Posted by: hevallo | June 19, 2007

So called ‘experts’ on the Kurdish Question in Turkey.

A “tiny minority of Kurds” give the ‘victory’ sign of the Kurdish struggle as one minute silence is observed for those who have given their lives in PKK’s armed struggle.
Adana Newroz 2007.

Those of us who have campaigned on The Kurdish Question over the years have grown tired of the constant psychological warfare battle that is unremittingly waged against the truth of the issue. You can sometimes understand but not excuse, a tired journalist who has a deadline to reach and just trots out some information he/she finds in another report and just regurgitates it unwittingly.

But there are some so called ‘experts’ like this recent comment from a posting on Prof Juan Cole’s blog.

Only a tiny proportion of Turkish Kurds supports the PKK, which has a very nasty history as a far-left terrorist group that killed thousands.”


I must say I’m afraid that I’ve not heard of him in relation to the Kurdish issue in Turkey before but he likes to present himself as an ‘authority’. Indeed his blog is called rather grandly, ‘Informed Comment’. Funny then that a lot of his comment is so wide off the mark!

A lot of so called experts do this. Without even the slightest bit of research. Or do they? I would think that they DO know the facts but choose to either ignore them or distort them for either ideological or financial reasons. All of us who are in some way or other involved in the Kurdish issue have noticed for example recently a high rise in the number of reports and articles that in many of the basic information is JUST PLAINLY WRONG!

Is this a coincidence or is there a sustained and organised campaign attempting to further label the legitimate Kurdish struggle for basic human and political rights, as ‘terrorist’ and so justify further military actions? There has certainly been an increase in cyber attacks on Kurdish websites including Kurdish Media, Kurdish Info and others. The Kurdish satellite station Roj TV’s signal is routinely interfered with in the Kurdish areas of Turkey.

The PKK are presented as a ‘terrorist’ group that have just ‘appeared’ from nowhere and killed 35,000 innocent people. This is not right. I will leave it to Human Rights Watch to explain some of what they have been able to gather about the conflict, although many even dispute their numbers as being too low for innocent Kurdish casualties!

During a two-decade campaign against separatism inside Turkey’s borders, state forces committed grave and widespread human rights violations. They detained thousands of citizens for interrogation under torture. Between 1980 and 2000, more than 400 prisoners died, apparently as a result of torture, in the hands of Turkish police or gendarmes (i.e. soldiers who carry out police duties in the countryside complementary to the police within city and town boundaries). Security forces emptied large areas of the countryside in the southeast by bombing and burning unarmed peasant settlements. Hundreds of thousands are still displaced. In the early 1990s, the Turkish security forces are believed to have sponsored networks of killers to eliminate hundreds of suspected enemies of the state by gunning them down in the street or making them “disappear.”

It continues……

“In a thirteen-year-long conflict with the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), Turkish security forces established a reputation for systematic torture and extrajudicial killing. When Turkish police, gendarmes, or soldiers had difficulty in distinguishing between rural civilian populations and armed insurgents, they drove the peasantry off their land and burned down thousands of settlements to create free-fire zones in the countryside. Soldiers torched villagers’ homes, destroyed their crops and orchards, and machine-gunned their livestock. No official record was kept of these operations or the destruction wrought in the course of them, and no compensation was paid. Even by official figures, widely considered to be a serious underestimate, 380,000 people lost their homes. Most of the displaced are now living in poverty in the metropolitan areas of the country. Government return programs are a sham, without sufficient funding or political will to regenerate the fragile peasant economy. This pattern of violations has been corroborated by judgments of the European Court of Human Rights, which found Turkish security forces responsible for torturing, killing, and “disappearing” Kurdish villagers and burning them out of their homes. (See for example, Akdivar and others v Turkey, September 16, 1996; Menteş v Turkey, November 28, 1997; Selçuk v Turkey, April 24, 1998; Asker v Turkey, April 24, 1998; Bilgin v Turkey, July 17, 2001; Dulas v Turkey, January 30, 2001; Orhan v Turkey June 18, 2002 Akdeniz and others v Turkey,May 31, 2001; Kurt v Turkey, May 25, 1998; Çakıcı v Turkey, July 8,1999; Ertak v Turkey, May 9, 2000; Timurtaş v Turkey, June 13, 2000.)

“Evacuations were unlawful and violent. Security forces would surround a village using helicopters, armored vehicles, troops, and village guards, and burn stored produce, agricultural equipment, crops, orchards, forests, and livestock. They set fire to houses, often giving the inhabitants no opportunity to retrieve their possessions. During the course of such operations, security forces frequently abused and humiliated villagers, stole their property and cash, and ill-treated or tortured them before herding them onto the roads and away from their former homes. The operations were marked by scores of “disappearances” and extrajudicial executions. By the mid-1990s, more than 3,000 villages had been virtually wiped from the map, and, according to official figures, 378,335 Kurdish villagers had been displaced and left homeless.”

Who are the thugs then Prof Cole?
And if your going to be an ‘expert’ on the Kurdish issue you must read this.
Seriously, this is how the Turkish state operates most of the time.
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