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Kurdish politics dynamics, the PKK and peace with Turks

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It’s been a long time since I have last posted on this blog. I have to admit it is mainly because I do not know of my audience. It is clear that I do not want to write to friends, but then, who do I write to? Who are you?

Anyway.

With this post I want to mention my opinion of the ongoing peace process between the PKK and the Turkish State.

It has to be the same one continuing, the process that started with the visit of the British minister of Foreign Affairs to Hewler, Iraqi Kurdistan, back in 2009. Since then, I do not believe the agenda has changed. In the overall picture, it is the same process which the Americans gave the kick for with a report written by David L. Philips, dated back to 2007: Disarming, Demobilizing, And Reintegrating The Kurdistan Worker’s Party.

The current process
The idea behind should be simple. Do not break the hearts of the Kurds but take the PKK out of the game (might it be only the war game or the whole game? I pick the latter). Overall strategy seems to be “gather Kurds behind Nechirvan Barzani”. This, the way I see it, is being built up slowly but surely.

The milestones during this process -for the managers of the project- are likely to be the following:

  • The retreat of PKK guerrillas to their bases in Qandil Mountains
  • The referendum for the new Turkish constitution
  • The death of Ocalan in prison
  • The attack of Assad forces to Kurds in Northern Syria
  • The coming of Peshmerga to Syrian (Southwest) Kurdistan as liberator.

The PKK

If these happen as listed, then what will happen in Northern Kurdistan politics is another guess. Somehow the whole pie seems to be planned to be given to / collected under the lead of the ‘Iraqi’ Kurdish state. Aren’t they being invested as the future Kurdish state? All these hydrocarbon digging, selling, transporting agreements…

PKK’s one main weakness within the Kurdish political community is its un-understandable resistance to commonly accepted Kurdish national flag, Ala Rengin. Not that they do not target a Kurdish state anymore (or in that case they declare to have no problem with the borders designed right after the World War I, the current borders that deny the Kurds), they also refuse having anything in common with the rest of the Kurdish political establishment.

It is clear for me that any remaining PKK dominance on Kurds of Northern Kurdistan after the retreat of the guerrilla and the death of Ocalan will be wiped away by a Hewler backed nationalist wind supported by the strong symbol of the nation, the Ala Rengin.

These are how I read the ‘Peace Process’. In my opinion, PKK, in reality, does not deserve the dominant position in Kurdish politics with the current ideology it has. It won’t hurt if it leaves politics peacefully.

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Written by M. Husedin

03 May 2013 at 1:31 AM

A Letter to President Barack Obama on the recent Turkish-Iranian aggression against Kurdistan-Iraq

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By Kirmanj Gundi

President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC 20500 August 27, 2011 Dear Mr. President:

When America decided to invade Iraq and topple its tyrannical regime, America was in need of assistance from all of its friends in the region, particularly America’s long time ally, Turkey. To expedite the toppling of the regime, America asked Turkish authorities for permission for American ground forces to pass through Turkey and into Iraq. The American request was denied and America received a cold shoulder from Turkish authorities.

During that crucial period, to facilitate America’s success in toppling Saddam Hussein’s despotic regime, the Kurdish leadership put the Peshmarga forces under the US military command. Kurdish leaders have done their due diligence to promote America’s mission in Iraq whether through mediating between/among Arab political rivals to create better unity in Baghdad or by participating in the US military undertaking against militants. The people of Kurdistan embraced American forces and welcomed them with flowers while they were barraged with bullets in other parts of Iraq.

The stability that the people of Kurdistan along with their leadership have established during the past two decades has helped America to move forward in Iraq in completing its mission. Nonetheless, Kurdistan and its people have found themselves under a hybrid state of violence and political mistreatment by Baghdad, and occasionally have seen hostilities from Iran and Turkey through air and ground invasions. Consequently, many innocent people including women and children died. Villagers were forced leave their villages and became internally displaced.

The recent Turkish-Iranian joint air and ground onslaught against Kurdistan-Iraq under the pretext of going after the PKK and PJAK is a clear violation of International laws that support sovereignty of statehood, and violates the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and democratic principles.

Sadly enough, it was American-made jet fighters the Turks flew in their raids on Kurdistan, and murdered innocent people. In one incident, a whole family of seven was cut into pieces. This flagrant violation could not have happened without America’s prior knowledge of the Turkish raids. What is even more tragic is that the Turkish government, jointly with America’s archenemy, Iran, conducted this recent military operation against defenseless Kurds.

Mr. President, US made fighters were used to murder citizens of Kurdistan at a time when Kurdish people and their leadership have been the most supportive of Americans in Iraq, and one of the few in the larger Middle East. The people of Kurdistan have always looked up to America and expected America to provide viable support in the face of external aggression. Therefore, instead of being complacent about Turkish internal oppression of the Kurds and Turkish aggression towards the Kurds in Kurdistan-Iraq, America could play a better role in finding a political solution to the Turkish-Kurdish conflict. America as an occupying force of Iraq is responsible for securing Iraq’s borders.

While Turkey uses the PKK as a pretext for its aggression against the peace-loving people of Kurdistan-Iraq, the reality is that there remain some twenty-five million Kurds in Kurdistan-Turkey, who, since 1924, have been faced with Turkish policies of constitutional genocide, which attempts to eradicate Kurdish identity as a different ethnicity. The Turkish Constitution in Chapter Four, I. Turkish Citizenship, Article 66 (as amended on October 17, 2001), vividly states “Everyone bound to the Turkish state through the bond of citizenship is a Turk.”

This Article advocates constitutional genocide against all those who carry national identities other than Turkish identity. The fact is that the PKK is a product of this racist and inhuman Constitution. While it may be convenient for Turkey to declare those it oppresses as “terrorists,” others see it as a legitimate struggle for ethnic and national freedom. Under this Constitution, there is no place for the Kurds to claim their God-given “national and democratic rights” in Turkey. If they do, the intolerant Turkish mentality stigmatizes them as “Terrorists.” Interestingly, one could ask which side, through its acts defines the “definition” of terrorist, the Turkish state that constitutionally has a policy of systematic genocide against one of the ancient peoples in the world or the PKK that has a national agenda for its oppressed people? The PKK was forced into an armed struggle to stop the genocidal Turkish policies in Kurdistan-Turkey. Additionally, the PKK, occasionally, had ceased all its activities against the Turkish state to promote dialogue with The Turks. It has always been the Turkish stubborn stand that preferred military solution to the Kurdish cause in Turkey.

Mr. President, Turkey needs to realize the reality in which Turkey lives. The truth is that the issue is not the PKK, but rather it is an issue of some twenty-five million Kurds, who have been buried alive under the myopic Turkish Constitution. Let’s hypothetically assume the Turkish raids on Kurdistan eliminate the PKK, even then Turkey must realize that it cannot exterminate the Kurdish cause. Thus, it is wise for the Turks to come to terms with this reality and end the cycle of hate and distrust. They must accept the historical reality that the Kurds have been living in their ancestral lands, which were partitioned and made parts of the modern Turkish state (and other states), and have their own national characteristics that must be respected.

What the Kurds in Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria struggle for is totally in tune with the United States’ Declaration of Independence, to achieve “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Therefore, it is expected of America that America use its influence to help the people of Kurdistan especially in Turkey and Iraq where America can play a more effective role in finding a solution to the Kurdish plight. In Turkey, the Turks should be encouraged to look for a political solution to the Turkish-Kurdish uproar. In Iraq, America could do more to influence the implementation of the Article 140 to normalize the Arabized and sequestered parts of Kurdistan.

America’s support for Turkey has emboldened Turkish authorities to, under the US tutelage, violate international norms, and transgress human integrity. To end this succession of cynicism in Turkey, America can influence the Turks to amend their Constitution in which the Kurdish national and democratic rights are recognized and revered. As long as Turkey adheres to the Turkish “status quo,” it would be difficult for the people of Kurdistan in Turkey, or Kurds in other parts of Kurdistan to live in peace.

Mr. President, in your speech in the Turkish Parliament on April 6, 2009, you applauded the Turkish reform for greater democracy. You encouraged the Turks to have dialogue with the Kurdish leaders in Iraq, which indeed made a noticeable difference in Turkish behavior vis-à-vis the Kurds in Kurdistan-Iraq. However, you put Al-Qaida and the PKK on the same scale without referring to the inherently racist Turkish Constitution. Therefore, we ask you Mr. President, to call for a similar stand you displayed in your speech for the Kurds in Iraq by encouraging Turkish authorities to establish dialogue with the Kurds in Turkey so the Turkish-Kurdish bloodshed ends. In view of the fact that there exists conflict between the Turks and Kurds in Turkey”the region may never be able to see peace and tranquility”and Turkey may continue its internal oppression of the Kurds and trespass internationally recognized borders and violate the rights of Kurds beyond Turkey’s borders.

Further, since “unfortunately” Kurdistan is still a part of Iraq, it is the US responsibility to protect the people of Kurdistan. Thus, any violation against Kurdistan should be considered as a violation against Iraq. Particularly, with regard to the Iranian aggression, we ask that America protect its Kurdish friends in the face of America’s die-hard enemy, Iran.

In conclusion, we implore that the US provide protection for the people of Kurdistan from external aggression. Further, we ask that America help the Kurdish leadership to strengthen democratic institutions in Kurdistan, and promote principles on which the Kurdistani society could be transformed into a functioning civil society in which human integrity is preserved and freedom of speech including freedom of the press is respected. May God continue to bless America and Kurdistan with His love and wisdom.

We shall continue to pray for your success.

Sincerely yours,

Kirmanj Gundi

Professor
Department of Educational Administration and Leadership
Tennessee State University

http://peyamner.com/details.aspx?l=4&id=246661

Written by M. Husedin

04 September 2011 at 3:07 PM

Turkey’s attack to Qandil mountains: what for?

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The Kurdish poet / philosopher Ehmedé Xanî from centuries before wrote:

Whenever the Turkish or the Persian seas rise
Why is it always my dear homeland Kurdistan flooded?

Now, almost only days after the Persian flood on Qandil Mountains of South Kurdistan, it is the time for the Turkish flood. Air bombardments continue day and night.

For the ones who are not familiar with the unjust partitioning of Kurdistan and the Kurdish people to and under the control of four non-Kurd states, it is also not possible to understand the driving reasons of the offensives of Persians and Turks to Qandil mountains. Because of this lack of understanding, almost any small article on Kurdish matter or Kurdistan starts with an ever repeating, thus boring narrative of the Kurdish history. I will try to do this as little as possible in this article.

As I have tried to emphasize on my previous articles (link 1, link 2), the real agenda both for Turks and the Persians is to stop a new KRG-like establishment / authority in Southwest Kurdistan, or the Syrian Kurdistan if you prefer to name with these words. KRG, the Kurdistan Regional Government in the North of Iraq has been the beginning of the end of the status quo for the miserable Kurds in their homeland. Prosperous in wealth and strengthening muscles in Iraq whenever possible, developing international relations of its own, KRG is setting an example of a viable state for the rest of the Kurds. Another KRG like authority in any other part of Kurdistan (i.e. Syria) will be a few steps ahead at once compared to KRG itself.


KRG Parliament building in South Kurdistan

KRG EXAMPLE
First of all, and to put the matter honestly, KRG has been a difficult and challenging example in the nation building of the Kurds. Since the Kurdish nation is about five times more than the population in Iraqi South Kurdistan, the local parties and leaders were and to a large extent still are regional leaders limited to their own controlled area. The effect of the KRG in Kurdistan however, has been truly national. Kurds have witnessed success of their own and the establishment of a modern state that belonged to themselves, governed by fellow Kurds. So have observed the Kurdistan occupant states.

One has to remember the so called Islamist bombings of Ezidi Kurds around Mosul town. It was clear to almost everyone in the region that the Mosul consulate of Syria was behind these attacks and orchestrating together with the Turks. The famous “Hood Event” in South Kurdistan is another incident. The Turks officially present in Sulaymaniah of South Kurdistan were planning to assassinate high ranked Kurds and were arrested by the Americans. Iran was a bit more careful in regards to its bitter relationship with the US but would not do less if found the opportunity. All this is to prevent the Kurds from having their own political governing entity.

The current Turkish president Abdullah Gul famously said when he was a prime minister “anything that happens related to Kurds is a problem of Turkey even if it happens in Argentine”. He said this in his protest of VoA’s Kurdish broadcast.

Kurds, so famously quoted in the beginning of any scholarly study on themselves are “the biggest nation / people without a state”. This is in regards to Kurdish national sentiments, not about population. If it was being a people and having a population one could easily mention the Punjabis, which is not the case.


A map of Kurdistan

THE END OF THE CURSE AND THE STATUS QUO
Kurdistan is a very unjustly parted land. Kurds never accepted this partitioning of their land and fought back since the beginning. Simko, Sheikh Ahmed Barzani, Sheikh Mahmud Berzenci, Sheikh Said, Seyid Riza and the famous Bedirxans and the Xoybun are the examples of early Kurdish nationalist insurgencies for an independent state. The occupants together with their global lords fought the Kurds back in their demands.

Things changed with the American intervention to Saddam’s Iraq after the first and then the second Gulf Wars. Kurds in one part of their country gained a ‘defended’ autonomy of their own: KRG. Currently under American defence umbrella, Turks and Persians dare not be hostile to Northern Iraq’s KRG. But, what if the same example followed by the Kurds in Syria? What if this makes the autonomy seeking movements in other parts unstoppable?

These questions are most probably what the Turkish and Persian strategists ask themselves since the Syrian uprising for more democracy. One must think the answers to these questions together with the global acceptance of new states such as Kosovo, South Sudan, East Timor, etc.

Kurds and Kurdistan are only a victim of being unprepared before, during and after the World War I era, and do not want to be caught the same. It is a real battle in a sense between the states controlling / governing Kurdistan and the Kurdish people. The fight was won for Kurds in Iraq, and the Turks and the Persians do their best to prevent a similar victory elsewhere in Kurdistan.

PKK AND THE SOUTHWEST KURDISTAN
PKK is one organization which has strong ties with the Kurds in Syria. Many of its militants and high ranked guerrilla leaders are from the Southwest. Recently declared and an autonomous seeking congress in North Kurdistan, Democratic People’s Congress, PKK scares Turkey on its control of Kurds. Votes show about 60% support for PKK in North Kurdistan. PKK also proposes the same for Syrian Southwest Kurdistan.

Imagine if the turmoil in Syria led to a similar autonomy like the KRG where the defence, judicial system and the rest of governmental affairs were under control of an independent Kurdish federative state. What would stop the Kurds in Northern Kurdistan of Turkey? Why would the Kurds in Iran not ask for the same? And, why would not these federative states come together to correct the wrongdoing of the British and the French after the World War I?

Has this not been the effect of the American invasion of Iraq after all? Is this not in line with the American president Woodrow Wilson’s Fourteen Points?

American made Turkish aircrafts bomb today the Kurdish villages and guerrilla bases on Qandil Mountains. In exchange PKK is fighting back in Northern Kurdistan against the Turkish security forces. The whole fight seems to be sitting on an undealed peace agreement between Ocalan and the state. What lie beneath however is a very objective reason for the Turks. Kurdistan is strategic for them if they want to keep themselves important for the west. Say the pimp and prostitute relationship. By gaining more rights and establishing their own bodies, Kurds free themselves from the chains, not all at once, but rather one by one. Those who control Kurdistan and sell its geopolitical location to the global powers do not want the Kurds to become free and be the lords of Kurdistan.


Syrian Kurds celebrating Newroz, the Kurdish new year

It is all about the Syrian Kurds in short. Battle ground may be the high Qandil Mountains, the fight however is for Syrian Kurdistan. Turkey will try to weaken PKK guerrillas on Qandils. They may even start a new arrest campaign of the prominent Kurdish figures to demoralize the Kurds. They will aim to defocus PKK on Syrian Southwest Kurdistan.

All this to be seen. Erdogan said ‘Syria was Turkey’s internal affair’. None other than the Kurds in Syria concern the Turks. What will the world have to say against the Turks if they try to oppress the Kurds in Syria? More importantly what will the Kurds do if it comes to this?

Written by M. Husedin

19 August 2011 at 8:13 PM