Sunday, November 02, 2008


"Once more the civil administrative arrangements are being tried, which simply takes us further away from the essence of the problem. It is enough! We should put in effect some measures that will increase the trust of our Kurdish citizens [in the system]."
~ Ufuk Uras.

There were protests throughout the Van and Hakkari regions this weekend in protest of Katil Erdoğan's two-day visit, with a weekend sit-in protest in Diyarbakır in front of the TSK 7th Corps headquarters building. On Sunday, the protests spread to Istanbul.

Turkish media, including Kanal A, Cihan News Agency, NTV, Zaman, Doğan News Agency, and TRT were all prevented from reaching or remaining in Hakkari due to the protests.

The AKP parliamentarians from Hakkari were prevented from entering the city as well.

On Saturday, while Katil Erdoğan was in Van, the AKP office in Hakkari was bombed.

DTP had planned a weekend of protest but last week also brought proposals for a solution to the Kurdish situation to the TBMM:

. . . [T]he book suggests radical changes to the political and administrative structure of Turkey. Among the proposals is dividing Turkey into 20 or 25 regions, with each region being governed by a system chosen by its residents. This proposal also envisages granting broader authority to local administrations, including giving the right to locals to elect their governors. The book also calls for "a smaller state and a greater society," which foresees reducing the scope of the state's authority and broadening the rights and freedoms granted to citizens. Other proposals include drafting a new constitution, ensuring the free use of the Kurdish language in public as well as recognizing the Kurdish identity under the new constitution and changing the notion of a "Turkish nation" into a "nation of Turkey."

Gülay Göktürk at Bugün wrote some commentary on DTP's proposals Friday. It's fitting to post those comments here, at the end of a long weekend of political struggle:

Autonomy or Federation?

Looking at one's idea and praising it or discrediting it is a very prevalent attitude here.

For instance, think about Graham Fuller's speech, which he made at a think-tank institution and was published in yesterday's newspapers. In a speech where there are very remarkable points and, I think they are correct, is discredited or has a high probability of gaining enmity just because Graham Fuller is a former CIA administrator.

Of course, the same situation is the case when the one who expresses the idea is Öcalan himself. DTP brought a project to the parliament that earlier was offered by Öcalan, which is called the "democratic autonomy project" and the project foresees Turkey divided into federations. As you know, DTP had prepared this project in October 2007 in Diyarbakır at its Democratic Society Congress and in the same year, in November, at DTP's second regular congress it was included as part of the party's constitution under the name "Political Policy Document".

Now DTP has passed out this idea as a book written in Kurdish, Turkish, and English to the parliamentarians, the ministers, and the ambassadors, in order to get the idea discussed widely. In fact, in a normal democratic regime, there is nothing more normal as a political activity than what DTP is doing. What is DTP doing? DTP is bringing a project which is informed based on the sensitivity of its grassroots. This project was declared in a decision of their congress; it was not done covertly and was brought to the parliament. This project offers to divide Turkey into 20 to 25 autonomous regions.

"With the condition of respecting Turkey's unitary structure, opening up regional autonomous structures, having the official language and flag subject throughout Turkey, enabling each region to have different symbols and colors--along with the official Turkish language and flag throughout Turkey" is called for.

Each region chooses its own governmental structure, more authority is given to regional administrations, and governors are elected by the people. The Kurdish language and identity must also be kept under constitutional guarantee in this project; "Big cities like Trabzon, Diyarbakır, Van, Erzurum must be considered as regional capitals and have friendly relations with the government of Northern Iraq; regional resources must be transferred to regional governments" are such suggestions that have been enumerated. DTP aims to have political activity in order to solve this structural change not through violence but through parliament and law.

Now I ask you: if a political party is not going to do such activities then what is it going to do? For us, when we say that the Kurdish question must be solved through a political solution, if we don't mean this kind of project then what do we mean? But now, even now, look at this: the media has reported this news as "A disturbing offer from DTP to the parliament" or "They brought Apo's suggestion to the parliament" giving such accusational headlines. Firstly, yes, this project may cause disturbance in the parliament but let's not forget that political projects do not always have to be easy.

On the contrary, if we want to solve the Kurdish question by political means we have abandond such tongue twisters as "Unity, Integrity, Brotherhood" kind of repeated rhetoric and we have to really consider about this radical political solution; we have to take them seriously. Even if this comes with the cost of disturbing the parliament and thinking very hard or discomforting us.

Secondly, yes, this project was mentioned by Öcalan previously; however, an idea cannot be considered good or bad because of the people who suggest it. The wrong and the crime is the one that a legal party which has an organizational relationship with an illegal "terrorist" organization. This is wrong. Other than this, it is quite normal that DTP can defend the political views that PKK does. It might champion such projects, which is the case here.

The most prevalent confusion is caused by the state's accusation of PKK as "separatist terrorist". However, here in the two terms joined together, one is conceptual (separatism) and the other is criminal (terrorism). For years we used these two damned words. For years we forgot to consider such two damned words in the framework of freedom of speech.

Moreover, the project that was suggested to parliament about federation is not claiming to remove the unitary system of Turkey and, also, this project's patent isn't Öcalan's. In Turkey, the intellectuals who were concerned about the Kurdish question have such federative models since the 1960s, such as in the Revolutionary Eastern Cultural Hearths and the Turkish Labor Party's (TİP) time, and they brought several discussions about this kind of system. As a result, I said that we must take very seriously the suggestion brought by DTP to the parliament today and we definitely have to enhance it and make it mature. It's worth debating.

Of course as long as we do not mean empty words or the rejection of all kinds of ethnic identity and the acceptance of violent assimilation policies, or thoughts of removing ethnic identity through economic advancement. If we don't mean these kinds of things, we have have to think about it.

Once again there is a reasonable solution presented for the situation of Kurds in Turkey, just as reasonable as PKK's democratic resolution, and it is clear that those on the Left in Turkey, along with the intellectuals are open to a political solution. Unfortunately, I have to agree with Avni Özgürel on the reason for the continued rejection of a political solution by the Ankara regime:

There are some people who have benefits from an unsolved Kurdish question. Turkey is buying very serious numbers of arms from abroad. Unmanned aircraft. Do you know how much AWACs cost?

This is a fact that was very clear recently during Joseph Ralston's reign as "special envoy to coordinate the PKK for Turkey" and it's the only reason for the War on Terror, Inc.


Gordon Taylor said...

Thanks again for publishing this stuff, Mizgin. Much appreciated.

Anonymous said...

i can barely believe my eyes. can it all be an election gimmick? or, is turkey ready to take the step into the 21st century?


hamo said...

Turkish Islamo-fascist PM finally starts to show his true colors.

While he was in Hakkari, he repeated his famous "One Nation (Turkish), One Flag (Turkish Flag), One Homeland (Turkey)" argument while the Kurdish protestors were throwing stones to his crew. This time he went little further and ordered people who do not like that should leave by saying, "love it or leave!” BEĞENMEYEN GİTSİN

While, he was in Istanbul when he was asked about Kurdish protests in Istanbul and a Turk using a pump Gun against the protestors. He said, "I understand Turks and I ask them to be passions but I don't know how long this patience should last. Of course my citizen will retaliate the protestors". Erdoğan'dan 'tahrik edici' sözler!

Whatever angle you are looking at things, above are clear indication of racism and fascism. Even according to Turkish standards, this kind of speeches regarded as promoting and creating hatred amongst to two racial classes of people or ethnicities.

Mizgîn said...

You're welcome Gordon. I'll have another item from Gulay Gokturk later this week. She has a sequel to her comments on DTPs proposal. You're probably following Taraf by now, and there's a guy at Milliyet who's generally reasonable: Hasan Cemal. He's listed under their "YAZALAR". Can Dundar, also at Milliyet, is worth a read now and then, too.

It's too bad Gokturk doesn't write at Taraf.

You might be interested to check out It's got the Altans and Etyen Mahcupyan.

Nistiman, I don't think it's an election gimmick. Gokturk and the Taraf staff tend to be intellectuals or Leftists (REAL Leftists as opposed to fake CHP so-called Leftists). These are a few columnists/journalists who are among the rational in Turkey and they are not representative of the mainstream. Besides, people like the Altans have spent their time in prison. They know exactly how far they can go.

Everyone knows Erdogan is a jackass, Hamo. And I have news for him: Love Kurdistan or leave it.

What is significant is that he did endorse the use of shotguns against DTP supporters, which means that he endorses violence in civil society as a means of controlling the Kurdish situation. But that's why he's called Katil Erdogan and it's consistent with his behavior since the Amed Serhildan.

Also, Erdogan's endorsement of civil violence is not far from arguments I've heard about the need for a civil war in order to create a democracy in Turkey.

You are correct that the law about inciting hatred should be applied to Sayin Katil. But, then, they didn't punish Erdogan for calling Ocalan "Sayin" did they? The application of law in Turkey is certainly haphazard.

Basbakan said...

Türk Türklüğüyle, Kürt Kürtlüğüyle övünür

Teröre inat şehirlerin sorularını çözeceklerini ve insanların mutluluğunu artıracaklarını belirten Başbakan Tayyip Erdoğan, terörün aradaki kardeşliği bozamayacağının altını çizdi: "Bizim kardeşliğimize asla zarar veremeyecekler. Asla aramıza nifak tohumu ekemeyecekler. Kardeşlik hukukumuz tarihi bağlarla, kültürel bağlarla çevrelenmiştir. Sağlam medeniyet zeminine kök salmıştır. Kardeşlik hukukumuzu kimse zedeleyemez. Türk'üyle, Kürt'üyle, Zaza'sı, Çerkez'i, Boşnak'ıyla tüm etnik kökendeki insanımız kardeştir, gönüldaştır, vatandaştır. Benim Türk kökenli vatandaşımın Türklüğüyle övünmek hakkıdır. Kürt kardeşim Kürtlüğüyle övünür, hakkıdır. Fakat bir şeyi unutmayacağız. Bunların üzerinde üst kimliğimiz var; hepimiz Türkiye Cumhuriyeti vatandaşıyız. Tek millet, tek bayrak, tek vatan, tek devlet dedik. Yola böyle çıktık. Etnik milliyetçiliğe, bölgesel milliyetçiliğe, dinsel milliyetçiliğe hayır."

Benim Türk kökenli vatandaşımın Türklüğüyle övünmek hakkıdır. Kürt kardeşim Kürtlüğüyle övünür, hakkıdır.

Anonymous said...

I think that the poster above, basbakan, pasted an excerpt from Erdogan's speech to put his remarks in context in an effort to show that Erdogan is not denying the Kurdish reality when he submits "One nation, One flag, One homeland, One state" since just before that he talks about Kurds (and Zazas -- as if they aren't Kurds?) and Turks being brothers. He also says that a Turk has the right to be proud of his Turkishness and a Kurd has the right to be proud of his Kurdishness. Is Erdogan really enlightened or he just another Turkish politician out to get votes with feeding the populace "faso fiso" like so many politicians before him?

What do his words really mean? Should the Kurds be content with the fact that he admits that there are Kurds in Turkey ? (shocking revelation!!!)

What does it mean that Kurds and Turks are brothers and they have a right to be proud of their ethnicity? Isn't that what the Turkish state has been telling the Kurds all along: "we're brothers, we're human, we're all Turkish citizens -- but you still don't get to have equal rights". Correct me if I'm wrong but since the inception of the Turkish state, the Kurds have been "free" to speak Kurdish in their homes and to be proud of their Kurdishness in their private lives but never in the public sphere. When it comes to asking for any formal rights -- such as education in the Kurdish language, or Kurdish as an official language -- then the right to be proud evaporates into thin air ...

I'm proud to be a Kurd (and I'm grateful for Erdogan to allow me this right) but I also want linguistic, cultural and political rights to protect the Kurdish identity ... so anyone worth his salt will see that Erdogan's re-hashed slogans have no substance and are just more BS.


Mizgîn said...

Katil Erdogan is blowing it out of his ass again.

I'm shocked, SHOCKED!

. . . he's the male version of Sarah Palin.