Sunday, May 31, 2009


"If the Kurdish Question is to be solved in this country in a peaceful way, neither the PKK nor DTP can be ignored."
~ Hasan Cemal, Milliyet.

Finally, Hasan Cemal's own musings about Kandil and the Kurdish question, with many thanks to the comrade who worked on this translation:

Is It That Difficult? Wouldn't Guns Be Silent If Fingers Stay Away From Triggers?


Finally I am at the last chapter. I sat at my computer in the morning.

What shall I write?

How should it finish?

There is so much going on in my head. As usual I have taken more notes than necessary. It seems I got a bit tired, tense. Now I want to regroup and write the most reasonable, in the simplest way.

But how..?

I studied political science in Ankara in early 1960s. Turkey's politics, sociology, and history was taught to us without a mention of the word Kurd.

Because Kurds didn't exist...

There were only Turks.

The state was saying this.

As years passed, life taught me of the existence of Kurds.

Yes, Kurds did exist.

But now, the Kurdish Question didn't exist.

In fact, saying "Kurdish Question" was equivalent to committing treason. Kurdish identity was being denied by the state but nobody was saying anything about it. Such a topic was not in the political zeitgeist...

Especially the Kurds' and the Kurdish intelligentsia's sufferings were ignored during the administrations of 27 May [1960], 12 March [1971], and 12 September [1980]. [Note: These are the latest three coup d'etats by the military]. In this regard, especially on 12 September [1980], as a newspaper reporter, I didn't do my job well either.

Then it was 1984.

In August, the PKK came to the scene with the Şemdinli and Eruh raids. Nobody thought at the time that the weapons exploding then would be registered as the 29th Kurdish uprising in the state's official papers.

The politicians called it terror and went on.

They belittled them [PKK].

The roots of the problem were not seen.

Meanwhile the fire got stronger and stronger. The politicians talked about "the light at the end of the tunnel" every time but neither the violence nor the PKK came to an end.

I remember 1984 and 1985.

In those years, I was writing generic articles made up of the state's memorized sayings and formal dictations at Cumhuriyet daily. I believe I have fulfilled my duty of condemning "terror and violence". Yes, the PKK chose terror and violence as means of politics. It could kill without distinguishing civilians or soldiers, or women or children.

The known slogan belonged to Apo:

"Let's kill and be an authority!"

The PKK, as an organization that was in the mountains and that had guns, was violating laws, committing crimes. In this situation the state's fight against the PKK was "legitimate", was "right".

I wrote a lot about this.

But I started seeing something as time passed. It wasn't enough to say terror, terrorist organization, head terrorist.

What was the problem? How to handle this problem? Because the PKK was a 'result'. The real reason was "Kurdish Question".

I started traveling in the Southeast [North Kurdistan] and Northern Iraq [South Kurdistan] to understand the problem better. Especially starting in the early 1990s, while traveling in the Kurdish geography and Kurdish diaspora, I started learning about the Kurdish Question, Kurdish history, culture, problems, and pains.

Meanwhile Kurdish parties were being founded. As they were founded, they were being shut down [by the state] but they were changing their names and continuing on their way. HEP was becoming DEP, HADEP was becoming DEHAP, later DTP was coming to the scenes, Kurdish politics was not ending but continuing its development. On one hand the state's memorized words, official sentences... On the other, life itself... The sayings including terms "terror", "terrorist", "head terrorist", and "traitor" was continuing but the PKK was taking roots within the Kurdish masses.

As I traveled, I saw this fact.

Over the years, I also saw this:

Of course not every Kurd supported the PKK, not every Kurd loved the PKK but it was not easy to separate the PKK from the Kurdish Question. I started to realize that it was a remote possibility to find a solution to the Kurdish Question by ignoring the PKK.

Yes, the PKK was an organization with guns. It accepted violence and terror as political means. In this regard it was committing a crime. That's why states fight against the PKK was "legitimate", even "right".

But the problem was not going away by repeating this, it didn't for the past quarter century. On one hand there were martyrs, people getting hurt but the state had big wrongdoings that made the problem worse... These wrongdoings were hurting Kurdish mother's hearts.

That was the real issue.

It was yesterday, it still is today.

In a very brief summary:

If the Kurdish Question is to be solved in this country in a peaceful way, neither the PKK nor DTP can be ignored.

In this regard 29 March [Turkish local elections] can be considered as a lesson. Because it can be said that AKP took the military's support while participating in elections in the Southeast. For example the military didn't conduct operations, almost didn't chase the the PKK at all...

A scenario was written like this:

In the first episode DTP was going to lose votes. In the second episode, perhaps, the agenda would be to surround the PKK in Northern Iraq by Turkey, America, and Barzani's administration and finished off.

This was the scenario.

But DTP didn't lose votes; on the contrary, it increased its votes. The number of DTP's municipalities didn't decrease but increased. The PKK, too, weighed in so DTP's votes would increase. And for Tayyip Erdoğan, Kurdish votes this time turned into disappointment.

What to do now?

Can the second episode of the scenario be put in play? Is it possible? What would the limits of such a scenario to come into play? To what extent will it bear fruit?

My choice is obvious:

The weapons must be silenced!

Like during the calmest winter of past 25 years that happened before 29 March [2009 Turkish local elections], the weapons must be silenced. Like I stated in my article yesterday [9 May 2009], fingers should stay away from triggers for a long time. A serious mechanism for dialog must be set up and function behind the scenes with an awareness of provocations that can come from the "hawks" on both sides!

If you're in London, check out the time for the demonstration tomorrow at 10 Downing Street to lift the ban on the PKK, brought to you by Hevallo and the comrades at the Peace in Kurdistan Campaign.

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