Sunday, May 01, 2011

Old Habits...

General elections in Turkey will be held on June 12, 2011. The AK Party which is the government right now has fallen back into the old habits and is using the conflict to attract ultranationalist votes. Although PKK has decleared ceasefire the attacks by the state has accelerated. Troops are attacking small guerilla units by thousands. AKP is betting on Kurdish blood bringing her some votes.

The situation is grim as the police, which is largely under government's control, is attacking Kurdish people at every chance. The videos of police even stoning municipality equipment even caught the attention of mainstream Turkish media. Here is a small except of how heroic and brave the Turkish police is. About 20 of them are beating a young person while the other thug has his pistol out and is shooting. What you don't see is the other police who aim the gas canisters at women and children. Just last week a two year old Kurdish girl was hit in the head with a gas canister while she was home. If you expect me to feel sorrow when one of these bastards meet their demise, then well, good luck to you.

The Kurdish people are calling their defence forces to duty.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

A new kind of psychological warfare...

Yasemin Çongar interviewed the widow of a soldier recently killed during a PKK raid. The interview is highly emotional.

The interviewee says (as many other articles from the Turkish media have) how remote the garrison was, had no doctor, not even antibiotics, and so on. She continues on about what she heard. She repeats "the things soldiers say are conflicting because they were all in shock" (it's a known fact that people who survive traumatic events can give conflicting statements). She also talks about how soldiers ran into a room and welded the only door from inside and this is how they survived. But it gets more interesting. The interviewee gives figures about how many PKK militants were killed and that the 'terrorists' carried their dead and left.
Ms. Çongar, an experienced reporter, of course never thinks to ask how the soldiers could count anything since they trapped themselves into a room without any window and how come one could believe those traumatized soldiers now. The answer is simple. All rules of logic and justice can be set aside when it's about dealing with Kurds in general and PKK in particular. But on the bright side, now we know that the traumatized TSK soldiers can see through the walls. But how come such supreme beings can weld a door from inside so the guerrillas don't reach them?

The interviewee tells more interesting things such as
"they [the TSK soldiers] found used up courage-boosting injections on the floor left by the terrorists [the PKK guerrillas] and also adrenaline capsules". Ms. Çongar, the veteran reporter, of course forgets to ask how one could ever know such things without analysis and how could one really be sure who used what if there really were such things. Apparently the remotely located garrison without a doctor and antibiotics had a CSI lab operating with the speed of light! Bravo Ms. Çongar!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

"The change you can believe in" and Armenian Genocide

Before he was elected, Obama has promised he would have the Armenian genocide recognized. He can't seem to dare using the term genocide on his speeches/announcements made on April 24, the anniversary of Armenian Genocide.

Was this the change he wanted the people to believe in?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Adana: 3,155 Children Arrested in 2009

Adana is a city where a lot of Kurd who were forced to move out of Kurdistan have relocated. The governor of Adana has threatened Kurdish parents by taking their children away from them if the children were to participate in demonstrations. Bianet article summarizes how children are treated in Turkey by building on the situation in one city alone.

A report prepared by the Human Rights Association (İHD) Adana Branch revealed that 3,155 children aged 13-18 were arrested in Adana in 2009. 122 of them were taken into custody in the course of social uprisings. 299 children were taken into detention, 54 of them in the scope of social uprisings.

The association demands: "Detained children who came into conflict with the law should be released immediately".

According to the data compiled by İHD Adana, 48 children were sentenced to a total of 203 years, three months and 15 days imprisonment under charges of "throwing stones to police forces" and "spreading propaganda of illegal organizations".

Torture in police cars, at police stations and in prison

İHD Adana received 62 applications related to children in 2009. According to the report, the children were beaten in police cars and at the Police Department; they were threatened and restrained by hand-cuffs or chains when they were taken to another place.

Two children claimed to have been beaten by the police when they came back from a wedding ceremony. They were allegedly taken to an orange grove where they were beaten and threatened to "confess their crimes".

16 people detained in the children's prison of Kürkçüler Prison in the town of Pozantı stated that they were beaten by soldiers. Moreover, the soldiers supposedly told the guards that the children were terrorists and that "they could do with them whatever they wanted". One child said that he was insulted by the house physician and was made to clean the infirmary bathroom.

Violations in the Pozantı Children's Prison as revealed by the report read as follows:

- 13 people are forced to sleep in bunk beds designed for six people

- Beating wet hands with plastic pipes

- Neglect of health problems

- Implying pressure on the children regarding the election of the ward headman

- Forced education of the National Anthem

"Stop prosecuting children for terror crimes"

These are some of the recommendations comprised in the İHD Adana report:

The respective articles of the Anti-Terror Act and the Criminal Code providing for the prosecution of children for "terror" crimes should be amended as well as politics assessing children as "members of terror organizations".

Children should be tried at juvenile courts.

A Social Studies Report should be prepared to understand the reasons behind the crimes committed by children and to establish recommendations for prevention.

Experts should prepare reports regarding 12-15-year-old children's understanding of their crime and of the consequences of their behaviour.

No child should be deprived of his or her rights, including the right to education. Psychological and developmental support should be provided to children throughout the duration of prosecution and afterwards.

All kinds of violence against children should be prevented and forbidden by law. (TK/VK)

This is the Turkey who is sympathetic to Palestinian children throwing stones at IDF soldiers. Yet, when Kurdish children express their frustration against the forces that burnt their homes and killed their relatives, the children immediately become terrorists. Ridiculous.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Advanced Democracy Closes the DTP

Obama's advanced democracy has closed down the DTP. DTP has been the single voice of North Kurdistan that is in the parliament. Apparently that was too much for Kurds. Lesson learned, AGAIN.

The supporters of fascist Turkish state keep talking about how PKK uses children in demonstrations. Mithat Sancar recently wrote a piece in which he touches upon this issue:
Without understanding the sociology and psychology that created PKK it doesn't seem possible to find a proper and practical method for ending violence. If the environment to discuss everything openly and the hope for peace was not undermined, we would be objectively discussing the PKK issue today.

What would be the tangible benefits of this [discussing the PKK reality]? First, we could understand what a superficial perspective it is to explain the scary scenes on the street based on the centimeter calculation of Öcalan's cell. A reflection of this perspective is trying to analyze every development through Öcalan's personal and PKK's organizational structure. When this is the case, the structure, perception, and properties of the masses responding to Öcalan's and PKK's calls are missed.

Majority of people throwing Molotov cocktails and destroying stuff are 15/20 years old kids/lads. Who are these people really? The answer is evident to those who are familiar with the issue: these people are those we call as "90's generation". These are kids who were born when thousands of villages were razed and families were thrown onto the streets; these are kids who opened their eyes as the children, brothers, relatives of the over 17 thousand people who were victims of extrajudicial killings [in the hands of the state security forces] and grew up as such. These are children whose conditions for a decent life were destroyed and who were denied everything but anger.

It seems these people see Öcalan as an "identity reference" and PKK as a "guarantee of existence". This is the main identifier for their compliance to Öcalan's calls and owning up to the PKK. Without seeing this and trying to explain the issue with "cult and obedience culture" makes it impossible to find a solution to Kurdish and PKK question.
The observation above is actually over simplification. Let's not forget the other oppressed people, friends and relatives of everyone associated with people who are in the Kurdish struggle.

Attacks against the DTP and its politicians and finally DTP's closure is official confirmation from the Turkish state that Kurdish people need to have their own defence forces, the HPG.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

I am a Turk, I am true, and my state is guilty

Some important facts to consider when discussing the Kurdish issue, especially in the lights of the recent events. Below is partial translation of an opinion piece by Roni Margulies. You can read the fully text (in Turkish) here.
Roni Margulies - 28.10.2009

Among all these words of "friendship", "brotherhood", and "living together", there is a reality that goes unnoticed, unmentioned. The answer of the most fundamental question is being forgotten.

The question is this: Why did Kurds go up to the mountains?

The answer is obvious: Because of the policies of the Turkish state.

Probably not because they are fond of clean air and they like to die by getting bombarded while exercising in the arms of mother nature.

If there wasn't denial, oppression, humiliation, and violent policies of the state, neither "friendship" and "brotherhood" nor arrivals from the Habur [the border gate between Iraq and Turkey] would come up. We would be living without any trouble and not commit unapproved activities. Some of us would still be struggling against this state but the words "Kurd" and "Turk" would not be present in this struggle.

In short, the answer to the question "who is guilty" is "the state of Turkey".

When one forgets this basic question and its answer, it becomes easy to blame DTP of making a "show", bad mouth PKK because it's not laying down arms, and have a problem with every word Ahmet Türk or Emine Ayna [co-chairs of DTP] says. It's also easier to complain about nationalistic inclinations among Kurds. It's easy to cry for the pain of the families of martyrs [Turkish]. It's easy to talk about how wrong armed politics and all nationatilisms are.

Talk is cheap but let's not forget this: the only reason for the problems Turks have among themselves for the past 25 years and Kurds have among themselves for the past 80 years is the state of Turkey. Moreover it's not the "old state" in the Armenian issue but the current state that has been slapping our necks.

This state is responsible and guilty for the martyrs, turning a large portion of the country into a war zone and making it poor, and cutting from health and education services and pouring the money into war.

If Turkish writers, reporters, and politicians remember this fact before they criticize and blame Kurdish organizations and establishments, the [Democratic] Opening will have more chance of being successful. The Opening's success will be guaranteed if every morning kids say "I am a Turk, I am true, I am a hard worker, and the state is guilty of war" [this is a reference to the pledge of allegiance children must say every morning].

There is no need to remind Kurds of this. I don't think they have the slightest doubt about why their children went to the mountains.

Kurds not only know why those who went up the mountains did so but also what they have accomplished today.


It's not right to do politics based on ethnicity, fine. Using weapons is wrong in every situation, alright. One must object to every kind of violence, good.


So tell me, what other choice did Kurds have? What other choice the Turkish state left them?

They used the only choice they had, they went up to the mountains. And they succeeded. Now they are celebrating.

Those who finds Kurds' celebrations inappropriate should briefly think who is the guilty one.
Kurdish civilians are getting attacked and told to leave the western cities in Turkey. They had to go to those cities because the state burned down their villages and evacuated them.

The Kurds must unite!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Give us the roadmap!

KCK Executive Council's leader Mr. Murat Karayılan spoke to Firat News Agency on 07 September 2009. Below is partial translation of the text. Full text of the interview can be read here.
Karayılan: Give us the roadmap [Öcalan's]!


Behdinan, 07 September 2009

The leader of the KCK Executive Council, Murat Karayılan asked that the roadmap submitted by Kurdish Leader Abdullah Öcalan be handed to them. Not receiving the roadmap could impact the unilateral conflict avoidance phase which is in effect by the PKK. Karayılan said "This is necessary for the conflict-avoidance to continue" and invited the government to take risks "for turning a historical page". Karayılan, who answered ANF's questions proposed [Nelson] Mandela and South Africa as a solution for Öcalan's situation. Karayılan stated that if operations [against PKK guerrillas] stopped there would be no losses, and reminded that their conflict-avoidance phase has been extended until the end of Ramadan. He stated again that he hoped for some positve steps within the two weeks left [until the end of Ramadan when conflict avoidance phase was extended recently].

*The roadmap Mr. Abdullah Öcalan submitted to the prosecution on 20 August [2009] is not yet given to the lawyers. What do you think about the fact that the roadmap is not given?

-The stand our people made in the 29 March [2009] local elections made it necessary to start a process for a democratic solution to the Kurdish Question. Based on this, as a movement, we started the conflict-avoidance phase on 13 April 2009. We extended this conflict-avoidance phase a few times to date. Our leader [Mr. Öcalan] stated that he would turn in the roadmap to both sides in order to transform the current process into a permanent democratic solution process. The media reported this and it became public knowledge. Our leader's roadmap is a roadmap submitted to the Turkish state, our movement, and the public so that the democratic solution turns into a permanent process.

The roadmap must be given to us

Our leader turned in the roadmap, the state took it. The state is reading the roadmap and determining it's politics accordingly. It toughens it's stand, takes measures accordingly. The state makes some speeches that constitute a response. But the state didn't give the roadmap to us or the public. If the Turkish state wants to solve this problem permanently, first it must quit such approaches. Hiding the solution formula prepared by the most important actor, meant for solution, and turning in for the stakeholders will not help the solution. Especially taking the solution formula and benefiting from it without giving it to others is not only unlawful but also not moral either. If they were not going to share the roadmap, they could have not taken it. They could say that they are not taking it. But they took it; they are benefiting from it; they are confiscating it. This is a stand that doesn't help a solution. In other words, this is a continuation of the mentality that doesn't care about Kurds and that says "I can do whatever I want." A solution can't be developed with this logic, with this approach.

I would like to state clearly again: If the state of the Turkish Republic and its government, at this stage in history, want a permanent solution to the Kurdish question, they should give up on these kinds of policies. In other words, they need to quit the policy that ignores Kurds and the Kurdish will and give us the roadmap.

It will affect the conflict-avoidance phase

*In this case [the state not giving Mr. Öcalan's roadmap], how will the conflict-avoidance phase will evolve?

-We extended the conflict-avoidance phase until the end of Ramadan festivities for two reasons. The first reason is the respect we have for Ramadan. The second reason is that we expect the Turkish state to give us the roadmap during this time. Hiding the roadmap and not giving it [to us] will hurt the discussion environment. The process will not move forward without the roadmap. Let me put it clearly: it will be very problematic for us to extend the conflict-avoidance phase. Of course we are discussing the events from every angle. It is obvious that the current phase will face serious difficulties and problems unless the roadmap reaches us by some means. We too have sensitivities, we have a base, we have different organizations, forces. They [the state] say there is the army, the army will do this and that. We have an army too. There are organizations and matters we have to consider. We have to consider all these phenomena. Therefore, such approaches are not right. Our people make demonstrations for this and demand. Our people's expectation, our movement's and democratic organizations' expectation is that the state gives the roadmap right away. Because this is necessary for the continuation of the process. Not giving the roadmap, despite these, will mean that the state doesn't want a solution. Then it is up to them whether to give it or not.


*The initiative that started as the "Kurdish initiative", later turned into the "democratic initiative, and lastly stated as "national unity project," is going on with intensive discussions. What does the change of names reflect in terms of correct comprehension of the problem and its solution?

-First, our movement's initiative on starting the process, then our leader's talks, and then our statements aimed to the public media, put the need for a democratic solution to the Kurdish question in Turkey on the agenda. The president's words, "good things will happen," and the government officials' words gave hope to people. An expectation and impression was created that the Turkish state would now try to solve the problem in a different way. But then, the process was slowly pulled back. First they said "Kurdish initiative," then they said "democratic initiative" and now they converted it to "national unity project." For example, the minister [of interior Mr. Beşir Atalay] spoke on the matter for 50 minutes without interruption, then for about 50 more minutes he answered questions but he was so careful that he didn't use the word "Kurd".


What kind of a unity is this that it's being protected by a force 400 thousand strong! Another point is that these forces [state's] defend a narrow, nationalistic, and racist line. These forces insist on 20th century's politics rather than today's. These forces often talk about unity. They talk about unity and brotherhood. What kind of a unity is this that it is being protected by a force of 400 thousand soldiers, police, and paramilitary guards [korucular]. If there is unity and brotherhood why have so many soldiers been placed in Kurdistan? According to the state's official figures, until now 40 thousand people died. That means this unity is being held up by weapons and killing. Now the problem is to transform this forced unity into a voluntary one.


What kind of a brotherhood is this!

You reject Kurdish identity and oppress Kurds and then talk about brotherhood. What kind of brotherhood is this? My language, culture, history, and names are forbidden, I can't own my identity but you say you are brothers. You say Kurds are our brothers but forbid everything belonging to them. This is slavery, slavery by force. We are in the 21st century and the Kurdish people have been enlightened with Apocu culture will not accept this [slavery]. Forcing slavery under the name of brotherhood and doing this by spilling blood with police batons and soldiers' weapons has nothing to do with brotherhood. In the current era this is not possible either. MHP and CHP need to understand this.




You [the state] say that yours are martyrs, but the Kurdish people see you as the invading forces. You say you are protecting the homeland and dieing for the homeland, but the Kurdish people think their language, culture, and homeland are under invasion. There are people who go up to the mountains [join the guerrillas] for their honor, pride, and culture. These people give up everything. Haven't the people who put their lives on the line for their belief, ideals, and honor done so for a more sacred cause? If you compare in this way the martyrdom of Kurdish people, freedom guerrillas' are martyrdoms for protecting the Kurdish reality and for freedom of the Kurdish people, and they see this as a more sacred cause. Everyone has their reality but the important thing is to see the reality through the other side's eyes.

There is nothing more sacred and honorable than taking all the risks in Kurdistan and putting your life on the line for your language, identity, culture, and the people's freedom.


*As the KCK, you are in a conflict-avoidance position since April [2009]. However, the Turkish state didn't take a step and there has been no work for identifying representatives. Mr. Erdoğan and the general staff signaled, during the last meeting, that this wouldn't happen [reciprocating conflict-avoidance and identifying a representative for the Kurdish side in talks]. How would the continuation of this policy affect the conflict-avoidance phase?

-For the next two weeks we will analyze the other side's stand and approach to the issues. We want to learn if the state really wants to solve the problem. If they want to solve it, how they are planning to solve it. There were some well-meaning words. Some nice and fancy speeches were given. But like I said before, the process narrowed down and pulled back. It's obvious that the problem cannot be solved with this kind of approach. Therefore, we want to learn what the state truly wants to do.

If there is a policy to be devious again, this will bring great disasters. There are talks in various sections of the society. The press is maturing but, on the other hand, the state hinders the process by red lines. The observation is that there are some other things the state is seeing. For example, the military is getting ready. The minister of foreign affairs is visiting many places for some preparation. The state's representatives come to the south [South Kurdistan, Iraq] and try to convince people for their solution. They [the state] are trying very hard to find grounds for their official policies and sideline the PKK and the leader of Kurdish people [Mr. Öcalan]. This is very dangerous.


They are saying the DTP is being very rough. What has DTP done? In fact DTP says how the problem can be solved. DTP says that there cannot be a solution by sidelining the PKK and leader Apo, who represent millions of people. This is a reality! As this is not being rough or soft, it is not being close or far from the PKK either. It's stating a truth directly.


I say what's in Kurds' hearts. I am putting my life on the line for their interests. Even if you raise heavens, you can't separate my people and I from each other. You can kill, destroy, oppress, but this movement and its leadership will always have a big place in the Kurdish people's heart. You have to know this. You cannot separate this. Today the things leader Apo says from İmralı [prison] are what someone in Amed's cafe's, Hakkari's plains, and Dersim would say. The reality is this: the Kurdish people have established a unity with its leader and movement.


If you see my cultural values as divisive then how am I going to unify with you?

We ask if you [the state] are going to end the animosity against the Kurdish people's leadership, values, language, culture, and name. If you are going to end this animosity, let us see it in practice. The state officials talk but we don't see anything positive in practice. Can the AKP government say, "Look, we have been developing the process for the past thee months and we have done this and that"? They keep talking about TRT6 [state owned TV station broadcasting in Kurdish]. You started TRT6 but why are there so many prohibitions still in place? A poet in Kurdish history, Cigerxwin, is a very important person for the Kurdish people. The state considers it divisive that a municipality wants to name a library after Cigerxwin. If you see my cultural values as divisive, then how am I going to unify with you? In fact, what you are doing is divisive. Why don't you see it? It's divisive to ignore and sideline the Kurdish people and belittle and disrespect their values.


Nobody should miscalculate

It's being said that the international conditions are against us. No; that may be your opinion and it may seem that way to you. There is also the side that's visible to us. In this respect, we have reserves and potential to defend ourselves and advance our cause for years. Nobody should make miscalculations on this and approach correctly. We don't talk big. But we are not a simple force either. We are a force that successfully stood up, renewed itself, got stronger, and strengthened its belief and decisiveness despite the attacks against us, supported internationally. In this respect we are in a position in which we have established high morale and motivation, increased belief and decisiveness, and strengthened tenacity for success. I have to state that those who couldn't weaken us during the most difficult years [for us], of 1999-2004, can't ever weaken us today. There is no way for a movement that didn't weaken during that term to weaken today. [...] There are powers interested in conflict and no solution for the Kurdish question. But we are saying that we have to solve our problem ourselves before there is further wear between us. Our people's interests require this. This is to Turkey's benefit. It has to be seen correctly.