was very active in politics. As a supporter of the Youth Union of Kurdistan (YCK), the youth branch of the
PKK, until 1992, the author took part in demonstrations, meetings and the distribution of pamphlets. He also
collected money for the cause and helped to recruit new supporters.
On 29 May 1995, when he was about to be called up, the author left Turkey to join his brother, a Swiss
citizen, in Switzerland. His departure was also prompted by his fear of having to do his military service. He
submitted an application for asylum on 27 July 1995, but it was turned down on 3 November of the same year.
On 29 April 1999, the Swiss Appeal Commission on Asylum Matters, in its ruling on his appeal, confirmed
the initial decision to refuse asylum.
The author alleges that, since he settled in Switzerland, the police have made several visits to his
parents' home in Istanbul because he was an active opponent of the Government and a deserter. After several
visits, his parents were pressured into admitting to the police that the author had taken refuge in Switzerland
and had applied for asylum there. As a result, the Turkish consulate in Geneva twice summoned his brother to
the consulate so that the author could clarify his situation in Switzerland and the problem of his military
service. The author made no response.
In addition to the facts noted above, the author cites problems that members of his family have had and
that could be prejudicial to him if he returns. In this connection, he claims that two female and two male
cousins who lived in his home village and who were politically active in the PKK guerrilla movement were
killed in clashes with the Turkish army. The face of one of the two girls had been so badly disfigured that she
could only be identified by a gold tooth.
Merits of the complaint
The author maintains that his forcible return to Turkey would constitute a violation by Switzerland of
its obligations under the Convention since, in view of the reasons which prompted his departure from Turkey,
there were substantial grounds for believing that he would be at risk of being tortured.
After giving a brief history of the Kurdish issue, the author stresses that torture is institutionalized in
Turkey and that, according to Amnesty International, almost all of the 250,000 or so people arrested between
1980 and 1988 for political reasons were tortured. The author also recalls that, according to Amnesty
International, 2,500 people were killed in 1996 alone, a year during which the state of emergency was in place
without interruption. During a state of emergency, a person can be held in police custody for up to 10 days,
including 4 days incommunicado. It is generally accepted that to hold a person incommunicado in this way is
conducive to acts of torture. For example, a certain C.S., after deserting during his military service, has said he
was subjected to extremely brutal treatment, such as having a truncheon inserted in his anus and receiving
electrical shocks to the genitals.
Again according to Amnesty International, the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and
Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment said in its second public statement on Turkey that torture was
still widespread in the country and that new instruments of torture had been found in 1992 at police
headquarters in Diyarbakir and Ankara, including one instrument for giving electric shocks and another for
hanging a person up by the arms. Amnesty International also mentions the finding by the European Court of
Human Rights that Turkish security forces were guilty of burning houses in a village in south-eastern Turkey.
With regard to military service, the author notes that, according to Amnesty International, Turkey does
not recognize the right of conscientious objection and that there is no provision for alternative civilian service.
Moreover, according to Denise Graf, cited by the author as one of the most knowledgeable people with respect to
the situation of draft-evaders and those refusing to perform their military service in Turkey, Turkish soldiers of
Kurdish origin are regularly sent to the provinces where a state of emergency has been declared. There is a