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Voice of America, 99-07-25

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

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


CONTENTS

  • [01] NATO-KOSOVO (L-ONLY) BY TIM BELAY (PRISTINA, KOSOVO)
  • [02] TURKEY - PRESS FREEDOM BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (DIYARBAKIR, TURKEY)

  • [01] NATO-KOSOVO (L-ONLY) BY TIM BELAY (PRISTINA, KOSOVO)

    DATE=7/25/1999
    TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT
    NUMBER=2-252121
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT:

    INTRO: Civil and military leaders in Kosovo Sunday talked of success in their six weeks of work there while the investigation into the bloodiest post-war incident in the province continues. Tim Belay reports from Pristina.

    TEXT: British experts investigating Friday night's murders of 14 Kosovar Serb farmers say the circumstances of the crime scene are very clear, but finding out who killed them will not be easy. Bernard Kouchner, head of the United Nations provisional government in Kosovo, says the massacre comes as NATO and the United Nations have made great progress in restoring order here. On Sunday, top leaders of the two organizations gave a progress report on the state of the province one-and- one-half months into the international post-war effort. Mr. Kouchner says while there are many signs that daily life is resuming here, the very fact of increasing stability may have been behind Friday's massacre.

    /// First Kouchner act ///

    They were peacefully harvesting hay in their field just when -- and perhaps because -- we were taking a significant step toward stability and democratic self-government in Kosovo.

    /// end act ///

    Mr. Kouchner says he thinks the murderers are people who want to stop the movement toward stability in Kosovo. He says one of the major goals in the rebuilding effort is to give Kosovars more responsibility for the province, which includes holding free elections as soon as possible.

    /// Second Kouchner act ///

    We must look to the future. They must end the killing and intolerance now and turn their considerable energy and talent to build democracy.

    /// end act ///

    According to General Mike Jackson, the NATO commander in Kosovo, the 14 farmers killed Friday night were scheduled to receive NATO protection (on Saturday) so they could harvest the same hay field where they were apparently ambushed. General Jackson says the men chose to work there (Friday) without NATO guards. Funeral services for the victims are scheduled for Monday. (signed)
    NEB/TB/ALW/WTW PHONE NO. 389 91 131 064 25-JUL-1999 13:44389 91 131 064 95?/. P.02 25-Jul-1999 11:03 AM LOC (25-Jul-1999 1503 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America

    [02] TURKEY - PRESS FREEDOM BY AMBERIN ZAMAN (DIYARBAKIR, TURKEY)

    DATE=7/25/1999
    TYPE=BACKGROUND REPORT
    NUMBER=5-43950
    CONTENT=
    VOICED AT: Intro: Turkey's only pro-Kurdish daily newspaper is facing a fresh ban, on charges of publishing articles which allegedly encourage Kurdish separatism. If banned, Ozgur Bakis -- which means "Free Perspective" in Turkish -- will become the sixth pro-Kurdish daily to have been shut down over the past decade. Amberin Zaman recently traveled to the mainly Kurdish province of Diyarbakir, where Ozgur Bakis reporters face some of the toughest obstacles in carrying out their professional duties, and she filed this report. Text: Ahmet Sumbul is news editor for Ozgur Bakis, covering the province of Diyarbakir, which is the political nerve center of the mainly Kurdish southeast region of Turkey. Mr. Sumbul says pressure from the authorities is nothing unusual. In fact, he says, it is part of his job.

    /// FIRST SUMBUL ACT IN TURKISH, IN AND UNDER ///

    Mr.Sumbul says he has been beaten, detained and jailed numerous times, because of his affiliation with a newspaper which is widely regarded by the Turkish authorities as being sympathetic to the Kurdistan Workers Party, or P-K-K. The Kurdish guerrilla group has been fighting for Kurdish self-rule for the past 15 years. That is why five of its predecessors were banned. And in 1994, former Turkish prime minister Tansu Ciller -- in an official letter leaked to the Turkish press -- ordered her government to take what she termed "all necessary measures" to silence the pro-Kurdish daily. During the same week, two bombs exploded almost simultaneously at the Istanbul and Ankara offices of the newspaper. One newspaper employee died in the attack, which was subsequently revealed to have been carried out under orders of the Turkish interior ministry. Today, Ozgur Bakis is facing closure for having published various statements made by P-K-K leader Abdullah Ocalan in the wake of his capture by Turkish special agents in Kenya last February. A Turkish court last month sentenced Ocalan to death for his role in founding and directing the P-K-K. Ozgur Bakis published the full text of the P-K-K leader's calls for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish problem. That move was deemed as encouraging Kurdish separatism. Ozgur Bakis's managing editor, Hasan Deniz, was jailed last month. He is awaiting trial for permitting the article to be published. If convicted, Mr. Deniz could remain in prison for up to 11 years. According to a leading Turkish media watchdog group known as the press council, there are around 55 Turkish journalists currently either convicted of or facing charges of publishing articles deemed harmful to the Turkish state. And around 25 journalists have been killed over the past seven years, making Turkey one of the most dangerous countries in the world for reporters. Varlik Ozmenek is the Ankara representative of Ozgur Bakis. He says pressure on his newspaper has not subsided under the new Turkish government, led by a former journalist, Bulent Ecevit.

    /// OZMENEK ACT IN TURKISH, IN AND UNDER ///

    Mr. Ozmenek says Ozgur Bakis has been banned from the southeast provinces. The Kurdish areas are still under a form of martial law called "emergency rule," and are -- unsurprisingly -- where the newspaper is most widely read. He says distributors of the paper across the country face constant harassment by the authorities. Turkish foreign minister Ismail Cem is himself a former journalist. He agrees that Turkey's image is suffering because of current curbs on freedom of expression.

    /// CEM ACT IN TURKISH, IN AND UNDER ///

    Mr. Cem insists that a line needs to be drawn between freedom of expression and defending Turkey's territorial unity. He says articles and publications which promote ethnic violence and separatism are incompatible with democratic values. Like most of his colleagues, Ozgur Bakis reporter Ahmet Sumbul denies charges that his newspaper is encouraging the establishment of an independent Kurdish state. Its main purpose, he says, is to highlight what terms the massive human rights abuses being committed by the Turkish authorities in the Kurdish regions.

    /// SECOND SUMBUL ACT IN TURKISH, IN AND UNDER ///

    Mr. Sumbul says violations include the destruction of Kurdish villages and the torture of countless civilians. Such events, he argues, go widely unreported in the mainstream Turkish press. Turkish dailies focus instead on atrocities perpetrated by the P-K-K, such as massacres of Kurdish militia members allied with the Turkish state, and their families. P-K-K attacks against civilians are rarely if ever reported by this pro-Kurdish daily. (signed)
    NEB/AZ/ALW/WTW 25-Jul-1999 16:11 PM LOC (25-Jul-1999 2011 UTC)
    NNNN
    Source: Voice of America
    Voice of America: Selected Articles Directory - Previous Article - Next Article
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