Posted by: hevallo | December 4, 2007

Ahmet Turk’s Speech at the European Parliament.

“Turkey, since the beginning of reform and modernisation, has diverted its efforts towards a new democratic structure with the aim of EU accession.

I believe that Turkey’s attempt of accession into the EU is the fourth most important strategic decision in the history of the republic. The first decision is the strategic cooperation of the Turks and Kurds in building a country which materialises itself in the creation of the republic. This joint decision of the people is certainly historic one.

What is achieved here is the joint determination in creating a country which upholds the equality and freedom of each citizen. The post-republic strategic cooperation between the Kurds and Turks is the second strategically significant decision. This is the period of 1921-1924 and at this present time this period is looked at as the “golden age”.

The first parliament was deemed to be a joint parliament of Kurds and Turks. Representation was according to identity and region. In fact Mustafa Kemal himself believed that the Kurds should be allowed a special status and even made the statement “a type of village headmanship” (the most local type of government).

This is a most notable period we can refer to, to tackle current problems and debates. The third significant strategic decision is: within the atmosphere stated above instead of furthering the republic democratically, the strategic cooperation with the Kurds was cut short and the period of conflict began.

The decision for an oligarchic republic is an unfortunate decision that is yet to be rectified. For 80 years this is the period we have been unable to change, bring to an end or even made enough effort to rectify this painful and hostile republic period. I cannot continue without stressing the role of the responsibilities of certain influential international powers of the time who are in fact now members of the EU.

The Kurdish problem was left right in the middle like a corpse and was sacrificed in the pursuit of international interests. What I am about to talk about is a chance for redemption for the mistakes of the past; this is the fourth significant strategic decision. European countries must be able to redeem themselves for the mistakes they have made in the past against not only the Kurdish people but against the Turkish people as well. For the first time in the history of the republic Turkey mad a strategic decision towards the aim of democracy; this was membership to the EU.

This is the most important decision in turning away from the chaos and mentality of the Middle East and making a move towards western civilisation. Since the day of its creation our country has not been able to solve its social and structural problems and has not been able to solve the conflicts arising from these problems within a democratic framework. However, eventually it has materialised its efforts to modernise through the intention of EU membership. To this end, it has made changes at the level of reform.

This process must continue. However, we know that the efforts of external dynamics will not be enough on its own to implement the fourth strategic decision to institutionalise a diverse democracy. At exactly this point I would like to refer to the fifth significant decision that Turkey now has to make. The makers of this decision are our peoples. This is the question: will a togetherness of a thousand years and a strategic cooperation of 500 years be revitalised within the framework of modern values?

Or, will there be a split as a result of deepened conflict? This strategic decision will be taken by our peoples. I repeat, unity through cooperation, or, complete separation? The Prime Minister asks us “make your preference, take your decision”, it is not as easy as this. We, on the one hand, are talking about the time for the Kurds and Turks to make a strategic decision, the Prime Minister, on the other hand, is still in the pursuit of basic daily political interests. Us Kurds believe in a solution within democratic unity and making policies to this end.

If a meaning is given to our presence in the parliament, then it should be within the framework of our passion for unity. DTP should be recognised as the strongest legal representatives of the Kurds who have had a problem defining themselves within the republic that has had trouble with democratization. Our ideology has a single aim and that is to democratise this republic that we created together and to reignite the Kurdish-Turkish unity on the grounds of modern values. Within parliamentary politics we should take on board our joint history and values, while not using our sensitivities as mere tools for political gain but rather approaching them with care so that we can achieve veracity in parliament.

Our hope is for others to approach us in this way. Unfortunately, since the very beginning, primarily through the Prime Minister, we have been bombarded with calls of “terror-condemnation” in order to not be able to produce policies. Actually, our view on violence is extremely clear. Once again I do not hesitate to declare that we are against political violence of all means, whoever or wherever it comes from. Our era does not accept politics as a means for political progress.

We do not approve of violence as a means to a solution. However, we do acknowledge that there is a social problem that causes violence, namely the Kurdish problem; however, we believe it should reach a democratic solution. If we do not offer politics as a route to a solution for our people then we cannot prevent the violence. The DTP’s role cannot be overlooked. We offer the Kurdish people a route to solve their problems, which range from the cultural to the economic, through a legal mechanism.

It is evident that if we did not exist then this people will always find a way to express itself. The prudence the DTP has created cannot be overlooked. We entered the elections to offer civil advice for the solution to Turkey’s basic problems. We were chosen and therefore took up a very important and responsible role. We possess the will and the will power to solve the Kurdish problem within the framework of democracy and compromise. However, we are yet to find an appropriate addressee.

DTP is principled enough and confident enough to not accept any preconditions. Pressure on degenerating the DTP to something it is not is unacceptable. We have to play our role within our political identity. Our projects for a solution are waiting for their addressees. The base for a civil and democratic solution has been created through the admission talks of accession into the EU. A definition of citizenship without the use of ethnicity is a big step towards success. Alongside Turkish as the official and education language, Kurdish must also be constitutionally guaranteed as a language of education.

Freedom of expression and association, political party and election laws should be rearranged in accordance with EU norms. Local government reforms should immediately be in accordance with EU local government conditioning and a transfer of certain central powers to the local governments should be ensured. In this sense the changes in the administrative mechanism should be made. The EU should play its responsible role buy supporting and lobbying these changes to go through.

It has been speculated that the DTP’s proposal of a democratic and cultural autonomy is not adaptable to Turkey’s democracy. However, this is a process. If the democratic reforms and social change widens, our proposal will be better understood and appropriate. We believe in democratic unity and it is our belief that our proposal of democratic autonomy is a unifying project. It carries similarities with the EU, and with certain EU countries and their practice. I need to put forward one final thing. If politics is a rational phenomenon than we need to adapt our proposals and foresights according to this.

If the PKK and Abdullah Ocalan are not seen as part of the problem and are not incorporated into the process of a solution, then we cannot be sure of a solution, because it is not possible. We have to take note of someone that has the sympathy of Millions and an organisation with the manpower of 6-7 thousand armed fighters.

I do not see this as a problem of addressees or legitimacy. However, a solution without Ocalan and the PKK has been a policy for years but has not even hinted at a successful option. However much we term them as “terror-terrorist”, we cannot deny that they are without a doubt holders of an important political and military significance.

With this rationale, we must find a way in which the armed fighters can be included into this democratic process. This in the same time will ensure the unity of Kurds and Turks as the rationalisation of the past takes place.

We must put trust in the path of intellect and knowledge… We may not be of the same religion, or speak the same language, but we share the same world and the same philosophy of peace. You should have no concern regarding our passion to modernise the values of the humanist philosophy for which Jesus Christ had sacrificed himself for. If we want to be judged by God with lesser sins, then we must be as passionate as Jesus in working hard to ensure the honoured peace between the peoples.”
3 December 2007 Brussels

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