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Turkish Ex-Prisoner Kerim Yalcintepe reveals

31. May 2001

Press Agency Ozgurluk

I was released from Sincan F-type prison on May 6, 2001. I was transferred there from Cankiri prison with the savage operation of December 19, 2000. Yes, as it was the case in other prisons, the state also carried out savageness in there. In order to stop the savageness Hasan GUNGORMEZ and Irfan ORTAKCI set themselves on fire and lost their lives. They started the operation by throwing smoke gas, nerve gas and blast bombs into the dormitories at around 5.00 am. There was no warning. Because of the effects of the bombs almost everyone lost their conscious. Because of smoke nothing could be seen. Those who were hysterical because of the nerve gas, those who suffocate, fit and scream were what I have seen and heard in darkness. They continued the operation by firing with pump action rifles around 10 o`clock.

During this attack 9-10 of my friends were injured by the pellets. When the firing intensified Hasan GUNGORMEZ set himself on fire at around 1100 hours to stop the operation. When they continued this time Irfan ORTAKCI, together with another friend, set themselves on fire in the exercise area at 1130 hours. The operation was ended at 1600 hours. They had used almost 500 nerve gases, smoke bombs and blast bombs. Most of us surprised that we were still alive.

Those who survived the operation were beaten by planks, truncheons and boots. They were especially targeting our heads. We were taken to the main gate and beatings continued there too. We were handcuffed from behind and forced to lay on muddy floor. Almost all of us were half conscious and some of us were heavily injured. Including money and clothes everything we have got were taken away. After were made for hours, some of us were taken to transport vehicles (rings) as injured and some of others were taken to hospitals.

On arrival once again we were subjected to torture in Sincan F-type prison. They used force to remove our clothes, beat us and some of our friends were subjected to anal search. In Sincan we were isolated in cells for single or three people. We were only taken out of cells, once in a week and for one hour, if our relatives come for a visit. Again if our lawyers come we could see them once in a week and only for half an hour.

Except these times we could not leave the cells at all. We could see no one else except our friends that we share the cell with. When we refused obeying their orders and objected their intimacy we were subjected to disciplinary action. The punishment was 2-months-long ban on visits and correspondence. For this reason there are tens of friends who could not see their families or received letters from them for months. Threats, torture and intimidation are daily practices. There was a chief warden called Bekir Etyemez who also took part in 1999 Ulucanlar massacre. He was willing and enjoying torturing prisoners. He attacked to our friend Selmani Ozcan numerous of times. He was threatening and saying “if they cut off our 100 million Turkish Lira, I know what to do with you”.

Selmani Ozcan was in the first team of Death Fast resisters during 1996 Death Fast and therefore he was suffering of mental illness. Despite of this fact they were deliberately putting him single cells and torturing him. Selmani is only an example. Almost everyone were threatened and subjected to torture. Their aim was to intimidate us.

This chief warden was not the only torturer. A group of 30 wardens which are called “intervention team” were the leading torturers. But all the wardens were taking part in torture. During the head counts twice in a day we were forced to come down in the cells for three persons. Sometimes they were punching sometimes kicking. Travelling back and from courts and hospitals were deliberately converted into torture sessions. Our friends who urgently needs medical treatment could not go to hospitals for this reason. On the way to hospital we have been tightly handcuffed from back, despite the x-ray device, metal detector and all the technical instruments we have been subjected to undignified search and when we refused we have been push to ground and beaten.

The general searches were like plunders. All our belongings were scattered around, writings, letters and daily papers were confiscated and not given back.

During the search on May 3, they attacked to the prisoners with the directives of the prison director and prosecutor. Almost all of us were beaten. We all were forced to lay down and subjected to undignified search. They targeted and attacked Haci Demir saying “you are brain washing others”. His two teeth were broken and all over his body was covered with bruises. We press charged against torture, threats, arbitrary practices that we subjected to but the result did not change.

Neither those who are responsible from torture were tried nor torture was ceased. The ministry of justice had sent examiners once. They were supposedly investigating our torture claims. They met us and listened to us. We have told them everything. But there was no result. They have said they cannot do anything and said “soldiers have done these”. When we asked why they came, they did not say it first, and when we insisted they said the ministry sent them. Yes, the ministry had sent them when torture was made public. Their duty was to say that these were “false allegations”. They already knew and did not deny it. All the practices were for breaking the resistance and turning the captives into vegetables. They were using all the methods to destroy our right to defend. The prisoners who wish to change their cells were treated by psychologists and the conditions like “if you come down during head counts, take off your shoes..” were enforced.

With the martyrdom of Cengiz Soydas they all panicked. They were not expecting this. Cengiz became unconscious at night and could not come back until morning. They noticed it during the morning head counting. They took him to take to hospital. Cengiz fell martyr before reaching to hospital. During the conversation between director and prosecutor, the prosecutor replied the “what we shall write” question of director as “write down as, he died in ambulance on the way to hospital” The time of the conversation was on March 21 around 9.30 am.

They transferred the resisters to hospitals even though they objected. They forced our resisters to trip between two hospitals and prison. These trips were also torture for them. They made wait for hours in the vehicles. They were denied water and sugar. Some of them lost their conscious. Even the hospital staff in the transfer vehicles could not make soldiers to get water. On the way they made them wait for 6-7 hours on the floor. They were keep saying “you cannot win, give up”. They were trying to break the will of resisters through this way. The resisters faced these trips 2-3 times. Even though they could not walk, they were chained to beds from their ankles. They were denied newspapers even in hospitals.

Even though they already declared that they refuse medical intervention both in writing- to the head of hospital, doctors and Ministry of Justice- and verbally, they intervened when they lost conscious. Almost all of them lost their memories. They could no longer remember anything from their past. They even cannot dream about the future. Shamelessly they lied and claimed that the resisters came out of the resistance who lost their memories. They were telling to the authorities both in hospital and prison “if you want us to stop the action, there is no other way but you will accept our demands, you need to go and meet with our representatives, we authorized them to make decision on our behalf, we will die and we will achieve victory with our death”.

The prison prosecutor, on the other hand, was like a crusader and visiting the cells where our Death Fast resisters are saying “there will be no deaths in prisons, he will personally prevent them” He was adding “if you wish I will give the order to cook some soup for you, how about some boiled potatoes..”

The other participants of the crusades were prison directors and the Mengeles who consider themselves doctors and psychologists. They too were doing their best to break the resistance. Sometimes they were visiting the cells or calling them to their rooms. They were advising them to stop the Death Fast action and saying if there is any pressure from the illegal organisations they would be in charge for their security. In fact, they also knew very well that these people were in action by their own will power. Our Death Fast fighters were undertaking the fight of will powers. Their determination and belief were getting stronger by the day. Today similar methods are still taking place. Doctors, psychologists and prosecutors are the tools of breaking the resistance in hospitals. They are also using their families. But all these will yield nothing. Our friends will win. Yes, the cost is high, 53 martyrs, tens of resisters who lost their memories because of the forcible interventions. And many more are on the way.

Those who are in prisons are ready to die one by one. No other force can stop them reaching victory. Even there is one person left alive, he or she will not surrender. Fourth and fifth Death Fast teams are ready. And there are hundreds more who volunteered to die. They say “it is still continuing because of the pressure from the organisation” But, they are alone in cells and hospital rooms. Despite all these things the resistance is continuing.

The real pressure comes from the state. They are carrying out torture, isolation and forcible intervention. Let them leave us handicapped, let them use forcible intervention on our comrades who are chained to bed, let them continue the torture, let them bring more censorship and bans,.. All these will not change the result.

We pay the price and continue to do so. Until when? Victory. The prisoners` preconditions for the end of the resistance were lifting isolation and negotiation with their representatives. They made this public. Those who are not prepared to come forward by saying “they would not negotiate with prisoners” are responsible of the death of our comrades. They are responsible of us being handicapped. Following our victory we will all see that they will choke of their lies.

May 16, 2001

Press Agency Ozgurluk
In Support of the Revolutionary Peoples Liberation Struggle in Turkey