21st September 1998

Please help campaign for the rights of Muslims in Turkey

IHRC is dedicating the next four weeks to an intensive campaign on Turkey. The situation for Muslims in Turkey has been rapidly deteriorating in the last few years, despite the heightened activity of the community.

Muslim women have been killed, attacked, imprisoned and denied education simply for wishing to wear a headscarf. Feliz Bayaz, an 18 year muhajibah is a case in point. More details of her life an murder will be available on our website (http://members.tripod.com/~Bregava/index-9.html) . Gulsen Aslen, a Muslim journalist, was arrested in 1996 when she went to visit her husband, also detained for his Islamic beliefs. Her case is also highlighted on our site.

Muslim businessmen have been discriminated against, public officials and members of the army have been purged from their posts for being Islamic. Even actors, playwrights and directors have been imprisoned for questioning Turkey’s relations with Israel. In June this year, Mehmet Vahi Yazar, the chief actor in the stage play, An Enemy of the People was sentenced to 24 years imprisonment ( a multiplied sentence for each scene of the play performed), and fined 12 million TL. Four other actors received sentences of 16 years each, calculated on the same basis. The laws under which they were prosecuted relate to inciting hatred against others, a crime which if proven receives the maximum penalty of 3 years only.

The IHRC Prisoners of Faith campaign highlighted the cases of two Turkish prisoners, last Ramadan. You will be pleased to know that one of the, Bekir Yildiz, the Islamist mayor of Sincan, has been released. However Nureddin Sirin (details enclosed) is still serving a 17 year sentence simply for holding Islamic beliefs.

If you want to help campaign for the release of the prisoners mentioned, and all other prisoners of faith in Turkey, or you would like to help campaign for Muslims in Turkey, please contact us by e-mail or on the numbers above:


We are running a petition, to be sent to the Turkish President and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Mary Robinson, as well other public figures. We are also requesting campaigners to write to prisoners the prisoners mentioned.