Incidents in Turkey: January - June 2003

January 2003
On 1 January 2003 the radical right-wing students in Kastamonu Faculty of Education of Gazi University attacked the leftist students injuring Fadil Oktay, Cengiz Boztogan, Yasar Kiyda and Özkan Rona.

On 16 January 2003 security forces allegedly tortured the political prisoners Necmetin Ektirici and Halil Dag, who were on the way from Ordu Prison to Mardin Prison. Sister of Necmettin Ektirici, Zarife Söylemez, stated that his brother and Dag were tortured during transfer. Both prisoners were kept in Elazig Prison for one day. In the prison the officials and rightist prisoners insulted Ektirici and Dag. Although Ekindirici should have been transferred to Midyat Prison and Dag to Derik Prison they are both in Mardin Prison. According to the statement of Söylemez, Ekindirici and Dag were also tortured in the prison.

On 12 January 2003, after a fight that broke out between the leftist and right wing students at the Van 100th Year University Merisah Student Dormitory 47 leftist students were detained. Gendarmerie intervened and detained 7 students on 13 January when students wanted to protest their friends' detention. Detained students were released afterwards.

On 21 January 2003 Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 2 continued to hear the case in connection with the killing of Kemal Türkler on 22 July 1980. At the time Kemal Türkler was the chairman of the trade union confederation (DISK). The only defendant in this trial is Ünal Osmanagaoglu. During the hearing the Court board stated that the files relating to the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) Main Trial had been received from Ankara Heavy Penal Court No. 5, was inspected and sent back to Ankara on 10 January as no new evidences could have been found. Lawyer Rasim Öz acting as the sub-plaintiff reminded the court that the file in question had consisted of many files the volume of which adds up to some 56 sacks, plus the appendices and continued: "We have been demanding the file relation to MHP Main Trial for six years. Finally it had come. Then, it was sent back within 3 days. Ankara Heavy Penal Court has been inspecting the file for 8 years and has not finished with it yet. How come you managed to complete the same process within 3 days? We want the file be re-inspected." Öz also asked for the testimonies of Haluk Kirci, Avni Musulluoglu and Mithat Simsek, concerning how the arms disclosed by the Susurluk Scandal had been supplied, to be brought to the court. The defense once again asked for DYP deputy Celal Adan to be heard as witness. He had been imprisoned and tried as the person, who ordered the killing, but was acquitted after 4 years. The court rejected the demand and adjourned the hearing to a later date. On 18 March, Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No.2 continued to hear the case.

The case against Rifat Yildirim, who had murdered Prof. Bedrettin Cömert of Ankara Hacettepe University in 1978, continued at Ankara Heavy Penal Court on 23 January 2003. Yildirim is the first political criminal to be transferred to Turkey following the abolishment of death penalty. The lawyers of Yildirim Neslihan Duran, Hüseyin Ayan and Yildirim Ak alleged that on the day of killing of Cömert Yildirim in Samsun in the house of his relative Necmi Alp.and wanted Necmi Alp to be heard. The Court rejected demand for release of Rifat Yildirim and adjourned the hearing for the testimony of witnesses.

February 2003
In a press conference in Antep branch of Human Rights Association (HRA) Gökhan Imrek, journalist with the daily "Evrensel", announced that he was beaten by a group of rightist students including their leader Yunus Uzunlar in the campus of Antep University on 26 February 2003.

On 28 February 2003, a group of rightist students raided the Atatürk Dormitory in Zeytinburnu (Istanbul) and attacked the students. During the incident the students Abdüllatif Gümüsgöz and Sedat Yildiz were heavily beaten, 8 students were injured. The police detained 32 students after the incident. According to the press release of security forces the fight started between two groups when they were playing billiards.

March 2003
On 12 March 2003 a clash broke out between the students of Istanbul Marmara University. The incident reportedly developed as follows: Some students, who are members of the Turkish Communist Party (TKP), wanted to hang a placard on the building of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences to protest any possible U.S.' attack on Iraq. The nationalist right-wing students objected this and attacked the TKP members. In the clash the students named Volkan Bahtiyar Karabeyin, Gültekin Küpeli, Orhan Aslihan, Mehmet Akkus, Deniz Aktas, Ali Tecer and Adnan Kemal Basaran were injured. Following the clash, the police detained some 40 students, most of them being members of TKP.

A group of rightist persons attacked DEHAP offices in Altinova (Ayvalik-Balikesir) on 15 March 2003. The persons, who were detained after the incident, were released the same night. According to the press release of Abdurrahman Akin, DEHAP chairperson for Altinova, a row occurred between rightist students and Kurdish students in Altinova Lyceum on 14 March. After the row some 10 students were detained and released the same day. On the night of 15 March the gendarmerie detained 10 more persons. After their release some 150 persons marched to the offices of DEHAP and caused physical damage.

April 2003
On 2 April 2003, the case against Sedat Edip Bucak, former MP for Urfa, commenced at the Istanbul Criminal Court No.2. Bucak is charged with "hiding Abdullah Çatli, against whom a decision of arrest in absentia had been issued", "forming a gang in order to commit a crime" and "keeping dangerous weapons". Bucak's lawyer Sevket Küçük stated that Bucak was not able to appear due to health reasons. The hearing was adjourned to a later date.
Former Nationalist Action Party (MHP) MP for Trabzon, Orhan Biçakçioglu, who commented on murders committed by radical rightist activists Haluk Kirci and Isa Armagan as "I am an advocator of their deeds" was indicted by the Public Prosecutor in Ankara. The indictment wants him be sentenced under Article 312/1 (praising a crime). The trial will commence at Ankara Penal Court of First Instance No.16.

On 14 April 2003 Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 2 passed its verdict on the case in connection with the killing of Kemal Türkler on 22 July 1980. At the time Kemal Türkler was the chairman of the trade union confederation (DISK). The Court acquitted Ünal Osmanagaoglu for "lack of evidence".
Lawyer Rasim Öz acting as the sub-plaintiff stated that the witnesses who were accusing the defendants were not heard during preparatory investigation and the evidences that they had presented were ignored.
Kemal Türkler's wife Sabahat Türkler said "Everyone living in our building had seen the incident. However they did not appear before the court because they were scared. My little daughter had also seen everything, but this was not taken into consideration."
Osmanagaoglu will stay in prison because of his life imprisonment sentence in connection with the killing of seven students in Bahçelievler.
In the verdict, which had been prepared by the public prosecutor in Bakirköy, Osmanagaoglu had been wanted to be sentenced according to the Article 149/2 (provoking people to kill someone).
In their first testifiy Yilmaz Durak had accused Alparslan Türkes, president of MHP, for inciting them and Abdülselam Karakus confessed that Ismet Kocak, Ünal Osmanagaoglu, Aydin Eryilmaz and himself had assassinated Türker.
In the case heart at Ankara Martial Court the four defendants including Alparslan Türkes charged with inciting had been acquitted. Abdülselam Karakus had been sentenced to 12 years and 6 months, Aydin Eryilmaz to 10 years' heavy imprisonment. Since Osmanagaoglu hadn't been captured his file had been separated and sent to Istanbul Heavy Penal Court.
No case had been launched at Heavy Penal Court for years. But family of Türker and their lawyer Rasim Öz forced authorities to launch the case in 1996 at Bakirköy Heavy penal Court.
Ünal Osmanagaoglu had been also identified by Nilgün Soydan, the doughter of Türkler. Osmanoglu had been captured in Kusadasi, Aydin, on 19 April 2003. It had been revealed that Ünal Osmanagaoglu had been running the Davutlar National Park for the last 7 years with a fake ID in the name of his brother. Ünal Osmanagaoglu had been wanted with red bulletin by the Interpol since 19 years.

On 16 April 2003 Ankara Heavy Penal Court No.4 concluded the case against Rifat Yildirim, who had murdered Ass. Prof. Bedrettin Cömert, in Ankara in 1978. The Court acquitted Yildirim for a "lack of evidence". Yildirim had been extradited on December 2002 and put on trial on charges of killing Bedrettin Cömert, an launching an armed attack against the students in front of the Abidinpasa Lyceum on 25 May 1978 and a coffeehouse.

Ankara SSC continued the retrial of 8 persons in the so-called "Umut" (Hope) case on 16 April 2003. The defendants are charged with 22 actions, including the killing of journalist Ugur Mumcu, Dr. Bahriye Üçok, Prof. Muammer Aksoy and Prof. Ahmet Taner Kislali. At the hearing Gülay Calap, who had received the package bomb that was sent to Bahriye Üçok, testified. Calap, who was working at a cargo firm as a secretary in 1990 and charged with receiving deliveries, stated that upon the killing of Bahriye Üçok she had been heard as a witness and told everything to the officers. She added that a long time passed since the incident and she could not remember the details.

On 21 April 2003, Istanbul Heavy Penal Court No. 1 continued to hear the case of Ömer Karakus and Ziya Yücetepe, who on 31 August 2002 killed Sinan Kayis, member of the Freedom and Solidarity Party (ÖDP) and injured Yalçin Köse (owner of the coffee shop where the incident took place). At the hearing the autopsy report concerning Kayis's death was heard. The report stated that Kayis had died because of internal bleeding after a bullet hit him.

An investigation was started against the students, who had been attacked by rightists on 28 February 2003 at Atatürk Students Dormitory, on allegations of damaging the properties of the dormitory. Mesut Imrag, who had been wounded during the attack said that his friends Onur Kaya, M. Ali Koran, Arif Cebe and Hüseyin Korkmaz were also wounded and they were all charged with damaging the doors and the windows of the dormitory.

Medical Doctor Necdet Güçlü, who had been also a soldier, was put out of the list of the victims of terrorism by the social security service for civil servants. He had been killed by the rightists on 13 April 1970. The social service cut the pension given to his wife Hatice Güçlü and also demanded already paid TL 10 billion 521 million to be paid back. Since the court did not count the defendants as terrorists the social service took the decision on 19 February. Turkish Military Forces will continue to pay the pension because Güçlü had been a soldier on the day he had been killed. The debt will be cut from that pension starting form July 2003.
On 13 April 1970, 10 rightists, including former Minister of Health Osman Durmus, had attacked Medical School at the University of Hacettepe. Selim Ölçer had been kidnapped and Güçlü had been killed by Ibrahim Dogan, chair of the Idealist Students Union then, and Ali Güngör, elected as MHP MP in 1999, during the attack.

May 2003
The people who joined the picnic organized by DEHAP on 12 May 2003 in Torbali (Izmir), were attack by rightists. The fight started after Cemile Çiçek was attacked by the members of Association for People from Erzurum. Three DEHAP members were injured during the fight and two persons were detained.

On 20 May 2003, a group of extreme rightists attacked 6 students of Çanakkale 18 March University. The perpetrators ran away after the attack. The same persons raided the student Ozan Findik's house at night. They left the house after beating Ozan's mother Nurten Findik and his sister Ezgi. Seven persons were reportedly detained in connection with the attacks. Ozan Findik made a statement asserting that there were students among the attackers whom he could identify.21 rightists were detained some time later.

Soner Aytar, student at the University of Osmangazi in Eskisehir, was attacked by some 15 rightists in Köprübasi district on 22 May. Aytar made an official complaint to the public prosecutor in Eskisehir on 26 May.

On 22 May 2003, Istanbul Heavy Penal Court continued to hear the case against Sedat Edip Bucak, former MP for Urfa, on charges of "hiding Abdullah Çatli, against whom a decision of arrest in absentia had been issued", "forming a gang in order to commit a crime" and "keeping dangerous weapons".
Bucak testified for the first time in connection with the so-called Susurluk Case. Bucak testified to the effect that he met Leyla Zana and Sedat Yurttas after being elected as MP during the elections of 1991 and they asked him not to act in accordance with the government. He added that he informed the Secretary of National Security Council (MGK) and started to act on orders of MGK. He continued:
"Those days I met also Prime Minister, ministers, military and civil officials and they wanted me to help the government. I had met Hüyesin Kocadag before 1980, when he had been the Director of Urfa Security Forces. I knew Abdullah Çatli with the misnomer Mehmet Özbay. There were always officials with him. I have photos of Çatli, Eken, other officials and myself. But I wouldn't like to disclose them for reasons state security." Bucak also alleged that he had no idea about the guns and silencers found after the car accident in Susurluk.

June 2003
Yusuf Dündar, DEHAP executive in Hazro district (Diyarbakir) was attacked by rightists on 15 June 2003. Dündar stated that among the perpetrators who stabbed him at his ribs and back was Mehmet Mehmetoglu, executive for the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) in the district. Dündar further stated that before being taken to hospital, he had been kept at police HQs for an hour although he had been injured. Dündar reported that Mehmetoglu had attacked several DEHAP members and himself before. Chair for DEHAP in Hazro district Hamit Ergin also made a statement alleging that for two years they had been receiving letters signed by "Turkish Revenge Brigade (TIT)", and that the perpetrators had been young men of the Mehmetoglu family.

DEHAP offices in Hazro district of Diyarbakir were attacked twice on 19 June 2003. During the first attack early in the morning DEHAP executive for the district Tahsin Kaçan was wounded by the attackers with sticks and stones. Chair for the district Hamit Engin narrated the incident as follows: "We were sitting in the offices and Secretary for the district Haci Içer and accountant Tahsin Kaçar were on the way to our offices. Mehmet Kopara, who was a supporter of MHP, and his son came and threatened us. They asked 'why the door of this party is still open'. When we replied they started to beat us with sticks. Then a group of some 50 persons also came within a few seconds. They wanted to kill us. Mesut Mehmetoglu, who had been a confessor, was also among them. The police came and intervened the attack. Tahsin Kaçar was wounded and the doors, windows were broken during the attack. Some of the attackers were detained by the police."
During the second attack in the evening of the same day DEHAP executive for the district Selahattin Dilsiz was wounded with a knife. Mesut Mehmetoglu allegedly participated the second attack.
DEHAP chair for Hazro (Diyarbakir) Hamit Ergin, secretary for the district Haci Içer and the suspects of the attack Mehmet Koparan, Emin Dönen, Lütfü Mehmetoglu and Mehmet Mehmetoglu, who were detained after the attack on DEHAP offices in Hazro on 19 June, were released 20 June. Ergin announced that the attackers apologized and DEHAP executives and members of Mehmetoglu family negotiated to lower the tension.

On 26 June 2003, Istanbul Heavy Penal Court concluded the case. In his summing-up the case public prosecutor stressed that Bucak tribe had been working for the state for years. He also added that it had been 14 years after the coup d'etat of 12 September, when Bucak had met Çatli during a lunch in 1994 and he couldn't recognize him. Prosecutor stressed that the offence of forming of a gang was not materialized and the attacks, whish had been allegedly organized by the defendants of the case, were not determined and asked for acquittal.
The court acquitted Bucak from the offence of forming a gang and suspended the sentences for "hiding Abdullah Çatli" and "keeping dangerous weapons".
After the decision retired judge Sedat Karagül, who had been a judge of the Susurluk case before his retirement, held a press conference and answered the questions of the journalists.
Karagül announced that during the trial they had problems in receiving necessary documents from Intelligence Service MIT and Prime Ministry Inspection Office. He added that those documents, which had to be given by the Prime Ministry, were given to the court by the journalists. He continued:
"This is a disputable decision. The defendants under the same conditions were sentenced. Even there weren't sufficient evidences against Korkut Eken. The approval of 8th Chamber of the Court of Cassation was also inadequate. Since the prosecutor asked the acquittal of Sedat Bucak, the decision could not be appealed. But an upper prosecutor may object the decision. Now there are two different decisions for the same offence. Bucak and Eken were charged with the same offence, but Bucak was acquitted."
Ali Fevzi Bir, who had been sentenced to 4 years and 6 month's imprisonment in connection with the so-called "Susurluk Case", was released on 13 June. He had been put in prison on 25 May 2002 to serve his imprisonment. An arrest warrant had been issued against him in another case.

(This information is from the monthly reports of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT))

Incidents in Turkey - Incidents in Turkey - February 2004
Incidents in Turkey - Incidents in Turkey - January 2004
Incidents in Turkey - Incidents in Turkey - December 2003
Incidents in Turkey - Incidents in Turkey - November 2003
Incidents in Turkey - Incidents in Turkey - September / October 2003
Incidents in Turkey - Incidents in Turkey - July / August 2003
Incidents in Turkey - November 2000/December 2002