U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
95/06/01 Report on Human Rights in Turkey and Situation in Cyprus
BUREAU OF EUROPEAN AFFAIRS
This report is submitted in compliance with the congressional requirement as set forth in public law 103-306 - August 23, 1994. It consists of two parts. The first covers allegations of human rights abuses by the Turkish security forces. The second covers Cyprus.
I. HUMAN RIGHTS
Table of Contents:
I. Introduction and Summary
A. The Role of the PKK
B. GOT View of the Conflict
C. Kurds in Turkey
IV. Turkish Security Forces in Anti-PKK Operations
A. Numbers and Types of Forces
B. Chain of Command and Function
C. Code of Conduct
V. Activities of Turkish Security Forces in Anti-PKK Operations
A. Engaging PKK Guerrillas in Towns
B. Village Evacuations/Burnings
C. Extrajudicial Killings and Disappearances
VI. Torture and Intimidation
A. Military/Jandarma Involvement in Torture
B. The Broader Problem of Torture
VII. Use of U.S.-Origin Equipment
VIII. Steps Being Taken by the GOT To Improve the Human Rights Situation
A. Human Rights Training
B. Anti-Torture Measures
C. Freedom of Expression and Democracy
Annex I: TGS Responses to Specific Allegations
Annex II-A: Turkish General Staff Code of Conduct for
Operations in the southeast
Annex II-B: Turkish General Staff Guidelines for "Operation
Steel" in Northern Iraq
ANNEX III: Village Evacuations
I. Introduction and Summary
This report is submitted to the Senate and House Appropriations Committees in accordance with Title III of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act of FY 1995 (Public Law 103-306), which requests the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, to address allegations of human rights abuses against civilians by the Turkish armed forces.
The report provides an overview of the decade-long conflict between Turkey and the terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), describes the types and organization of Turkish security forces combatting the PKK and addresses reports of alleged human rights violations by these forces, including the possible involvement of U.S.-supplied military equipment.
In preparing this report the Department of State, in coordination with the Department of Defense, has drawn on a variety of sources, including U.S. government reporting, information from NGOs, press reports, the 1994 Human Rights Report on Turkey and material provided by the Turkish government.
The report reaffirms Turkey's continuing importance as a long-standing U.S. treaty ally which projects NATO and Western values into the Middle East as well as southeastern Europe. Since the end of the Cold War, Turkey has replaced Germany as the frontline European state. It confronts the most serious threats to its integrity and well-being of any Western ally. Continuing U.S. support for Turkey's security is essential.
The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) presents a major threat to Turkey's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is a ruthless terrorist group which receives support from Syria, Iran and some sources in Europe and has terrorized the population of southeast Turkey and destabilized the region.
The Government of Turkey, in its struggle against the PKK has relied primarily on a military strategy to address this internal security matter. This strategy, which includes the evacuation and/or destruction of many villages, has resulted in human rights abuses and risks alienating the local population. A more civil-based approach by the government is required to effectively address the problem in the southeast.
Turkey, as the recipient of U.S. security assistance, has the right to use U.S.-supplied weapons for legitimate self-defense and for internal security. This includes use to combat terrorism by forces such as the PKK.
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. It is highly likely that such equipment was used in support of the evacuation and/or destruction of villages. However, we have no evidence that verifies reports of torture and extrajudicial killings involving U.S. equipment.
The Government of Turkey has recognized the need to improve its human rights situation and has made proposals which, if adopted and implemented, could lead to important and positive changes in the situation in the southeast. These proposals include measures for the orderly phase out of the state of emergency in the southeast and constitutional amendments to broaden participation in the political process.
Finally the report notes that democracy and human rights are and will continue to be a prominent feature of the ongoing U.S.-Turkish high level dialogue. The democratization measures recently introduced into the Turkish parliament, the new willingness to make public the code of conduct promulgated by the Turkish General Staff, and what appears to be the serious effort to protect civilians during the operation in northern Iraq are indications of the value of sustained discussion with the Turks on the issue of human rights. The United States can and should expect progress.
In preparing this report, the Department of State has drawn on a number of sources. These include observations drawn from travel in southeastern Turkey; existing official reports, such as the 1994 Country Human Rights Report for Turkey; information from NGOs; Embassy and Consulate interviews; press reports; U.S. government reporting and material provided by the Turkish government. It is difficult to ascertain the real facts. Information from many sources is biased. Also, our information is limited by U.S. personnel constraints, security problems in the area and restricted access to the southeast under the terms of emergency rule. Representative accounts of abuses which we cannot confirm are included in an annex to give a fuller sense of public discourse on human rights abuses in the southeast.
The Embassy in Ankara, together with the Consulate in Adana, travels frequently to Turkey's southeast in an effort to gain a better understanding of what is happening in the region. There was a break in this travel from May 1993 until May 1994 because of the precarious security situation during that period. When the security situation improved, visits to the southeast region resumed. Before the 1994-95 winter, Embassy and Washington-based State Department officials traveled to southeastern Turkey. In some cases, they endeavored to obtain access to areas that were the subject of allegations of controversial village burning/evacuations but did not receive permission from the government of Turkey. Embassy and Consulate officials have resumed their travels. As in the past, such travel is dependent on the security situation.
This report should be read in conjunction with the 1994 Human Rights Report for Turkey, which covers a number of closely related issues.
A. Role of the PKK
During the past ten years, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) has waged an increasingly violent terrorist insurgency in southeastern Turkey. Since 1984, the objective of the PKK has been the establishment of a Kurdish state based on Marxist-Leninist ideology in so-called "Northern Kurdistan," comprising 22 provinces in eastern and southeastern Turkey. At a later stage, its objective is to realize a so-called "greater Kurdistan" by annexing territories defined as "Kurdistan" from Iraq, Syria and Iran. As a matter of policy, the U.S. government firmly opposes both objectives, as well as the PKK's terrorist means.
To achieve its aims, the PKK carries out acts of violence directed against the lives and property of the people in the region; tries to destroy the authority of the state in the region; and prevents the investment necessary for the region's social and economic development by destroying and sabotaging existing assets. PKK violence in the southeast has included attacks against Turkish security forces and civilians, including unarmed military recruits and teachers. Most of the civilians the PKK has killed are Kurds whom the PKK accuses of collaborating with the state. The Turkish National Police, Jandarma, and armed forces, in turn, have waged an increasingly intense campaign to suppress terrorism, targeting persons they believe support or sympathize with the PKK, as well as active PKK units. In May 1993, the PKK broke its own unilateral three-month ceasefire when it stopped a bus and massacred more than 30 young, unarmed military recruits near Bingol in southeastern Turkey.
The estimated 10-year death toll of this conflict is 15,000. Deaths in 1994 reached record levels. According to Turkish government statistics, in the first 10 months of 1994, an estimated 963 government security forces, 3,577 PKK and 940 noncombatants were killed. According to Turkish General Staff (TGS) figures (as of March 14, 1995), since 1984 the PKK had killed 3,515 and wounded 6,892 security personnel; killed 4,635 civilians and wounded 4,841, 117 of whom were teachers. Some Turkish officials assert that almost all civilian casualties were the result of terrorist raids on unprotected villages.
Statistics quoted in the English-language daily Turkish Daily News from several sources (President, Interior Ministry, Emergency Region Governor) calculate the casualties for all of 1994 as follows:
source: President Int. Min. Governor ------------------------------------------------------------ PKK Killed 3,709 4,060 3,905 Injured 49 149 390 Security Forces Killed 919 1,089 248 Injured 2,119 2,586 Civilians Killed 814 1,062 908 Injured 1,037 1,775 1,196
In recent years the PKK has targeted Turkey's economic and lucrative tourism infrastructure. It has attacked pipelines and other government investments in the southeast and selectively bombed hotels, restaurants and tourist sites and planted grenades on beaches in Western Turkey to damage Turkey's tourism sector. In 1993, in an apparent effort to generate publicity and discourage tourism, it kidnapped and later released 19 Westerners, including one American, traveling in eastern Turkey. In April 1995 it kidnapped two journalists. The PKK has also staged attacks on dozens of Turkish diplomatic and commercial facilities in several Western European countries where there are large numbers of resident Turks, including many Kurds.
In addition to dealing with the resident domestic terrorism threat, Turkish security forces face the difficulty that PKK are trained and maintain camps in Northern Iraq, as well as in Iran. From there they infiltrate into Turkey. For many years Syria has harbored the leadership of the PKK. Guerrillas are trained in Lebanon's Bekaa Valley in an area under Syrian control.
B. GOT View of the Conflict
According to the GOT, Turkey is faced with illegal acts of terror, supported and provoked by external powers as well as by their internal collaborators. The PKK plans and carries out its terrorist activities primarily with the support of some of Turkey's neighbors which do not want a strong Turkey in the region. Their basic aim is to force Turkey to expend most of its resources on internal problems and thus prevent Turkey's development as a regional power. Moreover, some countries see Turkey as a potential threat and thus provide support to the PKK. Therefore, the problem stems from the desire of some to destabilize the region and weaken the Turkish Republic.
The GOT asserts that the main objective of its military operations in the southeast is to protect the people in the region from acts of PKK violence and to establish and maintain state authority there. The GOT further expresses the intention to achieve these goals within the rule of law and with full respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. It hopes to eliminate the conditions which necessitated the declaration of a State of Emergency, and to create conditions for increasing the level of social and economic development.
C. Kurds in Turkey
1. The Conflict
The Kurdish-origin population of Turkey totals an estimated 12-15 million, of whom fewer than half live in the southeastern region of Turkey. There are also about 8 million Kurdish origin people living in neighboring Syria, Iraq and Iran. The Kurdish origin population has never been considered as a separate ethnic group. The Treaty of Lausanne, which effectively ended the Ottoman Empire, made no mention of them as a group. The sections of that document providing for the protection of ethnic minorities apply only to "non-Muslim minorities," which does not include the Kurds. Many Kurds are opposed to either Kurdish autonomy or separatism but favor increased political and cultural self-expression.
From 1925 to 1939 there were periodic revolts in the Kurdish regions. In response to these revolts, which the newly-formed Turkish Republic viewed as threatening both the existence of the still fragile state and the secular nature of that state, the Government banned the Kurdish language, Kurdish schools and associations, as well as publications in Kurdish and Kurdish names and music. Kurds who assimilated into Turkish life were accepted into the greater Turkish society. Many rose to positions of power and authority, including President, Prime Minister, and Foreign Minister. Currently, as many as 25 percent of the members of the 450 seat parliament are Kurds. However, many remained in the sparsely populated southeast where they lived simply and spoke Kurdish among themselves.
Many Kurdish cultural activists and intellectuals, often attracted to leftist views, found themselves either exiled or afraid to speak out after the 1980 military coup. While oppression was country-wide after the 1980 coup, it was especially harsh in the southeast, particularly in Diyarbakir prison. By the mid-1980's, those who identified themselves as Kurds held many different opinions about what Kurds should strive for and how to achieve their goals. These views ran the gamut from the radical dream of a separate state to more modest proposals for a separate cultural identity and for schools where Kurdish is a medium of instruction. Much of the terrorism problem and associated human rights abuses are related to one or another of these goals and the Government's reaction to them.
In 1984 the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) began carrying out guerrilla warfare against Turkish security forces, with the stated aim of creating an independent "Kurdistan." Most Kurds in the southeast do not support terrorism or the PKK. Some, however, are sympathetic because they believe the PKK is the only voice they have or the agent which has brought the "Kurdish situation" onto Turkey's domestic agenda.
The military approach taken by the GOT in combatting PKK terrorism has in some cases deepened political divisions. The formation of local militia-type units called village guards is an example. Now some 50,000 strong, these units are paid and armed by the State to prevent PKK control of villages and protect the population. The Village Guard system, however, has exacerbated some long-standing Kurdish internecine animosities and created difficult situations for many inhabitants.
2. Status of Actions Against Kurdish Members of Parliament
In March 1994, the Turkish Parliament, based on requests from the State Security Court Public Prosecutor, the recommendations of the justice and constitutional committees and the urging of Prime Minister Ciller, voted to lift partially the parliamentary immunity of eight Kurdish deputies: one independent, six Democracy Party (DEP) deputies and one MP from the Islamist Refah (Welfare) Party. This action opened the deputies to prosecution on the specific issues for which their immunities were lifted. A court subsequently decided that there was insufficient evidence to press charges against one of the DEP deputies, and charges were eventually dropped against the Refah Party MP. The remaining five deputies and one independent were interrogated, then placed in "preventive detention" at the Ankara Central Prison to await trial.
In June 1994, the Constitutional Court ordered the DEP closed. Under Article 84 of the Constitution, all MPs who were members of the closed party at the time the investigation for the closure suit commenced (five imprisoned MPs, plus eight others) automatically lost their parliamentary membership.
To reinstate memberships in Parliament and hence immunity, Parliament must amend Article 84 of the Constitution. To apply to the former DEP parliamentarians (six are in self-imposed exile in Europe, and most of these have associated with the PKK), this amendment would have to be made retroactive -- a difficult task.
The DEP trial concluded on December 8, 1994, with convictions for disseminating separatist propaganda and for supporting or being a member of an armed band. Sentences ranged from 3 years and 6 months (suspended) to 15 years. The Department of State issued a statement of concern following the rendering of the verdict.
The former DEP deputies' convictions for belonging to an armed gang or band and knowingly assisting such a band are currently on appeal. If the Court of Appeals ratifies the convictions, under Article 76 of the Constitution, the former deputies cannot be elected members of Parliament, even if the President pardons them. The Appeals Court could overturn their convictions and send the case back to the trial court. If all appeals are unsuccessful, attorneys for the defendants plan to file a petition with the European Court of Human Rights.
3. Denial of Kurdish Cultural Rights
Legislative reforms in 1991 partially removed the ban on the use of the Kurdish language. Kurdish-language cassettes and publications on Kurdish subjects continue to be widely available, although instances of suppression continue as well. In April 1994, the Tunceli governorship banned the sale of 39 Kurdish-language cassettes. We are aware of only one Kurdish-language weekly publication, Welat, that is currently being published; its editor-in-chief was brought to court in the spring of 1994 on charges of violating the anti-terror law. Several other weeklies publish in a combination of Turkish and Kurdish. Potential customers are afraid to purchase Kurdish-language materials because possession of such items may be interpreted as evidence of PKK sympathies. Kurdish-language broadcasts are still illegal, although in June 1994, Prime Minister Ciller stated that the possibility of private broadcasting and education in languages other than Turkish might be discussed. As of early 1995, however, the government had taken no further action. President Demirel stated that Kurdish television and education would constitute concessions to terrorists and should be allowed only after the terrorism ends. There is foreign language broadcasting (e.g., German, French, English) both on state-run television and radio and on private television stations.
Under the political parties law all discussion that takes place at political meetings must be in Turkish. Kurdish may be spoken only in "nonpolitical communication." Court proceedings are conducted in Turkish, disadvantaging those Kurdish-speaking defendants who have to rely on GOT-provided translators. Materials dealing with Kurdish history, culture and ethnic identity continue to be subject to confiscation and prosecution under the "indivisible unity of the state" provisions of the Anti-Terror Law.
In addition, there are larger legal provisions which can be applied to anyone but are often applied to Kurdish cultural expression. The Anti-Terror Law, which provides that "written and oral propaganda... aiming at damaging the indivisible unity of the state of the Turkish Republic... (is) forbidden, regardless of the method, intention and ideas behind it," severely restricts freedom of speech and has been used against writers, journalists, publishers, politicians, musicians and students. For example, Ismail Besikci, a well known writer, served 10 years in prison between 1971 and 1987 because of his publications on the Kurdish question in Turkey. He has been brought to court more than 100 times and has been in prison again since November 1993.
IV. Turkish Security Forces in Anti-PKK Operations
A. Numbers and Types of Force
There are currently some 250,000-300,000 Turkish security forces operating in the southeast. This includes 140,0000-150,000 Turkish army, 10,000 Air Force, 40,000-50,000 Jandarma (including 10,000 special forces whose mission is to fight the PKK in the field using counter-guerrilla deployment tactics), 40,000 Turkish national police (TNP) and 50,000 paramilitary village guards. Of this force, an estimated 30% are administrative or support personnel. Overall, their responsibilities are as follows:
-- Army: The army is primarily dedicated to conducting conventional style operations, and is the primary agent for planning and executing major offensive actions against the PKK in the field. It is the most professional element in the southeast. It has the bulk of heavy equipment such as tanks, armored personnel carriers, and artillery. In the region, the major command elements are the Turkish Second and Third armies, which report directly to the Turkish Land Forces command in Ankara. The Interior Ministry, through the Emergency Region Super Governor, has nominal control over actions in the region, but in many cases the military has assumed control of operations.
-- Air Force: The Air Force supports ground operations as required, and conducts close air support and interdiction missions as directed by the TGS. It is very much a support service, and its air operations are closely integrated into Army and Jandarma planning and operations.
-- Jandarma: The Jandarma fall under the control of the Emergency Region Super Governor, but may find themselves working under the military from time to time. A three-star Jandarma commander, detailed from the Turkish land forces, serves as the primary point of contact between the Jandarma command and the Super Governor, both located in Diyarbakir. The Jandarma are the second-most professional organization in the region. One of the Jandarma's main missions is to patrol and secure the main road networks in the region. Often co-located in secure compounds with the Jandarma, the military has cooperated with the Jandarma in joint operations to provide greater firepower capability. The chains of command quite often are blurred.
-- TNP: The TNP fall under the control of provincial security directors and governors. It is primarily responsible for security within the cities, whereas the Jandarma is in control outside the population centers.
-- Village Guards: The GOT instituted the paramilitary village guard program to assist Kurdish villages to protect themselves against PKK raids. There are approximately 50,000 village guards employed in the Eastern and southeastern region of Turkey. Each village guard is paid a monthly wage of five million Turkish Lira (USD 125) -- a high salary in the southeast. Although a thorn in the side of the PKK, village guards have also been implicated in human rights abuses. They have sometimes used their influence with Security forces to depict other Kurdish clans as PKK supporters in order to gain the upper hand for themselves. They have also on occasion used their government-issued weapons to settle blood feuds with rivals. While village guards are sometimes used by other security force elements in joint operations, they are generally considered the least disciplined force in the southeast.
B. Chain of Command and Function
According to the Turkish General Staff, all security forces, including the army, operate in the Emergency Region under the authority of the Emergency Region Super Governor. The Super Governor in turn answers to the Interior Ministry and functions as a representative of civil authority. The struggle against PKK terrorism, therefore, is primarily an internal security matter. Since most PKK activity occurs in the countryside, the onus of the day-to-day anti-terror campaign falls on the Jandarma, and army units are called upon for larger operations when their professional capabilities are required.
Jandarma and reinforcing army units are mainly responsible for border control; control and security of roads; protection of critical installations; and conduct of small-scale operations. Some army commando units placed under the operational control of the Super Governor are employed for larger scale operations and raids against terrorists. Army and Jandarma special operation units whose numbers have increased since 1994 are mainly used against terrorist targets whose location is known as a result of specific intelligence. Of all units deployed, 25% are employed in operations, 22% in border control and 10% for the protection of critical installations.
C. Code of Conduct
Turkish security forces have adopted a code of conduct which meets international internal conflict and human rights standards, although in practice these standards are not always met. (SEE ANNEX II).
According to the Government of Turkey, there is no excuse for any Turkish officer, NCO or soldier to commit or tolerate any human rights violation in the southeast. Mistreatment of prisoners or noncombatants is prohibited. That said, the Turkish army is a conscript force, often lacking professional small unit leadership, especially on the field where it is most needed. We have no information regarding mechanisms to enforce the Code.
V. Activities of Turkish Security Forces in Anti-PKK Operations
As part of their legitimate struggle against PKK terrorism, Turkish forces regularly engage PKK forces in towns and villages. Noncombatant casualties occur, but there is no credible evidence that Turkish forces attack towns indiscriminately or in the absence of a PKK threat. Village evacuations occur under a variety of circumstances; but there are indications that many occur as a result of a broader military strategy to deprive the PKK of logistical bases in the countryside.
A. Engaging PKK Guerrillas in Towns
Turkish forces move against the PKK in a town or city either when provoked or when they believe that the PKK has essentially taken over a populated area and must be routed. For the PKK to hold sway over the population of a town or city is very damaging to the image of a government that should be -- and must convince its citizens that it is -- able to maintain control of its territory and protect its citizens. Because of the concentration of civilians and PKK tactics, the probability is high that there will be civilian casualties.
Two frequently noted and documented examples of Turkish attacks into southeastern towns occurred in Lice and Sirnak in 1993 and 1992. In the case of Lice (October 1993) the GOT claimed the PKK started the firefight by killing a brigadier general. In the case of Sirnak (August 1992) the GOT also claimed the PKK was the aggressor. In neither case is it clear what actually happened. In both cases there was apparently a heavy firefight between Turkish security forces and the PKK that resulted in casualties, including civilians (in each case the estimated civilian death toll was around 30), and buildings damaged or destroyed.
In neither case did the security forces demonstrate transparency. Neither the press nor parliamentary delegations were allowed access in the aftermath. As of February 1995, parliamentary delegations still had a difficult time obtaining government access to Lice. The GOT has never made public investigation reports on these incidents. With the PKK having been pushed out of the urban areas, since 1994 these types of incidents have no longer occurred in towns and cities.
B. Village Evacuations and Destruction
According to Turkish government figures, as of October 1, 1994, 1,046 villages and hamlets had been evacuated: 75 by the regional governorship for "security reasons;" 812 because of "PKK pressure;" and 34 for "economic reasons." Most NGOs now estimate the total number of evacuated villages and hamlets at around 2,000. Various sources estimated that over two million have left their homes. Village evacuations have been a significant contributing factor to this. The majority of evacuations have taken place over the last two years.
The scale of these evacuations over a relatively short period of time suggests that in many instances they are part of a GOT military strategy designed to deprive the PKK of any logistical base in the countryside. In May 1994, the Minister of Defense stated that, in order to control PKK activity in the region, 50 settlement centers, containing approximately 10,000 persons around Mount Ararat and Tenduruk mountain, would be evacuated and that those regions would be declared a military zone.
While the overall purpose of the evacuations would appear to be to deny the PKK control of the countryside, the precise circumstances of individual evacuations are less clear. In some instances, government security forces appear to have reacted in response to a specific PKK threat to the villagers. In these cases, the PKK force villagers to supply them with food, shelter and intelligence. Security forces then evacuate these villages as part of their operations to remove the PKK.
Reputable human rights NGOs, after undertaking research and field interviews, report that most village evacuations result from actions by Turkish security forces and that forced displacements usually result from refusal to join the village guard system or from supporting the PKK, usually for giving food and a place to sleep, or for suspicion of committing such acts. The USG cannot confirm these conclusions. Kurdish refugees interviewed by USG personnel offered similar explanations for their evacuations.
Whatever the precise circumstances of individual evacuation, governments are expected to provide for the security and shelter of their evacuated citizens.
According to Interior Minister Mentese's March 1995 statement in response to a question in Parliament, the GOT has extended TL 9 billion (approximately USD 225,000) in financial support for construction of 3,069 houses in compensation to villagers displaced in the southeast, largely, in his words, as a result of PKK activity. The Government states that, to the degree possible, Turkish armed forces provide social support, repairing schools burned or destroyed by the PKK, maintaining roads, and providing health services and temporary teacher support.
To date, Government of Turkey programs to deal with the many internal migrants have been very inadequate. Few displaced villagers have been compensated, and there seems to be an ad hoc quality to most compensations. Many migrants are living in overcrowded quarters with relatives in the larger cities in the southeast. Apparently as a result of serious overall budgetary problems, much 1994 aid promised by the government was not disbursed, and there is no provision for assistance in the 1995 budget. Nor have new governmental entities been created to render such assistance.
The majority of those evacuated or who left voluntarily have moved to major cities, where, for the most part, they have moved in with other families. In Diyarbakir, for instance, the population has tripled in the past three years due to the evacuations and conflict in the southeast. Yet city budgets have not been supplemented by Ankara, partially because cities receive their allocation based on the most recent census. Therefore, cities in the southeast such as Diyarbakir are receiving allocations based on a population which predates the great immigration of the past three years. There is no relief in sight unless Parliament passes a new law changing the basis for allocation. No such law has yet been introduced.
In some instances evacuations of villages have been accompanied by burning, bombing, shelling or other destruction. In some cases, the PKK has been responsible for burnings and evacuations. In other instances, government security forces have been involved in village burning and destruction. In 1993, press and human rights organizations began reporting numerous instances of village destruction. The USG has not definitively confirmed any of the incidents reported in 1993 but some have been corroborated by eye witness accounts to U.S. Embassy officials.
Illustrative of these accounts was that related to U.S. Embassy officials by an evacuee from a village in Siirt province. According to the evacuee, a mixed group of army and Jandarma came to their village in the fall of 1993 and asked the men to join the village guard program. They refused. The soldiers then gathered the men in front of the village mosque and told them if they refused to join, the troops would fire. Again they refused. The security forces held their fire but told the village's 50-60 families they had eight days to pack and leave. While they were preparing to leave, security forces shelled the village with artillery or mortars (probably mortars). One night, 25 "rockets" were fired on the houses. On the day they were leaving the soldiers killed all their livestock -- horses, cows and sheep. The interviewee maintained that the village had no relationship with the PKK.
In March 1994, all major Turkish dailies reported that Turkish warplanes had bombed a village in Sirnak province in southeastern Turkey. On March 31, the TDN carried a follow-up story stating that at least 4 villages were bombed and at least 20 civilians killed. The GOT denies that this raid took place but USG personnel have determined that raids did take place and that some civilians were killed. We have been unable to determine all the circumstances surrounding this incident.
Village burnings and destruction became an issue of lively public debate within Turkey in September 1994 following a major security campaign against the PKK in Tunceli province. TGS officials have stated that no villages or hamlets were evacuated or intentionally burned by Turkish troops. They assert that in some instances PKK terrorists in military uniforms raided and set fire to villages after villagers refused to cooperate with them. They do acknowledge collateral damage as a result of firefights.
One MP said that villagers with whom he spoke in the southeast were certain that security forces had set fire to their villages because the people who set the fires came by helicopters and only the security forces have helicopters.
The USG has been unable, for reasons of security, to visit Tunceli province, but we believe that many unanswered questions remain and have urged the GOT to undertake further investigation. GOT sensitivity to human rights concerns shown in the recent military operations in northern Iraq may stem in part from a heightened awareness caused by the international and domestic reaction to the Tunceli campaign.
C. Extrajudicial Killings and Disappearances
Extrajudicial killings and so-called "mystery killings" occurred at a high rate until the end of 1994; subsequently they have decreased. The total over the past three years now exceeds 2000. The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRF) claimed that government security forces were responsible for 33 extrajudicial killings in the first 10 months of 1994. Other human rights organizations have also made credible allegations that security forces are involved in some of these extrajudicial killings. These accusations have been given some credence within Turkey itself. According to Turkish press reports, the April 1995 report of the Turkish parliamentary committee, formed in February 1993 to investigate these murders, concluded that "illegal formations" within the state bear some responsibility for "mystery murders" and that these elements must be "cleansed" and delivered up to justice. The USG finds the conclusions of the parliamentary committee report, as leaked to the press, credible.
VI. Torture and Intimidation
A. Military-Jandarma Involvement in Torture
The USG is aware of only isolated reports of military or Jandarma involvement in acts of torture. The majority of torture cases perpetrated by security forces related to the conflict in the southeast involve abuse at the hands of the Turkish National Police, after the Jandarma or military has handed them over. There were three reports of torture by the Jandarma in 1993, but we are aware of none since then. The most troubling 1993 report concerns a Jandarma operation in Ormanici village in Sirnak province raised at the European Human Rights Commission. The report alleges that Jandarma burned down the village, killed a five-year-old child and tortured forty-three villagers. The villagers claimed they had been raped with truncheons and bottles, hosed with water and forced to stand barefoot for hours in freezing temperatures, and beaten on the bottoms of their feet.
B. The Broader Problem of Torture
There is a constitutional ban on torture in Turkey, as well as legal bans, and Turkey has acceded to international conventions banning torture. Law enforcement officials accused of torturing or mistreating suspects are supposed to be tried and, if convicted, sentenced to up to five years in prison. Police and military academies now include mandatory courses on human rights. Foreign Ministry officials regularly lecture to police, subgovernors and other officials on the need to maintain international human rights standards. To date, however, the practice continues.
As of September 1994, 4,149 applications claiming torture, maltreatment, or arbitrary detention had been filed with the Parliamentary Human Rights Commission since its September 1991 inception. In each case, the Commission had written to the offices of the public prosecutor, the governor's office, and the security directorate general. There is no indication that these communications have had any effect or that the Commission has followed up on these cases. The HRF's torture rehabilitation centers in Ankara, Izmir, and Istanbul reported that within the first 6 months of 1994, they had received a total of 196 applications for treatment.
Human rights attorneys and physicians who treat victims of torture state that most persons charged with, or suspected of, political crimes usually suffer some torture during periods of incommunicado detention in police stations and Jandarma headquarters before they are brought before a court. The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and private attorneys reported that in 1994 there was no indication of either the amelioration of treatment of those charged under the Anti-Terror Law or an overall decrease in the incidence of torture.
A number of aspects of the structure of Turkey's legal system and laws are conducive to torture. The police "culture" is to obtain a confession. Cases are easier to resolve once the suspect has confessed. Hence, law enforcement officials have come to rely on this method. Law enforcement officers and attorneys alike are untrained in building evidentiary and circumstantial cases to avoid the temptation to extract a confession by torture.
Human rights observers report that the system whereby the arresting police officer is also responsible for interrogating the suspect is conducive to torture because the officer seeks to obtain a confession that would justify the arrest. However, according to others familiar with Turkish police operations, in petty criminal cases, the arresting officer is responsible for following up on the case, whereas in major cases such as murder and political or terrorism-related crimes, "desks" responsible for the area in question are responsible for the interrogation.
Another contributing factor, particularly in state security court cases, is the suspect's lack of early attorney access. The ability of an attorney to be present during interrogation would greatly reduce the possibility of torture. Although the implementation of the revised Criminal Trials Procedure Law (CMUK) in January 1993 facilitated more immediate attorney access to those arrested for common crimes, its provisions of immediate attorney access do not apply to those detained under the anti-terror law. Furthermore, some attorneys in the southeast reported that some common criminals are booked on anti-terror charges, thereby depriving them of access to or by an attorney. The CMUK's allowable, maximum prearraignment detention periods still exceed Council of Europe maximums.
Medical examinations are required and should help alleviate the problem of torture. Although the government asserts that medical examinations occur once during detention and a second time before either arraignment or release, former detainees asserted that some medical examinations took place too long after the event to reveal any definitive findings. Practice varies widely: In some cases proper examinations are conducted; in others, doctors sign papers handed to them; some examinations are cursory, some are done in the presence of police officials and some doctors are at times under pressure to submit false or misleading medical certificates, denying evidence of torture.
The one single factor that is perhaps more responsible than any other for the continuation of the practice of torture in Turkey is the lack of timely, serious prosecutions of law enforcement officers accused of torture. Special provincial administrative boards, rather than regular courts decide whether to prosecute in such cases, and suspects' legal fees are paid by their employing agencies. Under the State of Emergency, any lawsuit directed at government authorities must be approved by the regional governor. Under the Administrative Adjudication Law, an administrative investigation into alleged torture cases is conducted to determine if there is enough evidence to bring a law enforcement officer to trial. Under the Criminal Trials Procedure Law (CMUK), while prosecutors are empowered to initiate investigations of police officers or Jandarma suspected of torturing or maltreating suspects, in cases where township security directors or Jandarma commanders are accused of torture, the prosecutor must obtain permission to initiate an investigation from the Ministry of Justice because these officials are deemed to have a status equal to that of judges.
Credible sources in the human rights and legal communities estimate that judicial authorities investigate only about one-half of the formal complaints involving torture and prosecute only a small fraction of those. Under the Anti-Terror Law, officials accused of torture or other mistreatment may continue to work while under investigation and, if convicted, may only be suspended.
According to the government, in the first 9 months of 1994, prosecutors considered 963 complaints of torture or maltreatment. Of those, 314 cases were opened, 355 were in preparation, 187 were dropped, in 25 cases the court decided it did not have the authority to pursue the case, and in 47 cases the court referred the case to another court. There were 11 convictions and 22 acquittals. In one case the complaint was withdrawn. Most of these cases were in Istanbul and Ankara; few were in the southeast.
In the few instances in which law enforcement officers are convicted of torture, sentences tend to be light. In July 1994, Ekrem Guner, a noncommissioned officer, was convicted of torturing two persons in Ordu in 1989, sentenced to 2 years in prison, suspended from duty for 5 months and 15 days, and fined TL 375,000 (roughly dollars 12). In July 1994, the Ankara administrative court ordered the interior ministry to pay Mediha Curabaz TL 10 million (roughly dollars 300) in compensation for torture she sustained in August 1991 by the Adana police. The Adana Provincial Administrative Commission had refused to try the police officers involved on charges of rape and torture, despite a medical report which confirmed the charge of rape. In April 1994, the torture conviction of two officers and two noncommissioned officers in the 1985 torture and death of schoolteacher Siddik Bilgin was overturned on appeal, and the officers were acquitted on retrial.
As Turkey recognizes the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights and the European Commission of Human Rights, Turkish citizens may file applications alleging violations of the European Convention on Human Rights with the Commission. Some 250 cases are currently before the Commission. To date, the Government of Turkey has paid out the equivalent of $500,000 in compensation for decisions received in the court.
VII. Use of U.S.-Origin Equipment
U.S.-origin weapons systems deployed by the Turkish military include:
-- F-16 fighter aircraft;
-- Cobra/Super Cobra attack helicopters;
-- Blackhawk transport helicopters; and
-- tanks, armored personnel carriers, and artillery systems and most of the ordinance for the above systems.
According to the TGS, all weapons and ammunition from either U.S. or Turkish source are used as follows:
-- in a controlled manner for the purpose of minimizing the casualties of security forces and encouraging terrorists to surrender;
-- general purpose helicopters are used for reconnaissance, observation, supply, evacuation, and command and control of operations;
-- armed helicopters are used against terrorist groups who refuse to surrender, to combat PKK raids on military posts and to protect villages and military convoys;
-- tanks and APCs are used for deterrence, shows of force, the protection of critical installations and base security;
-- aircraft are used for shows of force, reconnaissance, and against cross-border targets on a limited scale.
According to the TGS, the majority of the weapons used by the Jandarma are of national origin; those of U.S. origin are very limited. The police are equipped with weapons of U.S.-origin, as well as weapons from Italy, France and Germany. In addition, most of the army units deployed in the region are equipped with U.S. weapons and equipment.
Many eye witness reports of village evacuations refer to the use of major military equipment such as armored personnel carriers, helicopters, and trucks. In a number of instances reported by U.S. human rights NGOs and others, eye witnesses have identified the equipment involved as U.S. models.
-- Evacuated villagers from Nurettin identified M-113 armored personnel carriers as being involved in the evacuation of that village in November 1993.
-- Both Blackhawk and Super Cobra helicopters were identified in press reports as having been used in operations in Tunceli province in September-October 1994.
-- As indicated earlier, reportedly at least 4 F-16's bombed four villages on March 26, 1994.
The USG finds the evidence for the use of this equipment in these three instances highly credible.
We do not have information regarding the extent to which U.S. equipment has been involved in village evacuations and/or destruction more generally. Since most, but not all of Turkey's major military equipment has been supplied by the U.S., it is highly likely that U.S. equipment and ordinance has been involved in such operations.
The USG has no reliable information on the origin of the weapons involved in "mystery killings" and disappearances. There are some eyewitness accounts of abduction by helicopter, but the U.S. has been unable to confirm them.
There is no direct evidence of the use of equipment of US origin in torture. Reports of beatings of villagers by rifle butts cannot be assumed to have involved the use of U.S.-origin rifles because the G-3 rifle, which is most commonly used by Jandarma forces, is not a U.S. product and is manufactured in country. The use of U.S.-origin trucks, APC's and helicopters is ubiquitous. It can be assumed that they would be used to transport any security forces perpetrating such acts.
VIII. Steps Being Taken by the GOT to Improve the Human Rights Situation
Recently the Government of Turkey has taken a number of steps to improve its human rights situation.
A. Human Rights Training
Pursuant to regulations issued in December 1994, a new program began in January 1995 which will train 160 Turkish armed forces officers in human rights. In addition, starting in March 1995, the following human rights training began:
-- a 2-hour training block for generals and admirals;
-- 4 hours of instruction on human rights for those participating in special courses related to internal security operations;
-- 3 hours of instruction in infantry, armor, artillery and engineering schools as well as in Jandarma officer and NCO schools;
-- 2-hour training blocks for army school and army academy students and for those in the Turkish armed forces academy;
-- 4 hours of practical instruction for officers, NCOs, corporals and privates assigned to internal security operations.
Those personnel will be instructed in:
-- an introduction to, and the history of, the concept of human rights;
-- the importance of human rights in today's world and the basic rights guaranteed under various human rights agreements; the responsibilities set forth in international agreements to which Turkey is a signatory;
-- the necessary measures to be taken in order not to be found in violation of human rights and how to distinguish more clearly between guilty and innocent persons when soldiers are assigned to duty during war or to an arm of the armed forces in an internal security operation during extraordinary circumstances as defined by the constitution; and
-- the responsibility of someone found in violation of human rights and the legal action that will be taken against soldiers found in such violation.
B. Anti-Torture Measures
Government officials have also taken a number of steps to address directly the use of torture. In the first three months of 1995, until he was replaced in a cabinet reshuffle, State Minister-in-Charge of Human Rights Koyluoglu was outspoken against torture. The first GOT official to speak so openly about the issue, he vowed to put an end to torture in Turkey. He intervened in several cases to urge that law enforcement officials charged with torture be brought to court.
Since January 1994, according to a Prime Ministerial circular, all Jandarma and police stations have had to provide monthly reports on the number of torture complaints and attorneys provided to suspects. In February 1995, the Interior Ministry, under instructions of the Prime Minister, distributed a follow-up, more detailed circular to all police stations. Specifically, the directive requires that:
-- police observe all legal practices and permissible periods of detention;
-- no detainee be mistreated, no matter what the crime; European and American methods will be used to obtain information from the detainee;
-- a medical examination be carried out as required by a previous health ministry circular;
-- detainees' meetings with their attorneys be carried out in accordance with the law;
-- police stations be inspected for torture instruments and that such instruments (if any are found) be removed;
-- all detainees be registered;
-- detainees' cells be sufficiently large and sanitary;
-- legal action be taken immediately against any policeman or other law enforcement officer who engages in maltreatment of detainees;
-- to ensure full implementation of the directive, that police stations under the control of the governor and head of the security directorate be inspected continually and that the results of such inspections be sent to the Ministry of the Interior.
C. Freedom of Expression and Democracy
Issues of freedom of expression have also high on the public agenda recently. That high-profile journalists and writers have been imprisoned or are on trial for disseminating separatist propaganda has pushed this issue into the public spotlight. The village evacuation controversy has also engendered lively debate. The current State Minister for Human Rights is focusing on the southeast and how best to begin to heal the wounds there.
The best chance for significant progress on democratization will come in the next weeks as the government seeks a majority in Parliament to pass the legislative agenda necessary for the European Parliament to approve Turkey's customs union agreement with the EU.
Prime Minister Ciller's March 14 human rights policy speech at Bilkent University was the first effort in that direction, and she has publicly committed herself to push for democratization legislation. If all the proposed measures are implemented, they would significantly broaden political participation and expand freedom of expression. They would allow the PM to phase out the State of Emergency in effect since 1987 in ten southeastern provinces.
In her March 14 speech, Ciller stated her democratization goals as follows:
-- Removal of Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law, which makes dissemination of separatist propaganda a terrorist crime and uses an overly broad definition of "terrorism." This would lift a key restriction on freedom of expression, allow for the release of some 150 imprisoned intellectuals, and end close to 2000 ongoing court cases.
-- Passage of a package of constitutional amendments that would remove impediments in the military-drafted 1982 Constitution to broader political participation. Passage requires a supermajority in a secret ballot of 300 out of 428 potential votes (22 seats are vacant); 270-300 votes in favor would force a divisive and unpredictable referendum.
-- Phasing out the State of Emergency, contingent on passage of new provincial administration reform legislation.
-- Protecting citizens against torture and abuse, and including human rights courses in the educational system.
Ciller described the challenge as striking a balance between the rights of the individual and the duties of the state. The GOT can expect to run into stiff opposition from conservatives, including those in the Prime Minister's own party, on these proposed reforms.
The expansion of democracy is important for Turkey and for all Turkish citizens, just as it is for citizens of all democracies. In the end, democratic freedoms will be enlarged because Turks demand it, not because the West criticizes Turkey's shortcomings. It is for this reason that the U.S. will continue to lend its full support to Turkish democracy.
1. Turkey continues to be of great strategic importance to the United States. Since the end of the Cold War, Turkey has replaced Germany as the frontline European state. It confronts the most serious array of challenges and threats to its integrity and well-being of any Western ally: conflict in the Balkans threatens stability in the eastern Mediterranean; instability in the Caucasus and Russia raises historical fears of aggression from that quarter; and states to the south and southeast actively support terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism inside Turkey. Internally, the Turkish government is trying to cope with tremendous economic adjustments and to improve its democratic political system to permit more active participation by a broader segment of the population. The GOT approach to the Kurdish issue has detracted from its ability to deal with these problems.
Turkey's stability and well-being are critical to stability in the eastern Mediterranean, the Balkans and ultimately Central Europe. Its continued Western orientation is essential to U.S. policy goals in the Middle East and Central Asia. Continuing United States support for Turkey's security, both external and internal, is essential.
2. The PKK presents a major threat to Turkey's sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a ruthless terrorist group, which receives substantial support not only from Syria, Iran, and some sources in Europe, has exploited the internal and external challenges facing Turkey. It has terrorized the population of southeast Turkey, destabilized the region, and threatened the country's territorial integrity.
3. In combatting the PKK, the GOT approach has been largely military. Alone, that cannot succeed. Turkey needs to combine this with a civil approach to the problem in the southeast. The Turkish government appears to be pursuing a broad military strategy to control the area which has entailed the evacuation and/or destruction of many villages. Although the government has issued a code of conduct designed to prevent most human rights abuses, violations by Turkish security forces have nevertheless occurred in the course of operations. In addition, the GOT has an internationally recognized obligation to provide for those who are displaced. Until now it has not sufficiently addressed this obligation.
4. Turkey, as the recipient of U.S. security assistance, has the right to use U.S. supplied weapons for legitimate self-defense and for internal security. This includes use to combat terrorism by forces such as the PKK.
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. It is highly likely that such equipment was used in support of the evacuation and/or destruction of villages. However, we have no evidence that verifies reports of torture and extrajudicial killings involving U.S. equipment.
5. The Government of Turkey has acknowledged the need to improve its human rights practices and has made proposals, which, if adopted and implemented, could lead to important positive changes in the situation in the southeast. The Turkish government has recognized the need for improvement in both military and political spheres. On the military side, the December 1994 initiation of a program of human rights training for officers, the new willingness to make public the Code of Conduct promulgated by the Turkish General Staff, and the principal guidelines for the operation in northern Iraq are examples.
Turkey's apparently serious effort to protect civilians from harm during the operation in northern Iraq, and to limit the scope and duration of that operation, is also an important example of progress, although more access for neutral observers would have been desirable.
On the political side, Prime Minister Ciller has tabled a series of democratization/human rights proposals in the parliament, and is pushing for passage this summer. These proposals include an orderly phase out of the State of Emergency in the southeast; a package of constitutional amendments to broaden participation in the political process; amendments to the Anti-Terror law to increase freedom of expression; possible amnesty for those convicted for things they have said or written; additional protections against torture; and increased attention to human rights in Turkey's educational system. Passage of these proposals is critical to improvement of the human rights situation in Turkey, and key to Turkey's acceptance into additional European institutions, both of which are high priority U.S. foreign policy objectives.
PM Ciller has taken steps to reduce the incidence of torture by security forces with the initiation of a required monthly complaints system and by disseminating to all police stations a detailed circular forbidding torture.
6. The Administration believes that increased structural ties with the West and progress on democratization in Turkey will be mutually reinforcing and is actively supporting both. In this regard, completion of the customs union between Turkey and the European Union would give an important impetus to efforts to promote democracy and human rights.
7. Democracy and human rights are and will continue to be an integral part of the ongoing U.S.-Turkish high-level dialogue. The democratization measures recently introduced into Parliament and the new TGS regulations are indications of the efficacy of reasoned discussion with the Turks on the issue of human rights. We can and should expect progress.
PART II. CYPRUS
With the historic decisions of the European Union on March 6, conclusion of the Turkish Cypriot election campaign, and reaffirmation by Prime Minister Ciller of Turkey's determination to work toward a solution to the Cyprus problem, the time is favorable to achieving progress on the overall solution, as well as early implementation of the UN-proposed package of confidence-building measures (CBMs). United States diplomacy works toward that end, in full support of the good offices mission of the UN Secretary General and his team.
TURKISH GOVERNMENT SUPPORT FOR UN EFFORTS ON CYPRUS
The Government of Turkey has, over the years, stressed its support for the UN efforts to resolve the Cyprus problem. Since the beginning of 1994, the Government of Turkey has been particularly supportive of the UN proposed package of confidence-building measures. Subsequent to acceptance of the CBM's by the Greek Cypriots in March 1994, Ankara strongly encouraged the Turkish Cypriots to accept the CBMs. Finally, after meetings between the senior Turkish and Turkish-Cypriot leadership on June 16, Mr. Denktash announced his willingness to immediately implement the package. Unfortunately, by that time, Greek-Cypriot support for the measures had eroded. Since that time, the Government of Turkey's support for the CBMs has remained firm. Prime Minister Ciller personally assured President Clinton on April 19 that Ankara and the Turkish Cypriots were willing to immediately implement the UN package. Turkey has also actively supported the Turkish Cypriot announcement in January 1995 of several unilateral measures to increase contacts between Greek and Turkish Cypriots.
SUMMARY OF ACTIVITIES SINCE AUGUST 1994
In August, U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus Richard Boucher met with Turkish-Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash. Mr. Denktash told Ambassador Boucher that he would be willing to meet with Greek-Cypriot leader Clerides and that he was willing to implement the UN-proposed package of confidence building measures immediately. Ambassador Boucher also met with Greek-Cypriot leader Clerides in August, who stressed that paragraph two of UNSCR 939 was a minimal step which the Turkish side needed to accept. He added that on this basis the possibility of agreement on the CBMs and other measures could be increased. Ambassador Boucher urged that both sides avoid setting preconditions, and reiterated that the two leaders consider direct talks as part of a preliminary process to explore common ground and avoid an early impasse.
Secretary Christopher wrote to UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali on September 14 and responded to the Secretary General's request to the Perm Five for recommendations on how best to proceed on Cyprus. The Secretary stated firmly that the U.S. is committed to promoting a solution to the division of Cyprus. He noted that both parties had accepted the UN-sponsored package of confidence-building measures, although differences remained on the modalities of implementation. The Secretary further stated that implementation of the CBMs should proceed and reiterated a desire to move forward on discussions of an overall solution.
UN Special Cyprus Negotiator Joe Clark travelled to Cyprus on September 14 and met separately with Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash. Mr. Clark expressed concern that the Cyprus talks were moving toward impasse and asked both sides to work within the framework of UN Security Council Resolution 939. He stated that, although progress toward an overall solution is the goal, it was important to take advantage of the progress already achieved and go forward with the CBMs.
U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Peter Tarnoff met separately with Turkish Prime Minister Ciller and Foreign Minister Soysal on September 15 in Ankara. Both assured Mr. Tarnoff of Turkey's commitment to a negotiated settlement on Cyprus, and they both also expressed Turkey's full support for the immediate implementation of the CBMs.
Mr. Clark travelled to Ankara in September where he met with Turkish Foreign Minister Soysal and Deputy Undersecretary Tugay Ulucevik September 19-20. The Foreign Minister and Ambassador Ulucevik pledged continued Turkish support for and cooperation with the good offices mission of the UN Secretary General. They stressed the need for implementation of the CBMs and a fair proposal for an overall solution.
U.S. Under Secretary of State Peter Tarnoff met with Cyprus Foreign Minister Michaelides on September 26 in New York. Mr. Tarnoff reiterated the U.S. belief that the CBMs are indispensable to overall progress. He also stated that the U.S. strongly urged both parties to have direct negotiations without preconditions. Foreign Minister Michaelides stressed the Greek-Cypriot community's insistence that the Turkish Cypriots accept paragraph two of UN Security council resolution 939 before it would agree to direct negotiations.
On October 11, UN Special Negotiator Joe Clark reiterated to the Security Council that the UN-proposed package of confidence-building measures (CBMs) should be implemented and that there should be a continued effort to reach a fair and just solution on Cyprus. U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus Richard Boucher met on the same day in New York with representatives of Greece, Turkey, Cyprus and the UN to discuss ways to advance the process.
These efforts led to UN sponsored direct talks between Greek-Cypriot leader Clerides and Turkish-Cypriot leader Denktash in Nicosia in late October 1994. No concrete agreements were reached, but all the main issues involved in a settlement were addressed. Mr. Clerides stated his willingness to continue discussion if a substantive basis for negotiations was established within the framework of UN resolutions and the high level agreements of 1977 and 1979.
The State Department's Special Cyprus Coordinator (SCC), James Williams, traveled to Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey on October 29-November 5. In Nicosia, SCC Williams explored in depth the views of the two leaders. He urged them to look for common ground to move the intercommunal process forward, in its overall substance as well as by early implementation of the CBMs. Mr. Clerides underscored his belief that early Cypriot membership in the European Union (EU) would provide benefits and guarantee the security of both communities. In Athens and in Ankara, Mr. Williams discussed Cyprus with Foreign Ministry officials and other government leaders.
On November 8, Greek-Cypriot leader Clerides wrote to Secretary General Boutros Ghali, stating that further discussion of the UN-proposed CBMs would be "meaningless" because, in his view, Turkey and the Turkish-Cypriot leadership insisted on rejecting the substance of a federal solution as defined by the United Nations resolutions. On November 9 and subsequently, Ambassador Boucher met with Turkish-Cypriot leader Denktash to explore whether he could advance substantive positions within the framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, which could lead to a successful negotiation.
The Turkish Cypriots took a positive step on November 21, 1994, when Mr. Denktash wrote to UN Secretary General Boutros Ghali reaffirming his commitment to a bizonal, bicommunal federation. He also stated his willingness to enter into immediate negotiations with Mr. Clerides and stated his agreement to discuss eventual Cyprus membership in the European Union in the context of the UN proposed "Set of Ideas." The two leaders expressed their desire to reach a settlement. In addition, Mr. Denktash reiterated his commitment to a bizonal, bicommunal federation with a single sovereignty and single citizenship.
On January 5, President Clinton announced the appointment of Mr. Richard Beattie as the Special Presidential Emissary for Cyprus, in order to raise the level of representation and commitment by the United States to promoting a solution.
Also on January 5, Richard Holbrooke, Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, accompanied by Special Cyprus Coordinator James Williams, and the Director of the Office of Southern European Affairs, Marshall Adair, travelled to Nicosia where he strongly conveyed to the Cypriot parties the U.S. desire to help reach a Cyprus settlement. Mr. Holbrooke had lengthy meetings with President Clerides and other officials of the Republic of Cyprus. He also met with Turkish-Cypriot leader Denktash and authorities of the Turkish-Cypriot administration. Both sides expressed a commitment to see the Cyprus problem resolved but described fundamentally different ways of addressing the issues of negotiations. Mr. Clerides advocated a comprehensive approach, whereas Mr. Denktash supported a step-by-step discussion beginning with the CBMs. Referring to the application by the Republic of Cyprus to join the European Union, Mr. Holbrooke expressed the hope that Cyprus would enter the Union as a federation in which all Cypriots could share the benefits of membership.
Subsequent to his trip Assistant Secretary Holbrooke undertook an intensive diplomatic effort in Europe to encourage progress by the EU on two related goals: agreement to begin EU accession talks for Cyprus, and completion of an EU customs union agreement with Turkey. This effort was designed to promote the Cyprus talks by enhancing the attractiveness of a federal solution on Cyprus and improving general stability in the region.
On January 18, U.S. Ambassador to Cyprus Richard Boucher met with Mr. Denktash. The Turkish-Cypriot leader used the opportunity to emphasize his support for certain elements of the 1992 UN Set of Ideas. On January 20, Mr. Denktash issued a letter which was circulated as a UN Document, in which he reaffirmed the Turkish side's commitment to a bizonal, bicommunal federation and called for immediate implementation of the CBMs. He also announced a number of unilateral humanitarian steps intended to assist the Maronite and Greek-Cypriot communities living in northern Cyprus. On January 21, Mr. Clerides replied to Mr. Denktash's initiative in a press release, which has also been circulated as a UN document. He asserted that talks on the CBMs would be useless without progress on the basic aspects of the Cyprus problem.
Mr. Beattie and SCC Williams visited Nicosia January 25 through January 29. They met twice each with Mr. Clerides and Mr. Denktash. They used these meetings to explore the positions and flexibility of the two sides on key issues. Mr. Beattie urged both leaders to improve the atmosphere between the communities and suggested that each consider concrete steps which would reduce military tensions along the Green Line and Buffer Zone. They also encouraged the possibility of unilateral humanitarian gestures. In addition to the two leaders, the U.S. delegation met with other Greek and Turkish Cypriot community representatives.
Special Cyprus Coordinator James Williams traveled to New York City on February 13 where he called separately on Cypriot Permanent Representative Shambos, Turkish Permanent Representative Batu, and Turkish-Cypriot Representative Ertug. SCC Williams briefed them on Presidential Emissary Beattie's and his January trip to the region. They also discussed how UN activity in New York could complement the Secretary General's good offices mission. SCC Williams stressed to Shambos and Ertug the need for both sides to take unilateral steps to improve the humanitarian situation in Cyprus.
Assistant Secretary Holbrooke, accompanied by Director of Southern European Affairs, Marshall Adair, traveled to Ankara February 20-22. While in Ankara, Mr. Holbrooke had extensive meetings with the Turkish leadership and impressed upon them the importance the U.S. places in finding a just solution to the Cyprus problem. Prime Minister Ciller assured Mr. Holbrooke that her government is serious in its resolve to achieve an overall solution. She promised to work closely with the Turkish Cypriots to achieve a settlement to this long standing problem.
On March 6, the Ministerial Council of the European Union approved a customs union with Turkey, and agreed to begin negotiations with Cyprus on its application for membership within six months after the conclusion of the Intergovernmental Conference which begins in 1996.
UN Special Representative for Cyprus Joe Clark visited Cyprus on March 8 and 9. He met with both sides in an effort to find common ground to restart face-to-face negotiations. Mr. Clark used the opportunity of his visit to explain to the Turkish-Cypriot side the economic and social benefits which it would receive with the accession of the entire island to the European Union. He urged Turkish-Cypriot leaders to support EU accession for Cyprus and to discuss Turkish-Cypriot questions with the Greek Cypriots and the EU Observer for Cyprus.
Presidential Emissary Beattie and SCC Williams visited Turkey March 5-9. On his first official trip to Turkey, Mr. Beattie met with Prime Minister Ciller, Foreign Minister Karayalcin and other Turkish leaders. He discussed with them the need for a bizonal, bicommunal federation in Cyprus formed by the two communities. He also reiterated U.S. support for the eventual accession of a Cyprus federation, which includes both of the island's communities, to the European Union. The Turkish leaders assured Mr. Beattie of their support for a bizonal, bicommunal federation and desire to see implemented the UN-proposed package of confidence-building measures.
On March 13 UN Special Representative Clark visited Ankara where he met with Foreign Minister Karayalcin. The Foreign Minister told Mr. Clark that the Turkish Government was fully supportive of the good offices mission of the Secretary General. Ankara also assigned priority to the early implementation of the UN-proposed package of confidence-building measures as a first step towards a comprehensive solution.
On April 19, Turkish Prime Minister Ciller met with President Clinton in Washington. She stated that Turkey wants a solution of the Cyprus problem. She pledged Turkey's firm support for negotiations on an overall solution and reiterated Ankara's desire to see the CBMs immediately implemented. On April 22, Mr. Denktash was reelected as leader of the Turkish-Cypriot community. All candidates in that election called for a change in the status quo and a negotiated settlement. Mr. Denktash's campaign slogan was "1996: Year of Solution." SCC Williams and Ambassador Boucher met with him on April 30. Denktash said that the Turkish-Cypriot side is prepared to negotiate seriously on an overall solution, and again reiterated his willingness to immediately implement the CBMs.
Turkish General Staff Responses to Specific Allegations
On February 24, the U.S. Mission provided the GOT a list of specific allegations of human rights abuse by Turkish security forces. The TGS undertook to investigate each allegation and report the results to the Embassy. The results of those investigations follow:
1. Allegation: As a result of explosives dropped from helicopters on Tunceli/Ovacik/Cet settlement on 17 September 1993, 2 civilians died and 7 were wounded.
Result of investigation: A Jandarma post in Yesilyazi village was attacked on 16 September 1993 at 1600 hours by a group of terrorist reinforcements directed to the area. The clash ended with 3 security force members (including one army captain) killed, 3 wounded, and 4 armed terrorists captured. Following that, 6 a/c sorties and armed helicopters were employed during subsequent operations but under strict FAC control. No damage to, or casualties in, the civilian population were reported and there were no known incidents of that type.
2. Allegation: On 3 November 1993, in Mus/Eralan village, 4 civilians were killed in custody.
Result of Investigation: The bodies of Yakup Tetik, Mehmet Emin Bingol, Mahmut Acar and Alican Ener were found in the countryside based on information provided by the locals. Beside the corpses a note was found "accusing the murdered individuals of cooperation with the security forces." This incident has no relation with the security forces.
3. Allegation: On 8 November 1993, soldiers partly burned the village of Citlibahce in Diyarbakir/Hazro. Two villagers, who had served their military service, were able to tell from photographs that M-113 APCs were used in the operations.
Result: The alleged operation was conducted by 4 Jandarma commando teams of the Hazro command and 2 village guard teams. No M-113 was involved and there was none in the Jandarma inventory.
4. Allegation: On 27 November 1993, in Mus/Malazgirt, Nurettin village was evacuated by force and 20 houses were burned.
Result: This village was not evacuated by security forces; it was burned by the PKK.
5. Allegation: Turkish television has reported that during the air raid on the PKK's Zeli camp in northern Iraq in January 1994, CBU bombs were used.
Result: An air raid was conducted against 500-600 PKK terrorists on 28 January 1994, by 8 F-4 sorties. 32 CBU-58 bombs were used during this raid. Civilians were not targeted and were not hit.
6. Allegation: 4 villages were bombed in Sirnak on 4 March 1994, by the Turkish Air Force.
Result: No aid raids were conducted on that day in the Sirnak area.
7. Allegation: On 26 March 1994, when Kumcati village was bombed by the Turkish Air Force, 8 civilians, including 3 children, were killed. Hasan Bayir, 6 years old, escaped and received medical attention. Government officials said that this was an accident. Despite that, 3 more Kurdish settlements were bombed on the same day. Inhabitants of all these villages had refused to join the village guards; allegedly that was the reason for the bombing.
Result: Kumcati village was bombed neither on that day nor on any other.
8. Allegation: On 22 April 1994, Serif Avsar was taken into custody by 5 village guards and 2 men who were believed to be from the Jandarma intelligence organization, and disappeared. He was later found dead near Toprakli village in the Silvan area of Diyarbakir province.
Result: An investigation of the incident revealed that Serif Avsar was kidnapped by Fevzi Gokcen, Yasar Gunbati, Omer Gungor, Aziz Ergey, Zeyyat Akcil and Mesut Memeoglu on 22 April 1994, at 1130 hours as the result of an old blood feud. Later he was found murdered 19 km from the Diyarbakir/Silvan road. The accused persons have been taken into custody and the case is currently in court.
9. Allegation: On 8-9 July 1994, villagers of Yayladere, near Bingol/Genc, alleged that they were beaten by soldiers from the Bolu commando brigade before their houses were set on fire; a helicopter arrived and filmed the incident.
Result: The 2nd command brigade, stationed in Bolu, conducted very successful operations in the area in July 1994, and the PKK suffered substantial losses. Therefore, this incident has been fabricated in order to damage the image of this successful unit and to halt its operations.
10. Allegation: On 18 August 1994, a village leader named Mehmet Gurkan in Akcayurt village near Diyarbakir told the press that security forces were responsible for burned villages and that he was subjected to torture while in custody. He then disappeared and was never seen again.
Result: Because of large scale terrorist activities in the region, the inhabitants of Akcayurt left their village and migrated to the Adana and Mersin areas. Mehmet Gurkan also moved to Mersin; his address is not known. Mehmet Gurkan was never taken into custody.
11. Allegation: On 25 September 1994, in Tunceli/Gokcebag village, as a result of Turkish Air Force raids, 8 villagers were lost. The bodies of 7 of them were found later in the bed of Kutu Dere.
Result: No air operations were conducted near Gokcebag village on that day.
12. Allegation: In early October, in Tunceli, 20 villages were set on fire by the security forces. This information appeared in the daily Hurriyet. Tunceli/Ovacik mayor Musa Yerliklaya (SHP) said that 15 villages had been set on fire by security forces but denied that these forces were fired on from houses. 35 villages and smaller settlements were also evacuated by force by security forces.
Result: A large-scale operation began in the Tunceli area on 29 September 1994, with the purpose of sweeping the area clear of terrorists and establishing law and order. No villages were set on fire or evacuated by force by the security forces. The aforementioned villages were deliberately burned completely or partially by the PKK with the aim of creating anti-government feeling among the local people. These allegations are all propaganda themes.
Turkish Armed Forces Principal Guidelines for "Operation Steel" in Northern Iraq
1. No harm will be done to civilians.
2. Open, direct and good relations will be maintained with the UN agencies operating in Northern Iraq.
3. Open, direct and good relations will be maintained with the NGOs operating in Northern Iraq.
4. Humanitarian relief efforts to Northern Iraq will be carried out without disruption. In this respect, the Habur Gate will remain open.
5. Provide Comfort flights will not be hampered.
6. Turkey's existing dialogue with Barzani, Talabani and the countries of the region, including Iraq, will be carried on.
7. Our citizens who were forced by the PKK to migrate from Turkey to Northern Iraq will by no means be forced to return.
The wish of those who desire to come back to Turkey will be documented in cooperation with the UNHCR (although such is not within the jurisdiction of this agency) and their safe return will be ensured.
-- In this context, Turkish units are instructed on a daily basis to continue to safeguard the well-being and security of the civilian population in the region.
-- In order to ensure the uninterrupted transportation and the orderly conduct of humanitarian assistance, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs has established a liaison office in Zakho. This office is headed by a senior diplomat.
-- Turkish military field hospitals are providing continuous health services to the civilian population.
-- Last year, Turkey provided Northern Iraq with a humanitarian aid package of 13.5 million dollars. This year's approved Turkish aid program for the region amounts to 12 million dollars. This includes providing electric power to the Dohuk region. The power will be available soon.
-- Our operation is one of a limited scope and duration. As soon as we achieve our aim of eliminating PKK bases and facilities in the region, we will withdraw our troops.
Needless to say, we should take appropriate measures which will prevent the PKK from reestablishing itself in Northern Iraq and infiltrating Turkey from there after our withdrawal.
-- This operation is in no way a substitute for the measures we intend to take in Turkey in the field of further democratization.
Turkish General Staff Code of Conduct
The Turkish General Staff has provided us with its code of conduct for military operation in the southeast:
-- Security forces are to enter only villages where there is sufficient information to suggest that terrorists will be found;
-- Security forces will refrain from damaging private and public property;
-- Security forces may only use force when they receive hostile fire; if it comes from a building, weapons may only be directed at the source of the hostile fire;
-- Every event is to be immediately and accurately reported to higher authorities;
-- The force commander is to get a signed letter from the village leaders with a statement that no damage was done or the extent of any damage caused;
-- Aircraft are not to be used within four kilometers of a village and are always to be under the control of a qualified forward air controller.
The security forces' broader objectives, and strategy and tactics for achieving their objectives, are:
-- To render the PKK ineffective;
-- While staying within the limits of the rule of law, to respect human rights and not to cause any harm to local people;
-- To protect the people; and
-- To regain the support of individuals who have supported the PKK.
To this end, they aim to:
-- Prevent illegal border crossings;
-- Conduct operations against terrorist bases within the country;
-- Keep the roads and railroads open to ensure freedom of travel;
-- Meet the social requirements of the local people, such as education and health services;
-- Create the necessary conditions so that people can lead a normal daily life;
-- Protect innocent people who are not supportive of the PKK and regain through peaceful means citizens who passively support the PKK;
-- Detect and destroy terrorist groups; and
-- Establish the rule of law.
I. Representative First-Hand Stories
In March 1995, a number of displaced villagers told their stories to U.S. officials. The majority of interviewees claimed that security forces had asked the villagers to join the village guard program and then forced them to leave their homes when they refused to do so. Personal backgrounds of the interviewees are unknown.
The villagers interviewed appeared to be simple, honest people who wanted to be left alone. When the villagers declined to defend themselves, however, the security forces probably viewed them as unpatriotic/PKK sympathizers.
The following are representative but unconfirmed stories:
Interview 1: A village in Mardin Province: In Summer 1994, the local Jandarma company commander asked that one member from each of the village's 200 families join the village guard program. The villagers did not want to join because village guards were being killed (by the PKK). After the villagers refused to join, they were given three days to move. As the villagers left, the soldiers sprayed a flammable liquid on the houses and set them on fire. All houses burned. The villagers left their just-harvested crops in the field. As they moved out, some villagers were beaten with sticks to get them to move faster. The villagers dispersed to Adana, Izmir and Istanbul.
Interview 2: A village in Diyarbakir province: In Summer 1994, Jandarma soldiers in armored personnel carriers and Jandarma special teams came to the village and asked if the village was willing to provide village guards. There were 50 families in the village. After the village declined the offer, the villagers were ordered to evacuate. When they tried to harvest their crops, soldiers fired over their heads and everyone hit the ground to avoid being shot. Thereafter, they moved out. As they were leaving, village guards from other villages came in and tore down the doors and window frames; everything that could be burned as fuel. The villagers had no idea who, if anyone, harvested their crops and vineyards. The surrounding woods were cut down for fuel. The villagers were not mistreated as they evacuated. At the last moment, the village leadership asked if the villagers could return to the village; they were told they could not.
Interview 3: A village in Siirt province: The interviewee said that the villagers had refused to become village guards and that, from 1987 until 1993 they were continually oppressed by the security forces. The local Jandarma battalion commander told them that in the end he would win if they did not join the village guard program. The interviewee claimed he was an orchard owner and did not want to leave. The security forces started to harass the village women and girls, but the villagers remained. Then, in Fall 1993 the security forces started firing mortars into the village. The villagers told the commander that they could not leave for financial reasons. The commander threatened to set fire to the trees and threatened the interviewee personally. Finally, the interviewee said, the villagers were told they had four days to accept the proposal to become village guards or the Jandarma would destroy the village. They realized they would have to leave because they thought they had no right to cause the children to suffer. While the villagers were still in the village, soldiers came and took the window frames and doors from the houses to burn for fuel. The Jandarma commander later made good on his threat to burn down the trees. "They burned them down this past summer. All my property and my village is gone."
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