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Kurdish Human Rights Project: This is the legacy website of the Kurdish Human Rights Project, containing reports and news pertaining to human rights issues in the Kurdish Regions for 20 years.

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On 12 February 1998, Turkish police detained 7 members of the People's Democracy Party (HADEP), Turkey's main legal pro-Kurdish party.

Those detained were: Murat Bozlak, the President of HADEP; Mehmet Satan, the Vice President of HADEP; Hamit Geylani, the General Secretary; Zeynettin Unay, the Assistant General Secretary; Ishak Tepe, the Treasurer; Riya Yurtsever and Melik Aygul, both members of the Party's Executive Committee.

On 17 March 1998, an indictment was presented by a Turkish State Prosecutor - Talat Salk - at the State Security Court in Ankara, accusing the seven members HADEP of being 'completely under the control and influence of the outlawed PKK organisation.' In violation of Article 168(1) of the Turkish Penal Code.

Article 168(1) of the Turkish Penal Code states, in so far as is relevant: 'Whoever establishes armed societies or bands .. shall be punished by heavy imprisonment for not less than 10 years.'

The indictment goes on to state that: 'despite the Constitution, the accused have regularly declared that they are a distinct race and people, with their own language, culture and country.'

The first proceedings against members of HADEP were initiated following the Party's 1996 Annual Congress, at which time the Turkish flag was torn down by an individual who was not a member of HADEP. The individual in question - Faysal Akan - was subsequently sentenced to 22½ years imprisonment.

KHRP prepared a report into the 1996 proceedings against more than 40 members of HADEP which included a translation of the indictment. The Report expressed severe reservation in relation to the way in which the trial was conducted, and questioned whether the right to freedom of expression and freedom of association, and the right to a fair trial, under the European Convention on Human Rights - to which Turkey is a signatory - had been taken into consideration by the State Prosecutor when evaluating the state of the evidence against individual members of HADEP.

In the present case, the State prosecutor has demanded that the seven individuals in question be sentenced to 22½ in jail because, according to the indictment: 'It is understood that that HADEP is completely under the control of the outlawed PKK organisation and that the PKK carried out many of its important organisational activities by means of HADEP.'

It remains unclear what substantial evidence the State Prosecutor is going to produce when the proceedings commence on 28 April 1998. The seven defendants are expected to remain in custody until then.

In a related incident, nine directors of HADEP's Istanbul branch have also been charged under Article 168(1) of the Turkish Penal Code, three of them - Sirri Sakik, Feridun Yazar and Sedat Yurttas - having been briefly detained by Turkish police when they arrived at the State Security Court in Ankara to testify in the above case.

Altogether, 21 different political parties have been banned in Turkey; 19 of these since 1960.

Between 1960, when the Turkish Constitutional Court was set up, and 1980, when the Turkish military assumed power, six parties were banned by the Turkish authorities:

The Workers and Peasants Party (ICP), The National Order Party (MNP), The Party for the Future Turkish Ideal (TIP), The Turkish Workers' Party (TIP), The Great Anatolia Party (BAP) and The Turkish Labour Party (TEP).

Since 1983, when parliamentary rule was reinstated, the following parties have been banned:

The Great Anatolia Party (BAP) (again), The Socialist Party (SP), The Green Party (YP), The People's Labour Party (HEP), The Turkish Unified Communist Party (TBKP), The Party for Democracy and Freedom (OZDEP), The Turkish Socialist Workers' Party (TSIP), The Party for Democracy (DEP), The Democratic Party (again) The Party for Democracy and Change (DDP), The Renaissance Party (YDP), The Labour Party (EP), The Socialist Union Party (SBP) and The Welfare Party (RP).

In addition to the proceedings against HADEP, the Turkish Constitutional Court is currently reviewing a case demanding the closure of the Democratic Masses Party (DKP).