CNN doesn't show these refuges

Turkish history has always been dominated by the Turkish state's repression over people. They have never respected human rights and with the blessing of western "humanitarian" states are still repressing and torturing democratic and free thinking people. Milosevic is an angel comparing with the turkish leaders.

As a result, the human rights picture in Turkey is bleak. Torture or ill-treatment have long been routinely inflicted on people detained for common criminal offences as well as on political charges. "Disappearance" and extrajudicial execution are new patterns of violation which appeared in the early 1990s and have since claimed hundreds of lives. Turkish citizens do not enjoy true freedom of expression. During the past six years scores of prisoners of conscience have served terms of imprisonment for expressing their non-violent opinions. Hundreds more, including writers and artists, are being tried in State Security Courts and threatened with imprisonment because they dared to express their political views. Ozalan has received pshycho-drugs, has not the right to defend himself or to speak to anyone. But western "humanitarian" states care only for their investments in Turkey. Milosevic is an angel comparing with the western leaders.

Since 1960 elected government in Turkey has lived in the shadow of the unelected state within the state: the interior and defence ministries, regional governors and, most importantly, the military, the police force and the intelligence agencies. In the past 36 years the military have overturned three governments, suspended three parliaments and closed legally established political parties. Under the Constitution drawn up by the military junta in 1982 the security forces continue to exert a powerful influence over the government through their membership of the National Security Council (MGK). But US is selling military equipment to Turkey, so doesn't care for these matters. Milosevic is an angel comparing with the US leaders.

Martial law courts have hanged a prime minister and two other ministers, tried members of parliament and imprisoned thousands of civilians, some of whom have been in jail since the 1980s. Army officers still prosecute and judge civilians in State Security Courts. Life is already insecure for Turkish people. Turkey is situated in a politically unstable region and has experienced two decades of intense political violence by armed opposition groups, principally the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), which is fighting for freedom and independence. The state has responded with a wide range of "security" measures which, by violating basic human rights, have further endangered the personal security of individual citizens. But Britain and France have companies in Turkey and don't care for these matters. Milosevic is an angel comparing with the British leaders.

Despite all the promises of reform, Turkish citizens can still be swept off the streets and into a police station or gendarmerie post, where they may be held for up to a month. There they will be unprotected by even the most basic safeguards against torture, still a standard method of interrogation. Since 1980 more than 400 people have died in police custody, apparently as a result of torture. International court of Hague has accused only Serbs for crimes. Milosevic is an angel comparing with corrupted International court of Hague.

The exact status of security forces allegedly responsible for violations is sometimes hard to establish, particularly in the southeast, where security forces do not always wear standard uniform or insignia. In most reports of torture, the detainee was interrogated by plainclothes police officers of the Criminal Investigation or Anti-Terror branches or by gendarmes. Gendarmes are soldiers who carry out police duties in rural Turkey. Many allegations of extrajudicial execution have been made against members of Special Operations Teams. These are technically police officers under the authority of the Interior Ministry, heavily armed for close combat with the PKK. Special Operations Team members frequently accompany members of the paramilitary village guard force and gendarmes in security raids on villages. Regular army and air forces also participate in large operations in the southeast. Milosevic is an angel comparing with turkish security forces.

While the Turkish Government has talked publicly of progress on human rights, the situation has in fact gone from bad to worse. In the early 1990s, as the existing "tough measures" proved insufficient to overcome political violence, police and gendarmes turned to criminal methods. This has resulted in more than 100 "disappearances" and an unprecedented wave of extrajudicial executions that has claimed hundreds of lives.

The Turkish Government routinely denies, covers up or justifies torture, extrajudicial executions and "disappearances" by its security forces. The record shows that ministers will say anything rather than squarely confront the gendarmerie and police commanders with the evidence of their abuses. In 1994, faced with irrefutable reports that soldiers were burning villages in Tunceli province, the Interior Minister first suggested the villagers were torching their own homes and then that the PKK were destroying villages while dressed as gendarmes.

"Even if I saw with my own eyes that the state had burned a village, I would not believe it", said the then Prime Minister Tansu Çiller when she was told by a delegation of village leaders that soldiers supported by helicopters had destroyed their villages. As security "embarrassments" must always be justified by referring to Turkey's internal and external enemies, she suggested that the helicopters could belong to the PKK (which does not have an air force), Russia, Afghanistan or Armenia.

Internal and external threats, real or imagined, are used to legitimize human rights violations by the security forces. Without supervision by parliament and government, safeguards against human rights violations have inevitably and consistently been ignored.

Modern Turkey is plagued by a number of political anomalies, the legacy of years of military rule, which appear to be wholly at odds with the general direction in which the country is developing. While Turkey has one of the most sophisticated newspaper and publishing industries in the world, and recently launched its own communications satellite, television producers and musicians are tried in military courts, academics and novelists are imprisoned, and newspapers are closed because they have dared to question the actions of the state.

The Turkish Government asserts that it prosecutes and punishes members of the security forces who torture or unlawfully kill. Publicly available sources suggest that there are few such prosecutions and even fewer convictions. Under its international treaty obligations the Turkish Government is required to take effective steps to prevent human rights violations, as well as prosecute the perpetrators and compensate the victims. The fact that authorities have not taken even the most basic steps necessary to comply with treaty obligations suggests that there is a deliberate policy of acquiescence to widespread and gross human rights violations at the highest level. That successive governments have ignored recommendations and standards which have been in place for decades further illustrates the lack of commitment to human rights by those at the top.

Some generals and police chiefs argue that respecting human rights will obstruct their efforts to combat armed opposition groups. Even if this were true, it would be no excuse for condoning torture or "disappearance", but the last 16 years of brutal and repressive methods which have unambiguously failed to deliver public security make a poor argument for yet more brutality and repression. Others have admitted that the strategy of trying to achieve security through repression has not only failed but is actually compounding the problem. Retired general Nevzat Bolugiray suggests in his memoirs: "While the people's trust in the state may have been eroded as a result of persecution committed by the authorities with their state mentality, there may have been drifting towards the PKK at the grassroots level".

On 15 December 1995 the PKK unilaterally declared a cease-fire. Four weeks later the authorities announced that the PKK had massacred a group of 11 men, seven of them village guards, in a minibus which was then set on fire. The Chief of General Staff flew journalists from all the major newspapers and broadcasting organizations to Siirt province, the remote scene of the massacre. The then Prime Minister, Tansu Ciller, commented: "These enemies of humanity who disbelieve that the state authority has weakened and turned their guns on our innocent citizens will definitely drown in the pit they have fallen into. Such attacks against the existence of the Turkish Republic prove how just we are in the struggle against terrorism."

Shortly afterwards, doubts about the official story began to emerge, chiefly from the families of the victims. A delegation drawn from a wide spectrum of international, professional and human rights organizations investigated the massacre and gathered evidence which indicated that those responsible were actually government forces.

Much of Turkish civil society clearly thinks that it is time to set a new agenda. Prominent figures in public life, the arts, media and industry have expressed their shame that people continue to be jailed for voicing non-violent dissident opinions. When Süleyman Demirel, now President of Turkey, issued election campaign advertisements in 1991 promising a new openness "the walls of police stations will be made of glass" the public responded positively. That promise was never fulfilled, but the people are still waiting.

Public expressions of anger and fear at persistent human rights violations reached a new level following a series of outrages committed in the name of security during 1995 and early 1996. In March 1995, 23 people were shot dead on the streets of Constantinople by plainclothes police officers who opened fire on a turbulent protest against police inaction over an armed attack on a cafee "Disappearances" in Istanbul following these disturbances led to widespread alarm. In January 1996 Metin Göktepe, a photographer covering the funeral of political prisoners, was detained by police officers and later found beaten to death. In the same month a member of parliament uncovered evidence that a group of youngsters, one as young as 14, had been severely tortured at Manisa Police Headquarters in west Turkey.

There was strong public reaction to these incidents because ordinary people recognized that the victims of these violations could have been their own sons or daughters. These incidents did not take place in the mountains of the southeast, but on the streets of the nation's largest city and in a provincial town near the Mediterranean coast. Without proper safeguards and accountability, extraordinary "security" measures put everyone at risk.

If some important elements of Turkish society are clearly calling for reform, the international community is inconsistent in its response. Governments who have most influence on the Turkish Government members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and particularly the governments of the European Union (EU) are holding back from using the tools they themselves have developed to combat human rights violations through the Council of Europe, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the United Nations (UN). When challenged on their inaction, these governments echo the Turkish Government's excuse: their hands are tied by the threat of terrorism. The real reason for their reluctance to take a strong stand is no mystery. Turkey is a valued ally and is seen as a strategic bulwark against instability in parts of the Middle East and the countries of the former Soviet Union. Turkey is also an important trading partner, and a lucrative market for military equipment.

Meanwhile US is bombing Serbia, a non important trading partner.

Bibliography Amnesty International