Military operations will stop if PKK lays down arms
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkish Prime Minister, once again, in recent months uttered the above statement and called on the Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan (PKK) to lay down their arms before he could consider the halting of military offensive against them.
Kurdishaspect.com - By Kirmanj Gundi
Since Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) won a decisive victory in the 2003 national election, to his credit, Erdoğan dedicated his party and himself to pursue Turkey’s economic and political interests. Additionally, he has successfully shown the image of Islam as a coexistent partner with the Western secularism. Erdoğan has transformed Turkey to a modern global economic power and a member of the G20.
However, as the leader of a mono-ethnic democratic Turkey (a democracy in which Turks are the only ethnicity that can claim their national identity), and as an internationally renowned political figure, Erdoğan sees himself as the defender of Muslims, particularly the beleaguered and oppressed Muslims in Gaza and Somalia. Reflecting upon his Justice and Development Party, Erdoğan identifies justice as his guiding beacon for resolving human suffering.
Although, charismatic and skillful politician, who has enhanced the image of Turkey as a regional power and an international key player, Erdoğan has been more contradictory than any other Turkish Prime Minister before him (his predecessors under the military shadow maintained Ataturk’s concept and followed Kamalism). Beyond Turkey’s borders, Erdoğan pretends to be a man of “principles” and an advocate of human rights from South America to Asia, and from Palestine to Somalia. Nonetheless, at home he garbs himself with an old Ottoman “sultanic” mask—and allows cruelty to continue against the people of Kurdistan. He wears a white-collar shirt of democracy and acts as a defender of human dignity, at the same time he defends the Ottoman Empire’s record on Armenian genocide.
Erdoğan’s Justice and development Party has been able to transform Turkey in regional as well as international affairs. Nonetheless, Kurds in Turkey still live as shadowy figures that are nothing more than the reflections of Turkish identity. Kurds still live under oppression and in destitution.
Turkish brutality from a historical perspective
The Turkish-Islamic Ottoman Empire had, within its jurisdiction, recognized Kurdistan as an ethno-geographical entity of the Kurds like any other non-Turkish national entity in the empire. In the centuries of coexistence with the Ottoman Turks, the people of Kurdistan maintained their national identity in the vast Islamic Turkish realm.
Nonetheless, during the course of history, the Turkish Sultanate gradually expanded its control and tightened its grip over Kurdistan. In addition to heavy-handed brutality, the Turkish Sultans imposed a heavy tax burden on the people—which made life for the Kurds almost unbearable. The Turkish Sultans were also using religion to control Kurdish national psychology. Thus, the Turkish motto of Muslim brotherhood left no room for negotiation over Kurdish national rights. For centuries, Turkish Sultans maintained their power in Kurdistan. Turkish inhumane treatment of the Kurds exceeded beyond any imaginable civil standard.
Subsequently, under the leadership of Bader Khan Pasha (1794-1868), Kurdish self-rule became a reality. Bader Khan pioneered a modern national struggle and that struggle began in 1812. He called upon all the Kurds to unite for a greater cause of Kurdish independence. He was able to liberate a huge area of Kurdistan. Bader Khan ruled from 1815 until 1848 in the Emirate of Botan. Its capital was the city of Jezirah. In 1843, Bader Khan revolted against the Ottoman Empire and declared Independence in his Emirate. His reign also included parts of the Iranian occupied Kurdistan. Bader Khan was able to unite other Kurdish entities under a more visible Kurdish identity. However, after several years of intense war and heavy Turkish counterattacks backed by British colonial support, Bader Khan’s rule came to an end. He was sent into exile, where he died in 1868.
The empire’s mistreatment of the Kurds continued even after the defeat of Bader Khan’s movement and the regaining of total control over Kurdistan. As a result, several years later in 1853, Izaddin Yazdansher, another Kurdish prominent figure rebelled against the mono-Turkish rule, which had disguised its true identity under the veil of Islam. Yazdansher’s rule over the liberated areas included Botan and areas of what is now occupied by Iraq. His rule lasted until 1864. Eventually, the Turks’ also brutally brought an end to Yazdansher’s rule. Several years later, in 1878, Sheikh Ubeidullah Nahri revolted against the Ottoman Empire, and soon his influence spread to a vast area in the Iranian occupied Kurdistan. To quell Nahri’s power and influence, in 1881, Iran and Turkey joined forces and vanquished the Kurdish revolt. Nahri was captured and sent into exile to the city of Medina, Saudi Arabia, where he died in 1892.
Further, at the turn of the 20th century, Sheikh Abdulsalam Barzani (an elder brother of the late General Mustafa Barzani), who was a Kurdish figure and the religious leader of Barzan region, contacted various Kurdish tribal leaders in Kurdistan, and was able to successfully coordinate their effort. He challenged the Ottoman Empire in order to establish Kurdish legitimate sovereignty. Sheikh Abdulsalam’s revolt was also defeated. The Turkish Ottomans hanged him in Mosul in 1914.
Kurds under the modern Turkish state
The Sykes-Picot treaty decisively ended the existence of the Ottoman Empire. However, the disintegration of the Empire not only did not palliate Kurdish misery, but also increased calamity for the people of Kurdistan. After the demise of the Empire in 1923, and the subsequent birth of the Turkish republic—the grip of Islamic Turks was replaced by the grip of Turkish ultra-nationalists.
Once the Ottoman Empire was partitioned into pieces—and as the mission of the Western powers in the Sykes-Picot treaty was completed—Turkey was granted the ownership of Northern Kurdistan. Consequently, in 1924, the Turkish republic was born with a provision in its Constitution that still reverberates to the present day. The provision echoes “Everyone bound to the Turkish state through the bond of citizenship is a Turk.” Such a discriminatory Constitution, eventually, became the roots of all “evil” in Turkey. Under this provision, Kurdistan disappeared from the world map—the ancient Kurds were stripped of their own identity and were given a pseudo-name—they were classified as "Mountainous Turks." Under such a vile Constitution the Kurds were forced into a ferocious economic and cultural destitution. Speaking in Kurdish in public became an “insult” to the so-called Turkish “honor,” and carried a prison sentence.
This policy of constitutional genocide became a norm and a recipe for the Turkish military, police/security forces and judicial system to inhumanely humiliate and viciously oppress the Kurds. In 1924, the Turkish government headed by Mustafa Kamal Atatürk employed the most brutal measures by applying the policy of Turkification of the non-Turkish ethnicities of which the main target was the Kurds. To resist the Turkish racist policy, Şêx Se’îd Pîran sparked a momentarily-successful mutiny against savage Turkish practices, but a massive Turkish counterattack encircled him. The movement was defeated and by mid-April Sheikh was imprisoned in (Amed) Diyarbakir.
To control the so-called “Independent Tribunals” for prosecuting Kurdish elites, and perpetuating its policy of oppression across Kurdistan, the Turkish government adopted the practice of total oppression and surveillance as described by George Orwell “the Big Brother state constantly monitors the population to detect dissidents. It uses oppressive political discourse and euphemistic political terminologies in public appearance to disguise morally disgraceful ideas and actions.” In the wake of such a reprehensible policy, thousands of Kurds were hanged without even counting wholesale extrajudicial retribution against Kurdish civilians.
The savagery and repression of the 1924 revolt was accomplished with a brutality which was similar to the Armenian genocide a few decades before. Entire villages were razed or burnt to the ground—and villagers including men, women and children killed.
In 1934, Turkey passed the Resettlement Law aimed at assimilating non-Turkish ethnicities within the country. This law included forced relocation of non-Turkish ethnicities within the country. The intention was to assimilate them into the Turkish “melting pot.” In 1935, the Tunceli Law was passed to apply the Resettlement Law to the newly named region of Tunceli, historically known as Dersim and populated by Alevi and Zaza Kurds.
Following public meetings in January 1937, a letter of protest against the law was written and sent to the local governor. The emissaries of the letter were arrested and executed without a trial. This triggered another revolt, the Dersim revolt, which was led by Sayid Reza against Turkish oppression. However, Turkish forces soon overwhelmed the rebels, and brutally crushed the revolt. Kurds lost momentum to effectively challenge the Turkish state. The Turkish government literally massacred the people of Dersim in the late 1930s—a massacre for which Erdoğan apologized in the late 2011.
Subsequently, for about nine decades Kurdish people in Turkey have been carrying the badge of “dead men walking,” with literally no self-identity except for what was perceived of them by Turkish chauvinism. For instance, in June 1930, during the inauguration of Sivas railroad, İsmet İnönü, the then Prime Minister, who was once talking about Turkish-Kurdish brotherhood, said, “Only the Turkish nation has the right to ask for its national rights in this country. No one else has such a right.” In May 1932, Mahmut Esat, the so-called Justice Minister at the time, averred, “Turks are the only landlord of this country; those who are not from pure Turkish race have only one right and that is servitude.” In 1971, Nihat Erim, the then Prime Minister stated, “Except the Turkish nation, we do not see another nation in Turkey. All who live in Turkey are Turks. Kurds do not exist in Turkey.”
Since its inception, the racist Turkish state dropped an “iron curtain” on the Kurdish issue so the outside world would not see or hear their pain. Internally, the Turks used an “iron fist” to brutally put down any notion of the Kurdish identity. In the wake of such a “Dark Age” mentality dozens of thousands of innocent Kurds were either imprisoned, murdered, or internally displaced. Thousands of Kurdish villages were ruined by the Turkish state. People in the Turkish occupied Kurdistan were intentionally left in poverty. The policy behind this cruelty was and has been to force Kurds to migrate to the Turkish cities to live and work—another inhumane approach to depopulate Kurdistan.
Kurdish humiliation and enslavement under the Turkish xenophobic and discriminatory Constitution continued. For the people of Kurdistan, the Turkish state was transformed into a large “prison” in which the Kurds became a shadowy presence hidden behind Turkish identity, and continued to suffer with literally no gateway out.
It was not until 1984, did the Kurds think of an armed movement to curb atrocities of the Turkish state. In 1984, after some sixty years of the Kurdish “burial” by the Turkish state, the PKK redefined the Kurdish status in Turkey. Through its armed struggle and massive national support, the PKK exhumed the Kurdish “dead body” out of the Turkish “graveyard” and revivified the Kurdish national spirit. The PKK once again put the Kurdish political and cultural status on the stage of world politics.
Turkey and the PKK
In 1984, when the PKK started an armed movement to stop the Turkish policy of genocide against the people of Kurdistan, the Turkish immediate “reactionary” response was—we will crush them. The Turkish political and military machine announced the “oath of annihilation” against the PKK rebels and all those who were associated with the movement including civilians who had a bit of sympathy for the rebels.
Estimated lives lost in the Turkish-PKK conflict exceed 45,000 casualties. Although bloody conflict, millions on the Kurdish side in the greater Kurdistan believe that the PKK has brought awareness to the Kurdish people to reclaim their national dignity in the face of the Turkification policy. These Kurds do not for a nanosecond want to even mention the costs. They believe “freedom is not free.” Thus, they are willing to pay the ultimate sacrifices to live with their own national integrity.
Additionally, Turkey under the Justice and Development Party (AKP) headed by Erdoğan, although more flexible than all its predecessors towards the Kurdish issue in Turkey, has not been genuine in finding an authentic strategy to recognize the Kurdish cultural and political identity. The AKP leadership, perhaps, wants to subject the Kurds to various developmental programs while continuing its hostilities and warmongering mentality against the PKK. The Turkish leadership must understand that this Policy does not comply with reality and it won’t bear fruit because, the PKK has the support of its people. It fights to stop Turkish oppression of the Kurds. Further, as long as the AKP leadership continues to use various political “catchphrases” to deal with the Kurdish issue without making necessary changes in the Constitution, Turkey will remain in the cycle of cynicism; and the dire Turkish-Kurdish conflict continues.
Further, if indeed the AKP leadership is sincere and wants to resolve the Turkish-Kurdish conflict, why doesn’t it create some legal means in the Turkish Parliament to start genuinely and in the open negotiating with the PKK and/or the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP)’s leadership? The BDP is a legal party in Turkey and has dozens of its members in the Turkish Parliament. To resolve an ethnic problem, you must engage with members of the respective ethnicity. Turkey cannot engage in a genuine negotiation, while it continues to circulate in the cynical cycle of hate and distrust. Turkey must adapt a new set of beliefs that is premised on the fact that the Kurds are not pro-violence and want peace. They have armed themselves only to stop the Turkish inhumane policies against their national existence.
Furthermore, since the 1990s, the PKK occasionally and unilaterally has declared a ceasefire against the Turkish state to pave a way towards a peaceful-political solution. Every time the PKK’s call for a peaceful approach fell on deaf ears. The Turkish response always was, “Lay down your arms in order to benefit from the state immunity.” Turkey resumed hostilities and widened the Turkish-Kurdish tension. As a result, more innocent Turkish-Kurdish blood was shed. In its war against the PKK, the Turkish military observed no international treaty on fair treatment of prisoners. They violated every ethical, legal, and human right standard, and treated the PKK prisoners in a worst possible way. The Turkish military even humiliated PKK’s dead corps—an act that once again reminded the world of Turkish savagery.
To demand that PKK give up, Turks should change the current Turkish Constitution so that Kurds and Turks are equal before the law—a Constitution that disapproves violence on both sides (Turks and Kurds alike). Turkey must stop play political “blame games” and should look for a genuine remedy. One side cannot and should not ask to disarm the other side while constitutionally, inhumane racist policies continue. Under Erdoğan and his AKP leadership, Turkey has implemented some “politically correct” programs vis-à-vis the people of Kurdistan, however, for a genuine peace to happen, the AKP leadership should find a way out of political slogans and into the constitutional solution. Turkey must inscribe the Kurdish identity into the new Constitution—an act of which Erdoğan and the AKP have been unable to practice.
Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: a man of contradictions
In his third term, Erdoğan has shown more often than not that it is difficult for him to balance his national ambition with hard core Kurdish reality. His biggest contradiction stems from the way in which he tries to portray himself as a man of “principles.” He talks about democracy, justice, and human rights while falls short of providing a tangible legal recognition of the people of Kurdistan.
Constitutionally, before Erdoğan assumed premiership, Kurds were buried alive. When Erdoğan took office in 2003, and until now under his leadership, Kurds still constitutionally don’t exist. So one could ask, what is so significant about Erdoğan’s political game? While on the one hand, he negotiates with the PKK leadership, and on the other hand, he adheres to the military mentality to resolve the Kurdish issue. Further, one could argue, if Erdoğan is serious enough about finding a real solution to the Turkish-Kurdish disharmony, why doesn’t he start with changing certain provisions in the Constitution that are the root cause of all “evil” in Turkey, and have prevented Turkey from developing into a full-fledged democratic society. If he is genuine, he should emphasize the constitutional change that embraces the Kurdish political and cultural identity. Whenever such a pragmatic step was taken, everything else would become secondary and would easily be resolved on the negotiating table. When this happens in Turkey, then there will be no need to negotiate with the PKK in secrecy. In order to find a real solution to the Turkish-Kurdish tension, Erdoğan needs to show more courage. He needs the support of the vast majority of both Turks and Kurds—without such courage the support of many who may agree with a political rapprochement would remain a distant dream.
Despite his talk of democracy and liberty abroad, Erdoğan has been unable to fasten his genuine reform belt, and adhere to the same policies at home. Occasionally, Erdoğan has vowed to push for a military solution until the last Kurdish rebel lays down his or her weapons; he recently reiterated this same shortsighted view, “the PKK must lay down their arms before he could consider the halting of military offensive against them.” Erdoğan has allowed his military forces several times to cross borders into the Kurdistan region in Iraq to fight the PKK forces. Unsurprisingly, every time he preferred military operations over negotiations, his military troops returned to their bases unsuccessful. Thus, Erdoğan must realize that military operations have not worked in the past and won’t work in the future. He should be reminded that the classic definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result. It seems that it is difficult for Erdoğan to find a path out of narrow Turkish nationalistic ego and into a more humane and practical approach. The PKK is not what Erdoğan and his Turkish state want to want to show to the world. The PKK struggles for its oppressed people in Northern Kurdistan and cannot be easily defeated, because it enjoys massive Kurdish support. Turks must understand and accept this reality.
On the contrary, to advance his image in the Muslim and Arab world, Erdoğan has taken up the mantle of the Palestinian cause—harshly criticizing Israel for its human rights violations in Gaza—accusing Israel of war crimes against humanity. Erdoğan has used his new position against Israel, undoubtedly, to boost his diplomatic position in the Islamic countries.
Perhaps Erdoğan’s harshest poke at Israel’s human rights record came when he fulminated against the Israeli President, Shimon Peres, during a televised session at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on January 31, 2009. Erdoğan criticized the Israeli President with a previously prepared condemnation for his government’s “inhumanity.” Erdoğan stated, “I find it very sad that people applaud what you said. There have been many people killed. And I think that it is very wrong and it is not humanitarian.” Erdoğan’s harsh attack at the World Economic Forum came after weeks of similar denunciations accusing Israel of “savagery” and “crimes against humanity.” Erdoğan believes Israel’s ability to maintain its superiority in the region is because of the double-standards of the United States and other Western powers.
While he has been mocking Israel and accusing it of “savagery” abroad, at home his Turkish state has been practicing “savagery” and “crimes against humanity” versus the Kurds since the inception of the Turkish Republic. Thus, one could argue, for Mr. Erdoğan to play such a double-standard politics so well, he must be ignorant to believe that the world does not know of Turkish policy of oppression of the Kurds. Apparently, he might think that preaching humanity and democracy beyond Turkish borders would mask the policy of constitutional genocide of the Kurds at home. Additionally, while he likes to carry the badge of a man of “integrity” and advocate “justice” for the “oppressed,” under his administration more than three thousand Kurdish children under the legal age have been imprisoned—and accused of “terrorism.” Perhaps Erdoğan is another political leader who can exercise a “mastery of treachery” in the modern era as he tries to be a man of peace abroad, whilst adhering to the policy of “injustice,” and “underdevelopment” regarding the Kurds at home.
In his trip to Cologne, Germany in February 2008, Erdoğan told a crowd of more than 20,000 Turkish immigrants that "assimilation is a crime against humanity" responding to the German concern about the lack of interest among the Turkish immigrants to merge into the German society. He urged them to resist assimilation into the Western culture. In March 2010, Erdoğan called on Germany to open Turkish-language grade schools and high schools. Additionally, during a similar visit to Germany in February 2011, while speaking to a crowd of more than 10,000 immigrants in the German industrial city of Düsseldorf, Erdoğan encouraged Turkish immigrants to first, teach their children to read and write in Turkish before German. Further he said, "We are against assimilation. No one should be able to rip us away from our culture and civilization." Erdoğan calls the German policy for promoting German language “within” Germany “inhumane.”
Indeed, Erdoğan is a man of all-out “contradictions” and not a man of “principles.” While he urged the Turkish immigrants in Germany to teach their children Turkish language first, and warned Germany against assimilating his people into the Western culture—and he referred to “assimilation” as a “crime against humanity” he knew that his fellow Turkish immigrants were in Germany on “Work Visas,” and had no legal rights since they had no legal status in Germany. Nonetheless, whilst taking such a stand against Germany—in Turkey, since 2003, after he was elected Prime Minister, he has continued some eight decades old legacy of assimilation against the Kurds. Although, he attacks Germany for the so-called German intention of assimilating Turkish immigrants, he knows that Germany as a democratic country has no such policy to forcefully assimilate the non-German people. Further, despite the fact that Erdoğan said assimilation is a crime against humanity, he still presides over the government that operates under one of the most racist constitutions in the human history—a Constitution that by far has exceeded all the essence of assimilation and has uprooted the roots of Kurdish identity in Turkey.
Further, on June 6, 2011, in a meeting he had with the delegation of representatives of Egypt’s young revolutionaries in Turkey, Erdoğan addressed the young representatives on democracy and said that “democracy is guaranteed rights and basic freedoms, especially for women and children and that they should select a president with characteristics like honesty and sincerity, so that the people will gain a lot of support.”
Perceptibly, politicians are known to utter statements even if they are not “true” or they may not have their hearts in the concept, which they express. He said, democracy guarantees basic “rights” for “women and children.” Well, if Erdoğan believes in the concept of which he uttered to the young Egyptians, why then, under his so-called “Justice and Development” party and government, Kurdish children are barred from carrying Kurdish names? In Turkey, the Turkish law requires all Kurdish children to have Turkish names. Here, one could argue, is it not possessing a Kurdish name a basic right a Kurdish child should enjoy under Erdoğan’s “democracy?” When in Somalia in August 2011, Erdoğan was holding a child in his arms and trying to soothe the agony of Somali women (which was very humane thing to do). Nonetheless, there are hundreds of Kurdish women (some under the legal age) who serve time in Turkish prisons—accused of supporting the PKK without any viable evidence against them. When he talks about “humanity,” it would be wise to remind Erdoğan that “common humanity” is the same for all women and children whether they are Turkish, Somalis, Armenians, Palestinians, or Kurds.
It seems Erdoğan’s view of Islam influences his rubric for determining what constitutes terrorism or war crimes. If a leader is Muslim, then in Erdoğan’s opinion he “cannot commit genocide” or terrorist acts because Islam forbids such evil acts. This was Erdoğan’s way of defending Sudan’s warmonger Omar al-Bashir for his genocide and destruction of Darfur. Erdoğan indicates that an Islamic leader cannot commit genocide, which by proxy, he implies that, in his view, only Western or other non-Muslim leaders could commit such an evil act. Well, again one must say to him, either he is ignorant of his own Turkish-Ottoman Empire’s genocide of Armenians in 1915, or an arrogant Turkish politician whose Islamic purview determines what constitute genocide. Further, Erdoğan believes when an Islamic faction such as Hamas that fights Israel—such a group cannot be called “terrorists,” but rather, they should be called “freedom fighters.” Because in Erdoğan’s rubric Hamas is an Islamic group that fights a non-Islamic Jewish state. One could argue with him, how then an Islamic state such as Turkey can oppress another Muslim people within its borders. How can he justify the Turkish oppression of the Kurds? Further, according to Erdoğan’s formula, although their members and affiliates come from Muslim families, the PKK are terrorists, because they fight the Islamic Turkish state.
The drum of Turkish atrocities has been beating for centuries against the people of Kurdistan. During the Ottoman Empire, the empire’s strategy was to use Islam with Muslims who had non-Turkish roots to prevent them from challenging the Islamic Sultanate. The empire’s Islamic brotherhood was the most effective weapon against any notion of challenging the Islamic Turkish Sultans. As a result, the people of Kurdistan were ensnared in the so-called Turkish “Muslim brotherhood.”
Even after the demise of the Ottoman Empire and in the new republic of Turkey—under every Turkish government including Erdoğan’s government, the people of Kurdistan remain stripped of the most basic human rights. Additionally, Erdoğan, like his predecessors, has continued hostilities against the people of Kurdistan, which has resulted in the loss of thousands of Kurdish and Turkish lives. Instead of looking for a genuine constitutional change to forge a peaceful legal-political solution, Erdoğan maintained the superiority of his egoistic and myopic national sentiment, and occasionally called for the PKK to surrender. However, it would be wise for him to come to terms with reality and realize that the issue is not the PKK, but rather it is the issue of the identity of 25 million Kurds in Turkey who are still suffering as a result of racist policies of the Turkish state.
Further, while some observers echo Erdoğan’s view that “the PKK and Öcalan should wake up to reality and bury in history the guns and armed struggle,” they should be fair enough to equally demand that Erdoğan and the Turkish political and military authorities wake up to reality and bury the racist Turkish Constitution in the graveyard of history. Only then can a genuine peace be established. Only then can Kurds and Turks live side by side in peace and prosperity.
In private, Erdoğan in his meetings with certain Kurdish leaders admits that “the era for denying the existence of Kurdish people is over. It is behind us.” Although in private, it is nice to hear that Erdoğan talks on reconciling with the historical truth about the people of Kurdistan, nonetheless, he should have enough courage to take this “reality” to his Turkish parliament and say—my fellow citizens, for centuries we have denied freedom to the Kurds, it is time to face the truth and accept the reality of the Kurds—and that, the era of denying the existence of the Kurds is over. He should say to his people that we can no longer practice such undemocratic and inhumane politics. He needs to discuss this matter with Turkish politicians, legislators, and military and not in the confined walls with Kurdish leaders. He needs to prepare his people for such a historic move of reconciliation.
Therefore, for an undisputable peace to be established between the Turks and Kurds, it is crucial for the Turkish authorities to step out of the bloody cycle, hate, and cynicism. They should acknowledge the reality in which Turkey exists, and that is Turkey consists of two main nationalities, Turks and Kurds, and other ethnic minorities. Furthermore, both the Turkish government and the PKK should realize that they live in a time in which wisdom requires both sides to work towards finding a common ground on which coexistence is possible—a coexistence that is premised on mutual respect and understanding. For the AKP leadership to silence the PKK guns, they should first change the Constitution, and return the rights and identity to the Kurds. Once this has happened, as Nelson Mandela once so famously said, “all the Kurdish guns will be silenced.”
Kirmanj Gundi is a professor at the Department of Educational Administration and Leadership at Tennessee State University.
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