State racism in Turkey and Kurdish question
- KurdishMedia.com - By Hadi Elis
- 13/05/2002 00:00:00
The Reason for the War in Kurdistan: State Racism of the Republic of Turkey
The Denial of the Existence of Kurdish people in the Republic of Turkey by the State is the main reason for Ethnic Conflict/ Civil War in Turkey and the Middle East. The aggression and atrocities against Kurdish people as "state policies" started after the establishment of the Republic of Turkey in 1923, and since then the human rights violations by the Turkish State officials (state security institutions and its personnel, Army, Police forces, Intelligence apparatus, paramilitary forces) are nationally and internationally very well documented.
All the Human Rights concerned institutions from private NGOs such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, etc, to the western states’ department’s concern with this issue such as US Department of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor present reports - mostly annual - about the recorded Human Rights Violations in the Republic of Turkey.(Recorded? Because many more human rights violations go unrecorded).
The Turkish State’s structure, from its constitution, legal system to its parliament, is organised on the principles of racism, the denials of "others" (non-Turks) by the state. The Turkish State in the 21th century is the only country in the world that still does not recognize Kurds as a people. According to the racist Turkish State either Kurds are" Mountain Turks" or simply "do not exist". The Kurdish people living under the Turkish State have to choose one of these options, either accepting the "Turkified identity" or the "denied identity."
All of these are violations of international law and UN Resolutions and Conventions, the most important of which are the UN Human Rights Charter, UN Convention on Rights of Persons Belonging to National, Religious and Linguistic Minorities, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Convention Against Discrimination in Education, International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, and International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid.
The State Racism runs so deep in Turkish politics that Kurdish language is not a recognized language, the Kurdish New Year is not Kurdish, Kurdish music is not a music, there is no Kurdish culture- history and civilization. The Kurdish alphabet, books, cassettes, geographical names, poetry, New Year and Holiday celebrations are all illegal and outlawed. Freedom of Thought and Freedom of Press is almost non-existent for so many years. The number of reporters killed in Turkey in the last 10 years is twice higher then the number of reporters killed in WW II. Around 3000 intellectuals, unionists, teachers, and other professionals of Kurdish origin have been killed by Death Squads. Recently, in May 2002, Reporters Without Borders put the Picture of the Chieff Of Staff of the Turkish Army (General Huseyin Kivrikoglu) on the floor of the Paris subway with some others beside it, for the passengers to walk over them, in order to protest their persecution of reporters and press workers. The reaction of the Turkish State was to sever ties with France. This was a fairly typical Turkish state response to criticism.
This policy of the State of Turkey buttresses Iran, Iraq and Syria’s refusal to grant any rights to Kurds; at times when these states appeared ready to consider compromising on the Kurdish issue, Turkey intervened to prevent any concessions. For instance, when in March 11 1970 Kurds led by Molla Mustafa Barzani forced the Iraqi State to sign an agreement on Autonomous status for Iraqi-Kurds, Turkey performed the un-civil and un-democratic act of telling the Iraqi state that this is a " Reason for War". Very recently the Turkish State told Iraqi Kurds that if they declare independence, Turkey would view this as a "Declaration of War" against them. The Racism of the Turkish State thus transcends borders.
Turkey helped Saddam Hussein so much that when Iraqi Kurds escaped from Chemical Gas attacks and arrived at the Turkish border, Turkey did not take them in, did not recognize them as refugees, and has even been accused of distributing "poisoned bread" to them in the camps. For quite some time the Turkish state did not allow any Medical and Humanitarian help to go to them, including Red Cross. Turkey, as well as Iraq, officially denied the use of Chemical Gas against the Kurdish civilians.
Today all the world knows what happen at Halabja city, on March 1988. All the "reality" is reported and documented. What happened during the Anfal Operations is very well known, especially after the Allied Intervention in Northern Iraq in 1991, the establishment of the "Safe Haven" north of the 36th parallel.
The State of Turkey started in 1992 giving the Ataturk Peace Prize to promote their international image, after the founder of the Republic. The first one was given to Alexander Haig, a former Sec.Gen. of NATO. The second one was supposed to be given to Nelson Mandela, as someone who put his life in danger for the fight for "Peace and Reconciliation" between the peoples in the country. He was hailed as a hero, but when he refused to receive the Ataturk Peace Prize, suddenly he became the center of the Turkish State Racism, and called the "Ugly African". Dear Mandela refused it because he is someone who knows what is "State Racism", he heard about the oppression and persecution of the Kurdish people in Turkey, and protested it.
The persecution and oppression of Kurds occurs in front of the eyes of the UN, Europe, USA, NATO and the whole world. All of the Humanitarian Military intervention and related activities intensified in recent years, bringing minority persecution to the center of international relations. After the Rwanda Genocide, the world community became more sensitive to the issue. But when it comes to the Kurdish question, the entire world becomes silent.
Anyone who wants to break this silence is punished, authors and book publishers especially. Any book mentioning the Kurds as a minority in Turkey, published in Turkey, has its publishers taken to trial. The latest one was Dr Noam Chomsky’s book on Gulf War. Dr Noam Chomsky’s personal appearence in the court saved his publisher from going to jail due to his international fame, but Dr Chomsky’ speech given at the unrecognized Kurdish Capital city Diyarbakir ( Amed in Kurdish) gave more clues to take him to court by the Turkish prosecutors, to find him "an enemy of the Turkish State and Nation". Many internationally known writers, human rights workers and politicians are declared persona non-grata, such as British Lord Eric Avebury, US play-writer Harold Pinter (for his play "Mountain Language"), Medico International president Hans Branscheidt, and even Amnesty International (called a "biased" organisation by the Turkish State).
One of the world’s biggest Water Dams - in fact a series of them- is being built in the Kurdish region in the -artificial- state boundaries of Turkey. The Turkish State uses all imaginable excuses to build the so-called South-East Anatolian Project or GAP in Turkish, to bury Kurdish archeological sites underwater. Hasankeyf, a historical site recognized by UN and UNESCO is more than half-underwater already, because it has all the proof for the "unbearable existence of the Kurds".
Once it was the capital city of the Kurdish Kingdom "Hassanwayhids" around the 11th and 12th centuries.
All of the above mentioned facts are daily and routine violations of international law since 1923 and require the Republic of Turkey’s punishment in international Courts and Tribunals. The crime of Apartheid and its punishment, crimes against humanity and their punishment, crimes of genocide and their punishment, war crimes and their punishment, are just a few of the issues that western countries and especially the USA lets the Turkish State get away with.
According to Turkish state racism you can not name your babies with Kurdish names, because it is not "in accordance with Turkish culture". All the villages, towns, rivers, mountains, etc have been renamed with Turkish names, because their previous names proclaim their "Kurdishness" to the local Kurds everyday. According to state racism of Turkey you can not have red-yellow-green traffic lights in Kurdish towns and cities, because they are Kurdish national colors. For several years the green light was replaced with blue, or simply they were not put in function, the switches turned off.
According to the Turkish state and its Army’s strategic understanding, anybody who recognize Kurds as a "different" minority/ethnic group in Turkey is the " enemy of the Turkish State and Nation", because they dispute the " indivisible unity of the State and Nation". So anybody in this hall who acknowledges the existence of Kurds in Turkey is the " enemy " of the Turkish State according to Turkey’s constitution and criminal code.
By this thinking, "There is no friend to Turks other than Turkish peoples themselves". At the same time Turkey claims "How happy is the one who calls himself a Turk," and all the Kurdish hills and mountains are written with this sentence to remind local people "How sad is the one who calls himself Kurd".
This is not enough which to satisfy the Turkish State Racism she says " One Turk is valued more than the world".
On another note, Turkish state racism does not believe in the equality of things, so much so that according to the Turkish Central Bank one US dollar is one and half million Turkish Liras. Revisionist social "scientists" in the service of the Turkish state have also declared that the Turkish language is the mother of all languages, Turkish culture is the origin of the all cultures, the Turkish Race is an Aryan Race and the original Turkish homeland ("TURAN") runs through Balkans to Great Wall of China.
If one likes to read about the History of the World, he/she can just simply read a Turkish History book, no need for "Cambridge or Oxford History of the World", or to take a course at "Harvard".
If all these Racist and Apartheid practices become "an important part of the daily life of an individual as citizen" in the borders of the Republic of Turkey, what choices will he or she have? To fight against State Racism is not an easy task.
When Kurdish people started fighting back against this sick mentality, the "Sick man’s" friends in Europe and the USA worried about his health, worried so much that they lent him billions of dollars to buy their weapons to fight against "Anti-Racist" Kurdish Freedom Fighters.
When since 1993 the leader of the PKK- Kurdistan Workers’ Party- Abdullah Ocalan offered peace, the State claimed that it can not make peace with Anti-Racists. So many cease-fires and peace offers are now "gone with the wind".
Since 1984 the Turko-Kurdish War almost seems as if it is happening on the Moon, to the point that no one on the Earth cares about it. Maybe when "alien Kurds" land in Kenya again, the world will acknowledge "the extra-territorial existence of intelligent Kurds in the Universe".
PKK president Abdullah Ocalan in order to bring an end to the war, tried on European soil to find a "political solution," traveled to Europe in October 1998, after declaring unilateral cease-fire and peace offer on World Peace Day, Sept. 1, 1998. In his quest for Peace Mr Ocalan ended up in Kenya by a quirk of destiny. He was abducted and given to Turkey by international forces and the cooperation of the USA, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, Greece and Israel, in February 1999.
The Turko-Kurdish War has produced to biggest single internal refugee problem, the busiest human smuggling business in the world (remember the ships coming to Italian shores), the most external refugee producing country, over 37 thousand people dead, over 4000 villages destroyed, over 15 000 prisoner of thought.
One of the prisoners of thought who must be remembered with respect and love is the Sociologist Dr Ismail Besikci, the " Prophet of Honesty", as I like to call him. Of Turkish origin, Dr Besikci is a champion of the human rights struggle of Kurds and other oppressed people in Turkey. He sacrificed his academic career and more than 15 years of his life as the price of his struggle.
Since Sept. 1, 1999 all the activities of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party have ceased, and in April 2002 the PKK ceased to exist after its "8th Extra-ordinary congress". A new organisation named the Kurdish Freedom and Democracy Congress has now been established, based on the Defence statement of Abdullah Ocalan to the ECHR, published as a book titled "Democratic Manifesto". The statement in Ocalan’s book asks for a "Democratic Solution" to the Kurdish question. After not putting the PKK in the list of "terrorist organisations" for several years, now suddenly the EU decided to put the PKK in the list. This will give more courage to the Turkish State to continue its state racism policies in the country.
With this act the EU is giving permission to the Turkish state for a renewal of Kurdish genocide. State racism is the twin of Genocide, and the EU is unfortunately taking the Turkish State’s side in this genocide. The struggle for Peace can only "finish" with the killing of "war", we must " kill" the war to make the Peace. Then for once killing will be a good act for all of humanity.
Please do not forget that genocide is not the name of a street in the city we want to live in.
- KurdishMedia.com - By Hadi Elis
- 13/05/2002 00:00:00