"International law calls this organization's actions "terror" if it conducts an armed struggle when it has an alternative way of struggle through the open door of politics and law."
~ Ahmet Altan, Taraf.
~ Ahmet Altan, Taraf.
Ahmet Altan explains why PKK is not a "terrorist organization", from Taraf:
You Cannot Solve It by Saying It's Terror
I don't know how our generals came to the point that they believe they know the best of everything.
I guess they are getting educated like that in military schools.
They have ideas for every subject and they want their ideas to be implemented.
If the thing they wanted does not come about, they show their weapons.
For instance, they say, "A president whose wife wears a scarf cannot sit in Çankaya."
For this they write memoranda.
Then, in elections when people say, "Sure it can, why shouldn't it," they get surprised.
In addition to having ideas about the scarf issue, they have uncriticizable ideas about the Kurdish question, too.
While talking about the Kurdish question, the general staff talks about, "hitting the 'terrorist' organization."
Is this a solution?
The army is hitting against PKK for twenty-five years.
What is the result?
Thousands of dead, hundreds of millions of dollars spent.
And the Kurdish question remains unsolved in front of society.
PKK continues its existence in the mountains.
I guess before everything, we have to decide what PKK is.
Is PKK a terrorist organization?
The thing that you say as a terrorist organization has ten members, fifty members, one hundred members at the most.
However, PKK is an organization that has thousands of militants, fighting with an army for twenty-five years, can establish an electric power plant, builds a dam, has an organization that is spread throughout the world, has a large financial source, and has the support of an important number of people.
This cannot be called a "terrorist organization."
International law calls this organization's actions "terror" if it conducts an armed struggle when it has an alternative way of struggle through the open door of politics and law.
However this doesn't make PKK a "terrorist organization" but makes it an organization that conducts "terror".
If you think the reverse, I think it will be better understood.
There have been seventeen thousand extra-judicial murders in The Southeast.
Slowly it is revealed that most of these murders have been committed by JİTEM, which is under the authority of the army.
The informers tell everything; at the addresses where the secret witnesses point, bodies come out.
Collecting seventeen thousand people from the street and killing them is certainly terrorism.
Does this conduct make the army a "terrorist organization"?
It makes it an organization that implements terror in The Southeast.
If we cannot understand what PKK is, we cannot comprehend the reason for its existence, and how it survived despite twenty-five years of war, and thousands of its casualties.
PKK is an organization that has its roots in people.
The Turkish view of PKK and the Kurdish view of PKK is very different.
PKK, for some Kurds, is a "holy" organization.
Among Kurds, it has several opponents, people who are angry with it, people who criticize it, but in general all the Kurds think the "Kurdish question" was brought to the country's attention by PKK.
Without understanding these, planning a strategy of "war" or "peace" is convicting yourself to failure.
I know that seeing the realities in this country discomforts some people, but it is impossible to solve the problems without seeing the truth.
Both Turkish and Kurdish politicians, the army, and PKK, too, must get out from the "cyber-world" which was created by a war that lasted for twenty-five years and confront the realities.
If the state's goal is the annihilation of PKK, this is a wrong goal.
Firstly, it is impossible to annihilate PKK with arms.
Secondly, even if you annihilate PKK, you will not be able to solve the problem. A new organization will show up in its place.
The problem is the usurpation of the rights of fifteen million people.
As long as the Turks hold the power of "granting rights" to the Kurds, this problem will continue.
We have to form a state in which no one has a right to "grant a right" to another and we have to form a state in which the rights of all people are guaranteed through a social contract.
The chief of the general staff says, "Cultural rights can be given, but on an individual basis."
He says Kurds cannot do politics.
He cannot say this.
In a normal country society will tell such a general, "It's none of your business."
These are the decisions that civilian politicians will decide.
Whether cultural or political rights will be given, who is going to talk with whom, are not the jobs of the military.
If the soldiers are going to do politics, who is going to do the military's job?
We have to take the military out of these issues.
Then we have to sit and evaluate the situation realistically.
The Kurdish question is not a question that can be solved by reducing it to a "terrorist" question by calling PKK a "terrorist organization", and passing the issue of "who will give rights to whom" to the military.
The Kurds and the Turks are going to sit and talk.
They will seek ways where everybody can feel themselves as "first-class" citizens, secured, comfortable, and happy.
Furthermore this is not an option anymore for the two sides. This is a "must"; because life commands it with its fearsome power.
For more on PKK's position on this subject, see:
Notes from Kandil, 1
Notes from Kandil 2: This Isn't Your Dad's PKK
Notes from Kandil 3: Where There's a Will . . .
Notes from Kandil 4: Possibilities
Karayılan in The Times