The Turks and the Kurds

Kader Kadem | 14:04 | 1Comments
Despite the fact that the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), which claims to be the defender of Kurdish interests, is boycotting the upcoming referendum, a “no” vote will probably make Kurdish problems worse.

This may amount to mind reading, but judging by what they have been doing, the BDP formerly Democratic Society Party (DTP) politicians do not seem to be working toward the betterment of the Kurdish people’s living conditions, human rights or cultural rights. Although nobody asks them, they keep repeating that outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan is their leader and that the terrorist organization should also be listened to.

They must be out of their minds not to see that this rhetoric only fuels Turkish nationalist sentiments and that even Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which is not nationalist, has to take these sentiments into account. That is why Erdoğan could not speed up his steps toward solving the problems that the Kurds have been facing. Whenever there is an attempt at democratization either the PKK starts killing civilians, bombing buses and attacking military stations or the BDP politicians start voicing impossible demands that only provoke the masses and discourage everyone who sincerely want to help. Rather than gradually improving the situation, these acts make the Kurds suffer further. With a “no” vote on the referendum, Turkish democratization will be reversed. One does not need to be a genius to understand this.

First of all, the AK Party will lose its appetite and enthusiasm for democratization. It is not a monolithic party, and we all know that it is a kind of coalition composed of Kurds, liberals, former leftists, center-right politicians and Turkish nationalists. The Turkish nationalists within the party ranks, in particular, are not at all enthusiastic about the democratization package. There have also been rumors that they have not been happy with the Ergenekon case. If the reforms do not pass in the referendum, their voice will be stronger, and Erdoğan has shown that he can instantly transform his rhetoric into a nationalist discourse. This will obviously not help the Kurds.

Secondly, general elections will take place soon after the referendum, in 10 months. Even though the referendum is not linked to party policies or their success, a no vote would mean that the Turkish people did not think so and wished to penalize, albeit unjustly, the AK Party. A logical consequence of this would be that they will continue to penalize the AK Party in the general elections. I am sure the Kurds are not imagining that the alternative to an AK Party government will be the BDP, which can only get 7 percent of the vote, maximum. The ultranationalist CHP and MHP may form a coalition government, and we do not really need to go into detail to explain that this would be a very bad development as far as democratization, the EU accession process and human rights issues are concerned.

Some Kurdish politicians and the PKK might be thinking that this is what they wanted. A less democratic Turkey would mean a continuing Kurdish problem so that the Kurds (at least some of them) will see once again that the Turks do not consider them as equals and thus continue to be loyal to the BDP and PKK. Yes, this might happen, but it will not bring them an independent Kurdish state. The fight will go on as it has for the last three decades, and we will lose one or two more decades until everyone wakes up and sees that it is a dead end, harming Kurds more than it harms the Turks who live in more or less better conditions.

Sept. 12, 2010 is definitely a greater challenge for the Kurds than for the Turks.
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A nice simple article but it reads as though the writters first language is not English. An editor would be welcome.

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