Many Kurdish people are sick and tired of the Turkish government’s hypocritical policies and its blaming the Kurds for everything, but never accepting any responsibility for the Turkish dirty war and racist policies in southeastern Turkey. Not long ago Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan gave a speech in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir promising to boost social, political and economic development in the region and calling for projects of brotherhood. Also, Erdogan pointed out that if there is no confidence and no stability, there cannot be development, peace, and welfare. Why is Diyarbakir so important for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and why is Erdogan trying everything to win the people of Diyarbakir in the upcoming election?
Diyarbakir plays a very important role in upcoming local elections. Diyarbakir is one of the largest cities in the region and also is considered the capital of the Kurdish movement. Erdogan is using a variety of strategies to gain power in Diyarbakir because that control will have a symbolic effect for the AKP. Then the AKP will seemingly embody the Kurdish people. If the AKP wins Diyarbakir, can the AKP truly represent the Kurdish people? The AKP had the chance to represent the party but failed to deliver its message. The problem with the Turkish government and its policies in regard to solving the Kurdish problem is that, first, Turkey fails to recognize that there is a Kurdish problem related to injustice; second, the Turkish government fails to rid its citizen of the stereotype of the Kurdish people; third, the government fails to initiate and implement integration programs; and, fourth, Turkey fails to recognize its unjust and therefore immoral policies toward the Kurdish people. The government should learn a lesson from the Kurds’ impoverished and oppressed status perpetuated by the past and current policies and not to repeat them.
Erdogan also should have the courage, like the Prime Minister of Australia, to come forward and apologize to the Australian indigenous people, asking for their forgiveness and exoneration. Kevin Rudd, the Australian Prime Minister, set forth the rationale for such forgiveness in his recent speech.
That today we honor the Indigenous peoples of this land, the oldest continuing cultures in human history. We reflect on their past mistreatment. We reflect in particular on the mistreatment of those who were Stolen Generations-this blemished chapter in our nation’s history. The time has now come for the nation to turn a new page in Australia’s history by righting the wrongs of the past and so moving forward with confidence to the future.
Prime Minister Rudd not only recognizes their long-standing identity and Australia’s mistreatment of them, but also he points to this moment in history as the time for reconciliation. He then takes responsibility for Australia’s past discrimination and apologizes for it.
We apologize for the laws and policies of successive Parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians. We apologize especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country. For the pain, suffering and hurt of these Stolen Generations, their descendants and for their families left behind, we say sorry. To the mothers and the fathers, the brothers and the sisters, for the breaking up of families and communities, we say sorry. And for the indignity and degradation thus inflicted on a proud people and a proud culture, we say sorry. We the Parliament of Australia respectfully request that this apology be received in the spirit in which it is offered as part of the healing of the nation. For the future we take heart; resolving that this new page in the history of our great continent can now be written.
By asking for forgiveness from the Stolen Generation, Mr. Rudd hopes to move forward with healing and with hope for the future of the nation.
We today take this first step by acknowledging the past and laying claim to a future that embraces all Australians: a future where this Parliament resolves that the injustices of the past must never, never happen again; a future where we harness the determination of all Australians, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to close the gap that lies between us in life expectancy, educational achievement and economic opportunity; A future where we embrace the possibility of new solutions to enduring problems where old approaches have failed. A future based on mutual respect, mutual resolve and mutual responsibility; A future where all Australians, whatever their origins, are truly equal partners, with equal opportunities and with an equal stake in shaping the next chapter in the history of this great country, Australia.
Such a direct and humbling recognition of the sins of the country in the past can only promote reconciliation in the present and hope for the future generations, as well as model to the world an acceptance of responsibility and a desire to begin to build a new relationship among the people of Australia
Why can Erdogan not acknowledge the mistreatment of the Kurds in the past and turn the new page for the future? If Erdogan truly represented justice and equality, then he should grant that Turkey has perpetrated injustice because otherwise he cannot escape from it and surely his conscious will burden him with the sins of discrimination, prejudice, and consequential cruelty toward the Kurds.
What has changed in Southeaster Turkey? What happened in the 90s that does not happen now? Is there freedom to use the Kurdish language? Is it that now education in their mother language is free or allowed? Are there solved murders? Is there no stereotyping against Kurdish people in the region? Erdogan mentioned that his party has 70 MPs who are Kurds and who do not have any problem with their Kurdish brothers. Those AKP Kurdish Parliamentarians joined the party because most likely they want to identify themselves with the majority and know they cannot win the majority unless they take on the guise of being religious to win. If a person demonstrates only his or her self-interest, how can he or she be the best representative of the minority?
Any thinking inquirer would like to know what percentage of those Kurdish Parliamentarian really represent the Kurdish people? How many of the AKP Kurdish Parliamentarians have asked to investigate what happened in the unsolved murders in southeast? How many of them have asked what happened to thousands of Kurdish villages that were bombed, destroyed, and abandoned or to the millions of Kurds who were moved to live in shanty houses in the west? How many of them declared that those villages must be rebuilt and that the millions of Kurdish people who live in shanty towns be returned to their villages? Not many of the AKP Parliamentarians have asked how much money has been spent on the Turkish army in southeastern Turkey– more than 8 billion each year. If the government were not spending this money on keeping troops in the region, it could invest in rebuilding the roads, schools, and other infrastructure and creating jobs for Kurds. Erdogan and his spiritual advisor Gülen well know that there is no human being in this world who lives without identity, without culture, and without a history. Denying the Kurds all of these is incomprehensible. The role of government should be to ensure social, political, economical justice for all. No one can speak of good government where these ideals are not practiced. That is why the Democratic Socialist Party (DTP) has decided to protest the oppression and injustice, because law should be effective all the time, everywhere, and to everybody. If Turkey had acknowledged the Kurdish problem earlier, it would not have come to this point. What the Turkish government did was always blame the Kurds and pretend no such conflict as a Kurdish problem exists in Turkey. For a long time Kurds were suffering under the army’s martial plan, and the army and security agencies were involved in various criminal activities against the Kurdish people. If Turkey had done something at the inception, it would not have had such a problem today. A life principle is operative in this case: someday the perpetrator will pay for what he or she has done to the victim.
The AKP party and religious groups like Gülen’s community currently are attempting to gain control over the Kurdish people with charitable organizations. So the AKP is exploiting their despair to promote its agenda. Because the Mayor of Diyarbakir is Kurdish and therefore stands and speaks for the Kurdish people by not letting the Islamic religious group exploit the Kurds anymore, they do not like him or other Kurdish leaders and try a myriad of dirty ways to get rid of them. Yet, many activities of Gülen’s community attract attention and serve as a decoy for the hostility.
Why do the Kurdish revolts happen? We must look carefully at the history of the Kurdish people’s revolt. They all result from the unfair policies of the Turkish government toward the Kurds. What brought the Kurdish people and the AKP to this point are these protests. After Turkey’s independence in 1924, the founder of the Turkish government, Kemal Ataturk, promised he would recognize the freedom of the Kurdish people. The Kurds helped in the Turkish war for independence but later were denied all rights, when Ataturk declared that whoever lives in Turkey is Turkish. Erdogan said the same thing when he came to Diyarbakir: either you love this country or leave this country, one flag, and one nation–the Turkish nation. Armed with the philosophy that either you are for us or against us, Erdogan urged those opposed to Turkey to leave it. There is no room for reconciliation.
The AKP and Gulen’s religious community use religion to attract the attention of desperate and poor families who are concerned about their future and the future of their children. Gulen’s community selects the talented and very bright Kurdish children and provides them with financial opportunities during theirs studies, but at the same time the students are indoctrinated with his ideologies, and their Kurdish identity is purposely undermined through Gulen’s religious propaganda. As of now the AKP is engaged in the same propaganda to win the local election in southeastern Turkey.
Either Erdogan and the DTP will come to realize together that they must right a great wrong; either Erdogan and the DTP will deal with the past, so that the Kurds and Turks can fully embrace a peaceful future; either Erdogan and the DTP will allow the Kurdish Stolen Generations their culture that provides their uniqueness and write together a new chapter for the Turkish and Kurdish nation’s history, crafting a new future together OR they will play the same game, allowing the dirty war to continue, many more innocent people to die, and their power to be used in this volatile situation to influence the region and make the situation even worse for their political interest.
Aland Mizell with the MCI [email protected]
* KurdishMedia.com – By Aland Mizell