Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Peace through dialogue

Kurdish Aspect - By Ardalan Hardi

As a community, the more open we are toward the realm of exchanging ideas, the easier it is to embrace our differences. The majorities of the tribulations that humanity faces are self inflected and are the direct result of isolationism and inability to associate with one another. At the core of the problem is the absence of dialogue. Those ideological disputes from opposing camps that turn into larger wars are a direct result of lack of understanding and interaction between two cultures or societies.

A philosopher once said "where there is no communication, there is death." What frees societies from death, terror and destruction is the ability to talk and listen to others who shares this planet with us. Language is a gift from God to us as human beings. The value of that gift can only be fully appreciated when we make an attempt to reach out to other people, other cultures, other nations and societies. It is then that we will fully realize the importance of dialogue and it is then when we are able to open other doors for exchanging ideas.

Our hope is to continually and always minimize isolationism and enhance the chances for longer life through open and honest dialogue for better co-existence. We hope for a life that is void of extreme dislikes and hostilities, a life in which people are willing to have a open discussion and listen to oneself, in the same way one should have be able to reason and collaborate with other people and cultures. It is that world in which people can have a discussion instead of arguments, love instead of hate that gives a chance to a life in which all of its beauty and its colors can grow and flourish.

In the decade that has been named by many experts as an era of communication technology, one would think it would create an opportunity to associate with each other through dialogue, understanding and acceptance of each other. Yet in today's world the simplest conflicting forces most grievously turn into opposing camps. The political, social, religious, economic, racial and ideological dispute still continues bitterly, and with it brings the repugnant side of mankind and tragedies of wars which reduces everything to ashes.

In our modest way and through the publication of Kurdish Aspect we hope to create the opportunities for much-needed dialogue. Kurdish Aspect will attempt to be a vehicle for promoting issues related to Kurds and Kurdistan within the larger context of Middle Eastern concerns.

We strive to be a voice for open discussion and debate for all those who are motivated to participate in creating a more peaceful world. We want to be link between our different cultures, not only to give you a Kurdish perspective but also to invite your views and insights to the Kurdish issues. What we foresee is a step toward a logical foundation far from antagonism and hatred that defends what we believe in through our pens. At the same time, we are willing to listen to those who disagree with us and think otherwise with respect.

By raising the threshold of both dialogue and compromises, perhaps we can enhance the chances for the better world which we all seek.

For a free issue of the Kurdish Aspect email us at kurdishaspect@yahoo.com

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Kurdish issues and Michael Rubin’s Turkishness

Kurdishaspect.com - by Ardalan Hardi

The problem with most writers that write about Kurds and Turks is that they start with asking the wrong question about the Kurdish issues in Turkey. They almost always tie the Kurdish issues with existence of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The question always is whether PKK is a terrorist organization or not? The question should be why organizations like PKK come to flourish? In reality the problem is not PKK, but the oppression of the Kurdish nationality within the Turkish State that forces organizations like PKK to be born. Like Simone de Beauvoir said “all oppression creates a state of war.”

If Kurds are given the same rights in Turkey as their brothers enjoy in the Kurdistan region of Iraq, there will be no need for PKK and other groups like them to exist.

It is unfortunate that some one like Dr. Michael Rubin, who has a PhD from Yale University and is educated in the U.S., known for the foundation of rights of liberty, to think the way he does.

Instead of teaching what Dr. Rubin has learned in his education about true democracy in guiding a country like Turkey to peacefully co-existence by encouraging Turkey to respect the rights of all nationalities and acknowledging the core of the problem in addressing a real democratic reform that is non-existent in Turkey, Mr. Rubin suggests military intervention by Turkey across the border to Kurdistan. This obviously will further complicate the Kurdish issue in Turkey and destroy the only part of Iraq that lives in peace.

It would seem that the Turkish glasses through which Mr. Rubin sees the world have blinded his vision. His distorted views do not stop there: he is also against federalism based on ethnic and sectarian division and believes that the creation of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) increases terrorism in the region. Again, his Turkishness has not only blinded him, but also affected his thinking process. Simple logic tell us that those cultural and national rights that are stricken from a nation, are the core to breeding the utmost radicalism – not the other way around.

The basic sociological experiment tells us those places that have problems with culture and national identities are ripe for creating extremism, including terrorism. Iraq’s history proves that exact point. In the history of Iraq, the Kurdish region has always been in the middle of wars between the central government and the Kurds. This conflict has come to a complete halt since the KRG was established within a democratic Iraq.

Mr. Rubin’s mistaken theory continues and prolongs his misconception without any knowledge when he compares the Kurdistan Region to the Palestinians. Mr. Rubin says “Just as Arafat transformed the Palestinian Authority into a safe haven for terrorists, so too does Barzani.” However, there is a significant difference between Kurdistan Region and Palestine. Anyone with a little brain can see that but the Dr.’s Turkish glasses have clouded his eyesight.

1. Palestine is fighting for independence, while the Kurds are seeking a federal system within Iraq and have accomplished that goal. That is one of the reasons that the Kurdish region is the most peaceful since the creation of Iraq.

2. There are radical groups within the Palestine movement that will not stop at independence alone, but rather ask for elimination of Israel. On a contrary, all political parties in Kurdistan have never once denied Iraq or any other neighboring states of existence. All Kurdish movements in Iraq have always asked for peaceful co-existence within a federalist Iraq.

Hence, I find it necessary to ask the Dr. to take off those Turkish glasses that have clouded the simplest truth about the history of the region and have caused him to lose site of all the knowledge he gained in U.S. universities. Obviously, the Dr. has not learned much in all those years of education about liberty and justice for all. If the Dr. wanted to get a PhD in how to become an oppressor, all he had to do is join the Turkish government and become a true Turk that he appears to be. He could have saved himself lots of wasted years and money.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Turkey's ex-president Evren probed for Kurd remarks

Reuters - By Gareth Jones

ANKARA, - State prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into ex-president Kenan Evren, leader of a 1980 military coup, over his call for decentralising power in Turkey, the state Anatolian news agency said on Friday. Evren, 88, told the Sabah newspaper this week he favoured giving more powers to the provinces, and he dismissed fears this would embolden Turkey's Kurds -- "our brothers" -- to push for independence.

Ironically, Evren once denied the very existence of Kurds in Turkey, describing them as "mountain Turks" whose name came from the squelching noise their boots made when walking in the snow. After the coup, he restricted the use of the Kurdish language.

Anatolian quoted prosecutor Mehmet Yurtseven in Evren's home province of Mugla as saying: "I have given the necessary order to the relevant departments. We have begun an investigation. If there is a crime, we will do what is needed."

The agency quoted Ayla Kara, head of Mugla's bar association, as saying she thought Evren should be tried for his remarks because they would give a boost to separatist groups.

Under the post-coup constitution drawn up under Evren and still in force, Turkey has a very centralised political system. Calls for redistributing power away from Ankara are rare because of fears this could reignite Kurdish separatism.

Security forces have been battling rebels of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in mainly Kurdish southeast Turkey since 1984 in a conflict that has claimed more than 30,000 lives.
In his interview with Sabah, Evren said Turkey had nothing to fear from devolving power to the regions.


"They keep saying Turkey's Kurds would declare independence. They would not. Why would they want to secede if they are given the same rights? We must treat the Kurds as brothers," he said.

Evren broke another Turkish taboo in his interview by saying Ankara should accept the reality of an independent Kurdish state in nearby northern Iraq. Turkey fears such a state would fan separatism among its own Kurds and destabilise the wider region.

Turkish media later quoted Evren saying he had never spoken of setting up a "federation" in Turkey.

As leader of the September 12, 1980, military coup, General Evren presided over the jailing of hundreds of thousands of people, the banning of trade unions and a purge of universities. Torture and other human rights violations were widespread.

He has defended those actions, saying Turkey was heading towards anarchy in the late 1970s as leftists and rightists clashed violently in the streets and on university campuses.

From 1982 Evren served a seven-year stint as president. He then retired to Marmaris in the Aegean province of Mugla and took up painting, mostly shunning the political limelight.

Last year, during the funeral of ex-premier Bulent Ecevit, Evren expressed regret about arresting Turkey's political leaders during the military coup.