A non-government information center on Turkey

Un centre d'information non-gouvernemental sur la Turquie

38th Year / 38e Année
2012 August
N° 408
53 rue de Pavie - 1000 Bruxelles
Tél: (32-2) 215 35 76 - Fax: (32-2) 215 58 60
Chief Editor /Rédacteur en chef: 
Dogan Ozgüden

Responsible editor/Editrice responsable:

Inci Tugsavul
Human Rights
Pressures on  media
Kurdish Question
Interior politics
Armed Forces
Religious affairs
Regional Relations
Cyprus and Greece

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Titres des évènements du mois
Titles of this month's events


IMC TV'de Doğan Özgüden'le Röportaj

Hüseyin Kalkan

tarafından 28 Temmuz 2012'de Belçika'da gerçekleştirilmiş,
19 Ağustos 2012'de Haberin İçinden programında yayınlanmıştır.

44 dakikalık röportajın video kaydı için yukarıdaki imajı ya da bu satırı tıklayınız.

Droits de l'Homme / Human Rights

Peace Council of Turkey to Roboski on World Peace Day

 “Syrian Rebels Working in Collaboration with Turkey”
Le QG terroriste d'Erdogan
3,777 children convicted in the last seven years
Bomb Blast Kills Nine, PKK Refuses Responsibility
Au secours la police! un numéro contre la violence policière
Interior Minister’s ‘healthy pepper gas’ remarks stir outcry
A police chief, convicted of torture, yet promoted
Number of students in jail hits 2,824 in Turkey
Disabled Student Accused of Battery Serving Jail Time

Pression sur les médias / Pressure on the Media

The Biggest Lawsuit of the press in Turkey!
Premières images d'un journaliste turc capturé par les soldats syriens
RSF: Des journalistes ciblés par une violente campagne de diffamation
Médias pro-pouvoir en Turquie nuisibles pour l'humanité
Hacker group says to have ‘friends’ in anti-hacker team
EU urges Turkey to protect freedom of speech
83 journalists still in Turkish prisons at Ramadan Feast
US Ambassador chides Turkey on media
RSF réagit contre les attaques et exactions commises par l'opposition syrienne
Turkish PM slams columnists, media bosses
Demessine (PCF) dénonce les atteintes à la liberté de la presse en Turquie
Court Adjourns Selek Trial, Rejects Plea in Kurdish

Kurdish Question / Question kurde

40 millions de Kurdes dans ce Moyen-Orient en pleine recomposition

Les Kurdes syriens tentent de prendre en main leur destin
Severe clashes in Şemdinli city center
BDP launches new rally for PKK leader
Kurdish History Magazine Hits the Bookshelves
BDP deputies’ meeting with armed PKK militants under probe
Rencontre des députés d'opposition avec la guérilla kurde à Semdinli
Les Kurdes, les oubliés du Moyen-Orient
Displaced Villagers Unwilling to Return for Fear of More Clashes
Kalkan: Revolutionary Operation in Şemdinli is the beginning
Attaque contre un véhicule militaire dans l'ouest: un soldat tué
22 morts dans une attaque de la guérilla contre un poste de l'armée
La bataille de Semdinli et de Hakkari
Liberals concerned over ban on Kurdish names
The battle of Semdinli 
Court Relieves Kurdish Mayor of His Duties
KNK: "The vicinity of Semdinli under the control of Kurdish Guerillas"

Minorités / Minorities

New Book Published on Embattled Assyrian Monastery in Turkey
Urfa Jews’ cemetery demand disapproved
Aramean request for education in mother tongue rejected
Minister: "Halki’s reopening not on the agenda"
“Scientific” Racism in Divinity School Magazine
Gül will not let the report on Dink's murder be shelved
Newest lynch wave against Kurds and Alevis
Bibliography covering literary publications on the Armenian Genocide

Politique intérieure/Interior Politics

The Economist: Erdogan’s counterproductive ambition

What Is Going on at the Apaydın Syrian Rebel Camp?
 Tensions fuel debate over Syrian refugees
Interior minister attacked with stones in Turkey's southeast
Freed MP’s remarks on peace show rift in CHP
CHP slams AKP, MHP over convention failure
PKK released CHP deputy Aygün after two-day captivity
Des rebelles kurdes enlèvent un député kurde
CHP asks for transparency on operation

Forces armées/Armed Forces

Supreme Military Council forces all jailed generals to retire

Top ex-soldier admits coup plot bid on AKP

Affaires religieuses / Religious Affairs
Alevi house of worship set on fire

Alevi Homes Marked in Istanbul
Kılıçdaroğlu calls on conservative voters to support CHP
Quran lesson enters in school curriculum
Survey on Turkish Muslims' Beliefs and Practices
The Gülen Empire's ramification in Belgium under FEDACTIO
Altruistic Society or Sect? The Shadowy World of the Islamic Gülen Movement
Un avocat turc d'Al-Qaïda tué dans les combats à Alep
IHD: Houses of Alevi families were attacked by a mob of nationalists

Socio-économique / Socio-economic

Rentrée scolaire religieuse et boycottée

 Schools not prepared for new education system, experts warn
DHL must respect the right to join and form union in Turkey

Relations turco-européennes / Turkey-Europe Relations

Ankara demande des zones tampons, Londres et Paris restent prudents

"Le régime syrien doit être abattu", dit Fabius en Turquie
EU silent on chapter readiness in negociations with Turkey
Turkey will ‘pay’ EU price
Fabius en Jordanie, Liban et Turquie du 15 au 17 août

Turquie-USA/ Turkey-USA

Américains et Turcs réunis à Ankara pour préparer l'après-Assad
Nouvelle complicité turco-américaine contre les Kurdes
US report criticizes Turkey

Relations régionales / Regional Relations

Antioche la cosmopolite s'alarme du flot de réfugiés syriens
Le rêve évanoui d'un nouvel ordre régional - Guillaume Perrier
La Turquie conseille à ses ressortissants de ne pas se rendre au Liban
Iraq denies visa request for MHP leader's Kirkuk visit
L'Iran suspend les exemptions de visa pour la Turquie et d'autres pays
Turkey, Iran friction deepening on Syria
Turkish delegation in Myanmar for aid
Les réfugiés syriens font le beaux jours des hôtels turcs
Erdogan accuses "enemy countries" of supporting the PKK
Iraq summons Turkey envoy to protest over Davutoglu's visit
L'armée turque en manoeuvres près de la frontière syrienne
Joint Declaration After Barzani-Davutoglu Meeting

Chypre et la Grèce / Cyprus and Greece

Cypriot Minister: "EU asked to use both carrot, stick on Turkey"

Immigration / Migration

Encore un élu turco-"belge" qui se croit en Turquie...

 Allemagne: 45% des immigrés turcs veulent rentrer en Turquie
French gov’t backs student as prosecutor seeks 32 years in jail
Sevil Sevimli risque 32 ans de prison
L'étudiante franco-kurde Sevil Sevimli libérée, mais…
Inquiétude pour la santé d'une étudiante franco-kurde emprisonnée

Droits de l'Homme / Human Rights

Peace Council of Turkey to Roboski on World Peace Day

The Peace Council of Turkey will be in the village of Roboski on September 1, International Day of Peace, to demand the disclosure of those responsible for the massacre in late December of 2011, to voice demands for a democratic solution to the Kurdish problem and for the continuity of negotiation process between the authorities of the Turkish state and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

No military and political authorities have been taken to court so far for the Roboski massacre in which 34 Kurdish civilians were killed with Turkish warplanes on 28 December 2011. Members of the Peace Council of Turkey will be standing by the families of victims on World Peace Day to support Roboski families’ call for justice and peace. Council members will also visit the graveyard of victims.

Giving information about the visit to Roboski, Council activist M. Şirin Tunç said that the delegation would make a press statement to give a message from Roboski on the International Day of Peace. “We mainly demand a democratic and peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem, disclosure of those responsible for the massacre and re-initiation of a dialogue process in a fair way” , said Tunç about the Roboski visit tomorrow.
(ANF, 31 August 2012)

“Syrian Rebels Working in Collaboration with Turkey”

Haitham Qdemathi, a U.S. citizen of Syrian descent who introduced himself as one of the political leaders of the Free Syrian Army (FSA,) told bianet they were grateful for the contributions of both the Turkish government and foreign fighters, such as Al-Qaeda militants, for their contributions to the rebel movement.

We met with Qdemathi at a location right next to the Cilvegözü Border Gate in the southern province of Hatay toward the evening. He explained that he had been residing in the U.S. for 30 years but had returned back to the region following the establishment of the FSA.

Qdemathi said his Arabic was not very fluent and thus proceeded to speak to us in English.

"A win-win situation for everyone"

The region where we spoke to Qdemathi contains a tent-camp surrounded by barbed wires and which provides logistical support for FSA fighters. In the middle of the camp sits a flagpole with a gigantic FSA banner on top bearing green, white and black colors, while a Turkish flag is also attached right underneath.

Qdemathi said he mostly lived on the Turkish side of the border, as also attested by the fact that his vehicle bore a Hatay license plate. He told us he had just left some food and medicine in the tent-camp and was back on his way to Hatay.

Following an exchange in which he questioned our identities and the reasons why we had come there, Qdemathi spoke on their role in border controls and their relationship to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK):

"We are trying to put an end to border smuggling. We are working in conjunction with the Turkish government on this; we are helping them," Qdemathi said, adding that the inhabitants of the camp were leaving off at day time to join the fight in Syria and returning back at night, while the wounded were also receiving medical treatment inside the camp.

PKK militants sometimes infiltrate into Turkey through this region, he said. Qdemathi claimed they denied PKK militants entry into Turkey by closing down the border in such times.

"We warned them not to come to this region, but if they do come, then we are also armed. We would respond to them. We would not let them through here," Qdemathi said. Nevertheless, he also added they had never been involved in an armed engagement with the PKK until this day.

They were providing security for the border entry while bringing critically wounded fighters into Turkey for treatment, he said.

Authorities have already allocated the Mustafa Kemal University Training and Research Hospital to FSA fighters. Syrian doctors are also employed in the medical institution.

"We are working in collaboration with the Turkish government. We keep watch on the Syrian side of the border. This is a win-win situation for everyone," he said.

They were also conducting identity and passport checks for those crossing the border, he added.

Thanking Al-Qaeda militants

"We want freedom. Our goal is to unite the entire opposition. We are calling on everyone to join our ranks. If we end up in a fragmented structure after the regime falls, the reign of chaos would inevitably ensue, followed by a civil conflict, or even possibly by a regional war," he said.

There are Al-Qaeda militants in the FSA coming from a variety of backgrounds, including Yemen, Qatar, Afghanistan and Lebanon, according to some reports. In fact, some Turkish citizens accused of being Al-Qaeda members also lost their lives in the Syrian conflict.

"I am aware of the presence of Al-Qaeda members in the FSA coming from outside of Syria. I have never personally met any of them, however. Nonetheless, we are grateful to all of them for fighting on our ranks," he replied when inquired about these allegations.

Qdemathi also claimed there were Christians and Alevis fighting for the FSA. Just as we were conversing over this matter, however, a quarrel broke out between our guide and Qdemathi's escorts. FSA troops then began walking toward our guide while shouting "Alevi, Alevi!" Other troops subsequently intervened and broke up the fight, while Qdemathi chose to end the conversation there. (BIA, Ayça SÖYLEMEZ, 28 August 2012)

Le QG terroriste d'Erdogan

Des années durant, les autorités turques ont exercé des pressions diplomatiques sur les pays qui accueillaient les bureaux d'information de mouvements turcs ou kurdes d'opposition. Ces pressions ont conduit à la fermeture de nombreux bureaux et à l'emprisonnement de leurs administrateurs.

Les sympathisants du mouvement de la gauche anti-impérialiste turque DHKP-C de Londres, Bruxelles, Paris ou Berlin en savent quelque chose.

Aujourd'hui, une organisation militaire syrienne, nommément l'Armée syrienne libre (ASL) qui utilise ouvertement le terrorisme pour parvenir à ses fins est accueillie à bras ouverts par le régime d'Ankara.

Elle y dispose d’un bureau d’information en bonne et due forme.

Son site officiel est: http://www.free-syrian-army.com

On y découvre que sa base principale (main base) est le Hatay, une province frontalière majoritairement arabophone qui accueille les réfugiés syriens.

Cette province dont la population s’inquiète de la militarisation en cours dans la région est devenue la plaque tournante de l’internationale djihadiste sous le regard bienveillant du régime d’Ankara.

L’ASL dispose par ailleurs d’une ligne téléphonique turque, le 00905369631274

Pour entrer en contact avec l'ASL, les nouvelles recrues peuvent également écrire à l'adresse suivante: 1freesyriaarmy@googlemail.com

Mais l’ASL en Turquie n'a pas que pignon sur rue. Elle a même le pouvoir de faire interdire des manifestations pacifiques en Turquie.

Dans les colonnes du quotidien Libération (5 août 2012), un militant des droits de l’homme connu et actif à Antioche dénommé Ilyas Oruç a déclaré, médusé : «Nous n’avons pas pu organiser un meeting contre la guerre en Syrie à cause de l’Armée syrienne libre [ASL, ndlr]. Le directeur de la sûreté m’a dit qu’il ne pouvait pas assurer notre sécurité du fait des militants de cette armée qui vivent dans les camps de réfugiés tout au long de la frontière turco-syrienne».

Par ailleurs, de nombreuses familles alaouites de cette même province soupçonnées de sympathies envers le gouvernement syrien disent avoir été menacées d’extermination par des miliciens de l’ASL.

Ankara avec Al Qaïda contre Assad

Ces dernières semaines, les autorités turques ont multiplié les provocations à l'encontre de la Syrie. Des actes terroristes visant des personnes et des biens en territoire syrien ont été préparés au vu et au su de l'armée turque.
Comme le révèle le journal turc Yurt, des véhicules immatriculés en Turquie ont été utilisés dans un récent attentat commis par l’ASL dans le village syrien de Sabanli où huit soldats syriens ont perdu la vie.

Sur des images vidéo envoyés au quotidien turc (http://www.yurtgazetesi.com.tr/gundem/katliami-yapan-teroristler-turkce-konusuyor-h16130.html), on constate que l'un de ces véhicules utilisé dans cet attentat, un camion, portait l'inscription en turc "Allah Korusun" (Que Dieu protège). Autre détail saisissant, les auteurs de l’attentat parlent tous un turc sans accent.

Début août, l'avocat des militants turcs d'Al Qaïda en Turquie Me Osman Karahan est mort armes à la main à Alep.

D'autres militants de la branche turque d'Al Qaïda, responsables de la mort de dizaines de 57 citoyens turcs dans les attentats d’Istanbul de 2003 combattent actuellement dans les rangs de l'Armée syrienne libre (ASL).
Deux d'entre eux au moins (Metin Ekinci et Baki Yigit) ont été tués dans des affrontements avec l'armée gouvernementale syrienne à Alep.

Officiellement, Ekinci était recherché par la police turque. Mais comment comprendre que Baki Yigit n’ait fait que six ans de prison pour avoir participé à un massacre alors que des centaines d’étudiants de gauche sont condamnés à plusieurs dizaines d’années de prison et torturés sauvagement pour avoir déployé un simple calicot demandant la gratuité de l’enseignement ?

On peut difficilement croire que les autorités turques ignorent la mobilisation des terroristes de la branche turque d'Al Qaïda en Syrie d’autant plus que les habitants de la province du Hatay témoignent de la présence anormalement élevée de ressortissants tunisiens, libyens ou tchétchènes à la frontière turco-syrienne.

Manifestement, comme la France et l’Arabie saoudite, la Turquie aussi aime ses djihadistes lorsqu’ils s’en vont combattre en Syrie.

(Bahar Kimyongür, bahar_kimyongur@yahoo.fr , 29 août 2012)

3,777 children convicted in the last seven years

Turkish Minister of Justice Sadullah Ergin stated in his reply to a parliamentary written question that Turkish High Criminal Courts have tried 8,828 children and convicted 3,777 of them in the last seven years.

According to the Ergin’s answer which exposed the figures of the people tried at high criminal courts and specially authorized courts since the abolishment of state security courts (DGM), 209,750 people were tried at high criminal courts between the years 2004 and 2011 and among them 8,828 were aged under 18. Within the same period, the courts convicted 137,692 people among whom 3,777 minors, the Minister of Justice said.

Referring to the figures before the year 2004, Ergin notified that state security courts had tried 32,863 people, including 903 minors, in 11,174 cases opened in 2002 and 2003. Among those tried, 13, 619 people were convicted, included 222 children aged under 18.
(ANF, 29 August 2012)

Bomb Blast Kills Nine, PKK Refuses Responsibility

An explosion that took place near the Karşıyaka Police Station in the southeastern province of Gaziantep killed nine people and injured 60 at around 20:00 on Monday.

The blast occured after someone detonated the explosives loaded inside a vehicle, Gaziantep Governor Erdal Ata told the broadcasting station NTV.

The victims of the blast were passengers inside a nearby automobile and a minibus, according to reports.

Two buses also caught fire in consequence of the explosion, while other vehicles in close vicinity were also damaged, and the glass windows of some houses and shops were also shattered by the blast. Officials also called in doctors who were on vacation for the Ramadan holiday due to the large number of injuries.

A crowd began to gather in the area following the explosion and subsequently attacked the Peace and Democracy Party's (BDP) Şehitkamil District and Gaziantep Provincial offices. Authorities dispatched police and firefighters to the scene. Reports indicate that the crowd started marching while carrying Turkish flags and chanting slogans.

Meanwhile, Ömer Çelik, the deputy leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP,) said the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) had begun directly targeting the people.

"We are going through a tragic incident all together," Family and Social Policies Minister Fatma Şahin also commented during a press meeting at the Gaziantep Police Headquarters.

The HPG, armed wing of the PKK, declared on Tuesday that the Kurdish guerrilla was not responsible for the car bomb that killed nine people in the southeastern town of Gaziantep near Turkey's border with Syria late on Monday.

"Our fighters have nothing to do with this explosion," Firat News, a website close to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group, cited the HPG as saying in a statement.

As for the BDP, its co-presidents Demirtas and Kisanak have severly condemned the explosion. (BIA-Reuters, August 21, 2012)

Au secours la police! un numéro contre la violence policière

L’Association des avocats contemporains (CHD) lance un numéro contre la violence des policiers turcs, suite à de nombreux cas de violences et de tortures. Le sentiment d’être sans protection face à la violence policière et aux excès de la justice se repend dans le pays.

Les citoyens sont sous la menace quotidienne de la police et des juges, ces instruments du gouvernement pour réduire au silence toute opposition, notamment les kurdes.  Les rapports des organisations des droits de l’homme sur les violations commises par des forces de l’ordre sont alarmants.

CHD lance le numéro '444 155 9 İMDAT POLİS' (Au secours la police), tandis qu’un « Conseil de torture », composé de cinq personnes, a été créé au sein du barreau d’Istanbul. Quelque 200 avocats sont prêts à intervenir contre la violence policière, en cas d’appel. La chambre des docteurs d’Istanbul (Tabipler Odası) se mobilisera également pour préparer immédiatement sur place un rapport sur la santé de la victime. Pour le moment, le travail a été lancé à Istanbul, mais l’association envisage de mettre progressivement en œuvre dans les autres villes.

Ce numéro, inspiré de « 155 Polis İmdat» (Police secours), est ouvert 24/24.  L’assistance psychologique sera également fournie, si nécessaire, aux victimes de violences et de tortures.

Selon l’association, un rapport sera présenté tous les deux mois, dans lequel les commissariats et les centres de police qui constituent un risque seront aussi dénoncés.

Le 12 aout à Izmir, un accident a été survenu entre un véhicule de police et une voiture. Un policier a ensuite tiré sur trois frères, Emrah, Ercan et Erhan, tuant l’un d’entre eux et blessant les deux autres.

19 juin à Istanbul, Ahmet Koca, un automobiliste kurde âgé de 22 ans, a été arrêté dans le quartier de Fatih par des policiers  alors qu’il conduisait une femme enceinte à l’hôpital. Il a été tabassé mortellement pour avoir parlé en kurde. Les policiers qui ont violemment agressé ce kurde ont été libérés, tandis que la victime a été mise en examen et risque plus six ans de prison.

Le 28 mai à Yalova, Cayan Birben a été tué par une grenade de gaz lacrymogène tiré un policier alors qu’il tentait d’empêcher une bagarre. 

Violations des droits sont alarmantes

L’association des droits de l’humain (IHD) a dénoncé le 9 juillet dans un rapport semestriel les violations sans précédentes depuis 2002. Au moins 15.109 cas de violation des droits de l’humain ont été constatés au cours des six premiers mois de l’année 2012 dans la seule région kurde, selon le rapport. Toujours dans la région kurde, le rapport de l’IHD indique 398 cas de tortures et de mauvais traitements  ont été répertoriés en six mois, tandis que la Fondation des Droits de l’Humain en Turquie (TIHV) affirme avoir constaté quatre morts en garde à vue entre le 1er janvier et 21 juin 2012 à travers le pays contre cinq tout au long de l'année 2011.

La politique de « tolérance zéro contre la torture » du gouvernement AKP a pris ces dernières années la forme d’une politique de torture généralisée dans les rues par la violence policière contre toute manifestation et dans les prisons surpeuplées qui peuvent exploser à tout moment.

Un tortionnaire promu

Preuve ?  Sedat Selim Ay, condamné à 11 mois de prison pour torture en 2002, a été récemment promu directeur adjoint de l’antiterrorisme. Il a aussi été mis en cause, parmi d’autres policiers, pour le viol d’une jeune femme. En 2007, la Cour européenne des droits de l’homme de Strasbourg avait condamné la Turquie à 5000 euros (6000 francs) pour ne pas avoir mené à bien cette enquête.

Aucune différance entre un livre et une bombe!

C’est « normal » quand le ministre de l’intérieur, Idris Naim Sahin, ne fait aucune différence entre un livre et une bombe.   « Il n’y a aucune différence entre le bombardement de l’artillerie et les articles écrits depuis Ankara» a-t-il dit, le 7 aout à Istanbul.  « Le conflit se poursuit avec le stylo et le livre à Istanbul » a-t-il ajouté, pour justifier les arrestations massives visant les journalistes et le principal parti kurde BDP.

Il avait récemment affirmé que le gaz lacrymogène employé par les forces de l’ordre n’avait « pas d’effets permanents » sur la santé. Le même ministre avait déclaré le 26 décembre 2011 que « le terrorisme » est soutenu à travers la peinture, la poésie et des articles, mais aussi par des pratiques artistiques et même scientifiques.  «(…) Il y a un autre pilier de la terreur : terreur psychologique, terreur scientifique. Il y a une arrière-cour qui nourri la terreur. Il y a aussi la propagande (…) Certains justifient la terreur et la soutiennent, à travers la peinture en la projetant sur la toile,  d’autres la reflètent dans la poésie ou en écrivant des articles (…) C’est ainsi qu’ils luttent contre ceux (les forces de l’ordre) qui luttent contre la terreur. »

La justice propage l’injustice

Les violations des droits de l’homme battent tous les records en Turquie, les forces de l’ordre continuent de bénéficier d’une immunité totale et la justice qui n’a jamais été aussi arbitraire propage l’injustice. La police exécute les gens en pleine rue, les enfants et les jeunes sont victimes de l’armée, les étudiants se font condamner à de lourdes peines pour avoir demandé l’enseignement gratuit, ainsi que des jeunes pour avoir jeté des œufs ou crier des slogans et des enfants pour jets de pierres.

Alors que les assassins qui ont commis des atrocités pour le compte de l’Etat sont libérés un par un, les élus, les journalistes, les syndicalistes, les avocats, les défenseurs des droits de l’humain, les intellectuels sont incarcérés dans les prisons.

Port du keffieh, possession des œufs et des livres, partages sur facebook, des affiches, des pancartes et n’importe quel autre objet sont présentés comme des preuves « d'appartenance à une organisation terroriste. »  Les citoyens sont sans protection face à la violence policière et aux excès de la justice. (actukurde.fr/actualites, 18 août 2012)

Interior Minister’s ‘healthy pepper gas’ remarks stir outcry

The family of a young man who was died after being pepper gassed by police has spoken out in reaction to Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin’s recent remarks that pepper gas is “one hundred percent healthy, safe and qualified.”

“Pepper gas is so healthy that it can kill a man in minutes; anyone who suffers from a chronic disease such as asthma or cardiac problems can be killed with this weapon,” Özge Birben, the sister of Çayan Birben, who died from a pepper spray-induced asthma attack on May 31 in Yalova, told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday over the phone.

Minister Şahin defended the use of pepper spray on Aug. 14 in response to a question from Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Mehmet Kesimoğlu.

“Pepper gas [OC] is completely natural and has no permanent effect on human health,” Şahin said in his reply. “The Istanbul University Medical Faculty Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology Department issued a report verifying that pepper gas is safe for use by police. And tear spray [CS] gas is used with a quality certificate from the producing company affirming that it is ‘not harmful to human health when applied by trained personnel.’ According to our records, there have been no reports of deaths resulting from gas canisters used by law enforcement agencies in Turkey.”

However the deaths of three men have been linked to the use of pepper gas by police in Turkey so far. In addition to Birben, Metin Lokumcu died of a heart attack after arguing with police while attending a protest in the Black Sea district of Hopa on May 30, 2011, and Hacı Zengin, a member of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), was died following exposure to pepper gas during Nevruz clashes in Istanbul on March 18, 2012.

Birben suffered an asthma attack and reportedly asked the police to stop using the gas, which they refused to do. “As part of the willful injury case, which is still open at the Yalova Public Prosecutor’s Office, the testimonies of witnesses and the police records reveal that Birben said ‘Stop it; I have asthma,’ after the police used pepper gas,” Şahin said.

Özge Birben said she and her daughter also suffer from asthma. “My mother forbade me even to talk to the police in case we argue and they use this weapon on me; I know they would kill me as well. My brother Çayan died due to the police using pepper gas, without a doubt,” she said. “We have filed criminal complaints against İdris Naim Şahin and the Yalova police department. But the state protects its men. Who are we to resist?”

Some dangerous drugs and tobacco are natural as well, said Turkish Medical Association (TTB) Chairman Özdemir Aktan, who has also criticized the minister’s remarks.

“What the minister said does not make sense,” he told the Daily News yesterday. “All medicines are created from herbs. But causing someone’s death is another matter. This pepper gas halts a person’s breathing and blocks the senses of sight and hearing, and when that person is someone who has a serious disease, this can absolutely kill him.”

Birben family’s lawyer, Melike Korkmaz, also agreed that pepper gas does not kill directly. But, she said, it can trigger a crisis in cases of chronic disease. “It might be ‘natural’ and ‘quality,’ who said it isn’t? But it has obviously caused many deaths in police interventions in Turkey. All the eyewitnesses said the same in the court records: that Çayan shouted that he had asthma, and the police kept on using [pepper gas].”

“What should Turkish people participating in protests do to keep the police from using pepper gas?,” Korkmaz asked. “Should all the protesters shout out their diseases, is that the only protection mechanism?”  (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 16,  2012)

A police chief, convicted of torture, yet promoted

Found guilty on two charges by local courts, and Yargıtay (Supreme Court of Appeals) reversed the judgment for inadequate sentence, and set free for lapse of time, causing Turkey to be condemned at ECHR three times, policeman Sedat Selim Ay is promoted to Deputy Police Chief of İstanbul responsible for terror.
Ay had been found guilty for the first time for the torturing of Atılım newspaper chief editor İbrahim Çiçek, and Ali Hıdır Polat, Delil İldan, Hacı Orman, Füsun Erdoğan, Birol Paşa, Hakkı Mıhçı, Ali Ocak, Doğan Şahin who were taken into custody on the 15 of March in 1996; and received a sentence of 1 year and 3 months imprisonment and 3 months and 15 days of official recall. However the file lapsed at Yargıtay (Supreme Court of Appeals) before decision. Then he was sentenced to 1 year in prison and 3 months official recall for torturing 15 people among whom were unionists Süleyman Yeter and Asiye Zeybek in 21-22 February 1997. Since the same crime was committed more than once the sentence was augmented to 1 year and 2 month was reduced to 11 months and 20 days of prison and 2 months and 27 days of recall from office for “good behaviour at court”. Later the court decided for postponement since “the defendants seemed to be without criminal records and were not to repeat the offense”.
The police officers convicted alongside Ay were deemed to have received insufficient punishments by Yargıtay (Supreme Court of Appeals) and the decision was revoked. The case at the local court lapsed. Asiye Zeybek made criminal complaints against Ay and the other policemen claiming she was raped while under custody. However case was decided not to pursue. Zeybek later appealed to ECHR, where Turkey was convicted to pay damages for the lapsed torture cases of Ay.
Defending Ay’s appointment the Chief of Police claims the conviction were not for ‘torture’ but ‘not investigating effectively’ yet Turkey was sentenced to pay damages at Ali Haydar Saygılı’s case for ‘breach of torture prohibition’. And at İbrahim Çiçek case was convicted for not respecting tne 3rd art concerning torture of the ECHR. Since these penalties were not at Ay personally his record was not affected.
Two female AKP parliamentary representatives Ayşenur Bahçekapılı and Ayşe Böhürler protested his appointment and demanded ministry of Interiors to explain. Minister Şahin instead accused Zeybek for causing Turkey to be convicted.
Women’s organizations and torture victims protested his appointment in front of the police department in a press announcement. Demanding Sedat Selim Ay's immediate removal and trial the women shouted “Human dignity will overcome torture” and “End rape in Custody”.
Muslim intellectuals  also protested with a petition campaign among whom are HAS Party Gen. Sec. Dep. Mehmet Bekaroğlu, Mazlum-Der İstanbul chair Cüneyt Sarıyaşar, theologists Prof. Dr. Sait Şimşek, Prof. Dr. İhsan Süreyya Sırma, Prof. Dr. Mikail Bayram, Doç. Dr. Ahmet İnan, Doç. Dr. Bülent Sönmez, writer Demet Tezcan, human rights activist Elif Girgin Akın, poet Cahit Koytak, writer Murat Kapkıner, and journalist Mehmet Baransu. The text is open for signing at www.varide.net internet site where it is says “We want to believe the appointment is the result of misinformation” and demands Ay’s removal from the office.  (http://www.antenna-tr.org/sites.aspx?SiteID=48).
Number of students in jail hits 2,824 in Turkey

Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin recently released data in response to main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Manisa deputy Özgür Özel’s parliamentary question regarding how many convicted high school and university students currently imprisoned were under arrest on the charge of “being a member of an armed terrorist organization.”

According to Ergin, 2,824 students have been arrested since Jan. 31, 2012.

Within this number 1,778 students were arrested while the remaining 1,046 were charged but not arrested. Out of those arrested, 609 were arrested for “being a member of an armed terrorist organization,” while 178 students were charged without arrest for the same crime.

The Justice Ministry had no statistical data about the number of students alleged to have relations with more than one illegal organization, Ergin said.

CHP deputy Özel said the number of arrested and convicted students was “terrifying.”

“It is above our estimations. Even the students unfurling banners about free education are charged with [crimes related to] the armed terrorist organizations. The prosecutors trying to create criminals seemed to have achieved that,” Özel said.

Galatasaray University student Cihan Kırmızıgül was arrested for wearing a “poshu” scarf in Kağıthane in Feb. 2010 and was kept under arrest for 25 months. “Since the piece of cloth called poshu was used for the intention of a crime, it is decided on his confiscation according to the Article No: 54 of the Turkish Penal Code,” the court’s verdict for Kırmızıgül read.
(hurriyetdailynews.com, August 8,  2012)

Disabled Student Accused of Battery Serving Jail Time

Disabled college student Kayhan Tüney has remained under arrest at Edirne Prison for a year and a half in connection with terrorism related charges.

Law enforcement officials first took him under custody on Feb. 11, 2011 for his involvement in the Democratic Patriotic Youth (DYG,) the youth branch of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP.)

He stands among some 71 other suspects in the DYG trial, the next hearing of which is scheduled for Sept. 21.

The summary of proceedings prepared by the police claims that Tüney was involved in brawls at Istanbul University where he is enrolled as a sophomore student and charge him with battery against another person. Tüney's lawyer, however, has already presented a report to the court dating back to 2008 which indicates that her client's right arm and left leg are 70 percent disabled.

"The person cannot use the affected extremity in his daily maintenance and activities. He walks across short distances with difficulty and without assistance, but his locomotion is limited to flat surfaces," the report reads.

The indictment against him lists a number of accusations againt Tüney, including his attendance in an allegedly outlawed meeting at a BDP building and other press releases on conscientious objection and the demand for education in one's native tounge.

"Under strain to meet his needs in prison"

"The police claims this person was involved in brawls; look," Tüney's lawyer Ayşe Acanıklı told court officials in the previous hearing of the trial, as she asked her client to stand up in the courtroom.

Lawyer Acanıklı also said they had requested a voice analysis report from the Forensics Insitute to shed light on whether Tüney had really participated in the "illegal" meeting at the BDP building, but to no avail, as the court rejected their request.

"The reason for Tüney's imprisonment is his membership in the DYG, a legal organization. There is no evidence [to justify] his imprisonment anyway. Moreover, he goes under great strain to meet his needs due to his disability. He has a [medical] report; there is no reason not to release him," Acanaklı said.

Tüney's elder sister Sevgi Tüney futher noted that authorities had arrested her brother a month after he started undergoing physiotherapy, which was also cut short due to his imprisonment.

"Kayhan is not talking much about prison conditions to spare us from distress. We know he has difficulty managing his [daily] affairs all by himself, however. I am certain he did not fancy it much when he was [asked] to stand up in the courtroom. There was a claim of battery against him, however, and the lawyer wanted to demonstrate the impossibility of that. There is nothing that necessitates him to remain under arrest; we are anticipating his release in September," she said.

"Prisons swelling with thought criminals"

"There is an incredible surge in the number of [prison inmates in Turkey] due to the arrest of so many thought criminals. [Prison] conditions are dreadful. It is unsuitable for ill inmates and convicts to remain locked up under such conditions. Moreover, there are also incessant problems in the provision of health services," said Şebnem Korur Fincancı, a forensics expert and the head of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (TİHV.)

Another inmate, Hediye Aksoy, has also requested her release from President Abdullah Gül, as she is both visually impaired and afflicted with breast cancer.

Some 211 severely ill inmates are currently serving time in prisons across Turkey, 32 of whom are terminally - ill, according to a report by the Human Rights Association (IHD.)

A total of 750 students are currently under arrest, the Initiative for Solidarity with Arrested Students (TÖDİ) has also reported. (BIA, August 1st, 2012)

Pression sur les médias / Pressure on the Media

The Biggest Lawsuit of the press in Turkey!

They have been taken under custody after the raids to their houses, the offices of newspapers and the periodicals on December 20th, 2011. They have been arrested by the court on December 24th, 2011. They have been in prison for more than 9 months. “KCK Press Committee” trial will begin at 15th High Penal Court of İstanbul on September 10th, 2012.
Among 36 arrested media workers 13 of them are from Dicle News Agency (DİHA), 10 of them are from daily newspaper Özgür Gündem, 4 of them are from Democratic Modernity periodical, one of them is from Kurdish daily newspaper Azadiya Welat, 5 of them are from Fırat Distribution Company, 1 of them is from daily newspaper Vatan and 2 of them are from Fırat Agency News (ANF).
We are waiting you İstanbul, for monitoring -maybe- the biggest press lawsuit of the world. Information with respect to 36 media workers who will be on trial for “Membership of an Illegal Organisation” or “Membership to the Leadership of an Illegal Organisation” are as follows:
From Dicle News Agency (DIHA)
Fatma Koçak (Responsible editor): All of the accusations are based on her journalistic activities.
Kenan Kırkaya (Responsible of Ankara office): He works at DIHA for more than 10 years. His telephone conversations and internet communications with his colleagues regarding the news create the basis of the accusations.
Çağdaş Kaplan (Reporter): He works at DIHA for four years. 16 reports published at DIHA and his telephone conversations create the basis of the accusations. He also reports from the jail as a journalist.
Ertuş Bozkurt (Editor): He is graduated from Faculty of Communications and he is a graduate student. He is a journalist at DIHA for more than 9 years and he worked as reporter, editor and regional responsible editor. All the accusations are related with his journalistic activities.
Sadık Topaloğlu (Reporter in Urfa): All of the evidences about him are solely telephone conversations.
Semiha Alankuş (Editor in Diyarbakır): According to the accusation, working for DIHA is a crime per se.
Nilgün Yıldız (Reporter): She is accused for “showing the state as a state oppressing its own people with her reports”.
Mazlum Özdemir (Editor): He began to work as a journalist at the newspaper Günlük twelve years ago. He’s gained the prize of best report on Metin Göktepe Prizes, he worked on some documentaries and he also published a book.
Pervin Yerlikaya (Reporter-Accountant): She is in Bakırköy Women’s Prison.
Ramazan Pekgöz (Editor): He is a journalist for more than fourteen years. He was the news director in the newspaper Günlük.
Zuhal Tekiner (Grant holder and head of the board of directors) : She is in Bakırköy Women’s Prison.
Ömer Çelik (Reporter): He is in Kandıra F Type Prison.
Oktay Candemir (Previous reporter from Van): He is accused of his 9 reports published at DIHA.
* * *
From Özgür Gündem (ProKurdish daily)
Turabi Kişin (Editor): He is accused because of his journalistic activities.
Nevin Erdemir (Reporter-Editor): International travels, reports, testimonies of the secret witnesses and the fact of working at Özgür Gündem are accused as “criminal evidences”.
Nurettin Fırat (Editor - Columnist): He is graduated from Faculty of Communications. He published several reports and articles, he also published two books. He is accused of “Membership to the Leadership of an Illegal Organisation”.
Ayşe Oyman (Editor): She is graduated from Faculty of Communications. She was the news director in the newspaper Özgür Gündem.
Yüksel Genç (Columnist): She is accused because of her activities as the chairwoman of Congress of Demokratic Society (DTK).
Sibel Güler (Previous editor): Her reports published at ANF and DIHA are accused as “criminal evidences”.
Hüseyin Deniz (Previous editor of Özgür Gündem and reporter of the newspaper Evrensel): The alleged crime is “Membership to the Leadership of an Illegal Organisation”.
Dilek Demiral (Previous editor): Her international travels are accused as “criminal evidence”.
Ziya Çiçekçi (Owner of the newspaper): He is working for more than four years. He began to work at daily newspaper Günlük. He is interested to the fees and expenses of the newspaperas the grant holder and it is the only “criminal evidence”.
Davut Uçar (Director- publicist): He is graduated from Istanbul University Economy Faculty. He began to work as a journalist in Antep Özgür Gündem in 1993. He was the director of an advertisement agency for more than twelve years.
* * *
From Democratic Modernity (monthly magazine)
Selahattin Aslan (Editor): He is a journalist for thirteen years and he worked at several newspapers and periodicals as editor or reporter.
Saffet Orman (Worker of the periodical): He is “accused” solely for the telephone conversations with the distributors.
Nahide Ermiş (Member of the editorial board): Several notes for reports are accused as “criminal evidences”.
Ömer Çiftçi (Owner of the magazine): He is accused because of his interest to the publication and distribution of the periodical.
* * *
From Azadiya Welat (Daily Kurdish newspaper)
M. Emin Yıldırım (Owner and Editor in chief): He refused to testify to the police forces. His demand of testifying in Kurdish has been refused by the Prosecution; therefore he has been arrested without testifying.
* * *
From Fırat Distribution Company
Çiğdem Aslan (Accountant): He is graduated from Accountancy Department of Zonguldak Karaelmas University. He is also a graduate student at Anadolu University.
Haydar Tekin (Previous laborer): He was born in 1969 at Batman. He is in Kandıra No:2 F Type Prison.
Şeyhmus Fidan (Laborer): He was born in 1989 at Mardin Savur. He is in Kandıra No:2 F Type Prison.
Cihat Ablay (Laborer): He was born in 1985 at Mardin. He is in Kandıra No:2 F Type Prison.
İrfan Bilgi (Laborer): He was born in 1987 at Mardin. He is in Kandıra No:1 F Type Prison.
* * *
From News Agency of Fırat (ANF)
Zeynep Kuray (BirGün- ANF reporter): She works at daily newspaper BirGün since 2008. She also reports for News Agency of Fırat (ANF) for two years.
İsmail Yıldız (ANF reporter- Editor in chief of Dersim newspaper): He began to journalism at DİHA on 2003. He is also involved in theatrical works.
Çağdaş Ulus (ANF reporter): He was working at daily newspaper Vatan and he is accused of reporting to ANF as well.
Hüseyin Aykol  &  Eren Keskin
Editor-in Chiefs of Özgür Gündem
For more information: aykol267@gmail.com

Premières images d'un journaliste turc capturé par les soldats syriens

Les chaînes de télévision turques ont diffusé lundi les premières images d'un caméraman turc porté disparu il y a une semaine alors qu'il couvrait les combats à Alep, dans le nord de la Syrie, où il a affirmé avoir été capturé par des soldats syriens.

Sur ces images de la télévision officielle d'information syrienne Al-Ikhbariya retransmises par les chaînes NTV et CNN-Türk, Cüneyt Ünal semble en assez bonne santé mais très éprouvé et portant des marques bleues sous les yeux. S'exprimant sur un ton nerveux en turc, le caméraman qui travaille pour la chaîne de langue arabe Al-Hurra, basée à Washington, a précisé avoir été accompagné lors de la couverture des combats à Alep par des personnes "qui avaient tous une arme dans la main". La chaîne Al-Ikhbariya a aussi montré le journaliste turc brandissant un lance-roquettes, suggérant ainsi selon les médias turcs qu'il combattait aux côtés des insurgés syriens.

Le chef de la diplomatie turque Ahmet Davutoglu a dénoncé une manipulation, affirmant que le caméraman turc ne faisait que couvrir les combats, et mis en garde l'Etat syrien quant à la situation de son compatriote. "L'Etat syrien est responsable de la santé de notre journaliste", a dit M. Davutoglu devant la presse à Ankara. Un temps proche du régime syrien, la Turquie a rompu avec les autorités de Damas. Elle réclame le départ du président Bachar al-Assad et soutient les rebelles. Quatre journalistes étrangers ont été tués dans les violences en Syrie depuis mars 2011. (Belga, 27 août 2012)

RSF: Des journalistes ciblés par une violente campagne de diffamation

Reporters sans frontières est vivement préoccupée par la campagne de diffamation visant ces derniers jours plusieurs journalistes de premier plan, dans le quotidien islamiste et nationaliste Yeni Akit (Nouvel accord) et sur son site web, habervaktim.com. Ali Bayramoglu, Cengiz Candar, Hasan Cemal et Yasemin Congar y sont violemment mis en cause, notamment du fait de leurs prises de position sur la question kurde. C’est également le cas de plusieurs personnalités politiques.

« En ciblant des personnalités engagées en faveur de la tolérance et de la paix, cette campagne cherche à enrayer toute évolution de la société turque. L’expérience a malheureusement prouvé combien ce type de discours essentialiste, xénophobe et paranoïaque était non seulement nocif, mais véritablement dangereux. Les mots ont un sens : les allégations portées à l’encontre de nos confrères les exposent à de réels dangers. Ce déchaînement de haine doit immédiatement prendre fin, et tout doit être mis en œuvre pour protéger les journalistes visés », a déclaré l’organisation.

Le célèbre éditorialiste Ali Bayramoglu est depuis plusieurs semaines pris à partie par Yeni Akit, qui prétend qu’il est Arménien et qu’il « défend les thèses arméniennes sur une base raciste ». Connu pour son engagement en faveur des droits des minorités et son amitié avec le journaliste turc-arménien Hrant Dink, assassiné en 2007, Ali Bayramoglu n’est pour le quotidien qu’un « vil ennemi des Turcs », qui « cache même à ses amis qu’il est Arménien ». Sa participation à une conférence intitulée « En quête de solutions à la question kurde », au Royaume-Uni, serait censée prouver qu’il « soutient l’organisation terroriste » [le Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan - PKK].

Dans le numéro du 10 août 2012 de Yeni Akit, Hasan Cemal et Cengiz Candar sont à leur tour décrits comme de zélés propagandistes du PKK, favorables au séparatisme kurde. Dans un article intitulé « Les bombes de Sakik », censé reprendre une lettre du « repenti » Semdin Sakik, ancien leader du PKK aujourd’hui emprisonné, les deux journalistes sont qualifiés de « très précieux » pour l’organisation armée.

« Comme [Hasan Cemal] n’a pas été autorisé à visiter Imrali [la prison où est détenu le chef du PKK, Abdullah Öcalan], il a pris le chemin de Kandil [la base arrière du PKK à la frontière turco-irakienne]. Il a glorifié le duo Öcalan-Karayilan », est-il écrit. A propos de Cengiz Candar, Yeni Akit n’hésite pas à affirmer qu’il « dépasse les fanatiques du PKK dès lors qu’il s’agit de faire l’éloge de l’organisation et de ses dirigeants ».

Ces accusations réveillent de douloureux souvenirs dans la profession. Cengiz Candar et ses collègues Nazli Ilicak et Mehmet Ali Birand avaient été licenciés lors du dernier coup de force des militaires, en février 1997, après avoir été mis en cause par d’autres « témoignages » de Semdin Sakik parus dans plusieurs quotidiens laïcs. Par la suite, il s’était avéré que ces « révélations » avaient été commanditées par des chefs d’Etat-major de l’époque. La plupart de ces derniers sont aujourd’hui inculpés dans le cadre des enquêtes en cours sur les manœuvres de déstabilisation du gouvernement civil.

Une pétition, intitulée « Nous réclamons justice », a été lancée par plusieurs intellectuels et journalistes, dont les personnalités conservatrices Hilal Kaplan, Mehmet Bekaroglu, Ömer Faruk Gergerligolu et Emine Uçak Erdogan. Les signataires dénoncent l’« attitude irresponsable » de Yeni Akit, et réclament le respect des principes déontologiques et la fin de cette campagne d’intimidation. Le syndicat de journalistes TGC et l’organisation de défense des droits de l’homme IHD ont demandé à la police d’assurer la protection des journalistes. Hasan Candar et Ali Bayramoglu ont annoncé leur intention de porter plainte en justice contre le quotidien islamiste.

La question kurde reste l’un des thèmes les plus sensibles à aborder pour les médias en Turquie. Ces derniers mois, la répression contre les militants pacifiques et les médias kurdes s’est encore intensifiée. Le procès de 44 journalistes de la presse pro-kurde, dont 36 sont en détention provisoire, doit s’ouvrir le 10 septembre 2012. La tension s’est encore accentuée depuis que le PKK, encouragé par la prise de contrôle de plusieurs villes du nord de la Syrie, a lancé une vaste offensive en Turquie, mi-juillet 2012. (RSF, 24 août 2012)

Médias pro-pouvoir en Turquie nuisibles pour l'humanité

Les médias mainstraim turcs dépendants du pouvoir politique nuisent gravement au sentiment humanitaire et à la santé mentale, utilisant un langage raciste et menant des campagnes d’intimidation et de désinformation.

Ces médias qui dépendent du pouvoir et des patrons, qualifiés de « nouveaux chiens de garde » par journaliste français Serge Halimi et de «doberman » par le journaliste turc Duran Ragip, jouent malheureusement un rôle extrêmement négatif dans les questions sociales, culturelles, ethniques et religieuses.

Des même qu’il est nécessaire de réorganiser l’État turc, fondé sur la négation des différences, pour se débarrasser de son caractère liberticide et raciste, de même ses médias ont besoin d’un réel changement de mentalité et structurel.

La situation des médias mainstraim qui se rendent sans résistance face à chaque pouvoir politique peut être considérée la manifestation d'une mentalité commune avec le pouvoir. L’AKP avait aussi pris le soutien « indéfectible » de ces médias après son arrivée au pouvoir en 2002, ce qui montre que les médias turcs constituent l’une des parties les plus ouvertes aux manipulations et à la dépendance contre la pensée libre. En réalité, il ne s’agit pas de « se rendre » mais juste un changement de « maitre », car ces médias sont structurés sur la dépendance.

En raison des problèmes structurels, mal conçues dès le départ, et une mentalité infectée de racisme, ils n’arrivent pas à définir une éditoriale indépendante et opposante. La réalité d’aujourd’hui est que les médias sont dirigés par des patrons qui sont eux-mêmes sous contrôle du pouvoir politique ou les intérêts des deux parties s’unissent contre les libertés.

Les publications des médias au nom du "nationalisme", du "patriotisme" ou sous prétexte de « condamner le terrorisme » sont en réalité un racisme avéré et l’hostilité envers les kurdes. Les mensonges couvrant les pages, les campagnes de lynchage contre les Kurdes et l'opposition de gauche montrent à quel point les médias sont dépendants du pouvoir, mais ils révèlent avant tout des irrégularités à tous les niveaux, que se soit structurelle ou mentale.

Évidement, on ne peut pas attendre une participation positive d’un État et des médias mal conçus pour la résolution pacifique et démocratique des problèmes sociaux. L’attitude positive d’un nombre très limité des intellectuels turcs qui écrivent dans les pages de ces médias ne conduit pas à un changement institutionnel, si ce n’est pas pour donner une légitimité injuste à ces médias.

Devenant les plus fervents partisans du pouvoir et agissant même comme ses porte-parole, les médias mainstraim révèlent également la situation du pouvoir en place. À cet égard, la dépendance joue un rôle d'effet miroir. Quand le gouvernement est entré dans une impasse, les médias s’affolent. Les discours racistes de responsables politiques se transforment rapidement en une campagne de lynchage et de diffamation. Lorsque le gouvernement s’embrouille, les médias s’étourdissent. Les comportements irrationnels et anormaux des dirigeants du pays, les discours racistes et la politique liberticide, ne sont pas seulement la preuve d’une répression sauvage contre toute opposition, mais ils ont également un effet néfaste sur la santé humaine subissant des attaques de la police, de la justice et des médias.

À cet égard, ces médias qui sont devenus une arme dangereuse pour faire taire les voix dissidentes, notamment contre les kurdes, créent un impact extrêmement négatif sur la santé mentale, en relayant des informations sales.

En bref, dès lors qu’on admet qu’un gouvernement ennemi de la liberté et de la démocratie ne peut faire de véritables reformes pour le rétablissement de la paix sociale, il faut conclure qu’on ne peut attendre de la part de ces médias, gardians de l’ordre, une publication conformément aux principes éthiques de ce métier.

En effet, au lieu de jouer un rôle dans la résolution pacifique des problèmes et pour faire pression sur les autorités, les médias hégémoniques se mettent au service de la politique de répression. Cette approche malade avec ses défauts structurels n’aura surement pas un effet positif et humanitaire sur l’opinion publique.

Le seul moyen d’éviter l’exposition aux publications dangereuses qui couvrent tous les grands médias turcs qui mènent des attaques frontales contre le sentiment humanitaire, est de rester éloigné. Compte tenu de l'état actuel des médias, ne pas lire et ne pas regarder semblent être meilleur solution pour se rapprocher de la paix. C'est aussi une mesure utile pour la santé mentale de la société. Le slogan est : « moins les gens dépendent aux médias sous contrôle du pouvoir politique, plus la santé mentale s'améliore, l’humanisme gagne du terrain et nous nous approchons d’une solution aux problèmes historiques et actuels. Un boycott est nécessaire ! (Maxime Azadi, actukurde.fr/actualites, 24 août 2012)

Hacker group says to have ‘friends’ in anti-hacker team

Redhack, a Turkish hacking group, has laughed off the Turkish government’s efforts to secure its online infrastructure against international and domestic hacking attacks by deploying a new 150-member team, claiming it has “friends” on the Cyber Security Institution’s team.

“Some of the engineers appointed to this anti-hacker team are our friends. On the other hand, fighting against an ‘army’ of 150 engineers will be good for our own education too,” a ReadHack member told Hürriyet Daily News yesterday via instant messaging.

“RedHack consists of 12 members and has millions of supporters, as against the government’s team of 150,” the RedHack member said while sarcastically criticizing Turkey’s Transportation and Communication Ministry and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK).

“We can change our tactics from now on. Maybe we will attack and [publish messages] on government web pages in French; then they would hire some French teachers, too,” the RedHack member said. The hacker group RedHack which calls themselves socialist, has been denounced by the Turkish government as cyber-terrorists.

Cyber Security Institution

The newly founded Cyber Security Institution was preparing to fight domestic and international cyber attacks, an official from TÜBİTAK told the Daily News on Aug. 22, saying RedHack’s operations were “overrated.” “RedHack is here today, gone tomorrow. The RedHack team could be dispersed in a couple of months. Who knows? Are we going to end our work then? Of course not, we are designing our projects systematically now,” the official, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Daily News.

“We have existed since 1997. A bunch of inexperienced engineers cannot fight a group like us,” a RedHack member wrote in a message sent to the Daily News after the story including quotes from the TÜBİTAK official was published yesterday. “Those who have been appointed to the institution know us well, but they could not manage to blow our cover. There is no doubt that the anti-hackers they educate will not go far beyond hacking Facebook accounts or messenger programs.”

The RedHack member also hinted at his location, saying he was not living in Turkey, which is contrary to the group’s previous statements, which have said all of its members are based in Turkey. The RedHack member also said D-DOS attacks are not the only form of attack the group is capable of.

“We have many other documents to share,” he said. The RedHack Group revealed the identities of some foreign diplomatic personnel working in Turkey on July 3. The U.S. mission in Ankara condemned this action, and a prosecutor requested on July 6 that the group be listed as a terrorist organization. The group’s Twitter accounts were suspended immediately following this. RedHack went on to disclose the identities of police informants, after academics and journalists who supported the group were threatened on July 16.

A list of military personnel stationed at the Turkish military’s 2nd Commando Brigade was also exposed by the group on June 12. RedHack also hacked the websites of interior and justice ministries. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 24,  2012)

EU urges Turkey to protect freedom of speech

The European Union has urged Turkey to protect freedom of speech of politicians while fighting against terrorism as Turkey overhauled a controversial law charging speeches courts considered terrorism propaganda.

EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Füle said in a statement as he was responding to a question of a member of the European Parliament that Turkey must protect freedom of expression to effectively fight against terrorism. Füle urged Turkey to amend laws that will limit courts’ what he said “broad interpretation of terrorism” and said the laws must clearly separate opinions between those promoting violence and others.

Füle was responding to the question of Greek Cypriot parliamentarian Antigoni Papadopulo, who said Kurdish politician Leyla Zana was charged again for nine of her speeches, including the one she delivered at the European Parliament, and that her conviction is a standard precedent for other Kurdish politicians and activists to be charged. He noted that Zana’s conviction is a violation of basic freedoms in Turkey and it is a clear evidence of how criminal courts punish freedom of speech.

Zana, an independent pro-Kurdish deputy from Diyarbakır, was sentenced in May this year to 10 years in prison on charges of being a member of a terrorist organization and spreading its propaganda in a series of speeches she made over four years ago.

The Diyarbakır 5th High Criminal Court sentenced Zana to a decade in prison for speeches she made on nine separate occasions, saying that her actions and activities have reached the level of membership in the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which requires a 10-year jail sentence in line with Article 314 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK). The court said in its decision that, based on Zana's testimony and speeches made outside the courthouse, it is clear she does not acknowledge the PKK as a terrorist organization and that she sees jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan as the leader of the Kurds.

Furthermore, the court asserted that Zana sees the PKK’s terrorist activities as part of a fight for “freedom and democracy.” Zana had already been convicted for the same nine speeches she made between 2007 and 2008 at news conferences and public meetings, but her conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court of Appeals on the grounds that she had not had an adequate opportunity to defend herself. She was given a fresh trial in Diyarbakır, resulting in 10-year jail sentence.

Füle said that the European Commission is concerned over the latest conviction of Zana, extending the EU’s support for its fight against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party. (TODAY'S ZAMAN, August 20, 2012)

83 journalists still in Turkish prisons at Ramadan Feast

The Solidarity Platform of Imprisoned Journalists (TGDP) reminds that more than 80 journalists and writers in the prisons as the country is going to celebrate Ramadan Holiday. TGDP calls all to visit them in prison or to send them the messages of sympathy and solidarity.

The number of the imprisoned journalists was 60 last year's Ramadan Holiday.

Turkey still holds the world record as regards the number of imprisoned journalists. All over the world, the number of the imprisoned jopurnalists is 170.

You can send your message to the following journalists in prison without mentioning the name of the newspaper for which he or she worked: 

1-    Abdulcebbar Karabeğ, Azadiya Welat Gazetesi Mersin Temsilcisi, Hatay Kapalı Cezaevi
2-   Abdullah Çetin, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Kurtalan Muhabiri, Diyarbakır D Tipi Cezaevi
3-    Ahmet Akyol, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Adana Muhabiri, Ceyhan M Tipi Kapalı Cezaevi, Adana
4-    Ahmet Birsin, Gün TV Genel Yayın Koordinatörü, Diyarbakır D Tipi Cezaevi
5-    Ali Buluş, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Mersin Muhabiri, Karaman-Ermenek M Tipi Cezaevi
6-    Ali Çat, Azadiya Welat Gazetesi Mersin Muhabiri, İskenderun E Tipi Kapalı Cezaevi
7-    Ali Konar, Azadiya Welat Gazetesi Elazığ Temsilcisi, Malatya E Tipi Cezaevi
8-    Aydın Yıldız, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Mersin Muhabiri, Gaziantep H Tipi Cezaevi
9-   Ayşe Oyman, Özgür Gündem Gazetesi Editörü, Bakırköy L Tipi Kadın Kapalı Cezaevi
10- Aziz Tekin, Azadiya Welat Gazetesi Mardin Temsilcisi, Mardin E Tipi Kapalı Cezaevi
11- Barış Pehlivan, Odatv İnternet Sitesi Genel Yayın Yönetmeni, Silivri 1 Nolu L Tipi Cezaevi
12- Barış Terkoğlu, Odatv İnternet Sitesi Haber Müdürü, Silivri 1 Nolu L Tipi Cezaevi
13- Bayram Namaz, Atılım Gazetesi Yazarı, Edirne 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
14- Bayram Parlak, Gündem Gazetesi Mersin Temsilcisi, Karaman-Ermenek M Tipi Cezaevi
15- Bedri Adanır, Aram Yayınları Sahibi ve Genel Yayın Yönetmeni, Kürtçe Hawar Gazetesi Yazı İşleri Müdürü, Diyarbakır D Tipi Cezaevi
16- Cengiz Kapmaz, Özgür Gündem Gazetesi Yazarı, Kandıra 2 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
17- Cihan Deniz Zarakolu, Belge Yayınları Editörü ve Çevirmeni, Kocaeli 2 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
18- Çağdaş Kaplan, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) İstanbul Muhabiri, Kandıra 2 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
19- Çağdaş Ulus, Vatan Gazetesi İstanbul Muhabiri, Kandıra F Tipi Cezaevi
20- Davut Uçar, Etik Ajans Müdürü, Kandıra 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
21-   Deniz Kılıç, Azadiya Welat Gazetesi Batman Temsilcisi, Batman M Tipi Kapalı Cezaevi
22- Dilşah Ercan, Azadiya Welat Gazetesi Mersin Muhabiri, Karataş Kadın Kapalı Cezaevi, Adana
23- Dilek Demiral, Gazeteci, Özgür Gündem Gazetesi Eski Editörü, Bakırköy L Tipi Kadın Kapalı Cezaevi
24- Erdal Süsem, Eylül Dergisi Editörü, Edirne F Tipi Cezaevi
25- Erol Zavar, Odak Dergisi Sahibi ve Yazı İşleri Müdürü, Şair, Sincan 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi, ANKARA
26- Ertuş Bozkurt, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Editörü, Kandıra 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
27- Fatma Koçak, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Yazı İşleri Müdürü, Bakırköy L Tipi Kadın Kapalı Cezaevi
28- Faysal Tunç, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Şırnak Muhabiri, Kalkandere L Tipi Cezaevi
29- Ferhat Çiftçi, Azadiya Welat Gazetesi Gaziantep Temsilcisi, Gaziantep H Tipi Cezaevi
30- Feyyaz Deniz, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Ankara Muhabiri, Bolu F Tipi Cezaevi
31- Füsun Erdoğan, Özgür Radyo Genel Yayın Koordinatörü, Kandıra 2 Nolu T Tipi Cezaevi, KOCAELİ
32- Gülsen Aslan, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Batman Muhabiri, Batman M Tipi Kapalı Cezaevi
33- Hamit Dilbahar, Azadiya Welat Gazetesi Yazarı, Erzurum E Tipi Cezaevi
34- Hasan Özgüneş, Azadiya Welat Gazetesi Yazarı, Kandıra 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
35- Hatice Duman, Atılım Gazetesi Sahibi ve Yazı İşleri Müdürü, Gebze M Tipi Cezaevi, Gebze/KOCAELİ
36- Hüseyin Deniz, Evrensel Gazetesi Muhabiri, Kandıra 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
37- İhsan Sinmiş, Azadiya Welat Gazetesi, Adana F Tipi Cezaevi
38- İsmail Yıldız, Dersim Gazetesi Yazı İşleri Müdürü, Kandıra 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
39- Kenan Karavil, Radyo Dünya Yayın Yönetmeni, Adana Kürkçüler F Tipi Cezaevi
40- Kenan Kırkaya, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Ankara Temsilcisi, Kandıra 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
41- Mazlum Özdemir, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Diyarbakır Editörü, Kandıra 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
42- Mazlum Sezer, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Muhabiri, Adana Kürkçüler F Tipi Cezaevi
43- Mehmet Emin Yıldırım, Azadiya Welat Gazetesi Genel Yayın Yönetmeni, Kandıra 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
44- Mehmet Güneş, Türkiye Gerçeği Dergisi Yazarı, Tekirdağ 2 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
45- Mehmet Yeşiltepe, Devrimci Hareket Dergisi Yazarı, Tekirdağ 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
46- Murat Aydın, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Muş Muhabiri, Bayburt M Tipi Cezaevi
47- Murat İlhan, Azadiya Welat Gazetesi Diyarbakır Muhabiri, Diyarbakır D Tipi Cezaevi
48- Mustafa Gök, Ekmek ve Adalet Dergisi Ankara Temsilcisi, Sincan 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi, ANKARA
49- Nahide Ermiş, Demokratik Modernite Dergisi Yayın Kurulu Üyesi, Bakırköy L Tipi Kadın Kapalı Cezaevi
50- Nevin Erdemir, Özgür Gündem Gazetesi Editörü, Bakırköy L Tipi Kadın Kapalı Cezaevi
51- Nilgün Yıldız, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Mardin Muhabiri, Bakırköy L Tipi Kadın Kapalı Cezaevi
52- Nurettin Fırat, Özgür Gündem Gazetesi Yazarı, Kandıra 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
53- Nuri Yeşil, Azadiya Welat Gazetesi Dersim Temsilcisi, Elbistan E Tipi Cezaevi
54- Oktay Candemir, Gazeteci, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Eski Muhabiri, Kandıra 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
55- Ömer Çelik, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) İstanbul Muhabiri, Kandıra 2 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
56- Ömer Çiftçi, Demokratik Modernite Dergisi İmtiyaz Sahibi, Kandıra 2 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
57- Ömer Faruk Çalışkan, Özgür Halk Dergisi Yazı İşleri Müdürü, Kandıra 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
58- Özlem Ağuş, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Adana Muhabiri, Karataş Kadın Kapalı Cezaevi
59- Pervin Yerlikaya, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) İstanbul Muhabiri, Bakırköy L Tipi Kadın Kapalı Cezaevi
60- Ramazan Pekgöz, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Diyarbakır Editörü, Kandıra 2 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
61- Ruken Ergün, Azadiya Welat Gazetesi Eski İmtiyaz Sahibi ve Yazı İşleri Müdürü, Adana-Karataş Kadın Kapalı Cezaevi
62- Sadık Topaloğlu, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Urfa Muhabiri, Kandıra 2 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
63- Sebahattin Sumeli, Özgür Halk Dergisi Editörü, Tekirdağ 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
64- Sedat Şenoğlu, Atılım Gazetesi Genel Yayın Koordinatörü ve Gazeteci- Yazar, Edirne 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
65- Selahattin Aslan, Demokratik Modernite Dergisi, Kandıra 2 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
66- Semiha Alankuş, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Diyarbakır Editörü, Bakırköy L Tipi Kadın Kapalı Cezaevi
67- Serdar Engin, Özgür Gündem Gazetesi Editörü, Silivri Cezaevi
68- Sevcan Atak, Özgür Halk Dergisi Editörü, Karataş Kadın Cezaevi, Adana
69- Seyithan Akyüz, Azadiya Welat Gazetesi Adana Temsilcisi, İskenderun M Tipi Cezaevi
70- Sibel Güler, Gazeteci, Özgür Gündem Gazetesi Eski Editörü, Bakırköy L Tipi Kadın Kapalı Cezaevi
71- Sinan Aygül, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Bitlis Muhabiri, Muş E Tipi Cezaevi
72- Soner Yalçın, Odatv İnternet Sitesi İmtiyaz Sahibi, Gazeteci-Yazar, Silivri 1 Nolu L Tipi Cezaevi
73- Sultan Şaman, Hevîya Jinê Dergisi editörü, Batman M Tipi Kapalı Cezaevi
74- Şahabettin Demir, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) Van Muhabiri, Bitlis E Tipi Cezaevi
75- Şükrü Sak, Akıncı Yol ve Baran Dergisi Genel Yayın Yönetmeni, Sivas E Tipi Kapalı Cezaevi
76- Tayyip Temel, Azadiya Welat Gazetesi Eski Genel Yayın Yönetmeni ve Yazarı, Diyarbakır D Tipi Cezaevi
77- Turabi Kişin, Özgür Gündem Gazetesi Editörü, Kandıra 1 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
78- Turhan Özlü, Ulusal Kanal TV Genel Yayın Yönetmeni, Silivri 2 Nolu L Tipi Cezaevi
79- Yalçın Küçük, Gazeteci-Yazar, Silivri 2 Nolu L Tipi Cezaevi
80- Yüksel Genç, Özgür Gündem Gazetesi Yazarı, Bakırköy L Tipi Kadın Kapalı Cezaevi
81- Zeynep Kuray, Birgün Gazetesi İstanbul Muhabiri, Bakırköy L Tipi Kadın Kapalı Cezaevi
82- Ziya Çiçekçi, Özgür Gündem Gazetesi İmtiyaz Sahibi ve Sorumlu Yazı İşleri Müdürü, Kandıra 2 Nolu F Tipi Cezaevi
83- Zuhal Tekiner, Dicle Haber Ajansı (DİHA) İmtiyaz Sahibi, Bakırköy L Tipi Kadın Kapalı Cezaevi

Tutuklu Gazetecilerle Dayanışma Platformu (TGDP)
16 Ağustos 2012
Contact: Necati ABAY, TDGP Spokesman,  GSM: 0535 929 75 86,
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US Ambassador chides Turkey on media

There should be no thought crimes in Turkey and no one should be behind bars for what she or he thinks or says, the U.S. ambassador to Turkey has said, expressing Washington’s concerns about the deteriorating freedom of expression in Turkey.

“I continue to believe that it’s one of the fundamental areas where Turkey needs to pay attention if it’s to emerge absolutely where Turks want the country emerge: as a hundred-percent, first-class, world-standard democracy,” Ambassador Francis Ricciardone told Ankara bureau chiefs yesterday.

Ricciardone was subjected to a harsh reaction from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan when he openly criticized the government’s stance on press freedom. Erdoğan called the ambassador a “rookie,” and criticized him for remaining under the influence of certain circles.

“On freedom of expression, my own views and advocacy for that have not diminished,” he said. “I hope you don’t feel they have diminished or changed.”

Freedom of expression remains an issue between Turkey and the U.S., and it was raised by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her talks with Turkish officials over the weekend, Ricciardone said.
“The secretary of state deeply cares about it. I can tell you she did it in a very respectful, supportive and positive way, but she spoke very much from the heart and very clearly. She believes that this something very important to Turkey and to Turks,” he said.

The concern is not limited to the freedom of expression, Ricciardone said, but also extends to access to justice.

“I have heard Turkish leaders in the government and in the opposition expressing their concerns about what needs to be done in terms of access to justice,” he said.

The Turkish government is frequently criticized by foreign governments and media for the deteriorated freedom of the media and the growing number of journalists and academics held under arrest. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 15,  2012)

RSF réagit contre les attaques et exactions commises par l'opposition syrienne

Reporters sans frontières (RSF) vient d'envoyer le message suivant à deux organisations d'opposition, Armée syrienne libre et CNS, concernant les attaques croissantes contre des médias officiels syriens et exactions contre leur personnel:


Reporters sans frontières, organisation internationale de défense de la liberté de l’information, souhaite vous faire part de sa vive préoccupation quant à la multiplication des actes de violence perpétrés contre les journalistes syriens, y compris les professionnels des médias officiels ou pro-régime en Syrie.

Comme vous le savez sans doute, notre organisation dénonce depuis deux décennies la main de fer du clan Assad sur l’information dans ce pays. Depuis le début du soulèvement, en mars 2011, nous condamnons avec force les innombrables exactions perpétrées par les troupes et les milices du régime de Bashar al-Assad contre les journalistes, professionnels ou net-citoyens, locaux ou étrangers, qui tentent de couvrir les manifestations de l’opposition et leur répression. Nous nous efforçons de soutenir, moralement et matériellement, ceux qui luttent pour faire leur devoir d’information et mettre à bas le blocus médiatique mis en place par le régime. Nous avons à de multiples reprises alerté la communauté internationale sur l’ampleur massive des violations des droits de l’homme commises en Syrie, en particulier le degré de censure mis en place par les autorités.

Mais depuis plusieurs semaines, notre organisation recense malheureusement un nombre croissant de violations de la liberté de l’information du côté des forces qui combattent le régime. Les employés des médias pro-gouvernementaux syriens sont de plus en plus fréquemment la cible d’enlèvements et d’assassinats ciblés : l’exécution, le 3 août 2012, du présentateur Mohammad Al Saïd, enlevé à son domicile à la mi-juillet, a été revendiquée par le groupe islamiste Al-Nosra. Le 5 août, Talal Janbakeli, cameraman de la télévision officielle syrienne, a été kidnappé à Damas par la katiba Haroun Al-Rachid de l’Armée syrienne libre (ASL). Le 10 août, une équipe de la chaîne privée pro-gouvernementale Al-Ikhbariya a été faite prisonnière par un autre détachement de l’ASL ; d’après les informations dont nous disposons à l’heure actuelle, l’un de ses membres serait mort, tandis que ses collègues ont été contraints à des “aveux” forcés devant les caméras. Le lendemain, le journaliste Ali Abbas, de l’agence officielle Sana, a été tué à son domicile, à Jdaidet Artouz. Depuis fin juin, les locaux de plusieurs médias d’Etat ou pro-gouvernementaux ont également été visés par des attentats à la bombe.

Plusieurs reporters étrangers nous ont rapporté avoir été la cible de menaces de mort de la part de groupes de l’opposition. Certains ont été enlevés par des groupuscules djihadistes. De telles pratiques rappellent tristement celles employées par le régime de Bashar Al-Assad contre les journalistes d’opposition.

Nous avons conscience de la diversité de l’opposition syrienne. Cependant, nous vous demandons, en tant que représentants suprêmes de ses principales composantes, de condamner publiquement ces exactions et de diligenter les enquêtes nécessaires. Votre statut actuel de belligérant, comme celui de facilitateur de la transition à laquelle vous aspirez, vous obligent à respecter le droit international et à l’imposer aux différentes forces de l’opposition, civiles ou militaires. Les conventions et règlements internationaux, notamment la résolution 1738 du Conseil de sécurité de l’ONU, imposent à toutes les parties en conflit le devoir de protéger les professionnels de l’information. Nous condamnons avec la plus grande fermeté la diffusion, par les médias, de messages de propagande, incitant à la haine ou à la violence contre les populations civiles. Il n’en reste pas moins que, professionnels ou net-citoyens, les journalistes ne doivent en aucun cas être pris pour cibles. Leur intégrité et leur dignité doivent être respectées, afin de protéger la liberté de l’information elle-même.

L’Armée syrienne libre et les autres composantes de l’opposition doivent immédiatement libérer, sans condition, les journalistes et collaborateurs des médias qu’elles détiennent, dont les membres de l’équipe d’Al-Ikhbariya faits prisonniers le 10 août. Elles doivent immédiatement abandonner la pratique dégradante subie par de nombreux journalistes détenus, contraints à des déclarations filmées visiblement extorquées sous la menace.

De tels agissements sont non seulement contraires au respect des droits de l’homme et à vos responsabilités internationales. Ils sont également contre-productifs, dans la mesure où ils ne peuvent que nuire à l’image de l’opposition syrienne, vis-à-vis de la population comme de ses soutiens internationaux.

Je vous remercie à l’avance pour l’attention que vous porterez à ce courrier et vous prie d’agréer, Messieurs, l’expression de ma haute considération.

Christophe Deloire
Directeur général de Reporters sans frontières

Turkish PM slams columnists, media bosses

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has rebuffed Turkish columnists who criticized Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s visit to Myanmar, calling on media bosses to not continue to employ such journalists in their news outlets.

“Some [columnists] wrote articles asking why the foreign minister went to Myanmar. ‘I understand the visit of the prime minister’s wife and daughter, but why does the foreign minister go,’ they said. I’m addressing the media boss [who owns that newspaper]; shame on you. How do you keep these men as columnists? You give columns to those who don’t have any ambition, passion and excitement. They are strangers to this nation and the history of this nation. They are not worried by the worries of this nation,” Erdoğan said late Saturday in Istanbul at an iftar dinner.

Some Turkish columnists criticized Foreign Minister Davutoğlu’s visit to the sectarian conflict hit southeastern Asian country.

Cüneyt Özdemir, a columnist for daily Radikal, and Daily Milliyet columnist, Aslı Aydıntaşbaş criticized Davutoğlu’s visit to Myanmar, indicating that conflict in Syria was much heavier than that in Myanmar and that Turkey should be concerned with Syria first.

“Aleppo is where we should go before Rohingya. I’m saying this in the name of humanity, not for the Muslim matter,” Aytıntaşbaş wrote on Aug. 9. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 13,  2012)

Demessine (PCF) dénonce les atteintes à la liberté de la presse en Turquie

La sénatrice Michèle Demessine (PCF) a attiré lundi l'attention du chef de la diplomatie française Laurent Fabius sur la liberté de la presse en Turquie, lui demandant quelles étaient les mesures entreprises pour "la libération de 95 journalistes actuellement emprisonnés" dans ce pays.

"Près de cent journalistes sont actuellement emprisonnés dans les prisons turques pour avoir exercé leur métier et bien souvent en voulant rendre compte de la répression en cours dans ce pays à l'encontre du peuple kurde", écrit-elle dans un communiqué.

"Aux portes de l'Europe et a fortiori dans un pays entré dans un processus d'adhésion à l'Union européenne, ce bâillonnement des journalistes (...) est une atteinte inquiétante à la démocratie", ajoute-t-elle.

"Je vous prie de bien vouloir m'indiquer Monsieur le ministre, les mesures entreprises par la France notamment au sein de l'Union européenne pour la libération de 95 journalistes actuellement emprisonnés en Turquie". (AFP, 6 août 2012)

Court Adjourns Selek Trial, Rejects Plea in Kurdish

The Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court ruled to adjourn the case of sociologist and writer Pınar Selek during the sixth hearing of the trial that began at 10:00 on Wednesday. Selek has already gone through a grueling 14 year long trial process in connection with a blast in Istanbul's Spice Bazaar in 1998. The court also rejected a request by suspect Maşallah Yağan to issue his plea in Kurdish in a separate case.

The court scheduled the next hearing for Nov. 22 to allow for the completion of relevant procedures.

Pınar Selek herself did not attend the trial, although a number of academics, journalists, representatives from women's organizations, human rights advocates and members of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transexual) associations also showed up in court to lend their support.

The court had already ruled to acquit Selek three times before, but the Ninth Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court of Appeals then overturned those verdicts, and the Assembly of Criminal Chambers of the Supreme Court of Appeals subsequently ratified that decision as well.

The Istanbul 12th High Criminal Court then finally resisted in its latest decision to acquit Selek, but the prosecutor's office presented yet another legal opinion demanding life imprisonment for the suspect.

Chief Justice Vedat Yılmaz Abdurrahmanoğlu and Prosecutor Nuri Ahmet Saraç did not appear on Wednesday's trial due to the summer recess, and Justice Mehmet Erdoğan and Prosecutor Mehmet Akif Ekinci oversaw the hearing on their behalf.

Prosecutor Ekinci demanded that the case file be handed over to them, as they were temporarily overseeing the trial. Defendant lawyer Akın Atalay then said they had already presented their plea and reminded the court of the decision on Feb. 2011 to acquit Selek.

The court then agreed to hand the case file over the the prosecutor to allow for him to decide whether he agreed with the legal opinion as to the accusations or not and to grant more time to the suspects for their plea. The case was thus adjourned for Nov. 22.

"Demanding justice for Selek is to demand justice for all"

Pınar Selek's sister and lawyer Seyda Selek told bianet that the 14 year long trial had turned into an ordeal both for Pınar Selek and for her loves ones and reiterated the fact that the court had repeatedly ruled for her acquittal anyway.

The We Are Still Witnesses Platform that long strove for Selek's acquittal also issued a written statement at the conclusion of Wednesday's hearing that highlighted their unyielding determination to achieve justice in the person of Pınar Selek.

Selek's case bears a symbolic significance for Turkey, Selek's friend Karin Karakaşlı further noted, adding that people from various sections of society were highly fond of Selek, as she had actively partaken in every battle for human rights.

To demand justice for Selek is to demand justice for all, she added.

No plea in Kurdish

Maşallah Yağan who also appeared in Wednesday's hearing requested a Kurdish translator and the right to plea in Kurdish, as he could not fully express himself in Turkish.

The court delegation, however, rejected his request, arguing that he already knew Turkish, as he had issued his former pleas in Turkish. (BIA, August 1st, 2012)

Kurdish Question / Question kurde

40 millions de Kurdes dans ce Moyen-Orient en pleine recomposition

par  Amitiés kurdes de Bretagne

"En ce début de XXIe siècle, les 40 millions de Kurdes du Moyen-Orient constituent le plus grand peuple au monde sans État", peut-on lire sous la plume d’Olivier Piot et de Julien Goldstein ("Kurdistan, la colère d’un peuple sans droits", préface de Bernard Dorin).

Les Kurdes en ordre de marche...

Sans État, mais pour combien de temps ? Le rêve kurde, considéré comme une douce utopie jusqu’à lors, pourrait devenir réalité. Déjà les Kurdes d’Irak ("Kurdistan Sud") ont obtenu, à la chute du dictateur Saddam Hussein, le statut d’une région autonome dans le cadre de la République d’Irak. Les Kurdes syriens ("Kurdistan occidental") sont en ordre de bataille pour secouer le joug du dictateur Bachar el-Assad tout en tenant leurs distances avec le Conseil national syrien (CNS) qui, en appelant la Syrie "République arabe syrienne", n’entend pas reconnaître les différents peuples de Syrie. La récente démission de Bassma Kodmani, porte parole du CNS, souligne, comme il est écrit dans La Croix, "les tensions dans l’opposition syrienne, éloignant la perspective d’un gouvernement provisoire". Les Kurdes du "Sud-est anatolien" pour les Turcs, du "Kurdistan du Nord" pour les Kurdes, opposent, avec un certain succès, une résistance sur le front politique et sur le terrain de la lutte armée, malgré une répression sans précédent dont ils sont l’objet de la part d’un régime dictatorial qui bénéficie toujours de la complaisance des États-Unis et des pays européens. De la stratégie de harcèlement la guérilla kurde est passée à l’offensive de moyenne intensité avec occupation du terrain. Enfin, les Kurdes d’Iran ("Kurdistan oriental") subissent une répression féroce de la part du régime sanguinaire de Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. D’après Iran Human Rights (RSI) de nouvelles exécutions de prisonniers politiques kurdes iraniens sont imminentes. Mais la crise déclenchée par le programme nucléaire iranien ne sera pas sans conséquence dans le jeu des alliances et les Kurdes auront leur mot à dire.

...ne peuvent compter que sur eux-mêmes

Pour autant, les indicateurs ne sont pas favorables aux Kurdes qui ne doivent compter que sur eux-mêmes pour arracher à la communauté internationale la reconnaissance de leur identité et ce quelles que soient les formes de gouvernance qu’ils préconisent. La crise syrienne révèle au grand jour des antagonismes profonds entre puissances régionales, des intérêts divergents entre les grandes puissances mondiales, et aussi une propension à instrumentaliser et à diaboliser les revendications kurdes. On oublie que les Kurdes sont 40 millions ! A titre de comparaison les Israéliens, les Palestiniens, les Jordaniens, les Libyens sont de 6 à 8 millions chacun, les Saoudiens 26 millions, les Syriens 22 millions dont 15% de Kurdes, les Irakiens 29 millions dont 24% de Kurdes, les Turcs 74 millions dont 20 à 25 % de Kurdes, les Iraniens 77 millions dont 12 % de Kurdes. On peut ergoter sur les chiffres et les pourcentages, on peut se gausser des chamailleries entre Kurdes, on peut tirer argument de la puissance économique des uns ou de la position stratégique des autres, mais les faits sont là : les politiques d’éradication et/ou d’assimilation menées à l’encontre des Kurdes par les Saddam Hussein, Hafez et Bachar el-Assad, Atatürk et Erdogan et par d’autres, bien avant eux, ont toutes échoué. Les forces internationales qui s’apprêtent à intervenir dans cette partie du monde devraient le savoir.
(akbdrk.free.fr, André Métayer, 31 août 2012)

Les Kurdes syriens tentent de prendre en main leur destin

Sur la route menant à la ville kurde d'Afrine, dans le nord de la Syrie, des hommes armés arborant le drapeau kurde vert, rouge et jaune, laissent passer un convoi de véhicules transportant des compatriotes syriens, femmes et enfants arabes fuyant les ravages de la guerre.

Ce barrage routier montre à quel point la vie des Kurdes a changé depuis le début de la révolte contre le régime syrien de Bachar al-Assad en mars 2011.

Les hommes en faction parlent ouvertement kurde et sur leur veste est dessiné au pochoir le visage d'Abdullah Öcalan, dirigeant du PKK. La photo du chef de la rébellion kurde emprisonné en Turquie est partout sur les murs et dans les magasins d'Afrine.

Les Kurdes se sont prudemment engagés dans la révolte, cherchant surtout à tenir à l'abri leur région des violences qui, un peu plus au sud, dévastent depuis plus d'un mois Alep, deuxième ville et capitale économique de Syrie.

A la mi-juillet 2012, l'armée syrienne s'est retirée de cette zone kurde, près de la frontière turque, provoquant la colère de la Turquie, fidèle soutien aux rebelles syriens qui a accusé Damas d'avoir remis plusieurs secteurs au Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan (PKK), un mouvement terroriste pour Ankara.

Les forces gouvernementales se sont retirées mais un poste des forces de sécurité demeure avec un portrait du président Assad accroché à la façade.

"Il ne sortent jamais du bâtiment. Ils nous appellent quand ils ont besoin d'eau ou de pain et nous leur livrons", assure Fathy, 50 ans, un des hommes en faction au barrage.

Quant aux rebelles, ils sont autorisés à entrer dans la région que s'ils ne portent pas d'armes. "Ils viennent s'approvisionner chez nous car nos magasins et nos marchés sont ouverts. Mais aucun n'est autorisé à porter des armes", explique Fathy.

Les seules armes permises dans ce que les habitants appellent désormais le Kurdistan occidental sont celles portées par les militants du Parti de l'union démocratique kurde (PYD).

La Turquie accuse le PYD d'être une couverture pour le PKK et Fathy reconnaît que certaines armes utilisées pour protéger Afrine et sa région proviennent du PKK, mais lui et les autres jurent que cette organisation n'est pas présente dans le secteur.

"Nous voudrions bien sûr inviter (le PKK) mais nous savons que les Arabes et la communauté internationale considèrent le PKK comme des terroristes, c'est pourquoi nous ne voulons pas du PKK qui respecte notre décision", confie Khaled, 27 ans, un déserteur.

A Afrine, ville de 50.000 habitants sise à une quarantaine de km au nord d'Alep, les Kurdes ont commencé à expérimenter pour la première fois une autonomie longtemps attendue.

Une "révolution kurde"

Dans le nouveau centre culturel, M. Jangvar, 67 ans, enseigne à des femmes à lire et écrire en kurde."Comme on nous interdisait de lire et écrire en langue kurde, nous devions le faire en cachette. Et quand l'un de nous était pris avec un livre en kurde, il était aussitôt emprisonné et torturé", assure Jangvar.

Ce centre propose également des cours gratuits d'histoire, de poésie et de musique kurdes.

Pour Arif Sheikhu, membre de la coalition des partis kurdes et conseils municipaux qui ont fleuri dans la région, cette nouvelle autonomie est le résultat de décennies de combats.

"La révolution syrienne est complémentaire du combat pour nos droits légitimes, et même si la rébellion s'arrêtait, ce que je ne crois pas, notre révolution continuerait", dit-il.

Depuis le retrait des forces du régime, les 365 localités et villages ont formé des comités locaux qui collaborent avec un conseil régional de 400 membres chargé de s'occuper des affaires locales.

"40% des membres de ce comité sont des femmes. Dans notre société, elles jouissent d'une liberté totale. Elle peuvent faire la même chose que les hommes, s'habiller comme elles le désirent", dit fièrement Sheikhu.

Malgré la satisfaction affichée quant à cette nouvelle autonomie, Sheikhu insiste sur le fait que sa communauté n'aspire pas à un Etat indépendant.

"Nous sommes avant tout Syriens. Nous voulons un système d'autonomie pour les Kurdes syriens et la démocratie pour tout le pays", dit-il en soulignant qu'il ne considère pas le système d'autonomie du Kurdistan irakien comme un modèle. (AFP, Sara HUSSEIN, 25 août 2012)

Severe clashes in Şemdinli city center

Clashes broke out in Şemdinli district of southeastern province of Hakkari on Thursday evening as a group of People’s Defense Forces (HPG) guerrillas carried out simultaneous attacks targeting the Governor’s office, Police Gendarmerie and Brigade Commands at around 20:40 local time.

Turkish forces got alarmed and responded to the Kurdish guerillas who used long barreled weapons in the attacks on police and military spots.

Severe clashes have been lasting for approximately one and a half hour, said Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Hakkari MP Esat Canan who pointed out that no details are yet available about the clashes which are reported to be intensifying in Kılıç, Yeni and Beşevler neighborhoods where main military buildings are located.

Sounds of huge blasts have been heard in the district where cobra type helicopters are reported to be assisting Turkish forces. Warplanes are also seen flying over the district. No exact reports have yet been received as to casualties in clashes.

Meanwhile, some houses in regimental command of Şemdinli Mountain Commando Battalion are reported to have caught fire during the attacks. An explosion occurred in front of the house of AKP Şemdinli district chair Fikri Algül.

On the other hand, one soldier was killed and five others were wounded as a result of a guerrilla action which targeted Umurlu military post in Şemdinli on Thursday, reported Turkish sources.

According to reports by local sources, the attack by People’s Defense Forces (HPG) guerrillas late afternoon ended up with much more casualties of Turkish forces. (ANF, 23 August 2012)

BDP launches new rally for PKK leader

In a fresh effort to re-direct attention to the controversial “democratic autonomy” proposal and the end of the isolation policy currently enacted on the imprisoned head of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) will launch a series of rallies in southeastern Anatolia this weekend.

“We have decided to call these rallies ‘freedom rallies.’ They are organized by our local branches. Our lawmakers as well as our co-chairpersons will attend the rallies and will address the people,” Nursel Aydoğan, a BDP deputy responsible for the party’s rallies and other activities, told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

The rallies will stand as calls for the end of the “isolation of Abdullah Öcalan,” leader of the PKK who is serving a life sentence in prison on İmralı İsland in the Marmara Sea, the Daily News has learned. Speakers at the rallies will also renew the party’s calls for the adoption of democratic autonomy, a suggestion that has drawn strong reaction from the government and other political parties.

According to Aydoğan, Gültan Kışanak, a co-chairperson of the BDP, will attend a rally on Aug. 25 in the Siverek province of Şanlıurfa; Ahmet Türk, co-chairperson of the Democratic Society Congress (DTK), will speak at a rally in the Kızıltepe province of Mardin, Aysel Tuğluk from the DTK will appear in the Yüksekova province of Hakkari and Şırnak deputy Hasip Kaplan will hold a rally in the Cizre province of Şırnak on Aug. 26.  (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 23,  2012)

Kurdish History Magazine Hits the Bookshelves

The second edition of Turkey's first magazine on Kurdish history has hit the bookshelves with the stated goal of popularizing the history of the Kurds and Kurdistan. Published bi-monthly in Turkish, "Kürt Tarihi" ("Kurdish History") features an assortment of informative articles and other writings, ranging from a piece on a Kurdish Theater that appeared in the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and an ode by Şeyh Rıza Talabani to the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamit to the first Kurdish Poetry Anthology, Kızılbaş Kurdish postcards and a 200 year old Kurdish medical book.

Prof. Mesut Yeğen is currently serving as the magazine's editor-in-chief, and he has already published a number of books on the Kurdish question. Many magazines have included writings on Kurdish history starting from the Bedirhans' "Kurdistan" magazine, but this represents the first occasion that a Kurdish history magazine is published in Turkey, he told bianet.

"Kurdish historiography lacks a grand sponsor"

What compelled [you] to publish this magazine?

Needless to say, the subject of history has been attracting much attention in Turkey in recent times, and many a popular history magazines have come out. As always, however, Kurds and Kurdistan are entirely missing from all these publications. The "Kurdish History" magazine wants to put an end to this state of invisibility, even if only to a certain degree.

To what degree is it possible to write the history of a stateless people?

It was the professional institutions of nation-states that have generally written and construed the histories of nations in modern times. Kurdish historiography, on the other hand, never had such a grand sponsor, at least until recent times. In fact, however, the Kürt Tarihi magazine [flaunts] no such claims as construing a historiography. Its aims are far more modest. Our concern is more about raising the profile of the history of the Kurds and Kurdistan in the popular [consciousness.]

Is it possible to transcend the official historical narrative on Kurdish history and reach reliable sources?

Our authors are completely independent. Just as we have self-educated historians, we also have scholars of history. We also have friends who have worked in the archives of such states as the Ottoman Empire, Turkey, the U.S., Britain and France, as well as friends engaged in oral history. To be frank, however, we do not yet know what the [true] potential is. Creating new writers and providing a medium for historians who have not been able to find the opportunity to write [on the subject] are also among the important aims of the magazine.

Five sources for beginners

Can we say this magazine's target audience are the people of Turkey since it is [published] in Turkish?

Of course, this magazine is expected to [gain a following] among people who read and write in Turkish. We are also going to include writings in Kurdish as they come along. Nonetheless, I would like to say this: I hear some reproach from time to time about why this magazine is published in Turkish and not in Kurdish. We are expecting to see the publication of a history magazine in Kurdish from those people who voice such complaints.

Could you cite five sources [that are available] in Turkish for enthusiasts of Kurdish history and possibly for beginners?

Şerefname would surely be the first source. Kürtler (Kurds) by Russian orientalist Minorsky, Kürtler ve Kürdistan Tarihi (History of Kurds and Kurdistan) by Mehmet Emin Zeki Bey are also important. The Kurds by David McDowall and Wadie Jwaideh's The Kurdish National Movement are also [primary] reference books. (BIA, Nilay VARDAR, 22 August 2012)

BDP deputies’ meeting with armed PKK militants under probe

An investigation has been launched by prosecutors into a video showing deputies from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) and a group of armed PKK militantst during a meeting,.

The video which made its way into the Turkish media on Saturday showed armed militants and nine BDP deputies led by the party’s co-chairwoman Gülten Kışanak chatting and hugging each other along a highway in the Şemdinli district of the southeastern province of Hakkari.  The BDP says the “encounter” was not planned beforehand.

The Van Public Prosecutor’s Office announced on Saturday that an investigation had been launched into the video in accordance with Turkey’s Counterterrorism Law (TMK).

The office said the meeting appears to be a pre-scheduled one in contrary to BDP’s claims that it happened spontaneously when the terrorists blocked a road along their route.

The BDP deputies in the group were Ertuğrul Kürkçü, Sebahat Tuncel, Esat Canan, Adil Kurt, Nazmi Gür, Halil Aksu and Hüsamettin Zenderlioğlu as well as independent deputy Aysel Tuğluk, who was elected to Parliament with the support of the BDP.

Van prosecutors also ordered the Şemdinli Prosecutor’s Office to launch an investigation to capture the "terrorists" who met and chatted with the deputies for nearly half an hour.

Tuğluk defended the meeting on Saturday which she said was an “encounter.” “We encountered a very normal situation. It is their [prosecutors’] problem if they are unfamiliar with this. We are happy with that meeting. … They can launch as many as investigations they want. They can give as much as sentence they wish,” she said.

The meeting drew strong criticism from both Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Abdullah Gül. Gül said the video is “saddening” and called on the BDP deputies to act “responsibly and to distance themselves from terrorism.

Erdoğan was also highly critical of the meeting. “Where is this affection coming from,” Erdoğan satirically asked on Sunday after performing Eid prayer in İstanbul.  (TODAY'S ZAMAN, August 19, 2012)

Rencontre des députés d'opposition avec la guérilla kurde à Semdinli

Une seule et courte vidéo peut-elle démentir tous les arguments de l’Etat turc et des pays occidentaux contre le PKK ?  La guérilla kurde dresse chaque jour des barrages pour contrôle d’identité. Cette fois c’est différant.  L’accusation de « terrorisme » et les mensonges officiels s’effondrent devant les yeux. La vidéo confirme la prise de contrôle par la guérilla depuis 23 juillet d’une vaste zone tout près de la ville de Semdinli.

Une délégation composée des dirigeants des partis politiques opposants et des organisations de la société civile ont rencontré le 17 aout  les combattants du PKK entre le village de Baglar et la commune de Derecik à Semdinli, dans la région de Hakkari. Cette rencontre devant le barrage dressé par la guérilla confirme tout d’abord la prise de contrôle de la guérilla dans cette zone où l’armée n’arrive plus à pénétrer par voie terrestre.

Les autorités avaient annoncé avoir terminé les opérations militaires dans cette région, affirmant  avoir tué 115 combattants. Cette information n’a été confirmé ni par des hôpitaux, ni par des responsables locaux. Le mouvement qui publie régulièrement les identités et les photos des combattants tués dans des combats pour permettre aux familles d'organiser les funérailles avait annoncé avoir perdu 12 combattants dans ses rangs.

Un accueil chaleureux

Les images tournées par des journalistes qui accompagnaient la délégation montrent l’accueil chaleureux de la foule. Des centaines de personnes descendues des véhicules crient des slogans en faveur du PKK et ils s’embrassent tour à tour, sous l’acclamation. 

« Nous n’avons vu aucune force gouvernementale dans la région » a déclaré Gultan Kisanak, co-présidente du principal parti kurde BDP, affirmant que la délégation s'est arrêtée devant un point de contrôle de la guérilla sur la route du retour après avoir visité quelques villages.

Une vaste zone est sous contrôle du PKK depuis 23 juillet à Semdinli et depuis 4 aout à Cukurca, toujours dans la région de Hakkari. La guérilla a pris le contrôle d’une autre zone près de la ville de Hakkari, après avoir lancé le 16 aout un assaut d’envergure contre plusieurs postes des forces de l’ordre.   

« Nous avons rencontré quatre guérilleros dont une femme sur la route du retour. Ils ont fait de la propagande pour leur cause » a dit de son côté Ertugrul Kurkcu, député du parti kurde BDP de Mersin.

« Selon un responsable local, sept de dix villages situés dans la zone sont vides » a-t-il ajouté, affirmant qu’un millier de villageois ont été forcé par l’armée de quitter leurs maisons.

Député libéré : Ils sont les enfants de ce pays

Quelques jours plutôt, un député avait été arrêté par la guérilla. Il s’agissait du député de parti kémaliste CHP, Huseyin Aygun, arrêté le 12 aout alors qu'il se trouvait dans sa circonscription de Dersim (Tunceli) avant d’être libéré le 14 aout. 

Le député a été arrêté suite aux plaintes des habitants de Dersim, avait affirmé HPG, la branche armée du PKK, ajoutant ajouté que son arrestation était aussi pour but d’attirer l’attention sur les travaux de construction des barrages.

« Ils étaient élégants envers moi (…) ils m’ont demandé d’œuvrer plus pour la paix et de mener une politique indépendante.  Aucune atteinte n’a été porté  à ma vie » a déclaré le député d’origine kurde après sa libération. « Ces jeunes sont les enfants de ce pays.  Ils ont dit qu’ils voulaient donner un message de la paix » a-t-il ajouté.

Le 15 aout, les femmes combattantes  du PKK ont annoncé avoir “placé en garde à vue” un soldat de l’armée turque lors d’un contrôle d’identité entre les villes de Van et de Sirnak. Au moins 81 personnes dont des militaires, des gardians de village, des entrepreneurs, un maire AKP ont été arrêtés par la guérilla entre 1er mai et 13 aout 2012. La plupart ont été libérés après avoir été interrogés par le mouvement qui affirme respecter la Convention de Genève relative au traitement des prisonniers de guerre, dont il fait partie.

PKK dénonce la déclaration de l’ambassadeur américain

Refusant de voir la réalité du PKK au sein du peuple kurde et de négocier pour une solution politique et pacifique, l’Etat turc et l’Occident continuent d’accuser ce mouvement de « terrorisme », toute en soutenant les « insurgés syriens » accusés de crimes de guerre par l’ONU.

Malgré le silence face à la répression anti-kurde et le soutien total de l’Occident, notamment des États-Unis et de la France, à la Turquie, le mouvement kurde s’impose de plus en plus fort pour l’avenir du Moyen-Orient, en rendant insignifiant les frontière actuelles qui divisent le Kurdistan entre quatre pays.

Le PKK a dénoncé le 16 aout  la déclaration de Franchis Ricciardione, l’ambassadeur américain en Turquie, qui a accusé l’organisation de coopérer le régime Assad. « L’ambassadeur américain doit présenter ses preuves ou nous affirmerons qu’il est un grand menteur et calomniateur » a déclaré le PKK, dans un communiqué.

Vendredi 15 aout, l’ambassadeur américain avait accusé le régime syrien d’avoir armé le PKK. « Le PKK est un mouvement de la liberté et de la démocratie » a ajouté le mouvement kurde, affirmant que la déclaration de Ricciardione fait partie des mensonges du régime AKP, dans le cadre d’une guerre psychologique contre le peuple kurde.

« Nous appelons toutes les forces internationales, notamment les États-Unis, à voir la cause du peuple kurde et à abandonner la politique qui sacrifie les kurdes pour les intérêts économiques et politiques » a dit l’organisation, appelant également les mouvements politiques kurdes et les milieux démocratiques à mener une lutte commune contre la campagne de diffamation et de désinformation véhiculée par le régime AKP. (actukurde.fr/actualites, 18 août 2012)

Les Kurdes, les oubliés du Moyen-Orient

Pour la dix-huitième fois, une délégation des Amitiés kurdes de Bretagne est revenue du Kurdistan de Turquie après une semaine de contacts, au plus près des hommes et des femmes vivant dans un pays qui, depuis trente ans, ne connaît pas la paix.

Elle rend compte de sa mission en une vingtaine de pages, agrémentées d’une trentaine de photos.

Toutes les rencontres, lors de cette mission, voyage initiatique pour certains, nous ont enrichis et pour nombre d’entre nous, bouleversés. Les impressions exprimées à chaud par les membres de la délégation au lendemain du voyage sont comme des strophes qui interpellent et invitent à l’engagement auprès des ces hommes et femmes rencontrés.

Ce travail de terrain demande patience et obstination, On nous reproche parfois notre parti pris : s’il s’agit celui de la défense des droits d’homme, du droit des peuples à disposer d’eux-mêmes, oui, nous l’assumons et nous le revendiquons. Mais notre action qui s’inscrit dans la durée, à partir d’activités concrètes, de rencontres suivies, d’examens de faits avérés et de situations étudiées, témoigne de la véracité de nos récits et de la pertinence de nos analyses.

Notre discours parait iconoclaste parce qu’il rompt avec le "politiquement correct".

La brochure "Les Kurdes, les oubliés du Moyen-Orient", sera présentée pour la première fois au public les mercredi 22 et vendredi 24 août, à Douarnenez, dans le cadre du festival de cinéma (17-25 août 2012). En vente sur le stand des Amitiés kurdes de Bretagne, place du festival. (Amitiés kurdes de Bretagne, André Métayer, 16 août 2012 )

Displaced Villagers Unwilling to Return for Fear of More Clashes

The Governor's Office in the southeastern province of Hakkari announced the conclusion of the millitary operations against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in the district of Şemdinli on Saturday, some 20 days after clashes first broke out in the area.

Helicopter gunships and artillery shots can still be seen and heard despite the announcement of the Hakkari Governor's Office, however, according to Şemdinlihaber.com reporter Azer Demir.

The military operations against PKK militants conducting road checks in the villages of Bağlar and Rüzgarlı over the Şemdinli-Derecik highway began on July 23 and kept going for another 19 days with additional air support.

The governor's office issued a written statement claiming the PKK had failed to reach its goals and that large numbers of militants had died in the clashes. Locals continue leading their lives as usual, and the district governor's office has met some of their most imperative needs, the statement further claimed.

Many locals had abandoned their homes and left for the safety of nearby villages or their relatives in downtown Şemdinli during the clashes. Officials provided no explanation regarding the conflict and merely said two specialist sergeants and large numbers of PKK militants had been killed.

Displaced villagers unwilling to return

"Access through the Derecik road is still partly restricted, [authorities] conduct identity checks before they let people through. Members of press have again been denied permission [to acces the area,] too. We met with the locals in the Aşağı Yiğitler village with the district governor yesterday. The villagers said they were not going to return due to the possibility of a fresh military operation and further aerial strikes. Some 150-200 people used to reside in the village. They only briefly returned back to their village to take winter provisions and then left again," Azer Demir, a reporter for the Şemdinlihaber.com, told bianet.

"The funeral of a PKK member was found during an examination near the village and brought to downtown Şemdinli. There are no other funerals of PKK members beyond this one. The shops were a bit more alive today, but the expectation is for the operations to end in their entirety and for a peaceful [Ramadan] holiday to ensue," he added.  (BIA, August 12, 2012)

Kalkan: Revolutionary Operation in Şemdinli is the beginning

In an interview to ANF about the “Revolutionary Operation” in Şemdinli and Çukurca for the last two weeks, Kurdish Communities Union (KCK) executive council member Duran Kalkan said that the guerrilla activity and domination in the region is a warning to the Turkish state which –he said- will see the real power of guerrilla forces in the event of not taking a lesson from this warning.

Kalkan said that the guerrilla actions in the region, where over a hundred soldiers died according to HPG (People’s Defense Forces) sources, is a beginning and pointed out that the new struggle process is an answer to the increasing killing, imprisonment and oppression of the Kurdish people in the last one year.

KCK executive council member Kalkan underlined that the deadlock in the Kurdish issue is a consequence of the policies of the Turkish government which -he said- is mistaken for intending to come up with a solution to the problem by waging a war against the forces of the Kurdish people.

KCK demands democratic autonomy for the Kurds in Turkey on the basis of political and peaceful negotiations, remarked Kalkan and added that guerrilla actions and civil rebellion will emerge should the Turkish state refuse to agree on this proposal.

Kalkan noted that “Kurdish guerrillas have surrounded and taken the control of many areas in the regions of Şemdinli, Zap and Zagros, placing the Turkish army in a position in which it cannot go out of its military posts and will soon have to draw back or surrender.”

Democratic Turkey will be arising from the region, said Kalkan and added that Kurdish guerrillas have defeated the army of hired soldiers AKP government has formed against the forces of the Kurdish movement. (ANF, August 8, 2012)

Attaque contre un véhicule militaire dans l'ouest: un soldat tué

Un soldat a été tué jeudi et onze autres ont été blessés lors d'une attaque imputée aux rebelles kurdes contre un véhicule militaire dans l'ouest de la Turquie, a rapporté l'agence de presse Anatolie, citant des sources officielles locales.

Le minibus se rendait au commandement de la brigade amphibie d'infanterie de marine de Foça, dans la province d'Izmir, lorsqu'une mine a explosé à son passage, aux alentours de 08H00 (05H00 GMT), selon l'agence.

Le véhicule a ensuite été mitraillé, les soldats ripostant en ouvrant le feu à leur tour. Une deuxième explosion est ensuite survenue.

"Nous avons perdu un soldat et nous avons onze blessés dans deux explosions causées par des mines commandées à distance", a déclaré le gouverneur de la province d'Izmir, Cahit Kiraç, cité par Anatolie.

Un précédent bilan donné par la chaîne de télévision NTV faisait état de sept soldats blessés.

Les auteurs de l'attaque n'étaient pas immédiatement connus mais le Premier ministre Recep Tayyip Erdogan a affirmé que l'incident était "un nouvel exemple des efforts accomplis par le terrorisme pour s'étendre".

M. Erdogan faisait référence aux rebelles kurdes du Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan (PKK). L'attaque survient alors que d'intenses combats sont en cours dans le sud-est de la Turquie entre le PKK et les forces de sécurité.

Des témoins interrogés par NTV ont affirmé avoir vu un groupe de trois ou quatre personnes prendre la fuite à bord d'une voiture après l'attaque. Une opération de ratissage avec un soutien aérien a été lancée pour capturer les assaillants, a indiqué M. Kiraç. (AFP, 9 août 2012)

22 morts dans une attaque de la guérilla contre un poste de l'armée

Une attaque de rebelles kurdes contre un poste de l'armée dans le sud-est de la Turquie a fait 22 morts, a indiqué dimanche un gouverneur local cité par l'agence Anatolie.

A Ankara, le ministre de l'Intérieur Idris Naim Sahin a annoncé que 115 membres du Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan (PKK, interdit) avaient été tués en deux semaines d'opérations de l'armée contre les séparatistes kurdes dans cette région proche de la frontière avec l'Irak.

"Nous avons abouti à la conclusion que 115 membres de l'organisation terroriste séparatiste ont été neutralisés après une offensive intense lancée les 23 et 24 juillet", a déclaré le ministre, cité par l'agence.

Dans l'attaque des rebelles contre un poste de l'armée situé dans un village de la province d'Hakkari, six soldats, deux gardes de village et 14 combattants kurdes ont été tués, selon le dernier bilan officiel.

Trois femmes figurent parmi les victimes des soldats turcs, a précisé le gouverneur de la province, Orhan Alimoglu.

Quinze soldats, un garde de village et cinq civils ont été blessés dans les échanges de tirs qui ont suivi l'attaque, selon le gouverneur.

Les combattants du PKK ont lancé des assauts simultanés sur trois postes militaires à la frontière, faisant des victimes dans le village de Gecimli, a rapporté la chaîne de télévision privée NTV.

Ankara a lancé il y a deux semaines une large offensive terrestre et aérienne contre le PKK, déployant quelque 2.000 soldats dans la région pour tenter de chasser les rebelles de la ville de Semdinli.

Cette offensive intervient alors que selon certaines informations, des rebelles kurdes auraient pris le contrôle d'une partie du nord de la Syrie et que les affrontements entre les forces du régime du président Bachar al-Assad et l'opposition s'intensifient.

Le premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan a accusé Damas de laisser le champ libre aux rebelles kurdes dans le nord de la Syrie et a averti qu'Ankara n'hésiterait pas à frapper les "terroristes".

Selon Ankara, certains rebelles kurdes de Syrie ont été contraints de quitter leur refuge de la zone montagneuses du nord de l'Irak pour rejoindre cette région, après que l'armée turque eut organisé plusieurs raids aériens.

Les informations rapportant la prise de contrôle du nord de la Syrie par le Parti de l'union démocratique (PYD), allié syrien du PKK, a poussé Ankara à prendre des mesures diplomatiques et militaires pour neutraliser toute menace potentielle.

La Turquie a envoyé un convoi de chars, transportant des armes et des batteries de missiles sol-air vers la frontière avec la Syrie et organisé des manoeuvres militaires considérées par les médias comme une démonstration de force à l'encontre de Damas.

Depuis le début du soulèvement en Syrie, les relations entre les deux anciens alliés sont devenues exécrables. La Turquie réclame la fin de la répression contre l'opposition syrienne et le départ du président Bachar al-Assad.

Les rapports entre Ankara et Damas se sont encore aggravés après qu'un avion de combat turc F-4 a été abattu par la Syrie le 22 juin au large de ses côtes, tuant les deux pilotes et amenant Ankara à mettre Damas au rang des opposants "hostiles".

Damas récuse les accusations de la Turquie et affirme qu'Ankara apporte son soutien à des "terroristes" dans le but de faire tomber le régime syrien, faisant référence au repli de soldats de l'Armée syrienne libre en territoire turc près de la frontière.

La semaine dernière, le chef de la diplomatie Ahmet Davutoglu s'est rendu dans le nord de l'Irak pour évoquer avec le leader kurde irakien Massoud Barzani la situation dans le nord de la Syrie.

"La nouvelle Syrie devrait être libérée de tout groupe ou organisation terroriste ou extrémiste", ont déclaré les deux hommes dans un communiqué.

Bien que la Turquie ait noué des liens avec le gouvernement régional kurde du nord de l'Irak, Ankara est opposée à l'idée d'un Etat kurde séparé. (Nouvel Observateur, 5 août 2012)

La bataille de Semdinli et de Hakkari

Alors que la grande bataille de Semdinli se poursuit depuis 23 juillet après la prise de contrôle d’une large zone par les combattants du PKK, des nouvelles attaques ont été lancées dans la nuit de samedi à dimanche contre les postes militaires à Hakkari. Des dizaines de soldats et de mercenaires ont été tués.

La guérilla kurde a lancé dans la nuit de samedi à dimanche un assaut contre les postes militaires dans la région de Hakkari, tuant des dizaines de soldats, selon des sources locales.  Pour les autorités, six soldats et deux gardians de village ont été tués, ainsi que 14 combattants du PKK, une organisation armée et populaire qui lutte depuis 30 ans.

PKK : plus de 100 soldats tués

La branche armée du PKK, les forces de défense populaire (HPG), a  affirmé dans un communiqué que la guérilla a lancé des attaques en dix-neuf points contre des postes et des bases militaires. « Plus de 100 soldats ont été tués et nos combattants ont saisi au moins 20 armes » a declaré l’organisation, affirmant avoir perdu sept combattants dans ses rangs.

Des sources locales confirment aussi le lourd bilan des affrontements, caché systématiquement par les autorités.  « Nous sommes en pleine au milieu des affrontements. De nombreux soldats ont été tués près de nous. Certains soldats se sont cachés derrière nous pour se sauver. C’est une grande bataille » ont affirmé à l’agence de presse kurde DIHA les activistes de l’association « Mères pour la Paix », parises entre deux feux alors qu’elles voulaient se rendre sur la zone d’affrontement à Cukurca, dans la région de Hakkari. « Le convoi militaire a été attaqué en plusieurs points. Des balles viennent de partout » ont-elles dit, avant de faire demi-tour pour s'éloigner de la zone vers la vile de Van.

Bataille de Semdinli

Par ailleurs, la bataille de Semdinli se poursuivait au 14e jour de la prise de contrôle d’une large zone par le PKK à l’intérieur de la frontière.  Les affrontements ont lieu désormais à 1 km de la ville.

Le PKK a affirmé avoir tué 20 soldats turcs entre le 3 et le 4 aout à Semdinli, dans la région de Hakkari.  Une large zone, soit 35 km à l’intérieur de la frontière de Semdinli, est sous contrôle de l’organisation depuis 23 juillet.  L’armée bombarde intensivement la région ou des dizaines de milliers de soldats n’arrivent toujours pas à entrer par voie terrestre. Le gouvernement turc n’a fait aucune déclaration et les medias gardent toujours le silence. Des dizaines de soldats et mercenaires ont été tués depuis début de la bataille, selon le PKK.

Changement de tactique

Le dirigeant du PKK, Murat Karayilan, a affirmé que la frontière entre l’Irak et la Turquie a été supprimée après l’opération de la guérilla à Semdinli.  « Outre-frontière » et « dans la frontière » se transforment désormais en un conte, a-t-il dit à l’agence Firat, la bataille de Semdinli marquait un changement de tactique de la part de son organisation.  Selon lui, la guérilla entend rester positionnée à Semdinli et constituer un bastion dans cette zone, au lieu de mener des embuscades contre les forces turques.

D’autres attaques ont eu lieu à Eruh, dans la région de Siirt, contre deux bases militaires. Le PKK affirme avoir tué au moins 20 soldats et avoir détruit trois armes automatiques et une paire de jumelles après avoir saisies, lors de cet assaut mené le 2 aout. (Maxime Azadi, actukurde.fr/actualites, 5 août 2012)

Liberals concerned over ban on Kurdish names

Given Turkey’s mixed and often less than proud record of banning the use of the Kurdish language in the public sphere, it came as no surprise this month when the Diyarbakır Administrative Court ordered that the Kurdish name of a youth and culture center, as well as the names of 19 public parks in Diyarbakır, be changed.

However, in the face of unprecedented reforms on the Kurdish issue, particularly since the initiation of EU membership negotiations, banning words because they are Kurdish, or considering the letters Q, W and X dangerous, seems archaic, a relic from “old Turkey.”

The names bestowed on the cultural center and parks were deemed unsuitable on the grounds that they are not in the dictionary of the Turkish Language Association (TDK). To obtain legal recognition for a park named after the Kurdish poet Cegerxwîn in 2009, the municipality of Kayapınar in Diyarbakır applied to the Kayapınar Governor’s Office. Following the rejection of this application based on the non-Turkishness of the name, the municipality filed a lawsuit with the Diyarbakır Administrative Court. The court upheld the decision that the name is unsuitable for use, employing the same reasoning as the governor’s office. Municipal officials told Sunday’s Zaman on Wednesday that they had appealed the decision and placed a note in the park -- which is at present nameless -- informing the public of the court’s decision.

“This is a reflex of the Kemalist regime, to frighten the country with paranoia,” commented Kurdish intellectual Orhan Miroğlu in an interview with Sunday’s Zaman on Tuesday. He added, however, that he does not consider such decisions very important, provided positive developments continue to occur. The 2,500 applications received by Mardin’s Artuklu University for a position instructing Kurdish is one such development, described by Miroğlu as “our new reality.”

Although positive steps are being taken, ongoing attempts to ban public representations of Kurdish figures and language mar Turkey’s struggle for further liberalization. Last month, members of the Doğubeyazıt Municipal Council in the province of Ağrı were given jail sentences of one month and 20 days, and the district mayor six months, for naming a park in the district after Kurdish poet and philosopher Ehmedê Xanî. Such events support Miroğlu’s conviction that “despite all reforms in the judiciary, the Kemalist paradigm in the judiciary is protected.”

Speaking to Sunday’s Zaman, political scientist and Sabah columnist Hasan Bülent Kahraman commented, “Using Kurdish in the societal sphere is frowned upon because naming, for instance, a park [after a Kurdish figure] is considered ‘Kurdishization’ of that area, and changing the daily life by means of concessions to the Kurds.”

Conversely, according to Kahraman, establishing a Kurdish TV channel within TRT and offering the Kurdish language as an elective course in schools are measures considered in a different light as they are subject to “compartmentalization.”

Interestingly, the logic of the state’s opposition to the usage of Kurdish names because they carry letters like Q, W and X does not extend to the usage of English or French in daily life. More and more businesses adopt names from English, the “lingua franca” of the contemporary world, yet no lawsuit is filed against them for failing to choose names that appear in the official Turkish dictionary.

Sunday’s Zaman columnist and political scientist Doğu Ergil believes that these bans are a manifestation of Turkey’s inability to “come to terms with its sociological reality.” The use of language, says Ergil, can be a human rights issue, and in the ongoing struggle against the Kurdish language “Turkey is losing time, energy and prestige.” It is Ergil’s conviction that Turkey has not become a truly democratic state due to such legal shortcomings. TRT’s Kurdish broadcasting channel, says Ergil, “has no legal backing and could be shut down if [the state] wanted.”

Commenting that there has been de facto freedom on Kurdish names for some time, Kurdish writer İbrahim Güçlü warns that “such decisions feed radical attitudes” among the Kurds, while calling into question the legitimacy of such bans, which conflict with the universal application of democracy, human rights and freedoms.

Despite a considerable degree of consensus in Turkey on the necessity of recognizing the cultural rights of Kurds, analysts believe that the struggle between official discourse, based on decades of rejection of these rights, and reformist tendencies will continue, for the freedom to use dangerous letters. (TODAY'S ZAMAN, August 5, 2012)

The battle of Semdinli 
ALONG Turkey’s southern border, in a far-flung corner of the country that is wedged between Iraq and Iran, separatist rebels of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) have been waging one of the fiercest battles in recent years against the Turkish army. For nearly two weeks, PKK rebels entrenched around the township of Semdinli in the Hakkari province have resisted an onslaught by Turkish helicopters and fighter jets that have been pounding the mountainous terrain, setting fire to forests and forcing hundreds of villagers to flee. The battle is said to have spread to the outskirts of Semdinli, an impoverished town of 19,500 where sympathy for the PKK runs strong.

Sedat Tore, Semdinli’s mayor from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) says the din of artillery and bombs "is terrorising our people". Plumes of smoke have enveloped the town. "We are in a circle of fire," implores Mr Tore.

Details of the clashes remains sketchy because the combat zone has remained sealed off by the army ever since the battle started on July 24th. The army moved in following reports that PKK militants had set up checkpoints along a road connecting Semdinli to the northern town of Derecik and blown up several small bridges. The PKK claims to have killed as many as 49 Turkish soldiers and that it is controlling the areas surrounding Semdinli. The army denies the claims saying it has lost only two men and that it has killed at least 37 PKK rebels. "We really don’t know what is happening because the government won’t allow us to go in [to the combat zone]" said Esat Canan, a BDP MP in Semdinli, who expressed concern for villagers caught in the conflict.

The shroud of mystery thickened after Turkey’s foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, told a group of journalists this week that he knew what was happening in Semdinli but that "I won’t tell you." Turkish officials claim that the army has foiled PKK plans to spark an "Arab Spring" type uprising in the region but have failed to explain why the fighting has gone on for so long. A PKK affiliated website claimed on August 3rd that the rebels had launched a separate attack in the township of Eruh further west killing at least 11 soldiers. Turkish officials acknowledged that two soldiers died in the attack.

The rebels are expected to further escalate the violence before August 15th, which marks the 28th anniversary of their campaign for an independent Kurdish state uniting some 30m Kurds, scattered across Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. They have been emboldened by recent gains by Syrian Kurds, led by a sister group in the Democratic Union Party (known by its Kurdish initials PYD), which has wrested control of a string of Kurdish majority Syrian towns along the Turkish border.

Turkey has responded by beefing up its troops and ordinance along the border and threatening to intervene should the PKK use Syria as a launching pad for its operations. Amid all the chest-pounding there are some hopeful signs that Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development (AK) party has not abandoned reforms in favour of an all out (and long tested) "military solution" to the Kurdish problem. Even as the Turkish jets continued to rain bombs around Semdinli, AK MPs in Ankara gathered with opposition members in the Turkish parliament to thrash out the draft of a new constitution that the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has promised to deliver.

The wording is expected to pave the way for the Kurds’ long-standing demands to educate their children in their long-banned mother tongue and to shelve references to Turkish ethnicity in relation to citizenship. But there is a hitch. According to the drafting committee’s own rules there needs to be unanimity among members for any new article to be approved. The far-right Nationalist Action Party, which denies there is a Kurdish problem, is pushing back. To his credit Mr Erdogan has done more than any of his predecessors to improve the Kurds’ lot. But unless he resumes talks with the rebels that broke down last year, the scenes in Semdinli are likely to be repeated. (http://www.economist.com/blogs/newsbook/2012/08/turkish-politics)

Court Relieves Kurdish Mayor of His Duties

The Eigth Chamber of the Council of State ruled to relieve Mayor Selim Sadak of the southeastern province of Siirt of his duties in connection with a sentence he received on terrorism related charges.

The Ministry of Interior had filed a suit in the Council of State for Mayor Sadak to be dismissed from his post after the Supreme Court of Appeals ratified a verdict by the Fifth High Criminal Court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır to sentence him to 10 months in prison.

Authorities had filed the suit against Sadak on the charge of "making propaganda for a terrorist organization" due to a speech he delivered in relation to the death of Fatma Saka, a militant of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) who fell during a clash with security forces in the southeastern province of Şırnak in 2008, according to the Fırat news agency.

Mayor Sadak, however, requested of the Eight Chamber of the Council of State to overturn the Interior Ministry's appeal on the grounds that he had not been convicted of an act of terrorism and that he had not committed a crime of terrorism, in addition to the fact that the execution of his sentence had also been suspended.

The Council of State ruled, however, that Mayor Sadak was no longer eligible to stand for elections.

"Under these circumstances, there is no legal possibility for Siirt Mayor Selim Sadak to remain in office [since] he has lost his eligibility to stand for elections. Due to the reasons explained [above, the court] has decided through a majority vote to relieve Siirt Mayor Selim Sadak of his duties in accordance with article 44/b of Law No: 5393," the Council of State said. (BIA, August 1st, 2012)

KNK: "The vicinity of Semdinli under the control of Kurdish Guerillas"

The HPG Guerillas who are part of the PKK, have been in control of a large vicinity of the Semdinli Town of Hakkari City for the past 9 days, and have reported that 49 special forces members have been killed and 2 military helicopters which include a Cobra type and a Skorsky type have been shot down. It is reported that whilst the Guerilla have taken control of the area, the Turkish Army has been unsuccessful in entering the area. Local sources state that the Kurdish guerillas sometimes come to the immediate vicinity of Semdinli Town and conduct road-side searches.

“The Turkish Army has been imprisoned in military stations”

HPG Military Council Member Kemal Garzan, assessed the road-side controls and skirmishes that have been going on since 23 July in Semdinli Town (Şemzinan) of Hakkari City, stating “The operation we are conducting in Şemzinan, is a revolutionary operation. It's a siege. Control of the area is in the hands of the HPG. No matter what the cost may be, we will not take a step back. The Turkish army is at a loss and does not know what to do. Turkish army suffered heavy casualties in this operation. During this time, the organisations of the Turkish state and army in  Şemzinan have been dissolved. The Turkish army is unable to leave Şemzinan Town centre  or its military stations.

In the mean time, UAVs have been constantly flying over Semdinli Town's borders since 23 July. HPG Guerrilas have asserted their control over a large area for more than a week. This proves a first for the guerrilla struggle since the 90s.

Whilst the skirmishes which started 9 days ago still continue, the rural areas of the town are under constant bombardment of Turkish war planes. Following the capture of control, by the guerrilas, over a large area of Semdinli Town in Hakkari, the most comprehansive bombardment since 24 July has taken place. However, it has been reported that this offensive has also been pushed back by the guerrilla, and did not produce any results.

Turkish army clears out Kurdish villages by force due to its defeat against the Guerrilla!

To cover up and hide its failures against the Kurdish guerrillas, the Turkish state does not allow the press to enter the area and threatens the lives of journalists who report these news. Despite the large number of military casualties caused by intense skirmishes over the past 9 days, the Turkish media does not inform the global public of these news. Since 23 July, the Turkish state has emptied tens of Kurdish villages, and there is currently no contact with another 10 villages and 42 hamlets. Both a Kurdish member of parliament and the Mayor of Hakkari have been denied travel into the area by the Turkish soldiers. According to the local sources, skirmishes still continue in Semdinli. The Turkish army have been constantly transporting armed vehicles and soldiers to the area in order to regain control.

The development of these events may also bring about a humanitarian drama. We would like to inform the public and all related peoples of the urgency of the situation.

Kurdistan National Congress - KNK Media Committee
website: www.kongrakurdistan.net
e-mail: kongrakurdistan@gmail.com

Minorités / Minorities

New Book Published on Embattled Assyrian Monastery in Turkey

On Surday August 26, Dr. Pieter Omtzigt, MP for the Christian Democratic Party CDA in the Netherlands, presented the first copy of a book entitled The slow disappearance of the Syriacs from Turkey and of the Grounds of the St. Gabriel Monastery to Archbishop Polycarpus, the apostolic vicar of the Syriac Orhodox church in the Netherlands.

The Syriac Orthodox Monastery St. Gabriel (founded 397 AD) is one of the oldest monasteries in the world. The Turkish state is expropriating its land through a series of court cases. The existence of the monastery is at stake (full coverage).

Politicians from the German Bundestag, the US congress, European Parliament and the Dutch Parliament, as well as a number of leading academics contributed to this volume.

The book discusses the slow and nearly complete disappearance of the Syriac (also known as Assyrian and Chaldean) community form Turkey, the history and importance of the St. Gabriel Monastery and the ways the Turkish state expropriates the monastery's land.

The treatment of the St. Gabriel monastery is a the litmus test of freedom of religion in Turkey and has already been debated the parliaments from the Netherlands, Germany, the US and the European parliament.

Chapter authors:

William Dalrymple
prof. Martin Tamcke
Alan Hurst
prof. Herman Teule
Jens Nieper
Dr. Aryo Makko
Dennis Pastoor
Soner Onder
Horst Oberkampf
Markus Tozman
Dr. Renate Sommer (Member of the European Parliament)
Ingrid Fischbach (Member of the German Bundestag)
Dr. Sebastian Brock
prof. Baskin Oran
Yakup Bilge
Gus Bilirakis (Member of the US Congress)
Ute Granold (Member of the German Bundestag)
Dr. Naures Atto
Dr. Sébastien de Courtois (Member ot the Dutch Parliament)
Dr. Pieter Omtzigt (Member ot the Dutch Parliament)
Editors: Pieter Omtzigt, Markus Tozman and Andrea Tyndall

For more information contact

Kees den Biesen, president Stichting ondersteuning St. Gabrielklooster, keesdenbiesen@hotmail.com

Pieter Omtzigt, Member of Dutch Parliament , omtzigt@gmail.com +31 6 1830 5974
(AINA, 28 August 2012)

Urfa Jews’ cemetery demand disapproved

Şanlıurfa Municipality has rejected an appeal from a Jewish citizen requesting a cemetery for Jews in the city. “No proceedings have started based on the current appeal,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Eyüp Badem, a Jewish citizen living in the southeastern province of Şanlıurfa, appealed to Şanlıurfa Municipality for the creation a separate cemetery for the city’s Jewish community, Daily Taraf reported yesterday. The municipality, however, rejected the demand, saying that “allocating a separate cemetery for Jewish citizens is not possible.” Following the municipality’s decision, Badem wrote a letter to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan about the issue. The letter he received in response, dated Jan.

24, 2012 and signed by the Prime Minister’s Office’s Public Relations Department Chair A. İhsan Sarıkoca, also rejected his appeal. “Upon examining your request, it was found that you had made this request previously and the relevant authorities gave their answer. Consequently new proceedings have not been started for your current appeal,” the letter read.

On April 8, 2011, the Şanlıurfa Municipality Parks Directorate’s Cemeteries Department issued a letter responding to the matter, signed by Deputy Mayor Mahmut Kırıkçı. “Allocating a separate, individual cemetery for Jewish citizens is not possible according to the regulations regarding cemetery buildings and procedures of transfer and burial. However, there is no legislation or rule restricting the burials of Jewish citizens in our existing cemetery. Everyone is buried in the present cemetery, regardless of differences in religion, race, or sex. Our municipality helps everyone with the burial procedures, without regard to these differences. Of course we provide services to our Jewish citizens. But our municipality does not provide any religious funeral rituals; these are conducted by the families of the deceased,” the letter read.

53 secret Jewish families

“There are about 53 families who are hiding their Jewish identity in Şanlıurfa. [To date my family has] also hidden [its Jewish identity]. Our dead are buried in a Muslim cemetery. We cannot perform our religious rituals in this cemetery, because we are afraid. We cannot use any symbol of our religion. We want to bury our dead in our own cemetery from now on. But I have received negative responses to the appeals I made, although I wasn’t expecting that. In Şanlıurfa, which is home to many different religions and cultures, we Jews do not even have a cemetery of our own,” Badem said.

The Jewish community could consider purchasing land for the establishment of a Jewish cemetery if necessary, Badem said. “When we have our own cemetery, we will be able to perform our religious rituals and use our own symbols on our gravestones. We cannot do that in a Muslim cemetery,” Badem said. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 24,  2012)

Aramean request for education in mother tongue rejected

The Education Ministry has recently rejected a request by Turkey's Aramean (Syriac) community to open its own kindergarten and deliver education in their mother tongue on the grounds that the community is not designated a minority in the Constitution.
The request marked a first in the history of the Turkish Republic. In remarks appearing in the Vatan daily on Thursday, Sait Susin, a representative from the Aramean community in Turkey, said the İstanbul-based Syriac Kadim Community foundation was planning to open its kindergarten, which would also offer Syriac language lessons. The community submitted a petition to the İstanbul branch of the Education Ministry on June 6 and they received a response rejecting their request on July 26.
Susin talked about the community's experience to deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Hüseyin Çelik during an iftar (fast-breaking dinner) event last week. Çelik disagreed with the education authorities and said the İstanbul head of the Education Ministry must have misunderstood the request.
"Our government will meet this demand. We are open to requests by minorities' foundations," Susin quoted Çelik as saying.
There are roughly 25,000 Arameans in Turkey and 85 percent of their population lives in İstanbul. Susin said the Syriac language dates back to 5,000 years ago and the language was named as such after Arameans were converted to Christianity. The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, the main agreement regulating minorities in Turkey, recognized only Jewish, Armenian and Greek Orthodox communities as minorities. These groups were given legal rights to establish foundations and deliver education in their languages. (Today's Zaman, 16.08.2012)

Minister: "Halki’s reopening not on the agenda"

Reopening Istanbul’s Halki Greek Orthodox Seminary is not on the agenda of the government right now, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said Aug 18 on a visit to the Western Thrace region of Greece.

On Aug. 7, the metropolitan of Bursa and chief priest of the Halki Seminary on Heybeliada island, Elpidophoros Lambriniadis, said Istanbul’s Halki Greek Orthodox Seminary was ready to reopen after being closed four decades, the Hürriyet Daily News reported. “Everything is ready for the reopening of the seminary. No specific pledge or date has been given to us, but we believe the time has come for it because public opinion, the media, the state and even the opposition are ready. We are hopeful, excited and waiting,” Lambriniadis recently told Anatolia news agency.

When the Supreme Court decided that all higher education facilities had to be connected to a state university in 1971, the Halki Greek Orthodox Seminary was considered a “private higher education facility.” The school had to be tied to a state university or a state seminary to stay open. As the patriarchate was unwilling to associate the school with a Turkish university, the seminary was closed down.

Bozdağ visited Turks in the İskeçe region of Western Thrace during the Ramadan Bayram holiday. Bozdağ first visited the mufti of İskeçe, Ahmet Mete, and met with religious scholars in the region. Following the visit, during his press statement to Turkish and Greek journalists, Bozdağ said, “It was impossible to destroy the beliefs of the people by force.”

EU’s ‘double standard’

Bozdağ said the European Union had a “double standard.” The minister said minorities in the Western Thrace region of the Greece – which is an EU country – were having a series of problems regarding the issue of belief, but the EU was neglecting this issue. “There are many issues that the EU should be aware of in Western Thrace, and one of them is the issue of having a mufti directorate. The EU has a double standard in its perspective on this region. If they deny this, then there must be some problem with their eyes,” Bozdağ said.

Bozdağ said EU values are the values that Turkey also embraces, accepts and would like to adopt. “However in most EU countries there are implications which don’t comply with these values,” Bozdağ said. “While we are trying to realize these values, it is already a duty of the EU to make an effort in its own member countries. EU values should be enacted by everyone,” he added. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 20,  2012)

“Scientific” Racism in Divinity School Magazine

An article entitled "The Jewish Character" and which appeared in a magazine published by the Faculty of Theology at Uludağ University in the northwestern province of Bursa engages in racism under the guise of "science," according to Roni Marguiles, a Turkish-Jewish writer at the daily Taraf and a poet.

"We are meeting over this issue, and we are going to asses [the situation] accordingly... The article should perhaps be reviewed in its entirety. It says 'evaluations within the context of the Quran.' We are aware of the article that appeared on the daily Taraf... I do not have a specific opinion on this matter. I will not issue an explanation. We are going to announce our decision... We are planning to meet as the administration," Assoc. Prof. Recep Cici, the deputy dean of the Faculty of Theology at Uludağ University, told bianet.

Racism under the guise of "science"

Writer Roni Marguiles took up the matter in his column at the daily Taraf and highlighted the role pseudo-science has played in the history of racism in connection with the article entitled "The Jewish Character: A Historical and Socio-Psychological Approach."

"Upon reading the article, both the university dean and an ordinary reader [would] ask 'so what?' [Popular] racism in Turkey runs exactly in this vein; [it is] a racism that is not aware of being racist. This is what disturbs me most. The racism of the MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) does not bother me as much, for instance, as they engage in racism self-consciously. Racism that goes around under the guise of 'science,' however, is far graver," Marguiles said.

Marguiles also noted that the article cites the Protocols of Zion among its sources.

"It is known worldwide that this is a fabricated document; in fact, even its author is evident. All anti-semitic documents refer to this source," he said.

Racism against people of African descent in Europe in the 19th century also acquired a "scientific" outlook through the introduction of such fields as craniology, Marguiles said, adding that the eugenicist movement pioneered by Charles Darwin's cousin Francis Galton had also led to the emergence of "the science of refining the human race."

As long as there is a will, all kinds of discrimination can be dressed up under a "scientific" guise, he also said.

Marguiles further noted that he had also received many emails from his religious Muslim readers who told him not to be worry as "such a thing does not exist in Islam."

The determinants of the "Jewish Character"

The article written by Assistant Prof. Süleyman Sayar in 2000 kicks off with this intro:

"Jews have always been a contemporary matter throughout their long history in a variety of respects. The Jewish problem also constitutes perhaps the leading issue on the contemporary world's agenda. It must be a matter of interest to tackle the mentality and character of such a people, and the social, cultural and psychological dynamics that have brought this character and mentality about, within a historical context and through a socio-psychological approach.

When tackling the issue, [the author] will first clarify the concepts of personality and character, social and national character and mindset to establish a general framework, and then proceed to examine the culture and history of the Jewish community in relation to the manner in which it has shaped the Jewish character.

Finally, [the author] will attempt to identify the religious/ethical, and to some extent, the general national Jewish character in a historical framework by drawing upon certain verses in the Quran relating to the Jews and which identify certain concepts that elucidate [their] character."

The article also provides a list of the "concepts that determine the Jewish character:"

"Denial, attributing an equal to god, deceit, flaunting superiority, murder, unreliability, feelings of inferiority, cowardice, treachery, double-dealing, defeatism, injustice, rebellion, partisanship and disputatiousness, envy, callousness, self-indulgence, ignorance and stupidity, changing promises, concealing the righteous, wrath and curse."

Assistant Prof. Sayar's also wrote his graduate thesis on "The Jews and Their Attitudes Toward Their Religion According to the Quran."

He is currently lecturing at Uludağ University's Department of the History of Religions, and he has published a number of other articles as well, including the "Armenian Problem and the Armenian Church," "Protestant Churches in Istanbul" and "Satanism and the Concept of the Devil in Christianity." (BIA, Çiçek TAHAOĞLU, August 14, 2012)

Gül will not let the report on Dink's murder be shelved

President Abdullah Gül has said he will not let the report on the murder case of Armenian-origin journalist Hrant Dink be shelved, according to a group of writers and journalists who visited Gül recently to demand justice for the slain journalist. Dink’s family said the president’s news is “promising.”

“President Gül said he will follow up the institutions’ actions and will not let the State Supervisory Council’s (DDK) Hrant Dink murder report be shelved,” said writer Yıldız Ramazanoğlu, a member of the We Demand Justice Initiative, a group comprised of Muslim intellectuals, journalists and writers.

Garo Paylan, a supporter of the initiative who works as an administrator at Yeşilköy Armenian Elementary School, said the group “had no other chance but to try to convince Islamists to re-open the case.”

DDK had prepared a report at the request of Gül earlier this year in which they stated that Dink was targeted by a “marginal mentality,” and pointed to police officers who had posed with Dink’s murderer Ogün Samast under a Turkish flag after detaining him.

Meeting with initiatives

Ramazanoğlu held a meeting with Gül Aug. 7 along with fellow initiative members Journalists Foundation Vice President Cemal Uşşak and columnists Hilal Kaplan and Ömer Faruk Gergerlioğlu as representatives of nearly 80 petition signers.

“We showed that Muslim intellectuals were not choosing to stand idly by in this situation and the president appreciated this,” Ramazanoğlu told the Hürriyet Daily News.

“We demand they reopen this investigation to reveal the real organizational relations between the gunman and the state officials. The verdict of the European Human Rights Court also found Turkey guilty for not investigating the murder properly,” Ramazaoğlu said.

The triggerman, Samast, was last year sentenced to 22 years in prison for Dink’s murder. The instigator Yasin Hayal was sentenced on Jan. 17 to aggravated life imprisonment, while former police informant and suspect Erhan Tuncel was released, prompting widespread anger.

Ramazanoğlu quoted Gül as saying “There is a chauvinistic temper in Turkey,” referring to a non-organizational murder plan. But Ramazanoğlu said Gül emphasized the possibility that there had been an organization behind the murder.

Orhan Dink, the brother of Hrant Dink was also invited to the meeting with Gül, Ramazanoğlu said, adding that Dink said “the Dink family found the meeting hopeful.”

Paylan said the imitative used to be a part of group known as Hrant’s Friends, but later split because Dink’s “Muslim friends [wanted] to make a way to raise their voice in a different way.”“This group has a unique importance in this manner,” he said. “Armenians in Turkey have been struggling against the justice system since 2009, but it turned out to be in vain.” “Our voice was not heard from specific institutions and people since we are a minority who has to convince a big, strong majority in Turkey,” he told the Daily News in a telephone interview yesterday.

“They [have] now showed that being Muslim, a democrat and defending the rights of others at the same time is possible,” Paylan said. When Paylan was asked if politics would be a better battlefield to attempt to solve Dink’s murder on rather than through the judiciary system, he said the “ways to [achieving] justice were stuck in Turkey when it comes to the Dink case.”
(hurriyetdailynews.com, August 9,  2012)

Newest lynch wave against Kurds and Alevis

In Malatya an Alevi family and in İstanbul, Ayazağa and Muğla Kurdish workers have been attacked. On Sunday night Alevi Evli family, inhabitants at Sürgü district of Doğanşehir county in Malatya demanding the drums not to be played in front of their house created a brawl. When this was heard a group of 50 or 60 came to the Kurdish Alevi family’s home. Group was chanting religiously and singing the national anthem. The house was stoned windows were shattered by slogans like “This family will leave today!”. The barn next door was set on fire and the gendarme then opened fire in the air. After two hours the incident was dispersed by the arrival of reinforcements.
Servet Evli says an organized group of 400-500 came and stoned the house shouting “Death to Kurds”, “Death to Alevis”, “Burn them all”, “This world is not for them” and firing at the house, braking down fences and windows and doors trying to enter the place.
Malatya governor Ulvi Saran on Twitter commented: “Malatya incident is just an exaggerated provocation when a family improperly reacted to the drummer”. Deputy PM and Speaker Bülent Arınç also think it is exaggerated. Thousands in Taksim protested the lynching attempt shouting “Malatya will not become Sivas” and “Long live the fraternity of the people”.
Evli family counselor Cansu Yıldırım observed that the investigation of the assault should be about ‘crime against humanity’ and not ‘damaging property’ as it is instigated. Ramadan drummer Mustafa Evşi is under arrest for ‘causing public disorder’
Workers attacked in Ayazağa

On Tuesday in Ayazağa Kurdish construction workers and the locals fought with bats and stones. Police from Şişli, Kağıthane, and Sarıyer stations and the riot police were summoned.
The cause of the brawl was uncertain, claims various. Agencies and Habertürk claim it started by “making passes at girls in the park”. However worker Yasin Gönültaş’s comments to Dicle News Agency (DİHA) was not covered by the media in general: “Some younger friends go to the amusement park. Some locals come and tell them they are terrorists and not wanted there. That their brothers are martyred because of them. During the discussion suddenly a group of hundreds appear as in waiting and attack our friends. This is how it happened... they tell us not to go anywhere in the vicinity.”
There are also Tweets of hatred and offensive targeting of the Kurds. Following the events Kurdish workers are taken off the area, which is what the assailants wanted.
Lynch wave reaches Muğla

Working at Dalyan district of Muğla Kurdish laborers were attacked by a large group late in the afternoon. Restaurant section of Taştan Hotel where the workers are employed have been smashed with rocks and bats and the workers took shelter at the floor above.
According to İMC TV İhsan Güzel from Diyarbakır, the owner of the restaurant says they are not safe and are facing the risk of lynchings. Güzel says the incident started when a friend was beaten by a group on rampage declaring ‘We do not want PKK in Dalyan’ in slogans and 100s surrounded the hotel. Güzel says “They are trying to start a Turkish Kurdish fight here... ensign, kaimakam, mayor, everyone is watching the lynching. No one comes to our rescue. There are hundreds of assailants outside. They wrecked my work place. They still are downstairs. We can be killed if ventured down or they came upstairs. Contacted the mayor and he said ‘I have talked to them, they will not harm you.’ Yet there are hundreds of people with bats and stones at the ground floor.”  (http://www.antenna-tr.org/sites.aspx?SiteID=48).

Bibliography covering literary publications on the Armenian Genocide

A newly published bibliography covering literary publications on the Armenian Genocide will now serve as a key to the multitude of works written on this important chapter in  history.

Bibliographer Eddie Yeghiayan, Ph.D., has gathered a vast and extensive library of material on the Armenian Genocide, providing copious notes and details on the major works that have dealt with the destruction of the Armenians during World War I. In the “Armenian Genocide Bibliography,” Yeghiayan has arranged a library of information to help us gain a better grasp of the thousands of publications covering the genocide.

Of course, any bibliography that aspires to furnish an exhaustive collection of literature on so broad a topic as the Armenian Genocide will always fall just short of completeness. The voluminous documentation that exists on the systematic extermination of the Armenians during the First World War ranges from contemporary articles published in newspapers and journals worldwide, in the reports, correspondence, diaries, and memoirs of military men and statesmen, the eyewitness testimony of survivors, missionaries, relief officials, and officials in the diplomatic corps, to material from the archives of the United States, Europe, and the Near East, to say nothing about the numerous studies published in the realm of academia. Looking past the problems inherent in so daunting an enterprise, it is nonetheless surprising that no dedicated bibliography on the Armenian Genocide has appeared since Richard G. Hovannisian’s The Armenian Holocaust: A Bibliography Relating to the Deportations, Massacres, and Dispersion of the Armenian People, 1915-1923 in 1980. It was in order to fill this gap, to provide to the scholar and the layman alike a clear and accessible work of reference that Dr. Eddie Yeghiayan of the University of California, Irvine undertook the painstaking process of compiling a comprehensive bibliography on the Armenian Genocide. The descendant of survivors of the massacres and deportations, Yeghiayan has not only drawn from scholarly books, articles, and print media, but has also produced lists of works published in the fields of the arts and literature, as well as in the medium of television, documentaries, and the Internet. At over a thousand pages long and the product of five years’ of research, he has collated a vast and diverse array of material and presented it to the reader in a cogent and gracefully organized format. The Armenian Genocide: A Bibliogr! aphy will prove to be the definitive work for reference an! d consul tation for a new generation of scholars and individuals keen on learning about the first major humanitarian crisis of the twentieth century.

The Center for Armenian Remembrance is proud to bring the first of its kind digital archive of this vast collection of publications. The bibliography is available to the public and fully searchable at http://www.centerar.org/bibliography/. Visit this link, search and explore our vast archive today.

Center for Armenian Remembrance

Politique intérieure/Interior Politics

The Economist: Erdogan’s counterproductive ambition

THE Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has recently been seen sporting a Cossack-style hat like Ataturk’s. Kemalists were horrified. Yet nobody could dispute that Mr Erdogan has been Turkey’s most impressive leader since the great man’s death in 1938. His mildly Islamist Justice and Development (AK) party came to power in 2002 on a wave of popular support and a rejection of decades of inept rule. Mr Erdogan has lifted Turkey out of stagnation and political paralysis and made it an inspiration in its region.

He has chipped away at the generals’ might, improved the rights of women and Kurds, doubled GDP per head, built modern roads and hospitals and empowered the downtrodden. His reforms prodded the European Union into opening membership talks in 2005. Despite worries about a gaping current-account deficit, the economy has slowed but not crashed, unlike others in the Mediterranean.

It was no surprise when AK won a third term of single-party rule in June 2011. Yet a year on Mr Erdogan is being tested as never before. Setbacks include an alleged bout with cancer, a row with the powerful Muslim Gulenist group, escalating Kurdish violence and the war in Syria. He has grown increasingly authoritarian, his judgment perhaps clouded by an ambition to be elected president when the term of the incumbent, Abdullah Gul, ends in 2014.

It is this ambition that critics say is undermining Mr Erdogan’s promises to deliver a new democratic constitution. A parliamentary committee supposed to produce a draft text appears designed to fail. It needs unanimous approval from all its members for every article. “Are the nationalists going to agree to the Kurds’ demands for Kurdish-language education? Of course not,” says Levent Gultekin, a pro-Islamic commentator. Many suspect Mr Erdogan wants the AK party to produce its own blueprint that would boost the powers of the presidency, enabling him to keep running the country after the party’s rules require him to step down as prime minister. Since he does not have a two-thirds majority in parliament, a new constitution would need to be put to a referendum; most polls give AK a big lead.

Still, he is not taking chances. Over the past year he has been increasingly hawkish over the Kurds, scrapping secret talks with the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to end their bloody 28-year insurgency. He has reverted to force and the mass arrests of thousands of Kurdish activists. “The bond between Turks and Kurds is growing weaker by the day,” warns Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party.

Media bosses fearful of losing government contracts have sacked critical journalists. At least 80 journalists are in jail, many of them Kurds accused of PKK membership. The government’s intolerance extends to students, 2,824 of whom are in prison, almost a quarter of them charged with “membership of a terrorist group” for calling for free education and other “sins”.

Mr Erdogan’s secular opponents accuse him of reverting to his Islamist roots. Calling for a “more religious youth”, he has proposed to restrict abortions and has reintroduced imam hatip (clerical-training) middle schools. A new curriculum includes optional Koran and Arabic-language classes. Mr Erdogan’s embrace of pious nationalism is calculated to appeal to the far right and to conservative voters. But he may be overplaying his hand. The army’s battle against the PKK has had little effect. Scores of soldiers have been killed this year and the rebels have carried their battle from the mainly Kurdish south-east as far west as Izmir.

Mr Erdogan has taken to blaming the Syrian president, Bashar Assad, for the renewed violence. Mr Assad has ceded control of Kurdish towns along the border to a Syrian Kurdish group affiliated to the PKK. Yet critics point to Turkey’s overt support for the Syrian rebels, which has antagonised not only Mr Assad but also Iran. With scores of generals jailed on coup-plotting charges the army has been cowed into silence. But even Mr Erdogan’s supporters are questioning his Syrian gamble. His gibes at Turkey’s Alevi minority, which has spiritual bonds with Mr Assad’s Alawite sect, have not helped.

With America distracted by its presidential election, Europe bogged down in the euro crisis and the EU membership talks stuck, Turkey’s Western friends have little sway. A recent poll suggests that only 17% of Turks now believe they can join the EU. Many fear their country may be sucked into a regional war. Mr Erdogan is a master at scenting the public mood, but his popularity is falling. His priority ought to be putting his house in order, with a constitution that supports all Turkish citizens rather than his presidential aspirations. (http://www.economist.com/node/21561918)

What Is Going on at the Apaydın Syrian Rebel Camp?

We set on the road with journalists and deputies of the main opposition People's Republican Party (CHP) on Sunday to pay a visit to the "Apaydın Accomodation Facilities," which hosts fighters of the Free Syrian Army (FSA,) in the southern border province of Hatay.

Hurşit Güneş, a CHP deputy from the northwestern province of Kocaeli, said we could enter the camp, as they had acquired permission from the governor's office, but unfolding developments proved otherwise.

At the camp's gates, some 40 kilometers away from Hatay's Antakya district, the Turkish gendarmerie stands guard, but they seem to possess little initiative beyond opening and closing the entry doors.When we attempted to shoot photographs of the camp, in fact, FSA troops came out and harried us out of there, also attesting to the gendarmerie's relegation to a passive role in the camp, though we could still take a few shots in the nick of time.

A regional commander from the camp told us the strict measures governing acces to Apaydın were due to reasons of security, and that they did not allow photographs to be taken because the the families of the FSA troops in the camp still continued living in Syria.

The Disaster and Emergency Management Presidency (AFAD) also told us we could get into all the camps in the region, save for Apaydın, and it said nothing further.

The camps provide military drills, according to Abu Hussein, who said he was the commander of a small FSA contingent. The troops cross into Syria to fight in the morning and return back to Turkey at night, he added.

Al Qaeda militants roaming in Hatay?

And so, we departed from the camp to participate in the "Scream for Peace" event organized by the Yeşilpınar Municipality, while FSA troops kept us company until we exited the camp "to make sure we had left."

The Yeşilpınar Municipality was, in fact, planning to host the Ninth Daphne Festival in Hatay's Antakya district this year, but they abandoned the idea following the outbreak of the conflict in Syria, now raging right beside them across the border, and whose impact can even be felt in their home town.

The municipality then dropped the festival and decided to host the "Scream for Peace" event instead.

Among the people who took the floor on the first day were Erol Ekinci, the head of the Confederation of Progressive Trade Unions (DİSK,) CHP deputies Mehmet Ali Edipoğlu, Hasan Akgöl, Süleyman Çelebi, Hurşit Güneş and Refik Eryılmaz, journalists Fehim Taştekin, Halil Nebiler, Dinç Çoban, Ömer Ödemiş and Sinan Seyfettin, artists Hürdağ Aydın, Sadık Gürbüz, Orhan Alkaya, Ali Nafile and poet Mustafa Söylemez, as well as Emre Doğan, the head of the CHP's youth branches, Kemal Okuyan, a member of the Central Executive Board of the Turkish Communist Party (TKP,) Ali Kenanoğlu, the head of the Hubyar Sultan Alevi Association and Veysi Beysülen, the head of the Public Pensioners Union (Emekli-Sen.)

The participants all expressed a common desire for peace to prevail.

The attendants also questioned the reasons why access to the Apaydın Camp was barred, "what exactly lay hidden" inside and the conduct of the troops in the camp.

CHP Deputy Süleyman Çelebi claimed that Al-Qaeda militants were roaming in Hatay, while journalist Fehim Taştekin said an organization that invites foreign intervention and treads along sectarian lines is perpetrating treason against the revolution.

The event is also set to continue today with panels and concerts. (BIA, Ayça SÖYLEMEZ, 27 August 2012)

Tensions fuel debate over Syrian refugees

The debate over the Syrian refugees entering Turkey is becoming increasingly urgent, with total numbers rising toward 100,000 and tensions reported in refugee camps

The rapid increase in the number of Syrians fleeing from ongoing violence has brought many of the problems surrounding hosting refugees to the surface as residents living in the host cities of refugee camps begin to reveal their discontent.

While a member of the main Syrian opposition group blames the diversity of Syrian refugees for recent incidents, some locals in the southern city of Hatay say they are fed up.

“Two of the rebels climbed to the balcony of our house and started to observe the house,” a local from Dikmece village, located 10 kilometers away from the city center, was quoted as saying in daily Hürriyet yesterday. “We complain to the authorities but nothing happens.”

Adding to the already tense situation was the refusal of main opposition deputies’ visit to a refugee camp.

Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu slammed the government yesterday after a party delegation was not allowed to visit the Apaydın refugee camp near Hatay, which hosts defected Syrian soldiers.

“I sent our deputies to check out the camp, which was said to be full of agents and spies,” Kılıçdaroğlu said while in the central Anatolian province of Afyonkarahisar. “But the authorities said you cannot enter this camp. Now I expect an answer from the government: ‘What is in that camp? Who are you training in that camp? Are you raising men to spill Muslims’ blood?’”

Kocaeli deputy Hurşit Güneş said they couldn’t get the required authorization from the Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD). “There are claims over this camp that defected soldiers are being trained and given weapons and sent back to Syria,” Güneş said, adding that he will follow up the issue when he returns to Ankara.

Turkey is currently home to nearly 80,000 Syrians who have fled violence in their country since March 2011. Turkey representative of the Syrian National Council (SNC) said the number of Syrian pro-government militiamen who fled to Turkey during the heavy clashes in Aleppo have increased rapidly in the last 10 days.

Regarding the recent news reports that locals of the southern city of Hatay were causing disturbance in the city, Khaled Khoja said there were some skirmishes between local villagers and Syrian refugees here and there, but that it would be a mistake to reflect these incidents as a “general fact.”

“Especially after the heavy clashes in Aleppo; many pro-al-Assad militiamen have also fled to Turkey. The Turkish government would not be able to know who was pro-government or who was anti. They accept all the refugees who said they escaped from the violence. And right now there are many Shabbihas staying in these refugee camps in the southern cities of Hatay and Kilis,” Khoja told the Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

Khoja said besides pro-Assad forces, there are all kinds of ethnic groups staying in the refugee camps in Turkey. “There might sometimes be skirmishes and disturbances because of this mixed social structure in these camps, however this must not be generalized,” he said. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 27,  2012)

Interior minister attacked with stones in Turkey's southeast

Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin was attacked by a group of people who threw stones at him during his visit to the eastern province of Hakkari friday, daily Hürriyet has reported.

Şahin was reportedly speaking with locals on Cumhuriyet Street after the fast-breaking dinner when the group began throwing stones at him while shouting slogans.

Police deployed pepper gas and water cannon while also firing into the air to disperse the group.

The minister was subsequently transported to the Hakkari Governor's Office after staying in a cafe for 15 minutes for protection.

No injures were reported.

Şahin continued his ongoing trip to the eastern province of Hakkari saturday under tighter security after angry locals attacked him with stones the previous day.

Şahin traveled from the provincial center to Şemdinli district via Sikorsky army helicopter that was escorted by Cobra army helicopters for security reasons.

Şahin visited the police station’s social facilities and celebrated the first day of the Ramadan bayram holiday with the officers and their families. The minister was later set to head for the adjacent province of Van.

Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) Hakkari deputy Adil Kurt, meanwhile, accused Şahin of “making provocations during Hakkari locals’ Ramadan bayram holiday” after discussing the matter with locals on Cumhuriyet Street. “The minister did not come to Hakkari to celebrate the bayram but to make provocations,” Kurt said. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 20,  2012)

Freed MP’s remarks on peace show rift in CHP

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Tunceli deputy Hüseyin Aygün’s moderate language regarding outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants has caused controversy within his party. CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has requested that Aygün return to Ankara immediately.

Aygün’s remarks were his personal opinions and did not reflect the party’s views, CHP deputy chair Faruk Loğoğlu said. Aygün is expected to testify to the prosecutor about his kidnapping by the PKK today in Tunceli, and will fly to Ankara in the afternoon.

Aygün was released by PKK militants on Aug. 14 after a 48-hour-long abduction. Speaking to reporters in Tunceli after his release, Aygün said he had been “treated with respect” by the PKK members. “The organization said they kidnapped me for propaganda reasons,” he said. “The young fellows who undertook this [kidnapping] are children of this country too, and they said they wanted to send a message of peace and a call for a cease-fire with this action.”

The PKK members asked the lawmaker to take a more active role in attempting to find a solution to the Kurdish issue and the establishment of a cease-fire, Aygün said. “They said they perceived the CHP’s policies on solving the Kurdish issue in a positive light but said all parties had to make an effort to solve the problem.”

The PKK members “are aware” that the struggle they are waging is “meaningless,” Aygün said, adding that the militants said their demands for democratic autonomy were a democratic request that did not require using arms and was practiced in many European countries. The militants also told Aygün they would be “glad” if he chose to pursue politics as an independent deputy. “I told them no decision can be made on this matter at the barrel of a gun,” he said. “I told them I was proud to be the Dersim [Tunceli] deputy of the new CHP and said the new CHP had given signals of a transformation by accepting other figures, such as myself, into the party.”

Metin Feyzioğlu, head of the Ankara Bar Association and a CHP party assembly member, criticized Aygün’s remarks, criticizing him for “approaching a terror organization with sympathy.”

“No one should describe the separatist terrorist organization, which uses cruel, violent methods, as fellow freedom-fighters,” Feyzioğlu said in a written statement.

Some CHP deputies are also reportedly annoyed about Aygün’s remarks, and Kılıçdaroğlu has requested that Aygün return to Ankara because of these complaints, the Hürriyet Daily News has learned.

Aygün told reporters he would stay in Tunceli and continue his visits around the region yesterday morning, but changed his plans after talking with Kılıçdaroğlu.

Aygün’s statements may be perceived as controversial, but Aygün had made a call for peace, CHP party spokesperson Haluk Koç said, speaking to the Daily News.

“There’s a call [for peace] in Aygün’s remarks. He made a call for Turkey and for the PKK. ‘I wish those young people had gone to university instead of going to the mountain [to join the PKK],’ Aygün said. His previous statements about the PKK have also been very clear. Aygün had said that the PKK would not achieve results with arms, violence and bloodshed. Aygün’s remarks will be interpreted differently, but the CHP’s attitude toward terrorism and the terrorist organization is loud and clear,” Koç said. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 16,  2012)

CHP slams AKP, MHP over convention failure

Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has slammed both the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) over their refusal to attend the scheduled extraordinary parliamentary session. “While our borders have become a powder keg, and our internal and external security is under threat, Parliament is the last institution that should be on recess. Keeping Parliament closed while there is an extraordinary situation in our country is disrespectful of the people’s will. We’re here at Parliament because we respect the people’s will,” Kılıçdaroğlu said yesterday, speaking at his party’s extraordinary parliamentary group meeting.

Parliament’s General Assembly gathered yesterday in an extraordinary session upon the CHP’s request, to discuss the latest attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The gathering did not achieve the required quorum of 184 lawmakers, however, as the AKP and MHP did not attend, on the grounds that such a session would demonstrate that the PKK was strong enough to cause Parliament to convene.

Almost 130 CHP lawmakers and 10 from the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) attended the session, but they did not fill enough seats to reach the required number.

Holding an extraordinary parliamentary group meeting with his lawmakers ahead of the General Assembly session, Kılıçdaroğlu said that such a call for an extraordinary parliamentary session would have been made by the ruling party, if Turkey was an ordinary democratic country.

“The CHP made the call for extraordinary session because the ruling party is afraid to give an account [of the recent operations against the PKK] to Parliament. The ruling party should inform Parliament and receive opinions from opposition parties. Parliament is the place that represents the national will, and the ruling party should inform Parliament for this reason. If you refuse [to inform the Parliament], that means you ignore the Parliament and the people’s will,” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

‘No change in Kurdish policy’

Kılıçdaroğlu also criticized the MHP and accused them of lending support to the AKP’s policies. “Mr. Bahçeli has said Turkish soil is under siege by the PKK. This view is very dangerous and scary. If we are facing such danger, will you come up with a solution by lending your support to the AKP policies that brought Turkey to this point?” Kılıçdaroğlu said.

Once again condemning the kidnapping of CHP Tunceli deputy Hüseyin Aygün by the PKK, the CHP leader said Aygün’s abduction will not change the CHP’s attitude towards Kurdish issue, in a veiled appeal to the PKK. “I’m appealing to the all groups that have sovereignty claims over our region. The CHP will not take even a step back from our country’s interests. We will not accept any power other than Parliament as an interlocutor. We will not seek our legitimacy anywhere other than the national will,” Kılıçdaroğlu said. “This incident will not change our point of view about terrorism. We will not allow terrorism to determine our views, even if it targets our closest [colleagues]. We will deliberately speak the language of peace and defend societal conciliation. We will not bear a grudge.” (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 15,  2012)

PKK released CHP deputy Aygün after two-day captivity

The Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) on Tuesday freed Turkish opposition lawmaker Hüseyin Aygün whose surprise abduction over the weekend in the southeast province of Tunceli caused fears of an escalating campaign of kidnapping and violence.

The main opposition CHP's Aygün was kidnapped by PKK members who set up a roadblock in Tunceli on Sunday. The PKK announced on Tuesday that they would release Aygün shortly.

Aygün's relatives said the politician was with military police after the militants brought him through the mountains to within sight of a village, and left him to walk there himself.

Aygün was released close to a Aşağı Torunoba police post, some 6-7 km away from where he was kidnapped Sunday night. In the police post, Tunceli prosecutor phoned Aygün and asked if he wants to inform him about the abduction. He refused to testify about the details of his kidnapping and said he would later inform the security forces about the details.

Tunceli governor's office offered a helicopter to take him to central Tunceli from the village where he was kidnapped but the CHP deputy refused the offer. The helicopter was pursuing the car of Aygün from the air.

Aygün told a news conference in Tunceli later on Tuesday that his captors said they kidnapped him for “political propaganda.” He added that he didn’t receive any threats and that the captors were respectful to him.

Aygün said his captors asked him to do politics without any party affilitation but he replied that this could not be possible “under the shadow of guns.”

Aygün said the incident was not aimed at his security and that “it was targeted to send a message to Turkish people.” He added that those who captured him were a group of young people and that he sensed most of them wanted to return home.

While the PKK has previously kidnapped soldiers, local politicians and tourists, this is the first time it has kidnapped a lawmaker. Most hostages have been released without harm.

Aygün was elected to the Parliament to represent Tunceli, where he worked as a lawyer for 14 years. According to his website, his work focuses on human rights abuses, such as the forcible evacuations of Kurdish villages to deny support to the terrorists in rural areas, as well as torture cases.

Security sources said about 200 specially trained soldiers were in the area in an effort to rescue Aygün.

"This operation is placing Hüseyin Aygün's life in danger. The CHP and the public must be aware of this, and operations must be halted," a PKK statement said, according to pro-PKK Fırat news agency. (TODAY'S ZAMAN, August 14, 2012)

Des rebelles kurdes enlèvent un député kurde

Hüseyin Aygün, député du Parti républicain du peuple (CHP), principale force d'opposition, a été enlevé dimanche dans une zone rurale par un groupe de rebelles kurdes armés alors qu'il visitait sa circonscription de Tunceli (est), un des théâtres de combat entre le PKK et l'armée.

Dans un communiqué, Le PKK a confirmé lundi avoir "placé en détention" le député et sommé les autorités turques à mettre fin à l'opération visant à le secourir.

"Le député Hüseyin Aygün a été placé en détention par nos combattants", a indiqué la branche armée du PKK , le HPG, dans un communiqué diffusé sur l'agence pro-kurde Firatnews.

"Une opération a été lancée (...) Celle-ci met en danger la vie du député", a souligné le PKK.

Les rebelles ont laissé partir l'assistant de M. Aygün et un journaliste qui les accompagnait tout en s'emparant du député, a déclaré le gouverneur de Tunceli Mustafa Taskesen.

Selon l'entourage de M. Aygün, le PKK aurait promis de le libérer "dans quelques jours", un rapt visant à attirer l'attention de l'opinion publique sur la cause kurde.

Le ministre turc de l'Intérieur Idris Naim Sahin a confirmé cette hypothèse, affirmant que le PKK avait voulu créer "la sensation" en ravissant ce député avant l'anniversaire, le 15 août 1984, de ses premières opérations armées dans le sud-est anatolien, peuplé majoritairement de Kurdes, rapporte l'agence de presse Anatolie.

"Nous poursuivons de près l'affaire", a-t-il dit.

Le 15 août 1984, les rebelles kurdes du PKK attaquaient pour la première fois des unités de l'armée et de la police dans le sud-est, à Eruh et Semdinli.

"Pour la première fois, un parlementaire a été enlevé par une organisation terroriste. Cela démontre le niveau où est arrivé le terrorisme", a déclaré Haluk Koc, porte-parole du CHP qui devait tenir une réunion urgente de ses instances dirigeantes lundi à Ankara.

Le conseil des ministres qui se réunira, comme tout les lundis, dans la capitale turque doit également se pencher sur cette affaire.

Ce rapt "montre quel genre d'organisation est le PKK", a commenté dimanche soir le Premier ministre Recep Tayyip Erdogan qui a assuré que "toutes les forces de sécurité traquent les terroristes".

M. Aygün, un Kurde âgé de 42 ans et avocat de formation, avait attiré les foudres du PKK dans le passé en appelant le mouvement à renoncer purement et simplement à la lutte armée.

Les rebelles kurdes enlèvent souvent des travailleurs, militaires ou responsables locaux pour les utiliser comme monnaie d'échange contre la libération de rebelles capturés. Trois militaires ont ainsi été récemment enlevés.

Les combats entre le PKK et l'armée s'intensifient régulièrement l'été. Dimanche dernier, des rebelles ont attaqué un poste de l'armée proche de la frontière irakienne (sud-est), provoquant des affrontements qui ont fait 22 morts.

La tension est récemment montée d'un cran dans le dossier kurde, les autorités turques ayant menacé de mener des opérations contre le PKK en territoire syrien déchiré par un conflit généralisé si ce dernier était utilisé par les rebelles kurdes pour déstabiliser la Turquie. (AFP, 13 août 2012)

CHP asks for transparency on operation

As clashes continued between security forces and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in the Şemdinli-Hakkari area bordering Iran and Iraq on Aug. 5, prior to a chain of statements from Turkish government officials, a Parliamentary delegation visited the region asking for more transparency regarding the ongoing operations, which are entering their third week now.

Following a call to the government from main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu last week saying, “We want to know what is going on in Şemdinli,” five CHP deputies paid a visit to the town that the PKK claimed to have taken under control in its propaganda statements.

There were no signs of any PKK control of Şemdinli, as the CHP delegation walked about freely and talked to anyone they wished. That included locals who had been forced to evacuate their villages to escape from the clashes and had come to Şemdinli in search of shelter. The CHP deputies asked to visit villages where local people had been forced to evacuate due to military operations, but Şemdinli District Governor Mesut Gençtürk refused, citing security concerns.

Distant sounds of military operations were heard and occasional smoke and helicopters could be observed from the town, indicating the seriousness of the situation. The opposition deputies could not get much information from the local civilian and military officials. “We did not receive any new information other than the official statements that had been made before,” CHP Gaziantep deputy Mehmet Şeker said.

The CHP delegation will prepare a report about its trip. The first official statement on the number of casualities in the ongoing clashes in Şemdinli came during the CHP delegation’s visit. Two soldiers from the Turkish army have died, and 14 have been wounded in the military operation that is currently underway in Şemdinli, Gençtürk said.

The CHP deputies were briefed on Aug. 4 by Hakkari Governor Orhan Alimoğlu and military officers about the clashes in the region. About 100-150 PKK members attacked Turkish security forces in the region, and seven of them were killed during the clashes, according to the briefing given to the CHP deputies. Nearly 500-600 Turkish soldiers responded to the attack, and the clashes still continue, the CHP deputies told Hürriyet Daily News. Nearly 30 PKK supporters in Şemdinli have been providing armed backing to the terrorist organization, the CHP deputies said. The CHP delegation received an update about the clashes as it was announced by Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin on their way back, after they had completed their observations in town.

‘Bombing our land’

İsparta deputy Ali Haydar Öner, Gaziantep deputy Mehmet Şeker, Ordu deputy İdris Yıldız, Adıyaman deputy Salih Fırat and İzmir deputy Alaadin Yüksel, the group’s leader, all arrived in Şemdinli yesterday, where they met with local governors and villagers suffering from the operations in Şemdinli. “We came to learn what was happening here, but there is much different information here. We have been bombing our own land for 30 years. Everyone is looking death in the face. There is excessive poverty, but the people want peace above all. They were pleased by our visit. Seeing this place makes one change. It is not correct to assume from afar that the people of this region are terrorists. As a politician, I have to struggle for a solution to this problem. Our chairman’s statement that ‘[he] will solve the problem whatever the cost is,’ comes from his feeling for the incidents happening here. The West talks about a de-facto separatism. It has been assumed that the people in this region want separatism. However, it is clear that the situation is exactly the opposite here. You can clearly see that they want to live under a single flag,” Yüksel said. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 6,  2012)

Forces armées/Armed Forces

Supreme Military Council forces all jailed generals to retire

Turkey's Supreme Military Council forced all of the forty generals and admirals who are currently under arrest as part of ongoing coup investigations to retire in its annual decisions announced on Saturday.

The YAŞ meeting concluded on Friday and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan met with President Abdullah Gül, along with YAŞ members, on Friday evening and handed him the YAŞ decisions for approval. Gül approved the decisions on Saturday.

According to the decisions, a total number of 55 admirals and generals were forced to retire due to “lack of vacant seats in their positions.” Among them were 4o admirals and generals presently under arrest on coup plotting and terrorism charges.

There are 68 active duty generals and admirals under arrest. Forty of them were expecting to be promoted at this year’s YAŞ meeting. Twenty-one of them, whose service was extended in 2010 and 2011, have already hit the four-year limit, and they needed to be asked to retire, according to military custom. The tenure of the remaining 19 officers might have been extended but the council refused to do so.

The 68 generals and admirals are suspects in coup plotting and terrorism-related cases, including those related to the Ergenekon terrorist network, the Balyoz (Sledgehammer) coup plot and an Internet campaign to discredit Turkey’s ruling party. Among the jailed generals and admirals are Lt. Gens. İsmail Hakkı Pekin, Nejat Bek and Yurdaer Olcan; Maj. Gens. Gürbüz Kaya, Ahmet Yavuz, İhsan Balaballı and Berkay Turgut, and Vice Adms. Mehmet Otuzbiroğlu and Kadir Sağdıç.

YAŞ meetings in recent years have been occasions on which civilian will has come up against the Turkish military in attempts to make it give up its anti-democratic efforts and bow to the will of the people.

According to the YAŞ decisions announced on Saturday, 47 colonels have been promoted as generals and admirals. (TODAY'S ZAMAN, August 4, 2012)

Top ex-soldier admits coup plot bid on AKP

Former Chief of General Staff Ret. Gen. Hilmi Özkök continued to give his testimony in the ongoing Ergenekon coup plot case Aug. 3, accusing his predecessor, Hüseyin Kıvrıkoğlu, of trying to block his path to becoming the country’s top military official. Özkök also accused then-second-in-command Gen. Aytaç Yalman of being the source of the idea to issue a memorandum against the AKP government in 2003.

Testifying at the 13th Istanbul High Criminal Court in Silivri, Özkök said he had cautioned then-commander of the Gendarmerie Forces Şener Eruygur in 2003 about the coup conspiracies, and had only praise for the former chief of staff and deputy chief of staff at the time, suspect İlker Başbuğ.
“Kıvrıkoğlu said I would not be able to struggle against [religious] fundamentalism. Hence, he did not want to appoint me as the chief of staff until there was no problem,” Özkök said.

When the judge asked whether there was any “direct or indirect effort from civil or military powers to make him resign,” Özkök said this did not happen. “However, when the [negative] reports were published about me in the papers, I thought maybe they were pushing me to resign,” he said.

In the second day of his testimony, Özkök named former Land Forces Commander Gen. Yalman as the author of the memorandum idea. Yalman was the one who “expressed the idea of issuing a memorandum to the government as a possible plan of action,” Özkök said, adding that “it was not a proposal.”

Özkök was calm and confident while responding to questions directed from the court board and the suspects’ lawyers. He left many queries unanswered, saying “he did not know” or “he had never heard of it.”

However, his answers regarding the alleged coup plans were critical. Özkök said another alleged coup plan, the “Balyoz” (Sledgehammer) plot, had gone beyond its intended aim, and that he had warned the officers responsible for it.

“There were some aspects related to certain politicians … This seminar was conducted and the most dangerous scenario was role-played beyond its aim. Political figures and political events were role-played as if they were real. I made the land forces commander investigate this afterwards,” Özkök said.

Özkök also said he “warned” the Gendarmerie commander at the time, Şener Eruygur, at Turkish General Staff Headquarters after a CD was given to him about the alleged coup plans “Ayışığı” (moonlight) and “Yakamoz” (phosphoresce in the sea). “I told Şener Eruygur that I knew about these documents, I warned him in light of these documents,” he said.

Özkök also said he was refused by the legal counselor of Gendarmerie General Command when he demanded a search of the computers at the command. “The counselor told me it would be better not to do this,” Özkök said.

Praise for İlker Başbuğ

İlker Başbuğ, another former chief of the General Staff, who is accused of being the leader of a terrorist organization, once again attended the hearing. His lawyer asked Özkök to define Başbuğ in just one sentence.

“A commander who did not lead me, but who assisted me in making decisions properly and someone whose work I gained advantages from,” Özkök said.

US pressure

Former Chief of General Staff Gen. Başbuğ said the United States had asked the Turkish military to exert political pressure on the government to approve a parliamentary resolution that would have allowed American forces to use Turkish soil to open a northern front during the Iraq war in 2003. The resolution, however, failed to receive enough votes and was rejected in a parliamentary vote on March 1, 2003. Özkök said it was Paul Wolfowitz who had asked the Turkish army to put pressure on the Turkish Parliament.

“I expressed my opinion to the government [when I was asked], but I did not choose the way to pressure [the government] politically,” he said.

Özkök also complained about “black propaganda” circulated against him during his service by some in media circles. Suspect Mustafa Balbay, who is also a deputy from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), became Özkök’s target.

“Respected journalist Balbay,” Özkök began, but he went on to criticize Balbay for writing a column on his career without knowing basic information about his life. “It was written that I had lived outside of Turkey for 18 years,” he said. “This is not true, and my resumé can be checked, even on Wikipedia.”  (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 4,  2012)

Affaires religieuses/Religious Affairs

Alevi house of worship set on fire

Arsonists attempted to set fire to a cemevi (Alevi house of worship) in Istanbul’s Kartal district, a day after the homes of 25 Alevi families were marked by unknown people in the same neighborhood, an Alevi association has claimed.

Ali Kenanoğlu, the chairman of the Hubyar Sultan Alevi Cultural Association, said the tables, chairs and other goods in the garden of the cemevi were set on fire Aug. 24 at around 4 a.m. The fire was put out by firefighters before it reached the inside of the cemevi.

“The fire was put out by chance after a local resident saw it. Apparently, he called the firefighters and they prevented the fire from spreading inside the cemevi. The Alevis are clearly threatened, and with impunity now. We want the perpetrators to be found as soon as possible,” Kenanoğlu said.

The houses of 25 Alevi families were marked the day before in the same Kurfalı neighborhood of the Kartal district of Istanbul, Kenanoğlu said.

Attacks on Alevis have risen in recent months in Turkey.

On July 26, the home of an Alevi family was stoned and their stables burned down by an angry mob of around 100 people in the southeastern province of Malatya, after Hasan Hüseyin Evli allegedly told a Ramadan drummer not to wake them for sahur, the meal before sunrise. Another member of the Evli family, Servet Evli, claimed that pressure and threats directed at them were continuing in the neighborhood.

On the night of Aug. 16, the property of an Alevi family in the Sürgü distrcit of Malatya was also reportedly vandalized. Local resident Cemal Mazıcı’s car tires were slashed, and slogans such as “Death to Alevis” were written on his car.
(hurriyetdailynews.com, August 25,  2012)

Alevi Homes Marked in Istanbul

Unidentified individual(s) marked 25 Alevi homes with blue paint in Istanbul's Kartal district on Wednesday. The Pir Sultan Abdal Culture Association (PSAKD) called on the government to roll into action and bring those responsible before justice, while locals in the neighborhood of Çınardere (Kurfalı,) where the incident took place, also petitioned the district governor's office.

The PSAKD issued a statement demanding an end to all acts of emnity between peoples.

"Our country is rapidly drifting toward chaos in domestic and foreign politics in an environment where bombs keep going off in [Turkey] and in our neighbors. [They] are trying to turn Alevis, Sunnis, Kurds, Turks and Arabs into enemies through policies that fuel ethnic and sectarian differences enacted by the AKP (Justice and Development Party) government that acts as a sub-contractor of imperialism," the PSAKD said in its statement.

"We call on the government to fulfill its responsibilities, refrain from acts and rhetoric that saw the seeds of hatred among our people and bring before justice those incompetent [individuals] who draw meaningless shapes and writings on walls," they added.

A press statement is scheduled to take place at 19:30 on Aug. 24 in Istanbul's Kartal Square. (BIA, 23 August 2012)

Kılıçdaroğlu calls on conservative voters to support CHP

The leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, has invited all citizens who support a democratic, secular, welfare state and the rule of law in Turkey to support the CHP.

On Monday, Kılıçdaroğlu, made a speech from the CHP's central Rize office while visiting Rize's Ayder district for the Eid al-Fitr holiday with his family.

Earlier that day, after breakfast, Kılıçdaroğlu had taken a walk through a wooded area in Ayder with his family. Observers noted that his wife, Selvi Kılıçdaroğlu and daughter, Zeynep Kılıçdaroğlu, had donned headscarves with local motifs given to them by local women.

After their morning walk, the family moved on to Rize's center. During their trip, Kılıçdaroğlu at times stopped the vehicle to chat with locals, wishing them a happy Eid al-Fitr.

During his visit to the CHP central office, Kılıçdaroğlu made a speech to mark the Eid al-Fitr holiday, saying Atatürk's motto “Peace at home, peace in the world” is more relevant than ever. He said Turkey's neighbors have turned into a sea of blood. “There is great unrest around us. Our relations with Syria, Iran, Iraq and Russia are strained. We need a new approach that places peace above all else in this region, one that embraces all people. Turkey is also struggling with great internal problems. [There is] unemployment on one side and terrorism on the other. Our citizens are worried about the future.”

He said the CHP is committed to establishing peace in the country. He called on former voters of the True Path Party (DYP) and the Motherland Party (ANAVATAN) to “come under the umbrella of the CHP.”

The DYP and ANAVATAN, Turkey's two major right-wing parties of the 1990s, have eroded in terms of voter support since the early 2000s. The success of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has been associated with the loss of support by these right-wing parties.

Kılıçdaroğlu said he wanted to address Turkey's religious people. “I would especially like to address our religious citizens during this beautiful Eid al-Fitr. Religious people are intellectuals who question life, keep religion outside of politics and have a love for people in their hearts. I don't want to see [the religious] as classic conservatives. They are also our citizens; I want to embrace them, make peace and see them under the CHP umbrella.”

He said the CHP is respectful of people's beliefs and religious identities and wants a strong Turkey. “Turkey's prosperity is important to us, but I am not speaking of the prosperity of politicians. I am talking about the prosperity of tradesmen, industrialists, farmers and all segments of society.”

During his visit to Rize, Kılıçdaroğlu also exchanged Eid al-Fitr greetings with Customs Minister Hayati Yazıcı, Rize Governor Nurullah Çakır, Rize Mayor Halil Bakırcı and AK Party Rize deputies Hasan Karal and Nusret Bayraktar. (TODAY'S ZAMAN, August 21, 2012)

Quran lesson enters in school curriculum

The Quran and the life of Prophet Mohammed have entered secondary school curriculum as elective classes enabling students to study these topics in class two hours a week and for female students to cover their hair should they desire during Quran courses.

The Ministry of Education recently announced the new weekly schedule for secondary schools, which included new elective courses on the Quran, the life of Prophet Mohammed and Essential Religion Information for high schools, daily Star and Bugün both reported. The new regulation was a joint effort by The Ministry of Education’s Directorate General of Secondary Education, Directorate General of Vocational and Technical Education and Directorate General of Religious Education.

The council added the Quran and the life of Prophet Mohammed as electives for students in the 9th grade at all high schools in the country. Both classes will take up two hours each week while Essential Religion Information, Social Activities and Project Preparing electives will take up either one or two hours of a student’s academic schedule per week. Classes will primarily be taught by religion and morals teachers as well as imam hatip high school teachers. Students will not bring Qurans to school for the lessons, the report says, but female students will be able to cover their hair during Quran courses. The Ministry of Education’s official textbooks for the class will include the necessary texts from the Quran, while the elective class will not focus on the interpreted version of the Quran but the text itself.

Different religions and beliefs including Alevism and Christianity will be taught in the elective
Basic Religion Information class. Furthermore, Quran and the life of Prophet Mohammed classes will not be taught in minority schools. Minority schools will instead offer classes about the minority groups respective religion, the report emphasized. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 18,  2012)

Survey on Turkish Muslims' Beliefs and Practices

A majority of Turks said they acknowledge Alevis, who are part of the Shia tradition, as fellow Muslims, according to findings in a newly released Pew opinion poll.

According to the poll, 69 percent of Muslims in Turkey said they acknowledge Alevis as fellow Muslims. Alevis are a religious minority in Turkey and are believed to have somewhere between 6-12 million adherents in the country. By comparison, in Lebanon 57 percent of respondents said local minority Alawites are Muslims.

This is among the key findings of Pew's “The World's Muslims: Unity and Diversity” poll released Aug. 9. It is based on more than 38,000 face-to-face interviews conducted in over 80 languages in 39 countries and territories that collectively are home to roughly two-thirds of all Muslims in the world.

The survey asked respondents about the imminence of two events that, according to Islamic tradition, will presage the Day of Judgment: the arrival of the Mahdi, the redeemer of Islam who will initiate the final period before the day of resurrection and judgment, and the return of Jesus.

In nine of the 23 nations where the question was asked, half or more of Muslim adults said they believe the arrival of the Mahdi will occur in their lifetime, including at least two-thirds expressing this view in Afghanistan (83 percent), Iraq (72 percent), Turkey (68 percent) and Tunisia (67 percent). The conviction that Jesus will return in their lifetime is most widespread among Muslims in Tunisia (67 percent), Turkey (65 percent) and Iraq (64 percent).

Pew also questioned participants about their religious practices such as fasting during the holy month of Ramadan and almsgiving to assist people in need. In more than half of the countries surveyed, at least nine in 10 Muslims said they fast during Ramadan, which began in most countries on the evening of July 19 and is expected to end with the sighting of the crescent moon on Aug. 18.

The annual giving of aid to the poor is almost as widely observed as fasting. The proportion of Muslims who say they give alms annually ranges from 98 percent in Indonesia to 36 percent in Kazakhstan.

Daily prayers less common among Turks

According to the survey, Muslims in Central Asia and across Southern and Eastern Europe report lower levels of religious practice than Muslims in other regions. For instance, only in Azerbaijan does a majority (70 percent) pray more than once a day. Elsewhere in these two regions, the number of Muslims who say they pray several times a day ranges from slightly more than four in 10 in Kosovo (43 percent), Turkey (43 percent) and Tajikistan (42 percent) to fewer than one in 10 in Albania (7 percent) and Kazakhstan (4 percent).

In other regions included in the study, daily prayer is much more common among Muslims. In Southeast Asia, for example, at least three-quarters pray more than once a day, while in the Middle East and North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, majorities in most countries report the same.

A quarter of the Muslims surveyed by Pew identify themselves as neither Sunni nor Shia but rather as “just a Muslim.” This nonsectarian identity is most common in Central Asia, Russia and the Balkans. By contrast, Muslims in South Asia and in the Middle East and North Africa tend to be most keenly aware of the distinction between the two main branches of Islam, Sunni and Shia.

Muslim men are more likely than women to attend mosque in most of the 39 countries surveyed. This is especially true in Central Asia and South Asia, where the majority of women in most countries surveyed say they never attend mosque. According to Pew, this disparity appears to result from cultural norms that constrain women, rather than from differences in the importance that women and men place on religion. There are no consistent differences between Muslim men and women when it comes to frequency of prayer or participation in alms giving and fasting during Ramadan.

The Pew survey also found that participants have widely differing views about many other aspects of their faith, including how important religion is in their lives, who counts as a Muslim and what practices are acceptable in Islam.

The survey asked Muslims whether Sufis -- members of a religious order that emphasizes the mystical dimensions of Islam -- belong to the Islamic faith. Muslims in South Asia widely see Sufis as Muslims, though Muslims in other regions tend not to accept Sufis as part of the Islamic faith. In Turkey, a majority of Muslims believe that devotional dancing, as performed by Mevlevis or "whirling dervishes" in the Sufi order, is an acceptable form of worship.

According to Pew, the vast majority of participants were raised as Muslims. Nearly all of adult Muslims surveyed in South Asia and across the Middle East and North Africa said they were raised in the Islamic faith. Conversion to Islam is more common in Central Asia and across Southern and Eastern Europe. Ten percent of adult Muslims in Kazakhstan, 7 percent in Russia, 6 percent in Uzbekistan and 5 percent in Albania said they were not raised in the faith.

Both the Quran and hadith (accounts of the words or practices of the Prophet Muhammad) make reference to witchcraft and the evil eye, as well as to supernatural beings known in Arabic as jinn (the origin of the English word genie). In a majority of the countries surveyed, roughly half or more Muslims affirm that jinn exist and that the evil eye is real. Belief in sorcery is somewhat less common: Half or more Muslims in nine of the countries included in the survey say they believe in witchcraft. At the same time, however, an overwhelming majority of Muslims agree that Islam forbids appealing to jinn or using sorcery. (TODAY'S ZAMAN, August 9, 2012)

Un avocat turc d'Al-Qaïda tué dans les combats à Alep

Osman Karahan, l'avocat turc controversé de plusieurs membres supposés du réseau al-Qaïda accusés d'avoir commis des attentats meurtriers à Istanbul en 2003, a été tué lors de combats à Alep (nord de la Syrie), a rapporté mercredi l'agence de presse Anatolie.

Me Karahan, qui a lui même été poursuivi par la justice turque pour des liens supposés avec al-Qaïda, est mort en "martyr" à Alep, où l'armée syrienne a affirmé mercredi avoir repris le contrôle du principal bastion des rebelles, le quartier de Salaheddine, a déclaré à Anatolie le frère du juriste, Ekrem Karahan.

Des proches de l'avocat sont allés en Syrie pour récupérer le cadavre, "mais les amis d'Osman ont dit: +Il sera enterré ici car c'est un martyr+", a affirmé Ekrem Karahan.

"C'est ainsi que le corps de mon frère a été enterré hier (mardi) en Syrie", a-t-il poursuivi.

Osman Karahan a assuré la défense de plusieurs prévenus dans le procès des attentats de novembre 2003 à Istanbul, qui avaient fait 63 morts et des centaines de blessés.

Sept hommes ont été condamnés en 2007 à la prison à vie pour avoir participé à l'organisation de ces attentats à la bombe, imputés à al-qaïda, qui ont visé deux synagogues, le consulat britannique et une succursale de la banque britannique HSBC.

Me Karahan a notamment été l'avocat du Syrien Louai Sakka, accusé d'avoir financé et d'être l'instigateur des attaques.

L'avocat a été poursuivi en 2006 pour aide et assistance à al-Qaïda, mais les accusations ont été abandonnées faute de preuves. (AFP, 8 août 2012)

Altruistic Society or Sect? The Shadowy World of the Islamic Gülen Movement

Millions of Muslims around the world idolize Turkish preacher Fethullah Gülen, who likes to present himself as the Gandhi of Islam. His Gülen movement runs schools in 140 countries and promotes interfaith dialogue. But former members describe it as a sect, and some believe the secretive organization is conspiring to expand its power in Turkey.


By Maximilian Popp

The girl is singing a little off-key, but the audience is still wildly enthusiastic. She is singing a Turkish song, although her intonation sounds German. The room is decorated with balloons, garlands in the German national colors of black, red and gold, and crescent moons in the Turkish colors of red and white. Members of the audience are waving German and Turkish flags.

The Academy cultural association is hosting the preliminaries of the "Cultural Olympics" in a large lecture hall at Berlin's Technical University. Thousands of people have come to watch the talent contest. They applaud loudly when a choir from the German-Turkish Tüdesb school sings "My Little Green Cactus." And they listen attentively when a female student recites a poem, while images of women holding children in their arms appear on the screen behind her. The poem is called "Anne," the Turkish word for "mother." The name of the poem's author, Fethullah Gülen, appears on the screen for a moment.
Everyone in the auditorium knows who Gülen is. Millions of Muslims around the world idolize Gülen, who was born in Turkey in 1941 and is one of the most influential preachers of Islam today. His followers have founded schools in 140 countries, a bank, media companies, hospitals, an insurance company and a university.

The cultural association hosting the contest at the Berlin university is also part of the Gülen movement. Hence it isn't surprising that many participants attend Gülen schools, that companies associated with Gülen are sponsoring the cultural Olympics, and that media outlets with ties to Gülen are reporting on it.

The images from the evening show Germans and Turks learning from one another, making music together, dancing and clapping. The obvious intent is to emphasize the peaceful coexistence of different religions. "We are the first movement in the history of mankind that is completely and utterly devoted to charity," says Mustafa Yesil, a Gülen confidant in Istanbul.

A Sect Like Scientology

People who have broken ties to Gülen and are familiar with the inner workings of this community tell a different story. They characterize the movement as an ultraconservative secret society, a sect not unlike the Church of Scientology. And they describe a world that has nothing to do with the pleasant images from the cultural Olympics.

These critics say that the religious community (known as the "cemaat" in Turkish) educates its future leaders throughout the world in so-called "houses of light," a mixture of a shared student residence and a Koran school. They describe Gülen as their guru, an ideologue who tolerates no dissent, and who is only interested in power and influence, not understanding and tolerance. They say that he dreams of a new age in which Islam will dominate the West.

Some experts reach similar conclusions. Dutch sociologist Martin van Bruinessen sees parallels between the Gülen movement and the Catholic secret society Opus Dei. American historian and Middle East expert Michael Rubin likens the Turkish preacher to Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Khomeini. According to a diplomatic cable obtained by WikiLeaks in 2010, US diplomats consider the Gülen movement to be "Turkey's most powerful Islamist grouping." The Gülen movement, the cable continues, "controls major business, trade, and publishing activities (and) has deeply penetrated the political scene."

Only very few former members are prepared to talk about their time in the movement, and those who do insist on not being identified by name. They are afraid of Gülen and his people, afraid for their jobs, their health and their families.

Like in Prison

One of these former members, who agreed to speak with SPIEGEL under a fictitious name, is Serkan Öz, who lived in a "house of light" in a major German city for several years. He moved into the facility immediately after graduating from a German high school. He had been attracted by Gülen's sermons, which he saw on the Internet, because he felt that they reconciled Islamic piety with Western modernity.

Both the furnishings and everyday life in the residence, says Öz, were more evocative of the frugality and rigidity of a monastery than the relaxed atmosphere of a student dormitory. There were only men living in his house, and both alcohol and visits by women were prohibited. A supervisor, who all residents referred to as "Agabey" ("elder brother"), determined the daily routine, dictating when it was time to work, pray and sleep. "We were guarded as if we were in prison," says the former member. Öz read the Koran and studied Gülen's writings every day.

The houses of light are the foundation of the movement, where young "Fethullahcis" (as followers of Gülen are called) are taught to become loyal servants. The residences exist in many countries, including Turkey, the United States and Germany. There are two dozen in Berlin alone. The cemaat offers schoolchildren and university students a home, often free of charge, and in return it expects them to devote their lives to "hizmet," or service to Islam.

In his book "Fasildan Fasila," (From Time to Time) Gülen writes that a pupil must be "on the go day and night" and cannot be seen sleeping. "If possible, he sleeps three hours a day, has two hours for other needs, and must devote the rest entirely to hizmet. In essence, he has no personal life, except in a few specific situations."

Residents of the houses of light are also expected to proselytize, and Gülen even offers advice in his writings on how to go about it. The students, he writes, should befriend infidels, even if it means having to hide their true motives. "With the patience of a spider, we lay our web to wait for people to get caught in the web."

Banned from Watching TV

The more Serkan Öz lived his life in accordance with Gülen's rules, the "Hizmet düsturlari," the fewer freedoms he had. For example, the cemaat tried to dictate to him which profession he was to choose. He had almost no friends left outside the movement.

Other former members report that they were pressured to marry within the Gülen movement. In some residences, there are rules that prohibit watching TV, listening to music or reading books that contradict Gülen's ideology, including the works of Charles Darwin and Jean-Paul Sartre. Some residents were coerced into cutting off ties with their families when the parents tried to resist losing their children to the cemaat.

Serkan Öz decided to move out of the house of light. Now he was a renegade, and the career doors that had opened up for him were suddenly closed. Öz became isolated, losing his friends and acquaintances, his religious home and, as he sees it today, his place in the world.

Germans have devoted a lot of attention to Islam in recent years. There are conferences on Islam and research projects on integration. But the German public knows almost nothing about Gülen and his movement, even though it has more influence on Muslims in Germany than almost any other group. "It is the most important and most dangerous Islamist movement in Germany," says Ursula Spuler-Stegemann, an Islamic scholar in the western German university city of Marburg. "They are everywhere."

Bringing Together Rabbis and Imams

Members of the cemaat run more than 100 educational facilities in Germany, including schools and tutoring centers. They have established roughly 15 "dialogue associations," such as the Forum for Intercultural Dialogue (FID) in Berlin. The associations organize conferences that bring together rabbis, pastors and imams, as well as offer trips to Istanbul.

Gülen supporters publish Zaman, the highest-circulation newspaper in Turkey, with a European edition and subsidiaries around the world, as well as the monthly magazine The Fountain. They operate TV stations like Ebru TV and Samanyolu TV. Barex, an employers' association consisting of 150 companies in Berlin and the surrounding state of Brandenburg, is also believed to be part of the network.

Rita Süssmuth, a member of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and former president of the German parliament, is on the advisory board of the FID in Berlin. Other politicians, like Jörg-Uwe Hahn, a member of the liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) and the justice minister of the western state of Hesse, prominent CDU politician Ruprecht Polenz and Social Democrat Ehrhart Körting, who was the interior minister of the city-state of Berlin for many years, have accepted invitations to events organized by the Gülen community.

One of the cemaat's biggest successes is the Tüdesb High School in Berlin's Spandau neighborhood. The school has a good reputation, with small class sizes, motivated teachers and modern equipment, and there are always several applicants for each spot. The students, most of whom are of Turkish origin, speak Turkish and German, lessons are based on the Berlin city-state's curriculum, and some teachers have never even heard of Fethullah Gülen. Others, however, are believed to surrender a portion of their monthly salary to the movement. For a long time, the school claimed to have no connection to Gülen, but now the chairman of the association that operates the school openly supports him.

Part 2: 'You Must Move in the Arteries of the System'

The Gülen movement has two sides: One that faces the world and another that hides from it. Its finances are particularly murky. Rich businessmen donate millions, but civil servants and skilled manual workers also contribute to the financing of Gülen projects. Fethullahcis donate an average of 10 percent of their income to the community, with some giving up to 70 percent.

Gülen likes to portray himself as a modest preacher akin to a Muslim Gandhi. One of his mantras is: "Build schools instead of mosques."

But before he moved to the United States, Gülen treated the West as the enemy. "Until the day of judgment," he wrote in his book "Cag ve Nesil" (This Era and the Young Generation), "Westerners will exhibit no human behavior." Gülen condemned Turks who embraced Europe as "freeloaders," "parasites" and "leukemia." In a November 2011 video message, he called upon the Turkish military to attack Kurdish separatists: "Locate them, surround them, break up their units, let fire rain down upon their houses, drown out their lamentations with even more wails, cut off their roots and put an end to their cause."

Gülen also disputes the theory of evolution, calling it "unscientific" and an "illusion." He believes that scientific facts are only true if they agree with the Koran.

Calls for a New Muslim Age

Gülen grew up as the son of a village imam in Anatolia. He studied at a mosque in Erzurum, a city in eastern Turkey, together with Cemaleddin Kaplan, who would later move to Germany where he was known as the "Caliph of Cologne" because of his radical preaching. At the same time, Gülen encountered the teachings of Said Nursi, a Kurdish Sufi preacher, and joined his community.

When Ankara, in its fight against communism in the 1980s, invoked the ideology of the "Turkish-Islamic synthesis," Gülen seized the opportunity. He founded schools in Turkey and abroad, and he became an adviser to the strictly secular prime minister, Tansu Ciller.

In one of his sermons, he called upon his students to establish a new Muslim age. He advised his supporters to undermine the Turkish state and act conspiratorially until the time was ripe to assume power. "You must move in the arteries of the system without anyone noticing your existence until you reach all the power centers … until the conditions are ripe, they (the followers) must continue like this. If they do something prematurely, the world will crush our heads, and Muslims will suffer everywhere. (…) You must wait until such time as you have gotten all the state power (…) Until that time, any step taken would be too early -- like breaking an egg without waiting the full 40 days for it to hatch. It would be like killing the chick inside."

When a recording of this speech was leaked to the public in 1999, Gülen had to flee from Turkey. He claims that his words were manipulated. He has been living in exile in the United States ever since.

No Address and No Bank Account

His movement has no address, no mailbox, no registration and no central bank account. Gülen supporters don't demonstrate for sharia and jihad, and the cemaat operates in secret. Gülen, the godfather, determines the movement's direction. Some members within the inner circle of power have been serving Gülen for decades. They control the most important organizations within the movement, the publishing houses and foundations. Within the cemaat, individual world regions, like Central Asia and Europe, are managed by a "brother." The hierarchy extends all the way down to national and local "brothers" in city neighborhoods.

Gülen's influence in Turkey was enhanced when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's conservative Islamic party, the AKP, won the Turkish parliamentary election in 2002. Observers believe that the two camps entered into a strategic partnership at first, with Gülen providing the AKP with votes while Erdogan protected the cemaat. According to information obtained by US diplomats, almost a fifth of the AKP's members of parliament were members of the Gülen movement in 2004, including the justice and culture ministers.

Many civil servants act at the behest of the "Gülen brothers," says a former senior member. "They were our students. We trained and supported them. When these grateful children assume office, they continue to serve Gülen." In 2006, former police chief Adil Serdar Sacan estimated that the Fethullahcis held more than 80 percent of senior positions in the Turkish police force. "The assertion that the TNP (Turkish National Police) is controlled by Gulenists is impossible to confirm but we have found no one who disputes it," wrote James Jeffrey, the then US ambassador in Ankara, in a 2009 cable.

Good Muslims

Ercan Karakoyun is the face of the Gülen community in Germany. The 31-year-old runs the Forum for Intercultural Dialogue (FID) in Berlin, which has Gülen as its honorary chairman. Karakoyun, the son of Turkish immigrants, meets with visitors in an office at the city's prestigious Potsdamer Platz which has light-blue carpeting and plain, functional furniture. The bookshelf contains works by Gülen, "The Diary of Anne Frank," "The Bible in Fair Language" (a new German translation of the Bible which aims to be free of gender bias and anti-Semitism) and a book by the late German Protestant theologian Heinz Zahrnt. The book selection seems balanced and judicious, with a little of everything and nothing too controversial. It seems intended to convey the following message to visitors: Look, we're good Muslims. We mourn the dead of the Holocaust, we are interested in theological discussions of Christianity and we are democrats.

Karakoyun found his way to the movement through a "brother" who addressed him in front of a mosque in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia when he was a teenager. He began reading Gülen's books. He accompanied the "brother" to Turkey and became involved in the cemaat, recruiting new members at the university and in high schools. He rose up through the hierarchy until he became a "brother" himself.

Speaking in eloquent German, Karakoyun says that whenever he and his Gülen community organize events, they receive letters, emails and calls from what he terms "the usual suspects" -- people who want to harm the movement and see it as a dangerous sect. He characterizes all of this as "conspiracy theories.'

Karakoyun divides the world into two groups: "critics" and "sympathizers." As examples of critics, he cites Western Islamophobes, Turkish ultranationalists and the terrorists of the Kurdish PKK. Sympathizers, he says, are all people who are interested in "dialogue, tolerance and peaceful coexistence for the benefit of all."

'Anyone who Messes with Gülen Is Destroyed'

All of this sounds harmless, tolerant and peaceful. But Ilhan Cihaner experienced in Turkey what can happen to critics. "Anyone who messes with Gülen is destroyed," says the former chief prosecutor. He has been a hero among secular Turks since he investigated the Gülen community in 2007. Cihaner says that he had received information about illegal financial transactions within the cemaat. But then, in response to pressure from the government, he was taken off the case. He was arrested in 2010.

Cihaner was accused of being a member of the ultranationalist Ergenekon organization, a group of conspirators who had allegedly planned to overthrow the government. Even Cihaner's political rivals believe that the charges against him were absurd. The former prosecutor had acquired a reputation for his staunch campaigns against mafia-like networks. And now he was being accused of working with Ergenekon and planning to plant weapons in dormitories where Gülen supporters lived so as to discredit the movement. The prosecution based its case on statements by anonymous witnesses. Cihaner was eventually released because of insufficient evidence against him. He is now a member of the opposition in the Turkish parliament.

Istanbul-based journalist Ahmet Sik suffered a similar fate. He was arrested in March 2011, shortly before his book about the Gülen movement, "Imamin Ordusu," ("The Imam's Army"), was to be published. Security forces searched the offices of his publishing house, and the manuscript, in which Sik describes how the Gülen movement has allegedly infiltrated the police and the judiciary in Turkey, was confiscated. The investigative reporter was charged with being a member of Ergenekon. Ironically, it was Sik who, together with a colleague, had exposed the secret coup plans of an Ergenekon admiral in the weekly magazine Nokta in 2007 and who had repeatedly targeted the Ergenekon network. Sik was released a few months ago, following international protests.

In September 2010, Hanefi Avci, a former Turkish police chief and former Gülen sympathizer, was arrested and accused of having participated in the Ergenekon conspiracy. He had just published a book in which he accused Gülen members in the police of illegally wiretapping their enemies' telephone conversations and manipulating trials.

Lies and Manipulation

There is no evidence that Gülen was behind the arrests. He lives a reclusive life in the Pennsylvania mountains and behaves as if the accusations have nothing to do with him. He declined a request to be interviewed by SPIEGEL.

Others speak on his behalf, like Mahmut Cebi, the former editor-in-chief of the pro-Gülen newspaper Zaman, whose office is in the World Media Group building in Offenbach near Frankfurt. Cebi built up the European edition of Zaman and has worked as an writer for the publishing company since April. The European edition has about 30,000 subscribers in Germany alone.

Cebi and Zaman explain to readers what the world looks like from the perspective of the cemaat. The newspaper prints the writings of Gülen and excerpts from his sermons and poems. Critics accuse Zaman of deliberately spreading false reports to harm Gülen's opponents.

When politicians in Germany's far-left Left Party criticized Gülen's remarks on the Kurds a few weeks ago, Zaman claimed that the Left Party supports the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

"The movement is up to its neck in dirty tricks," Dani Rodrik, a professor of international political economy at Harvard University, said in a recent interview. Zaman, he added, supports this "mafia" with "false and misleading accounts" and "manipulations." "There is no disinformation they will not peddle to further the causes they support," said Rodrik.

Cebi denies all accusations. His newspaper is guided by Gülen's ideals, he says, but it doesn't take orders from him. Gülen is not a sect leader, says Çebi. Instead, he compares him to one of Germany's leading public intellectuals: "He's a philosopher like Habermas."

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

The Gülen Empire's ramification in Belgium under
Federation of Active Associations of Belgium (FEDACTIO)


IHD: Houses of Alevi families were attacked by a mob of nationalists

Human Rights Association (IHD) Malatya branch released a report on the incident in Sürgü, in the province of Malatya where the house of an Alevi family was attacked by a group of nationalist Turkish people on 27 July on the grounds that the family complaint about the Ramadan drummer (who plays drum on streets at midnight along Ramadan month to wake people up for the meal eaten before starting fasting in Ramadan).

The report which was prepared by IHD Malatya Branch chair Servet Akbudak, secretary Ramazan Kuzu, board members lawyer Ali Hamamcı, Suphi Güvenç and Nihal Pekaslan pointed out that the current environment in the town could lead to more critical consequences should no measures be taken in the soonest time.

The family subjected to lynching attempt of a nationalist group applied to IHD Malatya Branch on 29 June, two days after the incident, expressing concerns over the threats and insults directed to them.

Hasan Evli, a member of the victim Alevi family, said that the discussion broke out after they warned Ramadan drummer Mustafa Evşi who broke the glasses of their house at Thursday night.

“We were threatened to leave the town after we warned the drummer that his attempt to disturb our family was an insult against Alewi people”, said Evli and noted that a group of around 50 people continued to insult their family the following night, claiming that Evli’s family had objected to religious values.

“The following night continued with the threats of a group of over 500 people who chanted slogans saying that the town will be a graveyard for Kurdish and Alewi people. They stoned our house and implied that we would be burnt just like in the Madımak massacre”, Evli said and called on  government officials to ensure security of life in the face of ongoing threats and provocations against Alewi families in the town.

The gendarme authorities in the town and Mayor Faruk Taşdemir have also confirmed that the incident greatened because of some people acting in provocation against the Evli family.

IHD Malatya Branch executives have also spoken to drummer Evşi who claimed that Evli family threatened them and touched the sensibilities of Muslim community. Evşi said the people in the town were right to be agitated.

The IHD report underlined that the incident had emerged as a consequence of the intolerance for different identities, beliefs and values and emphasized that authorities should take necessary measures to prevent further incidents and conflicts in the town. (ANF, August 1st, 2012)

Socio-économique / Socio-economic

Rentrée scolaire religieuse et boycottée

Un député turc du parti au pouvoir AKP a avoué l’intention de son parti de transformer tous les écoles publiques en écoles de formation des imams.  Les familles kurdes boycottent le système scolaire pour demander l'enseignement en langue kurde dans le cadre d’une autonomie démocratique.

« Nous avons enfin la chance de transformer tous les écoles en écoles de formation des imams » a dit le député AKP Ali Boga à Mugla, selon le journal kémaliste « Cumhuriyet ».

Après la nouvelle reforme de l’éducation « 4+4+4 », « Nous avons cette chance » a-t-il encore souligné, rappelant que l’enseignement de Koran et de la vie du prophète étaient déjà autorisés.

Le nouveau système d’éducation mis en vigueur supprime les huit années obligatoires et ininterrompues à partir de l’âge de six ans et porte cette durée à 12 ans.

Mais ces douze années seraient segmentées en trois cycles de quatre années chacune, ce qui est contesté notamment par les organisations des droits de l’humain et des organisations féministes.

Un système qui encourage les mariages d’enfant

Cette mesure résumée par la formule “4 + 4 + 4” baisse encore l’âge de travail, soit lorsque l’enfant atteint l’âge de dix ans, il peut être orienté vers une filière d’enseignement professionnel, à l’issue du premier cycle de quatre ans.

Le but de cette reforme était d’autoriser la réouverture des écoles dites “Imam Hatip” à partir du niveau élémentaire. Les organisations de la société civile dénoncent également  « un encouragement » et « une opportunité » donnée à certaines familles de retirer leurs filles de l’école avant la fin des 12 années obligatoires, ce qui risque d’augmenter les mariages d’enfant et forcés.

L’ouverture des mosquées dans les écoles !

Le syndicat des enseignants Egitim-Sen craint que « l'enseignement donné aux enfants de neuf ans par des imams aboutisse à l’ouverture des mosquées dans les écoles. »

Ce projet du « fascisme  vert » fait  partie de la conservatisation de la société.  Après l’arrive au pouvoir de l’AKP en 2002, une véritable opération de « nettoyage » a été lancée dans l’enseignement, visant notamment les étudiants et les enseignants kurdes.

Des dizains d’enseignants et près de 3 000 étudiants et lycéens sont aujourd’hui dans les prisons, tandis que des centaines d’enseignants kurdes et opposants ont été exilés vers l'ouest du pays.

Les kurdes boycottent

Face à cette répression sauvage menée dans tous les domaines par un gouvernement considéré comme « dicta civil », la mobilisation kurde est aujourd’hui plus forte que jamais, malgré des dizains de milliers d’arrestations.

Le nouveau système d’éducation ne répond pas aux revendications du peuple kurde pour l’enseignement de langue kurde. Selon ce système, le kurde pourra être choisi comme matière optionnelle à l'école publique, au même titre que les langues étrangères: anglais, allemand ou français, à partir de 5eme année, alors que cette mesure n’a jamais été parmi les revendications du peuple kurde dont la population est estimée à plus de 20 millions en Turquie.

Les kurdes refusent que leur langue maternelle, interdite pendant de longues années, soit optionnelle et exige une reconnaissance officielle dans le cadre d’une autonomie démocratique au Kurdistan de Turquie.  D’ailleurs, le kurde, tout comme le turc pour dénoncer la politique du gouvernement, fait toujours l’objet de poursuites et de condamnation, sauf pour les partisans des régimes.

« La langue maternelle d’un peuple ne pourra jamais être proposée en cours d’optionnel dans les écoles », avait récemment dénoncé le principal parti kurde BPD, affirmant que la langue kurde devrait être optionnelle pour les turcs à l’ouest de la Turquie afin de mettre fin à la politique d’assimilation forcée, qui dure depuis la création de l’État turc, fondé sur la négation des autres ethnies et cultures.

Pour satisfaire les revendications kurdes, le BDP souligne que langue maternelle doit être enseignée dès l’école maternelle jusqu’à l’université, au même titre que la langue turque, puisque les kurdes ne sont pas des étrangers.

Quartiers d’assimilation

L'Union des Communautés du Kurdistan (KCK),  le système politique du PKK qui a pour objectif d’établir le « confédéralisme démocratique » afin de résoudre le problème kurde au Moyen-Orient, a appelé les familles kurdes à boycotter la rentrée scolaire 2012-2013.

 « Nous appelons le peuple kurde à refuser la politique d’assimilation menée par l’État fasciste » a dit le KCK dans un communiqué.

Qualifiant les écoles turques de « quartiers d’assimilation et de négation », le KCK lance également un appel aux enseignants « à renoncer  à commettre des crimes contre l’humanité en participant à l’assimilation de la langue et de l’identité kurde »  et « à renoncer à participer aux cours ».
(actukurde.fr/actualites, 27 août 2012)

Schools not prepared for new education system, experts warn

Turkey will implement the education reform passed by the government in March in the coming academic year, but educators and parents believe that the Ministry of Education has not taken sufficient measures to lay the necessary groundwork for a smooth transition.

The reform, referred to as 4+4+4 -- four years of primary, middle and high school -- lowers the school starting age to 60 months plus, from a previous 72 months plus. This is expected to cause a score of problems, as the number of children starting school this year may be double the figure in a normal year. Educators' unions and parents have highlighted the lack of facilities to accommodate the surge in students.

The education reform of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has proved controversial. Critics argue that the government is trying to de-secularize Turkey's education system by allowing imam-hatip schools, with their religious curriculum, to open middle schools. Previously, Turkish children would have eight years of primary education followed by high school. The government says it is applying the traditional and universally accepted standard of three schools before university. Critics accuse the government of acting out of revenge against the Feb. 28, 1997 military intervention, which saw the shutting down of imam-hatip middle schools. Indeed, some schools have complained of being turned into imam-hatip schools against the will of teachers and parents.

The principal of an İstanbul school, who asked not to be named as public officials are not authorized to speak to the press, said that in a normal school year they have enrolments of 220 first graders (30 to 35 students per classroom). “So far we have 350 confirmed students,” he said, which brings the number of students in the school, which has seven first-year classes, to 50 students. “However, that is not all,” he noted. As the new system allows for the optional enrolment of children between 60 and 66 months based on parental permission, 150 applications are pending. “We told families that their children are too young, that they should not rush, but nobody has changed their mind so far.”

The school is in Esenyurt, a poor district in İstanbul that is home to a large number of slum settlements, a place where, for most families, sending a child to school is an easy way of keeping him or her off the streets. Consequently, such families are more likely to take the option of sending their children to school younger.

Indeed, if none of the parents in Esenyurt with children whose ages fall within the optional category for schooling choose to keep their children at home, there may be as many as 70 kids in one classroom. “We are in a really difficult position. They will have to sit three or four kids in one row,” the principal said. “These children will be the guinea pig generation. Their hand muscles aren't even developed enough to write. The curriculum is also not very clear yet. What are we supposed to do with these children? Are we going to read them story books?”

There have been reports indicating that in some schools, classrooms may contain as many as 80 students.

The Union of Education and Science Laborers (Eğitim Sen) recently released a statement listing problems that are likely to arise from the reform. The union noted that first-time enrolments will increase by 75 percent this year, but that no new classrooms have been built; the first problem to be faced by schools such as that in Esenyurt.

Any new schools that have been built are imam-hatip middle schools, the statement claimed. AK Party Muğla Deputy Ali Boğa declared in a controversial statement last week that all schools could potentially be imam-hatips. He complained about an unsatisfactory number of enrolments in Muğla imam-hatips, calling on alumni to encourage families in their communities to choose imam-hatips for their children.

Apart from the ideological divide, there are concerns about the reform that even its supporters do not deny. Education professionals note that facilities have not been renovated to accommodate younger children. For example, the height of an average five-year-old girl is between 94 and 115 centimeters, and current facilities offered at schools, such as bathroom sinks or classroom desks, are simply too high for a child of that height. Another problem the Union of Education and Science Laborers pointed out is that in the first year of the new system, children who are 60 months of age will be placed in classes with children of up to 83 months. Younger students with less developed cognitive skills will have a potentially difficult educational experience.

Education Minister Ömer Dinçer addressed concerns over the weekend, stating that 60 months plus was not an early age for starting school, and noting that this is the standard practice in 14 EU member nations. He admitted that the inadequacy of classrooms is expected to be a problem this year, but said that he hopes the issue will be resolved within a year or two.

The reform introduces other changes, including the abolishment of the SBS examination for admission to high school. Dinçer explained that when the best students are elected to certain schools by the SBS, the remaining students attend other schools, which may then lack good students or potential leaders capable of setting a good example for fellow students and lowering the general quality of schools that admit students with lower SBS scores.

Medical report for deferral

The new system has already caused confusion, but those who are most concerned are the parents who might have reservations about sending a 5-and-a-half-year-old to school. Education Minister Dinçer said that if a parent does not want to send their child to school at this age, they will have to obtain a report from a Ministry of Health-approved hospital or health clinic declaring the child physically or mentally unfit to start school. The reports will be issued by pedagogues or neurologists. Nevertheless, the minister stated: “We will not keep children who have been documented unfit for primary school out of the education system. We will enroll them in kindergartens.”

However, child psychiatrists say the said report will be reserved for children with developmental delay or psychiatric conditions.

The minister's statement caused further concern for parents who do not want to send their children to school at this age. In addition to ambiguities surrounding the issuing of the reports, it is not clear whether such a report would remain part of a child's records and potentially cause him or her to be branded by teachers in the future.

Pedagogue Sevil Yavuz, who has written extensively about the controversy on her website, says that studies conducted both domestically and internationally indicate that children are not ready to start school before 72 months. “Why is there a need to get a report to show that a child is not ready to go to school when academic articles both in foreign and local literature say that children younger than 72 months are simply not ready? Why are we being so unfair to our children?” she asked. (TODAY'S ZAMAN, August 25, 2012)

DHL must respect the right to join and form union in Turkey
DHL is the world's largest courier company and one of the largest employers, with well over 470,000 workers.
It's owned by Deutsche Post, the privatized former German postal service. 

As you can imagine, the company in Germany recognizes trade unions and bargains with them. 

Many would consider them to be a good employer and DHL is very proud of its "corporate responsibility" record. 

On their website, they say "we promote a corporate culture based on dialogue."
But not in Turkey.
There, members of the transport workers union Tumtis tried to organize DHL workers -- but the company has sacked 24 of them. 

Those workers are now standing outside the company warehouses, resisting the unfair dismissals, demanding their right to join and form trade unions.
Local DHL managers have told other employees that unless they quit the union, they will lose their jobs.
The International Transport Workers Federation, representing over 4.5 million members in 153 countries has called for world-wide solidarity with the DHL workers in Turkey.
They've launched an online campaign on LabourStart to call on DHL to engage in exactly the kind of dialogue they claim is part of their corporate culture.
It's important to tell companies like DHL that it's not enough to treat workers with respect in countries that already have powerful unions. 

The right to join and form unions is universal -- and DHL must respect it even in Turkey.
Those workers standing outside the warehouses of DHL need our support today. 

It will take you only a minute to send off your message - please do so now.
And please help us mobilize thousands of others - forward on this message to your friends, family, co-workers and your fellow union members.
Thanks very much.


Relations turco-européennes / Turkey-Europe Relations

Ankara demande des zones tampons, Londres et Paris restent prudents

La Turquie a demandé jeudi au Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU la création de zones protégées en Syrie pour retenir les Syriens candidats à l'exil mais cette demande a été accueillie avec réserve par des responsables de l'ONU et par Paris et Londres.

Depuis plusieurs jours déjà, la Turquie, qui fait face à un afflux massif de réfugiés syriens, pousse à la mise en place de telles zones. Le ministre turc des Affaires étrangères Ahmet Davutoglu a formellement demandé devant le Conseil la mise en place "sans délai de camps pour personnes déplacées à l'intérieur de la Syrie". "Il est évident que ces camps devront bénéficier d'une totale protection", a-t-il ajouté.

La Turquie, qui a déjà consacré plus de 300 millions de dollars à accueillir 80.000 réfugiés syriens, "ne peut pas faire face au flot actuel de réfugiés" dont 10.000 attendent à la frontière, a affirmé le ministre. Il a aussi fustigé la paralysie du Conseil dans la crise syrienne depuis 17 mois.

Lors d'une conférence de presse avant cette réunion ministérielle du Conseil présidée par la France, les ministres français et britannique des Affaires étrangères Laurent Fabius et William Hague avaient reconnu que la création de zones tampons poserait d'énormes problèmes.

"En ce qui concerne les zones protégées, nous n'excluons aucune option pour l'avenir", a déclaré M. Hague. Mais "cette idée se heurte à des difficultés considérables".

Pour M. Fabius, "tout est sur la table" mais il faut "regarder les réalités": pour protéger ces zones, il faudrait "des moyens militaires importants" et une résolution de l'ONU afin "d'agir sur la base de la légalité internationale".

Or, a ajouté M. Hague, "il y a peu de chances que le Conseil de sécurité donne son aval" en raison de l'opposition résolue de la Russie et de la Chine.

Depuis le début de la crise syrienne, Moscou et Pékin ont mis trois fois
 leur veto à des résolutions occidentales visant à faire pression sur le régime Assad.

Après le réunion, M. Fabius a expliqué que "la notion de zones tampons avait été abordé mais que beaucoup (de pays membres) ont souligné que cela posait un certain nombre de questions".

Pour le Haut commissaire de l'ONU aux réfugiés Antonio Guterres,
"l'expérience a montré malheureusement qu'il est rarement possible de fournir une protection et une sécurité efficaces dans de telles zones". Une allusion implicite au massacre de Srebrenica, en Bosnie en 1995, perpétré dans une enclave officiellement protégée par l'ONU.

Selon M. Fabius, il faut d'abord aider les "réseaux de solidarité locaux qui oeuvrent sur le terrain" dans les régions qui sont passées sous le contrôle de l'opposition syrienne, afin de préparer "l'après-Assad".

Il a aussi exigé du gouvernement syrien qu'il laisse les organisations humanitaires "accéder librement à toutes les populations" en Syrie.

En attendant, MM. Fabius et Hague ont annoncé un effort humanitaire supplémentaire: 3 millions de livres (4,75 millions de dollars) du côté britannique et 5 millions d'euros (6,2 millions de dollars) pour la France.

Ils ont tous deux souhaité la tenue rapide d'une réunion sur le financement des agences de l'ONU et une plus grande solidarité envers les pays voisins de la Syrie. Pour l'instant un appel de fonds pour les opérations humanitaires de l'ONU en Syrie et dans les camps de réfugiés voisins n'a recueilli que 196 millions de dollars sur les 373 millions souhaités.

Selon l'ONU, il y a aujourd'hui au moins 1,2 million de personnes déplacés en Syrie, et 2,5 millions de personnes affectées par le conflit. 221.000 réfugiés syriens sont recensés dans des camps en Turquie, Jordanie, Liban, et Irak.
(AFP, 30 août 2012)

"Le régime syrien doit être abattu", dit Fabius en Turquie

Le chef de la diplomatie française, Laurent Fabius, a estimé jeudi en visitant un camp de réfugiés syriens que "le régime syrien devait être abattu et rapidement", dénonçant "les exactions" de Damas contre les populations civiles.

"Après avoir entendu les témoignages bouleversants des personnes ici (...) quand on entend ça et je suis conscient de la force de ce que je suis en train de dire : M. Bachar al-Assad ne mériterait pas d'être sur la Terre", a-t-il déclaré aux journalistes.

Dans un point de presse plus tard dans la journée à Ankara avec son homologue turc Ahmet Davutoglu, il a tenu à mettre en garde sur l'après Bachar : "Il faut travailler pour remplacer ce régime et en même temps faire en sorte que ce remplacement se fasse dans des conditions maîtrisées. Nous ne voulons pas qu'il y ait un chaos qui succède à la situation actuelle".

Il a appelé à une action urgente pour mettre fin à la crise et dit : "Le temps qui passe est un temps qui est malheureusement utilisé par Bachar al-Assad pour bombarder son peuple".

M. Davutoglu a pour sa part dénoncé le mutisme de la communauté internationale à l'égard des "crimes contre l'humanité" commis en Syrie par les forces loyalistes.

Le ministre français, qui a achevé en Turquie une tournée régionale --l'ayant mené au Liban et en Jordanie avant la Turquie, et axée sur la crise syrienne et le flot de réfugiés qu'elle a engendré dans les pays limitrophes--, a accusé aux portes de la Syrie, dans un camp de réfugiés, le président syrien de mener une "opération de destruction d'un peuple".

M. Fabius a rencontré des réfugiés du camp situé juste à la frontière et qui abrite 12.000 personnes. Il a expliqué que ceux-ci avaient demandé notamment que l'on livre des armes aux rebelles.

Il ne s'est pas engagé sur ce point mais a affirmé qu'"on ne pouvait pas accepter que Bachar, même s'il avait beaucoup reculé et perdu du terrain, continue ses exactions".

"Bachar nous massacre, pourquoi vous ne faites rien?", a demandé au ministre français un habitant du camp, un rescapé arrivé il y a quelques jours avec sa famille de la ville syrienne d'Azaz (nord), située près d'Alep, pilonnée par l'aviation syrienne.

M. Fabius lui a répondu que le gouvernement français était en discussions avec la Turquie notamment et avec des gouvernements d'autres pays "pour faire cesser le massacre".

"Plus vite ce régime va changer, mieux ce sera", a souligné M. Fabius.

"Mettez fin aux bombardements de Bachar", a asséné un autre réfugié, en demandant l'aide militaire de la France "comme en Libye".

Les pays occidentaux sont réticents à l'idée d'armer les rebelles, arguant que l'arsenal pourrait tomber entre les mains de groupes extrémistes. Ils ne penchent pas non plus pour une intervention militaire comme en Libye ou même l'instauration d'une zone d'exclusion aérienne.

La Turquie, qui partage une longue frontière avec la Syrie et qui est très critique envers le régime de Damas, abrite sur son sol près de 65.000 réfugiés, selon le chiffre annoncé jeudi par le Premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

M. Fabius est le premier ministre étranger autorisé à visiter l'un des neuf camps de réfugiés syriens en Turquie. Un diplomate turc a confié à l'AFP que cette autorisation était le fruit de la reprise des relations turco-françaises après une période particulièrement tumultueuse sous le précédent président français Nicolas Sarkozy. (AFP, 17 août 2012)

EU silent on chapter readiness in negociations with Turkey

While Ankara says that it is ready to open and close all 35 European Union membership negotiation chapters, the union has kept silent declining to give a direct response on the issue.

“Currently, we have only three chapters where opening depends exclusively on Turkey’s efforts to meet the relevant benchmarks and which can be potentially opened for negotiation. The chapters on ‘public procurement,’ ‘competition policy’ and ‘social policy and employment’ can be opened once all conditions are met,” officials from the European External Action Service at the Delegation of the European Union to Turkey recently told the Hürriyet Daily News.

Last month Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan claimed all 35 chapters, under which the EU Acquis Communitaire is categorized, have been readied in the country’s efforts to become a full member of the European Union. The completion of these chapters is mandatory for all EU membership candidates.

The EU has left us in the trenches, Turkish PM says

“The EU is implementing an opening and closing procedure for the chapters, although this is not an implementation imposed by the Acquis Communitaire,” Erdoğan said July 25. He said the EU has dropped the ball in handling Turkey’s EU membership application.

“They annulled closing and only allowed the opening [of the chapters]. Here in this situation too, they have been leaving us in the trenches. Everything is plain to see, you talk and they have no answers. They are not able to respond to us and they are also not able to defend themselves. But they do say that ‘they [Turkey] let it slide.’ My brother, why would we not let it slide?” Erdoğan said. Earlier this month EU officials failed to respond to questions from the Daily News regarding such opening and closing procedures and their status.

“At the moment, we have all chapters ready. From the beginning we have made our institutionalization according to [these chapters],” Erdoğan said in the same interview. The prime minister joked that Turkey might withdraw its EU bid if it is accepted by the Shanghai Five. “I said to Russian President Vladimir Putin, ‘You tease us saying “What [is Turkey] doing in the EU?”

Now I tease you: include us in the Shanghai Five, and we will forget about the EU,’” Erdoğan said, while speaking about a recent visit to Moscow. The Shanghai Five group was created April 26, 1996, in Shanghai by the heads of state of Kazakhstan, the People’s Republic of China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan. Turkey’s EU accession talks have recently been stalled as the rotating EU presidency was transferred to Greek Cyprus in July 2012. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 16,  2012)

Turkey will ‘pay’ EU price

Turkey will pay a price for not participating in EU meetings in protest at Greek Cyprus’ term presidency of the bloc, the country’s foreign minister has said.

“Turkey’s seat was there, Turkey’s name was there but no one sat in that chair,” said Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis, claiming that Turkey was “losing many things” by being absent from the meetings. Turkey has to be in the same room with Greek Cyprus in order to advance in its EU bid, Kozakou-Marcoullis said. “We will see that this tactic [of not attending meetings that are chaired by Greek Cyprus] will have a boomerang effect. Many EU members and European Parliament will change their attitude toward Turkey,” she said. Turkey has repeatedly said it will not participate in any meetings held by Greek Cyprus during its EU post. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 13,  2012)

Fabius en Jordanie, Liban et Turquie du 15 au 17 août

Le ministre des Affaires étrangères Laurent Fabius se rendra du 15 au 17 août en Jordanie, au Liban et en Turquie, pour une visite consacrée aux retombées de la crise syrienne dans ces pays, a indiqué le Quai d'Orsay mardi.

Le déplacement de M. Fabius en Jordanie et "dans d'autres pays de la région" avait été annoncé lundi soir par la présidence française.

Les trois pays visités par le ministre "accueillent un très grand nombre de réfugiés", a précisé le porte-parole adjoint du Quai d'Orsay Vincent Floréani, indiquant que M. Fabius visitera "deux camps de réfugiés".

"Cette tournée régionale sera l'occasion pour le ministre d'exprimer le soutien de notre pays aux réfugiés syriens qui ont été forcés à l'exil par les violences. Elle permettra aussi au ministre de s'entretenir avec les autorités de ces trois pays et de leur renouveler l'appui de la France dans leurs efforts pour accueillir les réfugiés" a-t-il ajouté.

M. Fabius aura aussi "des entretiens politiques de haut niveau dans le cadre des efforts de la France pour promouvoir une transition politique crédible et rapide en Syrie".

Le porte-parole a également annoncé qu'une mission interministérielle (Intérieur, Défense, Affaires étrangères), est partie mardi matin pour la Jordanie afin de préparer le déploiement du groupement médico-chirurgical militaire français annoncé lundi par l'Elysée pour venir en aide aux réfugiés.

Le Quai d'Orsay a rappelé que la France apporte "depuis plus d'un an" un soutien matériel et financier à la population syrienne "sous la forme de livraison de matériel médical et chirurgical et d'aide alimentaire acheminés notamment par l'intermédiaire des réseaux locaux de solidarité".

"Le nombre de bénéficiaires du soutien de la France, sur le plan alimentaire, s'élève désormais à plus 100.000 personnes", a-t-il précisé. (AFP, 8 août 2012)

Turquie-USA/ Turkey-USA

Américains et Turcs réunis à Ankara pour préparer l'après-Assad

Des responsables américains et turcs se sont réunis jeudi à Ankara pour jeter les bases d'un "mécanisme opérationnel" visant à préparer l'après Assad en Syrie, confronté depuis 17 mois à une révolte populaire, a-t-on indiqué de source diplomatique turque.

Le principe d'un tel mécanisme avait été décidé lors d'une visite à Istanbul, le 11 août, de la secrétaire d'Etat américaine Hillary Clinton, dont le pays a annoncé vouloir accélérer la fin du régime de Damas.

Diplomates, militaires et responsables des services de sécurité, dirigés par la secrétaire d'Etat ajointe Elizabeth Jones, côté américain, et le sous-secrétaire d'Etat adjoint aux Affaires étrangères Halit Cevik, côté turc, ont pour objectif de coordonner les réponses face à la crise syrienne en matière militaire, politique et de renseignement, selon la même source.

Les entretiens de ce groupe de travail doivent aussi porter sur la menace causée par l'arsenal chimique à la disposition du régime du président Bachar al-Assad et sur le risque que la Syrie devienne un sanctuaire pour des mouvements armés tels le Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan (PKK, rebelles kurdes de Turquie) ou bien le réseau Al-Qaïda.

Turcs et Américains doivent aussi se pencher sur des questions humanitaires, et notamment prévoir et coordonner l'éventuelle création d'une zone-tampon à la frontière turque en cas d'afflux majeur de réfugiés syriens, a-t-on précisé côté turc.

La Turquie abrite actuellement plus de 70.000 réfugiés syriens et a prévenu qu'elle ne pourrait en accueillir plus de 100.000.

Le Premier ministre turc, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a récemment accusé le régime de Damas avec lequel Ankara a rompu d'avoir "confié" plusieurs zones du nord de la Syrie au PKK et a prévenu que la Turquie pourrait sévir contre ces rebelles. (AFP, 23 août 2012)

Nouvelle complicité turco-américaine contre les Kurdes

Le secrétaire d'Etat américaine Hillary Clinton et son homologue turc Ahmet Davutoglu ont dit redouter que la Syrie ne devienne un sanctuaire pour "terroristes du PKK ou d'Al-Qaïda", Mme Clinton estimant que les "liens entre le Hezbollah, l'Iran et la Syrie prolongeaient le régime de Damas.

Clinton a évoqué samedi à Istanbul le conflit syrien avec la Turquie pour préparer "le jour d'après" la chute du régime de Bachar al-Assad, s'inquiétant avec Ankara que le nord de ce pays ne devienne un sanctuaire pour les terroristes.

Le chef de la diplomatie américaine et son homologue ont dit redouter que la Syrie ne devienne un sanctuaire pour "terroristes du PKK ou d'Al-Qaïda".

Mme Clinton s'est par ailleurs inquiétée de "liens entre le Hezbollah, l'Iran et la Syrie" qui prolongent, selon elle, l'existence du régime de Damas. Elle a justifié la décision de Washington de prendre des sanctions contre le groupe chiite libanais Hezbollah:  "Nous continuons à accroître la pression de l'extérieur. Nous avons annoncé hier (vendredi) à Washington des sanctions destinées à exposer et à casser les liens entre l'Iran, le Hezbollah et la Syrie qui prolongent la vie du régime Assad".

Enfin, elle a dit avoir évoqué des plans opérationnels et un échange de donnés avec la partie turque afin d'"accélérer la fin de l'effusion de sang et du régime Assad. Ceci est notre objectif stratégique".

M. Davutoglu considère pour sa part qu'"il n'y a pas de place pour une vacance du pouvoir en Syrie" dont pourraient bénéficier les rebelles du PKK.

Le Premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan a récemment accusé le régime de Damas avec lequel Ankara a rompu après avoir forgé d'étroites relations d'avoir "confié" plusieurs zones du nord de la Syrie au PKK et a prévenu que la Turquie pourrait sévir contre ces rebelles.

Mme Clinton est arrivée dans la nuit de vendredi à samedi à Istanbul en provenance du Bénin où elle a bouclé une tournée marathon de 11 jours en Afrique.

Dans la métropole turque, elle a rencontré des militants et des réfugiés syriens avant de s'entretenir avec M. Erdogan et le président Abdullah Gül.

Elle a ensuite quitté Istanbul pour rentrer à Washington.

Les Etats-Unis mettent en oeuvre depuis quelques semaines une "stratégie reposant sur trois piliers" concernant la Syrie et Mme Clinton a évoqué avec ses interlocuteurs turcs la manière de soutenir l'opposition syrienne -Washington s'en tenant pour l'instant à une "assistance non létale"-, l'aide humanitaire et un scénario de transition politique, a expliqué un responsable du département d'Etat.

Un autre pilier de la stratégie américaine consiste à apporter de "l'aide humanitaire", notamment à la Turquie frontalière de la Syrie et qui accueille plus de 50.000 réfugiés. Mme Clinton a ainsi annoncé samedi à Istanbul l'octroi de 5,5 millions de dollars supplémentaires, ce qui porte l'assistance humanitaire américaine à 82 millions de dollars depuis le début de la crise syrienne en mars 2011.

Les Etats-Unis ont déclenché une offensive diplomatique contre le Hezbollah, le Trésor américain plaçant ce mouvement, déjà classé parmi les organisations terroristes par Washington, sur la liste noire des organisations liées à Damas. (AFP, 11 août 2012)

US report criticizes Turkey

The Turkish Government has continued to impose limitations on Muslims and other religious groups through, for example, a headscarf ban in government offices for the stated purpose of preserving the “secular state,” the U.S. State Department has said in its annual report on religious freedom.

The report emphasized problematic issues in Turkey, such as the reopening of the Greek Orthodox Halki Seminary, the headscarf ban in government offices, conscientious objection to military service, compulsory religious education and difficulties faced by Alevis in creating suitable places for worship.

 “There were reports of societal abuses and discrimination based on religious affiliation, belief, or practice. Threats against non-Muslims created an atmosphere of pressure and diminished freedom for some non-Muslim communities. Many Christians, Baha’is, Jews, and Alevis faced societal suspicion and mistrust, and some elements of society continued to express anti-Semitic sentiments,” the report read.

Wearing headscarves in gov’t offices

The report pointed out that Turkish authorities have continued their ban on wearing religious Muslim headscarves in government offices and public primary schools, although the ban was not enforced in universities and is often ignored in some workplaces.

In its report, the U.S. State Department criticized the Turkish government’s policy regarding the Greek Orthodox Halki Seminary. The report claimed the seminary “could be reopened after being closed for 40 years.”

Some positive developments in religious freedoms were also noted in the U.S. State Department’s report, including the Turkish government recently permitting the forming of new religious community foundations and allowing religious community foundations to regain property which had in previous decades been confiscated.

“The government again permitted annual religious worship services to be held in religiously significant sites that had previously been converted to state museums, such as Sumela Monastery near Trabzon, Akdamar Church near Van, St. Peter’s Church in Antakya, St. Nicholas’ Church near Demre, and the House of the Virgin Mary near Selçuk,” the report stated.

The report also mentioned positive steps made toward decreasing prejudice against graduates and applicants of imam hatip schools. Applicants no longer encountered an automatic minimal reduction in their university entrance examination grades when applying for programs outside of the theology department, allowing for greater academic freedom.

In its report the U.S. State Department criticized Turkey’s failure to recognize conscientious objection to the country’s mandatory military service. It also underlined the punishment of opposing military service due to religious beliefs with charges in military and civilian courts and possible prison sentences as a limitation of religious freedom. However, the report also denounced the clouds of suspicion hanging over the Sevag Balıkçı case, an Armenian citizen who was killed during his army service.
(hurriyetdailynews.com, August 1st,  2012)

US lists PKK as Turkey’s top woe about terrorism

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is the most prominent “terrorist group” in Turkey, according to the U.S. Department of State’s Terrorism Report 2011.

The report also pointed out the judicial problems in Turkey due to its anti-terrorism laws. The PKK has approximately 4,000 to 5,000 militants, 3,000 to 3,500 of whom are located in northern Iraq, the report said. “The PKK carried out 61 credited attacks [in 2011]. At least 88 people were killed in the attacks and 216 wounded. Although the majority of the attacks took place in Turkey, suspected PKK members have carried out multiple attacks on the offices of a Turkish newspaper in Paris,” the report read.

The report also commented on the steps the Turkish government has taken to solve the Kurdish issue. In 2011, Turkey reiterated its intention to follow up on its 2009 “democratic initiative,” also known as the “national unity project” or the “Kurdish opening,” the report said.

“Concrete steps within the scope of the initiative were clearly devised to reduce the PKK’s support, by, for example, liberalizing laws governing the use of the Kurdish language in broadcasting, education, and state buildings; reducing the number of instances where counterterrorism laws are applied to non-violent crimes; and providing legal incentives to bring members of the PKK who have not engaged in violence back into civil society,” the report said.

However, the report also contained criticism of the Turkish judicial process occasioned by the country’s controversial anti-terrorism laws.

“Critics charged that Turkish authorities have applied counter-terrorism laws overly broadly to stifle political discourse, arresting hundreds of political activists, journalists, military officials, and others over the year for crimes under Turkey’s terrorism laws,” the report said. Turkey’s current regulations governing pre-trial detentions allow terrorism and other suspects to be held for up to five years while awaiting trial, according to the report. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 1st,  2012)

Relations régionales / Regional Relations

Antioche la cosmopolite s'alarme du flot de réfugiés syriens

Le flot d'exilés syriens dans le sud-est de la Turquie suscite l'inquiétude et le rejet dans la ville cosmopolite d'Antakya, l'ancienne Antioche, où vit une forte communauté alaouite, comme le clan et la famille al-Assad au pouvoir à Damas.

"Nous ne voulons plus de ces soi-disant réfugiés !", lance Malik Kilig, le maire alaouite d'une localité de la banlieue d'Antakya. "Ils arrivent toujours plus nombreux", se plaint-il, "ils louent des appartements en ville, où ils vivent parfois jusqu'à une vingtaine. Ils posent des problèmes à tout le monde. La cohabitation devient difficile".

"Dans les hôpitaux, tous les docteurs sont occupés à opérer leurs blessés, nous ne pouvons même plus nous faire soigner", s'exaspère son épouse Mariam.

"Plus personne ne veut de ces gens", confirme lui aussi Kamal, le gérant d'une boutique de téléphonie mobile, dont les Syriens constituent pourtant une grande partie de la clientèle.

Officiellement, les réfugiés syriens sont désormais plus de 80.000 en Turquie, répartis dans neuf camps le long de la frontière et concentrés dans cette province d'Hatay. En fait, ce sont des milliers d'illégaux syriens qui vivent aujourd'hui au grand jour à Antakya, la capitale provinciale.

"Cette présence est de plus en plus visible, elle affecte toute la vie socio-économique", constate Mehmet, commerçant dans le bazar de la veille ville.

"Les gens commencent à avoir peur. La ville bruisse de rumeurs de violences, d'agressions, de viols commis par des supposés Syriens", raconte le boutiquier, "on sent monter les tensions inter-communautaires".

Le gouverneur d'Hatay, Mehmet Celalettin Lekesiz, a récemment balayé d'un revers de main les "histoires" de la presse locale, qui se fait chaque jour l'écho de ces frictions.

Selon le chef de la police provinciale, Ragip Kilig, 145 incidents impliquant des ressortissants syriens ont été recensés, avec 330 interpellations, un "chiffre normal comparé au nombre de réfugiés dans la province".


"Nous entendons toutes ces rumeurs, mais il ne faut pas y prêter attention", a commenté pour sa part le mufti d'Hatay, Mustafa Sinanoglu, lors d'une rencontre entre représentants des communautés d'Antakya. "Personne ne peut briser l'amitié entre nous", a assuré le religieux.

Ancien "sandjak" (division administrative de l'empire Ottoman) d'Alexandrette, placé sous mandat français après la Première guerre mondiale, la région syrienne d'Antioche a été rattachée à la Turquie en 1939, au grand dam de Damas qui la revendique toujours comme partie de son territoire.

Antioche, rebaptisée Antakya par le pouvoir turc, est une cité de plus de 200.000 âmes où musulmans cohabitent avec catholiques, orthodoxes, maronites, juifs, et même arméniens.

Les musulmans y sont pour la plupart alaouites, une branche du chiisme, caractérisée notamment par une pratique religieuse assez souple, d'où est également issue la famille du président syrien Bachar al-Assad.

L'arrivée massive de réfugiés syriens, arabes sunnites conservateurs, et en filigrane le soutien turc aux rebelles, met à mal ce délicat équilibre.

Majoritaires dans Antakya, mais petite minorité à l'échelle de la Turquie sunnite, les Alaouites se sentent particulièrement visés par ces réfugiés ou combattants de passage.

La même anecdote, invérifiable, revient dans toutes les bouches. "Dans les restaurants tenus par des Alaouites, ils s'en vont souvent sans payer la note en se disant les +invités+ du gouvernement turc". Suspects de sympathie avec le régime Assad, des Alaouites sont parfois pris à partie par des Syriens.

La présence croissante de femmes entièrement voilées de noir, d'hommes à la longue barbe contribue au malaise dans une ville très libérale où les adolescents vivent à l'occidentale et les femmes en mini-jupes déambulent dans le centre piétonnier.

"Nous les voyons passer dans le bazar tous ces salafistes syriens, comme ces étrangers qu'on ne croisait presque jamais par ici: Egyptiens, Libyens, Tchétchènes... ce ne sont pas des touristes!", ironise un commerçant.

"Nous avons tenté d'alerter les autorités, mais elles font semblant de ne rien voir", déplore encore Malik Kilig.

"Nous avons vécu ici comme des frères. L'arrivée des réfugiés syriens risque de briser cette harmonie", met-il en garde, "lentement mais sûrement, les incidents spontanés vont se multiplier".
(AFP, Hervé BAR, 31 août 2012)

Le rêve évanoui d'un nouvel ordre régional

Par Guillaume Perrier

Rien ne semblait pouvoir arrêter Ahmet Davutoglu en 2010. Sous l'impulsion de cet universitaire promu ministre des affaires étrangères par Recep Tayyip Erdogan, la "diplomatie à 360 degrés" de la Turquie volait de succès en succès. Le magazine américain Foreign Policy décrivait alors le professeur diplomate comme "le cerveau derrière le retour de la Turquie sur la scène mondiale". Sa première année aux manettes avait dessiné une diplomatie ambitieuse, le ministre passant jusqu'à vingt-cinq jours par mois en voyage officiel pour mettre en pratique son traité théorique écrit à la fin des années 1990, "Profondeur stratégique" (non traduit en français), ou comment bâtir un espace régional pacifié pour assurer aux Turcs sécurité et prospérité économique. Cette stratégie s'est résumée en une formule devenue le mot d'ordre de M. Davutoglu : "Zéro problème avec les voisins." Deux ans plus tard, force est de constater que cette entreprise est un échec. Le "printemps arabe", notamment, est passé par là.

L'axe fort de cette diplomatie de bon voisinage était le rapprochement avec la Syrie de Bachar Al-Assad. Avant que n'éclate la révolution de mars 2011, M. Davutoglu s'était rendu en mission à Damas plus d'une cinquantaine de fois, les deux pays avaient tenu deux conseils des ministres communs fin 2009, dont l'un à Alep, et aboli les visas pour leurs ressortissants. En janvier 2010 encore, Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurait avec son homologue syrien le barrage de l'Amitié, sur l'Oronte, le long de la frontière. Cette tactique de rapprochement a toutefois fait long feu. Le ministre des affaires étrangères n'a pas été, plus que d'autres, capable de faire cesser la répression. Et la frontière avec la Syrie, la plus longue que possède la Turquie, est de nouveau militarisée, comme dans les années 1990. Tension aggravée par le fait que la Turquie accueille jusqu'à présent quelque 45 000 réfugiés syriens.

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A chaque frontière, son problème avec un voisin. Celle avec l'Arménie demeure fermée, et le dialogue, lancé en 2009, a échoué. L'amitié naissante avec la Grèce, censée créer une passerelle vers l'Union européenne (UE), a souffert de l'effondrement économique du voisin hellène. La question chypriote continue d'empoisonner les liens bilatéraux. La république de Chypre assure la présidence tournante de l'UE et l'île reste divisée, l'autre moitié étant occupée par la Turquie. Toutes les tentatives de négociations ont fait chou blanc. Le dossier continue de peser sur les négociations d'adhésion à l'UE, en panne depuis plusieurs années. La Turquie maintient tout de même l'objectif d'une adhésion "pleine et entière" pour elle-même et mise sur un réchauffement des relations avec la France, entrevu en juillet à Paris avec la visite de M. Davutoglu auprès du nouveau gouvernement français, pour relancer le processus.

Avec l'Irak, d'importantes divergences sont apparues. Début août, la visite de M. Davutoglu à Kirkouk, ville du nord de l'Irak disputée par les Kurdes, a irrité le gouvernement central de Bagdad, dominé par les partis chiites, et son premier ministre Nouri Al-Maliki, qui n'avait pas été averti de ce voyage. Déjà, la protection accordée au leader sunnite irakien Tarek Al-Hachémi, réfugié à Istanbul alors qu'il est poursuivi pour complicité d'assassinat par la justice irakienne, avait semé le trouble. Et dans le conflit pétrolier qui oppose Bagdad à la région autonome kurde, la Turquie a choisi son camp en nouant des liens privilégiés avec la famille Barzani (Massoud Barzani est le chef du gouvernement autonome kurde d'Irak). En juillet, le Kurdistan a exporté directement du pétrole vers la Turquie, provoquant la fureur de Bagdad.

Avec l'Iran, les relations ne sont jamais sorties d'une méfiance réciproque, malgré les tentatives de M. Davutoglu de jouer les médiateurs sur le programme nucléaire iranien. Les révolutions dans le monde arabe ont ravivé les éternelles tensions entre chiites et sunnites dans la région. Téhéran, fer de lance de l'axe chiite, et Ankara, puissance sunnite, qui s'est rapprochée des monarchies du Golfe, ont des intérêts de plus en plus divergents.

L'ambition d'Ankara, qui était de jouer le rôle de pont entre l'Orient et l'Occident, a été largement déçue. En 2008, M. Davutoglu avait tenté le pari de faire asseoir à la même table Israël et la Syrie, utilisant ses bonnes relations avec les uns et les autres. Non seulement la tentative a échoué, mais Ankara est désormais brouillé avec les deux pays. "Il n'y a plus trace aujourd'hui de cette Turquie qui poursuivait de nouveaux objectifs avec l'Union européenne, Israël et l'Iran d'un côté, et, de l'autre, concevait des projets à long terme avec la Syrie, la Russie et les Etats-Unis. La Turquie est revenue à la politique étrangère qu'elle menait avant l'arrivée au pouvoir des islamo-conservateurs de l'AKP, en 2002. Il n'existe aujourd'hui pratiquement aucun pays limitrophe avec lequel la Turquie n'ait de problèmes", juge Cumali Onal, chroniqueur au journal Zaman, ancien thuriféraire de la politique de M. Davutoglu. "Ni Israël ni les groupes palestiniens ne font plus mention de la Turquie, cite-t-il en exemple. Nous voyons aujourd'hui à quel point les efforts turcs se sont révélés improductifs."

Ankara aurait-il perdu de sa fameuse influence dans les révolutions arabes ? "Quatre pays qui ont renversé leurs dictateurs - l'Egypte, la Libye, la Tunisie et le Yémen - ne voient plus la Turquie comme un modèle, malgré les efforts et les initiatives diplomatiques déployés", estime M. Onal. La priorité de l'Egypte, c'est l'Arabie saoudite, destination du premier voyage du président Mohamed Morsi. Pour nombre d'observateurs, la Turquie, faute d'avoir su créer un nouvel ordre régional, est revenue à l'ordre ancien et à un alignement sur la politique étrangère de Washington : membre de l'OTAN depuis 1953, Ankara a notamment autorisé l'installation sur son sol de radars antimissiles tournés vers l'Iran. Dès lors, le pouvoir de médiation de la Turquie s'est évanoui. (lemonde.fr, 24 août 2012)

La Turquie conseille à ses ressortissants de ne pas se rendre au Liban

La Turquie a recommandé vendredi à ses ressortissants de ne pas se rendre au Liban où de nombreux Syriens et deux Turcs ont été enlevés récemment, a annoncé le ministère turc des Affaires étrangères dans un communiqué.

"Il serait préférable pour nos concitoyens d'éviter de se rendre au Liban sauf en cas d'absolue nécessité", indique le ministère.

Cet avertissement survient alors qu'une vingtaine de personnes, dont un Turc, ont été enlevées à Beyrouth mercredi et un autre ressortissant turc jeudi, selon le ministère.

Ankara déclare poursuivre ses efforts sur plusieurs fronts pour obtenir la libération des deux Turcs kidnappés, ajoute le communiqué.

Vendredi, le président turc Abdullah Gul a déclaré que le Turc enlevé mercredi était le représentant d'une société turque qui fait des affaires au Liban et qu'il n'avait aucun lien avec la politique.

S'adressant à la presse, M. Gul a indiqué qu'il avait rencontré le Premier ministre libanais et le ministre des Affaires étrangères jeudi à La Mecque et avait demandé la remise en liberté immédiate des deux otages.

Le conflit en Syrie divise profondément le Liban voisin, pays à l'équilibre confessionnel très fragile, notamment entre des chiites qui expriment leur sympathie pour le régime alaouite -une émanation du chiisme - et des sunnites qui penchent vers les insurgés.

La Liban a accueilli près de 38.000 réfugiés depuis le début du conflit en Syrie en mars 2011.

A la suite de la vague d'enlèvements de ressortissants syriens par des hommes armés chiites, plusieurs monarchies pétrolières du Golfe ont demandé mercredi à leurs ressortissants de quitter "immédiatement" le Liban, qui n'avait plus connu une telle campagne de rapts depuis les années 1980, en pleine guerre civile. (AFP, 17 août 2012)

Iraq denies visa request for MHP leader's Kirkuk visit

The Iraqi central government on Wednesday denied a request for a visa from Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli, who was planning to visit Kirkuk during the Islamic holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

The Iraqi government last week announced that it had decided to reconsider ties with Turkey after Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu paid a surprise visit to Kirkuk, an oil-rich Iraqi city claimed by both the central government and the country's autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), without first consulting central Iraqi authorities.

The control of Kirkuk, a city populated by Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs, has long been a matter of contention between the Iraqi central government and Iraqi Kurds, who hope to annex the city to their autonomous region in the north. Kirkuk is currently under the control of the Iraqi government.

Turkey, too, has long opposed Kurdish rule over Kirkuk, out of concern that this would encourage separatist sentiment among its own Kurdish population.

Iraqi central authorities, in turn, have accused Turkey of violating diplomatic procedures, saying that the foreign minister neither asked for nor obtained permission to enter Kirkuk. The latest move by Iraq to deny Bahçeli's request for a visa is likely to further escalate tensions between Iraq and Turkey.

Turkey has been hosting Tariq al-Hashemi, Iraq's Sunni vice president, who faces charges of terrorism in his own country. Also to the chagrin of the Iraqi government, Turkey has recently started importing crude oil from northern Iraq under a deal with the KRG administration. Turkey separately imports oil from Iraq through a twin pipeline that runs from Kirkuk to the Mediterranean oil terminal of Ceyhan.

Nouri al-Maliki's government has slammed Turkey for pursuing “hostile” policies in the region and interfering in Iraqi affairs, while Ankara says Maliki's Shiite-led government is trying to monopolize power by suppressing Sunni Arabs and other groups. (TODAY'S ZAMAN, August 15, 2012)

L'Iran suspend les exemptions de visa pour la Turquie et d'autres pays

L'Iran a temporairement suspendu les exemptions de visa pour les citoyens turcs et ceux de plusieurs autres pays en raison de l'organisation à Téhéran fin août du sommet du mouvement des pays non-alignés, a rapporté samedi l'agence Mehr.

Ce sommet est prévu à Téhéran du 26 au 31 août et l'Iran doit prendre officiellement la tête du mouvement des non-alignés (NAM) pour trois ans.

La presse turque avait mentionné cette mesure, prise dans un contexte tendu entre les deux pays en raison de la crise en Syrie.

L'ambassade d'Iran à Istanbul a confirmé cette décision dans une lettre, publiée par l'agence Mehr.

"La suspension (...) concerne tous les pays dont les citoyens n'ont pas besoin de visa pour voyager en Iran", a affirmé l'ambassade dans cette lettre.

Les ressortissants de la Turquie, mais aussi de la Syrie, l'Azerbaïdjan, la Bolivie, l'Equateur, la Géorgie, la Malaisie, du Nicaragua, la Turquie, et du Venezuela n'ont habituellement pas besoin de visa pour voyager en Iran.

"La suspension de trois semaines de la libre circulation (des ressortissants de certains pays, ndlr) est uniquement due au sommet des pays du NAM à Téhéran", a ajouté l'ambassade.

Quelque 15.000 ressortissants turcs se sont rendus en Iran en 2011 alors qu'un million et demi d'Iraniens sont allés en Turquie durant la même période.

Le porte-parole du sommet des non alignés, Mohammad Reza Forghani, avait déclaré il y a quelques jours que la mesure était provisoire et que "les choses vont revenir à normale après le sommet du NAM".

La mairie de Téhéran a souligné que quelque 9.000 personnes de 120 pays doivent venir à Téhéran pour le sommet. (AFP, 11 août 2012)

Turkey, Iran friction deepening on Syria

Political tensions between Ankara and Tehran are growing over the conflict in Syria, with Turkey warning Iran to cease blaming Ankara for the Arab republic’s violence while also calling on the Islamic republic to stand against Damascus’ alleged killings.

Recent remarks by Iranian officials could “harm not only the rooted relations of Iran and Turkey, but the diplomacy Iran conducts in the international arena,” Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters yesterday before departing for a visit to Myanmar.

His statement came one day after holding talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, to whom Davutoğlu conveyed Ankara’s unease over Iranian Chief of Staff Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi’s suggestion that Turkey was involved in the bloodshed in Syria and accusation that Ankara, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, was assisting the “war-waging goals of America.”

The Iranian general’s comments had come as Salehi flew to Turkey on Aug. 7 to solicit Turkish help to effect the release of 48 Iranian pilgrims kidnapped in Syria over the weekend.

Although the comments were not made by Iran’s leaders, they were made by individuals holding official posts, Davutoğlu said. “We would expect these officials, both in Turkey and Iran, to think a few times before making any comments. Our position on the issue was explained to Mr. Salehi in a frank and friendly manner,” Davutoğlu said.

“The Syrian regime bears the whole responsibility” for the tension between Iran and Turkey, Davutoğlu said, adding that Tehran should not try to pin responsibility for Syria’s violence on other countries. “It is our right to expect Iran to assume a constructive attitude in the face of Muslim blood being spilled in Syria during the holy month of Ramadan.”

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also issued a warning after Firouzabadi’s statement, saying it was “worrying and regrettable” while reminding Iran that Turkey had supported it in the international arena with regard to its ongoing nuclear program.

“When no one else was by its side, Turkey was the country that stood by Iran in spite of everything. Turkey was also the country that defended [Iran’s right to] nuclear energy,” Erdoğan said, addressing members of his party at a fast-breaking iftar dinner Aug. 7.

Salehi, meanwhile, said that although Turkey and Iran had different views on some issues, Iran’s government wanted to promote relations with Ankara.

The differences between the two countries are not having a negative impact on relations, Salehi told Iranian state TV channel IRINN on Aug. 8 while asking some Iranian officials to consider different aspects of the issue in the interests of maintaining an environment of international friendship.

Ultimately, political issues are different from humanitarian issues, Davutoğlu said, noting that Turkey was making efforts toward the release of the abducted Iranian pilgrims in Syria.

Salehi also said some “retired” members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and army were among the 48 Iranians taken hostage in Syria by rebels over the weekend. The foreign minister, however, denied rebels’ allegations that the Iranians had been on a military mission, saying the former military personnel had been exclusively on a religious pilgrimage to Damascus when they were seized Aug. 4.
“A number of the [hostages] are retired members of the guards and the army. Some others were from other ministries,” Salehi was quoted as saying to reporters as he flew back from Turkey. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 9,  2012)

Turkish delegation in Myanmar for aid

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu departed yesterday to observe the situation in Myanmar, from where he said Turkey was receiving “conflicting information” regarding deadly religious violence.

“The administration [in Myanmar] says the deaths are around a hundred... but the Muslim leaders in Rakhine, with whom we have been in contact, say the deaths have reached thousands,” Davutoğlu told reporters in Ankara before his departure. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s wife, Emine Erdoğan, and daughter, Sümeyye Erdoğan, and the foreign minister’s wife, Sare Davutoğlu, are accompanying Davutoğlu.

The foreign minister is taking along medical supplies and donations collected by Turkey’s Red Crescent to deliver to the probably more than 50,000 Muslims and 20,000 Buddhists who have been displaced from their homes by the conflict.

“The information we have, the international community has, is very conflicting,” he said, according to Agence France-Presse. Fighting in the western state of Rakhine between Rohingya Muslims and local Buddhists has killed 80 people from both sides since June, with six reportedly killed last weekend, according to Myanmar authorities.

The Turkish foreign minister said he had to go himself and “observe the situation on the ground” to get reliable information, but his main purpose was “to make sure help reaches those people in no time.” The Turkish aid, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement, was the first foreign humanitarian assistance Myanmar had accepted, apart from support received through a United Nations campaign.

The violence initially broke out in June following the rape and murder of a Rakhine woman and the subsequent lynching of 10 Muslims by a crowd of Buddhists. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 9,  2012)

Les réfugiés syriens font le beaux jours des hôtels turcs

Les réfugiés syriens fuyant les combats dans leur pays et les journalistes venus couvrir le conflit font les beaux jours des hôtels turcs de la province d'Antakya frontalière de la Syrie désertée par les touristes arabes.

"Les hôtels profitent de la crise syrienne. Nous sommes actuellement plein à 70-80% même les jours les moins bons," a déclaré Evren Hamasoglu, réceptionniste en chef d'un hôtel de cette province située le long de la frontière turco-syrienne.

"Les touristes arabes qui remplissaient autrefois ces hôtels ont été remplacés par les journalistes," a-t-il ajouté.

Les cars de touristes d'Arabie saoudite, du Liban, et de Jordanie qui traversaient la Syrie pour se rendre à Istanbul ou Antalya avaient l'habitude de s'arrêter dans la région d'Antakya qui borde la Méditerranée.

Mais le soulèvement contre le régime du président Bachar al-Assad a mis fin à ce flot saisonnier de touristes qui préfèrent désormais voyager par avion, une défection qui inquiète les autorités locales.

"Si la fréquentation des hôtels a augmenté surtout grâce aux journalistes, aux opposants syriens et aux réfugiés fuyant les combats, c'est une augmentation artificielle", a expliqué Sabahattin Nacioglu, directeur d'un hôtel d'Antakya et responsable de l'office du tourisme de la ville. Et, regrette-t-il, "les touristes étaient de bien meilleurs clients, pour la région et pour le pays".

Les locations de maisons profitent aussi de ce boom, rapportent les médias turcs.

Les réfugiés les plus riches, de même que certains journalistes, se sont installés dans les provinces de Gaziantep, Kilis et Antakya proches de la frontière syrienne, rapporte le quotidien Milliyet, ce qui a fait grimper le nombre des locations, dont les prix ont doublé voire triplé.

La Turquie, dont la frontière avec la Syrie s'étend sur 900 km, accueille plus de 45.000 réfugiés Syriens dans huit camps de tentes et un camp de conteneurs dans ces régions frontalières, où les déserteurs de l'armée syrienne sont également basés. (AFP, 7 août 2012)

Erdogan accuses "enemy countries" of supporting the PKK

Turkey is powerful enough to bring the "enemy countries" that hold the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party's (PKK) strings into line, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said today.
Erdoğan sent a written message to offer his condolences to the Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel in the wake of yesterday night's PKK attack on a military outpost in the eastern province of Hakkari, which left six soldiers and two village guards dead and 15 soldiers and six civilians injured.
The PKK "once again" showed its enmity to Turkey's national and spiritual values by mounting a "dastardly" attack during the holy month of Ramadan, Erdoğan said, adding that terrorism was "destined to lose, wither and melt away in the face of the nation's determination."
The prime minister also pointed at possible foreign actors directing the PKK's attacks when he said Turkey was "strong enough to bring into line both the murderers controlled by the PKK and enemy countries that hold the PKK's strings."
The deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) Ömer Çelik made a similar statement earlier today when he wrote that the latest attack was "beyond the PKK's capabilities" on his Twitter account. Çelik wrote the PKK was implementing the plans of a "multi-dimensional organization."
Çelik also said the PKK was acting "parallel to [Syrian President Bashar] al-Assad's massacre in Aleppo in carrying out attacks in Hakkari and Şemdinli."

'BDP branch office of Baath party'

Çelik also criticized the co-chair of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, for saying Erdoğan should answer for the killings. Çelik wrote that Demirtaş "admitted his complicity in the massacre" with his statement. "They expect benefits from the PKK's guns, act as spokespersons after the attack in Hakkari, and later talk of peace, democracy and freedom.”

The BDP declared itself as the branch office of the Baath party in Turkey with their stance in the wake of the latest attack, Çelik wrote.

The PKK's recent attacks showed that the PKK itself was the greatest threat to the prospect of a democratic order for Kurds, Çelik said.

The PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 5,  2012)

Iraq summons Turkey envoy to protest over Davutoglu's visit

Iraq made a formal protest to Turkey's envoy in Baghdad today after the Turkish foreign minister made a surprise visit to an oil-rich Iraqi city claimed by both the central government and the country's autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The episode, the latest in a series of diplomatic spats and tit-for-tat summonings of envoys between the neighboring countries, is likely to worsen already strained relations.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu had travelled to Kirkuk on Thursday after visiting the regional president in Arbil, the capital of the KRG.
But Iraq's foreign ministry accused Turkey of violating its constitution with the visit, saying that Davutoğlu had neither asked for nor obtained permission to enter Kirkuk.
A junior minister at Iraq's foreign ministry had handed Turkey's charge d'affaires a protest letter today, a strongly-worded statement from the foreign ministry said.
"The note also included a demand by the Iraqi government [for an] urgent explanation from the Turkish government," it added.
Relations between Iraq, close to Shi'ite Iran, and Sunni Muslim regional power Turkey, were tested after U.S. troops pulled out of Iraq last year and the government immediately tried to arrest one of its Sunni vice presidents.
He fled first to Northern Iraq and later to Ankara, where he was given refuge.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan then traded public insults.
Baghdad's Arab-led central government and ethnic Kurdish officials are locked in a protracted dispute over who controls territory and oilfields along their internal border. Kirkuk, which possesses huge crude oil reserves, is one of those areas.
Iraq and Turkey are also at odds over the worsening conflict in Syria. Turkey has become one of the main backers of the rebels, while Baghdad has refused to support calls for President Bashar al-Assad to step aside.
Iraq is Turkey's second largest trading partner after Germany with trade reaching $12 billion last year, more than half of which was with the Kurdish region. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 3,  2012)
L'armée turque en manoeuvres près de la frontière syrienne

L'armée turque effectuait des manoeuvres mercredi près de sa frontière sud-est avec la Syrie pour tester la vitesse et la maniabilité de ses chars, a rapporté l'agence de presse Anatolie.

Ces manoeuvres se sont déroulées après l'envoi par la Turquie d'un convoi de chars transportant des armes et des batteries de missiles sol-air à la frontière syrienne, renforçant ainsi son dispositif à la frontière du pays, alors que les combats en Syrie se sont intensifiés.

Environ 25 chars ont participémercredi aux exercices dans la ville de Nusaybin, dans la province de Mardin, à seulement 2 km de la frontière, selon l'agence.

"C'est une manoeuvre militaire, un exercice de routine qui durera environ deux jours", a dit le gouverneur local, Turhan Ayvaz, cité par l'agence Anatolie.

La Turquie a renforcé son dispositif militaire à la frontière après qu'un Phantom turc a été abattu par la Syrie le 22 juin.

La semaine dernière, Ankara avait envoyé un convoi transportant des batteries de missiles sol-air vers plusieurs unités déployées à la frontière, alors que les rebelles se sont emparés de plusieurs postes le long des 900 km de la frontière turco-syrienne.

Ces derniers déploiements interviennent aussi après que la ville syrienne d'Ifrin, située près de Kilis et Islahiye, est tombée entre les mains du Parti de l'union démocratique (PYD), une branche syrienne du Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan (PKK), selon des sources rebelles.

Le ministre turc des Affaires étrangère Ahmet Davutoglu devait se rendre mercredi dans le nord de l'Irak pour évoquer avec des leaders kurdes irakiens la situation en Syrie, notamment les informations selon lesquelles certaines régions du nord de la Syrie étaient tombées aux mains des rebelles kurdes. (AFP, 1er août 2012)

Joint Declaration After Barzani-Davutoglu Meeting

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu was in Arbil to discuss the recent developments in Syria with KRG President Massoud Barzani.

A press statement was released following the meeting between Davutoğlu and Barzani, saying any attempt to exploit the power vacuum in Syria by a terrorist organization would be considered a common threat for both Turkey and the KRG, which would be "jointly addressed."

"The new Syria should be free of any terrorist and extremist group or organization," the statement said.

Turkey has expressed concern over a possible cooperation between the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the Kurdish leadership in Syria's north, which the latter managed to take over the control of numerous Syrian cities without violence.

The full press statement on the meeting between Davutoğlu and Barzani is as follows:

Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, and Mr. Masoud Barzani, the President of the Iraqi Kurdistan Region, had extensive, friendly and constructive discussions in Erbil today on bilateral relations and regional issues, particularly on the situation in Syria. They noted their satisfaction with the pace of their relations and agreed to expand them in all fields, particularly in the fields of economic development and energy.

They emphasized that the situation in Syria is grave. Syrian people continue to suffer. Loss of life and destruction is at unprecedented levels. They underlined that the actions of the Syrian regime and its policy to provoke sectarian and ethnic conflict within the country will further deteriorate the situation. The developments in Syria also pose a threat to regional security and stability. This situation is unacceptable by all standards.

They emphasized their commitment to a swift peaceful political transition in Syria. They reiterated that the future of Syria should only be determined by the free will of the Syrian people.

They agreed to cooperate and coordinate their efforts with a view to helping Syrian people to achieve their legitimate aspirations for a democratic, free and pluralistic Syria where all citizens will enjoy equal rights and freedoms.  In the new Syria, all   ethnic, religious or sectarian identities should be respected and their rights should be guaranteed and protected.

They expressed their deep concern regarding instability and chaos in Syria. They also emphasized that any attempt to exploit the power vacuum by any violent group or organization will be considered as a common threat, which should be jointly addressed.  The new Syria should be free of any terrorist and extremist group or organization.

They agreed to continue their consultations and cooperation in the interests of peace and stability in the region. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 1st,  2012)

Chypre et la Grèce / Cyprus and Greece

Cypriot Minister: "EU asked to use both carrot, stick on Turkey"

Turkey’s EU accession process should be used both as a positive and negative incentive, the foreign minister of Greek Cyprus has said.

“Turkey’s accession should act not only as a carrot but also as a stick, only then could Turkey’s intransigence finally be broken,” Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis said, referring to Turkey’s stance on unification talks, Greek Cypriot daily Famagusta Gazette reported on Aug. 12.

Referring to the U.N.-led talks which have been ongoing since 2008 with a view to reunify the island, Kozakou-Marcoullis said that unfortunately Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leader, Derviş Eroğlu, had led them to a deadlock through their constantly intransigent and provocative stance.

Eroğlu said in late June that the halted reunification talks between the Turkish and Greek Cypriots could only be resumed with the introduction of a deadline for negotiations and lifting of the embargos imposed on Turkish Cyprus.

Kozakou-Marcoullis accused Eroğlu of backtracking from the agreed basis of the talks and from convergences achieved between Greek Cyprus President Demetris Christofias and former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat. She called Turkey’s rhetoric on the Cyprus issue “a great fraud.”

According to the daily, Kozakou-Marcoullis said the international community and particularly Greek Cyprus’ EU partners should “wake up” and set aside any other interests they might have regarding Turkey. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 14,  2012)

Immigration / Migration

Encore un élu turco-"belge" qui se croit en Turquie...

[ndPYL Je me demande souvent s'il y a un élu turc de Belgique (à part Nuray Dogru à Saint-Josse, mais elle est "originaire de Turquie", issue de la minorité arabe, donc pas "turque") qui soit capable de comprendre qu'il est élu en Belgique et pas en Turquie, qu'il n'est pas un "élu des Turcs" et que l'ambassade de Turquie (parce que cette "sortie" est "signée") n'a pas à intervenir dans la politique intérieure belge. Mais ce genre de situation est le résultat de la politique électoraliste effrénée de certains partis belges qui instrumentalisent des candidats et des élus de telle ou telle origine pour capter le "bétail électoral" (ou les "bancs d'électeurs" à pêcher avec des filets) en l'appâtant avec des thématiques nationalistes, que ce soit ici le conflit au Kurdistan turc ou ailleurs le Sahara, Israël ou le Cachemire.] (fr.groups.yahoo.com/group/suffrage-universel, 30 août 2012)


Mise à jour : jeudi 30 août 2012 07h00

Quand un échevin socialiste s’en prend à un autre échevin socialiste

Franck Destrebecq
VERVIERS - Frères ennemis? Hasan Aydin s’attaque à Malik Ben Achour, qui n’en revient pas… et lui réplique. Inédit, à six semaines des élections.

«Jusqu’où puis-je encore considérer cette pêche aux voix comme étant éthique?»L’attaque émane de l’échevin des Travaux de Verviers, le socialiste Hasan Aydin. Une attaque de campagne électorale à l’encontre d’un candidat d’une autre liste? Eh bien, non! Elle vise nommément Malik Ben Achour, un autre échevin socialiste verviétois…

Qu’est-ce qui est en cause? L’organisation, le 19 août, d’une fête kurde à l’Harmonie par l’APKA, l’Association des peuples du Kurdistan et d’ailleurs. Cette manifestation n’avait pas été autorisée à l’extérieur du bâtiment par le bourgmestre Claude Desama (socialiste lui aussi) et elle devait donc se cantonner à l’intérieur, précise Hasan Aydin. L’échevin aux racines turques souligne, avec «désolation», que, «comme prévu, certains orateurs ont profité de l’occasion pour faire une propagande de l’organisation terroriste internationalement reconnue du PKK» (le Parti des travailleurs du Kurdistan, qui a combattu, de façon armée puis pacifiquement, le pouvoir turc, en réclamant l’autonomie).

Et que vient faire Malik Ben Achour là-dedans, lui qui n’a des origines ni turques ni kurdes? «Ce qui est encore plus regrettable,poursuit Hasan Aydin, c’est que l’échevin Ben Achour ait accepté la présidence d’honneur dans cette manifestation soutenant ouvertement la libération de M. Abdullah Öcalan, membre fondateur et chef de l’organisation terroriste du PKK. Jusqu’où puis-je encore considérer cette pêche aux voix comme étant éthique?»

Hasan Aydin s’en prend au PKK et au supposé soutien que Malik Ben Achour lui apporte (on lira sa position ci-dessous) :«Maintenant, ce que veulent les Kurdes de Turquie, c’est l’instauration de la paix et de la sérénité. Alors au nom de quelle(s) revendication(s) ces partisans de la terreur continuent-ils encore à semer le massacre au sein des communautés turques et kurdes? Ces groupuscules ne représentent nullement la population kurde et sont condamnés à rester des groupes marginaux. De plus, quels que soient les événements en Turquie, pouvons-nous encore admettre l’importation de ces conflits ici en Belgique? Ne représente-t-elle pas une atteinte à la paix dans notre Ville multiculturelle?»

Et encore : «En tant que responsable politique local et membre du Collège, j’ai le devoir de veiller à la prospérité et à la sérénité au sein de notre Ville. Contrairement aux propos tenus par les organisateurs (NDLR : dans L’Avenir du 20 août), je n’ai aucune réticence face à la communauté kurde de Verviers ou d’ailleurs qui est dans sa majorité pacifiste et avec qui je dialogue au quotidien. J’ai l’intime conviction que de telles manifestations importent les problèmes d’ailleurs et n’apportent aucune plus-value au mieux vivre-ensemble à Verviers. Que du contraire, elles pourraient alimenter la haine et la violence entre nos concitoyens de diverses origines.»


Mise à jour : jeudi 30 août 2012 07h00
« Ridicule, farfelu, pas très malin »

VERVIERS - Malik Ben Achour s’est montré très surpris d’être ainsi attaqué par son colistier Hasan Aydin. Sur le fond et sur la forme.

Sur le fond : «Je ne pourrais nullement cautionner les propos tenus lors de cette manifestation, que je ne connais absolument pas, puisque je n’y suis pas allé. Je ne suis pas davantage le président d’honneur et je ne suis pas membre de l’association qui l’organisait. C’est un malentendu avec sa responsable Jeanine Chaineux, qui m’a présenté dans l’invitation comme président d’honneur, sans que je le sache, en forme de gratitude au soutien que j’apporte à l’école de devoirs de cette association culturelle, je précise bien, pas politique. En tant qu’échevin de la vie associative, je réponds aux invitations qui me sont adressées, y compris d’associations turques et ça ne signifie pas que j’en deviens le grand gourou.»

Sur la forme : «Je m’en étais déjà expliqué avec Hasan en marge du collège communal de vendredi dernier. Je pensais qu’il avait compris le malentendu. Mais ce qu’il présente dans son communiqué ne correspond pas à la vérité que je lui ai expliquée. Je ne sais pas si n’a pas compris, s’il fait mine de ne pas comprendre(NDLR : sous-entendu, en vue de renforcer son électorat d’origine turque) ou si c’est peut-être moi qui me suis mal exprimé. Cette situation est absurde. S’en prendre ainsi à un colistier, à tort, j’ai connu attitude plus confraternelle et je ne trouve pas ça très malin. Je me demande quelle image il va donner aux Verviétois, qui ne comprendront pas cette histoire farfelue et ridicule. En tout cas, il ne faut pas compter sur moi pour fragiliser l’unité du PS. Tous les candidats, nous sommes tous socialistes, avant d’être d’origine belge, turque, marocaine ou que sais-je, d’être riche ou pauvre, etc.»

Fr. D.

Mise à jour : jeudi 30 août 2012 07h00

PS : petites secousses ?

VERVIERS - Des divergences de vue au sein d’une coalition, ça existe dans toutes les communes. Des tonalités différentes dans un même parti, ça existe dans toutes les formations. Des sensibilités différentes entre des échevins collègues, ça existe dans tous les collèges communaux. Cela va parfois jusqu’à des frictions, des coups de gueule. Mais, la plupart du temps, cela se règle entre quatre z’yeux. Rarement avec un communiqué envoyé à la presse.

L’attaque de Hasan Aydin envers Malik Ben Achour, d’un socialiste à un autre socialiste (ou, autre manière de voir les choses, du 6e  candidat sur la liste PS, qui se voyait plus haut, à l’encontre du 4e , qui, lui, a réussi à l’être), est donc inédite. Certes, durant cette mandature, il y a eu les coups de griffe de Guillaume Voisin à «ses» échevins MR. Mais ici, c’est carrément entre deux échevins, du même parti. Et à six semaines des élections. Ça fait plutôt mauvais genre…

Allemagne: 45% des immigrés turcs veulent rentrer en Turquie

Quarante-cinq pour cent des Turcs ou personnes d'origine turque vivant en Allemagne veulent rentrer en Turquie et 15% seulement d'entre eux considèrent l'Allemagne comme leur patrie, selon une étude de l'institut Info publiée vendredi.

En outre, 62% d'entre eux affirment que c'est en compagnie de Turcs qu'ils se sentent le mieux, selon cette étude réalisée auprès de quelque 1.000 personnes interrogées dans tout le pays.

L'Allemagne compte quelque 3 millions de citoyens turcs ou d'origine turque, dont 700.000 ont la nationalité allemande.

Parmi les raisons avancées pour un retour en Turquie figurent l'envie de retrouver ses origines, mais aussi la volonté de vivre une retraite agréable sous une météo plus clémente.

Les personnes âgées de 30 à 49 ans sont celles qui manifestent la plus grande envie d'aller vivre en Turquie.

Si 39% d'entre eux vivent depuis au moins 30 ans en Allemagne, seuls 15% considèrent l'Allemagne comme leur patrie plutôt que la Turquie. En 2009, ils étaient encore 21%.

Les valeurs religieuses et traditionnelles jouent un rôle croissant chez ces immigrés, selon les auteurs de l'étude: 55% des personnes interrogées souhaitent ainsi que davantage de mosquées soient construites en Allemagne, par exemple.

Le débat sur l'intégration des Turcs et plus globalement des étrangers revient régulièrement sur le devant de la scène depuis que la chancelière Angela Merkel a assuré en 2010 que le modèle "multi-culturel" allemand avait échoué.

L'Allemagne et la Turquie ont célébré l'an dernier les 50 ans d'un traité qui avait marqué l'arrivée de quelque 900.000 "travailleurs invités" turcs en Allemagne. Alors qu'ils étaient destinés à rentrer en Turquie une fois leur contrat de travail achevé, beaucoup ont choisi de rester et d'y faire venir leur famille. (AFP, 17 août 2012)

French gov’t backs student as prosecutor seeks 32 years in jail

A Turkish local court in Bursa has accepted an indictment asking for up to 32 years of jail time in the case of French citizen Sevil Sevimli, while the French government has expressed its support for Sevimli in a letter to her lawyer.

“It is not possible for us to intervene in Turkey’s judicial mechanism, but I will convey the situation to political figures in Turkey. We have given necessary instructions to the French mission in Ankara to follow the case closely,” read the letter written by French Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius, Sevimli’s lawyer Sami Kahraman told Hürriyet Daily News yesterday.

Fabius also wrote that “Sevil Sevimli is under the auspices of the French government,” Kahraman said.
The letter was sent to the mayor of the town of Belleville in Lyon, France, who sent it on to Kahraman. The chancellor of the French Embassy in Ankara paid a visit to Sevimli after her release.

Debated accusations

The twenty-one-year-old French-Turkish student was arrested in northeastern Turkey on May 10, 2012, and detained in Eskişehir on suspicion of links with the outlawed Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party-Front (DHKP-C), which Turkey, the United States and the European Union have listed as a terrorist group. She was released on Aug. 6 with a ban keeping her from leaving Turkey pending the trial in the case, to be held on Sept. 26.

A local Bursa court revealed the indictment which included controversial accusations to support the charge that Sevimli was a “member and administrator of a terrorist organization,” such as that she had “[sold] concert tickets and magazines as financial support for an illegal organization.”

Sevimli, however, denies having any links to the organization, and said she has never acted outside the law.“I was shocked, to be honest, when I learned that the prosecutor asked for 32.5 years in
prison for me. It means a life sentence for me,” Sevimli told Hürriyet Daily News.

Sevimli graduated from the University Lumière Lyon 2’s communications studies department, and has been accepted to continue with her master’s studies in the same department.

“Turkish officials will not let me leave the country because the trail is pending, but I am standing upright; there is nothing to be sorry about. The indictment is just funny,” Sevimli said.The French public and press support her cause, Sevimli said. “A journalist from Le Monde sent me a letter which thrilled me; also my university’s rector called me and said they were backing me up.”

Sevimli spent 86 days imprisoned in an F-type cell, in which prisoners are isolated from others. (hurriyetdailynews.com, August 13,  2012)

Sevil Sevimli risque 32 ans de prison

Le parquet turc réclame 32 ans et 5 mois de prison pour Sevil Sevimli, l’étudiante franco-kurde libérée le 6 aout, après avoir passé près trois mois en prison.  Les prisons turques comptent aujourd’hui près de 3 000 étudiants et lyciens, tandis qu’une cinquantaine de milliers d’étudiants ont fait l’objet d’enquêtes disciplinaires depuis 2000.

Arrêtée le 10 mai, elle est accusée de liens avec « une organisation clandestine » d'extrême gauche d'avoir participé au défilé du 1er mai à Istanbul, et d'avoir assisté, comme des centaines de milliers d'autres personnes, à un concert du groupe Yorum, engagé à gauche.  Suite à une campagne médiatique,  elle est libérée sous contrôle judiciaire avec interdiction de quitter la Turquie.

Son procès aura lieu le 26 septembre. La 6e chambre de la Cour d’Assises de Bursa a validé le 10 aout l’acte d’accusation selon laquelle l’étudiante franco-kurde serait « une dirigeante d’une organisation armée », pour avoir participé à des activités légales. 

Voici les activités incriminés par le parquet :

-Participation aux funérailles d’un militant kurde en février 2012 à Istanbul. Le militant Ali Yildiz avait été tué à Dersim (Tunceli) en 1999 lors d’un affrontement avec l’armée turque. 15 ans plus tard, son corps a été déterré dans une fosse commune. Les corps des milliers d’autres kurdes sont toujours dans des fosses communes. 

-Distribution de la revue « Bağımsızlık Demokrasi Sosyalizm için Yürüyüş » (La marche pour l’indépendance, démocratie et socialisme).

-Distribution des tracts pour le concert du groupe Yorum,

-Rencontre avec le syndicat des enseignants « Egitim Sen » pour organiser la projection d’un documentaire sur la vie de Guler Zere, une militante d’extrême-gauche graciée par le Président de la République, Abdullah Gül, le 6 novembre 2009, alors qu’elle était atteinte d’un cancer en phase terminale.

-Affichage d’une pancarte en mars 2012 sur les murs d’une université pour dénoncer  l’arrestation des étudiants pour avoir demandé l’enseignement gratuit.

-Affichage pour la manifestation du 1e mai à Istanbul et participation à l’organisation de la manifestation en envoyant une délégation de 15 personnes comme des représentantes de l’association de la jeunesse d’Eskisehir. 

Près de 3 000 étudiants et lycéens en prison

La Turquie est incontestablement la plus grande prison du monde pour les étudiants.  Au moins 2 824 étudiants et lycéens étaient incarcérés fin janvier 2012, selon le ministre de la Justice turc. Parmi eux, 1 778 étudiants et lycéens sont placés en détention préventive et 1 046 autres sont condamnés sous l’accusation d’appartenance à une organisation « terroriste », affirme le ministre Sadullah Ergin.

Près la totalité de ces étudiants sont kurdes. Des objets comme des affiches, pancartes, livres, photos, keffieh, parapluies, citrons, œufs, confisqués lors des raids organisés au domicile des étudiants à la suite d’écoutes téléphoniques et de poursuites techniques sont présentés comme des preuves « d'appartenance à une organisation terroriste. »

50 000 étudiants ont fait l’objet d’enquêtes

Lorsque les policiers ne sont pas sur place, ce sont les administrations universitaires qui prennent le relais. Au moins 48 268 étudiants ont fait l’objet d’une enquête disciplinaire depuis 2000. Parmi eux, 34 818 étudiants ont été sanctionnés, 12 989 ont été éloignés dont 598 définitivement, selon un article paru en juin 2012 dans le journal Cumhuriyet.

En deux ans, entre 2010 et 2011, au moins 7.043 étudiants ont fait l’objet d’enquêtes dont 4.604 d’entre eux ont été éloignés de l’université et 55 étudiants ont été expulsés, avait récemment dit le ministre de l’Éducation Ömer Dincer, en réponse à une question d’un député de l’opposition. (actukurde.fr/actualites, 11 août 2012)

L'étudiante franco-kurde Sevil Sevimli libérée, mais…

L'étudiante franco-kurde Sevil Sevimli, emprisonnée depuis mai en Turquie pour des liens supposés avec une organisation clandestine d'extrême gauche, a été libérée lundi. Toutefois, Sevimli "est placée sous contrôle judiciaire avec interdiction de quitter la Turquie dans l'attente de son procès qui devrait avoir lieu le 26 septembre", a indiqué mardi le ministère des Affaires étrangères.

"La France continue de suivre attentivement la situation de Mme Sevimli et reste pleinement mobilisée pour lui apporter l'assistance dont elle pourrait avoir besoin", a déclaré Vincent Floreani, porte-parole adjoint du ministère lors d'un point-presse.

Après sa libération, Sevil Sevimli a dénoncé mardi, dans un entretien à l'AFP, la procédure la visant comme "bidon", évoquant le sort des nombreux étudiants détenus en Turquie pour leurs convictions politiques.

"C'est vraiment complètement bidon. C'est comme si tout était prévu depuis le début, comme si c'était un film", déclare l'étudiante lyonnaise, répondant sur son portable depuis Eskisehir, dans le nord-ouest (bien nord-ouest) de la Turquie.

Selon sa défense, il est reproché à l'étudiante accusée de liens avec une organisation clandestine d'extrême gauche d'avoir participé au défilé du 1er mai, pourtant légal, à Istanbul, et d'avoir assisté, comme des milliers d'autres personnes, à un concert du groupe Yorum, engagé à gauche.

"Je suis toujours prête pour le procès. Les questions qu'on me pose sont toujours les mêmes, comme ‘Est-ce que vous êtes allée à ce concert le 1er mai?’... Les faits qu'on nous reproche sont totalement légaux et démocratiques, on n'a pas à avoir peur. On attend juste", ajoute-t-elle d'une voix ferme, évoquant le sort de ses trois codétenues, libérées avec elle.

"Je n'ai pas le droit de sortir de Turquie" jusqu'au procès, prévu le 26 septembre, dit-elle, confirmant son placement sous contrôle judiciaire, avec interdiction de quitter la Turquie, annoncé par le ministère français des Affaires étrangères.

Née en France de parents kurdes installés près de Lyon, mais considérée par Ankara comme turque malgré sa double nationalité, elle était incarcérée depuis le 10 mai à Eskisehir.

L'étudiante, arrêtée alors qu'elle participait à un échange européen avec l'université de cette ville, encourt plusieurs années de prison.

Elle se dit touchée par la mobilisation en sa faveur en France, avec notamment un éditorial du journal Le Monde du 29 juin interpellant le Premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan sous le titre "Quel crime a commis Sevil Sevimli, M. Erdogan ?".

"J'ai eu l'occasion de pouvoir lire certains journaux, ça m'a fait vraiment plaisir de savoir que les gens sont derrière moi et aussi de voir qu'ils ont conscience de ce qui se passe ici en Turquie", ajoute-t-elle.

"Je ne suis pas la seule ici, il y a plus de 700 étudiants détenus en Turquie. Ils sont détenus pour les mêmes raisons que moi. J'espère juste qu'eux aussi vont être libérés au plus tôt", s'inquiète la jeune femme de 20 ans.

Selon le ministère turc de la Justice, la Turquie comptait au 31 janvier 2.824 étudiants emprisonnés (1.778 en détention préventive et 1.046 en train de purger leur peine). Parmi eux, 787 sont en prison pour "appartenance à une organisation terroriste armée", soit un motif politique.

Depuis sa sortie de prison, Sevil Sevimli a retrouvé sa mère à Eskisehir et profite de sa liberté retrouvée.

"Je me sens très bien, ça me fait super plaisir de pouvoir marcher dans les rues, normalement", dit-elle, sa voix enjouée parfois recouverte de bruits de la vie citadine, entre klaxons de voitures et vrombissements de deux-roues.

Confiant ne pas avoir "encore eu le temps" d'aller voir un médecin depuis sa sortie de prison, elle minimise ses problèmes de santé : "j'avais juste un problème à la thyroïde et j'ai de l'asthme aussi, mais je vais très bien".

La voix claire, elle évoque ses conditions de détention, "à quatre dans la même cellule, prévue normalement pour quinze personnes", assurant: "On était seulement nous quatre, parce qu'on était des détenues politiques".

"Cet après-midi, des gardiens sont venus la voir avec ses trois autres camarades dans leur cellule. Ils leur ont dit +vous prenez vos affaires et vous sortez+", a déclaré à l'AFP Sinem Elmas, figure du comité de soutien et amie d'enfance de Sevil Sevimli.

"C'est une surprise pour elle, ses camarades et sa famille. On ne s'y attendait pas, d'autant qu'aujourd'hui on a appris que la date de son procès était fixée au 26 septembre", a-t-elle ajouté.

"En ce moment, elle est à Eskisehir et dîne avec sa mère, son petit frère, sa soeur et ses trois camarades" libérées avec elle, a ajouté son amie, qui a pu parler à la jeune femme dans la soirée.

Aucune confirmation n'a pu être obtenue dans un premier temps auprès des autorités turques.

"On ne sait pas encore quand elle reviendra en France, on ne sait pas si elle a le droit de rentrer. On ne sait rien sur ses conditions de liberté", a encore dit Sinem Elmas, tempérant la bonne nouvelle. Ses proches ne savent notamment pas de façon certaine si son procès est maintenu et si elle sera tenue d'y assister.

Venant d'une famille de Kurdes installés à Belleville-sur-Saône, près de Lyon, elle était incarcérée depuis le 10 mai à Eskisehir, dans le nord-est du pays.

Née en France, Sevil Sevimli, de par sa double nationalité, était considérée par Ankara comme Turque et encourait 12 ans de prison. Etudiante en licence information-communication à l'université Lyon-2, elle avait été arrêtée alors qu'elle participait à un échange européen Erasmus.

Le 9 mai, ses parents avaient été informés par la police turque de son arrestation. Selon sa défense, il lui était reproché d'avoir participé au défilé du 1er Mai, pourtant légal, à Istanbul, et d'avoir assisté, parmi 350.000 autres spectateurs, à un concert du groupe Yorum, engagé à gauche.

Depuis la mi-juin, sa mère vivait sur place, afin de pouvoir la voir au parloir.

La mobilisation en sa faveur avait été importante en France, avec notamment un éditorial du Monde du 29 juin interpellant le Premier ministre turc Recep Tayyip Erdogan sous le titre "Quel crime a commis Sevil Sevimli, M. Erdogan?".

"Qui aurait pu penser qu'une telle chose arriverait aux portes de l'Europe?", avait demandé le président de l'université Lyon-2, Jean-Luc Mayaud, dans une lettre publique où il appellait à la "libération immédiate" de son étudiante, se disant "prêt à aller témoigner à Ankara s'il y a un procès".

"C'est quelqu'un qui a des idées de gauche mais ce n'est pas une militante. Elle veut être journaliste et s'intéresse à tout", avait toujours soutenu son amie Sinem Elmas, organisatrice d'une manifestation de soutien qui avait rassemblé plus de 350 personnes à Lyon le 17 juin.

Le comité de soutien de l'étudiante avait affirmé samedi que son état de santé se dégradait, en raison d'une hypothyroïdie et d'asthme. Le comité avançait une pétition signée par 13.000 personnes, envoyée au ministre des bAffaires étrangères Laurent Fabius et à la ministre du Droit des femmes, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem. (AFP, 7 août 2012)

Inquiétude pour la santé d'une étudiante franco-kurde emprisonnée

Le comité de soutien à Sevil Sevimli, une franco-kurde emprisonnée depuis mai en Turquie pour des liens supposés avec une organisation clandestine d'extrême gauche, a lancé une pétition pour demander la libération de la jeune femme dont l'état de santé se serait dégradé, selon une porte-parole du comité.

Sevil Sevimli, une étudiante de 20 ans, qui souffre "d'hypothyroïdie et d'asthme a grossi à vue d'oeil. Cela montre qu'elle n'est pas soignée", a rapporté à l'AFP Sinem Elmas, une des responsables du comité de soutien et amie d'enfance de la jeune femme.

"Sa famille ne souhaitait pas parler de ses problèmes de santé, mais aujourd'hui nous sommes inquiets", a poursuivi la porte-parole qui craint que la maladie n'affecte le mental de son amie.

"La famille a reçu une lettre du ministre français des Affaires étrangères, Laurent Fabius, indiquant qu'elle était en bon état physique et mental. Mais cette lettre a mis plus d'un mois à arriver et depuis son état s'est dégradé", a assuré la responsable, soulignant que la mère de l'étudiante habitait en Turquie.

"Il faut que les autorités françaises réagissent et qu'elles nous présentent un plan de résolution pour Sevil", a ajouté la porte-parole qui a envoyé une pétition, signée par 13.000 personnes, à Laurent Fabius et à la ministre du Droit des femmes, Najat Vallaud-Belkacem pour demander sa libération.

Née en France de parents turcs, étudiante à Lyon, Sevil Sevimli a été arrêtée en Turquie alors qu'elle séjournait dans ce pays dans le cadre d'un échange Erasmus. Elle est accusée de collusion avec une organisation terroriste et risque jusqu'à 12 ans de prison.

Pour les autorités d'Ankara, l'étudiante, qui a la double nationalité, est turque et les bi-nationaux ne sont pas reconnus par Ankara.

En Turquie, pays qui souhaite rejoindre l'Union européenne, plus de 700 étudiants turcs sont emprisonnés depuis 2010, selon des organisations étudiantes. (Nouvel Observateur, 4 août 2012)

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