The biggest threat to the Turkish state cannot come from any of the minorities. Irrespective of how serious of threats may come from a minority, the Turkish state and nation is strong enough to stand against and deal with that menace. It may take decades, but no minority problem can be as serious a threat as the majority problem.
Years ago, a retired colonel told me that while on duty, his greatest fear was if he ever was compelled to order his troops to walk on a rebellious group carrying the Turkish flag, or worse carrying not only the Turkish, but also the green flag of Islam and advancing with calls of “Allah-u ekber” or “God is great.” “I could never be sure whether my soldiers, who would otherwise sacrifice their lives with my order, could really heed my commands. What if they turn on me and shoot me instead?”
That might be considered an officer’s individual obsession. Does anyone remember the Kahraman Maraş massacre of 1978? Within one week, from Dec. 16-26, 1978 in the city of Kahramanmaraş and 10 other Turkish cities, Alevi people were attacked and butchered by Sunni mobs. According to some accounts, more than 150 people were butchered by zealots, while official figures put the death toll at 105, with 176 people wounded. Which is correct is an irrelevant discussion, as even the murder of one person is a sufficiently big catastrophe. Or, does anyone remember the Sivas massacre of July 2, 1993? Some 33 Alevi intellectuals and two hotel workers were burned to death by an Islamist mob. Eminent writer Aziz Nesin narrowly escaped being suffocated in the fire.
At least one of the perpetrators of the Maraş massacre changed his name, entered politics, was elected to Parliament from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) ticket and even became member of the parliamentary human rights committee. Many of the perpetrators of the Sivas massacre entered politics and were elected parliamentarian or municipal assembly members, all from the Justice and Development Party (AKP) ticket. No need to say the case was closed with negligible penalties, as if they were awarded.
Particularly at Sivas – as most of us can no longer recall what had happened during the Maraş events – the failure of the police and the military to take adequate security measures, even though hours before the start of the barbarism they were warned of the worsening climate and asked to take more efficient security measures underlined, if nothing else, the same problem: Difficulty in taking actions against the majority…
The Turkish government has been, for the past many years, continuing an ambiguous opening said to be aimed at bringing a resolution to the Kurdish problem. Despite all my concerns and lack of confidence in this government, achieving such progress will be the biggest service to the nation. Anyone in this nation of 77 million with brains cannot turn their back to the prospect of peace. The Kurdish problem has been draining Turkey’s resources, crippling the advance of the nation.
Furthermore, if peace could be achieved through the recognition of the rights of the ethnic Kurdish population without compromising national and territorial integrity, who could oppose this process? Yet, if a process with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is continued with cards always close to the chest; if the state and the enforced life-term convict separatist chieftain are conducting talks that would turn the country into an AKP-PKK farm, such hopes are doomed to fail badly.
An advance result of the probable failure of great expectations created by the ambiguous process was seen during the Oct. 6-7 incidents when an uprising was tested in over 40 cities with the pretext of the developments in Kobane.
Talking to reporters yesterday, a day after three people were killed in Cizre between pro and anti-PKK groups, the prime minister warned “all provocations were not only aimed at the state, but also intended to cause anger between different political groups.” It has become a style of the premier to speak rounded and ambitiously. He did not answer where the state was when three people were murdered by the PKK supporters. Nor did he say how it happened that the PKK was started to be fought at some quarters of southeastern Anatolia with an Islamist gang, once again… Did not we see this film in the 1990s?
If the nation is not provided adequate information on what’s going on behind closed doors vis-a-vis the process with the PKK while trying to end the PKK problem, Turkey may end up with a Turkish problem and majority uprisings may tarnish a country.