By Nurcan Baysal, Dilan Bozgan and Nina Henkens
Published in SÜDOSTEUROPA Mitteilungen, 05-06 2011, 51. Jahrgang

For the last few years there has been a general feeling of losing momentum and general ignorance of the Kurdish people and their problems. There are a few different perspectives to the Kurdish question in Turkey. For some it is an underdevelopment and economic problem, for most it is an identity problem. The authors argue that there is a need to consider both of them together, not separately. They also argue that the inability to openly discuss the main causes of the problems for Kurdish people, which is the armed conflict in the southeast, is hindering development and the peace process in a very important way.  
The report will not consist of a theoretically based political analysis but will address the everyday difficulties for people living in the Kurdish regions, which the authors consider to be the biggest obstacles for a durable peaceful solution of the conflict.
Forced Migration
The massive forced migration of villagers is on of the most important results of the thirty year old conflict between the Turkish army forces and the PKK. This forced migration has intensified in the period between 1990-95 and affected 1,200,000 people according to official figures while civil society organizations suggest the figure as high as 1.5 to 3 million[1]. To give an example, the population of Diyarbakir doubled in such a short period of time as 5 years. Many of the issues that the Kurds, and especially the most vulnerable groups such as women and children, are facing today are linked to forced migration.
The Kurds who were forced to migrate because of the ongoing fights were mostly villagers. Their migration was often accompanied by the loss of family members but also their land, houses, live stock and belongings. In the cities, they were confronted with the loss of their livelihoods as their farming skills can not be used in the urban labor market, leading to very extreme urban poverty. A big portion of them is illiterate and especially women sometimes don’t speak Turkish, which makes it difficult for them to integrate in the city and make use of state services such as administration, welfare schemes, health care and education.
Following a large number of applications to the European Court of Human Rights, in March 2004, about 14 years after the displacement, a compensation law was adopted (which was called the Law no. 5233 on Compensation of Damages and Losses Arising from Terror and Fight against Terrorism). Not only were the amounts of the compensations insufficient and the time it took to finalize the procedures often very long, sometimes as long as four years, the deadline application ended in May 2008[2].
It should also be noted that, although to a lesser extent, the Turkish government is holding on to their policy of forced evictions in the Kurdish regions, notably by damn-building as part of the South east Development project. For example, the much contested plan of building the Illisu Dam in the Hasankeyf region (near Batman) is claimed to cause the flooding of 183 villages and hamlets.
Village Guards
Another very important result of the war is the village guard system.
Village guards are paramilitary groups of villagers that are armed and paid by the state with the aim of ‘defending themselves against PKK.’[3]This is the official aim laid down in the law. The village guards system lead to armament of civilians which left the public security issue in the hands of private groups and individuals thus leading to the division of the community  into two; either “ally of the state” or “enemy of the state.” Therefore, the so-called “opponents of the state”, who were mostly forced to migrate to the cities, have become subject to all kinds of human rights violations.[4] On the other hand the ones who accepted to be village guards have a privileged position.
Since 1985 the village guards system has been implemented in 35 provinces of Turkey. Depending on the Ministry of Interior statistics in 2009, 60.000 village guards and 23.000 voluntary village guards have been recruited.[5]Considering that the whole family is involved in the system and regarding the big family sizes in the Region,[6] it is possible to say that almost a million people are involved in the system of village guards.
The village guard system is not only a big security threat to the local villagers, it is also an obstacle for economic development in many ways. Firstly, a sizable portion of the villagers is no longer producing but receiving salaries as village guards. Secondly, the presence of village guards is an obstacle for the forced migrated population to return safely to their villages. A lot of the abandoned land has been seized by the village guards.
The Turkish policy on village guards is very unclear. Although the government has stated many times that they wanted to abolish the system, mainly because it is turning towards them, in 2004 orders were given to the governors of the eastern provinces to recruit more village guards[7].
Underdevelopment and Poverty
Even though there are also other reasons for the poverty of the Kurdish regions, the war certainly is a key factor in the current underdevelopment.
 Also here, the fact of not recognizing the main causes of this problem and the mutual mistrust between the appointed representatives of the central government and the locally elected municipalities is hindering development in a serious way.
The line separating eastern and western regions of Turkey is a concern for the EU, which fears the destabilizing effect and lack of cohesion caused by vast socioeconomic inequality within a member country. In short, borrowing from a World Bank (2001) report,[8]“the level of economic development declines from west to east, such that while the west broadly resembles a West European industrial economy, the east is still in many respects akin to a developing economy”. 60% of the Kurdish population is living under the poverty line.
According to a study carried out by the Union of South East Anatolian Region Municipalities[9], in spite of holding 16% of the population, the region’s local administration budget share is only 8, 5%. We can explain this by the fact that the municipalities can not raise a lot of taxes with their own poor population.  Also, the lack of infrastructure and the ongoing conflict and the mistrust between local municipalities and bureaucrats hinders effective realization of investments in the Region. Thus, we are confronted with a vicious circle of underdevelopment and underinvestment in the region.
It can not be said that the current government is not taking any initiative to fight poverty and underdevelopment. In fact, it is thanks to the AKP ministries that all Turkish villages have now water and roads[10]. Also, the Green Card, which provides free healthcare for people under a certain poverty level, increased in scope during the AKP government[11]. But a closer look at especially the social services and projects in the cities shows us that the government aid is not always neutral in the region. For example, local government bodies distribute and provide several material needs for poor families; such as coal, food, etc. When the poor families apply to the government in order to benefit such programs they can easily be rejected depending on a claim by the authorities of having a family member in a ‘terrorist’ group.

Several Initiatives but No Progress

Nationally as well as internationally, some initiatives are being taken to boost development but figures indicate that there is not being made much progress.

The most important Turkish initiative up to now for this region is ‘The Plan for Southeast Anatolia’ (GAP – project) which was launched in the 1980s. Initially, the GAP aimed to irrigate the land and to generate electricity by building 22 dams and hydraulic power stations. In time, investments in agriculture, transport, education, healthcare and social projects were also put on the agenda.

Up to now, 75 % of the investments in energy generation have been realized, while only 15 % of the planned amount of land has been irrigated.  However, the irrigation is of much more importance to the local population as agriculture is the most important economic sector and creates much more jobs than electricity production. The fact that the generation of electricity gets more priority is, according to critics, the proof that GAP was not put up in the interest of the local population but in that of the rest of the country.  After all, the consumption of electricity is much higher in the industrialized West – the consumption of electricity in the Southeast is estimated on 38% of the national average[12].

Furthermore, the GAP-plan completely passes over the historical and political context of the region – which is an eyesore for many Kurds. The word ‘Kurds’ is not even used and the consequences of the armed conflict are totally being ignored.
Lastly, GAP project had a serious negative effect on the ecological system of the region. Apart from dams, irrigation projects under GAP project caused some damages on the ecological system. But at this point, it is important to keep in mind that it is not the irrigation project itself that caused these damages, but the lack of integrated programs on how to irrigate, water-friendly systems like drip irrigation, etc.  
Local Municipalities
Another potential agent of development is the local municipalities.  Since 2000, these municipalities are in the hands of the pro – Kurdish parties. But these Kurdish municipalities have debts with the central government. The repayment of these debts is a condition for the municipalities to be awarded grants from the newly established local development agencies and sometimes from international institutions such as the EU.
Because of the centralistic government a democratic deficit can be observed in the east of Turkey. While most of the local municipalities are elected by a very high percentage of the votes, sometimes up to 70%, the legal and financial power in terms of policymaking is in the hands of the governorships, who are appointed by the central government.
Education in Mother Tongue
One of the most prioritized issues for the Kurdish people in Turkey is education in mother tongue.
The mother tongue of 14 % of the Turkish population is Kurdish according to academic statistics[13], which means around 12 million people. Within the Kurdish speaking population, 46% does not have a primary education degree, which adds up to 9% of the Turkish population as a whole. 37% of the Kurdish speaking population is illiterate[14].  For Kurdish women, the numbers are even worse. 80% of Kurdish women did not finish primary school or is illiterate. These numbers show that because of the mother tongue barrier most of the Kurdish women do not have access to education.
This situation has serious effects on the educational landscape in the Kurdish regions. When the mother tongue is different than the official learning language, the access to education and educational achievements of the students is decreasing, as can also be seen with some of the migrant communities in Europe. The number of school drop outs is very high in regions where the mother tongue is different from the learning language. Other negative consequences for Kurdish children, and there are a lot of them, are lack of communication, stigmatization and marginalization, passive attitudes and problems with self confidence, not being able to develop their own potentials.
Education in the mother tongue is a human right and most importantly, included in the International Convention on the Rights of the Child. Unfortunately, Turkey refused to ratify this article.
Secondly, the use of the mother tongue in education is a “sine qua non” for the preservation and development of the Kurdish language. On the other hand, when it is forbidden to use a language in education and in the public sphere, it remains trapped in daily life and over time it weakens and declines. The Kurdish language is currently face to face with this danger and the only way to ward off this danger is to use Kurdish in education.
Apart from all this, the use of Kurdish in education will make a very positive contribution to the solution of the Kurdish issue. In fact, the use of Kurdish in education is a point that not only all Kurdish political groups and non-governmental movements, but also everybody who believes that the Kurdish issue should be solved via democratic methods, agree on.
Even though it is not enough, there are some developments emerged during the AKP governance since 2002. First of all, in 2002 private Kurdish courses were legally permitted; in 2009 a Kurdish channel TRT-6 was launched which was followed by the opening of Kurdish language departments in some universities. Although these developments took place, there is no concrete action plan of the government that can resolve the problem of Kurdish students who face with serious language barrier at public schools.[15]
Kurdish Children
It is important to consider the situation children are growing up in today in the Kurdish regions. It can be argued that under the recent circumstances, they will not grow up to be peace supporting civilians.
According to the European Commission,[16] amongst others, following groups of children are particularly vulnerable: children belonging to ethnic or other minorities, displaced children, and children affected by armed conflicts.
Unfortunately, almost all of the Kurdish children in Turkey can be categorized in one or more of these groups. As can be seen in a lot of problematic areas, it is clear that the burdens of the past are the heaviest on children’s shoulders. In short, some of the most serious problems Kurdish children in Turkey are facing are chronic poverty, leading to child labour, educational setbacks, problems with juvenile justice and the presence of landmines in a large portion of the Kurdish regions. Underdevelopment and poverty have a very negative effect on the lives of Kurdish children. For example, the children under 5 mortality rate per 1000 live births is 49% in the East, while it is only 30% in the West of Turkey according to UNICEF. For internally displaced Kurdish children, the number goes up to 58%.[17]Sociological research shows that Internally Displaced Children are less likely to attend primary school than non-displaced Turkish children (78.6% against 88.8%). IDPs suffer from less vaccination, less nutrition, acute respiratory infection, fever, and less antenatal care compared to overall population.
In the last years, the new Anti-Terror Law[18] (footnote 8 has important content and should be put into the main text. But:  text does not fit to the caption of this chapter)severely limits the right to congregate and demonstrate. The right to demonstrate has turned into a terrorist offense because of this law. This is especially dangerous for children, who are often victims of police violence and find themselves in prisons. According to information provided by the Turkish Ministry of Justice, in 2006 and 2007, a total number of 2567 children were defendants in terror-related trials. According to UNICEF, in 2007, 45% of all minors who were put on trial did not have their trial administered by courts specifically applicable to them such as juvenile courts.[19]As to today, not one of the state security officials that abused children during arrests and detentions have been put to trial. Between 2000 and 2009, 14 children died as a result of the interventions of security forces at demonstrations and protests, all of them children living in the Southeast of Turkey.
Turkey became party to the “Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict” on 4 May 2004. Turkey submitted its initial report in December 2007 with a year delay. If there is supposed to be no armed conflict in Turkey, children should be provided with space to vent their dissent as well in accordance with articles 12, 13 and 15 of CRC. If this constitutes a crime, children should be dealt within juvenile justice system in accordance with articles 37, 39, and 40 of CRC and paragraphs 65, 66, and 67 of the Concluding Observations of CRC on Turkey. If children are treated as members of an armed group that are distinct from the armed forces of the State, they should be provided with “appropriate assistance for their physical and psychological recovery and their social reintegration” in accordance with Article 6 of OPAC.[20]
EU Accession
The way in which the EU has managed to influence the advancement of the Kurdish population has changed dramatically in the past few years. There were clear results of EU pressure in the past, like the decrease of torture practices, the end of the Emergency Rule in the Region and the Compensation Law for the forced migrated people. But in the last few years, we see that the EU, as other international entities, is more inclined to follow the Turkish state’s approach to the Kurdish issue as a problem of terrorism. The latest resolution of the European Parliament on the Turkish accession[21]proves this. Despite of this, although there has been a decrease, still a big portion of Turkish public opinion is in favor of EU accession. This means the EU still has the power to positively affect the Turkish policies on the Kurdish issue. As for the IPA funding, it is difficult to measure the effects of these investments on the development of the Kurdish regions. But it is clear that the EU and the Turkish government, who has a lot of influence on the tendering process, does not apply any form of positive discrimination towards the heavily underdeveloped and war affected Kurdish region in the awarding of the funds.
For the Kurds in Turkey, EU accession holds two big promises, one is improvement in the human rights violations and the second is the hope that the EU will support their demand for more political autonomy.
Democratic Opening
It is difficult to define what the ‘democratic opening’ actually is. In 2005, the Prime Minister Erdoğan in his speech in Diyarbakir stated that he recognizes Kurdish Issue. This was followed by “Kurdish Opening Project” in the beginning of 2009 which changed into the “Democratic Opening Project” and ultimately to the “National Unity Project”. Through these name changes, the changes in mentality can be easily traced. While the first name included “Kurdish” openly, it changed to a more nationalist discourse in the meanwhile. Today no one knows the scope of the project. For some it is a public campaign, others say that it is an actually policy plan that hasn’t been finished yet. The democratic opening and the AKP-policies are much contested and debated, but it remains a fact that following initiatives like the establishment of a Kurdish speaking television channel and some Kurdish language teaching departments (‘The living languages institutes’) in some universities, Kurdish people are now finally recognized in their existence, although not in a constitutional way unfortunately. We can say we are Kurdish and speak Kurdish at home and in the streets without having to fear for our lives. This is a very big achievement, but it is not enough.
Recognizing the existence of Kurds does not recognize their pain and suffering experienced in the last twenty years and does not bring back their loved ones, houses and lands. Recognizing their existence does not give them political, cultural and linguistic rights that they are entitled to as a minority group and as human beings. These two things have to be taken care before of we can speak of a durable solution for the Kurdish question.

General Recommendations:
          Turkey should lift and abolish all discriminatory amendments and articles from both domestic and international law, especially those on minority rights. The European Charter on Regional and Minority Languages, The European Charter on Local Self-Government and The International Convention on the Rights of the Child should be fully ratified and implemented. The Turkish state should abandon the practice of interpreting international human rights conventions ‘according to the spirit of the Lausanne Treaty’.
          Turkey’s administrative structure should be decentralized in order to be able to respond rapidly and efficiently to different regions and different needs. Turkish Local Authorities Law should be adjusted and revised at least according to European Charter of Local Self-Government. 
          Reconciliation and dialogue structures should be put up in order to overcome the violent conflicts of the past. For this aim, the government and the state should support the civil initiatives and be a part of the discussions to form such structures.
Specific Recommendations:
Recommendations on Mother Tongue in Education:[22]
          Kurdish-Turkish education models that respond to different needs should be developed for the education of Kurdish students. The design and implementation of school models aiming at a balanced bilingualism in Kurdish and Turkish and literacy in the two of the languages in the education of Kurdish children will play an important role in lifting the damages and disadvantages.
          Training should be provided for the transformation of coercive teacher-student relations. The objective should be the effective empowerment of Kurdish students and therefore of the Kurdish community through bilingual and multicultural education, the elimination of existing inequalities and the resulting societal justice.
          Bilingual teacher-training departments should be set up. The necessary infrastructure should be prepared and relevant departments should be opened in educational faculties for the training of teachers who will provide Kurdish-Turkish bilingual education
          Centers for the development and evaluation of bilingual educational curriculum should be opened. Autonomous centres for the development and assessment of bilingual education curriculums, which will take into consideration the dynamic structure of bilingualism and all of its educational processes, have to be established.
          Public awareness should be raised concerning the use of education in the mother tongue and bilingualism. It is very important that a sound language planning be developed in order to transform attitudes towards Kurdish and enable positive views to evolve.
          Prospective teachers should be trained regarding linguistic and cultural diversity; similar training should be provided to teachers via in-service seminars. Educational faculties should provide teacher trainees with pedagogical courses that provide guidance on teaching children whose mother tongue differs from the language of instruction.
          Teachers who speak Kurdish should be provided resources on bilingual educational methods. Kurdish teachers, who from time to time choose speaking Kurdish with their Kurdish students in an attempt to alleviate their disadvantages, should be provided with seminars on bilingual educational methods, strategies and course materials.
          Teachers who do not speak Kurdish and who work in Kurdish region should be encouraged to learn Kurdish. This will encourage an identity negotiation and may positively contribute to Kurdish students’ school success and to alleviate the existing social and economic inequality and discrimination.
          Kurdish literacy courses should be offered for students who speak Kurdish but have literacy skills only in Turkish. It is necessary to provide state-supported, free-of-charge Kurdish literacy courses for those students who can speak Kurdish but do not know how to write and read in Kurdish in order to re-establish certain attitudes to language and students’ self-confidence until a good bilingual model can be achieved.
          Kurdish literacy courses should be offered for Kurdish parents. Such steps would help parents become empowered and contribute to their children’s education.
          TV programs aiming to develop students’ Kurdish language skills should be created. The ban on children’s programming for radio and television broadcasting in Kurdish needs to be abolished.
Recommendations on Forced Migration and Village Guard System
          In relation to the Law no.5233 (Compensation of Damages and Losses Arising from Terror and Fight against Terrorism): The term of the law expired on 30 May 2008. The period for appeal should be extended and compensations should be fair and delivered without delay. Internally displaced persons as well and NGO representatives should have their say in the enforcement of the legislation.
           In relation to the Village Return and Rehabilitation Project: Under this project which was first launched in 1999, those people who apply to respective Governorates to return back to their villages are entitled to assistance such as construction materials to rebuild their houses or in kind materials such as live animals or beehives for subsistence given that there is no security barrier to their return.  However, the actual number of persons returning to their villages under this project is rather limited since the State allows return only to those settlements which it considers “secure.” Furthermore, villages have been utterly damaged and with very poor infrastructure. The village guard system should be abolished and return should be possible to all villages. Infrastructure problems of rural settlements should be solved and comprehensive rural development schemes should be introduced including interventions in education, training, production and marketing.
          For those preferring to stay in their new settlements rather than returning back: Programmes should be introduced for the rehabilitation of newly settled persons and necessary support should be extended to make these victims economically productive again. There is need for integrated programmes to improve the living conditions of new settlers in their present neighbourhoods inhabited by internally displaced persons. There is urgent need to improve the housing conditions of those who have preferred to move to urban centres.
          Along with these, the State should officially admit the problem of internal displacement and mutual trust between the State and victims should be restored by launching a reconciliation process.
          The village guards system must be abolished. The village guards should be disarmed and their re-integration with social life should start immediately. Since village guard system and its social consequences are not known except from the data provided by the Ministry of Interior, it is hard to further elaborate on the recommendations. The first, and the most important, step to further develop recommendations is to conduct research on village guard system that can provide the knowledge on what are the social, political, cultural and economic consequences of the system and how the system can be abolished. 
Recommendations on Socio-Economic Development
For any improvement of the socioeconomic status of the region, political will from the Government is a must. Secondly, it must be stressed that no minor or palliative measures would suffice to significantly improve the situation in the region. This requires comprehensive, well programmed and parallel transformations in many areas.
          The irrigation projects under the GAP Project should be completed in shortest time possible by paying attention to the ecological balance of the Region. This irrigation projects should continue hand to hand with trainings on environmental irrigation techniques…etc.
          Improvements in health and education infrastructure in the region are essential.
          Emphasis should be given to vocational training in order to build and strengthen human capital in the region.
          There is an urgent need to build and improve infrastructure in urban centres to make these spaces fit for decent living.
          A special system of incentives (maybe regional or sector based) to attract investments to the region.
          Besides clearance work (mine sweeping), special programmes for mine victims should be launched. Firstly there must be basic data collection in relation to mine victims[23]and until all mines are cleared school children in the region must be informed and trained about mines and associated threats. At present, there are no warning sign in mined areas. Civilians should be informed about mined areas and such areas should be publicly announced. Otherwise explosions and accidents leading to serious injuries and deaths will continue.
          A portion of the income derived from the Kurdish’ region’s natural resources (water, energy, mines, oil, etc) should be spent for regional development and meeting the basic needs of the most deprived children and families.
          The European Charter of Local Self-government should be ratified to open the way to administrative and financial autonomy, at least.
          Special efforts should be spent for the transfer of the EU structural adjustment funds to the region, i.e. positive discrimination should be applied.
          Turkey should stick to clauses of Ottawa Convention. Turkey became a State Party to the agreement known as Ottawa Convention on 25 September 2003.  According to the 2004 report on Turkey of the Landmine Monitor, 936,663 landmines were laid on the territory within the period 1957-1998. According to the same report, Turkey declared that she placed 39,569 mines only in the period 1989-1992 around security installations located in “eastern and South-eastern Regions.” The stock of mines declared by Turkey is 3,039,472. According to the Convention, this stock had to be destroyed until 1 March 2004, but no official statement was made so far on this issue. Again under the Ottawa Convention, Turkey has to clear all mines until 1 March 2014.
Recommendations for the Treatment of Children
          Turkishgovernment should ensure the right to peaceful demonstrations for both adults and minors in Southeast Turkey.
          Amend anti-terrorism legislation; prevent unfair prosecutions under anti-terrorism legislation by bringing the definition of, terrorism in Turkish law into line with international standards and norms, notably the principles of legality and legal certainty.
          Detention: Ensure that children are detained only as a last resort and for the shortest period possible; where there is no alternative, ensure that the manner of detention takes into account the needs of their age; ensure that children are provided with immediate legal assistance upon apprehension and during questioning. Ensure that children are not held in adult detention facilities. When detention is unavoidable, ensure that specialist facilities are available for the detention of children; inform the child’s family without delay regarding where the child is being detained and allow them to have contact with the child.
          Turkish government should live up to its procedural and legal obligations under the ICRC (International Convention on the Rights of the Child) and submit periodic reports.
        –   EU should actively monitor the situation of Kurdish children in Turkey and ensure that their needs are addressed as a central part of the reform process.

[1] According to Hacattepe Üniversity research supported by the interior minister, the number is between 900000-1.200.000 (Türkiye Göç ve Yerinden Olmuş Nüfus Araştırması, Hacettepe Üniversitesi Nüfus Etüdleri Enstitüsü, Ankara, Aralık 2006). According to Human Rights Association and Human Rights Watch, the number is between 1.500.000-3.000.000 ( , 
[2] According to data provided by the Ministry of Interior 118, 463 appeals have been concluded, 78,233 appeals have been provided redress and 40,000 appeals have been rejected till 2008. ( .
[4] İHD: 1990-2002 Yıllarına Ait Korucuların Neden Olduğu İhlaller Raporu, Human Rights Association, 2005. (
[6] “Region” stands for the Kurdish provinces of East and Southeast of Turkey. It will be used as such, hereafter. 
[7] The system also generated a crime system. Within 1985-2006, 5000 village guards committed to a crime (Village Guards Report, Turkey Ministry of Interior, 2006).
[8] World Bank: Turkey: Country Assistance Strategy Progress Report (2001)
[9] Union of Southeastern Anatolia Region Municipalities and Diyarbakir Metropolitan Municipality: ‘Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia: Socio-economic Problems and Recommended Solutions (November 2008)
[10]             With the AKP KOYDES Program most of the villages in Turkey now have roads and water. KOYDES is a rural development program launched by AKP in 2005. Under this program %86 of the villages in Turkey now have drinking water, thousands of villages have roads and bridges that link them to cities; all of which that they didn’t have before.
[11]             There are 617,000 green card holders in Diyarbakır only and this figure corresponds to 41% of the population of the province (Diyarbakir Governorship Statistics, 2008)
[12]             Source: Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia: Socio- economic Problems and Recommended Soltions, GABB (Union of South East Anatolian Region Municipalities) Report, November 2008, Diyarbakır.
[13]             Gürsel, Kolaşin, Altındağ, “Anadili Kürtçe olan Nüfusla Anadili Türkçe olan Nüfus Arasında Eğitim Uçumu Var”, Bahçeşehir University, BETAM, Research Note 09/49, 13.10.2009.
[14]             Gürsel, Kolaşin, Altındağ, “Anadili Kürtçe olan Nüfusla Anadili Türkçe olan Nüfus Arasında Eğitim Uçumu Var”, Bahçeşehir University, BETAM, Research Note 09/49, 13.10.2009.
[15] For a deeper analysis see DİSA’s (Diyarbakir Institute for Political and Social Research) book: Coskun, V.; Uçarlar, N. And Derince, M.Ş., Scar of Toungue: Consequences of the Ban on the Use of Mother Tongue in Education and Experiences of Kurdish Students in Turkey, Diyarbakir, DİSA Publications: 2010. (
[16] A special place for children in EU external action: Communication from the Commision to the Council,  the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Comittee and the Committee of the Regions (february 2008)
[17]             Unicef in Turkey: Country Profile (
[18]            Amnesty International has long expressed concerns that the definition of terrorism in Turkish law is overly broad, vague and fails to meet the level of legal certainty required in criminal law. Similar concerns have been expressed by the UN’s Special Reporter on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms while countering terrorism. In the Anti-Terrorism Law, Article 1 defines terrorism mainly in terms of its aims – not its tactics – including “any kind of act” aimed at “changing the characteristics of the Republic as specified in the Constitution, its political, legal, social, secular and economic system, damaging the indivisible unity of the State with its territory and nation, endangering the existence of the Turkish State and Republic, weakening or destroying or seizing the authority of the State, eliminating fundamental rights and freedoms, or damaging the internal and external security of the State, public order or general health by means of pressure, force and violence, terror, intimidation, oppression or threat”. As the Special Reporter noted, the law is not restricted to criminalizing tactics employed in furtherance of these aims that amount to deadly or otherwise grave violence against persons. Instead the provision is applicable to any kind of act that entails “pressure, force, violence, terror, intimidation, oppression or threat”. Thus, terrorism in Turkey can be considered a thought crime in some cases. Amnesty International: All Children have Rights: End Unfair Prosecutions of Children under the Anti terror Legislation in Turkey (2010)
[19]             Unicef Turkey: Field visit report On Children Deemed to be Terrorist Offenders by Participating in Demonstrations (2009)
[20]             Amnesty International: All Children have Rights: End Unfair Prosecutions of Children under the Anti terror Legislation in Turkey (2010)
[21]             European Parliament resolution of 9 March 2011 on Turkey’s 2010 progress report
[22] All of the recommendations on mother tongue in education were written from DİSA’s book and further recommendations can be found in the book: Coskun, V.; Uçarlar, N. And Derince, M.Ş., Scar of Toungue: Consequences of the Ban on the Use of Mother Tongue in Education and Experiences of Kurdish Students in Turkey, Diyarbakir, DİSA Publications: 2010.
[23]             At present there is no data on mine victims in Turkey. According to the Group for Building Awareness on Mines and Military Remains, there are 1,070 civilian cases only in the province of Hakkari (Hakkari Landmine Research 2007, DUY-DER, Diyarbakır)