Mosquitos and the swamp

Mosquitos and the swamp

Fighting mosquitos with pesticides or trying to keep them away with insect screens may provide palliative and temporary solutions.

Unless the swamp is adequately and effectively dealt with, households and neighbors will continue complaining about the nasty buzzing, insect bites and serious conditions in which these small insects spread.


Draining all swamps might be the top preference of some, but obviously there are far better environmentally friendly ways to solve this problem. A very serious problem of yesterday might be solved by covering it with concrete or with great efforts and huge investment; it can be turned into a source of life to an entire city as was done miraculously in Seoul. In Ankara, like most other Turkish cities, the not-so-nice old streams contaminated by sewage leaks were all covered up with concrete and earth and continue running deep under the cities. On top of them we have huge residence blocks unaware of the mess beneath.


Covering up, or totally burying something and ignoring its existence, turning a blind eye to the problem cannot help anyone. Building huge concrete tunnels all along a former river and forcing the sewage-contaminated streams run “problem-free” under the city is not of course a cheap way of solving the problem, but unfortunately it does not solve the problem either. The floods of Istanbul, Ankara, Black Sea or Mediterranean towns of Turkey over the past few years vividly demonstrate the need for our own security and wellbeing to look for some better ways to let the natural drainage systems work.


Turkish Cypriots, Palestinians, Kurds, Catalans or any other group of people aspiring to establish their own state are not of course mosquitos but the problems they have been complaining about originate from a swamp-like situation. Unless the swamp problem is solved, the problem of those people will continue this way or another.


The right to self-determination cannot be exercised every other day. But if a people are expelled from a partnership administration, survived a systematic genocidal campaign, denied their inalienable rights, subjected to an inhumane embargo and if the prospective partner refuses a compromise settlement based on political equality, insisting on endless federation talk, it can be nothing but torture to those people. Turkish Cypriots, still, have always expressed their wish for a “common future” with Greek Cypriots in full awareness that for the sustainability of a settlement that’s the best bet. Otherwise an independent Turkish Cypriot state might become a “tool” of Ankara, which cannot always have the same preferences or interests with the Turkish Cypriots. The 2004 referendum result and the two-year efforts by President Mustafa Akıncı despite harsh criticisms from many people, including this writer, testify this resolve.


The same might be said for Scotland. Not so long ago, the Scottish people expressed their will for continued partnership with Britain.

The Catalans appear to be rather happy and progressive as part of Spain, yet there is a strong aspiration for a separate state. What will be the outcome of their vote? But people must think well where their interests lie. An independent small state outside the EU might not be better than being part of a big state with some privileged rights and some advanced degree of autonomy. Catalans, like the Scotts or the Turkish Cypriots, have a web of problems, the swamp as I call it, which must be adequately addressed.


The Kurds of Turkey are founding elements of this country and as such they are part of the “founding people.” Of course, that does not mean their rights and liberties were all the time respected and they have had no problems. Still, over the past decades, despite a fierce separatist terrorist campaign, they remained mostly loyal to the Turkish state and still see a common future with the Turks. The swamp in Turkey must be dealt with urgently if Turkey does not want the problem to exacerbate.


The Iraqi Kurds enjoy an advanced degree of self-governance under the Iraqi federal system. What might be deficient in northern Iraq from a full-fledged state? Its own money? Individual states may no longer have their own currency. Flag? The Iraqi Kurds have their own flag. The aspiration of statehood, as expressed by the northern Iraqi Kurds in the recent referendum, was not the best the Massoud Barzani administration could do, but it was the dream of his father and the father of his father.


To drain the swamp in the Middle East, some steps are absolutely necessary. This first is to solve the Palestinian problem with a two-state approach. The other is to enforce the federation in Iraq, as well as in Syria. In the meantime, if a solution can be reached in Cyprus, as is said, can there be a better heaven on earth?

YUSUF KANLI, hdn, Opinion