Impressive steps on the Kurdish issue
A decision of a revolutionary nature has been quietly put into force. The reason no progress has been made in the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK, the alleged urban wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, PKK) trials is that the suspects were not allowed to speak Kurdish. The ban on the use of the Kurdish language in trials is not new. Especially in political trials, judges ban Kurdish, forcing suspects to speak Turkish. Even though some of them may know Turkish, to forbid people to use their mother tongue is to deprive them of a right.
At the end of the day, the Justice Ministry did the right thing and decided to accept defenses in Kurdish. It did the right thing. If you notice, the old restrictions upon the use of the mother tongue of our citizens of Kurdish origin are being gradually lifted.
The statements of Diyarbakır’s police chief
We were shocked because we were not used to it. Recep Güven, the new police chief of Diyarbakır, revealed how he has approached the Kurdish problem differently from the moment he started his new job. He said we should cry for every dead youngster, whether they are Turkish or Kurdish. Actually what he says is very right and normal. But we have reached such a stage that even that surprises us.
We had become used to heads being broken and making strikes against [the PKK] in their caves. We have struck big blows, broke heads, sent them to prison, but we have not seen any results. Therefore we needed a different approach. We need to keep youngsters in despair from going to the mountains, we need to share in the sorrow of those who have lost their children, and we need to understand that we cannot get anywhere with drones, tear gas, smart bombs and night binoculars.
The right time to talk about coups
I have been criticized by a columnist for my statements to the Parliamentary commission investigating military coups.
“When does Mehmet Ali Birand talk about it? Fourteen years later. In other words, what you say is being applauded. We need to talk when the danger is imminent, not when the danger is gone,” the columnist said.
Actually it is a relevant warning. It does not matter if you take heroic action after all is passed. But I was the last to be warned about it. I said the military should not interfere in politics in a book I wrote 26 years ago, when no one else was opening his mouth on the subject. Those who write books critical of soldiers today used to salute soldiers in the past. But I always raised my voice, and have struggled with trials as a consequence. There is no need to enter into the exercise of asking “I did this, what did you do in the war?”