Wednesday, 27 June 2012, 08:06 GMT
Kurds, the subjects of the Porte or the fully-fledged citizens of a Republic?


Erdogan said his government would allow elective Kurdish-language lessons along with some other dialects./AFP

The Kurdish Globe
By Behrooz Shojai

The political debate in Turkey over the past weeks was swayed by promising signs of a new "opening" on the Kurdish question. The Prime Minister, who had firmly opposed any mother-tongue education in the past, gave the green light for Kurdish as an optional subject in schools.

There have been summit talks between Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and Turkish officials, concerning a solution to the Kurdish dilemma in Turkey. BDP representatives have been visiting the USA and the Kurdistan Region to gain momentum to start peace negotiations. In all likelihood, there have been even bilateral and indirect negotiations between the PKK and Turkish officials.

As some kind of start to the negotiations, as it has occurred before, the prominent Turkish journalist Avni Özgürel visited Qandil mountains and interviewed PKK?s strongest man Murat Karayilan. Karayilan, alongside some notifications about the collapsed peace talks during the so called Oslo negotiations between PKK and Turkish officials, admits that the Silvan attack last year on a group of Turkish soldiers with heavy casualties, took place without his cognizance.

Karayilan also admits that the peace talks were in the final phase when the attacks took place on July 15th of last year. Recently, Kurdish activist Leyla Zana also tried to soften the debate by indirectly praising Erdogan as the only person in the history of Turkey who has the ability to solve the Kurdish question. Some columnist went as far as stating that peace has never been as close as it is now.

But now, just like many times before, a hidden hand is in charge again. Once again, exactly when peace efforts were ongoing, PKK guerilla soldiers suddenly conduct a spectacular military action against a Turkish military post in Oremar, which ironically had been target of another attack some years ago. And suddenly the warmongers call for retaliation and more war.

But is it only the PKK that is torpedoing the chances of peace? About 7000 BDP functionaries have been arrested, among them more than half of the BDP-backed mayors of many towns and districts in northern Kurdistan. The latest one, Bekir Kaya, the mayor of Wan, was a hard working and very successful mayor that had tremendously improved the municipal services in the city.

During a stay I had in Wan, one and half year ago, I saw many banderoles in the markets of Wan, on which the shopkeepers, businessmen and ordinary citizens expressed their gratitude for his tremendous efforts to deliver municipal services to the citizens. Amazingly, this was also admitted by an official. I was called to meet with the Turkish Intelligence Service (MIT). In an open discussion with the officer in charge I mentioned Bekir?s good work in the city. His reaction was that they too appreciated him because of his good job, regardless of his party-political affinity. In my naivety I thought that even the Turkish intelligence agency has come around and got some kind of political reason.

When the AKP came to power it had to fight many opponents within the army, judiciary and security forces. The AKP finally defeated the deep state, the so called Ergenekon organization. Then one can ask why the AKP needs to imprison almost every activist within BDP with the pretext that they are KCK activist. The overwhelming majority of these functionalists have no organic ties with the PKK?s so called urban infrastructure, the KCK.

Assuming that there are some affiliated with the PKK, isn?t it better that they are in the cities doing peaceful activities rather taking arms and joining PKK in the mountains? Many analysts rather think of conspiring theories and persist in the existence of parallel organizations, both within the PKK and the Turkish state. They may be right, but they also should survey the rationale for the existence of such parallel formations.

Ergenekon existed because there is a strong Turkish mindset based on paranoid megalomania intertwined with abhorrence for Kurds as its ?other?. This mindset has its roots in the Ottoman approach towards the Kurds as its subservient subjects, who could be castigated whenever the Grand Seigneur felt that the Kurdish vassals aimed at surpassing their fate as the eternal subjects of the Port.

Thus, the average Turkish official, regardless of his party-political color, is used to labeling the Kurds as disobedient, unruly children, who should be chastised and in the best case the subversive child should repent and search for the Turkish state?s compassion (devletin şevkati). The most benevolent Turkish official, the deputy of Prime Minister, Mr. Bülent Arinc, is famous for his tolerant approach towards the Kurds. He has at various occasions expressed empathy for the Kurdish plight, but when it came to the mother education, in a quite patronizing approach based on arrogant ignorance typical for the sick man of Europe and the subtle psychology of the master, he stated that the Kurdish is not the language of civilization!

The Kurds on the other hand, with the inferiority complex personality embodied in PKK?s mutinous behavior, use every occasion to offend the tyrannous master. PKK indeed manifests a collective psyche characterized by contradictory manifestations. It has a Turkish mentality, a Turkish lingua franca, a Turkish political character, and like the Turkish masters, a maximalist approach about how the issue should be settled i.e. pointless violence. In the last violent act of the PKK, 8 soldiers were killed, while more than 20 PKK fighters lost their lives, adding to the facts that many of the Turkish soldiers were of Kurdish origin, whose families apparently have little loyalty to the Turkish state.

Those in power in Turkey try to win time while assimilation is ongoing. They believe, in their peculiar perception of reality, that they still can force a nation of several millions to submission. They know that PKK is just the open wound in the body of the Kurds and they keep it open to let the Kurdish nation bleed to death. They need just time; time to do what France did in the verge of state-building when modern France was created through subjugation of many nations in the country.

So if French did so when they created France, why shouldn?t it be possible in Turkey? But obviously they are unaware that when modern France was created there was a strong centrality, the Kingdom, a representative of the divine on earth and weak intergroup mobility among minorities in the country. Prime Minister Erdogan perhaps has the divinity of the French King, but unfortunately for him, there is a strong intergroup mobility among his Kurdish subjects. There is a silent majority among Kurds who neither subordinate themselves under his divinity nor have they lost their mind to adhere to PKK?s pointless armed struggle. Those in power in Turkey keep PKK alive to pacify the Kurds with enough political reason.

Turkey and its Kurds need a paradigm shift in their mindset. As long as this master-servant relation prevails there will be no solution. The Kurds are not the subject of the Porte anymore. Turkish state should consider the Kurds as its citizens with rights and liberties, individual as well as collective as such.

And the Kurds should get out of the state of suspension of human reason. By polarizing the political landscape, the detestation between Kurds and the Turkish state is transforming into hatred between Kurds and Turks. The alternative would be engagement in a vicious circle of orgies of violence, master-servant disputes and the epicurean grief over martyrs (şehitperverlik).