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The Kurdish movement is losing its legitimacy fast

HDN | 8/19/2011 12:00:00 AM | ERGUN BABAHAN - ebabahan@stargazete.com

There is no point in calls for peace in an environment where news of the death of young people arrives every day.

There is no point in calls for peace in an environment where news of the death of young people arrives every day.

The administration of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, or those who are managing it either believe that they can overcome Turkey by military intrusions or they hope that they will have more popular support in an atmosphere that becomes more anti-democratic in such a struggle.

It has to be confessed that the second plan is more realistic and more understandable.

Frankly, it comes from a tradition that rights and freedoms are suspended during every social tension.

The main reason that we are facing an organization such as the PKK now and the main reason that this organization can find such a strong popular support is the implementation of practices during the Sept. 12 (military coup) period.

The Kurdish population, who hated the military regime’s enforcements, tortures, practices against human rights and honor, burning of villages and bans on its language and its culture, took the side of the PKK either actively or through a spiritual bond.

This was the support as a result of the just reaction they felt against the murder of their children at Diyarbakır Prison and forcing of their husbands to eat feces.

Turkey could not fully read or fully understand the mass support behind the PKK.

For too many years it regarded the issue as a military problem and continued the struggle with methods that were contrary to human rights and freedoms, almost unacceptable even within the laws of war.

The 1990s were the years when extrajudicial executions and terror of the repentant recklessly boosted.

 Each household received its share of this.

A small blow was made to the armed struggle, but support of the organization from the young and from the women increased more and became more widespread.

It took years for Ankara to face the real issue and prepare to take steps in this direction.

Meanwhile, the organization grew fat, obtained international dimensions and special interest platforms of its staff formed.

Of course, popular support increasingly became wider.

Ankara, at first, during the period when Abdullah Öcalan was caught, spent many opportunities on the road to a solution.

But this picture should not stop us from seeing the truth that during the past era, the determination for a democratic solution has increased.

Such developments as the lifting of the ban on Kurdish language and culture, several steps taken on the road to democratization, Kurdish television broadcasts cannot be disregarded and cannot be claimed as insignificant.

Besides these developments, unfortunate steps indeed, such as the (outlawed Kurdish Communities Union) KCK operations have also been taken.

More than 3,000 Kurdish politicians are in jail for a long time because of this operation, but “Turkish” opinion makers ignored this fact or disregarded it, being too much engaged with the Ergenekon suspects.

They did not demonstrate the conscientious reaction they showed to kids throwing stones in this case and of course it has its social consequences.

These developments enabled the organization to find mass support in the continuation of its bloody activities despite lack of any reasoning and necessity; and more importantly, resulted in maintaining the existing support.

This is the truth, however annoying it might be.

In such a picture, especially when news of death arrives, as I emphasized at the beginning, it is both unimportant and meaningless to make calls for peace.

The state cannot wait, should not wait, with bound hand and foot against attacks toward itself.

Whatever is necessary should be done to these attacks, but while that is being done, at one hand the democratic initiative should be continued, and on the other hand practices that might increase the organization’s popular support should be avoided.

We are entering a bloody phase and the Kurdish movement has not moved a finger to prevent this.

This stance has made the legitimacy of the movement debatable and also makes it responsible to a major extent from the consequences.

*Ergun BABAHAN is a columnist for Daily Star in which this piece appeared on Friday. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.

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