TALKING THE TALK AFTER WALKING THE WALK

“Until this very day, when a Kurd asks for his identity, culture, language he is declared as a PKK member. Kurdish people’s demand for its identity, culture and language was considered as treason, as ethno-nationalism, as a movement to divide the country. Actually the state is telling us this: ‘Either you will shut up, or I will see you as PKK members and treat you as PKK members as well.'”
~ Ahmet Türk.

My friend over at Azadîxwaz has done us all a big favor. He did a favor for me by taking somethign off my to-do list; he did a favor for all of you by translating Ahmet Türk’s recent interview with Neşe Düzel at Taraf.

Here are a few highlights:

ND: Are you saying that the operation against the DTP officials is just a result of the local elections?

AT: That is the first reason. The second reason is PKK’s statement after the elections. PKK stated this: “Kurdish people supported DTP in the elections. We value this support. To open the road for the peaceful solution we will silence (Ceasefire) the weapons until June 1st”. They also hinted that if there was any positive development that they will extend the ceasefire. This is it. The ones are getting richer from this… the warlords got worried. Because they know that if the Kurdish Question is resolved by democratic means, Turkey’s EU process will accelerate and they will lose power. The ones opposing to the peaceful solution of the problem, stepped in. The third reason for the operation against DTP is …

ND: Yes, what is it?

AT: The possibility of peace in the Kurdish region. The Kurds live in four countries Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria in the Middle East. Kurdish politicians of all four parts are in search for reaching a common decision of what the demands of the Kurdish people are, and to start the peace period in this region. This also disturbed the state. To stop all of these peaceful developments it attacked the DTP.

ND: PKK ended its ceasefire because of this operation; do you think it is the right decision to end the ceasefire?

AT: PKK did not end the ceasefire. They made a statement on last Thursday saying, “ It is obvious that the state does not want solve the Kurdish Question. But we will honor our decision as we stated before until June 1st”.

[ . . . ]

ND: Have you held any kind of meetings with the AKP government or the prime minister as DTP?

AT: We cannot see the government when we look for it. We have asked them to have talks but this did not come to fruition.

[ . . . ]

ND: It is alleged that the DTP officials that were arrested have links to the PKK. Do you know anything about these allegations?

AT: Until this very day, when a Kurd asks for his identity, culture, language he is declared as a PKK member. Kurdish people’s demand for its identity, culture and language was considered as treason, as ethno-nationalism, as a movement to divide the country. Actually the state is telling us this: “Either you will shut up, or I will see you as PKK members and treat you as PKK members as well”.

[ . . . ]

ND: Once you stated, “ We have the same support base as the PKK”. Is it possible that there are some links between the DTP officials and the PKK other than this common support base?

AT: We need understand the developments in the world well. Say, some steps are taken for peace and we as the DTP had talks with the government and the state. At the end of these talks, will the state not ask us “OK, so if I do these, will the PKK lay down the arms”? Yes, it will. So then, the PKK is a reality and has a role in all these. If you consider identification of this role as having link with the PKK you cannot get any results. You have to take into account whether the PKK will accept the policies and projects for the peace.

ND: An armed group, whatever this group is, is a criminal against the laws. This is so in the world as well. Do you, as a parliamentarian, accept the fact that every armed group is criminal?

AT: We need to clarify the term “terror”. We need to understand Al-Qaida or Hamas correctly. We need to understand the PKK, Mandela’s party, and old Palestinian Liberation Organization correctly.

[ . . . ]

ND: What should be done to solve the Kurdish Question within a peaceful framework?

AT: We are very clear and open about this subject. The (identity) rights of the Kurdish people should be guaranteed and put in the constitution. A new constitution should be prepared and this constitution should be written in a manner that accepts the differences as richness. We also are citizens of the Republic of Turkey. The Kurdish citizens should be granted whatever rights the Turkish citizens have. Within the framework of the Democratic Autonomy Project, regional governments should be strengthened/supported and regions based on their needs should be able to make decisions about their economic, social and educational matter. The schools that teach in Kurdish should be opened. For instance they show TRT6 (Şeş) as a development.

ND: Is it not a development?

AT: But the Kurds cannot determine the programs of TRT6. I actually asked in England. There are three million Welsh people. They have to learn Welsh in Wales and it is obligatory. They told me that: “ We are so much assimilated that only 5% of our population could speak Welsh. But now it is 20%. And among the young generation it is 40%”. English government distributes 120 million pounds every year to private television channels to support the improvement of the Welsh culture. This is a recognition and protection of a right. TRT6 is, on the other hand, abuse of a right. These are what we want…

ND: If these conditions are prepared will the PKK lay down its arms?

AT: There is not a difference between what we say and what they say. The demands are almost the same. These are Kurdish people’s general demands. I have to abide by the demands of the Kurdish people. So does the PKK.

Read the whole thing at Azadîxwaz because Ahmet Türk makes a lot of important points.

I find it interesting that Neşe Düzel says, “An armed group, whatever this group is, is a criminal against the laws. This is so in the world as well. . . ” Of course she’s right. Look at the armed group of the Ankara regime, the TSK, and the criminal behavior it has inflicted on the Kurdish people. Look at the armed group of the Washington regime, the US military, and the criminal behavior it has inflicted on people in Central America, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, to name a few. Look at the armed group of the Israeli regime, the IDF, and the criminal behavior it has inflicted on the Palestinians. And I could go on and on and on . . . Britain, France, Russia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka . . .

Of course, then we have the question of “laws”, which Düzel brings up in her statement. There is a problem with “law” and that is that it is meaningless unless it is also moral and ethical. Just because something is defined as “legal” doesn’t mean it is moral or ethical. In fact, it can be quite the contrary. Check out some of the eugenics or racial laws of Nazi Germany or some of the eugenics laws of the US–or the Jim Crow laws. Or even the whitewashing of torture as “harsh interrogation techniques”. They might have been approved but they are still torture and torture is, of it’s very nature, immoral.

And at the end of the interview, Ahmet Türk replies to this question of the violence of the state, and it seems to me that he agrees with my assessment of the armed groups of nation-states. Again, this is consistent with PKK’s stance on the matter.

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