The Turks Go After Kurdish Rebels ... And Kill 200 Sheep?
Mr. Taylor is a former teacher in Turkey and the author of Fever and Thirst: An American Doctor Among the Tribes of Kurdistan. Academy Chicago Publishers, 2005.
Two weeks ago, the Turkish Air Force launched fifty jets, most of them Lockheed-Martin F-16s, toward targets in the Kandil Mountains of northern Iraq. In the following hours, according to bianet.org, some $20 million was spent for fuel, bombs, and missiles, twelve villages were damaged, and five PKK Kurdish guerrillas were killed along with two civilians. Doing the math, we see that ten F-16s were needed to kill one guerrilla, giving us a cost of $4 million per guerrilla.
For veteran Turkey-watchers none of this was a surprise; nor should it be for anyone who monitors our own “defense” spending. The Turkish Armed Forces have been doing exactly this sort of thing to Kurdish villages for decades, sometimes with planes and helicopters, but most of the time with forces on the ground. This time, however, because they crossed into Iraq, American newspapers took an interest. In a Tuesday 2/18 editorial, the Boston Globe called the Turks' attack "worse than useless," and similar editorials have appeared in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. In Istanbul, the pro-Kurdish daily Ozgur Gundem, now confined to an Internet-only edition after repeated closures by the Turkish government, has made good use of the Globe editorial, especially its conclusion that: "Bush ought to urge Turkey to make the PKK superfluous by granting full cultural and linguistic rights to the Kurds and developing the impoverished Kurdish region of southeast Turkey." (Hey, it's a start.)
The civilian casualties, by the way, have been confirmed by the UNHCR, so you don't have to worry about believing the Turks when they say that no civilians were harmed. About 1800 villagers have been displaced. And there were other casualties. Agence France-Presse added: "According to the HCR, more than 200 head of animals also perished in the raid."
Now this is interesting. In other words, the F-16s killed only 7 people, but they blasted more than 200 animals. [Q: Does PETA know about this?] Most of these animals would have been sheep and goats. Keep in mind the fact that, despite Christmas legend, no shepherd in the Middle East would be caught dead "keeping watch over his flocks by night" in the middle of December. It's just too cold. Those 200 animals were not outside: they were underground, and probably in the peasants' houses.
The latter is important, as night temperatures in those mountains now hit -15 C. All traditional houses in Anatolia and Kurdistan contain subterranean stables that are directly attached to the human living quarters, which are also earth-sheltered. The massed animals (sheep, goats, cows) are thus a vital source of heat for the human beings who live with them. In fact, the testimony of 19th-century travelers makes it clear that peasant houses during the winter become like a steam bath, so efficient is this method of heating.
Here is another consideration. The American military has been giving the Turks "real-time" intelligence about the PKK locations. Prior to the Turks' air strikes, our guys reportedly detected "movement" and evidence of "meetings," and it was on that evidence that the Turks struck. What kind of sensors provided that evidence? We can assume that the Americans use infrared sensors, which detect heat. Thus the more warm bodies detected, the greater the threat, especially if those warm bodies are walking together to a central meeting place. Are we beginning to get the drift?
Try this scenario. The scene: Ops HQ, Diyarbakir Air Base, Turkey. The phone rings. Capt. Mehmet Fubar, Turkish Air Forces, picks up. It is Col. Bart Guanaco, USAF, calling from an orbiting AWACS:
Guanaco: That you M'met?
Fubar: Bart dearest! How does scope look?
Guanaco: Incredible, amigo. A real bingo party down there.
Fubar: Binko? What is?
Guanaco: Bandits all over the screen: one o'clock, three o'clock, you name it.
Fubar: Please speaking English, dearest Bart.
Guanaco: M'met, I think we got us a PKK meetin' goin' on.
Fubar: Really! Tell me!
Guanaco: Amazing. They think they can go underground and hide, but these dudes are givin’ off so much heat they must be havin’ an orgy. Listen: here's the coordinates...
And the rest is history.
Far-fetched? You tell me: how else you manage to kill only seven human beings and over 200 sheep?
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Fahrettin Tahir - 1/17/2008
Correct my text: Bulgaria had been turkish populated for 1500 years and not 15000.
Do you know why the Cherkess live in Turkey? The russians liked their home which they call the kuban region. They burned the wheat the cherkess were planting to make them starve. then they forced them to move to turkey.
There are 15 million descendants of balkan moslems in turkey, 7 million cherkes, 5 million crimean tatars, all forced out of their homes by russia and her clients. a comparable number were killed in the process. 5 million people until 1914. as big a genocide as was done to the jews.
why do you think turkey joined the nato? communism? think again we never understood what communism was all about. it was russia. we knew russia and anything she wanted could not be good.
this might be different in the future. but the russians will have to do a lot of convincing to prove it. simply claiming that russia was a normal power behaving as others will not do. this is what some people say about hitler too but not many believe them.
Fahrettin Tahir - 1/17/2008
In 1877 Turkey held parliamentary elections. Russia then attacked Turkey. At that point Bulgaria had a 1,7 Million moslems, and 1,4 million christians. The russian army killed 500 000 moslems, forced another 500 000 out of Bulgaria, which at that point had been a turkish populated country for 15000 years. The christians became a majority. The russians said that they had liberated Bulgaria from the Turks.
There are 5,5 million crimean tatars today. 250 000 live in crimea, 5 millions in turkey. Do you think they went there for the sunshine?
In the Yugoslav civil war, Serbia killed 250 000 moslems. Their most loyal supporter was and is Russia. Don’t fool yourself
History is full of wars and invasions, but what Russia did to the Ottoman empire was what Hitler was trying to do to Russia. This is unique in history.
Nijat Garayev - 1/16/2008
Yo did not quite understood me I guess. You have to understand that Russias war against Ottomans in 19th century does not really need to make you hate Russians for many reasons. In this case I can easily say Greeks, Macedonians, Bulgars, Arabs, Persians, Armenians, Jews, Egyptian and NOrth African nations + Arabs there have a quite enough reason and right to hate Turks as well, coze Ottomans have invaded them.
Am I not right? Now do not bring me up facts that Ottomans were very kind to them - I guest you cannot name a single gencoide done by Russians in Russian-Ottoman war - it was a pure war.
It does not make sense that you trust to national friendship - I've never meant that. Russia is collaborating with turkey because Russia may need Tukey today in many various means, and may not collaborate tomorrow because they might not - but so does US, so does Iran, so does China, so does Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan, and even Turkey. It is Politics, and nationalism, nations, various national and minor interests will allways be used for different purposes here - it is just the matter of ratio and scale.
Fahrettin Tahir - 1/16/2008
I have grown up in Turkey and when I was 30 I met a Turk who had no European Moslems forced out of their homeland among his ancestors. Russia was the driving force behind the mass murder and displacement of Moslems out of Europe. It was Russia which by making a war every 20 years against Turkey bankrupted her in the 19th century and thus prevented the enormous efforts of the Ottoman Empire in modernisation and industrialisation from being successful.It was Turkey which by joining the Germans in 1914 led to the Russian revolution which by killing the Romanovs removed that threat from Turkey. It is true that Russia is now trying to make friends with Turkey, but we do not trust them.
The Christian world does not acknowledge that the allies in the first world war were determined to end Turkey, and Turkey is trying to forget the traumatic past and look into the future so most Turks are not aware of what really happened.
I am not talking about Caucasia here but of Rumelia. Try reading Trotzki, the Balkan war 1912-1913. The Turkish upper class is from Rumelia, it was the Ottoman macedonia army which formed modern Turkey.
Nick Chiemelwski - 1/15/2008
I never called any one silly or dumb. But yes they have their own harsh customs, everyone knows that, they do it for all the world to see, just recently they lynched a young woman in iraq and it made the news.
There is no country in the world that there is not some form of discrimination. In Europe there is, in USA there is. So i lived in all these places and i know one thing. ANy discrimination to kurds in turkey is nothing compared to what i have seen in other places. THese poeple are in no position to say a word to us. Why is it that we have to be perfect but not them. We have been pushed around enough. As a Turk who lived out and away i know one thing they are not better then us, on the contrary. But somehow we convinced ourselves that they are and lack confidence. Screw them, we shall rise again. ANd to do that we must first stop assuming that they have any advise to give us for our own good. I saw that an average westerner respects only one thing, strenght. If you are stronger then him he respects otherwise he will be ruthless to you. DOnt expect him to be fair. DOnt get upset if he is not fair. figure out how you are going to screw him and strike. YOu win, you will be right and your version of the history will be right. period.
Nijat Garayev - 1/15/2008
I've read your posts already, regarding Armenian Genocide issue.
I want to remind that I did not tell I think opposite to what you think, I told I have a different view to the problem. Also, quite a lot of Turkish historical memory, being oral, was written by various authors, including "Young Turks" generals diaries.
Living in baku does not mean that everything I read is in Russian. I would like to remind that early 20 century materials concerning Caucasus are mostly in Azeri Turkish,written with Arabaic, or Cyrillic, and for 18-20's, with Latin alphabets.
I know Russian well, but I have not read many information about the genocide in Russian. I have a friend who worked for 3 month in Istanbul Libraries, museum archives, as well as in Ankara on this issue particularly, and she is close enough to me to provide me with the information as well, being objective, I believe.
Russians are not like Nazis to Turks, and todays world issues are viewed differently. I would like to remind that economic and military relations between Russia and Turley are on quite high degree, and that Russians have a very positive sympathy to Turkey Turks (I do not even talk about tatars and Chuvashs there).
Nijat Garayev - 1/15/2008
Nick, Are u a Turk?
I am Turk, Nick, and I know what kind of relation do European people have towards us. I am not trying to justify racist views of some people towards anyone, but I am trying to say sometimes relation between people is more than just Laws, or in other ways, Law does not always cover the feelings of people and its main function is to keep peace in society.
I am repeating again that when there is a smoke, there is a fire. That all those thoughts, demands, urges, advices from the rest of the world that say Kurds did in fact face some sort of discrimination in Turkey, cannot be a 100% lie. I am saying that if Kurds have not had anything wrong with Turks, nor one, including Russia, USA, French and others could ever use them as a tool. And that you and Fakhreddin saying Kurds are dumb, and they are silly, they do not know Law, they live with their own rules - is not true. As you know, many Kurds lived and lives in Azerbaijan - why they are not silly then? Your answer will be because they lived under Soviets, but it is not true, since after the collapse of Union, many Kurds returned back to Kalbajar (which is under Armenian occupation now).
I think you understood me quite well, and I accept you may not agree with those thoughts that I have.
Fahrettin Tahir - 1/13/2008
I have previously written here about the Armenian issue. Please look it up. Quite a lot of Turkish historical memory is oral, you can not look that up in Baku and Istanbul. In Istanbul, the question of what really happened in the Balkans is ignored. In Baku you will read what the Russians wrote. That is like trying to decide about the Jewish history by reading only Nazi books.
For us Turks, Russia is the Nazi state whoch tried to exterminate us.
Nijat Garayev - 1/13/2008
I have made enough research in baku and in Istanbul, regarding Armenian Genocide and I have totally different view to that problem, than I have to Kurdic. I think you understood what I meant by writing my serpond.
Thank you very much
Nick Chiemelwski - 1/12/2008
This article reflcets the true history of th ematter until 1998 before Ocalan was handed to Turks by USA.
When you look at Turkey from an outside perspective, and remember the "tough-rough" looking Turkish peasants living in Europe and the memories of the Ottoman Era, opposing everything Turkey does may come automatically. When I was in the UK (1975), one high school student saw me in the kitchen and shouted to her mother: "Mom, Turks look like us!" This still summarizes the simplistic views of European Politicians about people from Turkey. Perhaps, we may also be helping them to remember us this way.
Have we done things to change their fixed opinion? No, we have not. Instead of changing solely to please them, we must continuously advance our social, political and economic position for our own good. I, who have advocated cultural freedom of our Kurdish citizens, defended the "real implementation of democratic laws in Turkey", and closely monitored the PKK since its birth. I have not kept notes to remember every date and details of each event, but these facts are commonly known to most Turkish citizens who monitored the political and economic developments in Turkey. Of course, the political "analysis" is my own, and may not be shared by others.
Abdullah Ocalan (Apo) was a university student in Ankara in the early 70's. I was a student as well, but in Istanbul. I remember APO by reading critical articles about him which appeared in weeklies published by leftist political groups (Halkin Sesi, Halkin Yolu, Halkin Emegi, Safak, Aydinlik,…). Apo was a member of "Aydinlik - TIKP (Turkish Peasant and Workers Party) led by Dogu Perincek. At that time, the government was led by Suleyman Demirel in coalition with ultra-rightist-nationalist party MHP led by Turkes and religious party MSP led by Erbakan. The militants of MHP and leftists were killing each other at a rate of 30-35 people per day. Many young men and women were murdered. The ultra-nationalist militants were controlled by the government coalition partner, MHP, and leftist militants received both political and logistical support from Soviets and CIA. Bulgarian secret service funneled thousands of arms to both sides, and the arm and cigarette smuggling ring was handled jointly by Kintex (the shadow company of Bulgarian secret service who helped to smuggle also Agca out of Turkey) and by MHP backed Mafia (now called Ulkucu Mafia).
Dogu Perincek accused Apo of being an ultra Kurdish Nationalist, calling him the "Kurdish Equivalent of Fascist Grey Wolf (ultra-nationalist Turkish militia)" and expelled him from the party in about 1975. Apo and two of his close militant friends were recruited by Ahmet Turk, who was a member of the Turkish Parliament from CHP (Social Democratic Party) led by Ecevit. Ahmet Turk is a leader of the Kurdish Tribe called "Turk Asireti" from the South-East (Mardin). The Kurdish tribes, who have a strong feudal culture, have been fighting among each other due to "blood feuds" for years. The main enemy of Turk Klan was "Bucak Klan", whose leader was Serdar Bucak who was also a member of parliament but from a conservative party (AP) led by Demirel. (I think Serdar Bucak was the uncle of the present Member of Parliament (mp) Sedat Bucak who is under investigation for drug smuggling and murder.) Two clans were killing each other due to "a century old" blood feud. Apo, being trained in a Turkish Leftists movement, captured the opportunity to lead approximately 5000 strong-armed men of Ahmet Turk’s clan, and killed a significant number of members of Bucak Klan. Bucak on the other hand recruited Turkes’ MHP (Ultra Turkish Nationalist Party) and its armed militia (Grey Wolves) as his ally, and used them against Ahmet Turk. Bucak was protected by the Turkish government, since his allies (Demirel and Turkes) were the prime minister and the deputy-prime minister. (Bucak Klan had been protected by the ultra-rightist government elements until the present clan chief - Sedat Bucak- was caught with Catli and government guns. However, he is till free in Turkey!) Apo was the hired gun of Ahmet Turk, and Abdullah Catli was the killing machine of Bucak. Both killed many people from opposite sides.
Apo, when he led 5000 armed men of Ahmet Turk, first killed all municipal leaders of TIKP (D. Perincek’s party) in the East (Tunceli, Siirt, Mardin, Gazi Antep, Van, Hakkari). Ahmet Turk realized that he had lost the control of his tribe to Apo, who was a trained political organizer with a Mao style organization in the feudal society (Kurds). In a feudal system, Apo knew that "sheer power and terror" were always effective, since the society did not understand the rules and culture of democracy except "gun power". Turkish Democracy was never exercised at the Kurdish Feudal Region in the east of Turkey. They were ordered to vote for the clan leader’s party, and the clan leaders/landlords owned both the land and the people leaving on it. After wiping out TIKP with his tribal killing machine, Apo turned around and started to kill the rest of the Kurdish Leftist Groups in the region. The main and most popular one was DDKO (Dogu Devrimci Kultur Ocaklari) led by Kemal Burkay. Kemal Burkay was a member of the Turkish Workers Party, and was leading a chapter of workers union in Istanbul. The union and party were close to Soviet Communist Party and European Communists in ideology, but were not terrorists. Apo was more close to Mao due to methods used in feudal zones, but later his style and tactics were identical to Pol Pot of Cambodia who killed half of his countrymen to make them pure "Communists". Apo finished off all Kurdish groups using his feudal army given to him by Ahmet Turk. His biggest help came from Turkish Security forces that were against any kind of leftist movement in Turkey.
When the military took over in 1980, Apo managed to walk away from Turkey to Syria. In 1983, Apo’s killing machine was the only untouched "Kurdish Opposition Group" left in Turkey. Kemal Burkay tried to continue his DDKO movement. His group was terrorized by PKK's killing machine both in Turkey and Europe. He is still living in Europe, but the PKK's assassins wiped off Burkay's organization in Europe and Turkey. Thanks to the "Pol Pot" style terror of the PKK, and the ignorance of Turkish Politicians, all democratic Turkish and Kurdish opposition groups were eliminated. The PKK even tried to eliminate feudal leaders Barzani and Talabani in Iraq in order to remain the sole ruler of Kurds in the entire region, but couldn't because of the political and military interference of Iran, Turkey and the US.
Apo started his warfare in 1983, when democracy was again returning rapidly to Turkey. He had a fixed agenda: an independent Kurdistan. His few men were armed by Syria, which provided bases for them, and all other Turkish Terrorist Organizations in Bekaa Valley. Syrian's bloody dictator (H. Esaad) forced his own Kurdish population to serve in the PKK as fighters. Esad's policy was and has been very simple: support the terrorist organizations by spending little, losing nothing, but inflicting heavy economic, political and human lives in Turkey. Their life time dictator wanted to be the key man in the region, and take over Hatay which he has been showing in his own map for years. The corrupt governments in Turkey never saw the incoming danger.
Since they removed all Kurdish Opponents from the political map by murdering and terrorizing them, the PKK militants rapidly controlled all "democratic opposition institutes” by taking advantage of a democratic vacuum created by the military regime. The main one is the "Human Rights Organization in Turkey".
In the meantime, the PKK continued to kill, sometimes an entire Kurdish village population, just to demonstrate to local people "who was in power". (I was visiting my brother who was a soldier in 1987, when PKK militants killed 23 Kurdish men, women and children (August 1987,Yuva Koyu). I can not forget the screaming voices of children from a military radio when the PKK was killing and burning houses with people in them. The mistake of the Kurdish Villagers: not joining the PKK! We were about 110 kilometers away. The young conscripts were terrorized; others were in tears with disbelief in the camp.)
There was mass migration from the Kurdish villages towards the predominantly Turkish West, where there was no terror. When the PKK killed an entire village, the "Human Rights Organization in Turkey" was either silent, or would give a provocative lie: "maybe Turkish Forces killed them!". All so-called democratic organizations were taken over by the PKK. No one dared to oppose. The vacuum was filled either by the PKK or ultra-rightist death squads. The political wings of the PKK, DEP, HEP and the HADEP were strictly controlled by Apo. The leader of HEP was Ahmet Turk, who had recruited APO as a gunman. Leyla Zana and her husband, Mehdi Zana, were ruling Diyarbakir with their terror machine in the late 70's. These parties were and have been receiving orders directly from the "supreme chief", Apo, and have nothing to do with the "democratic opposition." They have been using Turkish Democracy only to destroy it, as the Islamic Party, who thinks the democracy is an "evil," does. The PKK machine in Europe is well organized with the money they extort from Turkish-Kurdish Migrant workers and businesses. Two PKK henchmen automatically visit every economic refugee who claims to be Kurdish, immediately after the German Immigration Police release them. Each refugee had to pay 1,500 DM tax to the PKK, had to join all demonstrations and actions in Europe with an instant order brought by a henchman with a code name. (Two young Turkish Kurds explained to me the terror they had been experiencing. They were also working in a restaurant operated by a Kurdish Drug smuggler, who was also paying off protection tax to PKK. Place: Marburg, Germany, Date: the summer of 1992). Every business had to pay "tax" to the PKK. European politicians can either remember the burned houses and businesses by the PKK, or by re-visiting the past news articles from their own press. German security forces did not care when Turkish-Kurdish businesses were burned, and people who opposed the PKK were killed in Germany. When the extortion affected even German businesses, and a few police officers were badly beaten by PKK militants, Kohl's government started to prosecute the PKK, until the "PKK and German Interior Ministry made an agreement in Syria a few years ago not to harm each other in Germany". (The present government of Germany is still very much afraid of the PKK's terror machine in Germany, and avoiding bringing APO from Italy for charges related to extortion of businesses and murdering political opponents in Germany.) PKK's political offices immediately began to fax messages to foreign press that "all killings were done by Turkish Forces", rapidly camouflaging their mass murders and sheer terror at each incident. How many of the European Politicians came to Turkey and talked to Semdin Sakik, who was the number two man of the killing machine PKK? How many of them visited those Kurdish Villages which were wiped out and burned by the PKK ? However, they were all quick to protest against "forceful relocation of Kurdish villages (mezra)" which had few families living in it, and difficult to control by security forces. The Human Right Organizations suppose to be critical of all parties who abuse the human rights, are not suppose to be part of a killing machine to attack the opposite side. I blame the Turkish Government Agencies who did not pay any attention to the PKK’s political propaganda and assassinations of other Kurdish group members.
As the years passed and Turkey became more vulnerable, other regional powers entered the game in using the PKK against Turkey. First, Iran joined Syria, followed by Iraq. Iran's mollas targeted the secular Turkish Democracy as "evil, which had to be replaced by Islamic Regime." The Turkish Islamic fanatics supported them. Turkish Democracy, even with its faults, was a bad example for their 6th century "Islamic Regime." Iraq turned the support to the PKK on and off depending on the situation with its confrontation with NATO (US, UK). Greece supported and has been supporting the PKK very strongly, by opening training camps for the terrorists in Cyprus and Athens (I saw PKK militants in Athens. They were introduced to us as Turkish Refugees! Twenty to twenty-five year old men with military jackets, who were travelling in groups and plastering PKK military posters on the walls, were introduced as "harmless refugees" by the guide…) Since Papendreu, Greek governments exceeded our own fascists with their sheer nationalism. They have been using the PKK as revenge against Turkey for Cyprus. I feel sorry for the Greeks who are embroiled with senseless Balkan nationalism. Eventually, such a racist-nationalist terror harms their society as well, by bringing up a socially-sick generation.
The PKK continued to flourish until the Turkish Army changed its philosophy and combat tactics against terrorists. First, they started to make a distinction between Kurdish peasants who were caught between the PKK and security forces, and PKK fighters. They recognized the Feudal Society problems in the East, and started to assist the local population with medical care and food, yet continued to fight against the terrorists using small teams like the PKK. Although the recent coalition government of Yilmaz, Ecevit and Cindoruk failed in many areas, they have improved the functioning of government by arresting fascist mafia and some corrupt security officers. This social-political change in the Turkish Government and Army was devastating for the PKK. The fear of peasants from the PKK had diminished, and the people started to trust the state more. Now, Kurdish villages remember how their families and friends were killed and burned alive by PKK militants. The PKK attacked one Turkish village in Elazig (1994), by killing all of the men and boys. Their tactic was to provoke the Turkish villagers, and encourage them to revenge by attacking Kurdish villages. The game worked during the Great War, which led to a bloody civil war between Moslems and Armenians in the same region. However, the killing machine's inhumane plan did not work in modern Turkey. Turks and Kurds have been fully integrated and mixed, and the education level has become a lot higher than the level during the Ottoman Era. Such a bloody tactic might have worked in pure feudal societies like in Africa, Afghanistan, Asia, or segregated regions like Bosnia, but is doomed to fail in Turkey (an important fact for European Policy makers to remember in their political calculations!). The burning of shopping malls with people inside, killing innocent teachers, scores of engineers and workers who were trying to build a social infrastructure in the East, and thousands of Kurdish civilians just turned the political tide against PKK machine. Now, they have negligible support and no base in Turkey. Syria unloaded them with a little push from Turkey. Their last suicidal attempts must be seen as "a loud noise" before they fully start playing the only card they have been left with, the European card. Syria and Iran were unable to use PKK fighters anymore as "unpaid mercenaries". The drug routes of the PKK are largely smashed. Now their only income source is the extortion from Turkish-Kurdish businesses and workers in Germany, Holland and France, plus a few handouts from Greece and other secret services who want to use them as much as they can
It seems it is European’s turn to use the PKK as bargaining chips (e.g. mercenaries) for the control of oil pipes in the region. They must be careful. Only murderers like Esaad are able to use them like mercenaries. Democratic countries cannot control the PKK. They must simply look at the experience of the Turkish Government in the 70's, who also thought they were using APO against others. A mass murderer is now declared a "hero" by some policy makers in Europe, but may rapidly change its form. Instead, they may dump the military wing of the PKK (since it has now become useless) and use "Kurdish Parliament in Europe, International Forum of Kurds in Europe" et cetera which are presently political wings of the PKK. These organizations, camouflaged from their electorate as "civilian opposition groups" will be used for some time until either Turkey loses the industrial and political strength in the region, or the oil is replaced by another energy source.
Nick Chiemelwski - 1/12/2008
This is a joke. Kurds escaped to SSCB from oppression and poverty around 70's. That I guess was because SSCB was a bastion of freedom and wealth at that time. Was the evil empire coined by one of your moronic actors (read-president). SO while the Kurds were escaping there for a wonderful life, Russians were escaping to Turkey at the same time and their women were walking our street and selling their bodies for a lunch.
It must be nice to include all the Turkish citizens of Kurdish descent who were massacred by PKK down to a baby just because their villages were not cooperating with them. Shy don’t you do research on all the sites that have statistics on the matter.
No point me giving you links, just Google it. While you are at that do some more research?
Have you studied the Kurdish clan structure? Have you studied their brutal cultural rules, customs and traditions that stay no matter how much money they have?
Have you seen how they treat their women, no matter how wealthy they become? Have you heard of their land ownership structure? Have you heard of their blood feuds between clans that go for 100’s of years? Have you heard about their landowner class and the oppression of them on their own commoners (villagers)? Have you considered that it might have been the oppression of land owners that you are talking about?
Are you going to say it was Turkish government job to protect and give rights to those villagers against their oppressors? You are right. Have they tried? Is this why the PKK was formed (so that they don’t succeed)? Why don’t you set aside your set notions and see if you can look at it from a different angle with an open mind. Why don’t you read from beginning to end what is contained in the link below.
World looks different when you can free your mind from what CNN tells you to be the truth. Try it, obviously you have some curiosity if you are writing and reading here.
And the person who call himself a Turk, Nijat:
No government is best and righteous I did not say that. Nor I said I hate any people or country, don’t put your words among mine.
DTP is the political arm of PKK and spokesperson. Their purpose is to separate a piece of land based on an ethnicity criteria. They are the politicians of race. My statistics are simple. All major Turkish parties including the most radicalized nationalist like MHP has significant number of Kurds in their organizations. DTP is pure Kurd.
For you to come here and suggest that this whole thing is about rights of a group of people rather then who is using who for what in the larger geopolitics of the resource fight of the worlds major governments, I can only conclude this. You are either super naïve or you write in bad will. In each case that tells me you are not a Turk.
Fahrettin Tahir - 1/10/2008
Mr Hamilton, Mr Garayev,
I think it is important to realize that unlike other european countries, the modern Turkish nation is not an ethnic group, which has turned into a state of its own. The modern Tukrish nation is more like the US Americans, a politically defined nation of those ethnic groups which have remained loyal to the Ottoman Empire until the end. That includes Turkish speaking moslem groups, excludes Turkish speaking greek orthodox and Armenian Christians, icludes Greek and Armenian speaking moslems as well as people from formerly ottoman lands from Hungary in the North to Sudan in the south as well as Spanish jews and Kazakhs from Mongolia. (Hitler believed Ataturk was a German). And Kurds of course. That all are Turks is a political definition, comparable to the US people as Americans. Turkish is the official language, as is English in the US, though one of about 30 – 40 different languages spoken. The fiction that all are Turks assures that this diversity is treated equally.
Turkey is also a very brutal market economy, you can become a billionare in a short time, there are as many billionares in Turkey as in more populous and richer Japan or eat dirt. The politicians could not care, their main job is enriching their own people.
In this context the Kurds pose several problems. They are the least educated people living in what has always been the poorest corner of Anatolia. They have a rapidly increasing population. Wheras people in relatively rich western Turkey have 1- 2children who get an acceptable education and jobs the Kurds have 8-10 Children and no joke the record breakers 4 wives and 45 children. These kids grow up in poverty and frustration and when nationalists tell them they are poor because the government discriminated against them and they should go killing people to solve their problems, they believe them. Out of that grows terrorism, the situation in the neighboring Arab countries is not much different. Unfortunately the war of the PKK has meant that no sane person would invest his money where there is a terrorist organisation to burn his factory or shoot his engineers so the Kurdish corner missed out 25 years of rapid economic growth, and the stupid attribute this to Turkish racism. There was no racism 25 years ago, but now the situation has changed. The economic difference between western turkey and the kurdish corner is now bigger than the difference between the US and Turkey.
The end of the cold war led the West to believe they had won history and countries of the European Union used the PKK to break up Turkey and reach out to the oil. In the end, the effort failed but not without a lot of bad blood. Today the West is engaged in a new cold war with Russia, a hot war with the Arabs and with China rising as a major threat the last thing they need is Turkey joining their enemies. Perhaps now they will drop the PKK, this meaning telling them that the Turks will come and kill them if they insist on basing their murderous attacks in Iraq. Peace would give them the chance to catch up economically and as experience shows, people prefer peace when they have had enough to eat. As for negotiations, the PKK demand that Turkey give them the right to rule the kurdish provinces and the money they need or they will keep on killing people. That is a culture of bandits.
As for the Armenians the word used by a leading intellectual of the time for what happened was mukatele which means mutual murder. The Armenian revolt tried to kill enough Turks to Turn the Armenian minority into amajority in Eastern Turkey. This had indeed happened in hwat had previously been European Turkey but this time the government felt its back was to the wall and forced them out with equal brutality. I personally object to the West forgetting the 5 million european moslems who were killed to make Islam disappear from Europe trying to rewrite history as a kind of Armenian holocaust. It does not mean a very large number of Armenians were not killed, it means that an even larger number of moslems ( see above for ethnic origin) were also killed. Without christian remorse for our dead theere will be no compromise.
Arnold Shcherban - 1/9/2008
Look at those sites I indicated in my last answer to Mr. Chiemelwski.
You will see there that I'm not "making things up" and those organizations and people are not enemies of Turkey either.
They represent an independent proof
of my statements and simultaneously
Nijat Garayev - 1/9/2008
So, Nick, you've been searchin for truth in those posts? It hasn’t been found since the times of Socrates.
I wonder why you're so passionate; don’t you think you need to be more objective in this case?
Your point about the sheep’s are good, but i do not think US has much to do with it because of your hatred towards her. It could have been better if you showed your documentation about non-discrimination of Kurds in turkey, and about statistics - I wrote before, many ministers who are Kurd, are not really represent a Kurdish nation there in their posts. You know this better than me. DTP could not do a crap against Turkish raids rather than saying "we will form a line on Kurdish Mtns." and half of them are in prison for that, with many many fake blames, of course.
I am a Turk myself, and I am proud with it, but this doesn’t mean that my government is the best and it is the righteous one ever.
Nijat Garayev - 1/9/2008
Dear Mr. Hamilton,
Fakhreddin has a different view to the problem than yours. It is clear. In this case your saying "I am largely on your side" is not correct, since your posts say a different thing. Also, Turkey has a total right, with the support of International Community, including legal support of UN, NATO, OSCE and etc to defend its integrity and sovereignty.
Fakhreddin, you need to understand that terrorism has its roots and reasons. One can say that Kurds are fighting Turkey because US, Russia, Greeks and French want them to do so – this is not right. If Kurds won’t have a desire of fighting Turks, neither French nor Greeks can make them to do so. Why Georgians do not fight Turks? You think Georgians do not have an ethnic problem with Turks? I can give you 100’s of facts that Georgians in fact dislike Turks, but they do live in peace with Turks. Then, your saying that Kurds consist of quite amount of Turkey does not still prove that they need to fight. This is not right at all. Look, in Azerbaijan, many minorities exist, like Talysh, Lezgi, Tat, Udin and so on. Talishs, are even Iranic, and you know that Iran does not really like Azerbaijan – neither ethnically, nor politically – it even openly supported Armenia in Karabakh War. Then why they do not make Talysh to fight against Azerbaijan? I can say – because Talysh people have totally same rights as other people in Azerbaijan – they live ok, not more – not less than other Azerbaijanis. That is the reason that they have nothing to do with Azerbaijani government. You know, when there is a wealth and when people live in peace, normally, they do not think about revolt or about autonomy.
It is a fact that there 2 kind of Kurds live in Turkey – Kurds that they are almost Turks, just they do not change their name )))), and Kurds that they are real Kurds, and have faced discriminations from Turkish Government, and even Turkish People. It is an undeniable fact that Kurds do not have the same rights with Turks, although they have in constitution. Lets look statistics: Look to the number of Kurdish Generals in Turkish army and compare them rationally with Turkish ones. Not even Ozal, but Demirel himself was a kurd I believe, but can we count him a Kurd? Can we even count DTP as real Kurds? I do not think. Man they have sworn for the name of Ataturk, For Turkish Flag, for Turkish Nation (Millet manasinda) and they cannot simply represent Kurds of Turkey in Tukrish TBMM. They have never come up with real problem that worries Kurdish population of Turkey.
Kurds do not even enjoy your beaches like Antalia, since many hotels do not accept them in fact. Now, those are the fact that you may not accept. But in fact I do believe that fighting in such way with ethnic minority as Kurds, and trying to show them you military might is not the solution. I believe if Turkey would chose a peaceful way of negotiations based on Human Rights, many Kurds in Turkey would, without any doubt support Turkish government and fight PKK and its branches in any way, individually and united.
Arnold Shcherban - 1/8/2008
First of all, I did not write "me" but "us", meaning the public.
<...to tell you or anybody else anything I want.>
Secondly, I wrote "tales".
As someone said: you're entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.
Thirdly, the Kurds fled to the USSR not chasing the <dream> of socialism but from "Turkish oppression" and poverty.
<Show me the source.>
You're welcome, my non-friend.
First one is European Human Rights site >www.hrw.org/backgrounder/eca/turkey/turkey_violations.htm<,
second one is actually American International Relations Center site:
Don't you dare to tell Me (this time) I'm making the things up, mister.
Nick Chiemelwski - 1/7/2008
How do i dare to tell you?
WHo the heck are you?
I dare to tell you or anybody else anything I want.
How dare you to tell me what to tell you about my own country.
60s and 70's were a time that there was a very strong cold war battle going on, on Turkish soil. Communism(socialism) was presented as a wonderful solution to all problems and people belived it. Even I did, as i was a member of similar thinking youth otganization. So all kinds of people kurd or turk went over to follow the dream. We all saw what happenned to that dream. We woke up so did the Russians.
As far as your number 20,000 civilian Kurds being killed in the hands of Turks at that time, that is BS. Give me the link, show me the report. Show me your source.
I no longer take you as an objective participant searching for the truth in this discussion. You are making up stuff.
Arnold Shcherban - 1/7/2008
In 60s and 70s Kurds were fleeing to
the Asian republics of Soviet Union -"evil empire" at the time - from Turkish "hospitality" and choosing to stay there (in the USSR) even after being put in prison for illegal crossing the borders.
The independent Human Rights organizations in Europe and the US estimated the number of Kurds killed by Turkish governments over their so-called anti-terrorist military raids as 20,000 (much more than it was ascribed to Saddam's government by its recent sworn enemy - the US.) I guess, those Human
Rights organizations were all paid by Kurdish terrorists or KGB or CIA, to lie.
How you dare you to tell us tales
about Turkish governments treating Kurds well those times!
R.R. Hamilton - 1/7/2008
Dear Mr. Tahir,
I don't know why you want to argue with me, for I am largely on your side -- at least on the issue of Kurdish attacks on Turkey from Iraq. While I'm on that subject, please accept my sympathies for the recent bombing.
My point is not that Turkey does not have a right to defend itself from attacks. It is that Turkey has not laid the proper political predicate for making cross-border attacks on Iraqi Kurdistan.
You point to domestic Turkish political opinion polls that show the desire for such cross-border attacks. Ironically, last Summer my Israeli friends were also citing such polls (of Israelis) and were flummoxed by my opposition to their invasion of Lebanon. It was not that I was pro-Hexbollah, any more than I am pro-PKK, but the Israelis had not laid the proper political predicate for such an adventure.
In fact, I can bring this even nearer to home. For decades during the 1870-1920 period, Texans were demanding the right to make incursions into Mexico to retaliate for raids by Mexicans or Indians from across the border -- we even did make some incursions without authorization. But we could never convince the U.S. State Department to see things our way. (Eventually, in 1916, after attacks on Arizona and New Mexico, the U.S. itself launched a punitive expedition into Mexico but, without Texans to lead it, it was a failure.)
You try to compare the U.S. invasion of Iraq with Turkey's. Here is an example of my meaning: The U.S. spent a year (some would say 12 years) laying the political predicate for invading Iraq. So in the end, we were supported by dozens of other nations. How many will join Turkey?
So, Turkey's duty to itself is to build the political will of the rest of the world to support it when it makes cross-border attacks (this is assuming that reasonable pleas to the Iraqi-Kurdish authorities do not generate a crackdown on the PKK in Iraq). Ironically, I notice that Turkey is still fighting the U.S. Congressional resolution regarding the Armenian ... Oh, what word shall we use? Shall we say, "the unfortunate incidents" of 90 years ago?
I think Turks may want to look to the present and not the past in this regard. Trade and acceptance of some past villainy (deserved or not) for some present support in current political questions.
Nick Chiemelwski - 1/6/2008
How many elected Kurdish members were in Saddam's government? How many Kurds became the prime minister or president of Iraq? None. That happened in Turkey. How many of the current Ministers are Kurds, I say half.
Canada is a democratic country, right? But separatists of Quebec constantly complain despite more then half of the prime ministers of Canada and bulk of ministers have been from there. Did you ever heard about Pierre Elliot Trudeu? One of many Prime Ministers from Quebec, yet still during his time, he sent in the army to Quebec, because separatists were terrorizing people and people died on both sides.
Have you ever lived in Quebec Sir? It is a racist place. People are separated and are treated differently because of the ethnic politics there. They want purity. It is like dark ages. They actually look at your last name before they decide to include you or not. Quebec is a place that has a strong ethnic separatist movement.
PKK are no reds, may be they said they were once. They certainly are not traitors to the idea of ethnic separatism. PKK is an ethnic separatist movement, period. They have brutal and corrupt leaders; they are murderers of children and women, not collaterally, on purpose to make an example. And they are major drug traffickers.
Did you hear about the bomb that exploded in the city centre of Diyarbakir and killed 5 people, 4 of them students under age of 18? Happened few days ago. Why?
It is dishonest to compare the Saddam and Kurds’ place in his country, to what Kurds have in Turkey. What they have and what they have done for it. What was done for them and how much freedom they have to participate in every aspect of life in Turkey, from politics, to business to education.
Why should the Turkish people accept that an ethnic separatist movement with 3-5000 terrorists should be able to take a massive piece of land from Turkey? Would you allow California to separate from USA if 3000 Mexicans do something similar? OR blacks with certain parts of the south.
PKK and its political extension are not even able to gather half the votes of the ethnic Kurdish populations.
You may think so but Turks are not doing what USA tells them to do, they are trying to defend the unity of their country, if USA needs to be on side for that, they will try to acquire that support and pay the price. USA will go away one day either when there is an alternative to oil, or oil source exhausts itself there. Or, may be even before that; USA will be bankrupt and implode like any over extended empire.
Turks been there over 1000 years and shall remain so. Next battle will be over water, and the source of the water in Middle East is in those mountains that Turks control. It shall remain so, at all cost. Who do you think needs that water,wants it? who do you think might be financing PKK and establishing ties with the Northern Iraq Kurds recently.Training them, arming them. Did you ever see an organization such as PKK survive so long without the covert support of some kind of sponsor governmnent.
And when the time of water arrives;if they still have a viable army by then, I am sure USA will be invading Canada for her water, did I say water, I am sorry; I meant to bring American style democracy to Canada. After all there are those long suffering oppressed people of Quebec and as water becomes “the” commodity, I am certain USA will come over to liberate them.
Fahrettin Tahir - 1/6/2008
the similarity between turkish fight against the pkk and saddams against the barzani people is that the turkish campaign is directed against the terrorists of the pkk (give or take a couple of goats) wheras saddanms was against the population. This is confirmed by the fact that the present government of turkey got far more votes from kurds than the pkk front party dtp. saddam got no votes from anybody
Arnold Shcherban - 1/5/2008
I would like to remind you mister that such folks like you're sang polar opposite song in 2002-2003 about Kurdish terrorists who once have gotten retribution strikes from Baathist forces and Kurdish civilians were killed.
Then it was Saddam - The great Satan.
But of course, you see no double standard here, since... we Americans (and by alliance with us - Turkish troops) are "good guys" axiomatically, and when we kill
civilians we do it unintentionally, not to terrorize poor folks we care so much about; only "reds" and "traitors" (which is, by the way, one and the same) would cast a shadow of doubt on our noble intentions, facts notwithstanding, right?
Fahrettin Tahir - 1/3/2008
Dear Mr Hamilton,
I did not want to say that you are an ignorant cowboy, sorry if that was what came out. I was just thinking about another Texan who invaded Iraq.
Ok so which 400 years of Turkish history are you talking about? Moslems entered todays Turkey in 1071, the Ottoman empire began in 1299, which leaves at most 218 years. I admit I do not know much about this era but it was generally a miserable time in history, I would not throw stones from west to east or from east to west for this era.
It is true that some European states and the Us granted freedom of religion after the 18th century, but that was unusual in the 13th, when Turkey did. The Westphalian peace in 1648 stipulated that all rulers have the right to force their religion on their subjects, that was what they were doing at that point, Turkey did not do this.
You condemn turkish “foreign rule” in the middle ages, but at that point in history people did not see the world with our eyes. Such concepts were born after the 18th century and partially became the rule after 1945. It is ridiculous to condemn a medieval state because it did not fulfil the legal principles which became widely accepted 500 years later. This is the question: was Ottoman Turkey worse than other contemporary powers. The Hungarians of 1683 and the Greeks of 1730 who could compare Ottoman rule with Austrian and venetian rule decided that they preferred the Ottomans. The 800 years of Turkish oppression were invented in the 19th century, before that the Greeks and Slavs wre living in a world, which they considered to be the natural order of things. In fact the Ottoman Empire was born, because the Romans after the 1204 crusaders plundered constantinople decided that they would rather cooperate with the Turks. Another point is, that the national designations used today are also inventions of the 19th century. A turk of 2007 is not necessarily a descendant of the Turks of 1204, nor is a greek or slav today necessariyl a descendant of the greeks and slavs of you name the date. A lot of Turks are descended from Greek and slavic speaking peoples, part of my own family was still speaking Greek in the 1960ies, quite a lot of Greeks are the descendants of turkish speaking Christians, Turkish is widely spoken by Greeks. The modern nations which exist today were defined by events of the 19th and 20th centuries.
The English policy in the 18th and 19th centuries was controlled destruction of the Ottoman empire, not genocide, though mass killings of moslems did not disturb them very much. The Russians were the driving force. The English supported Turkey at several points, the best known example being the crimean war, because they realised that Russia would dominate the world if she could eat up the ottoman empire. This policy changed at the beginning of the 20th century, because England and France needed Russia against Germany and the Russians price was completing the genocide on the Moslems. The consequence was the 1912 Balkan war, when 1,5 Million moslems were murdered and further millions forced out of what was a moslem majority area. Leo Troski who was covering the Balkan war as a journalist writes that the powers had agreed on the division of Anatolia among themselves, he thinks this is a good idea. This forced Turkey in to the alliance with Germany, which did succeed in ending the Tsarist Empire and saving Turkey. The Russian hate for Turkey was ideological. There was quite a lot of that in the 20th century so it should not be hard to imagine how it works. In fact in the time leading to the Yugoslav civil war you could read quotes of the Serb nationalist in the western press that the moslems of bosnia were traitors to slavdom and had to killed. That started in the 19th century. I do not understand why it is so hard for Christians to condemn mass murders of european moslems in the 19th century, the more so because the same people are furious if some nut thinks nazis killing jews was ok or did not happen. That the murderers of 5 Million european moslems felt they had aright to is no different than the murderers of 6 million european jews thinking they had a right to. Thou shlat not kill, remember?
I did not claim the US was being intolerant to Islam or lloking for people to fight wars against. They are not. They have economic interests and a brutal army, which is something different. In Kosovo they are trying to demonstrate to the Moslems that they do hate them, it is fair to concede that the US as a country does not hate the moslems. Nor did I say that the US was fighting whomever they could find, what I said or wanted to say was that the Kurds, when they have their own state will fight anybody they can find, which is why the rest of the Middle East hates the idea of a warmongering kurdish state.
I understand that the US thinks their military actions in Iraq are ok and other peoples are not but please understand that Iraqs neighbors do not accept this, especially since the PKK training in Iraq and learning ever newer terrorist techniques in Iraq is daily murdering innocent people in Turkey. In 1945 there were no german terrorists killing people in the Czech republic. This is the main reason why the government is being forced by public opinion to intevene. This terrorism is the quod erad demonstrandum of why people will not accept a kurdish state.
The Jews of Spain did not suffer because they were living on the wrong side of the border but because the spanish empire was determined to kill all subjects who were not catholics. Look at the map of the world and name me one country of this empire where non catholics have survived.
Nick Chiemelwski - 1/3/2008
Who says there were only 7 people killed, did you go there and count them in all the caves that were hit. TSK say 150-200 terrorists died at least, where do you get your stats from; PKK propaganda machine?
Sheep? Jeez; how did that happen? I guess there were only about 200 sheep there in those villages below those mountains and the usa technology discovered them all due to the heat they release and thought they were pkk and they are all dead now. And because there must have been no other sheep flocks there, that's why there were no other dead sheep.
It does not matter that TSK says they have checked and double checked and triple checked the validity of all targets, pkk terrorist must be telling the truth, we can not believe Turkish army.
Are you extremely naïve to not calculate that if USA/TSK was hitting every over heated barn around those mountains there would be 10,000 sheep/goat/cow dead? OR are you just a subjective manipulator of superficial data with less then honorable intend and a propaganda tool of the terrorists.
There are 3000 pkk there and believe me their kitchen culture is not vegetarian. They eat meat, lots of it. Imagine 120 grams per terrorist per day is 1 Kilo a week. That is 3000 Kilos a week of de-boned meat for the PKK. That is 100 sheep/ week let us say. Where does it come from? The supermarket, the 7/11 at the cave, does the meat producers from the city bring them in refrigerated trucks.
There is a whole economy there locally, the whole logistics of feeding that terrorist army. They have their own bakeries, gardens, herds etc. That is on top of the villagers that sell them, PKK are their customers.
How do you think they finance a 3000 men terrorist army, pay for weapons of all kinds and logistics of keeping them alive. Drug trafficking by the tons to the west.
PKK is a brutal, immoral, terrorist organization. Have some decency Sir, study carefully and think it through before making silly assertions like the 200 sheep that does not survive the laughing test of grade 4 arithmetic. Your whole article fails any test of objective reporting, it is poorly thought, low grade propaganda of PKK.
R.R. Hamilton - 1/2/2008
Dear Mr. Tahir,
I may be just another ignorant cowboy, but even I know that by limiting “Turkish rule of Christian lands” to the Ottoman period, you are cutting off about 400 years of Turkish depredations.
Turkey granted freedom of religion to her conquered subjects? So have we to ours.
The only thing proved by the Jews mass immigration to Turkey after the Reconquista is that the Jews were on the wrong side of the Islamic-Christian divide in the last days of the Reconquista. During the 700 years that process lasted, the Jews were repeatedly pushed over the line by one side and then the other, approximately once per century. It was purely coincidental that the Jews happened to be on the Muslim side of Spain in 1492 and so suffered the losses of the conquered (e.g., expulsion, slavery, forced conversion) rather than winning the gains of the conquerors.
Also, it’s not surprising when oppressed religious and ethnic minorities – like the Hungarians of 1683 or the Iraqi Kurds in 2003 – welcome, if only temporarily, foreign rule. Nor is it surprising that even oppressed MAJORITIES – like the Greeks in 1730 or the Iraqi Shia in 2003 – do the same, is it?
And you say there was a “European programme to exterminate Muslims in Europe in the 19th century”. How do you explain the Anglo-French intervention on Turkey’s side in the Crimean War? Perhaps you mean the Greeks and Slavs were pursuing this “programme of extermination”. Assuming only for the sake of argument that they were, perhaps over 800 years of Muslim oppression of Greek and Slavic Christians were the cause? Besides the Muslims still have their own “Lebanon in Europe” – Albania – and it looks as though the U.S. may create another Muslim state in Kosovo.
And yes, Iraq is under American occupation, but how does that fact give Turkey a right to make cross-border military attacks? We occupied West Germany and Japan, too, but that doesn’t mean we could not object to, say, Czech or Korean attacks on German or Japanese soil, does it?
Finally, after seeming to work yourself into a lather, you say that “the us needs to keep on fighting arabs and iranians and turks and anybody else they can find”. We could find Mexicans and Canadians without going to the other side of the globe – so why aren’t we fighting them? Come to think of it, we aren’t fighting Iranians or Turks, either.
Fahrettin Tahir - 1/2/2008
Wrong on all counts.
Ottoman Turkey was a contemporary of Imperial Spain. At a time every other european power was forcing its subjects to accept christianity, their own version of christianity, Ottoman Turkey guaranteed her subjects freedom of religion. Proof of this is the Spanish Jews mass immigration to Turkey (where their descendants still speak spanish) the 1683 revolt in Upper Hungary (todays slovakia) when the Hungarian Protestants wanted to join Turkey, and the 1730 war against Venice, which took place because the Greek church wanted Turkey to recover southern Greece, which had become Venetian (catholic rule) in 1699. At that point they preferred Turkish rule. The Christians and Jews did have second class status, but so did the Catholics in England until 1831. Historically this was nothing unusual, remember slavery in the US. After 1849 all subjects of the Ottoman Empire had equal status, slavery was abolished in Turkey before in the US. At no point even today did all subjects of the British Empire get equal citizenship status.
The relationship became poisoned in the 19th century, when the christian world by then more powerful than Turkey started her programme of exterminating the moslems of europa, not all of them turks. They wanted the assets of the ottoman empire and invented a 700 year long prosecution of christian minorities to justify their attacks againts turkey. By the time they were finished the christians had become majorities all over the balkans, crimea and caucasia, moslems having disappeared from the map. Barbaric were the Christians. The first world war knocked out turkeys worst enemy, tsarist russia so that turkey could survive.
A Texan demanding respect for Iraqi sovereignity is a joke. The place is under US occupation. The US government is trying to invent a Kurdistan which would fight the Americans wars against Arabs and Iranians, for that purpose they need to take land from Turkey. Look up ralph peters in wikipedia and in armed forces journal.com. They might pay lip service to calling the pkk a terrorist organsiation, this has not prevented the us from harbouring the pkk in iraq from which they fight their war against turkey and iran. The terrorism against iran serves to weaken the ayatollah government, with the quisling president of irak now repeating saddams demands about borders with which that gangster started the war against iran which cost 1000000 human lives. The terrorism against turkey is for blackmailing Turkey into supporting the kurdish state without the kurdish state stopping her fight for the greater kurdish empire or whatever else you call it the us needs to keep on fighting arabs and iranians and turks and anybody else they can find.
R. R. Hamilton - 1/2/2008
As I said, Kurdish attacks on Turkey from Iraq are intolerable. U.S. forces and the Iraqi-Kurdish authorities should make stopping these attacks their first priority. I believe the PKK is officially regarded by the U.S. as a terrorist organization, so this is not a matter of "American friends attacking Turkey." On the other hand, Turkey must cease its violation of Iraqi borders -- except where joint military operations may be arranged.
Finally, 700 years of massacre and barbaric oppression of European Christians by Turks is hardly counter-balanced by World War One, which Turkey entered voluntarily, before being attacked by anyone.
Arnold Shcherban - 1/1/2008
<Turkey should come to terms with what she has done to minorities? Why does not the Christian World come to terms with the fact their political target 100 years ago was exterminating the Turkish people?>
How silly and childish! Two wrongs does not make one right.
Besides you're changing the focus of debate here: we were talking about countries' internal policies toward minorities, while you - about
Fahrettin Tahir - 1/1/2008
The history of kurdish terrorism is, they have with their exterme brutality alienated the middle classes, which in other countries like the US itself, tended to support emancipation movements. In one case the heroes of the PKK have thrown a two year old baby into a burning oven, as a sign of their protest against the governement. They are not interested in mobilising the potential supporters of a more rights movement, but only in forcing the government to accept their demands, which is essentially that the Turkish government give up the government of the kurdish speaking provinces to the PKK and the money they need. This is what the war is all about.
The PKK has been supported by the West, in one case a US helicopter from northern Iraq threw supplies to a Turkish army unit fighting ther PKK although no such thing had been arranged. Inquiries into the subject led to the conclusion that the US army was supplying the PKK. For some time European countries openly supported the PKK. Turks believe that a very cruel terrorist movement has been supported to weaken Turkey. When the PKK boss was caught, he had a Greek Cypriot passport and was being coached by Greek intelligence.
It is true that a lot of Turkey policies were and are flawed, as indeed are policies of other states. If a citizen is unhappy with the policies his state follows there are a lot of actions possible, without killing people. Kurdish nationalists are so behind the times, that they know nothing of peaceful politics. There was one film about the PKK in french television “arte” which showed them getting political education. They were being taught, that human relations in the stone age had been optimal, but that at the end of the stone age had deteoriated. They wanted to go back to the human relationships of the stone age. Some of the PKK fighters caught thought they had been fighting Saddam, they did not know they were citizens of turkey. This is a very backward population in a very heterogenous developing country, easily motivated to fight, the more so because goverment policies have been encouraging those who can an ignoring those who can’t.
Of course the West could have encouraged Kurds to democracy compatible policies, but in the 1990ies they wanted to stop Turkeys economic rise and used the Kurds, as they indeed used the Afghans, dropping them when no longer needed.
Calling Turkish attacks on PKK bases in Iraq turkish attacks on Kurds or goats is a lie. They are trying to knock out the training bases of the PKK which have been hiding behind US protection in Iraq. Using air power to avoid casualties is a US technique, which the Turks have learned.
Turkey should come to terms with what she has done to minorities? Why does not the Christian World come to terms with the fact their political target 100 years ago was exterminating the Turkish people?
As for the Texan perspective. Mr Hamilton is proposing blackmailing Turkey, to do what? Accept that the PKK will continue to murder? Give up land to the PKK? Recognize that the Turkish populated city of Kerkuk will be given to the Kurds so they can use the oil to finance killing people in Turkey? Accept that 5 million Turks killed by Christians in the years to the first world was were ok, but fighting back was not? Convince the last Turk, that an alliance with the US is an illusion?
Arnold Shcherban - 1/1/2008
I repeat again:
<That's exactly the case... though applied in reverse, since that were
Turkish governments who killed tens of thousands of Turkish Kurds, not vice versa. Kurds are not exactly peaceful people and the radical elements among them did commit terrorist acts, as on greater or lesser scale did radical elements in any nation (including Americans), but
Kurds DID NOT kill tens of thousands of Turks over those terrorist acts or over military operations against Turkish authorities.>
In asnwering your question about countries responding to terrorist activity on their territories, I can
only tell you a couple of things:
first, any continuos large scale terrorist activity on the part of the minority (as history clearly shows on multiple examples) was caused by legitimate grievances that
minority had against the majority in the respective country.
Whether you take a look at IRA in Ireland, Tamil Tigers at Shri Lanka,
Algerians in France in 60s, Palestinians in Israel, Chechens in Russia, and so on and so forth, you'll invariably find the long history of violations of human rights
and abuse of the rights given them on paper of those minorities by the respective majorities.
Your assertion of the lack
of causality for Kurds' terrorism (because allegedly they were treated
well by the Turkish governments)
is not sincere, to say the least.
Even the US State Department, which is not particularly known for its critical statements against NATO allies, acknowleged on a couple of occassions, though timidly enough, that there had been human rights abuses against Kurds in Turkey.
Second: a majority, certainly, has a full right to respond to terrorist
activity on its historically established territory by force, but
not through terror strikes at the entire towns and villages, which claim the lives of hundreds/thousands of non-terrorist habitants, along with terrorists.
Such an enforcement of "law and order" is explicitly prohibited by the UN charter and characterized as one of the forms of state terrorism in the UN definition of terrorism.
As far as Turkey is concerned, in particular, believe me I have absolutely nothing against Turks, as
I have absolutely nothing for Kurds.
All I was saying that every civilized (forget about "democratic") country should come to grips with its recent past and officially condemn the wrongs it has done to its minorities, no matter
how difficult and embarassing such action may be felt. Turkey, however,
along with some other US allies, such as Japan, Indonesia, Greece, etc. (including the US itself) has stubbornly refused to do just that, despite the overwhelming evidence of the Armenian genocide and state terrorism against Kurds.
Only upon the recognition and redemption on the Turkish part (as powerful majority) the reconciliation process
between Turks and Kurds can start in true.
R. R. Hamilton - 12/31/2007
P.S. Very good article. Thoughtful analysis and probably accurate.
R. R. Hamilton - 12/31/2007
From a Texan-American perspective, there are two untolerable things here. The first untolerable thing is Kurdish attacks on Turks from Iraqi soil. The second is Turkish attacks on Kurds on Iraqi soil.
It is probably not politically desireable for the American military to attack either the Kurdish guerrillas in northern Iraq or the Turkish forces that attack them. Therefore, I would recommend that the Americans use their leverage and inform the Kurds that they will not support their cause regarding the oil-rich Kirkuk region unless the Kurds crack down on the guerrillas. And I would recommend American pressure on Turkey -- for instance, by threatening to cease opposition to a Congressional resolution about the Armenian Holocaust or threatening to reduce our support for Turkish entry into the European Union.
While I'm thinking about Turkey, I would also stop American braying about Turkey as a "model moderate Muslim nation". It only succeeds in pissing off both the secularists and the radicals.
Fahrettin Tahir - 12/31/2007
There are points where I am critical of US policy, and where I can understand why they are doing what they are doing. As for the Kurds, they live in multi-national states like Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Syria, which treat them no different than they treat their other citizens. Quite a lot of Kurds think this is ok, some like the late Turkish president Ozal have reached influential positions, but there are the warmongers who will take any support they can find to make trouble, this is the problem. At this point in history it is the US which is trying to build up a kurdish military power to fight their wars against some middle eastern countries, kurdish nationalists love this policy. The PKK was supported mainly by the Europeans reaching for oil, and now is being used against Iran. They of course shoot back. This shooting back is what gets Kurds killed. The PKK calls their terrorism peoples’ opposition with weapons and demands that the government recognize this as a natural right in democracy.
Mr Shcherban, name me one country which would not shoot back at terrorists.
Arnold Shcherban - 12/31/2007
<It is strange that people who have killed tens of thousands of people..>
That's exactly the case... though applied in reverse, since that were
Turkish governments who killed tens of thousands of Turkish Kurds, not vice versa. Kurds are not exactly peaceful people and the radical elements among them did commit terrorist acts, as on greater or lesser scale did radical elements in any nation (including Americans), but
Kurds did kill tens of thousands of Turks over those terrorist acts or over military operations against Turkish authorities.
However, it was Saddam Hussein who was hanged and not even for allegedly gasing to death two thousands of Iraqi Kurds (which had been the main charge Bush II government forwarded against him), since as much as his trial was a travesty of justice (the US way) the
judges could not prove his guilt in
committing that main crime...
The reason is as simple as tragic: Turkey as member of NATO alliance was and continued to be US ally. And as it well-known and documented the US "alies" all over the world have gotten and continue to get away with any crime known to humankind, genocide included. And not just getting away with crimes, but being openly or overtly sponsored and supported by the American socio-political elite.
That's the major reason, Mr. Tahir, who has demonstrated his unconditional support for US imperialistic strategy on numerous occassions (as a good ally, or American ultra-patriot?) blamed Saddam, initially, Iran then, and Kurds now, parroting the White House propagandist chronological order.
Fahrettin Tahir - 12/31/2007
Iraqi Kurdistan is a stable place? So what makes them export terrorism to neighboring Turkey? They are not stable, they export the main Iraqi product, terrorist killings to Turkey.
It was Turkey under her Kurdish president Turgut Ozal which made the autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan possible, thus they thank the country without which most of them would have been killed by Saddam. Nor is this a new event, Kurdish revolts have been serving the enemies of whichever country Kurds live in for 90 years. This is why they are put under pressure everywhere they live. The rhetorics of freedom and peace serve to mask the fact that they are Clingons, who live to fight and die heroically.
The PKK was supported by the West to divide and weaken Turkey at a point where the West thought it had won history. Now the circumstances have changed, the West is in hot war with the Arabs, a cold war with Russia and China is coming. The West can no longer alienate Turkey, so the PKK is on the way out. Thus history deals with people who betray their countries without understanding what they are doing.
It is strange that people who have killed tens of thousands of people should shed tears for 200 dead sheep.
bakhtiar dargali - 12/30/2007
Click here for the sad & horrific video of the massacre of animals by Turkish air force raids on Kurdistan.
viewer discresion is advised..very sad ti watch..
bakhtiar dargali - 12/30/2007
On Turkey, Kurds, Peace, and War
The recent Turkish air attacks on the peaceful Kurdish villages in the stable Iraqi Kurdistan is an unwelcome news to all that care about stability in Iraq, Turkey, Kurdistan, and the whole Middle East. These unwarranted attacks are also incompatible with Turkey's declared of respecting Iraq's territorial integrity and human rights. If continued or expanded, these savage Turkish attacks on poor Kurdish villagers will destabilize and engulf the whole Middle East.
The core of the problem & the solution lies inside Turkey. There are close to 25 million Kurds (part of the 40 million strong Kurdish nation) living in Turkey. The Kurds mostly live in the Eastern Turkey known to Kurds as "Northern Kurdistan:. Ever since the creation of modern Turkey by Mustafa Kamal, the Kurdish people have been subjected to a vicious campaign of assimilation, ethnic cleansing, terror, deportation, and denial of basic human rights by the successive Turkish regimes. The Turkish oppression against the Kurds, like flow of our Red River, has never ceased or taken a pause.
Turkish republic was created partly at the expense of the Kurdish people . Part of their homeland , Kurdistan, was incorporated into Turkey, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The Kurds then were treated & named non-people by the new Turkish leaders and had to become "Mountain Turks". The savagery of Turkish attacks to repress repeated Kurdish revolts for freedom were nothing less than genocidal attacks by Turkey against the Kurds. The rain has washed away the color of those massacres in Kurdistan but the sad memory remains in the heart of the Kurdish people.
The Turkish air attacks, waged in the past few days, are aimed at destabilizing the Kurdish administration in Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkey opposes Kurdish freedoms not only in Turkey, but also in the neighboring countries of Iraq & Iran too. A British paper had a headline that summarizes situation there" When Kurds smell success, Turks go for guns".
The simple fact is Turkey needs to change its views on the Kurdish nation. The current Turkish perspective is still the relic of a not too pretty past history when Kurds were treated like animals & butchered. Violence is terrible. Kurds have suffered the most under the latest Kurdish revolt that started in 1984. Some 3,000 Kurdish villages have been destroyed in Turkey by the Turkish army and their local militia known as village guards. The great majority of the 30,000 people who have been killed were Kurds. Yet the Turkish leaders hide the fact that Kurds in Turkey have suffered tremendously. They only see the violence of a Kurdish group (PKK) and not the greater and more lethal violence of Turkish regime against the Kurds & Kurdistan.
Turkey needs to become more democratic and a federal state of the two nations that comprise it, Turks & Kurds. It is good for Turkey to treat Kurds fairly. If the present birth rates of Kurds & Turks continues, Kurds will be majority in Turkey 50 years. Will the current slogan of "happy is who calls himself Turk" be replaced with "Happy is who calls himself Kurd"? The simple fact is all nations and all colors are precious at God's sight, be it Arabs, blacks, Kurds, ... .
Turkey should promote brotherhood, democracy, and tolerance instead of degrading slogans to non-Turk citizens and terrorize local population by criminal air attacks on peasant settlements in cold rugged mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. One of the greatest heroes and champions of freedoms against tyranny, Nelson Mandela, refused to accept the Turkish Ataturk prize in the nineties because of the flagrant & gross violations of Kurdish human & national rights by Turkey.
The sick violence in Turkish part of Kurdistan is abhorrent, but is not the disease. It is the symptom of a more serious disease called the Turkish oppression.
The Turks and Kurds are brothers. They are related by humanity, religion, and traditions. Turkey needs to abandon the denial of the Kurdish people's rights in Turkey. Instead, it needs to promote friendship with the Kurdish administration in Southern Kurdistan. Threatening & terrorizing the poor Kurds in Qandil mountain will solve nothing but create more animosity between Kurds & Turks.
The West had a major role in the division of Kurdish people homeland, Kurdistan, amongst the four major nations that not only became Kurdistan's occupiers but also its tormentors. Furthermore, America has also legal control over Iraq & its skies. Hence the West & America has legal & moral obligations to protect the Kurds & their rights. Kurds are allies and friends of America in an area where few identify with or support with Americas. Prior to the recent U,S. authorized Turkish air strikes on Kurdistan, the only complain Kurds had was that that they are not seeing their American friends enough.
The ideals of Kurdish people's ambitions for freedom & democracy are compatible with the noble ideals of the country that gave the gifts like Thomas Jefferson and Martin Luther King to humanity. America should not sell out Kurds for short-term geopolitical games & gains. America must pressure the arrogant military influenced regime in Ankara to come to their senses and understand that the just Kurdish issue will not be solved by bombs, hatred and terror from the skies, but by tolerance, democracy, and peace initiatives.
Arnold Shcherban - 12/30/2007
Under quite possible scenario described in the article the count of the bodies can also be - 200 peasants and 7 sheep...