Hundreds of people were detained as prisoners of conscience. Some were soon released but others were sentenced to prison terms. Torture of political and criminal detainees in police stations was widespread and systematic, and there were at least 24 reported deaths in custody as a result of torture. At least 26 people reportedly "disappeared" in security force custody and scores of people were killed in the mainly Kurdish southeastern provinces and also in western Turkey, in circumstances which suggested that they had been extrajudicially executed by members of the security forces. A death sentence was approved by a parliamentary judicial commission, the first such approval since 1984. An armed opposition group was responsible for more than 200 apparently deliberate and arbitrary killings of prisoners and other non-combatants. Following the death of President Turgut özal in April, Süleyman Demirel became President. He was succeeded as Prime Minister by Tansu Çiller. State of emergency legislation was in force throughout the year in 10 southeastern provinces, where the nine-year-long conflict between government forces and the secessionist guerrillas of the Partiya Karkeren Kurdistan (PKK), Kurdish Workers' Party, grew fiercer in intensity. Over 4,500 people, including civilians, were killed during the year. In November the UN Committee against Torture published a report after a three-year investigation which concluded that "the existence of systematic torture in Turkey cannot be denied". Hundreds of people suspected of supporting Kurdish separatism were arrested, many of them at public meetings and demonstrations, and held for hours or days in police custody as prisoners of conscience. Most were released unconditionally or after being charged under various articles of the Turkish Penal Code (TPC). Article 8 of the Anti-Terror Law, which outlaws any advocacy of separatism, was increasingly used to prosecute and imprison people for the peaceful expression of their opinions. In July Kurdish writer Edip Polat began a two-year prison sentence. He had been convicted by Ankara State Security Court under Article 8 for publishing memoirs of his imprisonment in Diyarbak r during the mid-1980s. In September a warrant was issued for the arrest of 24 representatives of associations, trade unions and publications in Diyarbak r for allegedly expressing separatist views in a joint public statement they had made about the human rights situation in southeastern Turkey. Subsequently, Sad k Ya ar, Hanifi Y ld r m, Mehmet Tekin and Veysi Varl were arrested and remanded in custody. Their trial had not concluded by the end of the year. Torture by police or gendarmes (soldiers carrying out police duties in rural areas) continued to be reported from all parts of Turkey, particularly the major cities and the southeast. Detainees suspected of links with illegal armed organizations were held for up to 30 days in incommunicado detention, unprotected by even the most basic safeguards against torture. In July Mitlik Ölmez was detained in the street by plainclothes police belonging to the Anti-Terror Branch. He was interrogated at Istanbul Police Headquarters for allegedly assisting the PKK: he said he was hung by the arms, given electric shocks to his fingers, tongue and penis, and had a truncheon repeatedly forced into his anus. As a result, his arms became partially paralysed. A medical examination two weeks later, by the State Forensic Medicine Institute, found injuries consistent with his allegations. His sister, Yildiz Ölmez, who was detained the same day, was allegedly tortured by being given electric shocks to her fingers and nipples; dragged around by the hair; forced to stand on one leg; sexually assaulted; and suspended in a crucifix position. There were at least 24 deaths in custody apparently as a result of torture. Those who died included criminal suspects and people detained on suspicion of involvement with armed political organizations. Yücel Dolan was detained in Hazro, Diyarbakir province, in July. He was sent to Diyarbakir Gendarmerie Headquarters for interrogation. The same evening his father, Resul Dolan, the mayor of Hazro, was told that he was unwell. Two days later Resul Dolan found his son's body in the morgue of the state hospital, where it had been delivered by the gendarmerie. There was evidence of beating on the shins and feet, of a blow to the back of the head and of electric shock torture. There were also said to be injuries to the genitals. However, the family was told by the State Security Prosecutor that Yücel Dolan had died of a heart attack, although no autopsy report had been made available by the end of the year. Baki Erdogan was detained in August and interrogated at Aydin Police Headquarters for alleged membership of the illegal armed organization Devrimci Sol, Revolutionary Left. He died three days later, although this was apparently covered up for more than 24 hours. An autopsy report prepared by the local prosecutor and two medical practitioners described extensive wounds, but stated that Baki Erdo an had died from tuberculosis and not as a result of the wounds. The Turkish Medical Council stated that the marks on his body were consistent with his having received electric shocks, being hung up by the wrists and subjected to falaka (beating on the soles of the feet). However, there was no official investigation into his death or that of Yücel Dolan and no action was taken against those responsible for their torture by the end of the year. There were also reports of ill-treatment of inmates in prisons. Most related to occasions when police or gendarmes entered prisons during hunger-strikes and other protests by prisoners, or when prisoners were travelling to or from court in the custody of gendarmes. In February police and gendarmes entered wards in the hospital wing of Diyarbak r e-type prison and reportedly beat hunger-striking prisoners with sticks and truncheons. Seventy prisoners were treated in hospital for their injuries, including Müfit Eren, whose leg had been fractured; Hatip Karaaslan, who had an arm broken; and Emin Bahçeci, who sustained serious head wounds. At least 26 people were reported to have "disappeared" in custody. In August Aysel Malkaç, a journalist for the newspaper Özgür Gündem (Free Agenda), "disappeared" shortly after leaving the premises of the newspaper in the Kumkap district of Istanbul. According to the newspaper, eye-witnesses saw her being detained in the street, apparently by plainclothes police officers, but the Istanbul police authorities denied holding her. Another detainee reported having seen Aysel Malkaç at the Anti-Terror Branch of Istanbul Police Headquarters one or two days after her "disappearance" and stated that she appeared exhausted and had difficulty in walking. Since mid-1992, 11 journalists and distributors of the newspaper have been killed in circumstances giving rise to allegations of security force involvement. Hundreds of people were victims of political killings, many in circumstances which suggested that they may have been victims of extrajudicial executions. Those targeted included journalists, members of the Demokrasi Partisi (DEP), Democracy Party, which campaigns for political rights for the Kurdish minority, and people who had been imprisoned for or interrogated about separatist offences, or whose relatives had joined the PKK's guerrillas. Ferhat Tepe, a journalist for Özgür Gündem, was abducted in Bitlis in July, reportedly by a man carrying a two-way radio, shortly after police had been looking for him at the office of his father, Isak Tepe, chairman of the Bitlis branch of the DEP. Subsequently, Isak Tepe reportedly received telephone calls from a person who said he was a member of the Türk Osmanli Intikam Tuayi, Turkish Ottoman Revenge Brigade, and whose voice reportedly resembled that of a local gendarmerie commander known to be critical of the DEP. Isak Tepe asked the police to investigate the gendarmerie commander, but was apparently told that the police could not interfere with the military authorities. Ferhat Tepe's body was found in a lake 360 kilometres away and buried as an "unknown person", although the case received wide publicity and the police had photographs of him. His body was exhumed and delivered to the family. A full autopsy was never carried out, but his father said that there were marks of torture on the body. In September Mehmet Sincar, a DEP member of parliament, and Metin Özdemir, a local DEP official, were shot dead by three gunmen in broad daylight in a street in Batman. They had just attended the funeral of Habib Kiliç, chairman of the local branch of the DEP, who had been killed in a similar attack. Heavy police surveillance was lifted hours before the killing. Six days later Mehmet Sincar's family home in Kiziltepe, Mardin province, where mourners were gathered for his funeral, was attacked with a bomb. The assailants were not captured in spite of a heavy police presence around the house and throughout the town. There were many credible allegations that security forces fired indiscriminately at the houses of unarmed civilians following clashes with PKK guerrillas in southeastern Turkey - particularly when members of the security forces had been killed in such clashes. During August, September and October such incidents occurred in Yüksekova in Hakkari province; Cizre, Çukurca and Dargeçit in rnak province; Sason in Batman province; and Lice in Diyarbakir province; resulting in more than 40 deaths. In October, 12 hours after an operation in which one guerrilla and a gendarmerie officer were killed in Altinova, Mus province, a large body of gendarmes returned to the town and allegedly burned 30 houses, apparently selecting in particular families whose sons or daughters had left to join the PKK. Animals were killed and burned, together with foodstuffs and fodder. Inflammable material was thrown into the house of Nasir ögüt - who died in the flames together with his wife and six children. There were also allegations of extrajudicial executions in Istanbul and Ankara, the capital, in the course of police operations against the armed opposition group, Devrimci Sol. In August police from the Anti-Terror Branch of Istanbul Police Headquarters shot Mehmet Salgin, Hakan Kasa, Nebi Akyürek, 16-year-old Sabri Atilm and Selma Çitak at a café in the Okmeydan district of the city. The police announced that those killed were armed members of Devrimci Sol who had fired on security forces. However, it appeared that no such clash had actually taken place, and one witness reported that Selma Çitak, the cashier at the café, had attempted to surrender. In November the Judicial Commission of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TBMM) approved the sentence of death passed on Seyfettin Uzundiz, convicted of murder during the course of a robbery. This was the first such approval since 1984. At the end of the year the sentence was still awaiting ratification by the general assembly of the TBMM. PKK guerrillas were responsible for over 200 deliberate and arbitrary killings. The victims included children, teachers, local politicians and other civilians; most of those killed were village guards and their families, and people suspected of collaborating with the security forces. In May a unilateral cease-fire called by the PKK came to an end when guerrillas abducted and killed 32 unarmed members of the security forces and four civilians near Bingöl. In August PKK guerrillas killed nine people whom they had taken prisoner from the village of Yoncalibayir, Elaz province. In October they killed 35 prisoners, including two juveniles, in the Çat district of Erzurum. Amnesty International condemned these grave abuses and in June publicly urged the PKK to cease executions and other abuses. Amnesty International called on the leadership of the PKK to ensure that all PKK forces were instructed to respect human rights and basic international humanitarian standards. In July Amnesty International published a report, Turkey: Escalation in human rights abuses against Kurdish villagers. The organization appealed for the release of prisoners of conscience; urged the government to initiate full and impartial investigations into allegations of torture, extrajudicial executions and "disappearances"; and called on both sides in the conflict in the southeast to abide by internationally accepted human rights and humanitarian standards. In October an Amnesty International delegate observed a court hearing in Istanbul of an action to close the Istanbul branch of the independent Turkish Human Rights Association. The trial concluded in December with an acquittal. In an oral statement to the UN Commission on Human Rights in February Amnesty International included reference to its concerns about extrajudicial executions and "disappearances" in Turkey.

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