October 2, 2006
Kurdish phobia that exits in Turkey
By Ardalan Hardi
Turkish Daily says the president of Iraq has negotiated with a terrorist organization and any negotiation with terrorist organizations is unacceptable for any state. The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is considered a terrorist organization by Iraq, the United States, the European Union and Turkey. The article goes on to say Talabani is the first official who confesses that he was in direct talks with the PKK terrorist organization.
In an interview with Newsweek President Talabani said “We are urging the Turkish Kurds to be moderate, to wage their struggle through democratic means.” President Talabani’s attempt to face the PKK issue through diplomatic, democratic process is the only way to establish a peace in Turkey with regards to the Kurds. Since Iraq is a sovereign nation, it has earned the right to makes its own analysis concerning with whom and how it wants to negotiate to resolve the PKK issue peacefully.
Consider the following.
1. Why is it okay for Turkey to dialog with Hammas when Hamas is listed as a terrorist organization by Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Israel, and the U.S., and is banned in Jordan? However, it is not acceptable for Jalal Talabani, a Kurd and president of Iraq, to talk to PKK. In addition, Talabani’s dialog with PKK is nothing new. It was not long ago when former Turkish president, Turgut Özal, appealed for Talabani assistants to reach a deal with PKK in order to resolve the Kurdish issue. The cease fire of the 90’s was the direct result of those negotiations. Unfortunately Mr. Ozal passed away and those talks ended. In a short period of time, northern Kurdistan was again engulfed in violence.
2. PKK bases in Iraq are refugee camps that were inherited from the previous Iraqi regime. All of refugees fled Turkey to avoid political oppression and extreme poverty.
Under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugeesand 1967 Protocol, a signatory nation must grant asylum to refugees and cannot forcibly return refugees to their nations of origin. According to the international law, refugees are individuals who: are outside their country of nationality or habitual residence; have a well-founded fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion; and are unable or unwilling to avail themselves of the protection of that country, or to return there, for fear of persecution.
Iraq’s government is obligated to uphold international law and cannot and should not force the asylum seekers back to Turkey where it is certain they will face execution by Ankara’s government.
3. In an interview with CNN, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister, rejected calls by an imprisoned Kurdish rebel leader for an unconditional ceasefire by the PKK, saying "a ceasefire is done between states. It is not something for the terrorist organization." Looking back in history we see that for years the U.S. considered PLO to be a terrorist organization. While Menachem Begin stated on more than one occasion that even if the PLO accepted UN Security Council resolution 242 and recognized Israel's right to exist, he would never negotiate with the organization. In the final analysis and for the sake of peace, the U.S. and Israel ended the dead lock that had plagued the Middle East peace process and opened dialogue with Arafat and the PLO.
4. If Turkey truly wants to end the Kurdish question peacefully, it does not have to have dialogue with PKK. Ankara’s government can pick anyone of the other legal Kurdish political parties within Turkey to negotiate on how to improve economic development in northern Kurdistan, allow real exercise of cultural rights for Kurds, and recognize Kurdish identity in Turkey. By doing so PKK would became a mute point.
It is obvious this attack on President Talabani is just another propaganda scheme by Turkish state to pave the way for invading Kurdish de-facto state.
The problem is Turkey is not interested in solving the Kurdish issue peacefully. This Kurdish phobia that exits in Turkey goes back to creation of Turkish state from Kamal Ataturk and persists to this date. Everyone knows Turkish military is in control of the government in Turkey and in order to maintain their hold on power, they have successfully instilled this fear of the Kurd factor in their citizens to legitimize their own existence.
The statements in Turkish Daily made by Nilgun Gulcan, the so called Turkish think tank, saying the Kurdish leaders in Iraq aim to separate Iraq and to establish a Kurdish state in the north adding “They abuse the PKK problem. They first supported the PKK terrorism in order to make Turkey busy – not to prevent separation of Iraq – and now they want to legalize a terrorist organization. It is unfortunate that a legal president makes negotiations with a terrorist organization.” Gulcan goes on to say “As long as Barzani and Talabani continue to support the PKK terrorism, a possible Turkish military intervention in Northern Iraq would be on the agenda.” This is another validation of the Kurdish phobia that exists in the Turkish state. These allegations are just baseless propaganda to legitimize Turkish military intervention in Kurdistan’s regional government and eliminate any gains’ the Kurds have had in recent history.
Turkey continually uses the PKK card unsuccessfully as a ploy to gain support from the international community for its devious plan.
The EU and US must stand firm against Ankara’s government fraudulent attempts on sabotaging the only part of Iraq that is in peace.