EXTERNAL AI Index: EUR 44/21/97
EXTRA 36/97 Torture / Fear of torture 13 March 1997
TURKEYHatun Temuzalp (f), journalist
Ali Can Kaya, journalist
Arzu Görmez (f), journalist
Dil_an Acar (f), journalist
Muammer Kalkan, journalist
Haydar ... [family name not known]
Released detainees have reported that those named above, detained on 7 March
1997, have been tortured in custody, in particular Hasan Acan. They remain
incommunicado, presumably at the Anti-Terror Branch of Istanbul Police
In a police operation on 7 March in the Alibeyköy district of Istanbul the
journalists Hatun Temuzalp, Ali Can Kaya, Arzu Görmez, Dil_an Acar, and Muammer
Kalkan of Proleter Halk_n Birli_i (Proletarian People’s Union), a fortnightly
socialist newspaper, were detained. Three other people who work for the same
newspaper, Tekin Yazar, Ali Ekber and Haydar (family name unknown), were
detained at their homes in the Gülsuyu district. In the Yenibosna district
of Istanbul, Hasan Acan, a subscriber to the newspaper, was taken into detention.
The detentions have now been acknowledged, although families of the detainees
were initially unaware that their relatives had been taken into custody. The
Prosecutor’s Office has given the police permission to hold the detainees until
18 March when they are to be taken to court to be charged or released.
The police operation appears to be in connection with the second anniversary
of the killing by police of at least 17 people in the Gaziosmanpa_a district
of Istanbul during a week of unrest in March 1995 (see below). A large protest
demonstration was apparently anticipated by the authorities this year, as in
the previous year when some 15,000 people marched.
On 12 March 1995 unknown armed men attacked a coffee house in the Gaziosmanpa_a
district of Istanbul, an Alevi neighbourhood, killing one person and wounding
10. Police allegedly watched, but did not intervene. According to one newspaper
account, the taxi which the attackers used was later found outside the
neighbourhood with the driver murdered. Unrest began and barricades were erected
when a large crowd gathered and began to march towards the police station in
protest at alleged police collaboration with the killers. During the week-long
disturbances which erupted in Istanbul, and later spread to other districts
and Ankara, at least 17 people were killed and scores wounded by the police
opening fire into the crowd. Twenty police officers are standing trial, but
proceedings have been delayed and resumed only at the beginning of March 1997.
The Alevi are a Muslim religious minority estimated to number between 10 and
15 million in Turkey and are known for their liberal and secular tendencies.
They maintain that they are being discriminated against by the Sunni majority.
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