Sunday, November 25, 2007


"The soldiers have been arrested in order to set an example for the others, so that not everyone in a difficult situation becomes a hostage; so that being taken hostage is not considered an option . . ."
~ Mehmet Tanju Akad, Turkish journalist.

There's something that hasn't been in the media too much and you have to ask yourself, why is that?

Shortly after the release of the Turkish POWs held by HPG, Erdoğan asked for a ban on broadcasting of the story, which a Turkish court of appeals rejected. Since then, the Paşas ordered a ban of the investigation of the former POWs. Ostensibly:

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".

More at Bianet.

The Turkish state is perturbed because the soldiers captured in battle by HPG did not kill themselves. In order to avenge its dubious "honor," the Turkish state is in the process of prosecuting the eight soldiers for not killing themselves:

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.

The reality of what the Turkish state is trying to hide is the sorry condition of the average soldier and the cowardice of the Turkish officer corps. One of the soldiers had been wounded in the clash and he did not have a weapon, so he decided to count on the mercy of HPG gerîlas--and in receiving mercy, he was not disappointed. The same cannot be said for that state for which he wore a uniform. Others commented on the cowardice and inefficiency of those in charge of their units:

"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.

Such comments prompted harsh remarks from at least one retired Turkish military judge:

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.

Indeed, as in so many examples from the past, reality is not the issue; the real issue, and the real reason behind the censorship of the case of the eight former POWs, is the issue of image and the prestige derived from the perception of image. For the Turkish Republic, image isn't everything; it's the only thing.

From the case of the eight former POWs, we can check off a few things from our list of the characteristics of fascist states. We have the example of "powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism"; "Disdain for the importance of human rights"; The "identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause"; And "the supremacy of the military/avid militarism".

Do I need to mention that there has been nothing in Turkish media on the investigation of these soldiers? Nothing. Nada. Nil. Nix. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Of course, now we see very clearly who it is that is civilized and who it is that's barbaric. It's clear who is honorable and who is not. Those regularly labeled as "terrorists" by the barbarians are, in fact, the only civilized actors in this long-playing Orwellian drama.

For more on this situation, check an article from the AP, and there was something else on the Paşas' ban at NTV.

Meanwhile, back in the mountains, Cemil Bayık issued a warning to the US and the Southern Kurdish leadership against any joint cooperation with Turkey against the Kurdish freedom movement:

"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."

Let's add that the hysterical reports of the capture of Hevals Cuma and Cemil has been greatly exagerrated. This kind of hysteria could be avoided if the government of South Kurdistan were not as devoted to censorship as their brothers in Washington and Ankara.

No comments: