Thursday, December 17, 2009


“The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.”
~ Albert Camus.

Check out these retards as an example of what is passing for politics in Turkey these days:

"Let kids watch the prime minister!":

Regarding MHP chairman Bahçeli, [in recent days] Erdoğan said, "Keep your children away from the TV when Mr. Bahçeli talks." When Bahçeli was reminded of this statement, Bahçeli said, "Apparently he doesn't listen to us very well. There is no need for such polemics. What if I say, "I suggest that children watch Mr. Prime Minister. Let them always watch him. I think they will have as much amusement as if they are watching Walt Disney movies."

Of course, Bahçeli then goes on to engage in polemics.

Forget about Disney, however; Turkish politics more closely resembles the inhabitants of Bikini Bottom from SpongeBob SquarePants:


Notice the resemblance between Squidward Tentacles and Bahçeli?

Now we just need the creators of SpongeBob to add a character that looks like Deniz Baykal.

Yes, boys and girls, the inmates really are running the asylum.

That is all.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


"The enlargement of the Ergenekon investigation will improve the standards of our democracy. Not only the Ergenekon on the western side of the Euphrates River, but also the one on the eastern side should be investigated, and a real 'clean hands' operation should be started."
~ Ahmet Türk.

A very interesting video was brought to my attention by a reader in the comments section here.

Let's take a look:

Wayne Madsen makes some interesting speculations about Katil Erdoğan's visit to Washington last week, which ended up with the resignation of Turkey's ambassador to the US, Nabi Şensoy.

Madsen speculates that Obama spoke to Katil Erdoğan about the Ergenekon prosecutions with the intent of dropping them and freeing the Ergenekon terrorists. He points out that the paşas would like to see an end to the prosecutions. We know that the Ergenekon terrorists were actually sponsored by the US as part of the CIA's Gladio stay-behind program and that the charges they face today are minor in comparison to the terror they carried out against the Kurdish people in The Southeast--for which they are not being prosecuted.

Madsen mentions that Turkish lobby organizations in the US, like the American Turkish Council (ATC), have been trying to influence the US government into pressuring the AKP to drop the Ergenekon issue. Although I have not seen evidence of the ATC's overt involvement in this particular aspect of influence peddling, there is a Turkish organization that has been working on exactly this matter and it has a relationship with the ATC. That organization is the ARI Foundation.

As was brought up in comments in a post on Sibel Edmonds' website, the ARI Foundation hosted a seminar last month for the US Congress in which the members of the foundation urged Congress to "intervene urgently to stop the trial . . . " From VoltaireNet:

. . . [O]n 18 November 2009 a seminar was held at the U.S. Congress to deny the existence of Ergenekon, putting it down as a myth invented by the Erdogan Government to discredit Army Chief of Staff, General Mehmet Yaşar Büyükanıt, and the U.S.-friendly officers in his entourage, in the hope of imposing an Islamic state.

The participants stressed that the United States should intervene urgently to stop the trial, but should not do so openly since it would feed into the "conspiracy theories" purporting that NATO has set up a "Deep State" in Turkey which has manipulated or attempted to manipulate public institutions for decades.

The seminar was organised by the ARI Foundation, a low-profile think-tank bent on promoting relations between Washington and Ankara. Actually, ARI is a front for the Atlanticist-Israeli lobby. In accordance with Robert Strausz-Hupé’s policies, ARI is promoting a Tel-Aviv-Ankara axis under NATO auspices for the control of the Middle East.

The piece mentions the ARI Foundation's connections to the Israeli lobby, especially the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP). WINEP was founded by former US ambassador to Israel, Martin Indyk, who started his "public service" career as a research director for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC. Indyk also served as a founding director for WINEP.

Yurter Özcan, the president of the ARI Foundation, works with Turk neocon Soner Çağaptay, who is the director of WINEP's Turkish "Research" Program.

The first of ARI Foundation's symposia was presented in 2002 and featured Daniel Pipes of the Middle East Forum. Other contributors to their symposia include AIPAC spy Steve Rosen, who now works with Daniel Pipes' Middle East Forum.

Former Florida congressman Robert Wexler has also been involved with the ARI Foundation. Wexler is a co-founder of the Caucus on US-Turkish Relations who recently resigned his congressional seat to take a temporary job with a minor pro-Israeli think tank while he waits out the one-year ban that former congressmen must wait before taking up lucrative lobbying jobs. My money says that, as soon as Wexler passes the one-year mark, he'll slide right into a nice, cushy, lobbying job for the Turkish government.

Also involved with the ARI Foundation is Zeyno Baran, an Ergenekon defender at the very neoconservative Hudson Institute.

For tax purposes, the ARI Foundation lists Gunay Evinch (Günay Övunç) as it's contact person. Övunç is, of course, the current president of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA). The ARI Foundation has conducted anti-Armenian Genocide propaganda in conjunction with the ATAA, and you had better believe that if an organization or person is anti-Armenian Genocide, they're anti-Kurd as well.

Furthermore, those who've been moaning the most about the suffering paşas, current and retired, are the Israelis and neoconservatives. Here's a sample from a recent column in the Jerusalem Post:

TURKEY'S BREAK with the West; its decisive rupture with Israel and its opposition to the US in Iraq and Iran was predictable. Militant Islam of the AKP variety has been enjoying growing popularity and support throughout Turkey for many years. The endemic corruption of Turkey's traditional secular leaders increased the Islamists' popularity. Given this domestic Turkish reality, it is possible that Erdogan and his fellow Islamists' rise to power was simply a matter of time.

But even if the AKP's rise to power was eminently predictable, its ability to consolidate its control over just about every organ of governance in Turkey as well as what was once a thriving free press [Haha, good one! -- Mizgîn], and change completely Turkey's strategic posture in just seven years was far from inevitable. For these accomplishments the AKP owes a debt of gratitude to both the Bush and Obama administrations, as well as to the EU.

The Bush administration ignored the warnings of secular Turkish leaders in the country's media, military and diplomatic corps that Erdogan was a wolf in sheep's clothing. Rather than pay attention to his past attempts to undermine Turkey's secular, pro-Western character and treat him with a modicum of suspicion, after the AKP electoral victory in 2002 the Bush administration upheld the AKP and Erdogan as paragons of Islamist moderation and proof positive that the US and the West have no problem with political Islam.

[ . . . ]

In Turkey itself, the administration's enthusiastic embrace of the AKP meant that Erdogan encountered no Western opposition to his moves to end press freedom in Turkey; purge the Turkish military of its secular leaders and end its constitutional mandate to preserve Turkey's secular character [Turkey is not secular; read the constitution -- Mizgîn]; intimidate and disenfranchise secular business leaders and diplomats; and stack the Turkish courts with Islamists. That is, in the name of its support for its water-downed definition of democracy, the US facilitated Erdogan's subversion of all the Turkish institutions that enabled liberal norms to be maintained and kept Turkey in the Western alliance.

So, yeah, we all know that Turkey was an absolute paradise while under absolute paşa rule, but if the JPost writer wants to blame the Bush administration, she'd damn well better blame her neoconservative colleagues. Here's a blast from the past (circa 2004) from the Middle East Intelligence Bulletin, published by Daniel Pipes' Middle East Forum:

While Erdogan and other AKP leaders unabashedly affirm their private religious convictions, they advocate secularism in the conventional Western sense of the term. "Before anything else, I'm a Muslim . . . I have a responsibility to God, who created me, and I try to fulfill that responsibility, but I try now very much to keep this away from my political life, to keep it private," Erdogan told the New York Times last year. "A political party cannot have a religion, only individuals can . . . religion is so supreme that it cannot be [politically] exploited or taken advantage of," he explained.[5]

[ . . .]

Ironically, the old line Kemalists, who for 80 years preached about the need to modernize and Westernize Turkey, have in many ways become the reactionaries in Turkey, while the "Islamists" have taken the lead in promoting Western-style reforms. In spite of the dismal electoral fortunes of nationalist political parties in 2002, the Kemalist elite continues to dominate not only Turkey's military, but also its civilian bureaucracy, judiciary, and media. The so-called "deep state" in Turkey has resisted many of the changes introduced by the AKP.

[ . . . ]

Turkey, a country of about 70 million Muslims, most of whom are religious, is ruled today by a conservative party with an Islamic pedigree and a humane, tolerant, and democratic track record. Can we generalize from the AKP's experience? Not without some care. Turkey is quite different from the rest of the Middle East, whether Arab or Persian. What works in Ankara will not necessarily work in Tehran, Damascus or Baghdad. Nonetheless, there are definitely lessons to be learned.

Read the whole thing because it contains an accurate description of how the Bush administration pushed aside long-time American allies in Turkey . . . you know, the paşas, in favor of Islamists. Then think about how the US has always chosen Islamist regimes over secular ones. Do the terms "Afghan mujahedin" or "Taliban" ring any bells? In 2004, it would appear that everything was sweetness and light, with the pro-Israeli neoconservatives praising AKP and Katil Erdoğan to the heavens. What a difference a few years makes among fascists! But for the pro-paşa, pro-Israeli neoconservative opinion on Ergenekon, check the AEI's Michael Rubin or the Middle East Forum or the columnist section of the Jerusalem Post, and all those who cooked up the Clean Break.

In any event, we can see that Madsen is totally correct when he emphasizes the links between the Turkish and Israeli lobbies, and it's extremely unfortunate that more people in media aren't talking about the fact.

Did Obama actually talk to Katil Erdoğan about releasing the Ergenekon terrorists? I doubt it. Obama and Erdoğan certainly had more pressing matters to talk about, like coordinating NATO's heroin industry in Afghanistan in order to keep Goldman Sachs alfoat. The US has backed the AKP and Fethullahçı from AKP's initial rise to power and Gülen's movement provides some inside access to The Grand Chessboard of Central Asia. Certainly Gülen was deeply involved with the Ergenekon terrorists but it no longer serves his purposes to have anything to do with them nor does he have any need to try to save them from prosecution. Besides, Gülen is a valuable asset to the US right these days.

Gülen's disciples have followed his command to "work patiently and to creep silently into the institutions in order to seize power in the state". The paşas no longer force out Islamists from the TSK's officer corps. Fethullahçı moles inside the Turkish general staff leaked the information about the coup attempts metnioned by Madsen. Gülen's star slowly rises while that of the paşas slowly sets, and who is hosting Gülen? Who is protecting him? Who was it that approved Katil Erdoğan as the leader of Turkey while Erdoğan was banned from holding political office?

Let the CIA worry when Tansu Çiller is arrested.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


I see the bad moon arising.
I see trouble on the way.
I see earthquakes and lightning.
I see bad times today.
~ John Fogerty.

This weekend, Yüksekova and Hakkari led the way on payback for the new realities on the ground in Turkey.

Below is a video from Yüksekova showing the protests in the city this weekend. Please note that although it may be possible for some people to mistake the police in this video for Israeli security forces and the protestors as Gazans, this is not the case.

Although, it's also possible for some to ask me what the difference is between Turkish and Israeli security forces and I'd have to say, "None."

Here's a similar video (hat tip: Özgür Gündem), which shows a pack of Turkish--not Israeli--police severely beating one Kurd--not a Palestinian.

In Beytüşşebap, Molotov cocktails and stones were thrown at the Kaymakam's headquarters and the post office building. There were also clashes with police. My sources indicate that no DTP party members intervened to end the beating of two not-so-lucky police in Beytüşşebap. There's a tiny bit from ANF on that here: and something at Özgür Gündem.

The word from the region is that not only did the Kurds of Hakkari beat the shit out of two Turkish police, the people had also disarmed the police. In a moment of irony, if not for the intervention of DTP party members, the goat-smelling asses of these two police would have been torn to pieces by the crowd. You can see a video of those police getting what they so richly deserve, here.

Better luck next time.

Radikal had a number of photos from Hakkari, here. Below is a selection:

(I'm sorry, Mr. Police, but if you really love your fascist regime, you'll have to part with much, much more of your blood than that.)

In another item, I noticed that Radikal was reluctant to show the faces of two fascists who shot Şevket Aslan, a Kurdish youth who was attending a protest against DTP's closure in İstanbul Beyoğlu, but ANF had no such qualms. Here are the photos:


The images were captured by an AFP photographer. I hope they are spread around as much as possible so that these two hyenas can meet with an untimely end.

Human Rights Watch released a statement on DTP's closure. It says, "Blah, blah, blah, blah", which is exactly the same thing the ECHR is going to say about DTP's closure when their case finally makes its way through all the bullshit legal hurdles of the world's finest "democracies".

Excuse me for a moment while I vomit.

To end on a positive note, almost 800 new guerrillas have joined HPG in the last nine months (Source: That's almost 100 new recruits per month. With any luck, by the spring we may see an increase in that average.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


"In 1993, a ceasefire was declared by the Kurdish opposition. The EU tried to pressure Turkey to respond constructively to it. Instead, the Turkish government, with crucial US support, escalated the war. That led to years of further atrocities and destruction."
~ Noam Chomsky.

Here's an opinion piece on the current situation in Turkey from Radikal's Oral Çalışlar:

There won't be any solution without Turkey's Kurds

With the recent days' events (DTP's closure case, the reaction after Öcalan was transferred to a smaller cell, and, finally, the seven troops who were killed in an ambush in Tokat), the Kurdish "initiative" is in a sharp curve.

I prefer to call it a sharp curve rather than an impasse. The conditions for the solution to the Kurdish question are available despite all the barriers.

Most of Turkish society's preference, despite everything, still favors a solution. I can see most of the Kurds also want a solution. I think the ones who don't want a solution among Turks are not the majority. It is not possible that death and war be the desire of the majority.

Of course, whatever the conditions are, it is a must that the "initiative" be based on a right strategy and the process must be managed very well based on this strategy. From the days that the first steps were taken for the Kurdish "initiative" some mistakes have been made. If these mistakes can be identified and lessons can be learned from previous mistakes, the "Kurdish initiative" can be on track again.

When I listen to the sides carefully, I can reason the events went on as follows:

The government--maybe it would be better to call it the state--got into the feeling that it could squeeze PKK and "would be able to convince" it by reaching an agreement with Northern Iraq's Kurdistan administrators and with US support to take PKK down from the mountains and empty the Maxmur camp.

The government conceived that the international conjuncture was available. It made some alliances with Iran, Syria, the Kurdistan administration in Northern Iraq, the Iraq government and the US for a solution in the region and to disarm PKK. The government thought these alliances would be sufficient. It presupposed the problem would be solved with these alliances.

DTP states that the government did not inform it about the road map and deliberately mentioned that it does not know what AKP is trying to do. Kongra-Gel chairman, Zübeyir Aydar, who I met in Brussells, stressed that they have not received any information regarding bringing PKK down from the mountains.

This stoppage could be overcome by talking to DTP. However, the severe criticism by the opposition and nationalistic protests pushed the government to inactivity.

In this ambiguous situation, the judiciary and police moved forward and several big operations have been conducted against DTP. Tens of DTP administrators were imprisoned.

The scenes occured after 34 PKK members, who entered from Silopi based on Ocalan's call, scared the government more. and this resulted in a slow down in the initiative the government started by taking some risks. Slowing down put DTP on the target. An approach could be summarized as "DTP is the common target." occured. Despite all its weaknesses, DTP is a party consisting of legal representatives from Turkey's Kurds. They are the ones who can contribute the most for a solution of the question if they are left with enough room. However, the different voices coming from them were reflected in an exaggerated way that can trigger reaction from the public. The west of Turkey was conditioned negatively against DTP.

However this is a fact that the Kurdish question is Turkey's own internal problem. In a hierarchichal rank, the first addressees of this problem are Turkey's Kurds. For them, the most effective power is DTP. Turkey's Kurds, in a way, are the leaders of all Kurdish culture. DTP is the representative party of the struggle for Kurdish identity in Turkey. They should be the first and prioritized addressees for this problem. To bring PKK down from the mountains, Öcalan is one of the most important possibilities. It is possible for Öcalan to contribute toward solving the problem.

The power that rules Turkey does not move from this point of view, despite the fact that it sees this reality.

In recent days, scenarios such as "there are other Kurds, we can settle the matter with them" are produced. If you go to Diyarbakir or any other place in The Southeast, you will see that the demand of identity that DTP voices is the common demand of all Kurds--no matter what parties they vote for.

It is a must to see we cannot get anywhere with the "Good Kurds/Bad Kurds" duality. The demands of almost all the Kurds are common. Despite their different political approaches, different political preferences, there isn't any difference, in essence, in their identity demands.

All this requires stressing the following: For the success of the Kurdish initiative, it is necessary to include Turkey's Kurds in the process. Without them, a result cannot come about.

What I have said for a long time: "It is necessary to include Turkey's Kurds in the process. Without them, a result cannot come about."


Tuesday, December 08, 2009


"Democracy is only a dream: it should be put in the same category as Arcadia, Santa Claus, and Heaven."
~ H. L. Mencken.

Turkey's constitutional court began its hearing today on DTP's closure case, a case that was first submitted back in November 2007. Here is DTP's statement on the hearing, from the DTP office in Washington DC:


On 20 November 2007, a lawsuit was opened at the Constitutional Court demanding the closure of the Democratic Society Party (Demokratik Toplum Partisi – DTP) . On 8 December 2009, the Constitutional Court will meet and issue a decision regarding the closure case, which has been continuing for two years. If the case - which has been hanging over our party like Democles’ sword for two years – ends in a decision in favor of closure, it won’t be the first time it’s happened to parties doing politics in the name of the Kurds of Turkey. As HEP, DEP, OZDEP, and HADEP were closed, DEHAP decided to dissolve itself as its own closure case was pending. The reason for the demand to close these parties has been their approach to the Kurdish Problem.

The closure case against DTP conflicts with universal legal principles. Likewise, despite the 10% election threshold intended to obstruct the representation of Kurds in parliament, the DTP succeeded in electing 22 parliamentarians by fielding independent candidates in the 22 July 2007 elections, and subsequently formed a parliamentary group with 21 deputies. Our party has made big contributions to Turkish democracy through our effective opposition in parliament, active participation in legislative activities, and introduction of a democratic struggle for the country’s democratization. In order to solve the Kurdish problem in a democratic, peaceful and conciliatory way, by submitting extensive projects in the Turkish Grand National Assembly, our party has spearheaded the development of debate on a solution to the Kurdish problem.

With its presence and active opposition, DTP has exerted great effort to overcome the authoritarianism and narrow-minded mentality in Turkey. It has expressed the importance of the self-expression of different identities and cultures at every turn. It’s struggled to bring democracy to a pluralistic point. The current basis of the Constitution of the Turkish Republic is “one language, one nation, one culture”. This approach is stated in the constitution. The state’s evaluation of all identities and cultures other than “Turkishness” as “the other”, “enemy”, and “separatist” has caused many tragedies and created much pain since the establishment of the republic. The massacres in Dersim, Maras, Sivas, Corum, and Gazi are a few examples. The policies of denial, destruction, and assimilation imposed on Kurds during the Republic’s 86 year history have resulted in 29 Kurdish rebellions. Kocgiri, Sheik Said, Agri, Dersim and various other Kurdish rebellions were suppressed in a very bloody way. Believing that their painful history is not destiny, that democracy and peace will eventually be established on the thousands of years old land of Mesopotamia, and that different nations will definitely live equally and freely together, Kurdish people have never given up the struggle for freedom, democracy, and peace.

After the 29 March 2009 local elections, debate of the Kurdish Problem in Turkey – called by its true name for the first time -- caused hope to grow among Turkish society. Discussions about the resolution of the Kurdish Problem stating that the process would be democratic and peaceful and not based on repression, destruction or denial generated hope. The belief in the existence of an option other than “dying and killing” and the possibility of a diplomacy based on the idea “to live and to let live” affected not only Kurds but all other communities positively. Notwithstanding the AKP’s insistence on excluding our party from the process, our party always shared its opinions and suggestions on turning the process into peace and democracy with public opinion. Despite our party’s efforts for democracy and peace, the AKP government defended waves of repression and arrests against our party and also prepared the ground for attempted lynchings against us through its statements. While intensifying repression of our party, AKP also increased military operations and granted approval for cross-border operations. Using the slogan “may the mothers stop crying,” policies the government carried out during the democratic opening process have caused many mothers to cry.

Even if the AKP’s arguments about the Kurdish issue are different, substantially it has imposed the state’s policy of solution-less deadlock without taking into consideration the will of Kurds and has striven to stifle the Kurds’ democratic opposition. This mentality is the fundamental reason for the closure against our party, which does political work on behalf of the Kurdish people. The subject of the closure case is our party’s perspective on the solution to the Kurdish question. At every opportunity, our party has defended the idea that the Kurdish Question is not a “terror” issue as claimed by Turkish state, but rather a question of a people’s freedom and exercise of legal, democratic rights. Our party believes that PKK is a result of the Kurdish issue and not a cause of it. Additionally, our party believes that the PKK and its leader Mr. Abdullah Öcalan must be included in the process in order to provide a permanent, democratic and peaceful solution. We have clearly submitted our perspectives on this issue to Turkish and international public opinion because of our responsibility regarding it. Demanding closure of a party because it doesn’t support the official state ideology and criticizes the state’s policies is incompatible with any democratic perspective, morality or law.

In this context, it is clear that main aim of AKP government’s project – first called the “Kurdish Opening,” later the “Democratic Opening” and later the “National Unity Project” -- is the elimination of Kurdish democratic opposition. The government’s long-imposed policies of refusal, denial and annihilation have become a fine-tuned approach of elimination with the so-called democratic opening. The emergence of our party’s closure case during this opening is a result of this approach.

During the closure case against the AKP, the head of the Constitutional Court stated the need to revise current legal provisions regarding closure of political parties and to bring existing procedures for closure of parties into line with modern democratic norms. To do this requires a majority in parliament, and this was the duty of the AKP government, which had a majority in parliament. AKP has stayed aloof to the closure process and hasn’t fulfilled its responsibility. Additionally, it’s tried to provide suitable conditions for DTP’s closure through its statements and conduct.

Despite all pressures, anti-democratic practices and inequalities, DTP pooled more than 2,500,000 votes and won 98 municipalities in Kurdish-inhabited areas in the 29 March 2009 local elections. DTP also has the fourth-biggest party group in parliament. The aim of our party’s closure is to push Kurds out of democratic politics, and closure wouldn’t express any other meaning. The possible closure verdict of 8 December won’t be a legal verdict; it will be a political one.

Finally, pushing the Democratic Society Party out of democratic politics would deepen the chaos and process of crisis in Turkey. It would weaken the Kurds’ belief in parliamentarian politics. The 1994 removal of DEP deputies from parliament and their subsequent imprisonment for tens of years is fresh in the memory of our people. Closing DTP wouldn’t bring any benefit to democracy in Turkey and would have negative effects on Turkey’s EU accession process and foreign politics.

We call on all of international public opinion to stand in solidarity against the closure of the Democratic Society Party in order to prevent closure of the democratic political channels which have been developed by the Kurdish people and to develop democracy in Turkey.

In addition to demanding a closure of DTP as a party, chief prosecutor Yalçınkaya also demanded that the court ban a number of DTP politicians from politics:

In the 121-page indictment, the chief prosecutor also demanded the top court ban 219 members of the DTP from politics, including DTP leader Ahmet Türk, along with deputies Aysel Tuğluk, Sebahat Tuncel, Osman Özçelik, İbrahim Binici, Sevahir Bayındır and Fatma Kurtulan. Under the Constitution, a majority of votes is required to outlaw a political party and in this case at least seven out of 11 members at the top court are needed to outlaw the DTP.

If the court decides not to ban DTP, there is still a possibility of a de facto ban on the party if the court decides to ban individual politicians from participating in politics. If most of DTP's politicians were not Kurds, no ban of any kind would even be considered after the fiasco of the AKP closure case.

So far, the only world leader who's spoken out against the closure of the DTP is the former Danish PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen. It should be remembered that it has been Denmark that has refused to cave into Turkish demands for the closure of Roj TV.

Now we'll wait to see what happens but, in any case, the "Kurdish Initiative" is effectively dead.

Friday, December 04, 2009


"No national security considerations can be an excuse for the annihilation of a population by means of forced displacement and massacres."

~ DTP parliamentarian Selahattin Demirtaş on the Armenian Genocide.

A few updates:

First, Sibel Edmonds, Peter B. Collins, and I have a chat together over at Sibel's place.

Second, at the end of October it was announced that Brent Scowcroft would be stepping down as the chairman of the American Turkish Council (ATC), to be replaced by Richard Armitage.

I have been doing some digging into Armitage's background and will have three posts up at Sibel's Boiling Frogs Post. The first is here and the second is here. The third installment will be up in the very near future.

Finally, there is a very good interview with Taner Akçam at The Armenian Weekly. The focus of the interview is the Turkish protocols with Armenia, but Akçam is also asked quiestions about the wider picture. Akçam compares the Armenian situation of the past with the current Kurdish situation:

VEK: Will any of these developments impact current discussions related to the Kurdish Opening in Turkey?

TA: Definitely. We can only understand the Turkish-Armenian protocols if we consider the big picture. The Kurdish issue certainly is another part of this big picture. The Kurdish Opening is a direct product of the transition we are experiencing in Turkey. In terms of the Armenian issue, the Turkish government should follow the exact same steps that it has pursued regarding the Kurdish issue. If we examine how the Turkish government has been trying to solve the Kurdish issue, we will find ways to solve the Armenian issue. For example, what does it mean when we discuss the concept of acknowledging the truth? Until 2000 or 2002, or even as late as 2007, the Turkish government denied that the Kurdish people even existed. I was put in prison in 1975 because I wrote about the Kurds in Turkey. So acknowledgment of the truth is a central aspect in solving the Kurdish Question. With the reforms introduced after 2002, the Turkish government has acknowledged that there are Kurds living in Turkey. It should be the same for Armenians; something terrible happened and a crime occurred in 1915. By acknowledging the existence of the crime you can solve 1915.

Secondly, in the process of solving the Kurdish Question, the government has tried to establish justice. If you want to solve a problem related to injustices in the past you have to rectify it. There must be a way of compensation for this injustice. There are two possibilities, two ways of establishing justice: One is retributive justice, which is exactly what is going on in the Kurdish areas right now. Some officers have been charged with killing Kurdish civilians in the past, and those officers have been detained or lost their positions. In addition, mass graves have been opened up. This is important for the establishment of justice. In the case of the Armenians, this approach is useless because the killings happened 100 years ago. But there is another way of approaching justice; justice can be achieved through the principles of restorative justice. Restorative justice can also play a role in the Kurdish issue. Many perpetrators are fearful that the crimes they have committed will be disclosed. You can follow the South African model and give amnesty to those who reveal their crimes, for instance.

I see a very strong correlation not only regarding the solution but also regarding the origins of the Kurdish and Armenian issues. If I may put it bluntly, the Armenian issue was the Kurdish issue of the 19th century. Or the Kurdish conflict today is the Armenian conflict of the 19th century because in both cases the same mentality produced similar outcomes. In both centuries, the Turkish and the Ottoman governments considered the democratic demands of minority groups as a security threat. In the late 19th century and early 20th century, Armenian demands for social reform and equality were framed as a trap for the Ottoman state’s pursuit of security and territorial integrity. In the 1970’s, 1980’s, and 1990’s, and even until very recently, the Turkish state considered the Kurdish demands for cultural rights and equality as a challenge to its national security and territorial integrity. In both cases, the demands of the minority groups were suppressed. This caused the radicalization of both minority groups, and this very radicalization is ironically creating the security problems the governments were most scared of. The separatist movements and the challenges to territorial integrity became a problem as a direct consequence of governmental policies to repress these minorities. The parallels between the two cases are important to consider.

The interview is fairly long but it's definitely an excellent read. And lets remember DTP's position on the Armenian Genocide as stated by Selahattin Demirtaş in the TBMM:

“During the last period of the Ottoman Empire, in 1915-16, the Union and Progress Party systematically pursued a policy of extermination of the Christians who had been the native peoples of the country for centuries.”

[ . . . ]

No national security considerations can be an excuse for the annihilation of a population by means of forced displacement and massacres,” he said. “Governments, in an effort to clear themselves of the guilt, resorted to denial and to distortion of historical facts to conceal the truth. They rewrote the history. In school books, Armenians are portrayed as hostile figures, exaggerating the incidents of violence by Armenian activists and never telling the truth about the massacred Armenians.”

“The word ‘Armenian’ has been used as an insult in this country,” continued Demirtas. “Even the president of the Republic of Turkey was accused of having secret Armenian ancestors, as if this was a sin. They did this to humiliate him. And what a shame that the president himself answered this ‘accusation’ in such a way as to confirm the humiliating connotation of the word, by trying to prove that this was not true.”

Demirtas suggested the formation of a history committee, consisting of independent historians from both sides, that would aim at revealing historic truths. “Without doing this, no real policy of peace can be pursued in foreign or domestic policy and no real resolution can be reached by ignoring the tragedy, by acting as if the loss of lives was a result of unwanted adverse circumstances. I know that what I say upsets those who remain loyal to the status quo. However for us to avoid recognizing historical truths just for the sake of the status quo would mean betraying our conscience and taking a politically unethical stance. So Turkey should lead the way to uncover the historical facts instead of continuing to carry the burden of a tragedy caused by the Committee of Union and Progress. In order for truly friendly relations between the two countries, it should be acknowledged that this is the only way for mutual trust.”

The author of the piece, Ayşe Günaysu, notes the following:

This was a first for the Turkish Parliament. There may be parts in Demirtas’ speech where one would disagree. But for me, these points of disagreement are less important than the declaration— in the Turkish Grand National Assembly—of the systematic extermination of Armenians in 1915. And it was a Kurdish MP who made this happen. The Kurds, some of whom actively took part in the Armenian Genocide, were also the first in Turkey to talk and write about the genocide of the Armenians and Assyrians.

Again, it's long but is another excellent read. And to Selahattin Demirtaş, I have this to say: You go, heval, you GO!!

Unfortunately, it looks like the Kurdish "opening" that Taner Akçam refers to is about to collapse.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009


"A desire to resist oppression is implanted in the nature of man."
~ Tacitus.

Having mentioned the murder of Kurds in Iran by the mullahs yesterday, it's rather coincidental that the following was in my inbox today:

I am a twenty-seven year Kurdish woman who has been sentenced to death by the Iranian Judiciary authority for my political activities. After I was given death sentence last year I appealed and my case was reviewed by the Iranian High Court. The High Court sustained the lower court’s decision.

I am under constant torture and humiliation. I was put on an orchestrated trial without a legal representation and after a few minutes I was sentenced to death. I don’t have a lawyer to defend me. The Court only dedicated a few minutes to my case. The Court told me that I was an “Enemy of God,” and in a short period of time all enemies of God would be hanged. All the judges in my trial voted for my execution.

I asked the Judge if I could say good-bye to my mother. He told me “shut up.” The Judge rejected my appeal and refused to let me to see my mother. Since I cannot defend myself, I ask all advocates and activists of human/women’s rights to campaign on my behalf and support me. I need your help.

Zaynab Jalalian

Zaynab's crime? She's a Kurd.

You can see the document at the KNCNA website, under the homepage heading "Documents and letters".

I wanted to point out that last week PRI's The World program aired a segment on The Forbidden Letters in Turkey. Mahmut Alınak--I love this guy--was quoted. A TSK'er insisted that people who use The Forbidden Letters should be imprisoned. Of course, the TSK'er should logically include himself among the imprisoned, if we consider a defense that Diyarbakır's mayor, Osman Baydemir, used in a recent court case against him for using The Forbidden W:

[Murharrem] Erbey [of the Diyarbakır İHD] said his client [Osman Baydemir] asked everyone, “Do you log onto the justice ministry’s website?” The judge and the prosecutors said yes. Then he asked “What do you type when you go there?” The answer was something like “www dot gov dot TR. Then the mayor said, “Aren’t you breaking the law? Every time you type W three times and you go to the site hundreds of times a day. But when W is used in the Kurdish context it’s a crime.”

Touché, Heval Osman!

You can visit the site and read the transcript of the segment or listen to it via mp3.

Let me add that if the nationalists want to be consistent about The Forbidden Letters, some of the Alparen Ocakları types need to go around knocking The Forbidden W off the BMW's of the elites.