The Largest Security-Cleared Career Network for Defense and Intelligence Jobs - JOIN NOW

Military

DATE=6/18/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-250818 TITLE=TURKEY / MILITARY COURT (L-ONLY) BYLINE=AMBERIN ZAMAN DATELINE=ANKARA CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: A MILITARY JUDGE WILL NO LONGER BE AMONG THE PANEL OF JUDGES TRYING KURDISH REBEL CHIEF ABDULLAH OCALAN. AMBERIN ZAMAN REPORTS FROM ANKARA THAT THE TURKISH PARLIAMENT VOTED OVERWHELMINGLY ON FRIDAY TO REMOVE MILITARY JUDGES FROM THE SPECIAL STATE SECURITY COURTS WHICH HANDLE "TERROR AND SECURITY" CRIMES. TEXT: THE TURN OUT WAS HIGH AT FRIDAY'S SESSION AT THE TURKISH PARLIAMENT. LAWMAKERS BURST INTO APPLAUSE AS DEPUTY PARLIAMENT SPEAKER MURAT SOKMENOGLU ANNOUNCED BALLOT RESULTS. 423 LAWMAKERS HAD VOTED IN FAVOR OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT DISMISSING THE MILITARY OFFICER FROM THE PANEL OF JUDGES. ONLY 40 OF THOSE PRESENT HAD VOTED AGAINST THE REFORM. THE PRESENCE OF A MILITARY OFFICER IN THE STATE SECURITY COURTS HAS LONG BEEN CRITICIZED BY WESTERN LEGAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS. THE EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS RULED LAST YEAR THAT THE MILITARY PRESENCE PREJUDICED THE IMPARTIALITY OF TURKEY'S SECURITY COURTS. ANALYSTS SAY THE AMENDMENT WAS PUSHED THROUGH BECAUSE OF CONCERN THAT THE EUROPEAN COURT WOULD NOT RECOGNIZE THE VERDICT PASSED BY THE COURT TRYING KURDISH REBEL CHIEF ABDULLAH OCALAN ON TREASON CHARGES. THE LEADER OF THE BANNED KURDISTAN WORKERS' PARTY -- OR P-K-K -- IS FACING THE DEATH PENALTY FOR LEADING A 15 YEAR LONG GUERRILLA WAR TO ESTABLISH KURDISH SELF RULE IN SOUTHEAST TURKEY. MR OCALAN'S TRIAL WILL RESUME NEXT WEEK WHEN THE DEFENSE WILL PRESENT ITS CASE. WESTERN DIPLOMATS HERE SAY FRIDAY'S AMENDMENT IS WHAT THEY TERM AN ENCOURAGING SIGN THAT TURKEY'S NEW COALITION GOVERNMENT, LED BY LEFTIST PREMIER BULENT ECEVIT, IS SEEKING TO IMPROVE TURKEY'S HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD. BUT HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS SAY THE CHANGE IS MERELY COSMETIC AND THAT THE STATE SECURITY COURTS SHOULD BE BANNED ALTOGETHER. SCORES OF WRITERS, ACADEMICS AND POLITICIANS HAVE BEEN SENTENCED TO JAIL BY THE COURTS FOR EXPRESSING VIEWS DEEMED THREATENING TO THE UNITY OF THE TURKISH STATE. (SIGNED) NEB/AZ/GE 18-Jun-99 12:01 PM EDT (1601 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list