Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Turks’ perplexity with the Kurdish issue - By Dr. Kirmanj Gundi

The modern Turkish Republic, like its predecessor, the Ottoman Empire, has been a multi-ethnic state. Nonetheless, the Turkish leadership overlooked such a reality and adopted a new Constitution on which it was founded on the mono-ethnic identity driven from the school of thought of Ataturk, “He is fortunate who calls himself a Turk.”

The Turkish leaders adapted such a thought and integrated it into the new Turkish Constitution, “Everyone bound to the Turkish state through the bond of citizenship is a Turk,” (Turkish Constitution, Chapter Four, Turkish Citizenship, Article 66).

Such an unbalanced Constitution and unrealistic political decisions have created a societal plague that has prevented the Turks from growing into a tolerant society. Consequently, they see no other ethnic groups equal to themselves.

Turkey, as an Islamic entity, is a democratic and secular state on which is founded on “loyalty to the nationalism of Ataturk,” which is based on a mono-Turkish tone; a premise which contradicts every principle of democracy.

For the ambitious Turkish leaders, to have a brighter and more prosperous future with the EU need to ask themselves, will it be possible to achieve their goal without amending Turkey’s Constitution to meet the basic democratic standards where every individual and ethnic group is equally respected?

Turkey’s dream of becoming a member of the democratic EU is a matter worthy of support by all of her friends including the Kurds in all parts of Kurdistan, because Turkish membership to the EU not only benefits Turkey, but also the Kurds and the entire Middle East.

If Turkey could subdue the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and even dismantle the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), it would only be perceived as if the Turks had won the battle, but not the war. For the Turks to win the peace they should accept the Kurds and try to find a political solution to the Kurdish issue. Using the PKK as a pretext to suppress more than 20 million Kurds in Turkey and threaten the KRG in Iraq will only draw the Turks into a deepened quagmire in which there will be no winner.

The PKK must also relinquish its military campaigns against the Turkish state. It must adopt a new non-violent political means to make its voice heard. The bloodshed of innocent Kurds and Turks must come to an end. However, it can only be feasible when the leadership of both sides get out of the cycle of hate and fear, enemy and war, and see themselves as organs of the same common humanity where together they all will flourish.

Dr. Kirmanj Gundi is a Professor at Tennessee State University-Nashville, Tennessee.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mr. President: Kurdish Independence can not be granted by our enemies - By Ardalan Hardi

Yaqen News Agency reported that Shimon Peres, the Prime Minister of Israel said, "The establishment of an independent Kurdish state in Iraq is a matter for the Iraqis themselves to decide. But I can say that the implementation of a federal system is the best way to solve the problems besetting Iraq today."

In response president Jalal Talabani said, "Unfortunately it is not possible for the Kurds in Iraq to declare independence because neighboring countries are not agreeable to that." Talabani said that therefore the best thing is to remain in current status of a federation under which the Kurds can rule themselves in the north and participate in governing the other parts of Iraq.

Dear Mr. President if Jewish people would have waited for their neighboring countries to grant them permission to declare independence, Israel would not exist today. In fact even today Israel is not fully recognized by its Arab neighbors. The Israeli leaders had the vision and the courage to fight against great odds for what was in the best interest of their people and after many sacrifices they achieved their ultimate goal of Independence. Are we less than them?

Mr. President Independence is a legal right that we as Kurds are entitled to just like any other nation that lives on this planet and independence is inevitable. No leader or political organization has the right to speak on behalf of the future generations of Kurdistan when it comes to our legitimate right to be free. I respectfully disagree with your view Mr. President. Freedom is not turkey dinner served to us on a platter. Historically, freedom is not something that is given, but a moral right that is earned. One of the greatest leaders of our times Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said “Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed."

I can understand that you feel the time is not right to claim Kurdistan’s Independence in todays political climax in Iraq. The inability to declare Kurdish independence during this most opportune time in history is because our leaders have failed to prepare us and unite us under one umbrella.

Mr. President you are correct, if we wait for our neighboring enemies to grant us independence it will never happen.

"Freedom is not a gift bestowed upon us by other men, but a right that belongs to us by the laws of God and nature." Benjamin Franklin