Share this story
Close X
Switch to Desktop Site

Turkey wants its exiles back but they won't go

Two prominent Turks who fled to Europe after last September's military takeover in Turkey have been stripped of their citizenship because they failed to return home and surrender to the authorities.

The deadline for the return and surrender of Behice Boran, chairman of the Turkish Labor Party, and Gultekin Gazioglu, chairman of the Leftist Turkish Teachers Union, expired at midnight Feb. 25. Both known as Marxists, they are part of a long "wanted" list of Turks who fled to Europe after the military coup.

About these ads

So far, the Turkish military authorities have asked a total of 146 Turks to return home -- or lose their citizenship. Mrs. Boran and Mr. Gazioglu are the first to decline.

Most of the wanted Turks in exile are in West Germany, where 1.7 million Turks -- mostly workers -- reside. The lists bear the names of suspected terrorists as well as several leftist intellectuals, artists, and musicians. Some are accused of being involved in "antistate" activities in West Germany and other parts of Europe.

The military rulers are concerned with these activities, which include hunger strikes and mass meetings protesting human rights violations under the military regime in Turkey.

Gen. Kenan Evren, leader of the ruling National Security Council, assured some West European parliamentarians visiting Ankara Feb. 24 that the administration stands firmly against torture and that all allegations of mistreatment of detainees are checked. "Unfortunately we found out that a few of these allegations were true and have immediately taken legal action against those responsible," he said.

But the illegal Turkish Communist Party -- which has its center in East Germany -- is reportedly quite active in conducting a systematic campaign against the present regime in Turkey. Some of the Turkish exiles are known to be engaged in the same campaign. Representatives of the campaign recently traveled to Strasbourg and tried to lobby at the Council of Europe to have Turkey expelled from that organization.

The West German authorities are also quite concerned with these activities, which are frequently reflected in the press. More importantly, the Turkish leftist groups in West Germany keep in close touch with the new leftist faction of the ruling Social Democratic Party.

A senior SPD official told this correspondent in Bonn, "This is becoming an embarrassing problem not only for our party, but also for the whole country and for our government's friendly policy towards Turkey. Turkey seems to have taken such movements under control in its own soil, but now we are facing a problem in our land that is completely strange to us."

About these ads

The military rules admit that preventing this campaign and its effects on Western opinion is difficult. The only thing we can do is to produce the facts. . .," said an official.

Follow Stories Like This
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.