Emergency Rule

   Since the inception of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 until recently, for most of the time the Kurdish provinces in the southeast have been ruled by various special regimes, such as martial law, state of siege, and, from the summer of 1987 until December 2002, a state of emergency complete with a supragovernor. Moreover, until 1950 the region was under an inspector general for the eastern provinces.
   The current emergency rule was instituted in the summer of 1987 by President Turgut Ozal when martial law was lifted in the last four of Turkey's southeastern provinces that still had it dating from the sectarian killing that had broken out in the southeastern city of Kahramanmaras in late December 1978. Emergency rule was a response to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) insurgency then gathering steam. Headquartered in Diyarbakir, Hayri Kozakcioglu was appointed as the first supra-, or regional, governor with broad authority for 8 (later as many as 11) provinces where the PKK threat seemed most serious. Kozakcioglu already had been the provincial governor in Diyarbakir and a former Milli Istihbarat Teshilati (MIT), or Turkish National Intelligence Organization, official.
   Some of Kozakcioglu's most important powers included command over the special and general security forces; control over the MIT as detailed by a special decree; authorization to move around public employees and raise their salaries; power to evacuate or merge villages and pasture areas; supervision over civil trial procedures carried out against security forces; and authority over provincial governors. Emergency rule amounted to martial law in all but name. Over the years, it was periodically extended for fewer and fewer provinces until it was finally ended in December 2002.
   Along with the system of village guards instituted in the summer of 1985, the emergency rule system has long been considered a prime example of official state repression by many supporters of human rights. Both the village guards and emergency rule have been used by the state to help legalize the scorched earth tactics of destroying as many as 3,000 villages and carrying out some 1,000 extrajudicial killings of those perceived to be enemies of the state. Despite Ankara's adamant refusal to grant some type of autonomy to the region, emergency rule and its various predecessors ironically amount to a tacit admission that a strict unitary state is too difficult to maintain.
   Early in 2002, Gokhan Aydiner was the regional governor for OHAL and Emergency Rule continued in two Turkish provinces, Diyarbakir and Sirnak. Emergency Rule was formally ended in December 2002 because of the military success that had been achieved against the PKK and also as part of the reforms Turkey began to implement in an attempt to enter the European Union (EU).

Historical Dictionary of the Kurds. .

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