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Voice of America, 01-08-03

Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Voice of America <gopher://gopher.voa.gov>

SLUG: 2-278959 Turkey / Prisons (L only) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:

CONTENTS

  • [01] TURKEY / PRISONS (L ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)
  • [02] TURKEY / KURDS (L ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)
  • [03] BOSNIA / WAR CRIMES (L ONLY) BY LAUREN COMITEAU (THE HAGUE)

  • [01] TURKEY / PRISONS (L ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

    DATE=08/03/01
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-278959
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A hunger strike by Turkish prisoners has claimed another victim. As Amberin Zaman reports from Ankara, the death toll in the eight-month protest over prison conditions in Turkey is now at 30.

    TEXT: The latest prisoner to die was 28-year-old Muharrem Horoz. Horoz, a member of an outlawed left-wing group, was imprisoned for his role in a 1999 bomb attack in the Central Anatolian province of Cankiri in which three people were killed. A human rights group in the area said Horoz died at a hospital (Izmit) in northwest Turkey after continuing to refuse food. Hundreds of mainly left-wing inmates and their sympathizers have been fasting for months to protest conditions in Turkey's new maximum-security prisons. Prisoners say the new prisons -- made up of small cells that accommodate no more than three people -- leave them isolated and vulnerable to abuse by prison officials. But government officials insist the new jails are necessary. They say the old-style prisons, where inmates were held in large dormitory type cells of up to 60 people, allowed militant groups to virtually dictate what happened in the cells. Riots and hostage taking occurred frequently in the larger wards. The officials say the larger cells also served as indoctrination and recruiting centers for outlawed militant groups. Western rights groups accuse the Turkish government of failing to allow inmates at the new prisons to freely take part in communal activities. Prison officials say only inmates who can prove that they have abandoned their radical views and are now loyal to the Turkish government are permitted recreation time with fellow inmates. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/KL/JWH SLUG: 2-278946 Turkey / Kurds (L only) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:


    [02] TURKEY / KURDS (L ONLY) BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (ANKARA)

    DATE=08/03/01
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-278946
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: A new political party is being formed in Turkey, one that says it will be a strong advocate for Kurdish rights. Amberin Zaman went to a meeting of the party and filed this report from Ankara.

    TEXT:

    /// CLAPPING - FADE UNDER ///

    The applause is thunderous in the Ankara conference hall as prominent Kurdish politicians take turns outlining to a largely Kurdish audience the principles and goals of their new party. The party has yet to be named. Its founding members come from diverse political backgrounds, but they share one firm belief. Turkey cannot be considered a fully fledged Western-style democracy until the Kurdish issue is resolved -- until Kurds are officially acknowledged as a separate ethnic group. Abdul Melik Firat -- a Kurdish religious and tribal leader who is well-known in Turkey -- is among the party's founding members.

    /// FIRAT ACT 1 - IN TURKISH - FADE UNDER ///

    Mr. Firat says the main goal of the new movement is to fight for political and cultural rights for Turkey's estimated 12-million Kurds. Following the capture in February 1999 of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan, many Kurds began to hope the arrest would give the Turkish government greater room to maneuver, to accommodate some of the Kurdish demands for greater rights. But it has been more than two years since Ocalan's arrest, and Kurdish leaders say the government has done nothing to ease its policies toward the Kurds, such as by relaxing government bans on Kurdish broadcasting and Kurdish-language schools.

    /// OPT ///

    The leaders of the new party say they are strongly opposed to the violence of Ocalan's Kurdistan Workers Party and have no plans to call for Kurdish independence. Their goal, they say, is to increase rights for Kurds within the Turkish state. /// END OPT /// But analysts say it is highly unlikely that the new party will be able to compete with Turkey's largest legal pro-Kurdish party, the People's Democracy Party, better known as Hadep. Hadep made big gains in municipal elections in 1999 and is especially strong in Turkey's southeastern provinces, an area where support for Ocalan remains high. But Mr. Firat says, unlike Hadep, his new party will give Turkey's Kurds a chance to choose a new path.

    /// FIRAT ACT 2 - IN TURKISH - FADE UNDER ///

    He says the Kurdish people will soon realize that 15 years of separatist bloodshed did them far more harm than good. And he says that is when the Kurdish people will turn to his party for fresh hope, and a better future. (Signed)
    NEB/AZ/KL/JWH SLUG: 2-278945 Bosnia / War Crimes (L) DATE: NOTE NUMBER:

    [03] BOSNIA / WAR CRIMES (L ONLY) BY LAUREN COMITEAU (THE HAGUE)

    DATE=08/03/01
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-278945
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Three former Muslim army officers indicted by the Yugoslav war crimes tribunal have been arrested in Bosnia and will be transferred to The Hague to answer charges of war crimes committed against Bosnian Croats in 1993 and 1994. Lauren Comiteau reports from The Hague.

    TEXT: The three army officers -- two generals and a colonel -- are the highest-ranking Bosnian Muslims to be arrested so far. They are the first Muslims charged with crimes against Croats committed during the Muslim-Croat war in central Bosnia. Prosecutors say most of the victims of the crimes were either prisoners of war or civilians. Some were massacred following military attacks, others were killed or beaten in detention centers, and some were used as human shields. The three army officers -- Generals Mehmed Alagic and Enver Hadzihasanovic, and active-duty Brigadier Amir Kubura -- are charged as commanders with war crimes and grave breaches of the 1948 Geneva Conventions. Prosecutors say they believe most of the crimes were actually carried out by foreign Muslim fighters who referred to themselves as Mujahedin, or holy warriors. The three officers are now in detention in Bosnia, but an official of the Muslim-Croat federation said (Friday) the three will be extradited to The Hague in the coming days. General Hadzihasanovic, who retired last year, was chief of staff for Bosnia's Muslim-dominated army. His Croatian counter-part, General Tihomir Blaskic, has already been convicted and sentenced to 45 years by the court for crimes committed during the same conflict. General Hadzihasanovic has appeared in The Hague before to testify against him and even against General Radislav Krstic, who was convicted of genocide on Thursday. Prosecutors say they've recently handed over other sealed indictments to Sarajevo officials, but declined to give details about who they are. (Signed)
    NEB/LC/KL/KBK


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