The Kurds Under Erdogan’s Tyrannical Governance

Hits: 1429

Tens of thousands have been killed over 40 years of bloodletting between Turkish forces and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and tragically there seems to be no end in sight. In May 2016, President Erdogan stated that military operations against the PKK will continue until “the very last rebel is killed.” What is alarming about Erdogan’s statement is that he still believes he can solve the conflict through brutal force. Erdogan does not understand that he cannot wish the Kurdish problem away—a problem that will continue to haunt him and the country for countless more decades unless a solution is found that respects their cultural and fundamental human rights.

There are 15 million Kurds, representing nearly 18 percent of the Turkish population. Like their Turkish counterparts they are largely Sunnis, but their cultural distinction trumps their religious beliefs. They are fighting to preserve their ethnic identity, fearing that otherwise their culture and language would fade away and die.

The history of the conflict is long, complicated, and painful. In the 1970s Abdullah Öcalan raised awareness about the Kurds’ plight, which was followed by crackdowns by successive Turkish governments, leading to the formation of the PKK and further escalation of violence over the years.

Under intensifying domestic and EU pressure, Erdogan agreed to restart negotiations in late 2012, which collapsed by July 2015. In the wake of the failed military coup in July 2016, Erdogan moved to crush the PKK and Kurdish aspirations, even though to date there has been absolutely no proven connection between the Kurds and the coup plot. His rampage against the Kurds continued despite the US’ and EU’s call to stop his heavy-handed approach that grossly violated their basic human rights. Only recently, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir that around 14,000 Kurdish teachers will be suspended, falsely accusing them of having ties with the PKK.

What made matters worse was Erdogan’s authorization to launch a fierce attack on PKK forces who were embedded in a civilian Kurdish-majority community in the southeast. A UN report documented human rights violations including killings, disappearances, torture, destruction of houses, and prevention of access to medical care, while leaving the area in ruins.

Between July 2015 and December 2016, more than 2,000 were killed, including 1,200 civilians and 800 members of Turkish security forces, and more than 500,000 were displaced. Hundreds of members of the Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) were put behind bars on charges of collaborating with the PKK. Erdogan continues to refuse to negotiate, insisting that the PKK is a terrorist organization and must be brought to heel by military force.

Certainly, what is wrong or right matters, but what we must face here is a reality that neither side can ignore and expect to find a solution that can exclusively meet the requirements of either side. After more than four decades of bloody conflict that has claimed the lives of so many, and the destruction from which hundreds of thousands of Kurds and Turks have suffered, when will Erdogan come to his senses that the solution lies only in peace negotiations?

What is worse is that the international community, especially the EU and the US, has been publicly silent about Erdogan’s transgressions and ruthlessness. They often cite Turkey’s role in fighting ISIS, its NATO membership, and its geostrategic importance as an energy hub as the reason behind their unwillingness to pressure him to change direction.

That said, and regardless of the challenges that Turkey faces—including the fight against ISIS, a deteriorating economy, domestic upheaval aggravated by the failed coup, and the pressure of hosting three million refugees—nothing justifies Erdogan’s outrageous purges.

His utter disregard for human rights by jailing scores of Kurdish journalists, arresting a dozen Kurdish parliamentarians, employing collective punishment tactics against Kurdish towns and villages, and attacking Syrian Kurds whom he accuses of providing aid to the PKK, only further heightens tensions throughout the country, invites terrorism, and leads to increasing social and political polarization.

As a believer who preaches the gospel of Islamic values, he vilifies and violates these values and conveniently justifies the indiscriminate killing of innocent Kurdish men, women, and children, and still shamelessly claims self-piety.

Erdogan’s demagoguery is second nature to him. As President Kennedy said in the 1960,

“Voices preaching doctrines wholly unrelated to reality… [delude themselves that] strength is but a matter of slogans.”

Erdogan claims that Turkey is a full-fledged democracy, but he is dismantling the last vestiges of the country’s democratic governance that he himself promoted during his first and second terms in power.

He claims that the Kurds have equal political and human rights like any other Turkish citizen, and points out the fact that there are 110 Kurdish parliamentarians. True, they are equal under the Turkish constitution, but in practice are systematically discriminated against in government appointments, business contracts, job opportunities, and education.

Erdogan simply does not grasp the fact that even if the Kurds were treated equally in every walk of life, what they want is in line with and even complimentary to the framework of Turkish democracy. They are not seeking a state of their own, but simply to live freely as loyal Turkish citizens and enjoy their customs, folk music and dance, and way of life consistent with their long and rich cultural heritage.

The irony is that while Erdogan wants the Kurds to be loyal citizens, he never understood that their allegiance to the country depends on the way they are treated, the rights they are granted, and the civility they are accorded. To demand from the Kurds unconditional loyalty while robbing them of their basic rights only further alienates them and forces them to seek, fight, and die for autonomous rule if not independence, which he is bent on preventing.

I do not support, and I condemn any individual or group who uses brutal force for political or social gains regardless of its source, motivation, ideology, or belief. Erdogan and the PKK are equally guilty, and must pause and think where all this killing and destruction will lead to, when at the end of the day they will still have to coexist and face one another.

When violent extremism is on the rise, when human rights are fair game, when terrorism is surging, when ethnic violent conflicts are escalating, and when thousands of men, women, and children are slaughtered, leaders of conscience must not add fuel to the raging regional fires that have been consuming us unmercifully and relentlessly.

The PKK must not play into the hands of dictators like Erdogan by killing innocent civilians; as long as they are viewed as a terrorist group, they will not receive any support from influential civic organizations and the Turkish population in general.

To shed the stigma of being a terrorist organization, the PKK must declare a unilateral ceasefire and express its readiness to enter peace negotiations unconditionally, which would increase public pressure on Erdogan to resume peace talks.

Absent American leadership, the EU must assume upon itself the responsibility to use its enormous political and economic leverage to stop Erdogan from pursuing ruthless methods and policies not only against the Kurds, but his own fellow Turkish citizens. Erdogan’s nationalist zealotry is dividing the country and could potentially lead to widespread violence among the Turks, while further intensifying regional instability.

Mr. Erdogan, wake up. You will not succeed in killing every PKK fighter—not only because of the nature of guerilla warfare, but primarily because of the Kurds’ determination to preserve their rich cultural heritage, language, and fundamental human rights. They will remain resolute and will outlast you, regardless of how much pain and suffering they endure under your tyrannical governance.


Originally published on 2017-06-05

About the author: Dr. Alon Ben-Meir is a professor of international relations at the Center for Global Affairs at NYU. He teaches courses on international negotiation and Middle Eastern studies.
alon@alonben-meir.com Web: www.alonben-meir.com

Source: Global Research

Origins of immages: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest.

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

READ MORE!
“Independent” State of the Republic of Kosovo(stan)
Kosovo(stan) Parliament announced "independent" state of the "Republic of Kosovo" on February 17th, 2008 as a democratic and multicultural political community.Here we present two photos from November 2015 on which you can see heavily damaged Serbian Orthodox church and totally destroyed Serbian Orthodox tombstones in the southern part of the town of Kosovska Mitrovica inhabited by the Muslim Albanians. Kosovo(stan) ISIS is doing its job profoundly.Enjoy Kosovo(stan) "independence"!P.S. Today (February 17th, 2018) on the 10-years anniversary of Kosovo(stan) "independence", Burundi canceled its previous recognition of it. Just guess why?Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you ...
READ MORE
Conrad Von Hetzendorf: The General Who Demanded War on Serbia 25 Times in a Year
In time when (on the occasion of the 100th anniversary since WWI ended) we face almost daily attempts to reinterpret and revision the role of Serbia in the outbreak of the Great War, all in order to push aside well established facts of who and what for the war started, it is Her majesty history that reminds us of Chief of staff of the Austro-Hungarian army, who was obsessed with the idea that the Austro-Hungarian empire can be preserved only if it attacks and conquers Serbia .Relations between Serbia and Austro-Hungary were tense from the moment when the Congress of ...
READ MORE
Cold War Then, Cold War Now
The anti-Russian/anti-Soviet bias in the American media appears to have no limit. You would think that they would have enough self-awareness and enough journalistic integrity -– just enough -– to be concerned about their image. But it keeps on coming, piled higher and deeper.One of the latest cases in point is a review of a new biography of Mikhail Gorbachev in the New York Times Book Review (September 10). The review says that Gorbachev “was no hero to his own people” because he was “the destroyer of their empire”. This is how the New York Times avoids having to say anything positive about life ...
READ MORE
Monetary Imperialism
In theory, the global financial system is supposed to help every country gain. Mainstream teaching of international finance, trade and “foreign aid” (defined simply as any government credit) depicts an almost utopian system uplifting all countries, not stripping their assets and imposing austerity. The reality since World War I is that the United States has taken the lead in shaping the international financial system to promote gains for its own bankers, farm exporters, its oil and gas sector, and buyers of foreign resources – and most of all, to collect on debts owed to it.Each time this global system has ...
READ MORE
A Clinton Presidency: Humanity’s Worst Nightmare. Hillary’s “Rage for War”
Since Soviet Russia’s 1991 dissolution, successive US administrations governed increasingly lawlessly and recklessly – Bill Clinton worse than his predecessors, Bush worse than him, Obama worst of all, at war with multiple invented enemies throughout his tenure – from inaugural day to the present.A neocon Hillary Clinton presidency succeeding him risks the unthinkable – possible WW III. America’s rage for dominance, its wanting planet earth colonized, and increasing belligerence toward Russia and China points to eventual confrontation.Unknown is to what extent, but when conflicts begin, they take on a life of their own. Starting them is easy, resolving them another ...
READ MORE
The 9/11 Attacks: Understanding Al-Qaeda and the Domestic Fall-Out from America’s Secret War
With American military personnel now entering service who were not even alive on 9/11, this seems an appropriate time to reexamine the events of September 11, 2001 – the opaque motives for the attacks, the equally opaque motives for the counter-offensive by the United States and its allies known as the Global War on Terror, and the domestic fall-out for Americans concerned about the erosion of their civil liberties on the homefront.Before venturing further, it’s worth noting that our appraisal is not among the most common explanations. Osama bin Laden, his lieutenants at Al-Qaeda, and the men who carried out ...
READ MORE
Prelude to World War III
Unless Syria will simply hand its most heavily pro-jihadist province, Idlib, to adjoining Turkey, which claims to have 30,000 troops there and is planning to add 20,000 more, World War III will probably happen soon, and here is why: Russia’s troops are in Syria at the invitation of Syria’s Government and they have provided crucial assistance to restore the Government’s control over areas that the jihadists (sometimes called “Radical Islamic Terrorists” or otherwise) had seized. Consequently, unlike the Turks and the Americans, who are invaders of Syria, Russia is instead a defender of Syria, and is committed to doing there only ...
READ MORE
Kosovo History – Fifth Part
The main church of the Serbian Orthodox Patriarchate in Kosovo in PećThe series of long-scale Christian national movements in the Balkans, triggered off by 1804 Serbian revolution, decided more than in the earlier centuries, the fate of Serbs and made ethnic Albanians (about 70% of whom were Muslims) the main guardians of Turkish order in the European provinces of Ottoman Empire. At a time when the Eastern question was again being raised, particularly in the final quarter of the 19th and the first decade of the 20th century, Islamic Albanians were the chief instrument of Turkey’s policy in crushing the ...
READ MORE
The World According to ISIS
This article is excerpted from Fawaz A. Gerges’s forthcoming book, ISIS: A History.Although the spectacular surge of ISIS must be contextualized within the social and political circumstances that exist in Iraq and Syria and beyond, the group’s worldview and ideology should be taken equally seriously. Ideology is, after all, the superglue that binds Salafi-jihadists known as revolutionary religious activists or global jihadists of the ISIS variety to each other. The Salafi-jihadist movement emerged from an alliance between ultraconservative Saudi Salafism (or Wahhabism) and revolutionary Egyptian Islamism which was inspired by the Egyptian master theorist, Sayyid Qutb. The Afghan war against ...
READ MORE
“Russiagate” is Actually “Israelgate”: Trump as “Agent of Israel”, not of Russia?
The Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s main evidence thus far in his “Russiagate” probe is not actually about possible Russian collusion with Trump to win the Presidency, but instead about definite Israeli collusion with Trump after Trump had already won the Presidency but before he became inaugurated. As a lawyer explained on the day when Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was indicted in a plea-deal: “Mr. Flynn has just become the prosecution’s star witness.” What Flynn had pled to was his trying to obtain Russia’s support for Israel’s Government, against the Palestinians. Russia said no; Putin said no to Flynn’s request, ...
READ MORE
New Israeli School Textbook Highlights Jewish Supremacy: Paints Palestinians as “Inferior”
To mark so-called ‘Independence Day’, Palestinian citizens forced to study the book that paints them as inferior to Jews.Ramallah: An Israeli civics textbook under the theme of ‘Being a Citizen in Israel’, launched to mark the regime’s commemoration of the 68th anniversary of its establishment, has been slammed for its negative and dismissive attitude towards the native Palestinian citizens.After the Israeli Education Ministry officially launched the textbook as part of the curriculum taught in Israeli schools, including those attended by Palestinian citizens, Palestinians reacted by condemning the move.Israel on Thursday marks the 68th anniversary of its 1948 founding in Palestine, ...
READ MORE
Save Donbass People from Ukrainian Euromaidan Army
SaveSaveOrigins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection, Public Domain & Pinterest.Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!Donate to Support UsWe would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.[wpedon id="4696" align="left"]
READ MORE
Iraq Invasion – Anniversary of the Biggest Terrorist Attack in Modern History
Since terrorism’s tragedy is again in the news, it is timely to revisit perhaps one of the biggest acts of terrorism in modern history – the illegal invasion and destruction – ongoing – of Iraq.March 20th marked the thirteenth anniversary of an action resulting in the equivalent of a Paris, Brussels, London 7th July 2005, often multiple times daily in Iraq ever since. As for 11th September 2001, there has frequently been that death toll and heart break every several weeks, also ongoing.America and Britain have arguably engaged in and generated the legacy of one of the longest recorded attacks ...
READ MORE
Final solution of Serbian Question in Jasenovac
The June 20 Gray Falcon commentary “Failure to Communicate” has this excerpt, that led me to an extremely anti-Russian and anti-Serb article, from a venue which has previously slanted in that direction:“The latest example of this ‘flipping the script’ is a New Republic feature comparing Putin to Milosevic. In reality, it is the West acting towards Russia the same way they acted towards the Serbs two decades ago. I’ve argued before that Putin is aware of this, though the Russian public and media in general may not be.”Whether the issue is the Caucasus or Ukraine, bombing Russia hasn’t been considered, unlike ...
READ MORE
America’s Secret Planned Conquest of Russia
The U.S. government’s plan to conquer Russia is based upon a belief in, and the fundamental plan to establish, “Nuclear Primacy” against Russia — an American ability to win a nuclear war against, and so conquer, Russia.This concept became respectable in U.S. academic and governmental policymaking circles when virtually simultaneously in 2006 a short-form and a long-form version of an article endorsing the concept, which the article’s two co-authors there named “nuclear primacy,” were published respectively in the world’s two most influential journals of international affairs, Foreign Affairs from the Council on Foreign Relations, and International Security from Harvard. (CFR got the more popular ...
READ MORE
The Myth of Hiroshima
With rare exception, the question of whether the atomic bombs were necessary to end World War Two is debated only deep within the safety of academic circles.Could a land invasion have been otherwise avoided? Would more diplomacy have achieved the same ends without the destruction of two cities? Could an atomic test on a deserted island have convinced the Japanese? Was the surrender instead driven primarily by the entry of the Soviets into the Pacific War, which, by historical accident, took place two days after Hiroshima—and the day before Nagasaki was immolated?But it is not only the history of the ...
READ MORE
Neoliberalism and The Globalization of War. America’s Hegemonic Project
The world is at a dangerous crossroads.  The United States and its allies have launched a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity. Major military and covert intelligence operations are being undertaken simultaneously in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, sub-Saharan Africa, Central Asia and the Far East. The US-NATO military agenda combines both major theater operations as well as covert actions geared towards destabilizing sovereign states.America’s hegemonic project is to destabilize and destroy countries through acts of war, covert operations in support of terrorist organizations, regime change and economic warfare. The latter includes the imposition of deadly macro-economic reforms ...
READ MORE
Obama Failed his Coup in Venezuela
The United States, Germany, Canada, Israel and the United Kingdom launched "Operation Jericho"Once again, the Obama administration has tried to force the change of a political regime that resists it. On February 12, an Academi (formerly Blackwater) plane disguised as an aircraft of the Venezuelan army was supposed to bomb the presidential palace and kill President Nicolas Maduro. The plotters had planned to place former MP María Corina Machado in power and have her immediately acclaimed by former Latin American presidents. President Obama had given a warning. In his new doctrine of Defence (National Security Strategy), he wrote: "We ...
READ MORE
The Destruction of Yugoslavia: International Justice or NATO “Battering Ram”
With the March 24 ICTY decision condemning Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic for war crimes, exactly 17 years after NATO began its bombing spree on Serbia,  international criminal justice revealed itself once again as an instrument of US and NATO foreign policy.[They chose that the 24th of March to render judgment regarding Karadzic iquite deliberately with a view to erasing the history of NATO crimes.]If any doubts persist, it is worth remembering how the Former US Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues, David Scheffer, perceived that tribunal. Writing about it in his memoirs, Scheffer wrote unabashedly:the tribunal was an important judicial tool, and I had enough ...
READ MORE
Vladimir Putin is the Only Leader the West has
A Reuters news report under the names of presstitutes Robin Emmott and Sabine Siebold shows how devoid the West is of honest, intelligent and responsible journalists and government officials. http://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-nato-summit-idUKKCN0ZN2NN First we will examine the dishonesty or incompetence of the reporters and then that of Western government officials.Emmott and Siebold describe NATO as a “Western defense alliance.” Since the Clinton regime NATO has been an alliance for waging offensive war, a war crime under the Nuremberg rules established by the United States. Under the NATO banner a number of countries have been bombed, invaded, and had their governments overthrown by ...
READ MORE
“Independent” State of the Republic of Kosovo(stan)
Conrad Von Hetzendorf: The General Who Demanded War on Serbia 25 Times in a Year
Cold War Then, Cold War Now
Monetary Imperialism
A Clinton Presidency: Humanity’s Worst Nightmare. Hillary’s “Rage for War”
The 9/11 Attacks: Understanding Al-Qaeda and the Domestic Fall-Out from America’s Secret War
Prelude to World War III
Kosovo History – Fifth Part
The World According to ISIS
“Russiagate” is Actually “Israelgate”: Trump as “Agent of Israel”, not of Russia?
New Israeli School Textbook Highlights Jewish Supremacy: Paints Palestinians as “Inferior”
Save Donbass People from Ukrainian Euromaidan Army
Iraq Invasion – Anniversary of the Biggest Terrorist Attack in Modern History
Twisted History Against Russia and Serbia
America’s Secret Planned Conquest of Russia
The Myth of Hiroshima
Neoliberalism and The Globalization of War. America’s Hegemonic Project
Obama Failed his Coup in Venezuela
The Destruction of Yugoslavia: International Justice or NATO “Battering Ram”
Vladimir Putin is the Only Leader the West has
FOLLOW US ON OUR SOCIAL PLATFORMS
Share