Saturday, April 16, 2011

Blind no more?

When confronted with the comparative politics approach between the plights for rights and freedoms of Cyprus' Turkish Cypriot and Turkey's Kurdish ethnic minority communities Turks are all too quick to dismiss the validity of the comparison by arguing that history and circumstances of any place and people are unique to that place and people. The statement is of course right. What makes the plight for rights of the minorities of the Republics of Turkey and Cyprus however, both circa 20%, acutely related to each other is the defining role of Turkey herself in both situations, a pariah state being heralded as a 'model for democracy' in the region, a bully that throws her weight around:
  • in the case of the Kurds in its own home the Turkish state terror, controlled by ethnic Turks, under the guise of 'counter-terrorism' has historically enabled the eradication of Kurdish identity and culture. Over the years this escalating Turkish state terror has enabled the continuing genocide of the Kurdish people by repressing their language and identity. Today, resistance against state terror lies in the campaign for Kurdish language rights in an ever growing social movement by Turkey's Kurds. 
  • in the case of the tCypriots in Cyprus, the Turkish pariah states uses force to interfere in Cypriot affairs, by ensuring for the ethnic minority community of tCypriots super rights, rights unimaginable for any minority anywhere, at the expense of the vast majority of Cypriots, the Greek Cypriots, who can trace with historical evidence their uninterrupted presence on the island since millennia, and whom the powerful propaganda machine of the Turkish "deep-state" demonizes diligently so as to excuse her military presence on Cyprus.
Such comparative politics approach is both fair and warranted, as the plights for rights and freedoms of Cyprus' tCypriot and Turkey's Kurdish ethnic minority communities are inextricably linked by Turkey's ultra-nationalism and hypocrisy of gigantic proportions.

In 1974 an illegal coup occurred in Cyprus instigated by Greece, at the time under a military junta. No one denies this. What was unthinkable was the invasion of Turkey in Cyprus and the preemptive killing of 1,5% (!) of gCypriots and the ethnic cleansing of almost 200.000 Greek Cypriots. Turkey did so before a single tCypriot was hurt and after the tCypriot leader stated unequivocally that the coup was an internal matter of the gCypriot community. In retrospect, everyone agrees that a number of other options could have addressed the matter without a single shot being fired!

At home, the legacy of Turkish state violence against the Kurds remains in the unsolved mass disappearances and the lack of justice and accountability for torture and other crimes against humanity. Kurds today still routinely face collective repression for speaking in their mother tongue. Prosecutions under terrorism laws for simply saying the words 'Kurd' and 'Kurdistan' indicate the scale of the institutional violence of denying an entire people the right to speak their language and express their true identity. In the last 30 years alone more than 50.000 people have died in Turkey, the majority of whom Kurds, because of the state's inability to address the just plight of a large ethnic minority, while at the same time she assumes the moral high ground preaching Cypriots how to address their own minority's grievances.

It is perhaps ironic that the very process that Turkey herself chose to adopt, that of a candidate country for EU accession, has enabled Europeans to examine Turkey closely and her true relationship to western ideals of democracy and freedoms. As a result Europe understands infinitely better the real Turkey and begins to acknowledge the justice of the plight of Greek Cypriots. Europe can no longer turn a blind eye to the just Cypriot cause against the regional bully. For now she knows who Turkey really is.

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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.