The 7th of the chain of conferences organised by EUTCC (European Union Turkey Civic Commission) at the EP, based on the “Issue of Turkey and Kurdish Question in the Process of EU membership”, has formed a tradition and acquired a significant experience on the subject.
I’d like to emphasise the importance of the role of such activities in terms of the utilisation of similar experiences in the world in order to provide the relevant authorities with a direction, and to form a common knowledge in relation to Kurdish question, which is the basic issue in Turkey and the Middle East.
I believe that the organisation of this conference in a process, in which the Kurdish question is the main item on the agenda, is particularly meaningful and important. In this sense, I’d like to express our views on the developments in relation to Kurdish question in Turkey and Northern Kurdistan and resolution to the question.
The opportunities created, the steps taken, for the development of a political democratic process, and the will demonstrated by Kurdish people and Kurdistan Liberation Movement have not been correctly evaluated but instead utilised for the sake of its own interests of power by AKP government. The purpose of AKP government is to deter the Kurds from struggle by denying their political and cultural rights. It wants to legitimise the anti-Kurdish policies under the anti-terror guise. AKP government has based all its diplomatic activities on Anti-Kurd policies in order to gain the participation of its allies in such politics.
I also have to stress the fact that the European Union has not demonstrated the required political will in relation to peaceful resolution to the Kurdish question. Some European countries have taken an anti-democratic attitude towards Kurdish people as was expected by Kurdish state (such as the unjust operations on ROJ TV and Kurdish politicians, and groundless court cases). Furthermore, the process of political-peaceful resolution has been blocked with the inclusion of PKK in the Terror list by EU. It is difficult of understand the EU insistence on keeping PKK in the terror list while the official organs of Turkish state are in a dialogue with PKK. As the new progress Report indicates, EU evaluates the resolution to Kurdish question as a fundamental issue for the Turkish membership. Europe is still under the impression that Kurdish question can be resolved through individual rights. With this attitude, EU postpones not only the resolution to the Kurdish question, but also democratisation of Turkey.
Clearly, neither AKP government nor the EU can resolve the issue with this attitude. AKP government cannot eliminate the issue or deceive anybody by refusing to grant recognition through deceptive measures. The Kurdish question is not an issue that can be resolved with a TV channel, a few language courses, a couple of research centres at a university, and a law of penitence. The Kurdish question is mainly a question of recognition of the national democratic rights of a people as well as the recognition of its democratic political will. It is necessary for both parties to continue with the process in form of a dialogue and negotiation for the progression of the process of democratic peace and reconciliation and its transformation into a permanent democratic resolution. Any other pursuits are in vain and nothing but a waste of time. In this sense, the dialogue with Mr Abdullah Ocalan has to turn into a credible negotiation.
It has been declared, upon Mr Ocalan’s call and acceptance by KCK, that the ceasefire, which started on 13th August and extended on several occasions, is finally to be extended, as stated by KCK, until the 2011 elections in Turkey. While this process is developing, which is a historical opportunity for Turkey, the Kurdish side has various demands for the smooth-running of the process, its progression into a mutual ceasefire, and transformation into a peaceful resolution.
1-To abort all operations on military and political areas.
2-Release of Kurdish politicians, who are unjustly arrested.
3-Ensuring the active participation of Kurdish Peoples’ Leader Mr Ocalan in the current process and transformation of the dialogue into a process of negotiation.
4-Establishment of committees for the research on constitution and truth.
5-Removal of 10% election threshold.
Only one of the Kurdish demands has been partially fulfilled until today. Only the dialogue with Mr Ocalan has been developed at a certain level in this process. The correct address in relation to the formulation of a resolution to the Kurdish question is Mr Ocalan. It is clear that the dialogue with Mr Ocalan is utterly important although there is currently no progress in the items mentioned above. However, the fact that AKP is not taking credible steps towards a resolution is a matter of serious concern for the Kurdish side.
Kurdish people has always expressed their demands for a resolution on the perspective of “Democratic Turkey, Autonomous Kurdistan” in all their democratic activities. In this sense, we believe that the model of “Democratic Autonomy”, which does not depend on ethnicity and geography, is the most convenient model to resolve the Kurdish question and bring solutions to the problems experienced by Turkish society. The Kurdish Resolution Project of Democratic Republic – Autonomous Kurdistan is a project that democratises the state. It is the formula of transition from Citizen for the state to state for the Citizen. Turkey will be truly democratised to the extent that differences can autonomously organise and actively participate in social and political life in accordance with their specificity.
The attitude of Kurdish side is loud and clear. The demands of Kurdish people are the required average in a reasonable and democratic country. In this sense, our resolution propositions are:
1-Transformation of the unilateral ceasefire that is extended until June 2011 by KCK into bilateral ceasefire as well as fulfilment of all five demands presented by KCK for the process to evolve into resolution.
2-Construction of a new democratic constitution, which evaluates the Kurdish question as the main factor for democratisation of Turkey, the preparatory process in which all parties can participate. The new constitution should cover all ethnicities in terms of being a citizen of Turkey and constitutional citizenship.
3-Utilisation of Kurdish as a language of education from primary school to university. Recognition of Kurdish as the second official language alongside Turkish in the areas populated mostly by Kurds.
4-Removal of restrictions and bans on thought, faith, freedom of expression and association, thereby the removal of all barriers before politics. To repeal the laws that cause discrimination.
5-Enacting the law of Democratic Local Administrations based on the provisions of 1921 constitution. Recognition of Local Assemblies and Democratic Political Local Authorities as part of the general political will, and provision of democratic autonomy by increasing authorities on the basis of an understanding of local authority.
6-Creation of opportunities for Mr Abdullah Ocalan and political detainees to freely participate in social and political life. Ensuring the participation of political immigrants living abroad in democratic political life.
7-Eliminate the barriers that prevent the forcefully displaced people from returning to their land. Make reparations for the victims of war, provision of legal and economic support for them to reconstruct their villages and start producing.
These items are the demands that should naturally exist in a contemporary democracy and are consistent with the EU criteria. In this sense, we call upon the European Union, all democratic power and sections to recognise and support Kurdish people’s will for peace and democratic resolution.
Consequently, the denial and annihilation policies have caused great tragedies in Kurdistan. Kurdish people are longing for peace and thirsty for freedom. Kurds are engaged in many years of fighting for honourable peace. Today they have also demonstrated the required devotion to peace and democratic resolution through an honourable and heroic struggle. Now the ball is on the side of Turkish state and AKP government. If AKP government truly fulfils the demands of Kurdish people for peace, it will mean that the resolution of Kurdish question through peaceful and political methods is more possible than ever. However, if annihilation through violence is taken as a basis instead of a democratic resolution, Kurdish people are strong enough and capable of defending themselves and intensify their struggle.
I greet you all and wish success with the belief that the discussions that take place in the conference shed light on democratic resolution to Kurdish question and perspective of reconciliation for the realisation of peace.