"I had no steady income to support my research, so I wrote newspaper articles about the Kurds, as I also had information about issues other than my research topic. This worked in my favour, as it made many Kurds trust me [ . . . ] they trusted my sincerity after reading newspaper articles in which I presented them from another perspective than seeing them as terrorists."
~ Kristiina Koivunen.
~ Kristiina Koivunen.
I'd like to thank Anonymous for leaving me a little note yesterday about a Finnish sociologist who had been arrested in Wan by the Ankara regime.
The sociologist is Kristiina Koivunen. A few years ago she wrote her thesis which was titled The Invisible War in North Kurdistan. You can read it here. Slightly short of 300 pages, her thesis goes into detail about health care (or lack thereof) in North Kurdistan during the Dirty War, but she also gives much background information, touching on the history of the Northern Kurds, the ethnocide (cultural genocide) of Kurds, the use of GAP to destroy Kurds, and the militarization of North Kurdistan. That last item covers the "State of Emergency," army, police, paramilitary groups, and pacification methods used against the Kurdish people.
From that you can get a pretty good idea of why someone like Kristiina Koivunen would be arrested by the Turkish state. On the bright side, although Dr. Koivunen was deported, she is safe and sound. There's a small article on her deportation at NewsRoom Finland and another by AFP over at KurdistanObserver, but you'll find a more detailed one at Helsingin Sanomat:
Dr. Kristiina Koivunen an expert on the Kurdish question, and an outspoken advocate of the Kurdish cause was arrested on Friday in the southeastern part of Turkey. She was flown back to Finland on Sunday.
The apparent reason for the arrest and deportation was that Koivunen had violated a ban on her entering the country.
According to the Finnish Ambassador to Turkey, Maria Serenius, Koivunen was stopped at the airport of the city of Van, as she was about to board a plane there.
Ambassador Serenius did not know why Koivunen had been denied entry into Turkey.
Read her thesis, Ms. Ambassador, and the reason for her banning will become obvious.
Koivunen says that she was banned from entering Turkey in August, for reasons of state security. "This is a very severe action, and in my opinion, it reflects a worsening of the situation in Turkey", Koivunen commented.
She is correct. In mid-April, Jonathan Sugden, a veteran researcher for Human Rights Watch, was detained and then deported from North Kurdistan by Ankara. Sugden had monitored the situation for some 20 years in North Kurdistan. At the time, I wondered if this was the beginning of another regional information blackout, a tactic that fascist states use in order to hide their crimes.
Kristiina Koivunen, who wrote her doctoral thesis on the health situation of Kurds, has been outspokenly critical of Turkey’s treatment of its Kurdish minority in several magazine articles and in two books. She has travelled regularly to Turkey’s Kurdish areas since 1997.
The Finnish News Agency STT reported that Koivunen had travelled to Turkey in November without any problems.
She said on Sunday that she plans to find out if she has the right to appeal the ban order. She also says that recently-passed tougher anti-terrorism legislation is reflected in the overall atmosphere in Turkey, which she says has become more conservative than before.
"A power struggle is underway, between supporters and opponents of EU membership, and the opponents are in a stronger position now."
Koivunen said that the Turkish officials behaved in an appropriate manner toward her. She would have liked to have stayed in Istanbul to clarify the situation, but she was not given any possibility to do so.
As she sees it, Turkish legislation is still far from being compatible with that of the EU.
Exactly. Nothing has changed and cosmetics don't count.
I'd love to hear Dr. Koivunen's comments on the bird flu outbreak in the Wan area last January.
The Southern Kurds are still hot about the ISG recommendations and you can check out the latest series of opinion articles on that at KurdishMedia.
And, before I forget to mention it, Abdullah Ocalan's prison writings will be coming out in English. Publication date will be 28 March and you can preorder at Amazon.com. Thanks to the hevals at KurdishInfo for posting that information on their homepage.
In fact, while you're browsing around at Amazon, you might want to consider picking up a copy of Nadire Mater's Voices from the Front: Turkish Soldiers on the War with the Kurdish Guerrillas.
I mean, it's winter, right? If you can't fight, you might as well read.