"Turkey aims to defeat the Kurds through military aggression, isolation and repression against our movement. We have no other option but to resist such attacks. Resistance is our legitimate right. Resistance is a right enshrined under international law. As long as the Kurdish Question remains unresolved we will resort to our legitimate right to resistance." ~ Cemil Bayik.
The first thing out of the box today, is a report from Hurriyet about local Kurds near Wan attempting to lynch six suspects who had raped a Swiss tourist. TDN characterizes the local "mob" as "furious." You're damned right, I'd be furious too. In fact, I am furious. Okay, actually, this was the second attempt to lynch the suspects, and what's my advice to our hevals in Muradiye? If at first you don't succeed, try, try again! I mean, who are these scumbags to do this to guests in Kurdistan? In another little news blurb, from TDN, the suspects were apparently captured in Cizîr.
I wonder if the suspects are Village Guards. . .
In other news, The Guardian has run a couple of articles in the last few days pertaining to the mood in Amed (Diyarbakir), and I have to say that if you have been to Amed within the last year, the only thing surprising about the first article is that it provides a peek of the reality on the ground. The mood of Amed became even more serious at the end of March with the serhildan. It remains so.
Both articles are by Ian Traynor, with the first titled, "Children of the repression". It is common knowledge among Kurds that, during the dirty war of the 1990's, millions of Kurds were ethnically cleansed by the Turkish army and thousands of villages destroyed. The first stopping point for many of these "internally-displaced persons" (Newspeak for what used to be called "refugees") were the larger cities of Turkish-occupied Kurdistan. Amed is the largest of all of them, and its population grew from almost 400,000 in 1990 to 1.5 million in 1995. A current estimate stands at approximately 1.04 million, meaning that much of the population from 1995 has moved on, further West, into Turkey itself.
That fact should set off a little alarm bell, especially since Traynor's article is all about the attitudes of the children (now entering adulthood) whose families were ethnically cleansed:
Sevder is seething. Growing up in poverty and squalor, he has seen schoolmates shot dead by Turkish security forces and had to put up with the vulgar taunts of Turkish policemen towards his mother and sisters. His grudges have been nourished by endless tales of family and friends burnt out of their villages in the hills and decanted into the slums of Diyarbakir.
"We've had enough," says the 17-year-old Kurd, wearing a Ronaldinho Brazil T-shirt and crouching in the heat and dirt of the teeming city, a couple of hours from the Iraqi and Syrian borders.
Sevder and his friends are part of a new wave of militancy among young Turkish Kurds. "There is a different generation now in Diyarbakir," says Sezgin Tanrikulu, a lawyer. "These youths are aged 14 to 20. They've grown up in this place feeling they don't belong. We can't communicate with them."
Hisyar Ozsoy, an anthropologist and expert on Kurdish politics, says: "There is something new here. These are the children of serhildan [the Kurdish word for intifada or uprising]."
It's really not enough to say, "we've had enough." These children and their families have had too much and, obviously, a bunch of cheap talk is not going to work anymore, as the lawyer and anthropologist verify. Of course, the whole thing about cheap talk has been nixed anyway. Erdogan came last August and made cheap talk. Erdogan went to Şemzînan (Semdinli bombing) and made cheap talk. What did anyone get out of that? Nothing. Now, neither Erdogan nor anyone else in government will bother to speak to DTP. The state is drawing on all its past failures to confirm that stupid is as stupid does. It never bothered to avail itself of PKK ceasefires and calls for negotiation. It never bothered to improve the situation during the last ceasefire. It offered a joke for an amnesty in 2003, which meant that it wasn't serious then either. In fact, the state has never been serious about anything but murdering Kurds.
What to do then? Obviously, there is only one answer: The HPG.
"Going into the mountains" is a common phrase in Diyarbakir. It means going to join the PKK fighters, thought to number around 5,000, in their bases in nearby northern Iraq.
At least 100 local youths have gone into the mountains in the past month, says Mr Ozsoy. "Guys I know have just disappeared. They're like ghosts. You would see them in the cafes and now they're not here."
In young Sevder's crowd, everyone supports HPG, and the wider organization that used to be known as PKK, because everyone has or has had a family member in the organization. Sevder's crowd isn't alone in this; many families in Amed have family members in HPG or are families of HPG, or older PKK, şehîds. These facts have made Amed the heart of Kurdish resistance in the North. The father of Enes Ata, who was murdered by the Turkish state in the Amed serhildan has this to say:
Selamettin Ata, a 44-year-old grocer whose seven-year-old son, Enes, was shot dead by Turkish police on March 30, said at least 90% of the city sympathised with the PKK.
Let's repeat that: At least 90% of the city sympathized with the PKK. Oh, yeah, that's what I'm talking about, boyfriend. Anyone who says differently falls into one of two categories: They have been lied to by Kurds who don't want to make more trouble for themselves and their families, or they are simply lying. If they are simply lying, they fall into one of three categories: They are totally ignorant of the reality on the ground; they are spinning the official propaganda; or they stand to gain somehow. For that last, you have to know Kurdish politics in order to get it.
I did mention an alarm bell earlier, didn't I, in reference to the fact that some of the ethnically-cleansed population has moved on into Turkish cities? Right. Well, with that in mind, think about this:
The Turks emptied the mountain villages partly to try to destroy the rural base of the guerrillas. Instead, they have created an urban guerrilla movement.
OOPS! The policies of ethnic cleansing that started with the Dersim rebellion have become a longstanding Turkish tradition that is about to blow up in the faces of the enforcers of this policy. When they cry, it will be in vain. . . isn't that how it goes?
The one thing that annoyed me about this article was the fact that even though the term, "serhildan," was explained in the fourth paragraph, it was never used once thereafter, although the word "intifada" was used later. Kurds are not Arabs, therefore Kurds don't have "intifadas." Kurds have serhildans or raperîns, but never "intifadas." Intifadas are what the Turkish state supports, especially if the intifada is conducted by HAMAS, widely considered a terrorist organization by the US and the EU. That fact, however, has never stopped the US or the EU from pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the PA, despite the fact that HAMAS has not renounced violence or recognized Israel. Nor did it stop the TC from inviting HAMAS to tea in Ankara. Turkey directly, and the US and EU indirectly, support an organization which is on The List®.
Not so for Kurds, though. Turkey, the US and the EU are hypocritical, racist states and state sponsors of terror when it comes to Kurds.
Ian Traynor has another, related, article at The Guardian blog, Comment is Free. This one is called, "Diyarbakir blues." Again he comments on the mood of the city, and points out an interesting fact that most people might miss. It is the fact that there is only one kind of ethnic Turk in Amed, the government Turk. Very true. Everyone knows that no ethnic Turk is feely going to choose to live in Amed, no matter how fabulous they think the city's watermelon festival is.
Unfortunately, Traynor falls into the trap of blaming Amed's justified responses against state provocations on the PKK:
Since the end of March when the city's youth went on the rampage and were met by Turkish gunfire, tear gas, and truncheons that left 10 dead, hundreds injured, and hundreds arrested and beaten, the city has been on edge, waiting for the guerrillas of the Kurdistan Workers' party or PKK to ignite the next explosion. Just a matter of time, after the worst outbreak of violence here in more than a decade.
It's all the fault of the big, bad PKK! Everything that goes wrong in Turkey is the fault of the PKK! One wonders if Traynor really did understand what the young Kurds in Amed were telling him, or what Traynor himself would do, if he had grown up under this same, repressive and fascist regime. How differently would the situation look to him if instead of merely asking the questions, he were the one giving the responses?
If, as Traynor's liberal Istanbul friend claims, DTP officials have "PKK minders," why doesn't this friend turn them in? They are "terrorists," right? But this claim is simply another link in a long chain of events manufactured to reach the goal of shutting down another Kurdish-dominated political party--the DTP.
Traynor refers to the Semdinli bombers as "maverick gendarmes," when the fact is that they were not maverick at all. They were behaving in the same, consistent way that the state has always behaved in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan. What the Semdinli bombers did was conduct business as usual. The Parliamentary Commission's investigation was business as usual. The dismissal of Sarikaya was business as usual. The result of the trial of the peons who did the bombing will be business as usual too. What did Susurluk finally result in? The conviction of a couple of peons, and that's it. Business as usual.
No mention here of the other November bombings, nor of the death threats mailed to DTP co-chairs and politicians. No mention either of the murder of Fatma and Ferho Akgul, nor of Ugur and Ahmet Kaymaz--to mention just a few. It's also absurd to claim that PKK has "a vested interest in wrecking any chance of a settlement" when there has never been any chance of a settlement, as the state's refusal of numerous PKK unilateral ceasefires and calls for negotiation have proved. Absurd, too, is any expressed disappointment with Erdogan's statements in Amed last August. Everyone knows Erdogan is not a pasha, which means he cannot deliver on anything that he says. Thus is Turkish "democracy."
If we really believe in the farce of Turkish "democracy," what should we make of these statements:
The Turkish newspapers in recent weeks have reported a series of local incidents, with Kurdish settlers being pushed out of big western cities like Izmir on the Aegean. The southern port city of Mersin, for example, saw an influx of tens of thousands of Kurds in the 1990s as a result of the Turkish army's depopulation campaign in the east. The result in Mersin is that slowly the Kurds are taking over local government and administration, triggering friction with the host community.
If everyone in Turkey, especially non-minority Muslims, are equal citizens, how can Izmir and Mersin be referred to as host communities? If these are host communities, does that make Kurds the parasites?
In this piece of writing, Traynor comes off as a European liberal who saw Erdogan and the AKP as their great Islamic hope: "With Erdogan came a positive jolt to Turkey's European prospects and a blizzard of reforms aimed at facilitating integration." Unfortunately, the Europeans are as ignorant of state-sponsored Turkish Islam (secularism, anyone?) as they are of the Treaty of Lausanne, a treaty which formalized the non-minority status of Kurds, effectively took away all rights from Kurds, and signaled the beginning of the severe repression of Kurds. Since the EU is merely a commercial organization, there is no reason to believe that human rights abuses in Turkey will change under accession.
On the contrary, the EU has remained silent over recent abuses and has made no effort to bring the AKP and DTP together for discussions about the situation, signaling continued EU support for AKP and Erdogan, at the expense of Kurds. Moreover, the EU's Green Party, under Cem Ozdemir, has been hard at work trying to establish some legitimacy for the illegal Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The EU is firmly in the pashas' pockets.
The hope of Kurds continues to lie with their only friend.