H.E. Bülent Ecevit
Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey Ankara
Mr. Prime Minister,
A group, introducing themselves as the relatives of martyrs, came to the Headquarters of Human Rights Association on 25 November 1999. They were welcome in the sitting room. Meanwhile, I had an interview with Japanese TV reporters and was talking on human rights issues. A few minutes after their entrance to the sitting room, they started to tear the posters on the walls, laid down the picture frames and broke into the documentation unit of the HRA and destroyed our files. Deputy Secretary General, Mr. Avni Kalkan who was working in the documentation unit at that moment was harassed.
Upon these attacks police number for urgent calls, 155, was dialed; police officers who had brought the group to the HRA’s headquarters and waited in front of the HRA office were asked for help; Mutullah Dogmeci, one of the personnel at the HRA headquarters, also asked for help while he was in front of the building. Police officers replied him “we cannot help without permission of our chief.”
The group, later, forced the door and came in the place where I was in and attacked me in the corridor. Some of them entered the chairman room, where two Japanese journalists were to film the interview, and broke the glass coffee tables and glass frame of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The group stopped its attacks against me by the intervention of a reporter of the daily Milliyet who accompanied them from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) office to the HRA headquarters.
We did not have any argument with any members of the group and even any conversations. They were welcomed to the Association but soon after they started to mess up everything. We believe that there cannot be any differentiation and categorization about the sufferings of people. We pay equal attention to all kinds of sufferings of people. There is no difference between the sufferings of mothers of soldiers, police officers and militants. We do not regard this group as the representatives of martyrs’ families.
According to the reports of journalists, this group came to the Human Rights Association headquarters accompanying by 4 police minibuses, from the Nationalist Movement Party’s headquarters and brought a black wreath on which written “Martyrs’ Families Association of Istanbul” There was also two journalists from TGRT TV and a journalist from the daily Milliyet.
Police let the group enter the building and did not come up with them to the HRA headquarters. They preferred to wait in the street. We saw the black wreath in our nat after the incident. Members of the group rang all the bells of the building in order to enter in. The correspondent of the TGRT filmed this action and as well as the first entrance to the HRA flat. Since we do not have any problems with martyrs’ families we opened our door and let them in.
The protestors went back to the place they came from under the protection of police. Proud of their actions, they explained the CNN TURK correspondent, how they assaulted us and how they broke things and messed up the headquarters.
The group’s actions were reported to the Security Directorate in Ankara through walkie talkies of the police officers who accompany the group in all stages.
Mr. Prime Minister,
This group was brought to the Human Rights Association under the police supervision and guardianship, and was connived at their attacks that suggest offence. No measures were taken for our protection and our calls for help were not considered.
The Human Rights Association does not determine its relations with political powers in accordance with the political stands of these powers. If a human rights violation exists HRA says “yes there is a violation of human rights”; if not, it says “there is no human rights violation”. If the political powers take some positive steps, HRA states that the step taken by the related authorities is positive. We therefore think that political powers and public officials’ approach towards us should be based on an objective criterion.
Mr. Prime Minister,
Public officials cannot take this group to our office and let them damage and mess up everything. Public officials cannot let the group hit, assault, and wound and kill us. You cannot grant some citizens and public officials the right to commit crime, in this country. You are not legally authorized for this and also your personality is not eligible to do so. Then, Mr. President, you should act accordingly.
Mr. Prime Minister,
Turkey has adopted UN Human Rights Conference Vienna Document (1993), Moscow Document of the OSCE (1991), Budapest Document of the OSCE (1994) and UN Declaration on The Protection of Human Rights Defenders (1998). States committed themselves to protect human rights defenders and to facilitate them for carrying out their activities. Uneducated police officers, who do not know whom they will protect, are sent to the BRA’s headquarters every day to protect our office for a year. No intervention was made in the last attack to the HRA’s headquarters. Police does not appear in any moments, that cameras filmed the attacks against us. Therefore, posting police officers for the protection of the BRA’s headquarters remains just a visual act.
Mr. Prime Minister, We are working voluntarily for the protection and promotion of human rights in our country. We are working for the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms by all Turkish citizens without considering their political opinion, ethnic origin, religion, language, sex and other status, as other people in the world enjoy these rights and freedoms.
We believe that this organized group does not represent respectful martyrs’ families as they alleged to act on behalf of these families.
As we pointed out above, we are concerned about the mentality of the police.
* As of 6 December 1999, no human rights units working under the authority of the government and/or the legislative power have turned us to get further information concerning the attack.