"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.
~ 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.