I’ve been meaning to write an article about the Kurdish struggle. The Kurdish struggle is very vast and one single article will do no justice. So, I thought instead I’ll write about the Kurdish conflict with Turkey’s policies.
First of all, Kurdistan is a geo-cultural region that includes parts of Turkey, Iran, Iraq, Armenia (a little portion of Armenia), and Syria, inhabited largely by Kurds. The Syrian part is called Rojava Kurdistan or as Kurds refer to it, Syrian occupied Kurdistan. PKK (Kurdistan workers’ party) are literally the only party that thrive the movement. It would be the end of the Kurdish freedom movement if the PKK lay down their arms.
This struggle is going on for more than 80 years. Since more than 80 years, the Turkish government and the separatist Kurds have been using arms. I completely agree that a military response for an ongoing problem for more than 80 years is not a solution. Even if Turkey will launch an effective military campaign against the PKK – the struggle will still continue. A problem should be addressed, solved, and maintained. Turkey cannot just temporary silence the rebels and let their citizens question their national security in the future. However, if you look at it from Turkey’s perspective, they also have a mandate to protect its citizens. What amuses me the most is how Kurdish activists cry out loud on the streets that the Kurdish language is banned in Turkey, Kurdish is no longer banned and Turkey launched a governmental Kurdish TV channel (TRT6). How can Turkey disregard the Kurdish language ‘til nowadays while they have an official channel?
There are Kurdish schools, Kurdish Books (where you can buy them from bookstores), and Kurdish music. The rebel Kurds have to give credit for the governmental changes but now all they do is point fingers at the Turkish constitution. The Turkish constitution hasn’t changed and in article no. 66 states: “people born inside the border of Turkey are Turks by definition.”
Turkey was established based on nationalism. How could they neglect such a fact and use articles in the constitution to ease their movement?
Rebel Kurds can’t deny the fact that the last five years until recently, there have been significant development. The PM Reçep Erdoğan took enough political risk to launch an official Kurdish TV channel which might be unconstitutional. Yes, Turkey have been arresting rebel Kurds that are linked to terrorist attacks and the number is still growing but isn’t this what a government should do to protect its national security?
A New Turkish constitution is being written and by this stage, Kurds should join the mainstream politics in order to be more present in the parliament. If we talk about a solution in this stage, first of all, both of the military actions by the Turkish state as well as militant actions by the PKK has to be stopped and the Kurdish politicians that are arrested should be released.
Kurdish activists ignore the fact that many Turks have died because of the PKK attacks. Mothers’ send off their children with a heavy heart, not knowing if they are coming back alive or not. I have a friend whose best friend is serving in Southern Turkey, near the mountains where the Kurdish guerrillas reside. They live in fear and anxiety not knowing if their loved ones will make it alive or not. Both sides get hurt and both sides are wrong. Sadly even regular Kurdish civilians get hurt when tension escalates between Turks and Kurds. Ironically, PKK have killed many Kurdish soldiers along with Turks in clashes. When you question Kurdish activists about the fact that the PKK aren’t peaceful and are a threat to Turkey’s national security because of their militant actions, they quickly change the subject and talk about Turkey’s oppression and they neglect your question completely. I indirectly interviewed a PKK supporter and an activist and I strongly believe he works with the PKK for so many obvious reasons. Maybe he is their social media manager since he started the hash tag #TwitterKurds which is a cyber platform for the PKK to spread news and to fabricate facts.
Me: PKK dominates European drug trafficking, and it has been said it’s how they get financed.
Activists: Oh please, this is classic labels to criminalize the Kurdish Freedom Struggle! Come on!
Me: don’t you think the PKK should lay down their arms and seek diplomatic solutions? It’s been so long.
Activist: My friend, PKK have been seeking diplomatic solutions for years. You should be asking when the government will do that. PKK want a peaceful solution, do you know about the Oslo talks? The Oslo talks were between the PKK and the Turkish state. The state asked Abdullah Öcalan to write down his ideas of a solution. When he wrote down his thoughts now called the Road Map for Negotiations he identified that the PKK could transform itself into a political entity called the KCK and could enter politics and be part of the political process. So when he wrote this Road Map identifying KCK as the peaceful democratic solution Turkey began to detain all KCK members and basically any Kurdish activists who were active politically in BDP at a high level. The jails have increased their population. By four over the last 3 years or so! Turkey tricked the Kurdish movement into thinking they wanted a solution. They did not. Because they do not want to solve the Kurdish issue with the PKK! They are going backwards in regards the Kurdish issue. Racism is again endemic and systematic against Kurds and we are in a place where we were in the 90’s with killings, jailing, etc. So you cannot look at the PKK in isolation to the wider political assault that is being perpetrated against the Kurds!
Me: Well, Iraqi Kurdistan is gradually getting recognized. Don’t you think that will speed up the process?
Activist: There has always been a ‘good Kurd bad Kurd’ policy hasn’t there! Who knows! There are so many developments happening at the moment. For the first time ‘things are happening’ and we do not know exactly how it is all going to pan out at the moment. The situation is fluid and events are changing almost daily. There are many angles and ways of looking at ‘The Kurdish Question’. None really knows how it will all end but it is a momentous and historical time we are living through presently. So, to come back to your original question about the PKK and laying down arms. They would love to but have no guarantee of Turkey to solve the issue politically and in a way that is satisfactory to all parties to move towards a peaceful resolution the days of trying to criminalize our movement is pointless and counterproductive. What we need is political recognition of and legitimization of the Kurdish people’s freedom movement and a political process to begin. No more labels and misinformation.
Me: A lot of movements lose its credibility to its peaceful aims once it uses terror.
Activist: ‘terror’? This is the language the Turkish state use. Sorry!
Me: we can’t just deny the fact that many Turks have died as well in the clashes between the both sides
Activist: If an army tries to annihilate a people do you think that people should just accept it?
I know this is not recent news and I honestly doubt Al Jazeera’s credibility but the fact that they published confidential documents about the Syrian regime makes me shudder and excited at the same time. Blame my curiosity. I’m just gonna leave you guys with the documents. However, I remember Al Jazeera publishing confidential documents that exposed Abbas appointing Dahlan (if not mistaken) to assassinate Arafat. I guess, this is all part of Qatar’s foreign policy schemes.
I don’t know what caused me to write this, the sleeping pills or the sadness of watching my country being pushed into chaos and self-harm.
As a young Bahraini, I barely have memories of the 90’s uprising. My instinctive mistrust of utopias and revolutions only alienates me further from older Bahrainis, whose political goals and modus operandi seem to have frozen in time. I can’t find a spot for myself and people like me in their vocabularies; left vs. right, liberal vs. conservative, and mostly Sunni vs. Shia’a.
In Bahrain, every trace of difference between the two sects is a threat and every call for acceptance is seen as a plot and also, every call for reconciliation by our crown prince is seen as a failure. People are ready to discard and dehumanize others, force and impose their opinions at all costs.
I raise my question here; is there any other way? I believe in reforms and modernization.
Since 2011, patriotic and anarchic feelings have been on the rise in Bahrain which led the country to polarize and shift to Lulu roundabout and Al Fateh mosque. People like me had no voice whatsoever in the crisis. It’s either you’re with us or your statements aren’t credible enough and should not be taken seriously.
The unrest and tension are only signals of a shift we are going through. Bahrain is undergoing a huge change and what fears me is that we will be swallowed by this phenomenon of a new MENA that will lead Bahrainis to hold tightly to what they perceive to be under threat, and that is, religion and sects which are the main problem of our national unity. I truly hope that all of this mess has the potential to give birth to an entire new Bahrain.