Turkey: JITEM, an alleged special force that is part of or related to the Gendarmerie (2001-January 2002)
|Publisher||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||31 January 2002|
|Citation / Document Symbol||TUR38281.E|
|Cite as||Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Turkey: JITEM, an alleged special force that is part of or related to the Gendarmerie (2001-January 2002), 31 January 2002, TUR38281.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3df4beb514.html [accessed 23 December 2014]|
Sources consulted by the Research Directorate provide different descriptions of JITEM, for example, the Gendarmerie Intelligence and Anti-Terrorism Unit (Turkish Daily News 2 Apr. 2001; ibid. 28 Mar. 2001; ibid. 22 Feb. 2001), anti-terrorism units within the Gendarmerie (Le Monde 19 Apr. 2001), the Gendarmerie Intelligence Agency (IPR 28 Mar. 2001), the Gendarmerie Intelligence Organization (Turkish Daily News 11 Feb. 2001), an "intelligence service linked to the gendarmerie" (Amnesty International Irish Section 6 June 2001) or the "alleged intelligence unit within the gendarmerie" (Ozgur Politika 30 Nov. 2001; Anatolia 10 Feb. 2001).
In its April 2001 bulletin, Info-Türk, "a non-government[al] information center on Turkey," described JITEM as "an intelligence unit of the gendarmerie involved in many extralegal executions, disappearances as well as in drug and arms trafficking."
In February 2001, three JITEM officers in civilian clothing reportedly visited the families of two Silopi District (Sirnak Province, southeastern Turkey) leaders of the People's Democracy Party (HADEP) (Turkish Daily News 14 Feb. 2001), an opposition party representing the Kurdish minority, which obtained 4.7 per cent of the votes in the 1999 legislative elections (Electionworld.org 26 Dec. 2001), who had been reported missing since 25 January 2001 (Turkish Daily News 14 Feb. 2001). The officers entered the houses in the middle of the night, questioned the relatives of the HADEP leaders and warned them not to accuse the Gendarmerie of their relatives' disappearance, although eyewitnesses had seen the two leaders being taken to the Silopi District Gendarmerie Headquarters on 25 January 2001 (Turkish Daily News 14 Feb. 2001). Turkish Daily News noted that a ban preventing staff of HADEP's Sirnak Provincial Organization from entering Sirnak city and neighbouring districts was being enforced at that time (ibid.). No information on whether the same ban was being enforced in Silopi districts could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate. Referring to the Cizre region (Sirnak Province, southeastern Turkey), some HADEP's leaders described it as under JITEM's total control and claimed that the JITEM was opposed to the establishment of "democratic" parties such as HADEP (Info-Türk Bulletin Apr. 2001).
Citing regional lawyer's associations of Diyarbakir (Diyarbakir Province, southeastern Turkey), the Brussels-based Info-Türk reported that since October 2001 JITEM officers had held several individuals from Diyarbakir in custody for questioning longer than the law allowed (Dec. 2001a). According to the lawyer's associations, the operations of JITEM officers in Diyarbakir were based on Decree 430 which was used in 1990 to permit longer detentions "in state of emergency regions (OHAL)" (ibid.). However, constitutional reforms modified Decree 430 and limited detention to a maximum of four days (ibid.). Emrullah Karagöz, one of two mentioned students who were taken to a JITEM centre in Seyrantepe (Diyarbakir), claimed that he had been interrogated, accused of being a member of a "secret committee" and forced to testify against members of HADEP, the Human Rights Association (IHD) and the Association of Prisoners' Relatives (THAD-DER) (Info-Türk Dec. 2001b). Faruk Yaygin, a lawyer who is also secretary of the IHD branch in Urfa (Sanliurfa province, southeastern Turkey), quoted Emrullah Karagöz as saying that he had been tortured together with Mustafa Yasar, the other student, at a JITEM centre and had been both compelled to sign statements whose content they had not known (ibid. Dec. 2001e). No date was given by Info-Türk for these reported incidents.
In December 2001, JITEM officers reportedly tried to obtain information on members and executives of the Van (southeastern Turkey) branch of the Association for Aid and Solidarity with Prisoners from its treasurer by threatening him and other members of the association (Info-Türk Dec. 2001c). The treasurer filed a complaint against the officers and presented a tape recording of the conversation with the JITEM officers at a 10 December 2001 press conference (ibid.). Further information on this incident could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.
Amnesty International. Irish Section. 6 June 2001. Human Rights Defenders No Longer Receive Death Threats After Appeal."
Anatolia [Ankara, in Turkish]. 10 February 2001. "Turkey's Cakmakoglu Denies Sivas Incidents Were Carried Out in Line With Memo." (FBIS-WEU-2001-0210 10 Feb. 2001/WNC)
Electionworld.org. 26 December 2001. "Elections in Turkey."
Info-Prod Research Strategic Business Information Database (IPR). 28 March 2001. "'Republic of Sirnak' Scrutinized by Press." (NEXIS)
Info-Türk Bulletin [Brussels]. December 2001a. "Police Custody Periods are Unconstitutional."
_____. December 2001b. "Torture Cases in Diyarbakir."
_____. December 2001c. "Threats Against Executive of Association."
_____. December 2001d. "Detention and Arrests in Diyarbakir."
_____. December 2001e. "Decree 430."
_____. April 2001. "Arrestation d'un responsable du HADEP à Cizre."
Le Monde [Paris]. 19 April 2001. Marie Jego. "Quand l'Etat turc participe au trafic de drogue; un journal du PKK publie les confessions d'un militant kurde repenti. Elles sont accablantes pour la gendarmerie turque, qui se livre au trafic d'héroine au Kurdistan." (NEXIS)
Ozgur Politika [Neu-Isenburg]. 30 November 2001. "Turkey: Bar Association Heads Protest Over State of Emergency Measures." (BBC Monitoring 2 Dec. 2001/NEXIS)
Turkish Daily News [Ankara]. 2 April 2001. Mert Gozde. "State Hit-Man Protected in Tunceli." (Financial Times Information 2001/NEXIS)
_____. 28 March 2001. Mert Gozde. "PKK Informant Tells of Gendarmerie Drugs Ring: 'We Transported Heroin in Helicopters." (Financial Times Information 2001/NEXIS)
_____. 22 February 2001. Mert Gozde. "Missing Persons Found Dead in Southeast." (Financial Times Information 2001/NEXIS)
_____. 14 February 2001. Mert Godze. "Gendarmerie Intimidating Families of the Missing." (Financial Times Information 2001/NEXIS)
_____. 11 February 2001. "Debate Over 'Military Document.'" (Financial Times Information 2001/NEXIS)
Additional Sources Consulted
Jane's Intelligence Review. 2001-2002.
Internet sites including:
Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network
Human Rights Association of Turkey
Human Rights Foundation of Turkey
Human Rights Watch
International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights
The Middle East Forum
The Middle East Report
The Turkish Daily News 24 January 2002 issue
Search engines including: