PROSPECTS FOR A FUTURE SOLUTION TO THE KURDISH QUESTION

“It is unfortunate that those profiting from the war in Turkey are being allowed to continue escalating it.”
~ Adem Uzun.

Adem Uzun opines about the prospects for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish Question in Turkey, stolen from the hevals at KurdishInfo (Censored site: http://www.kurdish-info.net/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=12395):

Adem Uzun: PROSPECTS FOR A DEMOCRATIC, PEACEFUL SOLUTION TO KURDISH QUESTION

We are now at a stage where the forces of democracy and international public opinion are pressing Turkey for a permanent solution to the Kurdish problem. As the facts are well known, for decades past, the Kurds and the Kurdish movement had been subjected to ever-intensifying practices of oppression, torture, military operations both inland and abroad, with use of tanks and heavy bombings. However, despite all of these assaults, the Kurdish movement could not be eliminated.

At this stage, a political change of direction has become inevitable for Turkey. Nevertheless, Turkey is still determined to continue with its liquidation policy. It is for this reason that instead of making constitutional reforms to acknowledge the Kurdish identity and rights, it is sufficing with some hollow, half hearted, fake steps in order to start a propaganda, claiming to have solved the Kurdish question.

In the continuance of this process, Turkey will claim “to have solved the Kurdish question, to have done everything that needed to be done, that there is nothing else to be done, and the rest is the problem of terrorism”. With this, and before the eyes of the domestic and international public opinion, there is an intention to complete the preparation for a massacre of the Kurdish movement. There are numerous examples in this direction that justify our concerns. For instance, in recent days public opinion has been dominated by an ongoing investigation called Ergenekon; in fact this is the “state within state” or as it is popularly known in Turkey, the “Deep State”. The investigation targeted a privileged section of the society, which has profited from all kinds of influence and which has been part of the existing regime for decades. However, this process resembles the reconstruction of the ‘deep state’ against the Kurds, because, instead of the Ergenekon investigation and trial turning into an Investigation of Truth Commission, in an exactly the opposite process, crimes committed in Kurdistan are not being investigated at all. For this reason, we are anxious that this investigation and debate are turned into a big deception. Consequently, only a short while ago, Tayyip Erdogan, the Prime Minister of Turkey, confirmed how justified our concerns were when he addressed our people in Kurdistan by stating “Love it, or leave it!”

On the other hand, the popular official Turkish view still admits of no such thing as Kurds. If some progress has been made from the old Kart-Kurt to the present day where TRT, the state TV channel, is broadcasting in Kurdish, of course it is the result of the 30 years long struggle the Kurdish people fought. However, the Turkish state is using this situation to try to detach the Kurdish people from their struggle, to weaken their willpower and to suppress them. Other than this, and despite the Ottawa Treaty, Kurdish lands are being saturated with thousands of banned anti-personnel mines, while like the historic Hasankeyf, dozens of settlements are planned to be drowned by dams like Ilisu.

Non-stop air and ground bombardment of civilian areas of settlement are aiming to create military buffer zones against the Kurdish movement. Thus, a plan to develop a comprehensive military attack is afoot! Again, the Turkish Armed Forces are in preparation for a comprehensive cross-border war. In other words, it intends to shed more blood in Kurdistan. The intention is to adopt what is being practised in Palestine and to re-enact it in Kurdistan. To achieve this, the classic divide and rule, divide and suppress approach, is being tried to be employed. For this, relationships were established with Southern Kurdistan in order to step up these efforts to use Kurd against Kurd to ensure that one neutralises the other. Relations with Iraq and Iran should be set within this similar framework. The relationship with Syria is within the same framework. Within the same line, there is the fact of a strategic treaty and purchase of new armaments with Israel. Diplomatic efforts with the forces of Western capital are also within the same context.

This is all intended to make the world accept Turkey’s actions under the policy of “War against Terror”. Turkey’s government and army have tried this method before. Upon the call from the Kurdish People’s Leader, Mr Abdullah Ocalan, the PKK has accepted the call for a ceasefire and in 1998, declared it unilaterally. Following this, Mr Ocalan advanced the step even further in order to prevent the war from worsening as a result of the international conspiracy when he was taken hostage. And he called for the PKK to remove its military presence from Turkey. Despite having lost more than 300 guerrilla fighters in around 3-5 months, and the Turkish army not ceasing military operations, the PKK complied with this call and withdrew its forces. This meant a few years there as a long period of quiet. However, instead of the Turkish state seizing the opportunity to move towards a permanent peace, it fell into the misapprehension of “having won the war, having defeated the PKK!” So no steps were taken towards peace and a solution. Quite the contrary in the post 9/11 period, taking courage from “the war against terror” and the “you are either with me, or against me” doctrine, Turkey escalated the war yet again. Thus, the dissolution was deepened further. At present, despite stating that they wasted the opportunity, they are none the wiser in repeating the same mistake. This has only one explanation. It means that the Turkish government and army agree on elimination mentality and have found support from abroad.

However, someone has to tell Turkey that it has not won any war, indeed that it cannot win this war, and that Kurds are not a gullible or ignorant lot; on the contrary, Kurds have placed themselves amongst the honourable peoples through succeeding in re-creating themselves. The Turkish administration should understand well that it could no longer rule Kurds in the old fashion. They have to consider seriously the democratic solution and peace. A denied Kurd and Kurdistan means an ongoing problem, rebellion and external interference. It means the entire Turkish state and people’s material and moral resources are being exhausted and rolling from one crisis to another. It means loss of esteem and strength in Europe, the Middle East and the world!

It is unfortunate that those profiting from the war in Turkey are being allowed to continue escalating it. There is no limit and boundary for these actions. As much as 80% of incidents that are taking place in Kurdistan do not get reported in the press. There is bombardment in Southern Kurdistan (Northern Iraq) every day. Dust and smoke raised by US and Turkish planes reach the sky, where it joins with that raised by Iranian cannon fire. All civilian Kurdish people in the region are forced to live in fear and panic. What we have here is a grand-scale brutality and intra-state terrorism. Secret meetings to liquidate the Kurdish freedom movement are continuously being held. This approach will not only fail to solve the problem, but it will also shed more blood. Unfortunately, the EU countries do not act on this matter.

The EU Progress report on Turkey was published 2 months ago. The report criticises Turkey on some matters, but fails to address the conflict in depth. In other words, Turkey’s failure at democratisation, the army’s hegemony in politics, its disregard for human rights and freedoms are not considered from the perspective of the inability to solve the Kurdish question, which is essentially the most basic reason for the these failings. Also the recently published WEU report addressed the question in a similar logic, which is essentially concerned with listing the methods how to liquidate the Kurds. More and similar reports could well be quoted. What we essentially would like to point out is that the EU’s approach is prejudiced, more so, it regards the matter within the framework of the demands of the Turkish state. Let me explain: the EU reports portray the Kurds as bad, and uses all the Turkish Government’s sources as their data. Due to both the EU and Turkey not having any project, these reports are full of contradictions. As a result, the EU reports justify the state violence. So much so, that they justify aerial bombardments and land attacks on the Southern Kurdistan, i.e. Northern Iraq. The EU report also consents to extra-judicial executions of Kurds, because it does not base any of the accusations against Kurds, such as “List of Terror” on any concrete evidence. The EU report also shows that European states are being taken hostage by US and Turkish policies. The EU reports tend to impose [conditions] upon Kurds, even ignoring their democratic rights by telling Kurds what kind of leaders they should choose for themselves.

However, a more objective approach will not only open the way to a democratic and peaceful solution to the Kurdish question, but also pave the way to stability in the region. We think it is time to see that the Kurds, who are divided into four countries in the Middle East, are the key to democracy. But, as a result of approaching to the truths from wrong angles due to economic, military, diplomatic and political interests bring about greater instability, more clashes and wider breaches of human rights. Unfortunately, the outgoing EU commission’s practices bring about exactly that situation. Let us hope that the incoming EU commission due to take over in June will not repeat the same mistakes.

Esteemed Guests,

We are here today to acknowledge that this cannot go on as it is and a solution is to be found. A lot of debates are being held, a lot of reports are being published. We believe a permanent solution is possible. Starting from the obvious fact that a solution to the problem will have a direct impact on the peace and security in the region and the world, I will try to portray the Kurdish point of view. It will be observed that if the approach is the correct one, the Kurdish question is the key of democracy not only for Turkey, but also for the entire region. The opposite is to gain permanence to instability. In this context, whilst we have historic opportunities to solve the question, we also have the grave risks of new massacres and wars in failure. It is therefore beneficial to look into perspectives of Kurdish Solution in this context.

Three Alternatives for Middle East to choose

Due to the correlation and direct influence upon each other, if we were to look into the Middle East first; it is obvious that in the era of transition to democratic civilisation, the peoples of the Middle East have three main alternatives to choose from.

The first one is the continuation of the “established regime”, i.e. preserving the Status Quo. Thanks to the system of the established balance of the 20th century, this is the regime that has survived so far. But, both the hegemonic power of the system from above and the awakening of the peoples from below makes it impossible to maintain the Status Quo forever. The status quo, which tries to turn dissolution into a way of existence, when forced, applies a bit of make up on its face, and/or tries to extend its life expectancy through conspiracies, is in the process of deepening isolation.

The second alternative is the mixed democratic regime with limited application, with greater emphasis towards practical aspects. The era makes interdependence more and more prominent. The third stage of globalisation expedites this process. Also, the intra-national period leads the way to intra-corporatism. Nation state more and more becomes a corporate state. National capital is being replaced by intra-corporate capital. On the other hand, local cultures are getting more and more animated. Domesticity becoming the rising value. In brief, this alternative can be described as globalisation and domestication gaining prominence under the given influence of these elements. Whilst this is the worldwide ongoing process, seemingly it is gaining probability, more so for the countries of the Middle East. The inevitability to supersede the regimes of the old status quo renders this choice current and popular.

Our third alternative is the peoples’ democratic, ecological society based on freedom of the sexes, attaching great importance to morality and is not focused around the state. If the peoples and various free communities learn to live by developing the internal democracies, securing the social freedoms of the sexes, and meeting the ecological needs of the society, will enable us to get closer and closer to such a society and democracy.

If communal society and ethnic social arrangements, which are closer to equality, and which the peoples of the Middle East have lived through for a long time are amalgamated with the means of science and technology of the modern era, a more developed, democratic, ecological society, based on freedom of the sexes will be epitomised as the most noble value.

Three Paths for Turkey

Under the light of these alternatives, if we look at the reality of Turkey, we are faced with three paths and three tendencies. In the process of reform and transformation based on the Kurdish question, these three paths and three tendencies will try to remain permanent through the struggle between the relations and contradictions of the parties. The logical, moral and political education, organisation and action aspects of the struggle itself will determine which path and which tendency will remain permanent and dominant.

The first path and tendency is the pro-status quo, inward-looking, divisive and violence inducing nationalist paradigms and practices that had been exercised in the recent past. This tendency is charged with a racist nationalism on the Turkish side and by definition it is very hard-line statist old fashioned conservative without distinguishing between left and right. Armed with “a state of permanent paranoid perception, as a state, a nation, even a society they are under the impression that the last bastion of Turkishness is about to fall, the honour and true faith is at stake, and their schizophrenia is beyond salvaging. It does not neglect the requirements of Islam either, believing that this state of mind will sort out the situation anyhow. As opposed to a true conviction, a showpiece of Kemalism, is the widespread stance both within the state structure and the wider society. This tendency’s reflection upon the Kurdish politics is the form of rejectionism, “out of sight, out of mind” attitude, keeping Kurds excluded from the society and when rebelled, to suppress them with extreme prejudice.

The second tendency and path has emerged from the first one by means of an alienation process. It may also be called the weak liberal bourgeois path. The real emergence of it coincides with the globalisation boom of post-1980’s The ANAP experience, lead by Turgut Ozal was the first version of it. It aims at joining the supranational tendency for globalisation. By definition it is not anti-oligarchic. It is far from being fully open to democracy. Rather than being truly democratic, it satisfies itself by exploiting democracy as a means to its own interests. Its clash with the previous tendency is on the basis of which one would manage to be more dominant. AKP is seemingly on the path of becoming the second version of it.

There is a strong possibility for its mask to fall especially regarding its approach to the Kurdish Question. It cannot possibly fight for long by hitting beneath the belt. Consequently, the AKP has no peaceful project regarding the policy on the Kurds. Although enthusiastic about harmonising with the West, it is not strong enough to determine a policy, let alone exercising it. Its entire hope depends on external forces having their turns to attack the PKK. Progressively it is becoming obvious that they wish to achieve certain goals by being semi-covert and not showing their true colours.

The third path and tendency is focused on civil democratic society and its base is the peoples’ search for equality and freedom under conjoint democracies. By smashing the racist chauvinistic code of nationality, this can be the common denominator of all cultures. Instead of the race based nationhood, it relies upon the country based notion of nationhood. The learning of, and the use of all languages, their unbound use without any restraint is a modern and widespread practice across the entire world. The reform of the state is based upon liberating the state from the ideological role and to turn it into a technical means of service. The existence of cultures that are protected by international agreements, their free expression and continuing survival, the right to be free from being based from any ethnic entity, and not to press for any religious and sectarian segregation are the elements that need reforming.

Reforms that are not based on “Uniformed and Impoverishing Homogenous Equality” as opposed to “Equality in Difference, Wealth in Difference”, are being guaranteed by constitutional protections. It takes comprehensive precautions against mentalities and applications whereby women are treated as property. It adopts the mentality that a truly free society can only be possible by means of ecological. It also embraces so many but so much important elements. The materialisation of this is closely related to the solution of the Kurdish question. The reflection of this tendency to the Kurdish question will be the foundations of e peaceful and democratic solution.

Kurdish Phenomenon and the Kurdish Question

As I related above, in order to materialise each alternative in the realities of Turkey and the Middle East, a realistic approach to the Kurdish phenomenon, which plays a fundamental role to materialise those alternatives, has become imperative even more so then ever before. The truth that has been acknowledged by everybody is that we have entered into an era that Kurds can no longer be ruled in the old way. For this reason, there is a great unease in the region. None of the established regimes are confident any more. Nobody is sure as to what the near future will bring. Every single day will bring about elements that will affect the disintegration in the Kurdish phenomenon. As to how the solution will emerge, in which direction, will be determined by the qualities and the tempo of the forces intervening to the praxis. As to whether the process will reach a solution on the basis of the clash of two nationalisms, or whether it will reach a democratic compromise has entered into the agenda as the most burning two questions.

For the first time ever, The internal relations of Kurds and their relationships with the neighbouring ethnicities and states has become an issue that concerns the regional strategies. Kurdish-Arabic, Kurdish-Turkish, Kurdish- Farsi relationships have entered into an era that keeps so many minds busy.

Under the given conditions two possible developments may be the subject of a democratic solution. The first mode of solution is closely related to democratisation process hand in hand with Turkey. To ensure this, as we have briefly dealt with, a state reform is essential. There is a necessity to avoid putting visible or covert barriers in the path of democratisation process of the Kurds and the practice of turning laws into obstacles must be abandoned. Constitutional amendments must be made. Turkish and Kurdish peoples meeting on a common democratic platform necessitates some arrangements. The parties of the problems must be taken into account. Here, the position of Mr Abdullah Ocalan, the leader of the Kurdish people gains great importance. Compromise and dialogue must be developed with Mr. Ocalan. Also; to end the clashes and achieve lasting peace a mutual ceasefire must be maintained.

The second path to a democratic solution is for the Kurds to establish their own democracies. If the first path is blocked, the path to enter is to establish the rules and bodies of democracy on their own. The latest local and general elections clearly showed that despite Kurds elected their own candidates, undemocratic laws and obstacles prevent such elections and their results from being enforced. In the future if the prohibiting practices continue, the self-imposed democratic applications of the Kurds will be more expedient.

Other than these, the remaining avenues are denial and suppression on the one hand and rebellion against such policies and war. The history is full of lessons on the subject. Whilst the cries for democratization and democratic solutions are continually rising, they are yet to take their deserved places on the political agenda. Not so surprisingly, however, many European, countries, even some African, Asian and American countries too, have intensely applied the democratic model upon the problems regarding cultures and peoples. This is the path that the world has taken. The time has come and almost too late for those countries concerned with the Kurdish Question, perhaps Turkey first and foremost, to toe the line.

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