Archive for March, 2009

ELECTION UPDATE AND MORE

Posted in Uncategorized on March 31, 2009 by Mizgîn
“The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off.”
~ Gloria Steinem.

The only Southern Kurdish politician who has consistently spoken the truth, speaks again, from KurdishAspect:

Kurdish Aspect: One of the other issues in the region is Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which seems that eventually KRG has been dragged to get involved in it. What do you think the problems are?

Dr. Osman: The solution for PKK problem is in Ankara. Where did PKK come from? The solution is in Ankara and when Turkey changes its policy then gradually this issue will be resolved very easily and Kurdistan Region would help it. But the problem is PKK is the result of state-terrorism policy of Turkey against Kurds which doesn’t recognize Kurdish identity and rights and it has resulted in armed conflict. When the government fights Kurds, then it is a fact that Kurds or PPK will fight back.Turkey insists on its aggressive policy and insists that Kurdistan Region is involved in the issue and expel PKK from Kurdistan Region. This might result in Kurdish infighting. This is a huge problem. What is important to us is that there are 20 million Kurds in Turkey which are entitled to rights. Read the Turkish Constitution and you will see that it says anyone who lives on this land (Turkey) is considered a Turk. There are many suppressive acts. There is no solution for PKK neither in Hawler nor in Baghdad. The solutions are in Ankara. But Turkey doesn’t want to resolve it peacefully and this is the core of the problem. Turkey, Americans, and Maliki’s government all are putting pressure on KRG to expel PKK in its areas. Expelling PKK would result in fighting. It is complicated.

Kurdish Aspect: Do you think that all the sides that you mentioned have been successful in dragging KRG into the PKK issue? As you know it seems that KRG is getting more and more involved in this issue, for example some leaders even call PKK a terrorist group.

Dr. Osman: Yes that is right. But PKK is not a terrorist group and whoever says that is making a mistake. I believe that Turkish state-terrorism and PKK is a reaction to that. Even if PKK is considered a terrorist group, then the big terrorist is Ankara and PKK is just a small one. I believe that this is a political issue, but the problem is Turkey considers it a security issue. If Turkey decides that it will deal with it as a political issue then it can be resolved. But as long as it considers it a security issue and believes that fighting it on the both sides of the border (inside Turkey and inside Iraq) then I don’t see any solution ever. We should ask why PKK is in Iraqi Kurdistan. The answer is that people have been fleeing the Turkish government led fights. If Turkey decides not to fight and grants a general amnesty, I believe that majority of these people (PKK) would return to their country. But the problem is Turkey doesn’t even want to grant a general amnesty. Unfortunately because of the support from the U.S. and the Iraqi government Turkey has been encouraged to continue its policy. The solution is not just by labeling (PKK) a terrorist group and call for expulsion. But I think we have right which is we can demand PKK not to use Iraqi Kurdistan as a base to attack Turkey. That is our right. There is a problem inside Turkey and they have to solve it, because fighting is not the answer for these problems. They (Turkey and PKK) have been fighting each other for a quarter of a century without any decisive results.

On a related note, Heval Cemal recently released a statement over the weekend:

Our weapons are necessary because we are not dealing with a state that believes in democracy,” Karayilan said in the tape. “We are dealing with a state ruled by military generals. To abandon our arms without a political solution to our issues means suicide.”

Karayilan spoke in response to written questions submitted by the journalists, who are familiar with the Kurdish rebel leader’s voice.

He urged the Turkish government to begin a dialogue with the PKK to resolve Kurdish issues.

“If the Turkish government wants to solve our issue seriously, they should release 4,000 of our leaders who are in the Turkish custody,” he said. “They should be freed as a goodwill gesture, then a cease-fire, sit down for negotiations to spell out our national rights within the Turkish state.”

This is a brief reiteration of the Declaration for a Democratic Resolution of the Kurdish Question (see: http://www.kurdish-info.net/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=3467 ) from 2006, which the great democratic states of Turkey and the US refused during the Ralston-Lockheed Martin conflict of interest.

There’s a little more from Heval Cemal, via AFP:

“Talabani wants to please the Turkish generals, and we have lost all hope of seeing him play a positive role in a solution to the Kurdish problem . . . No one can eject us from our mountain stronghold here, and recent battles are proof of this. We recommend rapprochement between Kurds instead of submitting to pressure exerted by neighbouring countries. . . . What is strange, to say the least, is that Ankara arms 90,000 Kurdish mercenaries and at the same time wants to disarm us. We will never accept talks if preconditional on us disarming.”

Of course, whoever wants to go up there and try to remove PKK from the mountains . . . Turkey’s tried this how many times now? It was the American general Patton who said, “You don’t win a war by dying for your country. You win a war by making the other son-of-a-bitch die for his.” Amin.

With respect to the upcoming “Kurdish” summit, it will be more difficult now for the Southern leadership to follow the AKP’s lead–like cows with rings in their noses–and propagandize AKP’s claim to represent everyone in Turkey, including the Kurdish people. DTP should be able to go into the conference, if invited, with confidence that it is the representative of the Kurdish people in North Kurdistan and then we’ll see what all the “democrats” will do.

Most likely AKP will attempt to claim that it’s the representative of the Kurdish people but it has very little on which to base this claim. Even the pundits on Turkish TV overwhelmingly say that this election was a major setback for AKP throughout Turkey. If the economic crisis continues, the next general election in Turkey, slated for 2011, will see AKP continue to hemorrhage votes.

DTP now holds 99 cities in The Southeast (complete list here with DTP and AKP voting percentages given at the bottom according to province. DTP’s women mayors have increased since yesterday by one, coming to a grand total of 14 women mayors in North Kurdistan and if they’re all like Doğubeyazit’s Mukaddes Kubilay, they have harder head than the men and can run circles around them all day and all night. And this gender equality has been brought to you courtesy of Abdullah Öcalan and the big, bad PKK.

Finally, unofficial results are in for HAK=PAR (See: http://www.firatnews.com/index.php?rupel=nuce&nuceID=5315 ), which received 1,331 votes in Amed (Diyarbakır); 756 in Adana; 546 in Mersin; 467 in Agirî (Ağrı); 447 in Nisêbîn (Nusaybin); 209 in Êlih (Batman); 66 in Çewlik (Bingöl); 66 in Tetwan (Tatvan); 62 in Dersim (Tunceli); 50 in Riha (Urfa); and 2 in Şirnex (Sırnak).

Bijî DTP!

TURKISH ELECTIONS 2009

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 30, 2009 by Mizgîn
“If you cry tomorrow, it will be in vain.”
~ R. Tayyip Erdoğan.
Leyla Zana votes for the first time in 18 years, 29 March 2009. Photo: Fırat News.

Most of the counting is done in the local Turkish elections and AKP has lost ground. Literally.

DTP took Sêrt (Siirt–49% DTP; 46% AKP; 2% CHP) and Wan (Van–52% DTP; 41% AKP; 3.6% SP) from DTP; it also took Îdir (Iğdır–40% DTP; 31% AKP; 27% MHP) from MHP. In spite of bribes of washing machines, refrigerators, and the like, DTP took Dersim (Tunceli–30% DTP; 25% Independent; 22% AKP).

“The Castle”, aka Amed aka Diyarbakır, broke Katil Erdoğan’s heart by handing DTP a 65% win, compared to AKP’s 32%. I would guess that much of the support DTP has in the Kurdish capital is as much a result of Osman Baydemir’s wild popularity as it is DTP’s campaigning. In Colemêrg (Hakkari), DTP won by an overwhelming 79% over AKP’s 16%. For more details on numbers, check Milliyet’s interactive map. Hürriyet also has lots of election data.

Other significant wins for DTP include Êlih (Batman), Sîlopî (Silopi), Tetwan (Tatvan) and many others. DTP now has 13 women mayors and Fırat news reports that unofficial results show DTP owning eight provinces and 50 districts as a result of the 29 March election.

There have been some problems in connection with the elections. For example, as DTP supporters celebrated the DTP win in Elkê (Beytuşşebap), police attacked the DTP office with tear gas bombs while village guards threw stones. There are problems with election results in Erzîrom’s (Erzurum) Tekman town, where AKP won by four votes while 30 votes were purposely cancelled. Apparently fingerprint voting for AKP was accepted but not for DTP. DTP filed objections and the election judge is currently being held by the TSK (local brigade commander) and the governor (qeymeqem/kaymakam) of the town. For what purpose the election judge is being held is unclear but I suspect it may be that he’s being held until he okays the shady goings-on.

Here’s some analysis on DTP’s Amed victory from Hürriyet:

This is a very strong comeback for the DTP, which some observers see as the political wing of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. In the general elections of July 2007, in it was overshadowed by AKP’s phenomenal success in Kurdish areas.

At least 10,000 people gathered in front the DTP headquarters last night to celebrate this victory. There were men and women, the young and the old, the modern and the conservative. Women in headscarves were chanting around fires along with girls in blue jeans.

There was a notably high number of youth who were all cheerful about not just the DTP, but also the PKK. Its leader, Abdullah Öcalan, who has been in a Turkish jail since 1999, was frequently praised. When his posters were shown, enthusiastic supporters chanted his nickname, “Apo, Apo, Apo.” At some point a slogan filled the air: “The PKK is the people! And the people are here!” It was followed by another one: “Hey Turko, go home, Amed is not yours.” Amed is the ancient name given to Diyarbakir in the Kurdish language.

No mention was made in the article about AKP-sponsored violence against the people of Amed, particularly during the Amed Serhildan exactly three years ago, in which Katil Erdoğan gave a green light to security forces to murder Kurdish women and children if they got in the way. Security forces did, indeed, murder a number of Kurdish children throughout the region at the time. No mention was made of Kurdish opposition to TSK’s cross-border invasion of South Kurdistan last year, which was a massive failure and embarrassment for the TSK, as well as the government. Nor was there any mention of last year’s Newroz violence.

Hürriyet also offered some analysis on why AKP lost ground throughout Turkey, including:

* Since 2002, only two major political parties, the AKP and the CHP, were competing in the political arena. The AKP was leading the polls, increasing its votes in the last three consecutive elections. In the fourth, CHP managed to curb this trend and started to close the gap, thanks to its reputable candidates in many cities.

* MHP has increased its votes in many Anatolian cities, becoming a more visible contender appealing to center-right voters.

* In the southeast Anatolia, where the AKP was pushing hard to get the municipalities from DTP, it failed to succeed. On the contrary, the DTP seems to have increased its political visibility in the region where the AKP distributed social aid to the poor just before the elections. In addition, neither the government’s initiative of the start of Kurdish broadcasting on state TV (TRT-6) nor its recent attempts to extend an olive branch to Iraqi Kurds for cooperation produced sufficient results for the AKP.

* Support for the AKP in leading industrial cities, like Kayseri, Denizli and Bursa, decreased mostly because of the economic crisis. Although the AKP is less likely to lose the municipalities in these towns, the decrease in the votes would have tangible results over the general outlook on the results.

Now let’s see how bold the paşas become. Let’s see if AKP will cut the budgets for those provinces that are in DTP’s hands. Let’s see if AKP intensifies repression in those provinces. In the meantime, hearty congratulations to DTP for its victories!

Bijî DTP û Serkeftin!

DTP’s Women Mayors: http://www.firatnews.com/index.php?rupel=nuce&nuceID=5302
DTP has 50 districts: http://www.firatnews.com/index.php?rupel=nuce&nuceID=5308
DTP attacked in Beytuşşebap: http://www.firatnews.com/index.php?rupel=nuce&nuceID=5292
Controversy in Tekman, Erzurum: http://www.firatnews.com/index.php?rupel=nuce&nuceID=5304

ERGENEKON, ELECTIONS, AND THE KURDISH SUMMIT

Posted in Uncategorized on March 27, 2009 by Mizgîn
“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.”
~ Paulo Freire.

There was actually a fairly decent report on the Ergenekon fiasco from PRI’s The World. You can listen here. They do, however, fail to mention that Mustafa Akyol is an Islamist or that Yaşar Nuri Öztürk was recently caught in a sex scandal but, overall, it presents a pretty good minor intro into the Ergenekon show.

Speaking of Ergenekon, recently a piddly little TSK colonel was arrested in connection with JİTEM’s acid wells. Please, I thought, a colonel? What was he back in the 90’s, an even more piddly little captain? Sure enough. Now who was it that took the fall for Susurluk? Three were eventually convicted and served time for Susurluk but they, too, were nobodies,just like this acid well colonel. The big fish in the Susurluk scandal not only were not arrested, they were later promoted within The System. The same will happen with JİTEM’s acid well murders.

Meanwhile there have been more than 250 unsolved extrajudicial murders since the 1990s in Şirnex (Şirnak) province alone. KurdishInfo has more on that here: http://www.kurdish-info.net/News-sid-Deep-Stateund-8217-s-balance-in-rnak-more-than-250-unresolved-assassinations-12795.html

Bloomberg has a piece on how Kurds are spurning Erdoğan, in spite of handouts:

Kurdish tea seller Muharrem Ogur wasn’t impressed when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan built irrigation systems for the fields near his home and ordered the state-run television company to open a Kurdish channel.

What mattered to Ogur was that his favorite politician was reprimanded by Turkey’s parliament for speaking in Kurdish, and that police set upon youths in his neighborhood in Diyarbakir last year for waving the Kurdish flag.

Erdogan, who has made wooing Turkey’s 15 million Kurds a key part of his campaign for local elections on March 29, is finding that political favors don’t overcome decades of tension. Even as he pursues reconciliation, his government is battling Kurdish militants and denying Kurds some rights enjoyed by ethnic Turks.

The net result may be that Diyarbakir and four other cities under Kurdish political control will reject Erdogan’s party.

And so we ardently hope.

Murat Karakas, who grows cotton and wheat on his 30 acres outside the village of Oyali, 30 kilometers west of Diyarbakir, says his vote will go to Baydemir even after Erdogan built an irrigation channel through his fields from a nearby dam.

“Blood is thicker than water round here,” said Karakas, 38. “Water might help us grow more crops, but my vote goes to our Kurdish brothers because of the situation we face in Diyarbakir as Kurds.”

There. That guy has the correct attitude. Too bad he’s not running the KRG.

At the same time, police abuse in the region is rising, said Muharrem Erbay, chief of the Diyarbakir branch of the Human Rights Association, Turkey’s biggest human-rights group.

There were 798 reported incidents of torture and mistreatment in the east and southeast of Turkey last year, more than three times the figure for 2007, Erbay said.

Aysu Uraz, a spokeswoman for the human-rights department of Erdogan’s office, declined to comment on the figures, saying data for 2008 will be published in the next two weeks.

I suppose police abuse has been on the rise because 80% of the police are Fethullahçı. For a similar piece that was carried in the Financial Times, see Hevallo’s place.

Finally, DTP speaks out some more on the upcoming US-Turkey orchestrated “Kurdish” summit:

“As the DTP, we are disturbed by the agenda of the conference. Thus, we have doubts about the conference. If it will only focus on the liquidation of the PKK, this will cause chaos, and we do not want to take part in this chaos,” Selahattin Demirtaş, the DTP’s group vice president to the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

Criticizing Iraqi President Jalal Talabani’s approach, which urges the PKK either to lay down their guns or leave Iraq, Demirtaş stated that the organization could not be constrained between these two options. “If you present two options, a third one appears: The PKK rejects and resists. This means clashes,” Demirtaş said, adding that the DTP cannot accept such an offer.

“If democratic solutions are developed, the PKK will spontaneously lay down their guns,” he argued. He said the solutions included issuing a general pardon in Turkey, putting different cultures and identities under the protection of a constitution, and actualizing democratic autonomy.

Demirtaş also drew attention to the purpose of the conference, which was a need to determine and find solutions to the problems of Kurdish people living in different countries of the Middle East region. According to Demirtaş, the DTP will support a conference that aims to solve problems, but rejects the current one, which is known as a U.S. plan and aims only to liquidate the PKK.

Read the rest, and if you haven’t read our position on the “Kurdish” summit, check this post.

DID HE OR DIDN’T HE?

Posted in Uncategorized on March 25, 2009 by Mizgîn
“Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.”
~ Will Rogers.

This sums up the Turkish media frenzy about whether or not Gül said the “K” word:

Photo and captions, Hürriyet.

Hürriyet itself is a contradiction. First:

President Abdullah Gül’s first official uttering of the word ’Kurdistan’ in relation to the regional administration in northern Iraq sends shockwaves through the opposition, which fears this could encourage calls for more concessions and reveals foreign meddling. The only party supporting Gül’s move is the DTP, saying it is a sign of willingness for closer ties.

Gül’s use of the word Kurdistan during his visit to Iraq has caused a flurry of criticism yesterday from the opposition back in Turkey.

Then:

Turkish President Abdullah Gul denied the earlier media reports that he used the term “Kurdistan regional government” while describing the semi-autonomous administration in northern Iraq. (UPDATED)

“In fact, I did not use that term (Kurdistan) but as I said this is a reality. The country who attaches the biggest importance to Iraq’s unity and integrity is Turkey. There is a regional Kurdish administration in the north of Iraq according to the Iraqi constitution. This is what I had said. I held a meeting with (the regional administration’s) prime minister,” Gul told reporters at a press conference in Ankara on Tuesday, the state-run Anatolian Agency reported. Gul returned to Ankara late on Tuesday after his two-day visit to Baghdad.

So typically presidential. “I did not have sex with that woman!” What a chickenshit piece of work Gül is.

A few months ago, comrades went from North Kurdistan to South Kurdistan to visit relatives. The report that came back from the South was that 85% of the population of South Kurdistan was seriously disappointed with the way things were going there. Well, now we can see what an accurate piece of intel this really was:

But as the rest of Iraq keeps growing more open and democratic, the enclave remains stuck in its old ways—and ordinary Kurds are noticing. Businessmen grumble at having to form partnerships with government cronies; voters are demanding more choice. One recent survey in the region found that 83 percent of respondents say the place needs to change. “We’re fed up with a government that forgets about people,” says Mousa Rasoul, 39, owner of a small business in the town of Sangasar. Those complaints are not to be ignored, a senior Kurdish official agrees. “If we don’t respond, others will come and take over this place,” he tells NEWSWEEK, asking not to be named on such a risky topic. “Whether it is the Islamists or someone else. We cannot count anymore on revolutionary rhetoric to justify our rule.”

And maybe that’s the real fear behind the summit that the two ruling clans of the South are pushing at the scheming of Turkey and the US . . . that someone else will come and take over the place. After all, Qendil isn’t all that far from either Silêmanî or Hewlêr.

MILK BROTHERS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , on March 24, 2009 by Mizgîn
“Milk brothers or sisters are children breastfed by a woman other than their biological mother, a practice known as wetnursing and once widespread in the developed world, as it still is in parts of the developing world.”
~ Siblings, Wikipedia.

Süt Kardeşler.

Süt Kardeşler.

THE KURDS’ MANDELA

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 23, 2009 by Mizgîn
“If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”
~ Nelson Mandela.

Newroz celebrations continue in North Kurdistan. And as DTP is pressing more and more for Öcalan’s freedom in their Newroz speeches, and since DTP is making its position on the upcoming Kurdish summit well known, I thought it would be appropriate to include a translation of a recent piece by Ahmet Altan.

Apo and Mandela

The other day Hürriyet’s general publication manager Ertuğrul Özkök wrote an interesting article. He mentioned that Apo could take a place in the peace process.

I don’t know if I am doing an injustice to Özkök but I see such writings came out in Hürriyet as the state’s forerunner for its preparations. I think they are written to prepare the public for what is planned or the plans are in the process of preparation.

If this is Özkök’s own idea or if it’s written by the order of the state, the result doesn’t change. This is, I think, a positive step.

A couple of days before this article was published, I encountered another piece of news just as interesting.

It was mentioning that 12 more cells would be built on İmralı Island. I mean twelve more people would be taken to reside with Apo. When these two things are evaluated together the idea that something is changing gets stronger.

The name of Apo is like the god Janus, which has two different appearances. Most of the Turks hate this name. Furthermore some of the newspapers add descriptions like “terrorist leader” or “baby killer”.

For the Kurds, however, this name has almost a holy meaning. For them, Apo is the leader who enabled the Kurdish Question to be discussed concretely in this country. He is an indivisible part of the Kurdish identity. Moreover, PKK members call him “the leadership”, not Apo or Ocalan. His description has almost a mystical influence.

A couple of months ago I had watched a movie about South Africa’s black leader, Nelson Mandela. Mandela’s name was the same as Apo’s in South Africa. A “murder” for the whites; a “holy” leader for the blacks. The movie was telling Mandela’s imprisonment adventure through a white guard’s perspective. Mandela first was kept in a cell. Then some of his friends from his own organization were put beside him. Then altogether they resided in a more comfortable “place”. Later on, Mandela was provided a farmhouse with protection. Then he was released and joined the elections.

This was a “horrible” period for several whites. For the blacks, however, it was a period to be celebrated. The feeling of hatred or revenge is not sufficient to solve this kind of social problem, an ethnic clash. Even if you presume the non-existence of millions of people, their identity, language, and traditions, life imposes its reality.

There is a Kurdish reality in Turkey. Because this “reality” was not admitted it first turned into a problem then into a war. Thousands of people died. Hundreds of billions of dollars that were supposed to be spent for the welfare of this country’s people, were spent on weapons. The problem has not been solved yet.

Today even the retired generals admit some mistakes were made in the Kurdish Question. Turkey is tired of the war. The world wants Turkey and the Middle East to arrive at peace.

A great Kurdish conference is being prepared. Apo, in Imrali, stated that he sees this initiative as positive. Although the Turks become uncomfortable by hearing this idea, still Apo is an important one for “peace”.

Like Alev Er always says “Whoever you are fighting with, he is the one you make peace with”. Apo started the war. Today he has the power to start peace. A peace without Apo and PKK is not possible.

Turks, being very angry at Apo or PKK, even hating them, does not change this reality. Today keeping Apo aside from the peace process, pretending the non-existence of PKK, does not fit reality. I know how several Turkish readers will be angry when they read this article. But how far can we disregard realities by being afraid of anger and reactions?

Today Apo is the Kurds’ Mandela; he is their national hero. Now I want to ask my Turkish readers: Is taking revenge on Apo, or punishing him, important, or is it important for Turkey to arrive at a decent level of welfare; kids are not being killed anymore, and living in this country where everyone lives in peace together?

Revenge is not such a feeling that results in a positive outcome.

The two parties suffered in this war, the two parties were hurt, and the two parties cried for their children. What good is it going to do to maintain this?

Is it possible not to see the great profits that will be gained by including Apo in the peace process? Turkey is on the brink of peace. With a little bit of determination, we can pass over this line. Even a country like South Africa, which went through hatred and blood, succeeded in this. Why shouldn’t we succeed?

Okay, you got it, we are good at fighting, however . . .

Doesn’t being able to have peace have as much value as fighting?

From Taraf.

Note that I do not know what statement of Öcalan’s that Altan is referring to when he says that Öcalan “sees this initiative as positive”. It may be a statement that Öcalan made in reference to PKK’s suggestion of a summit or it may be a statement referring to a more general suggestion of a summit. However, given DTP’s current stance on the summit, as expressed by Talabanî during his visit to Turkey last week, it’s highly unlikely that Öcalan sees as positive the hidden agendas that will be brought to the table when that summit occurs.

THE KURDISH SUMMIT

Posted in Uncategorized on March 22, 2009 by Mizgîn

I would like to introduce a guest blogger who will be posting from time to time on Rastî. Rastî readers are already acquainted with him from Rastbêj. His first contribution to Rastî on this Newroz Day is extremely important and regards the upcoming Kurdish Summit, which is due to be held in South Kurdistan in April or May–no firm date is set yet–and will be an attempt to affect the struggle for Kurdish freedom in the North.

Some may recall that a few weeks ago, Abdullah Gül went to Iran. Before he went, he made a statement to the media that there would be “very good news” in a short time regarding the “Kurdish Question”. But, as with everything else in Turkey, things are not what they appear. Mîr explains why:

THE KURDISH SUMMIT

Recently several news items have appeared in both Turkish and international media about a Kurdish summit to be held in Southern Kurdistan and including all the Kurdish parties from Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. It is underscored that the main issue that will be discussed at this summit is going to be the future common policies of the Kurds which will be implemented due to the changes in the world. Surprisingly, Turkey, which cannot tolerate even a dozen Kurds coming together on the streets to discuss the Kurdish Question or tolerate any kind of protest, is supporting the idea of the summit. In addition to Turkey, the U.S and the EU supports this summit also. With this in mind, it would be too optimistic to think that the call made by the Southern leaders for a summit among all the Kurdish parties will be without a secret agenda. When we take a close look, the call for this summit consists of several traps that will cause the disunity, rather than the unity, of the Kurds.

The idea for the summit was brought by KRG leader Mesut Barzani and will be supervised by him or by someone who he approves. Several parties will join this summit. “The Kurdish political parties’ representatives from Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria will attend this conference. For example, not only DTP but also Sertac Bucak’s HAKPAR and Serafettin Elci’s KADEP will also attend from Turkey. In addition, former Kurdish parliamentarians will be invited to this summit… We think to invite the PKK. They are going to decide by whom they will be represented.” says the KRG’s Turkey envoy Omar Merani.

One may wonder why this idea was voiced now and why voiced by Barzani. There are at least two explanations to these questions, international factors and Turkish domestic politics.

One of the most important decisions the Obama administration had was the removal of U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2010. To this date, the Southern leaders have always relied on American existence and support in the region. With the absence of the U.S military presence and its lack of political support, the Kurdish leaders in South Kurdistan know very well that they will be too weak in Iraq’s decision making process and too weak to maintain their private interests. Thus, the Southern leaders are heavily dependent on American support in order to keep their positions.

These last two years proved that Barzani and Talabani are very willing to compromise or sacrifice the general will of all the Kurds for the sake of their private interests and positions. For example, the Kerkuk referendum, which supposed to be held in November 2007, was deferred to December 2007; then, again, it was delayed six months later and should have been held in June 2008. Although this time has already passed, still no referendum has been held, nor have the Southern leaders mentioned any single word about it or pushed for its implementation. The fate of Kerkuk is not only deferred to an unknown date but, yet worse, it is not certain if the referendum will be held at all in the future. Thus, it would be a ridiculous idea to assume that the Southern leaders, who called for the summit, will not impose the will of the powers they rely on.

The U.S. is hoping to use Turkey as the route through which to pull out its troops from Iraq; it needs the consent of Turkey’s ruling party for the use of this route. Previously the U.S. had issues with Turkey when Turkey rejected the American demand for deployment of their troops at the onset of the Iraq War. This time, however, both parties are more sensitive and open to bargaining.

The opportunist Turkish state soon will hold the local elections on March 29, 2009, and these elections have vital importance for the ruling party. The current ruling party, the AKP, had received a remarkable turnout in Kurdish cities from the Kurdish voters in the general election held on July 22, 2007. A major cause for this turnout was the impression the AKP gave that it would solve the Kurdish Question by empty promises.

This success made the AKP to claim that they are not only the true representative of Turks but also of Kurds. This turnout gave it a big card to use against the military, which was the only group that de facto had a say in the Kurdish Question. For years and years, however, their policy left the Kurdish Question unsolvable; thus, the military has maintained its predominant position in Turkish politics to date.

On 5 May, 2007, the AKP chairman, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, called for a secret meeting with the then Chief of the Turkish General Staff Yasar Buyukanit in Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul. Contrary to his previous harsh denunciation against the AKP, Buyukanit suddenly ended his criticism of the AKP; furthermore, he started to support its policies after this meeting. Apparently, Erdogan and Buyukanit arrived at a deal. The policies implemented in the following days revealed the nature of their deal: the AKP would provide all the needs of the military, accept the predominance of the military, and close its eyes to their unlawful activities, including the massacre against the Kurds. In return, the military would keep quiet and allow the AKP to make some changes in the constitution for their hidden agenda, such as laws regarding headscarf, the appointment of pro-AKP governors to the Kurdish regions as well as to key positions in the government.

The AKP’s record is not good in terms of keeping its promises, which its leader made during the campaign. For this reason, in the coming local elections the AKP is trying to get at least the same voter turnout in Kurdish cities by pouring out tons of money, giving away free refrigerators, washing machines, and similar large appliances to the people in cities where it thinks the pro-Kurdish party, DTP is strong.

Erdogan knows very well that if the AKP loses against the pro-Kurdish party in Kurdish cities, their claim of being the representative of the Kurds will have no ground and this, the only link that enabled it to have a coalition with the Turkish military, will collapse. This means in every step the AKP takes, they will face military opposition against their policies afterwards. Given the fact that the AKP has already seriously angered the generals by blackmailing several of them or arresting them for being members of a pro-coup group called Ergenekon, the generals have been waiting for an available time to take their revenge against the AKP. For this reason, the success of the AKP in local elections in Kurdish cities has vital importance in its relationship with the military.

To sum up, on the one hand, the AKP fears the collapse of the coalition with the military; that is why it is giving tons of money to buy Kurdish votes. On the other hand, it uses Turkey’s territory as a bargaining chip against the U.S. in the process of the removal of its troops from Iraq. In addition to the AKP’s covert official relationship with the Southern leaders, it asks the U.S. to pressure the Southern leaders to take steps in ways that favor Turkey in the Kurdish Question. That is why the call for the summit comes from the Southern leaders. That is why Turkey and the US support this idea.

Now let’s come to the link between the Turkish local elections and the Kurdish summit. In different interviews, both Barzani and Talabani wanted the northern Kurds to vote for the AKP. Now wait a minute! The AKP is the party which cooperated with the military and let them bomb not only the Kurdish cities in Turkey, but also the villages of Southern Kurdistan. It is the party that passed the law for cross-border operations against the PKK in Southern Kurdistan. Isn’t Erdogan the one who ordered the murder of all Kurds during the Amed Serhildan by saying, “The police forces will shoot everyone, no matter children or women!” Regarding the Semdinli incident, wasn’t he the one who previously said “We will investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice, no matter where and with whom it ends.” but he later took no steps? Worse yet, wasn’t he the one who ordered the Interior Ministry to ban the state prosecutor, Ferhat Sarikaya from the practice of law? This would be the same Ferhat Sarikaya, who wrote the Semdinli indictment that mentioned Chief of General Staff Buyukanit as accountable for the incident. Then how come the Southern leaders, who claim to be Kurds, are asking the Kurds in Turkey to vote for their enemy? What kind of leader would allow a foreign country to come and bomb their territory? Let me remind to the ones who are wont to forget that in a conflict with Barzani, wasn’t Talabani the one who left his wife in Iraq in the hands of his then enemy and escaped to Iran? Wasn’t Barzani the one who kidnapped Talabani’s wife?

Now, let’s wait a minute and think about the call of these leaders for a summit to determine the national policies of all Kurds in all four parts of Kurdistan. Imagine two leaders, one who sacrifices his wife for the sake of his political position and the other who kidnaps a woman in order to deter his rival. Imagine two leaders who ask their people to vote for their enemies. What kind of leaders are these? To me, they seem like mafia leaders rather than political leaders. Now these two so-called leaders will hold a summit among all the Kurdish parties in Kurdistan and discuss the policies that should be implemented for future? Who will believe in them and their proposals? How sincere are their intentions? Can Barzani tell us what kind of plans or policies he has for Southern Kurdistan for the next six months? Indeed does he have any plan? How does he think to cope with the poverty of the Kurds in the South? What kind of investment and development plans does he have? Let me tell you the answer: NONE. A normal leader serves his people but both Barzani and Talabani see that their people serve them. They live in palaces and in luxury; where as the average Kurds makes their living through the aid provided by United Nations. So the leaders who do not have any single plan to enhance the living standards of their own people within their borders are claiming that they can find permanent solutions for the Kurdish Question which exists at least in four parts of Kurdistan. How credible are they?

In fact, although the summit was brought up as a platform to discuss national policies of the all Kurds, the true aim is to marginalize or disarm the PKK. Several KRG officials referred the summit as “the summit of disarming the PKK”. Let’s be clear here! Of course, as a Kurd, for a long time I wanted the armed clashes between the PKK and the Turkish military come to an end; however, the disarmament of the PKK must be simultaneously implemented by a general amnesty for all PKK members; a brand new constitution must be written and based on true democratic criteria; the political and cultural rights of the Kurdish people must be explicitly stated in this new Turkish constitution; and, finally, regional political administrations must be empowered and the right to elect governors must be granted. These are the basic principles of a normal democratic state.

Another clarification: On different occasions I have stressed the necessity of an international congress among all the Kurds from all parts of the Kurdistan. Such a congress, however, requires all attending parties to possess only one aim: the general will of the entire Kurdish people. The summit that the Southern leaders call, however, lacks the sincerity in that sense. As I mentioned above, a leader who champions his enemy will not suggest permanent solutions that are good for Kurds because they will bring the demands of the powers they are dependent on, be it Turkey or the U.S., to stay in power and seek their private interests.

Recently a couple of incidents occurred in a sequence that gives clues about the summit. Let’s briefly go through them.

This week, Talabani attended a conference in Ankara. As an answer to a journalist’s question regarding the coming summit, he explicitly said that they will call the PKK for disarmament and if it does not obey this call, they, the PKK, will be isolated. In other words, he is repeating the Turkish state’s rhetoric: “You will either obey my rules or else!”

Last week Turkish president Abdullah Gul, prior to his flight to Iran, said that soon there will be good news about Kurdish Question.

Again, last week Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan said that there will be partial constitutional changes and he juxtaposed some of them, none of which were a remedy to the Kurdish demands.

Two weeks ago the US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton made a visit to Turkey. After stressing that the PKK is the mutual enemy of Turkey and the U.S.—a position identical to the position of the Bush administration–she repeated a solution based on the cooperation of Turkey with southern leaders to annihilate the PKK.

By these statements, in the last four weeks alone, we see the cooperation of the powers who do not want the PKK’s presence in the region. Apparently, the Turkish state, the Southern leaders, and the U.S. have agreed on a plan to disarm the PKK on their terms. They are dictating this plan to the desperate Southern leaders to pressure the PKK through the summit.

The imposition of the plan through the Southern leaders is very important. Rather than seeking a permanent solution for the Kurdish Question, the incidents that have occurred in these last four weeks indicate that the Southern leaders will impose the framework approved by the Turkish state and the U.S.

After the summit, the Turkish state will take some show-offish steps, like they did by opening a Kurdish TV channel earlier. This will be the “good news” that Abdullah Gul has spoken of. Turkey will carefully ignore and avoid the permanent solutions offered by any Kurdish party, including the PKK, and will tell the whole world that Turkey is taking steps toward solving the Kurdish Question by undertaking the demands voiced by all the Kurds in the Kurdish summit but that the PKK is still conducting its “terrorist” activities. In that sense, Turkey sees the Southern leaders as a tool to isolate or marginalize the PKK and disguise its legitimacy. To put it simply, it is the same old “good Kurd, bad Kurd” policy. The only change, though, is that yesterday’s “bad boys”, Talabani and Barzani, are convinced that they are the “good boys” of Turkey and the U.S.

The disarmament of the PKK is Turkey’s internal problem. If Turkey were sincere about solving this problem, there are Kurdish representatives in its parliament who can voice their peoples’ demands and share their solution plans with the Turkish government. In fact, the DTP presented their solutions to the Turkish parliament and was treated as terrorists for the solutions they voiced. The Turkish state is not sincere in solving the Kurdish Question. Seeking a so called solution through the Southern leaders is Turkey’s way of closing its eyes to the demands of the Kurds within its border. It still tries to deceive its Kurdish citizens through false solutions, such as the opening of a state-run Kurdish TV. Yet it continues with an investigation of the DTP parliamentary leader for speaking Kurdish in the parliament. Through these means, the Turkish state is only worsening the problem.

Southern leaders, you can turn this summit into a very fruitful platform for all Kurds by bringing unbiased suggestions, without hidden agendas, and by acquiring a little courage. You can call Turkey to take concrete, permanent, and sincere steps toward a solution to the Kurdish Question. You can juxtapose the PKK’s unilateral cease-fires, mention its leader’s statements for a democratic solution and how sincere and ready he is for a permanent solution. Finally you must tell Turkish officials that they should contact and negotiate with DTP representatives for solving the Kurdish Question, because they are the ones who the Kurds in the North voted for, not Barzani or Talabani.