"Time is making fools of us again."
~ J.K. Rowling.
~ J.K. Rowling.
First of all, kudos to Hevallo for posting a link to a video on the PKK that's been missing from the Internet for some time. I had first posted a link to it back in May 2006 when it was available on Google video. Shortly thereafter, it was removed. Now that it's on Youtube, watch it while you have the chance. Runtime is about 25 minutes. In particular, pay attention to the commentary and Murat Karayılan's remarks at the end--bearing in mind the recent Turkish aerial bombing campaign and land invasion, both conducted with US (and Israeli) help:
While Turkey has offered token concessions to its Kurdish citizens, it says it won't negotiate with terrorists. Instead they have massed 1,000 troops inside Iraq with the express purpose of annihilating the PKK. With America promising to help its ally Turkey to eliminate them, the future looks bleak.
[ . . . ]
A regular army would need years to dislodge the guerrillas. We'll make an effort to prevent that happening. We'd make tactical moves if necessary. But if they come to annihilate us in the end, we won't surrender.
Dont forget to check out Hevallo's tribute to Şehîd Halil Uysal. We will sorely miss his brilliant photography and documentation of Kurdistan.
And there's more great news from Bush's great Model of Democracy for the Middle East, from Goran at Mideast Youth:
Last year, a group by the name of The Children’s Voices of Diyarbakir that consists of Kurdish youth aged 8 to 16 years of age, many who are orphaned, received a rare opportunity to participate in a World Music Festival in California. The kids put on a wonderful performance that could - and perhaps did - even put tears of joy to the eyes of non-Kurdish attendees as much as they did for Kurdish attendees.
This Kurdish youth group is composed of mostly orphans and was put together through a program initiated by Kurds in Turkey to help get the youth off the streets by engaging them in positive activities. At the festival in California, the kids sang a wide range of traditional Kurdish folk songs, played instruments, and even danced for the audience.
Now, back in Turkey, a few of them are facing charges by Turkish prosecutors for singing these songs in California…
To cut to the chase, the song the children are being prosecuted for is "Ey Reqîb," which is well-known throughout the Kurdish world and was used to close the broadcast day, every day, on Roj TV. Not that Turkey needs an excuse to persecute Kurds and in this case, as in every case, it stoops to the level of the absurd. I kind of suspect that the Ankara regime's behavior is the result of a mass inferiority complex which is the legacy of Kemalist ideology. There's probably a big chunk of guilt complex mixed in, too, since the regime knows very well who it was that helped it out during the war for independence. In fact, there would have been no independence without Kurds standing and fighting.
The EUObserver reports on the AKP's recent bellydance to win over the EU in order to have someone in their court over the closure case:
The Turkish parliament is next week likely to pass a bill softening a law which sets limits on freedom of the speech by criminalizing insults to "Turkishness".
[ . . . ]
I believe we will push the amendment to Article 301 through parliament next week," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday (8 April), according to press agencies.
Late on Monday, the Turkish government submitted its draft proposal for amendments to the parliament, suggesting, among other things, that the country's president should give his consent before prosecutors can launch cases in that field.
It also proposes that the vague term "Turkishness" be replaced by "Turkish nation", and the prison time envisaged be decreased from three to two years while the sentence could be suspended or converted to a fine, AFP reports.
The move comes just days before a visit to Turkey on Thursday and Friday by European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and EU enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn.
Okay. That fourth paragraph should read: "It also proposes that the vague term "Turkishness" be replaced by the equally vague term "Turkish nation" . . .
Faced with the looming possibility of being closed down by Turkey’s Constitutional Court, the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) seems to be making a political turn back toward the center. Perhaps hoping Brussels might come to the rescue, party leaders in recent days have refocused attention on European Union-oriented reforms as a way of staving off the threat to their political future.
[ . . . ]
The Constitutional Court threat seems to have reinvigorated the AKP’s reformist intentions. The government now says it will present to parliament an amendment that would make it harder to for cases to be opened under Article 301. The bill would make the Turkish president responsible for approving any prosecution related to law, taking it out of the hands of prosecutors who may be acting with nationalistic motives. Other reforms also appear to be in the offing.
[ . . ]
[Olli Rehn, the European Commissioner for Enlargement] Rehn is due to arrive in Turkey on April 10 for a three-day visit, along with European Commission president José Manuel Barroso.
The AKP's plan is to welcome Rehn and Barroso with the appearance of lurching toward democracy by playing around with the language of Article 301. Or, maybe I should say this was AKP's plan.
You see, there's a minor snag. AKP was hoping to have the proposed changes to Article 301 in the parliamentary works by Rehn and Barroso's 10 April visit. However, the president of the parliament, Köksal Toptan (AKP), is in China. He's supposed to forward the proposal to the justice commission in order to initiate the parliamentary process for change to the constitution. He's got a deputy, though, right? No problem. Wrong. His deputy, Güldal Mumcu is CHP. She has determined that the issue is not serious, so she's sitting on the proposal until Toptan returns from China.
The clock is ticking . . . Rehn and Barroso are due to arrive any time. Meanwhile, Mumcu continues to file her nails and eat lokum, while sitting on the 301 proposal . . .