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Sender: o-imap@webmap.missouri.edu
Date: Fri, 7 Feb 97 11:18:32 CST
From: scott@rednet.org (Peoples Weekly World)
Subject: Police attacks in Turkey
Organization: Scott Marshall
Article: 5341

Police attacks in Turkey

Special to the People’s Weekly World, 1 February 1997

ISTANBUL—There was no freedom of opinion and freedom of the press in Turkey in 1996. Papers were banned, editions confiscated, offices raided and destroyed, journalists arrested, tortured or even murdered.

On July 24, 1996, the day the media celebrated the 88th. anniversary of the freedom of the press, heavily armed special units here stormed the central offices of the socialist weekly, Kurtulus, and arrested 21 people. Although the Kurtulus was subjected to the most to repression in 1996, its publication was not interrupted.

On May 4, Kurtulus journalist Bulent Bagci was arrested in Istanbul’s Sultanahmet Park, together with Saray Akgul, interpreter for the International May-Day Delegation, as well as Derya Kartal and Emel Tok, co-workers of Haziran Publishers. The arrested were brought to the torture center of the political police in Vatan Caddesi. All were released that same day, except for Bagci.

Bagci was tortured for two weeks before he was brought to the State Security Court on May 13. He was then transported to the isolation prison in Eskisehir where he took part in the 69-day Death Fast. The fast forced an agreement to transfer all political prisoners from Eskisehir to Umraniye, including Bagci.

On Dec. 17, Bagci was sentenced to 12 1/2 years imprisonment by the State Security Court. His coworkers received sentences ranging from three to 12 1/2 years.

With 46 murdered journalists, Turkey leads the world in this dubious statistic. In July 1996, 39 journalists were arrested and 14 were attacked by the police. There were prison sentences in 10 trials against journalists and nine television stations received conditional sentences.

According to the monthly report of the Association of Journalists and the Press Council, 17 attacks against journalists were carried out in November, 18 journalists were arrested and offices of left-wing papers were raided six times. And the harassment and repression continues.