Para military, Islam and Kurds
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xxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Sat Aug 19 00:38:37 MDT 2000
some news from a western source
February 15, 2000
New York Times
Turkey Accused of Arming Terrorist Group
By STEPHEN KINZER
ISTANBUL, Feb. 14 -- A growing scandal stemming from a crackdown on a
religious terror group has led to accusations that the group may have
received weapons from the Turkish government.
In a series of raids that began last month, the police have found 56
gruesomely tortured bodies buried at hideouts used by the group,called
Hizbullah. There was another raid today in the eastern provincial
capital of Van, resulting in a shootout in which five police officers
and two suspected militants were killed.
Soon after the first bodies were discovered, several leading politicians
and news commentators charged that Hizbullah had worked with the
military in its war against rebels among the Kurdish ethnic group in
eastern Turkey. Military commanders denied the charges.
New evidence has emerged in recent days suggesting that Hizbullah used
weapons that were imported by the governor of a province in the heart of
the war zone.
"Since there are weapons missing, they could have ended up anywhere,
Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said. "This is an extremely serious
situation, and it is being investigated with the seriousness it
Civil service investigators said the man who was governor of the mostly
Kurdish province of Batman in the mid-1990's, Salih Sarman, might be
charged with "establishing an armed unit without permission." Governors
in Turkey are appointed by the central government.
According to press reports, a cache of weapons -- including at least 443
automatic rifles, 115 rockets and 1,450 hand grenades -- that was sent
to Batman by the Turkish government is missing. Newspapers have reported
that many of those weapons were given to Hizbullah.
During the 1990's, Hizbullah militants were believed to have killed many
suspected members of the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party, known as the
P.K.K., the initials of its name in Kurdish. The government was then
involved in a no-holds-barred war against the rebels.
Military commanders have denied that they gave weapons to Hizbullah.
"The Turkish armed forces have never had a relationship with any
terrorist organization and will never have such a relationship," Gen.
Atila Isik asserted.
Thousands of suspected political killings were committed in Kurdish
provinces during the war. In Batman Province alone, there were at least
363 such "mystery killings," none of which have been solved. Another 43
people are listed as missing.
Newspapers have charged that Tansu Ciller, who was Turkey's prime
minister in 1995 and 1996, authorized local officials in the Kurdish
region to distribute weapons to terror groups that opposed the rebels.
Mrs. Ciller has admitted that she ordered weapons delivered to the
Batman governor, which was an unusual step, since weapons are normally
sent only to military units. She said that her order had been approved
by the military chief of staff and senior police officials, and that she
was "glad today that we took those actions then."
"We met and made a decision," Mrs. Ciller said. "We agreed that terror
was the top issue, and that we had to do whatever was necessary. It was
not possible to act otherwise. We had to do everything possible, and
President Suleyman Demirel said military commanders had assured him that
all weapons in Batman could be been accounted for. But he said that some
of the weapons might have been given to paramilitary village guards, and
that "from there they may have found their way to other places."
"The state is not always obliged to follow routine," Mr. Demirel said.
"It can deviate from routine when higher interests require it, if the
Those statements provoked strong protests from several politicians. One
of them, Salih Yildirim, a prominent member of Parliament, said: "The
Constitution specifies what the state may and may not do. Anyone who
acts outside these limits is committing a crime."
A retired general, Nevzat Bolugiray, told an Istanbul magazine that he
believed that Hizbullah might have received government weapons, but that
the transfer had not been approved by military commanders.
"Some people who see themselves as patriots formed what amounts to a
terrorist group," General Bolugiray said. "I believe there may have been
government officials who used Hizbullah against the P.K.K. This creates
the appearance that it was official state policy, but in my opinion it
was actually an action taken by certain individuals."
Reports of how the government fought Kurdish rebels in Batman have led
to a series of revelations about actions taken in other Kurdish
provinces. Newspapers have reported that in 1994 the governor of Van, a
province where rebels were also active, approved formation of a secret
unit made up of 18 Kurdish-speaking soldiers.
The soldiers posed as rebels, apparently seeking to find out which
families or villages would sympathize with them. They also harassed
local peasants, demanding money, weapons and volunteers.
The unit's roughness was apparently too persuasive. It was ambushed
outside the village of Diyadin by a squad of village guards loyal to
the government. Eight of its members were killed and another nine were
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Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222
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