The legendary Mustafa Kemal, a Turkish World War I hero later known as "Ataturk" or "father of the Turks," founded the Republic of Turkey in 1923 after the collapse of the 600-year-old Ottoman Empire. The empire, which at its peak controlled vast stretches of northern Africa, southeastern Europe, and western Asia, had failed to keep pace with European social and technological developments. The rise of nationalism impelled several ethnic groups to seek independence, leading to the empire's fragmentation. This process culminated in the disastrous Ottoman participation in World War I as a German ally. Defeated, shorn of much of its former territory, and partly occupied by forces of the victorious European states, the Ottoman structure was repudiated by Turkish nationalists who rallied under Ataturk's leadership. The nationalists expelled invading Greek forces from Anatolia after a bitter war. The temporal and religious ruling institutions of the old empire (the sultanate and caliphate) were abolished.
The new republic concentrated on Westernizing the empire's Turkish core--Anatolia and a small part of Thrace. Social, political, linguistic, and economic reforms and attitudes introduced by Ataturk before his death in 1938 continue to form the ideological base of modern Turkey. Referred to as "Kemalism," it comprises secularism, nationalism, and modernization and turns toward the West for inspiration and support. The continued validity and applicability of Kemalism are the subject of frequent discussion and debate in Turkey's political life.
Turkey entered World War II on the Allied side shortly before the war ended and became a charter member of the United Nations. Difficulties faced by Greece after World War II in quelling a communist rebellion and demands by the Soviet Union for military bases in the Turkish Straits prompted the United States to declare the Truman Doctrine in 1947. The doctrine enunciated American intentions to guarantee the security of Turkey and Greece and resulted in large scale U.S. military and economic aid. After participating with United Nations forces in the Korean conflict, Turkey in 1952 joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Turkey is currently a European Union candidate.
Today, Turkey is a constitutional republic with a multiparty Parliament, the Turkish Grand National Assembly, which elects the President. After the 1999 parliamentary elections, Bulent Ecevit's Democratic Left Party (DSP), the Nationalist Action Party (MHP) led by Devlet Bahceli, and former Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz's Motherland Party (ANAP) formed a Government with Ecevit as Prime Minister. In May 2000, the Parliament elected Ahmet Necdet Sezer as President for a 7-year term. The military exercises indirect influence over government policy and actions in the belief that it is the constitutional protector of the State. The Government respects the Constitution's provisions for an independent judiciary; however, various officials acknowledge the need for constitutional and legislative changes to further strengthen the judiciary's independence in practice.
From 1984 through 1999, the Government engaged in armed conflict with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), whose goal was the formation of a separate state of Kurdistan in southeastern Turkey. The level of violence decreased in the second half of 1999, and has remained low for the past 2 years. Although the situation in the southeast remained a concern, the conflict between government security forces and separatist PKK terrorists continued to be at a low level, and according to the military, there were only approximately 45 armed clashes during the year 2001. More than 30,000 persons have returned to their villages or moved to "consolidated villages" near their original homes. Despite the end of the war, a state of emergency, declared in 1987, continued in four southeastern provinces that had faced substantial PKK terrorist violence. Security forces continued to target active PKK units as well as those persons they believed supported or sympathized with the PKK, and conducted operations against villages throughout the region which yielded ammunitions caches. The governor of the state of emergency region has authority over the provincial governors in the four emergency provinces, as well as in seven adjacent provinces. Under the state of emergency, this regional governor may exercise certain quasi-martial law powers, including imposing restrictions on the press, removing from the area persons whose activities are deemed detrimental to public order, and ordering village evacuations. Only limited judicial review of the governor of the state of emergency region's administrative decisions is permitted. In November the state of emergency decree was renewed in Diyarbakir, Hakkari, Sirnak, and Tunceli provinces for four months.
Since the late 1960s, Turkey has been plagued by recurrent political violence. Radical groups responsible for terrorism have included movements of both leftist and rightist orientation, as well as ethnic and religious extremists. By far the most serious source of violence since the mid-1980s has been the Kurdish separatist insurgency, which by the mid-1990s had nearly assumed the character of a civil war in the southeastern area of the country bordering Syria and Iraq.
During the 1970s, various political groups--particularly ones on the left--used violence in the hope that civil disorder and the consequent suppression by the state might lead to revolution. In the months preceding the assumption of power by Turkey's generals in September 1980, the toll of political killings rose to more than twenty a day. The government's repression of political activism and the detention of an estimated 30,000 persons suspected of terrorism were accompanied by arrests of union members, university students, and journalists. The stern measures of the military commanders were vehemently criticized by Turkish intellectuals and foreign observers; however, the measures did reduce the violence.
Even after civilian rule was restored in 1983, the continuation of martial law in certain areas, the expansion of police powers, and legal constraints on political movements dampened politically inspired violence. Terrorist incidents continued to occur in urban areas, but these were for the most part individually targeted bombings and assassinations, including attacks on United States installations and personnel. The number of such incidents peaked at seventy-five in 1991, most of them attributed to leftist protests against Turkey's strategic role in the international coalition against Iraq. Nevertheless, the preoccupying security issue for the Turkish government continued to be the mounting separatist insurgency of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (Partiya Karkere Kurdistan--PKK). The uprising of Kurds in northern Iraq after the Persian Gulf War focused attention on the condition of Kurds in general; the PKK used the occasion to intensify its military operations in the Kurdish region of southeastern Turkey.
The country's population is approximately 67.8 million. During the year 2001, the country went through its worst economic crisis in a generation, although by year's end 2001, the economy began to recover. Early in the year, delays on an ambitious structural reforms program led to a loss of investor confidence, which resulted in the country's abandoning its pegged exchange rate regime and converting to a floating exchange rate. The lira depreciated nearly 50 percent and the economy shrank by 8.5 percent by year's end 2001. Inflation increased to 88.6 percent during the year 2001; the per capita gross national product was approximately $2,400. The country embarked on a strengthened reform program, backed by new International Monetary Fund and World Bank funding.
In 1995 an estimated 18,000 to 20,000 Jews lived in Turkey. During the first half of the twentieth century, the Jewish population remained relatively stable at around 90,000. Following the establishment of Israel in 1948, an estimated 30,000 Jews immigrated to the new state. An average of 1,000 Jews annually left for Israel during the 1950s and early 1960s. By 1965 the Jewish minority had been reduced to an estimated 44,000, most of whom lived in Istanbul, where many Jewish men operated shops and other small businesses.
Unlike the Armenians and Greeks, the Jewish minority is neither ethnically nor linguistically homogeneous. Most of its members are Sephardic Jews whose ancestors were expelled from Spain by the Roman Catholic Inquisition in 1492. They speak Ladino, a variant of fifteenth-century Spanish with borrowings from several other languages. The Ashkenazic minority--Jews from central and northern Europe--speak Yiddish, a German-derived language. Both languages are written in the Hebrew script. Most Jews also speak Turkish. The Karaites--viewed by most other Jews as heretics--speak Greek as their native language. In general, the different Jewish communities have tended not to intermarry and thus have retained their identities.
The institutional secularization of Turkey was the most prominent and most controversial feature of Atatürk's reforms. Under his leadership, the caliphate--office of the successors to Muhammad, the supreme politico-religious office of Islam, and symbol of the sultan's claim to world leadership of all Muslims--was abolished. The secular power of the religious authorities and functionaries was reduced and eventually eliminated. The religious foundations (evkaf ; sing., vakif ) were nationalized, and religious education was restricted and for a time prohibited. The influential and popular mystical orders of the dervish brotherhoods also were suppressed.
Although Turkey was secularized at the official level, religion remained a strong force at the popular level. After 1950 some political leaders tried to benefit from popular attachment to religion by espousing support for programs and policies that appealed to the religiously inclined. Such efforts were opposed by most of the political elite, who believed that secularism was an essential principle of Kemalism. This disinclination to appreciate religious values and beliefs gradually led to a polarization of society. The polarization became especially evident in the 1980s as a new generation of educated but religiously motivated local leaders emerged to challenge the dominance of the secularized political elite. These new leaders have been assertively proud of Turkey's Islamic heritage and generally have been successful at adapting familiar religious idioms to describe dissatisfaction with various government policies. By their own example of piety, prayer, and political activism, they have helped to spark a revival of Islamic observance in Turkey. By 1994 slogans promising that a return to Islam would cure economic ills and solve the problems of bureaucratic inefficiencies had enough general appeal to enable avowed religious candidates to win mayoral elections in Istanbul and Ankara, the country's two most secularized cities.
Islam is a monotheistic religion. A believer is a Muslim, literally, "one who submits to God." Muslims believe that Allah (Arabic for God) gave revelations through the angel Gabriel to the Prophet Muhammad (A.D. 570-632 ), a native of the Arabian Peninsula city of Mecca. Muhammad's efforts to convert people to monotheism disturbed the merchant elite, who feared that his preaching would adversely affect the pilgrims who regularly visited Mecca, which in the early seventh century had shrines to several gods and goddesses. Mecca's principal destination for pilgrims was the Kaaba, a shrine housing a venerated black rock which over the years had been surrounded by various idols. The lack of acceptance by Meccans of Muhammad's preaching caused him and his followers in A.D. 622 to migrate to Medina in response to an invitation by that city's leaders. Muhammad's migration to Medina enabled him to organize the politico-religious community--the umma --that marked the beginning of Islam as a political movement as well as a religious faith. Thus, the date of the migration, or hicret (from the Arabic hijra ), was adopted by the Muslim community as the beginning of the Islamic era. The Islamic calendar is based on a lunar year, which averages eleven days less than a solar year. The Islamic calendar is used in Turkey for religious purposes.
By the time of the Prophet's death ten years after his migration to Medina, most of the Arabian Peninsula, including the city of Mecca, had converted to Islam. During the last two years of his life, Muhammad led fellow Muslims on pilgrimages to Mecca, where the Kaaba was relieved of its idols and dedicated to the worship of Allah. Since then, praying at the Kaaba has been the ultimate goal of the pilgrimage, or hajj, which every able-bodied adult Muslim is expected to make at least once in his or her lifetime.
Tenets of Islam
Muslims believe that all of Allah's revelations to the Prophet are contained in the Kuran (in Arabic, Quran), which is composed in rhymed prose. The Kuran consists of 114 chapters, called suras , the first of which is a short "opening" chapter. The remaining 113 segments are arranged roughly in order of decreasing length. The short suras at the end of the book are early revelations, each consisting of material revealed on the same occasion. The longer suras toward the beginning of the book are compilations of verses revealed at different times in Muhammad's life.
The central beliefs of Islam are monotheism and Muhammad's status as the "seal of the Prophets," that is, the final prophet to whom God revealed messages for the spiritual guidance of humanity. Jesus Christ and the prophets of the Old Testament are also accepted as Islamic prophets. Muslims who profess belief in God and Muhammad's prophethood, pray regularly, and live by Islamic ethical and moral principles are assured that their souls will find eternal salvation in heaven. The profession of belief in one God and the prophethood of Muhammad is known as the sahadet (in Arabic, shahada ), and is one of the five basic obligations or "pillars" of Islam. The profession of faith--"There is no God but God and Muhammad is his Prophet"--always is recited in Arabic. It is repeated during prayer and on many other ritual occasions.
The four other pillars of Islam are prayer (namaz ; salat in Arabic), giving alms to the needy (zekat ; zakah in Arabic), fasting (oruç ; sawm in Arabic) during the month of Ramazan (from the Arabic, Ramadan ), and the pilgrimage (hac , from the Arabic hajj ) to Mecca. The prescribed prayers are recited in Arabic and are accompanied by a series of ritual body movements meant to demonstrate submission to God: standing, bowing, kneeling, and full prostration. Muslims say the prayers at five prescribed times a day, always while facing in the direction of Mecca. Prayers are preceded by a ritual ablution, and, unless the prayer is said in a mosque, a ritual purification of the ground is achieved by the unrolling of a clean prayer rug. Although it is permissible to pray almost anywhere, men pray in congregation at mosques whenever possible, especially on Fridays. Women are not required to pray in public but may attend worship at mosques, which maintain separate sections for women. Despite more than sixty years of secularist government policies, a majority of Turkey's Muslims continue to recite prayers at least occasionally. In fact, mosque attendance in the urban areas, which formerly was significantly less than in rural areas, increased considerably during the 1980s. During the early 1990s, most city mosques were filled to capacity on Fridays and religious holidays.
The third pillar of Islam, almsgiving, is required of all Muslims. The faithful are expected to give in proportion to their wealth. In various historical periods, zekat assumed the status of a tithe that mosques collected and distributed for charitable purposes. In addition to zekat , Muslims are encouraged to make free-will gifts (sadaka , from the Arabic sadaqa ).
Abstinence from dawn to dusk from all food and beverages during the Islamic month of Ramazan is the fourth pillar of the faith required of Muslims. Persons who are ill; women who are pregnant, nursing, or menstruating; soldiers on duty; travelers on necessary journeys; and young children are exempted from the fast. However, adults who are unable to fast during Ramazan are expected to observe a fast later. Ramazan is a period of spiritual renewal, and the daytime fasting is meant to help concentrate a Muslim's thoughts on religious matters. Many mosques, especially in urban areas, sponsor special prayer meetings and study groups during the month. The evening meal that breaks the fast has special religious significance and also is an occasion for sharing among families and friends. Muslims who can afford to do so often host one or more fast-breaking meals for indigents during Ramazan. The month of fasting is followed by a three-day celebration, Seker Bayrami (in Arabic, Id al Fitr), which is observed in Turkey as a national holiday.
The fifth pillar of Islam is the hac . Each Muslim who is financially and physically able is expected at least once in his or her lifetime to make the pilgrimage to Mecca and participate in prescribed religious rites performed at various specific sites in the holy city and its environs during the twelfth month of the lunar calendar. In one of their most important rites, pilgrims pray while circumambulating the Kaaba, the sanctuary Muslims believe Ibrahim (Abraham) and his son Ismail (Ishmael) built to honor the one God. During the hac , pilgrims sacrifice domesticated animals such as sheep and distribute the meat among the needy. Known as the Feast of Sacrifice, Kurban Bayrami (in Arabic, Id al Adha), this occasion is celebrated not only by the pilgrims but by all Muslims, and is observed in Turkey as a national holiday. The returning pilgrim is entitled to use the honorific haci (in Arabic, hajji ) before his or her name, a title that indicates successful completion of the pilgrimage.
A pious Muslim strives to follow a code of ethical conduct that encourages generosity, fairness, chastity, honesty, and respect. Certain acts, including murder, cruelty, adultery, gambling, and usury, are considered contrary to Islamic practice. Muslims also are enjoined not to consume carrion, blood, pork, or alcohol. Many of the precepts for appropriate behavior are specified in the Kuran. Other spiritual and ethical guidelines are found in the hadis (in Arabic, hadith ), an authenticated record of the sayings and actions of Muhammad and his earliest companions. Devout Muslims regard their words, acts, and decisions--called collectively the sunna --as models to be emulated by later generations. Because of its normative character, the sunna is revered along with the Kuran as a primary source of seriat (in Arabic, sharia ), or Islamic law.
Islamic law evolved between the eighth and tenth centuries. Islamic scholars reputed for their knowledge of the Kuran, hadis , and sunna were accepted as authoritative interpreters of seriat . Several of them compiled texts of case law that formed the basis of legal schools. Eventually, Sunni Muslims came to accept four schools of law as equally valid. Two schools of seriat exist in contemporary Turkey: the Hanafi, founded by Iraqi theologian Abu Hanifa (ca. 700-67), and the Shafii, founded by the Meccan jurist Muhammad ash Shafii (767-820). Most Muslim Turks follow the Hanafi school, whereas most Sunni Kurds follow the Shafii school.
INCIDENCE OF CRIME
The incidence of ordinary crime is considered low in comparison to rates in other Middle Eastern and some West European countries. As in many other countries with even better data-gathering capabilities, the statistics on criminal acts may be unreliable. The penal registry maintained by the Ministry of Justice offers only a partial indication of the actual extent of crime. Moreover, in much of rural Turkey acts formally considered police matters may be addressed in the local community without coming to the attention of the gendarmerie.
Official statistics indicate a doubling of prison admissions between 1984 and 1991. This increase was due almost entirely to a rapid rise in the number of persons jailed "according to special laws," meaning presumably those convicted of terrorism or illegal political activity. In numerous categories of ordinary crime, the number of prison admissions actually fell from 1984 to 1991. Nevertheless, it is generally believed that the incidence of ordinary crime has been growing because of the economic, social, and cultural stresses associated with relatively rapid urbanization and the weakening of traditional social controls among urban immigrants.
According to the Statistical Yearbook of Turkey, 1993 , the number of convicts entering prisons in 1991 was 53,912, and the number discharged was 72,885. In most years, the number of admissions and discharges is nearly equal; the higher rate of discharges in 1991 was probably a result of the release of those convicted under political clauses of the penal code repealed that year. Among the most common felonies resulting in incarceration in 1991 were crimes against property (8,360), crimes against individuals (5,879), and crimes against "public decency and family order" (2,681). The numbers of persons admitted to prison bore little relation to the number of cases brought before the various criminal courts. According to official statistics, more than 52,000 new cases were brought before the central criminal courts, 632,000 before the criminal courts of first instance, and 493,000 before the justices of the peace.
The number entering prisons under special laws rose rapidly, from 7,514 in 1985 to 32,645 in 1991. Although Turkish sources offer no explanation of the increase, the period corresponds to the spiraling Kurdish dissidence and the strict laws then in effect dealing with "thought crimes."
Turkey plays a major role in the narcotics trade, primarily as a natural route for the movement of hashish from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran to destinations in Europe. The disintegration of the Soviet Union has resulted in a loss of control over drug production in Central Asia and Afghanistan. Unrest in Azerbaijan and Georgia facilitates smuggling from the Caucasus area. Turkish police maintain that the PKK is heavily involved in the heroin trade. The use of air and sea routes for narcotics transshipment through Turkey has grown as the conflict in former Yugoslavia has disrupted the traditional overland routes through the Balkans.
Turkey is an important processing point for morphine base and heroin base imported into the country. Also, the Turks traditionally have grown the opium poppy for medicinal purposes. The government effectively controls the cultivation and production of opiates, paying high prices for the crop and carefully monitoring growing areas. Local drug consumption and abuse are considered minor problems, although there are some indications that heroin and cocaine use is increasing among the more affluent segments of the population.
Nationwide there are more than 1,000 narcotics law enforcement officers. The principal law enforcement agencies concerned with narcotics are the National Police and the gendarmerie. Turkish customs agencies have lacked a professional cadre of narcotics interdiction agents, but in the mid-1990s were working toward creating such a body with United States training assistance. The coast guard has also begun playing a larger role in interdiction. In spite of Turkey's efforts, it is believed that little of the heroin passing through the country is seized because of insufficient staff to screen cargoes adequately, particularly at the key transfer point of Istanbul.
There is no evidence of widespread corruption among senior officials engaged in drug law enforcement. In some cases, however, drug investigations have been compromised by corruption at lower levels of the criminal justice system, as well as within the judicial system once traffickers have been apprehended. Because Turkey has no legislation prohibiting money laundering, it is almost impossible to track inflows of drug profits. However, the Turkish government has indicated its intention to introduce laws to deal with this practice.
Data on seizures of heroin and hashish show an upward trend in the five-year period between 1989 and 1993. Hashish seizures increased from 6.9 tons in 1989 to 28.7 tons in 1993. However, a major factor was a single seizure of more than 2.7 tons of morphine base and 13.5 tons of hashish aboard a Turkish merchant ship in January 1993.
The crime rate in Turkey is low compared to more industrialized countries. An analysis was done using INTERPOL data for Turkey. For purpose of comparison, data were drawn for the seven offenses used to compute the United States FBI's index of crime. Index offenses include murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft. The combined total of these offenses constitutes the Index used for trend calculation purposes. Turkey will be compared with Japan (country with a low crime rate) and USA (country with a high crime rate). According to the INTERPOL data, for murder, the rate in 2000 was 4.92 per 100,000 population for Turkey, 1.10 for Japan, and 5.51 for USA. For rape, the rate in 2000 was 2.33 for Turkey, compared with 1.78 for Japan and 32.05 for USA. For robbery, the rate in 2000 was 2.96 for Turkey, 4.08 for Japan, and 144.92 for USA. For aggravated assault, the rate in 2000 was 119.29 for Turkey, 23.78 for Japan, and 323.62 for USA. For burglary, the rate in 2000 was 95.38 for Turkey, 233.60 for Japan, and 728.42 for USA. The rate of larceny for 2000 was 45.71 for Turkey, 1401.26 for Japan, and 2475.27 for USA. The rate for motor vehicle theft in 2000 was 24.31 for Turkey, compared with 44.28 for Japan and 414.17 for USA. The rate for all index offenses combined was 294.9 for Turkey, compared with 1709.88 for Japan and 4123.97 for USA.
TRENDS IN CRIME
Between 1998 and 2000, according to INTERPOL data, the rate of murder increased from 2.7 to 4.92 per 100,000 population, an increase of 82.2%. The rate for rape increased from 1.18 to 2.33, an increase of 97.5%. The rate of robbery increased from 2.35 to 2.96, an increase of 26%. The rate for aggravated assault increased from 83.58 to 119.29, an increase of 42.7%. The rate for burglary increased from 1.22 to 95.38, an increase of 7718%. The rate of larceny decreased from 164.8 to 45.71, a decrease of 72.3%. The rate of motor vehicle theft decreased from 30.42 to 24.31, a decrease of 20.1%. The rate of total index offenses increased from 286.25 to 294.9, an increase of 3%.
The principal agencies devoted to internal security and law enforcement are the National Police and the gendarmerie, both headquartered in Ankara and both administered by the Ministry of Interior. Broadly, the National Police handles police functions (including traffic control) in the cities and towns, and the gendarmerie serves principally as a rural constabulary. In times of crisis, the prime minister can direct the chief of the General Staff to assist the police and gendarmerie in maintaining internal security. The gendarmerie is regarded as a military security force; during wartime or in areas placed under martial law, it functions under the army.
The territorial organization of the National Police corresponds roughly to Turkey's administrative subdivisions. Below the general directorate are police directorates in all of the country's seventy-six provinces and police posts (district commands) in most of the administrative districts. Despite their wide territorial distribution, a very large proportion of the police are clustered in the major cities. No reliable data are available on the size of the police force, whose members are believed to number more than 50,000. Regardless of its size, the force does not appear large enough to keep up with the need generated by Turkey's urban growth and ordinary crime and traffic problems.
The laws establishing the organization of police at the provincial and local levels distinguish three categories of functions: administrative, judicial, and political. In this context, the administrative police perform the usual functions relating to the safety of persons and property: enforcement of laws and regulations, prevention of smuggling and apprehension of smugglers, quelling of public disorder, fingerprinting and photographing, public licensing, controlling traffic and inspecting motor vehicles, apprehending thieves and military deserters, locating missing persons, and keeping track of foreigners residing or traveling in Turkey. Film censorship is also considered an administrative responsibility. In some cases, municipalities provide all or part of the funding for administrative police functions in their localities.
The judicial police work closely with the administrators of justice. Attached to the offices of public prosecutors, the judicial police assist in investigating crimes, issue arrest warrants, and help prosecutors assemble evidence for trials. The political police combat activities considered subversive and deal with those groups whose actions or plans are identified as contrary to the security of the republic.
To carry out the police's broad and sometimes overlapping functions, specialized squads focusing on such problems as smuggling and the narcotics trade are located in the larger commands. At the other end of the scale, the police employ unskilled auxiliaries in many towns and in some neighborhoods of larger communities. These are selected local men, not armed, who are engaged to prevent local theft and to give the alarm in case of emergency.
Police ranks range from constable through sergeant, lieutenant, captain, superintendent second and first class, and several grades of police chief. A commissioner of police commands each of the seventy-six provincial directorates of police. Provincial directorates are divided into district police commands headed by superintendents.
In earlier years, an entrant to the lowest police grade was expected to have completed junior high school. But police authorities recognized that the low education level of the force contributed to violations of legal rights and mistreatment of prisoners. Thus, recent recruits have been required to have completed secondary school. Training consists of a six-month basic course at one of five police schools. Candidates for higher rank are sent to a police college (equivalent to a senior high school offering university preparation) and then to the Police Institute at Ankara, from which students graduate as sergeants after a three-year course.
The performance of the Turkish police has been the subject of persistent criticism for violations of fundamental human rights. These problems, which have received growing international and domestic attention, involve torture during questioning, incommunicado detention, politically motivated disappearances, "mystery killings," and excessive use of force. Successive governments have repeatedly promised to curb abuses by the security forces, but little if any improvement has been recorded.
Primarily a rural police force, the gendarmerie maintains public order outside the municipal boundaries of cities and provincial towns and guards Turkey's land borders against illegal entry and smuggling. It has jurisdiction over 90 percent of the territory of Turkey and 50 percent of the population. The gendarmerie's recruits are supplied through the military conscription system, and its officers and NCOs are transferred from the army. New career junior officers are obtained by quotas from the graduating classes of the Turkish army academy.
In late 1994, the gendarmerie's headquarters in Ankara was commanded by Aydin Ilter, a four-star general. Subordinate to the commanding general's chief of staff, a two-star general, are typical military staff sections for personnel, intelligence, operations, and logistics, as well as the headquarters commandant. The major operational category consists of the internal security units, divided into stationary forces and mobile infantry brigades. These forces may be supplemented by air units and commando units equipped with Russian APCs and towed artillery weapons. In 1994 Turkey announced the purchase of nineteen Russian helicopters to assist in operations against the PKK. Elite fighting formations that distinguished themselves in Cyprus in 1974, the commando units execute many of the operations against the PKK in the southeast. The gendarmerie also includes headquarters and border forces, administrative control and logistical support units, and training staff.
The total number of gendarmes was estimated at 70,000 active members and 50,000 reserves in late 1994. They are organized into thirteen regional commands encompassing the seventy-six provinces. In each province, the principal gendarmerie commander, a colonel or lieutenant colonel, advises the governor on matters of security and maintains direct charge of the district gendarmerie commands, usually headed by captains. Below the district commanders are commanders of the administrative subdistricts, each of whom controls the fixed posts in his area. There are some 3,600 posts, exclusive of border posts, usually located at intervals along the main roads and staffed by a sergeant and six or more gendarmes. To foster detachment from local groups and their interests and quarrels, gendarmes are usually assigned away from their home areas.
The administrative functions of the gendarmerie correspond roughly to those of the National Police but include such distinctive requirements as enforcing hunting and fishing laws, fighting forest fires, and patrolling borders. The gendarmes' judicial tasks include guarding prisons and assisting in investigations and preparations for trial. They also have military duties: serving as adjuncts to the army in emergencies, enforcing conscription, apprehending military deserters, and working in military courts.
Gendarmerie officers are chosen from cadets during the second year of training at the military academy, an aptitude for law being a prime factor in the selection. After completing their academy training, officers attend the infantry school for six months and the commando school for four months. Further professional training follows at the Gendarmerie Schools Command. NCOs are selected by examination from army personnel who have already served at least one year. They are then trained at the Gendarmerie Schools Command for five months. Basic military training is given to conscripts by the Gendarmerie Schools Command, followed by specialized training in various areas.
Writing in the late 1980s, the noted political journalist Mehmet Ali Birand commented that the gendarmerie had had an unfavorable reputation since its founding in 1839 and its later reorganization on the pattern of the French gendarmerie. It began as the agent of brute force for the government, putting down civil conflicts, pursuing criminals, and collecting taxes. From the early days of the republic, the gendarmerie was the only body available to subdue unrest, enforce the principles of Atatürk, suppress opposition, and collect levies.
The gendarmerie has relatively few officers and NCOs; the main burden of the service falls on ordinary conscripts who predominate in the force of 70,000. The conscripts are poorly trained in matters of law and regulations and in the manner of enforcing them, contributing to the harsh image of the gendarmerie. As Birand notes, in contrast to Turkish gendarmerie operations, operations of the French, Belgian, and Italian gendarmeries are carried out primarily by officers and NCOs, privates being assigned sentry duty and other tasks that will not bring them into contact with the public.
The commander of the gendarmerie said in 1993 that efforts were being made to tailor the personnel structure to enable the force to perform its missions more effectively. Specialized sergeants were being recruited instead of conscripts. No longer standardized, unit training was being tailored to conditions in various regions and particular types of missions. New equipment had been introduced to improve air transportation and surface movement, and to provide mobile command, control, communications, and intelligence capabilities.
Formed in 1982 as the maritime wing of the gendarmerie, the coast guard is now separate but also reports to the Ministry of Interior. With a personnel strength of about 1,100, the coast guard is responsible for maintaining the security of the coast and territorial waters, for conducting missions to protect its Exclusive Economic Zone in the Aegean--the boundaries of which are under dispute with Greece--for search-and-air-rescue operations, and for protecting the marine environment. The coast guard is organized into four area commands: the Black Sea, the Sea of Marmara and adjacent straits, the Aegean Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea. Surface patrols are carried out by fifty-two patrol vessels and smaller craft. The most effective of these are fourteen search-and-rescue vessels of 220 tons, all built within recent years in Turkish shipyards. Smaller 150-ton and 70-ton patrol boats of German origin were nearing obsolescence in the mid-1990s. An ambitious construction plan foresaw a major strengthening of the service with eight new vessels of 350 to 400 tons and forty-eight ships of 180 to 300 tons. A number of helicopters and aircraft were to be acquired to expand a small maritime air unit of three United States-manufactured OH-58 (Jet Ranger) helicopters.
Intelligence gathering is the primary responsibility of the National Intelligence Organization (Milli Istihbarat Teskilati--MIT), which combines the functions of internal and external intelligence agencies. In 1993 a career diplomat, Sonmez Koksal, was named undersecretary in charge of MIT, the first civilian to head the organization. Each branch of the military has its own intelligence arm, as do the National Police and the gendarmerie. Military intelligence activities in martial law areas aim to prevent seditious activities against the state. Intelligence personnel also engage in electronic eavesdropping and rely on reports of overseas military attachés and exchange information with foreign intelligence services.
Military and civil intelligence requirements are formulated by the National Intelligence Coordination Committee. This committee includes members of the staff of the National Security Council, to which it is directly responsible. Nevertheless, a lack of coordination among the intelligence services is said to be a weakness that hampers MIT effectiveness.
MIT has no police powers; it is authorized only to gather intelligence and conduct counterintelligence abroad and to uncover communist, extreme right-wing, and separatist--that is, Kurdish and Armenian--groups internally. The MIT chief reports to the prime minister but was in the past considered close to the military. MIT has been charged with failing to notify the government when it became aware of past plots, if not actual complicity in military coup attempts. The organization functions under strict discipline and secrecy. Housing and headquarters offices for its personnel are colocated in a compound in Ankara.
Kurdish groups in Western Europe have charged the Turkish intelligence service with fomenting dissension and unrest among their various factions. Although these claims have not been verified, it seems likely that infiltration of the Kurdish separatist movement is a high priority for MIT. Members of the agency are also suspected of having acted as agents provocateurs in leftist organizations during the 1970s. Dev Sol is believed to have been infiltrated by intelligence agents, as raids on its establishments in the early 1990s seemed to demonstrate.
Today, the Turkish National Police (TNP) have primary responsibility for security in urban areas, while the Jandarma (paramilitary forces under joint Interior Ministry and military control) carry out this function in the countryside. Unlike in the previous year, the military no longer directly carries out operations against the PKK inside the country, and has ended its internal security function. However, Jandarma (national police) troops continued to carry out such operations, and were under operational control of the military when performing these functions. Although civilian and military authorities remained publicly committed to the rule of law and respect for human rights, members of the security forces, including police "special teams" and anti-terror squads, other TNP personnel, village guards, and Jandarma committed serious human rights abuses.
There were credible reports of extrajudicial killings by government agents; however, accurate figures were unavailable. According to the Human Rights Foundation (HRF) and press reports, there were 9 reports of deaths of detainees, and 21 persons killed by police or Jandarma, allegedly for not heeding "stop warnings" or for resisting arrest. The 1996 amendment to the Anti-Terror Law that gives wide powers to the police to open fire if suspects do not heed a call for surrender was challenged successfully in the Constitutional Court but has not been replaced. In January the Constitutional Court published the detailed reasoning of its decision in the Official Gazette and gave Parliament 12 months to replace the provision. There is no rule mandating a non-lethal response in the case of unarmed suspects.
There were allegations that two HADEP officials, Serdar Tanis and Ebukeir Deniz, who disappeared while in custody at a Jandarma station in Silopi in January, were killed. In March police killed a man in Aydin during a house search; in July a trial against 13 policemen charged in his death began. Two relatives of the dead man also were being tried on the charge of resisting an officer. In August two police officers detained a 16-year-old boy in Erdemit, on the Aegean coast, on the charge of harassing two women. The next day the boy was dead; police claimed that it was a suicide. No action was taken against the police. In August in Akkise village in Konya, during a routine identity check at a coffeehouse, villagers tried to stop Jandarma from detaining two persons without identity papers. Fighting broke out and one man was killed; 3 civilians and 25 Jandarma were injured. Inspectors found that the use of firearms by the Jandarma was appropriate. In September Istanbul police raided a HADEP office, and a youth fleeing the police fell off the roof of the building and died. In October a suspected DHKP-C bomber was found dead in his detention cell; police alleged that he committed suicide by hanging himself. Investigations into the case were started on the order of the Public Prosecutor, and in December the Minister of the Interior reported a finding of suicide.
The courts investigated most alleged extrajudicial killings; however, the number of arrests and prosecutions in such cases remained low compared with the number of incidents, and convictions remained rare. Punishments, when handed down, generally were minimal; monetary fines have not kept pace with the high rate of inflation; and sentences were frequently suspended. Jurisdictional questions, efforts by the police leadership to protect officers, prosecutors' failure to investigate and bring charges, and the failure of courts to hand down appropriate sentences were all obstacles to resolving the apparent impunity of security forces for such deaths.
According to the Minister of Interior, between 1995 and 2000, a total of 62 persons died in custody; some died as a result of illness or suicide.
According to the HRF and press reports, eight ongoing trials in cases of past extrajudicial killings by security officials ended during the year 2001. Out of the 27 police, Jandarma, or prison officials on trial in these cases, 9 were convicted and 12 were acquitted; charges were suspended against 6 others. In cases of past extrajudicial killings by police, Jandarma, or prison guards, 10 trials began during the year 2001 or continued from previous years. In September a court acquitted three police officers for killing suspect Fuat Unlu in March 1999 in Istanbul; the court held that the suspect had fired first at the police while fleeing, thereby giving the police the right to shoot back; in July a police officer was given an 8-year sentence for killing detainee Mustafa Koca in 1999. Also in July, the Court of Cassation confirmed the 2000 acquittal of Sami Sen, a police officer accused of firing 7 of 48 bullets found in the body of Suleyman Ors, who was shot during a house raid in Istanbul in 1997. Sen had also been acquitted of the 1998 shooting deaths of two suspects and the 1994 shooting deaths of three suspects. In June in Istanbul, the trial of policeman Abdullah Bozkurt for the 1994 shooting and killing of Vedat Han Gulsenoglu ended with a conviction; the court sentenced Bozkurt to 2 years' imprisonment for intentional murder, increased to 36 years because he used an officially issued weapon. His appeal was pending at year's end 2001. On July 4, a court convicted policemen for torturing to death Ankara college student Birtan Altinbas, in 1991, while trying to coerce a confession; the four were given sentences of 4 1/2 years' imprisonment each.
In May 4 of the 6 police officers accused of shooting and killing 2 persons during a raid in Adana in October 1999, were convicted of murder and sentenced to 8 years' imprisonment. Their sentences subsequently were reduced to 7 months' imprisonment, then suspended due to the officer's clean records; 2 other suspects were acquitted.
Trials continued in a number of cases from previous years, including: The case of 161 Jandarma officials accused of killing 10 prisoners and seriously injuring others during the September 1999 uprising at Ulucanlar prison; 10 policemen accused of the July 1999 killing of Alpaslan Yelden while in custody in Izmir's Public Order Branch; 3 police officers accused of killing trade unionist Suleyman Yeter in March 1999 while he was in custody at the Istanbul security directorate political police center; the appeal of the Diyarbakir Provincial Administrative Board's refusal to prosecute police officers who allegedly killed 18-year-old Hamit Cakar in 1998 following a hunger strike at Diyarbakir's HADEP provincial organization building; 29 Jandarma soldiers and 36 antiterror police officers charged with manslaughter in the 1996 beating deaths of 10 prisoners while quelling a prison disturbance in Diyarbakir; the retrial of two police officers whose 2000 conviction for the 1995 shooting deaths of nine persons in the Gazi district of Istanbul was annulled by the Court of Cassation; the retrial of six members of a Diyarbakir Jandarma antinarcotics squad accused of killing a businessman in 1991 and whose convictions were reversed in 2000.
During the year 2001, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled against the country on 8 cases in which 18 persons had been killed in detention or taken into custody and then disappeared. The court noted that most domestic legal remedies were insufficient; citizens may pursue a case in the ECHR before all domestic legal remedies have been exhausted.
The Government and PKK continued to commit a few human rights abuses against noncombatants in the southeast. According to statistics from the state of emergency region governor, 23,512 PKK members, 5,044 security force members, and 4,472 civilians have lost their lives in the fighting since 1987. During the year 2001, 9 civilians, 22 members of the security forces, and 111 terrorists died as a result of armed clashes, according to the military. According to human rights groups, less than 10 civilians were killed due to clashes with security forces. Human rights groups, villagers, and the Government disagreed on whether some deaths were of civilians or of "terrorists," as defined by the Government. In September soldiers allegedly killed a young deaf shepherd in Van province who was working near an antismuggling operation and did not hear the gunshots or warnings.
Landmine explosions in the southeast killed more than 15 persons, mainly children or military personnel; many more persons were maimed. Landmines near the Greek border killed 7 persons who were trying to cross the border illegally.
The PKK discontinued its practice of targeted political killings, but it remained armed and in some cases clashed with soldiers, Jandarma, and state-paid paramilitary village guards. Other armed groups, such as Revolutionary Left (Dev Sol/DHKP-C), the Islamic Eastern Raider's Front (IBDA-C), and the Turkish Workers and Peasants' Liberation Army (TIKKO), continued to commit acts of terrorism, in some cases leading to deaths. In January and September, DHKP-C suicide bombers attacked police stations in Istanbul, killing several police officers and civilians. Operations against Marxist TIKKO guerillas, mostly in the east, resulted in a number of reported deaths of alleged TIKKO operatives.
Members of the Turkish Hizbullah terrorist group are suspects in the shooting death of the Diyarbakir chief of police and four other police officers in a January ambush and claimed responsibility for the shooting death of two police officers in Istanbul in October. Meanwhile, the trial continued of 21 alleged Turkish Hizbullah militants who were indicted in July 2000 for a number of murders, including those of journalists Ahmet Taner Kislali and Ugur Mumcu. An unrelated suspect in Mumcu's killing also remained on trial. During an interrogation, a Hizbullah suspect reportedly confessed to killing moderate Islamic scholar Konca Kuris in the early 1990's.
The HRA reported a nationwide total of 171 unsolved killings by the end of September, some of which may have had a political component. Unlike in the previous year, there were 2 reports of killings of pro-Kurdish politicians, journalists, or lawyers.
Women continued to be victims of "honor killings."
There were at least two credible reports of disappearances of political activists during the year 2001. In early January, HADEP officials Serdar Tanis and Ebubekir Deniz helped open a Subprovincial office in Silopi (Sirnak Province); Tanis and his father allegedly received threatening phone calls from Jandarma officials regarding the office. In late January, Tanis and Deniz disappeared; they were seen last entering the Jandarma station in Silopi after allegedly being asked to report to the station. Several eyewitnesses gave sworn testimony stating that they had seen them entering the Jandarma police station. After initially denying that the two had been detained, the Jandarma admitted they had been in the station but that they had left after half an hour. Tanis and Deniz remained missing at year's end 2001. There were reports that they had moved to northern Iraq, but observers do not view these reports as credible. In October the ECHR accepted their relatives' petition to investigate the case. In the wake of these disappearances, several other unconfirmed cases of disappearances were reported in the southeast; however, there were no reports of official investigations.
In February the U.N. Special Rapporteur for Missing and Disappeared Persons, Asma Jihangir, visited the country and met with government officials and nongovernmental contacts. She expressed her view that the security forces appeared to be responsible for the disappearances of Tanis and Deniz, but she did not have sufficient information to comment on other alleged cases. She stated publicly that conditions regarding disappearances had improved greatly, but that security force impunity continued.
Accurate statistics on the disappearance in previous years of persons under detention, or seen being taken into custody by security forces or law enforcement officials, were difficult to confirm. There was no new information available and none is expected on the case of Aydin Esmer who, according to Amnesty International, disappeared in September 1999.
The Government continued to make efforts to investigate and explain some reported cases of disappearance. The Ministry of Interior operates the Bureau for the Investigation of Missing Persons, which is open 24 hours a day. In March the Minister of Interior reported that since 1996, a total of 426 reports of disappearances related to terrorist groups had been reported. Of these 426 missing, 46 were found dead; 90 were found alive; 18 were found in prison; and 272 cases remained unsolved at year's end 2001. According to the Bureau, during the year 2001, there were 29 new disappearances reported; 10 of these were solved by year's end 2001, 1 person was found dead, 8 persons were found alive, and 1 person was in jail. Most families of persons who disappeared hold the Government and security forces responsible and consequently avoid contact with the Bureau for the Investigation of Missing Persons. In 2000 Amnesty International criticized the Bureau's findings for falling short of the thorough and impartial investigations required in accordance with international standards.
Unlike in previous years, there were no reports that Turkish citizens may have been kidnaped or secretly killed by Turkish Hizbullah.
The Constitution prohibits such practices; however, members of the security forces continued to torture, beat, and otherwise abuse persons regularly. Despite the Government's cooperation with unscheduled foreign inspection teams, public pledges by successive governments to end the practice, and government initiatives designed to address the problem, torture continued to be widespread, particularly in the southeast. However, based on reports from a number of sources, the incidence of torture appears to have slightly declined, including in the southeast.
The HRF estimated the number of credible applications by torture victims at its 5 national treatment centers to be approximately 1,200, an increase from 1,023 reports in 2000. These figures included complaints stemming from previous years' incidents, and do not represent the actual number of persons tortured during the year 2001 while in detention or prison. Human rights advocates believe that thousands of detainees were tortured during the year 2001 in the southeast, where the problem is particularly serious, but that only 5 to 20 percent reported torture because they fear retaliation or believe that complaints are futile. In September the Diyarbakir HRF center was raided and torture treatment files of patients were compromised.
Some of the factors affecting the lower rate of torture are the decreased use of incommunicado detention and a slight decline of detentions in general; the near-absence of PKK violence, which has eased treatment by security officials of detainees; and increased concern about the problem from many sources. Human rights monitors reported some improvement, but also reported that torture remained widespread in the southeast and in large cities. In a book published in October, MP Sema Piskinsut stated that "starting in 1996, and particularly from 1998, there is a decrease in torture during interrogation and in prisons ... Despite this decrease, in different provinces, different detention places and different times, torture practices continue with the same methods." Amnesty International, which sent a delegation to the country in June, alleged that torture remains widespread and methods reportedly were severe.
Human rights attorneys and physicians who treat victims of torture say that most persons detained for or suspected of political crimes were generally tortured by police and Jandarma during periods of incommunicado detention before they were brought before a court; ordinary criminal suspects also reported frequent torture and mistreatment by police. In October the constitution was amended to allow the Government to demand members of the security forces who are responsible for torture to pay compensation for civil torture claims; the methods of compliance had not been created by year's end 2001.
Because the arresting officer is responsible for interrogating the suspect, officers frequently resorted to torture to obtain a confession that would justify the arrest. Although there is a law prohibiting evidence obtained under torture from being used in court, in practice prosecutors rarely followed up on detainees' allegations of torture. Reportedly police practice for those arrested for ordinary crimes (who are beaten until they give a confession) and those arrested for "political" crimes differ. Observers say that security officials often tortured political detainees in order to express anger and to intimidate the detainees. For example, many alleged Hizbullah members claim that they were tortured in custody, a claim that has been supported in some cases by medical evidence.
Human rights monitors and medical experts say that security officials often use methods that do not leave physical traces, such as beating detainees with weighted bags instead of clubs or fists, or applying electric shocks to a metal chair where the detainee sits, rather than directly to the body. Commonly employed methods of torture reported by the HRF's treatment centers include: Systematic beatings; stripping and blindfolding; exposure to extreme cold or high-pressure cold water hoses; electric shocks; beatings on the soles of the feet (falaka) and genitalia; hanging by the arms; food and sleep deprivation; heavy weights hung on the body; water dripped onto the head; burns; hanging sandbags on the neck; near-suffocation by placing bags over the head; vaginal and anal rape with truncheons and, in some instances, gun barrels; squeezing and twisting of testicles; and other forms of sexual abuse. In some cases, multiple torture methods (e.g., hanging and electric shocks) are employed at the same time. Other methods used are forced prolonged standing, isolation, loud music, witnessing or hearing incidents of torture, being driven to the countryside for a mock execution, and threats to detainees or their family members.
Female detainees often face sexual humiliation and, less frequently, more severe forms of sexual torture. After being forced to strip in front of male security officers, female detainees often are touched, insulted, and threatened with rape. An NGO called the Legal Counsel Project Against Sexual Harassment and Rape (affiliated with the HRA) indicated that three-quarters of female detainees had experienced sexual violence, but only one-sixth of those who had undergone such violence reported it to the authorities. In one case, an alleged victim faced social ostracism and divorce after publicly accusing a policeman of rape.
On January 8, a group of 28 youths in Viransehir, Urfa province, some as young as 10, were detained on the charge of "supporting the PKK" for chanting slogans. According to Amnesty International, they were subjected to verbal and physical abuse. Six of them were kept in jail until their first hearing, a month later.
In January Ercument Ozturk, a human rights activist, alleged that in December 2000 in Eskisehir, two men who said they were policemen kidnaped him, forced him to drink pesticide, and left him for dead in a field. He was rescued and recovered after being in a coma for 3 days.
State-employed doctors administer all medical exams for detainees. Medical examinations occur once during detention and a second time before either arraignment or release; however, the examinations generally are exceedingly brief and informal, often lasting less than a minute. In some cases doctors were brought reports to sign, but no examinees. Former detainees asserted that some medical examinations occur too long after an incident of torture to reveal any definitive evidence of torture. Lawyers contend that medical reports--their only basis for filing a claim of torture--were not placed regularly in prisoners' files. The Turkish Medical Doctor's Association played a leading role in the development, under U.N. auspices, of the December 2000 "Istanbul Protocol," which is an alternative medical report process that instructs doctors how to identify and treat victims of torture.
The Government took actions against doctors who have attempted to report torture. Dr. Sebnem Korur Fincanci, who had reported and certified the death by torture of a man while in detention, lost her position in February at the Government's Forensic Medicine Institute. She has appealed her dismissal but had not received a response by year's end 2001. She also faced a case in a felony court for "insulting the security forces"; an investigation against her by her employer, Istanbul University, continued and was based on unspecified complaints by the SSC. Dr. Fincanci brought a lawsuit against the Governor of Istanbul in 2000 for trying to get her fired from the University by writing a letter against her. The case was dismissed and she appealed to the High Administrative Court which upheld her appeal. According to Dr. Fincanci's attorneys, the Governor then requested a "Correction of Decision," which is the final stage of the courts process. After the Governor's request, all members of that chamber of the Court, except the Chairman, changed; the Court subsequently ruled in favor of the Governor.
Citing security reasons, members of security and police forces often stay in the examination room when physicians are examining detainees, resulting in the intimidation of both the detainee and the physician. Health Ministry regulations allowed doctors to ask security force members to leave during examinations; however, some doctors claimed that in practice they cannot do so because they could face disciplinary procedures or court cases. According to the Medical Association and other human rights observers, the presence of a security officer can lead physicians to refrain from examining detainees, perform cursory examinations and not report findings, or report physical findings but not draw reasonable medical inferences that torture occurred.
The law mandates heavy jail sentences and fines for medical personnel who falsify reports to hide torture, those who knowingly use such reports, and those who coerce doctors into making them. The highest penalties are for doctors who supply false reports for money. In practice there were few such prosecutions.
Government officials admitted that torture occurs but denied that it was systematic. In July Minister of Interior Yucelen stated that government officials investigate "all claims of torture" and "punish those personnel who are accused of torture." He also issued a circular noting the ECHR decisions against the country and warning officials to comply with existing regulations against torture, particularly those regulating detention registration, timing and conditions, and those relating to access to an attorney. The armed forces emphasized human rights in training for officers and noncommissioned officers throughout the year. Noncommissioned police officers receive 2 years training, an increase from only 10 months in the past. Police and Jandarma also receive human rights training.
The investigation, prosecution, and punishment of members of the security forces for torture or other mistreatment is rare, and accused officers usually remained on duty pending a decision, which can take years. Legal, administrative, and bureaucratic barriers impede prosecutions and contributed to the low number of convictions for torture. The 1999 Civil Servant Prosecution Law has not resulted in a greater number of prosecutions, because civil servants generally are immune from direct prosecution unless their superiors grant permission to investigate them. The law authorizes prosecutors to begin collecting evidence immediately to substantiate claims of torture by security officials, but in practice this occurs rarely. Within a 30-day deadline, with a possible 15-day extension, a civil servant's supervisor must decide whether that employee can be prosecuted (or whether the employee is to be disciplined otherwise). The law allows prosecutors to open investigations against persons suspected of falsely accusing a civil servant based on "enmity, hatred or slandering."
The failure to enforce domestic and international bans on torture fosters a climate of official impunity that encourages the systematic abuse of detainees. Detainees state that prosecutors ignored their claims of abuse during interrogation. Some prosecutors believe that all allegations of torture are manipulated by political organizations such as the PKK and claim that detainees fabricated torture claims and injured themselves to accuse and defame the security forces.
Prosecutors may initiate investigations of police or Jandarma officers suspected of torturing or mistreating suspects, but cannot prosecute without their supervisor's permission. If the case involves the police chief or Jandarma commander, the prosecutor must obtain permission to initiate an investigation from the Ministry of Justice, because these officials are deemed to have a status equal to that of judges. In the state of emergency regions, any prosecution or legal action directed at government authorities must be approved by the state of emergency governor; approval is rare.
According to a 1999 directive from Prime Minister Ecevit, public prosecutors are required to make unscheduled inspections of places of detention to look for torture and other maltreatment, and to report to the Prime Minister the results of their inspections. Although the Ministry of Interior states that thousands such inspections have taken place and were reported to the Ministry, human rights advocates and some prosecutors term such inspections cursory and unlikely to lead to criminal charges against the police. The reports were not made public at year's end 2001.
On March 12, former detainees (or family members of current detainees) who spoke out in late 2000 at a conference about their sexual abuse under detention at various times during the last 7 years were indicted under article 159 of the Penal Code for "insulting security forces." In several of the detainees' cases, police officers were on trial for the alleged sexual abuse. In May new charges were brought against five of these women, on the grounds that they "incited racial and religious enmity" because they used the expression "Kurdish women" in their speeches. Subsequently in August, a book of their speeches was banned and the editor was standing trial for "divisiveness" at year's end 2001.
The Government has not followed up on February 2000 revelations by then-chair of Parliament's Human Rights Committee, Sema Piskinsut, and two other Members of Parliament of their findings in an Istanbul police station. At the station, the Members of Parliament found several instruments of torture, including a so-called Palestinian hanger, and turned the instruments over to the police. A public prosecutor questioned police officials and asked the parliamentary committee for the names and addresses of persons tortured in the police station. However, the committee has refused to violate the principle of confidentiality and would not reveal the names of the alleged torture victims. As a result, in December the prosecutor dropped the investigation.
In May and June 2000, the Parliament's Human Rights Committee, under then-Chairman Sema Piskinsut, released a series of comprehensive and highly critical reports on prison conditions throughout the country. Piskinsut, who interviewed over 8,000 prisoners, refused to divulge the names of the alleged torture victims. In July the Acting Chief Prosecutor asked Parliament to lift Piskinsut's parliamentary immunity so that she could be prosecuted for refusing to provide the names of those alleging torture in her prison reports; in October the President of the Parliament decided to comply with the prosecutor's demand. A final decision must be taken jointly by the Constitution and Justice Committees, but had not been made by year's end 2001.
The Minister of Interior reported that by October 31, 4,897 police officers had been charged with either "mistreatment" or "torture" of detainees that resulted in 186 convictions, 944 acquittals, 314 "mistreatment" cases that were suspended under the Conditional Suspension of Sentences Law, and 1,813 cases that were brought to trial. According to the Turkish National Police, during the year 2001, 124 police officers received administrative punishments, such as short suspensions, for torture or mistreatment.
According to the Justice Ministry, during the year 2001, 1,258 cases were brought to prosecutors against police and Jandarma, and of these, 449 investigations were ongoing; 78 indictments were forwarded to the courts, and 227 cases did not go forward. Of the 78 cases forwarded to the court and ongoing cases from previous years, there were 86 acquittals and 45 convictions; other cases remained pending at year's end 2001.
Many cases from previous years remained ongoing or were unresolved, including the cases of: Christian Kemal Timur who alleged that he was beaten on the soles of his feet while in detention in 2000; HADEP officials including the deputy mayor of Diyarbakir, Ramazan Tekin, and the president of HADEP who alleged that they were tortured while in detention in 2000; Dr. Zeki Uzun, a gynecologist who volunteers at the HRF Izmir treatment and rehabilitation center, who continued to pursue legal redress through a civil court and the ECHR for his alleged torture while in custody in October 1999; four police officers accused of sexually harassing, raping with a truncheon, and torturing two female high school students arrested in March 1999 (the girls were convicted of belonging to a terrorist organization and firebombing a bus) based solely on their confessions which allegedly were obtained under torture; and eight policemen on trial in Diyarbakir for allegedly raping a female detainee, accused of being a PKK member, in 1997.
Also pending were the cases of 10 police officers accused of torturing 15 teenagers in Manisa in 1995, whose trials had concluded in November 2000 after 5 years and three appeals, were reopened because the defendants' attorney resigned during the final court session; police and security personnel charged with beating to death 10 prisoners during a prison disturbance in Diyarbakir in 1996; four defendants in Istanbul have been jailed since 1995 without having been convicted (they are accused of being members of TIKKO) and whose trials were pending the outcome of a case against four police officers accused of torturing them (one of the accused persons was released from prison following a hunger strike); and seven police officers who allegedly raped and tortured a 45-year-old female suspect in 1992.
A court case against 12 policemen accused of torturing the September 1997 "Musa Anter Peace Train" detainees was suspended under the December 2000 Conditional Suspension of Sentences Law. In October eight police officers were acquitted of torturing six detainees in 1994; the prosecutor stated that medical reports did show marks consistent with torture on the detainees' bodies, but he requested the case's dismissal because the statute of limitations had expired.
The ECHR ruled against the country in several cases of torture from previous years. The ECHR noted that domestic legal remedies were insufficient because prosecutors had not taken adequate steps to investigate the torture claims. In August the ECHR required the country to pay Abdulbaki Akbay $37,000 (50 billion TL) in compensation for his torture in 1995. Akbay requested, and received, a written statement from the Government expressing regret for the mistreatment of detainees. There are unsubstantiated claims that persons who applied to the ECHR for decisions have been harassed by the police.
Police harassed, beat, and abused demonstrators. Police allegedly harassed and abused some lawyers who represented clients in political cases. There were reports that police facilitated trafficking.
As a result of the 1984 to 1999 conflict with the PKK, the Government continued to organize, arm, and pay a civil defense force of more than 65,0000 in the southeast region. This force is known as the village guards. Village guards have a reputation for being the least disciplined of the Government's security forces and have been accused repeatedly of drug trafficking, rape, corruption, theft, and human rights abuses. Inadequate oversight and compensation contribute to this problem, and in some cases Jandarma allegedly have protected village guards from prosecution. In addition to the village guards, Jandarma and police "special teams" are viewed as those most responsible for abuses. However, the incidence of credible allegations of serious abuses by security forces, in the course of operations against the PKK, is low.
In February a former Batman provincial governor admitted that during his 1993 to 1997 term, his office acquired weapons worth $1.1 million (1.5 trillion TL) to equip extraordinary units fighting the PKK. He stated that most were given to the Jandarma and some to the police; some allegedly were given to village guards as well, and may have been used to commit human rights abuses. The then-Prime Minister agreed to fund the purchase in order to "protect the State," she explained, although the Ministry of Interior had not agreed. The foreign-made weapons entered the country without clearing customs. The extralegal aspects of the transaction fueled speculation that some weapons may have disappeared. There was no parliamentary investigation following the revelations. However, a case that was opened against four officials from the Foreign Trade Undersecretariat's General Directorate of Imports for "allowing illegal importation of weapons by the Batman governate," was dropped under the Conditional Suspension of Sentences Law, which applies to the misuse of public authority.
The Constitution provides for the inviolability of a person's domicile and the privacy of correspondence and communication; however, at times the Government infringed on these rights. With some exceptions, government officials may enter a private residence or intercept or monitor private correspondence only after the issuance of a judicial warrant. These provisions generally are respected outside the state of emergency region. If delay may cause harm to a case, prosecutors may authorize a search. Searches of private premises may not be carried out at night, unless the delay would be damaging to the case or the search is expected to result in the capture of a prisoner at large; other exceptions include persons under special observation by the security directorate general, places anyone can enter at night, places where criminals gather, places where materials obtained through the commission of crimes are kept, gambling establishments, and brothels.
In the provinces under the state of emergency, the regional governor empowers security authorities to search without a warrant, residences or the premises of political parties, businesses, associations, or other organizations. The Bar Association maintained that it is not constitutional for security authorities in these provinces to search, hold, or seize without warrant persons or documents. Seven provinces remained under "adjacent province" status, which authorizes the Jandarma to retain security responsibility for municipalities as well as rural areas, and grants the provincial governor several extraordinary powers. Due to the improved security situation, the use of roadblocks to stop and search vehicles in the southeast decreased.
According to a 1999 law that permits wider wiretapping, a court order is needed to carry out a wiretap; however, in an emergency situation, a prosecutor may grant permission. The wiretap may last only 3 months, with two possible extensions of 3 months each. A constitutional amendment passed in October protects the right to privacy of person and domicile by requiring written authorization for searches and wiretapping, and they may only be used for reasons of national security. These regulations are generally respected in practice.
Defense attorneys continued to face intrusive searches when visiting incarcerated clients.
Between 1984 and 1999, and particularly in the early 1990's, the Government forcibly displaced a large number of persons from villages. Approximately 1 million persons remained internally displaced as a result of these actions. The Government bans the wearing of religious head coverings in government offices, other state-run facilities, and universities.
Arbitrary arrest and detention continued to be problems. According to the HRA, there were 35,389 detentions by the end of September, compared with 35,007 in 2000. During the year 2001, police routinely detained demonstrators, including those protesting prison conditions, and anti-war demonstrators following U.S. and UK airstrikes on Afghanistan in October. Police detained dozens of members of the legal pro-Kurdish party HADEP on several occasions. The Government continued to detain persons, particularly in the southeast, on suspicion of links to Hizbullah, including teachers and imams. Over 2,000 Hizbullah suspects remained in detention pending trial or investigations. Police also detained human rights monitors. In November police briefly detained women who were mailing postcards to women in prison on terror-related charges.
To take a person into custody, a prosecutor must issue a detention order, except when suspects are caught committing a crime by the police. In the state of emergency area, the use of a prosecutor's detention order is in practice extremely rare.
The maximum detention period for those charged with individual common crimes is 24 hours, which may be extended by a judge to a maximum of 7 days; this period is longer for groups.
Under the Criminal Code, those detained for individual common crimes are entitled to immediate access to an attorney and may meet and confer with an attorney at any time. In practice, legal experts assert that the authorities did not always respect these provisions and that most citizens did not exercise this right, either because they are unaware of it, or because they feared antagonizing the authorities. By law a detainee's next of kin must be notified as soon as possible after arrest; in criminal and civil cases this requirement is observed. Once formally charged by the prosecutor, a detainee is arraigned by a judge and allowed to retain a lawyer. After arraignment the judge may release the accused upon receipt of an appropriate assurance, such as bail, or order him detained if the court determines that he is likely to flee the jurisdiction or destroy evidence.
In state security cases, the pretrial detention period without charge is longer, and the law provides for no immediate access to an attorney. The lack of early access to an attorney is a major factor in the continued use of torture by security forces. Persons detained for individual crimes under the Anti-Terror Law must be brought before a judge within 48 hours. Those charged with crimes of a collective, political, or conspiratorial nature may be detained for an initial period of up to 4 days at a prosecutor's discretion and, with a judge's permission, which is almost always granted, for up to 7 days in most of the country and up to 10 days in the southeastern provinces under the state of emergency. Attorneys are allowed access only after the first 4 days. In October Parliament amended the Constitution to limit incommunicado detention for such crimes to a maximum of 4 days; however, as a result of another constitutional provision that allows for repeated and prolonged detention in areas under state of emergency rule, this new amendment does not apply in the state of emergency region. In October in Diyarbakir, two students were detained for 44 days under the law and then charged with being members of a terrorist organization.
Private attorneys and human rights monitors reported uneven implementation of these regulations, particularly attorney access. Lawyers rarely are permitted adequate access to their clients, even after the fourth day, although they may be allowed to exchange a few words during a brief interview in the presence of security officers. According to the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, the secretive nature of arrests and detentions often leaves the detainee's lawyer and family members with no information about the detention, and police often refused to disclose the place of detention or even the fact that the detainee was being held. Regulations on detention and arrest procedures exempt the authorities from the obligation to inform relatives in the case of state security detentions if it could compromise the investigation. The police maintain 24-hour monitoring bureaus that are required to record detentions on computers. However, at times legal limits on detention periods reportedly were circumvented by subjecting a detainee to successive charges or falsifying detention records. According to the HRA, in the state of emergency region the police detained, beat, and then released groups after the maximum period of detention in order to intimidate them. Juveniles have been detained with adults.
The decision concerning early access to counsel in such security cases is left to the public prosecutor, who often denies access on the grounds that it would prejudice an ongoing investigation. Although the Constitution specifies the right of detainees to request speedy arraignment and trial, judges have ordered that some suspects be detained indefinitely, at times for years. Many such cases involve persons accused of violent crimes, but there are cases of those accused of nonviolent political crimes being kept in custody until the conclusion of their trials, generally in SSC cases.
The Constitution prohibits forced exile, and the Government does not employ it, although it retains the authority to authorize internal exile. Since 1990 the state of emergency region's governor in the southeast has had the authority to "remove from the region," for a period not to exceed the duration of the state of emergency (in place for 15 years), citizens under his administration whose activities "give an impression that they are prone to disturb general security and public order." Teachers, party officials, and trade unionists have been affected by this provision in the past, and dozens of unionists were kept out of the southeast during the year 2001, according to press reports. There were occasional press reports that teachers working in the southeast had been transferred to assignments in other parts of the country following their participation in political or union activities.
The legal system of Turkey is derived from various European continental legal systems.
Since legal reforms instituted in 1926, Turkey's judicial system has been based on the Swiss Civil Code, the Italian Penal Code, and the Neuchâtel (Swiss) Code of Civil Procedure. The 1982 constitution guarantees judicial independence and prohibits any government agency or individual from interfering with the operations of the courts and judges. Members of the National Assembly also are not allowed to discuss or make statements concerning pending court cases. Although trials normally are held in open court, the constitution provides that they can be closed "for reasons of public morality or public security."
Headed by the minister of justice, the High Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors is the principal body charged with responsibility for ensuring judicial integrity. This council acts on matters pertaining to the careers of judges, including appointments, promotions, transfers, and supervision. The high council is empowered to remove judges and abolish courts and the offices of judges and public prosecutors. However, judges themselves are protected against arbitrary removal from office by a constitutional provision stipulating that they cannot be dismissed without due cause or retired involuntarily before age sixty-five.
In early 1995, Turkey's legal system consisted of three types of courts: judicial, military, and administrative. Each system includes courts of first instance and appellate courts. In addition, a Court of Jurisdictional Disputes rules on cases that cannot be classified readily as falling within the purview of one court system.
The judicial courts form the largest part of the system; they handle most civil and criminal cases involving ordinary citizens. The two supreme courts within the judicial system are the Constitutional Court and the Court of Appeals.
The Constitutional Court reviews the constitutionality of laws and decrees at the request of the president or of one-fifth of the members of the National Assembly. Its decisions on the constitutionality of legislation and government decrees are final. The eleven members of the Constitutional Court are appointed by the president from among candidates nominated by lower courts and the High Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors. Challenges to the constitutionality of a law must be made within sixty days of its promulgation. Decisions of the Constitutional Court require the votes of an absolute majority of all its members, with the exception of decisions to annul a constitutional amendment, which require a two-thirds majority.
The Court of Appeals (also known as the Court of Cassation) is the court of last instance for review of decisions and verdicts of lower-level judicial courts, both civil and criminal. Its members are elected by secret ballot by senior judges and public prosecutors. Below the Court of Appeals are the ordinary civil and criminal courts. At the lowest level of the judicial system are justices of the peace, who have jurisdiction over minor civil complaints and offenses. Single-judge criminal courts have jurisdiction over misdemeanors and petty crimes, with penalties ranging from small fines to brief prison sentences. Every organized municipality (a community having a minimum population of 2,000) has at least one single-judge court, with the actual number of courts varying according to the total population. Three-judge courts of first instance have jurisdiction over major civil suits and serious crimes. Either of the parties in civil cases and defendants convicted in criminal cases can request that the Court of Appeals review the lower-court decision. The Turkish courts have no jury system; judges render decisions after establishing the facts in each case based on evidence presented by lawyers and prosecutors.
The administrative court system consists of the Council of State, an appellate court, and various administrative courts of first instance. The Council of State reviews decisions of the lower administrative courts, considers original administrative disputes, and, if requested, gives its opinion on draft legislation submitted by the prime minister and the Council of Ministers. The president appoints 25 percent of the Council of State's judges. The other 75 percent are appointed by the High Council of Judges and Public Prosecutors.
The military court system exercises jurisdiction over all military personnel. In areas under martial law, the military also has jurisdiction over all civilians accused of terrorism or "crimes against the state." The military court system consists of military and security courts of first instance, a Supreme Military Administrative Court, an appellate State Security Court, and the Military Court of Appeals, which reviews decisions and verdicts of the military courts. The decisions of the Military Court of Appeals are final.
Provincial and Local Government
The 1982 constitution retains Turkey's centralized administrative system. Each province is administered by a governor (vagi ) appointed by the Council of Ministers with the approval of the president. The governors function as the principal agents of the central government and report to the Ministry of Interior. The constitution grants governors extraordinary powers during a state of emergency, powers similar to those of military authorities in areas under martial law. The constitution also stipulates that the central administration oversee elected local councils in order to ensure the effective provision of local services and to safeguard the public interest. The minister of interior is empowered to remove from office local administrators who are being investigated or prosecuted for offenses related to their duties.
In early 1995, Turkey was divided into seventy-six provinces (vilayetlar ). Each province was further subdivided into an average of about eight districts, or kazalar , each roughly equivalent in size to a county in a United States state. Each district was segmented into an average of 493 subdistricts, or bucaklar . Each provincial capital, each district seat, and each town of more than 2,000 people is organized as a municipality headed by an elected mayor. Government at the provincial level is responsible for implementing national programs for health and social assistance, public works, culture and education, agriculture and animal husbandry, and economic and commercial matters.
As chief executive of the province and principal agent of the central government, each governor supervises other government officials assigned to carry out ministerial functions in his or her province. Civil servants head offices of the national government that deal with education, finance, health, and agriculture at the provincial level. In each province, these directors form the provincial administrative council (vilayet genel meclisi ), which, with the governor as chair, makes key administrative decisions and, when necessary, initiates disciplinary actions against errant provincial employees.
The governor also heads the provincial assembly and several service departments concerned mainly with local trade and industrial matters. The provincial assembly, which advises and works closely with the provincial administrative council, is elected every five years and, with the governor chairing, meets annually to approve the provincial budget and to select one person from each district to serve on the province's administrative commission. With the governor presiding, the administrative commission meets weekly for mutual consultation. Provincial budgets derive their income from rents, payments for services, fines, state aid, and a 1 percent share of national tax revenues. In most provinces, provincial funds are spent primarily on agricultural and reforestation programs, irrigation, and schools.
Each district in a province has its own administration based in the district seat. The district administration consists of a district chief (kaymakam ), central government representatives, and a district administrative board. The more than 500 district chiefs are appointed by the president upon nomination by the minister of interior. Each district chief is responsible to the governor, serving essentially as his or her agent in supervising and inspecting the activities of government officials in the district. The district in which a provincial capital is located may not have a district chief but instead be headed directly by the governor. Each subdistrict director (bucak mudur ) is appointed by the minister of interior on the nomination of the governors. The subdistrict directors, who number about 40,000, are responsible for law enforcement in the villages. They are assisted by officials in charge of rural security; land titles; vital statistics; schools; and postal, telephone, and telegraph services.
Municipal governments exist in each provincial and district capital, as well as in all communities with at least 2,000 inhabitants. Municipal governments are responsible for implementing national programs for health and social assistance, public works, education, and transportation. Each municipality (belediye ) is headed by a mayor (belediye reisi ), who is elected by the citizens to a five-year term and is assisted by deputy directors of departments and offices. Municipal councils, also elected for five years, vary in size according to each town's population. Municipal councils meet three times a year to decide on such issues as the budget, housing plans, reconstruction programs, tax rates, and fees for municipal services. A variety of municipal standing committees, appointed by the mayor and municipal department directors or selected by municipal council members from among themselves, deal with financial issues and decide on the appointment and promotion of municipal personnel.
The smallest unit of local government in Turkey is the village (köy derneg ), a locality with fewer than 2,000 inhabitants. The principal authority in a village, the headman (muhtar ), is chosen by an assembly of all the village's adults. This informal assembly also makes decisions pertaining to village affairs and elects a council of elders (ihtiyar meclisi ) that includes the village schoolteacher and the imam. The headman supervises the planning and operation of communal projects and services and administers directives from higher authorities. The headman receives government officials, maintains order, collects taxes, and presides at civil ceremonies. The village council supervises village finances, purchases or expropriates land for schools and other communal buildings, and decides on the contributions in labor and money to be made by villagers for road maintenance and other community improvements. The village council also arbitrates disputes between villagers and imposes fines on those who fail to perform the services allotted to them.
The Turkish court system and judicial procedures are based on European models adopted after the establishment of the republic. For example, the system of criminal justice that replaced the Islamic justice system of the Ottoman Empire derives from the Italian penal code, and civil law follows the Swiss model.
Crimes are defined as either felonies or misdemeanors, the latter including minor infractions such as traffic violations. Felonies include premeditated homicide, theft, arson, armed robbery, embezzlement of state property, perjury, and rape.
Punishments for felonies fall into the categories of strict imprisonment, ordinary imprisonment, and heavy fines. Under the Criminal Code of 1926, as amended, certain crimes against the state and premeditated murder were punished with the death penalty. In practice, executions were suspended in 1984. More than 1,000 death sentences were pending when blanket commutations were granted in 1986, and capital punishment ended formally with passage of the Anti-Terror Law of 1991. Strict imprisonment entails labor for between one year and life and, for a recidivist, could begin with a period of solitary confinement. Ordinary imprisonment can range up to twenty years and also requires labor. In serious cases, convictions may disqualify a person from holding public office and from practicing a profession or trade. Withdrawal of the right to vote and payment of damages or restitution also may result from conviction for a felony. In 1986 the Execution of Sentences Act halved the time for prisoners then serving jail sentences. Life sentences were reduced to twenty years and death sentences commuted to thirty-year terms.
Procedures in Criminal Law
When the police (or gendarmerie) believe that a person has committed a crime, the suspect is taken to the nearest police station for registration and interrogation. A police magistrate informs the suspect of the charges and questions the suspect and any witnesses to determine whether a prima facie case exists. A warrant of arrest is issued when detention of the accused is indicated. In principle, individuals can be detained pending trial only when there is a strong presumption that they have committed the offense with which they are charged and when there is reason to believe that they intend to escape, to destroy traces of the crime, to induce accomplices or witnesses to make false statements, or to evade the obligation to testify.
Important changes in the treatment of suspects occurred in 1992 with the introduction of the Criminal Trials Procedure Law. This law affirms the right of common criminal suspects to immediate access to legal counsel and the right to meet with an attorney at any time. Permissible prearraignment detention was shortened to twenty-four hours for common individual crimes and to four days for common crimes involving conspiracy. The practical effect of the new law has been improved attorney access for those charged with common crimes.
The 1991 Anti-Terror Law nullified the "thought crimes" articles of the penal code. However, it introduced a broad and ambiguous definition of terrorism, enabling the government to use the law not only to combat alleged terrorism but also to impose sentences of two to five years on ordinary citizens for written and oral propaganda, meetings, and demonstrations aimed at "damaging the indivisible unity of the state."
Persons detained for individual crimes under the Anti-Terror Law must be brought before a judge within forty-eight hours. Anyone charged with crimes of a collective political or conspiratorial nature may be detained for up to fifteen days and up to thirty days in the ten southeastern provinces under a state of emergency in early 1995. The law does not guarantee access to counsel in such cases, leaving this decision to prosecutors, who routinely deny access.
Cases involving minor offenses are tried by a justice of the peace, a single judge who has limited penal and civil jurisdiction. Somewhat more serious offenses are tried by courts of first instance, with a single judge. Central criminal courts that have a president and two judges deal with crimes punishable by more than five years' imprisonment. Three-judge commercial courts also exist.
Ordinary defendants have the right to a public trial and must be provided with free counsel if they are indigent. However, the constitution does provide for closed trials in the interest of "public morality and public security." There is no jury system; all cases are decided by a judge or panel of judges. The constitution requires that judges be independent of the executive in the discharge of their duties, and, in practice, judges are not subject to government interference. Defense lawyers have access to the prosecutor's files after arraignment and prior to the trial. Release may be granted after arraignment upon payment of bail or presentation of an appropriate guarantee.
Eight state security courts, each composed of five members--two civilian judges, one military judge, and two prosecutors--may try defendants accused of terrorism, drug smuggling, membership in illegal organizations, or espousing and disseminating prohibited ideas. The state security courts mainly handle cases under the Anti-Terror Law. As of the end of 1993, a total of 3,792 persons had been detained under the law, and 811 persons were serving sentences under its provisions. In addition to the longer prearraignment detention the law permits, the state security courts can hold closed hearings and may admit testimony gathered during police interrogation in the absence of counsel. Verdicts of the courts may be appealed to a special State Security Court of Appeals.
Martial law courts established after the 1980 coup continue to function in those provinces under martial law. Military courts hear cases involving infractions of military law by members of the armed forces. A separate military court appeals system applies. In late 1993, two television journalists received two-month sentences from a military court for presenting a program on military deserters and draft evaders in the first known case of civilians tried in a military court while Turkey was under civilian rule.
Today, the Constitution provides for an independent judiciary, and in practice the general law courts generally act independently of the executive and legislative branches; however, various government and judicial officials discussed the need to adopt legislative changes to strengthen the judiciary's independence. The Constitution prohibits state authorities from issuing orders or recommendations concerning the exercise of judicial power; however, in practice the Government and the National Security Council (NSC) periodically issue announcements or directives about threats to the State, which could be interpreted as instructions to the judiciary. The seven-member High Council of Judges and Prosecutors, which is appointed by the President and includes the Minister of Justice and a deputy, selects judges and prosecutors for the higher courts and is responsible for oversight of those in the lower courts. Its decisions are not subject to review. The composition of the High Council is widely criticized as restricting the independence of the judiciary, since the Minister of Justice is part of the legislative branch of the Government. Although the Constitution provides for security of tenure, the High Council controls the career paths of judges through appointments, transfers, promotions, and other mechanisms.
The judicial system is composed of general law courts, military courts, the SSC's, and the Constitutional Court, the nation's highest court. The Court of Cassation hears appeals for criminal cases, including appeals from the SSC's. The Council of State hears appeals of administrative cases or cases between government entities. Most cases are prosecuted in the general law courts, which include civil, administrative, and criminal courts. Public servants, including police, can be tried only after administrative approval from the governor or subgovernor, which are centrally appointed positions.
The Constitutional Court examines the constitutionality of laws, decrees, and parliamentary procedural rules and hears cases involving the banning of political parties. If impeached, ministers and prime ministers can be tried in the Constitutional Court as well. However, the Court may not consider "decrees with the force of law" issued under a state of emergency, martial law, or in time of war.
Military courts, with their own appeals system, hear cases involving military law, members of the armed forces, and may try civilians who are accused of impugning the honor of the armed forces or undermining compliance with the draft. In September a military court acquitted 16 civilians who had republished, as an act of civil disobedience, a banned article criticizing mandatory military service.
SSC's are composed of panels of five members: Three civilian judges and two prosecutors. SSC's sit in eight cities and try defendants accused of crimes such as terrorism, gang-related crimes, drug smuggling, membership in illegal organizations, and espousing or disseminating ideas prohibited by law, such as those "damaging the indivisible unity of the State." These courts may hold closed hearings and may admit testimony obtained during police interrogation in the absence of counsel. SSC verdicts may be appealed only to a specialized department of the Court of Cassation (Appeals Court) dealing with crimes against state security. During the year 2001, the SSC's dealt mainly with cases under the Anti-Terror Law and sections of the Criminal Code relating to free expression. Human rights observers cite prosecutions of leaders of the political Islamic movement, political leaders associated with the Kurdish issue, and persons who criticize the military or the Government's practices as evidence that the SSC's often serve the primarily political purpose of silencing persons who criticize the Government. According to press reports and human rights advocates, during the year 2001, police began investigating an SSC judge in Diyarbakir when he refused a Jandarma request to extend the detention period of several Kurdish suspects.
The law gives prosecutors far-reaching authority to supervise the police during an investigation. Prosecutors complain that they have few resources to do so, and many have begun to call for "judicial police" who could help investigate and gather evidence. Human rights observers and Ministry of Justice officials note that problems can arise from the fact that the police report to the Interior Ministry, not to the courts. Prosecutors also are charged with determining which law has been broken and objectively presenting the facts to the court.
Defense lawyers do not have equal status with prosecutors. Defense attorneys continued to face intrusive searches when visiting incarcerated clients. Prisoners also are searched before and after meeting their attorneys. Although prisoners may by law be forced to surrender defense-related documents for review, this rarely occurs in practice. Attorneys are suspected by prison authorities and prosecutors of acting as couriers for their clients, particularly those incarcerated for Mafia or terror crimes. Defense attorneys generally have access to the public prosecutor's files only after arraignment and routinely are denied access to files that the Government asserts deal with national intelligence or security matters, particularly in SSC cases.
The harassment of lawyers involved in political cases in the southeast and throughout the country continued, although there were fewer legal cases brought against attorneys than in 2000. Many attorneys are willing to defend politically sensitive cases and provide greater mutual support within the profession. However, attorneys can face criminal charges and other harassment, particularly if they defended clients accused of terrorism or illegal political activity, pursued torture cases, or sought prompt access to their clients (which police often viewed as interference). Malatya lawyer Hasan Dogan faced a number of charges related to his work defending human rights and HADEP; most of his trials have ended due to the December 2000 Conditional Suspension of Sentences law. In 2000 a court case was opened against Dogan at a misdemeanor court for allegedly having a dirty Turkish flag at the HADEP headquarters while he was provincial chairman; the case was ongoing at year's end 2001. In March the lawyer for the teenagers tortured in Manisa was acquitted of charges that she showed pictures of the accused policemen to the media.
In February the trial of 25 Diyarbakir lawyers at the Diyarbakir SSC ended under the December 2000 Conditional Suspension of Sentences Law. In 1993 and 1994, the defendants were charged with "aiding and abetting the PKK" and "membership in an illegal terror organization." Human rights monitors believed that their prosecution was intended to punish them for representing clients unpopular with the Government and for publicizing human rights violations in the southeast. The lawyers have been free pending the outcome of their trial after an initial detention period in 1993.
In October Parliament approved a constitutional amendment providing for the "right to a fair trial"; however, the amendment had not been implemented by year's end 2001.
There is no jury system; a judge or a panel of judges decides all cases. The Constitution provides for the right to a speedy trial; however, at times trials last for years. Trials for political crimes or torture frequently last for months or years, with one hearing scheduled each month. Proceedings against security officials often are delayed because officers do not submit statements promptly or attend trials. Illegally gathered evidence may be excluded by law. However, this rarely occurs and then only after a separate case determining the legality of the evidence is resolved. In practice a trial based on a confession allegedly coerced under torture may proceed and even conclude, before the court has established the merits of the torture allegations.
By law the Bar Association must provide free counsel to indigents who make a request to the court, except for crimes falling under the scope of the SSC's. In practice only a tiny percentage of defendants have lawyers. The court consistently provides attorneys only to minors or deaf-mutes who cannot represent themselves. Bar Associations in large cities, such as Istanbul, have attorneys on call 24 hours a day; costs are borne by the Association. Defense lawyers generally have access to the public prosecutor's files only after arraignment.
In law and in practice, the legal system does not discriminate against minorities; however, while legal proceedings are conducted solely in Turkish with some interpreting available, some defendants whose native language is not Turkish may be disadvantaged seriously.
The Government recognizes the jurisdiction of the ECHR. During the year 2001, the Government lost 154 cases to which it was a party, most of which pertained to dispossession of property (from villages in the southeast), due process, torture, deaths, and past disappearances. In 57 additional cases the Government accepted a friendly settlement and paid $2 million (approximately 2.7 trillion TL); and the ECHR dismissed a further three cases. The Government paid several million dollars in fines and friendly settlements.
Convicted PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan faces a sentence of execution, which was suspended by the Prime Minister, pending the results of his appeal to the ECHR which was ongoing at year's end 2001. The ECHR is inquiring into Ocalan's allegations regarding irregularities of his capture and trial in the country. Human rights observers, including the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, had raised several due process concerns in the Ocalan case.
There is no reliable estimate of the number of political prisoners in the country. The Government claims that alleged political prisoners are in fact security detainees convicted of being members of, or assisting, terrorist organizations. After the December 2000 "conditional release" of prisoners, approximately 1,660 prisoners who had been convicted of "assisting terrorist organizations" (in some cases for providing food and shelter, or for participating in public demonstrations) were released from prison.
International humanitarian organizations are allowed access to political prisoners, provided the organization can obtain permission from the Ministry of Justice. With the exception of the CPT, which generally has good access, in practice few such permissions are granted.
Under the martial-law regime established after the 1980 coup, Turkey's citizens suffered a serious curtailment of normal civil rights. Starting in 1983, when parliamentary elections were held, the government gradually lifted restraints on individual liberties and progressively withdrew martial law from major cities and provinces. Restrictions on the press were removed in 1985, making it permissible to publish all views except those banned by the penal code. The 1987 state of emergency declared in ten southeastern provinces where the government faced terrorist violence allowed the civilian governor to exercise certain powers verging on martial law, including warrantless searches and restrictions on the press.
Although progress has been made in reducing human rights abuses since the military government period, mistreatment by the police in the form of beatings and torture has remained a seemingly intractable problem. Reports of illegal practices, in some cases extrajudicial killings, deaths in custody, and disappearances, have become more widespread since 1992, when violence resulting from the Kurdish insurgency reached unprecedented levels. The Turkish government has renewed previous pledges to end the use of torture by the security forces, but little has been achieved in curbing the excesses of the police and military.
The widespread evidence of torture and severe ill-treatment of detainees has been condemned by numerous international groups, such as the Council of Europe's Committee for the Prevention of Torture and the United Nations Committee on Torture. Within Turkey, illegal police activities have been monitored by the Human Rights Association since that organization received official approval in 1987. The association subsequently attracted a membership of about 20,000 and opened branches in fifty of the provincial capitals. The companion Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, established in 1990, operates torture-rehabilitation centers in Ankara, Izmir, and Istanbul, and serves as a clearinghouse for human rights information. Besides enduring government-imposed restrictions, the Human Rights Association has seen nine people associated with the organization slain. The group's leadership has charged that nearly half of its offices have been forced to close because of police pressure.
The Human Rights Foundation has claimed that government security forces were responsible for ninety-one extrajudicial killings during the first nine months of 1993, and that security forces were implicated in many of the 291 "mystery killings" during the same period. Perhaps twenty persons died in official custody, some allegedly as a result of torture. Other killings occurred during raids on terrorist safe houses, or when deadly force was used against unarmed civilians participating in peaceful demonstrations.
Turkish human rights advocates believe that most persons charged with political crimes undergo torture, usually while in incommunicado detention in the hands of the police or gendarmerie before being brought before a court. About half of the ordinary criminal suspects are thought to undergo torture while under police interrogation. In the event that law enforcement officers are charged in torture cases, the sentences imposed are generally light or the cases drag on for years.
The constitution guarantees inviolability of the domicile and privacy of communications except upon issuance of a judicial warrant. However, in the southeastern provinces that are under state of emergency the governor may authorize warrantless search. In these areas, security personnel at roadblocks regularly search travelers and vehicles in an effort to apprehend smugglers and terrorists.
University students and faculty members may not be members of political parties or become involved in political activities. Youth branches of political parties are forbidden, and the university rector must grant permission for a student to join any association. Political activity by trade unions is also banned. Thus, unions may neither endorse candidates nor make contributions to their campaigns; they are, however, able to make known their opposition to or support of political parties and government policies. Collective bargaining and strikes are strictly regulated. Unions must have government permission to hold meetings and rallies but are permitted to organize workplaces freely and to engage in collective bargaining.
In March 1994, seven Kurdish legislators were arrested on the parliament grounds. Indictments were prepared against them for writings and speeches deemed supportive of Kurdish separatism. The incident aroused considerable controversy both domestically and internationally; all seven assembly members were given long prison terms in late 1994.
Freedom of conscience and religious belief is guaranteed by the constitution, as is private dissemination of religious ideas. However, religious activity is strictly supervised in accordance with the principles of secularism and separation of church and state. No political party advocating a theocracy or government founded on religious principles is permitted. The operation of churches, monasteries, synagogues, and schools must be approved by the state. Armenian and Greek churches are carefully monitored, and prosecutors have brought charges of proselytism against Islamists and evangelical Christian groups deemed to have political overtones. Courts have not been sympathetic to such charges, but the police have acted against some evangelical Christians by refusing to renew their residence permits and expelling them.
The civil penal system is administered by the General Directorate of Prisons and Houses of Detention in the Ministry of Justice. There is a prison or jail in almost every town and at least one in every district. The older penal institutions include most of the town and district jails and the larger provincial prisons in use since Ottoman times. These are gradually being supplemented by newer "penitentiary labor establishments" whose distinguishing feature is the availability of equipment for labor. Prison labor is compulsory for all in old and new prisons. Prisoners are allowed to send up to one-half of their prison earnings to a dependent; part is withheld for rations, and the remainder goes to the prisoner upon discharge. Prisons were previously known to be overcrowded, but the apparent reduction in jail sentences for common crimes and the commutation of longer sentences may have mitigated the problem.
According to official data, the number of convicts in prisons declined from more than 46,000 in 1984 to 10,656 in 1991. The drop in the prison population took place mainly between 1986 and 1991, when mass releases occurred. When the large number sentenced to prison is compared with the small prison population at any one time, it appears that many convicts serve sentences of only a few months. Persons classified as political prisoners or terrorists are apparently regarded separately because more than 32,000 were incarcerated in 1991 under the "special laws" category.
By and large, Turks accept the Muslim view that crime is a willful act and thus regard penalties as punishment for the act and as a means to deter similar acts, not as instruments of rehabilitation or reeducation. There has been a trend among some specialists and Turkish officials to view criminal acts as the product of social conditions and therefore to emphasize rehabilitation, but this view has had only limited influence on penal practice.
Whereas torture of both political and ordinary prisoners by security forces is a deep-rooted problem, much of it occurs prior to court hearings. Incidents arising from mistreatment in prisons have been decreasing in recent years. However, in two cases mentioned in 1992 by the international human rights group Amnesty International, large numbers of prisoners were beaten, some seriously, for protesting against prison disciplinary measures.
After widespread hunger strikes in 1989, the minister of justice introduced a number of reforms to improve prison conditions, including an end to corporal punishment, bread-and-water diets, and solitary confinement in unlighted cells. The government, however, continued to be faced with domestic and international criticism and subsequently announced a prison reform bill in 1993. At the end of 1994, parliament had not enacted promised prison reforms.
Today, prison conditions remained poor, despite some improvements. Between December 2000 and January 2001, the Government released 23,600 prisoners under the new nation-wide Conditional Suspension of Sentences Law, resulting in less overcrowding of prisons. However, with some exceptions (i.e., for high-profile political prisoners or for those with gang connections), underfunding, and very poor administration of penal facilities remained problems. Most prisons lacked adequate medical care for routine treatment or even medical emergencies. Inmates' families often had to supplement the poor quality food. Human rights observers estimate that at any given time, at least one-quarter of those in prison are awaiting trial or the outcome of their trial. Men and women are held separately. Despite the existence of separate juvenile facilities, at times juveniles and adults were held together. However, pretrial detainees are not usually held separately from convicted prisoners.
Until late 2000, prisons were run on the ward system and most prisoners lived in 50-100 person wards. Prisoners accused of terrorism and those who shared similar ideological views were incarcerated together. In some cases, the ward inmates indoctrinated and punished fellow prisoners, resulting in gang and terrorist group domination of entire wards. Between December 2000 and January 2001, the Ministry of Justice moved hundreds of prisoners to small-cell "F-type" prisons, which left many of the prisoners in strict isolation; human rights groups and prisoners' groups criticized this action. Critics of the F-type cells claimed that prison authorities isolate inmates from each other and control prisoners' access to water, food, electricity, and toilets. There were allegations that prisoners were badly beaten during the transfer and denied medical assistance for severe injuries.
In November and December 2000, hundreds of prisoners, mostly affiliated with far-left terrorist groups, went on hunger strikes to protest F-type prisons, and claimed that they intended to starve themselves to death. The Government entered the prisons in December 2000, after the fast had reached its 60th day and negotiations to end it had not been successful. During and after the government intervention, at least 31 inmates and 2 Jandarma were killed. Weapons and other illegal materials were found in the cells during the operation. The cause of many of the deaths--including those who allegedly set themselves on fire on the order of their organization--was unclear. Many hunger-striking prisoners were released from jail for temporary medical reasons. Groups linked to terrorist organizations also strongly protested this change in the prison system. Prisoners and sympathizers conducted hunger strikes; approximately 150 hunger strikes continued at year's end 2001. By year's end 2001, 48 hunger strikers had died. The Government alleged that terrorist groups forced weaker members to conduct the hunger strikes and threatened family members of those who want to quit.
In July a mainstream newspaper, Radikal, published alleged secret government autopsy reports and asserted that: Prisoners were responsible for the death of only one of the two Jandarma who died during the December Government intervention in the hunger strike; that Jandarma or prison guards used tear gas at inappropriately close quarters; that prisoners were shot at great distances, contradicting the idea that some had killed each other; and that some prisoners may have been tortured before they died. The Council of Europe's Committee to Prevent Torture (CPT) also found serious and credible allegations that prison guards and Jandarma burnt prisoners to death in the women's section of Bayrampasa prison. The Ministries of Justice and Interior issued a joint statement that the newspaper accounts were illegal and incorrect. In August a prosecutor opened a case against Radikal for publishing the reports but the paper was acquitted on the grounds that they had not violated the Press Law. In October an Istanbul prosecutor opened a case against 1,615 persons on duty at Bayrampasa prison during the hunger strike, charging them with mistreatment and dereliction of duty. At year's end 2001, a trial was ongoing against 167 prisoners for fomenting violence at Bayrampasa and against hundreds of other prisoners at other prisons where violence occurred. The Bayrampasa defendants allegedly were beaten by Jandarma when they tried to read a statement at their October hearing.
In March the CPT recommended that the Government amend the Anti-Terror Law to end the practice of total isolation of political prisoners; to create opportunities for limited social interactions among prisoners; to allow telephone calls; and to create visiting committees for outside review of prison conditions and special prison judges. In May the Government amended the Anti-Terror Law to allow limited interaction among political prisoners and passed legislation creating the position of special prison judges who would be responsible for examining the complaints of prisoners regarding their conditions and treatment.
In August implementing legislation was passed for the creation of the five-person visiting committees composed of nongovernmental experts, such as doctors and lawyers; the committees will have unrestricted access to prisons and prisoners. According to the Ministry of Justice, as of December 117 visiting committees had been established. In November and December, the Government appointed 130 special prison judges and took steps by year's end 2001 to allow some social interaction, visits by some family members, and telephone calls.
The Government permits prison visits by representatives of some international organizations, such as the CPT and the U.N. Special Rapporteur on Torture; the CPT visited in January, April, and September, and conducts ongoing consultations with the Government. Requests by the CPT to visit prisons are routinely granted; however, domestic NGO's do not have access to prisons. In June a European Parliament committee visited some prisons.
Violence against women remained a problem, and spousal abuse was serious and widespread. According to the Family Research Institute in the Prime Minister's office, beating in the home is one of the most frequent forms of violence against women. Despite 1998 legislation that made spousal abuse illegal, complaints of beatings, threats, economic pressure, and sexual violence continued. According to a 2000 survey, at least 10 percent of women experienced violence on a daily or weekly basis. However, spousal abuse is considered an extremely private matter, involving societal notions of family honor, and few women go to the police. Police are reluctant to intervene in domestic disputes and frequently advised women to return to their husbands.
The law allows women to apply for restraining orders against their husbands and therefore to stay in their own homes. Observers and government officials noted that this provision has been very successful in some of the cities and rural areas of the country but less so in the more traditional southeast. The law is also limited to spouses, and therefore does not address some other sources of violence such as in-laws. Citizens of either sex may file civil or criminal charges for abuse but rarely do so.
There are 9 government-sponsored shelters and 6 consultation centers for battered women; in addition the child protection and social services agency provides services to victims of domestic violence through its 19 social centers.
The law prohibits rape and spousal rape; however, laws and ingrained societal notions make it difficult to prosecute sexual assault or rape cases. According to national police statistics, there were 945 complaints of rape throughout the country during the year 2001; however, cases of rape were believed to be underreported.
"Honor killings"--the killing by immediate family members of women who are suspected of being unchaste--continued in rural areas and among new immigrants to cities; according to media reports, there may be dozens of such killings every year. Under the law, persons convicted of killings that were "provoked" (such as honor killings) may receive a lighter sentence than for other types of killings. Because of further sentence reductions for juvenile offenders, observers note that young male relatives often are designated to perform the killing. In June three brothers were convicted of murdering their 15-year old sister after she ran away from an arranged marriage to an older man. The court imposed sentences between 4 and 12 years; however, the court stated that they would only have to serve approximately 1/3 of their sentences because of their young age and because the boys were provoked. In May in Adana, a 14-year old boy was arrested for stabbing his mother to death. Government authorities have tried to send a clear message of intolerance for this practice through the prosecution of those responsible for the killings.
The problem of suicide among young girls forced into marriage persisted and was prevalent particularly in the southeast, where suicides have risen by more than 50 percent since 1993 and where 80 percent of suicide victims are women. A study in Batman province showed that for young girls with physical and psychological problems, an early marriage can be catalyst to suicide. The traditional practice of "virginity testing" also continued, despite governmental regulations prohibiting it unless requested by the woman.
Trafficking in women for the purpose of sexual exploitation was a serious problem.
Although the law provides special safeguards for children in police custody, police officers and prosecutors frequently circumvented or ignored these provisions. The law stipulates that the state prosecutor or a designated assistant should carry out interrogations of minors and that minors must be provided with lawyers; however, in practice police and prosecutors often denied minors access to lawyers and failed to inform parents. Children and juveniles detained under the Anti-Terror Law also often were held for up to 4 days in incommunicado detention, and may have been subjected to other forms of mistreatment. Children as young as 11 years of age who are accused of SSC crimes are treated as adults.
Children have suffered greatly from the cycle of violence in the southeast. In the past, the migration--forced or voluntary--of many families, past terrorism against teachers, and school closings in the southeast uprooted children and moved them to cities that were hard pressed to find the resources to provide basic, mandatory services such as schooling. Many cities in the southeast continued to operate schools on double shifts, with as many as 100 students per classroom. However, in many provinces, schools have reopened. In October the Interior Minister stated that there were no longer any schools in the east and southeast that remained closed for security reasons, but that 78 schools remained closed due to poor building conditions. The Government has built regional boarding schools to help deal with this problem, but they remained insufficient in number.
Instances of child beating and abuse were reported more frequently than in previous years, according to women's groups. In March a member of an Istanbul Chamber of Doctors Children's Rights Commission reported that sexual abuse and violence towards children was increasing. She noted that the social attitudes that violence towards children is the parents' right persisted.
Trafficking in girls for the purpose of sexual exploitation was a serious problem.
TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS
There is no specific law prohibiting trafficking, although other laws may be used to prosecute traffickers; however, trafficking in women and girls for prostitution was a serious problem. The country is a transit country and a destination country for victims of trafficking; reportedly there is almost no trafficking of Turkish women and girls out of the country. There are no statistics on the number of trafficking victims. There are allegations that police allow operation of informal brothels in Instanbul and may also be bribed by traffickers at ports of entry.
Women and girls are trafficked to Turkey, mostly from Romania, Georgia, Russia, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. Turkey is also at transit country for the trafficking of women primarily from Central Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and the former Yugoslavia to other countries in Europe. According to a 1995 study by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), victims arrive by foot, trains, boats, and planes. Most trafficking activity occurs in Istanbul, Izmir, and Trabzon. Many women and girls come to the country believing that they will be working as models, waitresses, or dancers and find themselves forced into prostitution. In some cases, girls from Romanian orphanages have been kidnaped and trafficked. Women who attempt to escape their trafficking often were beaten, raped, or killed. There are reports that criminal syndicates force women to sign work contracts which amounted to debt bondage. Russian and Ukrainian organized crime groups reportedly are the primary trafficking organizations.
There is no law that specifically prohibits trafficking in women. A 1999 law dealing with "profit-motivated gangs" (Mafia) was intended to combat trafficking in persons, although it is not exclusively focused on the crime; this law provides for penalties of up to 6 years' imprisonment. Under the Penal Code, it is illegal to abduct and detain a woman or child. However, this law relates more to the old custom of kidnaping a bride, in which punishment is suspended if adbuctor and abductee get married. A further provision prohibits persons from inciting or forcing a woman to become a prostitute; those who force a woman into prostitution through violence face 1 to 3 years in prison, or more if the perpetrator is a relative of the victim. A further article of the Penal Code makes it a crime to send a prostitute from one place to another by force or fraud. There was no new information available on the 850 persons captured in 2000 for offenses relating to trafficking or facilitating illegal immigration.
The Government deals with the problem of trafficking in persons through laws relevant to organized crime, prostitution and illegal immigration. The Ministries of Justice and the Interior are responsible for the problem, and the police, particularly the immigration and organized crime authorities, enforce antitrafficking laws. The Ministry of the Interior's organized crime department is primarily responsible for combating trafficking. According to press reports, there was an increase in police raids on brothels during the second half of the year. In August the Ministry of Interior issued a circular to all provincial police chiefs, calling on them to combat those who aid and abet prostitution.
There is little formal interagency cooperation in dealing with the problem of trafficking. Representatives from the Ministries of Interior, Justice, and Health, among other ministries and NGO's, have met on this issue. The police are the most active governmental entity addressing this problem.
There have not been any official antitrafficking information campaigns; however, in 1999 teams from Ukraine and Moldova received extensive cooperation from Turkish police to film educational documentaries designed to discourage women and girls from those countries from going to Turkey. The IOM, ILO and UNHCR work closely with the Government.
Those who have been trafficked into Turkey generally are detained and deported. According to the Passport Law, if a prostitute or a trafficker is a foreigner, the person is immediately deported. The Law on Residence and Travelling authorizes the Ministry of Interior, governors, and subgovernors to deport foreigners after 15 days notice. If the same person is reported again for the same offense, no further notices are made and the person may be deported immediately if captured again. After women are deported, they often are retrafficked back to Turkey.
The Government does not provide any formal protection, aid, or education to victims of trafficking, and does not allocated any funding to victims. Victims are not encouraged to file civil suits or seek legal action against their traffickers. There are nine domestic violence shelters in Turkey; non-Turkish citizens in theory may use these shelters, but they are unlikely to know how to access them.
In September the NGO Turkish Female Law Association held a seminar on the issue of trafficking in women; representatives from 20 countries attended the seminar.
There is no appreciable cultivation of illicit narcotics in Turkey, although licit opium poppies are grown. Consumption of narcotics within Turkey remains relatively low. Turkey's geographical position makes it a major transit route for Southwest Asian opiates moving to Europe, and for some synthetic drugs to the Middle East. Turkish anti-narcotics efforts are concentrated on stemming transit traffic, and on eradicating illicit laboratories within Turkey which process smuggled morphine base into heroin. There is no conclusive evidence that illicit narcotics produced in Turkey or transiting Turkey enter the United States in significant quantities.
Turkey is a member of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), and is investigating possible money laundering cases. The 1988 UN Drug Convention was signed by Turkey in 1988, and formally ratified in 1996.
Opium poppy cultivation in Turkey is limited to carefully monitored and controlled production for the licit pharmaceutical opiate market, as recognized by the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and the United States Government (USG). There is no indication of diversion to illicit channels. Farming inefficiencies and relatively poor alkaloid content make poppy crops for opiates only marginally commercial, although poppy seeds are a valuable food crop. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working with the Turkish authorities to improve the alkaloid content of the poppies. Other illicit cultivation of narcotic plants, primarily marijuana, is minor and has no significant effect on the United States.
The amount of heroin and other illicit opiates transiting Turkey is unknown, although the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) estimates that it remains steady at between four and six tons of heroin to Europe each month. As much as 75 percent of the heroin seized in Europe has a "Turkish Connection," having either transited Turkey, been processed there, or been seized in connection with Turkish criminal syndicates. We continue to monitor this route for indications that heroin transiting Turkey affects the United States. The discoveries of processing labs and seizures of illicit precursor chemicals such as acetic anhydride indicate continuing heroin refining in Turkey. Turkish anti-narcotics forces are aggressive in interdicting drug traffic and closing down illicit laboratories within Turkey.
Turkey has continued to move forward in its anti-money-laundering campaign. The Turkish Financial Crimes Investigative Board (FCIB), with the assistance of the U.S. Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FINCEN), is actively investigating more than 80 possible money-laundering cases. Three of the cases have been sent to the prosecutor's office for further action. So far, the cases have centered primarily on allegations of corruption rather than money generated from narcotics trade. None of the cases sent to the Turkish prosecutor's office involved narcotics.
Turkey continues to emphasize anti-money laundering efforts. The Government of Turkey tried to obtain a better estimate on the informal economy by declaring a "financial clearance day" on September 30, 1998. All Turks with undeclared monetary assets were asked to put these assets in a Turkish bank for that one day. A total of $4.3 billion was recorded. Two major pieces of legislation are before Parliament, but not expected to pass until the formation of the new government: an organized crime bill which would better define and more severely punish organized crime, and a banking reform bill which would enforce stricter auditing controls on banks.
Allegations of corruption continue to dominate news headlines. The arrest of alleged Turkish mafia boss Alaaddin Cakici in France in 1998 re-opened rumors of criminal gang corruption of major political figures in such areas as preferential treatment in bidding for privatized state entities. On November 25, State Minister Gunes Taner was censured for his apparent involvement in corruption and was stripped of his cabinet seat. Allegations of corruption were also leveled against Prime Minister Yilmaz, whose government lost a vote of confidence the same day. To date, the corruption allegations have not involved narcotics trafficking.
Opium poppies are grown by licensed farmers for pharmaceutical and food products. Licit opium poppy cultivation is strictly controlled by the Turkish Grain Board (TMO), with no apparent diversion into illicit channels. Culinary poppy seed brings farmers more profit than the sale of the low-alkaloid poppy straw. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working with the Turkish authorities to improve the alkaloid content of the poppies. Other illicit cultivation of narcotic plants, primarily marijuana, is minor and has no significant impact on the United States.
Turkey remains one of the major transit routes for the flow of Southwest Asian heroin to Europe. There is little evidence that heroin from Turkey enters the United States, either directly or through another transit state. We continue to monitor the flow of heroin through Turkey for indications that it is becoming significant for the United States, but no such indications have appeared thus far. Heroin, and to a lesser degree, morphine base is smuggled through Turkey's eastern border. Morphine base is refined in illicit labs, most often in the rural Southeast or near Istanbul. Heroin is most commonly transferred to Europe hidden in containers on trucks. Smaller amounts are transported by bus or air passengers, or in private vehicles. Of note, in 1998, was the seizure of approximately 550 kilograms of cocaine from a ship on Turkey's southern coast. This may be an indication of heroin-cocaine barter trade, with South American cocaine entering Europe through traditional heroin routes.
Reports of involvement in drug trafficking by the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK) continue. The PKK, a terrorist separatist group active in the southeast border region of Turkey, reportedly is paid protection money by narcotics traffickers and refiners. PKK groups based in Europe are also alleged to be involved in narcotics trafficking.
The single drug-prevention and substance-abuse facility, the Amatem Clinic, treats drug addiction and alcoholism. The incidence of substance abuse remains low, which the Turks attribute to a strong family structure and the Muslim proscription of mind-altering substances. Amatem Clinic has placed high priority on training family doctors, pharmacists, and teachers to recognize the signs of drug abuse, and on gathering reliable statistics on drug use.
Internet research assisted by Joceyn Kamada