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Thursday, October 13, 2005 

Turkey: No changes for Kurds


On a Kurdish mountain the Turkish national slogan is written by probably soldiers. It says ‘Ne mutlu Türküm diyene’, meaning ‘How happy is he who can say ‘I am a Turk’. Kurds have to look to this everyday. (Source google maps)

Delal made a good summary of the recent saddening news about the Kurdish question in Turkey here. Recently a Kurdish politician of the Dehap got sentenced for six months imprisonment and a fine of YTL 1,640 for beginning a speech at a local party convention by saying "good-day" in Kurdish.

He was charged with using a language other than Turkish for public political purposes in violation of the Political Parties Law.

This is the beloved Turkish democracy.

The Sanliurfa deputy leader Resit Yardimci was very surprised: "I believe this is a very unfortunate decision for Turkey. It is especially regrettable when one considers the start of Turkey's European Union membership negotiations and its aim to protect human rights," he said.

Recently I was reading a new book. It described how in the past the Kurdish Muslim Mehmhet Pamak reminded Islamist listeners of the double dose of oppression that Kurds have experienced at the hands of the "democratic" Turkish Republic's rulers. He said Kurds have been discriminated against for being both Muslim and Kurdish. He illustrated this difference in a parable, in the expectation (like I did in this article: The Turkish politics of the republic of Kurdistan that fiction cuts as deep as analysis.

"If there were a Kurdish Republic.
If the regime ruling the country named it Kurdey,
If Turkish were forbidden and if Turks were made to read, write and talk Kurdish (if education in Kurdish were compulsory),
If all the mountains in Turkish regions were decorated with the slogan "What happiness to those who say I am a Kurd',
If every morning in every school Turkish children were forced to shout, 'I am a true Kurd.. Let me exist as a gift to Kurdish existence',
If Turks who wanted their legitimate rights were made to eat filth and were subjected to every kind of torture.
If there were no modesty, honour, security of life or property in the Turkish areas,
If Turkish clubs and social organizations were banned, but Kurdish fraternities were encouraged to flourish and become centres for producing administrators and ideologues of the state,
If 'Kurdish nationalism' were guaranteed by the Constitution and idolized as unchangeable, unchallengeable principle of social life,
If everyone were forced to be a Kurd and the Kurdish president went on TV and announced to the whole nation, while looking into the eyes of Turks, that Kurdey was only for those who say 'I am a Kurd',
And worse - if Kurdish Muslims didn't perceive the level of trauma experienced by Turks but said, 'What difference does it make? We've all been oppressed you haven't suffered anything special.'

I wonder what Turks, especially Muslim Turks, would feel?
(Pamak 1996 translated by Christohoper Houstan in "Islam, Kurds and the Turkish Nation State)


The slogan 'Dunya Turk Olsun (DTO)' had on July 3 been sprayed on Kurdish homes all over Bursa. 'DTO' means "Let the World be Turkish" in Turkish.

The real version of the story is the world turned upside down. And a big part of this story still continues everyday in the current republic of Turkey.
Now I have to admit.. there were some changes, but the chauvinist, nationalist and anti-democratic attitude still exists. Still the Kurds have to face assimilation everyday in Turkish language schools, while they are Turkish. Everyday they have to look to the words "I am proud to be a Turk" in Diyarbakir.. Everyday they have to here that their Kurdish nation is Turkish..
Everyday they are reminded that they are delivered to the mercy of the Turkish government and Turkish people..

When does this attitude change? When do the Kurds get their legitimate rights like Kurdish language on public schools?
I doubt Turkey will change their attitude versus Kurds. Because they will never accept the full Kurdish rights.. even if they have to give up their dream to join the European Union.

By Vladimir


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