FREEDOM OF ASSOCIATION
At the beginning of November Justice Minister Cemil Çiçek made an announcement in Stockholm directed against the Human Rights Foundation and the Human Rights Association. He said inter alias: "They meet with the HRA and the HRFT but until today I have not seen one EU delegation that has met with associations formed of families of martyrs or veterans. When we talk to someone we have to take care of marginal groups and their statements that are made as if they want to slander Turkey."
HRA President Yusuf Alataş and HRFT President Yavuz Önen made a joined statement and asked for an apology. The press statement read:The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT)
In March the public prosecutor indicted lawyer Mustafa Cinkılıç, representing the HRFT in Adana and the physician Mehmet Antmen, working at the office in Adana. Cinkılıç was charged with hiding evidence of a crime. Antmen was charged with the same offence and in addition with forging documents.
The background of the trial was the treatment of Şükrü Boyav, who had been released from the E-type prison in Adana in 2003. The representation of the HRFT in Adana had sent him with an internal letter to a physician volunteering for the HRFT. Later Şükrü Boyav filed an official complaint against the prison administration and guardians and attached a copy of this letter to his application. On 16 September 2004 Mehmet Antmen was detained on orders of the prosecutor's office. During the questioning by the prosecutor Mehmet Antmen and Mustafa Cinkılıç acting as his lawyer they stated that they were not in a position to hand over the original of the letter. This had to be demanded from the head office in Ankara.
On 11 July Adana Penal Court No. 11 held the first hearing in this case. Lawyer Mustafa Çinkılıç said: "The impression is created that it is the prosecutor who wants to find evidence for torture and we are the ones who want to prevent this. The opposite is true for the work of the HRFT." Another hearing was held on 4 October. Dr. Enver Seçinti was heard as witness and stated that the charges were unfounded. The trial was adjourned to 31 January 2006.
The Human Rights Association
Mihdi Perinçek, representing the HRA in the East and Southeast Anatolian region and Selahattin Demirtaş, chair of the HRA branch in Diyarbakır were indicted for a report on the killing of Ahmet Kaymaz and his son Uğur Kaymaz in Mardin-Kızıltepe on 21 November 2004. Kızıltepe Penal Court No. 4 held the first hearing on 13 July.
After the hearing Selahattin Demirtaş stated that the trial was an attempt to put pressure on the HRA. The report had been prepared by 5 people but only two of them had been indicted. The indictment treated them as journalists under the Press Law. Demirtaş pointed at the statement of the press officer of the General Directorate for Security on the results of the criminal investigation and stated that this had not been termed interference in the proceedings but information for the public. The court case did not conclude in 2005.
The Diyarbakır branch of the HRA
In January the public prosecutor in Diyarbakır indicted the board of the HRA branch in Diyarbakır in connection with a meeting with foreign delegations. The board members were charged with having staged an illegal demonstration and not having asked for permission from the Ministries (Foreign Affairs and Interior) to meet foreigners.
The first indictment related to a meeting with 16 members of the Middle East Committee of the Socialist International. Diyarbakır Penal Court No. 4 held the first hearing in 27 January. The second trial related to a meeting with students from Sweden on 16 April 2004. The trial was held at Diyarbakır Penal Court No. 1. Both cases resulted in acquittal.
The İstanbul branch of the HRA
In April the chair for the HRA İstanbul Branch Eren Keskin, HRA Marmara Region Representative Doğan Genç and HRA Executive for İstanbul Branch Şaban Dayanan were sent letters signed by Turkish Revenge Brigade (TİT) threatening them with death by referring to an attack against former HRA President Akın Birdal.
The Bingöl branch of the HRA
In December Bingöl Penal Court No. 2 passed its verdict on Rıdvan Kızgın, chair of the HRA branch in Bingöl. He had been charged in connection with an investigation of the HRA into the killing of 5 people near Yeniköy hamlet, Yumaklı village, Genç district (Bingöl) on 10 July 2003. The Court sentenced Kızgın to 30 months' imprisonment for having hidden criminal evidence. After the investigation of the HRA allegations had been raised that villagers handed over a knife to the delegation. During the trial the members of the delegation had denied the charges.
On 24 September 2004 Rıdvan Kızgın had made a press statement on the burning of forests in Bingöl province. In June he and Sami Tan, Serdar Altan and Birol Duru (all from Dicle News Agency) were indicted. Rıdvan Kızgın and Sami Tan were indicted for having filed an unfounded complaint according to Article 238 old TPC and Serdar Altan and Birol Duru were charged with having published the report under the headline "Soldiers set woods on fire". This was seen as an offence according to Article 159 old TPC. On 13 July Bingöl Penal Court started to hear the case that was not finished in 2005.
The governor's office in Bingöl fined Rıdvan Kızgın 1,112 YTL for having written the name of Bingöl in the Kurdish version "Çewlik" in a letter he had sent to the governor's office and the Ministry for Interior on 29 June. The fine was announced according to Article 31 and 32 of the Law on Associations that provides that correspondence of associations have to be in Turkish. Kızgın stated that the letterhead of the association carried Turkish, English and Kurdish text and announced that he would appeal to Elazığ Administrative Court.
On 3 July three security officers were buried in Bingöl. They had died in a bomb attack on a train running between Elazığ and Tatvan. On that day unidentified people entered the office of the HRA in Bingöl and damaged the furniture. At the time nobody was in the office.
The Association for Basic Rights and Freedoms (THÖD)
On 29 August Bayram İçlek, Fatih Gökhan Arslan and Ufuk Sayın were detained in İzmir. They had opened a stand as part of the campaign of the THÖD against the increase in prices for bus tickets in İzmir. On 31 August the detainees were put in pre-trial detention.
In October the THÖD in Tunceli collected signatures against the large number of detentions being made in town. On 4 October Delil Çevik (THÖD) and Mehmet Canbek (ESP) were detained but released shortly afterwards.
On 28 November Elif Akkurt, board member of THÖD in Tunceli was detained in Pertek district. She was released after two hours. Political Parties
On 7 February the verdict of the Constitutional Court rejecting the demand of closure for 7 political parties was published in the Official Gazette. In a verdict of 22 July 2003 the Constitutional Court had lifted Article 105 of the Law on Political Parties. The legislative could have replaced the provision within one year. Since no such amendments had been made until 22 July 2004 the demands of closure for the Socialist Workers' Party of Turkey, the Justice Party, the Justice Party of Turkey, the Great Justice Party, the Party 'Turkey is happy with its Disabled', the Revolutionary Socialist Workers' Party and the Main Way Party had lost their basis.
On 13 April the Court of Cassation confirmed the sentences of 30 months' imprisonment for 7 people charged and convicted at Silvan (Diyarbakır) Penal Court for having voted more than once during the general election of 3 November 2002. On confirmation of the sentences Saim Sağlam, Mehmet Salih Akçan, Cahit Gül, Şakir Parlak, Deniz Bozkurt, Emin Fidan and Mukadder Dönen were imprisoned.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP)
On 16 June two bombs were planted in offices of the AKP in districts of Ankara. In the third floor of the office in Altındağ the door of the office was destroyed. The sound bomb at the entrance of the office in Çankaya was defused before explosion.
The chief prosecutor at the Court of Cassation reminded the AKP to change 8 provisions in their statute found to be anti-democratic or faulty. The reminder included provisions on the competences of the chairperson, the competence of the central executive committee to cancel elections in provinces and district and to give the president the right to name the candidates for the center.
The AKP was asked to change the provisions. Since this was not done the prosecutor launched a case at the Constitutional Court on 30 November.
The Great Unity Party (BBP)
On 11 July an armed attack was carried out against the headquarters of the BBP in Ankara. At 10.30pm some 20 people broke the windows and fired shots inside. Police officers and civilian security personnel in the building shot in the air and the attackers escaped.
The Democratic People's Party (DEHAP)
On 19 November the DEHAP held its 3rd Congress. It announced dissolving and participation in the Democratic Society Party (DTP). The headquarters in Ankara were handed over to the DTP. Despite the dissolving of the party the case which Sabih Kanadoğlu, chief prosecutor at the Court of Cassation, had opened on 13 March 2003 was not dropped.
DEHAP members and executives on Trial
On 11 February Bitlis Penal Court convicted M. Salih Yalçınkaya, Gürcü Araz, Enver Kurtuluş, Şahin Çoban, Celalettin İlbar, Abdurrahman Eren and Mehmet Can Demir, executives of DEHAP in Bitlis province because of Kurdish songs and slogans shouted during the first congress of the party in Bitlis on 11 May 2003. The prison term of five months was commuted to a fine of 1,733 YTL. The verdict based on Article 117 of the Law on Political Parties.
On 16 February Bingöl Penal Court acquitted Saif Bıçakçı, member of the parliament of DEHAP. He was on trial for having argued that KADEK had to be legalized during a congress of DEHAP in Bingöl on 29 April 2003. The acquittal based on a sample decision the Court of Cassation had taken regarding the columnist Selahattin Aydar from the Milli Gazete.
In February Erzurum Heavy Penal Court No. 2 sentenced Erdal Özakçil, former chair of DEHAP in Erzurum province, to three months' imprisonment in connection with a press statement he had made in 2003. The conviction based on propaganda for an illegal organization.
In March Nazım Kök, chair of DEHAP in Nusaybin district (Mardin) and the executives Sinem Akyüz and Alaattin Siyaniç were indicted in connection with posters that were put up in Nusaybin in December 2004 as an invitation to a meeting. They were charged under Article 312 old TPC with inciting the people to enmity. In connection with slogans shouted during the meeting Ziver Ağırman, Asiye Tokay, Kazım Kök, Mehmet Salih Erkil and İrfan Akın were indicted, too.
On 9 March Malatya Heavy Penal Court No. 3 started to hear the case of Deputy Tunceli Mayor Mustafa Taşkale (DEHAP). He had been detained after a note with his name was found on a killed HPG militant.
On 30 May Malatya Heavy Penal Court No. 3 convicted Mustafa Türk, former chair of DEHAP in Malatya, lawyer Doğan Karaoğlan, chairing a congress on 27 April 2003 and Zeki Aktar, former chair of DEHAP for the central district, because Kurdish music had been played and Kurdish speeches had been held during the congress. The Court sentenced them to six months' imprisonment based on the Articles 81/C and 117 of the Law on Political Parties. The sentences were commuted to fines of 2,079 YTL and suspended.
On 1 June İstanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 12 started to hear the case of Mazlum Özdemir, reporter of DİHA, Aydın Bolkan (Özgür Gündem) and Osman Özçelik, deputy President of DEHAP, charged with participation in the congress of Kongra-Gel between 16 and 26 May 2004. Defense lawyer Özcan Kılıç stated that DİHA reporter Reşat Ok had been tried and acquitted at Diyarbakır Heavy Penal Court No. 6 on the same charges. During a search of the journal Özgür Halk on 15 September 2004 a list of 300 participants to the congress had been found on a computer. The names of the three defendants had been on the list. The defendants were charged with membership of an illegal organization.
On 5 July Halfeti Penal Court sentenced Handan Çağlayan, deputy chairwoman of DEHAP, to 6 months' imprisonment and a fine of 440 YTL and Ahmet Dağtekin, DEHAP chair in Urfa, to 7 months' imprisonment and a fine of 513 YTL because they had held speeches in Kurdish during a meeting in Yukarı Göklü town in Halfeti district before the local elections on 28 March 2004. The Court of Cassation had quashed the first conviction in December 2004 ruling that new legislation had to be considered.
On 11 July Ankara Penal Court continued to hear the case of İsmail Ancı, DEHAP chair in Ankara and the executives Abdürrahim Bilen, İsmet Aras, Mehmet Kaya, Şirin Altay, M. Şirin Karademir, Erol Kaplan, Dilek Yıldırım, Rahman Sümer, Metin Yıldız and Dursun Turan charged in connection with slogans that allegedly were shouted during an action of the trade union confederation KESK in Ankara on 25 September 2004. The hearing was adjourned to 13 September. The case had started at Ankara Heavy Penal Court No. 2, but this Court had decided not to be competent.
In July Erzurum Heavy Penal Court No. 2 acquitted Tuncer Bakırhan, President of DEHAP and Bedri Fırat, chair of DEHAP in Erzurum in connection with speeches they had held in Tekman district (Erzurum) on 28 October 2002 (prior to the general elections of 3 November 2002). The case had first been heard at Erzurum SSC. The defendants had been sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment under Article 312 old TPC. The Court of Cassation had quashed the verdict.
On 29 July Siirt Penal Court concluded the case against 22 defendants charged in connection with a demonstration in Siirt on 9 October 2004. The DEHAP executives Mahmut Yıldız, Muhyettin Timurlenk, Rıdvan Oğuz, Gürü Toprak and Halit Taşçı were sentenced to six months' imprisonment for having shouted slogans of an illegal organization. The sentence for Mahmut Yıldız was suspended and for the other five defendants commuted to fines of 1,980 YTL. The remaining 16 defendants were acquitted.
On 9 October Urfa Penal Court sentenced Reşit Yardımcı, executive of DEHAP in Urfa, to six months' imprisonment and a fine of 1,640 YTL for having held a speech in Kurdish during the congress of 11 June 2003. The sentence and fine were suspended.
In September Adana Penal Court No. 2 convicted Hasan Beliren, former deputy chair of DEHAP in Adana, to one year's imprisonment, because he had mentioned Abdullah Öcalan in a speech of 8 September 2004 as "honorable Öcalan". His lawyer Vedat Özkan said that the conviction was based on Article 215 TPC (praising a crime and inciting the people to disobey law). He complained that they had been informed very late of the conviction.
In October the Court of Cassation confirmed the sentence of 6 months' imprisonment for Vahdettin Yusufoğlu, DEHAP executive in Hınıs district (Erzurum). Hınıs Penal Court had convicted him for a speech in Kurdish on 14 October 2002.
Pressures, Raids and Detentions
In January Cafer Şimşek, DEHAP chair of the central district in Mersin, M. Emin Taştan and a person with the first name of Mehmet were detained in Mersin.
Following a number of attacks in Esenyurt district (İstanbul) in February the police in İstanbul detained five people including the chair of DEHAP in Büyükçekmece district. Reportedly the police had found material used to construct Molotov cocktails, pictures of Abdullah Öcalan and 11 banned publications in the offices of DEHAP in Büyükçekmece.
On 2 March the police in Kars detained Güngör Alp, chair of DEHAP in Kars, İbrahim Boçnak and the students Ahmet Uğurlu and Yunus Eriş for having participated in the press conference on the killing of Ümit Gönültaş in Mersin on 19 February.
On 23 January unidentified persons attacked the DEHAP offices in Van. The set an oven on fire and left a gas cylinder open, but did not cause much damage.
On 22 March a group of right-wingers attacked the offices of DEHAP in Üsküdar district (İstanbul). Reportedly the group had held a demonstration against the burning of a Turkish flag in Mersin and tried to destroy the furniture. On the same day the windows of the DEHAP office in Eskişehir were broken.
On 20 March unknown people attacked the DEHAP offices in Antep. Vakkas Dalkılıç, chair of DEHAP in the province, stated that material damage had been caused. He complained that after each action they were exposed to attacks. Although they had informed the police the perpetrators were not found.
On 8 May the gendarmerie raided the offices of DEHAP in Yukarı Göklü town in Halfeti district (Urfa). The search had been ordered by the prosecutor on the assumption that posters of Abdullah Öcalan were in the office. The gendarmerie confiscated two such posters.
On 26 June the police raided the DEHAP offices in Yüksekova district (Hakkari) and confiscated some books, banners and documents.
In Kumçatı town (Şırnak) the DEHAP member Osman Ayan was detained on 6 April and later arrested on charges of membership to an illegal organization.
In Kızıltepe district (Mardin) the DEHAP member Mehmet Kino was detained in connection with a press statement of 27 March. He was arrested on 13 April, reportedly on charges under Article 7/2 ATL. In mid-April the DEHAP members Erol Kaplan, Kenan Çam, Abdurrahim Bilen, İsmet Aras, Şirin Karademir, Metin Yıldız and one with the first name of Nevzat were detained in Ankara.
At the beginning of May İsmail Akgül, chair of the youth wing of DEHAP in Hakkari and the DEHAP members Tahir Sever, İsmail Kılıç and Hüseyin Sayir were detained on charges of support of an illegal organization.
On 28 May the DEHAP executive Fatma Sağan and her husband Mehmet Sağan were detained during a house raid in Doğubeyazıt district (Ağrı). In Mazıdağı district (Mardin) the DEHAP executive Mehmet Kaya was detained during a house raid on 28 May.
On 15 June a group of right-wingers attacked DEHAP members who wanted to hold a press conference on Abdullah Öcalan. The police beat the members of DEHAP and injured Orhan Baday, Raife Ergün, Vasifiye Akgül and Fikriye Özbay. Reportedly the police officers threatened physicians at Çukurova State Hospital not to issue reports for the injured persons.
In the night of 3 April unknown persons shot at the DEHAP office in Erzurum.
The DEHAP office in Yalova was set on fire on 19 May. There were no casualties.
On 7 July the security forces raided the office of DEHAP in Bostaniçi town (Van), a cooperative and a shop in town. Casim Aslan, chair of DEHAP in town and Orhan Tutuk were detained.
On 6 July the police in Tunceli raided houses of DEHAP executives. Murat Polat, chair of DEHAP in Tunceli and the DEHAP members Hıdır Aytaç and Nuray Atmaca were detained. Nuray Atmaca was released in the night and the others the next day.
In mid-July İnan Yılmaz, member of the local parliament for DEHAP was detained in Hozat district (Tunceli) on charges of supporting PKK militants.
Aydın Aydınoğlu, executive of DEHAP in Beşiktaş (İstanbul) was detained in Çorlu district (Tekirdağ) in the night of 11 July. He was taken to İstanbul and released on 13 July.
Semiha Can, member of the youth wing of DEHAP in Batman was detained on 20 July.
On 17 August Diyarbakır Heavy Penal Court No. 7 ordered the release of Yıldız Orak, deputy Mayor in Cizre. He had been detained on 8 March after his name had been found on a note of a HPG militant who was killed near İdil district (Şırnak).
On 19 August the security forces raided the offices of DEHAP in Elbistan district (Maraş). Hüseyin Kısa, chair for the district, Ali Polat and two persons with the first name of Faruk and Oğuz were detained, but released after five hours. Metin Gönülşen, chair of DEHAP for the province, said that the police had tried to provoke the population by saying the DEHAP members were terrorists planting bombs.
On 9 September the DEHAP members Tahir Özmen, Alya Tok, Şıvan Eren, Zeynep Mete and Fatih Bayar were detained during house raids in Silopi district (Şırnak).
On 15 September eight people including Tayyip Yıldız, DEHAP chair for Adana and Hıdır Taşkıran, chair for Yüreğir district, were detained in connection with a press statement made on 10 July. Among them Tayyip Yıldız, Hıdır Taşkıran, Zeki Kılıç and Kenan Çiçek were arrested on 16 September. Bedrettin Karakaş, Nihat Doğaner, Kadri Yağmur, İsa Bulut, Emine Adıbelli, Ali Toprak and Kenan Karavil were released. Reportedly police officer kicked at lawyer Turgay Berk who was present during the search of the DEHAP office after the detention of the members.
In mid-September Abdülkadir Akdağ, DEHAP chair in Eminönü (İstanbul) and the DEHAP members Sıddık Gülmez and Nurettin Şengit were detained. On 17 September Abdurrahman Doğar, chair of DEHAP in Van was arrested in connection with a demonstration on 5 September. During the demonstration for Abdullah Öcalan he allegedly made propaganda for an illegal organization and stimulated the population to violence.
DEHAP member Mahmut Kavuk, living in Çınarönü (Cılin) village in Savur district (Mardin) complained about death threats from the commander of Sürgücü Gendarmerie Station. Mehmet Emin Sincar, a relative of him, had been killed in a clash and he had gone to Beytüşşebap district (Şırnak) to get the corpse. On 7 August he had returned the village. At 11pm the commander had called him to the station and asked him what he had been doing in Beytüşşebap. In reply the commander had said that he wished that an incident would occur in his village so that he could imagine what would happen to him. He had been reminded of an incident in 1997 during which a sergeant (Coşkun Telci) had been killed. In connection with this incident four villagers were still on trial.
On 2 September Cemal Coşkun, member of the party parliament of DEHAP, held a press conference at the HRA in İstanbul. He stated that the police threatened him and his family constantly. Despite the fact that his whereabouts were pretty well known the police had chosen to raid his house at times when he was not at home. During the last two weeks four such raids had been conducted when his 14-year-old daughter was at home. People with arms and walkie-talkies in their hands had introduced themselves as police officers and asked for him.
On 10 October the police in İzmir raided the DEHAP office in Konak and the central office and detained Mehmet Taras and Mahmut Çelik. Reportedly the raid was conducted in connection with the meeting planned to be held in Gemlik district (Bursa) on 4 September. Mahmut Çelik was released on 13 October. Also in October Hüseyin Dağ, chair for İzmir province and the executives İlhami Çaçan and Hasan İla were detained in İzmir. They were released on 18 October.
On 30 October the police in Batman raided the contact office for the Democratic Society Movement and detained Kenan Demir, Hamit Aslan, Bahar Yeşilyurt and Fahrettin Seven.
On 6 December the DEHAP office in Davutlar town in Kuşadası district (Aydın) was raided and Tekin Abay, Ramazan Göçer, Sabri Gök, Eşref Yıldız and Şükrü Körpe were detained.
The Democratic Society Party (DTP)
Following the release of the former deputies from the Democracy Party (DEP) the Democratic Society Movement started activities for the foundation of a new political party and finally the Democratic Society Party (DTP) was established.
The application for the foundation of DTP was handed over to the Ministry of the Interior on 9 November. Among the 411 founders former deputies of DEP; Leyla Zana, Orhan Doğan, Hatip Dicle and Selim Sadak were to be found. DTP favored a two-folded presidential order and Ahmet Türk (former chair of DEP) and lawyer Aysel Tuğluk were elected as co-presidents. Tuncer Bakırhan who had resigned from the Presidency of DEHAP on 26 October and Doğan Erbaş, lawyer of Abdullah Öcalan were members of the executive committee of DTP.
In December the prosecutor in Ankara indicted Tuncer Bakırhan and 11 executives of the DTP on charges of membership and support for the PKK. The indictment mentioned that the defendants had called Abdullah Öcalan "honorable Öcalan". Speeches of the defendants were quoted as well as slogans shouted on meetings of DEHAP.
The Labor's Party (EMEP)
On 26 February an armed attack was conducted on the headquarters of EMEP. A single person came to the office in Sıhhiye (Ankara) and fired one shot into the office, once the door had been opened. Cem Gurbetoğlu (23) was injured to his leg. Some people in the office tried to follow the aggressor but he could escape. Later a person named Tolunay Bostancı surrendered to the police in Ankara admitting that he had carried out the attack. He was arrested on 1 April.
On 29 April Ankara Penal Court No. 7 started to hear his case. He stated that he had followed a person he believed had beaten him in Sivas. He had fired a shot with the aim to frighten the person not to injure anyone. Later he had discovered that it had not been the person he knew from Sivas. During the hearing of 27 May the defendant stated that if his intention had been political he would have shot at all the persons in the office. Another hearing was held on 2 December. Ankara Penal Court adjourned the hearing to 3 February 2006.
On 13 January Levent Tüzel, President of EMEP testified to the public prosecutor in Ankara in connection with an investigation into the March 2000 edition of the party's organ "Addressing Labor". The incriminating words had been "Newroz Piroz be" (Kurdish for "Long live Newroz").
On 6 April Bursa Penal Court started to hear the case of Cengiz Yıldız, Gökhan Aydın, Ömer Furkan Özdemir, İsken Yıldız, Öznur Çağlayan, Enis Öztay, Emel Sözer, Özcan Kılıç, Musa Garip and Yasin Çelik, executives of EMEP in Bursa, in connection with a press statement on 28 November 2004 entitled "Protest the US attack on Iraq". The trial was adjourned and no further information on it was received in 2005.
In June the public prosecutor in Hozat (Tunceli) indicted Erdem Ulaş Çelik, EMEP chair for Hozat district, in connection with photographs of Deniz Gezmiş being put up in the office of EMEP. Hozat Penal Court held the first hearing on 6 July. Çelik said that the commemoration meeting on the anniversary of the death of Deniz Gezmiş and his friends had not been permitted and, therefore, they had gathered in the office.
On 28 December Diyarbakır Penal Court No. 1 continued to hear the case of Ender İmrek, deputy President of EMEP, Yavuz Karakuş, EMEP chair for Diyarbakır, former HADEP executive Mefair Altındağ and the trade unionist Ali Öncü in connection with speeches they had held on the 3rd congress of the party in Diyarbakır. Defense lawyer Deniz Doğan said that it was only natural that the defendants held political speeches on the congress of a political party in opposition. Their words had remained within the boundaries of freedom of expression. The indictment asked for sentences according to Article 301 new TPC. The hearing was adjourned to 11 May 2006.
The executives of EMEP in Kocaeli were fined 700 YTL for having put up posters of Deniz Gezmiş. The party had prepared posters to be used during an activity on 6 May 2005, but the governor had not allowed using these posters. Kocaeli Administrative Court, however, had stopped the decision from being implemented and the executives of EMEP had put up the posters at various places of the town, not knowing that the decision of the administrative court would be overruled by the regional administrative court on 9 May 2005.
The Party of Rights and Freedoms (Hak-Par)
In March the public prosecutor in Ankara indicted Abdülmelik Fırat, President of the Party of Rights and Freedoms (Hak-Par) and 12 executives of Hak-Par in connection with the first congress of the party. The indictment stated that invitations in Kurdish had been sent to the State President, the Presidency of parliament and the Prime Minister. Reşit Deli had held the opening speech in Kurdish even after he had been warned by the commissioner of the government. Further speeches had also been held in Kurdish and, although the speeches had contained heavy criticism, there had been no call for hatred or violence.
The indictment asked for sentences according to the Article 81/c and 117 of the Law on Political Parties that prohibits the use of languages apart from the Turkish language.
On 25 May Ankara Penal Court No. 3 started to hear the case. Abdülmelik Fırat and another nine defendants testified in Kurdish. The lawyer Sabahattin Korkmaz translated their statement into Turkish. Korkmaz was accepted as interpreter since the statement contained legal expressions. The lawyer resigned from his post as defense lawyer and made an oath for correct interpreting.
Another hearing was held on 7 December. The defense asked the court to forward Article 81 of the Law on Political Parties to the Constitutional Court since it was against the Constitution. The demand was rejected and the hearing was adjourned to 2006.
The People's Democracy Party (HADEP)
On 12 July Çermik Penal Court fined executives of the closed down HADEP in Çermik district (Diyarbakır) 1,089 YTL in connection with a congress on 1 June 2002 because Kurdish music had been played and Kurdish slogans had been shouted. Ali Yerlikaya was acquitted since he had not been in Çermik on the day. The persons that were fined under Article 81/c of the Law on Political Parties were Ahmet Karakoç, Hacı Akbulut, Mehmet Emin Taşkıran, Abdulkerim Yaman and Mehmet Demirkol
The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP)
On 26 July unknown persons set the offices of the MHP in Mamak district (Ankara) on fire. A previously unknown organization called "Anti-Fascist Forces" (AFAK) claimed responsibility.
The Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP)
In the night of 20 January a fire broke out in the office of the ÖDP in Eryaman district (Ankara). Aytekin Erdiş, chair of ÖDP in Etimesgut, stated that the windows had been broken before someone lit the fire.
On 1 August the ÖDP office in Yenimahalle (Ankara) and the representation of the trade union Eğitim-Sen in Batıkent were attacked. The attackers destroyed the flag of the ÖDP, tore the cables of the bell and the phone into pieces and wrote on the wall "Turkey belongs to the Turks" and "How happy who can say to be a Turk".
The Welfare Party (RP)
In January the public prosecutor in Ankara postponed the execution of a sentence of 28 months' imprisonment passed on the former President of the closed down RP, Necmettin Erbakan for a second time for 3 months. Erbakan had been sentenced for forgery on the so-called "Lost Billions" trial. In December 2003 the Court of Cassation had confirmed the sentences of a trial held at Ankara Heavy Penal Court No. 9. Besides Erbakan 19 executives of the party had been sentenced to 14 months, 50 executives had been sentenced to 12 months and two executives had been sentenced to 10 months' imprisonment. The Court of Cassation had not confirmed the sentences for Mehmet Emin Tutan and Ali Temür who had been elected deputies for the AKP.
Erbakan would have to stay in prison for 11 months and 15 days, but due to a medical report of Numune Hospital in Ankara his sentence was postponed for one year in December 2003. In July 2005 the execution of the sentenced was once again postponed for six months. At the same time the chief prosecutor in Ankara asked Ankara Heavy Penal Court No. 9 whether new regulation would allow for a different interpretation. The Court replied stating that the new provisions of the penal code did not change the sentence, but pointed at Article 110 of the new Law on the Execution of Sentences that would allow the execution of sentences of the material damage had been paid.
The Bliss Party (SP)
On 2 February Ankara Peace Court continued to hear the case of the Vice-President of the RP, Recai Kutan and four former deputies charged with having received aid from the treasury in 1997 based on forged documents. The hearing was adjourned. No further information on this trial was available in 2005.
On 19 July the Constitutional Court issued a warning for the SP since it had not conducted a congress within 45 days after Necmettin Erbakan had quit the post of President. On 1 December Recai Kutan declared that they had withdrawn the objection against the verdict of the European Court of Human Rights on the Virtue Party (FP) since they had no trust in the justice of that court. Professional Organizations and Trade Unions
The circular of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan entitled "Measures to be taken for Developments related to Trade Unions" was published in the Official Gazette on 1 June. In the public sector special care should be taken that civil servants should not be appointed to other places for more than 2 months, unless they personally wanted to. For internal education of trade union public buildings should be used. The education should include trade union and human rights. There should be no disciplinary investigations, if trade unionists made press statement connected to their unionist activities. Further principles included facilitation for demonstrations and meetings and the possibility to participate in trade union meetings on the executive level without loss of wages.
The Teachers' Union Eğitim-Sen
In January Eğitim-Sen announced its report on 2004. According to this report 8,500 members were tried in İzmir, 400 in İstanbul-Üsküdar, 100 in Urfa-Viranşehir, 200 in Yalova, 117 in Ankara, 302 in Muğla-Fethiye, 166 in Muğla-Köyceğiz, 44 in Muğla-Datça, 52 in Kırıkkale, 5 in Adıyaman, 1,100 in Diyarbakır and 45 members were tried in Tunceli charged with having violated article 236 of the TPC. As a result of these trials 14 persons were suspended from duty for three months and many persons were dismissed or fined. The sentences were suspended for five years.
In connection with the action to stop working on 10 and 11 December 2003 a trial in Tunceli with 447 defendants and in Çorum with 150 persons is still continuing. In connection with the action to stop working in December 2000 36 trade unionists are on trial at Ankara Penal Court No. 8 and 11 unionists are on trial at Ankara Penal Court No. 19.
Eğitim-Sen President Alaaddin Dinçer stated that since the foundation of the union in 1990 more than 100 penal and administrative cases had been launched against them but the majority had resulted in decisions not to prosecute anyone. For each press statement they made an investigation would follow.
Emirali Şimşek, SG of Eğitim-Sen stated that in 2003 personnel in the Sports Institution (TTK) had been appointed to other places without legal grounds. Only for those working in Ankara (among 167 persons) the union had launched a court case. Having won the case the teachers were able to return but the material loss had not been compensated.
Case of Closure: On 21 February Ankara Labor Court No. 2 rejected the demand to close Eğitim-Sen for a second time. The case had been launched by the governor in Ankara stating that the expression on the right to education in the mother tongue in Article 2/b of the Statute was in contravention of Article 3 and 42 of the Constitution.
The demand for closure had first been rejected on 15 September 2004, but the Judicial Court of Cassation No. 9 had quashed the decision stating that the freedom of association can be restricted if the unity of the country or national security were at stake.
In March the reasoned verdict of Ankara Labor Court No. 2 was announced. It stated that according to Article 90 of the Constitution international conventions dominated over national law, if there was a conflict about basic rights and freedoms. The right to learn the mother tongue apart from the official language was not in contravention to law and according to Articles 10 and 11 of the European Constitution of Human Rights trade unions, associations or political parties could only be closed if there was an "imminent danger" or on the criteria of "violence". Even if the formulation in the Statute of Eğitim-Sen would be interpreted as being against law there was no "imminent danger" or an element of "violence" in it.
On 25 May the General Assembly of the Judicial Court of Cassation quashed the verdict of Ankara Labor Court No. 2 unanimously. After the decision Alaaddin Dinçer said that this did not directly result in the closure of the trade union. They were decided to keep the trade union open. He called on the government, the opposition and further social circles to work for the removal of obstacles to the freedom of organization.
On 3 July the Article on the right to education in the mother tongue was changed during a general assembly of Eğitim-Sen. Alaaddin Dinçer stated that once they had won their case at the European Court of Human Rights the principle would be reinforced into the statute.
At the end of July the General Assembly of the Judicial Court of Cassation announced the reasons for its verdict stating that it was a provision of the Constitution that no other than the Turkish language could be taught as the mother tongue. Only in private life everybody was entitled to live the culture that s/he felt to be a part of. The teaching of different local languages and dialects and broadcasting in these languages had been accepted as a democratic right, but not the education in other languages.
On 27 October Ankara Labor Court No. 2 dealt again with the case and ruled that since the expression of the right to education in the mother tongue had been removed from the statute there was no case to decide on.
In July a court case was initiated against the trade union of office workers BES, member of the trade union confederation KESK in connection with the second Article of the Statute that stated that the trade union advocated the right of everyone to speak and be educated in the mother tongue. Prosecutor Hamza Uçar turned down the complaint of Ankara Police HQ after the trade union had changed the formulation to "the trade union aims at developing the culture of its members and the use of their mother tongue".
On 10 June Müzahit Karkuş, secretary of Eğitim-Sen in Van held a press conference at the HRA in Van and said that he had received death threats over the phone by someone who introduced himself as a member of JİTEM. He had been called at 11pm and the person had given a name such as Cevat or Cahit. He had been accused of illegal contacts and threatened to be killed of he did not cut these contacts.
In April Sakıp Yaşar, teacher at the primary school in Gümüşpınar village in Araban district (Antep) was "exiled" to the school in Kalebası hamlet, Burunsuzlar village in İslahiye district after he had put a theater play of Aziz Nesin "Ugly Honey" on stage.
Mehmet Bozgeyik, chair of Eğitim-Sen in Antep stated that Sakıp Yaşar had only attended the play and had been "exiled" without being heard on the accusation. Bozgeyik added that another 10 teachers had been appointed to places against their wish and declared that the trade union would appeal to the regional administrative court.
In July İbrahim Ayhan, chair of Eğitim-Sen in Urfa stated that 99 investigations had been launched against more than 50 members of the trade union and for trade unionists (3 from SES, trade union of social workers and 2 from Eğitim-Sen) had been "exiled.
The Trade Union of Wood Workers (Ağaç-İş)
In April Mürsel Taşçı, chair of Ağaç-İş, announced that 55 workers in Düzce had been dismissed from Divapan factory in an unlawful manner. The other employees were under pressure to leave the trade union.
The Trade Union Birleşik-Metal
On 26 January 20 workers, who had been dismissed from the Zintaş factory in Kastamonu and two trade unionists were detained in complaint of the employer. The workers had been waiting in front of the factory with the demand to be informed in writing of the reasons for their dismissal.
The Trade Union Tekstil-Sen
On 28 February the police intervened when workers who had been dismissed from the Desan factory in Merter (İstanbul) staged an action. The police detained the trade unionist Fethiye Erdoğan and 15 workers.
The Medical Association (TTB) and SES (trade union of health and social workers)
On 20 April İstanbul Penal Court No. 7 passed its verdict on 85 persons from TTB, SES and the Association for the Rights of Patients who had demonstrated on 5 November 2003 for "right to health free of charge and correction of working conditions". The prosecutor argued that the defendants had used their right to demand certain rights and that this was part of international conventions as well as the Constitution. The Court followed his demand for acquittal.
The Trade Union of Workers in Motorized Industries (TÜMTİS)
On 24 February 34 workers staged a demonstration in front of the factory in İkitelli (İstanbul) after they had been sacked. A group of persons said to be the "men of the employer" attacked the workers. Çayan Dursun (TÜMTİS) and the workers Harun Bulut and Erdal Bozkurt were injured. The police intervened and detained 20 workers.
Pressure on Organized Workers and Staff
In January the company Aktur sacked six workers in Ankara who had joined TÜMTİS. On 24 February armed men kidnapped TÜMTİS member Mehmet Çoğurcu. He was warned not to deal with the Sam Nak and told that the workers would not be organized.
In March 11 workers were sacked from the CCS Company, because they had joined a trade union.
In September the trade union Türk-İş announced that 11,902 workers had been sacked in 2004 and during the first six months of 2005 a total of 1,876 workers had been dismissed. The figures for 2004 according to the trade unions were: Tümtis 121, Tezkoop-İş 200, Tek Gıda-İş 261, Ağaç-İş 171, Petrol-İş 298, Teksif 1,150, Liman-İş 104, Toleyis 63, Haber-İş 43, Hava-İş 96, Çimse-İş 8, Belediye-İş 5,299, Demiryol-İş 85, Tarım-İş 30, Selüloz-İş 365, Deri-İş 488, T. Maden-İş 2, Kristal-İş 445, Dokgemi-İş 20, Koop-İş 8, Türk Metal 1,800.
The figures for the first six months of 2005 were: Çimse-İş 30, Koop-İş 30, Liman-İş 15, Tezkoop-İş 158, Teksif 207, T. Maden-İş 1, Ağaç-İş 61, Tekgıda-İş 143, Petrol-İş 596, Deri-İş 635.
In July 110 workers at the transport company Trakya in İstanbul-Dudullu responsible for the distribution of Coca-Cola occupied the factory after they had been dismissed because of their membership to the trade union Nakliyat-İş. The police intervened and detained the workers under beatings. Two workers had to be taken to hospital.
The Antalya branch of the agricultural and wood workers trade union Tarım Orkam-Sen filed an official complaint against the regional directory for woods. The statement mentioned that some 50 people working at the directory had been "exiled" and about 250 staff members had been forced to leave the trade union. The complaint pointed at officials of the directory and accused them of having misused their duty.
On 8 August the police intervened in an action of workers in Çorlu (Tekirdağ) that had been sacked because of membership to the trade union Deri-İş. The detainees were released in the evening.
In August Nihat Ayçiçek from the trade union Belediye-İş in Rize declared that people employed at the municipality had been forced to leave the trade union and join the union Hizmet-İş.
On 27 August two persons distributing leaflets of Limter-İş against privatization in Aliağa (İzmir) were detained. Both, Suna Koç and Emel Elibul, were released in the evening.
In August the teacher Hacer Koçak was "exiled" from Mersin to Aktaş village in Kumlu district (Hatay) because she had participated in an action of the Association for Basic Rights and Freedoms on death fasts in July 2004.
At the end of August, beginning of May some 34 workers from a factory in Gönen (Balıkesir) who had been sacked because of their membership to the trade union Deri-İş filed a complaint against their former employer because he had threatened them. Having waited in front of the factory for 50 days they were attacked by "men of the employer" on 31 August. In the evening shots were fired at them. The worker Hamit Kökçü was injured.
Sabahattin Değirmenci from the branch of Tez-Koop-İş in Antalya stated that in September 10 staff members of the Ministry of Tourism had been appointed elsewhere.
On 14 November the police intervened when civil servants held a press conference in front of the Directory of Telekom in Gayrettepe-İstanbul and detained the trade unionists Ali Yıldız, Ahmet Kurt, Levent Dokuyucu, Ertan Taştan, Enver Işıklı, Metin Gündüz and the civil servants Fikret Torun, Şahset Kalu and Yücel Sezon.
Ahmet Kabaca, chair of the Adana branch of Petrol-İş, was seriously wounded in an armed attack on him in a car park on 14 November. He was wounded to his head.
Following a press conference on the killing of taxi driver Hasan Akdağ in Tunceli on 14 September the trade unionist Murat Özkan was "exiled" to Kastamonu and the trade unionist Kenan Korkmaz to Karaman. Disciplinary investigations were launched against more than 100 civil servants.
Later further trade unionists who had participated in the press conference were "exiled": Selma Polat to Kastamonu, Vedat Ali Çelik to Çankırı, Hasan Hayri Kılıç to Yozgat, Yaşar Yamaç to Samsun, Hüseyin Erenler to Yozgat, Ufuk Unaç to Konya.
On 30 November workers from a leather factory in Tuzla (İstanbul) who had been dismissed were attacked. Some 40 "men of the employer" attacked them with sticks and stones. Five workers were injured. After the incident the gendarmerie detained 19 members of the trade union Deri-İş. On 8 December the trade unionist Hasan Sonkaya and four workers were detained. They were released on 9 December.
In Aylınayak town of Mersin the director of the primary school, Ali Galip Duran and the teachers Mehtap Pektaş, Yusuf Temiz, Sevilay Çiftçi and Gülsüm Çoban were "exiled" to other schools in December allegedly because they taught the evolution theory and closed the window during the call for prayers (ezan). Mersin Governor Atilla Osmançelebioğlu alleged that the teachers had wrongfully received aid for their families, had not attended the singing of the national anthem, not been properly dressed and discriminated against some pupils.
The Tuzla branch of the trade union Deri-İş presented the following information. On 24 November the leather factory Cevahir dismissed 28 workers, before the incidents of 30 November happened. During another action on 20 December the gendarmerie intervened and detained the trade unionist Zeynel Erdoğan. Associations, Foundations and Civilian Initiatives
On 29 December the Constitutional Court stopped Article 10(1) of the Law on Association that was published in the Official Gazette on 23 November 2004 from implementation. This Article provided that associations may receive aid from political party. The case had been filed by the State President Ahmet Necdet Sezer.
The Association for Kurdish Democracy, Culture and Solidarity (Ankara Kürd-Der)
The governor in Ankara did not approve of the Statute of Kürd-Der which the association had handed in on 7 July 2004. On 8 August 2004 the governor's office in Ankara filed a complaint against Kürd-Der arguing that the formulation "Kürd-Der aims to secure social and individual rights for Kurds" was against the Constitution. The public prosecutor in Ankara turned down the request stating that there was no criminal element in such a formulation. In February the governor's office appealed against this decision to Sincan Heavy Penal Court.
The Association for Atatürk's Ideas (ADD)
On 14 September Bursa Peace Court No. 3 acquitted Lütfü Kırayoğlu from charges in connection with a poster put up in the Bursa branch of ADD stating that "the soil of the home country that was won with blood cannot be sold". Lütfü Kırayoğlu, chair of the Bursa branch of ADD had been charged with putting up a poster illegally. The poster protested the opportunity given to foreigners to buy land in Turkey. Bursa Peace Court No. 3 argued that there was no such provision in the new penal code.
The Confederation of Alevites Unions in Europe
On 29 April, Turgut Öker, chair of the Confederation of Alevites Unions in Europe was detained at Atatürk Airport (İstanbul). Reportedly an arrest warrant existed against him dating back to 1982. The public prosecutor ordered the release of Turgut Öker.
The Democratic Women's Movement
On 15 July Nurten Karakaş, Ankara representative of the Democratic Women's Movement in Ankara was detained and later arrested on charges of membership to an illegal organization. Her arrest was reportedly related to a press release on the killing of 17 MKP militants in Tunceli.
Dersim Cultural Association
On 8 December Taner Gökbaş and Cafer Kılıç, members of Dersim Cultural Association, were detained in Pülümür district (Tunceli).
The Gülistan Youth Culture Center (Eskişehir)
At the end of August the Gülistan Youth Culture Center (Eskişehir) was sealed on the accusation that it was illegal. Reportedly the representatives of the center had not received permission since they was no provision for a center in the procedures. Aslı Urgancı from the center said that the official wanted to keep cultural and artistic work under their monopoly. Plain clothed detectives had been waiting outside the center and asked visitors for their IDs. Shortly before the decision to seal the center unknown persons had attacked the center at night with stones.
Pelda Woman's Association PEKAD (Ergani)
The Woman's Association Pelda (Pelda with the meaning "blossoming flower" in Kurdish) did not get permission because of its name. Chairwoman Sevil Öztürk called this an arbitrary decision. Abdülkadir Güven, governor of Ergani district, had stated that the application was still valid, while the local chief of the department for associations had told them that the association would be closed of no alternative application was received in 20 days.
The Socialist Platform of the Oppressed (ESP)
On 17 August Ankara Heavy Penal Court No. 11 continued to hear the case of 46 people who had been detained after a demonstration against the Law on Execution of Sentences, held by ESP members at Kızılay Square on 7 December 2004. After the hearing Yusuf Bayraktar, Deniz Bakır, Gülcan Taşkıran and Dursun Armutlu were released. The next hearing was scheduled for 26 October.
Kayseri Peace Court banned the ESP poster prepared on the anniversary of the military coup of 12 September (1980) calling for "Justice Try the generals of 12 September". Based on the court decision the offices in İzmir were searched and a huge number of posters were confiscated.
In November the governor in Hatay banned the poster on Ali Aktaş who had been executed in 1983. The poster said "He was a revolutionary and executed Try the general of the coup d'etat".
KAOS Gay and Lesbian Association
The governor in Ankara applied to the public prosecutor in Ankara asking for a ban of the association working for homosexual rights. Umut Güner, deputy chair of the association said that they had changed their form of organization from being a journal to an association and had approached the Ministry for Interior to get permission. The governor had argued that the name of "gay and lesbians" was against the general moral and law.
The public prosecutor did not open a case for the closure of the association stating in October that the name did not carry an element against the moral, since the word were used in every day's language and scientific discussions.
The Association for Kurdish Democracy, Culture and Solidarity (Diyarbakır Kürt-Der)
On 12 July Diyarbakır Judicial Court No. 2 started to hear the case with the demand of closure of Diyarbakır Kürt-Der because of the passage in the statute that education and teaching had to be done in the Kurdish language and that a TV channel was needed broadcasting like TRT but in Kurdish. The case did not conclude in 2005.
On 5 April the offices of Diyarbakır Kürt-Der were raided and spokesperson İbrahim Güçlü, Arjen Arı and Sedat Oğur were detained.
On 27 April Şahin Ayaz, founding member of Kürt-Der and Hak-Par, was detained after he had participated in a program of Flash TV. He was released on orders of the public prosecutor. Yılmaz Tunca the moderator of the program was also interrogated.
The Kurdish Writers' Association (Kürt-Pen)
On 1 November Diyarbakır Peace Court No. 2 acquitted Vahit Güneş, former chair of Kürt-Pen from charges of having been in possession of banned publications.
The Munzur Nature and Culture Festival
The 6th International Munzur Nature and Culture Festival that was planned to be held in Tunceli between 28 and 31 July was postponed for 45 days on orders of the governor in Tunceli. On the assumption that illegal organizations might stage actions during the festival the premises of the Basic Rights and Freedoms Association and the Culture, Art and Solidarity Association in Tunceli were raided on 23 July. Reportedly three people were detained.
The Association for the Protection of Social Rights and Values, Support and Solidarity in Education (Toplum-Der)
Abdülbaki Yetik, SG of Toplum-Der, was detained on 9 December when he wanted to go from Diyarbakır to Elazığ. Celal Aygen, chair of Toplum-Der stated that the detention was related to an article in the journal Mizgin with the title "The State within the State: from the special forces to Şemdinli".
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