Thursday, December 29, 2011

AKP's Passion for the Kurds: Either You Belong to Me or to the Court


4 November 2011

Selin Pelek and Foti Benlisoy write about the uses of anti-terrorism law which they define as beyond McCarthyism, with a focus on the Kurdish issue. Translated by Adnan Tonguç and Amy Spangler.


It appears that the arrests of Professor Büşra Ersanlı and the publisher Ragıp Zarakolu (two recent arrests within the wide-ranging “KCK operations” carried out in Turkey by the government of Erdogan) will create a stir marked by considerable anger and energy within the intellectual community, which has long been targeted by a campaign of intimidation. It is not just that “the skullcap has fallen” (as the Turkish saying goes), but rather, it is completely gone, revealing the baldness for all to see.

What is clear is that the AKP, which has long been strutting on the political scene as both victim and “revolutionary,” has adopted with voracious appetite and great enthusiasm the ideals of the Turkish state. As if imitating the former governor of Ankara, Nevzat Tandoğan, who famously said, “If communism is to come, it is us who will bring it,” the AKP says, “If the Kurdish problem is to be solved, it is us who will solve it,” refusing to recognise any interlocutor except itself. Prisons are overflowing with those refusing to become the Kurds of the AKP. There is not even the slightest indication of any connection whatsoever between “terrorism” and those taken in as part of the KCK operations, which have been initiated under the pretext of wiping out the PKK’s urban branch.
The asymmetrical war being waged against civilians by the government has stamped all advocates of peace as “the enemy.” Especially since the electoral success of the Block Candidates supported by the BDP [Peace and Democracy Party, which has been struggling for the rights of Kurdish citizens in Turkey], the AKP, using “terrorism” as an excuse, has been intensifying day by day its repression of all non-governmental structures that draw their strength from the autonomous power of the Kurds. The latest arrests are a sign that the well-worn cliché, “Let them lay down their weapons, come down from the mountains, and do their politics on the plains,” often repeated by the so-called moderate wing of statesmen, has completely rotted away. [...]

The point at which our democracy [in Turkey] finds itself as of 2011 can be summarized as follows. Offering courses at a legal party’s academy of politics—a party which has taken part in elections, and what is more, is represented in the parliament—can render you the target of a “struggle against terrorism, being waged with utmost determination.” Your legal party might continue to exist, but engaging in politics through this party is not legitimate. This is so because on the basis of an indictment whose conceptualization of “crime” may encompass your musical tastes or your private conversations, you might be declared a terrorist and arrested on the basis of evidence that even your lawyer cannot access. Finally, you might be put in prison on the grounds that if you are not imprisoned, you could potentially tamper with the top-secret evidence of your crimes. The aim of this embargo placed in front of our eyes on a political movement is not just to make the Kurds—who comprise the best organized oppositional force in Turkey—bow to AKP authoritarianism, but also to target by means of such black propaganda everyone who strives for a dignified peace."

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