Friday, March 31, 2006


"But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." ~ The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies, July 4, 1776.

We have really got some spin going on the news coming from the Turkish media on the Turkish state oppression in Amed.

The worst example I have seen is from Zaman, via a friend. I will compare Zaman's statements with the same statements from a Reuters report. The quote of particular interest is one that was made by the EU Commission spokeswoman, Krisztina Nagy.


Southeastern Turkey needs economic and cultural development, Nagy added; and they are aware of the terrorism-sourced problems in the area, but the issue should be approached in terms of security.


"We are aware of the serious terrorist problem in the region but it is a much wider problem than just a security issue," EU Commission spokeswoman Krisztina Nagy said.

"The region needs peace, economic development and real exercise of cultural rights for Kurds," Nagy added.

Did you catch that, or is it spinning too fast for you? Let me break it down. Zaman implies that the EU spokeswoman is stating that more "security," i.e. more force, is needed to address the problem. Sure, there are some economic and cultural development needed, but these are secondary to "security," or so the implication goes.

But what the EU spokeswoman's direct quote via Reuters is saying is the opposite. In the Reuters quote, the spokeswoman is saying that the "situation" in "the region" is a much bigger problem than mere security. She is quoted as clearly saying that peace, economic development and real cultural rights are needed, with the implication that these are far more pressing concerns than "security."

A TDN story mentions a Kurdish boy injured by gunfire, who later died, by the way, but doesn't directly mention who did the shooting. It states that demonstrators threw rocks at police and, in the next paragraph, mentions that the police were armed but merely "kept watch in the streets." So where did the bullets come from? Let's compare: demonstrators, rocks; police, automatic rifles.

Again, the article mentions that a boy watching events from a rooftop was killed by a "stray" bullet. Again, who had the bullets? Among those killed in Êlih, was a three-year-old, as reported by the Washington Post.

The article also mentions a guy killed in a "traffic accident:"

The dead included a demonstrator, a nine-year-old boy hit by a bullet while watching the trouble from a rooftop and a man killed in a traffic accident while running from the melee.

But what does our old Reuters report say?

A man and a child were shot dead on Wednesday and a second man was crushed under a police armoured car in Diyarbakir.

I see. The police killed the guy in the "traffic accident" too, by crushing him under their armored vehicle. Even al-Jazeera carried that news.

Now I wonder if the Lunatic Fringe is going to take up the cause of this guy with the same passion as they take up the cause of Rachel Corrie? I wonder if the Lunatic Fringe is going to have any concern for Kurdish children killed by security forces? I wonder if the Lunatic Fringe is going to get vocal over Turkish state brutality in Amed? I wonder if the Lunatic Fringe is going to concern themselves with the 70% unemployment, with the fracturing of Kurdish society under Turkish oppression? I wonder if the Lunatic Fringe is going to notice that Turkish state policy has shifted, and now it is focused on starving the Kurds to death instead of engaging in messy military operations. I guess they got that last idea from the Iranians.

But have we heard anything from the Lunatic Fringe on this? No. It's not even a blip on their radar.

I wonder if the Turkish government is going to censure its own in the same way that it loves to censure Israel, especially when Palestinian demonstrators are wielding rocks. I wonder why the same Turkish government that urges Israel to use restraint against stone-throwing Palestinians refuses to urge its own security forces to use the same level of restraint.

Of course, I'm still wondering why the Turkish state hosts HAMAS in Ankara, even though HAMAS is on The List, but it refuses to engage in any way, shape or form with the big, bad PKK, which is also on The List.

Moving right along, we come to the spin doctors next, the Turkish media's opinion writers. Yusuf Kanli at TDN tries to lay the blame at DTP's feet. He never once mentions the economic situation under Turkish occupation and probably with good reason. It will make Turkey look bad, and we all know that image is everything. Proof? Remember Article 301 of the TCK? So it's much better to blame DTP. Make them look bad because then your own rotten image looks that much better. Yusuf forgot that Osman Baydemir called for calm and was apparently attacked by security forces.

News about an investigation being opened on Osman Baydemir for his support of the protestors because of his knowledge of what they suffer, is a big, smelly red herring. It is getting to the point that whatever Osman Baydemir does is fuel for an investigation. Remember, he and all the other DTP mayors are supposedly under investigation for sending a letter of support to Roj TV. I'm surprised that they haven't opened an investigation on Mukaddes Kubilay, the DTP mayor of Dogubayazit, for her criticism of the Turkish government during the bird flu crisis.

Turkey is simply biding its time until it has a big enough collection of smelly red herrings to outlaw DTP, just as it has outlawed all other Kurdish parties before it.

But Yusuf is clearly out of it, otherwise he would never ask this question:

How does it happen that, two weeks after Nevroz, we have such a situation -- which could indeed be described as massive unrest or a rehearsal for an uprising -- under the pretext of demonstrating against military operations and the killing of 14 terrorists in action?

Let TSK stay the hell away from funerals, and that includes F16 overflights. Every time there is a funeral for a gerîla, security forces are out en masse, purposely to cause a provocation. Just stay the hell away.

This country has achieved great reforms and major openings over the past few years. Many things that we may criticize as being insufficient today were beyond limits of consideration only a few years ago. Why did these reforms become possible? The chieftain of the gang was captured; the gang had ceased its operations and thus the civilian authority of the country had the chance to take and implement some radical decisions.

There have been no great reforms, and the minutiae that pass for "great reforms" in the mind of Yusuf Kanli were all grudgingly granted in order to fool the EU. There was also a five-year unilateral ceasefire, during which time the Turkish state could have begun real reforms and real restitution for all the damage that the Turkish state inflicted on Kurds since 1925, but no one did anything at all during that time. This is why we are at the point we are at today. Drive outside of Amed today and you will see lots of factories and all of them are closed. No jobs, no hope, no future. Since that is the case, there is not much point in hanging around when you can find gainful employment in the mountains with the added attraction of killing Turks--the same Turks who are back in your old 'hood shooting your seven-year-old brother.

Rather than engaging in gruesome acts of terrorism, the PKK, if it is really concerned about the rights and well-being of the ethnic Kurdish population of this country, must consider laying down its arms permanently, like Spain's ETA. That would be a greater challenge to this country's conservatives than continued violence.

The problem that Yusuf has is that he cannot distinguish the current situation of ETA and the Kurdish situation. ETA has had mediators for the last four years. The Spanish state actually worked with the mediators. In other words, the Spanish state was agreeable to negotiation. There has been absolutely no indication that Ankara is willing to sit down with a negotiator, much less with Kurds. Ankara has sullenly given in to EU nagging over questions of human rights and Kurdish rights and that, in itself, is an indicator that Ankara is very far from any attitude of negotiation.

Mete Belovacikli at The New Anatolian provides a couple of different takes on the events in Amed in the last few days. First is this:

There are those who believe that the Diyarbakir incidents were triggered in an attempt to prevent a spring operation against the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is set to start soon. They underline that the coming period will be one in which strong measures will be taken against the PKK and believe that the terrorist group will thus shift towards mass actions in major cities.

However, the same sources don't fail to repeat that very strong measures will be taken despite the efforts of the terrorist organization and its supporters.

Again, there is no looking at the roots of the problem, as the EU spokeswoman, Krisztina Nagy, mentioned in the Reuters report. Ankara appears to be able to think and solve problems in its usual way, the brute-force-and-ingorance method, to borrow a phrase from one of my old mathematics professors. Since 1984, the Turkish state regularly has a couple hundred thousand Mehmetcik's deployed in North Kurdistan in order to fight a few thousand gerîlas. Well, okay, they have to pacify the locals as well, and they number anywhere from 17 to 20 million, but my point is that in all this time Ankara has used the same method and it hasn't worked. The good news is that this proves another of Einstein's theories, which he stated thusly:

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

So maybe it really doesn't take a rocket scientist, but it seems that it does take a theoretical physicist.

The fact is that Ankara has never understood guerrilla warfare and as a result, Ankara has never understood how to engage in counterguerrilla operations. I doubt that Ankara will understand in the near future. If there had been any understanding, the battle would have been engaged on a completely different level. Therefore, the big, bad PKK will be around for some time to come and it doesn't matter if it seemingly goes "underground," because all the ground in Kurdistan is potentially fertile given the status quo.

The other example cited by Mete is as follows:

A rumor in Ankara circles says that a law on "population exchange" may be proposed. You may wonder how such a law could come about. Let me explain ...

The decision-makers in Ankara believe that the public tends to go to extremes about the Kurdish problem. They've decided that the Kurdish problem cannot be solved through being able to separate out terrorists from ordinary people.

The same decision-makers reluctantly say that the public has started to express ideas such as that the Kurdish problem can be solved through either total or partial division of the region from Turkey or through ethnic cleansing.

Worried that these beliefs may quickly bring Turkey to the brink of an internal conflict, the decision-makers cite those who claim that the problem can be solved through a population exchange law. Those who support this opinion say, "Let's draw up the borders, those Kurds living in the west should go east."

Mete is telling us that the Turkish public has suddenly become "separatist." I wonder how they're going to apply the Anti-Terror Law to the Turkish public?

I would add that those Turks living in "The East," need to go west. Fair is fair and it doesn't matter that the government shipped them to "The East" after Dersim. If there's going to be a population exchange law, it needs to be reciprocal. But let's get really fantastic and imagine for a moment that this were the reality; a population exchange law would still be an application of force, perhaps even a "security" measure, as Zaman spins Nagy's quote. As such, it is not a mutually agreed divorce, such as that which the Czech Republic and Slovakia agreed to when they split, and, if done in the spirit described by Mete, the Turks will treat Kurdistan as a "second Armenia," with similar political and historical baggage.

Even separatism must be negotiated in good faith and there can be no good faith until the TC gives up its terrorist actions against the Kurdish people and the US, the EU and the UN must stop enabling the TC in using terrorism against Kurds. Let's forget about the excuse of sovereignty as being a protection for those states that have the tendency to slaughter the populations within their borders. A new way of handling genocidal regimes must be defined, as quoted so well by Alan Johnson:

The political philosopher and Dissent editor, Michael Walzer, has argued that if the state protects the common life (i.e. does not slaughter its own civilians and seeks to meet their minimal life-needs) then sovereignty is to be respected. But if the state violates the common life in appalling ways then, whether or not anyone acts, that state has already lost its claim to 'sovereignty'

One last item concerns something, the rumors of which began to creep into the media at the end of February, with the deaths of the Şehîds of Dargecit--and for those with eyes to see and ears to hear, or at least with brains to think, they would have learned the mood of the people if they paid attention to the clashes in Amed a month ago. At the end of February, rumors began to go around about the use of chemical weapons against HPG by the state.

DTP is now bringing the suspicion to the attention of the media. I expect that this will be investigated as transparently as Semdinli.

No comments: