PEACE AT ANY PRICE?

“You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.”
~ Eric Hoffer.

Well, well, well. . . the EU speaks out again. To be specific, the AKP’s representative in the European Parliament, Joost Lagendijk, has spoken out against the right of the Kurdish people to back their own political parties. Shame, shame, Mr. Lagendijk, the right of the people to choose their own political parties and to support them is one of the bases of democracy.

Shame, shame on Mr. Cem Ozdemir, too. Note: Cem Ozdemir was the first German of Turkish ethnicity (or would that be “sub-identity?”) to be elected to the Bundestag in German history. As a member of the Green Party, a party which has to make a 5% threshold to keep take seats in the Bundestag. Germany has a population of some 82 million. It has a 5% threshold for parties to be apportioned seats in its parliament. Turkey has a population of some 69 million. It has a 10% threshold for parties to be apportioned seats in its parliament. Interesting bit of trivia, isn’t it?

Moving right along . . . Let us say, for the sake of argument, that the Kurds in the funeral procession were not enraged by the attack against them, instigated by the Turkish police. Let’s say that the Kurdish people, who were already fed up with the government attack at Semdinli, with the endless empty governmental promises, with the endless discrimination, with the poverty that has become entrenched by the government as a way of life for a group of some 20 million people that it officially views as subhuman, or with the torture and mutilation of their own dead, let’s say that these people were not already angry. Let’s go with Mr. Lagendijk’s analysis that PKK had some significant role in the violence.

So what?

Thousands of people turned out to accompany HPG gerîlas to their final rest. With which political organization does Mr. Lagendijk think the sympathies of these Kurds lie? If their preference is with PKK, then Mr. Lagendijk and Mr. Ozdemir, you have no place to deny them their political preference.

In their statement, both of these guys refer to the recent ETA ceasefire, saying that PKK must also renounce all forms of violence. But there is a huge distinction, at this point, between the ETA example and PKK. ETA had someone to negotiate with, and the EU should know that. PKK has no one to negotiate with, and never has. The EU should know that, too. PKK has had a number of unilateral ceasefires in the past, the most recent lasted five years.

Now, think about that term, “unilateral.” What does that term call to mind? “Uni-” is a prefix which indicates that something has or consists of only one thing. “Lateral” from Latin, meaning “side.” So “unilateral” is a fancy word for “one-sided.” It means that PKK called a number of one-sided ceasefires in its history, the most recent lasting five years. There was no other side; only PKK held the ceasefire, meaning, for the more obtuse reader, that the Turkish government never did anything to take advantage of the one-sided PKK ceasefires.

While the ETA example is great theoretically, practically speaking, at this moment in time and for the foreseeable future, that dog won’t hunt. You can run it up the flagpole, but it isn’t going to fly. It stands an armadillo’s chance on a four-lane blacktop. Get what I’m saying, Mr. Lagendijk and Mr. Ozdemir?

I can hear them now: “But PKK is a terrorist organization! It’s on The List®!”

But that dog won’t hunt either. ETA was on The List® and it had mediators and negotiators. In addition, who was hosting HAMAS in Ankara recently? And HAMAS also has the distinction of being on The List®.

Here comes the next line of the hypocrite’s argument: “But HAMAS was democratically elected!” AHA! That brings us back to the opening lines of this post, doesn’t it? The choice of legitimacy lies with the people, not with a pack of hypocritical List-makers in faraway places like Washington, Strasbourg, or Ankara. The hypocritical List-makers have no clue as to what the Kurdish people have suffered for more than 80 years from the Turkish government, and they have no idea of the righteous anger of the Kurdish people now.

I suppose I suffer the same confusion as the DTP co-chairs, Ahmet Turk and Aysel Tugluk, on this matter of The List®:

“We are having difficulty understanding which principles of justice and democracy the prime minister is applying to the conditions under which he will meet with us. We are surprised by the actions of an administration that invites Hamas, a group recognized by both the United States and the EU as a terrorist organization, to meetings in Ankara, but then rejects meeting with a legal political party from its own country.”

Touché, Mr. Erdogan, Mr. Lagendijk, Mr. Ozdemir, Mr. Bush and everyone else who wants to get themselves listed in the hypocrite round-up. Extend the same reasoning to PKK, because The List® is a joke.

Not only are they confused about who is a terrorist, but the Europeans are also confused about exactly what PKK is, since they confuse bombings in Istanbul with HPG operations. The US is guilty of the same ignorance, but I wonder if this is really a result of ignorance, or if the EU and the US are simply parroting the official position of their good ally.

Some bombings in Turkey have been claimed by TAK, which is not connected to PKK, while other bombings go without claims. The problem that no one seems to acknowlege, is that Turkey has more problems than just PKK. Of course, it makes life so much simpler to demonize Kurds in these matters.

Any number of completely unrelated groups are quite capable of carrying out bombings and have, in fact, done so in the past. The refusal to acknowledge this fact of life in the TC is more proof that Europe does not have the interests of Kurds at heart–the first proof of this being the continual demands that Kurds lay down their weapons and renounce violence. As long as the TSK and other, more shadowy, organizations are operative in Kurdistan, Kurds have the legitimate right of defence and hence the name: Hezên Parastina Gel, The People’s Defence Forces.

If you have proof, Mr. Lagendijk, that PKK is behind all the violence in Turkey, you’re obliged to present your evidence or you become an accessory to the fact. . . or a government stooge.

The statement of Messrs. Lagendijk and Ozdemir turns to black comedy at the call for the Turkish government “to investigate the incidents and on the judiciary to prosecute the law enforcement officials responsible.” Can they be serious?! This is Turkey, they’re talking about! The same government and judiciary that has buried Semdinli! KurdishInfo has a list of a few of the recent murders of Kurds by the Turkish state, among them the treacherous HPG gerîlas, Ahmet Kaymaz and his twelve-year-old son, Ugur.

Turkish law exists to protect the state from the people and, by extension, the officers of the state (i.e. security forces) are also protected by law. It is a sick joke on the part of EU parliamentarians to suggest that the Turkish state is capable of rendering a just decision for any dead Kurd.

No statement would be complete without the de rigueur mention of the economic and cultural situation of Kurdistan, and in this regard Mr. Lagendijk and Mr. Ozdemir don’t disappoint. In this case, however, economics and culture serve as another anti-PKK propaganda piece, with another irrelevant reference to the ETA example. In fact, this portion of the statement sounds more like a threat than any reasoned statement of concern for the Kurdish people:

“But any effort to develop the region economically and to grant cultural rights is lost if the PKK does not change its attitude. The leadership of the PKK apparently drew the wrong lessons from the unilateral ceasefire proclaimed recently by the Spanish terrorist organization ETA: It is not by intensifying the fight that one becomes a respectable partner for talks on a solution, but by renouncing to all forms of violence.”

For one thing, why should PKK change its attitude? If the proven position of the government is that it will not negotiate with anyone on The List®, HAMAS excepted, of course, then why should PKK change its attitude, whatever that means? This paragraph tells me that the EU sees every Kurd as PKK. Which means that they see every Kurd as “terrorist.” Isn’t this Erdogan’s position, which was clear from his statement that it wouldn’t matter if women or children were present at protests, that security forces would also kill them? As “pawns” of “terrorists,” women and children who are on the sidelines or caught in the line of fire or hit by “stray” bullets, deserve death simply because they are Kurds/”terrorists?”

Let me tell you who is drawing the wrong lessons here: the EU and Ankara. The threat to withhold from the Kurdish people the rights that are inherent to them as human beings, the right of gainful employment by which fathers can feed their families, the right to one’s own essence as expressed collectively as culture, the right to decide one’s own political future, the right to legitimate self-defence against a foreign, racist or colonial aggressor, will not bring the peace incessantly called for.

Peace at any price is not worth having.

Everyone should notice that the DTP is conspicuous, in this statement, by its absence. Was that an oversight, or has the EU already digested the propaganda that makes no distinction between PKK and DTP? Or maybe they are annoyed that neither DTP nor Osman Baydemir will condemn PKK. On the other hand, not even Masud Barzanî is condemning PKK, but is permitting them to move freely through Bahdinan. Freely enough, anyway, so that HPG can return captured Turkish police to the Turkish government.

I have a heval who is fond of saying that PKK is the greatest because no one ever talks about anything else. After this recent statement by the EU and the statements of the last week from the Turkish government, I think he may be right. . .

On the other hand, this may all boil down to a simple case of fear.

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