|Dr. Ismail Besiki
To the Judges
The following is a shortened version
of the preliminary statement made by Dr. Besiki on April 1990 to the Turkish
Court. He was arrested in February 1990 following the publication and subsequent
confiscation of his book Interstate Colony -- Kurdistan. He was charged
with "disseminating propaganda and undermining national pride." He has
been imprisoned by the Turkish authorities since 1971. He has recently
been sentenced to 100 years in prison.
To the Judges: A science that
is incapable of criticising official ideology cannot progress
This is not the first time that
I have been tried for my studies on the Kurdish question and scientific
concepts. I have appeared in various courts on various dates since 1967.
The contents of the indictments arraigned on these occasions has never
changed. Since the late sixties the same allegations have been repeated
in the same terminology using the same concepts:
"Citizens of the Turkish Republic
are referred to as Turkish. There is no nation in Turkey except the Turkish
nation and no language except Turkish. The existence of another nation
or another language cannot be accepted. Every person who is a subject of
the Turkish state and everyone who is bound to the state through citizenship
is Turkish. Not differentiated in language, religion, sex or race everyone
is Turkish. Whatever their ethnic origin.
The basic principle accepted by
the constitution is that everyone is Turkish. All Turks are equal in political
rights. It is an offense to say there is a nation other than the Turkish
nation or a language other than the Turkish language or a culture other
than Turkish culture or to defend this language and culture."
The Turkish state and its official
ideology denies the existence of the Kurdish nation and the Kurdish language.
The Kurds are considered to be a Turkish tribe, the Kurdish language a
dialect of Turkish. In this way sociological realities are denied by means
of official ideology. Official ideology is not just any ideology. Official
ideology implies legal sanction. Those who stray outside the boundaries
of official ideology are shown the way to prison. The constraints of official
ideology obstruct the development of science. This pressure paralyses thought
and cripples and blunts minds. These qualities of science and official
ideology have become more obvious in recent years.
As I pointed out above, the contents
of the charge sheets have not changed since 1967. However, the subjects
and contents of my writings and the social and political understanding
therein have changed considerably. For instance the writings published
in 1990 bear little or no resemblance to the articles published in 1967.
The new work is more correct and coherent. It is plain that the chains
that crippled and enslaved thought and language have now been broken and
are no longer held in such regard. This is one of the most important facts
of the process beginning in the late 60s and continuing to the present
It is at this point that I feel
it is necessary to touch on the concepts of legality and legitimacy. I
do not share the views expressed in the indictment, since these views are
an expression of official ideology and based on a lie and denial of the
truth. These things may exist in law but they are not legitimate. Whether
it is 5 generals or 450 deputies that pass it makes no difference. Legislation
denying the existence of the Kurdish nation, language and culture can have
no legitimacy at all. In law legitimacy is more important than legality.
The Kurdish population in the Middle
East is in excess of 30 million. The Kurds have lived in Kurdistan for
4,000 years, whereas the Turks started to move from Central Asia through
Khorasan into Iran, Kurdistan, Iraq, Syria and Anatolia in the second half
of the 11th century. To wipe out the Kurdish nation, its language and its
culture is barbaric. There is no way such a process can be approved by
public consciousness. The Turkish nation does not deserve to be known as
the perpetrator of such barbarism. In this respect there is a great difference
between legality and legitimacy on the subject of the Kurdish question.
In present day this difference, this contradiction has become more striking
and has caught the imagination of public opinion.
All over the world political and
social currents like liberation struggles, struggles for self-determination
and human rights are gaining strength. These struggles have also, undoubtedly,
influenced Kurdish society. In recent years the Kurdish people have entered
a process of awakening. The Kurds have realised that Kurdish society is
a slave society, the like of which is not to be found anywhere in the world.
The system which the imperialist states and the Turks, Arabs and Persians
in league with them, have seen fit for the Kurds is a system of slavery.
A nation whose name has been banned. A nation whose honour has been usurped,
a nation whose self betrayal has been facilitated, a humiliated nation.
The Kurds have not only realised
the state they are in and the status seen fit for them. They have also
begun to feel shame at their slavery. In which case, they should remedy
the situation. They need to find a way to live in dignity. The present
struggle is a struggle for equality with all nations and peoples. And through
this struggle world opinion is understanding more about the Kurdish question.
The world is following the Kurdish struggle for democracy, freedom and
equality as is progressive opinion in Turkey.
Let us consider the fact that the
Turks came to the Middle East in the 11th century.
They have lived on these lands for
less than a thousand years. They have humiliated and degraded the original
owners of these lands, who have been here for 4,000 years. While there
are independent states with populations of only 10,000 how have the Kurds,
with a population of more than 30 million been made to submit to such a
dishonourable life? These questions need to be examined.
Today there is a Turkish Kurdistan,
an Iranian Kurdistan, an Iraqi Kurdistan and a Syrian Kurdistan. But the
Kurds have no Kurdistan. Why not? Kurds also live in various republics
of the Soviet Union. They live in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan
and in villages in the foothills of the Pamir mountains. Why? How did they
get there? What was the reason for their exile? Why was a divide and rule
policy used against the Kurds? Undoubtedly a nation which is the victim
of a divide and rule policy has great weaknesses. What are the Kurds weaknesses?
All these questions need to be investigated and scrutinised.
Turkish universities, Turkish professors,
writers, Turkish political parties and the Turkish press have a widespread,
accepted understanding. This is emphasised in the public prosecutor's indictment.
According to this understanding everyone in Turkey is equal and no-one
is subjected to different treatment due to their language or culture. Everyone
can rise to high office in public service. No-one is prevented from doing
so. For instance anyone can become a deput, minister, governor, judge,
officer, professor etc. It is possible to give examples of this view:
"In the administration of Turkey
there has never been in the past or present, a policy of exclusion based
on a person's ethnic origin. Nobody has ever been prevented from entering
parliament or reaching the highest posts in the state due to being of Kurdish
origin." (Prof. Dr. Mumtaz Soysal. 'Separatism', Milliyet newspaper, 14/3/90)
"The Kurds are not deprived of any
rights. No-one in Turkey has been deprived of the right to achieve high
office by claims of being a minority." (Prof. Dr. Mumtaz Soysal. Milliyet
1990, from a speech made at South-East Europe Minority Rights Conference
in Copenhagen on 30 March and 1 April 1990)
"The Kurds have not been considered
a minority in Ottoman or in Republican Turkey. Citizens of Kurdish origin
have been able to take their place equally in the public and private sector."
(Prof.Dr Dogu Ergil, 'Eastern Question'. Milliyet, 23/3/90).
"The Turks and the Kurds have lived
together for hundreds of years. Citizens of Kurdish origin can gain promotion
in their chosen careers, in the military or civilian bureaucracy without
encountering any obstacle. In today's Motherland Party government there
are several ministers of Kurdish origin." (Ugur Mumcu. 'Where is the problem?'
Cumhuriyet newspaper, 28/3/90)
"There is absolutely no difference
between citizens living in the East and citizens in other regions...as
democracy is based on the vote it results in a sharing of resources...Turks
and Kurds share the same fate. We endure the problems of living in a poor
country together. No one treats Easterners as second class citizens...There
is no discrimination between Kurd and Turk." (Nazli Ilicak. Press summit
in Presidential Palace, Tercuman newspaper, 8/4/90)
"Turkish society is not racist.
Anyone who says 'I'm Turkish' is accepted as a member of society. It is
written so in the constitution. Ataturk said, 'How happy is one who says
I am a Turk' not 'How happy is one who is a Turk'. It is not a matter of
race. In everyone's past there is some element of Turk, Laz, Georgian,
Circassian, Kurd or other. They have become mixed up. There are those among
us who have a different mother tongue. It is possible to meet migrants
from Crete who speak no Turkish. This does not prevent them being one of
us. Turks of Kurdish origin in our midst have become commanders, judges,
MPs, ministers, prime minister, even president. They have achieved more
high posts than their percentage of the population. There is no discrimination.
While this is the state of affairs we are faced with a clandestine struggle
in the south-east. There are no Muslim minorities in Turkey. The language
spoken is Turkish. Everyone is obliged to learn this language. Primary
education is compulsory. If there are people who don't know Turkish the
fault lies with the teachers who didn't teach them or the students who
didn't learn." (Ihsan Sabri Caglayangil. 'Turkey's security and an appraisal'.
Gunes newspaper, 10/4/90)
It is necessary to point out that
the professors, writers, journalists and bureaucrats' ideas are wrong.
They emphasise that those 'of Kurdish origin', have equal rights with Turks
and that they are able to achieve high office in the state apparatus. But
they ignore the basic condition for this "equality". In Turkey a person
"of Kurdish origin" who denies his identity becomes like a Turk and makes
propaganda for Turkish nationalism can achieve anything. There is no doubt
about that, but it is not equality. This means enslaving this society,
destroying it, facilitating its self-betrayal and humiliating the nation
and the people. According to Turkish university professors, the Turkish
press, Turkish diplomats and Turkish writers this is "equality". One cannot
claim that a person who is enslaved, who denies his identity, has equal
rights with the person and the nation he tries to resemble. Democracy and
its basic condition, equality is of course a universal concept, whereas
the concept being propagated above can only be "equality according to the
Turks" or "democracy according to the Turks".
It is emphasised that people from
the East, or those of "Kurdish origin", can become MPs. But it should be
realised that these people do not contest the elections as Kurds, they
do not get elected as Kurds! In Turkey the Kurds are a nation which has
had its identity usurped. When a chiId is born to Kurdish parents the child
is registered as a Turk. From the Turkish constitution downwards all Turkish
laws usurp the Kurdish identity. A Kurdish child is given a Turkish identity
card. His or her Kurdish identity is objectively denied. After such a denial
and a Turkicisation operation to say that all Turks are equal regardless
of race, language or religion does not mean everyone is equal. This is
undoubtedly not an objective equality but an ideological equality. In that
case it is a constitutional and legal requirement that Kurds, those "of
Kurdish origin", are Turkish. It is quite natural then, that after everyone
is Turkicised at birth they should contest elections, become civil servants
and achieve high office.
For a person to work in the state
bureaucracy it is of course not enough for that person's Kurdish identity
to be usurped. That person has to reject the characteristics of Kurdish
society, has to say he is a Turk and with his ideas and actions put this
over convincingly. Those who defend their Kurdish identity can get nowhere
in Turkey. They cannot even become a caretaker or jailor, let alone a MP.
There is only one thing these people can become: an accused person or a
It is true that there are several
ministers "of Kurdish origin" in today's government. But they achieved
these positions because they denied their national identity and became
slaves. For this reason, whenever there is the slightest national oppression
of Turks in Bulgaria,Western Thrace (Greece), Cyprus, Azerbaijan etc. these
"Turks" speak out. They defend the rights of these Turkish communities.
However, when in Kurdistan the Kurds are faced with intense persecution
and repression they remain silent.
In the 1980s over forty young people
were tortured to death in the dungeons of Diyarbakir because they insisted
on defending their identity and didn't sing the Turkish national anthem
and take part in Ataturkist education. Ministers "of Kurdish origin" felt
not the slightest need to intervene. In Southern Kurdistan the Kurds were
massacred in their thousands with chemical weapons, tens of thousands were
wounded and crippled and hundreds of thousands were forced to flee to Turkey
in a wretched state. They were put behind barbed wire and treated like
prisoners. They have not been recognised as political refugees. Of course,
the ministers whose "Kurdish origin" is emphasised made no fuss about this.
For professors, writers and the press to assert that everyone is equal
and can become a MP or even a minister means nothing less than that they
approve of the slave status seen fit for Kurdish people. This shows just
how official ideology has blunted intellects. The fact that professors
make such assertions shows just how official ideology has distorted science.
A science that does not challenge and criticise official ideology has no
chance of developing. It is easy to see that Turkish professors, journalists
and writers have double standards. They opposed vehemently the Bulgarian
state's claim that: "In Bulgaria there is no such ethnic group as the Turks.
They are Bulgarians who were Turkicised by the Ottomans. Everyone in Bulgaria
is of Bulgarian ethnic origin. Every Bulgarian is equal in regard to race,
language or sex". They asserted that this was an example of racism and
imperialism to be found nowhere else in the world. There, too, those who
denied being Turkish could achieve high office. But this did not mean the
Turks had equal rights. The professors, writers and journalists condemned
the Bulgarian government's violations of human rights. They stressed the
inequality of Bulgarians and Turks. They see as equality the much worse
situation of Kurds vis-a-vis Turks which is much more obvious and has existed
not just in recent years but for nearly seventy years. They boast that:
"The Turks have never treated anyone differently on account of their ethnic
origin". This is racism. Not to see other peoples as deserving rights they
see fit for their own nation. And this racism is thoroughly systematized.
For example, Bulgaria has been able to change its policy concerning the
Turks whereas Turkey cannot even dare to think about the subject of the
One shouldn't perceive racism as
always being a matter of separate housing estates, separate restaurants,
separate beaches etc. Turkish style racism means humiliating and looking
down on the Kurdish language and culture i.e. everything Kurdish, and imposing
the Turkish language and culture in its place, using state terror as the
most effective tool in this process. In Turkey professors, writers and
diplomats both perpetrate intensive racism and also start their articles
by saying "Turks aren't racist". The Turks apparently count as one of their
own anyone who says "I'm Turkish". This is not the point. Problems start
when someone says "I'm Kurdish". This is when state terror is used to "transform
Kurds to Turks".
This racist and double-standard
approach is not reserved only for professors and writers. It has been defended
by Turkish universities as a whole and a very large proportion of the Turkish
press. Turkish political parties, Turkish workers' organisations, legal
associations, the theology ministry and Turkish sports federations have
also adopted this idea and approach.
Many judges criticized Bulgaria
for its policies towards the Turks but when we say "the Kurds suffer severe
persecution, state terror is being used against the Kurds. The Kurds are
being assimilated", we are put on trial in front of these very same judges.
The double standard evident in the thoughts and actions of these judges
attracts attention of course. It is just such a system of justice which
damages justice itself. This double standard approach doesn't stop there.
Look at this example:
"Recently you must surely have heard
frequently people saying 'How can Turkey, which is under threat on account
of the Kurdish question of self-determination, dare to base its own case
in Cyprus on the same right?' Or words to that effect. Turkey's stand finds
heart in the fact that in the administration, neither in the past, nor
today, has there been a policy of discrimination based on ethnic origin.
No one has been prevented from entering parliament or taking high office
in the state because they were 'of Kurdish origin'. In other words, the
exact opposite of the situation in Cyprus.
Yes, there are problems and especially
in regard to the freedom to use the mother tongue there are definitely
steps that must be taken. But these are not problems that cannot be solved
within a framework of common sense that is not based on ethnic discrimination.
On account of this to draw parallels
between the situation of citizens of Kurdish origin in Turkey and the situation
of the excluded Turks in Cyprus is an ill-intentioned position that can
be used as an excuse either to incite unnecessary division in Turkey or
deliver the Turkish Cypriots into a Greek Cypriot Sultanate. Or it's just
another way of weakening our just case by our own hand." (Prof.Dr.Mumtaz
Soysal. 'Separatism' Milliyet. 14/3/90)
Here we have a mentality which needs
to be examined and scrutinised closely. A comparison is being made between
Turkish Cypriots and Kurds. It is being emphasized that the Kurds live
in very good conditions while the Turks in Cyprus live in very bad conditions.
In other words, that Turkish-Kurdish relations are run in a very democratic
legislative framework whereas Greek Cypriot-Turkish Cypriot relations are
administered in a very anti-democratic legislative framework. This is not
only the mentality of Prof. Soysal. It is the shared mentality of Turkish
writers and the Turkish press. It is becoming increasingly the mentality
of the state's official ideology. In this respect it needs to be examined.
For over 20 years intensive, widespread
oppression has been practiced in Kurdistan. State terror has been adopted
as a basic policy. The security forces, commandoes, gendarmes, police and
counter-insurgency squads frequently raid villages. All the inhabitants
are rounded up in the village square. Children and women are lined up on
one side and the men on the other. The men are then stripped naked. The
men are tortured in front of their womenfolk and children. String is tied
to the sexual organs of the men and the string is then given to the women.
They are then made to parade around the village under rifle butts. This
is undoubtedly humiliating and degrading treatment.
Did the Turkish Cypriots suffer
such treatment I wonder? Whether before 1974, 1964 or 1958. So how can
it be said that the legislation governing Turkish-Kurdish relations is
democratic whereas that governing Greek Cypriot-Turkish Cypriot relations
was so anti-democratic?
In Kurdistan today human beings
can easily be killed by the security forces without anyone asking questions.
Sometimes people are killed to exact vengeance, sometimes to intimidate
and threaten the people. Sometimes, too, commanding officers say "Bring
some heads, then you can go on leave". Junior officer Riza Parlak said
Gendarme private Nuri Kocak had been rewarded with 15 days leave by his
commanding officer, Zahit Engin for killing two villagers. (Gunes14/3/1990)
When the relatives of those killed
complain to the appropriate departments they get nowhere. No investigation
or inquiry is started into either the commander who gave the order or into
When the situation is so clear,
so strikingly manifest, how can the Turkish Cypriot community be compared
with the Kurds in Kurdistan? Did the Greek Cypriots kill the Turkish Cypriots
in such an arbitrary way, with no questions asked?
The state's counter-insurgency squads
frequently disguise themselves as guerrillas and commit atrocities. The
incident which took place on 21 January 1990 when 28 Kurds were massacred
in Sete (Ikiyaka) village near Yuksekova was one such example (see "Towards2000",
issue No 13, 25/3/90, page 26: "I didn't do it, I was beaten and made to
appear on TV").
Sometimes, too, village guards in
guerriIla garb are encouraged to kill patriotic Kurdish families. The slaughter
of 3 people, two of them babies, in Hakkari in March was one such incident.
The incident was reflected in the Turkish press as "Baby murderers PKK".
(Milliyet, 31/3/90). Subsequently it came to light that the crime had been
committed by village guards. ("Towards 2000", issue No4.1/4/90)
Despite all the above Prof. Dr.
Mumtaz Soysal is still able to compare Turkish-Kurdish relations favourably
to Greek Cypriot-Turkish Cypriot relations, since, we are told. those "of
Kurdish origin" whose identity has been usurped can be elected to parliament.
Presumably he thinks that once they can sing Kurdish folk songs everything
will be peace and light.
In Cyprus prior to 1974 Turkish
Cypriots could enter parliament as Turks. They could become ministers as
Turks and the vice-president of Cyprus was a Turk. There was no question
of the Turkish Cypriots being excluded.
It is necessary to ask the professors:
In Turkey Kurds do not enter parliament as Kurds, they do not contest elections
as Kurds because as soon as they are born they are registered as Turks.
"Equality" begins after this usurpation. This is not, of course, equality,
because equality is a fundamental principle of democracy, is a universal
concept to which conditions cannot be attached.
Every year on 23 April Turkish Cypriot
children come to Turkey and participate in the 23 April celebrations (International
Children's Festival). The same people who say "we love children very much,
we are the first state to give chiIdren a festival", show rifle butts to
In Kurdistan the sole administrator
is the military. They rule by decrees and orders. Governors have no say.
People are forced to eat excrement to make them obedient and loyal to the
state. After people are killed at random the army claims they were "PKK
militants". Bodies are then burnt to eradicate evidence. Has any thing
like this ever happened in Cyprus? How can such comparisons be made?
Israel cannot think of using chemical
weapons against the Palestinians and the Americans were unable to use them
in Vietnam but these weapons have been used on several occasions in Kurdistan.
Kurdistan is an international colony
divided between four states. In fact Kurdistan is a country that is not
even a colony. lt is a nation without an identity, a nation that has had
its identity usurped. There are great differences between Kurdistan and
classical colonies. For instance between the way Britain administered India
and the way the Turks administer Kurdistan. When Britain appointed a senior
official preference was given to those who knew local languages and were
familiar with local cultures. But when officials are appointed in Kurdistan
knowledge of Kurdish and familiarity with Kurdish culture is not required
since the Kurds are a nation under threat of being eradicated along with
their language, culture, name and history.
Turkey guarantees legally and in
practice the political, social and national rights of the Turkish Cypriots.
Their rights are also guaranteed by international treaties. Whenever there
is a violation of the rights of the Turkish Cypriots Turkey intervenes
immediately to seek redress through diplomatic channels or, if necessary,
by military means. The situation is the same for Turkish communities in
other countries. Whenever any pressure is put on the Turks in Bulgaria
or Western Thrace (Greece) Turkey immediately protests. The problem is
taken to international assemblies and human rights organisations are alerted.
For the Kurds the situation is somewhat
different. Since the Kurds have had the right to set up their own independent
state usurped, whenever there is persecution there is no authority which
can make a protest to the state concerned. As protests and condemnations
from human rights bodies are unofficial the states persecuting the Kurds
will ignore them.
The use of chemical weapons in Southern
Kurdistan in 1988 was the greatest instance of genocide since Hiroshima
and Nagasaki in 1945. However the world's reaction was muted. Saddam Hussein's
regime suffered no great condemnation. The Halabja massacre took place
on 16 March 1988. On 20 March the Islamic Conference held a summit meeting
in Kuwait. At the summit the Bulgarian government was condemned for changing
the Turks' names and giving them Bulgarian ones. The Israeli government
was condemned for persecuting the Palestinians and the Greek Cypriot government
was condemned for not recognising the Turkish state of Northern Cyprus.
The Soviet Union was condemned for its presence in Afganistan but not a
word was spoken about the genocide perpetrated against the Kurds by the
Iraqi regime. Not one leader of the 42 Islamic countries felt the need
to put the subject on the agenda. For this reason Saddam Hussein's government
was able to commit such crimes against the Kurds. If there were a member
of an international body that could put the matter on the agenda they would
not be able to behave in such an unrestrained manner. All this is a consequence
of the division and parcelling up of Kurdistan.
Let's imagine for a moment that
Israel used chemical weapons against the Palestinians. What would the world's
reaction be? The world would be in uproar. There would be protests for
weeks all over the world. Huge demonstrations would be held. There would
also undoubtedly be protest meetings in Israel too, because one shouldn't
forget that Israel is a democratic society and that it is possible for
public reaction to show its opposition to government policies. Israel would
be condemned and isolated from the international community, which it knows
very well, so it would not even consider using chemical weapons.
However these weapons have been
used in Kurdistan without resulting in great international protests whereas
when an English (sic) journalist named Bazoft was executed in Bagdad the
Western countries protested long and loud.
If even a small part of the persecution
and genocide practiced in Kurdistan was applied in Cyprus against the Turkish
Cypriots the Turkish government, political parties, universities and press
would lead the protests. It would be wrong to criticize a professor or
a writer for not supporting oppressed peoples and those suffering persecution
because to support or not to support an oppressed people is a moral question.
However if such a mentality tries to give lessons in democracy every day
then it should be exposed for what it is. The racist and colonialist attitude
and behaviour should be exposed. Official ideologists make their propaganda
regularly whereas those who criticize are sent to prison. The Turkish press
should remember Voltaire.
The opposition parties in Turkey
have given the government a blank cheque saying "do as you wish, just stop
these troubles, we won't ask any questions, don't worry".
There is something ironic about
these words. The political parties in Turkey don' t have the power to ask
questions! Even though they have millions of votes they have no power.
A few generals take power, detain the party leaders for a time and then
send them home. There is no such thing in Turkish politics as resisting
military coups. Surrendering to military coups is an important tradition
in Turkish politics. Turkish politics is cowardly and sycophantic. The
only freedom political parties have is to approve policies of persecution
and tyranny. In Turkey Kurdistan policies are not government policies,
they are army and MIT (National Intelligence Organisation) policies. In
other words, state policies. Policies on Kurdistan are formulated by the
National Security Council. These policies cannot be debated in parliament
and as state policies have to be supported by opposition parties. In Turkey
the government, opposition, political parties and parliament are a lot
weaker than is thought. In Turkey the state has an illegal aspect, an illegal
function and this is its powerful aspect. It is this illegal function of
the state which dominates parliament. Turkish politics has yet to expose
this illegal character of the state.
We have tried to give some examples
of state terror in Kurdistan. One shouldn't perceive state terror as only
physical oppression. One shouldn't neglect the mentality behind state terror,
torture and oppression. This also needs to be examined. In my opinion "Understanding
of science peculiar to Turks", "Understanding of democracy peculiar to
Turks" and "Understanding of equality peculiar to Turks" etc. are important
dimensions forming this mentality. The "national interest" can make it
necessary to tamper with the facts, to distort the truth. The Turks need
democracy but this democracy will include torture. Otherwise how will those
who are "patriotic" be able to bring round those who are "unpatriotic"
Nationalism is a characteristic
the Turks certainly won't relinquish but they also seem to feel it necessary
to eradicate other people's national characteristics and to try to make
them resemble themselves.
If the reporting of an incident
conflicts with the national interest then that incident shouldn't be reported.
This is the mentality behind state terror, oppression and torture. In this
respect state terror in Kurdistan is formulated and reproduced with the
assistance of Turkish universities, the Turkish press, Turkish political
parties and Turkish legal associations.
One of the concepts stressed in
the indictment is that of "shared national joy and sorrow". According to
this there is an indivisible, organic link between all citizens in pain,
sorrow, joy and pride. It is emphasised that everyone is Turkish and that
everyone shares common feelings in cases of the above feelings. In reality
of course, this was not the case. For example during the war in Cyprus
everyone was expected to assist Turkey and to publicise the justness of
Turkey's action. When there was persecution of the Turks in Bulgaria everyone
was expected to criticize Bulgaria and participate in the campaign against
it. But if a Kurdish resident of Siirt or Hakkari tried to assist the Kurds
fighting the Iraqi government by, for instance, sending medicine, he would
be arrested and thrown into prison.
The situation of the Kurds who had
to flee from Southern Kurdistan and take refuge in Turkey and that of the
Turks who were sent from Bulgaria is informative. At first Turkey didn't
want to accept the Kurds as refugees, and even returned some to Iraq. Later,
for various reasons, Turkey allowed the Kurds to stay but rather than recognising
them as refugees stuck them in camps behind barbed wire and treated them
like prisoners of war.
Of course the Turks from Bulgaria
were not treated in this way. Our "cousins" were assisted in all ways possible.
Those with relatives in Turkey were allowed to stay with them, whereas
the Kurds from Iraq were not allowed to stay with their relatives, or in
other words, the Kurds in Northern Kurdistan were obstructed when they
tried to help those who had fled from chemical bombardment. The Turkish
government even announced that "Our doctors have carried out tests and
have found no sign of the use of chemical weapons". They protected Iraq
the perpetrators of genocide. A delegation of experts from the UN were
denied permission to carry out tests on the Kurds, who were suffering the
after effects of chemical weapons. As the Kurds have not been granted refugee
status, aid from abroad is also not being accepted. The Turkish government
says, "Send us the aid, we will distribute it to those in need". Foreign
states, finding Turkey unreliable, are unable to send aid. They are not
sure that such aid will reach the Kurds. The Turkish state prevents aid
reaching the Kurds, stops Kurdish people in Turkey rendering assistance
and then complains about the "financial burden" the Kurds have brought.
I want to dwell a little upon the
concept of "national pride". Wanting the Kurdish people to be free, wanting
them to live in equal conditions with the Turkish people is taken to be
propaganda undermining the national pride of the Turks. In fact, demanding
equality for the Kurdish people, or the removal of bans on Kurdish language
and culture definitely cannot undermine the national pride of the Turks.
On the contrary it would strengthen it since defence of human rights and
freedoms strengthens national feelings.
The campaign in Germany against
the Turks may well wound Turkish pride but why should the demand for Kurdish
freedom wound Turkish feelings?
The fact that the United Nations
and some member states are unable to send aid to the Kurdish refugees because
they consider the Turkish state's promises lack credibility may well wound
Turkey, with its colony Kurdistan,
certainly has no chance of taking a place amongst the democratic states
of the West. It is becoming increasingly clear that Turkey is ruling a
colony with a policy the like of which is not to be found anywhere in the
world. Turkey will move further away from the West, from Europe, because
at every international gathering it attends Turkey will face questions
about its colony Kurdistan. Turkey's record on this subject is not without
blemishes. It has much to answer for. The only way it wiIl be able to avoid
these questions is by taking care to stay away from these meetings. This
is all I have to say at this stage of the proceedings.
18 April 1990, Sagmalcilar Prison,