THE GREAT DIVIDE
“Democracy is a streetcar—you ride it until you arrive at your destination and then you step off." ~ Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Digging around on istanbulindymedia.org, I found a couple of video clips on the serhildan. In the first one, the music alone will kill you, but coupled with the photo montage. . . Ax! The second one is here, and is longer. Both take a a couple of minutes for initial download, even with DSL or cable, but I think they are worth it.
Every nation on earth--and I am not speaking here of nation-states or countries--every nation has its own defining characteristics, its own national character. I came across something today which, I realize, defines for me a characteristic of the Kurdish people. From the Washington Post:
"As a Kurdish person I cannot knock on any door and ask for bread in Turkey. Whereas if they come here they would see we could share whatever we have," Kaycan said. "I went to a lot of other cities. I ask what time it is, and I can't get a reply because I'm from Diyarbakir."
"We only have each other here, so we support each other," said Abdullah Sarigul, 20. "Since we don't have any expectation from the other side, we rely on one another."
If a visitor goes to Kurdistan, they will find that these statements are true. The people take care of each other and, as poor as they are, they generously share what they have with guests and the guest is lavished with care. This has nothing to do with wealth, rather it is something from the Kurdish heart.
For me, this is the single greatest distinguishing mark between "The East" and "The West." Forget about the investment in "The West" when thinking about this, because no matter how glittering Istanbul may be, it does not have the heart of Amed. This is what makes the wait for a departing flight out of the Amed airport a torture. To sit in the Amed airport, at the departing gate, is to sit in the most sorrowful place on earth. To wait alone there, after one has passed through security, to be separated from this great people who care about each other, is to tear one's own heart out.
In spite of the news and photos that have come from Amed in the last few days, or from Êlih or from any of the Kurdish cities that have seen protests, there is still a feeling of safety because of the Kurdish heart, and this feeling of safety does not exist in "The West" unless you find yourselves among Kurds. Otherwise, the overall atmosphere is cold, the antithesis of Kurdistan.
It is the cultural Great Divide.
But there is a political Great Divide, as well, expressed by the young Amedî in the WP report as there being "no expectation from the other side." This fact is illustrated in a report by the BBC:
Turkey's prime minister has warned that the security forces will act against women and children who he said were being used as the "pawns of terrorism".
[ . . . ]
"If you cry tomorrow, it will be in vain," Anatolia quoted him as saying.
"The security forces will intervene against the pawns of terrorism, no matter if they are children or women. Everybody should realise that."
If the lives of the weakest in society are not respected by the government, you can be sure of "no expectation" for anything else.
The report goes on to say that the government is praising security forces for their "restraint." Yes, I suppose it is restraint to fire negligently into the air in order to disperse demonstrators. The fact that security forces are totally ignorant of the laws of physics that require all those things that go up, to come down again. When the bullets come down, it is irrelevant to them that they hit children playing in parks or on the balconies of their homes. It is irrelevant to them because these bullets of the state kill Kurds, and Kurds do not have the rights in any of the countries of their occupation that an endangered fruit fly would have in the West.
I also find it highly ironic that the Ankara regime is concerned enough about Kurdish kids to generate so much propaganda about keeping them away from protests, but isn't concerned enough to urge restraint of security forces. The fact of the matter is that the children who were murdered by Turkish security forces were not involved in the demonstrations.
But security forces are not simply firing into the air. A 24-year-old Kurd was murdered by security forces in Kiziltepe, having been shot through the head. This clearly proves that security forces are shooting to kill, and not using any kind of restraint, contrary to the lies coming from Ankara.
The same guy who's riding a Streetcar Named Democracy to fool the EU--Erdogan--and has no qualms about deploying security forces against Kurdish women and children, had some interesting things to say about Osman Baydemir:
On Friday Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said everything in the Southeast was under control and criticized Diyarbakır Mayor Osman Baydemir by saying, "Being a mayor does not give one the right to act irresponsibly."
Baydemir had said on Thursday: "Our losses were 14. As of now, they are 16. I fear the toll may have increased," in obvious reference to the 14 PKK members killed by the military in Bingöl.
Erdoğan said, "A mayor who works in a state that respects the rule of law should not and cannot make such statements".
WOW! Everything in "The Southeast" is controlled by Osman! Thanks, Erdogan, for admitting that you and all the rest of Ankara have no legitimacy there. You can get your troops out now.
But let me ask, were you acting as a responsible mayor when you made your remark about your use of democracy, Erdogan? If so, then why should anyone believe whatever lip service you pay to democracy now? Obviously it is all lip service, since you are willing to sacrifice women and children to enforce fascism. Maybe you could explain to me, Erdogan, how Turkey can be considered a state that respects the rule of law, when the constitution exists solely to protect the state? One of the marks of a fascist state is that law exists to preserve the state at the expense of the people, in contrast to real democracies, whose laws exist to protect the people from the excesses of the state.
Another ridiculous AKP character in this drama is the Interior Minister, who "called on all to protect the country's unity and the youth." I guess he didn't mean for this statement to apply to Erdogan's call for security forces to spare no women and children in their continued efforts at occupation. He also equates attempts to "harm democracy" with crimes against humanity. With this kind of thinking, it's no wonder that Turkey is noted for its human rights abuses.
These histrionics by Turkish politicians can be contrasted with the DTP press conference Friday, in which Osman made the following statement:
"If the sacrifice of Osman Baydemir is necessary to ensure social peace, democratization, so be it. I am not after official posts. My concerns are for the future of this country and the willingness of the two peoples to live side by side."
Osman further stated that he expected the Prime Minister to share the grief of the Kurdish people over the loss of life. I think Osman will have a long wait on that. Just reread what I said about the defining Kurdish national characteristic.
The good news in all this is that it looks like DTP is sticking together. DTP is also making public note of the fact that nothing came of Erdogan's excellent adventure in Amed last summer, and it is blaming Ankara for doing nothing to increase Kurdish freedoms.
By the way, take a look at these guys:
These are proof of the total fear of the Ankara regime. They are Ozel Tim, "Special Teams," and they were deployed to Amed. They have one function in life: "they bear significant responsibility for waging war on the PKK and its perceived civilian supporters." In other words, they are state-sponsored terrorists who have carte blanche to murder anyone they may perceive as being a supporter of PKK, including civilians. They are usually extreme, right-wing nationalists--Gray Wolves. More can be read about them here.
There is also an interesting article about covert operations in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, that mentions Ozel Tim training on page 4 of this .pdf document.
More about the history of Ozel Tim's right-wing tendencies can be read at Human Rights Watch:
A 1995 report prepared by the center-left Republican People’s Party (CHP), at the time the junior partner in the government of Prime Minister Tansu Çiller, criticized the increasing influence of extreme right-wing and fundamentalist groups among the security forces. Such groups are usually ideologically hostile to Kurdish and left-wing organizations, the groups police deal with most often in security cases. The report presented the following conclusions: of the seventy-seven provincial security directors, 48 percent were alleged to be either radical fundamentalists (köktendinci) or extreme nationalists (ulkucu); police academies and “special team” training centers only accept those with a “nationalist” reference because only “nationalists fight against terror;” only 18 percent of the provincial security directors could be considered “democrats;” the police had a mentality to consider all those not from their ranks as the enemy.96 One scholar commented that, “Young right-wing hoodlums, who once carried out raids against “leftist” tea houses, now became policemen and schoolteachers or were recruited into the special forces fighting the Kurdish guerrillas.”97
Other sources make the same charges. In August 1994, Sevket Kazan, the former justice minister from the Islamist Welfare (Refah) Party, charged that most members of the “special teams,” noted for their abusive behavior in southeastern Turkey, were members of the far right Nationalist Action Party (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi-MHP).98 In the fall of 1996, the headquarters of the General Staff prepared a brochure for internal distribution to all security forces in the southeast titled, “Public Relations and Winning the People in Internal Security.”99 In a warning directed at “special team members,” the brochure called on security force members not to wear or make symbols of a “definite political nature that incites the populace;” implied was the “grey wolf” and three crescent symbols associated with MHP and ulkucu groups.100 During an investigation of the Sivas massacre of 1993, when fundamentalists burned down a hotel killing thirty-seven Alevi intellectuals, a Turkish parliamentary investigation committee discovered that Islamist bulletins faxed to local newspapers and believed to have provoked the public to violence were sent from the Sivas Security Directorate.101
One day, may each one receive the bullet bearing his name. Everybody say, "Inshallah!"
UPDATE: Found some video at HAWARDENGÛBAS. The first is from Amed. Watch at the end to see protestors lobbing rocks at an MHP office. The second is from Êlih.