Wednesday, September 30, 2009


"A kingdom founded on injustice never lasts."
~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca.

Picture this: A seventeen-year-old guy picks up his seventeen-year-old girlfriend after school and takes her to his family's large home. The guy kills the girl, decapitates her with a saw and chops up her body, stuffs the body parts into a suitcase and guitar case, gets a driver to take him to a dumpster on the other side of town and disposes of the body.

The guy's father is picked up by the police on charges of abetting the crime and the mother flees the country.

Six months after the murder, the guy turns himself in to the police.

What do you think should happen to a guy like this? Would it make any difference if you knew that the murderer was a member of one of the richest families in the country?

If this story plays out in Turkey, which it did, the murderer will be charged in juvenile court instead of being tried as an adult--because he's only seventeen.

More on the murder at Zaman and another at Bianet. Note that the first of those articles claims the father of the murdered girl is quoted as thanking the police and government for helping to capture the murderer. However, that's not at all the same guy who was on NTV on the day of the surrender, yelling to know what kind of deal had been made between the government and the very rich kid's family.

On the other hand, if you're a ten-year-old kid growing up in another part of the country, in a family that was probably forcibly displaced from their home back in the 1990s, and you're a Kurd, you're going to get very different treatment from the state:

In Adana alone, some 155 children are facing trial, 67 have been convicted and five have begun to serve their sentences, says Ethem Acikalin, head of the local branch of Turkey’s Human Rights Association. All were charged under article 220/6 of the penal code, which criminalises “acting on behalf of a terrorist organisation”. The cases are tried in adult courts.

Or then there was Cizre:

If Turkish prosecutors have their way, Yilmaz, a soft-spoken 16-year-old with a teenager’s pimply face, could spend up to seven years in jail for having joined a demonstration early last year in the town of Cizre, in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast.

Yilmaz (the name has been changed to protect his identity) has already spent 13 months in jail awaiting trial, although he was recently let out on bail. Although he joined a demonstration that took place after the funeral of a young boy who had been run over by a police armored vehicle during an earlier protest, prosecutors say the event was organized by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and are charging the boy with supporting a terrorist organization.

"In each appearance in court, we were telling the prosecutors that we are children, that they should let us go back to our lives," says Yilmaz.

Yilmaz is one of hundreds of minors, some as young as 13, who have been arrested and jailed in Turkey over the last few years under strict new anti-terrorism laws that allow for juveniles to be tried as adults. Some have even been accused of "committing crimes in the name of a terrorist organization" for participating in demonstrations that prosecutors charge have been organized the PKK.

If you're the police and you torture a Kurdish kid in broad daylight, in front of media cameras, then have no fear! Your case will be dropped.

Then there are the activities of the ironically-named "Children's Day" in Hakkari.

Or, as happened several days ago, if you're a fourteen-year-old Kurdish girl gathering feed for her sheep, you can just be blown to bits by TSK mortar fire. At least Ceylan's mother was able to pick up the pieces of her daughter that were left so that they could be buried. The cover-up is already ongoing because no prosecutor arrived at the scene of the crime and he cites "security zone" (i.e. OHAL) as the reason for helping TSK to cover up its murder of this Kurdish child.

So much for the "Kurdish initiative". Hevals, you are needed!

Monday, September 28, 2009


"I do not have anything to say about such stupid ridiculous things as this."
~ Marc Grossman, former US Ambassador to Turkey.

Those Rastî readers familiar with everything written here on The Cohen Group back in late 2006 when the Ralston conflict of interest was going on, will remember Marc Grossman.

Grossman was the US ambassador to Turkey from 1994 to 1997 and was pulled from that position before the end of his tour because he was involved with the Susurluk scandal as mentioned in yesterday's post.

Today another round of artillery was fired in Grossman's direction, from Sibel Edmonds and a friend:

"I read the recent cover story by The American Conservative magazine. I applaud their courage in publishing this significant interview. I am fully aware of the FBI's decade-long investigation of the High-level State Department Official named in this article [Marc Grossman], which ultimately was buried and covered up. It is long past time to investigate this case and bring about accountability..."

There's more on that at The Brad Blog.

I don't know about you, but all this knowledge about Grossman, especially the Susurluk connection, really fills this description, from The Cohen Group website, with an enormous amount of irony:

Ambassador Grossman was U.S. Ambassador to Turkey 1994-1997. In Turkey, he promoted security cooperation, human rights and democracy and a vibrant U.S.-Turkish economic relationship. Ambassador Grossman had previously served as the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission from 1989 to 1992.

He promoted human rights and democracy?? In a pig's eye.

There is a funny side to this if you know where to look. In Grossman's bio it says, "Ambassador Grossman had previously served as the embassy's Deputy Chief of Mission from 1989 to 1992." Joseph C. Wilson was one of Grossman's buddies at the State Department and served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy, Baghdad, from 1988 to 1992--under US Ambassador April Glaspie. Both Grossman and Wilson served in comparable positions in two countries that border each other, during the same time frame. Their diplomatic paths had to have crossed during that time.

The funny part is that Wilson's wife is Valerie Plame, whose company, Brewster Jennings & Associates, was outed by Grossman to the Turks long before the news was ever splashed across headlines in the US. In other words, Grossman outed his pal's wife as CIA. For more on that, don't miss the interview with Phil Giraldi and Joe Lauria.

As The Brad Blog points out from The Times article--to which Joe Lauria contributed--on the sale of nuclear secrets, when contacted about the information that Sibel provided, this is what Grossman had to say:

“If you are calling me to say somebody said that I took money, that’s outrageous . . . I do not have anything to say about such stupid ridiculous things as this.”

Doesn't he sound like Dennis Hastert? Like Jan Schakowsky??

And nobody's really brought up Grossman's connection to the most powerful "cemaat holding" in Turkey, which is able to compete with Sabancı and Koç . . . namely, Ihlas Holding.

I think it's time for heads to roll.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


"The speaker does not have any connections to American Turkish interests."
~ Spokesman for Dennis Hastert, while Hastert served as Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Let me list a few updates on the interview in American Conservative magazine with Sibel Edmonds:

1. Congressional Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) responds to Sibel's statements that she, Schakowsky, was trapped in a Turkish espionage honeypot operation. Additional update here.

Now when you read what Schakowsky's spokesman says in reply, bear in mind what Dennis Hastert's spokesman said in response to the 2005 Vanity Fair article on Sibel:

"This is all nonsense. It's not being reported by the mainstream press because there's no factual evidence. The reporter does not have a transcript of any wiretapped conversations that we know of and, even if we did, it's preposterous. The speaker does not have any connections to American Turkish interests."

Hastert joined Dickstein Shapiro in 2008, where he was going to provide "strategy advice" to D & S clients, among which is BOTAŞ. For more, see Luke Ryland's post on the matter. Hastert now works on a $35,000 per month contract through D & S for the TC.

2. Sibel's letter to the Congresswoman, in pursuit of the facts.

3. Connecting the Deep State's trail in the US, from Susurluk and Chicago to Ergenekon.

4. Be prepared for additional information on the role of former US ambassador to Turkey and former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs (that would be the number 3 position in the US State Department), Marc Grossman, in connection with Sibel's story. As Sibel stated in the AmCon interview:

Grossman became a person of interest early on in the investigative file while he was the U.S. ambassador to Turkey [1994-97], when he became personally involved with operatives both from the Turkish government and from suspected criminal groups. He also had suspicious contact with a number of official and non-official Israelis. Grossman was removed from Turkey short of tour during a scandal referred to as “Susurluk” by the media. It involved a number of high-level criminals as well as senior army and intelligence officers with whom he had been in contact.

Grossman was pulled from Turkey "short of tour" because he was involved with Susurluk. The military representative in Grossman's embassy in Ankara was Douglas Dickerson, who worked as Grossman's weapons procurement guy. Kurds should know exactly what that means: early to mid-1990s, American weapons procurement for Turkey, slaughter of Kurds, Dirty War, extrajudicial murder, forced displacement, destruction of villages, torture, etc.

In 2005, Grossman abruptly and quietly left the number 3 position at State. Why?

5. The Schmidt v. Krikorian hearing with the Ohio Elections Commission is due to resume this week on 1 October and I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we will witness a spectacular fireworks display.

Friday, September 25, 2009


“In this, our age of infamy
Man's choice is but to be

A tyrant, traitor, prisoner:

No other choice has he.”

~ Aleksandr Pushkin.

There was something very interesting in Phil Giraldi's interview with Sibel Edmonds regarding South Kurdistan. Here is Sibel speaking, with my emphasis:

The monitoring of the Turks [by the FBI] picked up contacts with Feith, Wolfowitz, and Perle in the summer of 2001, four months before 9/11. They were discussing with the Turkish ambassador in Washington an arrangement whereby the U.S. would invade Iraq and divide the country. The UK would take the south, the rest would go to the U.S. They were negotiating what Turkey required in exchange for allowing an attack from Turkish soil. The Turks were very supportive, but wanted a three-part division of Iraq to include their own occupation of the Kurdish region. The three Defense Department officials said that would be more than they could agree to, but they continued daily communications to the ambassador and his defense attaché in an attempt to convince them to help.

Meanwhile Scowcroft, who was also the chairman of the American Turkish Council, Baker, Richard Armitage, and Grossman began negotiating separately for a possible Turkish protectorate. Nothing was decided, and then 9/11 took place.

Scowcroft was all for invading Iraq in 2001 and even wrote a paper for the Pentagon explaining why the Turkish northern front would be essential. I know Scowcroft came off as a hero to some for saying he was against the war, but he was very much for it until his client’s conditions were not met by the Bush administration.

What is happening here is that the neo-conservatives were discussing a Turkish occupation of South Kurdistan but it looks like they weren't able to swing the deal in the end. Brent Scowcroft, as the chairman of the American Turkish Council, was definitely working for Turkish interests during the period Sibel is talking about.

But when Turkey didn't get what it saw as it's portion of Iraq--the Kurdish region--Scowcroft opposed the war because his client opposed it.

Now, picture this: If there had been an American deployment from Turkey into the north of Iraq, the Americans would have kept moving toward the south while Turkish forces could have just walked in behind the Americans and parked themselves permanently in the autonomous Kurdish region.

Does that sound far-fetched? Read Sibel's words again. Sibel's words also tell me that the TBMM voted against a US deployment from Turkey and denied an American northern front not because it opposed the invasion or occupation or even the carving-up of Iraq, but the TBMM opposed an American deployment from Turkish soil because it was not going to be allowed to occupy South Kurdistan.

If Turkey had, in fact, ended up as occupiers of South Kurdistan, would it then consider Kerkuk to be a part of South Kurdistan? Would it then insist that Kerkuk be added to the Kurdish region?

Sibel also mentions that some of the individuals that the FBI knew to be spying for the Turks and the Israelis were working at the RAND Corporation, too. That brings up something else that was in the news recently:

“Under pressure from the military and nationalists, the government of Prime Minister Erdoğan might launch a large-scale, cross-border incursion into northern Iraq designed not only to weaken the PKK, the Kurdish insurgent group that has attacked Turkish forces, but also to hold and occupy KRG (Kurdistan Regional Government) territory to put pressure on the KRG government to crack down on the PKK or to forestall a KRG annexation of Kirkuk.”

It may very well be that the occupation of South Kurdistan is still on the Turkish table but my money says that if such an invasion takes place, Turkey will insist upon the annexation of Kerkuk. After all, there are millions of brother Turkmen there to bring into Ağabey's ever-loving arms.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


"The original targets were intelligence officers under diplomatic cover in the Turkish Embassy and the Israeli Embassy. It was those contacts that led to the American Turkish Council and the Assembly of Turkish American Associations and then to AIPAC fronting for the Israelis. It moved forward from there."
~ Sibel Edmonds.

The Phil Giraldi interview with Sibel Edmonds is online:

Sibel Edmonds has a story to tell. She went to work as a Turkish and Farsi translator for the FBI five days after 9/11. Part of her job was to translate and transcribe recordings of conversations between suspected Turkish intelligence agents and their American contacts. She was fired from the FBI in April 2002 after she raised concerns that one of the translators in her section was a member of a Turkish organization that was under investigation for bribing senior government officials and members of Congress, drug trafficking, illegal weapons sales, money laundering, and nuclear proliferation. She appealed her termination, but was more alarmed that no effort was being made to address the corruption that she had been monitoring.

A Department of Justice inspector general’s report called Edmonds’s allegations “credible,” “serious,” and “warrant[ing] a thorough and careful review by the FBI.” Ranking Senate Judiciary Committee members Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) have backed her publicly. “60 Minutes” launched an investigation of her claims and found them believable. No one has ever disproved any of Edmonds’s revelations, which she says can be verified by FBI investigative files.

John Ashcroft’s Justice Department confirmed Edmonds’s veracity in a backhanded way by twice invoking the dubious State Secrets Privilege so she could not tell what she knows. The ACLU has called her “the most gagged person in the history of the United States of America.”

But on Aug. 8, she was finally able to testify under oath in a court case filed in Ohio and agreed to an interview with The American Conservative based on that testimony. What follows is her own account of what some consider the most incredible tale of corruption and influence peddling in recent times. As Sibel herself puts it, “If this were written up as a novel, no one would believe it.”

Read the entire interview at The American Conservative.

UPDATE: Sibel has a link to an interview with Philip Giraldi, who conducted the American Conservative interview, and Joe Lauria. This interview deals with the credibility question that certain factions have brought up with regard to Sibel's story. I don't have a problem with Sibel's credibility because I know how things work in Turkey and Sibel's story fits the pattern of behavior. In addition, Sibel's story has been out in the public realm for some time and those who have been named as evildoers by her in the past--like Dennis Hastert and Marc Grossman--have not brought any libel or other charges against her for the issues she's brought up. And the reason for that is that they don't dare.

Monday, September 21, 2009


"I am somehow less interested in the weight and convolutions of Einstein's brain than in the near certainty that people of equal talent have lived and died in cotton fields and sweatshops."
~ Stephen Jay Gould.

Most Rastî readers are familiar with Gordon Taylor, who writes the blog The Pasha and the Gypsy.

Now Gordon has been featured in The Seattle Times:

Back when I rode the bus to work every day, what got to me — what began to drive me a little crazy — was the repetition.

I knew every stop. Every light. All the rhythms of the traffic and the passengers, which seemed to bog us in delays at the same junctions every day.

I would wonder: How does the driver stand it?

I never asked. I should have, because now I know the driver might have said something like: "You think about something else. Like Kurdistan."

Gordon Taylor, 66, has been driving a Metro bus for 29 years.

[ . . . ]

Not many of his riders know it, but Taylor often wanders off to Kurdistan, a remote region in northern Iraq and southern Turkey, even as he is merging his 60-footer articulated bus onto the freeway.

He's not a professional historian. But from the seat of that bus he just published an article about mid-1800s missionaries in the twice-yearly Journal of Assyrian Academic Studies.

"I'm the only one in there who isn't a Ph.D.," he laughs.

He also wrote a 354-page historical biography, called "Fever & Thirst: An American Doctor Among the Tribes of Kurdistan, 1835-1844."

Now out in paperback, it turns out the book — which "nobody bought," Taylor sighs — attracted the attention of one of the senior advisers to the Coalition Provisional Authority, the U.S. transitional government after the invasion of Iraq.

For more on "The First American to Fail in Iraq", check Gordon's piece over at the History News Network.

Now, what I like best about The Seattle Times piece on Gordon Taylor is that it proves you don't have to be a professorial wind-bag to write good history. And you probably don't have to be a professorial wind-bag to write well on other subjects, either.

Go, Gordon; you go, boyfriend!

Sunday, September 20, 2009


“We do not believe in benevolent friends, the inevitable triumph of justice, or covertly and cleverly manipulating the superpowers. If we are to achieve national self-determination, then we ourselves, the Armenian people, will have to fight for it. We believe in the power of organized masses and in the capacity of our people to determine their own future. We believe in revolution.”
~ Monte Melkonian.

There was a man that most Kurds don't know but probably should. His name was Monte Melkonian. He was born in California in the latter half of the 1950s to Armenian-American parents and was educated at the University of California, Berkeley. In 1978, he left the US for Iran where he taught English and joined with others to overthrow the Shah. In August 1979, Monte heard rumors of a Kurdish rebellion in East Kurdistan:

Since leaving Berkeley, Monte had tried to surmount his distrust towards Kurds. He had read somewhere that the Kurds who had taken part in the genocide were from clans led by men who owed their allegiance not to their own people, but to Turkish leaders in Istanbul. After betraying their Armenian cousins, these leaders betrayed their own brothers and sisters by siding with the Turkish army that massacred and deported Kurds in the 1920s and 1930s. Since then, even Kurds from the offending clans had come to view Armenians as fellow victims of their mutual Turkish enemy.

If the rumors of the Kurdish rebellion turned out to be true, exhilarating questions would follow: had the Kurds in Iran succeeded in establishing their own government? And if so, what were the chances that their insurrection would spill over the border to the 12 million Kurds on the Turkish side? And if those prospects were good, could Armenian recruits form their own group and join the insurrection?

It was time to visit Kurdistan. (My Brother's Road, p. 59)

Monte left for East (Iranian) Kurdistan with a group of Armenian friends, all of whom sought to fight alongside the Kurds:

After four or five days at Haftvan, it was time to continue the journey south to Mahabad. The entourage announced their arrival to rebel leader Ghani Booloorian, who had recently emerged from twenty-eight years in one of the Shah's dungeons. They also introduced themselves to Dr. Abdul Rahman Ghassemlou, the highest-ranking leader of the Kurdish Democratic Party in Iran. With some 15,000 men in arms and eleven tanks, the KDP was the most powerful organization in Iranian Kurdistan. Ghassemlou's tie and suit jacket did not impress Monte, though, nor did his claim that Kurds were "true Europeans" surrounded by Asiatics. It was the long-lost European story again--the same old story he had heard from Armenians and Lebanese Maronites. Vahig told Ghassemlou that he and his friends wanted to go to the front, but when he mentioned that one of his friends was from the United States, the Kurdish leader's smile disappeared and he snapped, "We don't need any more fighters at the front."

Monte and his entourage enjoyed a better reception from Komala, an organization dedicated to autonomy in Iranian Kurdistan. The leader of Komala, a fifty-seven-year-old Sunni religious scholar named Sheikh Ezzedin Hosseini, invited the youths to sit with him on the floor around a tray of tea. The sheikh spoke in sincere generalities about Armenian-Kurdish relations and offered to provide arms and training to his Armenian brothers, if they so wished. Monte took an instant liking to the sheikh, with his white turban, horn-rimmed glasses, green robe, and graying beard. For years after meeting him, Monte would greet comrades with a temmenah, touching fingers of the right hand to the forehead and then placing the open hand on the heart. (My Brother's Road, pp. 60 - 61)

In 1978, Monte went to Beirut. By 1980, he had joined ASALA and received military training from the Palestinians. But Armenians and Palestinians weren't the only groups to receive military training in Lebanon in the early 1980s; the PKK was also part of Monte's Lebanese milieu. Monte trained with the PKK and here's what he had to say about them:

At night, the Kurds actually dreamt about their suffering motherland, and as soon as they awoke they charged off to the drill ground. They dug foxholes with gusto and shouted Thaura! Thaura! "Revolution!" during assault practice, instead of the usual Allahu Akbar! "God is Great!" When they picked the odd quince, they left coins for the farmer at the foot of the tree, and when a Druze farmer came to harvest olives at a nearby orchard they climbed the trees with buckets to help. Once, when the Kurd Suleiman broke a banana in half and absent-mindedly landed Comrade Hassan the smaller of the two pieces, his PKK comrade Terjuman demanded a round of criticism and self-criticism. Suleiman came clean with a self-criticism and a solemn oath never again to engage in such unseemly behavior.

After their initial amusement wore off, the scruffy, swearing, cigarette-smoking Arabs and Armenians at the camp began to feel self-conscious in the presence of the abstemious Kurds, with their internationalist songs, their allusions to German classical philosophy, and their constant focus on revolution. But Monte loved these goings-on. "These guys are like gold!" he effused.

Their enthusiasm was contagious. One by one, the smokers started tossing aside their cigarette rations after returning from the morning jog. All the comrades grimly huddled around the radio for news about the September 12, 1980 military coup in Turkey. Arab recruits volunteered to shoot Turkish diplomats. Before long, they were all stomping shoulder to shoulder under the sun, shouting in Arabic, Kurdish, and Armenian: "Return to the homeland!" "Struggle until victory!" and "We are fedayees!"

At Yanta [Lebanon], Monte felt that expansive feeling that comes with living and fighting together for a common purpose. It was a feeling for which the word "solidarity" is entirely too tepid. The simplest activities--squatting around a tray of lentils; tearing bread and handing it out; donating blood; passing the overcoat at the change of the guard--each of these gestures formed part of a daily liturgy that had nothing to do with egoism or altruism. Quite apart from the question of whether their goals were realizable, the new comrades had moved, if only for a few days or weeks, beyond the plodding mediocrity of shopkeepers and the crushing cynicism of Beirut. This was the way a revolutionary movement--a struggle, as Monte would say--was supposed to feel. (My Brother's Road, pp. 85 - 87)

There are those who claim that Monte was a "terrorist", but "terrorism" is not so simple and it's a term that's generally used by those who seek to enforce a self-beneficial status quo, as we have all seen so clearly in the last eight years. Reality is always different, as Monte himself wrote in 1988:

"Exploitation and oppression are in themselves forms of violence, and to defend myself and others I will leave all my options open, including violent options. This is natural, and the way things go. I don't care whether someone has been born into a position of oppression or if he has "worked" his way there. If he oppresses, he oppresses. If he refuses to correct his behavior the easy way, then we'll just have to do things the hard way. It's as simple as that."

Monte was no "terrorist"; he was a lover and defender of justice. So much so, in fact, that he came to the point of criticizing ASALA and urging a surprising option:

In a series of prison essays, Melkonian cited failings of the Armenian Secret Army and called on Armenian revolutionaries to join Kurdish and Turkish rebels to establish a guerrilla force in eastern Turkey.

"Pens are pens and guns are guns," he wrote. "Right now we have a greater need for guns than pens."

My Brother's Road, written by Monte's brother, Markar Melkonian, is not the only book available about Monte Melkonian. The Right to Struggle: Selected Writings of Monte Melkonian on the Armenian National Question are Monte's own words on the issue, and should provide the reader with plenty of meat to enjoy a discussion on the right to struggle with the great man himself. In fact, this would be the only opportunity to discuss anything with Monte; sadly, he died in 1993 while defending the Armenian people of Nagorno-Karabakh.

There is much more information available online about Monte Melkonian than there was when I first learned of him. He has a Wikipedia page and there is information about him at the Monte Melkonian Fund, including a photo gallery and a page of quotes. Go, now, and learn.

May our old friend rest in peace.

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Check your news stands and bookstores next week for this:

See Sibel's place for information about accessing the article online.

According to Brad Friedman at The Brad Blog, the interview will be some 4,000 words, which means it will be a good-sized interview for a magazine.

The print version will be out next week and there is supposed to be an online version available sometime after that. However, if you want to do your part to encourage the media to cover stories like Sibel's, then I'd advise you to purchase a print copy in order to "reward" the magazine for its work in presenting this story.

For those outside of the US, when an online link is available, I will provide it.


"Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow."
~ Dorothy Thompson.

These and more photos at

Thursday, September 17, 2009


"And, yes, I refer to it as blood money because where I come from, when you take money to deny the killing of innocent women and children, that is blood money."
~ David Krikorian.

Luke Rosiak at The Sunlight Foundation has more information on the Turkish lobby in the US and it's relationship to US defense contractors. Rosiak focuses on someone who's been highlighted here at Rastî--Yalçın Ayaslı of Hittite Microwave:

Turkey’s efforts have now been augmented by a domestic effort launched by a Turkish-American entrepreneur. Yalcin Ayasli founded Hittite Microwave in 1985 as a one-man company with a grant from the U.S. Air Force, and built the electronics company into a firm worth $1.2 billion, with half of its products sold overseas, according to a company presentation. The company had $180 million in revenue in 2008, according to SEC filings.

Since 2004, Hittite Microwave has received roughly $30 million in contracts directly from the government—mostly to sponsor research and development—and has also done business with Lockheed Martin and other prime contractors, many of whom use Hittite electronics in their jets and other equipment, sold to both the U.S. military and Turkey.

In 2007, Ayasli transferred $30 million in stock to fund a new endeavor, the nonprofit Turkish Coalition of America. The organization is headquartered in a Washington suite that has also been listed as the address for the Turkish Coalition USA PAC, the lobbying firm of Lydia Borland (who has represented the Turkish government), and the law firm of Bruce Fein and Associates (Fein comprises half of the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund).

The family of Hittite founder Ayaslin contributed nearly half a million dollars to federal politics in 2007-2008, donating near the maximum amount to the House campaign committees for both parties, but largely neglecting the Senate.

Read the rest and make sure to check out the great mind map Rosiak created to illustrate the connections of this web. Toward the end of the piece, Rosiak highlights the role of major US corporations that have lobbied Congress for their own interests in Turkey.

David Krikorian was completely on target when he labeled lobby money as "blood money", with that blood first being Armenian and then being Kurdish, and that's something that Sibel Edmonds confirmed on the day of her deposition.

This time, there's no need for me to ask what Sibel would think because she's got her own opinion of Rosiak's piece up at her place, 123 Real Change.

For more on Ayaslı, Hittite Microwave, and Schmidt v. Krikorian, see these:

Turkish Espionage Operations Target Congress

Who Is Paying the Piper?


"None who have always been free can understand the terrible fascinating power of the hope of freedom to those who are not free."
~ Pearl S. Buck.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


"I have to state that those who couldn't weaken us during the most difficult years [for us], of 1999-2004, can't ever weaken us today."
~ Murat Karayılan.

There's an excerpted interview with Murat Karayılan featured at Zerkesorg. The most pressing question at this time is what PKK will do about the ceasefire at the end of Ramadan. Here's what Murat Arkadaş has to say:

We extended the conflict-avoidance phase until the end of Ramadan festivities for two reasons. The first reason is the respect we have for Ramadan. The second reason is that we expect the Turkish state to give us the roadmap during this time. Hiding the roadmap and not giving it [to us] will hurt the discussion environment. The process will not move forward without the roadmap. Let me put it clearly: it will be very problematic for us to extend the conflict-avoidance phase. Of course we are discussing the events from every angle. It is obvious that the current phase will face serious difficulties and problems unless the roadmap reaches us by some means. We too have sensitivities, we have a base, we have different organizations, forces. They [the state] say there is the army, the army will do this and that. We have an army too. There are organizations and matters we have to consider. We have to consider all these phenomena. Therefore, such approaches are not right. Our people make demonstrations for this and demand. Our people's expectation, our movement's and democratic organizations' expectation is that the state gives the roadmap right away. Because this is necessary for the continuation of the process. Not giving the roadmap, despite these, will mean that the state doesn't want a solution. Then it is up to them whether to give it or not.

Murat Arkadaş on "brotherhood":

You [the Turkish state] reject Kurdish identity and oppress Kurds and then talk about brotherhood. What kind of brotherhood is this? My language, culture, history, and names are forbidden, I can't own my identity but you say you are brothers. You say Kurds are our brothers but forbid everything belonging to them. This is slavery, slavery by force. We are in the 21st century and the Kurdish people have been enlightened with Apocu culture will not accept this [slavery]. Forcing slavery under the name of brotherhood and doing this by spilling blood with police batons and soldiers' weapons has nothing to do with brotherhood. In the current era this is not possible either. MHP and CHP need to understand this.

Murat Arkadaş has a message for the Turkish state and the international community, warning everyone that no one should "miscalculate":

It's being said that the international conditions are against us. No; that may be your opinion and it may seem that way to you. There is also the side that's visible to us. In this respect, we have reserves and potential to defend ourselves and advance our cause for years. Nobody should make miscalculations on this and approach correctly. We don't talk big. But we are not a simple force either. We are a force that successfully stood up, renewed itself, got stronger, and strengthened its belief and decisiveness despite the attacks against us, supported internationally. In this respect we are in a position in which we have established high morale and motivation, increased belief and decisiveness, and strengthened tenacity for success. I have to state that those who couldn't weaken us during the most difficult years [for us], of 1999-2004, can't ever weaken us today. There is no way for a movement that didn't weaken during that term to weaken today.

Let me add that there are those who have called for a "Sri Lankan Model" to be applied to the Kurdish situation. I would just remind all those with such ideas that the mountains of Kurdistan are not Sri Lanka's beaches.

Likewise there are those who complain about the deaths of Turkish soldiers and characterize the recent clashes as "PKK attacks". Those who are responsible for these deaths are the ones who send soldiers on operations; the guerrillas retain the right to their own self-defense. Such self-defense is hardly consistent with the characterization of "attacks". On the contrary, it is TSK which carries out "attacks" and we know this because we know when communications into the Kurdish regions are completely shut down. When communications are cut, it means TSK is conducting major "attacks", as it was doing during the first weekend in September. It was these TSK "attacks" that resulted in the needless deaths of Turkish soldiers. It is TSK which is trying to "block the peace process."

And while we're on the subject of the death of Turkish soldiers, let's look at an insightful analysis from Children of the Sun:

Turkish Ministry of Defence has published the statistics of dead security forces. Oral Çalışlar recently wrote an article about it. Of course, the data wasn't published widely in Turkish media. The data presents which cities the dead security forces are from. It turns out that in terms of highest losses, six of the top ten cities are Kurdish. The security forces from Kurdish cities (Kurds) are sent to the front lines to fight the PKK. The fascist regime's policy of pitting Kurds against Kurds continues regardless. A Kurd is worthless to the state even if he sides with the state.

Clearly it is in Kurdish interests to see an end to this conflict and that is why DTP and PKK are working for a solution. It's too bad there is no one from the state who is willing to work for the same solution. The fact remains that military-industrial complex and the Deep State continue to use Kurdish blood to lubricate the gears of The System.

And so we go from "Kurdish Initiative" to "Democratic Initiative" to "National Unity Initiative". Words, words, words with no more substance to them than air.

Monday, September 14, 2009


"Unless we abandon elements which resemble a police state, we can't meet the demands of being a modern society."
~ Ahmet Necdet Sezer.

This just in from a comrade in Amed (Diyarbakır):

AMED -- In what both normal people and political activists here are considering a serious blow to the fragile hopes generated by the government's already highly tentative and uncertain "democratic opening'', on the morning of 11 September 17 senior members of the DTP were detained in dawn raids on private homes across the southeast, local media here reported.

The arrests were reportedly carried out by the 'anti-terror' units of the local police forces on the orders of the offices of public prosecutors. Most of the detainees were brought to the main police station in Diyarbakır, including those who were apprehended in other parts of the southeast. Those detained included chairman of Diyarbakır city council and former mayor of Lice Şeymus Bayhan, former mayor of Bağlar Yurdusev Özsökmenler, former Bismil mayor Şükran Aydın, former Şırnak mayor Ahmet Ertak, and other leading officials currently serving in southeastern municipalities, the DTP, and social movements connected to the DTP.

The operation, which is being called an extension of the one which was initated against the DTP on April 14 following their success in the 29 March local elections, generated immediate resistance from the party and social movements in solidarity with them. Hundreds of supporters attended a press conference at 11:30 in the morning on September 11, and thousands a protest march on the afternoon of 12 September.

The 12 September rally began in front of the DTP's major building in Diyarbakır and continued with a march to Koşuyolu park. The crowd chanted slogans in favor of the PKK and it's jailed leader, Abdullah Öcalan. The speeches made by senior DTP politicians were characteristically sober, defiant, and optimistic.

Addressing the assembly, chairperson of the DTP in Diyarbakır and former mayor of Yenişehir Fırat Anlı asserted that neither the leadership nor the grassroots of the DTP would be intimidated by the state's crackdown, pointing out that they had passed through that phase long ago. He characterized the arrests as an assault on the political will of the Kurdish people.

Member of Parliament from Mardin and DTP co-chairperson Emine Ayna expressed regret that, although tens of thousands of people (under DTP leadership) had rallied behind the slogan ''yes to an honorable peace'' and pledged to support to the government's 'democratic opening' only ten days previously, the party was answered with a fresh wave of repression. She said the attack was a 'provocation' carried out in unity by the state 'as a whole', apparently rejecting the common idea that there is a split between the military, the police and the rest of the state establishment in their approach to the Kurdish freedom movement.

Ending her speech, Ayna pointed out that Kurdish people had continuously changed the Turkish Republic since it was founded in 1923. She reminded people that there was once a struggle only to affirm the existence of the Kurds as a people, never mind a comprehensive democratization of the country. She said that if it's possible to speak of Kurdish language courses or Kurdology institutes at universities, it's because the Kurdish people created them through their struggles. She then called for a normalization of the political situation in Turkey and vowed continued resistance until the Kurdish people are victorious.

Indeed, the DTP has pledged to remain mobilized against the operations until all their comrades are released, including those detained on 11 September and on and after 14 April. Meanwhile, it seems that almost all the optimism created by the 'democratic opening' has dissipated, as both civil and military operations against the Kurdish freedom movement appear to be escalating.

Photos from the rally:

So much for the "Kurdish Initiative," or the "Democratic Initiative," or the "National Unity Initiative," or whatever the hell they're calling it today.

We want our roadmap!


"Chase after the truth like all hell and you'll free yourself, even though you never touch its coattails."
~ Clarence Darrow.

It looks like The Sunlight Foundation is taking an interest in the Schmidt v. Krikorian Ohio Elections Commission hearing. From The Sunlight Foundation:

Backed by lawyers from the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund, Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio, filed a false claims complaint against David Krikorian, who ran against her in 2008 as an independent and garnered 18 percent of the vote. Schmidt’s complaint stems from campaign literature in which Krikorian claimed she “has taken $30,000 in blood money from Turkish sponsored political action committees to deny the slaughter of 1.5 million Armenian men, women and children by the Ottoman Turkish government during World War I.”

Though Jean Schmidt doesn’t sit on the subcommittee responsible for the Armenian Genocide legislation, it’s clear that she’s a favorite of the Turkish community. With $18,450 in contributions from three Turkish-focused PACs since 2007, the second-term House member has received far more than even influential senior members, and nearly twice as much as the second-highest recipient, Virginia Foxx, whose son-in-law is Turkish. A list of fundraisers compiled by the Turkish Coalition USA PAC shows that the group held several events for Schmidt, raising thousands more. And four individuals who gave to Turkish PACs also donated a combined $8,700 directly to Schmidt’s campaign.

At issue before the Ohio Board of Elections is whether Krikorian’s language holds up—whether it was accurate to describe three Turkey-focused political action committees as “Turkish sponsored.” The false claims complaint against Krikorian comes after the board censured Schmidt for a “reckless disregard for truth” in her own campaign literature.

I don't know whether this part is funny or sad:

Schmidt expressed little familiarity with the workings of her campaign as well as the complex ties between Turkish groups, including the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund, whose lawyers, she says, are being paid in campaign funds. (The latest expense reports don’t reveal the amount.)

“What is the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund?” she is asked.

“It’s a U.S. organization that has a PAC,” she answers.

“The Legal Defense Fund does?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know. I guess it doesn’t. I don’t know. I don’t know what it is.”

Ignorance is a killer.

I think truth will reign supreme soon. Very soon. For those with eyes to read, let them read this very carefully.

Friday, September 11, 2009


"I believe that their motive was to sanitize the record and thus prevent the public from understanding the full depth of the FBI/Department of Justice missteps in the years leading up to September 11. So "walls" were intentionally built, and key intelligence was withheld from other agencies, including the CIA and DIA. In any other government enterprise, the consequences might have been more benign but in the realm of national security that compartmentalization of intelligence proved fatal. "
~ Peter Lance.

Seeing as it's 11 September, you might want to go by Sibel Edmond's place and listen to her most recent podcast with investigative journalist Peter Lance. You'll be amazed at the amount of screw-ups that led to the destruction of the Twin Towers.

Now, the question is: Were those screw-ups just your garden variety screw-ups by government or were they something far more sinister?

On the same subject, you might want to take a look at the fifty questions the Asia Times' Pepe Escobar asks on this anniversary. Escobar makes this comment about "whitewash" and a "mythical historical narrative" which ties in well with the Peter Lance interview:

It's useless to expect US corporate media and the ruling elites' political operatives to call for a true, in-depth investigation into the attacks on the US on September 11, 2001. Whitewash has been the norm. But even establishment highlight Dr Zbig "Grand Chessboard" Brzezinski, a former national security advisor, has admitted to the US Senate that the post-9/11 "war on terror" is a "mythical historical narrative".

The interview runs just over an hour and it's packed with information. It's not to be missed.

I also have a recent post over there on the Rendon Group's recent antics in Afghanistan.

Monday, September 07, 2009


"People who contribute get the ear of the member and the ear of the staff. They have the access and access is it. Access is power. Access is clout. That's how this thing works."
~ Rep. Romano Mazzoli.

In mulling over the Schmidt v. Krikorian case, I'm drawn back to the activity of Hittite Microwave founder Yalçın Ayaslı and the Ayaslı in the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA), which also funds the Turkish American Legal Defense Fund (TALDF). The TALDF is the organization that has provided legal counsel to Jean Schmidt in the case.

Both the TCA and the TC-USA PAC were established in February 2007. Yalçın Ayaslı is not listed on the TCA website but is listed on the TCA's 2007 Form 990 as the director of the organization. The TCA holds 600,000 shares of Hittite Microwave, which accounts for the vast majority of its assets. Ayaslı must have been involved with the establishment of the TCA, which is a propaganda organ of the Turkish lobby, and the next question would be if he were involved with the establishment of the TC-USA PAC. The TC-USA PAC is not a 501(c)3 so it is not restricted according to IRS exemption requirements for 501(c)3 organizations, most specifically in this case, the political restrictions:

In addition, it [a 501(c)3 organiztion] may not be an action organization, i.e., it may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities and it may not participate in any campaign activity for or against political candidates.

This allows for the TC-USA PAC to pursue its "immediate goal":

The immediate goal, however, is to raise money from the Turkish American community in order to make political contribubtions to the campaigns of Turkish Caucus members. TC-USA PAC, as of July, has contributed to some 25 congressional campaigns. “This is the first time that such endeavors are being made,” says McCurdy. Due to TC-USA PAC’s activities, Turkish Americans, who are regarded as a relatively new US immigrant group, have begun to make their presence felt in the political arena. As the 2008 election approaches, the role of this Turkish American political action committee becomes even more important.

Following the money, although Ayaslı and his family members gave more than $300,000 in campaign contributions in the 2006 campaign cycle and most of that was not given to local New Hampshire candidates. Moreover, $39,000 was given to the TC-USA PAC.

If we look at Yalçın Ayaslı's campaign contributions for the 2008 campaign cycle, we find something interesting.

Going down the list, Dan Burton (R-IN) received money from Ayaslı and, lo and behold, Burton is a member of the Caucus on US Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans. Sibel Edmonds testified that Burton was involved in ""[E]xtremely illegal activities against the United States citizens who were involved in [covert] operations that were ... against ... foreign government[s] and foreign entities against the United States' interests."

Jean Schmidt (R-OH) received money from Ayaslı, even though she doesn't remember the guy, and, what do you know?? She's a member of the Caucus on US Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans!

Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) received money from Ayaslı and, what a coincidence! He's a member of the Caucus on US Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans!

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) received money from Ayaslı and, imagine it! She's also a member of the Caucus on US Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans!

Do you see a pattern developing here? These people are not from Ayaslı's home state of New Hampshire and they're all members of the Caucus on US Turkish Relations and Turkish Americans. Remember what the "immediate goal" was? Remember, too, that there is no significant Turkish-American constituency in Jean Schmidt's Ohio congressional district. Instead of constituents contributing to a politician's campaign, you have some rich guy in New Hampshire with a political agenda favorable to a foreign power helping to pay the bills.

And he who pays the piper calls the tune.

Saturday, September 05, 2009


"Corruption in the US government is something that no one wants to talk about, particularly if powerful foreign interests are involved."
~ Philip Giraldi.

I need to post an update of events that have happened this past week in the Schmidt v. Krikorian election case in Ohio. For some backgrounder on the case, check the Rastî post from 9 August as well as a post-deposition interview. Links to the full deposition video can be found here.

The Brad Blog has some follow-up news, including the fact that Bruce Fein, attorney for the Turkish lobby through the TCA-funded Turkish American Legal Defense Fund (TALDF), was deposed by Mark Geragos. As The Brad Blog points out, during Sibel Edmonds' deposition on 8 August, Fein didn't believe he'd be deposed for the Schmidt v. Krikorian case "'because this case has nothing to do' with the organizations he's associated with." Furthermore, The Brad Blog says:

Krikorian tells us he believes Fein is the "archtect of the entire Turkish Lobby's defense in the U.S. ... The guy who travels the country attacking anybody he can attack vis a vis the Armenian Genocide. ... We will now be able to take his testimony, which is highly unusual given that he is the opposing counsel in the case."

The Brad Blog also carries an excerpt of Jean Schmidt's deposition, in which she admits she doesn't know a damned thing about what happened in 1915, except to admit, after being prodded numerous times, that some people died. However, as was mentioned in the deposition, Schmidt wrote an editorial for Today's Zaman in which she says: "What happened in 1915 must never be forgotten. To quote the great poet Maya Angelou, 'History cannot be unlived, despite its wrenching pain, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.'"

Okay, if nothing happened in 1915 except that "People got killed on both sides. How many people? I don't know," then why should anyone have to worry about history being faced with courage so that it "need not be lived again"? People get killed every day, but it's nice to know Jean Schmidt has so much concern for "people [who] got killed on both sides. Will this great congressional humanitarian bother herself about these killings? Or these? Or maybe these killings?

Schmidt's excuse just doesn't wash with me. Everyone knows the events of 1915 were more than just people getting killed "on both sides" and anyone who says differently is a liar.

But Schmidt is not only willfully ignorant of the events of 1915. In addition, she claims ignorance as to why she received more Turkish lobby contributions during her 2008 campaign than any other member of Congress. I find that very difficult to believe, given that she participated in the ATAA's annual convention in 2008 or that, immediately after the convention ended, she commemorated Atatürk on the floor of the Congress. Then there was her participation in the Turkish Coalition of America's (TCA) first Congressional trip to Turkey, during which Schmidt dutifully made obeisance at Anıtkabır. Schmidt also claimed that she knew nothing about the Ayasli family, which donated lots of money to her campaign, even though they're not her constituents. And, as I've mentioned before, Yalçın Ayaslı owns the TCA and is listed as the TCA's director on the TCA's own filed IRS Form 990. Didn't Schmidt bother to find out who was footing the bill for her trip to Turkey?

It seems to me that anyone so completely ignorant of Turkey's history as Jean Schmidt would have to have been coached on what to say to commemorate Atatürk or place a wreath at Anıtkabır. It seems to me she's also been coached on what to say regarding people she knows or doesn't know.

If you would like a short cheat-sheet of Sibel's deposition, you might want to check The Brad Blog post on those congressmen mentioned in the deposition. There's also a post about the Schmidt v. Krikorian hearing that began on Thursday and ran over time, so that it will have to continue on 1 October. If that's the case, be prepared to see Sibel Edmonds testify at the hearing.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009


"Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral."
~ Paulo Freire.

I have received a press statement from a comrade in the Diyarbakır Branch of the Human Righs Association (IHD). This statement is dated 9 July 2009, however I think it's appropriate to post it now, since Interior Minister Beşir Atalay has proclaimed that the Ankara regime's Kurdish "initiative" or democratic "intitiative", or whatever the hell he's calling it these days, has been an overwhelming success.

The irony is that since the actual and overwhelming success of the DTP during the 29 March elections, repression has been on the increase, at least in the Kurdish Region of Turkey. IHD has the cases, with evidence, to support its claims:


(The Kurdish question will only be solved with the prevention of human rights abuses)

09 July 2009

Esteemed members of the press,

Although we were pleased to see an even partial decrease in human rights abuses in the first three months of 2009 after leaving behind a year of debating people’s most basic human rights, our concerns were increased by a sudden explosion of abuses following the local elections on March 29th. Fourteen days after the elections, the operation launched against the Democratic Society Party (DTP – Demokratik Toplum Partisi), detetions and arrests, the cancellation of green cards (cards from a social program designed to help disadvantaged people access health services) belonging especially to DTP voters in the provinces, the detention and arrest of members of the Public Workers’ Trade Unions Confederation (KESK - Kamu Emekçileri Sendikaları Konfederasyonu), the arrest of human rights and peace activists, and the initiation of a witch hunt, so to speak, people from all sectors were gathered together. In the operation against the DTP, 945 people were detained and 414 were arrested. In a manner illegal and contrary to human rights law, after their telephone conversations were listened to, many people were arrested on the basis of very ordinary conversations, suspects and lawyers weren’t allowed to see the files concerning their cases due to a secret decision, information concerning legal cases was given to the press surreptitiously and in violation of the law, the list of offenses detained people were charged with were also handed to the press, and detained people were declared guilty before the public without even knowing what crimes they were being charged with.

Although all sectors entered a period of expectation regarding a solution to the Kurdish issue following the 29 March local elections, the spike in arrests and detentions and the increase in operations on both sides of the border served to increase our concerns. The intensification and escalation of violations after distinguished President Abdullah Gül said ‘good things will happen’ regarding the Kurdish issue prompted a debate on how ‘good things’ are perceived.

In the first six months of 2009, the question of clearing mines along the borders and inside Turkey became a current topic; however, mines continue to claim lives as the question of who will clear them becomes more contested and the road to a solution is debated. Whoever plants them and for whatever goal, mines are a crime against humanity and mined fields must be located and their perimeters marked immediately. Later, these fields must be cleared and opened for agriculture.

With the understanding that the state must act as a welfare state, the state’s use of green cards as a political tool especially during elections is a very important indicator of the state’s character. It’s known that a large majority of people don’t have social security. It’s possible that following the elections, the security forces gave the district governorships reports concerning the electorate’s political preferences and that previously-issued green cards were cancelled according to this information. The implementation of green card cancellations increased especially extremely following the March 29 local elections. Following the elections, in our districts the green cards of 122,018 people were cancelled.

In our region, applications were received from five people asserting that they had experienced discrimination on the basis of their beliefs. Our organization considers freedom of belief important and it’s one of the rights that we defend.

In our region, the topic that comes to our attention the most is violations in prisons and detention centers. In Batman prison, due to a disciplinary punishment an inmate by the name of Resul Çelik wasn’t allowed to meet with his family for three months, and for 40 days his request to be transfered to another prison wasn’t being accepted. He couldn’t escape the depression he fell into and hanged himself. This incident was a death under detention. In the prisons in the regions, treatment isn’t given to seriously ill patients, they aren’t committed to infirmatories, and requests to be transferred to hospitals aren’t accepted. No one should be surprised if there’s an explosion in the near future as a result of the conditions and repression in the prisons.

Violations in prisons have continued to increase and become more severe. From the prisons, 33 people applied to us concerning violations of their right to health, 253 people applied concerning the obstruction of their right of communication, and 193 arrestees and inmates applied complaining of having received gratuitous and unjustified punishments, and all of these assertions were proven. 73 families applied to us because their meetings with imprisoned relatives had been obstructed due to disciplinary actions. 44 arrestees and inmates applied to our branch asserting that they had been tortured.

Regarding the heavy intervention by security forces into activities in our region such as Newroz over the last six months, camera images showing the butt of a police officer’s gun hitting the head of a small child show the degree of disproportionality prevailing at this stage. In 47 rallies and public meetings interfered in by the security forces, 501 people were detained.

Regarding the statement in the European Union’s latest progress report on Turkish accession that there is no freedom of thought in our country, how can we express that there are not positive developments in this area. It’s necessary to understand that our country can’t move forward with a democratization characterized by very timid and heavy steps and that in this sense Turkey won’t be able to join the European Union for a long time. In six months in our region 546 new lawsuits were opened against people because of ideas they expressed. 324 people received various punishments due to ideas expressed before the first six months of 2009.

In the first six months of the year, a total of 73 homes were raided. It was claimed in received applications that those in the raided houses had been subjected to indecent and severe interference. Finally, everyone was shocked by an application we received in which it was claimed that when security forces entered a house in the Ofis district of Diyarbakır on the account of a resident’s political activities, a woman was subjected to sexual violence and harassment. The chief public prosecutor’s office has opened a legal investigation and the Diyarbakır regional governorship an administrative one about this event.

In the first six months, 21 people were proven to or applied to our branch claiming to have been exposed to torture and maltreatment in detention units in our region. Compared to the past, torture and maltreatment in detention centers has decreased but the practice has been carried to the street. Now, in front of cameras, mobile squads and other security forces have been using disproportionate force against social activities in a way that has been resulting in heavy injuries. In six months 109 people applied to our branch claiming to have been exposed to torture and maltreatment outside of formal detention centers.

With the goal of abolishing the village guard system, for ten years the Human Rights Association has prepared statements and reports concerning very serious violations perpetrated by village guards. Most recently, the massacre in Bilge village in Mardin province shows once again just how correct our discourse is. The result of the state’s security perspective approach to the Kurdish problem is always death and tears. In the first six months of 2009, 49 people were killed 8 were injured as a result of violations of the right to life carried out by village guards. It was established that village guards were involved in 33 incidents of torture and maltreatment.

Finally, the number of occurences involving people being kidnapped and suggested to become spies has experienced an increase. In the first six months, 7 people applied to our branch asserting that they had been kidnapped and threatened into becoming a spy.

In our region, intervention is often brought upon demonstrations organized by civil society organizations and political parties; upon one person’s slogan or throwing of a stone, gas and teargas are used against all particpants. Heavy interference is personally confirmed by leaders from our branch who act as observers in the activities they participate in. In the first six months of 2009, 215 people were beaten and injured as a result of police intervention into public demonstrations.

Esteemed members of the press,

We can say that almost all of the violations in our region that come to our attention are directly related to the Kurdish problem. The lack of a solution to the Kurdish question is the reason for our country’s inability to democratize or join the European Union as well as the reason our economy is so sunken. A big part of the problem would be overcome with the acceptance of the Kurds’ existence, language and culture and the construction of a new civil and democratic constitution. The sit-down protests we initiated with the goal of putting the fate of disappeared people on the public agenda and trying the perpetrators has entered its 23rd week. The disappeared people that our branch has tried to locate with our own resources exposes the fact that the mistakes the state made in the past were not insignificant. We think that all the graves of the disappeared will be revealed only with the existence of a strong political will. We request that the state come face to face with the past, apologize to the loved ones of the disappeared, apprehend the perpetrators, that the political killings of Kurds be included in the Ergenekon investigation, and that the trial take place on the northern side of the Euphrates river. A truth commission including intellectuals, legal experts, non-governmental organizations, public institutions, judges and prosecutors needs to be established and its work begun immediately.

With the goal of ending the ending the disproportionate violence applied to actions and activities, we’re prepared to deliver human rights education through our branches found in 16 provinces to the security forces that serve in our region. We also recommend that the the security forces be given education in anger management.

Everyone has a role to play in resolving the Kurdish issue, guns must continue to be silent, and we want to keep the doors to dialogue open until the end. We hope that the PKK’s ceasefire will be extended beyond July 15th, and we hope the state also puts an end to operations and behaves with common sense by taking urgent steps with the goal of stopping the flow of blood. We don’t want to see deaths or severe violations any longer. We’re hoping to present a violation-free balance table in the first six months of next year.

With our respect,

Muharrem ERBEY, Attorney at Law

Vice President of the Human Rights Association, President of the Diyarbakır branch

When will we hear Sayın Atalay address these charges? Inquiring minds want to know.

Many thanks to the comrade who sent the information. And let me add that those who have worked in the IHD have been true heroes of the Kurdish struggle in Turkey, as much so as have our guerrillas. Among the many who have served the Kurdish people in this way, we can include Osman Baydemir, Akın Birdal, and Eren Keskin. There is a short history of the IHD at IHD's website, which includes a list of IHD leaders and members who were murdered because of their work.