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.


Anonymous said...

ARI = Ergenekon/neocon
ARI speech Yasemin Congar.
Yasemin Congar = neocon
Congar interviewed PKK, visited Qandil
PKK = supported by neocons/taraf/ergenekon
Ergenekon works with PKK

Anonymous said...

Anonymous @ 5:55, WHOA! The biggest neocon connections are with ATA and Gulen movement. Look at people supported by the raindrop foundation and interfaith dialogue.

Did you even listen to the podcast? Do you ever research or think before you make accusations?

I really WISH half of accusations people like you make about how US supports the PKK. As a Kurd I WISH that was true and not the opposite so that Kurds could be more convincing against their oppressors. We all know whose "brains" live in the US and get support from the US.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous of 5:55 you don't make any sense whatsoever. Many reporters went to Mount Qandil and interviewed the PKK, including a reporters from the newspapers like Turkiye.

How about Ergenekon transforming into Fehullah Gulen's movement? That sounds more likely, doesn't it?

Good thing about the internet is that most things stay indefinitely and you can go back and refer to them. You can go to sites and read comments posted by people who even say that JITEM is a legitimate intelligence organization and defend it. JITEM is now accepted as part of ergenekon structure and composed of thugs some of whom are on trial today.

When you look at the reflections of turkism flavored claims over the years compared to the realities defended by the Kurdish freedom movement, we see an obvious trend. The Turkish side has constantly been telling lies. Anything is fair for empowering "the noble race" and the empire, right?

As the truth comes out, one can see that the Kurdish freedom struggle has always spoken of nothing but the truth. Despite all enemies armed with endless resources.


Mizgîn said...

Altan and Congar went to Kandil during the failed invasion attempt by TSK in February 2007 and their published report from that trip was critical of PKK. But, of course, you know that very well since you read their piece, right? And that's why I'm confused as to why you would make such a wrong characterization of Congar.

Or, by your faulty reasoning, we'd have to consider Hasan Cemal a neocon, too.

Nor does Taraf support PKK and you won't be able to find anything that it's published to reflect such alleged support. The Altan/Congar piece is symbolic of Taraf's position.

I'd also suggest that you start reading articles at neocon sites like AEI, WINEP, and others and post links to those that indicate neocon support for PKK. It should take you quite some time on a snipe hunt like that because such articles do not exist.

As for Ergenekon working with PKK, I suggest you read the Ergenekon indictments and then quote me chapter and verse the sources to support your claim.

Anonymous said...

Mizgin, Please post and advise Sibel. A lot of people read the newspapers, but how many of you look at the (tiny) legal notices. In most countries the Government is requires to publish rule making proposals/legal ads in several of the major/local newspapers. Take the time to get beyond the cartoons/funny pages and read them. If you take the time to review the legal ads, and get the word out, a lot of issues would get the attention they deserve before it is too late. The reason a lot of bad laws are passed is because they begin by publishing this under our noses and we did not pay attention. Borrow fresh newspapers if need be.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous of 10:43 and how about you? You just wasted your time by insulting people about not reading the papers and belittled them for not serving your purpose but what have you done? You could post here the word you wanted to get out so we all could learn, eh? You want to be taken seriously? Be credible about what you preach.

Besides people have blogs on what they think is important and followers go there knowing this little fact. If you are not happy the way a blogger operates you don't have to visit their blog. You can go on and make your own.



Peter Yilmaz said...

Pkk freedom fighters? Lets see all the brave PKK fighters fighting (btw Im being sarcastic):

There is 54 clips with OBVIOUS evidence to proove PKK is a terrorist group. Do not deny the facts.

PKK suppoters who claim PKK are freedom fighters is like La Raza supporters who claim they are a Civil Rights group, when in reality, La Raza advocates stealing 1/3 of America, wants to massacre all Mexicans (note Mexicans are 1/2 White 1/2 Indian) and promotes a hateful ideaology which is like a Mexican version of the Ku Klux Klan. PKK, ASALA, ARF, the Dashnaks, EOKA, La Raza, Mecha, The Black Panthers, Ku Klux Klan, Neo Nazis, and the Grey Wolves are no different from each other. They are all hate groups and promote racism and fanaticism and you guys know it.