They [the HDP party] say that "When we come to power, we will abolish the Diyanet [Presidency of Religious Affairs]." Why? Because they have nothing to do with religion. They go as far as saying that Jerusalem belongs to Jews; they [the PKK] give education on Zoroastrianism at the camps on the mountains.
The TRT [state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation] has a Kurdish TV channel. There are Kurdish language courses at universities. Our country does not have a Kurdish issue any more. But our Kurdish citizens have some issues. Those who want to make the resolution process all about the Kurdish issue are on about something else. They say 'We are the representatives of the Kurds.' No way! If you really are their representatives, clear up the dirt in the sidestreets."
maandag 17 augustus 2015
Turkey's Racism Problem
Turkey's authorities keep saying that the Turkish "security" forces do what they do -- arrest or kill Kurds -- only when Kurds carry out "terrorist" activities, or only when the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) attacks targets in Turkey. Nothing, however, could be farther from the truth. Turkey's attacks against Kurds have always been intense, even when the PKK declared unilateral ceasefires.
Regarding 2014, when there were no clashes between the Turkish military and the PKK, Faysal Sariyildiz, a Kurdish MP for the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), said, "During the last year, regarding the Kurdish issue, 3,490 people have been taken into custody, 880 people have been arrested and 25 people have been killed with police bullets."
"These attacks," said Mark Toner, spokesman for the U.S. Department of State, "are only exacerbating the continuation and the cycle of violence here. We want to see these attacks cease. We want to see the PKK renounce violence and re-engage in talks with the government of Turkey."
What Mr. Toner fails to understand -- although of course both sides should renounce violence and try to resolve the issue through dialogue, without bloodshed -- is that the cycle of violence intensified only after the Turkish military started a recent all-out assault on Qandil in Iraqi Kurdistan.
What the AKP government refers to as "the resolution process" started in 2012, when talks were allegedly held between the Turkey's National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and the leader of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan, who has been imprisoned in Turkey since 1999.
But since then, in terms of liberties and rights, what has changed for Kurds?
Before that, about eight or nine talks between the PKK and the MIT were held in Oslo, Norway between 2008 to 2011, a PKK authority said. During the talks, the PKK -- through the protocols Ocalan prepared -- demanded a constitutional resolution, peace, and the establishment of a "Commission on Investigation of Truth" that would investigate murders committed in the past. "But in June 2011, after the elections, the government saw itself as powerful again, so it stopped participating in the talks and stopped taking them seriously," the PKK authority said.
Again, during this process, no legal step was taken for recognition of Kurdish national rights.
Just this May, Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in a public speech: