The dark past we cannot forget

The dark past we cannot forget

For a minute put yourself in the place of Pervin Buldan, who was elected to Parliament from the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP).

On the night of June 2, 1994 when your husband did not show up and you are expecting a baby. Two days later, it becomes clear that your husband has been murdered. All of a sudden you start having labor pains. You are hospitalized and you give an early birth to your second child. You are a young woman from Hakkari. Your husband no doubt has been killed by the state. You are in Istanbul with two kids, all on your own. Every Saturday, you go to the Galatasaray Square and become a “Saturday mother” for four consecutive years. But to no avail. The pain grows inside you. On one side, you try to hang on to life with your kids sentenced to grow up without a father, on the other side, you have a political struggle.

Twenty years pass by. You have never forgotten your husband, not a single day. You chased your husband’s killers, but the doors were closed at your face.

You know the state has killed him. But who pulled the trigger? Who gave the order to pull the trigger?
Actually, you know these too. But knowing is something, proving is something else. There is already a legal case you are a part of. One day, the state decides to send an informer for the National Intelligence Agency’s (MİT) voice recordings to the court, where he explains all the details to his superiors of all the killings, including your husband’s murder, only a short while after his murder.

Some people have sat on those tape recordings for 20 years... Some people who knew about those murders did not share this information with prosecutors, the police or the courts.While you try to raise your kids without the seeds of hatred, working hard to make them stay “normal,” the voice of a man who talks about the killing of your husband with all those shocking details remains unearthed, waiting in dusted drawers.

We are all human. We want to forget bad things; we don’t want to live with bad memories.But the way for that is not to totally forget it; to act as if it did not happen at all. Our mourning will not end unless we settle the accounts with these bad memories and see those who have inflicted all those bad things on us receive the punishment they deserve.

Both this state and this society owe not only an apology, but need to thank Buldan for her patience over the last 20 years

A democracy project

My generation loves to talk using the concepts “internal dynamics, external dynamics.”

The dominant conviction is that westernization, modernization and finally democratization came to our country thanks to “external dynamics.” We attribute the shortcomings in both modernization and democratization to “external dynamics;” there are shortcomings because we have not internalized modernization and democratization.Our latest democratization move thanks to “external dynamics” was the reforms undertaken with the hope to start membership negotiations with the European Union.We contended by fulfilling Copenhagen criteria and then we stopped there.

For the past two years, we have had a democratization project without someone showing us a stick or a carrot. We call it “the solution process;” and we all know this is not simply about the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to lay down its arms. In other words, it is clear that the PKK, which is the most visible part of the huge problem we call the “Kurdish problem,” will not lay its arms unless there is enough human rights and democracy in the country. Turkey is undertaking a huge democratization with its internal dynamics.This project needs to be supported by everybody who complains about the obvious democracy deficit in Turkey and continue with a much wider participation.
Unfortunately the war for power can highjack this project.