“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.” ~ Andre Gide.

How can a Kurd say he (or she) is a Kurd when he is primarily defined as a Turk? How can a Kurd be happy with such a definition? Consider the following, from AP and carried by :

When Turkey’s prime minister recently recognized that not all Turks are alike, the restive Kurdish population rejoiced.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the comments in an effort to calm unrest in the country’s largely Kurdish southeast. No one should be discriminated against because of their ethnicity, he told hundreds of Kurds who gathered to hear him during a trip to the region last week.

“We are all citizens of the republic of Turkey under that upper identity,” he said. However all Turks have “sub-identities,” Erdogan said. “No one should be offended by this. A Kurd can say ‘I am a Kurd.'”

To put it simply, a Kurd is now expected to believe this: We are all Turks. As Turks, we have “sub-identities.” Our “sub-identity is “Kurd.”

How can anyone rejoice over something like this? Is this what uncounted numbers of Kurds have died for? Is this what all the torture is for? Is this what all the suffering is for, for a new definition of “Turk,” for a classification as “Turk, sub-species Kurd?” Is this the new “Mountain Turk?”

No, this is more of the same Kemalism, more of the same ideology that gave us Turkish History Thesis and Sun Language Thesis, but now it is clad in new, twenty-first century language and it still does not work! No Kurd should rejoice over this latest degradation.

But I am not the only one who has problems with Erdogan’s statements:

Back in the capital, though, Erdogan’s speech angered the country’s powerful nationalists, who assailed him for questioning the “one Turkish nation” policy that gave birth to the republic 82 years ago. So deeply engrained is the policy that Turkish schoolchildren start the day by chanting “Happy is the one who says ‘I am a Turk.'”

The Kemalists understand the situation as it really is, something that the Islamist politician, Erdogan, does not:

Many nationalists regard any expression of a separate Kurdish identity as a cover for trying to break up the state along ethnic lines. That fear has been strengthened by the war in Iraq, which left Iraqi Kurds in control of a region in the north of the country bordering on Turkey.

Deniz Baykal, the main opposition leader, claimed that Erdogan’s redefinition of Turkish identity could lead to a conflict of the kind that tore up the former Yugoslavia and threatens to do the same in Iraq.

“If we go into that process, we would be drifted toward the danger of becoming the Balkans, Yugoslavia and Iraq,” Baykal said.

Iraq is not “drifting toward the danger” of becoming the Balkans or the former Yugoslavia. . . at least, not yet, but that is not what is really worrying the Kemalist. What really worries the Kemalist is that if Kurdish identity is properly acknowledged, then the last eighty years of official Turkish policy and ideology has been constructed to support only one thing, The Lie. If we go back before Turkey’s establishment, even before the Treaty of Lausanne, which permitted the establishment of The Lie, then we come to the Treaty of Sèvres, and the Treaty of Sèvres promised Kurdish autonomy. The Treaty of Sèvres recognized Kurdish identity, free of The Lie and free of Erdogan’s most recent contribution to Newspeak.

Erdogan is playing a dangerous game with the Kemalists, not for the sake of Kurds but for the sake of his own Islamist agenda. No political office in Turkey represents ultimate state authority. For that, one must look to the generals because they are the guardians of Kemalism. They enshrined Kemalism in Turkey’s constitution and they ultimately enforce it. Think about that for a moment. Let it sink in well and then ask yourself, what democracy in the world would adopt a constitution written and enforced by generals?

Turkey is no democracy, and this is reinforced by news reports of another mass grave found in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, again from the AP article at

On Monday, NTV television reported that a mass grave containing nine bodies believed to be those of Kurdish guerrillas was discovered in southeastern Mardin province.

So the game continues. The two JITEM officers have apparently been arrested on charges of “establishing an organized crime ring” and “inciting hatred based on ethnic differences,” but how many times in the past have security forces been arrested, charged, brought to trial and acquitted? Call me a skeptic.

At this point it seems that only one thing is certain, at least to me: it is totally unacceptable for Kurds to be a “sub-identity” of Turks. Check the last two paragraphs of the article:

On Sunday, police refrained from using force against several hundred stone-throwing Kurdish children marking 27 years since the founding of the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party, known by its Turkish acronym PKK.

But a group of Turkish children threw stones back at the Kurdish children – and were awarded chewing gum by the officers, according to Turkish media reports Monday and Tuesday.

See, they don’t believe this “sub-identity” thing either.

A correction is in order. “[K]nown by its Turkish acronym PKK,” should read “known by its Kurdish acronym PKK (Partîya Karkeren Kurdistan).” On the other hand, maybe AP meant “known by its Turkish, sub-dialect Kurdish, acronym. . . .”

By the way, there is an update on the situation of Dr. Kamal Sayid Qadir, who was arrested by the KDP at the end of October, 2005, at Amnesty International Starts Official Public Campaign on behalf of Dr Kamal Sayid Qadir

Amnesty International / PUBLICAI
Index: MDE 14/046/2005
30November 2005

UA 299/05 Incommunicado detention/fear of torture or ill-treatmentIRAQ Kamal Sayid Qadir (m), aged 48, Austrian national, writer

Writer Kamal Sayid Qadir, who has Austrian citizenship, was reportedly abducted on 26 October, while on a visit to Iraqi Kurdistan, by members of Parastin, the security intelligence service of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), one of two parties holding power in the Kurdish-dominated region. He is being held incommunicado, and Amnesty International fears that he may be tortured or ill-treated. He has not had access to lawyers and to Amnesty International’s knowledge has not been charged or given access to his family.

The Austrian President reportedly raised the case of Kamal Sayid Qadir with the President of Kurdistan, KDP leader Mas’ud Barzani, during a conference in Austria on about 20 November. The Austrian Embassy in the Jordanian capital, Amman, is also said to be investigating the case. Mas’ud Barzani has reportedly given assurances to the Austrian President that Kamal Sayid Qadir will receive a fair trial.

Kamal Sayid Qadir, an Iraqi Kurd who lives in Austria, had reportedly gone to a meeting with KDP officials at a hotel in the city of Arbil. KDP intelligence agents are believed to have seized him because of articles that he had published on the Internet in the weeks before he returned to Iraqi Kurdistan which were critical of the KDP authorities, including Mas’ud Barzani. He has not been seen since.

Amnesty International wrote to Mas’ud Barzani on 3 November, seeking clarification of what had happened to Kamal Sayid Qadir, but has received no reply.


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