Wednesday, October 29, 2008


"Besides, to solve the Kurdish question, Öcalan must be contacted, must be talked with. There is no one in Turkey, with the exception of him [Öcalan] to solve this problem. There is no one with the exception of him that can contribute as much as him to solve this problem."
~ Avni Özgürel.

Today is the third and final part of the interview between Taraf's Neşe Düzel and researcher Avni Özgürel (Part 1; Part 2):

ND: Aktütün is being raided frequently and we have martyrs there. Doesn't PKK increase its morale by giving the Turkish army such casualties?

: Of course, yes. Even the press statement that the Chief of General Staff had, in which he revealed his anger, resulted in increasing PKK's morale and motivation by saying, "We make the world's eighth largest army's commander go crazy".

ND: The Chief of General Staff gave a very rigid and very angry response to our newspaper's statement that the raid was known well before. The people who were supporting him the most also said it is not an acceptable thing. Why do you think he had such an angry reaction?

: Actually, the Chief of General Staff is projecting his anger for those in his ranks onto others. Otherwise, someone who rises to a general's position, it is impossible for him not to know what happened at Aktütün. He does know what happened there, who is responsible, and what was wrong in the mechanism that was running. However, in Turkey, all the institutions have the attitude of "let's cover it". But right now in Turkey, the situation is changing. Society is questioning, as "What happened at Aktütün". For that reason, the Chief of General Staff's statement is not persuasive; it is not satisfying them anymore.

ND: The government, on the other hand, rather than opening an investigation of Aktütün, supported the Chief of General Staff. The Prime Minister took General Başbuğ's side. Erdoğan had done the same thing in Şemdinli as well. However, AKP has not emerged from the shadow of Şemdinli yet. How do you think creating a second Şemdinli will affect AKP?

: It will affect them negatively. This attitude will affect AKP's constituencies in a negative way, and has already done so.

ND: Do you think Erdoğan had a deal with the military?

: I think Erdoğan desires very much to have a deal with the military. However, the military still has some reserve against him.

ND: Do you think AKP is reinforcing its ruling power or weakening its ruling power by supporting the general's angry statement instead of investigating the reason for the incident?

: It weakens. In Turkey, no ruling political entity has a concern about being capable. All of them are trying to have a deal with the military. In all Turkish history, only Turgut Özal tried to be capable of ruling rather than having a deal with the military, and he paid the price.

ND: The Kurdish question lies under all these raids, clashes, and bloodshed, and AKP is not taking any concrete step to solve the problem. Did ruling political parties pass the question to the military?

: They cannot pass it because this is not a job the military can do. This is not a security issue. This is an issue of Turkish democratization. And, of course, when you democratize Turkey, you won't have any problem with head scarf, you won't have any problem with the Kurdish question. In Turkey, if the EU's democratic standards become dominant, neither the military will be unquestionable nor will our distorted judiciary be the way it is. Neither will corruption be at the level it is today. However, in this country, it is not wanted to solve the Kurdish question, because there are people who are profiting from it, not only the soldiers, but the security units, politicians, businessmen. In short, a big part of society benefits from this question. The Kurdish question is feeding all the ommissions and illegal money.

ND: How do you think the Kurdish question be solved?

: Starting from cultural and political rights, all the disturbing texts, including the constitution in Turkey, must be rewritten. The notion of Kurds and Turks are like [finger]nail and flesh must be reflected in the law. Besides, to solve the Kurdish question, Öcalan must be contacted, must be talked with. There is no one in Turkey, with the exception of him [Öcalan] to solve this problem. There is no one with the exception of him that can contribute as much as him to solve this problem.

ND: Why? Is PKK under Öcalan's control?

: By and large, yes, it is under his control. A formulation must be created that Öcalan can convince his grassroots. Meanwhile, the İmralı era must also end. His release may not be the case, but Öcalan can be imprisoned in very good conditions and his wish is not to be released anyway. In Turkey, in a place wherever he wants, leaving him away from politics, somewhere may be bought for him, and let him see his visitors there. Turkish punishment and execution laws are available for this change. I know that the solution must be in this way. I know that the analysis that says this issue must be solved in this way exists in Turkey's hands today.

ND: Will the soldiers be close to such a solution?

: I know that, in terms of the military, they are getting closer to this end. Even now, it is being written in several places that Öcalan has been spoken to by general-ranked commanders. Look, the Kurdish question is not merely a law or violence issue, there is also a psychological dimension to it. We call PKK a "terrorist" organization; however, is PKK only a "terrorist" organization? There is no single European country where they don't have a representative. They have diplomatic relationships with states. Thousands of Öcalan's posters are being held in protests. PKK has exceeded being a "terrorist" organization. It is in a well-advanced form right now.

ND: What do you think Öcalan was talked to about in İmralı?

: Especially the intelligence unit talked to him and the answer to the question, "Can the Kurdish question be solved?" was sought at that time. The answer was revealed as "Yes, it can be solved". Both the military and intelligence units know this answer. However, on the military side, it is a matter of courage to do this.

ND: Ergenekon paşas also went to İmralı. What did they talk about with Öcalan?

: "This man can finish terror. If terror ends, what are we going to do?" is one dimension of this job. 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? Turkey must immediately solve its Kurdish question, otherwise it will lead to separation. Kurdish nationalism is becoming a very big danger.

ND: The relationship between PKK and Ergenekon has been mentioned. What kind of relationship do they have?

: In the past they were intertwined. This relationship is not only in drug-trafficking but also in operational levels. It might have been said to PKK that "You guys have been cowards. You better do some noisy stuff [shooting] or we will step in".

ND: DTP's closure case is ongoing. Are they going to shut it down?

: I hope they do not. The Kurdish question will get damaged very badly in DTP's closure. The defense that, "Hmm, this question is not being solved politically, well, the people on the mountains are right". This logic will become prevalent in people's minds. Thus enlistment in the mountains will increase and the support for the struggle in the mountains will increase at the same time.

ND: Does Ergenekon have a share in the rising terror?

: Not the Ergenekon that we're investigating, but the real Ergenekon has. Ergenekon is a structure in MİT and in the military and, in Turkey, Ergenekon will never end. The current Ergenekon was the formation that was revealed at Susurluk. One part of this imprisoned Ergenekon was revealed at Susurluk and it is eliminated. There will be another version of such a formation.

ND: Regional elections are getting closer. How do you think Prime Minister Erdoğan's recent statements will affect the vote in the Southeast?

: Today's jargon will make AKP lose in Diyarbakır and I think the votes that create a gap between AKP and DTP is getting wider in favor of DTP.

ND: Today in Turkey, is there any politician that can solve the Kurdish question and make peace feasible?

: No, there is not. The main problem is this anyway: the job is not being done just by raising Diyarbakırspor to promote it to the first league from the second or third league. Let the Kurds be everywhere in this country, in politics . . . . the Kurdish question is not about their songs or folklore or their football. Turkey must discuss if you eliminate Kurds from politics.

In addition, today on NPR's evening news program, All Things Considered, was a radio report on the media feeding frenzy in Turkey over the military and the Bezele (Aktütün) operation. Included is a short discussion of Taraf's leading role in the criticism of the paşas and you can hear Yasemin Çongar present Taraf's reasoning for publishing the evidence which has damned the paşas over HPG's Bezele operation. Listen here or read the transcript, on the same page.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


"The people who are executing PKK's struggle, including Bayık and Karayılan, have been there for 25 years. We don't have any general that has served in the Southeast more than two years. "
~ Avni Özgürel.

Here is part 2 of the interview between Taraf's Neşe Düzel and researcher Avni Özgürel (Part 1 is here):

ND: Has drug-trafficking been used in financing the struggle against PKK?

: Of course it has been used. From the Southeast to Edirne (NW Turkey), drugs were transported along with official escorts. The people who got involved with this, after some time, said, "Why should I endanger myself on the mountain while there is an option to share the drugs and to extort and to form gangs? Why should I go into PKK and collect information for JITEM?"

ND: However, in Aktütün, there was the case that there was no lack of intelligence.

: That's true. For the Aktütün raid, there were additional things, let alone receiving intelligence. There are TV's that are close to PKK; they have their publications. For instance, in Roj TV, "on 21 August our congress is assembling in Qendil" they broadcast. The administrators, including from Europe, joined this congress. Cemil Bayık, Murat Karayılan, all of them were there. The meeting lasted for ten days and there were scenes and interviews in Roj TV. 21 August means two weeks before the Aktütün raid. PJAK also joined PKK's congress, which lasted until 30 August.

ND: You mean Iran's PKK also joined?

: When PKK said, "we have serious casualties because of Turkish aerial attacks", the head of PJAK, which is a branch of PKK in Iran, joined the Qendil congress and PJAK's chief Hacı Ahmet said, "From now on our first target is Turkey," all these things happened ten days ago. In Qendil there weren't just three people, there were twelve hundred people that assembled. However, the armed forces did not have a single aerial operation in August.

ND: Why didn't they do that?

: We have to explain this. People want to know the answer to this question. If you are willing to finish PKK, and if you are so angry, PKK's whole administrative groups were there. PKK could have been annihilated. This congress did not take only one day, but ten days. Let's say you could not see those people who came to the border, you said the geography is very mountainous, and so forth. Haven't you even watched the party's television? After this congress, seventeen youths were killed at Aktütün. Right after that, police were shot in Diyarbakır and there were some explanations or statements that were labeling the journalists who were asking about the errors in this incident as traitors to the country.

ND: Our army is fighting in the Southeast for years, and they must be very experienced in this. How come these kinds of raids are still occuring?

: If you send the youths, who have eight months of military training, and you send them to fight against PKK at the very far point of the border, this is a normal result. Look at the people who were killed at Aktütün, they were inexperienced kids. The people who are executing PKK's struggle, including Bayık and Karayılan, have been there for 25 years. We don't have any general that has served in the Southeast more than two years. Whoever stays there longer than that goes crazy.

ND: How?

: In advanced countries, the people who serve in hot zones more than one or two years, the army gives them a new assignment, say in airports, for a six month period in order to rehabilitate, to let them see people. We don't have such a thing. One time, an old friend of mine came to Istanbul and I took him to an entertaining place. There, at the table, he became like he would use his weapon against me [saying] "we are dying there and you are dancing here". He had cut himself off from the real world.

ND: Back to Aktütün, what happened there and what will happen there?

: Now we are sending a new unit to Aktütün. Now you imagine the family that has a son that has been sent to this place again. After one year they say they are going to move the garrison 300 meters away. Why are you defending there? You are defending a 300 meter height? As an excuse they say, "Well, in Lausanne our borders were drawn wrong and for that reason let's form a buffer zone". They are making very stupid suggestions and supposedly they are going to tell this to Iraq. Iraq will say, "Okay, form a buffer zone"; but they will include, "You form that buffer zone within your borders. Why do you think particularly of my territory when you suggest a buffer zone?" they will ask. Nevertheless, until Arbil (Hewler), that region is also mountainous. Where are you going to form the buffer zone? Besides, the US will say, "We gave you Öcalan and you could not solve the problem; we are giving you intelligence and you cannot solve the problem again." And when we come to the Iraqi regime, we are pressuring them, and still it's not doing anything.

ND: Don't you think the people who've been trained as chiefs of general staff are thinking with this logic?

: In politics, despite their failures, they do the same old thing. Similarly, they do the same old thing in the military as well. Everyone does their period [of service] and retires, and I don't think they know comprehensively about the region's history very well.

ND: Okay, but how can we explain the fact that the ommission of the intelligence that was received way before? Don't they take the intelligence seriously?

: There will be two consequences of the Aktütün investigation. Either you will say, "We received all the intelligence and we did all the evaluation; however, we could not complete the required protection web with helicopters within six hours." In this case, those responsible for this failure must immediately be taken before the highest military court. Or, "There may be intelligence, but we did not give credibility to its occurrence". Then, this means this will lead to questions of your military capabilities and your chief of staff's capabilities. If the Aktütün investigation does not take those responsible, who are in a command level . . .

ND: What will happen?

: This means there is a very hopeless situation in Turkey. This investigation must end up with finding the responsible commanders and give a satisfying explanation to the public, and take these people who were responsible in front of the military court.

ND: An operation that is known way ahead of time, and that is being watched through aerial surveillance, how can it not be prevented?

: This incident definitely must have several responsible parties in various positions. Otherwise it is not very credible to say, "It is not Aktütün; these scenes being broadcast are all lies"--this kind of fake explanation--Publishing these radio transcripts [of HPG guerrillas], all these are lies. It is hard to be very persuasive with this mentality. In Turkey, including the armed forces, every institution must be held accountable. If you spend all the world's money for Foca [in Izmir] and you say that you do not have money for the Aktütün garrison, someone definitely question this. And I think they must do so, too. In Turkey there was a very serious change. People are now asking, they are questioning, and they are not seeing the people who are silent.

ND: Okay, when one knows about a raid like Aktütün ahead of time, with deterrent precaution, can we stop such raids?

: Of course it would deter. In the Aktütün raid, the people who condoned the implementation of this raid, or the people who did not take sufficient precaution, in whatever position they are, those people, whether in the rank of general or a force commander--any position--they must be taken before the public. And the Chief of General Staff's statement that "the investigation has started and the result will be declared" this must be considered as a commitment. On every occasion, the press must ask the chief of general staff what is the result of the Aktütün investigation.

ND: A while ago you touched on the issue that the Aktütün garrison would shut down. Even last May, after it had a raid, why was such a garrison not shut down after that raid? Is not shutting down such a place consistent with military logic?

: Of course it is not consistent. I went to Aktütün. It is a ghetto-like place. Indeed it is a guarding garrison. In a raid, it gets damaged remarkably; however, Aktütün seems like an honor issue for our army. Of course there is a moral meaning about those people who were martyred there, but indeed all these border garrisons are actually graveyards. We never know what's going to happen to those kids. It is not certain there. When an artillery shell explodes, we don't know how many people will die. All these border garrisons must be removed.

ND: Can the borders be protected without garrisons?

: Well, what's going to happen by protecting there anyway? Is the place that you defend your country a place 3,000 meters high in the mountains? You get down on the slopes of the mountain and prevent infiltration there. These border garrisons were established for those Iraqi villager smugglers who were bringing kaçak tea, tobacco, cigarettes, and drugs. And they put four jandarma [there] in order to tell those people to raise their hands and surrender. They have established those garrisons with this mentality. These garrisons were not established to prevent guerrilla attacks. The problem is not where the garrisons are located; the problem is the existence of these garrisons. There is no profit or gain from these garrisons. Until this time they could not even prevent any single entrance.

Part 3 tomorrow.

Monday, October 27, 2008


"PKK is not something that can be finished with one person's decision, or Öcalan's decision, or the Chief of General Staff's decision."
~ Avni Özgürel.

Today, Land Forces Commander Işık Koşaner firmly denied any mistakes by TSK during HPG's Aktütün (Bezele) operation. If TSK's perfect operational performance resulted in the deaths of 62 Turkish soldiers, then you have to ask yourself how good it would be for HPG if TSK really screwed things up.

Not everyone agrees with the paşas' self-serving analysis, however. Last week Taraf interviewed Avni Özgürel, a Turkish researcher who has written books on Turkish political history, "terrorism", and the Kurdish question, after some analysis he had made about the Aktütün (Bezele) operation. Here's some of the information from that interview:

Başbuğ knows what happened at Aktütün

According to Avni Özgürel it is impossible for Başbuğ not to know the real dimensions of Aktütün and those responsible. The anger that he reflected actually is against his own ranks.

Aktütün must render an account--Avni Özgürel, who was interviewed by Neşe Düzel, talked very clearly while evaluating the Aktütün incident: Either we received all the intelligence but failed the required protection or the intelligence might have been received but we didn't give it any credence. In either situation the responsible ones must be taken before the court, otherwise the situation is hopeless.

They fear that PKK will end--"There is also a dimension of 'what if terror ends'" said Özgürel; and he thinks the policy of terrorism enables one to control politics. Terror creates an enormous amount of profit. PKK is not a job that can be finished by only one person's decision, the profit is big. In this country, they transported narcotics even with official escorts.

Öcalan must intervene for a solution--PKK is, by and large, under Öcalan's control. There must be a formula for a solution of which Öcalan can convince his supporters. The İmralı era must end. The execution law is available for this, including the constitution--the text that disturbs the Kurds--must be rewritten. The phrase, "Turks and Kurds are like fingernail and flesh," must be reflected in the law.

Can the Kurdish question be solved? Yes--The intelligence units talked to Öcalan anyway. They have searched for an answer to the question, "Can the Kurdish Question be solved?" and the answer was revealed as "Yes, it can be solved". Both soldiers and intelligence know this situation. In Turkey this question certainly must be solved. Kurdish nationalism is at very dangerous levels. Otherwise, the state may be divided.

From the interview itself:

ND: In spite of the intelligence report and the information and warnings received, why were the required precautions not taken?

: There is a problem in the mechanism of the armed forces. It is always a minus score in a commander's promotion to have casualties in a clash. For that reason, in the armed forces, everyone conveys responsibility to one's higher rank and when the highest one goes to play golf, the mechanism just stops. Whereas, according to the troop's statements, reinforcements arrived after eight hours.

ND: Can't the incidents that occured in Aktütün be explained with this?

: This is a factor. It is known that PKK was preparing for this attack for one month. They had planted mines along the routes leading to Aktütün village. This means the garrison had been seized from four sides and, moreover, this fact is not being denied. Because right after the incident it was said, "the intelligence we received from the US is perfect. We have no lack of intelligence." However, there is this situation: the intelligence is not being collected for memories. The intelligence is gathered for evaluation.

ND: Actually, I'm asking exactly this: Why then, despite the whole intelligence, the required precautions were not taken?

: In this job there is also the dimension of "what if terror ends?" Let me give you an example from Fatih. Fatih goes to Albania and gets defeated. And when he investigates what happened, he finds out that the commanders thought that if they win this war, the sultan would no longer need them. For that reason, they just retreated from the front. Today in Turkey, PKK is a cause of several things for security units.

ND: It's a cause of what, for example?

: Terror is something that enables you to control politics. This was so in the US, too. It was because the US could not generate a political decision, that they could not end the Vietnam War for a long time. Everyone knew to get out of Vietnam but the war was such an enormous economic benefit that if Vietnam ended, their enormous benefits would end.

ND: Is terror still a source of a huge amount of profit in Turkey?

: Yes, very. [Because] it is so big that enables this problem not to be finished. Years ago in Damascus, when I had an interview with Öcalan. Öcalan told me, "If I finish this, they are going to finish me." PKK is not something that can be finished with one person's decision, or Öcalan's decision, or the Chief of General Staff's decision. This job has the arms sellers, politicians, military and security units and their associations, and it is similar for PKK. PKK also has televisions and representatives abroad. There, there is money that they cut from each Kurd from their salaries for this. There is something for everyone that cannot be finished because it is that profitable. Do you know how much each rocket costs that is used in aerial strikes? And there is also a dimension of drug-trafficking. In the past in Turkey there were people at the level of professors in universities saying, "In the US they're financing anti-terrorism through drug-trafficking; we also must do that," and they wrote such reports.

Part 2 tomorrow.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


"It was a year after Turkey's generals in 1993 formally banned the use of the Kurdish language altogether and launched one of the most ruthless repression campaigns in the Kurdish regions that the PKK seriously took up arms and systematically challenged these forces. It was the same year, that in the province of Van, I spotted a Turkish Major with my own eyes beating a 10-year-old boy in the street for speaking Kurdish. It was evident then, as it is now, that the PKK was destined to strengthen and expand, out of natural reaction if nothing else."
~ Ismet Imset.

Somebody tell me why they bother to have the Internet in Turkey at all. On Friday, Hürriyet reported that "The world's biggest blog site was closed down". "Youtube wasn't enough, now access to Blogger has also come under a ban."

The order to ban came from Diyarbakır's First "Criminal Court of Peace"--how's that for Newspeak--on 20 October. Hürriyet asks if shutting down websites is really a solution? Well, I guess those that are scared shitless think so.

Rastî's site statistics confirm the ban. The last visitors from Turkey were on early Friday morning, whereas in the last few weeks this site had been receiving around 30% of its visitors from all over Turkey.

Ahmet Türk's remarks earlier in the week, about Kurds suffering a political, social, and cultural genocide in the wake of the 12 September coup has caused an investigation to be started by a prosecutor in Diyarbakır.

By all means the regime should investigate Ahmet Türk's words. Absolutely! Yes, Mr. Prosecutor, you go and delve deeply into the results of the 12 September coup. Delve deeply into the events at Dıyarbakır Military Prison, the true birthplace of the PKK. Delve deeply into the gross human rights abuses committed by the American trained and sponsored contra-guerrillas. Let all the crimes against humanity by the current regime be fully exposed.

Then we'll compare notes and see if the regime's prosecutor comes to the same determination as Ismet Imset did in the 1990s:

Yet, another development in 1980, added to the overall history of repression of the Kurds, provided the true jus ad bellum the PKK required in order to use the overall Kurdish right to go to war. This was non other than the military coup in Turkey, supported by Washington, which gave not only the Kurds but also the Turks the unquestionable right to legitimately pursue any method of struggle against an illegitimate, foreign supported, military junta; its leaders and its forces.

Immediately prior to the take-over, several senior PKK leaders had predicted what was going to happen and in fear of persecution had escaped from the country like many other intellectuals.

By the morning of September 12, 1980, when tanks moved into capital Ankara and a nation-wide curfew was imposed by the junta, Turkey's martial law-based system had already banned most legal left-wing, radical Marxist activities as well as propaganda and had jailed thousands of Turks under the US-indoctrinated concept of "preventing the spread of Communism." Hundreds of Turks and Kurds were facing systematic torture sessions throughout the country as even school children at the age of 12 were being detained and promptly beaten to extract confessions -- incidents which have all been placed on the record.

With the military takeover though, the conditions for a "just cause" to launch a war for freedom and democracy if nothing else, were stronger than ever and the very fact that a group of generals, using their force and weaponry had ousted an elected civilian regime and abolished the country's constitution, spoke for itself in way of legitimacy for any form of resistance. The generals had taken over the country, closing down parliament, banning all political parties and placing their leaders, including the prime minister, under "protective custody."

A summary of that period was recently published in a Turkish news magazine and is highly important in the context of the PKK's own struggle and its reasons. It is, in reality, a full explanation of the immediate circumstances in which the organization launched its armed struggle and thus claimed that it was a legitimate one or a just war: Throughout the coup era in which the PKK launched its first organized operation in Turkish territory, a total of 650 thousand people were detained and most suspects were either beaten or tortured; over 500 people died while under detention as result of torture; 85,000 people were placed on trial mainly in relation to thought crimes or guilt by association; 1,683,000 people were officially listed in police files as suspects; 348 thousand Turks and Kurds were banned from traveling abroad; 15,509 people were fired from their jobs for political reasons; 114 thousand books were seized and burned; 937 films were banned; 2,729 writers, translators, journalists and actors were put on trials for expressing their opinions. One can hardly argue, as we enter the 21st century, that such a regime had any legitimacy other than to conform with the financial and political expectations of its foreign supporters.

Amir Hassanpour points to the assimilationist policies of the post-1980 coup regime, which have as their goal the destruction of the Kurdish identity:

The 1980 Coup d''etat Regime

The Turkish regime has made no secret of its intention to eliminate Kurdish ethnic distinction
(cf., e.g. van Bruinessen 1984; Nezan 1984; Helsinki Watch 1988). The suppression of manifestation of Kurdish, as well as Armenian or Greek, existence has been extended to such places as the Lufthansa airline office in Istanbul and the American Library in Ankara. An old globe, for example, carrying references to Kurdistan and Pontus had been used as part of a publicity photograph in the Istanbul Rotary Club magazine. This led to a demand of a three-year prison sentence for the company's Istanbul deputy manager (London Guardian, march 23, 1984). The Turkish embassies in Europe have regularly used diplomatic and other pressures to prevent the participation of Kurdish groups in cultural programs sponsored by European states. Similar pressure on the broadcast media has been documented.

Increased militarization and political control of the Kurdish provinces has been accompanied by new assimilation programs: "A general campaign to improve literacy in Turkish, and intensive Turkish-language courses were introduced in primary schools. Provicial commanders had their own programs to stamp out the use of Kurdish, at least in the towns. Traditional Kurdish clothes, which had reappeared in the 1970s, have been banned again" (van Bruinessen 1984: 12).

The armed resistence led by a leftist Kurdish political party, Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (Kurdistan Workers Party), in the early 1980s has led to massive deployment of the army in the Kurdish provinces. To prevent the spread of the movement among the rural population, a project of setting up strategic hamlets is being carried out in the rural areas. (14) Another project is the resettlement of thousands of Turkish-speaking Kirghiz refugees from Afghanistan in Kurdistan. The government suggested that the area was chosen because of its similarity to the mountainous homeland of the refugees. Since there is no shortage of mountainous terrain in the Turkish-speaking regions, the real reason has more to do with Turkification of Kurdistan than considerations of landscape (de Manuelian 1986).

Interpreting the crime of genocide as it's written in international law includes the following ideas:

The crime of genocide has two elements: intent and action. “Intentional” means purposeful. Intent can be proven directly from statements or orders. But more often, it must be inferred from a systematic pattern of coordinated acts.

Intent is different from motive. Whatever may be the motive for the crime (land expropriation, national security, territorrial integrity, etc.), if the perpetrators commit acts intended to destroy a group, even part of a group, it is genocide.

The phrase "in whole or in part" is important. Perpetrators need not intend to destroy the entire group. Destruction of only part of a group (such as its educated members, or members living in one region) is also genocide. Most authorities require intent to destroy a substantial number of group members – mass murder. But an individual criminal may be guilty of genocide even if he kills only one person, so long as he knew he was participating in a larger plan to destroy the group.

Ahmet Türk is absolutely correct. There has been a genocide campaign against the Kurdish people, especially since the 12 September coup. Nothing has changed.

After Katil Erdoğan's disastrous visit to Turkey's internal colony Kurdistan last week, he had some comments:

The use of children in recent activities involving the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) demonstrates the [ ] group's ignorance and ferocity, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said.

I may be the only one who remembers what Katil Erdoğan said during the Amed Serhildan:

"Security forces will intervene with every possible means indiscriminately, including against women and children."

And so the ignorant and ferocious killed ten during the serhildan, including five children, and imprisoned over 100 children.

Sayın Başbakan, no one is as ignorant or ferocious as you.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


"We have never accepted the accusation that we are terrorists. As an organization, we have never resorted to military warfare for arbitrary reasons or personal pleasures. Yes, we are fighting with weapons, but this is due to the state terror inflicted upon our people. Our identity, political culture, and linguistic heritage have been brutally suppressed by state terrorism."
~ Abdullah Öcalan.

Photos from Amed (Diyarbakır), from various news services at YahooNews and Hürriyet:

And by the way Sayın Başbakan, the only trash on the streets of Amed is TSK and the police forces.

From Doğubeyazıt, again at Hürriyet:

For more photos of the serhildan in Amed, check Hevallo's place. Don't forget to read his memorial for Lice and browse the photos of that genocidal attack. It's truly excellent.

For photos of the serhildan in Batman and Şırnak, check here.

It looks like a lot of cars have gone up in flames all around Istanbul yesterday--38 cars in total:

And there have been arson attacks against the Turkish embassies in Finland and Austria.

All in all, it's just a little taste of what will happen if something happens to Öcalan. You have been warned.

Oh, yeah, what Ahmet Türk said:

The military coup in 1980 conducted "political, social and cultural genocide" on Kurds and paved the way for the establishment of the [ ] organization, PKK, the leader of the pro-Kurdish party said on Tuesday.

Turk's remarks came after tensions rose in the region over the DTP's claims that Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned leader of the [ ] organization PKK, had been mistreated in Imrali prison where he is serving a life sentence. The claims sparked huge protests in the mainly-Kurdish southeastern regions, leaving one person dead.


Saturday, October 18, 2008


"I wish all eight of my sons had gone to fight in the mountains."
~ Xaje Artuget, somewhere in North Kurdistan.

There was a funny article Friday on TDN:

The Canadian Jeanette Tulluy, who was arrested Aug. 31 on charges of prostitution, has described her stay in prison while awaiting deportation as "horrifying."

[ . . . ]

She said she and the other detainees were packed into one room, which included a disturbing number of children. She said the room lacked chairs or desks, so people were forced to either sit on the floor or on the beds. Tulluy said although many people were forced to share beds, she had her own.

Tulluy said she could not sleep because the lights were kept on until early hours of the morning and because of the constant arguments and noise in the holding facility.

"Everyone is so stressed, there is no hope," she said. "We were fed very little. Sometimes they would give us a tiny piece of bread and say "Here's your meal' but that's not a meal. It's as if they're leaving people to starve to death. You're allowed to buy food but you get very little for how much you pay. Everything is dirty here. They treat you like dogs. The police even tell you that you'll be treated like a dog or an animal."

Tulluy said she was not afraid of the women she was detained with, but rather she feared the police.

"When I was first arrested, a female police officer slapped me. And it wasn't just that," she said. "Other stuff happened as well. After I was brought here, they called me up at 4 a.m. What's there to do at four in the morning? They just stared at my face then sent me back to my room. But why? It's scary. You have no idea what they're going to do to you. One night a woman became ill. They sent a male doctor who started yelling at her. This really scared the woman and so she said "Don't help me.' All the women in here are sick, like me. We're all coughing. And that's not the end of it but this is all I can tell you. What happened to me is a crime but the stuff that's going on in this facility, that's an even bigger crime."

Cry me a river.

This is nothing, particularly when we consider the fact that this spoiled woman has an embassy to help her. What about political prisoners in Turkey who have no embassy to help them? Like Engin Çeber:

Twenty-nine year old Engin Ceber died in the hospital where he was moved to after being tortured in the prison he was serving his sentence. The doctors were expecting him to die anytime.

Ceber’s lawyer Oya Aslan said they were going to have an autopsy to determine the details of the torture.

And, the results:

X-rays of torture victim Engin Çeber show he was beaten on the head and back, causing fatal internal bleeding, said the head of the Turkish Doctors' Union, or TTB, on Thursday.

The 29-year-old Çeber, a leftist activist who was arrested at a protest rally held for another activist who was paralyzed by a police bullet, died in hospital from injuries sustained by alleged torture in a police station in Istanbul's İstinye district and the Metris Prison. Çeber was detained with three other demonstrators.

[ . . . ]

TTB President Gençay Gürsoy, in a press conference, showed reporters Çeber's X-rays and said the activist's death was not caused because of a few bad apples but showed a systemic problem.

"Torture is not a personal matter. Torturers are not psychopaths. They are just like you and me, who play at home with their children. Pathological torturers are very rare," he said.

He said the cause of death was injuries sustained from a blunt object. Gürsoy commended the justice minister for apologizing because it was a first in such matters but argued it was not enough.

He also said some doctors were involved in the death of Çeber, noting that a doctor ignoring or tolerating the torture of a human being should be penalized in the harshest possible way.

So, this really isn't news; it's been going on forever in Turkey and the AKP is just continuing a long tradition.

Or maybe the Canadian prostitute would like things better on Imralı, like Abdullah Öcalan:

For the first time since his abduction to Turkey in 1999 Abdullah Ocalan, founder of PKK held in strict solitary confinement, has been physically tortured and openly threatened with death. As his lawyers told the press yesterday in Istanbul, Ocalan has been dragged by prison personnel to an adjoining room, forced to the ground by three persons while his cell was ravaged. When he protested against these brutal measures, he was explicitly threatened with death.

Ocalan has been held under isolation conditions that is defined as torture. He is the only prisoner on Imrali Island, guarded by 1000 soldiers. Council of Europe's Anti-torture committee (CPT) has denounced his imprisonment conditions harshly in its four previous reports and up to the present day.

Oh, we don't even want to think about what will happen if something happens to Apo. I mean, if the Ankara regime thinks things are bad now . . .

After almost six years of AKP governance, Turkey is heading straight back to the 1990s and that fact most likely figures into the reasons why support for AKP has fallen to 35%. Kurds have also been withdrawing support for Fethullah Gülen's party:

. . . Steps to ease bans on Kurdish broadcasting and education followed, and vast sums were poured into Kurdish regions. The handouts included education subsidies for the poor, especially for girls. These helped the AKP to clobber the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) in much of the south-east in the July 2007 election. Yet to many the measures smell of vote-buying. “I haven’t received a penny for my girls’ schooling since April,” complains Sabiha Celik in Sason. “I will never vote for the AKP again.”

Indeed, Kurdish support for the AKP has been fading ever since the government yielded to army pressure to resume cross-border operations against the PKK in northern Iraq.

Maybe AKP's Injustice Minister will apologize to the Canadian prostitute. It's the only democratic thing to do, right?

Friday, October 17, 2008


"When you're born you get a ticket to the freak show. When you're born in America, you get a front row seat."
~ George Carlin.

What the hell is this? Does it look like McCain's trying to grab something that he shouldn't be trying to grab? And what is going on with the tongue?

What is wrong with that guy? Seriously.

Now, I didn't see this photo anywhere in American media. If it had made it into American media, there would have definitely been noise about it; however, this photo was in a couple of places that I saw in Turkish media yesterday, with this particular one coming from Hürriyet.

Then, during her speech at the Republican National Convention at the beginning of September, McCain's VP running mate, Sarah Palin, made the following remark in her acceptance speech in reference to Obama:

I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities.

With that in mind, this was too good to pass up:

Oh, the irony.

Thursday, October 16, 2008


"Now the Turkish regime seems to be deaf to any proposals made by us for civilized and democratic solutions to the conflict between us.Indeed,the Turkish government is more resolved than ever to solve the Kurdish question by bloodshed."
~ Abdullah Öcalan.

PKK brings down a helicopter in the Hakkari region, from Fırat News:

A helicopter in the operation was downed.

Five Turkish troops, among whom was a brigade commander, were killed and 19 wounded due to a military helicopter downing in an operation in Hakkari's Kavaklı region.

According to the information received, a clash occured between TSK and HPG, after TSK began an operation in Hakkari's Kavaklı region.

One of the helicopters, which came from Hakkari Dağ and the Commando Brigade Command to intervene in the clash, was downed by the guerrillas. In the incident, five soldiers, among whom was a brigade commander, were killed and 19 wounded.

The Turkish general staff confirmed the incident and claimed that the helicopter was "cut down" due to "technical problems". The general staff had used the term "cut down" [kırıma uğradı] in the aerial attack against South Kurdistan's Zap region, where the TSK was defeated [in February 2008].

[Note: To avoid admitting that helicopters are brought down by HPG, the Turkish General Staff created the term "kırıma uğradı", loosely meaning "cut down". The term was first used in TSK statements during the February 2008 land invasion of South Kurdistan. In fact, there is no such word in Turkish; the General Staff just made it up.]

Meanwhile, several soldiers were mobilized to the area of the clash until late in the night.

In addition to using the phrase "kırıma uğradı", TSK now also uses the phrase "etkisiz hale getirmek", meaning to neutralize or de-activate, when making statements about alleged HPG casualties. The implication of the use of this phrase on the Turkish public is that HPG guerrillas have been killed by TSK. However, if guerrillas are killed, TSK will say "killled". Again, this is like the statements TSK made in February, in which they led the Turkish public to believe that "hundreds" of guerrillas had been killed, when using the phrase meaning "neutralized".

In other words, both "kırıma uğradı" and "etkisiz hale getirmek" are Turkish Newspeak, with no practical meaning vis-a-vis the Kurdish freedom movement.

In other news, a friend sent something in email, showing Devlet Bahçeli, the MHP leader, blowing gaskets in the TBMM because the Ankara regime is attempting to "dialog" with Mesûd Barzanî over the PKK, committing what in Bahçeli's poorly-functioning mind is a major foreign policy faux pas:

"The government fell into a new trap of Barzani, who wants the Turkish government to endorse his presence in northern Iraq," said Devlet Bahçeli, leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), at a parliamentary group meeting of his party yesterday. "The plot is obvious now: The mastermind of terrorism is Barzani; its executive center is in the Kandil Mountains and the Justice and Development Party [AK Party] is courting it," the MHP leader said, accusing the ruling party of "being on the same page as the PKK and Barzani."

Okay. So Bahçeli is obviously barking mad and is using his insanity to make some political hay. The problem with "dialog" with the South Kurdistani leaders is that there are Kurdish parliamentarians in the TBMM, and they are the ones that the regime should be talking to in order to come to a solution to the Kurdish situation in Turkey. This is something I've said for some time. Now, it looks like I'm not the only one saying it. Fatih Çekirge at Hürriyet is coming around to the same conclusion under his "Third Writing" (Üçüncü Yazı):

We shut down DTP, and talk to Iraqi-KDP

Look at the scenery. We are expecting "goodwill" from Talabanî and Barzanî. We have talks. We give them ultimatums. Now there is preparation for diplomatic action.

There will be talks with Talabanî and Barzanî. A common strategy would be enhanced for a mutual struggle against the PKK.

What an odd thing . . .Imagine a country that:

Does not contact or speak to the elected parliamentarians [DTP] in its own parliament . . . Goodwill is bankrupt. They are not being spoken to, rather they are talking to Barzanî (Kak Mesut, not Mam Mesut), who is considered as one of "our three leaders".

Every time Barzanî points to "them" [DTP].

Barzanî says, "You do something at home, I will help out". Barzanî refers to the "unspoken-to parliamentarians" by saying "at home".

I mean DTP. The answer is:

"It can't be! At home we are shutting down DTP. Externally, we talk to Barzanî's Iraqi KDP.

What kind of contradiction is this? What kind of paradox is this?

Çekirge has additional commentary on "dialog" with the Southern Kurdish leadership at the top of the page:

They were also contacted.

Reality is sometimes revealed piece-by-piece, and each detail, like a Lego, completes and creates the "big picture".

I define such a "big picture" as "public reality."

This week, I am also adding some pieces to this "public reality".

Now, let me juxtapose, as headlines:

First, the question that Ertuğrul Özkök (of Hürriyet) asked:

Was there any offer taken to "terrorist" leader asking, "Let's solve this problem with you"? Does such bargaining exist?

Firstly, I know the following sentence from the source:

"As MİT, our duty is even to talk to snakes, if needed. We can contact anyone. Even with the enemy."

Now let's look at the events through this lens:

Barzanî told MİT chief Emre Taner, "You take a step. We will disarm them."

In December 2007, the MİT chief gave the following message at an Ankara summit meeting:

"Now there isn't any operation, if we don't do anything the operation will restart." (Indeed, today it already started).

The point we are at now:

MİT chief Emre Taner had contacted Talabanî and Barzanî.

Regarding PKK, the organization had a three-dimensional facet, Imralı [Öcalan]-Murat Karayılan (mountains)-Zübeyir Aydar (Europe). These contacts also occured.

Progress was conveyed to all the state's authoritative names. Of course, this was a study. A plan. We know that it was also conveyed to Abdullah Gül [this means all the government knew about such a contact, although now they deny it.]

The goal was to make the "terrorists" lay down their arms, diffusing the administrative group in the mountains. For this reason, there were contacts with both the "terrorist" leader and the ones in the mountains.

As a result, according to this plan, the weapons could be layed down in a "no-loser" solution. At least, the expectation was so.

However, the government did not take the initiative, did not give any negative or positive response. And especially the military (so then, the chief of the General Staff, Yaşar Büyükanıt, and the Land Forces Commander, General İlker Başbuğ) refused the plan, were not convinced. They kept a distance from this plan. Therefore, the plan to descend from the mountains was left in the middle.

What did PKK want?

In a meeting, Barzanî gave the following message:

"You, too, take some step . . . for instance, reduce the threshold for the elections to five percent, mention about cultural diversity in your constitution."

This also backfired. Thus, the job was left to weapons again.

On this point, I have to say this:

The study that was done definitely was not "bargain with Öcalan", I mean with "the terrorist". It was a strategic preparation to stop the bloodshed. For this reason, the "we can contact even with a snake" phrase is important, since it was done, and maybe it is still being done.

Therefore, the question that Ertuğrul Özkök asked must not be received and transformed into a case of "following the hounds".

Ironic, isn't it, that MİT seems willing to negotiate a solution--and that goes farther back at least to Şengal Atasagun's time--while the Fethullahcı and their boys, the paşas, leave all attempts at negotiation untouched on the table? I'd like to hear what Taner has to say about PKK's offer of a democratic resolution.

By the way, check out an article at the Christian Science Monitor about the recent woes of the TSK. It's the most complete summary in Western media that I've seen on the war news.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


"It seems the Aktütün controversy was the straw that broke the camel's back. Başbuğ upped the ante so high that I can't imagine how things will get back to normal again."
~ Ruşen Çakır, Vatan.

İlker Başbuğ flipped his lid today over HPG's recent Bezele operation:

"Those, who despite everything show this attack of the terror organization as a success story, share responsibility for the bloodshed. I want everybody to understand this very well," Gen. Ilker Basbug told at a televised press conference held in the western province of Balikesir.

Hmm . . . I don't know . . . it seems to me that if HPG managed to "de-activate" 62 Turkish soldiers at the Bezele (Aktütün) garrison, it certainly sounds like it was a success story and it seems to me that Başbuğ and his paşas share the greatest responsibility for the bloodshed among themselves alone. But wait, there's more:

"The Turkish Armed Forces have full self-confidence and it is stronger, more determined and resolute today than ever. The systematic attacks that had increased in recent days would do nothing but increase strength, determination and will of the Turkish Armed Forces," he said.

[ . . . ]

"The response any army would give to such attacks is obvious, and therefore I call on everyone to act with caution and stand in the correct spot," Basbug said, adding an investigation was launched on the attack.

I wonder if they're going to be making that investigation from the back nine on some Turkish air base? More from Zaman:

“This is my last word: I invite everyone to be careful and to stand in the right position,” Başbuğ told a hastily arranged press conference in the northwestern province of Balıkesir, where he was attending a routine military ceremony. Journalists were flown to Balıkesir from Ankara on two planes, and the brief conference was broadcast live on television. “Those who present the actions of the separatist terrorist organization as successful acts are responsible for the blood that has been shed and will be shed.”

Blah, blah, blah . . .

Başbuğ's issuing threats with a red face because, on Tuesday, Taraf published information about "serious security flaws" on the part of TSK during the Bezele operation. Again, from Zaman:

Aerial infrared images of the Aktütün area in Hakkari, the province bordering northern Iraq where the military outpost was attacked, published in the Taraf daily yesterday clearly show figures approaching the area through the northern Iraqi border. Images from Oct. 3, taken from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), show a group of individuals laying mines at around 9:35 a.m. local time, about three-and-a-half hours before the attack. The group gets larger in the following images as more and more of these individuals -- who eventually attack the outpost -- take their positions on hilltops in preparation for the attack. The UAV camera then switches to the Aktütün military outpost, where the attack occurred. The terrorist raid, which killed 17 young soldiers, was literally broadcast live on General Staff monitors. Taraf said this is concrete evidence that the security forces had been informed about every move made by the PKK terrorists.

Taraf also claimed that the General Staff actually had intelligence about the plans for the attack one month before it occurred. On the day of the attack, live UAV images were transmitted for hours to the Electronic Systems Command of the General Staff, as well as to a monitor in the office of the deputy chief of general staff in the capital.

The General Staff Electronic Systems Command is the same branch of the TSK that was commanded by Münir Ertan, who was silenced by Yaşar Büyükanıt for Ertan's confirmation that the December 2007 bombings of South Kurdistan only resulted in five HPG deaths, as compared to the alleged hundreds of deaths which the Turkish General Staff claimed for public consumption.

Ertan was retired in August.

Zaman continues:

Taraf published internal security status reports sent to the General Staff -- including one from Sept. 29 -- that featured detailed intelligence about terrorist activity in the region. Even the names, birth places and ages of the terrorists crossing the border, as well as the number of people in various groups formed by the militants, are included in the status reports. A report wired on Oct. 2, just one day before the Aktütün attack, warns that “the PKK is engaged in extensive preparations to attack security forces outposts along the border ahead of a possible cross-border operation.” Even the name of the PKK commander -- Habat, one of the group’s female leaders -- who staged the attack was reported in the Oct. 2 document.

Below is part of the infrared imaging from the UAV as presented on Samanyolu TV. Pay attention to the black-and-white images that are shown:

According to Taraf, these were the UAV images that were beamed to the General Staff Electronic Systems Command. Uninterrupted infrared images can be viewed here.

The biggest lesson to be taken from the Bezele operation and the information published by Taraf is that HPG needs to clamp down on operational security severely and immediately so that future operations are not leaked to TSK ahead of time. No mercy should be shown to those who are willing to unnecessarily jeopardize the lives of our guerrillas.

The second lesson is that the paşas still don't give a shit about the cannon fodder under their command.

Monday, October 13, 2008


"Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capitalism is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed."
~ V. I. Lenin.

Noam Chomsky on economic intervention and US capitalism:

The initial Bush proposals to deal with the crisis so reeked of totalitarianism that they were quickly modified. Under intense lobbyist pressure, they were reshaped as "a clear win for the largest institutions in the system . . . a way of dumping assets without having to fail or close", as described by James Rickards, who negotiated the federal bailout for the hedge fund Long Term Capital Management in 1998, reminding us that we are treading familiar turf. The immediate origins of the current meltdown lie in the collapse of the housing bubble supervised by Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, which sustained the struggling economy through the Bush years by debt-based consumer spending along with borrowing from abroad. But the roots are deeper. In part they lie in the triumph of financial liberalisation in the past 30 years - that is, freeing the markets as much as possible from government regulation.

These steps predictably increased the frequency and depth of severe reversals, which now threaten to bring about the worst crisis since the Great Depression.

Also predictably, the narrow sectors that reaped enormous profits from liberalisation are calling for massive state intervention to rescue collapsing financial institutions.

Such interventionism is a regular feature of state capitalism, though the scale today is unusual. A study by international economists Winfried Ruigrok and Rob van Tulder 15 years ago found that at least 20 companies in the Fortune 100 would not have survived if they had not been saved by their respective governments, and that many of the rest gained substantially by demanding that governments "socialise their losses," as in today's taxpayer-financed bailout. Such government intervention "has been the rule rather than the exception over the past two centuries", they conclude.

[ . . . ]

. . . . [I]n the neoliberal phase after the breakdown of the Bretton Woods system in the 1970s, the US treasury now regards free capital mobility as a "fundamental right", unlike such alleged "rights" as those guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: health, education, decent employment, security and other rights that the Reagan and Bush administrations have dismissed as "letters to Santa Claus", "preposterous", mere "myths".

In earlier years, the public had not been much of a problem. The reasons are reviewed by Barry Eichengreen in his standard scholarly history of the international monetary system. He explains that in the 19th century, governments had not yet been "politicised by universal male suffrage and the rise of trade unionism and parliamentary labour parties". Therefore, the severe costs imposed by the virtual parliament could be transferred to the general population.

But with the radicalisation of the general public during the Great Depression and the anti-fascist war, that luxury was no longer available to private power and wealth. Hence in the Bretton Woods system, "limits on capital mobility substituted for limits on democracy as a source of insulation from market pressures".

The obvious corollary is that after the dismantling of the postwar system, democracy is restricted. It has therefore become necessary to control and marginalise the public in some fashion, processes particularly evident in the more business-run societies like the United States. The management of electoral extravaganzas by the public relations industry is one illustration.

"Politics is the shadow cast on society by big business," concluded America's leading 20th century social philosopher John Dewey, and will remain so as long as power resides in "business for private profit through private control of banking, land, industry, reinforced by command of the press, press agents and other means of publicity and propaganda".

Read the whole thing at the Irish Times.

What may be even more interesting is that Lenin predicted the current capitalist situation in 1916:

And so, without forgetting the conditional and relative value of all definitions in general, which can never embrace all the concatenations of a phenomenon in its full development, we must give a definition of imperialism that will include the following five of its basic features:

(1) the concentration of production and capital has developed to such a high stage that it has created monopolies which play a decisive role in economic life;

(2) the merging of bank capital with industrial capital, and the creation, on the basis of this “finance capital”, of a financial oligarchy;

(3) the export of capital as distinguished from the export of commodities acquires exceptional importance;

(4) the formation of international monopolist capitalist associations which share the world among themselves, and

(5) the territorial division of the whole world among the biggest capitalist powers is completed.

Imperialism is capitalism at that stage of development at which the dominance of monopolies and finance capital is established; in which the export of capital has acquired pronounced importance; in which the division of the world among the international trusts has begun, in which the division of all territories of the globe among the biggest capitalist powers has been completed.

Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, VII. Imperialism as a Special Stage of Capitalism.

Friday, October 10, 2008


"Boys, I may not know much, but I know chicken shit from chicken salad."
~ Lyndon B. Johnson.

What I said on Sunday:

In other news, the Turkish General Staff has decided to relocate five garrisons and the Bezele garrison will move to a nearby hill, Berçar Tepe, although the general staff claims that plans to move the Bezele garrison were in the works last year.

I find this very difficult to believe and, most likely, it's a cover story for the paşas. They don't want to have to disclose who it was that, in their utter stupidity, chose the location for the Bezele garrison. Given that it's located on low ground and completely surrounded by much higher terrain, attacking the garrison is like shooting fish in a barrel. HPG has been very smart to exploit the weakness inherent in the location of the Bezele garrison.

What Yusuf Kanlı said today, in TDN:

The awful statement of a top general "after the heinous ambush on the Aktütün military outpost at Şemdinli district of border province Hakkari, killing 17 of our soldiers" that the military outpost was constructed at a strategically wrong lower ground; the decision was made to move it some 300 meters away on top of a nearby hill but due to financial constraints could not be achieved but would be done within 2009 together with relocation of four similarly vulnerable other outposts indeed underline that there is a serious mistake in the civilian and more so in the military decision making mechanism in setting priorities.

Whatever explanation the military and the government may provide, if an outpost was believed to be located at a vulnerable lower level; that outpost was ambushed by some 38 times by the separatist gang over the past several years and 44 of our sons died in those ambushes, and if the outpost was decided to be relocated at a more appropriate location, is it possible to understand why it was not removed or how few million new liras could not be found to relocate that and other similarly vulnerable outposts to more appropriate places?

Numbers here are interesting only for their creativity; the fact is that 62 Turkish soldiers were killed at Bezele last weekend alone, not 44 over a period spanning an alleged 38 times.

But that's not the news that's causing the feeding frenzy in Turkish media today. The real news today, the news that has everyone on the attack against the paşas, is golf:

For decades Turkey's armed forces have been virtually beyond criticism in a country where the military sees itself as a defender of the modern secular state.

But its status is being questioned after a senior commander was pictured playing golf hours after 17 soldiers were killed in clashes with Kurdish militants.

General Aydogan Babaoglu, head of the air force, took part in a golf tournament in the Mediterranean resort of Antalya last weekend after reports emerged of a deadly attack on a military outpost in Aktutun, near Turkey's border with Iraq, by the Kurdistan Workers' party (PKK).

He later claimed to have coordinated, the military's response from the golf course, which included air strikes against PKK bases in northern Iraq and ground manoeuvres inside Turkey. But he only returned to headquarters in the capital, Ankara, on Saturday evening, when the country was deep in mourning.

Now Babaoglu, 64, has been subjected to a media grilling hitherto unknown for military top brass after photos of his outing appeared on the front of two newspapers, Vakit and Taraf, both supporters of the Islamist-leaning Justice and Development party (AKP) government.

Golf Paşa has an excuse, though:

. . . Babaoglu said his golf trip been cleared in advance by a commander and accused his critics of seeking to undermine the military. "This should not be the way to criticise someone," he said. "By the time I got the news about the attack, I coordinated every move of our soldiers' counter-operations with my fellows in Ankara. Were there any shortcomings in the role of the air forces in the incident? Were there any mistakes? No."

But Babaoglu's claim appeared to be undermined by a statement from the general staff, which said he only learned of the attack on returning to Ankara.

And in connection with the "financial constraints" mentioned in TDN by Kanlı, it appears there have been no "financial constraints" when it comes to constructing costly golf courses on nine Turkish airbases. From Zaman:

While Turkey’s General Staff complained that it lacked the financial resources required to relocate military outposts in risky areas, it funded the construction of golf courses at nine air bases and one military academy, the Vakit daily reported yesterday.

[ . . . ]

Responding to criticism at a press conference last Sunday, Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Hasan Iğsız said, “The military outposts have not been renovated because of financial difficulties.”

According to Vakit, Air Forces Commander Gen. Aydoğan Babaoğlu, a golf enthusiast, had golf courses constructed on nine air bases, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The beauty of this feeding frenzy is that it's also caught the chief of the Turkish General Staff, İlker Başbuğ, blowing it out of his ass in Holland. When a Dutch counterpart mentioned that he enjoyed golf for relaxation, Başbuğ replied:

"In Turkey we don't have that luxury."

A writer at Taraf is refusing to do his compulsory military service and is calling for the entire population to join him in a mass act of civil disobedience by refusing military service, too.

And he's right to do so because I was wrong about bumbling incompetence on the part of the terrorist TSK. The truth is that the golf fiasco does not illuminate incompetence; it clearly shows that neither the TSK nor the paşas give a shit about those under their command.

Remember what happened to those Turkish POWs who were released in excellent condition to the TC after the Dağlıca operation? They sit in prison for having become prisoners of the big, bad PKK. No one---not the paşas, not Turkish media, not the Turkish population--rejoiced that those prisoners were released unharmed by PKK. Why? Because the lives of average Turkish soldiers have no value in the eyes of the regime.

On the other hand, I can't remember ever having seen, or heard about, the last time that Heval Dr. Bahoz Erdal was playing golf while those under his command were becoming şehîds.