Protesters Demand Turkish Civil Rights

More than 150 demonstrators last night protested Turkey's human rights policy outside a heavily guarded Arco Forum.

Turkish President Turgut Ozal, who was giving a speech on his country's role in the "new world order," was met with a crowd condemning Turkish presence in the Balkans and Cyprus.

"Turkey is presenting itself as a model for a secular democracy, but Turkey should be told to clean up their act," said Dikran M. Kaligiam, a member of the Armenian National Committee.

The group was comprised of Greek, Armenian, Cypriot and Kurdish Americans from the greater Boston community.

Demetrios G. Kafkas, second vice president of the Hellenic American Society, said the protesters wanted to expose the "ethnic cleansing of Kurds in Turkey" and to stop the Turkish economic blockade of Armenia. But Ozal, when confronted with the Armenian issue, said, "We are not going to stop humanitarian aid to Armenia."

In the half-hour speech before a capacity crowd of over 200, Ozal outlined Turkey's plan for a democratic government and discussed prospects for increased cooperation with Bosnia, neighboring central Asian republics, and other Black Sea countries.


As "Turkish-U.S. interests coincide more than ever," Ozal said, Turkey will become a key link between the East and the West.

"Turkey is prepared to act in Bosnia with the United States," said Ozal, who met with President Neil L. Rudenstine after the speech.

The event, sponsored by the Institute of Politics, was policed by state, local and Harvard authorities.

Stephen E. Frank contributed to the reporting of this story.