Wednesday, December 03, 2008


"And the closer the elections get, the following messages will be delivered secretly: "If we can weaken DTP and militarily control PKK, we will recognize your rights without facing any clashes by convincing the general staff."
~ Mithat Sancar, Ankara University.

Below is the third and final part of the interview Taraf's Neşe Düzel conducted with Ankara University's Mithat Sancar. Part 1 can be found here and Part 2 is here.

ND: Why did AKP become so hawkish on the Kurdish question and see that military operations is the only solution? Can it be the only party with this way?

MS: Someone had convinced AKP that with such hawkish strategies it could finish DTP and weaken PKK. AKP thinks that the more it becomes hawkish, the more powerful it would become in the Southeast. And the closer the elections get, the following messages will be delivered secretly: "If we can weaken DTP and militarily control PKK, we will recognize your rights without facing any clashes by convincing the general staff." In the election, they will show the candidates who will give the messages that they have not given up the policies they had promised. In this way, AKP is planning to annihilate the Kurdish political movement. There is a thesis that if AKP loses the Southeast, the only bridge between the Turkish east and west will collapse.

ND: What kind of thesis is this?

MS: This is very dangerous because with this thesis is the understanding that ignores the importance of political representation with one's own identity. However, the demand for representation with one's own identity is very important for a democratic solution in ethnic conflict. DTP, or a party like that, their existence will reinforce Kurdish unity with Turkey because it will make Kurds feel they are represented. If DTP is annihilated, the possibility of speaking out [with] Kurdish identity and the feeling of political representation will weaken. And it will be that point that the dissolution of Kurds from the country and from the state will begin. DTP's loss will not facilitate the problem. On the contrary, it will make the solution difficult.

ND: In AKP's cadres, it's as if there's a chauvinistic discourse. The national defense minister said that if the Rom and Armenians didn't go, we could not be a nation-state the way that we are today. How do you comment on this speech?

MS: With one word. I read his speech with great fear. The mentality which approves of the Armenian Genocide and confesses it wants to base its problem-solving on homogeneity. This mentality cannot solve all of its Kurdish and non-Muslim problems. On the contrary, it will make more violence occur and make more pains felt on the Kurdish question.

ND: Does the minister advocate Armenian forced immigration?

MS: Clearly, he says forced migration was necessary, it had to be. My main concern is this: there wasn't any criticism from either the government or the prime minister about Vecdi Gönül's words.

ND: Where does he find this courage?

MS: This is the problem. AKP is facing tides since 2005. The more it gets away from its democratization goal, the more deeply nationalistic AKP is revealed [to be]. Today the nationalistic vein in AKP is greater than ever because, to date, there were three main traits that kept AKP from being a statist, right-wing party. These are the EU, the democrats in AKP and outside AKP. Today the AKP administration excludes these three elements.

ND: Is Turkey sliding into racism?

MS: In terms of political culture and daily life, Turkey is becoming a society that has a powerful racist vein. Daily racism has increased a lot in Turkey. I mean racism became normal. The disasters which are created by the normalization of racism can be understood by looking at world examples and the pains that result [from racism]. This racism destroys the base of democracies and it makes it easier in Turkey to polarize society and then drag people to the point that they can slaughter each other. In fact, in the last year, torture incidents in Turkey, deaths in prison and in detention, and shooting on the streets have increased. All these incidents are related to each other.

ND: Has Turkey become militarized?

MS: The pace of the last five months is not a civilian pace, but it is a militarized pace. The things that we live today are the signs that we are being dragged into militarism, nationalism, authoritarianism. If the prime minister maintains hawkish discourses, Turkey will have deeper polarizations and will move farther away from democracy. Nationalism, authoritarianism, racism will wrap up all parts of Turkey. Turkey will become a ghetto. However, we must not forget that in Turkey, there exists democrats whose power is not proportional to their numbers.

ND: How can they be effective.

MS: They are effective because Turkey has a powerful conscience. I trust in Turkey's conscience. And let's not forget that there are also democratic people in AKP.

By the way, there was a little something a few days ago on Southern Kurdish reaction to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) in Iraq. From IPS via Alternet:

"Kurdish leaders have very fervently talked about approving the agreement and have appeared to be like the number one attorneys for this deal," Nawshirwan Mustafa, a former deputy to Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, wrote in Sbeiy, a Kurdish news website he founded. Mustafa resigned from Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan after disagreements over the party management style. "They [Kurdish leaders] have thought they should unconditionally support whatever America does and consider it as good."

Ooooh . . . Bad idea. Very bad idea.

Now, the extent of fears are such that senior Kurdish lawmakers broke their silence in the past few days demanding amendments to the deal in a way that would curb the central government's hand in using the country's military to "settle scores" with its political opponents.

What makes it even more worrying for Kurds is that the deal commits the U.S. military to back the Iraqi army in its operations. But Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has firmly rejected any changes, saying that parliamentarians should either accept the deal in its entirety or reject it altogether.

I guess these guys have already forgotten the betrayals of the past. Shame, shame, shame.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the translation!

Mizgîn said...

You're welcome, Anonymous.