Democracy in the Middle East especially in the Kurdish regions
- KurdishMedia.com - By Dana Berzinjy
- 22/08/2008 00:00:00
Democracy in the Middle East Especially in the Kurdish Regions of Iraq, Iran, Syria and Turkey, and the way that Governments Run, with Comparison to Australian Democratic System.
Democracy means the rule of the people in Greek language. Whatever the most people vote for wins. There are no oppressors or dictators. The first democracy in the world started in Greece in Athens, 510 BC. When democracy succeeded in Athens, other areas chose it for their government too. But most of them allowed even fewer people to vote than Athens did: most of the other cities only permitted adult male citizens to vote in a condition if they had owned land or owned their own houses. I believe that democracy like a system of government with four key fundamentals. I want to talk about each of these four elements of what democracy is. Then I will talk about the obligations and requirements of citizens in a democracy. Then I will conclude by talking about the obligations that the international community have to the people of Iraq in order to build the first true democracy in the Middle East. Then briefly I will talk about the Kurdish regions of Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Turkey (C. Karen, p.1, 998-2006).
Democracy is consists of four basic important elements:
1. Democracy as a Political System of Competition for Power
Democracy is a means for the people to choose their leaders and to hold their leaders accountable for their policies and their conduct in office. The people decide who will represent them in parliament, and who will head the government at the national and local levels. They do so by choosing between competing parties in regular, free and fair elections. Power flows from the people to the leaders of government, who hold power. Laws and policies require majority support in parliament, but the rights of minorities are protected in various ways. I believe that the rights of all the citizens for example are protected in Australia under the democratic system but for example in Turkey, Syria, Algeria and Iran the rights of the minorities are not protected, because these countries don’t believe in democratic political system. For instance in Iran the rights of the Kurds, Armenians Azeri’s are not protected and their rights are jeopardized by the Islamic Terror State of Iran (Hilla University for Humanistic Studies, p. 1, January 2004).
The people are free to criticize their elected leaders and representatives, and to observe how they conduct the business of government. Elected representatives at the national and local levels need to listen to the people and respond to their needs and suggestions. For elections to be free and fair, they have to be administered by a neutral, fair, and professional body that treats all political parties and candidates equally. Yes I believe in this equality for all the parties and citizens and this is the best measurement to treat people. For example all the political parties are free in elections in Australian and Western countries But, in Turkey is totally is different issue and the Kurds were not treated equally like Turkish citizens when the election begun in 22nd July 2007 in Turkey. The Kurdish people were not given sufficient Kurdish candidates to choose from and the distribution was not given equally to all the areas that Kurds live in. After the election and before The DT P party, which represents the Kurdish people in Turkey was held responsible so many times as terrorist because just protecting the interests’ of the party and the people. Their members are not allowed to speak Kurdish language in Turkish Parliament. The only language is allowed to be used is just Turkish. So, that means the Turkish government does not treat all the political parties equally in Turkey ( Hilla University for Humanistic Studies, p. 1, January 2004).
2. Participation of the Citizens in a Democracy
The key role of citizens in a democracy is to participate in public life. Citizens have an obligation to become informed about public issues, to watch carefully how their political leaders and representatives use their powers, and to express their own opinions and interests. Voting in elections is another important civic duty of all citizens.
But to vote wisely, each citizen should listen to the views of the different parties and candidates, and then make his or her own decision on whom to support. Participation can also involve campaigning for a political party or candidate, standing as a candidate for political office, debating public issues, attending community meetings, petitioning the government, and even protesting. A vital form of participation comes through active membership in independent, non-governmental organizations, what we call “civil society.” These organizations represent a variety of interests and beliefs: farmers, workers, doctors, teachers, business owners, religious believers, women, students, human rights activists. The Western countries apply this principle very well but in Iran for example, some political parties are banned to participate in election, such as Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and their leader Dr. Qasimlo was assassinated in Europe in 1989 by the Iranian State of Terror, Komala, Iranian Communist Party and (PJAK) Free Life for Kurdistan. So, Iranian government does not accept any opposition parties ( Hilla University for Humanistic Studies, p. 1, January 2004).
It is important that women participate fully both in politics and in civil society. This requires efforts by civil society organizations to educate women about their democratic rights and responsibilities, improve their political skills, represent their common interests, and involve them in political life. But in Iran this is not the case women are not free under the Islamic Regime’s of Imams. Women are not free and can not have different political beliefs other than Islam. Women can be raped or be executed for different political opinion. In a democracy, participation in civic groups should be voluntary. No one should be forced to join an organization against their will as it happens in the Middle East countries.
3. Protect the Rights of all Citizens in a Democratic way
In democracy, every citizen has certain basic rights that the state cannot take them away from people. These rights are guaranteed under international law. You have the right to have your own beliefs, and to say and write what you think. No one can tell you what you must think, believe, and say or not say. There is freedom of religion. In a true democratic system everyone is free to choose their own religion and to worship and practice their religion as they see fit. Every individual has the right to enjoy their own culture, along with other members of their group, even if their group is a minority. In Western countries every body has rights and privileges but in Iran citizens have too many responsibilities but not many privileges. People are not free to have different political opinion or have freedom in religion. For example Assyrians, Armenians, and Kurds are discriminated against and they are not allowed to practice Christianity, Jew or Yizidi. Even some Iranian people are not allowed to practice Behay or Sunni religion. These people are not just discriminated on the bases of religion but in addition, they have been discriminated against on the bases of their nationalities. Their languages can not be used in education system, and it is compulsory to use Persian language. It is also the Islam religion imposed on everyone and every woman must wear headscarf and a long black dress is called (Chador), which is abusing the rights of women and discriminating directly among the Iranian Citizens… ( Hilla University for Humanistic Studies, p. 2, January 2004).
You can choose between different sources of news and opinion to read in the newspapers, to hear on the radio, and to watch on television. You have the right to associate with other people, and to form and join organizations of your own choice, including trade unions. You are free to move about the country, and if you wish, to leave the country. In Iran, Syria, Turkey certain parties are not allowed for people to participate and to join them. Their citizens are not allowed to watch western channels are broadcasted from Europe, sometime ago the Iranian authorities raided Western of Iran which is populated in Kurds confiscated their satellite dishes and many people got captured. You have the right to assemble freely, and to protest government actions. But in the Muslim World this protest is not allowed against their oppressors, because the Muslim leaders don’t believe in democracy.
4. The Rule of Law
Democracy is a system of rule by laws, not by individuals. In democracy, the rule of law protects the rights of citizens, maintains order, and limits the power of government. All citizens are equal under the law. No one may be discriminated against on the basis of their race, religion, ethnic group, or gender. For example in Australia according to (Act 1975), Australian Commonwealth government prohibited discrimination on the bases of religion, race gender against Australian citizens. But I can see in the Islamic and the Arab World this is totally vice versa, the governments in the Middle East themselves have created discrimination to be carried out against their citizens. For example Kurds have been living in Syria thousands of years before the arrival of Arab Muslims but still the Syrian Government treats them like 2nd Syrian citizen, even less, they call them (Agnebi in Arabic), it means (foreigners) in English. They are excluded to be given Syrian citizenship. Thousands of hundred innocent people put in prison because they talked against the government or talked about the freedom of speech or democracy. No one is above the law, not even a king or an elected president. The law is fairly, impartially, and consistently enforced, by courts that are independent of the other branches of government. Torture and cruel and inhumane treatment are absolutely forbidden. The rule of law places limits on the power of government. No government official may violate these limits ( Hilla University for Humanistic Studies, p. 2-3, January 2004).
Independent courts and commissions punish corruption, no matter who is guilty. From my own experience this rule does not apply in Arabic countries, for example when I was in Iraqi Kurdistan during 1980 someone was taken to the Republic Hospital in the province of Sulaimaniyah to have an operation but he was not allowed to be operated on and was kidnapped and got killed by the former Iraqi executed Saddam Hussein’s secret Army.
Kurdish people in Iran have accused the Iranian government of conducting a new wave of repression against journalists and other activists seeking greater human rights.
Iran's Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian government are bombing villages and arresting journalists, union officials and other activists condemned to death two journalists. The new repressive wave of arrests against the Kurds that had imprisoned 15 journalists and several human rights activists and the death sentence of two, Boutimar and Hassanpour, demonstrated the government's fear of a popular resistance. There were only Kurds opposing the Islamic Republic and claiming our rights, now other ethnic minorities are fighting for their rights from the Azerbaijanis to the Beluchis, and the Arabs and the Turks DPA www.ekurd.net, 2.08.2007.
The aim of people is to bring down the Islamic Republic of Iran. The government continues to accuse opponents, from journalists to women who demand equal rights, of being foreign spies.
Iranian Regime abuses human rights and does not respect the freedom of speech and democracy; the Iranian tyrants publicly hanged seven people in Khorassan province in north eastern Iran, state news agency IRNA reported. In addition to that, the Tehran’s chief prosecutor Saaid Mortazavi said that 16 criminals were executed in July 2007. Under Iranian Islamic Law, murder, rape, armed robbery; drug trafficking of quantities in excess of 5 KGs and apostasy are punishable by death DPA www.ekurd.net, 2.08.2007.
The Iranian government does not change the foreign domestic policy in a country governed by religious ideology, and the Iranian foreign policy has always been geared towards increasing tensions with the international community.
During the eight years that Rafsanjani was president of Iran (1989-1997), several attacks were made against opposition figures living abroad. Two PDKI leaders and members of their staff were killed in attacks in Vienna and Berlin.
When the Iranian people claim for their rights to be recognized the Irans' ethnic minorities are always blamed by the regime that the people backed and orchestrated by foreign powers, notably Britain and the United States.
Avoiding federalism and decentralization of power in Iran with breakup of a country is used as an excuse by those who want to wield centralized power based on the repression and negation of the rights of ethnic minorities; because in reality laws are don’t exist to protect the rights of people.
The Limits and Requirements for Democracy
In democratic system citizens must not only participate and exercise their rights. People must respect the law and reject violence. Every citizen must respect the rights of his or her fellow citizens, and their dignity as human beings. People should question the decisions of the government, but not reject the government’s authority. Every group has the right to practice its culture and to have some control over its own affairs, but each group should accept that it is a part of a democratic state ( Hilla University for Humanistic Studies, p. 3-4, January 2004).
Democracy in Iraq
The United States and other democracies around the world help the Iraqi people, to build the first true democracy in the Middle East, when Iraqis take back their sovereignty in 2003. The World has sacrificed in order to give the people of Iraq this opportunity to live in freedom and democracy. This important mission could not have been achieved alone by Iraqi people without support of all the nations such as USA, UK, and Australia etc. The majority of Americans support what the USA Government is trying to do now to support the appearance of a new Iraq, and in the international community. These countries are going to spend more money, resources and energy to help you build a democracy and rebuild Iraq’s economy. This great mission it takes a long time and it’s not an easy task for the International community and the collation allies Army.
The Palestine people had their first free elections in January 2005. I can say that was a great sign for the Middle Eastern people to practice freedom and democracy, which never had one in the past. I believe this kind of elections were very good for the entire region in Middle East, but was not that good for the Jewish people and Israeli government. Because Hamas was elected and did not recognize the Israeli Government as a true voice of their people and increased the hostility and aggressive behavior towards the Jewish people, even Jewish people in the past were exist in the area long time before the arrival of Arab Muslims in the area.
The election of Hamas to a position of power by the Palestinian people, though, is not the only evidence. In Egypt in 2005, Hamas' parent organization, the Muslim Brotherhood, made significant gains in the elections there. This was accomplished despite significant oppression and a general ban on the Muslim Brotherhood. In fact, parties which see fundamentalist Islam as their prime motivator have made inroads in just about every Muslim state in the region. These parties have majorities in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Palestine, and Pakistan. The reason that they are not in power in the other Muslim states is primarily due to their repression by the current governments.
So what does this mean? Should the world expect to see a new form of extremist Islamic government arising in the Middle East, and how can the United States and the West respond properly? These events were very important to both the United States and the world at large, and the war in Iraq was the channel that generated the extensive wave for democratic governments across central Eurasia. The President Bush's stand for democracy in the Middle East was the vital factor in pushing the masses from edgy inaction to change in their own countries. I think without U.S. and its allies was impossible democracy to be spread in the Middle East, and Lebanon would still have been under the military rule of Syria and the Syrian would not let Lebanon to have free elections and would have harassed the Jewish and the Israeli Government. The democracy gave the power back to Lebanese Government and the people and the amount of terrorist activities were reduced incomparably.
By removing the regime of Saddam Hussein and attempting to build a Western style of democracy in Iraq, the United States had put the new aspect in the Middle East in recent years. There was little that was different in Lebanon or the Ukraine from the years before that would make a revolution likely. The United States committed America and the World to these great revolutions and brought real weight and put against authoritarian governments not to ignore the requests of the people. The United States and its alley have made a significant difference in the area and I hope that the United States and its alley continue until the last castle of the tyrants and the dictator’s collapse. I believe this is the duty of the Western countries to remove these tyrants, because this duty is humanitarian mission than anything else, and needs sacrifice in order to deliver it. People in the Middle East have been struggling against these tyrants, but could not do much to rescue themselves because theses dictators always collaborated against the people were asked for freedom and democracy. Then, later on turned to genocide such as the genocide of 1,500,000 Armenians by the Othman Empire in 1915, and genocide of the Kurds between1987-1988 (Helen Ch, 1995, p.3). In addition the genocide of the Jewish during the spread of Islam in early days according to Meriwan Helebjey that he has mentioned it in his book, but now he lives in exile due to publication of his book.
Consider that in 1917, Europe just had about seven countries that practiced a partial form of democracy. But after the First World War, that number increased to 16 democracies. For example, there were free elections for women and men and expanded freedoms for the compress. The number had once again shrunken to seven.
Another goal for United States attack is at present Syria, and looking at Syria's political environment confirms the above fears, for one of the most well-known opposition groups to the B'athist regime in power there is none other than the Muslim Brotherhood. But in addition to this opposition, Kurdish people are also in opposition to the Syrian regime long time before the Arabs opposition, so the United States need to count Kurdish rival to the Syrian Government. There are more than 2 million Kurds live in Syria without having cultural rights and they are not going to follow the footprints of Muslim Brotherhood, and there are Assyrians as well live in Syria. However, invading Syria would most likely see the creation of yet another Islamist regime, but if you create a Federalism System of Government it will be totally different issue, by creating another state for the Kurds within Syria. Invasion and military action against the dictatorial regimes in the Middle East will probably lead to the creation of more Nationalistic Government than Islamist states, by overthrowing of those regimes and imposing democratic system, for example Iran is an Islamist state and can be split into many states in a democratic Federalism System. For example a state for the Kurds, Persians, Azeris and Armenians and Assyrians, because Iran is a big country and has a big population by creating more states you can get rid off from the creation of Islamist states and at the same time the Islamic Government of Iran it will be split in to many no Islamist states. In this case the Western Countries can win the hearts of the Middle Eastern people and democracy can be spread and the state of Israel can live in peace, but bear in mind, it is not an easy process.
Reducing the importance of oil and gas reserves might prove important in pulling the Middle East away from religious quarrels and onto economic grounds where the West can use its greater economic muscle to force change. In addition, the West should ensure that any and all extreme Islamic regimes are seriously undermined and that the ideology of Islamist government is discredited as quickly as possible. To aid in this, the West should begin a program of recruiting and training young Middle Eastern, in the ways of democratic states and then send them back to their home countries to bring about change. If the West can discredit Islamic fundamentalists as political leaders and demonstrate the great benefits of free societies, then there will be a serious redrawing of the political map in the Middle East. The United States and the democratic community of nations face a serious struggle in the near and long term to make the recent additions to the democratic world stick and prevent the rise of a competing ideological movement in the form of extremist Islamic governments.
Turkish Article 301
Article 301 “It makes it a crime to insult "Turkishness". Since this Article became law, charges have been brought in more than 60 cases, some of which are high-profile. Büyük Hukukçular Birligi ("Great Jurists Union") headed by Kemal Kerinçsiz, a Turkish lawyer, is "behind nearly all of Article 301 trials". Kerinçsiz himself is responsible for forty of the trials, including the high-profile ones. What is covered by Article 301
Article 301 states the following.
1. A person who publicly denigrates Turkishness, the Republic or the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, shall be punishable by imprisonment of between six months and three years.
2. A person who publicly denigrates the Government of the Republic of Turkey, the judicial institutions of the State, the military or security organizations shall be punishable by imprisonment of between six months and two years.
3. In cases where denigration of Turkishness is committed by a Turkish citizen in another country the punishment shall be increased by one third.
4. Expressions of thought intended to criticize shall not constitute a crime.
Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk brought to court in regard the Armenian Genocide. The above article has been used against the Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk for stating, in an interview with a Swiss magazine, that "Thirty thousand Kurds and a million Armenians were killed in these lands and nobody but me dares to talk about it". The charges were dropped afterward http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_301_%28Turkish_penal_code%29#What_is_covered_by_Article_301.
In February 2006 the trial opened against five journalists charged with insulting the judicial institutions of the State, and also of aiming to prejudice a court case (Article 288 of the Turkish penal code). The journalists criticized a court order to shut down a conference in Istanbul about the(Ottoman Armenian Causualties) during Ottoman Empire during the First World War. The conference eventually was held in a private university not in state university.The charges carried a potential penalty of a prison term of up to 10 years. Four of the journalists were acquitted on a technicality, while the fifth, Murat Belge, was acquitted http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_301_%28Turkish_penal_code%29#What_is_covered_by_Article_301
Another case the result was from this legislation involved the writer and journalist Perihan Magden, who was prosecuted for a December 2005 newspaper column in which she strongly defended the principle of conscientious objection and the refusal to carry out military service. In response to this column, the Turkish army complained against her. In the court, took place in July, 2006, she was released when the court ruled that her beliefs were protected by the freedom of expression and it was not a crime under the Turkish penal code. If find guilty she could have faced 3 years sentence http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_301_%28Turkish_penal_code%29#What_is_covered_by_Article_301
In July 2006 the Istanbul public prosecutor's office prepared an accusation claiming that the statements in the book Manufacturing Consent by Noam Chomsky and Edward S. Herman represent a violate of the article. The publisher and editors of the Turkish translation, as well as the translator, all brought to court as a result, but set free in December 2006. In 2006 Elif Safak accused of "insulting Turkishness" due to her novel, The Bastard of Istanbul. The case was dropped by demand from the prosecutor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_301_%28Turkish_penal_code%29#What_is_covered_by_Article_301
In 2006, the Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink was accused under the Article 301 for insulting Turkishness, and received 6 month suspended punishment. He was afterward murdered by radical nationalists. The Turkish writer Orhan Pamuk stated, "In a sense, we are all responsible for his death. However, the initial people who responsible of this, those people that still defend article 301 of the Turkish Penal Code and moved against him. Those people who made him a target, they are the most responsible in awful tragedt. The Publisher Ragip Zarakolu is also on trial under the same Article, for “insulting the legacy of Atatürk” under Law 5816. In 2007, Arat Dink (Hrant Dink's son) and Serkis Seropyan were crooked to 1 year suspended sentences under Article 301 for printing Dink's declaration that the killings of Armenians in 1915 were genocide http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_301_%28Turkish_penal_code%29#What_is_covered_by_Article_301
The summary of other related cases
In 2005 Joost Lagendijk, a member of the Dutch Green Left party and the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs, chairman of the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, and a sponsor of Turkish EU membership, went to Turkey to listen to the trial against Orhan Pamuk. In his speech he stated on the Semdinli incident and criticized the Turkish military for seeking to maintain its political influence through the continuous guerrilla war with the PKK. Greater Jurists Union (Turkish: Büyük Hukukçular Birligi), the same group that filed a complaint against Orhan Pamuk, filed charges against Joost Lagendijk for violating Article 301 by insulting the army. The prosecutor, refused to accuse, and he referred the matter to the Turkish constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, as well as a decision by the European Court of Human Rights with reference to the interpretation of that Convention. Members of the Strong Turkey Party organized a campaign of civil disobedience against the article called Try me too 301 (Turkish: Beni de yargila 301) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_301_%28Turkish_penal_code%29#What_is_covered_by_Article_301
Criticism and impact of the article
This article has been heavily criticized, by people and other organizations in Turkey and outside. The criticism was heard in Turkey, and outside of Turkey, they indicated that it has gone to far and will create more nationalist thoughts and beliefs by racist people. Novelist Elif Safak stated that the Article has an affect on free expression. Finally, Turkey accepted the European Court of Human Rights' judgments as overruling higher court judgment, and amending the international treaties as overriding national law.
According to local and outside observers, Article 301 is a threat to freedom of expression and must be abolished soon. Human Rights watchdog group Amnesty International claims that "Article 301 poses a direct threat to freedom of expression, as enshrined in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and in Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR)" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_301_%28Turkish_penal_code%29#What_is_covered_by_Article_301.
After the murder of Hrant Dink, Turkish deputy prime minister and foreign minister stated, "With its current state, there are certain problems with article 301. We see now that there are changes which must be made to this law." The foreign minister suggested on February 23, 2007, that he anticipated changes to Article 301 in the future.
The Turkish government is going to re-write the Turkish constitution. The summary will include a requirement that the constitutional court remove laws which oppose international convention which Turkey is a part of it. The amendment review of the constitutional court may eliminate the article on the grounds that it is in disobedience of the European Human Rights Agreement http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_301_%28Turkish_penal_code%29#What_is_covered_by_Article_301. I believe in the light of the article (301), the Kurdish people were genocide and their houses were destroyed and knocked down to the ground.
The Turkish and the US Governments, Share crimes, Atrocities and Genocide that were Committed Against the Kurdish People in Turkey in 1990, and at present.
The Turkish regime is well known by the World for committing crimes against the Kurds, the Armenians, Greeks and the other minority groups. Millions of people murdered and genocide by the former Turkish dictator Kamal Ataturk for instance in 1915. Then, since all the Turkish states in the past and current shamelessly tried to commit the same action of crime against the Kurds and the other nationalities in Anatolia. After the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991, many nationalities like Kurds hoped that one day they will be freed from their oppressors. I personally believe that the USA will lead the World and everybody will enjoy the freedom and democracy. Even the current USA President Gorge W Bush, stated before the collapse of the former executed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, that he will deliver democracy to the darkest corner in the World. I truly believe the darkest corner in the World is Kurdistan. The Kurdish rights have always been denied by the oppressors of Turkey, Iran, Syria, and Iraq for centuries. I believe since the occupation of Muslims 13 centuries ago our rights were jeopardised, and we are still without a state. As Gerald and other authors believe in democracy and the freedom of other nationalities, Gerald mentioned lately in his article that Kurdistan is like another Israel in the eyes of the Arab countries, he is quite right, always has been this way and Kurds have been blamed that we are the agents of Israel and America. If this is the case, why did the Israeli planes lately participate with the Turkish war planes to bombard the Kurdish villages in 16th December 2007, in Iraqi Kurdistan? Is not it shame on the Israeli Government to take an awful action to help the Barbarian State of Turkey against the defenseless Kurdish villagers in Kurdistan? Did the Israeli Government ask itself, that why have they done that against the Kurds? Have the Kurdish people or any political parties in the past or now hurt any Israeli solder? Or have any terrorist activities been committed by the Kurds against the state of Israel. If the answer is no, so why the Israeli Government participated in this crime? They did not ask the Turkish Government to grant more rights to the Kurds? Kurdish people believe that they are more close to the Jewish people than any other nationality in the Middle East. Kurds and Jewish people were genocide by the Arab Muslims in the past during Mohammed up until now. The suicide Muslim Arab bombers in Israel and in Kurdistan are still murdering innocent people as they did 13 centuries ago. This scenario from one hand and there is another amazing scenario from the other hand.
I believe that the US leads the World in terms of Human Rights and to help other nationalities to enjoy freedom and democracy like American citizens, but unfortunately, I found that this story is absolutely fake. These days the American Government and especially George Bush came under a lot of criticism by some Americans, Israelis, and European authors for wrong policy by the current Government against the Kurdish people. I am delighted and I believe that I am not alone in this mission, and I still strongly believe in American people, and the American troops that they are doing the best job in order the Kurds and the other nationalities to be granted their own rights, such as freedom of speech, cultural rights, and language. I think that the US Government is taking a wrong path in order to deliver democracy to the Middle East, because its policy has fallen in the hands of the wrong people which don’t believe in democracy and don’t want it to be delivered to the Middle Eastern people. At a result the wishes of the people that seek democracy will be jeopardized. The Iraqi liberation scenario after the fall of the former Iraqi Dictator has taken another path. This scenario is vice versa now and all rights are given to the Turkish Government to genocide a nation that seeks democracy. The US Government obviously has given license to the Turkish Army to murder Kurdish innocent villagers, and granted the Turkish NATO ally an authority to commit such a crime and ignoring the Human Rights principles and motivating violence. Everybody says Al-Qaeda is a terrorist organization, because they are killing innocent people of any nationalities on a daily bases. If this is true! The Americans should condemn the Turkish air strike against innocent Kurdish civilian, because this is a crime of humiliation against Human Rights and this behavior by the Turkish State of Terror is an act of terrorism. Is not the sky of Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan; is American responsibility to protect it from any attacks? I strongly believe that the US Government should not promote this kind of activities, because it will hurt the Kurds and will damage our friendship. If the Turkish Government is a true friend of the United States, why the Turkish Government did not fight against terrorism in the last four years in South of Iraq? Who fought hand in hand and carried on the heavy load on their shoulders against terrorism except the Kurds. This little scenario is about today’s American Policy, and its Kurdish ally in the Middle East. Let’s look back and analyse the past policy of the Clinton’s Administration against the Kurds in Turkey.
The Genocide of Kurds in Turkey
During the years of Clintons Government, the same mistake was repeated and the US Government put guns and arms in the hands of the Turkish State of Terror. The USA Government during those years joined the Turkish Government in order to perpetrate atrocities against the Kurdish people in Turkey especially in 1990 (South of Kurdistan) (1990: Fernandes, D., p.1).
The infamous campaign called “false flag” operations. This operation was backed by US and directly against the PKK and its supporters, thousands of innocent Kurdish civilians were tortured, and many more were executed by paramilitary forces. The Turkish Army masked themselves as PKK guerrillas and went to the Kurdish villages to torture and kill people, bombing, burning houses, crops and livestock, and then later on the PKK guerrillas were blamed. All the training and advice was given to the state of Turkey by US for years. In that operation the secret soldiers committed crimes and acts of violence in piece and then the Communist members of the PKK were blamed for ordering to create a chaos and distrust between the Kurds and the PKK members. In that campaign 3 to five million Kurds were exiled and moved by Turkish Forces. The Kurdish forests were set a light, and 3500 to 4000 villages, small towns were displaced and bombed in the Kurdish areas by the Turkish Forces (1990: Fernandes, D., p.1).
In 1995, the former US President Clinton had given permission for a wide Turkish invasion into Kurdistan of Iraq. The Turkish Army committed a number of documented cases of crimes and displacement of defenceless Kurdish people. John Deere had gone into more details in this genocide and said: “Were this Kosovo, we would be hearing words like ‘genocide’ and ‘ethnic cleansing’. You see, to kill Kurds all you need is the proper hunting license. In this case that license is a perk of NATO membership”. In 1991 the American Congress passed a law and permitted the Joint Combined Exchange Training programme. This permission had given the power to the Department of US Defence to send forces to other countries in order to cooperate in this regard. Ted Galen Carpenter exposed and said in the light of this program, in 1997, the US European Command’s special operations branch carried out combined training with the Turkish mountain commandos, their aim was to flash out the PKK Freedom Fighters. The unit’s primary’s duty was to murder Kurdish civilians and to knock down and blast the Kurdish villages (1990: Fernandes, D., p.1-2).
According to Ward Churchill that US and British pilots helped the Turkish Military Forces in their broad scale campaign against PKK in North Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan).
The Violations of the 1923 Hague Rules of Aerial Combat, the 1949 Geneva Convention IV and Additional Protocol 1. According to the above laws, the participation of the US and British pilots and military units, both Governments are guilty in capturing, bombardments, and killing civilians. They did not protect the Kurdish civilians and destroyed thousands of Kurdish villages in North Kurdistan which is Southern Eastern Turkey, which is populated by Kurds. They violated the International Laws, according to the text below, for murdering and capturing hundreds, thousands of Kurdish defenseless villagers. The CIA school in the USA trained Huseyin Kocadag, the Chief of the Special Forces in Hakkari and the Deputy Chief of Police in the Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, he was identified that one of the most bloody enemies of the people, who was in charge and organized many units of the ‘head-hunters’ in Kurdistan. In addition the US administration and other agencies involved unlawfully in capturing and abduction of Abdullah Ocalan the head of the PKK in 1999 (1990: Fernandes, D., p.2).
“Parties are bound by the laws of war to the extent that such compliance does not interfere with achieving legitimate military goals. For example, they are obliged to make every effort to avoid damaging people and property not involved in combat, but they are not guilty of a war crime if a bomb mistakenly hits a residential area.”
In the eyes of the Human Rights Watch, people and many organizations, indicated that the campaign was obviously genocidal in nature in 1997. The Human Rights Campaigning Group, Article 19, mentioned that it believed there was “ample evidence to indict the Turkish government of gross violations of human rights which constitute infringements of … the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, among other treaties to witch Turkey is a party”. The UK Parliamentary Human Rights Group made a visit to the Kurdish region, stated that the depopulation of the Kurdish region is part of intentional strategy designed not just to get rid of a few thousand guerrillas, but to extinguish the separate identity of the Kurdish people (1990: Fernandes, D., p.1-2).
The US and British Governments think that the Turkish Government is a democratic government and cannot cope with an intractable problem of terrorism. But in realty as this author believes and I too, this is vice versa, which the Turkish Army is one of the military terrorists among the others is aiming to get rid of the identity of the Kurdish people. There is an obvious example that supports my argument which is the Armenian Genocide in 1915-1916 by the founder of the Turkish State Dictator Ata-Turk. The Armenian people in World War One took arms because they had no hope that the Turks would recognize their legitimate political aims in diplomatic way.
Turkish Government uses a language of peace when comes to external consumption, but uses army within a State Terror of Turkey against the defenseless civilian population, as has been used always in the past against the Armenians and against the Kurds. Many times even a century ago Kurds had been gassed and in 1990 Kurds were genocide and currently still are. The Turkish government is ignoring the facts and the history, so that’s why, Turkey never rests. The US Government should take the responsibility for its own action in the past and now to promise that Genocide never happens again, but this is not the case by the US Government (1990: Fernandes, D., p2). It appears that the Turkish State of Terror has been granted license again by the US Government to kill the Kurdish civilians in South, and North of Kurdistan. It seems that the US administration uses Kurdish issues again to get some political benefit out of the America’s dirty political games. The US has a selfish administration; again it compares PKK freedom Fighters, and their leader to Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. Nancy McEldowley was representing the US embassy at an 11th September commemoration service in Ankara, she said in her speech that there was no difference between Al-Qaeda and the PKK or Ocalan and Bin Laden (1990: Fernandes, D., p3).
I want to say that Ms Nancy was mistaken and should not have compared the futures of 25 million Kurds to the terrorist organization like Al-Qaeda, because the Kurds in Turkey, whose rights are not recognized for centuries, and your administration knows that really well, and should not have ignored the Kurdish question. Of course you prefer Al-Qaeda organization over anything else, for instance the rights of more than 25 million Kurds, because Al-Qaeda was created by the US administration in the past to fight the former Soviet Union in Afghanistan. So, that’s why in Iraq 3300 American solders sacrificed their lives for the mistakes and the wrong policy that were made by the US administration in the past? The American troops were killed by the terrorist organization of Al-Qaeda, not by the Kurds in Turkey. But the US administration still ignores this reality and keeps a blind eye on the Kurdish genocide in Turkey. There is no point, that American follows the policy and the foot prints of the racist Government of Turkey which ignored a simple and the basic rights of these people. Every body knows that the United States of America is a democratic country but Turkey is not. The US Government should not let to lose its reputation for the sake of undemocratic Turkish Government.
Kurds have every right to fight against their oppressor which is the Turkish Government and the first people’s enemy, in order to defense themselves like other nationalities. Kurds lived in Anatolia thousands of years before the arrival of the Turkish invaders. They came to take our freedom and to wipe off our culture, to murder our kids and to genocide our nation and religion. Our religions are Zoroastrian and Christianity not Islam that destroyed our homeland Kurdistan. We have churches that their history goes back to thousands of years before the invasion of Islam. We protected them from the savage invaders, but despite of our rich culture, the Turkish Racist Government still denies our existence and our identity as a nation, and they still call Kurds in South East of Turkey, Turkish mountains. This is the Turkish democracy that US supports in order to be promoted in the Middle East.
IRA and PLO used to be called terrorist organizations by US and British administration, but not anymore. The US administration pushed Israeli Government to recognize PLO, and its leaders to form a state for Palestine; even the Arabs never had a state in Israel before. The Kurds had so many kingdoms and small states in Turkey even before the Turks existed in the area. These are some evidence that which confirm my arguments; there is evidence dating back to 6300 BC shows that the Hurrian people were among the oldest of Kurdish ancestors to reside in the mountains of Kurdistan. Now, the Hurrian name still continues to exist by the present Kurdish region of Hawraman. In1500 BC, Hurrians stretched out and created the Kingdom of Mitanni in Kurdistan. But in 728 BC, revolts by the Median Kurds and Babylonians lead to the fall of the Assyrian Empire. The Median Empire is well known as Medya, witch was formed in 728 BC. Zoroastrianism was the religion of Medya. The Medes celebrated the New Year (Newroz) at the beginning of spring after Medya is liberated. Under the rule of Cyaxares in 626 BC, the Median Empire enlarged in power and expanded its territories. Www.worldarticle.org
In 1453, The Roman Empire fell, and later on the Ottoman Empire was established. The Ottoman Empire started the invasions of tribal Kurdish kingdoms in Kurdistan. Some tribes were given some self-rule in their districts.
In 1880, the last Kurdish kingdom collapsed and a united Kurdish nationalistic revolt against the Ottoman injustice rule began under the leadership of Sheikh Said.
In the 7th Century, Islam was created and broadened in the Middle East. Arabia expands and conquers parts of Kurdistan. But Kurds not like Persian, fought for 200 years against the Islam occupation and its religion was imposed on people forcibly.
Can we call the double standard policy of the US administration? I wonder how long the Kurds have to keep up with the Turkish racist policy and its constitution. I will talk about some cases that the US’s best friend, ally, and NATO member had done against humanity. In the city of Adana, Siyar Perincek, the representative of the Eastern and Southeastern Anatolia was shot by police, while he was driving a motorcycle in the city, then the police stepped on his back, when he fell off the motorcycle, he was killed by a bullet and his killers are free now without trials. Another example, Ugur Kaymaz was Kurdish at the age of 12 with his father Ahmet were murdered in November 2005 in the Southeastern town of Kiziltepe in an operation against “armed terrorists” both of them were unarmed according to the Human Rights Committee. Their family said that the son was helping his dad, a truck driver to prepare for a trip to Iraq. The Turkish Human Rights Chairman, Alatas said that there were many allegation cases that were related to the murdering of PKK militants, and were claimed that their bodies were being damaged and their organs were cut off, even if they were caught alive (1990: Fernandes, D., p3).
They were tortured and murdered. In addition to that, there was an allegation that chemical weapons were used. I want to know, who will investigate this kind of a tragedy that was committed against humanity as a whole? The Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan the best friend of the President George Bush declared that the Turkish “security forces will intervene against the pawns of terrorism, even if they are children or women”. This is one of the Muslim leaders of this century, and he is a Prime Minister of 70 million people. In my view he is another Osama Bin Laden, in a different appearance. That’s how he respects the rights of women and children, and the human rights in Turkey.
Dr. Karen Carr, 998-2006, Democracy, Portland State University.
Hilla University for Humanistic Studies, January 21, 2004, What is Democracy?, www.standford.edu USA.
Jacob Portnoff, Feb 21, 2006, How Strong is Democracy's Hold?
Source DPA, Seven Public Hanging in Iran, Two Journalists are Scheduled to die 2.08.2007. www.ekurd.net.
Helen Ch., Sult .Âns And Caliphs, 1290-1924 AD, 1995.
Fernandes, D., 1990, Turkey’s US-Backed War On Terror: A Cause For Concern? USA.
(1) Izady, Mehrdad R. The Kurds:A Concise Handbook, 1992(2) Kiepert, Heinrich. A Manual of Ancient Geography. 1881
www.worldarticle.org The History of the Kurd
- KurdishMedia.com - By Dana Berzinjy
- 22/08/2008 00:00:00