Thursday, February 09, 2006


Here's a story about what happens to a Kurd from Turkey who comes to America, gets educated, becomes loud and is labelled a "rebel leader": The People Behind the Persecution. It is none other than Kani Xulam, the founder of the American Kurdish Information Network, which you can always find on my links.

If you read Kani's bio at the AKIN site, you'll see that it says, "Kani Xulam is a Kurd from northern Kurdistan, presently occupied and misruled by Turkey." Sounds familiar, and this is why the US government is in the process of appealing a court decision to grant Kani political asylum. The scary part of this, in my opinion, is that some American judge who knows absolutely nothing about what it's like to be a Kurd in Turkey is going to "decide how to interpret events that have occurred in Turkey since his asylum was recommended in 1996."

There is another Kurd from Turkey who is undergoing a similar legal process, and I have written a little about him. He is Ibrahim Parlak.

Kani makes some comments on events in South Kurdistan:

“Whether the Bush administration intended it or not, it has introduced an element of rights into the Middle East,” Xulam said. “I think in the long run we have hope for an independent Kurdistan.”

[ . . . ]

“I personally think that the U.S. presence in Iraq — if there’s a beneficiary to that foreign policy — has helped the Kurds,” he said.

In part, this was aided by Turkey’s own refusal in 2003 to allow U.S. forces to invade Iraq through its territory. Xulam said this exposed a rift between an alliance he and others think has contributed to America’s blind eye toward Kurdish suffering there.

In addition, Kurds in Iraq are now being granted privileges and rights also sought in Turkey, he said.

“That is causing a lot of consternation in Turkey,” he said. “They know that if they succeed, the Kurds in Turkey will ask for the same.”

A reference is also made in the article to a documentary by Kevin McKiernan, the title of which aptly describes how Kurds are viewed by US policy makers. The documentary is called "Good Kurds, Bad Kurds" and information on the documentary can be found at Kevin McKiernan's site. You can view a video clip of the documentary there as well as purchase your own copy which, after you've seen it enough times to memorize it, you can donate it to your local library to help educate others about The Dirty War.

We'll have to see what happens after March 14.

There is another Kurd from Turkey in the US right now, and he is Osman Baydemir. Who the heck is Osman Baydemir, you might ask? Well, he's the Kurdish mayor of Amed (Diyarbakir). Osman Baydemir is a lawyer by training and has served a number of years heading up the Amed office of IHD, the Human Rights Association of Turkey. For those of you who don't know, holding a position as a one of the top officials in IHD, especially in Amed, is not a job for cowards, mama's boys or other assorted weenies. During his time at IHD, Osman received numerous death threats and detentions.

IHD has been closely associated by the Turkish government with the PKK. Osman Baydemir is becoming closely associated by the Turkish government with the PKK, especially since he is a DTP (Democratic Society Party) mayor, and DTP is closely associated by the Turkish government with the PKK.

We should forget all this world Zionist conspiracy stuff because, in actual fact, according to the Turkish government, absolutely everything on earth is run by the PKK.

But, as they say, I digress. Osman Baydemir recently spearheaded the writing of a letter, signed by 55 other DTP mayors in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, urging Danish PM Rasmussen's continued support for Roj TV. He also managed to unnerve everyone--except perhaps the PKK, with whom he is closely associated by the . . . You realize I'm being facetious again, right?--because he has the bad habit of continuing to speak Kurdish. The Turkish government takes a dim view of Kurdish politicians who speak their native language.

Osman is planning to visit Nashville, home to several thousand Kurds, New York City and Washington, DC. Kurdistan Observer is carrying The New Anatolian's report on the visit. They do have a bit of a bias. I can have bias because I'm not a journalist. The New Anatolian, on the other hand, should at least make a pretence, once in a while:

Unlike other pro-PKK, Democratic Society Party (DTP) mayors, what makes Baydemir hit the headlines in the pro-PKK media is his stubborn and intolerant opposition to Turkish state policies. For instance, against the government's will, Baydemir led the other DTP mayors to write a letter to the Danish government asking that the Danish-based, pro-PKK satellite TV channel Roj-TV not be banned.

In addition, not only did he visit the families of 'Kurdish freedom fighters' who were killed in gun battles between Turkish security forces and the PKK organization, he also sent official ambulances, which belong to the municipality, to pick up the Kurdish rebels bodies. Lately, although the law strictly bans the use of local languages for official purposes, he didn't hesitate to use Kurdish in his official celebration letters.

Osman, you've been a bad boy! Çok ayıp, man! What The New Anatolian failed to mention was that, in connection with the visit to PKK families, Osman also visited the home of a wounded police officer.

The New Anatolian's take on the purposes of the trip:

After the Iraq liberation, the U.S. has become an active player in regional politics. The Kurdish issue occupies an important part of the agenda of regional politics.

The timing of the visit is also interesting in terms of international political dynamics. If we consider that the U.S. is desperately searching for local allies to support its policies on Iran, Baydemir's visit can be considered a strategic move. From this perspective Baydemir's agenda also gives the impression that he planned this visit for strategic purposes to establish contacts in Washington D.C. For instance, the visit to Nashville, besides the sister-city project, is most likely planned to establish such connections because Nashville is the city with the largest Kurdish community.

In the Nashville Kurdish community there are people, including American professors, who work extensively on the Kurdish issue and advise Iraqi Kurdistan regional government President Massoud Barzani, whom Baydemir is most likely to meet, and are very influential in Washington. After the Nashville visit, the five-day program in Washington D.C. also is an indicator of his aim to establish contacts with influential Washingtonians.

If we take all these factors into consideration, Baydemir's visit could be a turning point for the Kurdish issue, assuming that it wasn't encouraged by Abdullah Ocalan himself to discuss the PKK's possible help to the U.S. in an anticipated strike against Iran.

Um, yeah.

Moving along, The New Anatolian also carried a commentary on the visit by Ilnur Cevik, which you can find cached away at KurdishMedia. Pay attention to the subtelty with which Ilnur Cevik attempts to closely associate Osman Baydemir with the PKK. I think he is trying to usurp the government's prerogative here.

Lastly, there is a short report on Abdullah Gul's comments on Osman's trip, at Anatolia.

Tu bi xêr hatî, Osman, û serkeftin!

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