Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Monitoring Turkish Hypocrisy and/or Half-knowledge!

As the debate heats up in Turkey about the level of "cultural rights" or "equality" or "regional autonomy" or "federation" for "her" 22+% Kurdish ethnic minority, almost 20 million people, I will update this post regalarly [most recent addition on top] with opinions and facts of interest from the Turkish press which strike familiar chords for all Cypriots.
The eternal question will become more relevant than ever: if Kurds want more "equality" and Turkey has struck such balance in Cyprus either with 1960 or 1974 or 2010, then why not consider such options for her Kurds as well? Surely, on the suffering scale Kurds suffered and suffer immensely more! In the process we will all realize that the appalling status of the freedom of press in Turkey may claim the entire Turkish speaking world as victims!

Hypocrisy and/or Half-knowledge #10
"Are we ready to prepare a democratic constitution democratically?" by ORHAN KEMAL CENGİZ | Hurriyet Daily News | 12Jan2011

ORHAN KEMAL CENGİZ says: ... As you probably know, almost all of the constitutions Turkey has had were prepared and adopted under “extraordinary” circumstances. Because of this constitutional history, which is quite similar to that of Latin American countries, Turkish constitutions, including the current one, were designed as “power maps” rather than as documents of fundamental principles and bills of rights that establish the rights of citizens vis-à-vis the state. As power balances changed, so have the constitutions. Apart from several completely new constitutions in the last 50 years, we have also made countless amendments to each of them to adapt them to the realities in Turkey, and these amendments have made our anti-democratic constitutions incoherent. Thus, the outdated, incoherent and anti-democratic Constitution of 1982 (which is still in force) itself spells the need for a new constitution. I believe there will be intense debate and preparation on a new constitution after the upcoming general elections. ... But these steps are not enough. Freedom of speech and freedom of expression should be guaranteed at all levels for everyone involved in the discussion. If one considers how many taboos we have, it becomes clear how important guaranteeing free speech is. Preparing a constitution is an act that resembles establishing a state from the very beginning. And if the constitution is to be a people’s constitution, then all fears and concerns should be put aside for these discussions. Of course, in a deeply divided country it is not easy to find broad common ground, but if the government understands the serious nature of preparing a new constitution, it will not be impossible to find a consensus, even if only a narrow one.

ANTIFON says: Why is Turkey, a country that beyond doubt has severe democratic deficiencies, allowed to preach truly democratic Cyprus on the need for constitutional amendments or the type of solution that she should adopt? Why?

Hypocrisy and/or Half-knowledge #9
AKYOL says: ... That’s why even Kurtuluş Tayiz, a columnist for the strongly pro-Kurdish daily Taraf, opposed the autonomy plan. “This is the formula of the political hegemony the PKK wants to establish in the region,” he wrote last Tuesday. “It will establish a Kurdish tyranny over the Kurds… It will be against the Kurds who are against the PKK.” I think so, too. That’s why I strongly oppose this particular plan for “autonomy,” which will establish nothing but a PKK tyranny in Turkey’s southeast. ... That’s why I believe that the freedom of Turkey’s Kurds lie in a Turkey that has fully adopted liberal democracy – and not in a “national liberation” that will bring them new forms of oppression.
ANTIFON says: Exactly! The formula of the political hegemony the TSK and their TMT Cypriot cronies is against the majority of T-Cypriots whose legitimate interests have been suppressed. Most T-Cypriots left Cyprus during the 37-year rule of the TSK that at any other point in history! I too oppose strongly the presence of the TSK and their puppet regime in Cyprus and I hope we won't see the day to witness a similar one in Turkey. I am opposed to TSK's machinations and ideas which have brought nothing else but new forms of oppression for the T-Cypriots; I am strongly for a united Republic of Cyprus with a full liberal democracy for all its citizens.

Hypocrisy and/or Half-knowledge #8
AKYOL says: ... Here, both the pro-PKK Kurds and some “liberal” Turks have a tendency to regard a federative structure as inherently more “democratic” than a unitary one. But they are just wrong. The Soviet Union, one of the worst tyrannies the world has ever seen, was a federation. And the all-democratic and liberal Sweden, along with many current EU-member states, is a unitary state.  ...
ANTIFON says: Wait! Those are exactly my arguments against a federation based solution in Cyprus! A federation structure is not inherently more democratic, true! Sweden is my model for Cyprus too! I like your thinking Mustafa.

Hypocrisy and/or Half-knowledge #7
AKYOL says: ... But the rights of the citizens to retain their ethnic identity is one thing, the administrative structure of a country is another. The latter, such as whether we should keep our “unitary” structure or move on to a federation-based one, or one with autonomous regions, is a matter of not rights, but politics. ...
ANTIFON says: Wait Mustafa, I am confused! How about Turkey's logic in Cyprus? I guess that is what you mean by "not a matter of rights, but politics". Let's read on, shall we?

Hypocrisy and/or Half-knowledge #6
AKYOL says: ... All hell broke lose in Turkey, with many commentators condemning the “separatism” of the PKK and its political wings. Yet I saw the problem not in “separatism,” but something else. Unitary system vs federation To begin with, we should see that the demands in question fall into two different categories. The first one is more freedom for the Kurdish language and the second is “autonomy” for the Kurdish-majority southeast. I am a full supporter of the first cause. I see that the Turkish Republic tyrannically and foolishly banned the Kurdish culture for decades and now is the time to restore freedom and respect. ...
ANTIFON says: I am very interested where you go with this. I am especially noting how you mention the word 'federation'. I wonder how long before the 'C' word enters public discussion in relation to possible solutions to the Kurdish problem. The word being 'Cyprus'!

Hypocrisy and/or Half-knowledge #5
ÇETİN says: ... They talk as if they were the only ethnic group, people and language in the region; as if there were no non-Kurds there; as if a Kurdish identity were singular, unmixed and easily defined; as if all Kurds wish for the independence of the whole population and region; and as if all in the Southeast and among the Kurds support them in their claims, actions and terrorism. ...
ANTIFON says: Why not ask them in a referendum? It is as simple as that. The first thing you should do is ask your own people to self-identify themselves as Turks, Kurds, Alevi, Armenian, etc. Then as a state you would have a very good idea of the Kurds' numbers. But I guess a problem is that your very junta consitution as well as Ataturkism ideology only recognize Turks in Turkey, right? 

Hypocrisy and/or Half-knowledge #4
TÜRKÖNE says: ... There is only one real issue beyond all these debates. It is about the use of the Kurdish language. The most advanced form of use of Kurdish is its introduction as a medium of instruction. The remaining demands are insignificant. The real fight will be fought about education in Kurdish. Indeed, the General Staff’s harsh statement’s targeting only “bilingualism” amid so many topics of discussion indicates where the real war is going on. ...
ANTIFON says: In 1960 Turkey insisted for Turkish to be recognized as an official language of the Cyprus Republic since 18% of the island's population was Turkish speaking, the most logical of a list of unreasonable ultra-minority-rights Turkey threatened to go to war for. To this day, Turkey and T-Cypriots negotiate on the wisdom of the 1960 logic. They refer to it as proof of their legitimate "equality" rights. But shouldn't Kurds be offered the same? Not even their language recognized? The Turkish language official for 85.000 souls, but an "unknown language" for almost 20 million citizens of the "Turkish" Republic?

Hypocrisy and/or Half-knowledge #3
TÜRKÖNE says: ... Most of the demands voiced in the draft are in compliance with the Council of Europe’s European Charter of Local Self-Government (ECLSG), to which Turkish is a signatory. Most of them can easily be aligned with the project to reorganize the central administration and undertake local government reform, which Turkey has attempted to implement several times, but without success. ...
ANTIFON says: Why not similar for Cyprus? Why doesn't Turkey put all its weight for a similar solution to address the needs of a significantly smaller T-Cypriot ethnic minority? Why does Turkey deserve several failed attempts over many decades, when Cyprus was allowed a mere three years before Turkey  incited and provoked ethno-communal armed conflict in 1963? Were Makarios' proposals detrimental to legitimate T-Cypriot interests? Why refuse them outright?

Hypocrisy and/or Half-knowledge #2
"Democratic autonomy or decentralization?" | by MÜMTAZER TÜRKÖNE | 25Dec2010 | Today's Zaman
TÜRKÖNE says: ... The demand to have a separate flag, which gets on many people’s nerves, is nothing but populism ...
ANTIFON says: So it was for the TMT. Look where we are today, with TSK's blessing.

Hypocrisy and/or Half-knowledge #1
TÜRKÖNE says: ... “Cultural autonomy as group rights,” which is insistently voiced by the PKK, is problematic from a democratic perspective. All around the world, minority rights are adopted not as group rights but as individual rights. The aim is to protect the rights and freedoms of an individual against his/her own ethnic group. Group rights have the capacity to pose great threats to individuals. ...
ANTIFON says: Why then did Turkey insist for such rights in 1960, rejected 1963, pursued 1974, and to this day promotes partition of Cyprus, as opposed to unification efforts?

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Turkey's Kurds & Cyprus' tCypriots

As either unitary state or federation solutions are discussed as replacements to Cyprus' 1960 and Turkey's 1923 unworkable constitutions, should we abide by "if a right is a right too many for Turkey's Kurdish community (circa 23% of population) then that right is a right too many for Cyprus' tCypriot community too (circa 15%), and vice versa." Is the adoption of this fair logic the catalyst to securing just solutions for both UN countries.