Tuesday, December 27, 2005


"The vote is the most powerful instrument ever devised by man for breaking down injustice and destroying the terrible walls which imprison men because they are different from other men." ~ Lyndon B. Johnson, 1965.

It looks like the Democratic Society Party (DTP) is maneuvering itself into position for the next elections, and they aren't planning to team up with anyone else either, in this article from The New Anatolian. I guess they learned from their predecessor's failure in the last elections: it does not pay to align with a Turkish party.

After several days of news about the tug-of-war between government and TUSIAD over the 10% threshold, nothing has changed. AKP and CHP continue to defend the threshold because it's what gave them so many seats. It also happens to lock out Kurdish candidates. Eventually, however, the 10% will have to be lowered to make the EU happy.

The biggest joke about maintaining the 10% threshold is the one about stability. The threshold is supposed to maintain stability, but what kind of stability exists in Turkey anyway, especially in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan? That's like the big joke about maintaining the status quo in the Middle East for the sake of regional stability. Of course, you have to have a sense of black humor to be able to laugh at these kinds of jokes.

As usual, Erdogan plays the politician and offers some other kinds of readjustments in order to give the impression that he is concerned about the "fairness" of the 10% and he mumbles something about rearranging the seats or whatever in order to make things more "fair."

Baykal of CHP, on the other hand, comes right out and says why CHP is opposed to lowering the threshold, without going into a lecture on new math or funny statistics. Simply put, CHP wants the threshold maintained in order to keep DTP out of parliament. CHP doesn't like "ethnic" types (meaning, Kurds) in parliament. After all, the threshold is meant to maintain the "fairness" of the electoral system and keep it "on a national basis" (meaning, purely Turkish). "Ethnicity" can't be involved in something like that. It doesn't matter that at least 20% of your population is not represented in parliament.

Ah, but I forget myself. . . that 20% doesn't officially exist except in theoretical discussions about identity and sub-identity.

It doesn't matter that non-Kurdish parties in Turkey have never done anything for Kurds, except bring misery, or that they promise to take care of Kurdish problems after they take care of the really important Turkish problems (this should sound familiar to some people). What matters is that we keep this "fair" and "on a national basis."

Since there are only a few days left in 2005, everyone is peering into crystal balls and making predictions for the new year. I came across an interesting one. The preview of coming attractions reads: Kurdish Threat to Stability in Turkey: Prospects 2006 :

Decisions taken in 2005 will dominate domestic developments in 2006 in two key domains: The decision of the EU to start negotiations on Turkey's accession will affect the choice of measures which the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan will take to deal with the mounting problems of Kurdish nationalism and ethno-terrorism. [. . . ]

The growth of Kurdish nationalism and ethnic terrorism will constitute the main threat to stability. [. . . .]

Although Erdogan renewed his promise of a democratic solution to the Kurdish question when he visited Hakkari after the disturbances, he will find it difficult to maintain law and order while simultaneously extending civil liberties (and eliminating rogue elements in the security forces).

I guess that's why Ankara decided to send all those cameras to the far "Southeast," in order to extend all those civil liberties.

But what is interesting about these predictions, and what links this second article to the one from The New Anatolian, are its remarks about DTP:

The revival of terrorist activity by the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), operating from its main base in northern Iraq, presents a major challenge to the government . It believes (as do most Turks) that the newly-formed Democratic Society Party (DTP), like its predecessor the Democratic People's Party (DEHAP), will act as a front organisation for the PKK.

Is DTP being set up to be banned, as DEHAP was before it, and HADEP was before it, and all other Kurdish parties have been? My crystal ball tells me that "ethnicity" will become the new code word for "Kurdish," in 2006, in order to deflect EU criticism of Turkey's Kurdish policy. I guess the 10% threshold is simply a precaution, in case the official wheels of inexorable Turkish justice don't grind fast enough to shut down certain "ethnic" parties before the elections.

Let's be brutally honest about this whole PKK thing. Everyone who now labels PKK as a "terrorist" organization, were the same people who committed atrocities against Kurds, set the policies into place, or ignored what was happening. They looked the other way, even as they sold the Ankara regime the very weapons systems used against Kurdish civilians. They said nothing, even as millions of Kurds were driven out of thousands of destroyed villages. They closed their eyes, even as the Turkish state attempted to wipe the Kurdish people off the face of the earth.

So, honestly, who are the real terrorists?

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