Monday, April 03, 2006

THE PROBLEM IS NOT THE PKK


"Guns will make us powerful; butter will only make us fat." ~ Hermann Goering.


During the last few days, you might get the idea that the Serhildan has been caused by "terrorism," that it's the fault of the big, bad PKK, or it was the fault of Osman Baydemir because he has not been using all of his power to control everyone in "The Southeast." But if some of the news is read carefully, you can begin to get an idea of what has really been the cause of the Serhildan. Let me give you a hint:


He [Ahmet Turk, DTP co-chairman] said the riots were the reflection of entangled political, social and economic problems that have plagued the Southeast for decades.

"Those people do not have education, health services ... they are hungry and deprived. How can one control such masses?" he asked.

Türk called on the government to come up with a comprehensive program for the Southeast that would include the improvement of Kurdish cultural and political rights, economic and social development and a general amnesty for the PKK.

"How can you resolve the problem only with the stick, with repression and silencing? We want this mentality to change," he said. "The [Kurdish] people believe they are still regarded as a kind of quasi-citizen."



"[E]ntangled political, social and economic problems that have plagued the Southeast for decades," that is it. The problem is that no one has bothered to consider life in "The Southeast" from the viewpoint of the average Kurd who lives there, who puts up with sorry education, sorry health services, has been forced from a village to which he or she can't go back because it's not there anymore.

Is a Kurd under Turkish-occupation supposed to give his children, or his brothers and sisters, Erdogan's empty words to eat? Will language rights fill the bellies of his children? Or arguments about how all of this misery is the fault of the PKK? This unrest was already in the air last year. Its coming could be felt just as surely as one can feel a thunderstorm coming in the summertime. From AFP as carried on KurdishMedia last July:


"What do I care about TV when I’m hungry?" asked a Lice stockbreeder who identified himself only as Sabri, echoing general disppointment with the government’s failure to relieve the region’s chronic poverty after the violence abated.

[ . . . ]

In the shanty towns of Diyarbakir, the central city of the southeast, unemployment is estimated at about 70 percent, crime is skyrocketing and brothels -- unthinkable a decade ago in the rigidly conservative region -- are mushrooming.


Did anyone notice the phrase, "after the violence abated?" That was a reference to the PKK's unilateral ceasefire, Ankara's missed opportunity.


There is more about the economic situation here, and from here. From that second article, you can find gems of truth like this one, from Amed:


"We put a group of women together, and ask them to close their eyes for three minutes and think of things that have happened to them because they are women. By the end of three minutes, every woman is crying. Then come the stories: my village was burned, my husband was tortured, my son was killed. This war devastated our society. Even now, there is no work for people here. The girls become prostitutes. The boys are thieves. They're proud of it. They come to me and say, 'I'm happy because I was able to steal some money today and bring it to my family.' Our people are suffering. We have deep and painful wounds that will take a very long time to heal."



The situation is dire. We see before us the shredding of Kurdish culture as it has been known for centuries, if not millenia. It has taken 83 years of Turkish misrule to bring us to this point. The boys become criminals and the girls prostitutes and everyone outside of this reality cannot understand the violence. Everyone spends pointless hours shrieking their anti-PKK mantras. The fact is that this shame goes directly to the Turkish government and to no one else. The shame is not that Kurds must do what they have to in order to survive, rather the shame is that the Turkish government, by its fascist policies forces Kurds to do what they have to in order to survive.

Do not consider what little business wealth that exists in Amed as something positive because it isn't, and let's not engage in the lie that "violence" or "protestors" will drive away this business. The business that exists in Amed today, the economy that functions there for the time being, exists solely to service the huge military occupation force that is deployed there. It is, therefore, a phony economy because it is limited to serving the people with money, which they get from Ankara, in the form of military paychecks.

And where is the EU in all of this? They have been focusing all their attention on a pack of spoiled French juveniles, with full bellies, rioting for what seems like weeks, simply because they are upset that they might possibly be fired from their jobs . . . as if any of them had the ambition to become employed.

And where is Turkey's best ally, the US, in all of this? They are too busy outsourcing their military-industrial complex to Turkey itself, no doubt with the hope that Turkey can become self-sufficient in war production so that they can finally wipe out the Kurds once and for all. If it's done within one's own borders, genocide is perfectly acceptable.

In other words, business as usual. No one is paying attention and no one gives a damn.

From the LA Times:


Political analysts and diplomats say the violence, the worst in a decade, reflects local anger over high unemployment, poverty and the central government's refusal to grant more autonomy to the mainly Kurdish region.

Many people in the region say they are disappointed that they have not seen more changes despite promises of economic improvements by the governing Justice and Development Party.



It doesn't look good for AKP in 2007, not in "The Southeast" anyway.

The most absurd item in the Turkish media today, goes to the fearmongers, conspiracy theorists and all-around fascists in the MHP:


Claiming that there are circles plotting traps to turn people against each other in the country, Vural said that the state should make sure that people aren't falling into this trap.


That's right, when the going gets tough, the toughs start talking "traps." Geez! Some things never change.

Since I am tired of the usual finishes to every article about Kurds and Turkey, here is my version:


The Kurds regard the Turkish government as a terrorist group responsible for the deaths of more than 30,000 people since it began its armed campaign to crush the Kurdish people and their desire for an ethnic Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey. But many Kurds in the region sympathize with the separatist PKK.

5 comments:

Litmus said...

Do not consider what little business wealth that exists in Amed as something positive because it isn't, and let's not engage in the lie that "violence" or "protestors" will drive away this business. The business that exists in Amed today, the economy that functions there for the time being, exists solely to service the huge military occupation force that is deployed there. It is, therefore, a phony economy...

Wow, if this isn't a green light to wipe out all the stores in Diyarbakir and other cities, I don't know what is. Frankly, it's a fucking insult to say that Kurds running their own stores are nothing more than pawns and that destroying their businesses nothing to cry over. The food and bread they bring to their table is not, how ever you may wish it to be, "phony". If this is your view, I'm surprised that you would get upset over Semdinli, if all businesses are phony then that bookstore could be said to be only there to serve "the military occcupation force", and therefore its destruction should be seen as a good thing, because whatever profit it was making, that money was going towards the occupying military force. Pretty retarded thesis, in my opinion.

Litmus said...

Claiming that there are circles plotting traps to turn people against each other in the country, Vural said that the state should make sure that people aren't falling into this trap.

That's right, when the going gets tough, the toughs start talking "traps." Geez! Some things never change.


It's funny that out of all the things to quote from the MHP you picked that.

Another worry that raises the hair on my neck is the cooling of relations between Turks and Kurds...a change in feeling is easy to fix between person to person, but it is much more difficult to do so between peoples. I find this dangerous. We should never allow this to happen.
--Osman Baydemir in an interview in April 2006

Now, what does all of this mean in this great period of history? It means that we've got to stay together. We've got to stay together and maintain unity. You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in Pharaoh's court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery. When the slaves get together, that's the beginning of getting out of slavery. Now let us maintain unity.
--Martin Luther King Jr. as quoted by mizgin earlier.

Mizgîn said...

Then you really "don't know what is," Litmus. And at this point, there is more unity than you can imagine.

I look at what happened in the 90s and I see the same things again, with one big difference.

Nistiman said...

I think you and Litmus have a totally different conception of what 'unity' means. He takes the Turkish position that 'unity' is unity between Turks and Kurds (of Turkey) to jointly proclaim that Turkish hegemony should continue and that the Kurds should not ask for anything more than the "right" to say that they are 'ethnic Kurds' and enjoy the same rights as Turks as Turks. If Litmus has a better conception of 'unity' I'd like to know...because aside from 'an end to terror' i really don't know what it is that 'democratic' turks are advocating...

I don't think this is the unity of which you spoke about Mizgin. I see 'unity' as the unity among all Kurds to stand up to Turkish hegemony and insist upon equal treatment as Kurds not as Turks.


As for those businesses who remained open during a general 'strike' -- why should anyone shed tears for them? Didn't you hear? Erdogan promised in his speech -- the same one where he declared that Kurdish women and children make fine targets for security forces -- that the state would fully insure those storeowners who remained open and restore them to their original condition.

The compassion showed by Erdogan is what i'd like to shed tears about...!

But, I guess I should not be so suprised. After all, isn't the Turkish state there for EVERY Kurd willing to take up arms against another Kurd or willing to stand in opposition to their popular demands...?

Mizgîn said...

No, Nistiman, I am not speaking of whatever this thing called "Turkish/Kurdish unity" is, because this does not exist.

There is one unity I am concerned with and it is far more on the order of your vision of unity. You know, when you see things through a Kurdish "lens," everything looks a lot different. What is problematic is that there are VERY few who are able or willing to look at the rest of the world from this persepective. Unfortunately, many Turks, who otherwise consider themselves progressive and democratic, are also unable or unwilling.

The businesses never should have opened. In addition, I still consider the commercial support of the military occupation as phony. It is phony because one day, the army of occupation is going to leave. What Kurdistan needs instead is real business that will be able to sustain the population afterwards.

Now, what compensation is Erdogan offering for Fatih Tekin or Enes Ata? Or for the rest of the dead? For the almost 40,000 of the dirty war?

What, exactly, is the going rate for dead Kurds these days?