The Kurds have also been persecuted by the Turkish government for decades. Gültan Kışanak and Fırat Anlı, the co-mayors of Diyarbakır, for example, were arrested on October 30, 2016 for “being members of a terrorist organization,” and Turkish authorities then appointed a custodian to run the city. In addition, there are currently 13 Kurdish MPs — including the leaders of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) — in Turkish jails.
While the Kurdish community garners western sympathy in its effort to survive both Arab and Turkish efforts to diminish and eventually destroy its existence, the fight between the two appears often to take place in the shadows and with fathomless ambiguity.
The “TAK” AKA “Kurdistan Freedom Hawks”, appear to operate autonomously from any Kurdish command structure, including the PKK’s, a U.S. Department of State listed terrorist organization.
Of course, one may suppose that for a secret war an intensely secretive military organization — there would seem no other option! — would fit with state adversary whose own aggression and transgressions were apparently masked off from general public view. Then too, Turkey appears to have chosen to interpret rebel reactions to its own assaults in the most gross terms: in the state’s mind, all of the Kurdish community is PKK (just as all opposition to Assad must be ISIS or “The Terrorists”), and the community needs be sustained bare for eventual cultural erasure beneath the Turkish banner of Islam.
Related in Wikipedia:
Certain academics[who?] have claimed that successive Turkish governments adopted a sustained genocide program against Kurds, aimed at their assimilation. The genocide hypothesis remains, however, a minority view among historians, and is not endorsed by any nation or major organisation. Desmond Fernandes, a Senior Lecturer at De Montfort University, breaks the policy of the Turkish authorities into the following categories:
Forced assimilation program, which involved, among other things, a ban of the Kurdish language, and the forced relocation of Kurds to non-Kurdish areas of Turkey.
The banning of any organizations opposed to category one.
The violent repression of any Kurdish resistance.
As if the confusion accompanying a secretive lowest-intensity war between Kurdish rebels and a new autocratic and potentially fanatic Turkish state were not enough for the devil’s amusement, the rebel’s hero Abdullah Öcalan draws from the defunct Soviet perspective for his presentation of democracy as prelude to the popular soft “democratic communalism” that would preserve the Kurdish community and make way for a hypothetical cultural Eden:
That the solution to all national and social problems is linked to the nation-state represents the most tyrannical aspect of modernity. To expect a solution from the tool which is itself the source of problems can only lead to the growth of problems and societal chaos. Capitalism itself is the most crisis-ridden stage of civilisation. The nation-state, as the tool deployed in this crisis-ridden stage, is the most developed organisation of violence in social history.
The short excerpt from the book may be considered an injustice given the lengthier reflections of the author; however, as well demonstrated in Syria by Moscow-Tehran (with baby Damascus between) if not elsewhere in the post-Soviet sphere of influence, deriding liberalism and the solutions produced by the west to ecological, economic, and humanist interests needs must come first: the conflation of unbridled capitalism with the nation-state is treated as unassailable and the very idea of nation-states (and their boundaries) needs must go.
With that in mind, have a look at where “Assad v The Terrorists” began in 2011 and how the state looks today.
Given the usefulness of what might be a binding ideological cause — and who would not be for Earth and her People? — there would seem in Ocalan’s latest book the persistence of dreadfully romantic ideas already long failed and left behind.
For the record, BackChannels may suggest that all successful polities pay mind to cultural, ecological, and social issues within their purview to construct in law and physical fact the distribution of capabilities and responsibilities that may then create healthy and productive regions — ask any urban or rural developer or planner you may know about who builds “infrastructure” and how that gets done, economically, politically, and physically.
Also worth noting of the post-Soviet sphere: the littering of the globe with kleptocratic dictatorships that appear to offer convincing and sweet-sounding programs to their people while in fact exploiting the same in the development of powerful systems of patronage .
With the Soviet Union dissolved 26 years ago (Dec. 25, 1991), the true hearts of communism have perhaps turned — say as the Communist Party has done with Jacob Zuma in South Africa — to calling out the crooks among their own.
Still, must everyone wind up alienated and enslaved by by remote power?
Must all minority cultures — anywhere — assimilate themselves into disappearance becomes of some asshole’s fascist jones for one language, religion, or national purity, or political solidarity within or beyond his own area of influence and zone of control?
We should all hope not!
It would seem most natural for communities and person to seek for themselves good accommodations without reversion to criminal force where opportunity and respect may be considered as given.
BackChannels does not know how central the PKK, much less mysterious autonomous spin-offs like the TAK, are to Kurdish cultural integrity, but it appreciates for the communities representing the earth’s fewer than 7,000 living languages the idea of ethnolinguistic cultural survival and co-evolution. From that perspective, the Turkish speakers would be noble to leave the Kurdish speakers with freedom and security on the land across which their language developed — and the Kurds would seem right to push back against the forces of their own cultural annihilation.
Since 2015, the government of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been attacking Kurdish-majority areas in the country. … The clashes have taken their toll on Turkey’s Christian population, which is caught in the crossfire. According to a November 2016 report in The Armenian Weekly,
Entire neighborhoods have disappeared, reduced to rubble. The Surp Giragos Church in Diyarbakır has escaped the fighting relatively intact structurally… But the Turkish security forces have used it as an army base, desecrating the church, burning some of the pews as firewood, with garbage and smell of urine everywhere.
Last week, the Turkish government announced it was joining the war against ISIS. Since then it has arrested more than 1,000 people in Turkey and carried out waves of air raids in neighboring Syria and Iraq. But most of those arrests and air strikes, say Kurdish leaders, have hit Kurdish and left wing groups, not ISIS.
During Turkey’s war for independence, Turkish leaders, promised Kurds a Turkish-Kurdish federated state in return for their assistance in the war. After independence was achieved, however, they ignored the bargain they had made.
Months after the declaration of a Turkish republic, Ankara, under the pretext of creating an “indivisible nation,” adopted an ideology aimed at eliminating, both physically and culturally, non-Turkish elements within the Republic. These “elements” were primarily Kurdish and Armenian.
A 1924 mandate forbade Kurdish schools, organizations and publications. Even the words “Kurd” and “Kurdistan” were outlawed, making any written or spoken acknowledgement of their existence illegal.
According to Association France-Kurdistan, between 1925 and 1939, 1.5 million Kurds, a third of the population, were deported and massacred.
There are State Security Courts in eight cities in Turkey, dealing with thousands of cases brought under the Anti-Terror Law. The definition of “terror” contained in this law is so broadly drawn that alongside cases of political arson and murder, a State Security Court may try respected politicians, journalists, human rights campaigners, and schoolchildren. Defendants branded as terrorists by conviction in State Security Courts include Recep Tayyip Erdogan, mayor of Istanbul, currently serving a ten-month sentence for quoting a poem that had been approved by the Ministry of Education but was deemed as provocation to religious hatred by the court, and Yasar Kemal, Turkey’s most prominent novelist, arraigned for writing about the Kurdish minority in a German magazine.
The Kurds, as individuals and as a society, must conceive, internalise and implement the construction of a democratic nation as the synthesis of all expressions of truth and resistance throughout their history, including the most ancient goddess beliefs, Zoroastrianism and Islam. The truths that all the past mythological, religious and philosophical teachings as well as contemporary social sciences have tried to teach and that all resistance wars and rebellions have individually and collectively tried to voice are represented in the mind and body of constructing a democratic nation. It was this reality and its expression as truth that was my point of departure, not only when I re-created myself at times but especially arriving at the present as I tried to re-create myself almost at every instant. In this way, I freely socialised myself, and concretised this as a democratic nation (in a Kurdish context), and presented it as democratic modernity to all humanity, to the oppressed peoples and individuals of the Middle East.
The fine voice from the Left would seem laced with the last century’s intellectual poison.
From a different source:
The religion of ancient Persia as founded by Zoroaster; one of the world’s great faiths that bears the closest resemblance to Judaism and Christianity.
The tiny world wide communities of Zoroastrians are no doubt pleased to get any mention in Cif belief – even if it is only to provide alphabetical balance to a list starting with the Bahá’ís. Even those who take a close interest in the more exotic or esoteric of religions tend to have a vague grasp on what the followers of the ancient Persian (or maybe Bactrian) prophet, Zarathustra (Zoroaster in Greek) – born around 800 BC – actually believed. This is a great pity since even a non-believer must be impressed with the evidence of how the religious ideas first expressed by Zoroaster were fundamental in shaping what emerged as Judaism after the 5th century BC and thus deeply influenced the other Abrahamic religions – Christianity and Islam.
As conceived or delivered by Muhammad in the 7th Century, Islam may not be said to have been an ancient — much less practiced ancient — belief or belief system. To say or suggest so is to pander to the very egoism of the listener or reader for whom the Qur’an appears to have intended humility before God.
At stake — and so often mentioned in this blog — seems ever a contest between feudal absolute power plus medieval worldviews and modern checked and distributed power accompanied by extraordinary pluralism and tolerance.
In the end, all of God’s children — our 7,000 living language cultures — are all on one Earth and together visible, all to all and to the All.
The use of Kurdish language, dress, folklore, and names were banned and the Kurdish-inhabited areas remained under martial law until 1946. In an attempt to deny their existence, the Turkish government categorized Kurds as “Mountain Turks” until 1991. The words “Kurds”, “Kurdistan”, or “Kurdish” were officially banned by the Turkish government. Following the military coup of 1980, the Kurdish language was officially prohibited in public and private life. Many people who spoke, published, or sang in Kurdish were arrested and imprisoned. Since lifting of the ban in 1991, the Kurdish population of Turkey has long sought to have Kurdish included as a language of instruction in public schools as well as a subject. Currently, it’s illegal to use the Kurdish language as an instruction language in private and public schools.