Saturday, May 13, 2006


"The torture made me stronger and more stubborn. It made me more responsible for people and society and gave me ambition to do something." ~ Abdulkadir Aydin, Kurd.

You can listen to a radio interview (approximately 45 minutes) with reporter Aaron Glantz about the general situation in South Kurdistan, and Iraq, here, an interview brought to you by the Lunatic Fringe. It begins with a short discussion of the build-up of Turkish troops in North Kurdistan and pays superficial lip service to Turkish treatment of Kurds since 1984, and attribute the entire Kurdish struggle against Turkish occupation to a struggle for language. All mentions of Kurdish independence, or autonomy, are reduced to "separatism," no matter which portion of divided Kurdistan is under discussion.

All of this must be the result of the fact that references are made throughout the interview to media reports from other Lunatic Fringers.

There is obvious bias for Arab feelings as regards the occupation of Kurdistan by Iraq, with no concern expressed whatsoever for the Kurdish families who were arabized out of Kerkuk, nor is there concern for the fact that every Baghdad government that has ever existed has always insisted upon the Arab identity of Iraq--which relegates the Kurdish people to the status of second-class citizens. The implication is made that, while Kurds are the only ones concerned with the oil of Kerkuk, oil that would be used to fuel an independent Kurdistan, the noble Arabs are more concerned with dignity in their daily lives. The idea of Kurdish dignity through self-determination and independence, the question of Kurdish honor, are ideas that never occur to the Lunatic Fringe. Instead, the Kurdish people are depicted as self-serving opportunists.

Great sympathy is expressed for the Iraqi Arabs, who are held in prison as security detainees, without charges, without trial, without legal representation, simply for being against the American presence, and we are told that 9 out of 10 of them are innocent. After spending months in this kind of situation, the same sympathy is extended to those who resist against the US. All of this should sound familiar to Kurds because this is exactly what happens to Kurds under Turkish occupation, but we will wait in vain if we wait for the Lunatic Fringe to denounce the Turkish state for the same abuses or if we wait for the Lunatic Fringe to support the cause of Kurds who engage in armed resistance against oppressor states.

The Kurds under Iranian occupation are wrongly characterized as both "good Iranians" and as victims of the Kurdish struggle against Teheran. From the suggestion that Turkish economic strangulation would be an excellent means of controlling Kurds under Iraqi occupation, to the expression of support for Iranian bombing of PJAK (referred to as KDPI in the interview), to the denial of Kerkuk as Dilê Kurdistan, it is clear that the Lunatic Fringe clearly supports the continued, severe oppression of the Kurdish people. In other words, the Lunatic Fringe supports the status quo, which is the maintainence of states formed by colonial powers, and, amazingly enough, this is exactly the same position as that of the US government.

Something else in the news, that no one is going to be too concerned about is the Turkish bombing of a Christian village near Amedî.

Once again there is another great post at OneWorld Multimedia, about the tourism efforts of Dogubayazit, including a link to a tourism website for the city. Dogubayazit made its way into the world media in January, during the bird flu outbreak in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, especially when the mayor, Mukaddes Kubilay, accused the Turkish government of inaction during the crisis. Kubilay is a Kurdish woman, a DTP politician, who has had to put up with the harassment of the Turkish military, even in the course of carrying out her duties as mayor. Please visit OneWorld Multimedia and have a read.

TDN reported on Friday that a new Security Affairs Department will be established in the Turkish Prime Ministry. The catch to all this is that the Prime Ministry can make no decisions from this Security Affairs Department, but guess who will make the decisions? You guessed it--the pashas will be the decision makers, while the Prime Ministry will simply provide the office boys:

The department will conduct studies on antiterrorism and recommend strategies but will not make executive decisions, said Gül at a parliamentary commission meeting on Thursday. There is no need to be concerned. The Office of the Chief of General Staff, the police department, the Gendarmerie Command and relevant ministries will make the decisions, and this department will act as a secretariat.

Naturally, this is one of the means by which the Turkish government will "strengthen democracy and broaden rights and freedoms." I know I believe them, especially after reading the analysis of the proposed anti-terror law at Bianet. With the debate growing over the new anti-terror law, is the establishment of this department the way around a possible parliamentary failure of passage of the law? This seems to lend credence to a supposition made by one of the analysts at the European Policy Centre in Brussels, and written up at Bloomberg:

"The EU must be looking rather negatively at Turkey right now, because the government had told them it is widening rights for Kurds and tackling the military, but now all we seem to be seeing is violence and bloodshed,'' said Amanda Akcakoca, a policy analyst at the European Policy Centre in Brussels.

[ . . . ]

Turkey began EU membership talks in October, hoping to attract investment by foreign companies, boost incomes and create jobs for a working-age population that's growing by half a million each year. The country won't be able to join before 2014 at the earliest, the EU says.

Plans by the Turkish government for tougher anti-terrorism laws to tackle the PKK, now before parliament, have been criticized by the EU, which says the measure threatens to setback democratic reforms in the Kurdish region.

There's nothing like violence and bloodshed to screw up your entire economy, and any economic prospects you thought you had lined up.

This is one of the reasons why the Turkish lira has fallen to a 17-month low against the US dollar. Neither the Turkish political nor military leadership has ever shown the ability to think outside the box when it comes to Kurds, something that Turkey's resumption of the dirty war proves. Apparently, the Turkish government has not learned the lesson that the more heavily it engages in repression, the stronger Kurdish identity becomes.

After all, a Kurd will always be a rebel.


philip said...

Mizgin, reading about all these preciously fine-tuned new Turkish anti-terror laws, Turkish security laws, Turkish respect-the-state laws,Turkish boot-the-lawyer-outofthe-courtroom laws...I get the feeling I'm watching the captain of the Titanic triumphantly announce a new team of rat-catchers for the cargo-hold.

What do they think they can try in 2006 that hasn't been tried before? Martial law? Scorched earth tactics? De-populating hundreds of villages? Banning a language?

But I bet that the Euros end up backing down from them, after all. :- (

Mizgîn said...

This is what I mean when I say that we are reverting back to the 1990s. Of course, I'm not the only one who has noticed that.

As for the Turkish legal system, now we have the wolves in the courtroom and shootings. I mean, I've heard of "hanging judges" but never of "shooting lawyers."

The Turkish legal system is pretty intersting to watch, actually. It gives you a pretty good idea of the ideology that's being defended. What would be really interesting is comparisons between the Turkish legal system and the Nazi legal system. Or perhaps a comparison with other fascist legal systems. I think such comparisons would serve to prove what it is that we are dealing with here.

For criminal defense attorneys, the Crowley Program in International Human Rights (Fordham Law School), has a very interesting report from a fact-finding mission to Turkey back in 1998 called, "Justice on Trial: State Security Courts, Police Impunity, and the Intimidation of Human Rights Defenders in Turkey."

Justice on Trial