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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Two Kurds killed in protests

The ban of the Democratic Society Party (DTP) has only brought more confrontation in Turkey: Kurds, who are 15-20% of Turkish citizens but whose homeland is in the southwest, crossing also into Syria, Iraq and Iran, have reacted angrily at this decision, taking to the streets.

The protests ended in violent repression at Bulanik, where two people were killed apparently by a shopkeeper with an AK-47, reports Al Jazeera.

As Zeina Khodr reports at The Europe Blog of Al Jazeera, the banishment of the DTP has only caused further legitimacy for the Communist Party of Kurdistan (PKK), which has led armed struggle against Turkey for decades now:

I met a group of old men drinking tea at one of Diyarbakir's cafes. They seemed to have the answer to that question.

"Now that they banned the DTP … our real representative is the PKK. The PKK is our party and our leader is Abdullah Ocalan. He was the person who woke up Kurds to their rights," Hajj Moustapha Alay told me.

See also my previous entry on the latest developments at Kurdistan.

Update (Dec 19): a reader has corrected me, mentioning that the two victims in this particular case appear to have been shot by a civilian, a shopkeeper armed with battlefield weapons. I have corrected the corresponding sentences - and my apologies for the confusion.


Ken said...

Abdullah Ocalan is suspected of cowardice by some Kurds, his post-capture behaviour was not what was expected of a leader.

Sending young men (and women) to their deaths didn't bother Ocalan but when the Turks got hold of him it was clear he lacked the bravery he demanded from his followers.

Maju said...

I can accept that criticism, really.

CC Bilgin said...

That is incorrect, almost a piece of misinformation. The two protesters were killed by a local Kurdish shopkeeper who sprayed the protesters with a Kalashnikov. He claims shooting in self defence (which I doubt) but for you to put the blame on the Turkish government (which I hate) is clearly unwarranted for.

Also it is important to know that the violent protests started first against the transfer of Ocalan from a cell in isolation into a ward with other inmates - clearly an improvement - but only 17 smaller than the previous one! Their demi-god leader's claim that he was "suffocated" was enough to put those young men onto the streets. The closing of DTP is sad but unlike Batasuna as soon as it was shut another "spare" party (BTP) came into existence to carry the same political function.

The fact that you - as a Basque -feel sympathy for the Kurds' cause should not lead to acceptance of claims without scrutiny or to not realize that there are many sides to an issue as complicated as social, economic and ethnic struggles in the modern world.

Maju said...

Ok, Bilgin. I have corrected the post. It seems I misunderstood. My apologies for the confusion.

However, I don't think that another party with the same program, attitudes and sympathies, will be able to operate for long while the Turkish Republic considers Kurdish nationalism unacceptable.

The situation is very similar to that of Spain and in fact it used to be common here to refer to the constitutional system as "Turkish-style democracy", i.e. a regime where the military and certain ideological sectors rule above the will of the people, even taking power if need be. In fact in both constitutions that superior role of the armed forces as "granters of the constitutional order" is sanctified, allowing for anything but true democracy.

Also I do make some historical parallel between the rise and fall of the Spanish and Turkish empires, who were in practical agreement after Lepanto and Vienna to share power in the Mediterranean, and who collapsed gradually more or less at the same time. Also both countries share similar type of geography: peninsular of mediterranean climate with a central plateau where a capital of no historical background has been created by decree (albeit at different times).

Ken said...

"a local Kurdish shopkeeper ...with a Kalashnikov"

Sounds like that shopkeeper is regarded as a collaborator, I doubt Turks allow the average Kurdish shop owner to have an assault rifle.

Maju said...

Sure. I doubt very much that they have such liberal laws as in the USA. And he was attacked for some reason (people normally don't go attacking shops just because - if they did at all).

However the news item mentions that he was arrested.