 suggests that the PKK has violated this pledge.

This chapter also examines the PKK’s sources of arms. While some weapons may have been transferred to the PKK by states such as Iran, Armenia and Syria, the bulk of the PKK’s arsenal appears to have been purchased in arms bazaars scattered across Europe, the Middle East and Central Asia, including Antwerp, Hamburg, northern Iraq, and the former Soviet Union. The PKK reportedly raises money for weapons purchases through a variety of both peaceful and coercive methods, including voluntary contributions from sympathizers and violent extortion from unwilling Turkish and Kurdish businessmen. In addition, elements of the PKK reportedly raise funds by shipping drugs from Asia and the Middle East to western Europe through the Balkans and Italy.

The U.S. Government’s Role
Chapter VII examines the role of the U.S. government, which has expressed concern about human rights while failing to exert real pressure on Turkey. Based on analyses of U.S. public statements and interviews with officials in the State and Defense Departments and in the field, Human Rights Watch concludes that the U.S. is deeply implicated in the Turkish government’s counterinsurgency policy and practices through its provision of arms and political support, and is aware of the abuses being committed, but has chosen to downplay Turkish violations for strategic reasons.

Correspondence with the Government of Turkey
At the beginning of August 1995, the Human Rights Watch Arms Project wrote to the representative of Turkey in the United States, Ambassador Nuzhet Kandemir, with a list of twenty-two questions that arose from our field investigation in Turkey in June-July. We offered to include in this report any response to these questions we might receive from the Government of Turkey. Ten questions addressed general issues regarding the conflict in the southeast (casualty figures, number of villages burned and/or evacuated, number of displaced persons), the nature and sources of the PKK’s weapons, the rules of engagement governing the behavior of Turkish troops, Turkey’s policy with respect to village evacuations, and the existence of investigative mechanisms within the Turkish military. A further twelve questions dealt with specific allegations supplied to Human Rights Watch by witnesses in Turkey regarding violations of human rights and the laws of war committed by Turkish security forces.

At the end of October, the government of Turkey had not provided answers to these questions. Human Rights Watch did receive a letter from the Charge d’Affaires at the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C., Minister Counselor Rafet Akgunay, in the middle of August. In this letter, Mr. Akgunay provided a legal analysis of the conflict in Turkey’s southeast. A summary of this letter is included in Appendix I of this report.


To the Government of Turkey
Ensure that Turkish security forces cease immediately to violate international humanitarian law in the southeastern emergency zone.

Cease the policy of forced evacuation and destruction of Kurdish villages. Internally displaced civilians should be permitted to return to their villages and compensated for the destruction of their homes and possessions.

Investigate the cases presented in this report. Those found responsible for the abuses should be prosecuted and punished under the law.

Create an official commission of inquiry into the village eradication campaign empowered to determine and make public the extent and precise nature of the destruction and to identify those responsible.

Order the Turkish General Staff to conduct a wide-ranging review of its codes of conduct, rules of engagement and operational guidelines. The review should be public and be conducted by a special commission including members of the military, the Turkish Parliament, and independent legal experts.

Order the Turkish General Staff to create new guidelines including strict rules regarding the use of air power, artillery, and small arms. These rules should conform to internationally recognized standards and should be reviewed by NATO commanders.

Publish the new guidelines and disseminate them widely within the Turkish armed forces. The Turkish General Staff should make public its mechanisms for disseminating the guidelines within the Turkish armed forces.

Create a special Internal Affairs unit within the Turkish General Staff to examine allegations of human rights abuses in Turkey’s southeast by all security forces, including the Jandarma, the police, the Army and the Air Force.

This unit should be given adequate resources, be commanded by a senior and respected officer and make its procedures and conclusions available for public review. Persons suspected by the Internal Affairs unit of abusing human rights should be tried and punished to the full extent of the law. The trials and sentences should be made public.

The Internal Affairs unit should make monthly and annual reports to the Turkish Chief of Staff, the Turkish Minister of State Responsible for Human Rights, and the Turkish Parliament.

Grant the Minister of State Responsible for Human Rights oversight authority over the new Internal Affairs unit. A special staff of investigators, responsible only to the Minister of State Responsible for Human Rights, should monitor the new unit’s casework, operating procedures and findings.

Order the Jandarma and police special forces (Ozel Tim and Ozel Hareket Tim) to suspend operations immediately. These units’ tactics, training, and recruitment methods should be reviewed by the special commission of military officers, political representatives and legal experts.

Any special force members affiliated with far right nationalist groups should be ordered to leave the units immediately. Special force members should not be recruited from far-right nationalist groups.

Prior to resuming activities, the special forces should undergo intensive human rights training. The content of the training and its implementation should be publicly monitored by the Turkish Minister Responsible for Human Rights and the General Staff’s new Internal Affairs unit.

Immediately allow access to the emergency zone to delegates of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and allow them to visit prisoners detained in connection with the conflict in the southeast.

Allow monitors from Human Rights Watch and other independent, internationally recognized human rights organizations unimpeded access to the southeastern emergency zone.

To the U.S. Government
End all military sales and security aid to Turkey until such time as Turkey no longer engages in a pattern of gross human rights violations, as required by section 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act.

Failing to end all arms transfers, at the least reject exports of weapons that have a high possibility for misuse, such as combat aircraft, helicopters, artillery, armored vehicles, and small arms.

Seek written assurances in all future arms transfer agreements with Turkey that the arms and equipment will not be used in human rights abuses or violations of the laws of war, and provide for independent monitoring to take place to confirm this; this would serve as an additional safeguard to ensure that Turkey lives up to its existing obligations to abide by international law.

Conduct an annual review of Turkish use of U.S.-supplied and -designed weapons. Unlike the review submitted in June 1995 by the State Department, however, future reviews should focus on Turkish use of specific categories of weapons, including combat aircraft, helicopters, artillery, armored vehicles, and small arms.

Future end-use monitoring reports should utilize all relevant U.S. government information, and should contain detailed examples and studies of particular events.

Use all possible means, including linkage of aid, to persuade Turkey to implement the recommendations addressed to the government of Turkey above.

Urge the Turkish government to allow the International Committee of the Red Cross, humanitarian aid groups, accredited press, and internationally recognized human rights groups unhindered access to southeastern Turkey.

Order an inquiry into all training, joint maneuvers, liaison and other inter-force activities undertaken since 1990 by U.S. military special operations forces with Turkish forces, with a view to identifying the Turkish units involved and the nature of U.S. special operations training and doctrine imparted to them.

To NATO Commanders
Inform the Turkish General Staff and Turkish officers serving in NATO structures that a pattern of gross human rights abuses and denial of access to the southeastern emergency zone by international human rights monitors is not acceptable behavior by a NATO member.

Create a liaison unit to the Turkish General Staff aimed at improving the Turkish armed forces codes of conduct, rules of engagement, methods of disseminating human rights standards and methods of investigating human rights abuses.

To the International Community
Cease all arms transfers to Turkey until such time as it no longer engages in gross patterns of violations of human rights and the laws of war. Individual countries should conduct end-use monitoring of equipment transferred to Turkey.

Use bilateral channels to urge the Turkish government to implement the recommendations specified in this report, with special emphasis on access to the southeastern emergency region by independent human rights monitors.

To the European Union
Within the framework of the EU, the Council of Europe and the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe, condemn publicly human rights abuses committed by both the PKK and Turkish security forces.

Urge the Turkish government to implement the recommendations outlined in this report, with special emphasis on access to the southeastern emergency region by independent human rights monitors.

To the Organization on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)
Ensure that OSCE members comply with the OSCE’s “Principles Governing Conventional Arms Transfers” (1993), i.e., Art. 3. (b), “the need to ensure that arms transferred are not used in violation of the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations”; Art. 4 (a) (I), the directive to take into account, in considering proposed arms transfers, “the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in the recipient country”; and Art. 4 (b) (I and vii), the directive to avoid transfers of arms which would be likely to “be used for the violation or suppression of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” or “be used for the purpose of repression.”

To the PKK
End abuses against civilians.

Cease punitive attacks against village guard families and relatives.

Cease all summary executions, especially of state civil servants, unarmed village guards, alleged “state supporters” and “collaborators.”






  The Turkish-Kurdish Conflict
  Turkey’s Counterinsurgency Strategy
  Consequences of the Counterinsurgency Strategy

  The United States
  The Russian Federation
  The Netherlands
  The Turkish Arms Industry: Joint Production

  The Turkish Army
  The Jandarma
  The Police Special Forces: The Ozel Hareket Tim
  The Turkish Air Force
  The Village Guards
  Command and Control in the Southeast

  Violations of the Laws of War
  The Weapons Used
  Government Attempts to Disguise the Identity of the Perpetrators
  The Cases

   PKK Arms Supplies

  Official Statements
  Acknowledgments of Turkey’s Behavior: Not for Attribution
  The June 1995 Report to the U.S. Congress
  Failure to Gain Independent Access to the Southeast
  Need for Turkish Investigative Bureau

  The Turkish Government Versus the PKK
  Guerrilla War
  The Application of Article 3
  The Application of Customary Law
  The Application of Protocol II to the Geneva Conventions
  Restrictions Flowing From the Laws of War
  PKK Violations of International Humanitarian Law


Human Rights Watch      November 1995      ISBN 1-56432-161-4

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