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MEHMET ALİ BİRAND

mab@hurriyet.com.tr

MEHMET ALİ BİRAND > These incidents would not have happened

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There was havoc in Istanbul and Diyarbakır yesterday. Both cities turned into fire balls. Molotov cocktails, fires, stones, batons. Those looking from the outside thought there was a war in Turkey.

Our daily life went upside down. Why? 

The Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) wanted to start celebrating Nevruz, a festival marking the beginning of spring, one week early, but our state said: “No, Nevruz is on March 21. You too should celebrate it on March 21. Otherwise it is forbidden.” 

There is no such law. There is no rule that a celebration has to be done on its exact day and no other day. 

Yes, the BDP had its own intention, but when the state scorned: “No, I am the state, I have a say on this and not you,” it was then that these incidents happened. 

For God’s sake, was it worth it? What did the state prove? Nothing was proved beyond creating an environment of war. In fact, the BDP demonstrated its power. From that angle, they became the winners. 
Whereas, if rallying in certain places was allowed and order was maintained, would that have been too bad? We are trying to manage every meeting with arms and brute force. We are repelling every demonstration by force. 

Go and ask security experts: why are there no incidents occurring at those demonstrations that are not interfered with? 

Nevruz has started unfortunately this year. Nobody can imagine what will be experienced on the 21st. We have used unnecessary force and made it so much more difficult. 

We cannot solve this issue with this mentality 

Journalist and researcher Murat Bardakçı published a horrific document showing how cruel the Republic of Turkey has sometimes been toward its Kurdish-origin citizens, on his page in Sunday’s Habertürk. A concrete, strong and historic report, it demonstrates the stance of the state in the 1950s. 

It was a report submitted to the president of the time, Celal Bayar, in 1959, recommending a list of measures to be taken: 

- Strengthening the business of intelligence and placing agents in the eastern region and reserving more funds for this purpose.

- The youth in Istanbul should be monitored and guided by a strong staff, agents and, before everything, by Turkish nationalist leaders.

- The difference between Turkish and Kurdish culture should be made invisible. The eastern nights organized by the Kurds, as well as their folklore and cultural efforts, should be dealt with only according to the Turkish education and cultural system. 

- By utilizing our new technical means, access to exterior radio stations’ broadcasting should be prevented. 

- Postal censure should be applied more widely for Kurdish correspondence, publications and broadcasts. 

- In line with these, political interventions and agitations should also be organized.

- It is necessary to strengthen cooperation with Iran on this matter. The Iraqi state should also be persuaded to fight against Kurdish nationalism. 

Look at this situation, even 53 years ago we were thinking only of assimilation, depriving and sowing discord among the Kurdish identity. 

The state has written hundreds of similar reports and be sure that the general lines in all of them are the same. In almost none is a sign of love, one single line toward embracing the Kurdish citizen. We have never regarded these people as if they were one of us.

And now, without shame, we are able to say: “There is no restriction for the Kurds in this country. They have even become presidents.” We still do not say, while extending our hand: “Come, let’s design a future together.” 

We cannot apologize. 

We are using the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) - which emerged as a result of these oppressive policies - as our own justification. We are still beating and still killing. 

We have given 12 martyrs to the lost war in Afghanistan. We are giving thousands of our young to the lost war in the southeast. 

Isn’t it a pity? 

After reading this document I thought it over once again. Dear friends, really, with this mentality, we cannot win this fight.

March/20/2012

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READER COMMENTS

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sam stevens

3/20/2012 7:52:39 PM

Turkish spring ?

mara mcglothin

3/20/2012 3:14:52 PM

All very sad.

Stefanos Kalogirou

3/20/2012 11:20:21 AM

and on this article you are a voice of reason mr MEHMET ALİ BİRAND. However, what do you make of comments like the on of JJ Ahf? any sign of reason? any hope for Turkey?

JJ Ahf

3/20/2012 12:53:53 AM

For God’s sake, was it worth it? Yes it was because March 18th is Anniversary of Canakkale wars and we Turks want to show some respect to our grandfatehrs and Atatürk. I am going crazy what comes next? Changing the countries name to Kurdistan?
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