Friday, October 26, 2007


"I didn't cry when I heard he'd been killed in fighting with Turkish troops. I'm proud of him, he is a martyr. He died honourably. He was fighting for Kurdish freedom, for Kurdish rights."
~ Amine Yiğit, mother of PKK şehîd.

Oh, yeah, that's what I'm talking about. From the BBC:

On the little wooden table in front of us was a photograph of Sincan Yigit.

He was wearing makeshift army fatigues with a rifle slung across his back.

He was smiling, he looked happy.

The photo was taken shortly after Sincan left his village, family and old life behind, to start a new life as a guerrilla fighting for the Kurdistan Workers Party or PKK.

"I didn't cry," she told me "when I heard he'd been killed in fighting with Turkish troops. I'm proud of him, he is a martyr."

"He died honourably. He was fighting for Kurdish freedom, for Kurdish rights."

In this part of Turkey Amine Yigit is not alone in losing a loved one to the PKK.

The south-eastern flank of the country is a Kurdish heartland where most of the nation's 20 million Kurds live.

Kurdish political leaders will tell you (in private) that at least 80% of their people support the rebels and are proud if a family member is "living in the mountains."

The the BBC goes on to screw the whole thing up with one line:

The PKK is fighting for a separate homeland in south-eastern Turkey for the Kurds.

Wrongo! Here's a newsflash for the BBC:

We would like as a movement to emphasize once again that the right solution is a democratic autonomy within the borders of Turkey. We believe that a solution in the unity of Turkey will be for the benefit of firstly the Kurdish people and all the people of the region.

I would have thought that someone at the BBC would have figured out how to operate the Google search engine by now.

Hevallo has a little comparison between contemporary Turkey and Fascist Germany because of the recent lynching attempt in Bursa and other acts of violence against Kurds in Turkey. Not only are the fascists acting up there, but they've also been acting up in Belgium this week. More on that from The Brussels Journal:

Tonight (Wednesday evening) heavy rioting erupted in Turkish quarters of Brussels, the capital of Belgium. Buses and trams were attacked. Several cars were torched and shops destroyed. Police forces were unable to restore law and order in the boroughs of Sint-Joost-ten-Node and Schaarbeek where since last Sunday the animosity among Turks is running high. Turkish flags are omnipresent. In some streets the Turkish crescent and star adorns almost every house.

The Turks’ anger was provoked by rising tension with Kurds along the Iraqi-Turkish border and by the debate in the American Congress about the Turkish genocide of the Armenians in 1915. On Sunday night Turkish youths in Sint-Joost destroyed the pub of Peter Petrossian, an ethnic Armenian who had to flee for his life. Apparently, some Turks think that by attacking the Armenians in Brussels they can convince the world that the Turks never committed a genocide of the Armenians.

Tonight the youths attacked Kurdish shops. They also set fire to several cars.

Belgium’s Muslim population consists mainly of Moroccans and Turks. In the past rioting Muslim youths were mostly Moroccans. The Turkish community is controlled by the Turkish embassy. The latter used to restrain the Turkish population so as not to upset the Belgian authorities and thwart Turkey’s chances of EU admission. This policy seems to have changed recently. In Antwerp, too, Turkish youths demonstrated tonight.

And from Expatica:

The unauthorised protests came after Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish rebel targets along the Iraqi border on Wednesday as the National Security Council in Ankara urged economic sanctions against Iraqi Kurds accused of backing the insurgents.

Hundreds of youths began rallying in the high-immigration Brussels districts in small groups after 5:00 pm after receiving text messages.

Receiving text messages from whom? The Turkish embassy? Enquiring minds wanna know.

And while no one was looking, Turkey began to ethnically cleanse the region to make way for the Ilisu Dam:

The European Ilisu campaign has learned during a site visit, that without the knowledge of responsible authorities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, the Turkish government has begun to expropriate the first affected villages at the controversial Ilisu dam site on the Tigris river in a move that violates conditions imposed by European export credit agencies.

Expropriated people are extremely angry at this development and the affected population’s overall indignation at the Ilisu dam project is growing. Christine Eberlein of the Swiss organisation "Berne Declaration" and member of the European Ilisu campaign observed this when she visited the villages of Ilisu and Karabayir in mid-October. Her report reveals the miserable compensation packages offered and the unfair processes by which the Turkish authorities are forcing the affected families to resettle. A Kurdish Human Rights Project delegation made similar observations in September during a visit to the affected areas.

By attaching 150 conditions to their approval of export credit guarantees, the governments of Germany, Austria and Switzerland intended to ensure that those facing resettlement receive fair compensations and new income possibilities. Although the final guarantee contracts have not yet been signed, the Turkish government has started the expropriations - completely ignoring these conditions.

Good try, guys, but you know what? I don't believe that crap about "responsible authorities in Germany, Austria and Switzerland" not knowing a damned thing about these forced displacements. The historical record simply is not there. The Germans and the Austrians forcibly displaced certain of their populations back in the 1930s and 1940s, and the people later claimed they didn't know a damned thing about it. Switzerland tried to claim that it didn't know a damned thing about how all that stolen gold was deposited in Swiss accounts and they certainly did not know the gold came from forcibly displaced populations.

They knew very well what they were doing sixty years ago and they know very well now. On top of that, there has never existed a capitalist anywhere who's paid anyone "fair compensations and new income possibilities" for anything. That just is not how capitalism works; it works by screwing your neighbor to make a profit. In this case, the neighbors were just a little further removed from the European neighborhood. As the article states, no signatures have been put to anything yet, so I'm certain that these filthy vultures have done it on purpose, in collusion with their fascist Turkish partners.

Goran from Zanetî has an excellent article on the situation at ZNet:

Today, the international community and in particular, the U.S., seems to be coming together to urge against a Turkish invasion only after it has ironically empowered the same groups involved to continue with their conflict for the past decades. Only minimal research of the seemingly everlasting conflict is required in order for anyone to see the assistance provided by foreign powers to Turkey that have instigated the conflict to the level it has reached today. While the president of the United States has recently made some requests to Turkey to find a political, rather than military, solution to the problem with the PKK, the same president was taking an opposite stance on this issue just a little more than one year ago; a stance of unconditional support for the Turkish government in their military campaign to pursue what they deem is a terrorist organization.

One year prior to the Turkish parliament's approval for an invasion of Iraq, Kurdish rebel leaders in coordination with the president of Iraq attempted to negotiate the PKK’s fifth unilateral ceasefire on several key conditions. The conditions were based on a political settlement of the Kurdish issue in Turkey, which included democratic reform as well as amnesty for the rebels. Despite public support for the ceasefire by members of the Iraqi government, and even certain officials in the European Union, as a possible solution to the decades-long conflict, the Turkish and United States governments rejected the ceasefire on all its terms.

Further provoking the conflict, the Bush Administration appointed former USAF General Joseph Ralston to assist Turkey with their military campaign. Not surprisingly, Ralston who is also a board member of the corporate arms-giant Lockheed Martin and a member of the most powerful Turkish lobby group in the United States, did not do much to try to solve the issue. Instead, Ralston overlooked one of the largest sales of American weaponry between Lockheed and the Turkish military. Lockheed and its stockholders would in turn become a primary beneficiary of the continued conflict between Kurdish rebels and the Turkish military.

[ . . . ]

Despite these realities, consecutive American administrations have refused to acknowledge that the continuous violations carried out against Turkey's Kurdish minority have any correlation with the American weaponry used to carry out these violations. Hence, weapon sales continue further arming a deadly conflict.

[ . . . ]

The mainstream American media has become gravely concerned and many statements, and even headlines, bare the phrase that the "Kurdish problem" has now become an "American problem". However, the United States' complicity in the conflict has made it an "American problem" all along; an American problem that needs U.S. pressure on Turkey for a peaceful solution very quickly.

The Ankara regime has not changed and it will not seek a peaceful political solution unless extreme pressure is brought to bear by the international community, the same community that helped Turkey and the US avoid any discussion of the Kurdish reality in 1999 with the betrayal of Öcalan.

There has also been a bit of a discussion at Kurdish Aspect about what HPG should do with the Turkish prisoners-of-war, here, here, and here, the gist of all being that HPG should hand the POW's over to international NGO's.

And if Turkey pressures the suggested NGO's not to "cooperate with terrorists," just as they have pressured American politicians to deny the Armenian Genocide, then what? And where were all these people when HPG handed Hakan Açil and Coşkun Kırandi back to the Ankara regime? Did they praise HPG for sticking to the laws of land warfare and Geneva Conventions at that time? Did they point out how humanitarian HPG was or did they notice how un-"terroristic" such hand-overs were?

No, but this news was ignored by everyone. Now is not the time to think about handing over any POW's. Snow is coming and everyone will be tucked away in the mountains for the winter. It'll be better to think about all of this next spring and then decide what to do after tempers have settled down and all.

Finally, there are some things you just can't make up. From TDN:

A group of fishermen in the Black Sea city of Zonguldak yesterday first condemned the escalating terrorist acts carried out by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and then protested the fine imposed on them for fishing in a restricted zone by the coast guard. The local fishermen boarded 15 fishing boats and sailed around the harbor shouting slogans against the PKK in what is reportedly a restricted zone.

Later in the day they proceeded to the Black Sea Regional Command port to protest the fines that ranged from YTL 5,000 - 15,000. A coast guard vessel tried to prevent the men from entering the military zone. Fisherman Muharrem Ali Köse said: “We want what is right. You needlessly fined us. Fishing feeds 1,000 mouths so give us back our licenses and cancel the fines.” The men then tied their boats together, left them in the military zone and returned home on a single boat.

Köse said a camera had recorded them fishing in a restricted zone and added that the coast guard forced them to abandon their profession by imposing exorbitant fines and canceling their licenses.

Laz. They can only be Laz.


ChechenExile said...

Interesting blog you have here. I've been following the Kurdish issue for a while. A friend of mine from university was a Kurd from Diyarbakir and we would often have discussions about our respective national liberation struggles. He tells me though that many Kurds in Turkey are anti-Chechen because of the support given by the Islamist and Nationalist Turkish parties/groups (like the MHP, Bozkurt and many AK Party rank-and-file) to the Chechen liberation struggle.
It's true that many of those Turkish groups give us support (mainly rhetorical but also some financial), but what are we supposed to do? The Chechen liberation movement isn't exactly in a position to pick and choose it's allies...the Kurdish parties in Iraq don't have much choice as to working with the Americans...such is the shitty political reality of many national liberation movements. For what it's worth, I think it's hypocritical for Turks to support the Chechen independence struggle whilst condemning the Kurdish one. I also think it's hypocritical for Kurdish activists to have a bad opinion of the Chechen struggle....the Russian army and state is just as imperialist as the Turkish one and certainly as viscious (have you seen what they did to my home city of Grozny in 1994 and 1999?).
Personally, I'm inclined to support (although unfortunately my support really doesn't mean anything in practical terms)the Kurdish struggle for cultural and political autonomy (I don't want to be a hypocrite). Good luck to you!

Kurdo said...

I bow down and thank you from the bottom of my heart for this blog. I have Hevallo and Rastî as the first two sites I check every day.

Btw, i attended a demonstration against Turkey's invasion into South Kurdistan today, it's been a long time since Kurds were this united, at least here in Copenhagen. We did everything we could to get the truth out to Danes as well. I just wanted to say thanks and keep doing what you do, it means a lot. I'm going to CTRL-C this at Rastî, because I feel the exact same way with that blog.

Kurdo said...

Haha, CTRL-C happened too fast...The last Rastî should then be Hevallo!

Anonymous said...

Good to see you found the Brusselsjournal article, which I was going to link here.

There was a lively Kurdish demo against the current Turkish threats in London on saturday, opposite the gates of Downing Street. I have no experience of estimating crowd sizes, but certainly numbers were in the hundreds. Everyone seemed very optimistic...the thinking being that Turkish cross-border incursions are nothing new, but serious media attention and weakening international support for Turkish imperialism are new, as is the military capacity of the Iraqi Kurds to offer large-scale resistance to same.

There were lots of posters drawing parallels to the Armenian Genocide, but the guy I mainly spoke to agreed that there is very little of the sort of networking with Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks on common issues, which would be beneficial to all. The enemy is the same - all are trying to expose the obscene lies and colonialist brutality of Turkish nationalism, both historical and contemporary. My Greek friends all see their own predicament before 1821 in the current plight of the Kurds. Some Armenians are bitter about the role of certain Kurdish tribes in the events of 1915, but nearly all of them seem to accept that no Kurdish orgs today deny or glorify what some Kurds did while in Turkish service, and that today Armenia and Kurdistan are 'in the same boat' as we say in England.

I do not myself belong to any of the nationalities in question, so please forgive my naivite on this. Nevertheless, it seems to me that your respective historical experiences are part of the same historical process...and that, from a practical point of view, combined demonstrations and combined political activism is the way to go.

Mizgîn said...

Chechenexile, Turkey does more than give some rhetorical and financial aid. It sends fighters. Turks support every liberation struggle worldwide except for the one that's been going on in their own backyard since 1923.

I have no doubt the Russia is just as imperialist as Turkey. If the Chechen struggle is truly as Islamist as is portrayed in Western media (and I'm prepared to doubt that all of it is, because I know how the Western media is), then I cannot support it as religion is nothing more than a tool of imperialism designed to keep people under control. A secular struggle is, of course, a different question, and I have no problems with supporting such a struggle.

Having said all that, let me add that I do not wish that anyone should have to suffer the things that we see many peoples in the world having to suffer these days. For all this suffering, I lay the blame at the feet of capitalism because the suffering is caused for the sake of money.

Kurdo, thank you for your kind words. I'm glad to hear that Kurds in Denmark are working to get the word out. Of course, Denmark has been a champion of Kurdish free expression rights in its refusal to close RojTV despite heavy Turkish pressure.

Anonymous, thanks for the report from London. Turkey should keep up the threats because we can't buy that kind of advertising. Better that Turkey should give it to us for free.

I agree that there should be more networking among Kurds, Armenian, Assyrians and Greeks, but I am also aware of the bitterness on the part of some Armenians, as you mention. I know of no Kurdish organizations or leaders who deny the Armenian Genocide or the role of certain Kurds in that genocide. Abdullah Ocalan and the Kurdish Parliament in Exile both issued apologies in the 1990s for the Kurdish role in the genocide and it may be time to remind everyone of the fact. Armeniapedia has an entry on that.

Networking together would definitely increase the numbers on the streets and that's what we all need.