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Op-Ed: What About Turkey’s War Criminals?
August 18, 2008—No. 55 AMENDED (202) 785-8430

Op-Ed: What About Turkey’s War Criminals?

Washington, DC—The following Op-Ed appeared in the National Herald of 8-9-08 (p. 7) and Hellenic Voice of 8-13-08 (p. 5).

What About Turkey’s War Criminals?

By Gene Rossides

August 5, 2008

The recent arrest of former Bosnian Serbian leader Radovan Karadzic by the Serbian government in Belgrade in late July and his extradition on Wednesday, July 30, 2008 to The Hague to face a U.N. war crimes tribunal raises questions about Turkey’s war criminals and why no action has been taken against them.

Karadzic, the former president of the Bosnian Serb republic was arrested in late July after 11 years on the run. He was commander of the Bosnian Serb forces and faces two charges of genocide arising from the 43 month siege of Sarajevo and the massacre in 1995 of 8,000 Muslims at Srebrenica.

A war crimes court in Bosnia recently convicted seven Bosnian Serbs of genocide for their roles in mass killings in the city of Srebrenica in 1995. They were former policemen at a time when Karadzic was their political leader.

War crimes by Turkey’s political and military leaders involve two matters: 1) Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and its continuing occupation since 1974 of 37% of Cyprus, and 2) Turkey’s actions since 1984 against its 20% Kurdish minority.

Turkey’s War Crimes in Cyprus

Turkey’s war crimes and crimes against humanity stem from its invasion of Cyprus on July 20, 1974 and its massive second wave of aggression from August 14 to 16, 1974, three weeks after the legitimate government of Cyprus had been restored, in which Turkey was found guilty by the European Commission on Human Rights in its report of July 10, 1976, (1) of 10 killing innocent civilians on a substantial scale; (2) of the rape of women of all ages from 12 to 71; (3) of inhuman treatment of prisoners and persons detained; (4) of the deprivation of liberty regarding detainees and missing persons; (5) of the displacement (the forcing from their homes and properties) of persons creating more than 170,000 Greek Cypriot refugees in their own country and refusing to allow these refugees to return to their homes and properties; and (6) of looting and robbery on an extensive scale.

The London Sunday Times, on January 23, 1977, published excerpts of the report and stated: “It amounts to a massive indictment of the Ankara government for the murder, rape and looting by its army in Cyprus during and after the Turkish invasion of summer 1974.”

Turkish Premier Bulent Ecevit and General Kenan, Evren War Criminals

Turkey’s premier in 1974 was Bulent Ecevit, since deceased. Ecevit ordered the invasion on the recommendation of the Turkish military. At that time the head of the Turkish military was General Kenan Evren.

Under the Turkish constitution in 1974, Turkey’s National Security Council made the decisions on national security, defense and foreign affairs matters. It was chaired by the military chief of staff, General Kenan Evren, and a majority of its members were military officers. Premier Ecevit was a member of Turkey’s NSC.

Both Premier Ecevit and General Kenan Evren were both war criminals for their actions in ordering the invasion of Cyprus. And the entire Turkish National Security Council in 1974 of eleven members were all war criminals. Keep in mind that in the massive second wave of the invasion on August 14-16, 1974 Turkey committed war crimes, ethnic cleansing and applied a policy of apartheid to Cyprus; that it was three weeks after the legitimate government of Cyprus had been restored on July 23, 1974 and Turkey’s actions had no justification and no alleged pretext. It was pure aggression and those responsible were and are war criminals.

The evidence has been clear for some times that the Turkish invasion and land grab of over one-third of Cyprus was long planned. It turns out that in the second wave of aggression from August 14 to 16, 1974 the Turkish troops seized more territory, including Varosha (Famagusta), than they had orders to take. In his memoirs., which the Turkish daily newspaper, Milliyet, published in October 1990, General Evren stated:

“The truth is that the Turkish troops occupied more land than they planned to occupy.”

The then-Turkish Premier Ecevit said: “Let it be in our hands, we will give it back in the talks as a concession.”

Turkish army commanders in Cyprus

The Turkish army commanders in Cyprus also qualify as war criminals for the killing of innocent civilians on a substantial scale and the rapes and inhuman treatment of prisoners. Further they should have been charged as war criminals for the murder of 5 American citizens who were kidnapped and killed by Turkish forces and Turkish Cypriot militia.

Turkey’s War Crimes Against Its 20% Kurdish Minority

Since 1984, the Turkish military has killed over 30, 000 innocent Kurdish civilians and an estimated 5000 Turkish rebels of the PKK Kurdish rebel organization.

The Turkish military, during this period has also destroyed 3000 Kurdish villages and created three million Kurdish refugees. The Turkish military and political leadership responsible for these atrocities are war criminals. (See Eric Rouleau, “Turkey’s Dream of Democracy” Foreign Affairs Nov/Dec 2000, pp100-114)

The U.N and Turkey’s War Criminals

When is the U.N. going to establish a U.N. war crimes tribunal for Turkey’s war crimes in Cyprus against the Greek Cypriots and in Turkey against the Kurdish minority?

Many will say it will not happen and not to bother about it. I disagree. The fact that it is very difficult to achieve does not mean we should not try. It is most important to try and by trying we focus public opinion on the issue of Turkey’s war criminals.



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