Prime Minister of Turkey

Speech made to the Assembly

Wednesday, 27 September 1989

Mr President, distinguished members of the Assembly, Madam Secretary General, ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honour and indeed a pleasure for me to be with you today in Strasbourg. I wish to express my sincere thanks to you for giving me this opportunity at a time which will be recorded as another important milestone in the history of the Council of Europe.

It is indeed an important turn, for I am able to greet from this august rostrum the representatives of three East European countries and Yugoslavia, with special guest status, together with the representatives of all the twenty-three parliamentary democracies in Europe. In other words, at its 40th anniversary, the Council of Europe has covered a significant distance which I hope will one day pave the way to the creation of the common European home of democracy.

The second half of the twentieth century has been a period of preservation of peace, development of democratic institutions and greater cooperation among countries. In this period, with the unprecedented technological advances, new horizons were opened to mankind. Man started to explore and unveil the mysteries of space and left his indelible footprints on the moon. But the spotlight remained on man himself. A new perception and sensitivity emerged and the noble cause of the protection of human rights assumed a prominent place in our souls. Although documents relating to human rights and fundamental freedoms date back to earlier times and found their definition and expression during the French Revolution, the dissemination and promotion of these ideals in the real sense have taken place during the past forty years. The Council of Europe, with its tireless efforts, has been the flagbearer of this noble struggle. Its deliberations, its struggles and its accomplishments are our common heritage and are a source of pride for us all.

Turkey, being one of the founding members of the Council of Europe, has taken part in all its activities. She has always cherished the ideals and principles that gave birth to the Council of Europe. Indeed, this membership has been a beacon, a further stimulus to our devotion to liberty, pluralist democracy, the rule of law and dignity of the human being, as well as to our attitudes towards the shaping of the Europe of the coming century. ,

Throughout the ages, a geostrategic location has bestowed upon Turkey the role of a bridge between the Orient and the Occident, a role which she duly fulfilled and will continue to fulfil. The Anatolian peninsula has been a bridge for conquerers and their armies, or for traders and their caravans, and has served also as a bridge for new ideas, cultures, civilisations and religions. The unique location of Turkey has enabled her to come into close contact with both Western and Eastern civilisations, and continuous interaction followed. Thus, while the Turks have benefited from and been influenced by Europe in the cultural, social and economic fields, we on our part have contributed to and participated in the shaping of Europe.

Turkey’s occidental vocation and its co-operation with the West is nothing new. She has been inspired by Western civilisation and from time to time has influenced it in return. I believe that another characteristic is the constructive cooperation in every field that the Turkish nation has established with the West. We have been present in Western institutions for over forty-five years. We have played an active and constructive role and have contributed to these institutions to which we are loyally attached. Turkey throughout history has been a point of convergence of Eastern and Western cultures. We have always taken special care that this convergence forms a synthesis rather than being a source of confrontation. Today, Turkey stands as an element of stability in an explosive part of our world.

In our view, the notion of the West is less relevant to geographic limitation than to an expression of a way of life based on freedom, democratic liberties and respect for human rights. It is this way of life which deep down unites us. Turkey, with its different yet rich culture contributes to the enrichment of the Western culture and provides an opening from the West to the East, and from the East to the West. Today, our geostrategic location, while conferring upon us greater tasks in more ways than one, provides us with more opportunities than ever before. The Turkish nation’s present lifestyle and its democratic political system is the result of its own free choice and not merely a pretence. Turkey, today, is at the same time a centre of economic dynamism. The liberal and free market policies which we have adopted during the past few years have brought about great changes – in fact, transformations – in our economy and infrastructure as well as in our urbanisation.

In these days, economic and social affluence should go hand in hand with democracy as we know it today. Democracy is not a static concept. One needs only to remember how democratic norms were when the advanced economies of today passed from an agricultural society to an industrial one. Human rights were not the human rights of today during the industrialisation of the West. Concern for the environment is also a relatively new phenomenon, but newly industrialising countries nowadays are duty-bound to respect all the modern norms and take into consideration all the modern concerns.

That is why it is more difficult and costlier to achieve development and industrialisation under a democratic system. That is why the

West should be mindful of these considerations when it points the finger at those who face this challenge.

The process of westernisation in Turkey, which I would rather call the Western vocation of the Turkish people, started in earnest and gained momentum in the nineteenth century, culminating in the proclamation of the republic, founded on the principles of Kemal Atatürk, more than sixty years ago. The point of no return was then reached. Thanks to the reforms of Atatürk, the social and political structure of Turkey developed rapidly to encompass the Western values while preserving its own rich heritage. These reforms constitute the foundations of a pluralistic democracy which is now regarded as the irreversible and indispensable feature of Turkish political life.

It is as far back as twenty-six years ago that Turkey entered into relations of association with the Common Market. Then, on 14 April 1987, my Government applied for full membership to the European Community. We have made this application as a natural consequence of this unique and special relationship which has Turkey’s full membership as a final objective. We have made this application as a natural result of the national consensus built around the goals and aspirations of the Treaty of Rome aiming at a fully integrated Europe. We have made this application because we have full confidence in our economic performance and capability. And, finally, we have made this application because we think it right that Turkey should take her place in the enlarged European Community.

We see it as our right to expect that the doors of the European Community will be opened to us by our partners and allies with whom we have shared the same values, ideals and a common destiny for almost half a century, with whom we strove so hard and selflessly to preserve peace and to defend our freedom and our territorial integrity. In this regard, Turkey has shouldered more than her share. I believe that Turkey’s application for full membership of the European Community is a fair and legitimate request and I trust that you, distinguished parliamentarians, will lend your support to the realisation of that goal.

Today, the wind of change is blowing in the direction of global democratisation and greater freedom. We follow closely and welcome the developments taking place in Eastern Europe. Those changes have the potential to bring an altogether new look to Europe – indeed, to the entire world. This outcome is the triumph of everything that we, as free Europe, stand for – democracy, respect for human rights and liberal economic policies. Certainly, our solidarity and perseverance have played an important role as much as the strength of our choice in reaching this point. But times of change are also times of uncertainty and unpredictability. That is why we should perhaps be more vigilant and more visionary in our attitudes and actions than ever before. We should also keep in mind that the continuation of this favourable atmosphere largely depends on our will and ability to maintain our solidarity. We appreciate the courageous reforms set in motion by President Gorbachev. His success will benefit first and foremost his own nation and then the whole world. We see his reforms as a development worthy of encouragement and support. I read carefully the speech Mr Gorbachev delivered here on 6 July. It is an important change and development in itself that the young president of a regime that denied for years the existence of Western establishments such as our Council of Europe should come and deliver a speech before this very Assembly. This change and President Gorbachev’s speech are certainly very welcome. I also regard it an enjoyable duty to applaud together with you the similar changes taking place at a faster pace in Poland. Developments in Hungary are also praiseworthy.

It should be borne in mind that the “common European home”, mentioned many times by Mr Gorbachev, could only be a democratic house based on pluralism. However, we cannot have a common house by just having a juxtaposition of different rooms. We should all be able to move freely from one room to another. For that to be achieved we have to start by strolling in the same garden. In this context, one should recall Abraham Lincoln’s saying: “A house divided against itself cannot stand.”

In other words, the members of the common house should share common ideals and values. They should be able to communicate with each other so that disputes are resolved by peaceful means. They should all have common aspirations and objectives for the future of Europe. This is why the architecture and the interior design of this “house” will need meticulous and persistent efforts and imagination by all.

We have never contemplated imposing our democratic system on others. We shall not do so in the future. We merely try to set an example.

There is no doubt that we should be happy to see among us those who would take our example and live up to its rules.

The importance Turkey attaches to détente in Europe has been one of the main features of Turkish foreign policy. Turkey is an active participant in the CSCE process, adhering to the principles laid down in the Helsinki Final Act and the concluding documents of the Madrid and Vienna follow-up meetings in their entirety. Turkey has always maintained that we should never sacrifice or neglect the importance of one dimension of the CSCE in exchange for possible progress in other dimensions.

The last few years have also been years of new vigour and dynamism in the sphere of arms control. The Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty has signalled the advent of a new era in East-West relations. Progress has been made in START and the basic outline of a Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty has been emerging. The Stockholm document put into implementation new and important confidence-and security-building measures. New ground has been covered towards re-establishing support for the 1925 Protocol banning the use of chemical weapons and achieving a global, comprehensive and verifiable ban on the production and possession of these weapons. The proposals for chemical weapons made this week by the United States and the Soviet Union are very encouraging.

Finally, negotiations aimed at eliminating the huge imbalance in conventional armed forces in Europe have begun in Vienna. We also consider the unilateral reductions in conventional arms introduced by the Soviet Union as steps in the right direction and take them as a further confirmation of the great imbalance between the conventional forces of the two alliances. However, this is not a list of tasks completed but rather a list of new challenges. This is a long and arduous road that we should cover together with courage and determination.

In this respect, the concluding document of the Vienna follow-up meeting broke new ground in East-West relations. The document established new standards of behaviour in human rights and institutionalised it with the introduction of the mechanism pertaining to the human dimension of the CSCE.

The worst enemies of security are not weapons but the suppression of human rights, fundamental freedoms and political pluralism.

Given that very fact, we have always emphasised the importance of the human dimension in East-West relations. We are of the opinion that genuine peace in Europe cannot be established without respect by all for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Human rights and fundamental freedoms are universal. They are indivisible, interdependent and inalienable. Mankind has made a big qualitative jump in this area. Human rights questions today transcend national boundaries. They can no longer be considered as matters that fall solely within the domestic jurisdiction of countries and must be dealt with universally.

When I visit the European Court of Human Rights this afternoon, I shall convey to it the decision of my Government to recognise the competence of that court.

I am confident that we shall share the view that strict adherence to the internationally accepted norms of conduct concerning respect for human rights and the fundamental freedoms of the individual is the only basis upon which we can build and further promote stable international relations. No country can exempt itself from this basic standard; nor can the international community choose to look the other way when serious crimes against humanity are being committed in any one country.

After all, inter-state activity does not take place for its own sake but for the purpose, inter alia, of promoting human dignity, happiness and prosperity. Indeed, we should be failing in our duty if we disregarded or remained indifferent to our responsibilities in this area. It is this fundamental concern for the human element that compels me to bring to your kind attention the plight of the Turkish minority in Bulgaria, whose continuing tragedy is a source of deep concern for the Turkish nation, and, I trust, for your countries as well. I am confident that you are all aware of the unacceptable nature of the Bulgarian policy of repression and forced assimilation of ethnic Turks, and Turkey’s genuine and relentless efforts to stop this colossal violation of human rights through dialogue. Bulgarian practices started with the imposing of Slavic names on ethnic Turks and went as far as killing those who staged peaceful resistance. They included denial of religious freedom and practice.

We have time and again requested Bulgaria to agree to meaningful talks in order to secure respect for the rights of the Turkish minority and to negotiate a comprehensive agreement on emigration. We have, furthermore, explicitly stated our willingness to receive all the ethnic Turks who wish to come to Turkey according to the provisions of an emigration agreement. Even in the absence of such an agreement, we welcomed, within a period of only two and a half months, over 310 000 of our kinsmen who have either fled to Turkey to escape further persecution or been forcibly driven across the border. Thus, tens of thousands of newly divided families have been created. The world has not witnessed an exodus of such magnitude in so short a time since the second world war.

The Bulgarian Government today continues to commit a major crime against humanity. It is imperative that this anachronistic mentality is not permitted to prevail. This question is not simply a bilateral problem between Turkey and Bulgaria, but an issue of principle between Bulgaria and the entire community of civilised nations. As I stand before you in this eminent institution where the conscience of Europe finds its ultimate expression, I call upon you to do your utmost to help compel the Government of Bulgaria to desist from its present inhuman practices and to remind them that such atrocities in our day can in no circumstances be tolerated.

For, if these actions are condoned, have no doubt that others will be tempted to commit even graver violations. If we withhold our voice today, we shall do no credit to the principles and values that we have held so dear for forty years. It was not out of choice that I had to present to you such an agonising picture at a meeting where I put on record the positive developments of our day and share with you the hopes that we hold for the future. But the reality is there – and it is certainly painful. It will honour no one to evade it.

International terrorism, unfortunately, continues to be a threat to the pluralist democratic system, human rights and fundamental freedoms. We also believe in the equal importance and inseparability of fundamental rights. However, one of them, the right to life, in its essence should have priority over others. Terrorism violates that most fundamental of human rights. Yesterday, terrorism claimed yet another precious life, this time in Greece. The New Democracy Party spokesman, our fellow deputy, Mr Paul Bakogiannis, was gunned down in broad daylight. We share the profound sorrow of his family and the Greek people.

Turkey has always unreservedly condemned as criminal all acts, methods and practices of terrorism regardless of their origins, causes and purposes and believes that terrorism cannot be justified in any circumstances.

In this context, I should like to mention that attempts to differentiate between various forms of terrorism will only encourage the perpetrators of these acts of violence. The special dangers posed by tolerance and support of terrorism need no lengthy explanation. Experience has sufficiently established that tolerance and support of terrorism are a double-edged sword, and those who engage in such activities have always had reasons to regret their short-sighted policy in the end. Turkey remains attached to a policy of firmness against terrorism. We believe that concessions of any nature to accommodate terrorist demands only breed more terrorism. The Turkish Government, as in the past, continues to support unreservedly all efforts to increase international co-operation to combat terrorism.

Our planet is about to enter the twenty-first century. It is our sincere wish that this will be a century of peace. It is also our desire and aim to see that the geographical boundaries of the democratic regimes and human rights based on individual liberties shall further be expanded in this coming century. The technological advancements during the last thirty years are opening up broader horizons for the twenty-first century. Outer space, whose mysteries and frontiers are already under exploration, will become an even more hotly contested area. We hope that this contest will be peaceful. It is a worthwhile effort to allocate the vast opportunities that space is offering to the use of all mankind. In the same spirit, the next century will also address the issue of making available the sub-soil resources of the oceans. We in Turkey are preparing ourselves for the twenty-first century by undertaking major projects. The richness of our resources, the determination of our nation and the speed and the magnitude of the advances we have made are all indications that Turkey will have an important place in the western hemisphere in the next century. We have full confidence in our future.

Indeed, to give you an example, Turkey has rich water resources, and our present ability to transform those resources into an economic driving force shows the vastness of our potential. The south-eastern Anatolian project that we are implementing now in an area covering 75 000 square kilometres has already attracted the attention of the world. With this project, entailing the construction of twenty-two dams, 27 thousand million kw/h electricity will be generated and an area of 1,6 million hectares will be irrigated. The cost of this Turkish-designed project is estimated to be between 18 and 20 thousand million dollars, and is financed through national means. However, it has the potential of benefiting other countries of the region as well. .

In this respect, before I mention an imaginative project that is under consideration, I should like to take you back a few decades to the aftermath of the second world war. If the democracies of Europe are united today, it is because their visionary leaders then saw our future in close co-operation. It is because they were wise enough not to repeat the mistakes of the past. They knew very well that the interests of the individual countries had also to be united. They started with the infrastructure. Robert Schuman’s ideas led to the creation of the European Coal and Steel Community, the precursor of the European Community in later years.

Our idea is to offer unused water from Turkey’s principal rivers to the arid regions of the Middle East. This is our “Peace Pipeline Project”, a water pipeline that would cross and benefit the countries of the region. It is a far-reaching plan, because water will be the most needed commodity there in the coming century. The countries of the Middle East can unite their interests through such projects of infrastructure and may follow the example that we have set in Europe.

The Turkish people and the Turkish Government want not only rights but welfare, in the true sense of the word, to be made available to all mankind. We look forward to a new century in which no one will starve. We aspire to a new world where all wars are ended, where defence expenditures are reduced and what is saved is put at the disposal of economic development to improve the quality of life. It is our common duty to preserve a clean environment in a world in which we hope welfare, industrialisation and technology will be commonplace.

Environment is an issue that deserves a few more sentences, since it has to do not only with the heritage that mankind will pass on to future generations but with whether mankind itself will survive on the Earth. Worrisome and even alarming situations have already begun to appear. We in Turkey have our share of environmental problems which cause us concern. But, lately, my country has also been harmed by toxic waste originating from other countries. This is difficult to imagine and to accept in our modern world. On account of the pollution problems facing Turkey, we are taking effective measures to combat them. We are, for instance, in the process of initiating a major project on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey in order to preserve it as a clean spot for people to enjoy. Such projects aimed at preserving our common possessions also require your support and contributions. We are pleased that there is a greater awareness today of the great dangers that threaten the ecological balance of our planet. Turkey is eager and ready to co-operate in global and regional efforts to preserve this balance and save our future.

As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of its foundation, the Council of Europe has major tasks lying ahead. The task of turning “greater Europe” into a “common European home of democracy” is a challenge for us all. The task of carrying democratic liberties with the help of the force of our example and success to other regions of the world also lies ahead of us. Similarly, the noble duty to carry human rights to every single corner of the world without any discrimination awaits us. We are confronted with the task of disproving those who believe that Europe has aged and is bound to be left behind. In other words, wider horizons are bringing about greater challenges. The mission of the Council of Europe has thus gained a new and wider dimension. We shall carry that mission to new heights, hand in hand. To be able to give today’s children a future full of hope and happiness is the most sacred of these tasks.

With these thoughts, I wish you every success in your future work and your noble tasks.

I thank you all.


Thank you very much, Mr Prime Minister. We all know that you and your country are great friends of the Council of Europe, and you have many friends here in the Assembly. Your speech this morning was delivered in a truly European spirit, and not only I but my fellow parliamentarians and others in this room appreciate what you said about recognising the competence of the European Court of Human Rights. That is an important step that will be appreciated all over Europe.

Thank you once again for your interesting speech. We now look forward to hearing the answers to the questions that have been tabled. I remind members that only questions from members who are present will be answered, so please sit in the seats allocated to you so that the President can see for certain whether you are present.

Twenty-six questions to Mr Ozal have been tabled and they are set out in Document 6131. Some questions have a common theme and I have grouped them. I propose to ask Mr Ozal to reply to those questions together and then to each remaining question individually. I shall then ask the members concerned to ask a brief supplementary question if they so wish. May I stress once again, as I did yesterday, that supplementary questions are not the occasion for debate. If members are brief, it should be possible for all questions to be answered this morning, but that is possible only if all members ask brief supplementary questions. Otherwise I shall have to use the guillotine.

The first question, put by Mr Ludwig Steiner, reads as follows:

“Question No. 1:

Mr Ludwig Steiner,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey what are the prospects for the continuation of the ‘Davos process’.”

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

Turkey believes in the need for peaceful and good neighbourly relations with Greece and with all our other neighbours. Greece and Turkey are not only neighbours but allies. All outstanding problems between our countries must and could be resolved by dialogue. That was proposed to Mr Papandreou when I came to power at the end of 1983. I proposed that dialogue relentlessly. Finally, we were able to have that dialogue in Davos in Switzerland. That dialogue went very well and afterwards our relations were somewhat softened. There was hope that further progress could be made, but there was a change in Greece. I also know Mr Mitsotakis. We were friends in the European Democratic Union. I met him twice there and I last met him in Antalya when we had an EDU meeting.

The Greek elections will take place some time in November and as a result there will be a new government and a new prime minister. I hope that we shall have a continuation of our previous dialogue and probably we shall try to solve our problems by ourselves. That is my firm belief.

Mr Ludwig STEINER (Austria) (translation)

I should like to thank the Prime Minister for his reply. My supplementary question would have related to Cyprus, but I see that other colleagues intend to broach that subject and I would not like to render their questions superfluous. Thank you.


As Mr Ludwig Steiner does not wish to put a supplementary question we move to the next question, put by Mrs Luuk, and which reads as follows:

“Question No. 2:

Mrs Luuk,

Recalling that, in May 1989, the Assembly, in its Recommendation 1105 (1989) on the 25th report on the activities of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (1987), regretted that Turkey still maintains its geographical reservation to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and reiterated its invitation to Turkey to withdraw this reservation,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey if Turkey will give a positive reply to the Assembly’s request.”

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

Turkey has made a geographical reservation to the 1951 Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and to the 1967 protocol, taking into consideration the improvised emigration from the Middle East region. This has not prevented Turkey from accepting de facto refugees solely for humanitarian reasons. We have, for example, probably received more than 600 000 people from Iran and Iraq, the Middle East and even from Afghanistan. However, I should point out that those countries that have no reservations to the same agreement have adopted a much more restrictive refugee policy through their national legislation than that pursued by Turkey.

Mrs LUUK (Federal Republic of Germany) (translation)

I thank you for that answer, Mr Prime Minister, although I would have preferred to hear that you are thinking of lifting this geographical reservation in respect of refugees from outside Europe.

However, I should like to ask you whether this negative attitude is not a source of difficulties, inasmuch as it prevents Turkey from receiving the international aid and support it needs in order to be able to cope with the burdens and the problems posed by the accommodation of refugees in the area bordering Iran and Iraq.

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

I shall give some additional information. At first, close to 55 000 people fled from Iraq and all of them came to Turkey in about ten days. The Turkish Government prepared temporary camps for these men, women and children.

Turkey has made the reservation and we said that we were ready to accept at least half of those refugees and we asked for other countries to accept the other half, but there was no answer. I then changed my proposal and said that, if those other countries would help us financially, we could then keep all the refugees. Those refugees are still with us, but some of them went to Iran. The financial help available to us is limited and, in the past year, the Turkish Government has spent large sums on feeding and sheltering those people.

In recent months, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has tried to help us with the building of some shelters in the middle of Anatolia. We have given that space to help the UNHCR. After the visit of Mrs Mitterrand we have also had correspondence with France, and some 300 people have already been accepted by France. I hear that Finland will also accept a small number of refugees. The number of refugees in Turkey is too big for us.


We come to the next group of questions, Nos. 3, 4 and 5, on the situation of refugees in Turkey, tabled by Mr Atkinson, Mr Faulds and Mr Valleix. They read as follows:

“Question No. 3:

Mr Atkinson,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey if he will make a statement on the progress made in resolving outstanding problems arising from receiving the Kurdish refugees from Iraq and Iran, and the ethnic Turks from Bulgaria.

Question No. 4:

Mr Faulds,

In view of the fact that Turkey has, in recent years, received 500 000 Iranian refugees, 60 000 Iraqi asylum-seekers and 320 000 Bulgarians of Turkish origin deported from Bulgaria,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey what measure of financial support his country has received from international organisations and from its European partners to assist the maintenance and settlement of these unfortunate victims of unhappy circumstance.

Question No. 5:

Mr Valleix,

Noting that frequent reference is made to the plight of Kurdish refugees in Turkey,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey what the current situation is, whether new refugees are still arriving, and if co-operation from Western countries has been forthcoming over the last few months.”

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

Turkey, and before that the Ottoman Empire, has given protection to people seeking refugee status and fleeing from the repressive policies of their countries at different times in history. There have been particular examples of Turkish humanitarian efforts, for example the asylum granted by the Ottoman Empire to the Jews coming from Spain 500 years ago in 1492. The first of the Jewish community in Turkey came from Spain in Ottoman ships. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, refugees from Hungary and Poland were accepted by the Ottomans when those refugees were fighting for the liberation of their countries. Before and during the second world war, Turkey gave asylum to a considerable number of Germans. For example, the famous Einstein came to Turkey and passed from Turkey to the United States. Many central European scientists did the same thing. Turkish history is full of examples of people seeking refuge on its territory.

Recently, hundreds of thousands of Iranians crossed our borders, perhaps more than 500 000. Furthermore, 60 000 Iraqis crossed the borders – we could not stop them. We have also accepted a substantial number of Afghans from refugee camps in Pakistan. There may be as many as 5 000 of them. We are in the process of providing more suitable housing and living conditions for the Iraqis.

In two and a half months, 310 000 people have come from Bulgaria, leaving behind them everything and bringing with them only one or two suitcases. That puts great pressure on us. Now we are trying to provide housing for these people, and my Government has already started to build new social housing in several locations. We are also trying to find jobs for them. So far, we have received no foreign assistance for this.

With regard to the questions of Mr Valleix and Mr Faulds, it is to be noted that the financial assistance provided by certain Western countries and interested international organisations is limited compared with the size of the demand. We said that if our Western partners would take care of half the Kurds from Iraq, we would take care of the other half, but that was not possible.

Mr ATKINSON (United Kingdom)

I congratulate the Prime Minister on the willingness that Turkey has shown in accepting these refugees without reservation. Is he aware of the detailed interest that the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Demography has taken on the situation of the Kurdish refugees from Iran and Iraq? However, we have not been able to provide a complete and satisfactory report because, although we sought to visit the camps, no invitation to do so was extended to us. Will the committee be invited to visit the Kurdish refugee camps so that we can complete our report and make the recommendations on help that he seeks?

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

We established camps in three different locations, Diyarbakir, Mardin and Mus, and those in the camps had many visitors. We opened the doors, and outsiders such as foreign journalists could freely visit the camps. However, the number of visitors exceeded the number of refugees. Therefore, it had to be stopped. However, that is not a limitation on the committee. If its members wish, they can come to see the camps.

Keeping these refugees in one place, controlling them, feeding and sheltering them for more than one year is not easy, although no one seems to understand that. These people do not want to return to their own country. Iraq once gave an amnesty, but few returned. Therefore, what will happen in the coming months is a difficult problem for us. We may ask them whether they would like to stay and become Turkish citizens.

Mr FAULDS (United Kingdom)

As an old friend of your country and of yours, Prime Minister, I find it a great pleasure to welcome you here today. Your country has responded with enormous generosity in accepting such a mass influx of refugees. It is disturbing, and our European colleagues should realise it, that other European countries, in contrast with your country, are taking tough measures to resist helping refugees from many countries to whom we have a post-colonial responsibility. Would it not help, Sir – and this is my question – in resolving all these problems if the rich countries of Europe and America and the international financial organisations were to organise the provision of a new international fund specifically to help resettle and maintain these many thousands of very unfortunate refugees throughout the world?

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

I thank you very much for your proposal, which is reasonable. However, perhaps we should not give too much encouragement to refugees – if they have such good facilities, others may come. The history of mankind shows that there have always been refugees for one reason or another. They may be refugees from drought, oppression or religious persecution. If there is general help to all the nations of the world, there will be development in many countries, which in turn will limit the refugee problem. However, more refugee problems will result from the changes in Eastern Europe, so you have made a worthwhile proposal, Mr Faulds.

Mr VALLEIX (France) (translation)

Mr Prime Minister, after the successive restatements of this problem, which is especially vexing and burdensome for our Turkish friends, I should like to put to you one of the questions exercising our minds, as we are aware of the effort Turkey is being asked to make – an effort which inevitably represents a drain on its finances and its economy – and of the human problems that remain on both sides.

My question is therefore a somewhat revised version of the previous questions. Mr Prime Minister, you referred to the case of France. Have specific measures been taken by particular countries, more especially Council of Europe countries? If so, what measures?

In addition, are specific measures being taken by the Council of Europe – which is not very well equipped for that purpose in terms of resources – and by the European Communities, which have more material resources? Are they, as international organisations, taking action along the right lines? If not, should we press for such action, without being discouraged by your words, taking into account your somewhat sweeping argument about non-encouragement of refugee flows?

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

I do not want to give the figures, because they are so minor. For example, the European Community has given 500 000 dollars,

which is much less than it gives for the protection of whales. Some countries, such as Denmark, have provided some assistance, but compared with what we are doing, the assistance is minor. These people have come to Turkey and are our guests for the time being. We shall have to solve the problem because it is our problem. I wish that others would help us, because that would make it easier for us. After all, during the Iraqi-Iranian war, about 500 000 or 600 000 people came to Turkey, and a large proportion of them still live in Turkey. A heavy burden rests on our shoulders and we shall continue to bear it. We are ready to carry that burden for as long as is necessary. We shall respond in the same way to our kinsmen from Bulgaria.


We now come to Question No. 6, put by Mr Speed, which reads as follows:

“Question No. 6:

Mr Speed,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey if he will make a statement on his Government’s efforts and proposals, as one of the guarantor powers, to end the Cyprus dispute.”

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

Turkey continues to strive to assist the two communities in Cyprus in their search for a fair settlement that protects the legitimate interests of both the Turkish and the Greek Cypriots. Thus, we encourage direct negotiations and support the mission of good offices of the United Nations Secretary General. Our aim in Cyprus is to assist in the achievement of a just and durable peace on the island through the establishment of a federation that is based on bizonality, political equality and effective Turkish guarantees.

Mr SPEED (United Kingdom)

Do you agree with me, Mr Ozal, that a key factor in solving the Cyprus dispute – a solution that I am sure everyone wishes to see – is the security of the Turkish Cypriot people, many of whom, alas, were murdered in the months and years up to July 1974? Do you appreciate, Mr Ozal, that, whether we like it or not, most Turkish Cypriots regard the Turkish army in north Cyprus as one of liberation and defence?

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

Perhaps, I have nothing to add, Mr Speed. I know that Turkish Cypriots feel that the Turkish forces offer them security and protection. Prior to 1974, many Turkish Cypriots were killed but, since then, there have been no killings on either side. There has been no incident on the Turkish side nor the Greek side. Over the past fourteen or fifteen years, the Turkish forces have maintained security and peace on the island.


We come to Questions Nos. 7, 8 and 9, also on Cyprus, tabled by Mr Lyssarides, Mr Pahtas and Mr Power respectively. They read as follows:

“Question No. 7:

Mr Lyssarides,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey whether he is prepared to comply with the resolutions of the United Nations and the European collective bodies which have condemned the Turkish occupation of Cypriot territories and which have been defied by Turkey.

Question No. 8:

Mr Pahtas,

Noting that a Turkish newspaper (Milliyet, 17 September 1989) reported that the Prime Minister had said that he would make the admission of Turkey to the EEC a condition for the withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey what stops him from doing it now, and whether, in view of the fact that the United Nations and this Assembly’s resolutions call for the immediate withdrawal of Turkish troops from Cyprus, he does not consider that such a position is provocative for the European family.

Question No. 9:

Mr Power,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey what conditions or safeguards he considers necessary to enable Turkish troops to be withdrawn from Cyprus.”

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

I respond to the questions of Mr Lyssarides and Mr Pahtas by the use of quotations. On 19 July 1974, before the Security Council of the United Nations, Makarios, in defining the Samson coup d’état, said:

“The coup of the Greek Junta is an invasion, and from its consequences the whole people of Cyprus suffers, both Greeks and Turks.”

As a result of the coup d’état, which was defined by Makarios in my quotation, Turkey was forced to intervene in accordance with Article 4 of the Treaty of Guarantee of 1960, which foresees:

“In the event of a breach of the provisions of the present Treaty, Greece, Turkey and the United Kingdom undertake to consult together with respect to the representations or measures necessary to ensure observance of those provisions.

In so far as common or concerted action may not prove possible, each of the three guaranteeing powers reserves the right to take action with the sole aim of re-establishing the state of affairs created by the present Treaty.”

In the same context, I shall quote the text of Decision No. 22658/79 of March 1979 of the Athens Court of Appeal. It reads:

“The Turkish military intervention in Cyprus, which was carried out in accordance with the Zurich and London Agreements, was legal. Turkey, as one of the guarantor powers, had the right to fulfil her obligations. The real culprits (...) are the Greek officers who engineered and staged a coup and prepared the conditions for this intervention.”

Finally, I remind the Assembly of Resolution 573, which it adopted on 29 July 1974. It states: “Condemning the coup d’état, carried out in Cyprus by officers owing allegiance to the Greek military dictatorship;

Regretting the failure of the attempt to reach a diplomatic settlement which led the Turkish Government to exercise its right of intervention in accordance with Article 4 of the Guarantee Treaty of 1960...”

I state once more that the Turkish presence in Cyprus is to assure adequate security for Turkish Cypriots. Since Turkey’s intervention in 1974 under the terms of the Treaty of Guarantee, the island has seen an unprecedented period of peace and tranquillity. If and when Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots reach a mutually acceptable negotiated settlement, Turkey will withdraw its forces from Cyprus according to that agreement.

Turkey’s application to the European Community for full membership and the Cyprus question are two separate issues. I think that Mr Pahtas is referring to my interview which appeared in El Pais, which was later quoted in Milliyet. I was quoted by the newspapers out of context.


The Prime Minister will agree that one crime does not justify another and that the invasion of Cyprus was not intended to bring back the status quo but in a few weeks to kill 1,5 % of the population, a number that no country except Germany and the USSR have eliminated since the last world war.

There are repeated resolutions from the United Nations and European bodies condemning the crime that Turkey has committed against Cyprus by the invasion, the violation of every law and the murders and rapes of thousands. All the arguments have been heard and for years the United Nations and European bodies have repeatedly condemned Turkey and called for a reversal of all separatist actions and for a return to a respect for human rights and basic freedoms for the people. Only Turkey has recognised the so-called separate state.

Mr Ozal says that he wants Turkey to be a member of the European Parliament. He must respect European values to achieve that. Do European values embrace occupation? Mr Ozal says that he is ready to remove his troops if Turkey is given membership of the EEC. That shows that the troops are there not to protect the Turkish community but to hold us as hostages so that he can promote Turkish designs. Is that compatible with European principles?

Finally I ask Mr Ozal whether he considers that these violations of human rights are compatible with membership of the EEC and the resolutions of the United Nations and other bodies.

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

I am sorry, but I do not wish to answer such polemic. If, in accordance with the agreements, Turkish forces had not intervened in Cyprus, I do not think that southern Cyprus would exist; nor would the Greek colonels.

Mr POWER (Ireland)

I thank the Prime Minister for his comprehensive reply, but I am unfortunate because my question is grouped as it is. I prefer to cast myself in the role of the prophet who looks to the future rather than that of a historian.

Am I right in saying that the Prime Minister considers the proposals in the draft agreement by the United Nations Secretary General to be a genuine basis for lasting peace in Cyprus? If that is so and the Turkish Cypriots accept it, am I right to say that the next move in promoting peace is not a matter for northern Cyprus or for Turkey?

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

The role of the Secretary General is to provide good offices between the leaders of the two communities. The best agreement can be reached only when the two leaders negotiate. Turkey would like a just and more reasonable agreement for Cyprus. I do not understand why it is said that we push too hard for one side. We cannot reach a conclusion in that way. We should look forward, not backwards, and try to achieve an agreement that satisfies both sides. The two leaders should come together with the help of the United Nations Secretary General. If a document cannot be prepared, how can an agreement be reached? Success can be achieved, provided that the argument used by Mr Lyssarides does not pervade our meetings.


The next question is Question No. 10, tabled by Sir Dudley Smith. It reads as follows:

“Question No. 10:

Sir Dudley Smith,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey what attitude he is taking towards the substantial build-up of arms in the Greek sector of Cyprus.”

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

This is perhaps the most dangerous aspect of the Cyprus problem. The Greek Cypriots have been arming for a very long time, and have further intensified their arms purchases in the last several years. They claim that it is for defensive purposes only. However, they have built up their armed forces to a degree totally uncalled for by the nature of the situation prevailing in the island. Their arms purchases consist increasingly of offensive weapons. Hence, we view this phenomenon as a destabilising factor, and as a potential threat to the security of the Turkish Cypriots. The exclusive aim of the Turkish armed forces in Cyprus is to ensure adequate security for the Turkish Cypriots. These Greek Cypriot efforts undermine, therefore, all sense of trust between the two sides, and it is wholly incompatible with the search for a negotiated settlement. It is also a process that renders more and more the mission of good offices of the Secretary General of the United Nations meaningless and ineffective. It may also encourage and lead to adventurous acts on the part of the Greek Cypriots. If this happens, the ramifications will be extremely serious and the responsibility will belong to its perpetrators and to those who help the Greek Cypriots in the procurement of these arms. We have regularly warned about the dangers involved and we do so now in the hope that the Greek Cypriots will in future act in ways more conducive to the search for a Cyprus solution.

Sir Dudley SMITH (United Kingdom)

I thank the Prime Minister for that comprehensive reply. Does he regard this as a provocative move by the Greek Cypriots and does he think that it is wholly unjustified? Does he agree that the United Nations Secretary General should take due cognisance of this action in his efforts to bring the two sides together because the situation is extremely worrying for the Turkish Cypriots in Cyprus?

Those who know the north well – wholly contrary to what Mr Lyssarides is saying – realise that the peace-keeping force of the Turkish army is absolutely essential to maintain the integrity of northern Cyprus. That peace-keeping force must remain if we are to achieve a full settlement that is completely fair to all sides. I emphasise the phrase “completely fair”. One is not much encouraged by what is going on in relation to arms on the Greek side.

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

I thank Sir Dudley. Since 1974, there has not been one single incident between the forces of either side. The increase in the armed forces and the number of offensive weapons gives the wrong impression. We must conduct a dialogue with the help of the United Nations Secretary General. Recently planned talks were postponed because of political activity on the Turkish borders. It was done by the other side, and that prevented the 26 July meeting between both leaders.


We come to Question No. 11, by Mr Gale. It reads as follows:

“Question No. 11:

Mr Gale,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey how many of the Turkish immigrants, known as ‘seasonal workers’, currently resident in the northern part of Cyprus, the Turkish Government believes should, for the purposes of a settlement, be regarded as permanent residents.”

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

The authorities in northern Cyprus are sovereign in their decisions. As such they have invited a limited number of Turkish people in order to rebuild their economy following the events beginning in 1963. Turkey has no policy of sending its nationals to northern Cyprus. We must remember that the Greek Cypriots forced many Turks to flee the island never to return and at the same time received many Greek nationals from Greece allowing them to settle permanently on the island, not to mention over 60 000 people from Lebanon after the events of 1982.

Mr GALE (United Kingdom)

I thank the Prime Minister for that response. It would be most helpful to all concerned to have it clearly and precisely on the record. I hope that I shall not be out of order if I take this opportunity to thank the Prime Minister for his remarks in his speech and for his very strong condemnation of terrorism, wherever it takes place. I say that unequivocally, and I know that all my colleagues here, particularly those of us who live in countries which, from time to time, are affected by politically motivated murder, would agree with him wholeheartedly that there should be no hiding place for any political murderer of any kind anywhere.

In the light of the Prime Minister’s remarks in response to Questions 8 and 10, will he tell us precisely what offensive weapons have been acquired by the Greek Cypriots since the current round of talks began? In the light of his comments about the imbalance in conventional arms and international efforts to reach agreement – which again we all welcome – what proposals does he have for arms reductions to help facilitate a settlement in Cyprus?

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

The list is not short and to read it in its entirety would take a long time. However, I shall give some examples. The Greek Cypriot national guard includes 21 000 troops. That number would increase to 85 000 in the event of mobilisation. Sixteen AMX-30 B2 tanks were purchased by the Greek Cypriots from France. Syria has supplied 40 SAM missiles to the Greek Cypriots during the past two years, and there is an additional order for SA-7 SAM missiles from Syria. Artemis missiles and a number of AMX tanks purchased from France reached south Cyprus via Greece. Twenty Gazelle helicopters are based at the airport at Paphos. There are also military radar systems, armoured personnel carriers, Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns and five Skyguard fire-control systems, as well as 100 military vehicles, including 40 tracked and armoured cars from Steyr-Puch of Austria and Mercedes of West Germany. Mistral and Matra missiles are on order from France. As you will appreciate, the list is not small. There are also Sparrow missiles and Crotale missiles, which are very effective in the hands of experienced military personnel. Roland anti-aircraft missiles are also on order from France.


We come to Question No. 12, tabled by Mr Mota Torres.

It reads as follows:

“Question No. 12:

Mr Mota Torres,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey if he is willing to have the powers of the Missing Persons Commission broadened, so that it can visit all parts of Cyprus and Turkey and carry out on-the-spot inquiries.”

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

As I have said many times, there are no missing Greek Cypriots in Turkey. As for the issue itself, it is being handled by the autonomous Committee on Missing Persons. That committee is composed of three members, one being an independent personality, and has its own terms of reference. It is charged with the task of looking into cases of missing persons On both sides. We hope that this humanitarian problem will one day be resolved to the satisfaction of the families involved. This will be possible when the Greek Cypriots cease to exploit this issue as a propaganda weapon.

Mr MOTA TORRES (Portugal)

(spoke in Portuguese; as no translation of the speech in one of the official languages or additional working languages has been supplied to the Secretariat by the speaker, the speech is not published here, under the terns of Rules 18 and 22 of the Rules of Procedure).


As Mr Mota Torres has no supplementary question, we move on to Question No. 13 by Mr Beix.

It reads as follows:

“Question No. 13:

Mr Beix,

Having regard to the declaration of 29 January 1987 by the Turkish Government concerning Article 25 of the European Convention on Human Rights,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey whether the extent of the reservations expressed by the Turkish Government regarding the application of the European Convention on Human Rights does not in fact invalidate any declaration of recognition of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights.”

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

My Government recognised at the beginning of 1987 the right of individual petition to the European Commission of Human Rights. Following that recognition, some cases have' already been brought before the Commission. The mechanism foreseen in the Convention is functioning. On this occasion, I should like to reiterate that my Government has decided to accept the competence of the European Court of Human Rights. With the recognition of the competence of the Court, the right of individual petition to the organs of the Convention will be fully put into practice. Honourable parliamentarians can rest assured that Turkey will honour in both instances its obligations towards all applicants without any limitations.

Mr BEIX (France) (translation)

Mr Prime Minister, fifteen of the twenty-six questions put to you today concern problems of democracy and freedom in Turkey.

In this connection, I would remind you of a number of reservations expressed more particularly in 1987, when Turkey made a declaration concerning Article 25 of the European Convention on Human Rights, and today, with the announcement of its recognition of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Human Rights. These reservations, which concern inter alia the Turkish conception of democratic society, were expressed in your letter to the Council of Europe. Is there not a danger that these reservations could give rise to a sort of à la carte reading of the Convention? In short, you would accept what suits you and reject what does not suit you. According to what you say in your letter, it is the actual Constitution of Turkey which would authorise this à la carte approach.

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

The Court and the Commission will decide on that. They will have full power to do so. There is no problem.


We now come to Question No. 14 by Mr Elmquist.

It reads as follows:

“Question No. 14:

Mr Elmquist,

Noting that ever since civil government was reestablished in Turkey, the Parliamentary Assembly has been pressing for a comprehensive legal reform (court procedures, right to defence from the moment of arrest, detention and interrogation conditions, penal code, general amnesty, etc.);

Concerned that, in spite of repeated positive reactions from the Turkish Ministers for Justice, of the Interior and for Foreign Affairs, as well as promises from Turkish members of this Assembly, very little has happened,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey whether, in view of the fact that, throughout his time in office, he has been and still is backed by a massive majority in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, he is prepared to undertake a clear commitment to realise such a legal reform.”

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

I thank Mr Elmquist for his enquiry about legal reforms in Turkey as it gives me an opportunity to cite some of our efforts in this respect. Since it came to power at the end of 1983, my Government has incessantly pursued a policy of taking additional and comprehensive steps to ensure better protection of fundamental rights and freedoms in Turkey.

Our first action was to lift martial law, which had been in force all over Turkey. We have made a great effort to consolidate pluralistic democracy in Turkey. We have had two general elections, two local elections and two referendums in the past six years. In January 1987, the right of individual petition to the European Commission of Human Rights was recognised by my Government. Last year, the European and United Nations conventions against torture were ratified, and, recently, Turkey ratified the European Social Charter.

We have also recently proposed some specific amendments. We have shortened the period of detention which, under the military administration, was 15 days for individual cases and 90 for collective cases. We have reduced those periods from 15 days to one and from 90 days to 15, as a first step. Now we have proposed to the Parliament a further shortening of the detention periods. The detention period for individual offences remains 24 hours, but the 15-day period for collective crimes will be reduced to four to six days.

We have also taken measures to end incommunicado detention. Defendants will meet their attorneys during the interrogation period, including during the preparatory investigation. That was announced by the Prime Minister and by the Minister of Justice.

Another step has been to amend the penal code. We have submitted to Parliament a proposal to commute the death penalty stipulated for thirteen separate offences to life imprisonment. There has been no execution of the death penalty since 1984. Another amendment to the Constitution will be proposed to facilitate the conversion of the death penalty to life imprisonment.

I shall declare at the Court this afternoon that my Government has decided to accept its competence.

Mr ELMQUIST (Denmark)

Better late than never, as we say in Danish. It is disputable whether progress has been late or early. We shall have the chance to go into detail later in the Legal Affairs Committee, for which I am the Rapporteur for Turkish affairs.

I see that one of my colleagues has a later question about Articles 141 and 142.1 notice that you did not mention them among articles which you propose to revise. You want to reduce the death penalty to life imprisonment only for acts of conscience, not for acts of violence.

Will you today, before this Assembly, give a clear commitment to have these proposals adopted by your Grand National Assembly? I know that you represent the Executive but your party has had a massive majority in parliament and has been in power since 1983. It could have revised these laws, but that has not happened.

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

I must add Article 163 to the two that you have mentioned. Most of our European friends of the extreme left always talk about Articles 141 and 142, but they never talk about the religious freedom associated with Article 163. I want to explain how those articles entered our Penal Code, and, later, our Constitution. There are historical reasons. Turkey was established as a state on the remains of an empire which included different nationalities. Atatürk wanted to create a single nation state. That was difficult. At that time the government feared communism. I am not sure why, but we had fought quite a few wars with the Czars of Russia – perhaps that was the reason.

Religion was the most important element in Turkey. The Caliphate of Islam was upheld by the Ottomans, and the new government thought it would not permit religious parties, so as not to return to the old system. Turkish society developed and in 1950 we started a democratic multiparty system. We had some ups and downs, but development continued. The articles do not apply to some acts which are found illegal today. The same sentences are not meted out now; there is continuous change.

As the leader of a political party, I believe that two features are important if a country is to develop and take its place among the best nations of the world. The first is a free market liberal economy; the second is freedom of thought and conscience. The two should go hand in hand. Communist parties – and communist parties under different names – and religious parties used to be banned in Turkey. With experience, we have come to the conclusion that there is nothing to fear from changing the law to permit religious or communist parties. The key element is to decide not on the principle but on the timing of that decision. I am not an old political hand and I have been on the political scene for six years only. I do not have much experience, but when I decide to do something, I do it. I know that in this regard a referendum may be called for and if we take the decision too early, the referendum may not be positive. We must find the right time at which to change the articles and our Constitution. I think Turkey will do it.


Thank you, Prime Minister. I must stress that our programme must conclude at 1 p.m. Therefore, it is possible to answer only a few more questions.

The next group of questions is Nos. 15 and 16, by Mr Kollwelter and Mr Martinez respectively, and which read as follows:

“Question No. 15:

Mr Kollwelter,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey what his reply is to the accusations by Amnesty International (1988 report) concerning Turkey’s failure to observe fundamental human rights such as freedom of expression and freedom to form and join trade unions,

and whether he can state the exact number of political prisoners currently detained in Turkey.

Question No. 16:

Mr Martinez,

Noting that major restrictions still apply in Turkey to the exercise of trade union freedoms as understood and practised in the countries of the Council of Europe as a whole,

To ask the Prime Minister of Turkey what measures the Turkish Government intends to take with a view to fully restoring such freedoms.”

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

My Government has made a major thrust since 1983 to promote the implementation of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Turkey. We are parties to all international instruments aimed at preventing human rights abuses. Therefore, appropriate mechanisms are available to be utilised for any abuse of human rights in Turkey. Nevertheless, my Government is determined to make further improvements in this regard.

Freedom of expression is guaranteed by the Turkish Constitution. No one can be blamed or accused on account of his thoughts or opinions. What is a crime, however, is the use or abuse of such freedoms in such a way as to restrict or to hamper the freedoms of others. The Turkish penal system does not foresee prosecution for differing ideas and convictions, but actions aimed at destroying the freedoms of others by violence and terrorism cannot be permitted. Those whom you define as political prisoners are convicted of actions or terrorist activities aimed at overthrowing the existing state structure, destroying the political and legal system and establishing a totalitarian state.

Similarly, since 1983, my Government has reviewed existing labour legislation and made significant modifications to bring that legislation more into line with the International Labour Organisation’s standards. Recently, my Government ratified the European Social Charter, thus enabling the full implementation of the principles of the Council of Europe by labour in our country. We are determined to pursue that policy. As a result of that policy, collective bargaining and strikes, which are essential elements of labour rights, are being fully utilised by Turkish labourers. Prior to 1980, days lost through strikes reached a peak when Turkey faced anarchy and other problems. This year the number of days lost through strikes was much higher than prior to 1980, and that shows that there is no limitation on the use of strikes by labourers.

Mr KOLLWELTER (Luxembourg) (translation)

Mr Prime Minister, in fact, there were two aspects to my question, one general and the other more precise, concerning in particular the exact number of political prisoners in Turkey. You have just equated them with terrorists, which I greatly regret.

Last week, the Turkish Deputy Prime Minister, Mr Bôzer, refused to reveal the exact number of political prisoners during a visit to Luxembourg. Would you be willing, Mr Prime Minister, to allow an international commission of inquiry to carry out an ad hoc investigation in order to determine the exact number of political prisoners, and, more particularly, to take action on their behalf?

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

I think that there has been some misunderstanding because I did not think that the question was about political prisoners. There was another question on that subject tabled by Mr Candal.

Political prisoners in Turkey have been discussed with our foreign friends. I just discussed Articles 141, 142 and 163. If some people have been gaoled under those articles, we do not call them political prisoners, as they have acted against the existing law. In your country, communism is free and religious parties can be established so you may call such prisoners political prisoners. In answer to an earlier question, I said that those three articles must and will be changed in Turkey. We have no worry about that. Some sixty years ago there was some worry, but now things have changed and those worries belong to history. The only requirement to consider is timing. To reach the right solution, timing is very important. If the articles are removed, there will be no prisoners who could be described as political prisoners.


Your country, Mr Prime Minister, has applied for membership of the European Community and my country, Spain, regards your application with sympathy and solidarity. On the way to acceptance within the Community you will be faced with many obstacles and you will need a lot of support. Do you believe that it will be important to get the support of the Turkish trade union movement, as that would result in significant internal support and would certainly mean significant support and solidarity within the European Community as well?

Mr Özal, Prime Minister of Turkey

In Turkey there is consensus among many different political parties on our application to the European Community. That application also meets with consensus among different social groups. Perhaps some extremes in Turkey, some religious extremists or some extreme-left groups, may be against our membership of the European Community. Studies have shown, however, that close to 90% of people support the Turkish application to join the European Community. I am sure that our labour leaders will also support us or other governments during the negotiation period.


Thank you. We must now conclude the questions to Mr Ozal.

On behalf of the Assembly, Mr Ozal, I thank you very much for the answers given. This has been an interesting morning and once again I thank you for coming to us in Strasbourg. (Applause)