Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Thomas Riggins

Some reflections on the current Turkey/PKK standoff in Northern Iraq. If Turkey wants to end PKK attacks it might try, as a first measure, extending full citizen and human rights to the Kurdish population of Turkey. The Kurds are not allowed to freely use their language. A people's culture and traditions can not be preserved and respected if the state persecutes them with regard to the use of their national language.

Turkey should end efforts at forced assimilation of Kurdish children to "Turkishness" and other efforts at cultural genocide. Turkey should also end policies of violent repression of peaceful manifestations of Kurdish nationalism.

Where there is smoke there is fire. National minorities do not rise up and rebel unless the state engages in unfair repressive policies. If the Turkish state is serious about wanting social peace and ethnic harmony it will begin serious negotiations with the PKK and other national and ethnic opposition groups to make Turkey a nation it which all of its citizens have equal rights [and not the equal right to only be "Turkish"] and that all national groups have equal rights and equal treatment-- not just the Kurds but also Armenians and Pontic Greeks among others.

On the other hand, if all Turkey wants to do is oppress and exploit its national minorities then by all means choose the George Bush option and throw your military against them. You will eventually reap the whirlwind.

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