Saturday, January 22, 2011

Turkey's Kurdish Question: a book by the Carnegie Corporation of New York

Kurds have a bright future!
Why do successive Turkish leaderhips fail to apply their Cyprus logic to their Kurdish challenge? Why failed forced assimilation policies for almost 90 years at home, and separatist / partition policies in Cyprus? My Kurdish friend Kani Xulam, a "Turkish" national, puts it this way
 "a nation [the Kurds] is asked to surrender itself not just for a time, but for perpetuity ... an on-going tragedy, unabated, for some 87 years".

Assuming intentions are good, how hard can it be to consistent on the principles to be applied in majority-minority community relations within a country. The Kurdish and Cyprus issues, both concerning the plight of ethnic minorities circa 20% within large countries of majorities with different ethnic origin and language, are inextricably linked for one obvious reason: Turkey holds the key for the resolution of both; but chooses and applies different principles for political reasons, in one case benefiting the majority (at home) and in the other (Cyprus) the minority (in violation of the UN charter), in other words always benefiting the Turkish speaking segments of the respective populations. Do you detect the fascism here?

Neither the Cypriots nor Turkey's Kurds have the luxury to fail raising the international community's awareness on this comparative politics approach. Not with the aim to break up Turkey. But instead to help the Turkish nation comprehend their leaders' hypocrisy in approaching the rights of the two minority communities: the Kurdish in Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot in Cyprus. To help the people of Turkey understand that recognizing the Kurdish language as an official language of Turkey is long overdue, to help the people of Turkey understand that more autonomy for the Kurds of Eastern Turkey is long overdue, to help the people of Turkey understand that the evolution of Turkey into a federation may be the long awaited solution to replace the junta constitution of the 80s that keeps the country pinned to a backward mentality and centralised structure that its people do not deserve.

To help the people of Turkey understand that the presence of 40.000 troops in Cyprus, a UN and EU country, supposedly to protect an ethnic minority simply doesn't convince anyone anymore. To help the people of Turkey understand that the T-Cypriot minority could immediately enjoy rights within the Republic of Cyprus unimaginable for the Kurds of Turkey today, and acknowledge the eveident truth that pulling out of Cyprus and letting Cypriots manage their future is the optimal solution.

In the end to help the people of Turkey understand that peace in the world cannot come about by a Turkish war machine that is used to suppress peoples' rights both at home and abroad, if they happen to be of non-Turkish ethnic origin.

It is disheartening however to see Kurds still unsure for the way forward. In my opinion, Kurds' best bet for the next 30 years is to unify behind the bizonal federation idea on an equal basis between the Turkish majority and the Kurds.

That is exactly what Turkey (the Turkish ruling majority) supports vehemently as a solution to Cyprus' 90% Greek majority and 10% Turkish Cypriot minority (as high as 18% prior to Turkey's invasion!), in order to agree to pull out its occupying forces. The reason they give is that the extra rights are needed as protection for the suffering minority.

Turks cannot deny Kurds the same solution. Kurdish suffering has been 100-fold. If anything, ethnic Turks should offer their Muslim brothers an even better deal. Even if they did deny Kurds clauses they nevertheless wholheartedly support for the T-Cypriot minority of Cyprus, they could be embarassed in front of every western leader and nation by simply asking "why there and not here at home?". It would be Kurds' task to make such hypocrisy visible.

If only Kurds of Turkey could unite behind the goal of a federation on an equal footing with the Turkish majority! It is my sincere hope to see the Kurds of Turkey united soon and with a block voice and a principled peaceful manner to demand what is rightfully theirs. It would be simply beautiful to do so by using Turkish arguments!

Link to the book:
Turkey's Kurdish Question: a book by the Carnegie Corporation of New York

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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.