“A good teacher is like a candle – it consumes itself to light the way for others.”
~ Author Unknown.

A little more than a month ago there was some “news” about an unnamed group of intellectuals who charged that HPG had published on its website two articles that threatened, insulted, and denigrated İsmail Beşikçi.

A search for the alleged articles revealed nothing, not even in Google’s cache. The group of intellectuals remains unnamed. In fact, the group doesn’t even have a name or, at least, not a name that has been named in Turkish media. My guess is that the intellectuals in question sit on the Turkish general staff.

In the meantime, an article by one of the writers named in Bianet’s article, Adil Kurtay, appeared on Özgür Gündem. It’s a long one but there is never any insult, denigration, threat, or blackmail of Beşikçi. On the contrary, Beşikçi is addressed as “sayın hocamız” right off the bat and Kurtay continues to address him as “hocamız” or “hocam” throughout the article. Kurtay also uses “siz”–the polite and formal pronoun–in speaking to Beşikçi throughout. It’s hard to see how that would be construed as “insulting” or “denigrating”.

Kurtay uses a quote from Beşikçi, in which Beşikçi says that free criticism is not only a condition of science, but also a basic condition of democracy. Beşikçi asks if there will be democracy without free criticism. For this reason, according to Beşikçi, PKK must be able to criticize Abdullah Öcalan.

Kurtay uses Beşikçi’s own notion of “free criticism” against him by replying to various quotes Beşikçi has made regarding Öcalan and the PKK and someone doesn’t like the idea that there is a response to what amounts to the Ankara regime’s official stance on Öcalan and the PKK. In other words, “free criticism” is not free.

Most of the criticisms that Beşikçi makes, which Kurtay responds to, are the same old ridiculous criticisms that have been going around in anti-apocular circles–including among the Kurdish members of those circles–for some time. What would be truly interesting would be to trace how the very same criticisms flow from Beşikçi’s pen or mouth to the eyes or ears of those who really have no connection to Turkish-occupied Kurdistan and how they jump so easily from one language to many others.

Besides, as Kurtay’s response shows, many of those claims are, in fact, falsehoods, while others, from notes of Öcalan’s meetings with his lawyers, are taken entirely out of context.

The main point of contention is that Öcalan, the PKK, the DTP, and the great majority of Northern Kurds do not want a separation from Turkey. Yeah, I know that little spray of cold water will be painful for many to hear, but it’s the truth and that’s why PKK has stated over and over again that it does not seek a solution outside the borders of Turkey. Beşikçi, on the other hand, push for a state. Conveniently, that point of view plays into the hands of the TSK.

Kurtay makes an observation that is usually ignored by the so-called “experts” on the Kurdish question, and that is that in the immediate aftermath of Öcalan’s capture by international forces, while some thousands of Kurds took to the streets in protest of the international conspiracy and thousands were arrested, where was Beşikçi? This long-time observer of the Kurdish question, who had written books and spent 17 years in prison for his work; this sociologist who was trained to observe and comment in context said absolutely nothing about the global Kurdish reaction. Why?

The only others who refrained from either protesting or condemning were the KDP.

And now that I have mentioned the 17 years that Beşikçi spent in Turkish prisons it’s time to recall something that Beşikçi said in a Milliyet interview from 2006:

M: Are you thinking that Öcalan, after he went to Imralı, is his era finished?

İB: He is a man in the hands of the state. He is under the supervision of the state.

M: Can’t he speak comfortably?

İB: Yeah, he talks a lot but when he talks he only talks about the state. I know this myself. In 1985 I had written a letter from prison to my friend. It was about the Kurdish question. They returned that letter to me and said, “You are also committing a crime in prison. We will ask for disciplinary proceedings”. A situation like that, where you talk about a very innocent thing, like the Kurds . . . But Öcalan, for example, “Declares war!” The state didn’t take any step. “Again resort to arms.” Under such high control, how can he state such things? Then the state also had a demand for it.

Indeed, the same can be said for Beşikçi. He is a man in the hands of the state, under the supervision of the state, and the state has a demand for the continued fantasy of separatism and for alleged threats, insults, and denigration of Beşikçi from HPG. That makes for excellent propaganda. Yes. Indeed.

Later, KCK Executive Committee member Mustafa Karasu made a statement regarding the Beşikçi incident:

PKK criticizes Besikci, but never blackmails him.

We have criticized Ismail Besikci’s approach to our leadership. We stressed that the remarks he had made about PKK and its struggle are not true. We stated that it is being done wrong both to PKK and Leader Apo regarding this issue. Naturally our ideological approaches and paradigms are different than Ismail Besikci’s perspective. Our perspective on the state is ideological. We see every kind of state against democracy and freedom. About this issue, the Kurdish people’s leader has a comprehensive analysis. Of course, naturally, we did not find it correct for Besikci to make different kinds of remarks rather than criticizing Leader Apo and PKK’s approach to the state on an ideological basis. Especially his approach to the leadership is not ethical. We conveyed openly our view and criticisms to him through media.

It has been said that a writing showed up on HPG’s site that had blackmailed Ismail Besikci. We didn’t read it. We don’t think blackmail would be done. Maybe it was a knee-jerk reaction. Maybe an inappropriate tone had been used; however as a movement we do not have neither such an attitude or approach to blackmail Ismail Besikci. It is not true that our movement blackmailed Ismail Besikci. There are associations that make evaluations on behalf of the movement. In addition to that, there are friends who talk on behalf of the movement whose speech binds the movement. For this reason we see the phrase, “Ismail Besikci has been blackmailed” as a provocation. It has been said that signatures have been collected. We haven’t received them yet. But we want those people who signed that paper to know this.

I don’t blame Beşikçi. He is old now and I’m sure he doesn’t want to see the inside of a prison again. It appears to me that the state is using him, conjuring up imaginary “insults” by HPG and then conjuring up imaginary “intellectuals” to become chagrined at the imaginary “denigration”. Beşikçi has done his part and helped to make the world aware of the Kurdish situation at a time when it was extremely dangerous to speak out. Sayın hocamız may rest with honor now, and let us sincerely hope that he does so.


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