Cracking down on Kurds doesn’t solve any problem

  • - By Mohammed Hussein
  • 25/12/2012 00:00:00

Turkish governments have cracked down Kurdish people in modern Turkey from 1920s, and they have used any suppressive tools that could be helpful in order to end their demands for freedom and independency. The strangest point in the whole story is Turkey’s continuance of this process until today while it still follows the policy that executes Shex Sai’d Piran, the grand Kurdish rebellion leader, in 1925. Now, it is time to pose a question about this process, and until when does Turkish politicians keep practicing it. However, the basic reality of Turkey’s history shows us that as much as cracking down of Kurdish people increases, their reaction toward Turkish government and its mainstream policy gets more violent. The consequences of this situation, as I can see it right now, not Turkey’s successfulness to assimilate Kurdish ethnicity as Kamal Attaturk, the founder of new republic of Turkey, dreamed about, but the Kurdish resistance that comes out with PKK guerrillas’ fighting in mountains and Peace and Democracy Party civil activities in cites. After all these unwanted consequences, Turkey should stop cracking down on Kurds, and stop using the policy that denies Kurdish national identity.

Turkey’s attempts to build democratic stable role model can’t be successful with suppressing people because of their ethnic identity. What the Kurdish activists demand and struggle for is not more than basic rights that any national and ethnic group normally have in the 21st century; denying these rights and cracking down people who demanded it push Turkey toward despotic governing and political chaos. It doesn’t help the democratic model that AKP party, Turkish ruling party, and prime minster Ardogan pretended. Constanze Letsch, the Guardian reporter in Istanbul, shows how Turkey’s dealing with the recently Kurdish hunger strikers damages the democratic image that Turkey has. (1-3) What he wants to show is that AKP can’t keep continue with its paradoxical policy, while it promotes an Islamic democracy model in media channels suppresses its Kurdish citizens in streets.

In spite of damaging its role model image, Turkey’s cracking down is a clear example to see how the governmental violence just creates opposite violence inside people. Historically, none of Turkey’s government could end up the Kurdish struggle for freedom and independence although none of them could deal with the problem properly and compromise what they want. As much as governmental suppressing increased, Kurdish reaction developed. This circular violence costs ten thousand people’s life, and complicated the issue more than it was. According to Aliza Marcus, who is a specialist writer in Kurdish-Turkey issue, in1990s Ankara spent $11 billion yearly to fight PKK, while PKK’s ability to stand and fighting increased (248-249). What Marcus mentioned is the mistake that shaped Turkey’s modern history from 1920s until now. Turkish governments tried hard to assimilate Kurds and convert them to become Turkish. These efforts came from Kamalist nationalist ideology, which descents from Atataturk’s ideas. It is easy to understand this ideology by this expression, “How happy are people who calls themselves Turk” Which is one of the most famous Kamalist slogans. However, Kurdish people haven’t enjoyed this “happiness” and they have never accepted to be Turk while they are more interest in their ethnic identity. However, these are not all reasons why Turkey’s cracking down is not the solution.

Suppressing Kurds just pushes Turkey away to find a democratic solution for the Kurdish issue. This problem is related to more than 20 million Kurds, who consist almost 20% of the whole Turkey’s population. Turkey’s deadly mistakes begin when cracking down implemented instead of constitutional reforms and parliamentarian arguments about what Kurds are fighting about. It is not practical to repeat the same mistakes that Turkish governments have done through history, what is going on right now in the Kurdish-Turkish big cities similar to what happened in 1970s and 80s of the last century. It is impossible for Turkish politician to build a democratic government and system while 20% of their citizens don’t feel their freedoms and dignity.

With all these problems, Turkish ruling politicians still can’t understand the roots of the Kurdish question. They still think that a Kurdish issue needs a socioeconomic approach; sometimes accusing Kurds of being separatists, and they use this accusation as a justification to crack them down. Ignoring what Kurds are fighting for, they use parallel strategy to improve people’s life quality in one hand and suppress their political demands on the other hand. But as Turkey’s affairs specialist Heinz Kramer explains, “Kurdish problem is more than just socioeconomic underdevelopment or the separatist terrorism of the PKK. It has to do with the difficult question of how to politically organize multiethnic and multicultural society without endangering the legitimacy of the polity and its state”(53-54). What Kramer says is that all the justifications and excuses Turkey has used to suppress Kurdish people rubbish, and the real problem is what turkey hasn’t dialed with that is political solution for Kurdish question.

To sum up, Turkey’s cracking down against Kurds just complicated the problem, so it damages Turkish politician efforts to build democratic stable government. What Turkey has done until now to deal with this problem just created governmental violence and its opposite inside Kurdish people; Turkey’s failures strategy and this complicated issue can’t work together anymore, so now is a time to experiment a democratic peaceful way to solve this problem. People have a right to enjoy their freedom and practice their right that is really not provided in Turkey’s pretended democracy.

Works Cited

Karamer, Heinz. The Changing Turkey: The Chalaenge to Euroupe and United States. London: The Booking Institution.2000. Print.

Letsch, Constanze “International: "Kurdish hunger strikers mar country’s ‘democratic role model’ image" the Guardian. 26 October. 2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2012:

Marcus, Aliza. Blood And Belief The PKK and the Kurdish Fight for Independence. New York University Press. 2007. Print.

  • - By Mohammed Hussein
  • 25/12/2012 00:00:00