~ Paul Robeson
Everyone's favorite Rojavayî with some beautiful music for a rainy Friday night:
DTP answered the state's racist, political lynching, and annihilation threats from Amed. 100,000 Amedîs cried out, "It is enough!"
In spite of the restrictions by the government, 100,000 Amedis attended the meeting called "A Call for an Honorable Life". Selahattin Demirtaş called on the prime minister, Erdoğan, to open free, peaceful, and democratic means to allow the guerrillas to come down from the mountains, who had gone to the mountains as a result of the torture of the 12 September coup.
Thousands of soldiers under the authority of the Turkish 7th Battalion encircled the crowd. The signs that the demonstrators brought were under strict control. None of them were allowed to be displayed because the soldiers claimed they were illegal. On the signs, however, was written "It is Enough," "No to Isolation and Suppression," "For a democratic solution and dialog--No to operations!"
Two thousand editions of Azadiya Welat newspaper were not allowed to be distributed to the protestors because Öcalan's picture was on the front page.
Referring to DTP's possible closure, Selahattin Demirtaş started his speech saying, "Welcome to the first court of DTP's closure, You honorable, resistant Kurdish people. Mr. Chief Prosecutor, we brought 100,000 witnesses. Mr. Chief Prosecutor, let's ask the witnesses, 'Can DTP be closed?'" After his question, the crowd shouted, "No!"
Then Demirtaş criticized PM Erdoğan for his ambivalence. "In 2002, in Russia, as an answer to a Kurdish worker's question about the Kurdish situation, Erdoğan said, 'If you say there is no problem, the problem will disappear. We say that there is no problem,'" said Demirtaş. "In 2005, in Diyarbakır, the same prime minister said, 'The Kurdish question is not only a problem of a part of this nation, it is also my problem.' In December 2006, one year after his statement, in the US, Erdoğan said, "Kurds do not have any rights problem in Turkey.' Now the prime minister who changes his mind every year, is demanding DTP to take a clear stand. What kind of contradiction is this, Mr. Prime Minister? He is asking the representatives whom you sent to Ankara with your resistance, belief, and labor, to take a clear stand and make the choice. How many times will these people make a choice, Mr. Prime Minister? Look! They made their choice for democracy and a parliamentarian regime."
Quoting from Erdoğan prior to the elections, Demirtaş reminded the crowd: "'Tomorrow they will come to the parliament, and we will watch their fight with MHP every day.' Erdoğan said, and now he sees that Kurds are serious in their politics and mature. Now he started fighting with us. The prime minister who could not make us fight with MHP, made us (DTP) the target. Furthermore, he started a lynch campaign against our party. Today we are saying, in fact, you (Erdoğan) make your choice: Are you going to be pro-democracy or pro-war? These people made their choice for democracy and raised their hands to Ankara. Do not let these hands stay in the air. For that reason, they are saying, 'It is enough!'"
Demirtaş continued his speech as: "The prime minister who made our party, the president of our party, the parliamentarians, and the mayors subject to political lynching, today pretends to be a disciple of democracy. The people who put the streets into action by political lynching against the Kurds, today pretend to be disciples of democracy. They behave as if they were not the same people that approved the closure of our party when the decision-making for DTP's closure came before them, and they pretend instead. Do not believe in them, my dear friends. They are the ones behind those who opened the closure case against DTP; they are the ones who brought the issue of the removal of parliamentary immunity into the Parliament. Do not ever forget these things."
Stressing that the message of the people of Amed must be read very well, Demirtaş said, "I believe if the message that the people of Amed give today could be read well, comprehended correctly, then peace is very easy, very soon."
Emphasizing that the policy implemented by the government today is making Kurds kill Kurds, Demirtaş said, "All the Kurdish citizens of the Turkish Republic want to live freely with all the other people in this land, with their own language, their own free identity, and their culture. Of course, the Kurds living in this country will be honored to have a regional Kurdish federation in Northern Iraq. These are the Kurdish people; rather than making Kurds kill Kurds, have dialogs with that political formation there. Improve peaceful and brotherly relationships to become a power together in the Middle East."
"The party says it rejects violence and wants to secure more political and cultural rights for Turkey’s large ethnic Kurdish population by purely peaceful, democratic means. But it has refused the government’s demand that it condemn the P.K.K. as terrorists."
Why should they?
Does the Turkish government accept the terrorist label it has so richly deserved?
Kurdish life in Turkey has not been much better than in Iraq. Northern Kurdistan is located in the southeast of Turkey and is home to about 20 million Kurds, representing half the entire population of Kurdish people. Northern Kurdistan is therefore central to solving the Kurdish issue. The oppression of Kurds in Turkey by the current Turkish regime, and the lack of diplomatic intervention by the US Government, has resulted in the Iraqi Kurds no longer believing Washington’s rhetoric about protecting Kurds from terrorism or a possible attack by a future Iraqi government. Instead, the US Government has supported the Turkish regime in various ways against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), the main opposition party.
The role of the PKK guerillas is to fight for Kurdish cultural and political rights regardless of the geographical location of Kurdish people. How can it therefore be reasonable and rational to implement a policy of friendship toward the Kurds of Iraq, but label PKK guerillas as terrorists? How and by what criteria have they become terrorists? Have they threatened the interest of the US or other Western countries, killed civilians or beheaded any Western people like the Iraqi insurgent militias? Despite the dissimilarities between the PKK and other guerillas, the US Government is now supporting a policy against the PKK due to pressure by Turkey, while also being pressured by Saudi Arabia’s hegemony and the bullets of former terrorist Sunni militias who killed thousands of civilians inside Iraq (nowadays calling them armed groups or insurgents).
The PKK and its leaders have needed to base themselves in the jagged mountains on the triangular border region of Iraq, Iran, and Turkey. In addition to losing faith in the policies of the governments involved in the Middle East theatre, the exiling of their leader Abdullah Ocalan and his subsequent abduction and imprisonment following a joint operation with US, Turkish, and Israeli intelligence agents has removed any remnants of trust in the US. The PKK, too, relies on the famous Kurdish saying that Kurds have “no friends but the mountains".
The ban was decided on unanimously in order to "avoid a distortion of the aim of the investigation and misinformation of the public, to avoid giving rise to misunderstandings and in order to safeguard the authority and objectivity of the judiciary."
The decision cited Articles 13 and 28 of the constitution as well as Article 3 of Press Law No. 5187 and includes "activities to obtain, spread, criticise and interpret on information concerning the investigation".The ban is to stay in place until the investigation is completed.
[ . . . ]
Parts of the decision read as follows: "Because the event under investigation happened when the unity of the state was threatened and activities aimed at separating state territory from state administration, most information and documents of this investigation need to stay secret for state security reasons." The ban is aimed at "preventing the publication of information which needs to stay secret in order to protect public order, public security and territorial integrity".
Yesterday (11 November), the military court in Van, south-eastern Turkey, decreed that the soldiers be detained. The soldiers stand accused of "violating the duties of a civil servant", "serious suspicion of a crime", "excessive weakening of military discipline", "insistence on disobedience" and "desertion abroad". The soldiers are to be tried while in detention.
The Van Gendarmerie Public Order Corps Command Military Court has pronounced the following charges: sergeant Halis Cagan is charged with violating the duties of a civil servant, privates Ilhami Demir, Irfan Beyaz, Özhan Sabanoglu, Fatih Atakul and Mehmet Senkul are accused of insistent disobedience, and privates Fuat Basoda and Ramazan Yüce are charged with insistent disobedience and desertion abroad. It was argued that there was strong suspicion of guilt and that military discipline had been greatly weakened. Citing Article 71 of Law 353 and Articles 100 and 101 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the court decided to detain the eight soldiers.
"During the exchange of fire we did not have the support of any of our commanders or soldiers. We were fighting on our own." It was also said that most of the soldiers' guns jammed. Another soldier stated that his commander had taken his gun.
Based on the statements of the soldiers published in yesterday’s (12 November) newspapers, Kardas said: “No intelligence was processed, the guns were not modern, there was no help, no support. Those who have responsibilities need to be held responsible. Those who caused this weakness need to be dismissed from their posts by the General Staff. The Chief of Staff could also accept responsibility and resign.”
Kardas even claimed that the eight soldiers had a right to compensation for physical and mental damages; the state was responsible, but was acting in a manner so as not to loose [sic] prestige.
"The United States, the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party should understand that if we want, we can create instability and place their interests in danger."
[ . . . ]
"Bush has declared the PKK as the enemy and wants to eliminate the PKK through pressure and operations," Bayik said. "Our position in the face of these operations is clear; we will resist. We will never surrender."
* According to the results report, more than 100 people have died in battle since the middle of October.
* The lynching campaign started against the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) group in parliament has resulted in party buildings being set on fire and even Kurdish work places and homes being marked.
* In the face of the policies which are pulling Turkey into a regional and ethnic civil war, it is the duty of the Turkish Peace Parliament, together with all the other democracy and labour forces in the country, to change the nationalist, chauvinist, and discriminatory atmosphere which is currently dominant in society, and to demilitarise the public.
Four days after their release, the former hostages are still being questioned by military prosecutors. An already suspicious public is ready to believe the rumour that one of them has links to the PKK.
"Prosecutors will be focusing on whether or not the soldiers left with the PKK voluntarily," explains retired military judge Umit Kardas.
"If they did they could be charged with membership of a terrorist organisation."
"This has really shaken the military," he adds.
"The PKK men are stronger than we were. They are very disciplined and their hideouts, some even underground, are formidable. The Turks can't do much to disturb them," he said.
In 1992, the Iraqi Kurds, still reeling from the offensive by Saddam's forces that followed the Gulf war the previous year, backed Turkish troops in an offensive against the PKK. Kawa was one of the peshmerga involved.
"Whenever we came near them, they disappeared like ghosts," he recalled.
"You can capture one of their positions, but it will be empty and you never have enough men to retain it."
He remembered searching caves that had been transformed into warehouses loaded with ammunition and food, carefully packed in plastic bags.
"They are seasoned, trained and fast," Kawa said of the PKK fighters. "Even with little bread, rice and tea, they can survive for months. And as they pay well, there will always be smugglers to provide them with supplies from Iran or Turkey or here."
Another former peshmerga, Mohammad Abdullah, 38, carrying a pistol in his belt and hugely built, also swears by the impregnable Qandil range.
For five years, he hid out in the mountains which he dubs "the Kurdish Tora Bora," in reference to the rugged mountains of eastern Afghanistan where Al-Qaeda fighters eluded US troops and their Afghan allies.
"Nobody ever in the history of the world has conquered these mountains. If you know the Panjshir valley of (Afghan guerrilla leader) Ahmad Shah Massoud, then Qandil is even more difficult to attack."
Air Force Academy graduate Maj. Gen. Peter Sutton, assigned as the senior U.S. military officer in Turkey at the time the Military Religious Freedom Foundation brought the Christian Embassy into media focus, was questioned by Turkish officials about his membership in a radical evangelical cult.
. . . [H]owever, a considerable amount of the money the U.S. gives to Pakistan is administered not through U.S. agencies or joint U.S.-Pakistani programs. Instead, the U.S. gives Musharraf's government about $200 million annually and his military $100 million monthly in the form of direct cash transfers. Once that money leaves the U.S. Treasury, Musharraf can do with it whatever he wants. He needs only promise in a secret annual meeting that he'll use it to invest in the Pakistani people. And whatever happens as the result of Rice's review, few Pakistan watchers expect the cash transfers to end.
[ . . . ]
In Pakistan, the military runs not just the government, but major sections of the economy as well. Joshua Hammer recently reported for The Atlantic that the Pakistani military owns large stakes in the country's "banks, cable-TV companies, insurance agencies, sugar refineries, private security firms, schools, airlines, cargo services, and textile factories." Mainlining largely untraceable money into the Pakistani treasury helps this system perpetuate itself -- even as widespread public discontent, from both moderates and radicals, boils over. It also sends the signal that the U.S. prefers to have relations with Pervez Musharraf rather than the Pakistani people.
"No member of the Turkish Armed Forces should have found themselves in such a situation. I could not accept the fact that they went with the terrorists that night. I could not be very happy about their release."
"The right to life is holy and it is vital to protect it. It is unacceptable that Sahin cannot be happy about the release of the soldiers, that he makes reproaches and that the media approaches the issue as if the fact that the soldiers are alive means they have committed a crime. The style that is used is the product of the warmongering language and mentality which leads to more of a lynch culture."
[ . . . ]
"12 soldiers were killed in front of these soldiers' eyes, and they survived. Then they were tied up and taken to an unknown environment. Now that they have survived such a trauma, it is merciless to push them into another kind of trauma."
"According to the law of war, the PKK could not kill the eight soldiers it had taken hostage. Releasing them was a legally appropriate act of the PKK. But if we look outside the law and at the human dimenstions, it is lucky that the soldiers are alive. The fact that these people were released should be a reason for us as society and for the soldiers' families to rejoice."
STATE SECURITY COURT
Leyla Zana took part in the elections of October 20, 1991 as a candidate of [the People's Labor Party (HEP), which aligned itself with] the Social Democratic People's Party (SHP) and was elected as a representative from the city of Diyarbakir. On November 5, 1991, a day before the General Council meeting of the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA), the representatives of the People's Labor Party (HEP) held a press conference in the TGNA under the leadership of Fehmi Isiklar.
[In that conference, the HEP Representatives] distributed a press release which read, "The text of the oath composed for the newly elected representatives in accordance with Article 81 of the Turkish Constitution was prepared with racist and chauvinist considerations. The text of the oath denies the existence of the Kurdish people. This text is against democracy, human rights and peace. We, the elected representatives who have signed this press release, disagree with the content of the text of this article. But because the constitution mandates it, we will take the oath. We wish to inform the public." The defendant, Leyla Zana, also signed the press statement.
That, on November 6, 1991, defendant Leyla Zana attended the general council meeting to take the oath with a headband made up of the colors red, green and yellow and a scarf made up of the same colors. That defendants Hatip DICLE, Ahmet TURK, Mahmut ALINAK, Orhan DOGAN, Sirri SAKIK and other representatives in the HEP displayed kerchiefs of the same colors in the upper left pockets of their jackets; that red, green, and yellow represents the flag of the Kurdistan Labor Party (PKK); that by acting in unison in this manner, the defendants conspired to carry the flag of the PKK into the General Council Meeting at the TGNA.
That defendant Leyla Zana, after reading the text of the oath, shouted slogans in Kurdish from the pulpit of the Turkish Grand National Assembly. That when she was asked to reread the oath for the second time - since, due to her Kurdish slogans, her oath was considered invalid - like before, after reading the text of the oath, she shouted slogans in the same manner and said [in Kurdish], " I am Kurdish, I will remain Kurdish until the end (of time), I am forced to take this oath and I am taking it under pressure. I am still a Kurd, I will remain a Kurd."
"We released the soldiers in order to send the message that we don't want to resolve the Kurdish question with violence and war, but in a peaceful way. With this message, we want to declare to the entire world that we want to solve the Kurdish question in democratic ways. If the Turkish government takes a positive step and stops its attacks, the clashes and war will reach an end. This situation will bring an historic era, and a democratic and peaceful resolution."
I asked him about the Kurds. He said, “They’re some of the toughest people I’ve ever seen. You don’t fuck with the Kurds; trust me you don’t want too. They’re well organized, and they will clear out an area.”
This week, several Kurdish communities across the United States are expected to demonstrate in several cities in opposition to the Turkish government's approval for the invasion of Iraqi Kurdistan. The youth of the Kurdish-American communities in each city have coordinated with one another to launch demonstrations on the same dates in order to express a unified opposition to the recent developments in Turkey and the Turkish government's decision to invade Iraqi Kurdistan.
[ . . . ]
Kurdish communities have organized protests in several cities including Atlanta, GA, Los Angeles, CA, Dallas, TX, Nashville, TN, Phoenix, AZ, San Francisco, CA, New York, NY, and Washington DC. The demonstrations in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Nashville, Phoenix and San Francisco are expected to take place on November 2nd, 2007 and in Dallas, TX on November 3rd, 2007. The demonstrations in New York and Washington DC will take place on November 5th, 2007 to coincide with the visit of the Turkish prime minister in Washington DC.
Demonstrations will be highlighting the importance of preventing a Turkish invasion of the only peaceful part of Iraq, and recognizing the legitimacy of the Kurdistan Regional Government and its potential role in a peaceful process to solve the conflict existing in the region. The demonstrations will also highlight the importance of belief that a political and peaceful solution is the only viable solution to the conflict, and that the peace offerings and Kurdish rebel ceasefires negotiated and supported by members of the Iraqi government should be recognized as important developments to the progression of peace in the region.
Representatives in each of the cities are urging members of Kurdish and non-Kurdish communities in America to show their support and join the demonstrations.