Archive for May, 2009

NOTES FROM KANDIL 3: WHERE THERE’S A WILL . . .

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on May 31, 2009 by Mizgîn
“Before the election, we spent the most silent winter of the last 25 years. That means whenever soldiers want, they can wait.”
~ Murat Karayılan.

The first of June will see the end of the current PKK ceasefire period, at least as far as we can tell at the moment. Whether the ceasefire is continued is something we will know after the first. In the meantime, here is the continuation of the interview by Hasan Cemal with KDK Executive Committee Chairman Murat Karayılan, as excerpted from Cemal’s column at Milliyet:

“For Silencing Weapons, The Will Is Important”

“First silence weapons, let no one attack another!” So says Murat Karayılan . . . Is it so hard to achieve this? For this firstly PKK must disappear from sight. It is a must for them to retreat to places where they will have no contact with troops. As Talabani said, “PKK declares a ceasefire, but they do not retreat far enough. They stay in the places where, every time, they meet soldiers.” Whereas Murat Karayılan says, “We decide about being non-operational, we retreat but soldiers continue to advance. In this situation, we need to defend ourselves.” In this situation, what’s going to be done? To put it simply: Two sides will stop! No one is going to pull the trigger.

[ . . . ]

Two Sides Will Stop; No One Will Pull the Trigger.

“First silence the weapons, let no one attack another!” So says Murat Karayılan. Is it so hard to achieve this? For this firstly PKK must disappear from sight. It is a must for them to retreat to places where they will have no contact with troops.

This is an important point.

In October 2007 Iraq’s president Talabani told me in Baghdad, “Well, okay, PKK declares a ceasefire, but they do not retreat far enough. They stay in the places where, every time, they meet soldiers.” At this point, Murat Karayılan blames the soldiers. “We decide about being non-operational, we retreat but soldiers continue to advance. In this situation, we need to defend ourselves.” In this situation, what’s going to be done?

To put it simply: Two sides will stop! No one is going to pull the trigger.

This was a hot issue, too, during PKK’s 1993 ceasefire. Demirel, who was sitting in the prime minister’s chair, told me, “The man sees the fire, even saying that he is willing to lay his arm down, you are going over him with your tanks and your artillery. This has to be thought about.”

In April 1993 Talabani came to Ankara with the following message after having a talk with Öcalan in Damascus:

Turkish security forces, too, must obey the ceasefire; If there is an operation called “Spring Operation”, this must be deferred; Some signs of a general amnesty must be given; For a political solution, different dialog channels must be opened.

This was the message from Öcalan in 1993.

Öcalan had drawn the framework of the message to me in the talk that I had in Bekaa during April 1993 with him.

Right in those days, with the Bingöl attack–which has not been revealed even today but accepted as an attack from PKK–33 soldiers were martyred, the ceasefire ended; meanwhile, Özal died. The watershed in The Southeast grew. Unfortunately, with 17 thousand-plus extrajudicial murders, a door was opened wide to unlawfulness, to Susurluk, and even to Ergenekon.

If There Is Willpower, Weapons Will Be Silenced

This was the ceasefire in 1993 which Murat Karayılan, at our meeting in Kandil, mentioned as a “missed opportunity”.

Sixteen years have passed; Öcalan was captured, [and is] now in Imralı.

But PKK is not finished; it’s still in the mountains!

However, I think it wants to come down. And today it can be mentioned about one more peace opportunity. I am thinking about the things Karayilan told me and the messages that he wanted to give while coming down from Kandil to the valley.

There are similarities with 1993.

Can weapons really be silenced? Can provocation be avoided?

It is still a fresh incident: The ones who made that terrible massacre in Mardin, the village guards, admitted that they had planned their bloody raid to blame PKK.

So, what should be the first step?

Silencing weapons . . .

Is it so hard?

Both sides will not pull the trigger, thus weapons will be silenced.

Here the important thing is will power and determination.

If it exists, weapons will be silenced.

Obviously there are warmongers on both sides. We have to be alert to “provocations”; this is the most critical point in such a process.

Yes, a ceasefire will be declared.

PKK will pull back farther.

Soldiers will not advance after!

In short: Triggers will not be pulled!

In Kandil, Murat Karayılan told me, “Before the election, we spent the most silent winter of the last 25 years. That means whenever soldiers want, they can wait,” by this, I guess, he was pointing out this reality.

Why shouldn’t the required political will power be shown in Ankara for this? Since the most silent winter of the last 25 years passed, and while soldiers can wait, why can’t this time period be extended?

Yes, why?

In an environment where weapons are not being fired, a different mechanism may be operated behind the screen, the dialog process may start.

To be continued.

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GOING AFTER THE WORTHLESS AMERICAN MEDIA

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 29, 2009 by Mizgîn
“Yes, we will be naming names — myself included.”
~ Sibel Edmonds.

Sibel Edmonds has a new article about the swindling of the American voter:

Despite all the promises Mr. Obama made during his campaign, especially on those issues that were absolutely central to those whose support he garnered, so far the President of Change has followed in the footsteps of his predecessor. Not only that, his administration has made it clear that they intend to continue this trend. Some call it a major betrayal. Can we go so far as to call it a ‘swindling of the voters’?

She goes on to enumerate the Obama flip-flops on NSA warantless wiretapping, accountability on torture, teh revival of the military commission, and the continuation of war–also known as democracy by force–and more. Take a look for more change you can believe in.

She also remarks on the self-censorship of journalists with regard to her case, although she refers to it as “fear-induced censorship”:

Yes, I am going to begin with the issue of State Secrets Privilege; because I was the first recipient of this ‘privilege’ during the now gone Administration; because long before it became ‘a popular’ topic among the ‘progressive experts,’ during the time when these same experts avoided writing or speaking about it; when many constitutional attorneys had no idea we even had this “law” – similar to and based on the British ‘Official Secret Act; when many journalists did not dare to question this draconian abuse of Executive Power; I was out there, writing, speaking, making the rounds in Congress, and fighting this ‘privilege’ in the courts. And because in 2004 I stood up in front of the Federal Court building in DC, turned to less than a handful of reporters, and said, ‘This, my case, is setting a precedent, and you are letting this happen by your fear-induced censorship. Now that they have gotten away with this, now that you have let them get away, we’ll be seeing this ‘privilege’ invoked in case after case involving government criminal deeds in need of cover up.’ Unfortunately I was proven right.

Now it looks like she will be leading the charge in exposing the worthless American media with a new project, the Project Expose MSM:

We all have been tirelessly screaming about issues related to Congressional leaders abdicating their main responsibility of ‘oversight.’ We have been outraged for way too long at seeing ‘no’ accountability whatsoever in many known cases of extreme wrongdoing. I, and many of you, believe that the biggest reason for this was, and still is, the lack of true journalism and media coverage — which acts as the necessary pressure and catalyst for those spineless politicians on the Hill and in the Executive branch. Or, at least it’s supposed to. So, in our book, the MSM has been the main culprit.

Well, here is a chance to turn the tables.

At my new blog, 123 Real Change, I’m happy to present an experimental project, Project Expose MSM, created to provide readers with specific mainstream media blackout and/or misinformation cases based on the documented and credible first-hand experiences of legitimate sources and whistleblowers.123 Real Change is inviting all members of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC), other active (covert or overt) government whistleblowers, and even reporters themselves, to publish their experiences in regard to their own first-hand dealings with the media, where their legit disclosures were either intentionally censored, blacked out or tainted.

Yes, we will be naming names — myself included.

For an initial example of naming names, check the rest of her post.

Recently there has been much crying and hand-wringing, mainly from journalists, who worry about the fact that newspapers in the US are folding. The problem that these journalists fail to acknowledge is that they are the main cause of their own demise for many of the very reasons that Sibel discusses in her post. It boils down to a betrayal of public trust. They do not investigate to expose corruption and alert the public to the wrongdoing of those the public have elected. The death of professional journalism as we know it in the US is richly deserved.

Here are the comments of an old-school American journalist on the problem:

. . . Unfortunately, a few huge corporations now dominate the media landscape. And the news business is at war with journalism. Virtually everything the average person sees or hears outside of her own personal communications is determined by the interests of private, unaccountable executives and investors whose primary goal is increasing profits and raising the company’s share price. One of the best newspaper groups, Knight Ridder – whose reporters were on to the truth about Iraq early on – was recently sold and broken up because a tiny handful of investors wanted more per share than they were getting.

Almost all the networks carried by most cable systems are owned by one of the major media conglomerates. Two-thirds of today’s newspaper markets are monopolies, and they’re dumbing down. As ownership gets more and more concentrated, fewer and fewer independent sources of information have survived in the marketplace. And those few significant alternatives that do survive, such as PBS and NPR, are under growing financial and political pressure to reduce critical news content.

[ , , , ]

At the same time we have seen the rise of an ideological partisan press that is contemptuous of reality, serves up right-wing propaganda as fact, and attempts to demonize anyone who says otherwise. Its embodiment is Rush Limbaugh. Millions heard him take journalists to task for their reporting on the torture at Abu Ghraib, which he attempted to dismiss as a little necessary sport for soldiers under stress. He said: “This is no different than what happens at the Skull and Bones initiation. . . . You ever heard of people [who] need to blow some steam off?”

So we can’t make the case today that the dominant institutions of the press are guardians of democracy. They actually work to keep reality from us, whether it’s the truth of money in politics, the social costs of “free trade,” growing inequality, the resegregation of our public schools, or the devastating onward march of environmental deregulation. It’s as if we are living on a huge plantation in a story told by the boss man.

There is no difference between right-wing propaganda and so-called left-wing propaganda in the US, despite the fact that there are those who ignorantly refer to Obama and his administration as “socialist”; there is no left wing in the American political arena.

In these issues of the media and the one-party system lie the two main differences between the US and the old Soviet Union: in the Soviet Union, there was dissent and everyone knew that the state lied to them. Not so in the US, not so.

KARAYILAN IN THE TIMES

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 27, 2009 by Mizgîn
“We are at a fork in a pathway. Turkey must choose one of them. If Turkey doesn’t accept our overtures and continues to attack us then of course we will use all means to defend ourselves, and that includes retaliation. They can call us ‘terrorists’ for as long as they wish but Turkey has to accept that the PKK is part of the reality of the solution to its Kurdish problem.”
~ Murat Karayılan.

The Times of London has an article which includes statements from Murat Karayılan, which you can access through Hevallo’s blog. Below are some of the photos at The Times:










The guerrillas’ own photos can always be viewed at http://www.hpg-online.net/Photo/

Since so many people have such short memories, let me point out that Murat Karayılan’s statements are nothing new. This most recent initiative for a peaceful solution to the Kurdish situation in Turkey began in August 2006 with PKK’s Declaration for a Democratic Resolution to the Kurdish Question (http://www.kurdish-info.net/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=3467) and was further reinforced by the unilateral ceasefire of September of the same year (http://www.kurdish-info.net/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=4220). At the time, the PKK’s offer, the same one that Karayılan offers the Ankara regime today, was rejected outright by the US “special envoy to counter the PKK for Turkey”, Joseph Ralston:

“Ceasefire sort of implies an act that is taken between two states, two actors, to do that. And I don’t want to confer that kind of status on the PKK by saying a ceasefire.”

Furthermore, Ralston specifically rejected the IRA-type settlement that Karayılan mentions in The Times:

Asked whether the U.S. intends to use the IRA model in dealing with the PKK, Ralston underlined that these two were totally different problems.

“You are comparing two very different situations, and mixing apples with oranges,” the U.S. envoy said. “In the case of the PKK, our objective is to enhance cooperation with the Turkish and Iraqi governments to fight the PKK. We are also working with European governments to cut the PKK’s financial and logistics lifeline. We will use all of the tools at our disposal: law enforcement, intelligence, diplomacy, financial pressure. And we have not taken any other option off the table.”

Of course, Ralston wasn’t appointed “special envoy to coordinate the PKK for Turkey” in order to bring about any kind of settlement; he was appointed to sell Lockheed Martin product.

While the PKK is consistent in its calls for a peaceful solution, it remains to be seen if anything comes of these calls this time around. It’s still possible for the guardians of the status quo to pull another Ralston out of their hat. Nor should anything be made of any recent statements by anyone who represents the Ankara regime, which means that, in spite of Abdullah Gül’s meaningless remark about the Kurdish situation in Turkey, being “Turkey’s biggest problem,” the regime continues to conduct operations against our guerrillas (Check http://www.hpg-online.com/tr/ for the most recent news on that).

There is also the issue of the mass arrests of DTP politicians and political workers. If the Ankara regime were serious about achieving a political solution, then why does it treat DTP like it’s treated every other Kurdish political party in the country?

Another recent article in the British media mentions the same kind of skepticism about recent events that I have. From The Guardian:

Scepticism also extends to Kurdish groups in the south-east who complain of increasing repression and continuing curbs on cultural and linguistic expression. Speaking at the House of Lords in London last week, Muharrem Erbey, president of the Diyarbakir Human Rights Association, said over 300 people had been detained since Kurdish Democratic Society party (DTP) overcame a determined AKP campaign to make big gains in last March’s municipal elections.

“We oppose violence. We don’t want loss of life. We want the armed fighters to join the political process. But we support people’s right to be outspoken in pursuit of their democratic rights … Instead of having human rights and democracy in Turkey, it’s completely the other way round,” Erbey said.

As far as I’m concerned, Turkey has not given any indication whatsoever that it has any solution to the Kurdish situation, except the same failed solution it’s had since 1984. If the Ankara regime continues to apply the same, failed solution, then Karayılan, Nurettin Sofi, and all the comrades continue to have my full support in defending themselves, “and that includes retaliation.”

NOTES FROM QENDIL 2: THIS ISN’T YOUR DAD’S PKK

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 21, 2009 by Mizgîn
“An elimination scenario was written before 29 March. It was a scenario based on DTP losing votes . . . But it didn’t pan out.”
~ Murat Karayılan.

This is a continuation of Hasan Cemal’s interview with Murat Karayılan. The first part can be found here.

Karayılan: PKK is not the old PKK any more

Karayılan explains the change in the PKK with the following words: “PKK is at a more reasonable line compared to the past. For example, it [the PKK] used to want an independent Kurdish state. This is in the past now. In other words, PKK is not ‘secessionist’ any more. We want the Kurds to live freely and in equality within the borders of the Turkish Republic. I would like to state this. This is not a tactic. The process that dropped secessionism, excluding the independent state, started in 1993; 1999 began with İmralı (1999 is the year Öcalan was captured and sentenced to life time imprisonment, HC). The paradigm has changed.”

Qandil Mountain, North Iraq [South Kurdistan]

During my four-hour-long meeting with the PKK’s number one man, Murat Karayılan, in a short two-room village house made of mud-bricks on the skirts of Mount Qandil, I tried to keep one topic the subject of conversation constantly:

PKK laying down arms…

PKK coming down from the mountains…

At some point Karayılan said this: “Look, we didn’t go to the mountains because we’ve lost our mind. Like so many others say, we didn’t go to the mountains for picnic either.”

When the PKK’s coming down from the mountains comes up, Karayılan smiles sarcastically. At the same time, the expression on his face says it’s not so easy and there are other things to be done before it comes to that phase…

When I pushed it, he said this:

“The saying, “PKK should lay down arms,” is an empty one, it’s shooting into the air. Where shall PKK leave its arms? How? To whom? What are the grounds? It’s meaningless to say leave down the arms. First let’s sit down and talk.”

“We are at a more reasonable line”

According to Murat Karayılan it’s impossible to get to anywhere by calling the PKK “a terrorist organization”. He says that the PKK at the same time represents the Kurds’ aspirations and for that reason has their support.

And he always adds this:

“PKK is not the old PKK any more”

When asked what the change is, in summary, he gives this answer:

“PKK is at a more reasonable line compared to the past. For example, it [the PKK] used to want an independent Kurdish state. This is in the past now. In other words, PKK is not ‘secessionist’ any more. We want the Kurds to live freely and in equality within the borders of the Turkish Republic. I would like to state this. This is not a tactic. The process that dropped secessionism, excluding the independent state, started in 1993; 1999 began with İmralı (1999 is the year Öcalan was captured and sentenced to life time imprisonment, HC). The paradigm has changed.”

“How did it change?”

“Look, now we say ‘Democratic Autonomous Kurdistan’. What we mean by autonomy is not federation. It’s not redrawing of borders. It’s a solution that preserves the unity of the state. The Local Administrations Law can change, the local administrations will be made stronger.”

“We caused some complications too”

Murat Karayılan again stressed a point which was in yesterday’s article:

“First the weapons must be silenced!”

“Then?”

“Then it will be turn for rights associated with the Kurdish identity (He refers to constitutional changes–HC) and the ‘societal reconciliation project’ which some people interpret as amnesty. This is a two sided subject. On one side there have been armed rebellions . . . On the other side denial policies have been followed . . . These have done damage . . . There are over 17 thousand murders with unknown perpetrators that have been committed against us, Kurdish people . . . Yes, there have been some complications from our side too. That’s why we are talking about this societal reconciliation project. This something that is mutual, reciprocal. This project is to mutually forgive one another. It is to reach reconciliation on a new constitution that reflects voluntary unity.”

Murat Karayılan adds this:

“All we want is for Kurds to live their culture freely.”

“Kurdish conference can prepare the environment for solution”

I notice something. While I have been talking with Murat Karayılan in a short village house on the skirts of Mount Qandil, two members of the PKK’s Leadership Council (made up of five people), Bozan Tekin and Sozdar Avesta, didn’t say anything. I bring up the subject of PKK laying down arms and coming down from the mountains again. This time within the context of Kurdish conference. In summary, I say this:

“A Kurdish conference for all Kurds, living in every country [Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey], is going to be held and a call is going to be issued to the PKK to lay down arms; the scenario will be fixed such that PKK is going to enter the phase of laying down arms. Such an expectation was created. But then the conference was postponed to Autumn. Did you or PKK cause this?”

Murat Karayılan agrees that expectations regarding the Kurdish conference were created. On this subject he laughs at the role Kurdish leader and Iraq’s President Jalal Talabani played and takes a sarcastic tone. But at the same time, while stating he takes the Kurdish conference seriously and summarizes the subject: “The conference was originally our idea. But the last undertaking was not ours. If correctly approached, this conference can create an environment for solution. However, this is a reality: from such a conference will not mean ‘PKK should lay down arms!'”.

“Özal would worry about the Kurdish Question”

There is a question on PKK’s number one, Karayılan:

Are we going to return back to the first half on 1990s?

Especially to 1994 . . .

The period during which the fire in The Southeast [North Kurdistan] flared… Karayılan asks:

“Will the government forward everything to the military again, like it did in early 1990s?”

Karayılan is looking for an answer to this question.

In summary, he said this:

“Özal died in 1993 and the opportunity for peace was missed. Özal was leader who was able to see the Kurdish Question and who worked seriously to solve it. Özal died in 1993 and 1994 was horrible (like Öcalan, Karayılan too places Turgut Özal at a very positive place in regard with Kurdish Question–HC). Is an attack reminiscent of 1994 on the way again? We are feeling some things but we are not sure. Will Erdoğan’s government forward the issue to the military and cause a blood bath? What do you think?”

“So the military too can wait . . . “

Murat Karayılan is trying to read into the period after 29 March [local elections]. He says that a scenario was written for elections such that DTP would lose votes and Tayyip Erdoğan was so engaged in this, and trusted himself very much, but at the end was disappointed because DTP increased its votes and municipalities in the local elections.

He points to military’s role in this scenario indirectly and says:

“An elimination scenario was written before 29 March. It was a scenario based on DTP losing votes . . . But it didn’t pan out. We lived the calmest winter of last 25 years. The military waited until 29 March. So the military, too, can wait (he said this sentence with a bit of sarcasm–HC). Why didn’t the military attack us during the election period? But we were hopeful from this despite all . . . Some indications of solution appeared. We thought this could be a new phase in which the military takes part, too. But no. The day after the elections, on 30 March, the military started even though it wasn’t on a large scale . . . On 14 April, this time the start of targeting DTP was given. But the election results had given us hope in the name of peace and democracy.

“Where is the Prime Minister Erdoğan of 2005?”

Karayılan, during our four hours long conversation a few times talked about Prime Minister Erdoğan. He mentioned the speech Erdoğan made in Diyarbakir in August of 2005. In that speech Erdoğan said “The Kurdish issue is our issue; the state has made mistakes in this matter; these can be corrected”.

PKK’s number one mentioned a few times that today nothing was left of Erdoğan’s speech and raised the following point:

Political power vacuum . . .

Karayılan said this:

“I am not able to be optimistic. At the top there is no political willpower about the Kurdish Question. The absence of will power is a very serious problem. Today, even generals started saying different things. But where is the political will power? Where is the Prime Minister who said those words in 2005? Where is the Erdoğan who prepared a Kurdish report in 1994 when he was İstanbul’s mayor and handed to his party leader even if it was not his job to do that?

“Armed struggle is now in the line of legitimate self-defense”

Karayılan comes back to “PKK is not the old PKK” point once more. He tries to explain the PKK has changed. He says they are open to the media and says “let them come and learn about us”. He states that their method of struggle are starting to change.

In summary, he says this:

“We are not the PKK of 10 years ago. We don’t do the armed struggle with classical means any more, either. We work in the line of legitimate self-defense. We are putting emphasis on mass activities, civilian disobedience, and political work. But meanwhile, what are you going to do with 6-7 thousand armed people? They are, in a sense, a guarantee for the gains, for legitimate defence . . . We don’t want people to die. The last four years we are in a limited war. It’s not like 1993, 1994. In the rural areas, if you are being attacked, you will defend yourself.”

“The explosion at university prep school too was one that happened out of control”

Then he adds this:

“In the new phase, after 29 March elections, a new war is imposed . . . We don’t even want to think of this. In case of such an imposition, it will exceed the one in the first half of 1990s, it will be more dire, for both sides. We don’t want this. But we are ready for this too. Unwanted results may come out. We don’t do things out of control. Military actions that hurt innocent people, civilians, and that are not in legitimate self-defense enter the class of terror.”

In this regard, Karayılan talks about the horrible explosion that happened in front of a university prep school, the terror action in Diyarbakır and says: “It is very wrong. We didn’t approve it either. It happened out of our control.”

To be continued.

NOTES FROM QENDIL 1

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2009 by Mizgîn
“It’s not our goal to make propaganda. We have hope for peace. That’s why we decided to meet you . . . “
~ Murat Karayılan.

Here is the first part of Hasan Cemal’s interview with KCK Executive Council Chairman, Murat Karayılan, which will be carried here on Rastî. I’d like to extend my thanks to the comrade who volunteered to work on this translation, and the ones that will follow. This work and his tenacity in completing the task while I have been too busy in the last week to attend to it, is much appreciated by me and I’m certain it will be much appreciated by all the others who read it.

This translation is a portion of the original piece, which can be found at Milliyet.

Karayılan: We have hope for peace

PKK’s number one man Murat Karayılan says ‘The first thing is to silence the weapons; nobody should attack. Let’s talk this issue ourselves… Let’s start the work with talks, not with weapons’. Karayılan offers a mechanism composed of [unbiased] intellectuals, if necessary. He said “We are at an important juncture. There was opportunity for peace in 1993 [and] it was missed. Let’s not miss it again. We don’t want blood to be spilled anymore’.

Qandil Mountain, North Iraq [South Kurdistan]

For many years now the PKK is being managed from Qandil mountain. They say “the leadership’s office is İmralı [Öcalan’s island prison],” but today PKK’s number one man is in Qandil, living in the mountain, Murat Karayılan.

I met Murat Karayılan in a short, two-room village house made of mud bricks on the skirts of Mount Qandil last Monday for four hours.

Where we were was not at a PKK base but, as they [the PKK] call it, in ‘PKK territory’. This was obvious from the women and men PKK members with arms on their shoulders, whom we saw while arriving at our meeting location through picturesque views.

Murat Karayılan came with two members of the PKK’s Leadership Council, which is made up of five people. They were assistant commander Bozan Tekin, who was from Urfa, Bozova. He went to the mountains after staying in jails for 20 years, from 1980 to 2000. The other assistant commander was Sozdar Avesta, whose real name was Nuriye Kesbir. While living in The Netherlands, her extradition to Turkey came up and she ran away and came to Qandil. The third person with Murat Karayılan was Ahmet Deniz, who is in charge of PKK’s communications with the media and civilian organizations.

[…]

Saturday at 12, Murat Karayılan met us in front of the village house.

Karayılan said “I think it’s your first time at the PKK’s rural area”. If we don’t count Zeli, my meeting with Öcalan at Bekaa, that was the case.

[…]

I said to Karayılan:

“I am here as a reporter. I am not bringing any kind of message or anything like that from anyone in Turkey. Don’t think like that. I came as a reporter to learn what PKK’s administration thinks”.

Then I added:

“Please don’t record this meeting on camera. As reporters, we make news rather than being news”.

Karayılan:

“We will make a 5 to 10 minute recording for our archive, that’s all.”

They put their tape and we put ours on the plastic covered table and started the conversation.

Murat Karayılan’s first sentence:

“It’s not our goal to make propaganda. We have hope for peace. That’s why we decided to meet you . . . ”

Positive messages

Karayılan gave positive messages. He didn’t speak negative but positive. He said “The first thing is to silence the guns, nobody should attack anyone”. He said this when he offered a definitive mechanism for dialogue:

“We are at an important juncture!”

He stated that in 1993, too, with the ceasefire at the time, there was a “big opportunity for peace”; however because of the “lack of political willpower,” the government of the time forwarded the issue to the military and the opportunity was wasted.

He continued: “Let’s not miss the peace opportunity this time”.

He added:

We don’t want blood be spilled any more. Because years will pass and we will end up at the same point. Turkey will lose blood. PKK cannot be finished with military methods; they were tried for 25 years and they didn’t work.”

Karayılan, who didn’t say anything about whether they would extend their unilateral ceasefire beyond 1 June, said this:

“The first thing is to silence weapons.”

“Not laying down arms?”

Karayılan:

“Laying arms down is a later phase . . . First weapons must be silenced. Nobody should attack anyone. Let’s talk this issue ourselves . . . Let’s start the work with dialogue, not with weapons; let’s talk among ourselves’.

I interrupt:

“How is this going to happen? On one side the state and on the other the PKK? Is this possible?”

Intellectuals Mechanism

Karayılan’s mechanism is like this:

“At the first phase, the weapons will be silenced . . . Then dialog will begin . . . İmralı is the place for dialog . . . If that’s not accepted, we are the party for dialog . . . If we are not accepted, it is the elected political party (He is not mentioning the name of DTP but when I mention he nods in agreement) . . . If this is not workable either, then a joint commission will be formed somewhere and intellectuals will meet. For example, people like İlter Türkmen (former Minister of External Affairs and Ambassador) and you will gather; a mechanism like this will start and begin to work . . . A mechanism like this will be accepted by the state as an addressee for dialog . . . ”

Murat Karayılan adds:

“Why not, why shouldn’t a mechanism like this be formed?..”

Karayılan asks then:

“Is there no political willpower? Is there a vacuum in the political area? One wonders where the Prime Minister of 2005 is . . . ”

“We are sorry for the 10 martyred soldiers”

I asked Karayılan this:

“You declared a unilateral ceasefire, you said no attacks, and you said you were extending this until 1 June. But on the other hand, what were the PKK attacks in Diyarbakır and Hakkari that martyred 10 soldiers about?”

His first reaction was this:

“We are sorry for that too.”

Karayılan continued:

“It wasn’t a move planned from the headquarters. It was in the field, a decision taken at the local level with their own incentive. They see soldiers in the field and feel that soldiers are coming at them with an operation and they take measures to protect themselves. They lay a mine. We are sorry too.”

For a little more on what you might expect from Murat Karayılan through Hasan Cemal, check this short overview from Bianet.

Some seem to think that “indirect negotiations” have already started. Apparently Abdullah Gül, Cemil “Chicken Little” Çiçek, and the new foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoğlu, wanted to meet Hasan Cemal on his return from South Kurdistan and Gül stated last week that the Kurdish “question” is Turkey’s priority.

For Ahmet Türk’s recent comments on the subject to the DTP parliamentary group, check here.

There is also a great post at Zerkesorg that addresses the discussion about the possibility of peace talks between the Ankara regime and the PKK. I agree with his conclusions there and would like to point out this quote:

PKK doesn’t need to rush. PKK doesn’t have a Kurdish problem, Turkish state has a Kurdish problem it needs to solve.

And being that the Turkish state is the state, and since the founding of the PKK is an effect of state policies (as opposed to the cause of state policies), the Turkish state has the moral burden of finding a peaceful solution to the problem it has caused.

But, then, I’m the skeptic; I won’t believe anything before I see it. We all need to see concrete steps from the Turkish state before we can believe anything. Given what Karayılan and Türk have said, it seems to me that the proper first concrete step would be an end to TSK operations in North Kurdistan in order to allow HPG to keep its side of this most recent unilateral ceasefire.

There are other “hidden hands” involved here, belonging to groups that can be trusted as much as the Turkish state, and the Americans are not the least of those untrustworthy “hidden hands”.

In other words, the time for unilateral ceasefires has ended. Now is the time for that first monumental opportunity–a bilateral ceasefire.

SOLIDARITY WITH THE TAMILS

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2009 by Mizgîn
“After Sri Lanka survived English imperialism, the Tamils demanded freedom. There has been a Tamil people’s continuous armed struggle for a period of almost 26 years.”
~ Zübayir Aydar, KONGRA-GEL Chairman.

Zübeyir Aydar calls for solidarity with the Tamil people (Source: http://www.firatnews.info/index.php?rupel=nuce&nuceID=7619):

Kongra Gel Called for An Immediate Ceasefire in Sri Lanka

Kongra Gel chairman Zubeyir Aydar condemned the Sri Lankan state’s massacre of the Tamil people and stated that Kongra Gel is with the Tamil people in their freedom struggle. Calling for a bilateral ceasefire, Aydar criticized the silence of the international community.

The Sri Lankan army has been conducting heavy operations against the Tamil people for months. For the Tamil people, the operations that have killed thousands of civilians is called an “attempted genocide”. While the violent clashes are ongoing in the north of the island, during the night of Saturday to Sunday [9-10 May], according to Tamil sources more than 2,000 civilians lost their lives.

A Continuous Struggle

Kurds, too, are watching closely the massacre against the Tamil people and are conducting solidarity activites. The Kongra Gel chairman, Zubeyir Aydar, said, “After Sri Lanka survived English imperialism, the Tamils demanded freedom. There has been a Tamil people’s continuous armed struggle for a period of almost 26 years.”

In the north of Sri Lanka, twenty-five percent of the population consists of Tamils (5 million), Hindus, Christians, Muslims, whereas 75% is Buddhist Sinhalese (15 million) people. Tamils are a Hindu people. Tamil Eelam Freedom Tigers (LTTE), the Tamil guerrillas, are conducting an independence struggle for the Tamil people who live in the north and northeast of Sri Lanka. Since 1972, at least 70,000 people lost their lives in the clashes.

In 2002, a ceasefire was declared between Tamils and the Sri Lankan state. However, Sri Lanka, which receives support from India and the US, empowered its army and began attacks against the Tamil people after 2006. The ceasefire was abolished de facto. Sri Lanka’s president broke the ceasefire in 2008 and intensified attacks.

The Tamil’s Demand Is a Just Demand

Pointing out the hardliner attitude of Sri Lanka’s government, Aydar said, “All the calls for peace and ceasefires from LTTE were left without any response. Almost one week ago guerrillas declared a unilateral ceasefire; the army did not acknowledge it and continued to attack.”

Stressing that the Sri Lankan army is not obeying any kind of law or international laws of war, Aydar said, “Excessive force is being used, civilians are targeted, hospitals are fired on; these are war crimes. Despite the various numbers, thousands of civilians lost their lives in the last couple of months. In the clashes that took place on Saturday and Sunday, mostly civilians lost their lives. It is mentioned that the numbers exceed thousands; there is a humanitarian tragedy there. The Tamil people’s freedom demand is a just demand. The demand for living freely in their own country is a just demand. The Sri Lankan government is in an unjust position. Its attitude is an imperialist approach. It wants to keep the Tamil people under pressure and imperialism.”

The Imposition of Official Language
The Sri Lankan state imposed Sinhalese language as the national language in 1956. This exacerbated the Tamil peoples reaction. The imperialist attitude, the imposition of official language, and the assumption of the non-existence of the Tamil people’s rights first made severe clashes in 1983, which turned into a civil war.

It Is Getting the Support of the Great States
“In the recent clashes it seems like the Sri Lankan army feels itself powerful. It seems like, in the international arena, they acquired the support of the great states. Using this advantage, it conducts a massacre in front of the world’s eyes. It wants to smash a people’s hope for freedom. The world is just watching,” said Aydar.

The International Community Remains Silent
Criticizing the western counties’ silence toward the massacre, Aydar said that some European countries’ (France and England) foreign ministers went to Sri Lanka. However, their efforts did not go beyond their statements. Aydar said, “America is silent on this issue.” He claimed that the international powers are encouraging Sri Lanka by putting the Tamil independence organization on their “terrorist list”.

Aydar stressed that the UN’s attempts are insufficient. It’s calls do not go beyond the statements, like “We are worried about civilian casualties”, “The guerrillas must lay down their arms”. In addition, it tries to soothe the consciences by saying, “Weapons must be silenced”.

Despite the statements from international human rights organizations about Sri Lanka committing war crimes and that there must be intervention immediately, the international powers do not even move. The UN data, too, reveals the massacre. According to the UN, since the beginning of this year to date, 6,500 civilians lost their lives. However, it is estimated that the real number is much higher.

An International Mechanism Must Be Established

Aydar stated that there are similar ongoing incidents in other parts of the world, and suggested the establishment of a neutral and just mechanism with a lawful foundation that has been formed. Mentioning that fifteen years ago great massacres occurred in Rwanda, that the incidents that occur in Kurdistan are before everyone’s eyes, and that there was a humanitarian tragedy in Darfur. Aydar said, “There may not be any oil in Sri Lanka, there may not be any conflict of interest from international powers, however humanity is being hurt there. Humanity is put underfoot. The place to bring up such issues is the UN; however since the UN consists of nations, not peoples, it reacts based on the interests of states. For this reason, this mechanism is insufficient. The international community must improve a mechanism for such issues. This international mechanism must react immediately when a people, a minority, a belief, or any group, is subjected to torture by a state’s imposition. This mechanism must be a mechanism for which a lawful foundation has been formed and protects the weak.”

Kurds and Tamils Must Be in Solidarity

Saying that they support the Tamil people’s freedom demand and their struggle, Aydar said, “We are in solidarity with them. Previously we have told our supporters to join the activities for solidarity with the Tamil people. We remind them once more. We want them to show solidarity with the Tamil people, to be with them, to share their griefs, and to protest the Sri Lankan army’s cruel attacks.”

Call for Immediate Bilateral Ceasefire

Calling on the Sri Lankan government, Aydar said, “The Sri Lankan government could not solve this problem militarily for 26 years. It cannot solve it, either. Maybe now they are more powerful than the guerrillas. They may have partial superiority against the guerrillas, but this will not solve the problem. Insisting on the current attitude will result in more casualties.”

For the solution of the problem, Aydar primarily called for an immediate ceasefire. He said, “Our wish and call is like the way they have done before, to come back to the table and resolve the problem through dialog.”

Here’s a video of the concentration camps in which the Sri Lankan government is rounding up the Tamil people, from Britain’s Channel 4. Note that having a “democratically-elected government” makes it all okay:


Nick Paton Walsh, the Channel 4 reporter at the end of the segment showing the concentration camp, and his team were expelled from Sri Lanka for this report.

Here was the reaction of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s defense secretary, to Walsh’s report:

“Who is this? You rang me earlier? Is this Channel 4? You have been accusing my soldiers of raping civilians? Your visa is cancelled, you will be deported. You can report what you like about this country, but from your own country, not from here.

He certainly sounds like he takes it seriously . . . but not seriously enough to investigate.

For more background on the LTTE, check a report by one of LTTE’s first female Tigers, teaser here:

December 23 1987 was a warm, clear day, and I was hiding under a lantana bush with eight of my comrades in a village north of Jaffna. With our rifles cocked and our cyanide capsules clenched between our teeth, we awaited the soldiers who had been scouring the area for us for several hours. Our orders were to empty our magazines into them before biting into the glass capsules we called ‘kuppies’ that hung on a thread around our necks. As a Tamil Tiger guerrilla, there was no honour in being caught alive.

There had been 22 of us that morning – nine boys and 13 girls, aged between 15 and 26 (I was 17). Now, four of my comrades were missing, two were wounded. Ten were dead.

For the rest of the story.

Long live the Tamil people! Long live the Tigers! Long live the solidarity of oppressed peoples!

SIBEL EDMONDS, THE MEDIA, AND ANALYSIS OF THE KURDISH SITUATION

Posted in Uncategorized on May 13, 2009 by Mizgîn
“I hate journalists. There is nothing in them but tittering jeering emptiness. They have all made what Dante calls the Great Refusal. . . . The shallowest people on the ridge of the earth.”
~ William Butler Yeats.

Sibel Edmonds has a radio interview with Scott Horton here (Run time a little over 27 mins.). She talks about what happens when the FBI runs a FISA investigation against foreign agents who are telephoning traitorous members of Congress and making deals with them. There’s also a transcript of the interview at the link.

Let me happily mention that Sibel has her very own blog now. That’s right. The great lady herself will be posting her own thoughts on her own blog at 123 Real Change. The link has also been added to the Sibel Stuff list in the right margin. I suggest you bookmark it and check in often. Who knows? You might learn something about how The System works.

She’s off to a good start, too, by fixing the worthless American media in her crosshairs. What accounts for the worthless American media’s infinite incompetence? Here are some points she starts off with:

1. Government Agents: CIA-Media reporting as seen in Operation Mockingbird, or embedded Pentagon pawns like Judith Miller, or Hoover style censorship of the MSM.

2. Lazy Journalism on the Cheap: The publications no longer pay for, budget for, real ‘investigative journalism,’ thus, you get your typical stenographers who make their one or two calls to their ‘usual sources’ right from their desks, and write as dictated.

3. Government Pressure, Harassment, and even Blackmail: Cases like James Risen (NY Times) and Bill Conroy (an editor at the San Antonio Business Journal) are good examples.

4. Self-Censorship: Based on this theory, with just a little massaging patriotism kicks in with many of these so-called journalists (whether it’s the Cold War, or, the Post 9/11 war on terror), and that does the job for the government propagandists.

5. Americans Want Entertainment not Real News: Some suggest that after commute-work-commute-kids & household chores, basically, exhausted with day-to-day work, hassles, stress, and pressure, people don’t want serious and grim realities. They want to tune in to Brittney’s latest panties, or Brangelina’s latest baby conquest.

6. Corporate Owned Media: Powerful Corporations are becoming a major influence, and ownership concentrated as a result of mega mergers…

7. Combination of some or all of the above

8. None of the Above

If you want to join in the discussion, head on over there and post a comment.

You might also be interested in this blast against the worthless American media:

Memo to my remaining daily print colleagues and their nostalgia club: Get over it and get over yourselves. It’s not that the Internet is Mr. Wonderful. Much of it mimics the same bad qualities that drove the public away from daily newspapers. When you took the honest advocacy out of reporting you emptied it of all passion and reason to exist. It was a nice ride on your profit ledger sheet during the recent decades when You lost the public to us because – there’s no nice or sugar-coated way to say it – you guys really suck at what you do. In your arrogance, you established calcified “rules” of “journalism” and false “objectivity” that neutered and spayed all of your reporters, domesticated so they would never again afflict the comfortable or comfort the afflicted. When you took the honest advocacy out of reporting you emptied it of all passion and reason to exist. It was a nice ride on your profit ledger sheet during the recent decades when you turned your rags into propaganda arms for the wealthy and powerful, but a funny thing happened on the way to the ATM machine: You lost the trust of your readers, half of whom have already given you the finger and pursued alternate routes to inform themselves of current events. And the rest are on the way through the same EXIT sign.

OUCH!! But such a rant couldn’t happen against a more deserving bunch of losers. Note to self: The next time you read something that contains the self-serving whining of media elites to Congress, have a motion sickness bag handy.

I’ve also added a link to the Kurdish Herald in the Links list in the right margin. It looks like it has a variety of articles and analysis. I’d like to point out one piece that deals with DTP’s recent success in the 29 March local Turkish elections:

Things did not go as planned for the AKP. The Kurds took the local elections as a referendum. The AKP’s using state and governmental resources to “buy votes” in exchange of delivering coal, small educational stipends, refrigerators or dishwashers; the opening of the official TRT 6 Kurdish TV channel, and the debates over Kurdology institutes at Turkish universities; and the promises to “pour money into the region for development” did not bring the votes the AKP had expected (Radikal, 31 March 2009). On the contrary, the DTP could not only defend its “castle” Diyarbakir and the municipalities of Tunceli, Batman, Hakkari and Sirnak, and remarkably increased its votes, but also won the elections in Igdir, Van and Siirt; the latter two being very crucial for the AKP. The prime minister himself was elected from the Siirt province in 2002, which is also the hometown of his wife who is of Arab ethnicity. The DTP increased the number of its municipalities from 56 to 98, compared with 2004, hence scoring a clear victory.

Optimistic Kurds thought that this victory would put enough pressure on the government to begin a dialogue with the DTP for a peaceful resolution for the Kurdish issues, which would mean the end of the government’s policy “not to shake hands with the DTP” since the general elections of 2007. The PKK welcomed DTP’s election success and declared not to use arms until 1 June 2009, and extend the cease-fire if the state does not increase tension, as a political move to empower the DTP in the political process. However, the series of events that started immediately after the elections gave clear hints that a dialogue between the Kurds and the Turkish state was still not within sight. Turkish police attacked harshly Kurdish who objected to what they believed was an election fraud by the AKP in the Agri province. Many were injured and many more were arrested or detained.

In this murky political atmosphere, on 14 April 2009 the police conducted simultaneous operations in 15 different cities, mostly located in the Kurdish region, and took more than seventy DTP executives and members under custody with the accusation that they had ties with the PKK. While strongly denying these accusations, the DTP announced that the number of its imprisoned executives and members had reached 222 as of 7 May 2009, including 3 vice-chairs of the party. In addition, the mayors of Diyarbakir and Batman received ten-month sentences for using the word “guerilla” to name the PKK members, instead of the word “terrorist,” and if the Court of Appeals approves the sentence, they will also lose their posts.

There’s not much for me to add here because I agree with the analysis, but read the whole thing to get the big picture in a nutshell.

There’s also an informative piece on income disparities in The Southeast when compared to the rest of Turkey. It should come as absolutely no surprise to anyone but the biggest Turkish “equality” propagandist that the Kurdish regions are at the bottom of the list. In fact, as the author notes, the numbers placing the Kurdish regions at the bottom of the list may be skewed by the fact that The Southeast suffers from a major infestation of TSK and government types whose salaries are far above those of the regular Kurdish population:

Indeed, the pure data in and of itself does not tell the full story. It must be recognized that a large number of Turkish police officers and military and intelligence personnel who are stationed in Kurdish provinces receive much higher wages than locals. Members of the Turkish security forces who work in Kurdish areas are almost always from majority Turkish areas of the country. They are frequently housed highly fortified, protected compounds within Kurdish areas and do not live among the masses. If their incomes are considered in the calculation of the means for the regions, this data may actually overestimate income levels in Kurdish provinces and thus understate the true magnitude of the regional income disparity.

So, take a look at that one, too, and then browse the rest of the site. And let’s hope they’re not all a bunch of damned journalists over there.