SENZA CENSURA n.5
Italy, June 2001
KERIM YALCINTEPE WHO WAS RELEASED FROM TURKEY'S SINCAN F-TYPE PRISON REVEALS
By Kerim Yalcintepe
I was released from Sincan F-type prison on May 6, 2001. I was transferred there from Cankiri prison after the savage operation of December 19, 2000.
Yes, as was the case in other the prisons, the state also carried out
savageness 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 bombs, 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 the smoke nothing could be seen. Some were hysterical because of the nerve gas, some of them suffocated, and some were fitting and screaming. This is all I could see or hear in the darkness. The operation continued with them firing pump action rifles at us at 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 in an attempt 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 ended at 1600 hours. They had used almost 500 nerve gas bombs, smoke bombs and blast bombs. Most of us were surprised that we were still alive. Those who survived the operation were beaten with planks, truncheons and boots. They were especially targeting our heads. We were taken to the main gate and the beatings continued there too. We were handcuffed from behind and forced to lay on a muddy floor. Almost all of us were half-conscious and some of us were heavily injured. Including money and clothes everything we had was taken away. After we were made to wait for hours, some of us were taken to the transport vehicles whilst the 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. They beat us and some of our friends were subjected to an anal search. In Sincan we were isolated in cells on our own or with three people. We were only taken out of cells once in a week and for one hour, if our relatives came for a visit.
Again, if our lawyers came we could see them only once 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 for our friends that we sharing the cell with.
When we refused to obey their orders or objected to their intimidation we were subjected to disciplinary action. The punishment was a 2-months-long ban on receiving visits and correspondence. For this reason there were tens of friends who could not see their families or receive 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 the 1999 Ulucanlar massacre. He was enjoying and willingly torturing prisoners. He attacked our friend Selmani Ozcan many times. He was threatening us 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 the Death Fast resisters during the 1996 Death Fast and because of this he is suffering from mental illness. Despite of this fact they were deliberately putting him a single cell and torturing him. Selmani is only one 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 the "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 to the ground floor cells. Sometimes they were punching sometimes they were kicking. Travelling back and from court and hospital was deliberately converted into a torture session. Our friends, who urgently need medical treatment, could not go to the hospital for this reason. On the way to hospital we were tightly handcuffed from behind. Even though we had to go through the x-ray device, metal detector and all the other technical instruments, we were still subjected to undignified searches, and when we refused we were 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 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 an undignified search. They targeted and attacked Haci Demir saying "you are brain washing the others". Two of his teeth were broken and his body was covered in bruises. We pressed charges against the torture, threats, arbitrary practices that we were subjected to but the result did not change. Neither were those who were responsible for the torture were tried nor did the torture cease. The ministry of justice had sent examiners once. They were supposedly investigating our torture claims.
They met us and listened to us. We told them everything. But there was no result. They said they cannot do anything and said "soldiers have done this" . When we asked why they came, they did not say why at first, but when we insisted they said the ministry had 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 what was going on and did not try to deny it. All the practices were for breaking the resistance and turning the captives into vegetables. They were using all the methods they could to destroy our right to defend ourselves. Psychologists treated the prisoners who have complaints about the cells. And they were told to obey by the conditions like "if you come down during head counts, take off your shoes.." .
With the martyrdom of Cengiz Soydas they all panicked. They were not
expecting this. Cengiz became unconscious at night and could not come round again until morning. They noticed it during the morning head counting. They took him out of his cell to take him to hospital. Cengiz fell martyr just before reaching the hospital. During the conversation between the director and prosecutor, the prosecutor said "what we shall write", the director said " write it down as, he died in the ambulance on the way to hospital". The time of the conversation was around 9:30 on March 21 am. They transferred the resisters to the hospitals even though they objected. They forced our resisters to take the journey between two hospitals and the prison. These trips were also torture for them. They were made to 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 the soldiers go and get water. On the way they made them wait for 6-7 hours on the floor. They were kept 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 the hospitals.
Even though they already declared that they would refuse medical
intervention, both in writing and verbally to the head of hospital the
doctors and the Ministry of Justice, they none the less 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 who had lost their
memories had ended their resistance. They were telling the authorities both in the hospitals and prisons "if you want us to stop the action, there is no other way other than accepting our demands. You need to go and meet with our representatives, we have authorized them to make decisions on our behalf. We will die and we will achieve victory with our deaths". The prison prosecutor, on the other hand, was like a crusader and visiting the cells where our Death Fast resisters were and saying "there will be no deaths in the prisons, I 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 in this crusade were the 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 were any pressure from the
xxxxxxxx illegal organisations they would be in charge for their security.
In fact, they knew very well that these people were involved in this action by their own free will. Our Death Fast fighters were undertaking the battle of will power. Their determination and belief were getting stronger by the day. Today similar methods are still taking place. Doctors, psychologists and prosecutors are the tools for breaking the resistance in the hospitals.
They are also using their families. But all of these will yield nothing. Our friends will win. Yes, the cost is high, 53 martyrs, tens of resisters who have lost their memories because of the forcible interventions. And many more are on the way. Those who are in the prisons are ready to die one by one. No other force can stop them reaching victory. Even if there is one person left alive, he or she will not surrender. The fourth and fifth Death Fast teams are ready and there are hundreds more who have volunteered to die. They say "it is still continuing because of the pressure from the illegal organisation" But, they are alone in the 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 beds, let them continue the torture, let them bring more censorship and bans. All these things will not change the result. We are paying the price and will continue to do so. Until when? Victory. The prisoners' precondition for ending the resistance is the lifting of the isolation and negotiations with their representatives. They have made this public. Those who are not prepared to come forward by saying "they would not negotiate with prisoners" are responsible for the death of
our comrades. They are responsible for them being handicapped. Following our victory we will all see that they choke on their lies.
May 16, 2001