East Meets West

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Title: East Meets West The Politics of Human Rights Activism in Turkey, 1980-2007
Physical Description: 1 online resource (257 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Negron, Melinda
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009


Subjects / Keywords: democratization, headscarf, islam, kurdish, movement, rights, turkey
Political Science -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Political Science thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy EAST MEETS WEST: THE POLITICS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISM IN TURKEY, 1980-2007 By Melinda Negro acuten-Gonzales December 2009 Chair: Philip J. Williams Major: Political Science This study explores the evolution of Turkey's grass-roots human rights movement over a period of three decades, paying particularly close attention to inter-organizational relations between Islamist and secular organizations. It asks, why and under what conditions did seemingly opposed organizations develop into an ideologically and socially more cohesive human rights movement? Which, if any, conflicting human rights perspectives blocked cooperation between Islamists and secularists, and how were these differences reconciled? Thus, the main goals of this research project were 1) to analyze the similarities and differences in the way Islam-rooted and secular organizations engaged human rights norms and articulated their claims, and 2) to investigate the social implications of the Islam-secular divide by examining inter-organizational relations within the movement. I explore areas of convergence and divergence especially among Islam-rooted and secular organizations by analyzing different organizations'? approaches to four specific issues: the death penalty, torture, Kurdish rights, and the headscarf ban. In addition, I analyze the factors that shaped each organization's particular articulation of rights claims, as well as the factors that enabled and constrained coalition-building among disparate organizations. The study concludes that ideas concerning universal human rights - ideas rooted in international human rights norms and Islamic norms of justice - provided the language for local groups to articulate their grievances and the tools to devise solutions for Turkey's human rights problem. More importantly, once grievances were expressed in terms of universal rights, these similar articulations formed the ideational building blocks that were used by organization leaders to transcend past models of advocacy work based on in-group solidarity. Additionally, discourses on civil society and democratization, as well as the shared experience of being political outsiders and victims of state abuse were also used by organization leaders to facilitate positive relations between disparate Islam-rooted and non-religious organizations. Over time, a movement collective identity emerged and crystallized around the idea of non-partisan human rights activism, which sustained movement cohesion even during periods of intense polarization between Islamists and secularists in Turkish society.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Melinda Negron.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Local: Adviser: Williams, Philip J.

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Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2009
System ID: UFE0041112:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0041112/00001

Material Information

Title: East Meets West The Politics of Human Rights Activism in Turkey, 1980-2007
Physical Description: 1 online resource (257 p.)
Language: english
Creator: Negron, Melinda
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2009


Subjects / Keywords: democratization, headscarf, islam, kurdish, movement, rights, turkey
Political Science -- Dissertations, Academic -- UF
Genre: Political Science thesis, Ph.D.
bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy EAST MEETS WEST: THE POLITICS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISM IN TURKEY, 1980-2007 By Melinda Negro acuten-Gonzales December 2009 Chair: Philip J. Williams Major: Political Science This study explores the evolution of Turkey's grass-roots human rights movement over a period of three decades, paying particularly close attention to inter-organizational relations between Islamist and secular organizations. It asks, why and under what conditions did seemingly opposed organizations develop into an ideologically and socially more cohesive human rights movement? Which, if any, conflicting human rights perspectives blocked cooperation between Islamists and secularists, and how were these differences reconciled? Thus, the main goals of this research project were 1) to analyze the similarities and differences in the way Islam-rooted and secular organizations engaged human rights norms and articulated their claims, and 2) to investigate the social implications of the Islam-secular divide by examining inter-organizational relations within the movement. I explore areas of convergence and divergence especially among Islam-rooted and secular organizations by analyzing different organizations'? approaches to four specific issues: the death penalty, torture, Kurdish rights, and the headscarf ban. In addition, I analyze the factors that shaped each organization's particular articulation of rights claims, as well as the factors that enabled and constrained coalition-building among disparate organizations. The study concludes that ideas concerning universal human rights - ideas rooted in international human rights norms and Islamic norms of justice - provided the language for local groups to articulate their grievances and the tools to devise solutions for Turkey's human rights problem. More importantly, once grievances were expressed in terms of universal rights, these similar articulations formed the ideational building blocks that were used by organization leaders to transcend past models of advocacy work based on in-group solidarity. Additionally, discourses on civil society and democratization, as well as the shared experience of being political outsiders and victims of state abuse were also used by organization leaders to facilitate positive relations between disparate Islam-rooted and non-religious organizations. Over time, a movement collective identity emerged and crystallized around the idea of non-partisan human rights activism, which sustained movement cohesion even during periods of intense polarization between Islamists and secularists in Turkish society.
General Note: In the series University of Florida Digital Collections.
General Note: Includes vita.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The University of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Statement of Responsibility: by Melinda Negron.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2009.
Local: Adviser: Williams, Philip J.

Record Information

Source Institution: UFRGP
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: lcc - LD1780 2009
System ID: UFE0041112:00001

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2009 Melinda Negrn-Gonzales 2


T o my family 3


ACKNOW LEDGEMENTS I first and foremost would like to thank my husband, Nick, for standing by me through this arduous process and exercising restraint during those moments when he probably should have thrown me out the window for being an insufferable curmudgeon. His unending belief in my abilities has been a constant source of inspiration and I could not have accomplished this without him. I must also thank my wonderful family, mom, dad, Mike, Noodle and Nicole. Their incessant teasing for being a per petual student has always come with much love and support. My mother has especially been a pill ar of supportshes simply the best. My years as a graduate student at the University of Florida we re some of the best years of my life despite my constant bickering because of the friends I made. A thank you goes out to all my friends at UF but I would like to single out a few of my peeps whose friendship made graduate school not only tolera ble but delightful. Ibrahim an d Steve saw me through my first years of grad school, and Marija an d Matt took over after they left. I encountered many exceptional people at the Un iversity of Florida who were vital to my professional and personal growth. I am greatly indebted to the f aculty in the Political Science Department and especially to my dissertation ch air, Philip Williams, and the other dissertation committee members (Aida Hozic, Patricia Woods, Leo Villalon, and Paul Magnarella). My dissertation research could not have b een accomplished without financial assistance from various funding programs: Fulbright Schola rs Program; Institute for Turkish Studies at Georgetown University; and Center for European Studies at the University of Florida. Thanks go out to Philip Williams, Patricia Woods and Aida Hozic for providing supervision with my grant proposals. I also greatly apprec iate the guidance received while I was in Turkey from my Fulbright advisor, Ihsan Dagi, at Mi ddle East Technical University. 4


After two years of clenching my fists and yelling obscenitie s at my computer, it is my strong hope that I have produced something here that contributes in some small way to the ongoing dialogue regarding democrati zation in the Muslim world. On that note, I would like to end by thanking the human rights activists who shared their thoughts and expe riences with me. I would also like to express my appreciation to Ibrahim Keklik and Hossein Sadri who were not only good friends but also my unoffi cial advisors while I lived in Turkey. I learned more about Turkish politics and society from our lengthy conversations than any book could ever teach me. Lastly, I will forever be indebt ed to the many kind people fri ends and strangers alikewho made my time in Turkey so memorable and made it home. 5


TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS.............................................................................................................4 ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................9 CHAPTER 1 THE POLITICS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISM IN TURKEY: A SOCIAL MOVEMENT APPROACH...................................................................................................11 Introduction................................................................................................................... ..........11 Social Movement Theory: Classical Movement Analysis and Beyond.................................15 Modifying the Framework: Discursive Repertoires and Collective Identity..........................26 From Cognitive Frames to Discursive Repertoires.........................................................26 Collective Identity Formation..........................................................................................30 Significance and Framework of the Study..............................................................................34 2 THE HISTORY OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN TURKEY AND THE EMERGENCE OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT.................................................................................41 Introduction................................................................................................................... ..........41 Rights in the Republican Period.............................................................................................42 1960-1980: Radicals, Polarization and the Decades of Coups..............................................47 The Radical Left..............................................................................................................4 7 The Radical Right............................................................................................................53 The 1980 Coup and its Aftereffects: Transnational Advocacy Networks..............................63 The Emergence of the Human Rights Movement..................................................................69 The Human Rights Association.......................................................................................69 Human Rights Foundation of Turkey..............................................................................78 Mazlum Der.....................................................................................................................81 Helsinki Citizens Assembly-Turkey..............................................................................85 Conclusion..............................................................................................................................87 3 RIGHT TO LIFE AND FREEDOM FROM TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT............88 Introduction................................................................................................................... ..........88 The Death Penalty: An Overview...........................................................................................89 Opportunities, Discur sive Repertoires and Mobilization.......................................................91 Human Rights Association..............................................................................................91 Mazlum Der...................................................................................................................100 Torture and Inhumane Tr eatment: An Overview.................................................................103 Opportunities, Discur sive Repertoires and Mobilization.....................................................109 Human Rights Association............................................................................................109 Mazlum Der...................................................................................................................112 Human Rights Foundation of Turkey............................................................................115 6


Advocacy Work in the Post-Helsin ki Period........................................................................120 Conclusion............................................................................................................................124 4 THE KURDISH QUESTION...............................................................................................127 Introduction................................................................................................................... ........127 Official Ideology: Kemalist Discourse.................................................................................128 The Kurds Respond..............................................................................................................133 Opportunities, Discursi ve Repertoires and Mobilizati on during the Republican Era...133 Opportunities, Discursive Repert oires and Mobilization: 1960-1980...........................134 Opportunities, Discursive Repertoires and Mobilization: 1980 and Beyond................136 Human Rights Association, Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and Other Secular Pro-Kurdish Organizations........................................................................................139 The Kurdish Question from Islamic Perspectives: Opportunities, Disc ursive Repertoires and Mobilization...............................................................................................................159 Advocacy Work in the Post-Helsinki Period........................................................................171 Conclusion............................................................................................................................175 5 THE HEADSCARF BAN....................................................................................................178 Introduction................................................................................................................... ........178 The History of the Hijab Controversy in Turkey.................................................................179 The Anti-Headscarf Ban Movement.....................................................................................183 Opportunities, Discursi ve Repertoires and Mobilization in the 1980s..........................183 Discursive Shifts in the 1990s.......................................................................................189 Anti-ban Activism in the Late 1990s....................................................................................191 Discursive Repertoires...................................................................................................191 Opportunities, Discursive Repertoires and Mobilization: Mobilizing Domestic Audiences...................................................................................................................196 Opportunities, Discur sive Repertoires and Mobiliza tion: Mobilizing International Audiences...................................................................................................................202 Conclusion............................................................................................................................205 6 MOVEMENT IDENTITY-FORMATION AND BROKERAGE.......................................207 Introduction................................................................................................................... ........207 Civil Society in Turkey and the Human Rights Movement.................................................213 Movement Identity Formation..............................................................................................215 Evidence of Movement Identity...........................................................................................218 Factors Contributing to Movement Identity-formation and Inter-o rganizational ties..........224 Human Rights Discourse as a Unifying Force..............................................................224 Mutual Victimization as a Unifying Force....................................................................229 Civil Society Discourse as a Unifying Force................................................................230 Bridge Workers and the Construction of Similarity......................................................233 Conclusion............................................................................................................................244 7


LIST OF REFERENCES .............................................................................................................246 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.......................................................................................................257 8


Abstract of Dissertation Pres ented to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy EAST MEETS WEST: THE POLITICS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISM IN TURKEY, 1980-2007 By Melinda Negrn-Gonzales December 2009 Chair: Philip J. Williams Major: Political Science This study explores the evolution of Turkey s grass-roots human rights movement over a period of three decades, paying particularly clos e attention to inter-org anizational relations between Islamist and secular organizations. It asks, why and unde r what conditions did seemingly opposed organizations develop into an ideologically and socially more cohesive human rights movement? Which, if any, conflicting human rights perspectives blocked cooperation between Islamists and secularists, and how were these differences reconciled? Thus, the main goals of this research project were 1) to analyze the similarities and differences in the way Islam-rooted and secular organizations e ngaged human rights norms and articulated their claims, and 2) to investigate the social impli cations of the Islam-secu lar divide by examining inter-organizational relations within the movement. I explore areas of convergence and divergen ce especially among Isla m-rooted and secular organizations by analyzing different organizations approaches to four specific issues: the death penalty, torture, Kurdish rights, and the headsc arf ban. In addition, I analyze the factors that shaped each organizations particular articulation of rights claims, as well as the factors that enabled and constrained coalition-bui lding among disparate organizations. 9


The study concludes that ideas concerning universal human rights ideas rooted in international human rights norms and Islamic norms of justice provided the language for local groups to articulate their grievan ces and the tools to devise solutions for Turkeys human rights problem. More importantly, once grievances were expressed in terms of universal rights, these similar articulations formed the ideational buildi ng blocks that were used by organization leaders to transcend past models of advocacy work based on in-group solidarity. Additionally, discourses on civil society and democratization, as well as the shared experience of being political outsiders and victims of state abuse were also used by orga nization leaders to facilitate positive relations between disparate Islam-rooted and non-religi ous organizations. Over time, a movement collective identity emerged a nd crystallized around the idea of non-partisan human rights activism, which sustained movement cohesion even during periods of intense polarization between Islamists and secula rists in Turkish society. 10


CHAP TER 1 THE POLITICS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISM IN TURKEY: A SOCIAL MOVEMENT APPROACH Introduction In early 2004, Turkeys Prime Minister Erdogan pub licly criticized Amne sty International for failing to come to his aid when he was conv icted for using Islam in a political speech. His implication that the human rights organization was plagued by secular bias and practiced double standards sparked some controversy, not le ast among the leaders of Turkeys largest Islamic human rights organization, Mazlum Der. In retaliation, Mazlum Der quickly issued a press release chastising the prime minister in defense of its secu lar counterparts, stating that, his allegations that human rights organizati ons had double standards and acted ideologically cannot be accepted Prime Minister Tayyip Er dogan seems to have forg otten the fact that because of his conviction for hi s thoughts, Amnesty In ternational declared him a prisoner of conscience on February 4, 1999 and that many AI members campaigned for him with letters from various countries1 *** The audience laughed as all eyes turned to the right side of the almost-full conference room to watch the reaction of two gentlemen to the sp eakers comments. Gleaming with pride they playfully patted one another on the back as audi ence members nodded their heads in approval. These reactions by the audience and gentlemen fo llowed the speakers funny anecdote that was offered as a confirmation of his claim that he had witnesse d firsthand the genuine friendship between these two men. I too had witnessed their comradery at various functions and I had come to the conference to hear the speakers remark s on an observation I had made while in Istanbul the summer of 2003. After the panel discussi on ended, various audience members approached the gentlemen to tease them about th eir fifteen minutes of fame as the two walked side by side to lunch. What kind of friendship could be of such import that one would pr esent a speech about it at a human rights conference?2 The speakers presentation concerned the relations between the Turkish Human Rights Association and Mazlum Der, two organizations with membership profiles from opposite sides of the political ideological spectrum that have forged a deep connection in spite of their differencesa rath er rare phenomenon in Turkeys polarized civil society. Prime Minister Erdogans controversial accu sation concerning Amne sty Internationals double standards toward Muslims reflects a preval ent theme in global Islamist discourses that 1 Mazlum Ders press release was summarized in Mazl um Der to Erdogan: You should not forget your past Turkish Daily News, Feb. 16, 2004, online edition. 2 Yucel Demirer presented a paper at TODAIEs human rights conference held in Ankara on Dec. 14-15, 2006 entitled, Rekabet mi, Destek mi? IHD ve Mazlum Derin Hak Mucadelesi Soylemlerinin Insan Haklari /Yurtaslik Haklari Gerilimi Eksendinde Karsilastirilmasi/ Competition or Collaboration? A Comparison of IHD and Mazlum Ders Human Rights/Civil Rights Discourse. See also, B. Didem Yalin, Nilnur Tandac Gunes, and Oyku Gul. 2004. IHD ve Mazlum Derin Insan Haklari Soylemi / HRA and Mazlum Ders Human Rights Discourse. Human Rights Review (August-December): 185-190. 11


highlights the purported double standard toward Muslim s by Western human rights activists. Indeed, even the founders of Mazlum Der, whic h speedily defended Amnesty International, had publicly expressed the same sentiment regarding bias among secular rights -based organizations only a decade earlier. Prime Minister Erdogans st atements and the interest shown in crossfactional collaboration between Islamic and non-religious organi zations and activists at the aforementioned conference illustrate the long -standing tension between Islam-oriented and secular groups in Turkey. The abovementioned vignettes also reflect a common accusation made by critics that human rights organizations merely use human right s instrumentally to advance their political agendas. In Turkey and indeed throughout the Muslim world there is a widespread perception that human rights provides a convenient pretext for Western powers to meddle in the affairs of sovereign nations. Rooted in Ottoman times, there is a still-prevalent sense of fear that permeates Turkish political culture regard ing the Western plot to tarnish Turkeys image and ruin its international standing by portrayi ng it as a land of uncivilized peoples through the use of human rights investigations. The distrust toward human rights groups exte nds to domestic activists as well. The stereotype that rights-based organizations and activists have only strategic interests at heart rather than a genuine commitment to univers al human rights is well-established in Turkey. Suspicions abound because of the negative image of social groups that have employed human rights discourse in Turkey, an image encourag ed by pro-establishment elites. Indeed, the stereotype that only radicals pro-actively pursue human rights ex ists in large part because it has primarily been political outsiders seeking inclusion or full-fledged revolution that have used human rights to advance their cause. For exampl e, human rights language was used by radical leftists during the 1970s to advance their ultim ate goal of installing a communist system in 12


Turkey, by Marxist-Leninist Kurdis h insurgents in the 1980s and 90s, and today it is increasingly relied upon by Islam ist groups. In addition, some self-avowed human rights activists and organizations have indeed used human rights discourse as a tool to achieve pa rochial goals, thereby undermining the legitimacy of human rights advocates more broadly (Plagemann 2000). To complicate matters further, during the early phase of the human right s movement after the 1980 coup, rights-based organizations were ideologically and socially segregated and this reinforced the negative stereotype that claims-making gr oups were not seeking rights across the board but only for their own group. For example, the Human Rights Association ( Insan Haklari Dernegi IHD), founded in 1986 as Turkeys first grass-roots human rights organization was considered a leftist organization, since it functioned rather like a reservoir fo r radical leftists (Plagemann 2000, 436-7). Similarly, the Association for Human Ri ghts and Solidarity for Oppressed Peoples ( Insan Haklari ve Mazlumlarla Dayanisma Dernegi) or Mazlum Der, was established by Islamists on the far right, in part due to the belief that secular organizations such as the HRA were biased and inattentive to the needs of Islamists.3 Given the mistrust and inte nse polarization rampant in Turkey, the human rights movement has been fragmented along Turkeys most pronounced social cleavages: Islam-secu lar, Turk-Kurd, Alevi-Sunni.4 3 I use Islamic and Islamist to signify two different types of groups. Islamist denotes a group or organization that promotes Islamism, or political Islam. Although there are different types of Islamist movements in Turkey, they all share a vision of a political system structured according to Islamic principles, including Islamic law ( seriat in Turkish, shariah in Arabic). I use Islamic to denote a group or organization that is Islam-oriented but which does not overtly promote Islamism. Mazlum Der was esta blished by Islamists and ultra-nationalists ( ulkucular) associated with the Necmettin Erbakans National Outlook Movement ( Milli Gorus ); however, the organization has not promoted Islamism. Because it has not promoted Islamism, I regard it as an Islamic organization since it blends international human rights norms with Islamic notions of human rights. 4 Most of Turkeys Muslims are Sunni-Hanefi. However, Al evis comprise an estimated 20% of Turkeys population. Turkeys Alevis are closer to Shia Islam, although debates abound regarding how to classify Alevis (e.g., as a distinct religious minority of Shia among Turkeys majority Sunni po pulation; or as a sub-group within Sunni Islam; or as fully distinct and unique cultural minority that fuses pre-Islamic shamanism, Christianity and Islam). The debate remains unresolved even among Alevis. Moreover, some Alevis consider Turkish Alevis and Kurdish Alevis 13


Although the hum an rights movement remains diffuse, in part due to the numerous and varied violations and groups affected, there is more cohesion among rights-based organizations today. Moreover, the Human Rights Association and Mazlum Der, the largest and most active human rights organizations in Turkey, are also th e most closely linked despite their differences.5 In fact, along with Amnesty In ternational-Turkey and Helsinki Citizens Assembly-Turkey, these organizations formed in 2005 Turkeys first grass-roots umbrella organization dealing specifically with rights abuses, the Human Rights Joint Platform ( Insan Haklari Ortak Platformu IHOP).6 The diversity among this foursome ev en drew a reaction from Human Rights Watch, which applauded Mazlum Der and the HR A for overcoming deep social cleavages. The recent attention that Mazlum Der and the Turkis h Human Rights Associat ion have attracted in both national and international ci rcles illustrates what an anomaly it is for religious and nonreligious groups in Turkey to co llaborate and even communicate. The deep social cleavage which divides Islami sts and secularists not only in Turkey but throughout the Muslim world has resulted in polariz ed societies in which vast amounts of energy are invested in attempts to stamp out the influenc e of the other rather th an reconcile differences in the pursuit of shared interests. Monshipour i, a prominent scholar of human rights in the Muslim world, claims there is no real altern ative to coexistence between secularists and Islamists (1999, 473). Indeed, these groups must co me to terms with their differences and find common ground in order to not only stabilize the regi on but also improve the quality of life of its to be distinct groups. Alevis were persecuted under th e Ottoman Empire, as they do not follow Sunni orthodox traditions; consequently, they supported Mustafa Kemals secularization program and have historically supported secular left-wing political parties, which positions them on the opposite side of the spectrum from Sunni Muslims. 5 Human Rights Association has 29 branches throughout Turkey. Mazlum Der has 16 branches. 6 Early talks included the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, the Human Rights Associations sister organization. However, the foundation opted out of official membership of the platform, but enjoys a close and informal relationship with the platform. 14


citizens. It is for this reason that the institu tionalized cross-factional ties between religious conservative and non-religious organizations in Tu rkeys human rights movement merits serious attention. In order to understand the pr esent it is necessary to look to the past. Accordingly, this dissertation traces the evolution of Turkeys human rights movement from its emergence in the 1980s until the present. It asks, why and under what conditions did seemingly opposed organizations develop into an ideologically and socially more cohesive human rights movement? Which, if any, conflicting human rights perspec tives blocked cooperation between Islamists and secularists, and how were these differences reco nciled? Thus, the main goals of this research project were 1) to analyze the discursive simila rities and differences in the way Islam-rooted and secular organizations engaged human rights norms and articulat ed their claims, and 2) to investigate the social implications of the Isla m-secular divide by examining inter-organizational relations. I explore areas of convergence and di vergence especially among Islam-rooted and secular organizations by analyzing different organizations approaches to four specific issues: the death penalty, torture, Kurdish rights, and the headscarf ban. In additi on, I analyze the factors that shaped each organizations particular articulati on of rights claims, as well as the factors that enabled and constrained coalition-bui lding among disparate organizations. Social Movement Theory: Classica l Movement Analysis and Beyond My analysis of the emergence and developm ent of Turkeys human rights movement the past three decades draws heavily on the literature on social mo vements in order to explain movement dynamics. Over time, three sets of fact ors have come to be regarded as the over key ingredients to social movement emergence and ongoing development. These three factors are 1) political opportunity structures; 2) the mobilizin g structures (social networks and organizations) through which activists spread their message; and 3) framing processes (the collective processes 15


of interpretation, attribution, and social construction that m ediat e between political opportunity and mobilizing structures) (McAdam, McCarthy and Zald 1996, 2). There is a wide-ranging consensus among movement analysts that the in teractive effects of political opportunities, mobilizing structures and framing determine movement dynamics, although different analysts emphasize the importance of particular factors over others. In classical movement analysis a change in some aspect of a political system which opens up previously closed channels of protest was deemed a determinative factor in movement emergence (Tilly 1978; McAdam 1982; Tarrow 1994; Kitschelt 1986). Political opportunity structures have been metaphori cally treated as open or c losed windows, and have been defined rather broadly to incor porate factors such as, 1) the re lative openness or closure of the institutionalized political system; 2) the stability of elite alignments; 3) the presence of elite allies; and 4) the states capacity and propensity for repression (McAdam, McCarthy and Zald 1996, 10). While open political opport unity structures can certainl y play a role in movement emergence, opportunity structures do not in themselves cause collective action (Goodwin and Jasper 2004). Other factors interact with opportu nity structures and f acilitate or undermine movement emergence and sustainability. In addition, once collective action is underway, movements acquire the strength to open up closed windows of opport unity (Tarrow 1994). More recent analyses have pointed to the wa y in which political opportunity structures expand as a consequence of globalization (K eck and Sikkink 1998; Risse, Ropp and Sikkink 1999; Smith and Johnston 2002; Tarrow 2005; della Porta et al. 2006). For example, in countries where domestic political opportunity structures are closed, activists may shift their attention to a wide range of open windows of opportunity at the internatio nal level. Inter-governmental organizations such as the United Nations are of ten a means to acquire leverage against an 16


authoritarian governm ent. In the Turkish case, despite closed opportunity structures at the local level Turkish groups had the opti on of lobbying Turkeys European allies in th e Council of Europe and other regional enti ties to which Turkey was a party. In addition, beginning in 1987, aggrieved individuals in Turkey were granted the right to seek legal redress at the European Court of Human Rights. A serious problem with many analyses of political opportunity st ructures is that opportunity structures are treated as objective. This makes it diffi cult to decipher whether open or closed opportunity structures can be expected to catalyze collective action. For example, do closed political opportunity structures and ha rsh state repression serve as an incentive or disincentive for collectiv e action? Closed opportunity struct ures may provide strong motivation for a response; therefore, both open and closed windows can serve to stimulate collective action. Clearly, the effect of political opportunity structures depends upon the perceptions of activists rather than some invariant list of opportunities compiled by analysts (McAdam, Tarrow and Tilly 2001; Goodwin and Jasper 2004). That is to say, it is the attribution of opport unity or threat to a particular situation that is a key activating mechanism. Similarly, some analysts assumed a change in the broader environment was a necessary trigger (Tarrow 1994) of movement emergence or a change in strategy. However, a decision to launch an uprising or change strategy is not al ways a reaction to an event or change in opportunity structures. A movement may emerge or change direction in the absence of an open window or triggering event occurring in the br oader environment (Goodwin and Jasper 2004). For example, a breakaway faction may create a new movement due to the internal dynamics of an organization or movement, irrespective of wh ether there has been a change in the broader political environment. 17


In sum although earlier movement literature placed emphasis on opportunity structures external to the movement and considered th ese to be a necessary condition for movement emergence and subsequent development, critics have pointed out that these may not be so necessary after all. Although opportunity structures and wate rshed events undeniably impact movements, insofar as subjective responses to an opening or closing in the broader political opportunity structures cannot be pred icted, it is difficult to determine a priori how circumstances in the broader political environment will shape movement activity. In addition to the role played by local, national and international oppor tunity structures in movement dynamics, analysts have stressed the importance of mobilizing structures. Movement scholars argued that when would-be activists have mobilizing structures available to them, collective action is more likely and more succ essful (McAdam, McCarthy and Zald 1996). Mobilizing structures are define d as, those collective vehicles, informal as well as formal, through which people mobilize and engage in co llective action (McAdam, McCarthy and Zald 1996, 3). These include family units, friendship ne tworks, voluntary associations, work units, and elements of the state structure itself (McC arthy 1996, 141). For example, black churches and colleges and friendship networks were vehicles of movement ideas and activ ity in the context of expanding opportunities during the American civil rights movement (McAdam 1982). Similar to political opportunity structur es, mobilizing structures have expanded transnationally due to globaliz ation. Today, local groups in remote areas have greater opportunities to transnationally li nk with activists in other m ovements throughout the world and also with international non-governmental orga nizations. Keck and Sikkinks (1998) seminal work on transnational advocacy networks (TAN) l oosely structured, inform al configurations of non-state actors linked across national boundaries in common causeushered in a wave of 18


studies clarifying how local gr oups mobilize international g roups and how TANs provide local actors with political leverage (della Po rta 2006; Tarrow 2005; Risse Ropp and Sikkink 1999; Finnemore and Sikkink 1998; Smith and Johnston 2002; della Porta, Kriesi and Rucht 1999). Transnationalism was a feature of Turkeys human rights movement even in its early days. Because of Turkeys proximity to Western Europe and its close links to the region as a member of various European inter-governmental organizations, Turkish activists had not only local mobilizing structures available for appr opriation but also Europe-based transnational advocacy networks comprised of activists, academics, politicians and bureaucrats. For example, Amnesty International and Helsinki Watch are prominent nodes in human rights TANs and have served as critical allies for Turkish human ri ghts organizations, alerting others in the network about conditions in Turkey and also monitoring violations and directly pressuring Turkey to improve its human rights record. The presence of mobilizing structures, according to mainstream approaches such as resource mobilization theory and political pro cess model, make movement emergence likely. However, McAdam, Tarrow and Tilly (2001) posit th at analysts should refrain from using the conventional checklist method of treating mobilizing structures as static variables and instead focus on the active appropriation of particular sites for mobilization by activists. Therefore, movement analysts must examine which pre-ex isting networks and/or organizations were appropriated by movement activists and how this was accomplished. This modification, however, leaves intact the assumption that the appropriation of mobilizing structures primarily enables mobili zation. Goodwin and Jasper (2004) contend that the appropriation of a mobilizing structure may actually impede wide-ranging mobilization. That is, the appropriation of one soci al network or organization may actually stand as an obstacle to 19


the m obilization of other networks or organizations This may be particularly true for movements that begin as local initiative s or as group-specific but whic h seek to expand nationally, transnationally or to other social groups. For example, local groups attempting to appropriate transnational advocacy networks may find themselves alienated from indigenous networks and former supporters (Rothman and Oliver 2002; Tarrow 2005; Goodwin and Jasper 2004). Applying this to the Turkish cas e, it was clear that local grou ps took a risk in appropriating transnational advocacy networks given the high degree of suspicion of Western organizations as conduits for cultural imperialism. In short, the appropriation of pre-existing mobilizing structures may actually hamper local activists efforts to galvanize supporters in their home country. In addition, that people can be recr uited outside pre-existing networks suggests the importance of cultural persuasion as a factor explaining mobilization (Goodw in and Jasper 2004, 21). This underscores the need to closely examine how idea s may play a determining role in the bridging of previously disconnected social networks. Appropriation of mobilizing structures is not possible without a message salient enough to motivate individuals to participate in protest activities. The third factor highlighted by social movement theory is collective action frames. Snow et al. (1986) define a frame as a cognitive tool that situates complex gr ievances and prognoses within a simplifying framework. Frames encompass an organizations ideas concerning the diagnosis of a pr oblem including blame attribution, the prognosis for its redress, and th e audience to be mobilized for action (Snow and Benford 1988). These sub-frames are typically encap sulated within broader master frames, such as equal rights or environmental sustainabil ity. Frame alignment entails the calculated formulation by activists of an orga nizations discourse to fit within the larger cultural codes of an intended audience. Hence, fram es are intricately tied to m obilization. Movements can exert 20


influence on ly through mobilizing the public, and the chief determinant of successful mobilization is the resonance of its message. Consequently, framing is not merely one component of movement activity it is the key fact or of collective action processes. Snow, et al. (1986) posit that if frames ar e properly aligned with an a udiences values and norms, an organization will be much more successful in it s mobilization efforts, augmenting its chances for victory more generally. Early movement literature concentrated on the importance of frame alignment with regard to local audiences. However, as more and more local organizations proactively seek support from international actors the model has been expanded to include frame alignment for international audiences. For example, Bob ( 2005, 4) formulates a model of transnational mobilization that resembles Snow, et al.s origin al frame alignment model. Bob contends that local movements must strategically frame p arochial demands, provincial conflicts, and particularistic identities to match the interests and agendas of distant audiences and craft their messages to resonate abroad in order to attain ex ternal support.7 His emphasis on the strategic dimension of transnational networks is a welc ome addition to the lite rature on transnational advocacy, as prior studies tended to paint a ro sy picture of the purpor tedly non-hierarchical structure of transnational networks, rather than focus on the Darwinian arena in which local movements must compete for finite resources. However, both Bobs model of transnati onal marketing and Snow et al.s frame alignment model suffer from many of the same shor tcomings. First, both models assume there is one audience of choice, or at least one highly preferred audience. Yet, the increasing reliance on international actors and transnational advocacy networks illustrates the challenge faced by 7 See also Cooley and Ron (2002). 21


dom estic activists who are pos itioned between international (Western) audiences and local audiences but which nevertheless must formulat e a message that will resonate among audiences with rather different norms and values. Indeed, Tarrow (2005) warns that a shift from local to global audiences can leave activists rootle ss as they lose indigenous support. For example, Rothman and Oliver (2002) addresse d this issue in their analysis of Brazils anti-dam movement. Once the local movement linked itself to environmental activists from the global North, there was a frame shift from a liberation theology-centered frame, which was highly salient with indigenous supporters, to an ecology frame that resona ted with international supporters. Rothman and Oliver discovered that although Brazilian activists developed a hybrid ideology that fused the two together, the move away from liberation theology alienated the movement from some of its original indi genous supporters. The controversy surrounding transnational linkages to Western actors is perhaps amplified in a country like Turkey where there is a well-establishe d culture of anti-imperialism on the far left and right as well as a strong perception among citizens of this Muslim-majority country that Western values are irreconcilable with Islamic values. Therefore, when analyzing frames used by Turkish activists one must be aware of the different audiences th ey are attempting to mobilize and the different views of these varied audiences. A second criticism of frame alignment mode ls, often made by culturalist and poststructuralist critics, is that they assume a high degree of ideational coherence among both movement participants and audi ences (Melucci 1995). These cultu ralist critics, however, perhaps overstate the degree of incohere nce and fragmentation that char acterizes discourse. Pyerhin and Zirakzadeh (2006) offer a middle way, arguing that the degree of ideational coherence of discourse is an empirical questi on that is case specific. They contend that analysts should 22


exam ine the causal mechanisms that lead to fragmentation and integrat ion rather than making a priori assumptions regarding ideatio nal coherence or incoherence. I would make the same argument concerning the coherence between organi zation leaders messages and rank and file members/ external audiences. That being said, it appears that es pecially during early phases of advocacy work, movement actors may be less su re-footed when crafting their message than during subsequent phases. Moreover, some sub-frames are easier to construct and are more ideationally coherent than others. For exampl e, although diagnostic frames were cogently articulated, Turkeys human rights activists often stumbled upon prognostic frames in a piecemeal and haphazard manner that entailed much guesswork and deliberation. For some movements even subsequent phases ar e beset by ideational incoherence. Thirdly, frame analysts tend to place more attention on the ways in which movement actors strategically align their fr ames without seriously addressing the broader cultural context. Most frame analysts seeking to identify influential aspects of the environment in which framing takes place tend to concentrate more on political fact ors than on cultural factors. In most studies, when culture is included in frame analysis it is ty pically treated as entire ly subjective, malleable and as a factor that enables the powerless to challenge structure (Pol letta 2004). Consequently, analysts often fail to account fo r the way in which culture is al so structural, and hence fail to illustrate how cultural norms and values constrain as well as enable the construction of collective action frames. This is unsurprising since mainstream approaches tend to rely on rational actor models which are rather one dime nsional, as they only concentrat e on the strategic packaging of diagnoses and prognoses by rational actors. In addition, frame theory has primarily been concerned with mapping out the cognitive structures inferred from movement literature/discourse (Johnston 1995). Meanwhile, the contex t, particularly the cultural cont ext, is often lost. Activists 23


do indeed strategically fram e protest to match the cultural norms and values of their audiences in order to promote mobilization. However, fram e analysis is ill-equipped to provide a comprehensive understanding of the ways in wh ich culture constrains and enables collective action in ways that are not alwa ys or even usually intentiona l or instrumental (Goodwin and Jasper 2004, 24; Steinberg 1998, 1999).8 Indeed, although frame analysis only attends to specific cultur al dimensions of movement activitythe conscious a nd strategic formulation of movement framesit has been relied upon to include all dimensions of culture including notions of collective identit y, cognitive attribution, collective blame attribution and repertoires of contention (Goodw in and Jasper 2004). Cultural norms and values are not the only constraints on framing. Identities also shape the framing process; yet mobilization models completely ignore identity. For example, Goodwin and Jasper note that following the assumptions of frame-mo bilization model would lead to an implication that Martin Luther Kings use of Christian themes during the American ci vil rights movement was part of a strategic effort to mobilize Christ ians rather than the more plausible explanation that Dr. King used Christian themes because he was a Baptist minister. In other words, his reliance on Christian themes was a natural outcome of his identity as a devout Christian, rather than a strategic decision per se. Without a serious consideration of the ways in which identity and cultural norms and values shape the construction of frames, framing is portrayed as a rather straightforward process of pick-a nd-choose, as uncomplicated as picking fruit at the market. This dissertation takes the power of identity and social norms seriously, for as illustrated in 8 A good example of this can be found in Zdravomys lovas (1996) piece on political opportunities and framing in Eastern European democracy movements. Following the logi c of frame alignment analysis she only centers on the ways in which activists, dependent upon political opportunities, strategically chose specific symbols from folk ideology, Christianity-based rhetoric, and so on. In other words, she only emphasized the strategic use of culture and the ways in which culture enabled framing. Highlighting only the ways in which activists pick and choose from broader cultural codes and symbols misses the ways in wh ich culture and identity also constrain choice. 24


subsequent chapte rs, identity and norms greatly shaped the choices made by movement actors in Turkey concerning frames as well as the appropriation of mobilizing structures and the responses to changing political structures. Just as identity affects framing, framing also affects identity. Oliv er and Johnston (2001, 10) rightly criticize frame alignment models b ecause In frame alignment theory, activists are never thought to change their act ual thinking, just the way they pa ckage their thinking to make it more appealing to someone else. Yet, we know from studies conducted on movement participants even decades after a movement has ended that an individuals participation in a movement is often a life-cha nging experience (McAdam 1988).9 Indeed, the social learning which occurs through participation is largely ove rlooked despite the fact activism often changes an individuals perception of the world. Activists identities and interests are reconfigured as participants encounter new ways of defining themselves and th eir environment. Organizational identities also change as a result of this. Th is study is interested in exploring whether the eventual decision to appropriate human rights fr ames had any impact on the identities of those organizations (especially Islam-rooted ones) depl oying international human rights norms in their struggles against the aut horitarian Turkish state, and so must delve deeper than frame analysis allows. To summarize, the three sets of factors (political opportunity structures, mobilizing structures and frames) found in mainstream mo vement analyses should not be treated as a checklist of pre-determined factors that e xplain movement emergence and sustainability (McAdam, Tarrow and Tilly 2001). Analysts should pay attention to the ways activists interpret opportunity structures, and to the decisions to appropriate some m obilizing structures and frames 9 McAdams (1988) interviews with Freedom Summer partic ipants illustrate the great impact participation had on these activists. 25


but not others. Furtherm ore, the aforementioned shortcomings of fr ame analysis point to the need to move beyond rational actor a ssumptions and to take cultural context and identity seriously. The next section discusses the reformulations of social movement theory that are used in this dissertation. Modifying the Framework: Discursive Repertoires and Collective Identity From Cognitive Frames to Discursive Repertoires As mentioned earlier, a frame is a problem-solving cognitive schema that is hierarchically structured and st able over time. Frame analysts have sought to reconstruct cognitive frames through inference by analyzi ng movement literature, speeches and public statements. From these datasets, an analyst can map out the relations between various diagnostic, prognostic and mobilization sub-frames in a fr ame (Johnston 1995). As stated earlier, some movement analysts find the assumptions of cohe rence and stability as well as the strong instrumentalism in frame alignment models to be problematic. For example, Billig (1996; 2003) argues that rather than follow frame analysts presuppositions about the nature of mentality, movement analysts should focus on rhetorical processes, for it is through dialogue within a particular context that indivi duals craft their messages. Steinberg (1999; 2002, 208) echoes the need for movement analysts to move beyond the treatment of frames as ultimate ly a matter of individual cogniti on. He argues that the assumption of strong ideational coherence within an indivi duals mind and between individuals is far too rigid. Moreover, discourse constructed through co llective action is only partly the product of calculated action. Like Polletta (2004) and Goodwin and Jasper (2004), he argues that frame analysis has turned culture into a resource, whic h obscures the ways cultural contexts constrain activists interpretation and discus sion of the situation at hand and also their role in solving social problems. In other words, discourse can both enable and constrain. Discourse is enabling 26


because thro ugh it we give the social world mean ing for action; it can provide opportunities to create new meaning leading to new forms of cha llenge. But actors cannot make meaning just as they would wish, because discursive practices ne cessarily limit the vision of what is necessary, plausible and justifiable (Steinberg 2002, 213).10 These are fair criticisms of frame theory, al though as mentioned earlie r, post-structuralist critics of frame theory perhaps place too much emphasis on the lack of ideational coherence. Steinberg offers an alternative dialogic perspective that shifts attention from cognitive frames to what he has coined d iscursive repertoires Discursive repertoires ar e like framesthey help individuals define themselves a nd their circumstancesbut an anal ysis of discursive repertoires entails much more than simply mapping out c ognitive structures inferred from movement discourse. Steinbergs dialogic appr oach illustrates that anything a challenger says is said in response to something someone else said and in anticipation of things that will be said in response. Activists do not construct their discourses in a vacu um; context matters. Analysis of discursive repertoires emphasizes the continual relational strugg le over meaning and focuses on the genres and discursive fields thro ugh which activists c onstruct repertoires.11 A discursive field is like a master fr ame; accordingly, human rights constitutes a discursive field. The concept of di scursive field is diffe rent, however, from master frame in that it emphasizes 1) multivocality (there are different meanings attached to a master frame), 2) the relational aspect of meaning production (between challengers and power-holders, and between challengers themselves), and 3) the dynamic a nd fuzzy nature of the boundaries of discourses, 10 Benford and Snow (2000) make a sim ilar argument, claiming that ideology is a resource and constraint in relation to framing processes. 11 Bakhtins speech genres are conventions, or modes of speaking or writing that people learn to mimic, mix together and manipulate (i.e., personal anecdote, university lecture, newspaper article, etc.) Genres are specific to a culture or community. Each genre carries with it widely accepted norms concerning who is eligible to speak and how genres can be combined. 27


which challenges the as sumption in frame theory that belief systems are structured and orderly. The emphasis on multivocality, relationality a nd fuzzy discursive boundaries captures the inherent messiness in processe s of meaning production. Although I do not wholly follow Steinbergs approach nor attempt to resolve the dispute between frame analysts and their post-structuralist critics, this dissertation is an improvement over frame analysis in that it follows Stei nbergs insights regarding the multivocality and relationality of repert oire construction, and the importance of examining broader discursive fields when analyzing the construction of discursive repertoires. This approach is better suited to explore the ways cultural norms and values no t only enabled but also constrained Turkish activists choices regarding the ways they craf ted their messages. I not only analyzed each Turkish organizations literature during different time periods but also placed it within its specific discursive context in order to illustra te the way these groups drew upon and combined discourses emanating from different sources. Steinberg also notes that because move ment participants are embedded within a particular cultural context that is shaped by dominant discourses, activists repertoires are punctuated with ideas that reinforce some features of hegem onic discourses even as they pose a challenge to them.12 Indeed, rights activists in Turkey bo rrowed and refashioned ideas rooted in Turkeys official ideology (Kemalism) con cerning modernity, statesociety relations and individual rights to make their claims; hence, their discourses bore the marks of hegemony even as they confronted and di sputed them. Turkish activists di scursive repertoi res did not only reflect official ideology but also the discourses that were propagated by their identity groups. 12 For example, Steinberg notes that although 18th century English weavers and spinners challenged the economic orthodoxy of the period in order to challenge factory owners, their repertoires upheld conventional notions regarding gender hierarchy. 28


Indeed, different ideas w ere espoused by different activists based on their identity. For example, Islamists constructed discursive repertoires that heavily re lied upon moralistic, Islamist discourses in addition to those of law and citizens hip. This affected not onl y the overall tenor of their discourse but also their capacity to mob ilize fellow Islamists and non-Islamists. In sum, a study of discursive repertoires sh ifts the focus away from cognitive mechanisms to discursive ones, and rather than depict frames as static, emphasizes the relational a nd multivocal nature of discourse and the ongoing proce ss of meaning construction. I specifically examine each social moveme nt organizations discourse in order to juxtapose disparate organizations discursive repertoires rega rding particular issue areas. Organizational discourse in movement studies refers to the sum total of the manifestos, records of debates at meetings, actions of political demonstrations, news paper articles, slogans, speeches, posters, satirical prints statutes of associations, [and] pamphlets (Sewell 1980). Discourse studies in social movement litera ture tend to analyze texts more closely than frame analysis, and sometimes expand the focal point of analysis to in clude not only texts of interests but also the arrangement of text. For exampl e, compositional analysis examines the arrangement of text relative to other symbolic elements, which can pr ovide clues for interpre tation (Daniels 1999). In addition, this approach pays closer attention to the context within whic h the text is produced. This is important since activists may change their written or spoken words depending on the audience they are addressing. Last ly, discourse analysis can also incorporate tone, emphasis, silences and contradictions. Attent ion to silences is critical, as what is not being said (e.g., what grievances are not included in an organizations annual human ri ghts reports, or which group is excluded from we statements that indicate in-group attribution) is ju st as informative as what is being expressed. 29


Collective I dentity Formation This dissertation seeks not only to explore the construction of discursive repertoires by activists affiliated with different organizations in Turkeys human rights movement, but also seeks to examine the issue of unity among dispar ate actors, which necessa rily entails a broader discussion concerning collective identity. According to Melucci (1996, 49) collective identity fulfills important functions for a movement, such as regulating the membership of individuals and defining the requirements for membershi p, creating a collective actor and specifying its relationship to its social environment, and ensu ring the continuity of the movement over time. Resource mobilization theory and political pr ocess theory assumed an already-existing collective actor, which seeks to maximize its access to integral resources and take full advantage of political opportunity structures in order to achieve its goals. However, as Melucci has long argued, analysts must not take the empirical unity of a movement as given, but rather explain how acting together makes sense for the pa rticipants by analyzi ng the processes through which a collective becomes a colle ctive (1995, 43). Some movements need to work a bit harder at this than others. For example Morris & Braine (2001, 21) state that movements based on things like environmentalism or opposition to nucl ear weapons have to build identity, solidarity, and consciousness from the ground up because ge nerally they are not mobilizing in the context of either personal identities that have an existing subordinate m eaning in the social system or entrenched oppositional communities. The same is true of human rights move ments. Part of the reason Turkeys human rights movement was so fragmented was because it was comprised of numerous identity groups Kurdi sh nationalists, Islamists, socialists, etc. which were highlighting different human rights abuses and attempting to mobilize their own entrenched oppositional communities. 30


A m ovement or organizations collective id entity is constructe d through the framing process (construction of discursi ve repertoires) (Polletta and Jasper 2001). Collective identity, according to Polletta and Jasper is evident in organizations and move ments self-labels, collective narratives, ritu als, songs and symbols. Identity is constructed specifica lly in reference to an adversary(s) through what Gamson (1992) has called adversarial framing. That is, frames/discursive repertoires provide an us-the m framework through which collective actors and their adversaries are defined. Acco rdingly, it is important to exam ine the use of us and them in the language of othering observed in or ganizational discourses (Billig 2003, 236). External agents also have a role to play in identity-forma tion since they can reinforce or challenge identity labels. It is important to note that collective identity is related to but distinct from collective interests. Different groups may work together because they share collect ive interests; however, shared interests do not necessarily imply a co llective identity exists or will result from collaboration. Collective identity among a group of people is charac terized by a we feeling that goes deeper than a mere alignment of interests. That being said, it is ex ceedingly difficult to pry apart collective inte rests and collective identity in order to ascertain which forms the foundation of a coalition among different so cial movement organizations. My solution to this problem was to conduct participant observati on at joint functions (e.g., confer ences, demonstrations, etc.) in order to supplement my analysis of discursive repertoi res and self-labeling. This issue is further elaborated in chapter six. Clearly, identity is critically important in terms of mobilization of specific audiences and it is also intricately tied to a movements structure. A collective identity based on some type of collective action can act as the glue holding together a divers e array of individuals from 31


various in-groups within an or ganization, and sim ilarly may se rve as a link between diverse organizations within a broader movement. In c ontrast to past depictions of movements as unified, the diffuse nature of movements is increasingly highli ghted by analysts; however, this does not imply an absence of a co llective identity. For example, della Porta, et al. (2006, 28) describe social movement structure as segmented, with groups arising, mobilizing, and declining continually; it is multicentric, for the presence of multiple nodes linked horizontally and the absence of a single dominant leadership; and it is networked, with groups and individuals connected through multiple ties.13 Yet, they also contend that the diffuse nature of social movements does not preclude collect ive identity. In fact, collective identity is integral to a movements ongoing development and sustaina bility for reasons stated earlier. Collective interests, collective identity or both may link disparate or ganizations together. Tarrows work on transnational movements sugge sts that the formati on of a transnational movement is a product of two mechanisms, diffusion (the transfer of information along established lines of interaction) and brokerage (the linking of two or more unconnected social sites) (Tarrow 2005). I believe Tarrows framework can also be applied at the local level in analyzing the formation of a local social movement such as Turkeys human rights movement. In addition, Della Porta et al. modify Tarrows fram ework by arguing that broke rage is facilitated by a master frame. They claim a master frame hol ds together different se ctorial frames used by activists in various sectors of a social movement, and in doing so the master frame also facilitates the bridging of networks/organizations and a collective identity. Consequently, ideas can engender bridging and aid in the social constr uction of a collective id entity among otherwise 13 The degree to which these features are found in a specific movement may vary significantly. 32


disparate actors.14 Della Porta et al.s analysis on the ro le of ideas in movement dynamics is a welcome modification, since previous analyses merely assumed a collective identity, and stressed social conditions, participation, or the organization itself as explanatory variables in network formation rather than addressing the ro le that ideas play in network bridging. This dissertation seeks to determine whet her or not the concept of human rights facilitated network bridging and the social constr uction of a collective identity among Islamists and secularists making rights claims in Turkey. Some analysts have argued that human rights particularly has the pote ntial to initiate dialogue among divers e groups because it places limits on its adherents since it rejects exclusivist political visions that would leave out others from rights protection (Hicks 2002), and also because it is general enough to provide the cultural resources necessary to bridge ideological divisions (Keck and Sikkink 1998). Indeed, according to Cali (2007), human rights init iated a dialogue among diverse actors in Turkey, which suggests that it may have also facilitated movement integration and collective identity. My analysis goes further than Calis desc riptive account of Turkeys human rights movement by situating this empirica l reality into social movement theory in order to explain the process of dialogue and also ascertain the outco me of this dialogue, such as its impact on movement cohesion. If master fram es (discursive fields ) can have a unifying effect and form the basis for collective identity as della Porta, et al claim, then my analysis must examine whether 14 Della Porta, et al. use frame analysis. Accordingly, in arguing that master frames serve to link networks, they claim cognitive mechanisms (frames) influence rela tional mechanisms (network s) because cognitive frames alter the perception of people, fostering the identification of individuals with a movement (2006, 62). Della Porta, et al. conduct a survey among participants of the global anti-globalization movement. They distributed the surveys to a random sample of participants at various international events and demonstrations in order to gauge the degree to which individual participants shared the movements frames. Although I have argued, following Steinberg (1999), against a cognitive approach, I believe their analysis does provide valuable information in that it offers a snapshot in time regarding the level of knowledge of movement discourse among participants. However, their analysis does not inform us about the degree of frame resonance among casual participants or those activists who did not attend the demonstrations. 33


or not the hum an rights master frame (discursive fi eld) helped to bridge previously unconnected social networks/organizations (m obilizing structures) and also he lped to form the basis of a collective movement identity among diverse organizations in Turkey. I argue that once rightsbased organizations in Turkey mobilized hum an rights norms/law, this common language initiated a dialogue, which in addition to other factors specified in chapter six, had a unifying effect that facilitated broker age. Increased interaction a nd common discourses eventually generated a collective identity based on non-partisan hum an rights activism rather than ideological solidarity among in-groups. Significance and Framework of the Study I had two main objectives in conducting this rese arch. First, I sought to fill a gap in the literature on human rights in Turk ey. Most of the extant litera ture on human rights in Turkey concentrates on legal reform, and more specifically on how legal reform has been anchored in the European Union process (Arat 2007; Eral p 2006; Rumford 2003; Ca rkoglu 2004; Magnarella 1994). Consequently, the impact of human rights at the civil societal level is often eclipsed by this concentration on state and inter-state proces ses. Because of the diversity of ideological actors within the human rights movement it is an id eal site to explore the ways distinct groups in Turkeys civil society have engaged internationa l human rights norms and the effect this has had on civil society organizations. Additionally, because the human righ ts struggle began in the mid1980s, well before Turkey gained official Euro pean Union candidate status in 1999, this study illuminates the influence of European Union democracy-promotion efforts on the movement before and after Turkeys candidacy. My second main objective was to explore the manifestation of the ever-prevalent Islamsecular divide within the movement, and more specifically examine if and how rights-based organizations were reconciling their differences A focus on the transnational and local-level 34


bridging (or lack thereof) am ong secular and Islamist civil societ y organizations in a Muslim country shines a spotlight on a cr itically important issue in de bates concerning democratization in the Muslim world. Theories of democratizatio n and civil society pos it the importance of not only a robust civil society but perhaps more impo rtantly one in which there are cross-cleavage connections that facilitate interpersonal trust an d norms of reciprocity, as these greatly contribute to democratization/democracy (Putnam 2000). Clearly, the intense polarization between Islamists and secularists threatens the vitality of civil society by impedi ng the creation of crosscleavage connections believed to be a critical com ponent of a healthy democracy. While many studies emphasize the animosity between Islamist s and non-Islamists in the Muslim world, this study tells a different stor y. It presents a story of reconcilia tion and attempts to explain what generated this change. In addition to its contribution to studies of democratization in Turkey, this dissertation contributes to social movement theory by appl ying social movement theory to a non-Western context. At a more theoretical level, this study also provides an opportunity to fine-tune analytical frameworks by addressing the impact of ideational context and identity to movement dynamics. It is an improvement in that it shif ts attention from cognitive frames to ideational context by focusing on the discursive fields through which activists socially construct discursive repertoires. This a pproach is better suited to expl ore the ways cultural norms and values not only enabled but also constrained Tu rkish activists choices regarding the ways they framed their protest and the solutions they offered to ameliorate the human rights problem in Turkey. In addition, this study improves upon previous movement studies in that it addresses the way identity impacts the construc tion of discursive repertoires, the appropriation of mobilizing 35


structures, and the decision to take advantage of new politic al opportunities. For example, despite the a vailability of international a nd domestic human rights law and open political opportunity structures such as the European Court of Human Rights, Islamists were initially quite leery of taking advantage of these opportunities, or of appr opriating transnational advocacy networks rooted in Western countries. This, I beli eve, was because to do so would contradict the strong anti-Western component of their Islamist identity. Perhaps the best example of this is illustra ted in chapter five on the headscarf ban, which shows that Islamists did not initially mobilize international or do mestic rights-based law and did not frame their protest of the ban in terms of human rights and democracy. Instead they couched their protest in terms of Islamist rhetoric popular at the time, which framed the headscarf ban as a battle within a larger war between Islamists and th eir secularist detractors. Islamists also did not initially appropriate Western-based transnat ional advocacy networks. In theory, these opportunity structures were open to them, these m obilizing structures were available to them and a well-established discourse of human rights was also available. However, the pursuit of their goals through these open channels, and the appropriation of Western discourse and networks/organizations would have undermined the Islamists strong anti-Western identity. In social movement parlance, identity was a prin cipal determinant of organizational strategy, discourses available for deployment, and of potentia l allies. Even today after significant changes to Islamism in Turkey have resulted in the softening of anti-Westernism, most Turkish NGOs run by religious conservatives choose not to appl y for European Union funding despite this open window of opportunity. Lastly, this study contributes to social m ovement studies by providing a richly detailed and comprehensive analysis of the interplay between framing processes and brokerage. It also 36


explores the for mation of collec tive identity among movement pa rticipants, arguing that ideas and common discursive repertoires functioned as a centripetal force drawing disparate organizations together. A caveat is in order before moving forward. Because this study an alyzes organizational literature, it necessarily highlig hts the ideas of each organizat ions leaders and key members. Although organizational literature ostensibly reflects all member s ideas, organization leaders play a disproportionately large role in construc ting discursive repertoires, and the opinions of rank and file members may in fact be quite different from those of leaders. Particularly for organizations in which leaders do not have strong links to rank and file members, the degree of fit between leaders and members ideas remains unclear. That being sai d, even hierarchically organized organizations such as Mazlum Der and the Human Rights Association have annual general assembly meetings and numerous opportunities for rank and file members to contribute to the decision-making process, not to mention that they can vote w ith their feet, so to speak, and abandon the organization if they are deeply opposed to developments within it. Thus, one can surmise that continued membership and part icipation by rank and file members signifies approval of the decisions being made by elites within the organization. The next chapter maps out Turkeys political and intellectual landscape before and after the 1980 military coup, and provides an overview of official ideology in Turkey, which is based upon the ideas of the father of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kemal. The official ideology of the Turkish state, called Kemalism, forms the ideat ional backdrop of all public discussions in Turkey, and claims-making groups discursive repertoire s were formulated in response to and disputation of Kemalist principles. The chapter al so provides a synopsis of the conditions leading to the birth of the movement. 37


Chapters three, four and fi ve explore different organiza tions discursive repertoires concerning specific rights issues. Hum an rights activ ism in Turkey encompasses a wide range of rights. In order to gain traction in this whir lwind of discourses concerning everything from torture to Kurdish language rights to the rights of the disabled, I have divided the chapters according to the main areas of advocacy work: the death penalty, freedom from torture (chapter three); Kurdish rights (chapter four); and the ban on the Isla mic headscarf (chapter five).15 I explore specific issues because a shared master frame does not necessarily lead to an identical stance on a particular issue. In this way, I can specify points of convergence and divergence concerning a particular issue among different or ganizations, while still tending to the broader ideas about human rights philosophy th at inform stances on key issues. Each chapter consists of analyses of key human rights organizations discursive repertoires (diagnostic, prognostic and mobilization di mensions) pertaining to the specified issue. I link each organizations discursive repertoires to the broader discursive fields from which they were culled, especially those discourses emanati ng from the main audience(s) the organization is attempting to mobilize. For example, discussions among Islamist intellectuals found in Islamist publications such as proIslamic newspapers (e.g., Zaman and Yeni Safak ) are relied upon to provide the broader contours of an Islamist discursive field in Turkey from which Mazlum Der drew ideas and also contributed. Special attention is paid to br oader discourses because context and mobilization strategies greatly shape the cons truction of organizationa l repertoires, and can help illuminate why repert oires changed over time. The final chapter explores collective identity formation over the past three decades since the movements emergence. The methods used to analyze identity formati on include analysis of 15 Kurdish rights and the headscarf ban are directly linked to fr eedom of expression so this will be also be covered in these chapters, as well as chapter six, which explores collective identity-formation. 38


texts, inte rviews with activists and participan t observation at movement/organization events and activities.16 I argue that ideas concerning universal ri ghtsideas rooted in international human rights norms and also in Islamic not ions of justicehad a unifying effect on some of the disparate social groups making rights-based claims in Turkey. A movement identity gradually emerged among the movements key organizations. That is to say, ideas facilitated brokerage, and these in turn facilitated the developmen t of a collective identity. My findings suggest several factors had an in tegrative affect, contributing to both identity and movement structure, which are interrelat ed. Human rights discourse provided the building blocks for dialogue. In addition, discourses concerning civil societ y and democratization played a unifying role because they presented a transfor mation of Turkeys civil society from an overly politicized sphere of le ft-right tension to be a prerequisite for democr atic consolidation. The activists similar position as political outsiders and victims of rights violations further facilitated the construction of similarity by bridge worker s (organization leaders who worked to link together disparate groups). These factors co ntributed to identity-formation. Lastly, the institutionalization of informal ties through the cr eation of the Human Rights Joint Platform was made possible by a financial assistance offered by the Danish Human Rights Institute. The Human Rights Joint Platform is Turkeys firs t grass-roots human rights umbrella organization 16 I used primary sources in the form of pamphlets, bulletins, newsletters, annual reports and other organizational literature obtained directly from the organizations or culled from their websites. I used HRA literature dating back to 1988 and up through 2007; HRFT literature from 1991 to 2007; Mazlum Der literature from 1992 to 2007; and Helsinki literature from 1993 to 2007. I also conducted fo rmal interviews with fifty activists/individuals from the following organizations: HRA (Ankara headquarters, Istanbul, Diyarbakir); HRFT (Ankara headquarters, Istanbul, Diyarbakir); Mazlum Der (Ankara headquarters, Istanbul, Diyarbakir); Helsinki-Turkey (Istanbul headquarters); Amnesty-Turkey (Ankara headquarters, Diyarbakir working group); Human Rights Joint Platform (Ankara headquarters); Human Rights Agenda Association (Ankara headquarters); Peace Mothers (Diyarbakir); TUHAD Federation (Diyarbakir); Diyarbakir Ba r Association; Ozgur Der (Istanbul headquarters, Diyarbakir); Liberal Thought Association (Ankara headquarters); Ak Der (Istanbul headquarters); Women for Womens Human Rights/New Ways (Istanbul headquarters); Ka Der (Ankara headquarters, Istanbul); Flying Broom (Ankara headquarters); Capital City Womens Platform (Ankara headquarters); Turkish Union of Women (Ankara headquarters) ; TESEV (Istanbul headquarters); EU Commission in Turkey (Ankara headquarters); Danish Human Rights Institute (in Ankara). 39


40 and one of its stated goals is to further inte grate the movement and deepen solidarity among its constituent parts.


CHAP TER 2 THE HISTORY OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN TURKEY AND THE EMERGENCE OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS MOVEMENT Introduction Unlike political revolutions in America or Fr ance, which placed an emphasis on individual rights as the foundational concept for the development of the stat e, the founding of the Turkish state was centered on th e right of the nation to self-determination. Mudaffa-i hukuk-u milleye or defense of national rights, was used by the nationalist independe nce movement as a rallying call for Anatolians to join forces in order to ta ke advantage of Wilsons Fourteen Points, which guaranteed sovereignty to the people of Anatolia According to the statutes agreed upon during the nationalist independence movements first congress in Erzurum in 1919, the movements goal was first and foremost to defend the histor ic and national rights of the Muslim population, or millet (Zurcher 2000). The term millet was central to the discourse during this period, as it was crucial to legitimate the independence movement as one defending the Anatolian Turkish and Kurdish Muslim communitys international right to sovereignty. Nationalism was still a rather newfangled notion to the Ottoman peoples. The O ttoman Empire had been divided into religioethnic communities, or millet; hence, a Turkish nation had to be created. The urgency to establish national sovereignty and th e lack of extensive conceptualiz ations of individual rights in both Ottoman Turkey and also in global discourse precluded the emergence of a discourse of individual human rights in Turk eys independence movement. This chapter begins by providing an introducto ry overview of the hi story of human rights discourse and activism in Turkey before the emergence of the grass-roots human rights movement in the 1980s. A synopsis of the radical movements which preceded the human rights movement helps to contextualize the subsequent movements emergence and development for it was these radical movements that morphed into a human rights movement following the 1980 41


coup dtat. The last section of the chapter explains the birth of the m ovement with the creation of Turkeys largest and most resilient human rights organizati on, Human Rights Association; and expounds upon the movements subsequent development as other organizations were established. Rights in the Republican Period Following Turkeys independence in 1923, Must afa Kemal and his advisors embarked on the arduous task to craft a modern nation-state from the ruins of the empire. This entailed nation and state-building projects that would be achie ved through a radical modernization program to lift the Anatolian peoples to a point of civilization analogous to their European neighbors. Modernization, interpreted in te rms of Westernization, involved a broad social engineering plan which aimed toward the complete elimination of pa st social and political arrangements structured by Ottoman Islamic traditions.1 Accordingly, the Arabic alphabet was changed to Latin script, Ottoman style dress was banned and Western-style dress codes were enforced, and Islamic institutions such as seriat courts2, Sufi brotherhoods and the Caliphate were dismantled and outlawed. Halkevler, or public houses, were established th roughout the country to inform and indoctrinate, and thereby create the m odern Turkish nation. Similarly, the term millet with its religious connotation and Ottoman pedigree could no longer be used to classify the Anatolian people. Instead, ulus, or nation, would heretofore be used to describe the peoples of Anatolia, who now regardless of ethnicity constituted the Turkish nation. Such sweeping reforms could not possibly have been carried out within a context of individual rights, and notions of individualism remained limited under the force of nationalist 1 The drive toward Westernization was actually first implemented by the Ottomans in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries; however, the Ottoman policies never advocated such broad-ranging social engineering. 2 Shariah in Arabic, or Islamic law. 42


zeal and lon gstanding communalism. These radical reforms were legitimated by its promoters as an imperative to the development of a modern so ciety, which would benef it all Turkish citizens. In effect, the idea undergirding these efforts wa s that individual need s and rights could and should be sacrificed for the good of the nationstate, and what was good for the nation-state would be determined by a small group of stat e elites. As Yavuz (2003, 48) aptly claims, Turkeys Kemalist elite, in the tradition of French positivism came to view the state as an end in itself and society as simultaneousl y a threat and a means to enhan ce the state and its new elite. This culminated in a political culture that pr ioritized state-building over the preservation of fundamental individual right s (Cizre-Sakallioglu 1996). The strong-state tradition in Turkey was created by Turkeys founder, Mustafa Kemal, or Ataturk. Ataturk outlined his vision for the Turkish republic in his six arrows: republicanism, laicism, progressivism/re volution, populism, statism and nationalism.3 According to the Kemalist vision, the transformation of Turkey from a pre-modern, uncivilized society to a modern, civilized nation-state would occur throug h several transitions. Politically, there needed to be a transition from personal rule to impersonal rule and rule of law. This meant a shift from religious thinking to positivist a nd rational thinking, not only at th e state level but also within society. A transition was also needed in the st ructure of society, from a community founded upon an elite-mass cleavage to a populist-based community, in whic h society was depicted as a monolithic, classless entity. Lastly, and related to this, Anatolian society needed to make the transition from a religious community to a modern nation-state. These social transitions were 3 Laicism is often mistranslated into secularism; however, there are important differences between Anglo-American secularism and the French model of laicite Moreover, French laicite should be distinguished from the Turkish model. These differences and the pressing issues surro unding religious freedom that emerge from laicism are discussed at length in the chapter on the headscarf issue. Turkish laicism is a model in which organized religion is wholly subordinate to the state and any symbolic representation of religion in the public sphere, such as the Islamic headscarf, is outlawed. 43


believed to be pre-conditions for Turkey to achie ve the status of contem porary civilization, and these transitions were to be facilitated and guided by the state (Mardin 1994). That is, the Turkish state was considered to be the active ag ent in the complete restructuring of political, social, cultural and economic life. This strong-state tradition wh ich charged state elites with the daunting task of fomenting revolutionary cha nge in Anatolia was first articulated by a group of soldiers in Ottoman Turkey known as Young Tu rks, but this vision was really brought to fruition after Turkeys independence in 1923. Th e ideas espoused by radical reformers, led by Ataturk, became part of Turkeys official ideolo gy and are enshrined in its constitution (Keyman and Onis 2007, 310). The values embodied in Ataturks six arro ws guided the development of the Turkish nation-state and to ensure their execution Atatur k ruled over his one-party state as, according to some critics, a benevolent dictator. His legacy is felt everywhere in Turkey where the ubiquitous Ataturk portrait adorns almost ev ery public or private establishm ent, and points to what some observers have coined the cult of Ataturk Two arrows, nationalis m and laicism are of particular import and form the cornerstones of the Kemalist cultural re volution. Challenges to these ideas enshrined as legal principles may even today result in a prison sentence. Hence, many observers note that Kemalist authoritariani sm now stymies progress toward democratic consolidation and ironically poses an obstacle to Mustafa Kemals biggest goal: the modernization of Turkey and a firm spot in th e civilized (Western) world. For example, Yavuz (2003, 46) argues that the Kemalist worldview ha s prevented open and participatory public debate over the formation of a soci al contract, is intolerant to different identities or lifestyles, limits political participation to those who promote the Kemalist ag enda, and treats politics as a 44


m anagement issue to realize predetermined Kemalis t ends. Indeed, these are the same criticisms launched by human rights activists. While there is certainly truth behind these crit icisms, it is important to note that Kemalism has been interpreted and used differently by different people. It does not constitute a coherent or monolithic official ideology and various segments of society have interpreted Ataturks vision in rather distinctive ways, some infusing it with a dose of liberalism and others with a dose of fascism. As the people of Turkey continue to struggle with the reconciliation of Kemalisms contradictory goals, the military astutely guards the Kemalist legacy, especially in the face of its two biggest threats: Kurdish nationalism, wh ich undermines the nationalism principle, and political Islam, which challenges the laic system The most egregious human rights violations in Turkey are tied to these two issues, as Kurdish nationalists and Islamists have continually been perceived as the gravest threats to the homogenous Turkish nation and the integrity of the laic state. The 1924 constitution reflected Turkeys founding fa thers conservatism in the way of civil and political freedoms and several years after the death of Atatur k in 1932, his six arrows were enshrined in the constitution. In the interest of nation and state-building, the Grand National Assembly was endowed with unlimited power to enact and interpret laws as members of parliament saw fit. As Tuncay (1981) argues, the 1924 constitution granted some fundamental rights and freedoms, however, it did not specify the sanctions in case of their breach, and was rather susceptible to dictatorship. Nevertheless, the constitutions vague references to political and civil rights, especially in th e realm of womens rights, did establish some significant gains, if only on paper. This is true especially in the realm of wo mens status as equals, which Ataturk believed 45


was an indicator of a m odern nation. For exam ple, Turkish women were granted suffrage by 1934, well before many European countries. Notwith standing these advances, womens rights were defended not in terms of individualism, but rather, in terms of the positive effects on the nation that resulted from recognizing women as contributors to society. Women especially had a role to play as the caregivers and teachers of morality to the men who would be the nations political and economic leaders. Moreover, women freed from the dictates of religious custom were deemed an important signifier of a civilized society, an issue addressed in chapter fives analysis of the headscarf ban. In spite of the far-reaching changes that in certain legal domains elevated women to equal status with men, women largely remained extensions of their family rather than individuals under the law. Th is changed in 2002 when the government made extensive amendments to the civil code fo llowing specific demands from the womens movement in the context of Eu ropean Union Copenhagen criteria.4 By 1945 Turkey became a signatory to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This was followed by some early initiati ves by political elites to create a human rights organization, and they were part of Turkeys strategy to conform to the new international standards created by Western states and thereby further Ataturks goa l of tying Turkey firmly to the West. The first human rights organization was founded in Turkey by a constitutional law professor from Istanbul Univ ersity who was also a columnist for the right-wing Vakit newspaper. The organization, however, was stillborn. Shortly thereafter in 1946 a group of parliamentarians and bureaucrats formed a parliamentary group called the BM Insan Haklarini ve Ana Hurriyetleri Saglama ve Koruma Turk Grubu (Turkish Group for the Defense and Achievement 4 For a complete appraisal of the demands made by womens organizations and the changes made to Turkeys civil and penal codes, see Women for Womens Human Rights/New Ways report, Turkish Civil and Penal Code Reforms From a Gender Perspective: The Success of Two Nationwide Campaigns (2005). 46


of the UNs Hum an Rights and Fundamental Fr eedoms), which attempted to publish a monthly journal simply titled Human Ri ghts. However, this too was s hort-lived (Ensaroglu 2006). The same year a small group of diplomats, academics, and state elites tied to the Republican Peoples Party founded Insan Haklari ve Temel Hak ve zgrlkler Dernegi (Association for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms) In response, another group comprised of form er parliamentarians, retired generals and former ambassadors established the Insan Haklarin Koruma Cemiyeti (the Association for the Protection of Human Right s). The president of this associat ion, Independence War hero Marshall Fevzi akmak, was a religious conservative voice in opposition to the Republican Peoples Partys staunch secularism, and as a result, this second association empha sized the importance of freedom of religious expressi on. If that was not enough to je opardize the organizations legitimacy, Cakmaks questioning of Turkeys new NATO membership and his view that aligning with the Soviet Union was more adva ntageous resulted in him being branded a communist. This led to his resigna tion as president and within m onths the organization collapsed due to accusations of close relations to leftis t intelligentsia. Nevert heless, the short-lived organizations membership was unique in that it consisted of elites from leftand right-wing circles. 1960-1980: Radicals, Polarization and the Decades of Coups The Radical Left Human rights remained a topic for discussi on primarily among elit es, and human rights discourse would not be popularized for another few decades. After Turkeys experiment with multi-party politics ended with the 1960 coup, the junta appointed a committee of law professors to write a new constitution. The 1961 constitution was the most liberal in Turkeys history (Magnarella 1994) and provided new opportunities for politically excl uded groups to seek 47


inclusion in the political process.5 Along with providing a more detailed definition of political and civil rights than the previous constitution, the new constitution also legalized unionization and introduced social and economic rights. Moreove r, it granted autonomous status to radio and television stations and to the uni versities and it emphasized human ri ghts, stating that the Turkish state was based on human rights. Nevertheless, it also institutionalized the militarys role in political affairs through the creation of a Na tional Security Council (Magnarella 1994). Shortly after power was handed over to civilians in 1962, a new organization, Insan Haklari Dernegi (Human Rights Association) was estab lished. Although the significantly more liberal 1961 constitution provided new opportunities for groups to assemble, this new human rights organization had a s hort life span and collapsed the sa me year due to its inability to mobilize mass support. In sharp contrast to the unsuccessful attempt to establish a human rights organization, disaffected workers effectively expanded Turkeys labor movement, taking full advantage of the new legal opportunities as we ll as new opportunities emerging from Turkeys industrialization. According to Foweraker and Landman (1999), labor mobilization ofte n precedes the first wave of mobilization by other move ments; therefore, labor has often played a facilitative role in subsequent movements for individu al rights in many Latin American countries. This was also the case in Turkey. The newly gained right to st rike contributed to the increased political consciousness of a previously apolitical and historically submissive populace as unions mobilized workers to stage mass strikes and protests. In addition, the more liberal 1961 5 In pursuing a more liberal agenda, the military sought to achieve two contradictory goals through the new constitution: the de-politicization of society by balancing th e power wielded by elected officials with bureaucrats, including an independent judiciary, and the deepening of associational life which would also provide a counterweight to parliamentary majoritarianism (Yavuz 2006). 48


constitution allowed for more ideological de bate outside the boundaries of Kemalism and provided legal protection for the newly emerging socialist groups advocating radical change. During the 1960s the political tr ends within Turkey increasin gly followed the global trend of class politics. The appeal of socialism sw ept through the country and radicalized Turkeys youth during the 60s and 70s. However, socialism was never strongly represented in parliament and the effectiveness of far left political part ies was crippled by fr agmentation (Ahmad 1981). During the early sixties, attempts were made to bring radical change through legitimate means such as the ballot box. The largest a nd most organized socialist party, Turkiye Isci Partisi/TIP (Turkish Workers Party) was founded by an activist politician, Mehmet A li Aybar, who was one of the Turkish Human Rights Associations founde rs two decades later. The Workers Party advocated non-violent means and even won fifteen seats in parliament in 1965. However, after the partys program was reformulated to better reflect its members socialist intentions, the party lost favor with some of its previous voters and performed poorly during the next election. In addition, there were serious disagreements among le ftists regarding the be st strategy to achieve socialism, violent revolution or evolutionary peaceful change, wh ich further alienated the party from previous supporters. The Workers Party s dismal showing in the 1969 election lent credence to its critics claim that evolutiona ry change through parliamentary influence was an illusion. Accordingly, the masses were harkened to jo in the revolution as more and more radical leftists eschewed a strategy of non-violence. C ountless revolutionary orga nizations that adhered to various alternative socialist visions sp routed throughout the country. Influenced by revolutionaries such as Marx, Le nin, Stalin, Mao and Che Guevar a, these radical organizations propagated a message centered on soci al justice, redistribution of w ealth and the restructuring of 49


state and society (Cali 2007). Even to day, the image of Che Guevara is a powerful symbol of the left in Turkey. Che trinkets are a dime a dozen in Turkey and his image can be found on banners during labor demonstrations, anti-imperialism rallies and even on the bookshelf of the chairperson at a Human Rights Association branch office (its an homage to a time when I was a different type of revolutionary). Human rights were regarded by socialists in Turk ey as a means to an end rather than an end in their own right (Cali 2007). Irrespective of their particular affiliation, whether Maoist or Marxist-Leninist, these radica l groups followed Marxs denunciation of the concept of inalienable individual rights as bourgeois ideology, and they in terpreted rights as important inasmuch as they advanced the socialist project. For example, organizations such as Baris Dernegi (Peace Association) and C ag das Hukukcular Dernegi (Contemporary Lawyers Association) framed human rights within a broader socialist ideological framework in much the same way as organizations active during the la te 1960s had done. Human rights were regarded by socialists in Turkey as a means to an end ra ther than an end in th eir own right (Cali 2007). As the prioritization of workers rights was characteristic of this era, labor unions were on the front lines of battle. The most aggre ssive labor union confederation was DISK, the Turkiye Devrimci Isci Sendika lari Konfederasyonu (Turkish Confederation of Revolutionary Trade Unions), which was founded in 1967 by the same people who had previously created in 1961 the Turkiye Isci Partisi (Turkish Workers Party). Considering itself the instrument of worker unity DISK leaders worked diligently to harmonize antagonistic elements within Turkeys fragmented left. Socialist activists in DISK and elsewhere fashioned their discursive repertoires from the broader Marxist-Leninist discursive field. Cons equently, discursive re pertoires highlighting human rights were utilized as an instrument of class struggle. Follo wing Lenins adage that 50


dem ocracy and socialism are inseparable, Tu rkeys socialists emphasized the need for democracy, and DISKs charter implored Turks to act, stating that profe ssional struggle is not sufficient for attaining the full ri ghts of workers. Professional st ruggle must be complemented by political struggle, and workers must utilize a ll of the democratic ri ghts enumerated in the Constitution (Kara and Kum 1984). The call to work not only through unions but al so through other political channels and civil society organizations facilitated the growth of civil society, and attracted young idealists of all kinds who went on to become career activists of various issue areas, particularly human rights and womens rights. Indeed, almost every organi zation leader I interviewed from approximately two dozen civil society organizations pointed to th eir activities in this era as their initial foray into political life. However, the spread of revol utionary fervor in Turkey during this period and the concomitant anti-imperialism associated with emancipation meant that from a mobilization perspective a human rights centered discourse was unnecessary and unappealing. Given the widespread support for aggressive tactics among Turkeys politically ac tive youth, human rights activism based on non-violence was regarded as t oo soft a strategy when what was needed was radical change achieved through force. A rights-based movement was emerging but it was firmly placed within the broader socialist agenda. Human rights were regarded as a means to an e nd rather than an end in their own right (Cali 2007). Irrespective of their par ticular affiliation, whet her Maoist or MarxistLeninist, these radical groups followed Marxs denunciation of the concept of inalienable individual rights as bourgeois ideo logy, and they interpre ted rights as important inasmuch as they advanced the socialist project. For example, organizations such as Baris Dernegi (Peace Association) and C ag das Hukukcular Dernegi (Contemporary Lawyers Association) framed 51


hum an rights within a broader socialist ideologi cal framework and carried out advocacy work to support various factions of the radical left. When human rights were explicit ly mentioned by radical leftists they more often than not concerned the collectivist rights of the working class rather than the individual. For example, the DISK federation organized rallies and strikes in cluding two demonstrations held in Istanbul and Izmir in September 1975 for the Struggle for Human Rights and Freedoms, which framed workers rights as human rights. At its general assembly held that same year DISK leaders adopted a series of important resolutions on wo mens rights, universal holiday on Saturdays, democratization of the labor code, recognition of th e right to general, solidarity and similar strike forms, banning of lockouts, trade union rights for civil servants, re-re gulation of industrial branches, etc. The congress stressed the importan ce of closer relations with the international trade union movement, and part icularly the unions of Third World countries (Kara and Kum 1984). It is easy to lose sight of the in dividual in this rights discours e, as it is characterized by its orientation toward groups of workers ostensibly made homogenous through their subjugation under the capitalist system Social and economic rights, such as the right to employment and unionization, were stressed as chiefly important a nd political rights were vital inasmuch as rights to press and association were necessary to disse minate socialist ideas and thereby raise worker consciousness. The discourses emerging from un ions and student groups promoting socialism clearly followed as their point of reference the global socialist di scourses of the day in their emphasis on positive rights, which are associated with collectivism, over negative rights, which are based on the belief that rights are observed not through the ac tions of the state but rather through the absence of the states in terference with individual choices. 52


Despite the gaps in the radica l lefts rights discourse, thes e groups tended to be the most vocal defenders of rights in Turkey. Indeed, dur ing this period, hum an rights were generally dealt with only in the far lefts discourse and even then tended to be a marginal issue. The lack of attention to human rights by politic al actors other than radical leftists resulted in a widespread perception in Turkey that human rights was th e purview of the radical left, and demanding human rights was seen as a propaganda weapon for communists and enemies of the state (Plagemann 2000, 434). This perception has had importa nt consequences in the subsequent cycle of human rights advocacy following the 1980 coup. Revolutionary organizations, such as the notorious Devrimci Sol (Revolutionary Left) introduced much civil unrest to Turkey and greatly contributed to the instability that led to both the 1971 and 1980 coups. To complicate matters furthe r, because mainstream parties refused to entertain their calls for justice, Kurdish youth appr opriated radical leftist mobilizing structures to disseminate their demands for the recognition of Kurdish identity. For example, the Kurds in the Turkish Workers Party convinced its leaders to publicly address the Kurdish issuea move that worked to further marginalize the party. Th e party was closed after the 1971 coup for propagating communist propaganda and advocating autonomy for Kurds. Despite the obstacles, including frequent closures, radical leftist part ies and organizations continued their struggle until the 1980 coup. The Radical Right With regard to the conservative right during the 1960 and 70s, human rights were even less relevant, as Islam provided a route to social ju stice and an escape from both Western bourgeois notions of rights and godless communism (Ca li 2007). Moreover, there was no public debate concerning Islam and human rights until well in to the 1980s (Plagemann 2000). Human rights were deemed a Western political construct th at was not only unsuccessful at eradicating 53


injustice, evidenced by the double standards and bi gotries in Western coun tries, but w as also inherently inadequate due its s ecular roots. Islamic sacred texts were believed to provide a divinely-inspired comprehensive guide for individual rights and res ponsibilities and are beyond the realm of politics. The Islami c discourses during this period addressed so cial and political issues from an Islamic perspec tive rather than strictly emphasi zing religion or religious issues, and class politics were approached from a perspec tive advocating an Islamic solution that was ideologically situated between socialism and neo-liberalism but which bore the imprint of Kemalist inspired state capitalism. At the center of Islamist discourses was an anti-Russian Turkish nationalism and, similar to the radical leftists, a fiery di scourse of anti-imperialism. Outrage over the silencing of Muslims during the Republican era by state elites provided the impetus for Muslim communities to assert a place for themselves on the political stage. The 60s and 70s saw three trends deve lop: 1) the diffusion of ideas emanating from the larger Arab and Muslim worlds, especially the Muslim Brot herhood in Egypt and Syria, in which Islam was seen as a unique and all-encomp assing ideology that rejected nati onalism, 2) the Islamization of the Turkish nationalist movement and 3) the nationalization of Islamic movements (Yavuz 2003b). Sufi tarikat, or brotherhoods, had been outlawed af ter the creation of the secular Turkish state and as a result went underground; however, they increasingly began to surface and to take on a more political character during this peri od. Individuals affiliated with various Sufi brotherhoods, particularly the Naksibendi order, has proactively been reformulating the hegemonic Republican discourse to promote Islamic goals since th e 1950s. By the late 1960s key figures began to articulate a modernist politic al Islam. For example, a key figure among conservatives in Turkey, Fethullah Gulen, steered clear of formal party po litics but encouraged a 54


social Is lam that emphasized the establishment of a moral society based on peace and family harmony, and that encouraged the creation of civil society organiza tions. Gulenist summer camps, schools, student dormitori es and publishing enterprises, et c. are spread throughout the country even today. 6 Although he and his followers have been known to have ties to some center-right parties, th e Gulen movement generally espoused then and now an inward-looking Islam that does not focus it efforts on attempting to radically transform the Turkish state (Yavuz 2003a). In recent years, the Gulen movement ha s increasingly appropriated human rights and democratization rhetoric which are fu sed with its inward-looking Islam. Other Islamists such as Professor Necmettin Erbakan basked in the political spotlight. Erbakan was the central figure of the political Islam movement and established Turkeys first Islamic party in 1970. The Milli Nizam (National Order) party was closed in 1971 due to the coup but reappeared in 1973 under the name Milli Selamet Partisi (National Salvation Party). These were the first parties in a chain of Islami st parties that span from 1970 to the present.7 Erbakan has wielded immense influence and was Turkeys first Islamist prime minister for a short stint in 1996-7, after which he was forced to resign for pur portedly threatening the secular state in what is widely called the February 28th Process. Mazlum Der, Turkeys largest and most influential human rights organization with a religious membership profile was created by individuals affiliated with Erbakans Nati onal Outlook movement, an issue that will subsequently be addressed. Debates concerning religion and the state, and personal piety in the public sphere have 6 Gulenists have also opened over a hundred Turkish schools in the developing world, especially in Central Asia and Africa. Gulen is also the owner of the Zaman publishing giant, which publishes dailies in Turkish and English. Gulen has been regarded by various news magazines as one of the most influential Muslim thinkers in the world. 7 Erbakans parties include Milli Nizam, Milli Selamet, Refah, Fazilet, and the present-day Saadet. Each of these, except Saadet, has been closed and banned due to its purported threat to the secular state. 55


been at the center of various strains of bot h the political and soci al Islam ic movements discourses. However, the social and political Islamisms differ in the methods utilized to erect a moral order in Turkey, with Gulenist-style soci al Islam generally encouraging personal piety rather than the capture of the state. Neverthele ss, it is sometimes difficult to gauge whether the social and political Islamic movements differ great ly in their vision to Islamize not only Turkish society but also the state. This is mainly due to the diffuse nature of the Gulen movement, which is actually a conglomeration of similar yet dis tinct networks. Where Erbakans political Islam and Gulens so cial Islam meet is their spirited Turkish nationalism. In fact, Turkish nationalism punctuates in some way the discourse of every wing of every ideological movement in Tu rkey since it is at the center of Kemalist official ideology. One of the primary goals of Turkeys modernizers wa s to eliminate the backward Islamic identity and replace it with a modern secularist Turkis h nationalist identity. That lofty goal was never fully achieved, although modernization theorist s (Lerner 1954, Lewis 1961) purported otherwise until a new generation of scholars (Mardin 198 2; Gole 1996; White 2002; Yavuz 2003; Yavuz and Esposito 2003) offered a more nuanced analysis of Islam in Turkey. What emerged from the Ottoman Islamic legacy and the Kemalist Turkish nationalist project is a complex relationship between nationalism and Islam, one which has had a profound impact on the way Islamists view the Kurdish question, discussed in chapter four. The relationship between Turkish Islam and Turkish ultra-nationalism must be understood in the context of the Cold War. The surge in socialism/communism throughout the country constituted a real threat in the eyes of some, and similar to other parts of the Muslim world, Islam provided a natural antidote to communism. Consequently, more and more Islamist leaders began to infuse their Islamism with Turkis h nationalism. For example, by the 1969 national 56


election, Erbakans National Order Party cam paign slogan was to creat e a nationalist and sacredist Turkey. According to Yavuz (2003a, 181-84), Gulen initially wished to maintain distance between his community of followers and the increasi ngly more politicized Islamic movement, was compelled in the polarized political climate of the Cold War to espouse a more anticommunist and ultra-nationalist rhetoric. For example, Gulen a nd other individuals associated with the Sufi Nurcu movement became involved in the Turkiye Kominizmle Mucadele Dernekleri (Turkish Association for Struggle Agai nst Communism) (Yavuz 2003b, 22). Houston (2001) contends that Gulens Turkish nationalism is so pronounced today that some of his more nationalist statements are indistinguishable from those of Ataturk and other Kemalist elites. Conversely, the Turkish ultra-na tionalist National Action Party (NAP) began to appropriate Islamic symbols to mobilize voters and by the 1970s Islam had found a prominent position within the contours of Turkish ultra-nationalist identity, which had formerly been dominated by Kemalist (secularist) interpretations of Turk ish nationalism. Although ce rtain left-wing groups maintained a secularist Turkish nationalism, an ultra-nationalist, or ulkucu (translated as idealist) identity which drew on Turkish nationalism and Islam became rooted in the Turkish political landscape. Although in subsequent years the ultra-na tionalist National Action Partys emphasis oscillated between secular and Islamist Turkis h nationalism and it became highly critical of Islamist parties, it nevertheless appropriated Islamic symbols and discourse in its anti-communist statements. For instance, in the words of one of the ulkucus most influential figures during the 1970s, Turkish nationalism meant the Turkish-I slamic ideal and their guiding principle was Turkishness is our body, Islam is our soul (Ce tinsaya 1999). These idealis ts established a civil society organization in 1970 to compliment the activities of the National Action Party. The 57


Aydinlar Ocagi, or Intellectuals Hearth, further strengthened the tie between Islam and Turkish nationalism. Its doctrine, the Turk ish-Islamic Synthesis, had its roots in the Ottoman Tanzimat period. However, the synthesis was more c oncretely recorded in a publication later institutionalized by the 1980 coup leaders in order to deal the last blow to the communist threat in Turkey. The Turkish-Islamic Synthesis is based on the belief that, Turkishness and Islam cannot be split from each other; cannot be thought separately; and cannot be listed in order of priority. However, this group was distinct from Islamists in its firm stance on maintaining the status quo rather than attempting to radically transform the Turkish state into a theocratic one. Indeed, according to the Turkish-Islamic Synthesi s, Turkey will remain religious but will never be a theocracy (Cetinsaya 1999, 16). The Turkish -Islamic synthesis has had a significant impact not only among radical Turkish nationalists. Linked to Ataturks vision of national homogeneity, the Turkish-Islamic synthesis has shaped the contours of discussions in Turkey regarding Kurdish nationalism and cultural and lingui stic rights for ethnic Kurds. Although the ultra-nationalist NAP denied formal ties, a militant right-wing youth organizations called the Grey Wolves advocated eliminating the communist threat by any means necessary. The ulkucu Grey Wolves were responsible for countless terrorist attacks against anyone associated with leftist politics, even those who did not promote socialism per se. Grey Wolves members were said to occupy key positions within the state and especially the security forces. According to the word on the street, the Grey Wolves and other shadowy networks constitute what is known in Turkey as derin devlet, or deep state. The deep state is prominent focal point of political discourses in Turkey. The d eep state is said to be the contra-guerilla or gladio forces within the state apparatus that we re allegedly set up by the CIA in order to eliminate the communist threat. The deep state ha s been implicated by various groups in almost 58


every m ajor violent act over the past decades. For leftists, the deep state is a right-wing entity, whereas Islamists regard it as a left-wing entity. Human rights activists have especially blamed the deep state for myriad controversies and calamities, and continue to do so even today.8 The war of words between those on th e far right who spoke out against the revolutionary left reveals the enmity between the two groups during this period. Politi cal newspapers filled newspaper stands. In the view of religious conservatives such as the Nur and Gulen communities and also secular ultra-nationalists communism was an alien force that would be purged from the fatherland by building a common front. For example, in Bu Vatana Kastedenler (Those Who Intend to Undermine This Country) published in 1976, Ali Elverdi cl aims the communist threat strikes at the heart of our Turkishness, our re ligion, our customs, our history, our family life, our honor and our nationalism (quoted in Kafadar 1981). Anti-communists disseminated and reinforced a long-held view in Turkey that Russia has desired to capture Tu rkey since the days of Peter the Great; and consequently all resource s must be summoned in order to counter the ideology propagated by the Soviets (Kafadar 1981). There is an important commonality between the three most influential ideological movements in modern Turkish history: Kemalism, socialism and Islamism.9 In much the same way that the group, in the form of the nation, is prioritized by Kemalist thinkers, under Marxism the working classs needs are prioritized. Si milarly, as Arat (1998, 127) explains, both 8 Although the deep state is regarded by all critics to be Turkish ultra-nationalist an d anti-democratic, different groups have attributed to it other distinct and contradictor y characteristics. Islamists claim the deep state is militantly secularist while leftists (secularists) claim the deep state is Islamist. The deep state wa s most recently been blamed for the Semdinli incidents in 2006 and Armenian human rights activist Hrant Dinks assassination in 2007. In 2008, after I had already returned from fiel dwork in Turkey, knowledg e of the Ergenekon gang surfaced in Turkey. Alas, the deep state was infiltrated. Figures associated with the Ergenekon terrorist network (the deep state), included retired military officers, journalists, judges and politicians (almost 100 individuals thus far), all of whom are currently on trial. The si gnificance of the Ergenekon trial for Turkeys citizens and the implications of the trial for Turkeys democratic development cannot be overstated. It is the most important trial in the history of the republic. 9 There are variants to each of these ideologies. None represents a fixed, cohere nt system of meaning. 59


[Ke malism and Islamism] have a transcendental conception of society and see themselves as responsible for transforming the polity in the wa y they think the ideal society should be. A unitary solidarist conception of the polity preva ils in both the Kemalist and Islamist discourses Liberal individualism is replaced by an ethos of militant solidarism and elitist transcendentalism. Hence, when taking a st ep back to examine the broad ideological movements that have vied for loyalty in Turkey, we find three movements that despite their vast differences are nonetheless all characterized by radical communitarianism and the totalitarian belief that it holds a monopoly on truth. This explains why propone nts of these ideologies were so vehemently opposed to each other and justified th e use of force to defeat competing interests. Liberal individualism as a moral good in itself on ly existed within the more liberal factions of each of these three ideological movements, which were historically marginal. Nevertheless, socialists and Kemalists have utilized human rights rhetoric as a tool to advance their respective projects. For example, Kemalist elites then and now extol the virtues of human rights and democracy, as these are signs of a civilized nation, and state el ites have made cosmetic legal changes in order to impress their Western alli es. Socialists, as mentioned earlier, employed human rights and democracy rhetoric as a means to achieve socialism. In contrast, Islamists did not use the language of human right s to advance their political agenda during this period. Th ey did, however, point to gaps and contradictions within international human rights norms to bolster their claims that Western notio ns of human rights are incomplete and only Islam provides universal justice. Moreover, like radical leftists, they pointed to the contradictory foreign policies of the We st to argue that human rights were merely a convenient mechanism for imperial intervention in sovereign states. Anti-Western claims such as these illustrate the language of othering in whic h the West is lucidly presented as foe and its 60


claim s to justice branded as lies. This anti-Wes tern component of Islamist identity effectively blocked the use of human rights and democracy discourses duri ng this period, although this began to change during the 1990s. In short, the global socialist/communist and Is lamist discourses prev alent during the 1970s provided Turkeys disaffected masses with th e language to express collective grievances. However, discourse constrains even as it enab les since it bounds the ways in which social, political and economic conditions are made in telligible and acted upon. Consequently, while socialist and Islamist discourses provided the language to articulate grievances they also barred the development of a more liberal-individualist ethos. Moreover, the radical communtarianism of these movements discourses solidified each groups exclusivist collective identity. The proclivity towards strong communitarianis m can be traced back to the Ottoman millet system. For example, according to Mardin (1978, 233), one of the key factors that contributed to the development of severe polarization during this period was the inadequacy of the system of education to inculcate values that would facilitate inter-group relations to replace the Ottoman legacy of a segmented society. In fact, he goes on to say that the Republican education system indoctrinated students to be priggis h little ideologues by the fifth grade.10 This argument is also propagated by a slew of human rights activists today. Had the animosity between radical left and ri ght-wing movements in Turkey merely been expressed through words, perhaps civil unrest would not have reached distressing levels. However, the war of words was only one dimens ion of the severe polarization. According to Yavuz (2003a, 62), the main goal of Islamists be came fighting against leftist forces. The same was true of the radical left whose members we re known to attack peopl e wearing Islamic attire 10 The other factors that contributed to a polarized society were rapid urbanization, which led to major cultural dislocation and the new configurations on the left. See Mardin (1978). 61


(beard or skull cap). The ideologi cal rivalry during the 1970s was so intense at both societal and politica l levels that militant factio ns within the radical left and ri ght frequently carried out attacks against one another, resulting in widespread violence. Thousands lo st their lives in the crossfire as the decade came to an end. During this tumultuous period, various Turkish and international voices joined forces to criticize the increasing number of labor union activists bei ng tried under Articles 141 and 142. The support given to radical leftists by internat ional actors worked to reinforce Islamists position that the West was biased. Amnesty International began to publish annual reports on Turkey beginning in 1974 was radical leftists in Turkey enjoyed interpersonal links with Amnesty activists in Europe. The Council of Eu rope, of which Turkey is a founding member, was particularly interested in political developments and in 1 978 it partnered w ith the Istanbul Bar Association to organize a human rights meeti ng held in Istanbul. The participants called on the Turkish parliament to abolish certain articl es, as they were clear contradictions to the European Convention on Human Rights, and also called on Turkey to recognize the right of individual petition to the ECHR and the jurisdiction of the Eu ropean Court of Human Rights (Aksoy 2003). The demands by the meetings part icipants, however, were ignored and state repression of dissent continued unabated as political violence spiral ed out of control culminating in the 1980 military coup. In sum, the politics of the 1960s and 70s we re shaped by extreme polarization and the confrontation of leftand right -wing anti-system movements whos e radicalized youth took to the streets in violent protest. Ma ssacres, martial law and overall ch aos characterized the 1970s in Turkey. During this period, particular social divisions crystallize d. Kurdish nationalists appropriated radical left-wing mobilizing structures, just as Turkish ultra-nationalists 62


appropriated Islam ist mobilizing structures. Alevi Muslims (akin to Shia) sided with leftists and fought against right-wing Sunni Muslims. Although there were varying degrees of overlap among groups embedded in this complex web of inte rgroup relations, the lin es of division tended to be drawn as follows: radical leftists/Kurdish nationalists/Alevi Muslims were loosely connected to each other and defined themselves in opposition to loosely connected radical Islamists/Turkish nationalists/Sunn i Muslims. Furthermore, these two amorphous collections of movements in turn defined themselves in oppositi on to the authoritarian Kemalist state. These social cleavages endured after the 1980 coup a nd were manifested within the human rights movement that emerged during this period, with the Human Rights Associ ation representing the first camp (left/Kurd/Alevi) and Mazl um Der representing the second camp (Islamist/Turk/Sunni). The 1980 Coup and its Aftereffects: Transnational Advocacy Networks On Friday September 12, 1980 shortly after midnight the military seized power from the civilian government, an action th at enjoyed initial support from the majority of citizens who wanted an end to the political violence on the streets and the political stalemate between the parties in parliament whose impotence was ma king matters worse. The generals dissolved parliament and erected a sixman National Security Council.11 The constitution was suspended, 11 The National Security Council maintained extensive power even after authority was formally transferred to a civilian government in 1983. Article 118 of 1982 Constitution reads, The Council of Ministers shall give priority consideration to the decisions of the National Security Co uncil concerning measures th at it deems necessary for the preservation of the existence and independence of the State, the integrity of th e country, and the peace and security of society The generals cunning in securitizing countless domes tic issues over the next two decades resulted in far-reaching military power over subsequent civilian go vernments. Only the influence of the European Union membership process could formally limit the power enjoyed by the Council and also by the state security courts that tried civilians under courts administered by military and civil judges. The Article was amended on October 17, 2001 in line with Copenhagen Criteria to read, The National Security Council shall submit to the Council of Ministers its views on the advisory decisions that are taken and ensuring the necessary coordination with regard to the formulation, establishment, and implementation of the natio nal security policy of the state. The Council of Ministers shall evaluate decisions of the National Security Council In addition, the Council members would heretofore be composed of more civilian than military members. Despite th is change to the Council, which transformed it into just an advisory group whose suggestions do not need to be given top priority, the military continues to exert influence 63


m artial law, which had already been in place in some provinces, was extended to the entire country, and political parties and civil soci ety organizations were banned, especially organizations associated with radical leftwing politics. The military junta explicitly blamed the dissolution of the country on the extensive rights granted in the liberal 1961 constitution, which had been exploited by groups within civil societ y and had led to polarization and the decay of state authority. The chief architect of the coup, General Evren, stated that although individuals have rights, the state itself has cer tain rights and obligations as far as its continuity and future is concerned. Accordingly, individu al freedoms can be protected to the extent that the will and sovereignty of the state are maintained. (H eper 1985, 131). Although the 1982 Constitution, which is still used today, includes fundamental ri ghts pertaining to assembly, press, expression, religion and so on, Article 5 sums up the general tone of the 1982 constitution, The fundamental aims and duties of the State are: to safeguard the independence and integrity of the Turkish Nation, the indivisibil ity of the country. 12 The duty of state elites is to uphold Ataturks principles especially in the f ace of challengers such as Islamists and ethnic Kurds who pose a direct threat to the integrity and indivisibility of the nation-state. It is this legal document which shapes all claims-making groups disc ursive repertoires in Turkey. Given the states inability to eradicate revolutionary leftist activity through the 1971 coup, the military regime exerted full force against le ft-wing activists after the 1980 coup, resulting in unprecedented levels of state violence. Torture, which had already been deemed a problem by Amnesty International before the coup, increa sed exponentially and became widespread and systematic. According to a 1998 Milliyet newspaper article, following the coup, an estimated through informal mechanisms, even as recently as the infamous e-memorandum posted on its website on April 27, 2007 in order to derail the presidential election. 12 For a complete copy of the constitution see Turkeys official government website at http://www.tbmm.gov.tr/a na yasa/constitution.htm 64


650,000 people were arrested (prim a rily alleged radical leftists ); 1,683,000 cases were prepared; 517 people were sentenced to death; 49 of them were executed; and 30,000 people were fired from their jobs on account of their political vi ews (Paul 1981). This was before the Kurdish insurgency, which began in 1984 and resulted in even worse human rights atrocities. The atrocities generated a grea t deal of attention in Eur ope, and transnational advocacy networks shifted into high gear as individuals worked through various NGOs and IGOs to apply an unprecedented amount of pressure on the Turkish state. According to Keck and Sikkink (1998), transnational advocacy networks f unction by employing information politics (providing information) and l everage politics (calling on a stronger actors assistance). Moreover, TANs employ symbolic politics (f raming) and accountability politics in their quest to engender change. The Turkish case supports this, and the TAN challenging Turkey used information culled from local activists reports and eyewitness accounts. In turn, resource-poor local actors called on stronger INGOs, such as Am nesty International, which in turn called on stronger IGOs, such as the Council of Europe to directly apply pressure to the Turkish government. Trials at state security courts of radical left-wing groups such as the DISK labor union and the Peace Association attracted a great deal of international attention. For example, Amnesty International, the principal NGO monitoring and pre ssuring Turkey at this time, sent delegations in January and August 1982 and April 1983 to attend the trials of members of DISK, the Peace Association and the Labor Party of Kurdistan (Human Rights Violations 1983, 279-280). As stated earlier, Amnesty had been pressuri ng Turkey since the 1970s. During that time it supported left-wing political pris oners by demanding the abolition of Penal Code Articles 141 and 142, which prohibited forming organizations aimed at establishing the domination of a 65


social class over other s ocial classes and making communist propaganda and/or praising communism (Aksoy 2003, 57).13 Amnesty also called for an end to the ill-treatment of prisoners and the eradication of the d eath penalty. The organizations presence in Turkey and the connection between some Turkish leftist intellectuals within Amnesty was evident in the 1970s with the election in 1974 of a Turkish citize n, Mumtaz Sosyal, to Amnestys International Executive Committee. Sosyal was the first ever former prisoner of conscience elected to Amnestys IEC. By 1978, Sosyal and several of his radical leftist colleagues established an Amnesty group in Turkey (Ensaroglu 2006).14 However, according to Amnestys bylaws, country chapters are prohibited from carrying out activities that ta rget their respective countries. Consequently, Turkeys Amnesty group was unable to directly tackle Turkeys human rights violations. The group dissolved by the time of the coup. Nevertheless, Amnesty Internationals atte ntion to Turkey is almost unparalleled. According to Ronand, et al. (2005, 568), Amne sty published more human right reports on Turkey than any other country in the period from 1986 to 2000. In addition, Turkey is ranked third (tied with Indonesia/East Timor) for the number of press releases submitted by AI, falling behind the USA and Israel (Ronand, et. al 2005, 568). Following the 1980 coup, Amnesty placed greater emphasis on the issue of torture. Given the dearth of domestic watchdog groups and the clampdown on journalists, Amnestys re ports were heavily relied upon by European officials. For example, in April 1981, the Politi cal Affairs Committee of the Council of Europes Parliamentary Assembly invited Amnesty to addr ess the Assembly. European institutions would 13 The Turkish penal code established during the republic s early years was taken from Mussolinis Italian penal code. Although a new constitution was created after the 1960 coup, these articles and others were not abolished even after the 1961 constitution was put into practice. 14 This Amnesty-Turkey group differs from the new Amne sty-Turkey group that was established informally in Turkey in the mid-1990s and given official status in 2002 (Amnesty-Turkey leader, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, February 12, 2007). 66


continue to rely on Am nesty reports. In response, Turkish officials worked diligently to tarnish Amnestys reputation. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) was Turkeys harshest international critic outside the NGO community dur ing the 1980s. Turkish pa rticipation in PACE meetings was suspended from 1981 to 1984 due to the military coup and the concomitant human rights abuses that followed. PACE was also de eply involved in monitoring conditions in the post-coup environment, and like Amnesty conducted a fact-finding mission to Istanbul and Ankara to observe the DISK and Peace Associations trails on January 7-14th in 1982. A week later, on January 22nd the European Parliament joined Tu rkeys critics and issued a stronglyworded resolution to the European Commissi on and the Council of Europe to suspend the Communitys financial aid to Turkey (Aks oy 2003, 126). Moreover, five members of the Council of Europe (France, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and The Netherlands) submitted applications to the European Commission of Huma n Rights alleging major violations of several of ECHRs articles. Interestingly, the juntas response to the fier ce criticism, unlike other initial responses from human rights abusing states, was not to deny charges of torture and abuse outright, but rather to assure the international community that it woul d investigate these alle gations of what were certainly only sporadic case s of mistreatment (Aksoy 2003).15 Of course, the promises made to conduct serious investigations were made to si destep further dialogue between Turkey and its many international and domestic critics, and the regime had to increasingly evade inquiries and 15 While European powers were in fact Turkeys harshest cr itics, it must be mentioned that overall, because of its geo-strategic importance in the context of the Cold War, many observers have noted that pressure on Turkey, either by the US or Europe, was grossly inadequate given the wide-ranging scale of abuse. One bitter journalist wrote a scathing assessment of the coverage in the Western press, which he argued relied on sugarcoated statements by diplomats stationed in Ankara. See Barchard (1984). See also the un-authored, Turkish Regime Pursues Journalists in MERIP s edition on Turkey Under Military Rule (Mar-Apr 1984); and Amnesty International Turkey Reports 1980-1985. 67


allegations em erging from the overwhelming evid ence that abuse was not sporadic but rather was widespread and systematic. External pressure from the transnational a dvocacy network comprised of NGOs such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, a nd the International Comm ission of Jurists and also IGOs such as the Council of Europe, all em phasized Turkeys obliga tions to comply with ECHR human rights standards. Turkeys membership in ke y European inter-governmental organizations whose members are required to uphol d a set standard of human rights provided the Europeans with a great incentive and legal standing from which to base their criticisms and monitor activities. Given the robus t nature of human rights law and the presence of enforcement mechanisms, it is no coincidence that the Council of Europe was one of the first institutions informed of the coup, and that Tu rkeys generals deliberately i nvoked Article 15 of the ECHR as justification for the coup.16 The European face of these external forces was in part a consequence of Americas tacit approval of the curtailment of the communist threat in its NATO ally even if by military coup. Europe has been a much harsher critic than the US, which has primarily used gentle hand-slapping policies and vague rhetoric. 17 As a result of Turkeys integration into Europ ean international institutions and treaties, the inter-state dialogue between Turkeys political elites and their Eur opean counterparts was couched in terms of Europe-bas ed international human rights law, which set the discursive 16 Article 15 allows member states to suspend civil and political rights in times of war and other dire public emergencies, with the exceptions of the right to life, freedom from torture or degrading or inhuman treatment, freedom from slavery or servitude and protection against retroactivity of the criminal law. 17 Although American encouragement for the coup is debated, it does appe ar likely that the US was at least aware of the generals concerns and plans. One of the junta members visited Washington on September 3, 1980, only days before the coup and NATO military exer cises were scheduled to begin a few da ys later. In addition, General Evren was a Korean War veteran, pro-West and anti-Communist, and perhaps even more importantly, he was an avid supporter of austerity measures. (Pau l 1981). Incidentally, because the M ilitary Mutual Assistance Association (OYAK) was intimately connected to Turkish and interna tional economies because of its investments in various industries, its interests extended into labor law, trade unionism, monetary policy, and so on (Magnarella 1994), which may suggest an economic incentive to carry out a coup. 68


foundations for claim s-making groups in Turkey Most Islamists, however, did not engage international human rights norms until the 1990s. The influence of European institutional mechanisms, such the European Convention on Hu man Rights, on developments in Turkey can not be overstated.18 Nevertheless, the liberal, individua l model of rights enshrined in the Convention clashes with the ha rd-communitarian Kemalist mode l of civic nationalism and restrained the speed of compliance (Smith 2007, 264) The liberal model of individual rights also clashed with the hard-co mmunitarian elements in socialism and Islamism. The Emergence of the Human Rights Movement The Human Rights Association A return to civilian government in 1983 did not result in the significant changes promised by state elites, and the transna tional advocacy network continued to apply pressure on Turkeys political elites. The domestic se gment of the transnational advocacy network pressuring Turkey included various domestic organizations, such as the Istanbul and Izmir Bar Associations as well as individual lawyers, artists and intellectuals formally unaffiliated with any organization. However, the international forces within this network certainly played a leading role over the domestic forces, which were limited in size and scope of their activities. This was primarily a consequence of the extensive detainment and imprisonment of the states fiercest domestic critics. In addition, so efficiently controlled [was] the flow of information in Turkey that the public was largely kept in the dark concerning the more egregious violations as well as the occurrences of dissent in the form of hunger strikes and civil disobedience (Barchard 1984). The political climate and the legal measures taken by the military regime to not only outlaw all leftist 18 As compared to the United Nations human rights regime which lacks a mechanism fo r enforcement, the ECHR has been regarded as the most effective and advanced human rights regime in the world. In fact, the ECHR analyzed the effect of its rulings on 18 member states between 1960 and 1994 and found that these resulted in legislative, administrative, judici al, or constitutional reforms about 80% of the time. See Smith (2007). 69


organizations but also to estab lish leg al obstacles to the creati on of any civil organizations via the new Law of Associations e ffectively impeded the opportunity for legal collective action. As one observer noted after his visit in 1987, the headlines of the 1982 Constitution mouth a democratic discourse, while the small print lock s civil society in a vi ce of authoritarian discipline (Mepham 1987). Legal impediments were not the only obstacl es to organized collective action during the early 1980s. The historical fragmentation within Turkeys radical left also inhibited mass collective action during the years following th e coup. Nevertheless, the unrelenting state repression eventually worked as an impetus to bring the crippled and fragmented left together as attempts were made during the mid-1980s to establish formal organizations that could challenge state abuse. For example, in 1986, Tutuklu ve Hkml Aileleri Dayanisma Dernegi (Solidarity Association of the Families of the Detained and Imprisoned, TAYA D) was founded to assist leftwing political prisoners. TAYAD concentrated its efforts on supporti ng the defendants and prisoners associated with Devrimci Sol (Revolutionary Left) military trials. TAYAD, however, was unabashedly revolutionary and supported the political aims of the imprisoned militants. Consequently, it faced intense pressure from th e state and experienced an arson attack on its office in 1988. TAYAD was even isolated within leftist circles, and it rejected the campaign created by the Human Rights Association for a general amnesty (Plagemann 2000, 435). The organization was finally banned following a polic e raid in1990, although it continued its mission under various different names.19 Other organizations, including Haklar ve zgrlkler Dernegi (Association for Rights and 19 TAYAD underwent several name changes but has manage d to survive on the fringes, forming an alliance with other marginal socialist organizations in 2005 under the name Temel Halklar Federasyonu (Basic Rights Federation). See http://istanbul.indymedia.org/print.php?id=50974. 70


Freedom s) and Devrimci Tutsaklarla Dayanisma Platformu (Platform of Solidarity for the Revolutionary Prisoners), also em phasized their solidarity with the revolutionary le ftist political prisoners and did not frame their struggle in term s of universal human rights. As a consequence of their solidarity with not only the radical leftist prisoners but also with their cause, these types of organizations were primary targets of the st ate and most were closed shortly after their creation (Plagemann 2000; Cali 2007). Insan Haklari Dernegi (Human Rights Association/HRA), founded on July 17, 1986, was the first grass-roots organization to frame its organizational missi on in terms of universal human rights. This decision, however, came after months of intense debate among prisoners relatives, their attorneys and left-leaning intellectuals.20 The organization was initially intended to be a prisoner solidarity association, as the idea to create an organizati on was first proposed by prisoners lawyers and relatives. However, af ter many months of di scussion, the founders decided to develop a more wide-ranging agenda. Moreover, they managed to appropriate various left-wing factions. In fact, according to Plag emann (2000, 436-7), the Human Rights Association functioned rather like a reservoir for radical leftists because it was virtually the only legal organization open to them due to the criminaliz ation of political organizations following the coup. Of course, as Goodwin and Jasper (2004) a ssert, the appropriati on of a particular mobilizing structure does not only enable mobilization but may impede the appropriation of others. The stigma attached to being branded a radical organization surely discouraged potential allies, although, it is unclear wh ether the HRA actually attempted to mobilize those outside its 20 The HRA constituted a conglomerate of far left and center-left individuals, including former politicians, such as Mehmet Ali Aybar (Istanbul deputy 1969-1972) and well-know n leftist intellectuals such as Murat Belge and Emir Sandalci. 71


socia l milieu. Despite the states success in roun ding up radical leftists and crushing their social infrastructure, there remained plenty of le ftist allies. Indeed, an examination of HRA collaborators during its fist decade in operation reveals a strong tendency to partner with trade unions and professional organizations even on is sues such as capital punishment which do not ordinarily occupy a central position in unions agendas. According to the HRAs creation narrative st ates in its twentieth anniversary book, the HRA was the result of a process among intellectuals initiated when Aziz Nesin, one of Turkeys most beloved left-wing writers be gan to hold house meetings that resulted in the circulation of two petitions signed by over a thousand individuals, which were then sent to various media organs and the presidents office. The ability to muster up that many signatures in a period before the Internet points to the mobilization cap acity of informal friendship networks in an environment where almost all formal orga nizations were banned. The first petition, Intellectuals Demands, was presented to the presidents office. The use of intellectuals rather than leftists may reflect a decision to capitalize on the special pla ce intellectuals hold in Turkey, as official ideology stresses the importa nce of science and education, and it is assumed intellectuals make demands based on careful deliberation. Nevertheless, a lawsuit was opened against the group. Nesin and his colleagues held more house meetings and the second petition, Bread and Rights Demands stated that intelle ctuals wanted democracy, a state based on the rule of law and human rights, and the eradication of hunger, unemployment and poverty (Helvaci 2006, 49). High priority elements of the socialist agenda were clearly encapsulated within the informal groups demands. The house meetings led to discussions am ong a group of lawyers and intellectuals regarding the creation of a form al organization. Nevzat Helvaci, one of the HRAs founders and 72


its f irst president recalls how one of his revolutionary lawyer friends approached him to ask if he would prepare the statutes for a formal organization that woul d support the convicted prisoners and their families, but three or four months later he had to inform his friend that he did not have any ideas about how to prepare appropria te statutes (Helvaci 2006, 50). Undeterred, the group continued to meet and discuss their options Helvaci explains that while the narrow and rather short-term goal of prisoner solidarity wa s the original aim, it was also clear that a permanent organization was needed to eff ectively address the complex issues. The main area of disagreement among the in formal group members concerned the decision to create a member-based or non-member-based organization. Some individuals expressed their desire for a membership organization with a ffiliated branches throughout the country where intellectuals as well as prisoners relatives and attorneys could pool their resources at the local level. Two greatly respected wr iters and highly visible public figures, Yasar Kemal and Aziz Nesin, disagreed. Nesin was esp ecially concerned that if the organization allowed the establishment of affiliated branches thr oughout the country, factionalism along political ideological lines could evolve within or between branches and thereby undermine the organizations mission. The organizational structure was the most debated topic at the house meetings, which suggests that the potential rift(s ) among left-wing factions was deem ed the most serious threat to organizational stability and mobilization effort s. Group members finall y decided to create a branch-based membership organization. Local branches could be opened independently; however, they would be subject to approval by the headquarters and would be expected to establish a branch administration without discrimi nating along the political ideological lines that separated various left-wing groups. In this way, an overarching central authority could ensure 73


that that va rious leftist factions worked harmoniously. This conti nues to be the structure of the HRA today. After the statutes were prepared and signatu res collected, the statutes were sent for approval. The review board at the Ministry of Internal Affairs took nine months to approve the organizations statutes, rejec ting the statutes twice due to the stated goals and other complications, such as having a few convicted felons as signatories. The review board also claimed that human rights were protected under Ar ticle 13 of the constitution, therefore, a human rights based association was unnecessary and redundant. The ministry also stated that because it was illegal for a civil society organization to pur sue political aims, a hu man rights organization that addressed issues such as prison conditions would be pursu ing political aims and would therefore be illegal. Pa radoxically, the first two sets of organization by laws, although detailed, were deemed too general and vague, whereas the fi nal revision accepted was in fact the broadest edict, stating simply that the organizations mission is to carry out wo rk pertaining to human rights (Helvaci 2006, 51). In this way, the state dictated the associatio ns official goal, and ironically equipped the a ssociation (originally planned to be just an organization for prisoner solidarity) for its development into Turkeys la rgest human rights organization covering the most extensive set of vi olations throughout its 33 branches. The group of founding members consisted of many legal professionals who were experienced in defending imprisoned radicals, and the new association did not waste any time organizing panels and symposia in order to educ ate lay people about the international treaties Turkey was obligated to comply with. Signature campaigns were also a tactic of choice, following a well-established coll ective action repertoire in Turkey. The HRA collected 250,000 signatures by September 1987 for its first campai gn, The Campaign to Lift the Death Penalty 74


and for General Am nesty. The association regu larly referenced key in ternational texts that philosophically and legally spec ified the contents of interna tional human rights norms. The key text was the European Convention on Human Ri ghts, which the association translated into Turkish and distributed, and which drew the associ ations attention toward Europe rather than the US or the UN. International observers fr om Amnesty, the Council of Europe, and similar institutions had been coming to Turkey to observe trials and this had given the opportunity to some HRA members to develop ties to figures in the intern ational human rights community. Moreover, many leftists had sought asylum in Europe and had developed ties to officials and European human rights activists in order to pressure them to hard en their stance against Turkeys human rights violations. The activities carried out by the HRA coincided with an increased interest by the Turkish state in human rights as it moved toward its goal to become part of the European Community. State discussions were underway during the mi d-1980s to formally apply to the European Community and in order to do so Turkish state of ficials had to improve, or at least give the impression of improving, its dismal human right s record. Consequentl y, once power was handed over in 1983 to Prime Minister Ozals civilian government, the Prime Minster took measures to convince the Europeans the worst was over and de mocracy had prevailed. For example, despite continued death sentences being handed down from the military courts, parliament did not ratify any death sentences after October 1984, much to the chagrin of the coup leader-turned-president Evren who publicly berated the Prime Minister fo r bowing to European pressure. By 1986 some banned left-wing political parties were allowed to be represented in parliament and a partial amnesty was granted which led to the release of some DISK and Peace Association political prisoners (Dagi 2001, 7). 75


Moreover, months before applying for m ember ship to the European Economic Community in 1987, Turkey recognized the right to individua l petition (except for those in the state of emergency regions) under the Euro pean Convention of Human Right s. In fact, perhaps not so coincidentally, Prime Minister Ozal delivered a speech shortly thereafter in which he explicitly justified Turkeys fit with European democratic and human rights standards as evidenced by the right to individual petition under the ECHR r ecently granted to Turk ish citizens (Dagi 2001, 1517). The unprecedented opportunity was not lost on HRA members, who speedily coordinated panels and training on ECHR procedures. As Turkeys only official human rights organization and because of th e transnational links developed in the 1970s between some Turkish and European leftist intellectuals, the HRA quickly earned the attention of European activists. Although the HRA could not legally solicit funds from international donors due to the laws of assembly, its members placed high value on its transnational linkages. The Turkish case di ffers, however, from ma ny developing countries regarding the ease with which the HRA appropria ted transnational advocacy networks, which belies the difficultly normally experienced by loca l activists in the developing world. Only one year after its creation, one of the HRAs founding members was awarded the European Human Rights and Freedoms Award including a small financial contribution by the Danish Human Rights Institute. In 1989, the HRA was chosen as a candidate for the Human Rights Award of the Council of Europe. Bob (2005) argues that often times the local movements which successfully garner international attention are structurally predispos ed to do so for several reasons. Their respective countries are geo-strategically important and th erefore media worthy, and locals are often at an advantage concerning superior knowl edge and resources. This certa inly seems to be the case in 76


Turkey. There was a constant flow of Am erican and European diplomats, journalists, politicians and activists due to Turkeys ge o-strategic importance to the We st, its ties to the US via NATO membership, and especially its proximity and histor ical institutional ties to Europe through IGOs such as the Council of Europe. These external agents sought di alogue with civil society and victims and they achieved both by corresponding with the HRA, wh ich was seen as a mouthpiece of the victims. European human rights organizations were especi ally interested in fostering relations with Turkish advocacy groups given Turkeys proximity and the implications of Turkeys instability for the region. Bobs (2005) model also emphasizes the deci sive role of strategic framing, or the marketing of rebellion, as the primary tool to galvanize internationa l support. The ECHR was the natural legal instrument for advocacy and hu man rights rhetoric was the logical discursive tool, since the state regularly expressed its commitment to these international human rights standards due to European pressure. However, HRA activists during this period did not necessarily propagate a more comp elling story of abuse compared to the dire situa tions in other developing countries during this period; nor did they espouse a mo re intellectually sophisticated rights discourse. After all, the HRAs pragmatic use of international human rights norms did not signal an attempt to develop an ideological movement that w ould advance international human rights norms in Turkey per se. Recall, human righ ts were viewed by many socialists as a means to an end rather than an end in themselves, a nd Western notions of huma n rights were patently rejected by some radicals. In the words of one founder, we could not have envisioned where this advocacy would take us in the coming decade. The more abuse intensified and diversified, the more we had to learn and adapt.21 Hence, it appears that Turkeys geo-strategic importance was 21 President of HRA Headquarters, interviewed by author, Ankara, Turkey, March 22, 2007. 77


a dete rminative factor in the early links betw een local actors such as the HRA and their international partners. As the HRA developed and strengthened its ties to international human rights groups, it was regarded as a puppet of the West, an ironic s ituation given the strong anti-imperialist current in leftwing discourse. The HRA was also branded a radical or ganization of traitors and terrorists disguised as human rights activists. There was, of c ourse, a grain of truth to the allegation that some HRA members were radicals and remained loyal to the socialist agenda and maintained their old rivalries against the right. Perhaps the clearest i ndicator of the lingering antagonism against Islamist s occurred when several headscarved students paid a visit to HRA to ask for assistance. Before addressing this issue, the creation of the HRA s sister organization is discussed. Human Rights Foundation of Turkey In the fall of 1987, only a year after its cr eation, the Turkish Human Rights Association had an emergency meeting in which members decided to begin the process to create an organization dedicated solely to the treatment and rehabilitation of torture victims. Due to legal obstacles and lack of funds, the Human Rights Fo undation of Turkey was officially established two years later by the HRA and the Turkish Me dical Chamber with th e assistance of the Denmark-based Rehabilitation Council for Tortur e Victims. The organization was deliberately set up as a vakif, or foundation, rather than as an association in order to legally accept funds from external donors.22 The first rehabilitation center was founded in Ankara in 1990 and centers were then established in Is tanbul and Izmir (1991), Adana (1995) and Diyarbikar (1998). The Istanbul branch has received the largest proportion of appli cations and most of these applications are from 22Human Rights Foundation of Turkey Headquarters Secretary-General, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, August 2, 2007. 78


displaced Kurds.23 At the time of the HRFTs creation there were only three torture rehabilitation centers in the world, located in Copenhagen, Toronto and Minnesota. Neverthele ss, the need for a center in Turkey had become all too clear, as Amnesty In ternational branded Turkey one of the worlds leading offenders among the almost 100 states that practice torture ( Iran, Chile, Libya and Pakistan were the other named leading offende rs) (Leo 1985). From a legal perspective the prohibition of torture and ill-treatment is rather well-defined in various in ternational conventions, although international laws do leave room fo r interpretation. However, during the 1980s, techniques for effective investigation into tort ure allegations were sti ll rudimentary, as were methods of torture rehabilitation, and there was little study in the medical and mental health professions concerning the specific physical and psychological effect s of exposure to torture. In fact, the first international wo rking group on torture was establis hed in Denmark in 1978, and the International Rehabilitation Center for Tort ure (IRCT) was founded in 1985, only five years prior to the creation of the HR FT (www.irct.org). The HRFT, founded in 1990, then, entered at a time when torture rehabilitation was still in its infancy. The HRFT provides free medical treatment a nd psychological rehabilitation to torture survivors and has physicians and mental health professionals on its st aff in addition to a nationwide network of volunteer doc tors, psychologists, forensic medical experts and lawyers. Rehabilitation generally last six months but may continue for years as needed. The rehabilitation program takes a holistic approach since we can not separate psyc hological and physical trauma24 23 Human Rights Foundation of Turkey-Diyarbakir Medical Staffer, interview by author, Diyarbakir, Turkey, Feb. 3, 2006. 24 Ibid. 79


The organization did not receive any external funding during its firs t two years; however, as HRFT staff built upon HRA international c ontacts and d eveloped new ones, the foundation successfully solicited support first from the United Nations and subsequently from the EC and international organizations such as the Amnesty International Switzerland chapter, the Red Cross and Physicians for Human Rights. Since its incepti on it has provided rehab ilitative services to 10,786 torture survivors, although its staff estimates that over a million people in Turkey have been physically or psychologically tortured.25 The organization became increasingly professi onalized, and graduall y developed into a prominent node on the anti-torture transnational advocacy network due to its innovative methods of torture documentation. It developed the concep t of alternative medical reports to document torture because the medical reports furnished by public heath officials of ten avoided the mention of torture even in cases where ther e existed clear evidence of torture.26 The HRFT has been and continues to be the HRAs closest partner since it is its sister organization. However, the two organizations do not frequently collaborate on campaigns, given the Human Rights Associations wi de-ranging agenda and the soci al-service centered nature of the HRFT. Nevertheless, Human Rights Foundati on members can typically be found at HRA activities, as members te nd to travel in the same social circles. Moreover, since 1998 the two organizations have jointly sponsored an annua l Human Rights Movement conference which draws together human rights theorists and prac titioners to discuss pertinent issues. 25 Human Rights Foundation of Turkey Headquarters Secretary-General, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, August 2, 2007. 26 The HRFT also established a documentation center, in wh ich it records accounts of abuse and publishes annual reports. Its reports are the most comprehensive human rights reports on violations in Turkey (the average report in the 1990s was 400+ pages). 80


Maz lum Der As mentioned earlier, during th e late 1980s a group of unive rsity students who wore the illegal headscarf to campus paid a visit to the Human Rights Associat ion to inquire about assistance with their troubles at school. They were turned away by the HRAs president, which created an adverse reaction within Islamist circles. People affiliated with Erbakans National Outlook movement had been discussing the estab lishment of a formal organization to address state abuse toward Islamists, and this incident provided further impetus. An organization called Temel Haklari Dernegi (Association for Fundamental Righ ts) was subsequently established. Another group of Islamists affiliated with Natio nal Outlook who were also exploring options for the creation of a new organizati on preferred not to formally work with the National Outlook movement and it created a second organization called Insan Haklari ve Mazlumlar Icin Dayanisma Dernegi (Association for Human Rights a nd Support for Oppressed Peoples) or Mazlum Der. The use of the word, mazlumlar, or oppressed people, in th e new organizations name was highly significant in that it was a te rm emanating from Islamist circles. Mazlumlar was deliberately used because the Quran explicitly commands Muslims to assist the oppressed.27 The use of this word, then, signified the organization s religious orientation and thereby distinguished it from other rights-based organizations. This woul d in turn aid in the ap propriation of Islamist mobilizing structures, which were perhaps the most robust in Turkey by the 1990s, and which provided Mazlum Der with its primary source of funds through membership dues and private donations. 27 Mazlum Der Headquarters President, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, February 1, 2007. 81


The use of the term human rights in the new organizations name was unprecedented in Islamist circles, as it was a term that emanat ed from international (Western) discourses and consequently was perceived as an imperialistic term that signified a foreign intrusion inimical to the Islamist identity and political agenda. The deployment of this term by Mazlum Ders founders suggested a willingness to engage human rights discourse, something most Islamists avoided altogether. Thus, the name suggested at the outset that both Islamist and secular rightscentered discourses would be used, although it wa s clear that emphasis lay on the former. This new organization, inspired in part by a perceived bias against Muslims which was reinforced by the HRA presidents refusal to assi st the headscarved girls, vehemently proclaimed itself to be non-discriminatory. Accord ingly, its members constructed the slogan, kim olursa olsun zalime karsi, kim ol ursa olsun mazlumdan yana (against the oppressor whomever it may be, on the side of the oppressed whomever it may be). Mazlum Ders slogan reflected the Qurans command to aid the oppressed from all walks of life irrespec tive of their ideology, ethnicity, religion or class and in all circumstances. It was also perhaps a way to implicitly counter the bias its members per ceived toward Islamist groups. To drive the point home, Mazlum Ders leaders made certain that its first signature campaign was a call for amnesty for leftist prisoners who were excluded from a recent amne sty in which many right-wing prisoners were freed. In addition, shortly thereafter some of the leaders from Mazlum Der paid a visit to HRA in order to introduce themselves and to make it cl ear that they had founded the organization to support HRAs struggle, not as a competitor.28 The creation of Mazlum Der brought a new dimension to the human rights movement. The HRA and HRFT were the only formally orga nized national associations addressing human 28 Mazlum Der executive member and former President, in terview by author, Ankara, Turkey, December 13, 2006. 82


rights, and they were both create d by individuals from radical left -wing circles. With the creation of Mazlum Der, the human rights movement co mprised the two groups targeted most by state elitesthe far right and far left activists who had fought against each other prior to the coup. It was in essence a victims movement, and the two gr oups of victims did not hi storically see eye to eye. In fact, many of Mazlum Ders early me mbers, including its first president, were ulkucu activists. This was problematic because ulkucu individuals were intensely opposed to the two main groups represented by the HRA and HRFT, namely communists and ethnic Kurds, just as HRA and HRFT members were deeply anti-Islamist and antiulkucu In addition, leftists associated ulkucu with the cruelties of the state (especially as perpetra tors of torture), given the coup leaders tendency to court th e right, overlook atrocities carried out by far right extremists, harshly punish leftists, and invoke the Turkish-Islamic Synthesis as an instrument to curb the communist threat. Early attempts to bridge the gap between Mazlum Der, the HRA and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey notwithstandi ng, the creation of an Islamist29 human rights association was initially met with much skepticism. Islamists were perhaps the most fervent anti-imperialists in Turkey, and primarily defined themselves in opposition to the West. Moreover, they had not fully engaged international human rights, often relying upon patent rejections of all Western 29 I use the term Islamist here because I believe it better captures the nature of the organization during this early period than the term Islamic, which in contrast does not connote political Islamism. I find Islamist to be more appropriate here because although M azlum Ders founders purportedly did not create Mazlum Der as a distinctly political organization to advance the Islamist project of Islamizing the state, it is clear that very conservative proponents of political Islamism were dominant voices in the organization during this early period. This of course changed by the mid-1990s which is why I generally use the term Islamic to describe Mazlum Der. However, even my use of Islamic to describe M azlum Der would probably be met with criticism by Mazlum Der members who would argue that Mazlum Der does not have a specifically Islamic agenda and does not proselytize. I agree with such statements; however, I use the desc riptive label throughout this study merely to distinguish it from rights-based organizations that do not have a religious conservative membership profile. 83


concepts an d ideologies in their discourses.30 However, during the late1980s Islamists increasingly looked for ways to link human rights to Islam, some going so far as proclaiming the first human rights declaration to be the Docu ment of Medina constr ucted by the Prophet. Huseyin Hatemis book, The Doctrine of Human Rights, was especially influential on Mazlum Ders first president. Hatemi argued th at it was absolutely im possible to hold a strong and consistent notion of human ri ghts without the belief in God. He also traced the development of Western human rights back to its original source, Islam, which has become convoluted throughout history (Plagemann 2000, 455). Thus, Islamists maintained an anti-Western stance by claiming that the Western conception of human ri ghts, which claims universality but falls far short, is inferior to the Islamic notion of right s which is truly universal and unlimited because it emanates from Gods will. Mazlum Ders leader s also made it clear that the association was founded in order to stand as a corrective to the double standards pract iced by secular human rights organizations not only in Turkey but throughout the world. In short, the historical social cleavages whic h had crystallized during a period of political instability in the 1970s were manifested with in the bourgeoning human rights movement. Each faction initially kept its dist ance from old rivals, concentrating its efforts on its own group despite organizational mandates to assist all victims of abuse. The radicalism and violence that preceded the 1980 coup produced and continually rein forced essentialist no tions of self and other in a rigid dichotomization of us and them that depicted the other as an enemy. Consequently, a more inclusive approach to advo cacy work and a broader collective identity, as 30 By the 1990s, more sophis ticated appraisals were offered by Muslim intellectuals as more and more of them sought to pinpoint the similarities and differences between so-called Western and Islamic approaches. 84


would be expected of a hum an rights movement,31 did not develop early on among the new movements members. Just as the HRA and HRFT functioned as leftist solidarity organizations, Mazlum Der was preoccupied with Muslim solida rity and abuse against Muslim communities. It is important to note that the budding human rights organi zations were not unique in their particularism or solidarity-based advocacy work. Solidarity organizations and ideologyoriented groups were the norm in Turkey (T oprak 1995). Keck and Sikki nk (1998) describe a similar phenomenon in Latin America where th ere was a distinction between solidarity organization and rights organizations. They state, solidarity organizations based their appeals on common ideological commitmentsthe notion that t hose being tortured or killed were defending a cause shared with the activists. Rights organiza tions, in principle, were committed to defending rights of individuals regardless of their ideological affinity with the ideas of the victims (Keck and Sikkink 1998, 15). The organizations constituti ng Turkeys human rights movement in the late 1980s and early 1990s f unctioned more like solidarity organizations than rights organizations despite the fact that they claime d their organizations were rights organizations. Helsinki Citizens Assembly-Turkey Accusations of politicization and confrontatio nal politics led to the creation in 1993 by former HRA founders and members of a Turkish br anch of the Helsinki Citizens Assembly. The Turkey branch was based upon an international initiativ e set in Prague in 1990 to establish an international network of human rights organizations focused on citizenship issues. The Helsinki Citizens Assembly differed from the other three national organizations in that it was not a massbased organization, but rather an elite organization comprised of professionals and intellectuals. 31 New social movement literature port rays human rights movements as quintessential new social movements, which are characterized by non-hierarchical structures and a broad-ranging collective identity based on a culture of tolerance and pluralism. 85


HCA has only one branch located in Istanbul. Th e intim ate nature of the group, the high degree of professionalism from its inception and the insularity afforded it since it is elite-based rather than membership-based, worked to shield the organization from the ra mpant partisanship and polarization which has tended to permeate the realm of human right s in Turkey. Indeed, this has been its members continuing rationale for not transforming the organization into a mass membership-based organization.32 Another elite-based organiza tion, the Human Rights Agenda Association, established in Izmir in 2003 follo ws the same logic, because according to its chairperson, any mass-based organization in Turkey is going to be politicized to some degree. Its inevitable.33 Because the HCA was founded as a node in a growing Helsinki transnational network, it is organically yet loosely tied to all Helsin ki branches throughout Europe. Although the HRA and HRFT have developed links to various international actors, and closely follow the discourse propagated by prominent nodes such as Human Ri ghts Watch, the HCA has been a conduit for a more intellectual, citizenship-centered discour se. Thus, although the organization directly addressed events and circumstances in Turkey, it indirectly advocated on behalf of victims through publications characterized by a much more abstract and philosophical treatment of human rights and citizenship than found in the other organizations literature. Indeed, its members viewed their contributi on to the movement to be a d eeper assessment and theoretical engagement with human rights principles, rather than purely advocacy-based activities such as press releases and demonstrations.34 Moreover, they have coordi nated meetings and training programs aimed at capacity-build ing of Turkish civil society organizations. Accordingly, the 32 Helsinki Citizens Assembly executive member, inte rview by author, Istanbul, Turkey, July 24, 2007 33 Human Rights Agenda Association President, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, July 31, 2007. 34 Helsinki Citizens Assembly executive member, inte rview by author, Istanbul, Turkey, July 24, 2007. 86


87 HCA does not issue press statements or coordinate public demonstr ations, although it has publicly supported the advocacy efforts of HRA, HRFT and Mazlum Der, and it is one of the four members of the newly formed Human Rights Joint Platform. Conclusion This chapter reviewed the issue of human rights in Turkey and introduced the main organizations constituting Turkeys human rights movement. The triggering event that led to its emergence was the 1980 coup and the unprecedented de gree of human rights violations. Prior to the emergence of a grass-roots human rights movement following the 1980 coup, the issue of human rights in Turkey was primarily the purview of state elites and radical left-wing groups. The post-coup movement was an outgrowth of the radical left-wing movements prevalent in Turkey during the 1970s. The use of human right s and democratization discourse by radicals culminated in the widespread perception that rights-based organizations were merely the mouthpieces of radicals determin ed to topple Turkeys political and economic system. The appropriation of human rights la nguage by Islamists in the subse quent decade reinforced this perception. Despite fragmentation and partisanship during its formative y ears, the human rights movement has grown and diversified over the past three decades, and has also built upon its early ties to transnational a dvocacy networks. The Human Rights Association and Mazlum Der have largely guided the movements developm ent, along with the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Helsinki Citizens Assembly and to a much lesser degree, Amnesty InternationalTurkey.


CHAP TER 3 RIGHT TO LIFE AND FREEDOM FROM TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT Introduction Right to life and freedom from torture and il l-treatment have been at the center of the human rights organizations agenda s since the movements incepti on. This chapter highlights the international and domestic responses to Turkeys policy of capital punishment and its use of torture as a method of interro gation and intimidation. The first section explores specific organizations stances on the death penalty and their advocacy work. The Human Rights Association has been Turkeys most vocal opponent of the death penalty, whereas other rightsbased organizations largely focu sed their efforts elsewhere. Despite differences surrounding the abolishment of the death penalty, all activist groups in Turkey have condemned the use of torture, and as with all viol ations, international legal norms concerning definitions of torture and ill-treatme nt constitute the foundational base from which local activists fashioned their di scursive repertoires. Mazlum Der also relied upon Islamic sacred texts to condemn torture and inhumane treatment while also engaging inte rnational human rights norms; however, other Islamist groups have either remained silent on the issue of torture or have contested the practice solely through the use of Islamist rh etoric. Because torture primarily occurs in detention centers and prisons, and because deplorable prison conditions have been framed by some groups as torture or inhumane tr eatment, the issue of prison conditions is also briefly discussed. Torture continued to be a prob lem in Turkey in the post-Helsinki period (1999present);1 therefore, more recent campaigns are reviewed in the last section. 1 In December 1999, the European Union s Helsinki decision finally elevated Turkey to official candidate status, which has impacted to varying degrees ever y facet of Turkeys political process. 88


The Death Penalty: An Overview According to the Human Rights Foundation of Turkeys Documentation Center report for 1994, 588 citizens have been executed in Turkey s history. The death penalty has been disproportionately used against pe rceived enemies of the state, and this was certainly the case after the 1980 coup, when most of the death pena lties handed down were fo r radical leftists. Amnesty International had been pressuring Turk ey to abolish its death penalty since the 1970s. In addition, various European inter-govern mental organizations also began to apply consistent pressure to Turkey following th e 1980 coup. For example, in 1985 after Turkeys return to civilian government in November 1983, relations between Turkey and the European Parliament remained strained. The abolition of the death penalty was one of five conditions for the normalization of relations demanded by the European Parliament (Turkmen 2007, 255).2 The European Parliaments demand that Turk ey abolish the death penalty reflected the increase in death sentences handed down after the coup. The last execution carried out by the state prior to the 1980 coup o ccurred in 1972. However, following the mass imprisonment of radical leftists after the coup the number of death sentences do led out by the courts increased dramatically; hundreds of death sentences we re handed down and by 1983, 41 individuals had been executed. The Ozal government paid heed to the demands of the EP, and in light of Turkeys goal to join the EC,3 a de facto moratorium went into play as parliament suspended the consideration of death sentences in 1984 (Dagi 1996). The last execution occurred in 1984; however, there remained a list of prisoners th eoretically awaiting execution. During the early 2 The other four conditions were the prohibition of torture, ending collective trials, recognition of right to individual petition, and the abolition of all laws restricting freedom of thought (Turkmen 2007, 255). 3 Turkey first applied for full membership to the EC in 1987 and was rejected in 1989, in large part due to its poor human rights record. To prove its commitment to human rights it ratified several international conventions during the 1980s: CEDAW ratified Dec. 20, 1985; ECPT ratified Feb. 26, 1988; UNCAT ratified on August 2, 1988. Turkey signed the ICCPR on August 15, 2000. 89


1990s, death sentences were increasingly hande d down to PKK operatives although none were executed. E ven though the state has not execu ted anyone since 1984, heated discussions resurfaced in 1999 following the capture of PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan. He was not executed due to constant pressure from the EU and domestic groups. In December 2007, the United Nations Gene ral Assembly approved a nonbinding global moratorium on the death penalty, a resolution wh ich had failed repeatedly in past years. Similarly, capital punishment was not banned un der the European Convention of Human Rights during the most intensive period of movement activity against the death penalty in Turkey.4 During the 1980s, only the Council of Europes Pr otocol No. 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights abolished the death penalty duri ng peacetime. This went into effect March 1, 1985. Additionally, Article 2 of Protocol No. 6 allows a state to make provision in its law for the death penalty with regard to acts committed in times of war or of imminent threat of war. These international legal documents and enforcement mechanisms such as the European Court of Human Rights constituted political opport unities, which were used by activists. As international laws were clarified and expa nded, and Turkey was further integrated into the regional European legal system of rights, activists in Turkey and their allies in Europe took full advantage of the new legal opportunities an d political channels. For example, Europe developed stricter measures concerning th e death penalty, which were used by rights organizations to pressure Turkey into abolishi ng capital punishment in time of war and peace. On July 1, 2003 Protocol no 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights, concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances came into force. Th is Protocol, once ratified, is 4 Article 2 of the ECHR states, N o one shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in the execution of a sentence of a court following his conviction of a cr ime for which this penalty is provided by law. 90


binding on all EU m ember states and all the acceding states.5 Consequently, in 2004 in anticipation of eventual membersh ip, capital punishment was outlawe d in Turkey except in times of war, in accordance with the 13th Additional Protocol of the ECHR. Three days after EUTurkey negotiations began in October 2005, parliame nt passed a bill to annul capital punishment even in times of war as part of one of Tu rkeys harmonization packages (Turkmen 2007, 259). Opportunities, Discursive Repertoires and Mobilization Human Rights Association The death penalty was the HRAs top priority du ring the midto late 1980s due to the high number of radical leftists being handed death sentences during this period. Accordingly, the HRA has been a supporter of Amnesty Internationa ls efforts to eliminate the death penalty in Turkey and elsewhere. The HRA framed capital punishment as murder and as a crime against humanity. For example, it sent numerous petition s to the National Assembly as part of its 1987 Lift the Death penalty Campaign, and made pre ss statements claiming, the death penalty is not punishment, it is murder. Because no legal sy stem can decide who lives or dies (A Proud Voice 1992, 7). HRA demands for the abolition of capital punishment were often coupled with calls for prisoner amnesty. By the late 1980s more death sentences were being handed to Kurdish guerillas due to the intensification of the Ku rdistan Workers Party (PKK) insurgency. The HRAs growing interest in the Kurdish problem resulted in mo re campaigns to challenge the death penalty, even after the Ozal governments decision to refrain from ratifying death penalties during the late 1980s. Public officials responded to HRA activities by invoking the secu rity-rights problematic in their counter-framing efforts. For example, public officials outlawed HRA posters, claiming they 5 For Council of Europe legisla tion on capital punishment see http://www.legislationline.or g/?tid=144&jid=6 0&less=false. 91


were in violation of principles concerning the indivisibility of the nation and the states national security (A Proud Voice 1992, 8). That is, because the death penalty served as a mechanism to ensure national security, any opposit ion to this practice was itself a threat to national security. Indeed, like pro-establishment el ites in other authoritarian co untries, public officials have primarily responded to claims-making groups by invoking the language of national security in their attempts to legitimate the en croachment of rights and freedoms. By the early 1990s two things became clear. Fi rst, given the de facto moratorium on capital punishment, it was highly probable that death se ntences handed down woul d not be carried out. Secondly, there were more dire issues that needed to be addressed, such as the growing number of extra-judicial killings and widespread disappearances partic ularly in the S outheast region. Consequently, discussions concerning the deat h penalty temporarily disappeared by the mid1990s. However, there was one case of capita l punishment in 1993 which served as a springboard for a broader debate about th e nature of human rights advocacy. A tragic event in 1993 facilitated deeper self-r eflection and intense di scussions within the HRA regarding what human rights advocacy actually entails. One of the most publicized trials resulting in death sentences for the defendants was that of a group of demonstrators implicated in the infamous 1993 Sivas Massacre. This trial is not only significant in te rms of its publicity but even more so from the perspective of human rights theory and practice within the Turkish Human Rights Association. The Sivas incident began when the mayor of Sivas invited renowned leftist author Aziz Nesin (one of the key figures in the creation of the HRA) to Sivas for the Pir Sultan Abdal day of remembrance, an Alevi holiday.6 Many Muslims in Sivas were deeply insulted by Nesins 6 The Alevis follow a Shia inspired type of Isla m that differs from the dominant Sunni tradition. 92


intentions to translate into Tu rkish Salm an Rushdis controversial book that included what they perceived as offensive descriptions of the Prophe t Muhammad. Thousands of Islamist protestors shouted angry slogans outside Nesins hotel and in the mayhem the hotel was set on fire. Despite the raging fire, no efforts were made by the dem onstrators to rescue th e people in the hotel, resulting in the death of 35 peopl e, and two more that were shot to death. Nesin managed to escape. Secular circles coined the incident the Sivas Massacre. The massacre deepened the rift between secular and religious people in Turkey, and sparked an intense debate within the HRA once it was clear the Islamist de fendants would not receive a fair trail and would probably be sentenced to death.7 The debate surrounded the decision concerning whether or not the HRA should support a fair trial fo r the Islamists and oppose the death penalty. The ideological conundrum that followed the massacre and the conc omitant debate within the organization put the questions concerning the us-them boundary into fu ll relief. It serves here as an illustration of the ways in which competing human rights ideologi es were grappled with and the reasons for the particular outcomean outcome that significantly altered the trajectory of the HRA. Some HRA members perceived their struggle to entail not only a challenge to the state but also to groups it associated as puppets of the state, namely nati onalist Muslim conservativ es. They believed the attack by radical Islamists calle d for continued leftist solidari ty. Moreover, Aziz Nesin was a hero of the left in Turkey and was one of th e founders of the HRA; he nce, some HRA members took this attack personally.8 7 Although the verdict was not given until 1997, during the initial judgment phase the mass trail became a political football, which eventually ended up in the Ankara Security Court and made it clear the defendants would not be receiving a fair trial by internati onal standards. Moreover, it was clear the prosecutors would demand death sentences. 8 Nesin was awarded the Human Rights Award by the International Human Rights League during a ceremony held in December 1993 at the World Cultures House in Berlin (HRFT Annual Report 1993, 34). 93


The Sivas incident presented a conundrum to HRA activists who had tirelessly voiced their opposition to the death penalty. That same year the HRA had condemned 34 death sentences handed to PKK associates (HRFT 1993 Annual Report).9 The HRA had always publicly claimed to defend the rights of all vic tims. However, there were inte rnal divisions concerning which victims should receive organizationa l support. One HRA leader recalls, We were against the death penalty but now there were milliyetciler [right-wing nationalists] who were being th reatened with the death penalty. So what was the HRA to do? So we started to debate A discussion started about exactly whose rights are we defending? For example, were people who we were struggling against have human rights? Should a person who tortured have the right to a fair trial? There were some divisions. For example, in these divisions an issue was whether we were working under socialist rights or liberal human rights. Some groups [socialists] argued that we should not defend the rights of those with powerthat we should only defend leftists a nd revolutionaries. But the majority argued that we should defend the ri ghts of all people. A division occurred and some people left the organization. This wa s a very important point in the learning process. I was a lawyer and I attended the Sivas trial and the public prosecutors demanded the death penalty for the perp etrators and there was a di scussion concerning what our attitude should be. This was 1993. So, as lawy ers we declared that we were against the death penalty and that it was un acceptable to demand it for the perpetrators. This was like a revolution for usfor the associ ation. So the death penalty played an important role in the change.10 The activists story reveals that some of the more radical socialists in the HRA understood their duty as activists to be s upporters of their in-group, whereas individuals associated with an out-group, particularly the definiti ve other, should not be as sisted. That is, some members believed the HRA should have continued functioning as a solidarity organization. Other activists, however, believed this approach conflicted with internationally practiced norms of human rights advocacy, which extended support to all people regardless of political affiliation. Several things are noteworthy. First, the distinction made between socialist and liberal versions of human rights ideol ogy suggests that what human right s entails is c ontext-specific. 9 1993 was also the year of the Worl d Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, which an HRA member attended. 10 Human Rights Association Headquarters President, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, March 22, 2007 94


The organizations m andate to work for human right s was not fully interpreted as a directive to support out-groups until the 1993 debates precipita ted by the Sivas events which occurred seven years after the organization was created. The de cision to defend the rights of all people including milliyetciler was reached after deliberation. It was not a given. In-group solidarity with fellow leftists was regarded by some activiststhose workin g under so-called socialist interpretations of rightsas the correct course of action in this situation. International norms of human rights advocacy based on principles that safeguard the rights of all individuals and based on action that stands in support of all victims provided HRA member s with an alte rnative to the socialist model of rights advocacy based on so lidarity that had been prevalent in Turkey. The debates generated by the Sivas crisis result ed in significant change, or revolution as the interviewee called it, which saw a transformation from a solidarity organization toward a rights organization pursuing issueoriented activism with a non-disc riminatory approach. In the end, the HRA members decided to condemn the re sults of the Sivas tria ls based upon the HRAs longstanding and unequivocal opposition to the deat h penalty. Despite the fact that those not wanting to support the Islamists were a minority within the HRA, due to the incredibly sensitive nature of secularist-Islamist relations throughout the country following the Sivas incident, there was a certain degree of risk associated with condem nation of the trials as unfair. That is to say that from a mobilization standpoint the HRA risked alienating itself from its base constituency through its controversial decision to oppose the death sentences hande d to the perpetrators of the Sivas incident. Lastly, what is interesting here is that th e HRAs discursive repe rtoires did not change dramatically after this so-called revolution. The organization had always opposed the death penalty. Yet, this was a profound moment in the history of the organization because it generated 95


significan t changes in the way the members unders tood solidarity and carried out their advocacy work. Indeed, this turning point was revealed during interviews with other HRA leaders, who likewise regarded the debates as a critical juncture in the me mbers learning process. The decision to condemn the death sentence s handed down to the massacres perpetrators notwithstanding, HRA members and indeed the en tire country was fervently discussing the purported security threat posed by militant Islamism since that same year the murder of a wellknown secularist journalist, Ugur Mumcu was allegedly carried out by an Islamist militant. Indeed, there were discussions about Islamism in the HRAs bulletins. For example, the AprilMay 1993 HRA bulletin included an ar ticle on Seriat and Laicism in which it called attention to a statement printed in Mazlum Ders bulletin that stated Islam is (means) seriat The author responds, This is true. No one can mistake th is. One who says I am a Muslim, cannot say Down with seriat The claim that Muslims cannot say no to seriat was a common misperception in Turkey among some secular circ les and its reference in this HRA article implicitly questioned whether members of Mazlum Der could be sincere human rights defenders, since the protection of human rights was percei ved to be predicated on a commitment to democracy, not a seriat -based political system (of which, incidentally, Mazlum Der did not actually endorse). Mazlum Der, in turn, explicitly questioned the HRAs commitment to follow its mandate to struggle on behalf of all victims since it disregarded Muslim concerns. For example, during a radio show broadcast on Hedef radio station July 15, 1994, the pr esident of Mazlum Der claimed that although the HRA has been vocal concerning the torture and oppression of those on the left, it has remained silent against injustice toward Muslims (Mazlum Der Evrensel 1994). 96


In short, although the HRA decided to condemn the death sentences and unfair trials of the Sivas defendants, there remained undertones of suspicion and blame toward Islamists in HRA statements. For example, the HRAs use of the term massacre, a term popularized by the secular media, conjures up imag es of barbaric and senseless/ irrational mass murder. The HRAs requests to memorialize the Sivas Massacre by making the hotel a monument and its annual tradition of commemorating the massacre by issuing a press releas e and/or having activities exhibit the prominent place of this event in the groups collective memory (2007 press release). Similarly, in its 1993 Annual Report the HRFT pointed toward the savagery and intolerance exhibited by the seriat defenders in Sivas (1993, 13). These words are never used to describe activities carried out by left-wing extremists. In contrast, Mazlum Der attributed the lack of assistance by Muslim demonstrators to the mass psychology that overtakes in dividuals trapped in a melee. Insofar as these demonstrators were subjected to the contagion of fear instigated by a few radi cals in the crowd, they too were victims. In addition, Mazlum Der condemned the use of the term massacre to describe the events, and regarded this term as a tool used by the secular media and other pro-establishment elites to interfere in the judg ment by making emotive appeals that presented the defendants as savage criminals before they were even trie d. Mazlum Der also pointed to the changing circumstances that surrounded this lengthy trail which dragged on for years. For example, the Istanbul branch highlighted in its Sivas Events Reports11 that in the course of the case the government changed, and the new coalition govern ment formed in 1996 by the Islamic Welfare Party and the True Path Party spawned Is lamophobia throughout Turkey, which further prevented a fair trail for the defendants. Ind eed, by 1997, fundamentalist Islam was declared the 11 This report was acquired from the Foreign Rela tions Officer of the Mazlum Der-Istanbul branch. 97


top prio rity by the General Staff in its Nationa l Military Strategic Concept, and Mazlum Der claimed this fomented an atmosphere of ide ological war that seriously influenced the judgment. In short, although human rights or ganizations regarded the Siva s trial to be unfair and the HRA and HRFT eventually condemned the use of the death penalty, the HRA and HRFT used harsher language to describe the Sivas demonstrators and defendants, while Mazlum Der emphasized the unfairness surroundi ng the implication of Islam in the events. Nevertheless, the internal debates pertaining to the Sivas incident cu lminated in a sort of revolution within the HRA as it softened its approach to out-gr oup victims of state abuse. This significant development facilitated the gradual widening of the HRAs perspective and agenda, and by the late 1990s it even addressed the controversial and divisive issu e of the headscarf ban, publicly declaring it to be an infringe ment of human rights unbefitting a democracy. This change also set the stage for deeper cross-factional ties betw een the HRA and other organizations, including Mazlum Der, even as Islam-secular polari zation peaked following the 1997 February 28th process.12 After the Sivas incident, discussions about the death penalty died down until 1999 when PKK leader, Abdullah Ocalan, was finally capt ured. Citizens flooded th e streets cheering and calling for his execution. The publics reaction as well as the likelihood that pro-establishment elites would press for the death penalty prompt ed the Human Rights Association to carry out another campaign against the death penalty. In July 1999 the HRA pub lished the book, Call 12 On February 28, 1997, Erbakans Islamic Welfare Part y was issued an ultimatum from the National Security Council, which specified stipulations for its continued ro le as partner in the Welfare-True Path Party coalition government. An alliance of secularists from civil and military in stitutions, including Presid ent Sezer, top military officials, the secular media and big business organizations deemed the Welfare Partys ascendance to power a threat to Turkeys secular state. Also known as Turkeys post-modern coup, in June 1997 the army removed the Islamist Welfare Party-led coalition government with the threat of a military takeover. The February 28th process, as it has been called, generated tension and deepened polarization along the Islam-secular axis. 98


Against the Death Penalty13 in light of national discussions regarding whether or not Turkey should execute Ocalan. The HRA and HRFT condem ned the death penalty, and called for an end to Ocalans isolation (he has b een the sole prisoner at the island prison of Imrali near Istanbul) and the illegal measures carried out to block his access to le gal counsel. They also pointed toward the attitude of revenge that underlies the discourse in Turkey pertaining to the execution of convicted prisoners who have cha llenged official ideology s unbending restrictions on freedom of thought and expressi on. In contrast to its discur sive repertoires during the 1980s, which had framed the death penalty as murder and had utilized more emotionally evocative rhetoric, HRAs 1999 book was characterized by a mo re technocratic and legal discourse. For example, it cited research carried out by the Un ited Nations in 1988 that concluded the death penalty did not deter crime. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch also issued press releases urging Turkish officials to adhere to the de facto moratorium on the death penalty and to ensure that Ocalan received a fair trial.14 In contrast, the Turkish chapter of the Helsinki Citizens Assembly was largely silent on the Ocalan issue. This was in large part because it has historically chosen to pursue other avenues of advocacy work, such as civil society capacity-b uilding, rather than engage in the legal defense of prisoners. The ostensible sile nce from Mazlum Der regarding Ocalans death sentence may perhaps have b een indicative of many conservative Muslims unforgiving stance toward Ocalans legacy of revolutionary violence. The silence is more likely 13 See HRA/IHD. 1999. Olum Cezasina Karsi. Ankara: IHD Yayinlari. 14 For press releases, see archives at www.amnesty.org and www.hrw.org Despite domestic and international efforts, Ocalan was found guilty of treason, among other things, and sentenced to death on June 29, 1999. His lawyers called for an appeal, claiming he had not received a fair trial. This wa s substantiated by the ECHR on March 18, 2003, which claimed his death sentence violated the prohibition on inhuman and degrading treatment under the Article 3. It also held that his rights under Article 5 (right to liberty and security) and Article 6 (right to a fair trial) of the ECHR had been violated in several respects. The ECHR decision was highly controversial in Turkey and resulted in public protests calling for his execution. 99

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a result of Mazlum Ders general avoidance of publicly supporting or opposing the death penalty. Mazlum Der Mazlum Der has not made public its stance on the death penalty because a consensus regarding the admissibility of the death pena lty from an Islamic perspective has not been reached. In fact, Mazlum Der ha s remained silent on only two human rights issues: capital punishment and lesbian/gay/bisexua l/transsexual (LGBT) rights. The Quran states that a death sentence is admissible for two criminal offenses: premeditated murder and Fasad fil-ardh ("spreading mischief in the land"), which includes treason, apostasy, terrorism, rape, adultery, piracy and homosexual behavior. Indeed, as explicated in Article 2 of the Cairo Declara tion on Human Rights in Islam ( 1993), Life is a God-given gift and the right to life is guaranteed to every human being. It is the duty of individuals, societies and state to protect this right fr om any violation, and it is prohibit ed to take away life except for a seriat prescribed reason.15 Thus, as Keck and Sikkink ( 1998, 27) contend, although issues concerning bodily harm to vulnerable individuals and the right to life provide a point of reference that is crossresonant, what c onstitutes bodily harm and who is vulnerable or innocent may be highly contested. When interpreted through an Islamic lens, the death penalty constitutes a just punishment for those who have committed particular crimes and are therefore not understood to be victims of an unjust in fringement upon the cultura lly right to life.16 15 For the entire Declaration see http://www.unhcr.org For an extended discussion on the death penalty from an Islamic pers pective see Islam and the Death Penalty by Rabia Terri Harris, Coordinator, Muslim Peace Fellowship at www.amnestyusa.org/abolish/event2/tuesday2.html. 16 Other Islamic groups have argued that capital punishment should be upheld. For example, the Islamic Birlik Vakfi in its 1996 Report on Justi ce proposed that sentences awaiting ratificatio n in parliament should be executed unless a constitutional amendment was made to outlaw the death penalty. In addition, the organization justified the use of capital punishment by reminding readers that 94 countries still use the death penalty. Their calls for action were 100

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However, because Islam does not have a popelike figure or a Vatican-style high church that dictates proper interpretati on of scripture, divergence of in terpretation is a common feature within the Muslim world. In add ition, despite what appears at fi rst glance to be an unequivocal principle sanctioning the legitimacy of capita l punishment, disagreements among Muslims emerge from the Qurans foremost command to re spect human life and dign ity above all things, and also from the strict measures deemed necessary for the execution of a death sentence. Several conditions must be met in order for a de ath sentence to be considered just. The unjust elements within Turkeys legal structures, such as contradictory laws, military judges in State Security Courts and a politicized judiciary ma y trump the admissibility of capital punishment, especially since death senten ces often appear to be a ve ngeful settling of scores. Indeed, there have been some disagreemen ts among members of Mazlum Der regarding the death penalty. Muslims within Mazlum Der and more generally have been proactively reconciling international human ri ghts norms with their communitys interpretations of Islams sacred texts. Because the issue continues to be debated within the organization and throughout the Muslim world as Muslim scholars explicate the compatibility between specific international human rights norms and Islamic principles, Mazlum Der leaders have deliberately avoided making public statements pertaining to the death penalty. The strategy of avoidance has worked well. From a mobilization perspective, a decisi on by organization leaders to publicly oppose the death penalty may have alienated Mazlum Der from its Muslim constituency. On the other hand, public statements demanding the continuance and legitimacy of capital punishment may have presented yet another obstacle to cross-factional cooperation w ith secular organizations. It seems, then, that this strategy of avoida nce has been the ideal mode of action. unsuccessful despite support from some members of the center-right True Pa th Party and center-right Motherland Party (HRFT 1996 Annual Report, 1996, 277-8). 101

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Mazlum Ders avoidance of capital punishment does not imply that it has not challenged legal cases resulting in a death sentence. The Quran is clear that overwhelming evidence must exist for a death sentence to be handed down, and Islamic law in general emphasizes social justice. Mazlum Der regards the right to live as the essence of other rights and follows the Islamic principle of presumption of innocence before proven guilty. The prophet guided Muslims to prevent punishment in case of doubt and Mazlum Der regards the right to a fair trail in an independent court as a fundamental human right, for according to its official statement on its website, it is better that the ruler be wrong in forgiving than wrong in punishing (Carsancakli 1997). Because death sentences were usually hande d down by State Security Courts (until they were abolished in 2004), human ri ghts organizations, including Mazl um Der, have opposed these sentences by arguing that thes e judgments were not prepared by impartial judges in an independent court. Thus, Mazlum Der leaders fou nd a way to contest the death sentences without undermining Islamic tenets or offending conservative Muslims. The problems surrounding the right to a fair trial in Turkey ha ve been a top priority for human rights organizations, and Ocalan was merely one of a long list of prisoners that have been tried in Turkeys State Security Courts. Ocalan wa s tried in the Ankara St ate Security Court, one of twelve such institu tions in the country es tablished under the 1982 constitution to handle cases involving crimes against national securitybr oadly definedwhich may include numerous offences from drug trafficking to various political offenses, including public statements deemed contrary to the indivisibility of the Turkish nation. The influence of the armed forces was built into the structure of the State Security Cour ts by placing a military j udge together with two civilian judges on each court pane l. The prosecutor may also be a serving army officer. The presence of a military judge, according to internati onal law, precludes the fair trial of civilians 102

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under an im partial and independent judiciary panel. In fact, th e ECHR has repeatedly ruled against Turkey that the presence of a military judge violates the European Convention on Human Rights.17 Consequently, in the context of a package of reforms to the Constitution passed in June 2004, the State Security Courts were formally abolished. Torture and Inhumane Treatment: An Overview Torture was deemed a serious problem in Tu rkey even before the 1980 coup, and based on a fact-finding mission conducted in May 1980 onl y three months prior to the coup, Amnesty International concluded that torture was widespread and sy stematic (Violations 1983).18 The allegations of torture, however, increase d exponentially after th e coup, when hundreds of thousands of people were detain ed, including parliamentarians, me mbers of political parties, trade unionists and student activis ts. During this time, the violence between the radical leftists and ultranationalists and Islamists moved from th e streets to the prisons, where prison conditions exacerbated radicalism. The majority of prisone rs were socialist act ivists, although radical Islamist and ultra-nationalists, or ulkucu, were also imprisoned. Left-wing and right-wing prisoners were often held se parately to avoid fighting. To further complicate matters, during the 1970s the security forces had split into rival factions, and although attempts were made follo wing the coup to de-po liticize the security forces, the forces were purged of radical leftis ts but a large number of radical Islamists and ulkucu remained. This combination of ulkucu security forces and left -wing prisoners proved to 17 For example, in 1998 the ECHR voted that a man convicted in a state security court for handing out a leaflet condemning the states actions against small-scale illegal tr ading and conditions in squa tter communities received an unfair trial. In the context of a package of reforms to the Constitution passed in June 2004, the state security courts were formally abolished. 18 Amnestys evidence concerning torture allegations has included the testimonies of prisoners and former prisoners, in rare cases supported by medical reports, evidence presented in court and sworn affidavits made by fellow prisoners and family members. 103

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be a recipe for disaster. In this environm ent, prison conditions often reinforced solidarity along ideological lines. The number of left-wing prisoners in comparison to right-wing prisoners has always been profoundly disproportio nate. Systematic torture of de tainees and convicts persisted and increased throughout the 1990s, es pecially in the Southeast region as the PKK stepped up its armed struggle.19 According to Article 16 of Turkeys 1982 const itution, torture is illegal in Turkey. Yet, both international and domestic organizations have claimed that torture in Turkey was widespread and systematic. The right not to be s ubjected to torture by a p ublic official, like the right not to be subjected to sl avery and servitude, can never be limited or derogated according to the international legal texts Turkey has signed.20 Freedom from torture is unequivocally sketched out in various intern ational conventions.21 The Convention Against Torture stipulates explicitly in Article 2 that countries under the Convention are obliged to take effective legislative, administrative, judicial and other meas ures to prevent acts of torture. By 1982, democracy had not been restored by the generals as promised and allegations of torture were too frequent to i gnore. Consequently, a PACE resolution called on member states to 19 For example, according to the Human Ri ghts Foundation of Turkey, in the fi rst half of 1994, there were 6,379 political detainees and prisoners. Of the latter, 6,152 were leftists (Kurdish leftists) or accused of separatism. Only 227 were far-right or Muslim ra dicals (HRFT Annual Report 1995). 20 Acts of torture carried out by persons not acting in an official capacity are not covere d. International conventions tend to use a narrow definition of torture that only includes torture by public officials and belongs to a larger set of crimes recognized by in ternational law as crimes against hu manity. These crimes also include the practice of systematic or widespread murder, forced disappearances, depo rtation and forcible transfer s, arbitrary detention, and persecutions on political or other grounds (Nagan and Atkins 2001). 21 No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Art. 5); No one shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. European Convention on Human Rights (Art.3); For the purposes of this Convention, the term torture means any act by which severe or pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person for such purposes as obtaining from him or a third person information or a confession, punishing him for an act he or a third person has committed or is suspected of having committed, or intimidating or coercing him or a third person, or for any reason based on discrimination of any kind, when such pain or suffering is inflicted by or at the instigation of or with the consent or acquiescence of a public official or other person acting in an official capacity. It does not include pain or suffering arising only from, inherent in or incidental to lawful sanctions. UN Convention Against Torture 104

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use article 24 of the ECHR to verify the extent to which the alleg ations of torture and other violations on human rights in Turkey are founded. In a move to allay the fears of the European Community and to avoid being placed on the UN Human Rights Commissions list of human rights abusing states, the Ozal government ratified in 1988 th e UN Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatme nt or Punishment and also the Council of Europes Convention Against Torture. Aksoy (2003, 199) notes that during the parliamentary debates concerning the ratification of these intern ational conventions torture was not justified by a single member of parliament and not one argued that international conventions breach Turkish sovereignty. Nevertheless, neither the Ozal government nor any subsequent government has acknowledged torture to be widespread and syst ematic. Conditions grew so dire, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture,22 which monitors member st ates compliance with the European Convention Against Torture, broke its tradition of confidential reporting after its third visit to Turkey. It d a public statement in December 1992 confirming what Turkish and international NGOs had been alleging, Torture and other forms of severe ill-treatment of persons in police custody rema in widespread (Elahi 1994). The reactions by public officials and pro-esta blishment elites toward the transnational advocacy networks allegations have changed little in the past two decades. As in many rightsabusing states, Turkish officials have claimed th at security concerns emerging from terrorist violence made it necessary to enact strict meas ures, especially in areas under martial law and 22 According to its mandate, the Convention provides non-jud icial preventive machinery to protect detainees. It is based on a system of visits by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT). The Secretariat of the CPT forms part of the Council of Europe's Directorate General of Human Rights. Under the Convention, CPT dele gations have unlimited access to places of detention and the right to move inside such places without restriction. Th ey interview persons deprived of their liberty in private and communicate freely with anyone wh o can provide information See http://www.cpt.coe.int/EN/about.htm. 105

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state of em ergency regions.23 State elites have continually prio ritized national security and the indivisibility of the Turkish nation and state in order to fr ame human rights abuse as the unfortunate byproduct of maintaining stability and s ecurity in the face of terrorist violence. For example, when questioned by a Helsinki Watch delegation in 1992 about torture in prisons, the Adana police chief explained that police are very tired from working ove rtime on terrorism. We are fighting the enemies of democracy (Broke n Promises 1992, 46). This implicitly placed security forces on the side of democracy, some thing all rights-based organizations vehemently dispute. Public officials have also responded by st rongly denouncing allegati ons that in their opinion were lies told as part of an international conspiracy to tarnish Turkeys image and brand it an uncivilized nation, an argument that can be traced back to Otto man times. Repeatedly, officials have referenced Turkeys identity as a civilized Western nation as a counter-argument to allegations, with the implication that such at rocities are improbable in a civilized European nation such as Turkey.24 Indeed, the macabre testimonies of victims of torture published by NGOs and delivered to European governments and the EU have struck at the heart of Turkish pride and exposed insecurities concerning Turkey s identity as a Western nation. For example, the Istanbul chief of police claimed, If we were actually torturing peop le, the Turkish people would rise up against the practice. No one forced us to sign the Helsinki Accords We are part of the West. Our intentions are good and our will is good (B roken Promises 1992). Indeed, 23 Martial law differs from state of emergency in the degree to which security forces po ssess authority. For example, commanders in areas under martial law have the authority to conduct searches without a warrant, to monitor communications and censor media, to expel persons from martial law areas and to suspend associations. Martial law was gradually lifted from most provinces by 1984 and replaced with a state of emergency (a less strict form of control). See Amnesty International, Turkey: Torture and Unfair Trials of Political Prisoners: Case Studies Aug. 1988-Aug. 1989. 24 Indeed, public officials have also countered comparisons and allusions to human rights-abusing Latin American states, stating that Turkey is not a banana republic but a European nation. 106

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Ataturks vision to firm ly position Turkey within the Western world and the public debates in Europe concerning whether Turkey is in fact We stern/European and should therefore be granted EU membership render torture alle gations in Turkey even more offensive than such criticism would otherwise be. Reactions have also included challenges to de finitions of torture. For example, the 1985 Parliamentary Committee for Inspection of Prisons report claimed that some prison regulations deemed torture by activists and attorneys, such as being forced to wear a single uniform, singing the national anthem and denying cert ain types of literature are norma l and to call them torture is nonsense (Aksoy 2005, 11). Public officials and pro-establishment elites have responded directly to human rights activists by branding them as terrorists, an accusation used even today to discredit them. For example, in 2004, Prime Minister Erdogan when answering a question posed by a member of PACE claime d that, those who affirm that there is still ideologically motivated torture are people who were linked to terrorist organizations. 25 Human rights defenders have also been called traitors becaus e they have ruined Turkeys reputation. For example, the reaction to the HRAs 1987 Torture Report was that the HRA is damaging the states honor (Helvaci 2006). International organizations, especially Am nesty International and Human Rights Watch have also triggered indignation, and Turkish officials have rep eatedly made public statements that INGOs are biased and prej udiced and support te rrorism in Turkey by labeling the PKK an armed opposition group rather than a terrori st organization. NGOs are not the only ones discredited. The European Parliament has been claimed to be imprudent and hostile toward 25 See InfoTurk, online news resource, available at http://home.scarlet.be/~ozguden/314.htm 107

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Turkey, and the US and the EU have been condemned for relying on HRA and HRFT reports for their hum an rights reports. However, human rights defenders have point ed to the leniency of international organizations towards Turkey, arguing that th e EUs bark is much worse than its bite. Nevertheless, ordinary Turkish citi zens have perceived the external pressure to be excessive. The harsh language used by public officials has res onated with ordinary citizens throughout Turkey, especially at the height of PKK attacks duri ng the 1990s, when soldiers funerals became the sites of public demonstrations where people could be heard chanting, Down with human rights (Bozarslan 2001, 50). The reactions in the mainstream media to an ti-torture advocacy have been mixed. Some reform-minded journalists have called attention to the problem of torture. Occasional coverage of very high profile cases notwithstanding, 26 the mainstream media in Turkey, which is dominated by Kemalist elites, has tended to downplay human rights abuse. Some journalists have even actively attempted to undermine human rights activism by portraying activists as puppets of the West and/or terrorists. Neverthe less, with the growth of altern ative media in the 1990s after the ANAP government broke the governments monopol y on broadcasting, rights activists had more opportunities to disseminate their message. Some Is lamist and especially leftist and pro-Kurdish publications have directed a considerable degr ee of attention toward the issue of torture, primarily because it was their readership that wa s being directly affected by systematic torture. Various governments have made cosmetic cha nges to address the torture problem. Only for a brief period, between 1998 and 2000, did public o fficials make a concerted effort to combat 26 A few torture cases have garnered extensive coverage in the press. For example, the brutal torture that ended in the death of journalist, Metin Goktepe, of the left-wing Evrensel newspaper was covered widely in 1996. Similarly, the 1998 Manisa trial concerning the torture of children resulted in public outrage. 108

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torture. During this tim e, parliaments Human Rights Investigation Commission documented prison conditions and allegations of torture and issued several reports. The head of the commission even went so far as to publicly disp lay torture implements in from of the parliament building. However, such efforts were stymied wh en the chair of the committee was ousted (Arat 2007, 282). In 2002, the Islam-rooted Justice and Development Party put forth a zero tolerance for torture policy. Insofar as it drew attention to the enduring probl em of torture in Turkey, this was a positive development. Unfortunately, inte rnational and Turkish human rights NGOs have regarded the policy as a failure, noting the continued use of tort ure and the increase in recent years in the number of applications to the Human Rights Foundation of Turkeys rehabilitation centers.27 Despite activists continued accusations, the EU claimed that torture while still a problem was no longer systematic and official negotiati ons for membership could begin. Human rights defenders retaliate that there remains a culture of impunity in Turkey b ecause perpetrators of torture routinely get away with their illegal acts. Despite the prevalence of other human rights violations, Turkish and internati onal organizations have persistent ly addressed Turkeys torture problem. In fact, the number of formal campaigns addressing torture grew in the post-Helsinki era because the European Union granted funds to numerous organizations carrying out antitorture projects. Opportunities, Discursive Repertoires and Mobilization Human Rights Association The Human Rights Association has vociferously demanded an end to torture and illtreatment, and has monitored the situation on the ground in order to provide external actors in 27 Human Rights Foundation of Turkey Secretary-General, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, August 2, 2007. 109

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hu man rights and anti-torture TANs with inform ation. Delegations from international NGOs and European and American officials relied on info rmation from Turkish bar associations, medical associations, prisoner solidarity group befo re the HRAs creation. After 1986, the HRA and HRFT, and to a lesser degree Mazlum Der, b ecame their primary sources of information regarding torture. 28 It is notable, however, that both He lsinki Watch and Amnesty International only cited a handful of allegations of tortur e and ill-treatment e xperienced by right-wing prisoners in reports published before 1991 because they rarely receive[d] further information about these cases (Violations 1983, 3).29 In contrast, left-wing prisoner solidarity groups and the Human Rights Association regularly provided international organizations with reports. This illustrates two things: the HRA and HRFTs successful appropriation of human rights mobilizing structures and the inattention by Islamic groups toward Western human rights organizations and international human rights law. It also suggests, however, a lack of c oncerted effort on the part of INGOs to pursue information concerning human right s violations toward Muslims be fore the period when Mazlum Der began to send reports of abuse against Muslims (and others) to international NGOs. 28 Helsinki Watchs 1989 prison report included references to the HRA but relied primarily on TAYAD reports for its 1989 report on prison conditions, providing a translat ed copy of TAYADs full report and recommendations in the appendix. All subsequent Helsinki/HRW reports, however, primarily use HRA and HRFT data. The 1989 TAYAD reports chronicled abuse at both military and ci vilian prisons. Recommendations were made in accordance to specific regulations under the UN Standard for Minimum Rules for the Treatment of prisoners, adopted in August 1955. In addition, the TAYAD report cites the right to resist repression and torture as enshrined in the US Declaration of Independence, the Fren ch Universal Declaration of human and Civil Rights, the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1961 Turkish Co nstitution. All TAYAD recommen dations fall under the UN standards, except for the demand to allow prisoners to wear their own clothing, whic h it claims, isnt simply a matter of appearances since the practice of creating uniform human beings should also be brought to an end with the abolishment of the uniforms (Prisons 1989, 74). 29 The identities of the main detainees/prisoners subjected to torture has changed over time, with left-wing activists forming the largest group imprisoned during the 1980s, Kurds forming the largest group during the 1990s until the present, and a growing, yet comparatively small, number of Islamists imprisoned during the mid-1990s after Islamism was regarded the most serious threat to national security. 110

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The tortu re issue, since it centers on the topic of bodily harm, is cros s-culturally resonant and an issue on which diverse groups can agree. In addition, torture is a rather straightforward issue compared to other more vaguely defined or culturally distinct issue areas, such as freedom of religion. Whether one uses in ternational human righ ts norms to combat torture or Islamic principles that dictate that every form of violence, unless exercised in self-defense, is unacceptable and unjustifiable, the messages are at th eir core identical: torture is intolerable. A subtle difference lies in what exactly constitu tes torture. Although the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights contains seven categories: to rture, cruel treatment, cruel punishment, inhuman treatment, inhuman punishment, degrading treatm ent and degrading punishment, none of these categories are listed with definitions. Simila rly, although the CAT provides a definition of torture, it does not provide detailed explanat ions concerning other forms of ill-treatment. Hence, each organization is free to define partic ular acts as torture or ill-treatment, and so on. During the 1990s the HRA primarily addressed th e most heinous types of torture, such as beatings, electrocution, falaka (beating the soles of the feet ), sexual assault and rape.30 However, they also addressed lesser violat ions, such as insults, which were defined as ill-treatment. The HRAs sister organization, the HRFT has challenged the practice of tortur e more than any other organization in Turkey and its advocacy work and rehabilitation servic es are subsequently reviewed. The inclusion of beatings as torture in th e reports of the HRA and HRFT, and followed by Mazlum Der, was significant in light of th e common perception by Turkish physicians that beatings do not constitute torture. This perception was revealed in a two year study carried out 30 The London-based Kurdish Human Rights Project, a partner of the HRA and the HRFT was the organization that handled the case that established the precedent that rape is a form of torture under the ECHR. See http://www.middleeastinfo.org/for um /index.php?showtopic=6537 111

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by Physicians for Hum an Rights, with the help of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and the Turkish Medical Chamber, and was publis hed in the American medical journal, Lancet, in 1996.31 Investigations, such as this one, carried out by non-Turkish researchers helped to legitimate the reports submitted by Turkish human rights organizations. In addition, Turkish officials often but not always, cooperated more with international activists/r esearchers than with Turkish activists/researchers; hence, the effort s by American and European researchers often uncovered new information or provided concrete evidence in support of Turkish allegations since they had more access to prisons and state agenci es. International organizations have in turn greatly utilized reports by Turkish professionals and activists and have relied on their assistance during their investigative activities. For example, the HRA also facilitated access to tortured former political prisoners for a study carried out by medical professionals from England.32 Mazlum Der Mazlum Der has also been a vocal opponent of torture, although it has not carried out carried out campaigns as lengthy or extensive as the HRA and the HRFT. Mazlum Der has used case by case signature campaigns, pr ess releases and panels as its tactics of choice. Like the HRA, torture primarily constitutes the aforem entioned list of physical and sexual assault. Generally, left-wing torture victims apply to the HRA and right-wing victims contact Mazlum 31 Physicians for Human Rights survey of 60 Turkish physicians who conduct medical examinations for detainees, which was submitted to the Turkish government, showed that 76% of those surveyed did not consider beatings to be torture. Even with this type of abus e excluded, 96% of respondents believed torture to be a problem in Turkey and 60% said, nearly everyone who is detained is tortured (See Iacopino 1996). The investigation drew the same conclusions as Turkish organizations: Detainees, whether held for political or non-political reasons, are routinely subjected to severe beatings, suspensi on by arms or legs, sexual violations squeezing and twisting of testicles, electric shock to the genitals and other sensitive ar eas, blunt trauma and the list goes on (1996). 32 For example, see Basoglu (1992). 112

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Der,33 which like the Islam-rooted Toplum Der prisoner solidarity organization based in the Southeast, emphasizes the physical and spiritual components of trauma and rehabilitation. Early Mazlum Der literature framed the trauma experienced by female students wearing headscarves when subjected to expulsions from university and their j obs and harassment from secularists as iskence or torture (Evrensel Bulteni 1994). For example, Ihsan Arslan, the Chairman of Mazlum Der, lashed out against Tu rkeys first female Prime Minister in a public statement. Addressing Prime Minist er Tansu iller, Arslan said, now you are abusing religion by talking about th e Flag the Ezan [call for prayer] while women who are merely attempting to experience their religion with their sacred scarves are being tortured, their scarves are being ripped to pieces and their dignity is being assaulted and hundreds of women are being tortured for thisof which religion do you see yourself and which countrys prime minister do you s ee yourself? If you as a woman were to experience this oppression that our women have been s ubjected to, what would you say/do? (Mazlum Der Evrensel 1995, 3) Similarly, the treatment of detainees affiliate d with the Aczmendi Sufi brotherhood, whom were forced by security officials to shave off their beards (beards are an Islamic symbol and forcing one to shave his heard is considered to be highly disrespectful). The early literature lacked a significant amount of legal-technical discussions, and it is possible that framing the forced removal of a womans headscarf as torture was a way to evoke moral repugnance rather than a literal legal assessment. Similarly, the threats to shave the beards may technically fall under ill-treatment, a lesser violation than tort ure, but perhaps the term torture was used to emphasize the highly offensive and traumatic na ture of these threats. As Mazlum Der 33 My use of left-wing and right-wing here overshadows the ethnic dimension to torture in Turkey. Kurds have experienced the brunt of human rights violations, and this includes torture. The HRA is widely regarded in Turkey as the Kurdish rights NGO and indeed it has struggled tir elessly on behalf of Kurds. Consequently, most of the torture victims that apply to the HRA and the HRFT are Kurds, many of whom are also leftist and many are allegedly associated with the MarxistLeninist PKK (which has since eschewed its Marxist-Leninism in favor of demands for democracy and human right s). Because most Kurds apply to the HRA and the HRFT, the number of torture applications to these organizations in comparison to Mazlum Der is significantly more. 113

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professionalized, term s such as torture were us ed more in their legal sense rather than hyperbolically. Regarding blame attribution by not only Mazl um Der but also its secular counterparts, human rights activists have proclaimed for decad es that Turkeys human rights problem does not emanate solely from a range of disconnected legal infringements of natural rights, but rather, its deeper source is Kemalist ideologys statist tradition which fetishizes the state. The statist tradition is evident in the contradictory principles enshrined in the 1982 constitution that paradoxically safeguard individu al rights yet rests upon an aut horitarian ideology (Kemalism) that places the state and na tion above individual rights.34 The sacrilization of the state in Turkish pol itical culture has been a recurring theme in human rights discourse, and activis ts have labored vigorously to redefine citizenship and statesociety relations through the reje ction of statism as a sacred va lue. Sacred values in this context refers to the legal measur es and cultural norms that insulate state officials and institutions from public criticism and are base d on a belief that stat e institutions are sacr ed entities above the law and public censure.35 Activists argue that because of this statist tradition some Turks believe harsh treatment, even torture, is deserved by those who endanger the state by speaking out or acting out against it. Additionally, the statis t tradition upholds the culture of impunity responsible for the continuing torture problem b ecause perpetrators very rarely face punishment for their actions despite recent legi slation that sets stricter penalt ies for perpetrators. These sacred values have also rendered taboo topics such as Kurdish rights, the Armenian Question and 34 The 1982 constitution enshrines Ataturks principles; howev er, in 2007 the Islam-rooted Justice and Development Party called for a new constitution, a civil and more liber al constitution that does not rest upon any ideology, including Kemalism. This has generated intense and on-going debates and is especially opposed by Kemalist elites. 35 IHOP Freedom of Expression International Conference at Ankara Univer sity, Ankara, Turkey, November 30December 2, 2006. 114

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secularism and discussions exploring these issues are often fra med as contrary to national security; and hence punishable under law. The former HRA-Istanbul president explained that when speaking a bout official ideology in Turkey, one cannot limit it to the Kemalists in the upper echelons of society or to government per se because All of Turkey is under the hegemony of state id eology. It is totalitarianWere trying to convince ordinary people that they can search and fight for rights (personal interview, March 26, 2006, Istanbul).36 Mazlum Der has similarly used th e term totalitarian to describe Kemalisms hold on the collective psyche of the masses through the education system.37 This anti-state and anti-Kema list language is strongest in the HRA and Mazlum Der in comparison to other human rights organizations, an effect of their members personal experiences with state repression, unlike the more elite-b ased HCA and Amnesty-Turkey. Because many citizens have internalized offici al ideology to varying degrees, human rights organizations, especially the HRA and Mazlum Der, offer human rights education weekend seminars, in order to change the way Turkish c itizens perceive citize nship and state-society relations. The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey has also carried out training and education programs; however, these programs specifically addressed the issues of torture detection methods and rehabilitation. Human Rights Foundation of Turkey HRFT provides physical and psychol ogical rehabilitation to victim s of torture in Turkey. It also documents cases of torture and attempts to raise public awareness. Like HRA and Mazlum Der literature, HRFT publications also attribut e blame for Turkeys dismal human rights record 36 Navaro-Yashin (2002) explores this issue at length in Faces of the State where she examines the internalization of official ideology and its reproduction in everyday life in Istanbul. 37 For example, see the discussion on indoctrination and th e education system in Mazlum Der Evrensel (1996). 115

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to Turkeys statist tradition and other features of official ideo logy such as its zealous Turkish nationalism The organizations di scursive repertoires greatly re semble those of the previous organizations discussed. Therefore rather than focus here on its di scourse or its role as a conduit for the diffusion of international human rights norms, I will draw attention to the HRFTs impact on the anti-torture transnational advo cacy network of which it is a part. Keck and Sikkink (1998) argue that TANs ar e not merely conveyer belts transporting Western norms to the developing world, but are also conduits for the diffusion of local ideas to the international arena/Western world. Local actors certainly do not wield as much power as Western NGOs or IGOs, and Keck and Sikkinks assertion that all TANs are non-hierarchical communicative structures appears implausible, sin ce not all TANs are identical and power is an inherent feature of all social re lations. Nevertheless, the importan ce of the HRFT in international work on torture supports their c ontention that domestic actors in developing states can and do make significant contributions to TANs. As mentioned in chapter two, the HRFT was cr eated at a time when torture rehabilitation was studied and/or practiced at only three other rehabilitation cen ters in the entire world. The organization was run by medical and mental health professionals who atte mpted to recast the issue of torture as a medical problem, and not onl y a political or moral problem. HRFT directly addressed the problem of physician complicity, whic h is often the result of state coercion, since security officers are usually present during exam inations. Consequently, HRFTs advocacy work not only targeted state officials but also medical professionals. Accordingly, it attempted, together with the Turkish Medical Chamber, to enact measures that would ensure that Turkish physicians follow universal medical ethics. These measures were as successful as could be expected in a context where health professi onals were threatened not only with loss of 116

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em ployment but also lengthy and expensive legal battles and possibl y even imprisonment if they concluded in their medical reports that torture was evident. The problem of undocumented torture despite medi cal examinations resu lted not only from state coercion but also from lack of training. The HRFT played a key role in the development of international standards of invest igation and rehabilitation. From its inception it participated in international conferences and is a member of th e International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims. Its international ties are extensive and deeply rooted, and since 2002 its services have been funded by the European Union Initia tive for Democracy and Human Rights. The HRFT, along with Physicians for Hu man Rights-USA, was one of the key organizations involved in the initi ative and development of an international protocol for torture detection and treatment. The Turkish Medical Association, a founder and partner of the HRFT, organized an international meeting in 1996 to take the initial steps to develop a manual for the investigation and documentation of torture and other forms of ill treatment. This goal was inspired by the daily needs and practices experi enced by the HRFT and the Society of Forensic Medicine Specialists. The subsequent meetings culminated in the drafting of The Manual on Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which became a United Nations official document in 1999. Commonly known as the Istanbul Protocol, the manual is the first set of international guidelines for the documentation of torture and its consequences.38 It provides internationally re cognized minimal standards and 38 Along with the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, the following Turkish organizations also participated: Center for Research and Application of Philosophy and Human Rights, Hacettepe University (Ankara); Ethics Department, Dokuz Eylul Medical Faculty (Izmir); Society of Forensic Medicine Specialists (Istanbul); Turkish Medical Chamber (Ankara). Also, the HRFT and the Turkish Medical Chamber provided financial support. For a full list of all participants and financial supporters and the specific guidelines see Istanbul Protocol: The Manual on Effective Investigation and Documentation of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment New York and Geneva: United Nations, 2004. 117

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procedures on how to recognize and docum ent symp toms of torture so that the documentation may serve as valid evidence in court. For exam ple, it explicates techniques for interviewing torture victims, and provides tips on how to implement diagnostic tests, secure and obtain physical evidence using the latest medical tec hnology and how to document all facets of the medical examination that will be used in court.39 As part of an international program to educate professionals about the Protoc ol, the HRFT is currently coordinating education programs throughout the world. 40 Another area of concern for human rights orga nizations, and particularly the HRFT, is the issue of f-type prisons. F-Type-Prisons, or in it s official title F-type High Security Closed Institutions for the Execution of Sentences (F tipi cezaevi / F Tipi Yuksek Guvenlikli Kapal Ceza Infaz Kurumu) are called hi gh security prisons according to the Turkish Law 5275 on the Execution of Sentences. Before these prisons were erected, prisoners in Turkey were held in wards (dormitories) with up to fifty or more pris oners per ward; however, the f-type prisons have cells (called coffins, or tabutluk by inmates) instea d of wards. The prisons were built primarily to accommodate the large number of prisoners convicted for being part of an armed gang, especially the Kurdistan Workers Party. 39 Public officials, ever the innovators when it comes to devising ways to hide signs of torture, have found ways to evade the protocol and even use it to their advantage. A presentation at the IRCT 2006 international conference highlighted the Mexican governments use of the Istanbul Protocol to deny torture accusations, minimize the problem of torture and maintain the practice of impunity. See Lessons Learnt from the Implementation of the Istanbul Protocol in Mexico by Felicitas Treue, Javier Enrquez Sam (Colectivo Contra la Tortura y la Impunidad) at www.irct.org. 40 HRFT Secretary-General, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, August 2, 2007. The HRFT team, together with the World Medical Association, International Rehabilita tion Council for Torture Victims and Physician for Human Rights-USA, took part in the Istanbul Protocol Implementation Project to increase awareness, obtain national endorsement and achieve tangible implementation of the Protocol in five countries (Sri Lanka, Georgia, Morocco, Uganda and Mexico) between March 2003 and March 2005. The second phase prepared by the IRCT began in 2006 and will be implemented in five new countries: Serbia, Ec uador, Egypt, the Philippines, and Kenya. In the second phase the HRFT will be responsible for coordination of the training programs 118

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F-type prisons are defined as a form of to rture by Turkish human rights organizations based upon the argument that isolation in Turkish pr isons places the prisoners in physical danger, because it makes the use of torture more likely, and also because it is a psychologically traumatic experience. The framing of f-type prisons as torture was a joint effort between human rights organizations and professional medical organiza tions which provided the medical reasons why a particular act can be considered traumatic, and ther efore be defined as tort ure or ill-treatment. It was imperative that the human rights organizati ons bolstered their claims with scientific evidence provided by medical and mental health expe rts. Fellow partners in the transnational advocacy network, such as the European Committ ee to Prevent Torture (CPT), the London-based Kurdish Human Rights Project and Amnesty Internati onal, have lent their support to these efforts by making public statements in defense of the HRFTs stance and publishing their own reports on F-type prisons.41 The debate concerning isolation as punishment and the biology of isolation are still being debated, and were topics of discussion at the International Psychological Trauma Symposium held in 2005 in Istanbul. Turkey finally curtailed the development of f-type prisons due to intense domestic and international pressure and a hunger strike campaign carried out by prisoners in 2000.42 In 2002, the HRA president called on Turkeys Justice Mini ster to enter into a serious dialogue with challengers and convinced the prison ers to end their hunger strikes. 41 See Kurdish Human Rights Project report, The F-Type Prison Crisis and the Repression of Human Rights in Turkey, available at http://www.khrp.org/component/page,shop .produ ct_details/flypage,shop.flypage/product_id,65/category_id,13/man ufacturer_id,0/option,com_virtuemart/Itemid,36/vmcchk,1/ See Human Rights Watch reports, such as Small Group Iso lation in Turkish Prisons, May 24, 2004, available at www. hrw.org. 42 During the 1990s, hunger strikes were a prominent feature of pro-Kurdish activism, especially among Kurdish prisoners contesting torture and ill-treatment. The hunger strike has been used not only by prisoners but also by other groups in Turkey, such as anti-headscarf ban activists, as discussed in chapter five. 119

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Advocacy Work in the Post-Helsinki Period Part of the E U process includes strengtheni ng civil society and the financial impact on human rights organizations has b een significant. Human rights orga nizations are now eligible for various grants through the European Instrume nt for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), which is a European Union program that ai ms to promote and support human rights and democracy worldwide and provides grants to civ il society organizations in candidate countries. Most grants provide funding for about a year, and civil society organizations in Turkey can benefit from both EIDHR global grants as well as Turkey-specific grants extended within the scope of EIDHR.43 The EU has taken a special interest in tortur e, evident through the numerous projects it has funded since Turkish NGOS became eligible. The fi rst EU sponsored torture project was carried out by the Human Rights Association. The Iskenceye Sessiz Kalma (No Silence for Torture) campaign lasted from December 2003 to December 2004 and was funded under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Ri ghts (EIDHR) micro-projects program.44 The HRAs goals as stated in the proposal were 1) to st rengthen ties between human rights organizations and related professional organizations; 2) to train human rights defenders on the prevention of torture; 3) to screen legislation in torture and to document a nd monitor torture lawsuits; and 4) to organize a public awareness campaign. It is notable in the post-Helsinki period that strengthening ties between organizations has become a top priority and this goal was incorpor ated into the No Silence for Torture Campaign. For example, in order to f acilitate cooperation between organizations, the HRA formed a 43 For a complete list of EIDHR grants to Turkish organizations as well as general information regarding the initiative, see their website at http://www.avrupa.info.tr/EUCSD,Dih ag_Revised.html 44 For more information on this campaign see HRA Conducts the Speak Up Against Torture Project. Current News: A periodical of the Delegation of the European Commission to Turkey 4 (January): 6-7. 120

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m anagement board that included the HRFT, M azlum Der, the Forensic Medical Experts Association, Amnesty Internationa l Turkey Chapter, the Union of Turkish Doctors, and the Bar Associations of Ankara, Diyarbakir and Izmir. The board members drew up an agenda and a strategic plan and set up public meetings held in 33 cities September 25-30, 2004 with th e aim of raising public awareness. Each organizations local branches facilitated these meetings, thereby further strengthening ties in locales where solidarity was not as deep as it has been between the main branches in Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and Diyarbakir. During these m eetings, lawyers, doctors and human rights activists were trained how to investigate, docum ent and monitor torture and legal experts on the board published the book, Torture in Turkish Legi slation and its Amendments, which was then distributed to bar associations and chambers of medicine. Insofar as the project was able to reach legal and medical professionals as well as activists throughout the country, it was successful in raising public awareness among these groups. However, a recurring theme throughout this disser tation is the absence of widespread protest by ordinary citizens. It is uncl ear whether this campaign effec tively raised awareness among ordinary citizens to the point th at it will make some type of significant difference in either political culture or in Turkeys policy agenda. This is in part due to the ever-present problem in all social movements of transformi ng awareness into action. It is al so a result, I believe, of the continued stronghold that authorit arian notions rooted in offici al ideology have on Turkeys political culture. During the HRA training seminars that were pa rt of its anti-torture campaign, the distinct problems of sexual harassment and rape of women in custody and ch ildrens rights were explored, reflecting an expansion of conventiona l conversations on torture, a relatively recent 121

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trend in global discussions too. The torture of children was a pr oblem that was especially brought to the fore during the infamous Manisa trail of 1998 in which convict ions against police found guilty of torturing teenagers were reversed.45 More recently, in 2005, physical and sexual abuse against children by caretakers and public offici als in Malatya childcare center were framed by the HRA as systematic torture af ter it was revealed there were 478 cases of sexual abuse in the previous five years. The HRA specifically cite d Article 1 of the UN Convention in addition to other international legal instruments to clarify that any seve re physical or mental pain or suffering inflicted on individuals in childcare dormitories constitutes torture or at least illtreatment.46 Although the HRA had addressed womens issues from its inception,47 the issue of womens special needs in the context of hara ssment and torture while under custody has been emphasized in the post-Helsinki period, and the issue was explored during the 2001 Human Rights Movement Conference organized by the HRA and HRFT.48 The sensitivity surrounding this issue is evident in the harsh reaction toward the statem ents of former HRA-Istanbul president, Eren Keskin, exposing the torture of women prisoners in Turkey. She is one of the founders of the Legal Aid Office for the Vict ims of Sexual Harassment and Rape in Custody 45 Ten police officers were charged with carrying out rape, el ectric shock and high-water pr essure torture techniques against teenagers. The Manisa trial was observed by various international delegations, including a delegation from American NGO, Human Rights First. The trial, which was held in the western town of Manisa, was just one of three-high profile court cases that week in which members of Turkeys security forces were charged with torture and extra-judicial killings. Police officers we re accused of beating journalist Metin Goktepe to death in 1996, and in Diyarbakir 65 security forces personnel were accused of beating 10 prisoners to death that same year ( 46 For the complete press release see Treatment of Children in Malatya (2005) at www.ihd.org.tr 47 For example, as early as 1987 the HRA organized a pa nel on Women and Life and regularly organizes activities for World Womens Day celebrated annually on March 8th. Similarly, the HRA has organized activities concerning childrens rights as early as 1991 (HRA Were on a Long Narrow Road 2006). 48 Two presentations were made concerning Legal Assi stance Bureau Against the Se xual Harassment and Sexual Assault in Custody, and Sexual Harassment and Sexual A ssault While in Custody (Coping with Trauma and Human Rights 2001). 122

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and has faced 86 lawsuits in relation to her hum an rights activities. Keskin was charg ed with insulting the state secur ity forces when she exposed sexual torture against women as a strategy of war in Turkey during a panel discussion held in Germany in 2002. In addition to lawsuits, Keskin has received death threats, was shot at and was assaulted by a police officer while being arbitrarily held under custody. She was sentenced in March 2006 to ten months imprisonment for her statements in Germany, which was subsequently reduced to a fine. Keskin, however, has refused to pay the fine, choosing imprisonment as a shaming tactic because she believes, theyre converting jail time to a fine for the EUto seem like theyre serious a bout freedom of thought. I want to show that theyre not.49 Another anti-torture project funded by the EU was coordinated by Helsinki Citizens Assembly-Turkey and the Human Rights Agenda Association. The Strategic Mapping of Torture in Turkey project does not seek to rais e awareness or mobilize public support. Instead, it aims to conduct research in order draw up a national strategic pol icy that will enable governmental and non-governmental agencies to pool their resources so th ey can prevent torture and crack down on those entities and individuals that have managed to escape punishment for carrying out torture or turn a blind eye to those who do.50 This type of project falls in line with much of Helsinki-Turkeys work in Turkey, which centers around research and policy studies rather than the coordination of public campaigns and demonstrations. To summarize, the post-Helsinki period has greatly expanded the political opportunities for Turkish rights organizations. Hu man rights organizations are now eligible for various grants through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). This period has 49 Human Rights Association-Istanbul President, interview by author, Istanbul, Turkey, March 26, 2006. 50 For more information on the Stra-Map project see http://www.h yd.org.tr/?pid=373. 123

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also seen the developm ent of deeper ties betw een the HRA and other human rights organization through the No Silence for Torture Campaign. The topics associated with torture have also expanded. Whereas the torture of detainees have dominated the movements agenda throughout its history, in recent years the distinct condi tions surrounding the torture of women and children have been emphasized while still maintaining a fo cus on the torture of pris oners and detainees. Conclusion Organizations such as the Human Rights Asso ciation and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey were the most vocal opponents of the deat h penalty, and made full use of international human rights law and democratic norms in cons tructing their discursive repertoires. These organizations successfully appropriated transn ational advocacy networks given the strong commitment by prominent international NGOs such as Amnesty Internat ional to abolish the death penalty. Turkeys integration into the European Union opened up new windows of opportunity since abolishm ent of the death penalty is part of the Copenhagen criteria which Turkey must meet in order to become a full member of the EU. Different organizations utilized various combinations of le gal, political and religious discourses depending on the identity and ideolo gical commitments of their respective members as well as those of their respective audiences. Whereas the HRA and HRFT primarily relied upon international human rights law to challenge the practice, Mazlum Der primarily contested death sentences through the use of Islamic principles of justice. In contrast to the HRA and HRFT, Mazlum Der did not contest the practice of capital punishment per se because the death penalty is permissible according to Islamic law. The leaders deliberately followed a strategy of avoidance and steered clear of c ondemning the practice outright, lest they lose support from their base. Nevertheless, the organiza tion publicly contested the death penalty as it was practiced in Turkey because it did not meet standards of justice under Islamic law. Mazlum Der also 124

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benefited from TANs and is embedded within transnational advocacy networks through its strong relations with the Human Rights Associati on and also through its pr o-active solicitation of political, moral, and technical support from in ternational NGOs. However, unlike other human rights organization which have ta ken advantage of the financia l opportunities associated with Turkeys EU candidacy, acquiring funds from external sources, especially Western funds, remains controversial among members. However, th e organization is not oppos ed to assisting its secular counterparts that have secured EU funding, as it did with the HRA in the No Silence for Torture campaign. The death penalty was finally banned in Turk ey as part of one Turkeys harmonization packages. The significance of the political opportunities emerging from Turkeys further integration into the European Union cannot be overstated. The EU Copenhag en Criteria provided the final impetus for legal change. Rights-based organizations had been applying pressure since the 1970s, and along the way, achieved minor victories, such as the de facto moratorium, leading to the final abolishment of th e death penalty 2005. However, I remain highly dubious of the transnational advocacy networks potential for in fluence had the European Unions carrots and sticks not been driving the process. With the support of the military, Turkeys pro-establishment elites were well-positioned to bl ock reforms well into the future had the EU process not shifted the balance of power in Turkey in favor of reformists. Moreover, despite human rights organizations success in mobilizing other organizations (called mesomobilization),51 the movement has not successfully mobilized mass protes t in the form of large street demonstrations that would jolt politicians in to thinking the issu e was immensely important among ordinary citizens, thereby forming an impetus to tackle the problem. 51 Mesomobilization is the process whereby an organization mobilizes another or other organizations so that these other organizations can mobilize their own members for the cause. 125

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126 All in all, despite the continued efforts of rights organizations and the ruling partys zero tolerance for torture policy that attempted to change the culture of impunity by training military and police personnel, rights organizations co ntinue to receive an unnerving amount of applications from citizens claiming they were tortured. Thus, a lthough there has been a significant drop in the number of applications, the practice has not been entirely eradicated. Regarding points of difference and similarity, all the organizations reviewed in this chapter strongly opposed Turkeys systematic use of torture and, as with the death penalty, made full use of international human rights law in th eir discursive repertoi res. Mazlum Der also articulated its opposition through Is lamic norms of justice. State elites never publicly justified torture nor did they admit to systematic abuse, claiming instead that incidents of torture were sporadic and greatly exaggerated. However, elit es engaged in counterframing by challenging the definition of torture and the interp retation of specific acts as tortur e. State elites also frequently invoked the security-rights problematic in their co unter-framing efforts to challenge activists on both the death penalty and torture. The Human Rights Associati on created the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey to supplement advocacy work on the elimination of torture through the creation of five rehabilitation centers. As the HRFT grew and wa s able to attain criti cal funding from various external sources, it rapidly became a global leader in the emerging field or torture rehabilitation. Moreover, it was an integral player in the effort to transform the nature of discussion concerning torture from a moral and political discourse to a broader discussion that recasts torture as not only a moral and political problem but also as a scientific question that must be answered by medical and professionals.

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CHAP TER FOUR THE KURDISH QUESTION Introduction Happy is the one who calls himself a Turk. Ataturk Ataturks saying is emblazoned on everything from tee shirts to buildi ngs, to calendars and day planners. It is even writt en with whitewashed stones on hilltops throughout the country. Ataturks statement may have meant that Turks, or more precisely citizens of Turkey, should be proud to call themselves Turks since Turkish citizenship was initially formed along French republican lines. However, the republican approa ch veered off course over time and Turkish citizenship came to acquire an essentialist et hnic connotation. Turkeys forced assimilation policy based upon the official deni al of ethnic minorities, includi ng the patent denial of the existence of a distinct Kurdish pe ople, reinforced this ethnic notion of citizenship. In fact, Akturk (2008, 3) contends that, Turkey is a better example of an anti-et hnic regime than France, which is often cited as the paragon of an assimilative nation-state. Turkeys policies toward the Kurds have been fraught with difficulties since the creation of the Turkish republic and have culminated in the Kurdish problem. The Kurdish question, as it is also called, is a multi-dimensional issue whic h spans the entirety of the Turkish Republics history. The first section presents the Turkis h states official ideo logy created during the republican era (1920-1950), a period of nation-building and forced assimilation. Next, I briefly review the reactive discursive repertoires constructed by Kurd s during the republican era and radical left period (1960-80), and then move into an examination of political opportunity structures, the construction of di scursive repertoires and mobilizat ion efforts of human rights and pro-Kurdish organizations. These sections explore the overlappi ng discursive repertoires and 127

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mobilizing s tructures associated with the violent PKK-led Kurdish nationalist movement, the non-violent Kurdish nationalist and the human rights movement. Official Ideology: Kemalist Discourse The Kurdish question has arguably been the most contentious and divisive issue in Turkeys short history, perhaps taking a back seat only to the issue of the rightful place of Islam in a modern society. As long-time observer and scholar, Dogu Ergil (2000, 133), explains The Kurdish Question cannot be understood in isolation. The monolithic nature of Turkeys political culture, its authoritarian laws, the bureaucratic nature of its administration, the militarys central role in politics, the relative underdevelopment of a society plagued by lingering tribalism and traditionalism, and the incomplete integration of the countrys Kurdish regions are all part of a complex phenomenon. In order to understand why the recognition of Kurdish identity is so problematic it is necessary to explore the legal and cultural repercussions of Kurdish nationalism in Turkey, for Kurdish nationalism strikes at the heart of wh at Turkeys founders envisioned: a homogenous nation-state. What is at stake is a rereading of Turkeys history by its citizens and a wholesale reworking of mainstream Turkish notions of nationhood, citizenship and democracy. The story begins in Ottoman times, when relig ious identity formed the primary identity boundary of each community and Kurds enjoyed e qual status with ethnic Turks because, like Turks, they too are Muslim.1 Efforts had been made since the early 19th Century to centralize Ottoman administration and thereby strengthen the empires contro l over its highly decentralized 1 Kurds are a distinct ethnic group which speaks Kurdish, an Indo-European language unrelated to Turkish which is an Altaic language. Kurds have been in Anatolia and Mesopotamia far longer than the Turks who migrated from Central Asia in the 10th century. Nevertheless, Kurds have never formed a fully sovereign political entity and are today regarded as the largest nation in the world without a state. A rough estimate places Kurds in the 15-20% range of Turkeys population, although the exact number is difficult to decipher since ethnic identity is not recorded as consensus data. Most Kurds are Sunni Muslim; however, some are Alevi and have consequently faced persecution because of their Alevism. 128

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mille t2 system. However, once the idea of nationa lism and the modern nation-state traversed Western Europe and arrived in the East, it erupted into a force which fomented numerous national independence movements w ithin the Ottoman Empire, eventually leading to its demise. While the rest of the empires non-Muslim gr oupsGreeks, Serbs and Armeniansfought for separation, the Kurds were by and large seemingly content with their privileged status as Muslims. As a result, a robust Kurdish natio nalism did not develop during this period. Following World War I and the Ottoman Empi res defeat, the 1920 Treaty of Sevres between Turkey and the Allied Powers laid out th e arrangements for partitioning what was left of the empire. Its provisions mentioned the possibility of an independent Kurdistan, the name of the region that ran from Southeast Anat olia to what is today Northern Iraq. Kurdish princes had been ruling virtually independent fiefdoms in this area for centuries under Ottoman authority. The Treaty of Sevres, however, was never ratified because the Kurdish and Turkish Muslims of Anatolia waged a war of independence against the Western powers that were vigorously trying to wrest power from the native inha bitants by supporting non -Muslim natives, such as the Greeks. The Western powers machinations to weaken the Muslim natives were well known and Western governments support for n on-Muslim nationalist rebels led to a paranoia that continues to plague Turkish society even today. Likened to a chronic illne ss, the Svres Syndrome as it is called by some observers is evident in Turks present day reactions to expressions of nonTurkish ethnic identity. They ar e highly suspicious of cultural rituals and the free use of nonTurkish languages, regarding these as Western infl uences that challenge the indivisible unity of the Turkish nation. One harsh observer notes, This paranoia also inevitab ly leads to irrational overreactions and apparently irrational behavior s by the masses and by politicians. Failing to 2 An Ottoman millet was a religio-ethnic community which enjoyed autonomy under Ottoman suzerainty. 129

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understand this paranoia prevents a full com p rehension of contemporary Turkish politics (Guida 2008). The long-standing fear of identity politics is the underlying force which continues to buttress anti-Kurdish policies. The Anatolian Muslims finally defeated their opponents in 1923.3 With the victory came a new set of negotiations in Lausanne and a new tr eaty which negated the previous Sevres treaty.4 Mustafa Kemal explained his envisioned arrangem ent for Anatolian Kurds to journalists in January 1923, claiming our constitution will pr ovide for a kind of local autonomy. Thus, they will administer their affairs in an autonomous manner (Pope and Pope 1997, 249). Indeed, the arrangement would not be too different from the one followed under the Ottoman Empire in which Ottoman sultans recognized the autonomous rule of Kurdish princes. However, the envisioned autonomy never materialized and the Kurdish leaders were ineffective in laying claim to the region during the Lausanne negotiations. In effect, the Ku rds missed what would be their only real opportunity to form an autonomous re gion, and perhaps eventually a state of their own, and this story is touted time and again by Kurds in nationalist literature. The 1923 Treaty of Lausanne neither stipulat ed an autonomous Kurdistan nor provided safeguards for Kurds in the way of granting them minority status. Perhaps to a group which had historically enjoyed a privileged status in a political system wher e only infidels were minorities, minority status connoted subservience and s econd class status. Ottoman norms differed significantly from the newly established interna tional norms that emerged with the creation of 3 For a more complete analysis of nationalism and citizenship in Turkey see Somer (2004), Yegen (2006). For information on the Sevres and Lausanne treaties and their legal and cultural consequences see Oran (2007). 4 During the Lausanne negotiations, Ismet Inonou presented himself as a negotiator on behalf of Turks and Kurds whose motherland is Turkey. The language used by Mustafa Kemal during the war of independence did not include the use of an ethnic conceptualization of nationality, but rather a nationalist unity based upon Muslim identity. In fact, the word Turk does not even appear in the text of his speech es during this time. For a comprehensive discourse analysis of the language used by Kemal and nationalist l eaders to mobilize Anatolians before, during and after the war of independence, see Zurcher (2000). 130

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the League of Nations. According to new inte rnational norm s, minority status was to be determined through a tripartite criterion which included racial, linguistic and religious criteria. International safeguards were introduced which guar anteed minority groups equal rights with the majority and even additional rights were grante d to protect a minoritys linguistic and cultural heritage. The Turkish delegation at Lausanne rejected the newfangled definition and narrowed it to include only non-Muslimsa classification which had an Ottoman pedigree. Orthodox Greeks, Armenians and Jews were covered under the Lausanne Treatys definition of minority but ethnic groups such as Kurds, Laz and Circassians were not.5 The treaty was incorporated into Turkish law and its legal provisions stipulating minority status remain intact today. The debate concerning how Kurds should be defi ned today is rooted in this treaty. The enshrinement of the Ottoman idea of minority status in the treaty rend ers any challenge against the idea a legal issue, and means that pro-Kurdish activists must convince government elites that the Lausanne Treaty should no longer form the basis of Kurds legal status in Turkey. The new government quickly began to replace Kurdish place names in the Southeast with Turkish names and the 1924 Constitution define d Turkish as the official language and the exclusive language of education. A proc lamation announced on December 8, 1925, by the Ministry of Education illustrate s the way republican elites deliberately recast ethnic identity as a national security issue. The proclamation was entitled, Currents trying to undermine Turkish unity, and the document pointed toward the th reat posed by minority communities (e.g., Kurt, 5 A 2008 report issued by Freedom House, Turkey in Transit, contends that intolerance toward non-Muslim religious minorities continues to create concerns, despite a la w adopted earlier in 2008 that returns property seized from non-Muslim foundations by the state. Indeed, even the rights granted under the Lausanne Treaty to nonMuslim minorities were never fully implemented. For a comprehensive account of the legal and cultural roots of Lausanne and subsequent minority status issues in Turkey see Oran (2007). Also, see the report on Turkey's Minority Rights Question: A Citizenship and Democracy Ba sed Approach based on the international conference of the same name held by TESEV on December 9-10, 2005 in Istanbul. www.tesev.org.tr. 131

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Laz, erkez, Kurdistan, and Lazist an) which had up to then enjoye d free exercise of their native language in local affairs on local street signs. The proclamation claimed these areas would no longer use place names in languages other than Tu rkish and the regional names used, such as Kurdistan, would be banned. The philosophy behind this policy was that any recognition of difference would pose a serious thr eat to national unityan idea wh ich maintained its strength in the Turkish psyche throughout the rest of the century. The Lausanne Treaty is not the only document which shapes discourse on Kurdish identity in Turkey. A closer look at Kemalist thought re veals the roots of toda ys pro-establishment elites worldview. As state in earlier chapte rs, Ataturk outlined his vision for the Turkish republic in his six a rrows: republicanism, laicite progressivism/revolution, populism, etatism and nationalism. Kemalism, predicated on a set of foundational assumptions linked to the six arrows, should be understood as a comprehensiv e project to create a modern Turkey (Keyman and Onis 2007). One of the primary objectives of the Kemalist modernization project was to replace Islam with Turkish nationalism as th e glue holding the multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious society together. Mustafa Kema l was greatly influenced by Ziya Golkalp, a sociologist and political activis t who argued Western liberalism was inferior to solidarism because liberalism encouraged individualism, wh ich diminishes the integrity of the state. Golkaps conception of nation was of a "social solidarity" that necessitated "cultural unity"a nation was conceived as culturally and li nguistically homogenous and membership was involuntary.6 Hence, the national identity was meant to be an organic unity of the secular nonclass based identity, which necessarily involved the subjugation of its Other, i.e., the Kurdish identity, Islamic identity and minoriti es (Keyman and Onis 2007, 303). 6 See Taha (1980); Karpat (2000); Houston (2001). 132

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The modernization project sought to achieve a homoge nous nation through forced assimilation policies, a recasting ethnic identity as a national security threat, and by changing mainstream readings of histor y. The official line held that the word Kurd was actually a nickname given to mountain Turks ( dagli Turkler ) because it resembled the kurt-kurt crunching sound of walking through the snowy Southeast. Th e Turkification project went so far as to rewrite history. The "Sun-Language Theory" ( Gunes-Dil teori ), adopted in 1935, claimed that Central Asia, the ancient homeland of the Turk s, was the cradle of human civilization and Turkish was the mother of all languages. Hen ce, Kurdish and any other languages spoken in Turkey were in theory an outgrowth of the original Turkish language. The Kurds Respond Opportunities, Discursive Repertoires and Mobilization during the Republican Era The repressive actions by the state were met w ith a violent reaction as rebellions sprouted throughout the Southeastern regi on. The Sheikh Said Rebellion of February 1925 was the most significant in a string of rebellions which cont inued until 1938 when the final rebellion was crushed. The discursive repertoire s of these disgruntled rebels re flect the fusion between ethnic identity and Islam that was prevalent during this time. The rebellions in the Southeas t during the 1920s and 30s were not merely an expression of th e Kurds dissatisfaction with their treatment as Kurds but were perhaps more an expression of their discontent with the de-Islamization of Anatolia. The repertoires used to justify their re volts were of a religious nature and highlighted the main source of their disconten t: the new republics policies, su ch as the abolishment of the Caliphate and the closing of Kurdish schools and outlawing of Kurdish publications, which sought to circumscribe the authority of local Sufi brotherhoods and Islamic clerics. Hence, these rebellions were arguably more of a public outcry against the restructuri ng of traditional power structures. It was a battle between the new state and societal forces of which the strongest were 133

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the loc al clerics. The proto-Kurdish nationalist undertones of the rebellions have been regarded by historians as secondary to Islamist objectives Indeed, Sheikh Said was a religious leader of the Naksibendi Sufi brotherhood and the Sheikh Sa id Rebellion had an overtly Islamist agenda (Yavuz 2003; Duran 1996; Boztemur 1999). Hist orians interpretations notwithstanding, the early rebellions are often cited by Kurdish nationalists as impor tant precursors to todays nationalist movement in order to emphasize the longevity and dur ability of Kurdish nationalist sentiment in Turkey. The Islam-based discursive repertoires of the early rebellions barre d a sole emphasis of Kurdish identity. From the 1920s to the 1980s, the Kurdish question was not framed as a question of identity or citizenship. Even the Kurd s themselves, for the most part, did not initially interpret their predicament as an ethnic identity issue tied to equal citiz enship and human rights in a democratic system. Pro-establishment elites did not associate the issue with citizenship, identity or rights either. Indeed, the striking silence of the Turkis h state as to the Kurdishness of the Kurdish Question resulted in the Ku rdish Question being defined as a problem of reactionary politics, tribalis m or economic underdevelopment ra ther than as a question of governance or citizenship (Yegen 1996, 216). Opportunities, Discursive Repertoires and Mobilization: 1960-1980 The patent denial of Kurdish identity a nd the strict suppression of expressions of Kurdishness reemerged as a topic for discussi on during the 1960s. The is sue was incorporated into broader repertoires addressing economic ineq uality. Even before the rise of the MarxistLeninist Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, in the 1980s, many Kurds focused their energies into the Turkish left during the ri se of radical left-wing politics in the 1960s. In fact, by the 1960s the growing socialist movement in Turkey was addressing the prof ound economic disparities between Eastern Turkey, home to Kurds, and We stern Turkey. The Southe ast had been neglected 134

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by the state and was characterized b y an archai c feudal system. The region constituted the least economically developed region in Turkey, so foll owing the popular politi cal language of the day many Kurdish groups employed Maoism or Marxis t-Leninism as their chief discourse of defiance. Because these new discur sive repertoires drew from Marx ist-Leninism rather than from the Islamic discourses relied upon by rebels duri ng the republican period, there occurred what Yavuz (1999) calls the seculariza tion of Kurdish identity. Although radical left-wing groups in Turkey differed regarding th eir distinct reading of key socialist texts, Kurds involved in various sectors of the broad far-left movement in Turkey pushed Kurdish rights onto the so cialist agenda, pointing to the poor treatment of Kurds as one of many indicators of the need to completely overhaul the cu rrent system. Positioning Kurdish activism within a secular, socialist framework al so helped construct a collective identity that could bridge religious, tribal and linguistic differences among Tu rkeys Kurds (Watts 2001, 27). Turkish Workers Party was the first to grant real significance to Kurdis h grievances, signaling a courtship between the Turkish left-wing parties and Kurds that would dominate Kurdish politics until the 1990s when Islamists began to assertivel y add their voices to the mix and the Islamist Welfare Party began to flex its muscle in the Southeast region. Ironically, the linkage forged between the Kurdish question and economic inequality by Kurdish leftists perhaps worked to strengthen the notion that the Kurdish problem was one of regional backwardness rather than a question of ethnic identity. Mo reover, the preponderance of Marxist discursive repertoires prevented an emphasis by leftists on the issue of Kurdishness and citizenship because identity issues were secondary to economic inequality, which was the focal point of discourse. Consequently, this lent credence to the mainstream view that the Kurdish question was indeed one of economic underdevelopm ent and tribalism. That is, the articulation 135

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of grievances through the use of Marxist disc ursive repertoires ironi cally resulted in a substantiation of hege monic discourse. Opportunities, Discursive Repertoi res and Mobilization: 1980 and Beyond Only in the 1980s and 1990s did common percep tions about the Kurdish question become transformed from a traditional, tribal or pre-m odern reaction to Turkish modernity to one of the politics of recognition and identity in a democratizing state. The issue of Kurdishness gradually took center stage in Turkish pol itical discussions during the period after the 1980 coup. Kurdish identity was pushed to the cente r of debate by the PKKs Kurdis h insurgency but also by a growing number of Kurdish nationalists who eschewed violence and sought to achieve recognition by operating through conv entional political channels, such as party polit ics and civil society. The new discursive repe rtoires that emerged after the 1980 coup, much like the Marxist discourses primarily used duri ng the 1970s, reflected global di scursive trends. The 1980s and 1990s constituted a period of identity politics se en throughout the developing world. It was also a period which saw an increase in global discussi ons regarding human rights and democratization, an increase in internatio nal treaties addressing civi l and political rights, and a rise in activism that moved beyond national borders, fusing internat ional and local norms and values. It is important to note that there are, r oughly speaking, two factions within the Kurdish nationalist movementone facti on tied to the PKK and another which calls for non-violence. Although the non-violent sector, mainly pro-Kurdis h organizations and po litical parties, are separate and distinct from the PKK, their discur sive repertoires must be understood in relation to each other. There are some important similariti es between these various factions as well as significant differences, and it is necessary to atte nd to the dialogue taking place not only between the state and social movements but also between the various factions of a movement or movements (in this case, the Kurdish nationalis t movement and the human rights movement). 136

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Kurdish rights activists of all types have sought to legitim ize their claims by appropriating and transforming concepts of rights, minority, nationa lism, citizenship, democracy and modernity. In doing so, they have brought all of Turkeys insecurities and unresolved dilemmas to the foreground and have generated a process of tran sformation that has laid bare the official ideologys gaps and contradictions. Consequently, the story of Kurdish nationalism in Turkey is also the st ory of the crisis of the Kemalist vision of Turkish modernity, especially its premise that Turkish society is a homogenous entity. As Keyman and Onis ( 2007, 305) contend, the Kurdish question is situated in the legitimacy and the representation crisis of Turkish modernity in maintaining its state-centric discourse which claims that modernity is directly linke d to the ability of the state to create a modern nation as a unity between state a nd people. Pro-establishment elites in the state bureaucracy, parliament and media have continued to utilize discourse which depicts the Turkish nation as indivisible and rejects demands for cultu ral rights, as these are deemed to be special privileges inimical to equal citizenship. Despite attempts to silence those demanding recognition of ethnic identity and attendant rights, much has changed in Turkey. To grasp the degree of change, one need only examine the use of the word Kurd in common parlance. The states policy of denial was highly effective in terms of forming an obstacle to public discussi ons of Kurdish identity. In fact, the word Kurd was rarely used in public discourse even wh en speaking about people and events in the Southeast. According to Somers (2005) content analys is of newspaper articles in the period following the PKKs earliest attack s in 1984, the mainstream daily, Hurriyet published only twenty-five articles concerning Turkeys Kurds a nd in only three of these articles was the word Kurd actually used. 137

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The use of the term gradually increased th roughout the late 1980s. This irritated the military which was especially concerned about the use of the word Kurd by members of the media, and held an off-the-record briefing to inform journalists of the proper language to be used when covering stories about the Kurdish issu e. Military officials argued that because Kurd was the PKK rebels term of choice it was irresponsible for journalists to utilize the same term used by the terrorists themselves (Cemal 2003, 74).7 Hence, the mere use of the word was interpreted as an anti-state posture, and one which implicit ly legitimized the insurgency. The military and many pro-establishment elites preferred to defi ne the Kurdish issue solely as a terrorism problem, which accordingly could only be reso lved through a military solution. This depiction has characterized their discourse over the course of the past three decades, although many elites and even some military officials have recently begun to soften their language and to acknowledge that there must be a multi-pronged a pproach in which military action does not take precedence. The next sections examine the expansion a nd contraction of political opportunities, the social construction of discursive repertoires, and the appropria tion of mobilizing structures by various organizations of the human rights moveme nt and also the Kurdish nationalist movement. As Steinberg (1999) notes, rights claims often involve genres of law, citizenship and nationhood and this was certainly the case in Turkey. Ex tant laws bound the ways activists understand and articulate their conditions, and political culture sets parameters for what types of discursive strategies will be more or less effectual in ga lvanizing support from the masses. The discursive repertoires fashioned by each faction of the pro-Kurdish movement have undergone several 7 The censorship of the word Kurd in the Southeast region was even more blatant. One Diyarbakir journalist explained to a Helsinki Watch delegation in 1990 that his newspaper had to fax every story to the regional governors office to obtain approval to print, and they were given strict instructions not to write the word Kurd in their publication. See Helsinki Watchs 1990 report, page 17. 138

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perm utations over the past three decades as activis ts devised new protest st rategies to adjust to changing circumstances and learne d new ways of articulating thei r grievances and solutions. As with torture and the death penalty, the identity of activists and th eir targeted audiences played a determinative role in what type of language (mor al-religious, political-leg al) constituted the focal point of an organizations discourse. The us e of group-specific cu ltural idioms and the appropriation of particular mobilizing structures enabled and constrained subsequent discourse and advocacy work in specific ways. Human Rights Association, Human Rights Fo undation of Turkey and Other Secular ProKurdish Organizations The Human Rights Association became the prem ier Kurdish rights organization in Turkey during the 1990s, and its sister organization, HRFT, provided much support and carried out significant work of its own, documenting violations in the region and trea ting Kurdish victims of torture. Given the HRAs centrality in the hum an rights movement as the first human rights organization in the post-coup era, its large Ku rdish membership and its emphasis on Kurdish issues, the HRA was (and is) the site where the human rights movement and the Kurdish nationalist movement converged. However, the HR A was not the only hu man rights organization focusing on Kurdish issues. Because the majority of human rights violations have been inextricably tied to the Kurdish problem, the hu man rights movement and the Kurdish nationalist movement are somewhat difficult to pry apart. The Kurdish issue was not initially a top priority issue for th e HRA. Human Rights Association publications from the late 1980s neith er seriously addressed the Kurdish issue nor made regular use of the term Kurd For instance, the word Kurd is nowhere to be found in the pages of a 1988 HRA-Istanbul bulletin. In fact, it was not even used in a very short article on the back flap of the bulletin which condemned Sadda m Husseins use of chem ical weapons against 139

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Kurds, which the bulletin sim ply referred to as his own citizens (HRA Bulteni May 1988). The blurb on the back cover was describing the Hal abja Massacre a potent symbol used by Kurdish nationalists and sympathizers thr oughout the region, not only in Iraq. The dismissive attitude in the bulletin suggests the Kurdish issue was not yet a high priority issue for the HRA. Another interesting silence on the Kurdish issue cam e during World Peace Day in September 1990. The HRA organized a meeting on Peace and Solidarit y with the Palestinian People despite the armed conflict taking place in its own country in the Kurdish region (Uzun Ince 2006, 17). However, as one long-time activist explaine d, during that same year at the 1990 Istanbul Congress a new understanding was created. We interpreted the Kurdish Problem from a human rights perspective. Then there were those who resigned from IHD [HRA]. We werent understanding many criticized, I HD fell into the hands of Kurds, IHD fell into the hands of leftists (Keskin 1995, 21). The ch ange disturbed some HRA memb ers so much they left the organization. Even more abandoned the HRA after a Diyarbakir activist be gan to speak in his mother tongue at the HRA general assembly a fe w months later a highly provocative act given that speaking Kurdish was illega l at this time (Keskin 1995, 21).8 Despite the attempts by high-level military officials to curtail the medias use of Kurd, even some politicians began to use the term in the late 1980s.9 Once the genie was out of the bottle it became increasingly difficult to igno re the growing debate over Kurdish identity. 8A month before the military relinquished power in the elections of November 1983, Law No. 2932 was passed. The Law Concerning Publications and Broadcasts in Languages Other Than Turkish declared that, the mother tongue of all Turkish citizens is Turkish. The use of Kurdish was prohibited in public from 1983 to 1991. In May 1989 it launched a campaign denying the existence of a distinct Kurdish people and language, even distributing pamphlets to schools in the Southeast claiming that Kurdish is a dialect of Turkish. See Helsinki Watch 1990 Report on Turkey, page 37.The HRA member, Vedat Aydin, who spoke Kurdish at the general assembly was arrested that night at HRA headquarters and his body was subsequently found under a bridge, showing signs of sever torture. Aydin was the first of 14 HRA murders, all of which remain unsolved. 9 For example, former Prime Minister Ecevit warned the public in 1987 that the term Kurd should not be feared. President Ozal followed suit and publicly announced in 1989 that he was part Kurdish. See Pope and Pope 1997. 140

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According to Som er (2005), during the period between 1991 and 1992, there was a considerable discursive shift in Turkeys newspapers from minimal to regular use of the term Kurd.10 Ironically, the increase in discussions concerning Kurds also saw a discursive shift from using the word during purely security related discussi ons to an equal distribution of non-security related issues between 1991 and 1992, a period which saw fighting in the region greatly intensify. Somer attributes the increase in the terms re sonance and usage with the emergence in July 1990 of Turkeys first pro-Kurdish political party, Halkin Emek Partisi, or HEP, which worked vigorously to draw discussions concerning Kurds out from under the category of security and recast the issue as a crisis of democracy and an issue of human rights.11 The HEP aimed at "solving the Kurdish problem through peaceful and democratic methods in line with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights, and the statutes of the Helsinki Final Document (Watts 1999, 636). Thus, th e growing nationalist movement and its organizational vanguard appr opriated international human rights law to legitimize its struggle. As a direct result of Turk eys attempt to join the European Community in 1987, debates concerning human rights and democr atization assumed a more prominent position in the center of national discus sions, and pro-Kurdish groups attemp ted to infuse discussions of democratization with talk about Kurdis h recognition and la nguage rights. 10 A comparison of the periods of 1984-1990 and 1993-1998 shows the average monthly number of articles about Kurds underwent a fourfold rise. During the period from 1984 to 1990 articles used terms and pronouns such as they, traitors, or separatists without referring to ethnicity. However, ov er time it became considerably more likely that an article used the Kurd category in reference to a person, group, concept, or place in Turkey. See Somer (2005). 11 The increase may also be attributed to the ensuing refuge e crisis that resulted from the US invasion of Iraq, which drew even more attention to the plight of Kurds in the re gion. Although he does not mention it, the upsurge may also be attributed to the rapid increase in private media outlets once the ANAP government broke the governments monopoly on broadcasting. 141

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The HEP wa s the vanguard of Kurdish nationa lism in Turkey but it was not alone its efforts to raise public awareness about the Kurdish issue. The same month the HEP was established in 1990, a report subm itted by the Social Democrat Populist Party (SHP) called for official recognition of Kurdish identity. Left-w ing activists had been demanding recognition of Kurdish identity as part of their socialist activities since before the coup and groups such as TAYAD regularly included Kurdish language rights in their recommendation reports.12 The Human Rights Association and the HEP were still rather marginal organizations when they took on the Kurdish cause in earnest. However, the SHP was a mainstream party, and it was the first mainstream party to issue a repo rt that advocated cultural-linguist ic rights for Turkeys Kurds. The Kurds were defined as an ethnic group rath er than a separate na tion (Somer 2005). From 1990 to the present the issue of Kurdish cultural and linguistic rights has remained on the political agenda. In addition to the HEP, SHP and pro-Kurd ish activists within Turkey, the Kurdish diaspora, including the growing co mmunity of Kurdish asylum-seekers in Europe, successfully appropriated transnational advocacy networks of rights-based organizations and linked their growing Kurdish movements in Turkey and other countries to these pre-existing transnational networks. Left-wing activists and pro-Kurdish activists had been submitting reports to INGOs and been in contact with Europ ean and American delegations to Turkey, consequently securing some influential allies. Paris, among other Euro pean cities in Germany and elsewhere, became a hub for Kurdish activists from Turkey and Europe For example, several members of the Human 12 See TAYAD report and recommendations translated in English in Helsinki Watch Turkey Report (1989). 142

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Rights Association travelled to Pa ris in February 1989 to participat e in a press m eeting about the plight of Kurds in Turkey.13 In October 1989, an international conference was held in Paris to discuss the Kurdish issue. Billed as the first international confer ence on the Kurdish Question, the conference was attended by approximately 300 people, including figures such as Jala l Talabani, the leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and current president of Iraq, as well as representatives from all political factions of Kurdistan a nd the diaspora communities in Europe.14 The Paris conference was coordinated by Da nielle Mitterands La Fondation France Liberts and the Kurdish Institute in Paris.15 Mitterand, only months earlier, had paid a visit to Diyarbak ir to observe the situation of Iraqi Kurdish refugees being kept in ref ugee camps which she likened to concentration camps. Her deep involvement in the Kurdish cau se helped to strengthen the transnational advocacy network sympathetic to Kurdish na tionalist movements in Turkey and Iraq.16 Yet, for all the internationa l attention suddenly placed on the atrocities suffered at the hands of authoritarian states, Zubaida (1990, 41) reported from the conference that, One of the questions not raised at this conference was that of the ultimate objectives of the Kurdish national movement. There was a clear lack of consensus regarding a solution. For example, Irans 13 This resulted in a court case for HRA leaders (Birdal, Onen, Ongoren, and Sandalci) for being involved in offensive activities against the states honor (HRA Bulteni 1995, 4). 14 Seven Kurdish members of parliament from Turkeys Social Democrat Party (SHP) also attended the 1989 Paris conference in direct contravention to a party ban barring their attendance. They were expelled from the party upon return and it was these ousted MPs who took what was a seemingly devastating blow and transformed it into an opportunity to establish their own pro-Kurdish party, the HEP. 15 La Fondation France Liberts was founded as a human rights and humanitarian aid organization in 1986. Former French First Lady Danielle Mitterand was president. See al so the Paris-based Kurdish In stitutes website for a full list of international conferences and othe r activities, http://www.institutkurde.org/en/ 16 For a personal account of M itterands 1988 trip to the Diyarbakir, Mus and Mardin Iraqi refugee camps, which she likened to concentration camps see Musa Enters article at Kurdish Media http://www.kurdmedia.com/article.aspx?id=7968 See Mitterands 1994 personal letter to Leyla Zana at the Am erican Kurdish International Network website, http://www.kurdistan.org/Leyla/danielle.html 143

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Kurdish m ovement had been calling for autonomy within a democratic Iran but at the time the PKK and the Iraqi Kurds disagreed with this age nda, as they desired full separation from Turkey and Iraq, respectively. Thus, although everyone c ould agree the Kurds needed more freedom, different movements could not reach a consensus regarding the specific arrangement that could deliver it. This lack of consensus was also evident among activists within Turkey. Pro-Kurdish activists in Turkey expressed two ultimate objectives: self-determination and cultural rights within a democratic Turkey. Each objective was tied to international treaties. Many activists cited the UN Universal Declaration on Human Ri ghts to legitimate their demands. They also relied upon regional treaties. The first text in the field of mi nority rights was adopted by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Euro pe (PACE) back in 1957 (Resolution 136 (1957) Position of national minorities in Europe). The Assembly adopted resolutions on the issue also in 1958, 1959, and 1961. 17 In spite of these efforts, the work of the Council of Europe has had limited effectiveness. The underlying approach behind these efforts excluded minority rights from the universally fundamental rights, in eff ect treating these rights as special privileges given by the state to chosen minorities. As a resu lt, the Council of Europe worked assiduously to fix these deficiencies but its efforts began af ter the 1989 international conference and after the SHP and HEPs initial dema nds for Kurdish recognition.18 17 Article 27 of the ICCPR (adopted by the UN in 1966, it we nt into effect in 1976) al so protects minority rights; however, there is a continuing debate concerning whether or not Article 27 endorses positive state obligations. For a review of these debates see Kristin Henrard, Devising an Adequate System of Minority Protection: Individual Human Rights, Minority Rights and the Right to Self-Determination Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, 2000. For a complete list and explanation of all international conventions pertaining to minority rights see Minority Rights Group International at http://www.minorityrights.org/?lid=760 18 For instance, in 1993 the Vienna Decl aration of the Heads of State and Gove rnment of the Member States of the Council of Europe on the Reform of the Control Mechanism of the ECHR, on National Minorities, and on a Plan of Action against Racism set a legal program to secure the rights of recognized national minorities. 144

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In the m eantime, pro-Kurdish ac tivists drew from available international c onventions and treaties in the construction of their discursive repertoires. There were two international conventions frequently employed by pro-Kurdish ac tivists during this period: the 1975 Helsinki Accords and Rights of Nations to Self-Determi nation and the CSCE Paris Charter. Groups demanding separation of the Southeast region from Turkey especially utilized the former. The PKK, Kurdish nationalists in pro-Kurdish partie s and even some activists within the Human Rights Association expressed the vi ew that Kurds constitute a di stinct nation and are therefore entitled to a separate state accord ing to the internationally sancti oned right of nations to selfdetermination. This was a period when the worl d was seeing nationalist movements morph into new states after the collapse of the Soviet Un ion and communism in Eastern Europe. Thinking they could capitalize on the mood, Kurdish nationalists implored th e international community to recognize the worlds largest nation without a state, believing such a goal was actually attainable. Some local HRA branches were under the lead ership of rather radical individuals who drew from and reinforced the regions growing nationalist fervor by uti lizing sharply worded criticisms that on the one hand alarmed pro-establishment elites and ordinary Turks, but on the other hand strongly resonated with local Kurds and international sympathizers. These local HRA branches in Diyarbakir, Van, Siirt, Sirnak, Batman, Urfa, and Nusaybin published a provocative report in 1991. The report argued that demands for separation were justified according to the Helsinki Accords. The report was first published in Turkish in 1992 and then translated into English and published in 1994 with funds from the Danish Foreign Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It was then submitted to key domestic and interna tional individuals and institutions in the form of a comprehensive report on the Kurdish issu e in the Southeast written by those who live 145

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there, as it says on the cover. The unequivocally nationalist tone is surprising given the HRAs subsequent discourse, which is characterized by a m ore temperate tone and clear avoidance of rhetoric that can be regarded as separatist. The preface by Ismail Besikci,19 a Turkish sociologist who has been one of Turkeys harshest critics, is unabashedly separatis t in tone. It states, The national liberation struggle produces a new type of human bei ngdemocratic, revolutionary, patriotic Kurds. Some Kurds living outside Kurdistan in Turkish cities (especia lly Ankara and Istanbul) are not aw are of the reality of Kurd and Kurdistan They are seeking an alternative to an independent Kurdistan. But I do not believe they will succeed. To be against the national and social struggle or to seek an alternative can only se rve the interests of Turkish colonialism. Better therefore to give all their energi es to the national and soci al liberation struggle (To be a Human 1994, 20). Besikcis statements framed the Kurdish i ssue as one in which an oppressed nation was seeking liberation from its oppressor. Besikci and others who expressed similar sentiments defined the Kurdish Problem as a problem of Turkish colonialism over the Kurdish people of Kurdistan. His colorful language draws from revolutionary left-wing disc ourse which was highly resonant among Turkeys Kurds, especially supp orters of the MarxistLeninist PKK. Defining the problem as one of colonialism was no coin cidence since international law allowed selfdetermination for colonized nations. Moreover, defi ning the problem in this way naturally led to Kurdish independence as the appropriate solution. The claim that Southeast Turkey is part of Kurdistan, a colony being occupied by Turkey and other nations such as Syria, Iran and Iraq was echoed throughout the rest of the HRA 19 Besikci was awarded the 1995 Freedom of Expression Prize on September 27, 1995, by the Norwegian Authors Union. The union stated that Besikci was not permitted to visit Stavanger (Norway) to receive the prize and to lecture on freedom of expression. The prize of 100,000 Norwegian Kroner and a collection of 21 works of art were received on behalf of Besikci by IHD President Akin Birdal. See Infoturk Online News Source (Sept/Oct. 1995) Available at http://www.info-turk.be/222.E.htm. 146

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report.20 Although Besikci overtly spoke of an indepe ndent Kurdistan in his preface, the main body of the report mentions the Kurds desire to gain their right to self-determination but does not use the word independence, although this appears to be the underlying implication. For instance, the authors contend that, The Kurds wishes for the right of self-determination, [of] holding a national character of thei r own and living without the fear of assault from strangers if they speak freely, is understood by everybody (To be a Human 1991, 7). The authors explicitly claim Kurds are determined to take their pl ace among the nations of the world. They seek freedom, democracy and their national rights (To be a Human 1991, 15). Hence, although the preface was openly separatist the re st of the report relies on ambiguous references to freedom and democracy, which could be understood as de manding rights within a democratic Turkey. These activists relied on the 1975 Helsinki Accords and the Rights of Nations to SelfDetermination.21 Article 8 of the Helsinki Accords specifica lly protects the right of all peoples to self-determination. However, Article 3 protects the inviolability of ex isting sovereign borders. To further complicate matters, a lthough all internationa l instruments grant the right to selfdetermination to peoples, no precise meaning of the term "peoples" has been constructed.22 And, of course, Turkeys status as a NATO member and key We stern ally in a chronically unstable region precluded the possibility of a breach of Turkeys sovereignty; consequently, Kurdish separatists were fighting an uphill batt le they could not possibly win. Nevertheless, 20 However, despite an underlying pan-Kurdish sentiment, the reports authors spoke more on behalf of the Kurdish people in Turkeys Southeast region. 21 Kurds have also relied upon Article 1(2) and 551(1) of the U.N. Charter and Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political, and Economic, Social an d Cultural Rights to validate their demands for selfdetermination. 22 Minority Rights: Status and Scope by Javier Leon Diaz at http://www.javier-leondi az.com/docs/Minority_Status1.htm 147

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references to Turkish colonialism by some of the more Kurdish nationalist politicians continued even after a harsh Anti-terror Law was enacted in 1991 to silence this type of language. Other groups in and outside of Turkey took a different approach and advocated cultural rights for Kurds, defined implicitly or explicitly as a minority These activists often invoked the 1990 CSCE Paris Charter. The Paris Charter us hered in a renewed commitment to human rights and democracy in Europe following Eastern Europes democratic revolutions in the late 1980s. The charter strengthened membership ties and CS CEs mechanisms to ensure compliance with norms of human rights, democracy and rule of law. The CSCE Paris Charter states, the ethnic, cultural, linguistic and re ligious identity of national minor ities will be protected and that persons belonging to national minorit ies have the right freely to express, preserve and develop that identity without any discrimination and in full equality before the law. 23 However, just as the Helsinki Accord circumvent s the issue of clearly defining people or nation the Paris Charter does not provide a definition of national minority. President Ozal signed the CSCE Paris Charte r in 1990 in order to curry favor with the European Union and act as an act of assurance that Turkey took its de mocratization seriously. Thus, from one vantage point, the early 1990s were an auspicious time to be making demands for democracy and human rights in terms of the ne wfound vigor for democratization in Turkey. The Turks were attempting to put the dark days of the coup and post-coup atrocities behind them and move forward on their path heading West. Political and economic elites were diligently seeking to achieve Ataturks vision by obtaining European Union membershi p, the ultimate signifier of Turkeys arrival at modernity. Civil societ y was rapidly growing as groups formed new organizations in the attempt to influence the democratization process. The EUs continuous 23 Available at http://www.osce.org/documents/mcs/1990/00/4045_ en.pdf 148

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dem ands for more democracy and serious efforts to curb human rights abuses, especially in the Southeast, and the growing number of intern ational documents addressing the rights of minorities and nations validated Kurdish activists demands. However, from the opposite vantage point, the early 1990s were an excepti onally dangerous time to make demands for Kurdish rights. A draconian Anti-terrorism La w passed in 1991 loosely defined separatist propaganda and terrorism, leading to thousands of lawsuits and widespread imprisonment, especially for journalists and human rights activists.24 Thus, as political opportunity structures were opening in one sphere, they were closing in others. As the HRA became the premier civil soci ety organization demanding Kurdish rights,25 its members became especially susceptible to Article 8 of the Anti-terrorism law, which posed significant legal obstacles to the ways in whic h various pro-Kurdish groups constructed their repertoires. During the late 1980s and early 1990 s, there was a discernable difference between the Human Rights Associations Ea stern and Western branches disc ursive repertoires, a product of the local leadership and the local environm ent. A branch of the HRA was established in Diyarbakir in 1988. Especially during the 1980s and early 1990s, the nationalist-separatist discursive repertoire used by the PKK and the di scursive repertoire us ed by a few high-profile 24 Article 8 of the Anti-Terrorism Law s tipulated, No written or verbal propaganda, meeting, demonstration and marches that target the indivisible unity of the people and country of the Turkish Republic, for whatever thought or aim, are allowed. The law is a good example of pro-estab lishment elites effectiveness in using law as a vice grip on dissent. Magneralla asserts Turkish elites have often co mbated enemies through a strategy of legalism. See Magnarella (1994). The Anti-Terrorism Law was reformed in 1995, on the eve of Turkeys 1996 Customs Union with the European Union. Nevertheless, journalists and ri ghts activists continued to be harassed and imprisoned. In 1998 more journalists were in prison in Turkey than in any other country in the world; and in 1999 it ranked second only to China. See Committee to Protect Jour nalists, Attacks on the Press in 1999 at http://www.cpj.org/ Article 8 o f the anti-terror law was finally abolished in July 2003 as part of harmonization package of legal reforms. 25 The Diyarbakir Bar Association becam e the main legal vehicle to challenge rights violations in the region. According to its president it was the first to bring a Ku rdish case to the European Court of Human Rights after Turkey lifted the restrictions on individual petitions from persons living under the state of emergency. Diyarbakir Bar Association Chairperson, interview by au thor, Diyarbakir, Turkey, February 2, 2006. 149

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figures associated with pro-Kurdish parties and various pro-Kurdish rights based organizations were relatively indistinguishable. The af orem entioned 1991 HRA Report is a case in point. The similarity between the discursive repertoi res of pro-Kurdish parties and the local HRA branches in the Southeast was not mere coincidence. Some HEP and DEP members were former heads of local HRA branches.26 Social movement analysts have long pointed to the benefits of securing political parties as allies (McAdam 1982; Tarrow 1994; Kietschelt 1986). There are, however, legal limitations in Turkey to relati ons between political part ies and civil society organizations.27 The pro-Kurdish parties and the HRA work ed within these legal limitations, as there were never official ties between the HRA and pro-Kurdish parties. The problem was more a matter of too-simila r discursive repertoires between the two entities. The depiction of the Kurdish problem as one of a Turkish occupied Kurdistan and the increasingly confrontational na ture of figures associated wi th pro-Kurdish parties had a deleterious effect on the HRAs image among state elites who continually maligned the organization for its political stance. The str ong nationalist rhetoric of some HRA members during the early 1990s and their co nnection to pro-Kurdish parties had dire consequences for the HRA because the string of pro-Kurdish parties that had been established were all deemed by state elites to be the mouthpiec e of the PKK. The intense and persistent harassment of HRA members in the form of arbitrary office raids and closures and hundreds of lawsuits were a 26 For example, the founder of the Urfa HRA branch was also a DEP parliamentarian, as was the head of the Diyarbakir branch. The current DTP mayor of Diyarbakir Osman Baydemir, was also the former head of the Diyarbakir HRA branch before he was elected mayor in 20 04. His wife has also served as HRA Diyarbakir branch leader and now also serves as the pres ident of the General Headquarters. Sim ilarly, former HRA General President, Akin Birdal, is now a Diyarbakir MP for the pro-Kurdish DTP party. The trend is found not only among HRA members but also Mazlum Der. For instance, former pr esident of Mazlum Der, Ihsan Arslan, was a former Diyarbakir MP for the pro-Islamist Welfare Party, and is now an MP for the conservative Justice and Development party. Other figures from Mazlum Der have also run for office. 27 Under the Political Parties Law, parties are not allowed to engage in political relations and cooperation with civil society organizations, trade unions or professional associations. 150

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testam ent of pro-establishment elites unremittin g resolve to crush all pro-Kurdish factions, whether or not they advocated or used violence.28 Other human rights or ganizations, including Helsinki Citizens Assembly Turkey, Mazlum Der and Amnesty International-Turkey, did not face the type of harassment experienced by the HRA, and its sister organization, the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey.29 Whether pro-Kurdish activists invoked the CSCE Paris Charter or th e Helsinki Accords made little difference in the outcome. The mere act of invoking either fell under the Article 8 definition of separatist propaganda. For example, the DEPs reference to the charter was cited by the prosecutor in its closure case as an indicator of its se paratist activities. The prosecutor argued that by referring to the CSCE process and the Paris Charter in particular, the DEP implicitly referred to the principle of self-deter mination and to minority rights, which aimed at dividing the Turkish nation. Moreove r, he held that referencing the Charter was inappropriate since the right to self-determina tion applies only to peoples un der colonial domination, not to mention that minority rights in Turkey did not apply to ethnic groups, as per the 1923 Lausanne Treaty (Avebury 1995). The court agreed with the prosecutors arguments and the DEP was closed in 1994. 28 HRA members received numerous death threats and the murders of fourteen HRA memb ers have been allegedly linked to state-run paramilitary groups. The HRA was deemed an enemy of the state. In effect, then, the legal activism and non-separatist stance of the HRA and other hum an rights organizations in the context of an armed insurgency was not rewarded by the st ate. In other words, we do not see radical flank effects (Haines 1989; Goodwin 2001) in which the presence of radical or violent elements, in this case the PKK, leads state leaders to pay heed to moderates demands or at least mitigates the repression aimed toward moderates that do not condone violent methods. Because the non-violent groups demands were so similar to the insurgents demands and a few figures were in the past or allegedly connected to the HRA, the moderate HRA was considered to be as dangerous as the radical group. 29 For example, Helsinki Citizens As sembly held a conference in 1992 en titled, Peace Initiative for the Kurdish Question Conference and also published a book entitled, D emocracy Report 1, which had an entire section on the Kurdish issue. hCas reports, however, tended to be more academic and were less confrontational in their demands and the discourse used; thus, the organization did not ex perience intense harassment co mpared to the HRA and the HRFT. See HCA website for abstracts, http://www.hyd.org.tr /?sid=59. 151

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The disagreem ents over the Kurds status reflect gaps present in international law. At every step of the way, pro-Kurdish ac tivists of all types utilized new treat ies and conventions to construct their discursive repertoires. Yet, even after new international treaties and conventions were created legal criteria for de fining minority remained vague, in consistent or entirely absent. Additionally, most conventions were non-binding, and Turkey wa s free to choose whether it wanted to be a signatory to thes e treaties or not. Another proble m was that the specific actions demanded of states that were party to these treaties were often ambiguous. For instance, the 1995 Framework Convention fo r the Protection of National Minorities was the first legally binding instrument on minority rights and goes well beyond the limited nondiscrimination provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights, which merely required the equal treatment of minority groups. Minority rights under the framework are understood as individual rights and are consider ed to be an integral part of fundamental human rights rather than a special privilege. The Convention clearly indicates that state parties to the Convention must institute positive measures to promote effec tive equality, and even requires that state parties ensure the conditions necessary for national minor ities to maintain and develop their cultures, and to preserve the essential elem ents of their identity, namely their religion, language, traditions and cultural heritage. 30 Nevertheless, the Framework also has some significant flaws. For instance, it is ambiguous concerning the specific measures that should be implemented to guarantee minority groups linguistic and cultural preservati on and development. More importantly, similar to previous conventions, the Framework Convention does not include a clear-cut definition of national minority The lack of a precise defi nition grants the signatory st ates considerable power in 30 Framework Convention Article 5. 152

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deciding which m inority groups enjo y benefits under the Framework.31 In the specific case of Turkey, the 1995 Framework would allow the Turkish state to continue its usage of the Lausanne definition of minority which excludes ethnic minorities.32 The gaps and inconsistencies in inte rnational law were not the only constraints placed on concretely defining the Kurds. Even if interna tional documents would ha ve provided a clear-cut definition, pro-Kurdish activists within Turkey were constrained by Article 8 of the antiterrorism law. The frequent use of Article 8 to detain and imprison anyone who spoke of a distinct Kurdish people led to a discursive shift among human rights organizations. The increasing number of persons who fell victim to Article 8 prompted human rights organizations to carry out campaigns for freedom of thought and expression to contest the controversial law, especially on the eve of Turkeys customs uni on with the EU in 1996. Mo reover, the wave of PKK violence during this time created a back lash of Turkish ultr a-nationalism throughout Turkey, and rather than continue the taxing at tempts to bring about Kurdish linguistic and cultural rights in such a racially-charged atmosphere and have to grapple with the cultural taboos associated with Kurdish rights, demanding fr eedoms of thought and expression were more 31 The main distinction for some European states is be tween immigrant minorities and traditional minorities that are indigenous to the country. Unsurprisingly, many European states with sizable immigrant communities reject the idea of granting immigrant minorities the benefits laid out in the Framework Convention. However, PACE has issued reports specifying that this distinction cannot hold, as minority rights must be applied without any discrimination since they are an integral part of fundamental rights. 32 PACE, nevertheless, continued to pressure Turkey to sign it. The Parliamentary Assemblys report from the January 23, 2001 meeting specifically drew attention to those states that had not yet signed the Convention (Turkey, Andorra, Belgium and France), and warned that this means that it cannot take full effect across th e continent. These countries have significant minorities, which ought to be pr otected, and whose rights are not officially recognized. See PACE report from Jan. 23, 2001, Recommendation 1492 on National Minorities at http://assembly.coe.int/documents/AdoptedText/TA01/EREC1492.htm See also PACE 2003 report (Filling the Fram e: 5th Anniversary of the entry into force of the Fr amework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities) at http://www.coe.int/T/E/Human_Right s/Minorities/5._5_a nniversary/PDF _Final_Presentation_Cilevics.pdf For more information concerning minority rights and the ECHR see Gilbert Geoff (2002). 153

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culturally inoffensive since they were free of overt ethnic content. In addition, as activists from different political persuasions began to work more closely together, discursive repertoires began to increasingly emphasize broad rights that covered all social groups. A campaign that highlighted freedom of expression, for example, could cover not only pro-Kurdish groups but also Islamists and othe r aggrieved groups. That is not to say activists discontinued di scussing the matter of minority status and cultural rights. Instead, they placed such disc ussions within broader debates about racism (chauvinism) and discrimination, and especially discussions concerning pluralist democracy. For example, a review of HRA, HRFT and Mazl um Der reports, bulletins and demonstrations during the midto late 1990s reveals empha sis placed on the following: freedom of thought, racism and discrimination in the context of de mocratization, peace as a basic human right, the problem of disappearances, and th e still unresolved issues of ar bitrary detainment and torture.33 Helsinki Citizens Assemblys publications centered on issues of citi zenship and nationalism from the perspective of Turkish democratizati on and European integration. The Kurdish issue found its way into all these discussions. Another dimension of the problem of discussing minorities was that these legally undefined terms also held different meanings in common parlance. Individuals often read rather different meanings from an identical symbol, action or discourse. Indeed, social movements are a public battle over which read ing will ultimately win. Therefore, social movement actors must be very strategic in choosing their words, making certain to avoid 33 For example, the HRA Herkes Farkli, Herkes Esit (Everyone is Different, Everyone is Equal) campaign and seminar, Nov 3-4, 1998 coordinated by HRA Minority Rights Commission. During Habitat II, HRA made brochure on Minorities in Turkey and also issued a report in 1997 on the issue which compared the minority concept and reviewed international documents, and also published a 1998 Racism Report. See IHD Bulteni (1999) and IHD Bulteni (2001). 154

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strengthening stereotypes or using w ords that are understood di fferently by different people. In addition, movement actors combine genres to crea te a repertoire, and these combinations are based upon past conflicts, the activ ists strategic deliberations a nd the discursive limits to how genres within a field can be combined (Steinberg 1999, 750-1). The following discussion is a case in point. An international panel discussion coordinated by the Turkey chapter of the He lsinki Citizens Assembly and held in Istanbul, January 27-28, 1995, focused on building bridges between the East and West of Turkey as well as between Turkey and Europe. The speakers at the conf erence were citizens of Turkey and various European countries, and most of them were Tu rkish, with three Kurds and several non-Turkish Europeans.34 During the panel discussion, the concep t of minority was brought up by Murat Belge, a prominent intellectual and one of HC As founders, and it sparked a debate about the term and the related topic of citizenship, nationhood and also self-determination. What follows are some excerpts from the discussion.35 Murat Belge: My first point concerns 'mis understandings' or 'how do we understand each other'. People can talk using the same concepts and mean entirely different things. To give an example: at a meeting of the ED in Turkey, I asked Mr. Sleyman Demirel, the Prime Minister of Turkey at that time, what he thought of doing about the international agreements which Turkey had signed, especi ally agreements on minorities. He looked rather annoyed and said that the Kurds were not a minority; if we call them a minority, then they would be discriminated against, regarded as second-class citizens. But in Turkey Kurds are equal citizens, so it is not correct to talk in this way. Later that evening a Dutch friend at the same conference remarked that for a European person a 'minority' also means a citizen with full citizen's rights. But if you ask a Kurd what a minority' is, he will not like that term either. He will say, you can talk about 60.000 Armenians in Istanbul as a 34 For a complete list of speakers and their affiliations, see A Helsinki Citizens Assembly Report (June 1995). 35 Note: the excerpts presented here are no t a contiguous transcriptio n, but rather pieces of th e dialogue pertaining to the issue of the minority concept and citizenship. As is often the case in a panel discussion, speakers often had to wait their turn to comment upon another speakers comm ent, thus, the pieces of th e conversation which do not specifically pertain to the issue of concern here have been removed. For a copy of the full transcript of the panel discussion see, A Helsinki Citizens Assembly Report (June 1995) Coedited by Taciser Belge and Mient Jan Faber at the Helsinki Citizens Assembly-Turke y website at http://www.hyd.org.tr/?pid=366. 155

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m inority, but 12,000,000 Kurds is a nation. Politician s can abuse all these concepts, so it's our job here to clarify what our European friends mean when they make a statement or what they understand from statements made here. Aydin Ugur: I would like to stress a point very close to the problem of 'misunderstandings'. We need people living in this country, to render more clearly the terms we are using. Maybe, it can help us to define the process to which we want to contribute. For me the expression: 'recognizing the cultural identity' or the 'ethnic identity' is quite problematic, and for most of the people in Turkey it is a term which immediately polarizes, since it is regarded to lead towards separation. Although some people mean something different by it. For example, the Turkish pr esident had said: 'I'm ready to recognize that identity' and next he makes a complete U-turn, and the prim e minister is doing the same. So, there is some misunderstanding with that term. This has to be clarified. Nurredin EL Huseyni: I would like to examine the questi on from a Kurdish perspective by looking from the past to the present. Given the present international conjecture, Kurds will not achieve any victory -whatever victory they are thinking of with armed struggle. And there is a danger that this armed conflict may turn into a civil war and that will not serve the Kurdish cause. My personal view is that the focal point of the Kurds should be self-determination. The meaning and content of the notion of self-det ermination has changed within th e historical process. It is no longer a question of changing borders bu t of having a say in your own future Gunay Goksu: I will make a few comments on th e concept of nationalism in turkey, from Turkish and Kurdish perspectives. It was said before that there are semantic or cognitive barriers in terms of understandi ng each other. That is rather crucial thing here, because Turks and Kurds don't mean the same when th ey talk about nations and nationalities. Let me start by saying a few things about the "sins" of Turkish nationalism. They have to do with Turkish self-perception claiming that the Turkish nation is merely based on citizenship. This is how it is defined in the constitution and presented by the official ideology. But there is also an ethnic concept of Turkism" which was introduced during the ottoman times. This concept was deliberately neglected by the founders of the Turkish republic. For political reasons, they did not want to use et hnic criteria, because of the delicate positions of th e Turkish-originated populations wi thin the Soviet Union. But this does not mean that an ethnic concept does nor exist. It is covert and not acknowledged, but it is there. So, in the construction of the Turkish national identity, the emphasis was put on the "Turkishness" (and not on Turkism), wher e "Turkishness" referred to citizenship exclusively and, unfortunately, didn't recogni ze certain cultural rights of the Kurdish community. This is one of the barriers Tu rkish nationalism has to overcome. It should accept that what it has presented, is false. It is not only a matter of citizenship but it has an ethnic core as well. But there are also some positive aspects, which do not blockade a solution of the problem we are facing. Turkish nationalism is not raci st, and not exclusivis t. Although it does not recognize the Kurdish cultural identity, it is not similar to the German concept of nationality, where it is very difficult to beco me a German citizen if you don't have German blood. Turkish nationalism has at least an open door. But at the same time, we have to keep in mind that it is not based on liberal pr inciples. In an organic way individuals are 156

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subsum ed in one national unity, the Turkish na tion. Turkish nationalism is even a barrier to democratization and liberal ization of the country. When we approach the problem from the Kurdish side, we discover the same sins. The Kurds have taken the bad example of Turkish nationalism. To affirm their ethnic origins, or their historical national en tity, they are ready to invent myths as much as the Turks did Turgut Tarhanli: We have to understand the Turkish view and pract ice in dealing with 'minorities' and 'self-determination '. The official Turkish view is that the concept of minorities can only refer to a group of people whose status is subject to (bilateral or multilateral) international instruments. Turkish official view on the concept of self-deter mination is a very archaic one. It takes into account only the 'external' aspect of the c oncept; that is the right of peoples to liberate themselves from occupation by a foreign (col onial) power and to build an independent state. However, in current international law, there is no such right against any officially recognized state. That means that we have to stick to 'internal' self-determination. According to international law, this aspect of self-determination gives a people the right to have a government representing all the people belonging to a particul ar territory, without distinction as to race, creed or color. "Participation" is key here. Not only political participation in general elections, but participa tion at all levels of so ciety, local, regional and national. The official Turkish view restricts itself to "external" se lf-determination, so if you use the term anyway, official s will interpret it as a claim for "secession". Even the Constitutional Court is not really aware of the "internal" aspect of self-determination. In recent cases, the Constitutional Court insist ed on not arguing both aspects of selfdetermination, but to speak only about the "ext ernal" one, which enabled it to point at secession and subversive actions. Self-determination is a continuing process. This point was first emphasized in documents of the former CSCE, now OSCE. People should always have and develop channels to show its will vis--vis the law-making-bodies. This may lead to change, in a legal and legitimate way. Here, again the official Turkish view is quite the opposit e. In fact, Turkish people don't possess the dynamic right of self-d etermination. They have already used it, namely during the War of Independence ( stiklal Harbi) (1919). At the end of that War their self-determination was fulfilled thr ough the founding of the Republic (1923). This view, once again, covers only the exte rnal aspect of self-determination. Mary Kaldor: The second point is on those wo rds "minorities" and "self-determination" which as a rule are incredibly problematic at every meeting we have. On the one hand it is completely unacceptable when the Turkish state or government denies these words. On the other hand when we use them we get into the same game. It is inte resting how those words imply different things. To describe a group of people as a minority is yet to put another label on them. In private they f eel themselves different; in public they have to face that label. But this is somethi ng they should be proud of ra ther than ashamed, Although, the term "minority" is too weak; we need someth ing stronger to expre ss cultural diversity. Likewise, with self-determination: the problem is democracy! If you have a big project in 157

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your local area, whether you are Turk or Kur d, you yourself should be able to co-decide about this project. Um it Firat: The lack of clarity on the concep t of minorities is important. I think we still don't have a clear-cut definition. We know that Armenians, Greeks and Jews are minorities in turkey. But they have nation-states else-whe re, so they are a nation in one locality and a minority [in another]A last word to Mary: We dont want all this fighting over identities, but it is our duty to fight for id entities that are suppressed. I ag ree: self-determination is not a solution. This discussion illustrates multivocalitythe different meanings ascribed to the concepts of minority and self-determination in different and even identical contexts; and it also illustrates the activists awareness of multivocality through their discussion of how those terms were ascribed different meani ngs by different groups, even amongst themselves. Frame theory suggests that meanings have a rather orderly st ructure that can endure pa st their situational use (Steinberg 1998, 850). The discussion at this conference suggests otherwise. Indeed, although the participants in the panel discussion shared an interest in solving the Kurdish problem, their ideas differed concerning th e meaning of certain terms, with some relying upon legal definitions and others relying upon politi cal discourse but not a legal interpretation per se. Thus, the utility in using nebulous terms as part of the movements rhetoric was a topic of debate. For example, El Huseynis argument that the focal point of the Kurds should be selfdetermination was challenged by others, such as Kaldor who claimed the term was incredibly problematic and divisive in Turkey because it tends to denote separatism. Tarhanlis response brought the issue of international law to the di scussion when he claime d, we have to understand the Turkish view and practice in dealing with minori ties and self-determination as archaic and based on a selective reading of internati onal laws. In sum, participants discussed the multivocality of important terms when constructing discursive repert oires, and were aware of the numerous ways audiences could in terpret a word such as self-de termination due to distinct cultural interpretations of na tionhood, citizenship and self-det ermination. An analysis of 158

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discussions pertaining to the Ku rdish issue by Islam ists reveals a different combination of discourses. The Kurdish Question from Islamic Perspect ives: Opportunities, Discursive Repertoires and Mobilization Not only do extant international treaties and conventions shape the construction of repertoires, so do the cultural norms and values and identity of activis ts and their targeted audiences. This section explores the ways in which Islamists have framed the Kurdish issue. Mazlum Der coordinated a conference on the Kurdish Question in November 1992. The conference was the first coordina ted by Mazlum Der, the organiza tion had only been established less than a year prior. Kurdish Question Foru m was a two day confer ence held in Istanbul. Mazlum Ders founders were largely associated with Erbakans National Outlook movement but Muslim intellectuals of all stripes, many of them Kurdish, were invited to speak at the conference. The organizer told me he purposel y sought to incorporat e diverse opinions and intellectuals from various Islamist communities including persons who were not formally affiliated with Mazlum Der. According to the opening speaker, this was the first time Islamists in Turkey came together to discuss the multiple dimensions of the Kurdish question. Thus, the conference serves as a useful benchmark in th e service of examining change regarding the Kurdish issue among various Islamist groups. Many of the speeches at Mazlum Ders 1992 Kurdish Question Forum were filled with well-known Islamist themes: the limits of Western human ideologies such as nationalism and the modern nation-state, and the complicity of Western powers and Israel in the regions Kurdish Problem. Indeed, the speeches greatly reflected th e mindset of Islamists, particularly those associated with Erbakans Welfare Party, whic h according to Dagi ( 1998, 23), is a political party which perceives itself according to the West and perceives itself as bearing a pure anti159

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W estern identity. However, there were also self -reflective criticisms of Muslims indifference to the suffering of the Kurds and Turkish Musl ims double standards regarding nationalism. For example, one speaker exhorted to his fellow Turks at the conference, Isnt it a shame that while we struggle for Bulgarian Turks and Palestinians we dont extend the same effort for the Kurds? There were also candid vignettes by Kurdish Islamists who told of the personal struggle to reconcile their ethnic and religious identities. Overall, the Kurdish question served as a focal point onto which broader discussions regarding identity and Gods will were grafted. The General President of Mazlum Der, M. Ihsan Arslan, opened the discussion with a traditional Islamic greeting and explained that the conference had been organized so Muslims could come together to discuss the most serious problem in Turkey. He lambasted Muslims for ignoring the oppression of Kurds rather than fu lfilling their d uty as Muslims to aid the oppressed and explained that to stand on the si de of the oppressed is to come together worshipping as Muslims. Arslan implored the audience to find an Isl amic solution to the Kurdish problem. He stated, We aim to determ ine together what manner is necessary and how to approach the problem w ith Muslim consciousness ( ummet bilinciyle ), in the light of flawless wisdom and within our foundational beliefs a nd principles, purified from the limits of ignorance... (1993, 12). The language Arslan uses, his extravagant and passionate rhetoric, and the idioms summoned in his speech are the language of polit ical Islam. The speakers at this conference frequently made comments which suggests they were not only sp eaking to contest the state but were sending a message to secularist Kurdis h nationalists, as they saw themselves in contradistinction to the Kurdish nationalist move ment which had shown itself to be incredibly successful at mobilizing Kurds in the Southeast, a region traditionally an important base of Islam 160

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in Turkey. T he extreme secularization of identity which occurred at the hands of the Kurdish nationalist movement was in some ways as impor tant a phenomenon in need of defeat by the Islamist communities as the Kemalist state. Indeed, as one observer has noted of Islamist intellectuals, the new Islamic in tellectual tends to address hi s speech less to an Islamist audience than to the leftist in telligentsia (Mardin 2002). The presentations focused on the issue of identity and whether ethnic identity should be of import from an Islamic perspective. One speaker claimed, If ethnicity were unnecessary would God have created it? Clearly, then, he conclude d, ethnic identity is an important element of an individuals character. Many, if not most, participants, however, claimed that ethnic identity should never hold prominence over religious id entity. One is a Muslim before all else. Ali Bulac, one of Turkeys most prominent Muslim intellectuals, prefaced his speech by connecting the Kurdish issue in Turkey to sim ilar ethnic conflicts in the Caucuses and the Balkans. Mentioning that he had recently return ed from a trip with the Helsinki Citizens Assembly, of which he is a founding member, to th ese two conflict-ridden re gions he situated the ethnic conflict plaguing Turkey a nd these regions within a broade r critique of the ideology of nationalism. Bulac was not alone in his attention toward the Balkans. The atrocities carried out on Muslims in the Balkans (this was before the actua l genocide) were intently followed in Turkey, as the area shares a common Ottoman past and ma ny Turks have an affinity for Balkan Muslims and can trace their roots to the Balkans.36 Thus, its central place in the discussion was a deliberate linking of an issue near and dear to many Turks hearts with one that was much more controversial and which was char acterized by a lack of empathy Many of the speakers likened 36 Many Islamic organizations in Turkey, including Mazlum Der, sent representatives to carry out fact-finding missions and also to deliver aid to Bosnian Muslims. 161

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the Kurdish uprising to the ethnic co nflict in th e Balkans and the Caucuses, and linked all of these conflicts together as the common and inevitable byproduct of th e Western ideology of nationalism and the created cate gories of the West. The Kurds, Bosnians, Chechens and others were cited by Bulac and others as evidence that nationalism was an experiment that had run its course and, like communism, had proven inadequa te for fostering a just and peaceful order. The ultimate goal of achieving a just order is a well-established theme in Islamist discourses and like many Islamists during this peri od, Bulac envisioned the means to attain such an order through the creation of a post-nationalist system. He st ated, the exaltation of ethnic identity and national identity and the envisaged nationalism cannot be accepted from an Islamic perspective the problem will not be solved wi thin a nation-statethe problems experienced by the Kurds today emerge from the existence of the nation-state (1993, 36).37 This posture was a response to the Kurdish separatists who saw a solution to the Kurdish problem in the creation of yet another state. For Islamists like Bulac, a decentralized and multi-legal political system devoid of the idea of nationalism based on a secular (and according to some readings ethnic) political community was the ultimate solutio n to ethnic conflict in Turkey and elsewhere. The long-term solution envisaged by Islamist postnationalists is something akin to the Ottoman arrangement of relatively autonomous religio-ethnic communitie s, although there is variation in specific arrangements. Participants had to be careful how they explained th is ultimate objective, as overt calls for seriat or an Islamic state were illegal. Nevertheless, like many secularist Kurdish na tionalists Bulac also advocated official recognition of Kurdish ethnic identity as well as language rights in the short-term, since Islam 37 Bulac, like many other Islamists, has since changed his views and is now committed to democratic reform, claiming that political Islam is dead and advocating a civil Islamism which does not challenge secular democracy (Kuru 2006, 140-1). See Ali Bulac (2001) 162

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does not discrim inate against any nation. In fact, he even called for the renaming of street names throughout the Southeast to their original Ku rdish names. Although he and others plainly demanded these rights for Kurds, they did not articulate these demands through human rights language. Arslan was perhaps the on ly participant to use the term human rights several times during his speech; however, he more often used terms rooted in Islam, such as justice ( adil ) and Gods justice ( Hakki hak ). Most speakers did no t use a politically liberal discourse at all during their presentations. There was a strong tendency to utilize a relig ious discourse rather than a political or legalistic discourse And although Arslan used the term human rights more than other speakers, he echoed the oft-used Islamic conten tion that human rights is a Western and human ideology, and is therefore limite d when compared to Islamic notions of justice that have been bestowed upon us by a merciful God.38 The aforementioned assertions about justice and the Kurdish question are especially linked to the pro-Islamic Welfare Party. Similar to proKurdish activists who are closely allied with pro-Kurdish parties, Islamist social networks connect pro-Islamic parties and civil society organizations, and the discursive repertoires are interrelate d. As Duran (1996, 114) points out, justice with an Islamist connotat ion is regarded as a means to solve the distributional problems related to economic development and problems about identity formation. Thus, it has become the most publicized political value of the Welfare Partys political pr ogram, and Islamist discourses more generally.39 The conferences Final Document summed up the conclusions reached regarding the 38 In addition to a dismissal of the West-inspired interna tional human rights documents many Muslims in Turkey are highly skeptical of the courts impartiality and accusations of double standards and bias are popular given the European Court of Human Rights tendency to side with the Turkish state in high profile cases involving pious Muslims or pro-Islamic parties. 39 Duran posits that apart from the conventional meaning of justice, the extensiveness of its connotation makes it a vague concept. 163

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diagnoses and prognoses (pp. 445-448). The docum en t states that the Kurdish issue must be approached from the vantage of peace and freedom and before the problem can be resolved the issue must be debated in an environment wher e people can speak freely. This is deemed a necessary precondition to a resolution. In order for the different parties aff ected by the conflict to reach a consensus through dialogue legal restrictions against free expression at universities, parties, trade unions, associations and the pr ess must be lifted. Moreover, the document proposed legal rights must be given to the Kurds and torture and repression should end immediately. The participants also argued it is impossible to create an ethnically homogenous society in Turkey, and the Turkish racism th at undergirds official ideology must end. The solution lies in building an egalita rian and tolerant community. Notwithstanding the assertion by many speaker s that free expression was a precondition, the speakers did not rely upon a lega listic discourse or an overtly politically liberal discourse to either critique the human rights si tuation in Turkey or to propose mo re concrete legal solutions to the Kurdish Question. Moreover, the legal issue of whether the Kurds constitute a minority or a nation was never raised. This silence reflects th e politics of disengagement during this period among conservative Muslim communities wh ich avoided appropriating Western-rooted international rights documents so as to avoid legitimating them. At the end of the general declaration, Mazlum Der was given the task of creating a monitoring committee to carry out research and monitor events pertaining to the Kurdish issue and to mobilize Muslims. In sum, the 1992 Mazlum Der conference is a perfect example of the various Islamic communities responses to the Kurdis h issue during the early to mid-1990s.40 The conference 40 Houston (2001) provides the most in-depth discourse analysis of the varied responses to the Kurdish Problem by religious conservative groups in Turkey, and posits that there are three currents or strain s in the Islamic approaches to the Kurdish issue, what he coins statist Islamist, Isla mist and Kurdish Islamist. St atist Islamists are known for their strong Turkish nationalism, and even pan-Turkism, and are associated with the Gulen movement. In contrast, 164

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discussions reflected the general Islam ist pos ture vis--vis Western human rights norms and Western democracy prevalent during this time. Discussions also clearly expressed a direct challenge to mainstream republicanism and its st rong-state tradition, citing this as the primary culprit linked to the Kurdish problem. While participants vociferously chastised the totalitarian, blood thirsty, Kemalist regime which oppressed an ethnic group through assimilation efforts that are against Allahs word (Pamak 1993, 277), some took the criticism one step further to propose a non-nationalis t solution. This long -term solution which includes the dissolution of the modern nation-state is clearly a more radical solution that any proposed by secular activists, ev en Kurdish separatists who seek to replicate the modern Turkish state. There was not a significant change among mo st Islamist communities discourses during the mid-1990s. The moral character of Islamist intellectuals discourse in the mid-1990s still greatly overshadowed the political dimension, acco rding to Cizre-Sakallio glus (1998) discourse analysis of Islamist thought on the Kurdish issue.41 Cizre-Sakallioglu criticized Islamists for relying on an Islamic utopian vision rather than conveying a sense of realism through a politically and legally sophi sticated perspective (1998, 84-5). However, although these intellectuals can be criticized for not elevating the discussion, the incred ible mobilization success of Islamists throughout the 1990s suggests that from a mobilization perspective, their words and deeds demonstrate political savvy. The topics for discussion and the way they were framed were Islamists tend to dismiss Turkish and Kurdish nationalism but are also much more likely to demand language and cultural rights for Kurds even while also calling for the s ubordination of ethnic identities to the primary or supraIslamic identity. The Welfare Party generally falls into this category, although there ar e clear discursive shifts related to the partys position in the balance of power. Lastly, Kurdish Islamists actively promote Kurdish identity. All of these ideal-types we re represented at the Mazlum Der 1992 Conference. 41 Cizre-Sakallioglu analyzed the texts of ten prominent Islamist thinkers. 165

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highly salient am ong Islamists. In this environment, moderates in Mazlum Der had to strike a balance between the conservative rhetoric so hi ghly effective in mobilization efforts and ideas about human rights and democracy in a way that did not alienate it from its Islamist base. Regarding the dearth of sophisticated legalese this was also evident in early Mazlum Der bulletins. However, there occurred a shift towards a more legalistic di scourse coupled with a politically liberal discourse as Mazlum Der members developed relations with non-Islamist activists and as the politics of disengagement ga ve way to the gradual a ppropriation of rights and democratization discourse. Indeed, by the mid-1990s, the pages of Mazlum Der bulletins were filled with the type of language used in secula r organizations literature, which underscored the need for the Turkish government to follow thro ugh on its promises of democratization. For example, the May 1996 bulletin is chock full of ar ticles written by lawyers, all of whom are affiliated with law associations run by Islamists, which address various legal concepts and even cite international legal treaties. On one hand, legal mobilization benefits activists by not only achieving legal victories but also by providing a language to articu late grievances and solutions, and sometimes reinterpret a situation. The deployme nt of legal discourses often reveals the ways a legal issue might be linked to other legal issues, and theref ore expands the possibilities for legal recourse (McCann 1994). In addition, I be lieve the appropriation of political-legal terminology served as a unifying force in that it contributed to a he ightened awareness among disparate groups that they were bat tling the same types of suppression. On the other hand, too much legalese can have a negative effect on mobilization efforts because legal-technical discourse is inaccessible to ordinary citizens and quite frankly does not spark that feeling of indignation that often forms the impetus for individuals to take action. This is especially important because Mazlum De r has financed its operations largely from 166

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m embership dues and private donations, as well as some technical and lo gistical support from groups such as MUSIAD, the Muslim-oriented Independent Industriali sts and Businessmens Association.42 It has only accepted financial support for a project from an international agency twice. Many Islamists associated with Mazlum Der and the reformist wing of the Welfare Party, which later became the AK Party, changed their views and eschewed the project of political Islam, stressing the need for a pluralist de mocracy in which conservative Muslims could peacefully follow their traditions. I signify the ch ange here by referring to these reformers as Islamic rather than Islamist. Some Islamist righ ts-based organizations, however, continue to hold steadfast to a non-national, Isla mist solution to the Kurdish problem. For example, another conference on the Kurdish Questions was held in Istanbul in 2006, and was organized by Ozgur Der, a highly conservative Islamist organization. In attendance were some of the same Muslim intellectuals present at Mazlum Ders 1992 conference and subse quent conferences, and they were propagating the same message from y ears pastIslam provi des a post-nationalist alternative. For example, the pr esident of the Diyarbakir branch of Ozgur Der stated in an interview that to come to a so lution we must first look at the source of the problem. This is nationalism, begun in 18th C. Europe the modern nation-stat e cannot be a solutionthe solution is an anti-nationalist approac h, which is found in Islam.43 In sharp contrast to the ultraconservatives approach, Mazlum Ders Diyarbakir branch president claimed that Ozgur Ders Anatolian approach is not wh at we [Kurdish Muslims] need.44 42 MUSIAD is the Islamic counterpart of TUSIAD, Turkish Industrialists and Businessmens Association, a bastion of secularism. 43 Ozgur Der-Diyarbakir President, interview by author, Diyarbakir, Turkey, February 3, 2006. 44 Mazlum Der-Diyarbakir President, interview by author, Diyarbakir, Turkey, February 3, 2006. 167

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Cizre-Sakallioglu also drew attention to the treatm ent of the Kurdish issue at a 1996 conference organized by Islamists, criticizing the participants g rossly oversimplified view of Kurds as a completely homogenous and rather backward community (1998, 85). There is, I believe, a similar tendency among secular Kurdish nationalists to homogenize the Kurds in their repertoires. Moreover, Islamist s not only homogenize Kurds but al so Muslims. For example, the 1992 Mazlum Der conference, and the 1996 and 2006 Islamist conferences implored Muslims to find an Islamic solution to the Kurdish problem, as if there is only one Islamic approach or the diverse communities of Muslims in Turkey spok e with one voice and was a monolithic entity. Movement actors always make claims for a group they claim to publicly represent, and they often homogenize them in the process. In additio n, this proclivity to treat what are in actuality diverse communities as monolithic en tities follows a Kemalist logic. In this sense, the habit to homogenize, to use Steinbergs words, bears th e marks of hegemony or as Houston claimed, Kurdish [nationalist] discourse can be read in the mirror of Turkish-Republicanism (2001, 109). Regarding Mazlum Ders use of human right s and democracy rhetoric, the organization has since its inception proposed democracy as a m eans to solve human rights violations as well as the identity issue associated with the Kurdish question. Howe ver, the meaning ascribed to democracy is sometimes unclear. Indeed, I have spoken with several Is lamists who posit that seriat45 and democracy are completely compatible; hence, they are following a rather different understanding of democracy than typically found in Western contexts and among non-Islamist groups in Turkey. That being said, Mazlum Der has not called for seriat or any other type of political arrangement radically different from a liber al democratic system. In this sense, using the label Islamist thus far has been perhaps a bit of a misnomer, although I used the label more to 45 Sharia 168

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signif y the loyalties and political affiliations (National Outlook) of many of its early leaders and members rather than official organizational pub lications since they did not disseminate an overtly Islamist political message. Moreover, the organization has continually and openly criticized the Welfare Pa rty for its schizophrenic and non-democratic platform toward the Kurds, and the organization continues th is practice with the pro-Islam Justice and Development Party today. To be sure, Islamic rituals and language remained strong. For instance, iftar46 dinners and even circumcision ceremonies in some Mazl um Der branches unequivocally mark the organization as a Muslim majority organization. In sum, while Mazlum Der in its organizati onal literature never pr oposed a post-nationalist solution or espoused radical Islamist ideas, its discursive repertoi res have undergone a transformation and have come to be more of a fu sion of legal-technical ja rgon, politically liberal discourses on human rights and democracy, a nd moralistic discourse on Islamic notions of justice. Moreover, the primar y goal of Mazlum Der is not to mobilize Islamists or pious Muslims for the sake of advancing an Islamist ag enda, but rather to mobilize pious Muslims for the advancement of universal human rights norms and democracy. Today, more and more Islamists are uti lizing discourses emanating from the West regarding human rights and democracy. Indeed, ma ny analysts have highlighted the significant changes in Islamists discourses since th e mid-1990s, (Yavuz 2003; 2007, Yavuz and Esposito 2003; White 2002; Navaro-Yashin 2001; Kuru 2005) pinpointing the soft coup in 1997 as the watershed event that changed the face of political Islam in Turkey. The current governing party, the Islam-rooted Justice and Development, is the outcome of the changes fomented by the February 28th Process. 46 The dinner to end the fast during Ramazan 169

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The process began in the m id-1990s, after the Is lamist Welfare Party came to power in a coalition government with the center-right True Path Party in June 1996. Its increased influence and provocative statements made by Prime Minist er Erbakan led military officials to declare Islamic reactionaries to be an even more dire threat to the Turkish state than the Kurdish insurgency. On February 28, 1997, the National Secu rity Council gave the coalition government instructions to immediately enac t reforms to curtail the growth and influence of Islamism, which in effect was a demand to Welfare to reduce its own influence. The coalition government ignored the warning and was subsequently forced to resign, Erbakan was banned from politics and the Welfare Party was banned by the Constitutional C ourt several months later for alleged antisecular activities. The soft coup brought added tens ions to an already polarized atmosphere. In addition to banning the Welfare Party, numerous Islamists were arrested for alleged antisecular activities, religious officers were purged from the military, the headscarf ban was strictly re-implemented at public institutions an d pro-Islam civil society organizations, such as Mazlum Der, were subjected to raids and closures. Although there had been discussi ons and debates about Islamist intellectuals concerning the compatibility between Islam and democracy before the soft coup in 1997, the coup was a debilitating blow to political Is lamism in Turkey, and more and more reform-minded Islamists reevaluated their movement and its ultimate goals. The outcome of this reevaluation has been the demise of political Islamism in Turkey a nd the development of what the Justice and Development calls a Muslim democrat movement. T oday in Turkey it is no longer considered a contradiction for a strongly devout, former Isla mist to extol the virtues of democracy, demand human rights or have a pro-EU stance. Indeed, more reform-minded Islamists (or perhaps more 170

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accurately, f ormer Islamists) are increasingly ar ticulating their grievan ces in terms of human rights norms and norms of democracy in addition to Islamic repertoires. Mazlum Der may no longer be the only Isla mic organization that changed the way it articulated its grievances and its propositions for progress, and its members certainly continue to draw on broader discussions among Islamists. Howeve r, it was among the first, if not the first, to extensively grant international (Western) norms legitimacy. Moreover, as perhaps the most politically moderate Islamic orga nization in Turkey it has been in fluential in the transformation of political Islamism in Turkey. Indeed, some of its influential members have strong ties to Islamist networks and have been spreading Mazlum Ders message of conciliation for years, even before the 1997 February 28th process. Advocacy Work in the Post-Helsinki Period The debate regarding the minor ity status of the Kurds remains unresolved. However, Turkeys European integration process added new vigor to the human rights movement. As mentioned throughout this dissertation, Turkeys membership negotiations have provided many new opportunities for rights activists, including fi nancial opportunities as well as the ability to more firmly hold Turkey accountable for the concrete steps it must take to achieve membership. The concrete steps are explicated in the EUs Copenhagen Criteria. Following the 1999 decision to grant Turkey official candidacy st atus, the Human Rights A ssociation carried out a legislative screening of Turkish law in accordance with definitions and approaches found in the international treaties established by the United Nations, Council of Europe and the European Security and Cooperation Organization. The recommendations were published in 2000 as a book entitled, Copenhagen Political Criteria and Turkey. The book begins by stating the Copenhagen Pol itical Criteria encompass democracy, rule of law, human rights and minor ity rights. The HRA concluded th at 77 Turkish laws needed to 171

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be am ended for harmonization: 17 laws in the field of human rights, 33 laws in the field of the rule of law, 55 laws in the field of democracy a nd 21 laws in the field of minority rights (based on the principle of pluralism) In the section devoted to democracy, the laws are judged according to the three fundamental elements of the principle of democracy: pluralism, participation and openness. The first issue of the section on democracy addresses the most fundamental aspect of democracy: citizenship. The HRA, like other internati onal and domestic organizations has long pointed toward the problem of citizenship in Turkeys 1982 C onstitution. The section in the Constitution that pertains to defining citizenship in Turkey is entitled Turkish Citi zenship and instead of defining who is a citizen of th e Republic of Turkey, it details who can be defined as a Turk.47 In effect, citizenship in the Republic of Turkey ha s an ethnic dimension. Furthermore, there is no arrangement for the recognition of differences, not to mention the regime of prohibition that surrounds the issue of re cognition (2000, 13-15). The human rights sections focuses on the rights to life, right of freedom and security of the individual, freedom of expression, freedom of belief and freedom of associ ation. Minority rights are screened not as a status but as part of human rights and democratic standards that include language rights and preservation of culture th rough education and trai ning, and broadcasting freedoms. This requirement, while avoiding a status label, which is unsatisfactory for some hardline Kurds, has led to some new developments in the way of rights for Kurds. Human Rights organizations pressured the state to grant Kurds linguistic and cultural righ ts and Turkey finally 47 Turkish Citizenship: Article 66. Everyone bound to the Turkish State through the bond of citizenship is a Turk. The citizenship of a child of a foreign father and a Turkish mother shall be defined by law. Citizenship can be acquired under the conditions stipulated by law, and shall be forfeited only in cases determined by law. No Turk shall be deprived of citizenship, unless he/she commits an act incompatible with loyalty to the motherland. Recourse to the courts, against the decisions and proceedings relate d to the deprivation of citizenship, shall not be denied (HRA, Copenhagen 2000, 13-14). 172

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began to grant lim ited language rights for Kurds. For instance, the Turkish state began programming in Kurdish on its public television station in 2008. Moreove r, in 2010 a university in the Southeastern town of Mardin will begin accepting students to the countrys first Kurdish Language and Literature department. 48 In sum, the Copenhagen Criteria requires Tu rkey to provide minority rights, and more concretely weds the legal and pol itical discourses activists can use to challenge the state. One negative consequence of the EU membership proce ss, however, is that th e more legal discourse is used by the HRA and other human rights organizations, the more these rights-based organizations may become detached from society and less adept at mobilizing ordinary citizens. Beginning in 2002, the HRA-Diyarbakir branch began to make calls for multiculturalism, cokkulturluluk. It held a campaign, financially supporte d by the EU, entitled, Our Differences and Our Multiculturalism is Our Common Wealth; Lets Defend our Common Wealth ( Farkliligimiz ve Cok Kulturlulugumuz Zenginligimizidir; Zenginligimizi Koruyalim). The term cokkulturluluk still appears to be rather unknown to Turkey, given that my Turkish language instructor, who held a PhD in Turkish, was unf amiliar with term in 2007. Nevertheless, rights activists and especially pro-Kurdish activists have been holding various acti vities in the name of multiculturalism. For instance, festival organizers have been billing Newroz49 celebrations as a multicultural rainbow celebrationa tactic to avoid charges of separatism and to recast notions of Turkish nationhood. Nevertheless, Watts (2004) claims th ere was no doubt that organizers and participants saw Newroz as a Kurdish national (though not necessarily 48 See First Kurdish language depart ment to accept students in 2010. Todays Zaman. June 11, 2009. 49 Kurdish New Year. 173

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nationa listic) event. Similarly, when Baydemir50 was campaigning for mayor he traveled near and far giving speeches calling for democracy, human rights and equal recognition of all of Turkeys cultural and ethnic minorities. Another opportunity that emerged during th e post-Helsinki period was the financial assistance to create in 2005 the Human Rights Joint Platform umbr ella organization. The topic of the Human Rights Joint Platforms first long-ter m project was freedom of expression. Given the wide range of human rights violation in Turkey pertaining to fr eedom of expression, the Kurdish issue did not enjoy center stage at IHOPs Freedom of Expression International Conference in 2006, much to the chagrin of Ismail Besikci, contributor to the pr ovocative 1991 HRA report mentioned earlier. A member of the audience at th e conference, he made his discontent explicit during the question and answer session, harshly criticizing th e panel of speakers and the organizers for not focusing enough attention on the main problem in Turkeythe Kurdish Problem. One activist mumbled to me under he r breath, but we mention the Kurds, it undermines all the work we do! Indeed, many ac tivists I spoke with believe a more holistic approach to the issue freedom of expression escapes the problem of becoming mired and bogged down in the recurring dead-end associated with e xplicitly addressing the issue of Kurds status. Various speakers responded to Besikci by st ressing the immediate need for freedom of expression as a base to build a more specifi c agenda concerning a solution to the Kurdish question.51 This approach, however, remains unpopular with some of the old vanguard. Some 50 Former president of HRA-Diyarbakir. 51 The London-based Kurdish Human Rights Project also makes this position clear in its publications. Even during a recent conference (April 2008 at the CUNY Graduate Center in New York City) I attended, Kerim Yildiz, founder and president of KHRP specifically point ed out the KHRPs refusal to define the Kurds as either a minority or a nation, preferring to regard to them simply as the Kurds or the Kurdish people. 174

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Kurds, particular ly those affiliated with pro-Kurdish DTP, have continued to demand solutions such as federalism, or their ne w term, democratic autonomy. Conclusion Pro-Kurdish activists have faced an uphill battle in their contestation of the Turkish states treatment of Kurdish people. In constructing thei r discursive repertoire s, claims-making groups of all typesKurdish separatists, nationalists and Islamistshave been constrained by various Turkish legal restrictions and gaps in intern ational law, cultural ta boos concerning ethnic identity, and identity-based constraints associated with the audience(s) they are speaking to or the audience(s) they cannot easily speak to due to their identity (e.g., Islami sts initial dismissal of international human rights law and transnational netw orks because of their identity as Islamists). In addition, the multivocality of concepts such as minority, nation, and self-determination have also made the repertoire construction proce ss complicated. In contrast to issues such as torture and the death penalty, there was a paucity of new opportunities emerging from changes in international legal documents. Activists have made use of clarifications in international documents concerning minority rights, and have also bolstered their arguments by pointing to the policies toward ethnic minorities in some European countries. However, these strategies have not resulted in significant gains since the state sovereignty nor m trumps the right to selfdetermination; and regarding the much lesser dema nd of official recognition for Kurds, Turkey has not faced the same kind of direct pressure to grant Kurds official recognition in the way it has received intense pressure to end torture. Moreover, unlike viol ations associated with torture or internal displacement, pro-Kurdish activists la ck the legal instruments with which to counter the official status issue at the European Court of Human Rights. This is not say that pro-Kurdish activists have not benefited from open opportunity structures at the inte rnational level. They have been quite successful, for example, in le gal cases regarding internal displacement and 175

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com pensation at the European Court of Human Rights. Moreover, pro-Kurdish activists have acquired political leverage through linking local movements to transn ational advocacy networks. Since the 1980s, activists have claimed that at the heart of the Kurdish Problem is the Kurdish question: who or what are the Kurdsa minority, a nation? By asking this question they challenged those who have held onto archaic ideas concerning the ethnic and cultural homogeneity of Turkeys society. The crisis of Kemalism in Turkey today is evidence of the human rights organizations tireless efforts to question mainstream notions of citizenship, nationhood, and democracy. However, the story does not end there, for desp ite the exposed gaps and contradictions in Kemalism, the continuing strength of Kemalist di scourse is evident in the durability of cultural taboos surrounding the topic of et hnic identity in Turkey. A survey conducted from September 7 to October 1, 2007 in 18 cities by the Scientific Research Project for the Open Society Institute and Bogazici University provides evidence for the continued discomfort associated with nonTurkish ethnic identity. The survey attempted, among other things, to gauge middle class attitudes pertaining to ethnic identity. The result s suggest that most mi ddle-class citizens in Turkey believe Turkish identity must be adopted by all peop le in Turkey. Forty-two percent of respondents said each ethnic gr oup must accept Turkish id entity in full, while only 13.8 percent agree the languages and cultures of ethnic groups should be rec ognized by the state. Only 16.3 percent responded they were supporte rs of reconciling both the Turk ish identity and the identity of non-Turkish ethnic groups in Turkey.52 Clearly, then, many middle-class citizens appear to be 52 See Kurdish Rights. Turkish Daily News Oct. 26, 2007. 176

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177 unsympathetic to Kurdish grievances and demands.53 The tireless efforts of human rights organizations to redefine citizen ship and allay the fears associat ed with demands for linguistic and cultural rights appears not to have had th e widespread influence its proponents desired. Although rights-based organizations have been qu ite successful in their efforts to mobilize transnational mobilizing structures as well as other domestic civil society organizations, the results of the survey point to the reality that much work rema ins in terms of moving public opinion toward multiculturalism. In sum, despite minor gains, the battle between Turkluk and Turkiyelilik54 wages on as a comprehensive solution to the Kurdish problem c ontinues to elude Turkey. In a 2004 study of the Kurdish issue, analysts at the Turkish Ec onomic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV) concluded that, Turkey has not yet achieved a sustainable, just and egalitarian solution of the problem within the framework of democratic no rms and a notion of constitutional citizenship free from any ethnic, religious or linguistic elements. 55 Yet, Kurdish programming and the opening of Turkeys first university department for Kurdish language and literature keep rights activists hope alive. 53 The emphasis on the middle class in this study is linked to a well-established argument that the middle class is a key ingredient in democratic consolid ation because middle-class individuals tend to be better educated and more open-minded and tolerant of difference. 54 Turkishness ( Turkluk ) versus citizens of Turkey ( Turkiyelilik ) 55 See TESEV 2004 report, Turkey's Minority Rights Question. Available at www.tesev.org.tr.

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CHAP TER 5 THE HEADSCARF BAN Introduction In 1826, the turban was abolished in Turkey a nd replaced by the fez. In 1925, the fez was outlawed by homburgs, panamas, bowlers, and flatcaps. And so a series of hats have provided the stepping-stones, the caravanserai s, on the central them e of Turkish history, her great march toward the promised land represented by that ultimate measure of Westernizationthe bare head. Jeremy Seal, A Fez of the Heart The politicization of attire in Turkey is nothing new. Individuals attire and grooming stylesnationalists crescent-shaped moustaches, leftists parkas, male Islamists beards and females tesettur (Islamic dress)speak volumes. Perhaps the curtailment of free speech and expression led to the politicization of attire as in dividuals let their clothes do the talking. Yet, in some ways, the preoccupation with apparel in Turkey stems more from what ones appearance says about the nation than from what ones appe arance says about the in dividual. For example, secularists abhor the thought of a First Lady or any other public figure wearing a headscarf not merely because the headscarf reflects a personal religious commitment but because of the message it is perceived to send to the rest of the worldTurkey is not yet a modern country, evident in non-modern dr ess of its citizens. Islam has not disappeared despite the attempt to secularize Anatol ian society, including implementing dress reforms following the creation of the new republic. Ataturks dress reforms drew on the pre-existing Ottoman practice of regulating apparel in order to fall in line with clothing styles in the Western world, which were deemed modern in contrast to the traditional styles of the backward Anatolian peoples. Perh aps no other article of clothing has generated such profound controversy in Turkey as that of the Islamic headscarf, or hijab, currently banned in all public institutions. It remains one of the most contentio us issues in Turkey today. This 178

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chapter explores the discursive battle waged since the 1980s by those opposed and in favor of Turkeys headscarf ban and the even tual inclusio n of the ban as a legitimate human rights abuse in the eyes of Turkeys non-Islamist organizations. The History of the Hijab Controversy in Turkey To an outsider the battle over headgear may seem unduly trivial. In order to better understand how the headscarf issue became the polit ical hot potato it is t oday and what is at stake for winners and losers of the competition, a br ief history is in order. The Islamic headscarf was not always banned in Turkey. Indeed, even as Turkeys founders enthusiastically abolished the symbols of the East, such as the fez, calipha te and Arabic script, th ey wisely avoided the hullabaloo that would result from abolishing he ad coverings for women. Ataturk and his cadre did, however, encourage women to break free fr om traditional (Islamic) customs, and he established many important reforms pertaining to womens rights. In fact, women in Turkey gained the right to vote before some of their European counterpa rts. The status of women in society, Ataturk claimed, was an indication of a countrys le vel of modernity (Gole 1996). Despite the many reforms aimed at improving th eir status and empowering them, women in Turkey generally remained mavens of domesticity restricted to the periphery, and most of them remained covered. The wearing of headscarves was largely unpr oblematic until the 1980s, a period in which two important things changed: Islamist move ments, especially Er bakans National Outlook, demonstrated themselves to be a potent mobilizing force in Turkish politics; and increasing numbers of women wearing a new type of heads carf began to appear in government offices and universities. Some women began to wear brightly covered silk headscarves tied tightly around the head and neck to ensure that no hair could come out from under the scarf, following the more stringent regulations associated with political Islam. These women derogatorily became known 179

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as sikmabas ( squeezed heads ) due to the new way they were wearing their scarves and they began to draw more attention after 1982 when male faculty a nd students at universities were order to shave their pol iticized facial hair.1 The rapidly increasing penetration of Islamic discourses into the pub lic sphere during the 1980s seemed even more striking given the increas ed visibility of covered women flocking to secular spaces such as universities. Although the military junta successfully co-opted Islam with its Turkish-Islamic Synthesis, many Kemalist elites were uneasy about the increased visibility of Islam in the public sphere. Islamic symbols were anathema to the image of a modern Turkey. Accordingly, secularists took measures to en sure the continued mode rnization, and thereby secularization, of the Turkish state and society. One of these actions included the creation of the Higher Educati on Council (YOK) in 1981 to oversee all educational inst itutions in Turkey. YOK was char ged with ensuring the youth of Turkey would be individuals with free thought s, free conscience, modern opinions, modern dress, respectful to national values (Benli 2004, 237).2 Modern dress in this statement implies Western dress (i.e., not headscarve s). The requirement of modern attire at places of learning reflected the ultimate goal of the secularization project encapsulated within the broader modernization project. Article 4 of the Higher Education Code dist inctly states, the purpose of higher education is to raise all students in accordance with Atatur ks Revolutions and Principles (Benli 2004, 261). 1 Male communists wore their moustaches in a distinct way from the ultra-nationalist ( ulkucu Idealists). See Kalaycioglu (2007). 2 YOK was not only established to ensure secularization but to enable the military administration to fully control universities. The 1980 coup was ostensibly carried out because of the civil unrest linked to left and right-wing radicalism at universities; thus, the military established YOK as a preventative measure to avoid the same scenario in the future. Of course, this was in clear violation of acad emic freedom, among other things. 180

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Universitie s in particular were deemed to be secular spaces of scie nce and reason; hence, no place for religious symbols. The universities became a battleground in which the war between secularists and Islamists was pl ayed out. Headscarves and other symbols of Islam, such as beards, were forbidden because they were believ ed to endanger the education process and hence the entire modernization process. The headscarf ba n has also been applied in government offices, including parliament, resulting in dismissal of hundreds of school teachers and other public servants.3 The headscarf ban became the focal point of broader discussions c oncerning the place of religion in a secular state. It ha s remained a highly contentious issue, and as yet unresolved. The public debate concerning the place of religion in a secular state strikes at the heart of Kemalist thought, which defines secularism in way unfamiliar to most Americans. Turkey is touted time and again in the Western media as a secular stat e. This often leads to a grave misapprehension by Westerners, and Americans in particular who unwittingly equate Turkeys model of secularism with Americas. In fact, the two models are starkly different. Kuru (2006) distinguishes betw een three different models of secularism found in France, the US and Turkey. The American model of seculari sm is a liberal one in which the principle of mutual non-interference between church and state forms the backbone of American democracy. This liberal model in Kurus typology is called passive secularism and stands in contradistinction from France and Turkeys assertive secularism. Turkeys assertive secularism 3 See Mazlum Der and Ak Der Annual Reports. Tesettur is prohibited in government buildings including parliament. In much the same way Leyla Zana shocked parliamentarians in 1991 when she took part of her oath of office in Kurdish, Merve Kavakci stunned her fellow parliamentarians on May 2, 1999 when she entered parliament wearing hijab. There was an immediate uproar as sh e took her seat. Unlike Zana, who was sentenced to 15 years in prison (and was released in 2004), Kavakci was stripped of her citizenship and relocated to th e U.S. where she has served as a lecturer at George Washington University, and has shared her story at universities and even testified before the U.S. Congress at the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe Briefing held on April 12, 2005. See Testimony of Merve Kavakci, Religious Freedom in Turkey: Headscarf Ban. 181

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rests on the strong anti-clerical ism of Ataturk and his contemporaries. Turkeys assertive secularism, however, is more extrem e than the French model, called laicite which is also the term used in Turkey ( laiklik ).4 Contrary to popular belief, th ere is not a separation between mosque and state in the secular Turkish state, but rather, a structur e of mosque under state control. The Directorate of Religious Affairs, or Diyanet runs the system of mosques; therefore, imams5 are public servants. Moreover, as Erdogan e xplains of Ataturkist secularism, in this interpretation secularism is not a negative norm that implies simply abstaining in terms of governmental attitude, but a positive one that demands supporting effectively non-religious values and even taking action agai nst religious belief. In Turkey, this policy came about first to be government control over religion. 6 The elimination of Islam from the public sp here is considered to be a necessary prerequisite for Turkey to achieve a contemporary level of civilization. In addition, secularism in Turkey is not merely understood as the el imination of Islam from the public sphere, secularism is also understood by secularists to be an individual attribute. For example, President Sezer made several public statements, which su m up his and other secularists views that secularism is not merely a regime type but also a personal worldview that is required of citizens in the secular Turkish state. The Constitu tional Court has consistently applied this interpretation in its rulings. As a consequence of the rigid interpretation of secularism, religious 4 Laiklik, or secularism, is distinguished from laikcilik, or secularist ideology, by some scholars who argue Turkeys secularist ideology is actually a misreading and mo re rigid interpretation of the original French laicite, initially used to connote the freedom of public institutions from the influence of the Catholic Church Its application in France has varied over time. See Kuru (2006) and Davison (1998). 5 Imams are spiritual leaders who lead the prayer and are often leaders of mosques and their local religious communities. 6 Mustafa Erdogan, Islam, Democracy and Secula rism at Association for Liberal Thinking ( Liberal Dusunce Toplulugu ) http://www.liberal-dt.org.tr/ The Association for Liberal Thinking is a civil society organization and publishi ng house closely linked to the human rights move ment and founded by Turkish academics, which publishes books and coordinates conferences on political and economic liberalism. 182

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people cannot express their religious identity, but must keep th eir spiritual affairs private, especially when engaging the public sphere. In Turkey, certain bureaucratic organs, particularly the military, the Constitutional Court and the Coun cil of State, are vehemently secularist and their members see it as their duty to ensure citi zens are acting according to Ataturks principles. The secularist media has bolstered their e fforts by assisting with smear campaigns.7 This has led to numerous acrimonious exchanges and legal bat tles between pro-Islamic and other reformist groups and the staunch defenders of status quo se cularism. The headscarf ban has been a central feature of these debates. The Anti-Headscarf Ban Movement Opportunities, Discursive Repertoires and Mobilization in the 1980s Islamic attire, which includes hijab and beards, was banned at universities in the early 1980s. One of the first high profile challenges to the headscarf ban occurred in 1984 and involved a chemical engineering professor. Professor Koru had worn a headscarf during lecture and refused to remove the scarf when lecturing even after she was a given a formal warning by the rector. Professor Koru claimed the request violated her right of religious freedom. She argued, According to the 3rd Article of the Constitution, freedom of religion and conscience is protected for everyone. The expression of religious views and beliefs can never be hindered. In Turkey this subj ect is completely misunderstood. Two years ago I went to the USA. For two years, I studied peacefully in Bo ston at the worlds best technical university. American scientists and those from other count ries reacted to my wearing a headscarf with respect. But we Turks are afraid to make clea r our views. Of course, in this way we will never accomplish anything.8 7 These bureaucratic organs and many of the same media outlets are also Turkish na tionalist and are adamantly opposed to any concessions made to Kurds in terms of cultural rights. 8 Quoted in Olson (1985, 161). For media coverage of other statements by Professor Koru and responses from female parliamentarians and pr ofessors see Olson (1985). 183

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Dr. Koru, and m any other anti-ban activists w ho had to relocate because they could not complete their studies in Turkey, often point to the lack of a similar ban in the US and other Western countries to support the argument that hijab is not incompatible with either democracy or civilization. The implementa tion, however, of a similar ban in France in 2004, has been utilized as evidence that such a ban is warranted. The Ministry of Education issued a statement explaining that Dr. Koru was free to wear a modern turban, which left the neck uncovered, a dis tinction linked to YOK director, Professor Dogramaci, who was strongly opposed to Islamic attire at universities.9 Professor Koru rejected this alternative and filed a la wsuit against the university. Upon review of the case, the court argued Professor Koru had no legal base for he r claim since freedom of religion does not guarantee freedom to wear a headscarf in opposition to university dress codes. The media closely followed the controversy, with individuals on both sides making public statements on the matter. The statements issued by Dr. Koru and her detractors formed the discursive repertoires that cont inue to shape the debate on the ban. Secularist elites in the Council of State and elsewhere framed the contro versy as stemming from an education problem, i.e., some of our daughters who are not su fficiently educated wear the headscarf10 Secularists also relied heavily on Ataturks princi ple of secularism and modernity. For example, in response to the matter, a female professor explained, As a woman, my respect for the state and the laws that try to bring about a developed society through Ataturks reforms is infinite. I appraise this incident from this perspective [a lone]; it has no connection with freedom of religion and conscience as she [Dr. Koru] claims. 11 Female professors were at the front lines of the 9 See Kalaycioglu (2007, 93) for a full expl anation of how this distinction emerged. 10 See Kuru (2006, 147) for full quote. 11 See Olson (1985, 162) for full quote. 184

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battle at universities and part icipated in the pro-ban counter movem ent, which organized antiheadscarf, pro-secularism rallies,12 and lobbied YOK and parliament. In sum, pro-ban individuals and organizations freq uently pointed toward Ataturks principles and the threat to peace and order posed by deviations away from At aturks principles. This discursive repertoire has changed little, and Ataturks principl es remain the primary talking point. Despite Professor Korus overt linkage of the ban with individual ri ghts, anti-ban activists did not initially frame the issue as a human rights violation. Perhaps because of Professor Korus failure to convince the authorities that weari ng a headscarf was safeguarded by broader freedoms of religion and expression, or perhaps because Is lamists did not generally frame grievances in terms of human rights and democracy during this period, the discursive re pertoire used by the emerging anti-ban movement during the midto late 1980s was not centered on human rights. Anti-ban challengers instead retorted during demonstrations and press releases that the discriminatory practice was one of many indicat ors that the Turkish st ate was at war with Islam. The students reactions to the ban crystalliz ed around a set of slogans which were rather narrow, Dont Touch Our Turban! and H eadscarf Freedom. Hundreds and sometimes thousands of students wearing headscarves along with bearded male students held demonstrations in which they held placards stating, The ban is taking aim at the Koran, The war against the headscarf is a war against Allah! These statements and the growing numbers of 12 For example, on October 3, 1990, a pro-secularism demonstration was organized in Ankara by various womens organizations. Approximately 2,000 women marched to Anitkabir Ataturks mausoleum, shouting slogans supporting the headscarf ban and claiming to defend Ataturks principles. See November 3rd 1990 section at http://www.byegm.gov.tr/ yayinlarim iz/ayintar ihi/1990/kasim1990.htm This scene was replicated at the 2007 Rep ublican Rallies held during the spring and summer of 2007, one of which I attended in Ankara in spring 2007. Demonstrations drew upwards of one million people and demons trators shouted, Turkey is laik and will remain laik. Similar but smaller demonstrations (about 200,00 people) were held in February 2008 after AK Party attempted to lift the ban. See Izgi Gungor, Crowds Take to Street Against Headscarf Move in Turkish Daily News February 11, 2008. 185

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dem onstrators shouting God is Great! during demons trations alarmed secula rist elites, such as President Evren who warned, there is a reactionaryism problem. Even the Human Rights Associations president warned, Lai cism in Turkey is on shaky ground. 13 To complicate matters, Iranians began to add their voices to th e mix. Demonstrations we re held in Iran during the midto late 1980s to convey solidarity with the growing headscarf movement in Turkey. The cognitive connection, if not a so cial connection, between Iranian and Turkish Muslims was also evident in Turkish demonstrations. For exampl e, during the Salman Rushdie affair, Turkish Islamist demonstrators at anti -headscarf ban rallies held plac ards saying, Evren and Rushdie hand in hand.14 University students throughout the country who were affected by the ban on Islamic dress carried out demonstrations primarily in fr ont of their respective universities. These demonstrations were organized lo cally by groups of students, alt hough there did seem to be some nation-wide coordination, which led to the accu sation that the movement was actually being guided by the Welfare Party. The diffuse anti-ban movement in the early to mid-1980s carried out numerous signature campaigns and tele-protestos in which protestors would gather and publicly read a telegraph they sent to state offici als. This period also saw the appropriation of the hunger strike action repertoire. Bearded and cove red students who were barred from campuses followed a tactic popular among many dissi dents throughout the world and Turkey.15 The hunger strikes were primarily carried out during the mi d to late 1980s but subsided by the 1990s, when 13 Slogans and quotes were culled from various newspaper clippings found in Headscarf Problem (1998) pages 100-111. 14 Ibid. 15 Kurdish political prisoners especially used this tactic duri ng the 1990s, resulting in the deaths of scores of Kurdish prisoners. Their use of this tactic often drew support from Irish Republicans and other insurgents who also used the tactic and sent PKK prisoners letters of solidarity during hunger strikes. 186

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they becam e a popular tactic am ong Kurdish political prisoners. 16 Emboldened by the growing numbers and support, the students began to carry out more acts of civil disobedience in the late 1980s. For example, they deliberately entered campuses or classrooms while wearing headscarves or wigs,17 and demonstrations became increasingly contentious. Hundreds of mainly female students were arrested and detained during this period.18 It was also during this period that Prime Mini ster Ozal attempted to find a solution to the headscarf problem due to the increasingly precarious state of affairs. 19 His efforts were initially fruitless; however, by 1991 the implementation of th e ban at various universities from the late 1980s to 1998 was sporadic and disciplinary m easures were arbitrarily executed. Although the ban was technically still valid it was not fully put into practice until 1998, after the 1997 February 28th process. 20 In the meantime, the anti-ban movement lost some of its steam as universities ignored the ban and many students went back to school, and the Kurdish problem took center stage. In short, secularist elites relied upon Kemalist principles enshrined in Turkish law to counter the anti-ban movement. Their discursi ve repertoires did not change much and the Kemalist interpretation of secularism in addition to the modernization project more generally is 16 The use of hunger strikes by the students prompted a discussion on whether such a tactic was sanctioned by Islam. It continued to be a contentious issue in the 1990s, although Mazlum Der publicly supported the rights of hunger strikers in Turkey. 17 Wearing wigs to university in place of a headscarf has been a tactic used by anti-ban activists since the 1980s. 18 See media coverage in Headscarf Problem (1998). 19 Ozals center-right ANAP pushed three bills throughout pa rliament in the late 1980s, each of these were either vetoed or challenged in the Constitutional Court. The Constitutional Court did not declare the new law unconstitutional; however, it did claim the headscarf ban was still valid at universities despite the legal changes made by ANAP. See Kuru (2006); and Evalu ation of the Headscarf Ban (Benli 2004). 20 Students still encountered obstacles during the early to mid-1990s, particularly at certain universities. For example, Istanbul University has vigorously enforced the ban. However, covered students were free to attend class at many other universities whose rectors were more lax. 187

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still currently used to justif y the ban. The bourgeoning anti-h eadscarf ban move ment in the 1980s did not explicitly situate its discourse with in the broader discourse on democratization or human rights. As mentioned in the previous chap ter on the Kurdish issue, the discourse used by various Islamist movements cente red on a self-definiti on of Muslimness as something that stood in opposition to Western foreign policies and Wester n ideas about the nature of the nation-state. The anti-ban activists discursive repertoires resembled the ideas championed by Islamists more generally, which pointed a finger toward Western id eas as the source of the problem rather than the potential source of a solution. The proclivity to blame the West and avoid discursive repertoires that might legitimate Western ideas, and the tendency to view Muslim s throughout the world as their natural allies led to the successful mobilization of Islamists in Turkey and elsewhere. However, by not clearly framing the headscarf ban as a problem rooted in the authoritarian nature of the Kemalist state which could be solved through democratic reform the covered students missed an opportunity to clarify to Turkish citizens why the ban should be seen as important by everyone, including those who do not wear a headscarf. Hence, even as they were vociferously drawing attention to an injustice, not firmly tying the headscarf issue to democratization and human rights left their message with a gap in terms of a means to ameliorate the problem (more democracy) and hampered their efforts to mobili ze people other than Islamists. An emphasis in their discursive repertoires on comprehensive democratic reform may have facilitated cooperation between their movement and other grass-roots movements seeki ng to strengthen human rights law in Turkey. Moreover, whether they intentionally mobili zed Iranians or not, th eir use of Islamist rhetoric and imagery resonate d deeply with Iranians who expressed their solidarity through demonstrations, thereby providing more fodder fo r secularist elites who warned Turkey was 188

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perilously close to seeing an Iranian -style Islam ic revolution of its own.21 Thus, their success at mobilizing Islamists in Turkey and abroad worked to further de-legitimate them in the eyes of not only secularist elites but also ordinary Turkish citizens who were ill at ease with political Islam. Consequently, unlike the successful appropriation of tr ansnational advocacy networks by the bourgeoning human rights movement at this time, which resulted in pressure on Turkey from above, the anti-ban movement had no influent ial allies in these Western-based TANs that could be leveraged against the powerful Turkish state. Discursive Shifts in the 1990s Although much of the rhetoric used at anti-ban demonstrations was not centered on rights and democracy, there were those who sought to mobilize human rights activists. One group of students sought assistance in 1990 from th e Human Rights Associ ation, the only large organization at the time whose mission was to pr otect human rights. The organization leader turned them away. As mentioned in previous chapters, the inattention by left-wing activists toward the concerns of Islamists prompted disc ussions regarding the form ation of a human rights organization of their own, and the negative response experience by the headscarved students to sought assistance from the HRA provided fu rther impetus among those in National Outlook circles to create Mazlum Der in 1991. By this time, center-right parliamentarians and other reform-minded intellectuals had already been voicing their opposition to the ban, and called for an in-depth appraisal of the ba n from a legal and rights-based perspective. For example, in 21 In the attempt to discredit the anti-ban movement, it has been accused of obtaining support not only from the Welfare Party and Iran but also fr om the American CIA (Headscarf Prob lem 1998, 34). This is a common accusation directed toward any type of dissident group, and this accusation has also been directed toward secular organizations such as the HRA and HRFT, as well as toward the PKK and Turkish Hezbollah. The accusation reflects the Sevres Syndrom e prevalent in Turkey. 189

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February 1992, the Parliam entary Human Ri ghts Commission undertook a study and concluded the ban diverged from legal protection of rights under Turkish a nd international law.22 The discursive shift among a small cadre of anti-ban activists occurred at a time when public debate in Turkey centered on issues of human rights and democracy, and conservatives discursive repertoires also move d ever closer to rights-based la nguage, especially following the creation of Mazlum Der. As Turkeys Islamists and conservative Muslims began to gradually appropriate rights discourse in the 1990s, they more clearly li nked the headscarf ban to human rights, claiming the ban violat ed covered womens rights of free expression, thought, religion, conscience and also their right to education and employment.23 Furthermore, they firmly linked the issue to protections enshrined in internati onal human rights treaties. More importantly, as cooperation between Mazlum Der and HRA bl ossomed during the mid-1990s due to their common interest in the Kurdish issue, the HRA also began to publicly denounce the headscarf ban. For example, in 1996, the HRA and Mazlum Der issued joint press releases framing the headscarf ban as a human rights violation. The headscarf ban, however, was not the prim ary issue during this period, even within Mazlum Der, since the ban was not be ing implemented at many universities.24 The main topics that filled the pages of HRA and Mazlum Der bul letins were those associated with the Kurdish problem, which covered issues such as prison conditions, torture a nd internal displacement. This changed, however, as the Welfar e Party grew stronger and sparked the ire of pro-establishment 22 See Green Light from Parliament to Headscarf ( Basortusune Meclisten Yesil Isik ) in Zaman February 27, 1992. 23 The move toward a more explicit linkage with human rights is evident in newspaper articles run by the Gulenaffiliated Zaman newspaper. For example, on Internatio nal Womans Day in March 1991 it ran an op-ed piece which asked, who is going to defend the rights of covered women if modern women ( cagdas kadinlar ) continue to ignore the injustices carried out agains t them? See Headscarf Problem (1997, 125). 24 The Mazlum Der Istanbul branch tackled the headscarf ban with greater frequency than other large branches. For example, in 1994, it put out an Annual Report on Headscarf Oppression and continually issued press statements. 190

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elites and th e military. During the clampdown on Islamism, conservative Muslims allegedly associated with Islamist movements began to lo se their government jobs due to their alleged political affiliations. In addition, the headscarf ban once against t ook center stage as secularist elites in the state, military and media took aim at conservative Muslims, culminating in the post-modern coup that pushed Erbakan and th e Welfare Party out of power in February 1997. Anti-ban Activism in the Late 1990s Discursive Repertoires Mazlum Der, already under pressure for its work on the Kurdish issue, came under increased pressure during this period. It had be come one of the main organizations tackling the headscarf ban as its branches shifted their atte ntion away from the Kurdish issue due to the increased pressure on pro-Islamic groups. The M azlum Der Istanbul branch activity report for March 1996-1998 shows a continued focus on issues related to the Kurdish question, including the problem of internal displacement, arbitrary arre sts and detainment of po litical activists of all stripes, prison conditions, and so on. However, there was also a sharp increase in anti-ban activities. In fact, the Ista nbul branch carried out a year -long headscarf campaign, naming 1997, The Year of the Headscarf. It published The Headscarf Problem: From All Angles as part of this campaign. The 495 page book offers a historical examination of the tradition of head covering in the worlds great reli gions, an attempt to normalize hijab and depict it as a common religious practice followed by all of the great religions throughout history. The book also included a chronology of the headscarf issue in Tu rkey, with an in-depth review of press coverage from 1981 to 1998,25 an extensive section on law and pe rsonal stories of victims of the ban. 25 The first edition was published September 1997 and the second edition in March 1998. I have relied heavily on the book for its comprehensive review of media coverage from 1991-1998. A large portion of the book has 191

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The cultural taboos associated with the ban and the risks of carrying out hum an rights activism were as strong as ever in this highly-charged political climate. Nevertheless, the HRA publicly and unequivocally stated its stance on the issue, decl aring it to be a human rights violation. Indeed, it was in the mi dst of this tense environment th at inter-organizational relations between Mazlum Der and the Human Rights Association solidified, a development that will be analyzed further in the subsequent chapter. A press statement released by the Human Rights Association countered the argument advanced by secularists who ju stified the ban by pointing to Ataturks principles and claiming the ban blocks the path to ci vilization. The HRA press release proclaimed, IHD26 does not abide by the so-called contempor ariness and civilization built on symbols, clothing and formality. IHD regards the headsca rf issue from the point of view of personal freedoms. We do not consider the headscarf as a threat to take the system back to the middle ages, to undo the gains of womens ri ghts. Turkeys problems are the laws and practices that are against huma n dignity. A law along the lines of women shall cover their heads or uncover their heads is a law that is against human dignity not letting people benefit from public services [is] consider ed discrimination prevent[s] women from attaining equal status within the framew ork of human rights (Benli 2004, 20). Mazlum Der and the HRA were not the only organizations challengi ng the ban. There were several conservative womens organizations, such as Capital City Womens Platform ( Baskent Kadin Platformu) and the Womens Rainbow Coalition ( Gokkusagi Kadin Platformu ) which were established during the mid-1990s and addre ssed the ban among other womens concerns. In addition, following the 1997 post-modern c oup, covered women established several organizations dedicated to challenging the ban. Newly founded organizations, such as the summaries and copies of newspaper articles from a wide variety of newspapers pertaining to the ban, in addition to copies of official university documents pertaining to the ban and survey data concerning public opinion of the ban. The book contains a section on work carried out in Germany by the Turkish-led Organization for Human Dignity and Rights. It includes offi cial correspondence from this organization with German organizations; however, these have not been translated fr om their original German. 26 IHD is the Turkish acronym for HRA. 192

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Wom ens Association Against Discrimination ( Ayrimciliga Karsi Kadin Haklari Dernegi ) or Ak Der, and the Association for Free T hought and Education Rights (Ozgur Der)27 were established by professional women and students who were affected by the ban. In the words of one Ozgur Der leader, we had an untidy resistance and needed a more organized approach.28 Although Ozgur Der and Ak Der were both crea ted to specifically address the headscarf ban, their advocacy work has differed in some impor tant ways. Ozgur Der is not considered to be a womens organization, but rather, is an Islamist organization that challenges the ban using both Islamist repertoires peppered with vague refere nces to human rights. Many of its members are males and some of its branch leaders are also male. Its members are indeed staunch Islamists and the organization does not have a policy of actively mobilizing the West. Ozgur Der carries out many demonstrations against the ban, strongl y opposes the militaristic Kemalist state, organizes conferences on various i ssues, such as the Kurdish Question29 and Islam and democracy, and reports on various human rights abuses throughout the country. However, unlike Mazlum Der, it does not regard international human rights norms to be universal and relies on Islamic texts as its primary source of guidance, and its commitment to secular democracy is questionable. In contrast, Ak Der depicts it self as a womens organization interested in various womens rights, especially the headscarf ban, and is r un entirely by women although there are some male volunteers who assist with things such as maintaining the orga nizations website. Moreover, the organization primarily employs all the legal tools available in domestic and international human 27 I interviewed the chairpersons of Ozgur Ders Istanbul and Diyarbakir branches. I also interviewed the Vice President of Ak Der in Istanbul, its only office in Turkey. 28 Ozgur Der Diyarbakir President, interview by author, Diyarbakir, Turkey, February 4, 2006. 29 I attended Ozgur Ders 2006 conference, Kurdish Problem held in Istanbul. See chapter four for information on this conference. 193

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rights law to support its claims, and it has activ ely sought to mobilize Western governments and NGOs by presenting its reports to organizations such as Human Rights Watch. For example, Ak Der has published several books and newsletters wh ich specifically cite the articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1981 UN Declaration on The Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and Discrimination and the ICCPR30 that protect religion, conscience, thought and expression rights, as well as Article 13 of ICESCR31 which protects an individuals right to education. The organizati on has also made extensive use of legal clarifications to these documents, such as a 1993 clarification by the UN Human Rights Commission that ICCPRs Article 18 on the protection of re ligious freedom also includes hea dgear as a protected form of religious practice (2005b, 12). Sim ilarly, Ak Der has cited Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protects not only to the freedom to have a relig ion but also to freely express that personal co nviction (Benli 2005a, 10).32 More recently, the organization has drawn attention to a resolution passed in 2005 by the Parliamentary Assemb ly of the Council of Europe, which called on all member states to fully prot ect all women living in th eir country against all violations of their rights based on or attributed to religion (Benli 2005a, 12).33 Advocacy work carried out during this period, th en, differs significantly from the previous cycle of movement activity during the 1980s, with the exception of Mazlum Der which supported universal rights since the early 1990s. Anti-ban activists have more clearly refuted secularists claims that wearing a headscarf in th e public sphere endangers social peace and order, 30 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights 31 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 32 The London-based Islamic Human Rights Commission has pointed out in its publications that limitations on religious freedom in the ECHR are even narrower than those dealing with freedoms of expression, assembly and association. 33 PACE Resolution No. 1464 passed on Jan. 2, 2005. 194

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claim ing that granting more individual freedoms to citizens of Turkey produces greater social harmony not less. Many anti-ban activists are mu ch more open to using international human rights norms, are more actively seeking recogniti on from the West, and are seeking democratic reform as the ultimate goal. The watershed February 28th process is regarded as the event which caused the demise of political Islamism in Turkey because it acted as a catalyst for Islamists reconfiguration of their discourse and ultimate goals. One similarity between the anti -ban movement of yesteryear and the current one is their reliance on the Diyane ts sanctioning of hijab as a religious duty in Islam. In their attempts to counter remarks by secularists that hijab is not actually a religious duty, anti-ban activists have turned to the Diyanet for the answer to this theological question. The Diyanet has continually stated that wearing a headscarf is indeed a re ligious obligation under Is lam, and is therefore protected under re ligious freedom.34 Hence, the statements of one bureaucratic organ, the Diyanet, conflicts with those of other bureaucratic organs, such as the Constitutional Court, illustrating the contradictory interpretati ons found within the Turkish state. Another interesting point about the discursive repertoires used by an ti-ban activists in Mazlum Der and Ak Der is that the right to edu cation seems to be articulated more frequently than freedom of religion. In the words of Ak De r vice president, we consider many problems to spring from the headscarf ban, which keeps our girls out of school and our women with fewer choices for employment. If a wo man cannot get an education or go to work she cannot exercise other freedoms and she will be under the total co ntrol of her husband and family because she 34 Sura of Nur, 31st verse is often referenced as evidence. This vers e states the Prophet was ordered by Allah to tell believing women to let their headscarf reach over their chests and to refrain from showing their ornaments to all men other than those in their family. As one professor of theology claimed, Allahs orders cannot be changed by others, they are laws that cannot be interpreted in any other way (Benli 2004, 9). 195

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cannot work.35 This may be a cultural tactic to avoid the stigma attached to claims-making for the protection of religious freedom. Moreove r, stressing the importance of obtaining an education harkens the strong commitment to education, a value shared with secularists and Westerners alike. Opportunities, Discursive Repertoires and Mobilization: Mobilizing Domestic Audiences The anti-ban movement has been profoundly successful at keeping the headscarf ban in the center of public debate and at the center of pro-Islamic parties agendas. Some have commented that the AK Party remains a slave to the headscarf issue. Moreover, public opinion appears to be on their side, since survey data from the past several years shows widespread public support for lifting the ban at universities, if not at pub lic institutions more generally.36 However, anti-ban activists have been only marginally successful in mobilizing non-Islamist organizations and parties devoted to Kemalis m, such as the Republican Peoples Party. The divisive nature of the issue is also evident within the womens rights movement.37 The difficulty associated with mobilizing non-conserva tive womens activists is best illustrated by what transpired during a nationa l coalition of womens organiza tions called the CEDAW Civil Society Forum. In 1985 Turkey signed the Conven tion to Eliminate all forms of Discrimination Against Women, or CEDAW and ratified the optiona l protocol in 2000. As a signatory, the state 35 Ak Der leader, interview by author, Istanbul, Turkey, April 10, 2006. 36 There have been numerous surveys conducted to gauge public opinion on the ban. Ak Der published a report that summarizes the findings of some of th ese surveys. See Ak Der, Evaluation of the Headscarf Ban in the Light of Surveys and Reports of Human Rights Organizations (2004). See Kalaycioglu (2007). 37 The HRA has denounced the ban since the mid-1990s. Helsinki Citizens Assembly, a group of intellectuals based in Istanbul, does not carry out press releases, demonstrations or keep tallies of human rights abuses, but rather, focuses on organizing conferences and publications on Turk ey and European integration. Hence, it has addressed the ban within broader discussions of Islam, secularism and democracy, although it has not carried out any specifically anti-ban activities. HCA, however, is a member of the Human Rights Joint Platform, and stands in solidarity against all rights violations with its coalition partners, Mazlum Der, HRA and Amnesty International-Turkey. In keeping with Amnesty regulations, Amnesty International-Turkey can not directly address violations in Turkey, although Amnesty headquarters has condemned the ban in France and Turkey in its reports. See Amnesty International Human Rights Report (2007). 196

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regularly subm its official reports regarding womens issues to the United Nations CEDAW committee. In much the same way the UN Univer sal Declaration of Human Rights provides a useful focal point around whic h discourse between human rights activists from varied backgrounds can converge, the CEDAW has similarly functioned as a common discursive framework for diverse womens activists throughout the world. Moreover, CEDAW international meetings have provided a venue fo r collaboration and for the exchange of ideas among women from many countries, and they ha ve provided the impetus for women within Turkey to come together in order to presen t a united Turkish front at these international meetings. Indeed, the opportunities that em erged from Turkeys candidacy and its goal to meet Copenhagen Criteria38 as well as opportunities associated w ith CEDAW have had a particularly unifying effect on Turkeys womens movement. Turkish womens activists joined forces and formed a national coalition to submit a shadow report to the United Nations CEDAW Committee. Womens groups in Turkey that were dissatisfied with the official reports submitted by the Turkish state to the UN CEDAW Committee submitted a shadow report ( golge raporlar ) to the CEDAW Committee as an alternativ e to the official reports. Flying Broom ( Ucan Supurge ) one of Turkeys premier grass-root s womens organizations led a national coalition of womens orga nizations to form the CE DAW Civil Society Forum (CEDAW Forum 38 In order to fall in line with European standards, the Turkish government announced its plan to overhaul the existing civil and penal codes. The womens movement took full advantage of this political opportunity. In 2000, Women for Womens Human Rights (WWHR), one of Turkeys largest grass-roots womens organizations, led a national coalition to submit formal recommendations to the Turkish state concerning the civil code. Many of the coalitions proposals were in cluded in Turkeys new civil code, accepted by the Turkish Grand National Assembly in November 2001. Due to the success of this effort, WWHR spearhea ded another nationwide coalition called The Campaign for the Reform of the Turkish Penal Code from a Gender Perspective. The campaign lasted from 2002 to 2004 and as a result of this coalition the new Turkish penal code includes more than thirty amendments recommended by the womens coalition. For a complete summary of all recommended amendments see Turkish Civil and Penal (2005). 197

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hereaf ter). A select few travelled to New York to present their shadow report to the UN CEDAW committee at the international meeting held on January 15-23, 2005. For two years the CEDAW Forum coalition worked diligently to determine th e contents of the report and in April 2003, 453 women representing a wide array of womens groups throughout the country gathered in Ankara to make the final decisions concerning the report.39 The shadow report included a wide array of human rights violations carried out against women in Turkey. Physical and emotional violen ce to women were regarded by all participants in the forum as the most serious problems faci ng women in Turkey. Moreover, due to Turkeys abysmal shortage of womens shelters throughout the country, all activis ts have called on the Turkish government to allocate funds for the co nstruction of womens sh elters. These similar agendas notwithstanding, the headscarf ban was a divisive issue. Given the wide array of discriminatory practices against women, the headscarf ban was not regarded to be a priority by some secularist womens activists, despite the fact that many activists regard the ban to be a form of discrimination. For example, one activist plai nly stated, We should not confuse the issue of womens rights with ideologies a bout scarves and if they try to bring this issue to the top of the agenda of this movement I disagree with this. I do not support it. There are more dire issues.40 In contrast, covered activists pr ioritize the headscarf ban as of the most urgent problems facing women in Turkey because they link the headscarf ban to broader issues, specifically, to the lack of womens economic independence. 39 For a complete review of activities carried out by the CEDAW Civil Society Forum see Flying Broom. 2005. Flying News: Womens Communication Journal (January) acquired from Flying Broom ( Ucan Supurge ) in Ankara. 40 Turkish Womens Union ( Turk Kadinlar Birligi ) leader, interview by author, Anka ra, Turkey, April 5, 2006. This argument is often posed by republican women. For example, Arzuhan Dogan Yalcindag, the chairperson of TUSIAD (Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen's Association ) Turkeys largest and most influential professional association, echoed this sentiment, claiming there are more pressing problems than the headscarf; and That is why we should deal first with our social and economic problems in order to make Turkey a more prosperous society (Headscarf Issue Broader Todays Zaman. Jan. 25, 2008). 198

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Although th e headscarf debate surfaced during the CEDAW Civil Society Forums meetings, it was one of only two issues41 discussed that was excluded from the shadow report presented to the UN CEDAW Committee. The reason for the exclusion, as explained to me by a Flying Broom leader, was that domestic violence and economic independence were top priority issues whereas the headscarf ban was not considered by the majority of women in the coalition to be an urgent problem.42 The womens movement has worked vigorously to crush stereotypes and challenge traditional gender relations and cult urally determined roles for women, and many activists are uneasy with what they see as th e counterproductive effects of the headscarf movement on their attempts to eliminate patriarchal norms. In interviews with women from Flying Broom and Ka Der, activists stated they were grappling with the paradox of supporting a womens right to wear Islamic head covering, which many of them regarded as a tool of patriarchal oppression, even though they al so acknowledged the ban was a form of discrimination.43 Due to the exclusion of the headscarf ban in the forums shadow report, a headscarved activist independently lobbied o fficials at the United Nations. Incidentally, after this lobbying 41 The other issue excluded in the shadow report was the di stinct plight of Kurdish women, who argue their needs differ from Turkish women in that Kurdish women were raped by soldiers and have been subjected to harsh treatment by the state due to the state of emergency and ongoing insurgency in South east Turkey. The exclusion of the headscarf ban in the report was picked up by a secular newspaper, Sabah, presumably in an attempt to show that anti-ban efforts lacked support by most womens organizations and to suggest the AK Party was behind the purported civil society efforts to end the ban. A leader from one of the premier conservative womens organizations, Capital City Womens Platform (Baskent Kadin Platformu ) replied to the author in a letter which was posted on Flying Brooms website. The letter explained that the ban was discussed during the CEDAW Forum and the issue was in fact included in a more general statem ent about discriminatory practices against women seeking employment due to their apparel, howeve r, the word headscarf was not used. She explained that since the national coalition included many women with many different viewpo ints, a more explicit condemnation of the ban could not be issued on behalf of the CEDAW Forum, although the issue was brought independently to the UN CEDAW Committee. See Turban hak ihlali degil (The Turban is not a Human Rights Violation) by Betul Kotan in Sabah January 20, 2005. See the entire response at http://www.ucansupurge.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1377&Itemid=87. 42 Flying Broom leader, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, April 5, 2006. 43 Ibid. Ka DerIstanbul executive member, Istanbul, Turkey, March 29, 2006. Ka-Der Ankara executive member, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, April 5, 2006. 199

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effort the UN comm ittee wrote in the 2005 recommendation to the Tu rkish government that they wanted an exact figure on the number of wome n negatively impacted by the headscarf ban. In the meantime, the conservative women who participated in the CEDAW Forum issued a wakeup call to other conservative wo men in the Womens Meeting ( Kadin Bulusmasi ) newsletter, encouraging them to become more involved in womens activism, as they were underrepresented within the broader womens rights movement. Th ey explained what they took away from their experience in the CEDAW Civil Society Forum. The most important thing we determined wa s this: in our countr y, the women who made statements and determined the political agen da pertaining to women s problems were those who belong to the represented NGOs, which were in general secular. We were happy to learn many things from them but in the poi nts expressed concerni ng our own problems we were experiencing difficulties from a lack of empathy ( Kadin Bulusmasi 2005, 3). In part, this lack of empathy springs from the significant presence of men at anti-ban demonstrations and the widespread belief among feminists that Islamist men have enthusiastically challenged the ban in the attempt to preserve patriarchal norms. In large measure, the lack of empathy among secularists more generally is due to the perception that many anti-ban activists are insincere in thei r commitment to human rights and democracy. Although former Islamists affiliated with Natio nal Outlook and previous (now outlawed) proIslamic parties have publicly renounced political Is lamism and have forged alliances with liberal intellectuals who also oppose the ban, many observe rs have been quick to point out that those who demand freedom of religion are silent on ot her freedoms and do not extend their activism to any other oppressed groups. Indeed, many anti-ba n activists have mainta ined a narrow focus on headscarf freedom rather than pushing for othe r rights and freedoms, which bolsters their opponents arguments that these acti vists have merely strategically appropriated rights discourse but are disingenuous in their commitment to secularism and democracy. As one liberal intellectual and human rights activist lamented in an op-ed piece, with every attempt to lift the 200

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ban, Once again th e Muslims [will] appear in th e political arena as an actor who would like to bring freedom to its supporters only!44 Another obstacle to the mobiliz ation of non-religious groups and individuals stems from the continued use of provocative slogans at demons trations, such as Wha t public space, God is everywhere!,45 harkens back to Islamists discourses in the very recent past, and suggests a considerable number of activists do not merely se ek religious freedom under a secular state, but seek a greater role for Islam in the public sphere the goal of political Islamism. This continuity suggests that despite the recent move to the politi cal center by former Islamists, especially those affiliated with Prime Minister Erdogans conservative democrat AK Party, many elements of political Islamism remain. Part of the problem is the diversity w ithin the anti-ban movement and within rights-based organizations. The anti-ban movement consists of moderate conservative Muslims linked to liberal intellectuals as well as more radical Islamist elements. This is also true within organizations such as Mazlum Der a nd Ak Der, in which some members are more moderate while others are more conservative. The headscarf ban has become a sort of litmus test for ones commitment to secularism and democracy, and this became all too evident when th e AK Party attempted to finally lift the ban at universities in February 2008.46 The controversial move was hi ghlighted in a case against the AK Party which sought to ban the party for being the focal point of anti-secular activities. Kayacioglu rightly asserts, it seems as if the turban is among those indicators that determine the As 44 Orhan Kemal Cengiz. AKPs Destination: Another Post-modern Coup detat? Turkish Daily News, January 19, 2008, online edition. 45 This was a slogan used at demonstration held in 2005. 46 The AK Party sought to lift the ban only at universities rath er than in all public institutions because this was seen as less controversial than attempting to completely lift the ban. Public opinion surveys su ggest that most citizens are comfortable with the removal of the ban at universities, but are less inclined to support removal of the ban at other public institutions. 201

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true colors of a party (2007, 103). The AK Party m ay have won the case but their constitutional amendment to lift the ban wa s deemed unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court in June 2008. Opportunities, Discursive Repertoires and Mobilization: Mobilizing International Audiences Turkeys Constitutional Court was embolde ned by a 2007 ruling by the European Court of Human Rights which upheld the headscarf ban. Victims of the ban began to apply to the European Court of Human Rights in the late 199 0s as a strategy to counter the Constitutional Courts consistent support of the ban.47 In the infamous Leyla Sahin v. Turkey case48 the ECHR took the Turkish states commentar y at face value, agreeing that hijab threatens social peace and harmony. The ruling strengthened conservative Mus lims perception that the ECHR was biased. Reactions were harsh. One radical Islamist publication claimed, It appears that the ECHR applie s a different standard in such cases and this undermines the confidence of the Turkish public in its standard of justice This decision suggests that when Islamic values are on the agenda, uni versally held values and understanding of justice are suspended while fear, suspicion and prejudice take over the decision-making process.49 Scores of covered students had filed cases w ith the ECHR from the late 90s until the Sahin case, in the hopes the European court would legitimize their claims However, these and subsequent cases have been dismissed, as th e Sahin verdict now stands as precedent. Supporters of lifting the ban have also pointed to the European Co mmissions inattention to the matter. They argue that while the Europ ean Commission is quick to point out Turkeys many human rights violations, and especially those against non-Muslim minorities, it has never 47 Mazlum Der held a symposium for lawyers in 1998 to train them in the process of applying to the ECHR. 48 For a full legal evaluation of the case see Ak Der Legal Evaluation (2005). 49 From Hak Soz magazine (quoted in Benli 2005, 3-4) See also Emre Demir. ECHRs Double-Standard in Freedom of Conscience Zaman Nov. 19, 2005, online edition. 202

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included the headscarf ban in any of its a nnual progress reports. One journalist from Zaman wrote, I had asked former enlargement commissioner Gunter Verheugen about the headscarf. There is no consensus opinion on this issu e among the member countries. He responded. I posed the question before the Commission tim e and again, every year after the progress reports are issued. The response is always th e same. Last week, I asked the Commissions enlargement director, Do you see the headsc arf ban as a human rights problem? I will not answer, he said. All ri ght! Is there really common opi nion on the headscarf? I think there is. There is no headscarf ban in the uni versities of any EU member country. I remind the Commissions enlargement general director of this. His answer is the same: No comment. I suggest Brussels cease using the expression religious freedoms. It must be replaced by religious freedoms for minorities. Otherwise, in every document it prepares, the EU insults the intelligence of the Turkish citizens.50 The same Zaman journalist subsequently reported that Christian Democrats in the European Parliament had launched a campaign to improve the conditions for Christian minorities in Turkey but were strongly opposed to the incl usion of the headscarf in a report on womens rights in Turkey by fellow MP, Emine Bozkurt, an uncovered Dutch parliamentarian of Turkish descent. The inclusion of the issue was disc ussed at the EPs Wo mens Rights and Gender Equality Committee, where the Christian Democrats motion was rejected by the Socialists, Greens and even far-right groups. In the end, however, while the violations of education and employment rights were covered in the re port, the word headscarf was removed.51 Anti-ban activists do, however, have some heavyhitters in their corner For example, Joost Lagendijk, the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentar y Commission Co-chair and Cem Ozdemir, European Parliamentary member have been vocal opponents of the ban, stating that implementation of the law encourages thoughts suggesting that ultra-secular Jacobeans in 50 Selcuk Gultasli. EU Not to Place Head scarf Issue in the Progress Report. Todays Zaman. November 03,2005, online edition. 51 Selcuk Gultasli. Headscarf and European Union. Todays Zaman, June 28, 2006, online edition. 203

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Turkey are n o worse than some Islamist fanatics with marginal tendencies.52 Local activists have also successfully mobilized international NGOs to pressure the Turkish government to lift the ban. Human Rights Watch has perhaps been the most vocal in its efforts. For example, a 2004 HRW memorandum urged the Turkish government to remove the ban as part its efforts to safeguard womens rights and improve their ac cess to education and employment. HRW also spoke out against the ECHR ru ling in the Leyla Sahin case.53 Amnesty International has also condemned the bans in France and Turkey in its reports. Moreover, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom has condemned the ban in its recent reports. Despite these international allies, funding opportunities for organizations seeking assistance for anti-ban activities and projects are hard to come by. For example, TESEV, one of Turkeys leading non-partisan think-tanks sought financial support in 2006 for an in-depth study on the headscarf ban from various funding agencies, including Open Society Institute. Not one funding agency was willing to suppo rt the initiative due to risi ng tensions between secularist elites on the one hand and the AK Party and its constituents on the other.54 The same holds true for the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), which has doled out millions of dollars to civil society organizations since Turkey officially became a candidate for membership. However, the various EU funding agencies will not fund civil society projects associated with th e headscarf ban. This has made it challenging for 52 Joost Lagendijk, and Cem Ozdemir. Headscarf Ban Does not Suit Turkey. Zaman December 21, 2005, online edition. 53 HRW reports on the ban include: Human Rights Watch Headscarf Briefing Memorandum, (2004) ; Turkey: Headscarf Ruli ng Denies Women Education and Career (Nov. 15, 2005); Turkey: Human Rights Concerns in the Lead up to July Parliamentary Elections (July 19, 2007); Turkey: Constitutional Court Ruling Upholds Headscarf Ban Religion and Expression Rights Denied, Broader Reform Agenda Endangered (June 5, 2008). 54 TESEV Democracy Initiative Coordinator, intervie w by author, Istanbul, Turkey, July 24, 2007. 204

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the EIDHR agencies to reach out to conservative civil society organizatio n s in Turkey, many of which oppose taking funds from the West. Some conservative organizations not opposed to taking EU financial assistance wish to tackle the headscarf ban but as the program coordinator of the EIDHR section in Ankara stated, Its my personal goal to reach out to conservative NGOs. Conservative NGOs are be ginning to come around regardi ng external funding so some progress but another obstacle is th at so many of these want to tackle the headscarf issue and the EU refrains from tackling it you know ECHR and Sahindirectly.55 Conclusion The emergence of anti-headscarf movement wa s triggered by a new dr ess code policy at public institutions in the early 1980s. The fema le protestors who took the streets were not organized through a specific womens or anti-h eadscarf organization. Robust Islamist networks associated especially with Erbakans Nati onal Outlook movement were appropriated by the victims of the ban. During the early phases of movement activity, Islamist women utilized a strictly Islamist discourse to contest the head scarf ban. This attracted the attention and moral support of Islamists throughout th e world, particularly in ne ighboring Iran. This alarmed secularists and precluded the mobilization of non-Islamists and reform-minded moderates. Mazlum Der, comprised of individuals associ ated with individuals the National Outlook movement was a natural ally for ban victims. Ho wever, by the early 1990s, allies in parliament pushed through measures to change the wording of the regulation and reform-minded rectors and professors simply stopped implementing the ba n in their classrooms and universities. Consequently, there was a lull in protest activity until the post-m odern coup of 1997, when another cycle of protest began. 55 European Commission Delegation to Turkey EIDHR Program Coordinator, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, July 15, 2007. 205

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206 This cycle was qualitatively diffe rent from the previous cycle for two reasons. First, it was organized by newly formed associations whic h were autonomous fr om the National Outlook movement. Secondly, Islamist identity in Turkey had undergone significant changes, and some of the anti-ban organizations di scursive repertoires, their proactive attempts to mobilize nonIslamic organizations, and their willingness to make use of open opportunity structures at the international level reflected these changes. In the rapidly changing world of political Islam in Turkey, it is no longer a contradict ion to be a devout Muslim cl aiming human rights, calling for democracy and mobilizing West-rooted transnati onal advocacy networks. In contrast to the discourse of the 1980s, a larger number of disgru ntled ban victims engaged international human rights norms and couched their activism in term s of human rights, especially following the crackdown in 1997. No longer were they beholden to past cultural prohi bitions on the use of Western-rooted rights rhetoric and international law. The same could be said of the Human Rights Association, which also ch anged its practice and began to publicly condemn the headscarf ban as a human rights violation. Despite all of these changes, the headscarf controversy continues to divide people, including rights activists. Moreover, the Leyla Sahin case left conservative Muslims feeling embittered toward the European Court of Human Rights, as its controversial decision is perceived to substantiate Muslims claims of bias, which may precipitate a return to anti-Westernism ju st as it was gradually dissipating.

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CHAP TER 6 MOVEMENT IDENTITY-FORMATION AND BROKERAGE Introduction I do not share any of your views. But, I shal l defend to the last your freedom to express them. Voltaire The preceding chapters explored the factor s that both enabled and constrained the construction of discursive and collective action repertoires among human ri ghts organizations in Turkey from the 1980s until the present. Social movement analysts have long pointed to three sets of factors that shape collective action: polit ical opportunity structures, mobilizing structures and frames, or what I have called, following Steinberg (1998), discursive repe rtoires. All of these factors have shaped human rights activism in Turkey over the past three decades. I argue that domestic and international politi cal opportunities have generally benefited activis ts, especially the growing body of international human rights law and courts such as the European Court of Human Rights, as well as tran snational advocacy networks. Turk eys political culture enabled and constrained the way different rights-based orga nizations articulated thei r grievances and also impacted their capacity to appropriate mobilizing structures. Human rights law has provided the language for local groups to frame their grievances and has provided an important tool in the attempt to hold Turkey accountable for human rights violations. As McCann (1994, 9) note s, the pluralistic character of law provides reform activists with some measure of choice re garding both the general institu tional sites and the particular substantive legal resources that might be mobiliz ed to fight policy battles and advance movement goals. We have seen in the Turkish case that international human rights laws were used extensively by all types of activis ts, and the availability of the European Court of Human Rights as an institutional resource ex tended the political opportunity st ructures available since the 207

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politicized nature of Turkish cour ts, particula rly the State Securi ty Courts, were an unreliable source of redress for victims. Th ese international political oppor tunities provided an incentive for activists to sharpen their legal arguments and di scursive repertoires more generally, and overall were certainly beneficial in their struggle to challenge the state. With regard to mobilizing structures, the use of human rights discourse enabled Turkeys activists to mobilize human rights transnati onal advocacy networks. Turkish human rights advocates also appropriated pro-Islamic and pro-Kurdish political movements and social networks and Turkeys intelligentsia. This re sulted in pressure from above and below.1 For example, Turkish activists have lobbied the Parliamentary Asse mbly of the Council of Europe, providing the assembly with repor ts of abuse. In addition, Turkish organizations have formed alliances with organizations from various Eu ropean countries, such as the France-based International Federation of Hu man Rights and the Danish Huma n Rights Institute, which is currently providing funding for the newly crea ted Human Rights Joint Platform. The Human Rights Foundation of Turkey has not only appropriated TANs dealing with to rture, it now stands as a prominent node in a globally active anti-torture network, evident in its role in the creation of the Manual on Effective Investigat ion and Documentation of Tort ure and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which became a United Nations official document in 1999. Despite the domestic and inte rnational political o pportunities available and the activists appropriation of domestic and transnational netw orks there have been significant obstacles to movement effectiveness. Gaps and inconsistencies in international hum an rights laws, state discretion in interpreting and applying certain principles of international laws, and a states 1 See Keck and Sikkink (1998) for a full discussion of transnational advocacy networks, and Risse, Ropp and Sikkink (1999) on the spiral model. 208

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ability to sig n international tr eaties with reservations have hi ndered activists ability to hold Turkey accountable to its intern ational obligations. Regarding the headscarf ban, the ECHR has in fact hindered progress with its 2005 Leyl a Sahin decision because pro-ban supporters now point to this decision to uphold the ban (see chapter five). Anothe r problem stems from the lack of enforcement mechanisms attached to various global and regional human rights conventions Especially in the years preceding Turkeys status as a candidate country to the Europe Union, the lack of enforcement mechanisms allowe d the Turkish state to shirk its responsibility to safeguard the rights of its citizens. An a dditional obstacle to effectiveness stems from Turkeys geostrategic importance to the West, which has prevented overly harsh punishment for noncompliance. For example, despite Turkeys consistently poor human rights record, it was awarded a customs union with the European Union in 1996, and despite only minimal improvement it was awarded candidacy in 1999.2 Hence, although human rights defenders in Tu rkey have arguably had more opportunities than other local movements in developing c ountries to mobilize international law and transnational advocacy networks due to the robust regional treaties and networks of activists in Europe compared to other regions, the Turkish state has had plenty of room to outmaneuver groups in Turkey and Europe that have pressure d it to clean up its human rights record. Only recently, with the advent of Turkeys official can didacy to the EU, has Turkey made significant progress in terms of legal reform, although impl ementation of legal reform remains stalled. Cultural norms and values also enabled and cons trained movement activists ability to take advantage of political opportunities or mobilize support. For example, the strong emphasis in 2 The EU can arguably be more effective in pressuring Turkey to improve its human rights record if it is a candidate country, and this does indeed appear to be the case. Mo reover, human rights defenders have also been advocates of EU membership since it will ostensibly lead to great impr ovements, even as they have been critical of the EUs acceptance of Turkey. 209

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Islam on social justice has induced action to address controversia l issues such as the Kurdish question, even though much of the support of Isla mist organizations has been humanitarian aid rather than advocation of rights. In addition, despite the egregi ous rights violations and weak democracy in Turkey, there is a well-established commitment to representative democracy if not liberal democracy per se. The cultural taboos surrounding the recognition of Kurdish et hnicity and political Islam have posed formidable challenges to activists in terms of their ability to mobilize the masses. These taboos have strengthened pro-establishment elites criticisms of ri ghts-based organizations as threats to national unity, thereby stigmatizi ng many rights-based organizations. Citing national security, state officials in Turkey have consisten tly used the Kurdish insurgency and the threat of Islamism as a pretext for limiting the rights of Turkish citizens. Give n the high degree of legitimacy held by the military in Turkey3 and the still-prevalent Sevr es syndrome, the pretext of national unity has been a rather successful device in hampering the ab ility of human rights activists to mobilize non-victims and individuals outside Kurdish and Islamist social networks. Indeed, the stigma attached to certain type s of activism, especially demands made on behalf of Kurds or Islamists blocked mobiliza tion efforts by activists and precluded a more robust and mainstream human rights movement. A lthough social networks are often treated as a resource in many social movement analyses, as Goodwin and Jasper (2004) argue, they can just as easily drive people away from social movements as hitch the two together. This was certainly the case in Turkey where the mobilization of Kurdish nationalist networks an Islamist networks were a resource and a hindrance to broader mobilization. Compounding this was the danger 3 Public opinion surveys have consistently shown the military to be the most trusted and respected state institution in Turkey. 210

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associated w ith making strong demands, particularly those dealing with Kurdish rights, in an environment where advocates have actually been murdered.4 As with linkages to political parties and broa der political movements, ties to international organizations and funding agencies are also problem atic due to the stigma attached to mobilizing foreign entities, which tarnishes Turkeys image internationally. The successful appropriation of human rights transnational advocacy networks has been a mixed blessing. Rights-based organizations have long been accused of being puppets of the Western organizations that provide support, be it financial, organizational or political. This criti cism has not only been come from state officials but also from these organizations respective membership bases. For example, some members of the HRA, Mazlum Der and the HRFT among others, are leery of accepting funds from Western organizations with direct ties to Western governments or EU funding agencies, and some are even opposed to funds from fully autonomous Western organizations. This puts resource-poor organizatio ns in a difficult predicament. In addition, local organizations must package their message to resonate with di stant audiences, which may alienate them from their base constituents. Consequently, the effect s of assistance are more ambiguous than is often acknowledged (Bob 2005, 6). Similar to mobilizing structures, although links to political parties are often depicted in social movement theory as a political opportunity,5 the perceived ties be tween rights-based organizations and pro-Kurdish and pro-Islamic political parties and movements have been problematic for rights organizations because their political allies were branded as traitors and threats to national unity. In sum, along with in stitutional constraints, Turkeys human rights 4 In addition to 14 members of the HRA, dozens of pro-Kurdish politicians were murdered during the 1990s and a number of investigative journalists have shared the same fate. 5 See McAdam, McCarthy and Zald (1996); McAdam, Ta rrow and Tilly (2001); Goodwin and Jasper 2004). 211

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activists m ust also battle strong cultural norms that in effect turn resources such as political opportunity structures and mobilizing structures into barriers due to the way these links are culturally interpreted by state el ites and society at large. Overall, as one analyst argues, Despite thei r strong transnational links and support in the second half of the 1990s, Turkish NGOs have not yet had a tremendous impact on domestic political and social change (Cizre-Sakallioglu 2 001, 42). This is in large measure, I believe, due to the severely repressive state. However, it also stems from the lack of a robust human rights culture in Turkey and the cultu ral taboos associated with certain demands. As one human rights defender stated that, what we are trying to do, ac tuallywe are trying to create a new culture. But its very difficult.6 Despite the difficulty associated with the task of creating a human rights culture in Turkey, human rights defenders are more determined th an ever. Turkeys EU candidacy breathed new life into the movement and today there are more human rights organizations in Turkey than ever before. The Copenhagen Criteria sets the framew ork for change in Turkey, and civil society organizations have a role to pl ay in identifying the specific legal and institutional changes that should occur within that broad framework. While the European Union is arguably the main catalyst for legal reform, I believe Turkeys most influential human rights organizations are wellpositioned to make an even greater direct impact on Turkeys political culture and the nature of civil society due to their issueoriented activism and cross-facti onal ties, two areas that remain underdeveloped in Turkeys civil society. 6 Human Rights Agenda Association President, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, July 31, 2007. 212

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Civil Society in Turkey and the Human Rights Movement There has been an extraordinary increase in th e number of civil soci ety organizations in Turkey since the 1980 coup. Positive developments such as the exponential growth of civil society organizations, the gradual transition from ideology-oriented to issue-oriented activities (Toprak 1995), the distancing from power relations and a dependence on horizontal relations, an openness to newcomers and tolerance of differe nces with an emphasis on pluralism (Tekeli 2000) make Turkeys civil society more robust a nd democratic than in the past. Yet, despite these positive developments, anal ysts and casual observers have pointed to enduring problems. Many argue that the quality of civil society organizations as spaces for participatory democracy based on pluralism and tolerance remains defi cient (Gurbey 2006; Keyman 2005; Gormus 2005; Keyman and Icduygu 2003; Kalayciogl u 2002; Karaman and Aras 2000). For instance, Kalayc o lu (2002) focuses on the percep tion among Turkeys citizens of membership in a civil society organization and th e level of trust. He concludes a culture of distrust seems to be well established in Turkish society. For example, when the level of interpersonal trust is examined, it is seen that nine out of ten people in Turkey do not trust their fellow human beings. In fact, Turkey shares the lowest level of interpersonal trust with Brazil among the countries included in the World Values Survey. This suggests that establishing and maintaining inter-organizational coalitions and especia lly cross-factional coalitions is difficult. With respect to the Islam-secular divide in particular, Toprak (1995, 111) noted, the issue of secularism is incr easingly polarizing the society, thus threatening the formation of a consensus on a new definition of civil society as a space outside the sphere of government where different interest groups, et hnic and religious co mmunities coexist and can articulate their views in a milieu of tolera nce and legality. There are already signs that tolerance, as an important component of civ il society, is in a crit ical juncture as the Islamist-secularist divide increasingly becomes translated into intolerance of the other in daily life. 213

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The Feb 28th process brought the simmering Islam-s ecular tensions that Toprak describes to a boil. The concerted efforts of the Ankara-based Ci vil Society Development Center to develop civility and tolerance among Turkish NGOs is fu rther evidence of the work that still needs to be done in terms of developing a democratic civ il society. For example, the Center has made a concerted effort to strengthen civil society by specifically tackling the issue of intergroup relations, emphasizing that standin g side by side with our differe nces without trying to change or correct the others and wit hout trying to make them more like ourselves is a skill7 Cohen and Arato (1992) assert that in modern civil so ciety a minimal or weak collective political identity is sh ared by a plurality of groups, each with its own particular version of the good life, and this acts as an impediment to the type of divisiveness witnessed in Turkey. As I have shown in previous chapters, the most active and influential human rights organizations were in fact plagued by partis anship and ideology-based activism in the early phases of movement activity. There remain a large number of organizations, especially Islamist ones, which utilize a language of rights to advance particularistic goals, while remaining either on the fringes or completely isolated from networks of human rights activ ists. There will always be the presence of ideological purists in civil society who flatly reject cross-factional dialogue and there still exist far too many of these types of organizations in Turkeys civil society. However, Turkeys largest and most influent ial rights organizations are not merely paying lip service to multiculturalism and tolerance, but rather stand as an example of formal crossfactional cooperation in Turkish ci vil society. Today, these organiza tions and others within their network operate under guiding principles of pr agmatic, issue-oriented human rights activism. 7 Siviliz Newsletter Issue 9 (June 2007). 214

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Thus, the transfor mation of organizations such as the Human Rights Association and Mazlum Der, which have transcended the partisan and ideology-oriented activism of yesteryear, merits attention. The rest of this chapter e xplores the evolution of the human rights organizations and movement structure, from a fragmented collection of groups to a more diverse yet increasingly more cohesive network of networks now pu lled closer together th rough the Human Rights Joint Platform. I argue the disparate social groups making rights-bas ed claims gradually coalesced around a burgeoning movement identity di d that not precede prot est, but rather, was constructed through it. My findings suggest several factors had an integrative effect, contributing to both identity and movement structure, which are interrelated. The human rights language used by disparate claims-making groups provided the bu ilding blocks for dialogue, and their similar position as political outsiders and victims of rights violations further facilitated what Snow and Benford (1999) call the construction of similarity by bridge workers (o rganization leaders who worked to link together disparat e groups). Discourses concerning civil society, which intensified during the mid-1990s, also played a unifying role, as they also provided bridge workers with a language to reinforce a bourgeoning movement iden tity and further facilitated network bridging. These factors engendered a movement identity based on non-partisan human rights activism. Lastly, financial opportunities emerging from transnational links to the Danish Human Rights Institute led to the institutionalization of pre-exis ting informal ties, resulting in the creation of the Human Rights Joint Platform, Turkeys first national, grass-roots human rights umbrella organization, which aims to fu rther integrate the movement. Movement Identity Formation Resource mobilization theory and political pr ocess theory assume an alreadyexisting collective actor, which seeks to maximize its access to integral resources and take full advantage 215

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of political o pportunity structures in order to achieve its goals. Melucci (1995) and other new social movements (NSM) theorists argued that a co llective actor is not a given, but rather social movements are arenas for the production of a co llective actor. Accordingly, movement analysts must explain not just how a group secures resour ces or takes advantage of political opportunities but also how disparate indivi duals or groups become a coll ective through movement work. Melucci (1996, 49) notes that coll ective identity is important for a movement because it ensures the continuity and permanence of the movement over time and in the face of challenging circumstances that threaten to bring about its demise. It also establishes the limits of the collective actor and its constituent parts with respect to its social environment. Collective identity regulates the membership of indi viduals, and it defines the requi sites for joining the movement and the criteria by which members rec ognize themselves and are recognized. Della Porta, et al. (2006) assert that while many social m ovement analyses stress the role of social conditions, participation in collective action (demonstrations, etc.), and the organization itself in order to explain the construction of a co llective identity, the role of ideas has been less emphasized. Frame analysis has received a lot of attention in the theoretical literature but the question of how frames and ideas affect id entities has not been thoroughly empirically investigated. According to della Porta, et al., collective identity formation is embedded within the framing process, and it is through the m eaning work involved in forming discursive repertoires that movement actors symbolical ly construct a collec tive subject (2006, 62). During framing, activists articula te their diagnoses, offer prognoses for the problems at hand and also craft a message to m obilize particular audiences (Snow and Benford 1988, 199-200). Motivational framing (Hunt, Benford and Snow 1994), and adversarial framing (Gamson 1992) which construct an us-them framework that demarcat es friends and foes is of particular import. 216

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Meetings, dem onstrations, press releases, brochures and other or ganizational literature are all social and semiotic sites for the continuous c onstruction of identity, a nd collective identity can be observed in names/self-labels, symbols, rituals, clothing and co llective narratives (Polletta and Jasper 2001). Actors external to the movement, especially opponents within the state and media, also contribute to the collective identity formatio n process by challenging or reinforcing identity categories. My aim was to determine whether a movement identity existed among human rights activists in Turkey. I looked to della Porta, et al.s (2006) analysis of movement identity for insight. Della Porta, et al. conducted surveys to measure the degree of frame resonance (the fit between organizational/movement and pers onal identity) among an ti-global movement participants to bolster their ar gument that the anti-global transnational movement is more than just a heterogeneous coalition of disparate organization and individuals, but rather a transnational social movement held together by a collective id entity. I carried out in-depth interviews with fifty activists, primarily organization leaders.8 In addition, like della Po rta, et al., I analyzed organizational literature, paying close attenti on to the way framing contributes to identityformation by defining the protagonists, antagoni sts and the audience of collective action. Lastly, I conducted participant observation at joint events (e.g., conf erences, demonstrations, etc.) to gain a deeper understanding of things such as rapport among activists and the overall atmosphere. Tilly (2002) claims collective political identities are emerge nt and contested, relational and collective and they therefore alter as political networks, oppor tunities and strategies shift. However, political networks, opportunities and stra tegies not only affect collective identity but 8 For a full list of organizations see chapter one. 217

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are also affected by it. In deed, della Porta, et al contend that the symbolic construction of master frames (discursive repertoires/fields) impacts brokerage the linking of two or more unconnected social sites (Tarrow 2002).9 I make the same argument concerning the human rights movement in Turkey: the human rights di scursive field provided the ideational building blocks to link previously unconn ected rights-based organizations. That is, identity and network formation are inter-related and the caus al arrows point in both directions. Evidence of Movement Identity Movement identity is observed in what le aders and members say about themselves and their organization and where they situate their or ganization in the broader political environment. During each interview I inquired about domestic and international partners, paying close attention to the frequency and ordering of organi zations mentioned as well as comments relating to identity. In addition, I analyzed organizational literature for evid ence of movement identity. It is important to emphasize that the degree to which rank and file members, especially those in the smaller branches of the national organizations, share a movement collective identity is unclear and awaits further research. That is to say, unlik e della Porta et al.s analysis of the degree to which rank and file members identified with not only their respective organizations but with a broader movement, the analysis here only in cludes organization leaders and prominent members (e.g., members involved in writing orga nizational literature) identification with a broader movement. A movement identity was evident in the literature of the human rights organizations under study. For instance, the self-label of human rights defenders ( insan haklari savunucular) is 9 Khagram (1999) argues shared human rights frames constituted the human rights movement in Guatemala. Meyer (2004) makes a similar argument, claiming that organiza tional identity drives the goals that social movement organizations pursue and the strategies and tactics they use. Goodwin and Jasper (2004), also point to the need to closely examine how discursive repertoires are a determining factor in the bridging of previously disconnected social networks. 218

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widely used by m embers of some organizati ons and they speak about the human rights movement (insan haklari haraket ). Organizations such as the HRA, HRFT, Helsinki Citizens Assembly-Turkey, Amnesty International-Turk ey, Mazlum Der, Association for Liberal Thinking and Human Rights Agenda Association and Ak Der10 all defined themselves as human rights organizations and are all clearly embedded within a network. Joint press statements also use we human rights defenders and human rights organi zations to define the authors of the joint statements and to firmly base their claims on universal rights and freedom.11 Mazlum Der and HRA leaders especially attempt to disentangle rights advocacy from partisan identity and assert their movement identity by participating in each others demonstrations, carrying out join t demonstrations, and releasing joint statements addressing issues that are perceived to be of intere st only to those of a particular in-group.12 For instance, the HRA released a joint statement with Mazlum Der condemning the der ogatory caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that appeared in a Dani sh newspaper, and the HRA has publicly spoken against the headscarf ban.13 These public statements on behalf of the other were part of a deliberate strategy to dispel the misperception that these were important issues only to directly affected groups.14 Additionally, a few journalists have also made it a point to draw attention to HRA-Mazlum Der links in particular in articles about human rights advocacy. 10 Ak Der calls itself a human rights organization but is considered a womens organization (the womens movement is quite distinct from the human rights movement); hen ce, it addresses womens issue, and most of its activity centers on the headscarf ban. It has ties to the human rights movement through its relations with Mazlum Der, otherwise it is not well-connected to the broader human rights movement. 11 Press statements also include a list of contributing organizations at the beginning or end of the statement. 12 Mazlum Der executive member and former president, in terview by author, Ankara, Turkey, December 13, 2006. 13 Joint press release, Crisis of Cari cature Threatens Peace in the World a nd Respect for Human Rights made on February 7, 2006, culled from HRA website February 12, 2006. 14 Mazlum Der executive member and former president, in terview by author, Ankara, Turkey, December 13, 2006. 219

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The title of hum an rights defender is not used by Islamists nor do Islamist (Islamic) claims-making organizations represent themselv es as human rights organizations, except for Mazlum Der and Ak Der.15 Ak Der clearly defines itself as a human rights organization in its mission statement and makes extensive use of inte rnational human rights nor ms in its literature; however, it primarily addresses the headscarf issu e (see chapter five). Other Islamist (Islamic) organizations use rights language to articulate their grievances, however their use is minimal and they do not stress international human right s norms, but rather rely largely upon Islamic notions of justice. For exampl e, the Association for Free Thought and Education Rights (Ozgur Der) is an Islamist organization that primarily addresses the headscarf ban and the issue of Islamic religious high schools (imam hatip ).16 According to Ozgur Der-Diyarbakir president, its members cannot take as a main reference intern ational documents. But, if they dont oppose our main referencethe Quranthen thats ok. Howe ver, Western and Islamic principles differ. He then gave the example of how homosexuality is unacceptable from an Islamic perspective whereas Western principles safe guard the rights of homosexuals.17 Yavuz (2003) labels the organization as radical and ind eed, it lies at the margins of Islamism in Turkey. Its members follow a very strict definition of Islam and do not for example, consider Sufis to be actual 15 An Islamic organization currently named Humanitarian Aid Foundation ( Insani Yardim Vakfi ), which engages in humanitarian assistance throughout the Muslim world, was previously called Foundation for Peoples Rights and Liberties ( Insan Hak ve Hurriyetler ve Insani Yardim Vakfi or IHH. It has kept the acronym of IHH but has since dropped the rights and freedoms portion of its name. 16 In addition to the headscarf ban, which has also been applied at imam hatip religious high schools (state-run schools where Islamic clerics are trained), discrimination against imam hatip high school graduates has garnered great attention from Islamic groups and several advocacy or ganizations have been established to the address the controversial issue. 17 Ozgur DerDiyarbakir President, interview by author, Diyarbakir, Turkey, February 3, 2006. 220

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Muslim s.18 The banners at its activitie s read, We are Islamists. (Kimligimiz Islamcilarliterally translated as our identity is Islamist) and call for Intifada.19 With regard to solidarity with people of other groups, the Ozgur Der-Diyarbakir president stated that victims of violations need a co mmon voice and alliances are possible, if the issue is common with others like DHKP ODP or SHP, which are all on the left margins, even though we are Islamist. For example, the issue of f-type prison conditions,20 which leftists have passionately argued against, is one area in which Ozgur Der supports the efforts of leftists. The organization does have ties to Mazlum Der, since both organizations address the headscarf ban. However, in an informal conversation with Mazlum Der leaders, when I asked if Ozgur Der is a human rights organization, the answers ranged from no to sort of. Some claimed it could not be considered a human rights organization because it did not subscribe to international human rights norms, while one person claimed that since it does address educati on rights it might be considered a narrow rights or ganization. It is noteworthy, howe ver, that when Mazlum Der interviewees were asked to suggest other righ ts-based organizations the author should speak with, the HRA was always the first suggested organization and Ozgur De r was not mentioned by a single interviewee. 18 Ozgur Der-Istanbul President, interview by author, Is tanbul, Turkey, April 12, 2007. In addition, members of Ozgur Der practice strict gender segregation and males and females cannot make physical contact. For example, males will not shake hands with a woman. Interestingly, the male leader I interviewed graciously offered an explanation for not shaking my hand, assuming I was unaware of the custom, lest I think him rude. Gender segregation was not practiced at any M azlum Der meetings or conferences I a ttended, and I was always greeted with a firm handshake by females and males. 19 These banners were hung at Ozgur Ders 2006 Kurdish Question conference in Istanbul, which I attended. 20 In contrast to most prisons in Turkey which are dormitory style, f-type prisons have single cells for prisoners, which opponents in Turkey claims leave prisoners vulnerable to abuse by prison guards. Prisoners have opposed the prisons by carrying out hunger strikes, resulting in the deaths of dozens of prisoners. For a comprehensive overview of the issue see, Report from a fact-finding mission to Istanbul and Ankara on 5-11 May 2001 with Updates, Published by the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network, Kurdish Human Rights Project and the World Organization Against Torture OMCT. 221

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Della Porta, et al claim the ev idence of a collective identity is strong when actors reveal a long memory: a narrative iden tity of the Self (2006, 70). Th is is important for groups because a collective actor needs a memory in orde r to perceive the conti nuity of its existence (2006, 70). A movement identity was evident in in terviewees collective narrative and movement publications, such as the Human Rights Associ ations twenty year an niversary book, Were on a Long, Narrow Road: HRA is 20 ( Uzun Ince Bir Yoldayiz: IHD 20 Yasinda) in which activists from HRA and its allies shared their persona l and collective experiences over the years.21 The common story among all the leaders I spoke with from the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, Human Rights Association, Mazlum Der, Helsinki Citizens Assembly and Amnesty-Turkey was strong and consistent. Many, if not most, had been involved in rights advocacy work for at least a decadesome as far back as the 1970sand th eir stories of movement development underscore the high degree of ideological fragmentation of early movement activity and their success in overcoming factionalism. I also en countered this collective narrative in organizational literature. The chapter written by Mazlum DerHeadquarters president is a case in point and is representative of the collectiv e narrative of movement activists with whom I spoke. Focusing on Mazlum Der-HRA relations, he states that from time to time in the past, there was a proclivity to envy each others rights and freedoms as a result of instigated f ears. Nevertheless, he explains, for ten years, against the backdrop of clashes produced by various social sectors, an enhanced sensitivity for each others rights and freedoms has come to constitute an important model (Bilgen 2006, 139). He goes on to say that despite rivalries and competition, with 21 This 2006 publication gives a twenty year chronology of HRA activities, including the story of its creation, its mission statement, list of international partners and sp ecific conferences, campaigns and publications. It also includes 31 chapters written by individual human rights activists affiliated with the HRA and other human rights organizations who share their personal stories of trium phs and tribulations over the past twenty years. 222

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every step taken to battle agains t rights violations, there em erge d an increased sensitivity and an acute awareness of the need to stre ngthen a sense of togetherness (140). The collective narrative points to several things. First, th e statement about envying each others rights and freedoms highli ghts a central feature of intergr oup rivalry between the left and right in Turkey. Particularly during the 1980s and early 1990s, radical leftists received an overwhelmingly disproportionate share of human rights violations and often argued that proIslamic sectors received favorable treatment from the state, as its main fight was against the far left. Pro-Islamic groups retorted by pointing to things such as the headscarf ban. There was a competition of sorts to depict your group as the more oppressed group, with an underlying implication that rights acquisi tion was a zero-sum game. This gradually changed among these organizations leaders as Mazlum Der exposed the torture and rights vi olations carried out against members of the far righ t and its leaders acknowledged and addressed the disproportionate number of violations against leftists. In regard to the mention of instigated fear s, as relations between the two organizations began to slowly develop, diagnostic discursive repertoi res highlighted the state/official ideology as the source of not only human rights violations, but of the an tagonistic relations between the left and right in Turkey which had often led to violent clashes between the two. The human rights problem in Turkey was linked to not only th e state or pro-establishment elites but also to an official ideology that produced a political culture that pitted gr oups against each other. Indeed, interviewees talked about the l ack of empathy and the problem that each group is deaf to the problems of the other. Both or ganizations literature stressed that official ideology caused different sectors of society to fear one another ra ther than embrace a spirit of tolerance. Articles in both organizations bulletins claimed the educati on system and media in Turkey were used as 223

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a tool to ind octrinate citizen s with a militaristic and fascist mindset that set one group against the other. The groups presented themselves as operating outside this destructive mindset, and their solidarity became, in effect, a part of prognostic discursive repe rtoiresit became part of the broader solution. Indeed, this unity as human rights defenders in the context of an inconducive environment is heralded in the collective narrative as an achievement in itself. The next section expounds upon the factors that contributed to movement identity and interorganizational ties. Factors Contributing to Movement Identity-formation and Interorganizational ties Human Rights Discourse as a Unifying Force Three social groups had historica lly been targeted as the main threats to the Turkish state: Kurdish nationalists and Islamists22 in addition to socialists/c ommunists on the far left who suffered the brunt of state repr ession during the 1970s and 80s. Fa r left movements, which were very vocal but marginal, were summarily quas hed after the coup. However, Kurdish nationalism and Islamism grew and intensifie d. These groups historical exclus ion from the political process led to the politics of r ecognition, in which Islamists and Kurd s sought inclusion as Islamists and Kurds. Yet, human rights language was at th e center of identity politics since Kurdish nationalists and Islamist activis ts utilized human rights law and philosophy to varying degrees with the aim of legitimating their demands for inclusion. Paradoxically, the politics of exclusivity was legitimated through the politic s of human rights and multiculturalism. The human rights movement was the site in wh ich these identity-based political movements converged. In this sense Turkeys human rights movement resembles the anti-global 22 By Kurdish nationalists I mean Kurds who seek ethn ic recognition and rights, and by Islamists I mean members of political Islamist movements. 224

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transna tional social movement in that it is a movement of movements or a network of networks (della Porta et al. 2006). In previous chapters we saw how leftist prisone rs subjected to torture, Islamist victims of the headscarf, and Kurdish victims of forced assimilation policies all utilized human rights discursive repertoires. The use of human ri ghts language facilitated a re-examination by HRA activists regarding what they were seeking to accomplish and whom they were defending. For example, as mentioned in chapter four, there was an intense debate in 1990 concerning the decision to expand activity from prisoner solidari ty to include the pursuit of cultural rights for the Kurds, which led some Turkish nationalists to abandon the organization. Chapter four also mentions discussions in 1992 regarding whether the HRA should follow Amnesty Internationals Yokohama Declaration and demand the Geneva Convention be followed by both parties of armed conflict. In chapter thre e we saw that the 1993 massacre in Sivas of Alevis by radical Islamists prompted a debate regarding what it meant to be a human rights organization. Activists grappled with questions, such as whose rights are we defe nding? Should we defend everyones right to life or only those who belong to our group? The decision to oppose the death penalty for the Islamist perpetrators of the Sivas Massacre in 1993 was, like the decision to pursue Kurdish rights, unpopular with a few of the more radical members. What is notable is that the debates and decisions made during these formative years were shaped, as one activist put it, by an increasing ad herence to liberal rather than socialist guiding principles, which distingu ished HRA from other left-wing solidarity organizations such as TAYAD. HRA leaders I interviewed had a co mmon narrative history in which they talked about these changes during those early years a nd how they learned by doing and also from their growing links to INGOs. The decision to mobilize international human rights law and 225

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transnation al advocacy networks did not only shape discourse but also gave rise to deep selfreflection as new questions emerged. The answers to these questions, rooted in liberal notions of rights, led to the gradual disappearance of exclusivist thinking and advocacy work. In the case of Mazlum Der, it relied upon an interpretation of Islamic justice that was ostensibly committed to non-sectarian activism a nd the struggle on behalf all oppressed groups, irrespective of their ethnicity, cr eed or political loya lties. Moreover, it em phasized an ethos of solidarity following the Prophet Muha mmads alliance of the virtuous ( H lf l Fudul), in which the Prophet adhered to a contra ct created by non-Muslims in Medina and commanded the faithful to always stand by the oppressed. However, there was great apprehension among Islamists regarding the use of a human rights-centered di scourse, which was percei ved to be the language of communists, their archenemy in Turkey. Inst ead, they stressed that human rights were Godgiven and the Quran was the ultimate source of authority on matters of justice. In addition, because Islamists defined themselv es in opposition to the West, there was also the thorny issue of whether they should rely upon Western human rights documents and thereby legitimate them. Indeed, early documents display a clear avoida nce of human rights rhetoric with a much greater degree of moralistic discou rse rooted in Islam. Moderate leaders, while holding steadfast to the belief that the ultimate source of authority on rights and justice is Islam, nevertheless supported the international human right s legal texts. Similar to the case of the Human Rights Association, some of the more radical members abandoned the organization, criticizing them for transfor ming the organization into jus t a human rights organization.23 Moderate leaders pulled the organi zation further away fr om political Islamism and closer to a 23 Mazum Der-Headquarters former president, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, February 7, 2007. Mazlum DerHeadquarters president, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, February 1, 2007. Mazlum Der-Istanbul president, interview by author, Istanbul, Ankara, August 3, 2005. It should be mentioned that the use of human rights discursive repertoires was not done in the attempt to s ecure financial resources from international sources since Mazlum Der has been opposed to taking Western funds, and only used EU funds to finance two projects. 226

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liberal-Islamic understanding of human rights, even calling for the abolishm ent of the Directorate of Religious Affairs because it infringes upon freedom of religion, a stance shared by the HRA. These organizational histories suggest the human rights discursive field did indeed initiate a dialogue among diverse groups in Turkey, as no ted by Cali (2007). Hence, human rights norms facilitated network bridging. I argue this di alogue played a determinative role in the transcendence of previous us-them boundaries and was pivotal in the construction of a movement identity. For example, Human Rights Joint Platform chairperson noted that human rights are the common principles th at bind the foursome together.24 Another activist said of allies, we speak the same language. 25 However, it must be noted that there were so me negative consequences associated with the use of human rights discourse. Despite the unif ying effect of human rights norms, they also served as an impediment to mobilization for two reasons. First, the use of increasingly legalistic language may have alienated rights organizations from ordinary citizens to a certain degree, although neither Mazlum Der not HRA completely elim inated Islamic or leftist idioms from their respective discourses, which avoi ded a more pronounced isolation. Secondly, because the appropriation of mobilizing structures is a key contributing factor of successful mobilization (Tarrow 1994; McAdam 1982; Tilly 1978; McCarthy and Zald 1977), it is imperative that an organizati ons discursive repertoires resona te with its base constituency. Left and right wing groups in Turkey have been quite successful in using the divisive language of identity politics to shore up support from th eir respective groups. The avoidance of this 24 Human Rights Joint Platform chairperson, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, February 22, 2007. 25 Helsinki Citizens Assembly executive member, inte rview by author, Istanbul, Turkey, July 24, 2007. 227

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divisive language and the inclusion of percei ved political opponents into the fold by hum an rights organizations such as Mazlum Der and the HRA did not necessarily resonate widely among their respective iden tity groups in the beginning. In a political context in which identity politics sells, the decision to eschew that type of political talk may thwart mobilization. For example, the departure of ideological people was like a loss of blood for the HRA according to one long-time HRA member. The departure ha d positive effects because in a way we are stronger but in a way we are st ill not as strong in terms of the [number of] people who are dedicating their lives for human rights. Sometimes ideological thinking does not wholly refuse [human rights] but sees itself as superior to the human rights m ovement. They believe first in their ideology and that human rights could be one part of that. 26 That belief is unacceptable. Mazlum Der leaders spoke of a similar occurre nce in their organization. However, despite the loss of some of the more radical members of both of these organizations the initial problems the use of human rights rhetoric posed to mobilization efforts le ssened as human rights discourse became more widely by diverse groups in Turkey, even among Islamists after the February 28th Process.27 The statement above is important because it highlights an important feature of human rights identity that is subsequent ly addressed, specifically the distinction between ideological people and authentic human rights defenders, and the dissimilarity of the human rights movement from ideological or identity-based movements. 26 Human Rights Joint Platform chairperson, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, February 22, 2007. 27 Vast changes occurred among Islamists following the 1997 February 28th process. For example, Integration into the West and maintaining Islamic identity are no longer seen as mutually exclusive; one can remain attached to an Islamic identity yet advocate integration with the West as in the case of Turkeys EU membership bid (Dagi 2006, 92). 228

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Mutual Victimiz ation as a Unifying Force The social groups affiliated with Mazlum Der, the HRA and other newly created rightsbased organizations dealing with Kurdish and Isla mist issues were embedded in structures of inequality courtesy of the Kemalis t social engineering project. Their marginalization as political outsiders and mutual victimization at the hands of pro-establishment elites in the state and media provided a foundation for the construction of similar ity in addition to the universalism inherent in human rights principles. Mutual victimiza tion was also highlighted in discussions of empathya term that features prominently in di scussions of tolerance. Indeed, this movement began and still is largely a victims movement; it is comprised of victims and seeks redress for victims. For example, the head of the Am nesty International-Turkey working group in Diyarbakir stated the following. The remarkable thing about Turkeys human rights movement is the presence of opposition. For example, IHD started as leftists then after the 90s it was focusing on the Kurdish issue, and so on. But when you look at other Amnesty groups in Europe most of them are not against their state. I mean, Amnesty voluntee rs in Europe are mainly retired people but in Turkey the human rights movement is an opposition movement of victims against the state. So, in Turkey its an oppositi on force and its considered to be just for victims, not for everyone.28 Indeed, for many participants, it was their experience as victims that formed the catalyst to become human rights advocates, rather than some abstract commitment to human rights. The common experience of victims functi oned to cement a collective iden tity in a way that abstract human rights norms alone may not have. Mutual victimization also aided in the affective component to identitythe we feelingthat engenders empathy and transforms collective interest into collective identity (Polletta and Jasper 2001). The continuous repression of Kurd and 28 Amnesty International working group leader, interview by author, Diyarbakir, Turkey, Feb 2, 2006. 229

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Islam ists by the state facilitated closer ties between the HRA and Mazlum Der to ensure organizational survival and effectiveness. Although mutual victimization and a sense of opposition facilitated movement identityformation and had an integrative effect on movement structure, th e appearance of the movement as an opposition force posed some difficulties in mobilizing support due to the political attitude towards opposition movements in Turkey. Promin ent Turkish sociologist Serif Mardin has argued Turkish political culture has an intr insic, fierce enmity towards the concept of opposition, which results from a psychological pos ition, that can be described as divisiveness anxiety (Mardin 1991, 180). He further states th at accusing challengers of betrayal and/or separatism has been the most common tactic in the history of repression of political opposition since the early years of the Turkish Republic, and it continues to hinde r the development of Turkish civil society, and hence, democratic consolidation. Because many human rights activists were Kurds and Islamists, and they defended the rights of those facing the brunt of human rights violations, namely Kurds and Islamists, and be cause broader Kurdish nationalist and Islamist political opposition movements were largely seen as illegitimate, it was exceedingly difficult for them to build credibility and mobilize people ou tside Kurdish and Islamist networks. In sum, their position as poli tical outsiders, and their anti-sta tist posture may have hampered mobilization of more mainstream individuals while at the same time providing a sense of commonality among them. Civil Society Discourse as a Unifying Force In addition to human rights discourse, discus sions concerning civil society began to take center stage in the 1990s. The civi l society concept entered disc ussions in Turkey during the 1970s among far left groups; however, it was no well-known and remained so until the 1980s, when it was rediscovered by Turkeys intelligents ia (Toprak 1995). During the 1980s when Latin 230

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Am erican countries were returning to democracy and communism was dec lining Eastern Europe, civil society was increasingly touted in global discourses as the catalys t for a transition to democracy. As the concept gained popularity am ong intellectuals in Tu rkey in the 1990s it became inextricably tied to democratization and was hailed the central component of democratic life and a prerequisite for a modern a nd democratic society (Keyman 2005). By 1994, there were annual c onferences held to discuss Sivil Toplum Kuruluslar or civil society organizations. There are two different te rms for civil society organization in Turkish, sivil toplum orgut and sivil toplum kurulus the difference being the word used for organization. The word orgut has more a partisan or ideologi cal connotation whereas the term kurulus is more politically neutral and technical Hence, by using the term sivil toplum kuurluslar as the conference title, there was an implicit pr eference for the more politically neutral term. Indeed, this term has come to be the pref erred translation thr oughout Turkey (Baykal 2007, 115).29 The terminology and the conceptualization of civ il society were addressed at an event that contributed to discussions of ci vil society and democracy in Turk ey, and more specifically in the human rights movement. The event was the 1996 United Nations Interna tional Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) held in Istanbul, which provided a springboard to discuss the 29 There are ongoing debates surrounding the use of STK and the self-labeling by some organizations as STK. Some argue STK is a misnomer because in Turkey all types of organizations now call themselves an STK, but many of these civil society organizations do not meet the criteria of a civil society organization. For example, Icduygu and Keyman (2003) criticize the use and abuse of civil society, as the wide use and broadening of the concept has caused it to lose its utility. Ugur (1998) argues the STK labe l should be reserved for only those organizations that respect the others opinion and free-th inking. Gormus (2005) claims, alt hough CSOs must work in a way to account for different opinions, consider or even embrace them, they [Turkish CS Os] are mostly seen as sticking to their own opinions in a rather rigid manner or remaining in the confines of representing their own opinion only. This situation ends up excluding other views as well as lim iting the common sharing. Similarly, Icduygu and Keyman (2003) criticize self-avowed civil society organizations in Turkey that promote essentialist or anti-democratic political projects. Furthermore, some CSOs in Turkey define their mission as upholding official ideology of the state (Yerasimos 2000). Turkeys EU-funded Civil Society Development Center ha s been working assiduously since its creation to teach organizations about th ese criteria and offer assistance in lo gistical and organizational matters. 231

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role of civ il society in demo cratization and also an unprecedented opportunity for local Turkish organizations of all types to network with each other, and in turn with representatives from INGOs, foreign governments, think tanks and inter-governmental organizations. Holding a meeting on adequate shelter and sustainable human settlements in a country fighting an intense war that led to the forced evacuation of some 3,000 villages and culminated in a serious IDP30 problem sparked some controversy in Turkey. The HRA called for a boycott of the forum at the Habitat International Co mmittees meeting; however, most Turkish NGOs rejected the idea given the unpr ecedented opportunity to network. Undeterred, the HRA prepared parallel meetings, called the Alternative Habitat II Forum, in which some thirty organizations including Mazlum Der participat ed. The alternative forum, a lthough banned by police after its second day, gave NGOs the opportunity to address human rights issues that were not included in the Habitat II agenda.31 There were discussions at the main forum and alternative forum regarding the role of civil society in democratization and achieving social ju stice, and it was emphasized that civil society organizations have natural ethical values, such as trust, responsibility and solidarity. Indeed, these were forums to celebrate civil society, a nd activists came away with renewed vigor. There was an increased emphasis in prognostic framing on the role of civil society in ameliorating Turkeys human rights problems and paving the wa y to democratic consolidation. More of an emphasis was also placed on multiculturalism and pluralism. Rights organizations mobilization repertoires also saw a rise in meso-mobilizati on efforts to attract support from civil society organizations. Civil society, like human rights, ha s a homogenizing effect in which diversity is 30 Internally Displaced Persons 31 The Alternative Habitat Forums activities included forums on minorities, the environment, war and forced migration, health and education, settlement, culture and va lues, child and labor issues. See Alternative Habitat: The Other Side of the Coin by Erdinc Ergenc, in Turkish Daily News May 31, 1996. 232

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overshadow ed as all actors are depicted as bei ng on the same team, so to speak. The alternative forum provided an opportunity to reinforce the blossoming ties among Turkish organizations and also between Turkish and international organizations. In fact, the solidarity at this forum prompted HRA and HRFT leader s to organize annual Human Rights Movement conferences beginning in 1998. The European Union process in Turkey has ke pt discussions about civil society at the forefront of the political agenda. As part of the process, the Civil Societ y Development Initiative brought together academics and pract itioners to seek ways to fortif y civil society in Turkey. The initiative was institutionalized as the Ankara-bas ed Center for the Develo pment of Civil Society, and is funded by the EU. The center acts as a vehi cle for the diffusion of democratic norms of civil society and it seek s to contribute to the development of a strong and democratic civil society by providing training semina rs to strengthen the organizat ional capacity of grass-roots organizations, and make their voice louder in the political process.32 Bridge Workers and the Construction of Similarity Snow and Benford (1999) argue similarity is socially constructed. Similarly, Bill and Delany (2001, 9) contend the negotiation of di fference within social movements is often facilitated by bridge workers, persons who serve as ambassadors of goodwill between diverse or seemingly opposed groups. Indeed, I found that leaders from each organization under study drove the process of integr ation by deliberately bringing their respective organizations together in common cause in order to combat th e mistrust which frequently characterizes leftrights relations in Turkey and al so counter the negative stereotype of human rights organizations as biased. Bridge workers based solidarity ties in the language of human rights and civil society. 32 Civil Society Development Center staff person, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, March 7, 2006. See also website at www.stgm.org.tr. 233

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The forging of infor mal alliances between the or ganizations was not some thing that came about due to intense pressure from rank and file member s within each organization, but rather was the outcome of a deliberate strategy by bridge workers to push the organizations closer together. The appropriation of human rights language by a wide range of aggrieved groups and similar structural realities as political outsiders and victims enabled the construction of similarity by bridge workers. The deliberate construction of similar ity by leaders was a key factor because similar structural conditions or experiences do not automatically generate a collective identity even as they may certainly produ ce collective interests and case by case informal alliances, joint press releases and partnershi ps on fact-finding missions. For example, because Islamic groups had not previously used this West-rooted human rights language to express their collective grie vances, Mazlum Ders claim of pursuing human rights was met with dubious reac tion. However, Mazlum Der held out the olive branch and HRA reciprocated, and bridge workers invited the others leaders to organizations meetings. Mazlum Der leaders began to accompa ny HRA delegations on fact-finding mission to the Southeast and even to Northern Iraq to observe conditions of Kurdish refugee camps. One HRA leader recalled, we legitimated them in leftist circles, whic h led to the acceptance of Mazlum Der as a legitimate ally.33 These meetings and delegations provi ded the opportunity for the leaders of Mazlum Der and the HRA to work closer together on shared goals. The mutual concern with the plight of Kurds in the Southeast provided numerous opportunities for the HRA, Mazlum Der and representatives from smaller, informal human rights groups and non-affili ated intellectuals to collaborate construction of similarity. For exam ple, according to one Mazlum Der leader, the big event in the cooperation between HRA and Mazlum Der was going to a PKK camp in the 33 HRA-Headquarters president, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, .March 7, 2006. See also Mazlum Der Bulteni August 1994, 6. 234

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m id-90s to rescue kidnapped soldiers.34 The presidents of both organizations were detained during that mission. Undeterr ed, these leaders and a diverse cadr e of journalists and intellectuals returned to the Southeast to investigate an alleged PKK bombing in the town of Guclukonak, which the delegation linked to the state.35 The mid-1990s was a period of intense bri dge work and movement activity. Rochon (1988, 92) notes that agreement on a core issue tends to mute conflict and disagreements are set aside during periods of intensive activity and m obilization efforts. Freedom of thought has particularly been used to construct simila rity and cement ties among divergent groups. For example, in 1995, after one of Turkeys most beloved writers, Yasar Kemal, was indicted by a State Security Court for denigrati ng Turkey in an interview with Der Spiegel German publication, fellow artists and intell ectuals of all stripe s started a civil dis obedience for freedom of thought wing of the movement. These activists began to publish books in which every text and speech of individuals prosecuted and found gu ilty by the courts in that year was republished by hundreds and then thousands of authors (for example, Freedom of Thought for Everyone was published with 77, 663 authors in order to flood the court system) (Yurdatapan and Dilipak 2003). Two prominent members of the civil disobedien ce sector, an Islamist founder of Mazlum Der and an atheist member of the HRA, both of whom faced numerous charges for their writings decided to write a book about their differences an d commonalities that was slated to be published in 1996. It was shelved because of the publishers anxiety that it might generate negative 34 Mazlum Der former president, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, December 13, 2006. 35 See Mazlum Der Bulteni February 1996, 2-6. 235

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reactions. O pposites: Side by Side was finally published in Turkish in 2001.36 The preface to the unpublished first edition (1995) states the authors mission, we believe the first steps toward peaceful coexistence are to learn to show each ot her tolerance and to set an example for others (Yurdatapan and Dilipak 2003, 3). They echoed Voltaires saying (I do not share any of your views. But I shall defend to the la st your freedom to express them)37 and each wrote half of the book, which expressed two things: their vastly different views regard ing various issues, especially religion, and their frie ndship and solidarity based on a commitment to human rights and their mutual struggle to achieve freedom of thought for everyone irrespective their political views. Figures associated with the HRA and Mazl um Der members were not the only bridge workers. Indeed, this was a period of movement growth. Numerous individuals affiliated with bar associations, unions and prof essional organizations who had been involved in advocacy work recruited others. In addition, individuals associated with the newly created (1996) Turkey chapter of Amnesty International-Turkey also worked to facilitate cohesion by bringing together diverse groups of activists committed to issue-oriented work, as did intellectuals associated with the Association for Liberal Thinking (ALT) es tablished in 1993 by tw o Western educated professors.38 The Human Rights Agenda Association, established in 2003, made it a point to 36 The book was originally published by Aykiri Publishers in Turkey as Kirmizi ile Yesil/Yesil ile Kirmizi (Red with Green/Green with Red) signifying the colors of socialism (red) and Islam (green). Opposites: Side by Side the English translation, was published in 2003 by George Brazi ller Publisher. The afterwor d is written by Jonathan Sugden, Human Rights Watch researcher on Turkey since 1999, and a prominent ally of Turkeys human rights organizations. For more information on the Initiative for Freedom of Expression see its website, www.antennatr.org. 37 Voltaires quote is printed on all literature and signature campaigns of the freedom of expression movement sector within the broader human rights movement in Turkey. 38 The Association for Liberal Thinking organization is an elite organization tied to a publishing house, which publishes books and articles and also coordinated conferences on various issues concerning Turkeys democratization from a politically and economically liberal pers pective. It has especially called attention to the issue of secularism and democracy. 236

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recruit individuals from the left to and right. Individuals at th ink tanks, such as the Turkish Economic and Social Studies Foundation (TESEV), also greatly contributed to the discourse on multiculturalism now espoused widely by various groups in Turkey. To summarize, I argue several factors contributed to collective identity formation and network bridging among the organizations unde r study. First, this study corroborates Calis (2007) claim that human rights discourse init iated a dialogue among diverse organizations. I further conclude that this dialogue is not new but has been ongoing for well over a decade, and it gradually led to the emergence of a movement identity among the leadership of these organizations, which now seeks to cultivate th is among the rank and file members through the Human Rights Joint Platform. The leaders comm on experiences as victims of intense repression by state elites further cemented these ties, as well as discourse on civi l society, which added another layer of discourse used to build brid ges among disparate organizations. The constructive building blocks of human rights and civil society discourses as well as common experiences as victims were used by bridge workers to em phasize commonalities, thereby drawing these organizations closer together even in the face of intense polarization during the late 1990s due to the February 28th process. Movement Identity: The Authentic Human Ri ghts Defender and the Politics of Being Apolitical Human rights discourse has been used by many gr oups in Turkey, including state officials, to advance their own strategic interests. The Turk ish state has a history of making cosmetic legal changes to placate Western allies. Moreover, victims from every point on the ideological spectrum have cloaked their rhetoric in human right s garb in their attempts to legitimate their claims. The strategic use of human rights discou rse, by the state and civil society actors, has 237

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created an environm ent in which rumors of insi ncerity abound, and the criticism most often used is that a group is merely using human rights to make political gains for its own social group. Proestablishment elites have carried out smear ca mpaigns against rights-based organizations, especially the Human Rights Asso ciation and the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, in order to discredit them; secularists have accused Isla mists of strategically utilizing human rights language to advance their agenda of an Islamic state; Islamists have accu sed left-wing advocates of using human rights to help only their le ft-wing compatriots in prison, and so on. In this environment of mistru st, an individuals personal c onvictions and commitment to universal human rights is often in question, but indicators to measure wh ether an individual or group is an authentic, so to speak, human right s defender have emerged. Today in Turkey, an individual or groups reputati on as a bona fide human right s defender rests upon words and deeds which act as indicators of their sin cerity and commitmenttheir authenticity. Two characteristics are used to mark the identity boundaries of the category human rights defender or human rights organization. That is to say, there are two ways in which an organization in particular can prove it is a bona fide human rights organization: th rough independence and impartiality. When I first began interviewing human rights activists I noticed a recurring theme which was always emphasized when I asked the intervie wees were asked to describe their respective organizations. It is also someth ing stated in their mission stat ements. Time and again, I heard, We are independent. Autonomous. We are not affiliated with any party or group. I soon realized these statements signaled somethi ng profoundly important to the activists who continuously emphasized their organizational aut onomy when prompted to tell their story. Their emphasis on autonomy indicated a break with past models of participation and activism in 238

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Turkey. Before the 1980 coup, m ost challengers pursued their interests within a corporatist structure in which they were dependent upon majo r political parties and unions linked to the state. That is to say, civil so ciety organizations were not auto nomous and were highly partisan. Movement leaders emphasis on organiza tional autonomy during interviews not only explained an important change occurring in Turk eys civil society, it also expressed a normative judgment concerning the necessity of an au tonomous and robust civil society for the actualization of democratic consolidation. Organi zational independence is a central feature of movement activists self-narra tive and includes independence from the state and foreign governments, political parties, the West, and id eology. Each of these is stressed to varying degrees by different organizations, although all of them are included in these organizations understanding of independence. Independence has become perhaps the chief litmus test for authenticity. However, organizational independence does not imply links to othe r organizations are necessarily problematic. In fact, linkages may be a source of legitimacy. Transnational allies, for example, function as a source of legitimacy. Main stream rights-based or ganizations continually displayed their authenticity by mentioning in ternational NGO partners, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch which are highly respected and noted for their impartiality. They view these partnerships as corroborations of their objectivity and lack of prejudice. Financial ties however, especially link s with any organization directly connected to foreign governments, are highly controversial. The controversy is in part rooted in the Sevres Syndrome. Pro-establishment elites have l ong used the tactic of accusing human rights organizations of being puppets of the West. For example, a bogus story printed in Hurriyet claimed the HRA received money from Greece. The story raised eyebrows and was particularly 239

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unnerving b ecause the money purportedly came fr om Greece, Turkeys longtime rival and the country which in 1999 harbored PKK leader, Ocalan. The HRA quickly released a press statement revoking the lie and unequivocally claiming, The HRA is an independent human rights organization! and especially when it come s to financial matters, we have fastidiously maintained our policy to refuse government funds.39 Like secular organizations, Mazlum Der also publicizes with pride its transnational relations. However, ties to the West, although le ss problematic among conservative groups than in the past, remain a touchy subject. Some members are leery of acceptin g funds from even the European Union. According to one Mazlum Der member, accepting money politicizes activism, which is why Mazlum Der does not ac cept funding from intern ational or domestic organizations. Regarding INGOs in particular, e ven if INGOs arent t echnically state organs, theyre still connected to their countries.40 A second way to display authenticity is to ex hibit impartiality by tending to a broad range of human rights violations, especi ally those that affect the oth er. There is a wide perception that rights-based organi zations are largely polit ical movements in disguisea residue of the 1970s. They have been continually accused by pro-establishment elites of only making demands for their social milieu in order to advance thei r groups political goals while ignoring the plight 39 HRA Bulteni April/May 2001, 29-30. 40 Mazlum Der-Istanbul Secretary Genera l, interview by author, Istanbul, Turkey, August 9, 2005. Mazlum Der relies upon membership dues and private donations. Member s differ regarding their comfort level with external, especially Western, funds. Some people I spoke with thought it is only acc eptable to accept funds for things such as sending an organization representative to an internationa l conference or training program whereas others believed Mazlum Der should seek more resources from the EU. Mazlum Der has had only two projects funded by the European Union. The Education of Clergymen in the Field of Human Rights Law project was implemented by the Izmir branch from May 21, 2004 to March 2005. Training seminars on human rights law were carried out in twelve towns with participation of 455 clerics. See Current News: A periodical of the Delegation of the European Commission to Turkey No. 6 May 2005, page 14. A second project on refugees in Turkey was carried out in 2005. 240

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of others. In this environm ent, advocating on beha lf of the other is met with surprise. One disenchanted activist quipped, Im a lawyer. I represent Christians. Everyone th inks that I am a Christian. I write articles addressing gay rights, people think I am a gay. Im not. I defend the Kurds, they think Im a Kurd. But Im not, Im Turkish. I advocate fo r Muslims because I th ink they are really victims of laicism, and peopl e think, ah, are you a Muslim? But then they see me drink alcohol and (laughs). So, it s weird that at every single moment you have to explain yourself. I am fed up with this!41 Indeed, in this type of environment, tending to the others needs is now interpreted to mean authenticity. A human rights defender, not onl y talks the talk but walks the walk, as one activist put it. In addition, cross-factional coop eration signifies a strong commitment to issueoriented work rather than ideology-oriented or partisan efforts. Authen ticity is based upon its independence from political forces because human rights organizations are supposed to be above politics, which aids in their impartiality. Of course, it is impossible for a human rights organization to completely avoid politics, si nce its raison dtre is to address problems encapsulated within the sphere of politicsa point the HRA and other organizations have repeatedly stated. However, in light of the inherently political nature of human rights advocacy, it is viewed as imperative that an organization avoi d being seen as the tool of any political force, including ideological movements. The authenticity of many pro-Islamic rights-ba sed organizations is especially questioned today. Mazlum Der acquired legitimacy in left-wing circles and in society at large in part due its connection with the HRA, but also because leader s of its headquarters and larger branches have shown a willingness to not only tackle non-Muslim issues but also to pub licly criticize Islamist parties and overly conservative people. As Ekre m Dumanli, editor-in-chief of the Gulenist Todays Zaman newspaper wrote, if you denoun ce or condemn your own you are deemed 41 Human Rights Agenda Association chairperson, interview by author, Ankara, Turkey, July 31, 2007. 241

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worthy of being taken seriously, you becom e leg itimate in the eyes of passive observers and interested parties through the act of remaining independent of your kind. Indeed, one of the well-respected leaders of Mazlum Der is an intellectual who writes a column in a leftist newspaper. As one non-Islamist activist claimed, Hes the real deal. He even writes a column in a leftist newspaper! During my interview with this Mazlum Der leader he openly criticized the more conservative voices in Mazlum Der and in Islamist circles more generally, going so far as to ca ll their views fascist. He had aired his views in an interview with the left-leaning Radikal newspaper, which created a fren zy of rebuttals from angered Islamists. 42 It remains to be seen whether such cri ticisms will work to alienate Mazlum Der from Islamists or even reformed Islamists, pa rticularly since there are increasing numbers of claims-making Islamic organizations that Mazlum Der must be compete with. The vast chan in Islamist thinking that have taken place since the February 28th process suggest many Muslim are more inclined to engage in self-reflecti on and may even agree with Bilgens assertions. Nevertheless, some Islamist right s-based organizations, such as Ozgur Der, continue to pursue a narrow rights agenda that centers on their identity group s concerns and that regards as legitimate only the international human rights standards that suit their particularistic agendas. ges s Opponents of the headscarf ban have been es pecially accused of being disingenuous in their purported comm itment to human rights. The accusations of insincerit y were so troublesome that a group of headscarved women, on the eve of the passing of a parliamentary bill that would abolish the headscarf ban submitted a declaration that they would not take advantage of their 42 For similar remarks see also, Mazlum Der Criticizes Breach of Rights in Turkish Daily News, January 14, 2005, online edition. For Eyten Machupyens (editor of Armenian Agos newspaper and prominent intellectual) take on the matters, see his op-ed, Islamic Identitys Role in Todays Zaman August 7, 2006, online edition. 242

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headscarf freedom until other oppressed groups, such as the Kurds, were granted equal rights.43 Hence, in order to prove their genuine conc ern with human rights a nd legitimate their rights talk, they had to publicly extend that rights talk to the other. This was done in response to accusations of parochialism. To summarize, in Turkey, a groups human rights activism is perceived as a genuine commitment to human rights more generally only when that organi zation or group invoking rights language publicly goes be yond its identity group and de mands rights for all. This phenomenon is a product of past suspicions towa rd activists, some who we re not interested in liberalization per se, but only more rights for their in-group. The use of expansion to other groups as a criterion for authenticity has two consequencesone positiv e the other negative. On the one hand, it encourages and in fact impels organizations to maintain an inclusionary posture or to avoid altogether the appropriation of human rights disc ursive repertoires. This is a positive consequence in the sense that it suggests there is a general understanding that human rights extend to everyone and that exclusionary practices are unacceptable, especially by claimsmaking groups articulating their grievances in terms of universal human rights. It also encourages groups to seek cros s-factional allies and extend at tention to other groups, which works to maintain the practice of issue-orient ed rather than ideology-oriented human rights activism. One of the founders of the Human Rights Agenda Asso ciation, created in 2003 in Izmir, stated he deliberately invited people from c ompletely different social circles in order to breakdown the stereotype that the human right s movement was reactionary, and the main 43 The AKP government successfu lly passed the bill wit the aid of MHP pa rliamentarians but it was sent by the opposition CHP to the Constitutional Court. Hence, the ban still stands. 243

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criteria to be a m ember is that one must be ve ry sensitive to human righ ts issues and put human rights over and above everything else. 44 On the other hand, the need to prove one s authenticity by denouncing your kind is divisive and may alienate organizations from th eir base. Moreover, the ne ed to address a wide range of violations works to discredit the work of single-issue organizatio ns, as it automatically renders them insincere by reason of their narr ow agenda. A narrowly focused agenda, however, helps local groups without access to resources stick to small achievable goals, and is therefore a good strategy to avoid the dilemmas faced by mu lti-issue organizations that tend to overextend themselves. Kurds and conservatives in particul ar must go to great le ngths to prove their commitment to human rights and democracy for all. Conclusion This dissertation explored the evolution of Turkeys human rights movement over the past three decades. It is exceedingly difficult to accura tely gauge the degree of influence domestic organizations had on Turkeys reforms due to the significant role of the European Union. However, the case of the Turkish human rights m ovement illustrates how local actors linked to international organizations pool their ideational and material res ources in the pursuit of legal change, applying pressure from above and below. The main goals of this study were to examine the ways in which the Islam-secular divide was manifested in the movement and to analyze the ways different organizations bridged this divide, particularly the two or ganizations at the center of the movement, the Human Rights Association and Mazlum Der. The preceding chapte rs examined the discursive repertoires used by distinct organizations regard ing torture and the right to li fe, the Kurdish issue, and the 44 Human Rights Agenda Association president, Ankara, Turkey, July 31, 2007. 244

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headscarf ban. I also an alyzed the ways the broader political environment and mobilization imperatives shaped the construc tion of discursive repertoire s and movement dynamics more generally. I argue that ideas concerning uni versal human rightsideas ro oted in international human rights norms and Islamic norms of justiceprov ided the language for local groups to articulate their grievances and the tools to devise solu tions for Turkeys human rights problem. More importantly, these ideas about universal human ri ghts formed the ideational building blocks used to transcend past models of activism in Turk ey that were based on ideological solidarity. Additionally, discourses on civil soci ety and democratization, as well as the mutual victimization of Islamists and leftists were used by bridge wo rkers to facilitate movement integration. That it to say, the symbolic construction of discursive repertoires facili tated brokerage, which in turn reinforced a bourgeoning movement identity ev en in the face of con tinued polarization in Turkish society. The Human Rights Joint Platform is the culmin ation of years of informal collaboration which was finally institutionalized in 2005. The Human Rights Joint Platform recently launched a bi-monthly magazine called, Dialog (Dialogue), which aims to strengthen dialogue among activists and between activists and the state. This name is a mandate and signals the high level of importance accorded to dialogue in this critical period of Turkish democratization. The rights organizations under the Human Rights Joint Plat form are auspiciously positioned to play a leading role in the actualization of a culture of human rights, multiculturalism and tolerance. That is why their continued coope ration is so critical for Turkey s civil society and democratic consolidation. 245

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257 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Melinda Negrn-Gonzales was born in Queens, New York but was raised mainly in Cape Coral, Florida. She is currently a Lecturer in the Politics and Society Department at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester. Melinda received her Ph.D. in political science (2009), M.A. in international relations (2004), an d her B.A. in anthropology with a minor in religious studies (1997) from the University of Florida. She currently resides in Brookline, Massachusetts with her hu sband Nikolas Gonzales.