The Acts of the Democracies
Years : ALL
Aggressor / Perpetrator Country : Turkey
18 Items Selected
The Prime Minister and two of his ministers are executed. A new constitution is prepared giving the military and increased role in politics.
In recent history, Turkey has been run by military regimes which violate the rights of dissidents and of the large Kurdish minority. Even speaking the Kurdish language is forbidden until the early 1990s.
As a member of NATO, Turkey's abuses are tolerated by the West and are generally unreported in Western media.
37% of the country is occupied with 40,000 troops stationed on the island. Eventually 120.000 Turkish settlers ("colonists") would move to the north of the island.
Both Greece and Turkey are NATO members so little is said. The UK, one of the three guarantors of Cypriot independence, has bases on the island but does nothing.
After World War I, France and the UK divided up large areas of the Middle East between them. The Kurds were forgotten and ended up being distributed between Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria with no homeland of their own.
The Kurds had been oppressed throughout the whole history of the modern Turkish state. Even their language was banned until the 1990s and they are referred to as Mountain Turks.
|After World War I, France and the UK divided up large areas of the Middle East between them. The Kurds were forgotten and
ended up being distributed between several countries (Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria) with no homeland of their own.|
This is a map of historical Kurdistan.
|The Turkish army has killed thousands of its Kurdish population, clearing hundreds of villages over a 20 year period. Turkey is a NATO country with USA military bases so very little of this genocide is reported in the West.|
In the Constitution of the Turkish republic, the following phrase is mentioned thirty-three times:
"Anybody who opposes the indivisibility of the Turkish Republic with its nation and its country, will be deprived of their basic human rights and freedoms."
The Kurds, a large minority in the south-east of the country who are referred to as Mountain Turks. A law banning the speaking of Kurdish on the streets is repealed; however, it remains illegal to speak Kurdish in court, in official settings, or at public meetings, and many cultural prohibitions remain in effect.
In the Kurdish region, the government fails to investigate the assassinations of 165 people by assailants using death squad tactics. Among those killed are journalists, teachers, doctors, human rights activists and political leaders; many suspect government complicity in the killings.
For women detainees, threats of rape are often compounded by police taunts that rape will deprive women of their virginity and honor, prevent them from marrying and cause them to be ostracized by their families and communities. Police emphasis on virginity in the harassment and abuse of female detainees also has led them to use the threat or performance of forced virginity exams to harass, humiliate, intimidate, frighten, punish and torture women detainees.
A year earlier, a 43 year old Kurdish woman and her 19 year old daughter were arrested while they were attending a funeral in Diyarbakir. They were tortured and interrogated about how they knew the man who had been buried. According to the daughter:
"They constantly threatened to take me for virginity control and then to rape me when and if they found out I wasn't a virgin."
The Kurdish village of Ormanii in eastern Turkey is attacked by Turkish troops. 7 villagers (including a child) are forced to lie in the snow for over 8 hours before being taken to a nearby Army base. After several days in freezing temperatures in a room exposed to the weather, 5 of the villagers develop frostbite and gangrene. One villager eventually dies, and 4, including the child, have their feet amputated.
In Tunceli province only 18 villages remain intact out of over 60 after a military operation against Kurds. Men are kidnapped by Turkish security forces to act as porters. Troops, backed by helicopters, destroy the villages of Buzlutepe and Bilekli by aerial bombardment, burning and shell fire, killing 6 persons. The soldiers then burn down a number of other villages in the area.
Village guards are used to spy on and control Kurdish villages. In one incident village guards attack the village of Kutlu killing 6 people including a 78 year old man and several children.
Two Turkish fighter-bombers drop 4 large bombs on the village of Ku Konar. The bombs are dropped after a helicopter overflight. Two of the bombs land directly in the middle of the village, killing 24 people, including 12 children.
More than 100 Greek school children in Istanbul are denied access to Turkish universities even though they have passed the relevant examinations.
The government of Turkey uses an ancient Greek Orthodox church (Haghia Eirene) in Istanbul as a stage of a beauty contest insulting millions of Orthodox Christians around the world. The Church was built in the 6th Century AD, was later converted to a mosque, and finally transformed to a museum in 1923. It is a World Heritage Site protected by UNESCO.
Yashar Kemal, (author of 36 books and a perennial candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature) is charged with violating anti-terrorism laws in Turkey. The charges stem from an article about the oppression of the Kurds in Turkey written for a German magazine, Der Spiegel.
Because Turkey is a NATO country and has USA bases, Western criticism is muted. The USA provides 80% of Turkey's arms.
The Kurds are a significant minority in the south and east of Turkey. The USA has many military bases in the region and provides military aid to Turkey. Over 27,000 people have died under severe government suppression.
Ragip Duran becomes the 29th journalist imprisoned in Turkey. Turkish laws prohibit journalists from covering certain issues like the country's Kurdish minority.
Some three hundred issues of left wing, pro-Kurdish, or pro-Islamic publications are confiscated and numerous journals were closed down. Ulkede Gundem (Agenda in the Land), a newspaper advocating the recognition of Kurdish identity, is fined heavily and closed by court order for 312 days. Issues of Hevi (Hope), a weekly newspaper in Kurdish are confiscated 43 times during the first nine months of the year. In Diyarbakir, Sefik Beyaz, former head of the Kurdish Institute, is sentenced to one year imprisonment and a heavy fine for "making separatist propaganda by playing Kurdish music" during his election campaign in 1995.
TV stations are closed for "airing programs in Kurdish". The Kurdish Culture and Research Foundation is forbidden to run classes in Kurdish. Several universities refuse to register female students who wear traditional Muslim head scarves.
Dr. Eda Guver, is charged with "abusing her authority and violating the civil servants' code" after she asks security forces to leave her office while she was examining victims.
The European Union rejects Turkey's application for membership citing oppression of minorities and torture of suspects in custody as reasons.
The dam (called Ilisu II) would displace 15,000 people (mainly Georgians) and destroy habitats of endangered species (including brown bears) near the town of Yusufeli). 15,000 others will be affected by losing their economic and cultural centre. 17 villages would be flooded and the water supply to Georgia would be affected.
UK bank, Barclays, and French bank BNP Paribas have offered to finance the project.
Local people have been consulted only to a limited degree.
As a consequence, the first Kurdish television program is broadcast showing a 30 minute program in a language that was banned until 1991.
Turkey has denied the existence of its Kurdish minority (12 million people out of a total population of 70 million) for decades. Over 37,000 Kurds have been killed by the Turkish military in the east of the country where the USA has bases. Western criticism of the actions as well as Western media coverage has been muted.
Nobel Peace prize nominee, Leyla Zena, is released after 10 years in prison. She had been in Parliament between 1991 and 1994 where she campaigned for Kurdish rights. Three other Kurdish members of Parliament are also released.
Ibrahim Kaboglu and Baskin Oran, two professors who prepared a report in 2004 calling for Turkey to grant more rights to their minorities, are charged with "inciting hatred and emnity". They could face up to five years imprisonment.
The leaflets were distributed on International Women's Day in March 2006.