Saturday, June 16, 2007

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION

"Democracy is only a dream: it should be put in the same category as Arcadia, Santa Claus,and Heaven."
~ H. L. Mencken.


On June 6 a meeting was held in the House of Commons, hosted by British MP ElfynLlwyd, the vice-chairman of Parliamentarians for National Self-Determination (PNSD), on the question of what chance now for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in North Kurdistan. Speakers included Maureen Freely, who has translated Orhan Pamuk's novels; human rights lawyer and KHRP legal advisor, Margaret Owen; Mark Muller, who has headed up KHRP's legal team; and Desmond Fernandes, who has done much research, writing, and activism for North Kurdistan's cause.

Among the issues discussed at the meeting were the following:


With the increasing criminalisation of members of the 'pro-Kurdish' party, the Democratic Society Party (DTP); a continuing failure to meet the EU's Copenhagen accession criteria that serve to ensure "stability of institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities" (Europa, 2007); a refusal to respond to the 'peace process' and unilateral ceasefire of the PKK; threats to militarily intervene in northern Iraq and persist with a dam 'development policy' that threatens to forcibly displace tens of thousands of Kurds even as Turkey fails to meet her obligations under international customary law and her bilateral agreements with Iraq, there is an urgent need to address key concerns. International public opinion needs to be alerted to this dangerous situation that could engulf the whole region into turmoil with potential ramifications across Europe.



Aysel Tuğluk, co-chair of DTP was invited, but unable to attend. Instead, she sent a message to the meeting, which is published here in its entirety, thanks to the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign:


Message from Aysel Tugluk, Co-Chair of the DTP (Democratic Society Party)

On 6 June 2007


Dear Elfyn Llwyd and PNSD and dear Colleagues:


First of all, my sincere apologies for not being able to join your meeting tonight because of the pressures arising from the forthcoming elections in Turkey.

The sequence of reforms which Turkey introduced after 2000 and which led the EU to open negotiations with Turkey in 2004 brought some progress for the Kurdish and Turkish people: increased democratization and new hope to resolve the Kurdish question peacefully. But in the last two years the reform process inside Turkey has not only slowed down but moved into reverse gear and is threatening relations between the EU and Turkey.

We are deeply concerned about the intolerable restriction on our party and the press in Turkey which have worsened considerably under the impact of the new anti-terrorism law; in particular an effective ban on the reporting of taboo subjects such as our party and its work, and the Kurdish and Armenian question and other minority issues. Our members are persecuted, arrested, newspapers are closed, editors arrested and a blacklist of dissenting voices is preventing respected journalists from working in Turkey today. An atmosphere of coercion and intimidation is prevailing in the country, especially in recent weeks with the repeated announcements of a major military offensive against Iraqi Kurdistan with the excuse to defeat the PKK.

In Turkey the army is continuing to play a major role in every part of daily life. In political and economic issues, as well as in international relations, the Army has always enjoyed a powerful influence on events. In the approach of Turkey towards the EU, the Army saw the loss of this power. Consequently a brutal attitude was adopted by the Army towards some of the sensitive points in the EU negotiations. Moreover, this attitude was also adopted by the so- called social democratic party CHP. This was seen in the questions of northern Cyprus and in the Kurdish problem, where a wave of national xenophobia developed. The AKP government acted hypocritically, claiming: “We want to change Turkey according to the European criteria, but we are not allowed to do that”. This government, in terms of both the Kurdish and Cyprus questions, acted according to the demands of the Army and the CHP.

The AKP government is fearful that face to face confrontation with the Army will jeopardize its own secret goals. To resolve the latest crisis taking place over the presidential elections, the government decided to opt for early parliamentary elections. Although there is a conflict of interest between the AKP and the Army on some issues, they share the same approach to the Kurdish question, as the latest change of the electoral law shows.

Immediately after the decision by the DTP to contest the election with independent candidates, a new law was adopted which makes the success of independent candidates more difficult. In any case, they did not even consider the demand for a change of the 10% threshold which makes it quite impossible for Kurdish candidates to enter the parliament.

But in considering Turkey’s regression from EU membership in recent negotiations, the contradictory approach of some European countries towards Turkey has also to be recognised. Although Turkey was accepted by the EU in 1999 in Helsinki as a candidate member, different views are being expressed on this issue in some member states.

Despite the promising start to membership negotiations, some governments, notably in Germany and France, have begun to talk about a privileged partnership instead.

This approach is encouraging opponents of EU membership to in Turkey.

Together with the wave of nationalism evident in Turkey, this has encouraged more people to express anti-EU views.

Moreover, the Kurdish people who, despite all their efforts to achieve their goals in a peaceful manner, are confronted with the continuing struggle for their basic rights and equality with the Turkish government. We face a Turkish government which is distancing itself more and more from the EU, insisting on its policy towards Cyprus, and also developing an increasingly hostile and provocative position towards Iraqi Kurdistan.

In conclusion, the EU has to take a clear position on these issues. It is also important that the EU monitors closely events in Turkey, which is passing through a really critical period, and does everything it can to play a constructive role and keep the reform process on track.

We have to recognize that, given the state of affairs in Turkey today, it is not possible to consider early EU membership to be realistic. But to close all doors on Turkey´s eventual membership as well would be very dangerous and might lead to even more sinister developments in Turkey.

Kurds in Turkey have always been for peace, democracy and stability, and we will continue to do so. To ensure their recognition as a people, they have always tried to use democratic ways to achieve this aim.

Therefore, and in spite of all the legal, political and de facto obstacles, we have decided to contest the elections with independent candidates. We want to continue to struggle through peaceful means to resolve all obstacles and difficulties. We believe that the Parliament will be the best ground for our struggle.

We call on you and our friends in the UK to show solidarity with Kurdish and Turkish progressives and democrats, to follow closely developments in the run-up to the elections, to support our candidates and send a delegation to observe the elections.

We wish you a successful meeting tonight.


More information will be forthcoming, including transcripts of speeches and when that information is available, I hope to post more.

In other DTP news, Abdullah Demirbaş has been fired and the Sur Municipality Council dissolved by the Ankara regime because they had voted to provide local governmental services in languages that the local people could understand . . . in addition to Turkish language. Naturally, such goings-on are thinly veiled attempts to destroy the "territorial integrity" of the TC, and rip it to shreds. As everyone knows, such is the goal of every single non-Turk on the planet.

In addition, the Ankara regime's colonial prosecutor in Amed has demanded that Mayors Abdullah Demirbaş and Osman Baydemir be sentenced to three-and-a-half year prison terms for their attempts to destroy the Turkish state through their cunning multi-lingual, "separatist" plot.

Aha! So that's how democracy works. Now I get it.

More at Turkish NTV and TDN.

Samarkeolog has a short post on a shoot-out in Sêrt (Siirt) under OHAL. I wouldn't be surprised if the courageous Mehmetçiks are, once again, slaughtering Kurdish civilians. The TSK has always shown itself an apt pupil when it comes to all the American IMET program.

IMET is used by the US to train foreign militaries to "pacify" problem populations through the application of severe human rights abuses in exchange for foreign governments' cooperation with American strategic global interests, but the program is promoted by the US government as a means to spread American "values" throughout the world. The Federation of American Scientists has more on the IMET program, including their concerns.

Under the new OHAL--although no one will say anything about it--there may also be US special operations types on the ground via another means the US uses to spread American values in North Kurdistan--the JCET program. Ostensibly, JCET was supposed to be a means for American Özel Timler to go to foreign countries and learn languages, become culturally "sensitive," and make friends with those who they have taught to commit atrocities. They aren't supposed to train anyone under JCET, but with a wink and a nod to the US Congress, they are off to their exotic destinations for a little "education."

The Federation of American Scientists has something on the JCET program, too.

Another black op bombing took place in Amed on Friday, and the hevals at KurdishInfo have kindly put something together on that, with a little review of the last black op bombing in Amed. This Turkish black operation comes on the heels of a propaganda frenzy earlier in the week which tried to lead us all to believe that PKK had suddenly called a ceasefire.

As with all things having to do with the fascist regime in Ankara, with the backing of their international collaborators, in time they show their hand, and it is clear why the regime set off a bomb in Amed at this time. Very simply, it wants to create the illusion that PKK is not holding to this sudden ceasefire and, in this way, it will open the door to the extension of OHAL to Amed, the capital of Kurdistan.

When that happens, the regime will be able to rid itself of most of those pesky DTP mayors at one stroke.

That's democracy in action, folks.

3 comments:

samarkeolog said...

I wouldn't be at all surprised either. I spent four nights there and, from the moment I stepped out of the hotel door after checking in to the moment I stepped out of it to come to Mardin (to start my journey back to Cyprus), JITEM agents were demonstrating their intelligence and their commitment to anti-terrorism by, er, devoting several hours of several agents' time every day to intimidating me, monitoring me, repeatedly questioning and searching me, reading my private fieldwork notes in my notebook and my Cypriot fieldwork research materials on my computer, taking my phone number and possibly my entire phone book, twice over confiscating and photocopying (then returning) my IHD list of burned villages, revoking my governorship and gendarmerie-approved permit to visit the villages...

Once I've stopped laughing at the embarrassingly Eighties "good cop, bad cop" routine they pulled, I'll post the full notes. If they're going to read my work, they may as well give me a site hit for it.

PhD Kristiina Koivunen said...

I was in the meeting the 6th June in the House of Commons. I wrote about it in my blog the 11th June.

Mizgîn said...

Samarkeolog, thanks for your report. I'll able to sleep easier tonight knowing that the Turkish regime has top men on the job in the OHAL region keeping the world safe for democracy ;)

Seriously, your experience sounds fairly routine for THEM. Let me know if you post something so that I'll be sure to catch it in a timely manner.

The question is when will they start expelling all foreigners from the area? They expelled human rights worker Jonathan Sugden last year, as well as Dr. Kristiina. But Dr. Kristiina has been a "bad" girl for some time :P

Thank you for the alert, Dr. Kristiina. I have posted a link to your observations of the H of C meeting in Rasti's Sunday post.

I hope you are doing well.