Sunday, January 16, 2011

Kurds make direct reference between Cyprus and their plight within Turkey

I have long maintained that a direct link between the efforts to reach a federation solution in Cyprus must be linked to the efforts of Turkey to end her 88 year long bloody problem with her almost 20 million strong population of ethnic Kurds. This link was the impetus behind the creation of this blog as a matter of fact.

Today, for the first time, I noticed a Kurdish politician in no uncertain terms speak of a federation solution for Turkey's woes, and to make a direct link between Cyprus and Turkey! My conclusion is that the direct comparison can prove to be the catalyst everyone is looking for in order to solve both problems in a just manner. Enjoy the article below and reach your own conclusions.

No consensus at Kurdish parley in Turkey | Hürriyet Daily News | January 16, 2011

Creating an independent state, instituting federalism and issuing a general amnesty to outlawed fighters were discussed as solutions to the Kurdish question at a weekend conference that showed little consensus exists among Kurds themselves.

“The Kurds need to have a clear plan for a solution on which they agree,” Galip Ensarioğlu, the head of the Trade and Industry Chamber in the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, said Sunday. He added, however, that this should not mean imposing one way as a model, something he said would block the solution process.

Ensarioğlu called instead for the identification of common denominators, such as Kurdish education, decreasing the electoral threshold and strong local governance, around which Kurdish groups and figures could join forces. This process, he said, should be accompanied by efforts to integrate members of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, into the country’s social and political life and to address the economic problems of the Southeast Anatolia region.

The way to test the will of the Kurdish people is to hold a referendum, Halim İpek from the Kurdish Revolutionary Democrats Movement said Sunday. “The Kurds should decide on their right to self-rule,” İpek said, calling for a choice to be offered between independence, federation or confederation and the vote to be held under free democratic conditions with international observers.

“I am not talking about holding a referendum tomorrow, but in 10, 15 or 20 years,” he said.

Speaking on the second day of the conference “The Meaning of Turkish and Kurdish Brotherhood: Problems and Solutions,” organized by the Kurdish Culture and Research Foundation, or KÜRT-KAV, and the Reform Movement, İpek also talked about the need for a new constitution under which Kurds’ separate identity would be guaranteed and all restrictions on education in mother tongue would be lifted. He added that the existence of all political parties that do not preach violence should be constitutionally guaranteed, even if they support independence.

Rights and Liberties Party, or HAKPAR, leader Bayram Bozyel agreed with İpek on the need for a new constitution. “Federation is a tested model. Turkey is familiar with it through the Cyprus issue,” he added. “There is a strong tendency toward federalism in advanced democracies, in Italy and Spain for example. The European Union is another form of federal process.”

Bozyel said Kurdish should be an official language along with Turkish and that a general amnesty should be issued under which members of the PKK who disarm can freely organize politically. The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU.

The important aspect in any discussion of a solution is that is occurs in the absence of ideology, Ensarioğlu said. “Looking at the votes of the BDP [pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party], there are socialists as well as those who defend shariah,” he said. “There are educated as well as illiterate [people]; there are rich as well as poor. So the Kurdish problem is not one of ideology or a class problem.”

Speaking at the first day of the conference Saturday, Mustafa Aksoy, the head of the Reform Movement, said issues such as the Turk-Kurd problem, the Alevi-Sunni problem or the headscarf debate waste the country’s time and energy and should not occupy the country’s main agenda in the future.

Aksoy, who said he was not a Kurd but a businessman from the northern province of Rize, thanked the AKP for its work on the Kurdish issue, but added: “However, the AKP cannot solve [the Kurdish problem]. The AKP and [the BDP] cannot solve it either. It is not possible without cooperation with the CHP [main opposition Republican People’s Party].”

Also speaking Saturday, KÜRT-KAV head Kasım Ergün called for a discussion of the election threshold, education and the village guards to he held along with the implementation of Kurdish linguistic and cultural rights.

Saying “the armed struggle is a result of oppression” but that “violence does not benefit the Kurds,” Ergün called on the PKK to withdraw its fighters and the Turkish military to halt its operations against the outlawed group.

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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.