Monday, January 04, 2010


"The extreme severity of the Turkish measures of repression may temporarily break the spirit of rebellion, but will probably produce a good deal of future hostility to Turkish rule on the part of the remaining Turkish Kurds, and this may eventually complicate the situation on the Irak frontier."
~ Sir Ronald Lindsay, British Ambassador to Turkey, 1925 - 1926.

Here's some commentary on the current situation in Turkey from Ahmet Altan:

Be Reasonable!

These people are the sons of a race that has suffered, been tortured, been forcibly displaced, has been killed on the streets, had their homes burned.

Grievance and anger accumulated in their souls.

You take them, line them up in a single row and walk them, like scenes reminiscent of Dersim, forcible emigration, and Nazi camps. What kind of injustice, understanding, and torture is this?

Those people are the politicians who received their peoples' votes.

If you are suspicious that they are criminal, you can call them and get their statements. All of us give statements, so will they.

Where did the handcuffing come from?

With Homer's saying, this is "adding insult to injury."

Why do you want to insult? What are you trying to prove? What happened to the "democratic initiative"? Are you doing this to make them say, "Let such an initiative not exist."

On the day a new Kurdish party established a group in parliament, you raided and assembled the Southeast's mayors and politicians from their homes toward the morning.

You put handcuffs on their arms. You lined them up in a row and took their pictures. Who will believe your sincerity about the "initiative" from now on? Who will forget these scenes?

You make up an Emine Ayna out of the most peaceful person. What kind of "initiative shit" is this, that you create Nazi camps in the middle of the initiative?

If the government is sincere about this "initiative" it must act sincerely. There cannot be any initiative by breaking peoples' hearts, raising their anger and creating hopelessness in them.

There can't be an "initiative" by handcuffing people.

There can't be an "initiative" by insulting people.

AKP became sluggish after it said "initiative" and created big hopes. Now when they [the Kurdish people] encounter these scenes, how will they dream about peace and how will they believe in peace?

Are you doing all these things to let them say, "I don't have any other ways to protect my honor except by weapons"?

If AKP does not come to its senses, and it does not behave the way the "initiative" requires, it will break all the hopes, one by one. If it kills all the hopes, it will put itself and the whole country in trouble.

Whoever is going to do an "initiative" needs to do it like they mean it.

There can't be any initiative by fearing MHP or abstaining from CHP. Now AKP must be clear. It must say what it will do. Not only the Kurds but also the Turks need this "democratic" initiative.

There isn't any single man who hasn't been crushed by the state in this country.

It is time to take steps that inspire confidence, reign in the state, stop the state from committing crimes, create conditions for all people from every ethnicity and every language to live freely, to strengthen the rule of law.

If you are the one in power, act like it.

After saying, "I will be a historical person, I will change the fate of this country," if you say "but I should not pay any cost" with cunning maneuvers, at the end you will pay the biggest price that you feared without even having done anything.

You will lose control.

The men under your orders will tear down your "initiative" in pieces by causing "'cuffing scenes".

The things that must be done are not secret. Turks and Kurds will be equal; whatever rights the Turks have, Kurds will have; if Turks teach their mother language to their children, so will the Kurds; you will rescue both Turkish and Kurdish municipalities under Ankara's despotic rule and will recognize autonomous regions for them; you will change the law that convicts "stone-throwing children" for eight years; you will change the current constitution that shows the Turk as the master of the country; you will prevent the closure of both Turkish and Kurdish parties; you will open up ways to let the armed people in the mountains to begin a new life within the community; you will enable the people who want to lay down their arms and have their voices heard instead through political means.

An "initiative" starts like this.

With an "initiative" program like this you will guarantee not only the rights of the Kurds but also those of religious people, Alevis, Leftists, laborers. You will free not only the Kurds but also the headscarf and the cemevi, too.

Which one of these did you do; which ones will you do?

The ruling party must decide if it is going to do an "initiative" it should take the required steps. It must not commit injustices reminiscent of Dersim and Seyit Rıza.

Those handcuffs are not put on only the Kurdish politicians but they are put on the whole country, the whole people, the whole future.

If you are the ruler, honest and sincere, take off the handcuffs.

And do not allow oppression in this country any more.

Unfortunately, I think we have reached the end of reasonableness. There is no initiative. There is no political avenue. There is only one language they understand.

Sureya Bedirxan's words from 1928 apply today: "The war between Turk and Kurd is going on--and will go on--until the objective of the Kurd has been attained."

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