Large scale violations of civil and political rights continue in Turkey. Journalists, writers, correspondents, human rights activists, people of democratic mass organizations are continuously being harassed, assassinated, imprisoned and threatened; journal offices are bombed with explosives. The pressure against the press was concentrated mostly on the leftwing of pro-Kurdish periodicals and newspapers like Özgür Gündem, Özgür Ülke, Mücadele, Azadi, Newroz, Emegin Bayragi. Aydinlik, (recently) Yeni Politika. Söz, etc. Pressure brought heavy sanctions on some of the radical Islamic publications (such as Taraf. Tahkim), too. Heavy fines are issued against these periodicals; editor’s writers and reporters of which are sentenced to long imprisonment sentences. The reasons of such violations are mostly the anti-democratic laws. Especially the Anti-Terror Law, which defines “terrorist activities” in an extremely broad sense and restricts any political views inconvenient to the government.
Among the trials at the State Security Courts, those on the freedom of expression and press occupied a prominent place. According to the statistics by the Ministry of Justice in November 1994, 25 percent of some 6.091 cases before the State Security Courts had been launched under Articles 6 (239 trials) and 8 (1.190 trials) of the Anti-Terror Law which are the most important obstacles to the freedom of expression and press. The number of defendants prosecuted under Article 6 of the Anti-Terror Law, was 388 while that of the defendants prosecuted under Article 8 was 4.234 persons. (According to the statistics. total number of the persons tried at the State Security CourtsAccording to the Report of June 1995 by the (Turkish) Human Rights Association, some 44 people, who are press workers have been detained. There are presently, 165 people in jail including journalists, writers, trade unionists, scholars, human rights activists who expressed their opinion or ideas via speeches or writings.
The great increase in the number of persons who were imprisoned or prosecuted because of their thoughts articles, speeches, drew reactions on the national and international levels. In numerous international platforms Turkey was criticized and condemned for disregarding the freedom of expression and disobeying the international human rights documents on this issue. Democratic organizations carried out various activities with the purpose of condemning the pressure and attacks against the freedom of expression and press. Reactions campaigns and activities at home and abroad forced the coalition government to make some attempts. However the attempts did not go beyond promises and draft laws. “Democratization” packages have been opened one by one, promises have followed other promises, but these packages and promises did not bring any results.