Monday, April 28, 2008


"Since we did not come to the terms with what Armenians, Assyrians, Syrians went through, the Kurdish problem, the May First celebrations, the Alevi problems persist as individual paranoids."
~ Erdoğan Aydın

It is widely known that North Kurdistan is an internal colony of the Ankara regime. It is also widely known that states hold on to colonies in order to exploit the resources of the colonies, resources that properly belong to the colonized.

With that in mind, here's another example of the Ankara regime's exploitation of North Kurdistan's resources, from AlterNet:

In March 2009 the Turkish government will host the fifth World Water Forum against a backdrop of what is probably the most sweeping water privatisation programme in the world. As well as privatizing water services, the government plans to sell of rivers and lakes. Turkish social movements, who hosted their own conference in Istanbul last month, suspect the Government is using the World Water Forum to push through this highly controversial agenda.

Previous sessions of the World Water Forum, held once every three years, have faced opposition from civil society groups who consider it an illegitimate, flawed platform for discussing solutions to the world's water problems. The Forum is controlled by the World Water Council, a private think-tank with close links to the World Bank and private water multinationals. This criticism is likely to become even more intense in the run-up to the March 2009 Forum, given the host government's radical privatisation push.

[ . . . ]

Tahir Ongur from the Istanbul branch of the Chamber of Geology Engineers (TMMOB) explained that the government not only wants to privatize drinking water supplies, but also the water resources themselves. Energy and Natural Resources Minister Hilmi Guler has announced that rivers and lakes will be sold to private companies, for periods of up to 49 years. The government believes that allowing private firms to build dams in rivers and lakes which they also own is the best way to overcome water shortages, both for drinking water and rural irrigation. As part of this unprecedented privatisation offensive, the government aims to rush through a constitutional reform before the March 2009 World Water Forum. The main target is Article 43 of the constitution, which limits private control of coastal lines, rivers, lakes, etc. and underlines that the public interest should take priority.

Diren Ozkan from Save Hasankeyf criticised the continued proliferation of destructive large scale dam projects in Turkey. A particularly shocking example is the Ilisu dam site on the Tigris River, which will drown the ancient town of Hasankeyf and many nearby villages, displacing 78,000 people, mainly Kurds. The dam will cause tremendous environmental destruction and flood hundreds of ancient sites.

Abdullah Aysu, President of the Peasants' Federation, spoke passionately against government policies for privatising agricultural irrigation. The plans to replace management by rural cooperatives with a system of concession rights sold to private firms would have disastrous consequences for subsistence farmers and their communities, who would lose their rights to local water resources. Groundwater in rural areas is seriously depleted due to uncontrolled drilling, but commercialization is not the answer. The only real solution to these problems, Aysu explained, is to shift to a more natural model of agriculture, which he described as "ecological democracy."

[ . . . ]

Water privatisation is not an entirely new phenomenon in Turkey. There are private water supply contracts in Arpacay and Corlu, as well as widespread outsourcing and subcontracting of the water supply across the country. In the city of Antalya, French water giant Suez pulled-out six years into a 10-year contract after the municipality rejected their demand for another price increase. The prices had already risen 130 percent and the company had failed to invest what was promised.

[ . . . ]

The Turkish government hopes to use the World Water Forum to advance its sweeping privatisation plans, described by one conference speaker as "market fascism." On this background, one can only wonder how the World Water Council, the think-tank controlling the Forum, made the decision to give the Turkish government the role of Forum host for March 2009. On their website, the organisers of the World Water Forum in Istanbul "call upon the international water community to make concrete proposals so that better management of the resource may contribute to achieving the entirety of the Millennium Development Goals." The deeply irresponsible water policies of the Turkish host government reveal the emptiness of the World Water Council's feel-good rhetoric.

Meanwhile, at Bilgi University in Istanbul, there was a debate on the Armenian Genocide, in particular the 24 April 1915 round-up of Armenian intellectuals in Istanbul. I would have liked to attend this debate just to hear Eren Keskin and Ragıp Zarakoğlu. From Bianet:

Giving the opening speech, the IHD branch president Gülseren Yoleri stated that the genocide claims were still neither discussed nor accepted and the same was the case regarding the Kurdish problem.

“They could not live in their own land, nor die in it. They made enemies out of Kurds, Turks, Armenians, Greeks, the neighbors.”

Stating “the mentality of the Committee of the Union and Progress continues”, [human rights lawyer and Kurdish activist Eren] Keskin added that “If we do not discuss the Committee of the Union and Progress, the Special Organization (Teşkilat-i Mahsusa), Şemdinli incident, 6-7 September pogrom of 1955 against Greeks in Turkey and the latest Ergenekon incident, we will not get very far.”

Saying “I think that there is a generation that represents an enlightened conscience, like the hundreds of thousands who walked behind Hrant”, [journalist and writer Erdoğan] Aydın likewise added that “Since we did not come to the terms with what Armenians, Assyrians, Syrians went through, the Kurdish problem, the May First celebrations, the Alevi problems persist as individual paranoids.”

Hevallo also has something in honor of the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, as well as a not-to-be-missed glimpse into the real life of Kurds in Turkey.

Seriously. Don't miss it.

1 comment:

Gordon Taylor said...

This is great. And since they're selling the rivers, lakes, etc., they could sell the naming rights as well. I notice that in the latest issue of The Economist Dubai is soliciting bids from big corporations for the naming rights to its new Metro system. Turkey should join in. For example, Lake Van is so...last year. It should be updated. Lake Lockheed sounds much better. And, like the Dubai Metro, the trains could be updated as well. Instead of the Van Golu Ekspresi, it would be the Lockheed Golu Ekspresi. The possibilities are endless.