The military coup of 12 September had economic, political, social and cultural reasons and effects. As a results 675 laws were passed, and as many decrees. Now, 27 years later, they are being talked about again.
A balance sheet of the 12 September military coup has sometimes been presented, mostly with data from the Human Rights Association (IHD). For the first time this happened in 1991, at a panel of the Mugla branch of the IHD. Several categories of human rights violations were presented.
Let us have a look at some of these categories again in terms of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
Arrests, torture, executions
1. On and after 12 September, 650.000 people were arrested, for no particular reason. Officially, they were held for 90 days, but there were many detentions which lasted more than 150 days. 95 percent of these people were tortured.Thus, there were at least 650,000 violations of Article 5 of the European Convention on Human Rights (which deals with personal freedom and the right to safety) and Article 3 (whcih deals with the right not to be tortured).
2. 171 people died from torture. 49 people were executed, thus Article 2 (right to live) was violated.
3. 210,000 trials were begun at military courts. This means at least 210,000 violations of the right to an independent and neutral judiciary (Article 6)
4. In these trials, 85,000 people were tried under Articles 141, 142 and 163, which cover crimes of thought. Article 141 deals with membership of communist and socialist organisations, Article 142 with spreading communist propaganda and weakening nationalist feelings, Article 163 with anti-laicist organisations and propaganda. Thus, Article 9 of the ECHR (dealing with freedom of religion and conscience) and Article 10 (dealing with freedom of expression) and Article 11 (dealing with the freedom to organise) were violated at least 85,000 times.
Police files on "objectionable" people
5. 1,683,000 people were put on police files as "communists, Alevi, Kurds and Kurdish nationalists, religious, shariah supporters..." These files were made by obtaining information from neighbours, shops, tailors, etc. These people were considered objectionable. Thus, Article 8 (dealing with the right to privacy) and Article 6 (the right to a fair trial) were violated at least 1,683,000 times.
6. In the trials that were opened, there were 6,353 demands for the death penalty. Thus, Article 2, which is concerned with the right to life, was violated at least 6,353 times.
7. 348,000 people had their passports taken away. This represents at least 348,000 violations of Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, dealing with the freedom to travel.
Dismissals and forced resignations
8. According to Martial Law 1402, 14,509 public employees were dismissed. In addition, 18,000 civil servants, 2,000 judges and prosecutors, 4,000 police officers, 2,000 non-commissioned and commissioned officers and 5,000 teachers were forced to resign. Thus, there were thousands of violations of Article 23 of the Universal Declaration, concerned with the right to work.
9. 23,667 associations were closed, as well as political parties and trade unions. Thus Article 11 of the ECHR, dealing with the right to organise, was violated many times.
10. 30,000 people were forced to leave Turkey. This represents at least 30,000 violations of Article 15 of the Universal Declaration: "Every person has the right to citizenship".
11. There was frequent and systematic torture in prisons. People died in hunger strikes protesting against conditions and under torture, they were left ill and handicapped. They were held in sub-human conditions. Thus, Articles 2 and 3 of the ECHR were violated.
Censorship of press and media
12. The 113,607 books belonging to the Science and Socialism Publishers were burned by the Martial Command in Mamak, province of Ankara. Publisher Ilhan Erdost was killed. In total, 39 tons worth of books, journals and newspapers were destroyed. Eight newspapers were closed for 195 days. 937 films were banned, including 114 films of and with Yilmaz Güney. Thus, Article 10 of the ECHR and Article 27 of the Universal Declaration were violated.
13. According to Law 2932, the use of any language but Turkish was forbidden in nearly every area of life. This is a violation of the Universal Declaration, which says that "Everyone has the right to freely participate in their society's cultural activities".
Note: The Özgür Gündem newspaper has been closed for 30 days. Today is the fifth day. This article had been written for publication just when the newspaper was closed. The Evrensel newspaper has published it as a sign of solidarity. (HÖ/NZ/AG)