Although the Turkish Establishment that has apparently been bombing Kurdish villages in Northern Iraq in recent weeks is a long-time ally of the U.S. Establishment, its human rights record in Turkey historically apparently hasn’t been too good. The London-based human rights organization, Article 19, reported, for instance, in the May 1991 issue of its Censorship News that the following human rights violations occurred in Turkey in January of 1991:
“1/7/91—Cumburtyet reported that the governor of Ankara had banned a meeting of the Ankara Chamber of Medicine on the subject of the health risks of war.
1/13/91—Cumburtyet reported that a 22-year-old woman, Yadigar Coskun, was killed when police opened fire on a 50,000-strong anti-war rally in Istanbul, addressed by Erdal Inonu, leader of the Social Democratic People’s Party. Thirteen people were injured as police tried to break up the rally.
1/19/91—Two successive issues of an Istanbul magazine, Yent Ulhe, were seized for printing the slogan `No to War.’
1/23/91—Gunes reported that police prevented 30 actors and artists from placing an anti-war placard in front of the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul and subsequently destroyed the placard.
1/25/91—Macid Kaplan was shot dead and Aziz Coban and Kazin Karaca were wounded when police opened fire on an anti-war march in Tatran.
1/25/91—74 people were detained and held for three days in Batman, southeast Turkey, when thousands of anti-war demonstrators were dispersed by police. The following day, two people were wounded and 40 others were detained during a pro-Iraq demonstration in the same town.
1/28/91—11 people were detained, including Ercan Kanar, president of the Istanbul branch of the Human Rights Association, after 100 members of the organization were dispersed for protesting against the banning of a peace rally…”
In 1992, the human rights situation in Turkey got even worse, according to Article 19. In an introduction to its September 1992 Censorship News, entitled “Turkey: Censorship By The Bullet—Shocking Statistics and Official Silence,” the London-based human rights organization noted that “the most serious form of censorship—murder—is being practiced with frightening regularity in Turkey: eight journalists have been assassinated in 1992 for exercising their right to freedom of expression.”
Although the U.S. Establishment’s Big Media in the early 1990s rarely mentioned human rights violations that occurred in Turkey, Article 19 also described the following 1992 human rights violations in Turkey:
“On 2/25/92 Huseyin Akyol, publisher of Yent Ulke, and 10 other journalists were injured in an attack by Turkish soldiers and special police team members in Diyarbakir when returning from the funeral of murdered journalist Gengiz Altun;
“Yent Ulke photographers Yakya Orban and Naif Yasar were beaten by Turkish police during their arrests for taking pictures at authorized demonstrations in March 1992.
“It is estimated that between 1/1/92 and 6/30/92, at least 57 journalists were detained once or more by the Turkish police.
“Irfan Ucar of Gundem, arrested on 5/6/92 at the office of his lawyer, reported that he was tortured during his week in detention.
“Since its launch in June 1992, with a particular focus on investigating human rights abuses by security forces in southeast Turkey, the daily Oxgur Gundem has seen the assassination of three of its correspondents and others have been briefly detained.
“In the first six months of 1992, Turkish police, acting on court orders, confiscated at least 41 issues of newspapers and magazines.
Ismail Pelbivan, editor-in-chief of the satirical journal, Girgir, was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment on June 10, 1992 for having `insulted President Turgu Ozal.’”
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