Turkey: keeping it unofficial

Organisations with anti-militarist aims cannot be set up in Turkey-it's official. Last year the Turkish Ministry of the Interior refused the registration of the Izmir group of Savas Karsitlari Dernegi (SKD-the War Resisters Association), and now it has refused registration to Istanbul SKD.

Istanbul, Izmir and Ankara groups of SKD continue to operate unofficially working to open a path between "forced fighting and silence" after 14 years of apathy in Turkey towards the war in "South-East"-the area it is forbidden to call "Kurdistan".

Although-partly thanks to international support for SKD-no anti-militarist activists are in prison at the Turkey at the moment, further trials are expected. As well as the activists who have publicly declared their objection, there are many others thinking about hiding in order to avoid prosecution or the call-up to an army committing atrocities and destroying villages in Turkish Kurdistan.

Attacks primarily against Kurds but also against others who oppose government policy towards Kurdistan have been increasing. In a pattern well-known in repressive countries, these tend to be carried out by extreme right citizens' groups in co-operation with the Security Forces. In response to these events, a campaign has been launched along the lines of the French "ne touche pas mon pote" ("hands off my friend"). On 9 November, the anniversary of the Nazis' Kristallnacht, SKD Izmir launched its own variation of this: "Arkadasina Dokundurtma!"-"don't let your friend be touched!" SKD have produced badges, stickers, and leather pouches with whistles-the whistles are both a deterrent against a attack and a symbol. SKD Izmir has also set up a anti-fascist phone number to support people who are attacked.

The Izmir group is publishing a monthly newsletter monitoring the human rights situation: it is available in German for 25 DM from Connection e.V, Brueder-Grimm-Str 63, D-63069 Offenbach, Germany (tel/fax +49 69 845016). If you wish to get the English version, contact WRI, 5 Caledonian Rd, London N1 9DX.