Dirty Games and the New Special Warfare
Cemil Bayik - 10.01.2011
A recent amendment to Article 102 of the Turkish Penal Code (CMK) that has lately come into effect means that if a final sentence has not been pronounced after a specified period of detention of 10 years, the detainee may be released. This relates to cases heard by the Supreme Court and the Heavy Penalty Court, which include political offences and cases relating to organised crime, which are distinct from other crimes. This amendment has generated fierce public debate in Turkey and clearly it merits analysis and discussion.
The lengthy time periods that defendants wait on the legal process in Turkey have always been controversial. It is unjust and indefensible that a defendant must remain imprisoned for up to ten years without being sentenced. International legal norms indicate that once a case is opened due legal process should proceed within a reasonable timeframe. In this regard the justice of the Turkish legal system has been questioned. Nevertheless this latest amendment in no way contributes to credible reform of this issue within the legal system. All in all the amendment would rather seem to serve certain political interests.
The Position of AKP in Relation to the Amendment
This question of AKP’s position in relation to this change must be addressed candidly. Formulation, implementation or reform of legislation is not taken lightly. In Turkey precisely who are those detainees to whom this amendment is relevant? It is impossible that officials of the Department of Justice and the AKP government were not aware of the identity of the prisoners who would benefit from this change in the law. Similarities are increasingly being drawn between the current AKP government and the governments that presided over the period of Special Warfare in the early 1990s, and between Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Tansu Ciller in particular. During that time, the early 1990s, an estimated 17 thousand people “disappeared”, detention and torture were widespread and thousands of villages were evacuated. These events are well documented and this bloody war was carried out by the so-called “unknown perpetrators”. Those detainees who now benefit from the recent legislative change are precisely those infamous individuals who participated in that murderous dirty war. They are referred to as the “Hîzbul Wehşet” (Barbaric Hizbul).
Before this contra-guerilla group “Barbaric Hizbul” began their murderous campaigns, during Abdulkadir Aksu’s period as Minister for the Interior of the ANAP government, it had become clear that the Kurdish struggle for democracy and freedom could not be defeated militarily. At this time the so-called Prayer Bead Men began their Fatwa against PKK. At the time of the Fascist Coup of 12 September 1980, Abdulkadir Aksu was an official based in Kurdish cities (at the time of the Marash Massacre he was the Assistant Governor there, later he became the Governor of Dilok). He gave his support to the Prayer Bead Men who were being organised by the Military Junta.
This policy of collusion promoted by Abdulkadir Aksu came to the fore among the governmental clique of Ciller-Gures-Agar who presided over the Special Warfare period. Knives and guns took the place of prayer beads in the hands of that group. Many patriotic Kurds and democrats were murdered by those forces. When their efforts on behalf of the state were no longer required they were put into prison. The prisoners who will benefit from the new legislative amendments are these same individuals.
The timing of this amendment must also be considered. This is an important point. There are some comparisons to be drawn between the current social and political situation and that of the 1990s. At that time the Kurdish Freedom Movement was developing the framework within which to advance democratic struggle. At present the success of concrete developments like the Kurdish language campaign “Bilingual Life” and “Democratic Autonomy” are clear to be seen. Those engaged in the contra-guerrilla “Barbaric Hizbul” organisation have been set free within this context.
It must be understood why these changes are being implemented now: the need to return to a regime of Special Warfare. People like Abdullah Catli who became infamous for murder and massacres prior to 1980 were involved in this organisation and such people are being mentioned again. Infamous massacres like those at Madimak and Gazi, kidnappings, murders by torture, and corpses being thrown at the side of the road were daily occurrences during that reign of terror. Racist and fascist ideologies provided justification for this dirty war. Members of the Special Forces were indoctrinated with this ideology and operated against the Kurdish people. Within Turkish communities chauvinism and opposition to Kurds rose, to the point where a party was set up in opposition to MHP and in this way expanded their influence.
The director of this plot is AKP. AKP has thrown itself fully into efforts to revive the dirty war, now known as “Green Gladio”. Events that occurred in the past will happen again. Turkish nationalism and religious fanaticism are strengthening and the agents of terror are now being released. The question that must now be addressed is what will be the outcome of these developments and who stands to gain?