The Kani Yilmaz case: Turkish State

kurdeng at kurdeng at
Tue Jun 13 17:03:23 BST 1995

From: tabe at
Subject: The Kani Yilmaz case: Turkish State terrorism in England
Reply-To: kurdeng at


Turkish Embassy PKK Briefing Notes

A briefing sent by the UK Turkish Embassy, to the newspaper The Big Issue
this February, makes a pitiful attempt to persuade the press and public
that the PKK is a "ruthless movement aimed at establishing a Marxist-
Leninist state which uses systematic murder and terrorism as its main
weapons on the way to this goal" .

The document presents the stock list of alleged PKK "terrorist" activities
in "SE Turkey" and Europe without quoting so much as a single piece of
supporting evidence, least of all from any independent source. This is
hardly surprising, since these tired accusations are taken so much out of
context, are so manifestly unfounded and have long since been refuted by
the overwhelming majority of reliable research. If the PKK was engaging in
such a catalogue of atrocities, why is it that the Turkish state seals off
the entire Kurdish region from foreign scrutiny?

The Embassy complains that: "the Western media often seems to view the PKK
campaign as a human rights issue, assuming that it is a freedom-fighting
movement." It protests in vain since it is no longer possible for Turkey to
hide the enormous scale of its atrocities and perhaps the Western press
sees the PKK as a legitimate movement fighting for human rights because
that is precisely what it is.

It is widely-acknowledged that it is Turkey itself which is employing
terrorist tactics: that incidents of state-sponsored violence, torture,
bombings, forced evacuation of villages, extrajudicial detentions and
'disappearances'are not isolated, but endemic, systematic and widespread.
Yet Turkey holds itself wholly unaccountable for the loss of the "11,000
lives in ten years" or for 2 million displaced and destitute villagers, the
many thousands fled into the misery of S. Kurdistan or the millions in

The briefing alleges: "In the UK, the PKK is in controll of the Halkevi in
Stoke Newington, the Kurdistan Workers' Association in Haringey, the
Kurdistan Information Centre in the Barbican and the Kurdistan Human Rights
Project in Regent Street." (cf. p.27) despite the legal and independent
status of these associations. It is chilling to read Turkey is extending
its jurisdiction to Britain: "Halting the murders depends on breaking the
chain of international criminal activities which begins on the streets of
London and other large European cities.. the PKK... has become a threat,
not only to the Republic of Turkey, but to any law-abiding state within
whose frontiers it operates..."


An open letter protesting Kani Yilmaz's arrest from Kurdistan Committees
and Information Centres in 17 countries including Australia, Russia and the
US outlines who the real terrorists are:

"This incident has angered the Kurdfsh communiy, particulary the reference
to 'terrorism' which is an insult. One should understand the following:
About 2,000 villages have been burnt down and totally destroyed; 30
civillians are being killed every day; people are being forced to flee from
their villages. All this is being done by state forces. And everywhere in
the world any actions by kurds is being suppressed, even to the extent of
trying to prohibit meetings. The Turkish state is trying to depopulate
Kurdistan. So we ask: Is the Turkish state terrorist or are the people who
are raising the Kurdistan question and tryfng to show the world what is
going on to be called terrorist? The attitude of the British state shows
clearly that it is assisting the Turkfsh state- this means it is helping
with the massacre in Kurdistan. Kani Yilmaz should be immediately

It is clear that Ankara is taking seriously the threat that the PKK is
slowly being recognsed as an authentic and legitimate political force.
Not content to subject Turks and Kurds alike to terror within its own
borders, Turkey has sent its death squads into Europe to target Kurds and
their supporters and even its Embassy Officials out into the UK Kurdish
communities to threaten and intimidate the inhabitants. Last Autumn 1994
MIT-sponsored in Britain were increasingly violent, with attacks on
prisoner Cafer Kovayacin, photojournalist Richard Wayman and Turkish Chair
of the Halkevi Centre Nafiz Bostanci. It is believed that all of these
attacks, of which there was plenty of advance warning from the Turkish
pro-state media, are an extension of the war in Kurdistan onto British
soil. They are positive proof of the activity of maurading Turkish hit
squads operating under a centrally-coordinated plan.

Does Britain condemn these genuinely terrorist actions, and protest against
Turkey's gross violation of British sovereignty? The very obvious
question arises: what are the British security forces, and indeed the Home
Office, which have been so zealous in persecuting Kurdish activists going
about their lawful business, doing about these violent attacks on British
citizens and Turkish and Kurdish refugees on British soil? Or do we have to
wait for somehing even more serious to happen?


"Over 15,000 Kurdish refugees have come to London since the late Eighties,
fleeing from the widely condemned Turkish regime which has outlawed
pro-Kurdish activity, even imprisoning MPs who express support for Kurdish
autonomy. Kurdish activists in London said the persecution had been exported
to refugee communities around Europe through the Turkish secret police,
MIT... The refugees' claims were backed by leading parliamentary human
rights group activists. Liberal Democrat Lord Avebury said, 'Whilst it's
nearly impossible to prove a link to the Turkish it wouldn't surprise me at
all; there is a lot of evidence showing thay they carry out extra judicial
executions. '" (The Big Issue)

On 29 December 1994 at about 10.00 pm a young Turkish refugee, Ali Ozturk
was shot through his back and seriously wounded while walking out of an
East London greengrocers shop. The Turkish state is held directly
responsible for this attack: the actual target is believed to have been
Nafiz Bostanci, a respected and prominent Londons Turkish community leader
who has campaigned all his life for the Kurds and trade union rights in

Bostanci, a political refugee from Sapanca near Istanbul, helped found the
Halkevi Kurdish and Turkish Community Centre in Stoke Newington, N. London.
In Turkey he had been a member of the banned Turkish trade union
organisation DISK, and was jailed and tortured for his union activities in
the early 1980's, accused of being a member of the Turkish Communist Party
and stripped of his nationality. He escaped to England 12 years ago. He
appeared in 1988 on the BBC2 Open Space programme to protest about civil
rights abuses in Turkey and the torture of political prisoners.

Bostanci had been warned by British police two months earlier that he was a
probable assassination target because of his involvement in the Kurdish
cause. He is convinced that the threat comes from MIT (Turkish secret
intelligence) which has recently dispatched 160 agents to Western European
countries to disrupt pro-Kurdish campaigns and fund-raising movements. He
has good reason for this. Bostanci had been approached directly by a
Turkish-Cypriot man who admitted to having been offered 25,000 and a kilo
of heroin to kill him, but had refused. Later another two men were found to
carry out the shooting. This information was passed to police, who offered
protection which Bostanci declined: "l continue my normal life..." because
to stop any of his activities would be to offer a victory to his enemies.


Cuneyt Sigdeniz will be charged with conspiracy to murder Nafiz Bostanci,
Chair of the Halkevi Kurdish and Turkish Association, at Old Street
Magistrate's Court on 2/2/95. Police sources are linking the planned
assassination directlly to Turkish Special lntelligence (MIT). Sigdeniz was
allegedly found in possession of the .45 callibre gun believed to have been
used on 29/12/94, narrowly missing Bostanci, hurting instead Ali Ozturk a
young refugee. Police sources allege that after the failure of this attempt
plans were made to eliminate Mr Bostanci by remote control bomb. At the
remand hearing last Friday the prosecution said Mr Bostanci was a
"prominent figure in the local Turkish community, known for his support of
the Kurdish people and against the Turkish government". Yesterday Mr
Bostanci said, 'This is the first the evidence will be heard in court that
the Turkish government is organising the assassination of its opponents.
That the Turkish government is prepared to kill its opponents in Britain is
an outrage. Sadly it is all too common in Turkey."' (Press release Halkevi

"Will the Councill advise the Turkish Government that it will not tolerate
agents of a foreign government committing extra-judicial killings within
the EC?" (Alf Lomas MEP Question to the Council of the European Communities

Cuneyt Sigdeniz was formally charged with conspiracy to murder Bostanci and
now awaits trial. The case of Nafiz Bostanci is a strong weapon against the
Turldsh state and its collaborators. According to Alf Lomas MEP, in a
letter to the Turkish Prime Minister Tansu Ciller (16/2/95):

" Detectives from Hackney Police Station informed Mr Bostanci's sollicitors
that they are linkuing the attack to Hasan Aydosdu from MIT (Turkish
special intelligence) in Istanbul.. The police recendy arrested Cuneyt
Sigdeniz and are looking for a further four or five men. One, Muhamet
Sigdeniz, has fled to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. According to
sources in the Cypriot community in London, Muhamet Sigdeniz has links with
TIT, a right-wing organisation which receives orders from MIT....

lt is a matter of Ihe gravest concern that the agents of a foreign
government could even consider, let alone try to implement, murder of
citizens resident in the UK. It is even more serious when the government in
question is a NATO ally. I seek your urgent and personal assurances that
all MIT agents at home and abroad are instructed not to carry out any
further attacks and that you will ensure no other government agency plans
or carries out assassination attempts in the future.. "


"It had been a good evening - Thursdays often are - as The European had
just gone to bed and staff felt more relaxed. I had been doing some
freelance work at the paper and had been invited for a drink at the Old
Monk pub in Gray's Inn Road, close to the office. The pub was full, mostly
business people and journalists from the lTN building. Just after 10pm I
decided to leave and David, a friend from the picture desk, said he would
also as we could get the same bus home. We headed south down Gray's Inn
Road and waited to cross at the junction with Clerkenwell Road.

Suddenly I felt someone push me from behind into the road and the traffic.
Fortunately the traffic was slow and I did not fall over completely.
Turning around I saw two men in suits - one smiling. In the darkness I
noticed that he was of a Mediterranean complexion: I think the other man
was European. I remember starting to say "What are you doing?" or something
like that before passing out. I came to in an ambulance to see a man
leaning over me with an oxygen mask. David, who had not been hurt at all,
told me what had happened:

As I had turned round, one of them had hit me full in the face with (what
the hospital confirmed was) a knuckle-duster. Simultaneously the other man
had hit me on the side of my head. I had collapsed to the ground with blood
pouring from my mouth and nose. David lunged for one of them but was kicked
aside as they ran off west up the Clerkenwell Road. Curiously David said
that there had been three men - one who had not got involved but stood back
and watched. He was casually dressed and looked European he also ran off.

Later, friends still in the pub said that three men fitting David's
description had followed us out as we left. My injuries were as follows:
broken nose, displaced and broken teeth, punctured upper lip, whiplash
injury and deep grazing around my face.

So who is responsible? The CID officer on the case, DC Edwards of Holbom
Police Station, has done nothing - despite the fact that I told her I
suspected a political motive and gave her 'evidence' to that effect. All
she has done is say: 'lf you see them again, call us.' The police at
Paddington Green station and at other Kurdish protests which I have
attended, all know my name and the fact that my press-card was authorised
by The European."

When weeks later Wayman's home was broken into and only his mobile
telephone with its numbers in memory was stolen, again no action was taken.


"Some time in July or August last year an official from the Turkish Embassy
approached the Chair of the Council of Turkish Cypriot Organisations,
asking if he knew me and had any information about me. The Cypriot
replied, 'Yes, we know hun very weLL. He Is a good chap. He helps a lot of
people- Turks, Kurds, Greeks..."

The Turkish official then asked, 'Did you know he is involved with the PKK-
a terrorist organisation?' to which the Cypriot replied that he did not
believe I was a terrorist or supported any terrorist organisations. The
Turkish official insisted I was and added, 'We will take him out" which I
suppose was a threat to kill me or otherwise silence me.

The Cypriot was very concerned about me. We have worked together for a long
time and have great respect for each other but even so, he avoided speaking
to me directly and instead asked a mutual friend to let me know what had
happened and tell me that if I were involved I should stop.

I am personally against all violence - committed by the state or
orgarlisations - except when it is applied in self-defence. It is still
important to ask: When does protection become violence? When does the
ownership of the violence change?

I myself went through the Cypriot struggle as a soldier but I am not a
terrorist. I was not politically conscious at the time. I was simply
protecting my community, my land. Similarly the Kurds. I support peace, a
peaceful solution. I do not want to see Turkisish soldiers die or Kurdish
guerillas, or any Kurdish children, men and women. I saw people die in
their thousands in Angola and Vietnam. I hate to see any human being die.

I am not qualified to pass comment about the PKK or ERNK but I respond as a
Cypriot with sympahy for the Kurds. This is an instinctive human feeling:
when I see a people pinned down, I just want to help.

Bluntly, my priority is Cyprus - my country is divided and has enough
problems of its own - but of course as a democrat and human being it is
important to be aware of what is going on next door. A peaceful solution to
Kurdistan will affect my socalled green island."

                    TEL: ## 44 (0)171 586 5892

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