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Chapter 7:
Understanding our Kurdish brothers’ problems

Deep state services are at the heart of almost all countries, strong or weak, more or less developed. States’ decisions, policies, demands and war and peace are always in the hands of these services. While such a powerful country as the U.S. is currently implementing a Middle East and great Kurdistan policy under the influence of deep state services, Iran is regarded as a threat by some Middle Eastern Sunnis because of this deep state policy, while the civil war in Syria is resistant to solution due to the involvement of the Russian, Chinese and Iranian deep state services. Countries and heads of states are generally so powerless over such decision-making mechanisms that their non-politicized expressions of conscience are generally totally at variance with actual policy measures. That is because they have to do what they are told by those services in the policy arena.

The history of Turkey is one in which these sinister deep state systems have operated in the most terrifying, cold and ruthless manner. The pressures on various sections of society in this period were unrelenting, and unsolved killings continued unabated. The puppet system totally dominated the state, and the Ergenekon deep state apparatus began propelling the country in an irreligious and fascistic direction.

The unraveling over the previous decade of this terror organization that had wormed its way into the state came as a breath of fresh air to the country. Unsolved killings largely came to an end, the pressures on the devout section of society were largely lifted and violence against various ethnic groups decreased. However, it is still not possible to say that the deep deep apparatus in Turkey has been totally eradicated. It is even possible to say that this system still makes its presence felt through various individuals who have infiltrated the judicial system or the media. However, the old way of thinking has to a large extent been defeated, and the pressures on the people of the country have declined.

In the past, the ugly face of the Ergenekon deep state apparatus made itself felt in a variety of ways, and there is no doubt that our Kurdish brothers were one of the communities that felt its weight most harshly. In order to rectify this, we need to understand their sufferings.

Kurds caught at crossfire

From the past to the present, Turkey has embraced our Kurdish brothers, who were forced to flee from their countries, with great honor and love. On the left: A Kurdish child who fled from the tyranny of Saddam in 1991 and took refuge in Çukurca refugee camp in Turkey.

On the right: Today, a Kurdish child who fled from Syria and took refuge in Turkey.

Following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurdish people dispersed between Iraq, Syria and Turkey (divided into four parts together with those in Iran) and experienced various pressures and difficulties. Saddam in Iraq and al-Assad in Syria, or Ba’athist regimes in other words, implemented repressive policies aimed at eliminating the Kurds. Saddam inflicted mass killings by the use of chemical weapons, while al-Assad refused to grant the Kurds their rights and freedoms, refused to give them identity documents and regarded them as non-people. In Turkey, meanwhile, at times when the deep state mindset was ascendant, Alawites, devout believers and conservatives as well as our Kurdish citizens were all harshly repressed.

The 1990s were one of the most difficult periods for the Southeast of Turkey, when the PKK terror organization threatened and oppressed our Kurdish brothers. Everyone also knows that this was a time when the deep state apparatus replaced the official state authority in the Southeast and inflicted terror through practices that were never put down on paper. This was a time when even tribes fighting against the PKK came under suspicion, when village guards appointed by the state were suspected of being PKK agents and tortured many times by deep state officials, and when people with brothers, sons or daughters up in the mountains were persecuted, even though they were themselves opposed to the PKK.

This was a time when even the families of the village guards who were constantly harassed by the PKK, being targets of PKK bullets, were also being targeted by the deep state apparatus although they were risking their lives for the country and for God’s sake. Some of the many Kurdish citizens who were taken from their homes without due process were never heard of again, while others underwent horrendous interrogations for days on end. This was a time when brother shot brother, when countless unsolved killings took place and when Turkey suffered billions of dollars’-worth of material losses.

Illegal organizations set up by deep state services by making illicit use of state powers, engaged in constant oppression and mistreatment of the people of the region. These gangs that wormed their way into the body of the state literally behaved like the state itself, but they used the authority of that state for their own interests and engaged in all kinds of illegal activities in the region. So much so that, according to village guards of the time, it was these individuals and organizations that inflicted the worst damage on the fight against terror.131 In one sense it was the activities of these organizations that made it impossible to put an end to terror.

There was no state presence in the Southeast of Turkey at that time. The innocent Kurdish people were caught between a rock and a hard place. There was no institution to which they could complain of the mistreatment and injustices they suffered. Those seeking redress were faced with threats and maltreatment. Public offices had become places of bribery and corruption under the auspices of the deep state apparatus. 132 Yet people had nowhere to complain even about that. The freedom of the media was tightly circumscribed under pressure from the deep state apparatus in question, as a result of which the murders, unsolved killings, illegitimate detentions, persecution and other problems in the region all remained hidden.

Innocent Kurdish mothers, fathers, and outstandingly beautiful Kurdish children never deserved any of the oppression or tyranny they have faced throughout history. We are aware of the difficulties that our brothers are living through in this period. But now time has come for recovery. Rather than bearing the anger of the past, our Kurdish brothers should collaborate with the ones that ask for brotherliness.

Deep state organizations then began raiding villages in the region under various pretexts. Inhabitants of villages would be gathered in the main square, threatened, and often taken away for no reason. The same villages would also be raided by PKK militants at night, suffering another sort of persecution at the hands of PKK. The ruthless members of the PKK would spread the organization’s propaganda, collect money through intimidation and execute people they regarded as spies or agents.133 The state was not there for our devout Kurdish people at the very time when they needed it the most, when they were subjected to the worst injustices.

The Ergenekon terror organization was capable of declaring a state of emergency in whichever region it chose by keeping Turkey a place where turmoil could break out at any moment. Villages were evacuated and burned by the Ergenekon terror organization under the pretext of the war against terror, and hundreds of thousands of our Kurdish citizens were forced to leave their places of residence. The fact that Kurds were forced to live under primitive conditions in cities such as Mersin, Adana, Ankara and Istanbul, to which they migrated, was also a ready tool for PKK propaganda and played a significant role in the PKK organizing itself in the cities.

Several Kurdish intellectuals or opinion leaders were illegally detained or assassinated. It is a known fact that the majority of these incidents were organized in collaboration between Ergenekon and the PKK.

While the deep state apparatus was deliberately neglecting the region it was the PKK that appeared under the guise of a savior of the people offering work and other opportunities. The region had deliberately been left in a backward socioeconomic state, and its people had knowingly been abandoned to poverty, wretchedness and ignorance. As a result, the people of the region were deceived by “black propaganda” using the limited means of communication available and the state was literally portrayed as “a fascist power that wants to annihilate the Kurdish people”.

Right from the very outset the objective of the Ergenekon terror organization has been to break Turkey up, split our beloved Kurdish brothers away from us and establish a communist Kurdistan separate from Turkey. It therefore sought to alienate the Kurdish people by pressuring them, and it expected that they would demand to break away from Turkey because of that pressure. However, this sinister deep state apparatus underestimated the Kurdish people’s faithful character and loyalty to the country and the nation. Even when they were being most neglected by their own state - under the influence of the deep state apparatus - these fine people never lost their belief in that state and never even considered breaking away from it. The Ergenekon terror organization’s intended plans for the Kurdish people thus ended in failure, and it suffered a grave defeat it had never envisaged.

Our Kurdish brothers need to know that we are not unaware of what was going on in the Southeast at that time. We are well aware that our Kurdish brothers were exposed to severe pressures, subjected to extraordinary injustices, unjustly lost members of their families, and had to deal with the triggermen of the deep state at the same time as struggling with the sinister scourge of the PKK. We are also aware of the poverty to which they were subjected, of the pressures within their families and tribes and of the sufferings caused by the feudal system. We are cognizant of the efforts to eradicate the Kurdish language and that a fierce war was waged against Kurdish culture and traditions. In proposing solutions for our Kurdish brothers and speaking out against the PKK, we are acting in the full knowledge of all these truths.

We are similarly aware that it was the injustices they suffered more than communist propaganda that influenced young people’s decisions to join the PKK, and that after heading up into the mountains some of these young people were never able to return because of pressure. Many young people say that they only subsequently realized that the terror organization is Stalinist, communist and atheist. We are also fully aware that there are some young Kurds living in the Southeast and various other parts of the country who harbor a great anger and resentment against the state and Turkishness because of the way they or their parents were maltreated by the illegal bodies of the deep state apparatus. Unlike some people, we have not closed our eyes or disregarded all this. Our Kurdish brothers must not forget this very important point – our aim here is to find a solution to all these problems.

Left: 1988 The Halabja Massacre

The Kurdish people have suffered gravely in the region for years. While Saddam was slaughtering the innocent Kurdish people with chemical weapons in Halabja, al-Assad in Syria was oppressing the Kurds that were not given even a birth certificate through brutal coercion.

Differentiating between Kurds and the PKK

Loving and innocent Kurdish people, who are blended with Islamic moral values, deserve the most perfected conduct at all circumstances.

Let us first emphasize one fact that some of the world’s superpowers and even some people in Turkey insist on ignoring; the Kurds and the PKK are two very different entities. The Kurd is radiant, polite, honorable and of good character. The PKK, however, stands for cowardliness, treachery and degeneration. Accusing a Kurd of being a member of the PKK is one of the worst possible insults, and the worst possible imputation against our Kurdish brothers’ nobility and character.

People who are unaware of or deny this generally regard the Marxist PKK as a “Kurdish resistance movement” and think of it as a movement that encapsulates all the people of the Southeast. This is totally misleading and grossly unfair. As we have already seen, it is an organization that in fact targets our Kurdish brothers. It has built an empire of fear on the backs of the Kurds. Indeed, the great majority of our troops who defend the motherland against the PKK, and almost all the village guards, are themselves Kurds. They risk their own lives to protect their homelands against the PKK for God’s sake.

To give the impression that all Kurds support the PKK, are a separate people from Turkey and are absolutely opposed to the Turkish state is a form of social engineering that has been implemented through our Kurdish brothers for a long time now. The aim here is to give the impression that a handful of communists engaged in terror attacks and our innocent people that might be of Kurdish origin or those living in the East of the country are one and the same. This is intended to create a climate of hatred and hostility toward our Kurdish brethren all across the country.

The effort to portray the Kurds and the PKK as one and the same is a very cunning and dangerous tactic. Kurds in various parts of Turkey have been attacked for “being members of the PKK”. These attacks have been turned into an invaluable propaganda tool for the PKK. The people of the region have been given the impression that “The Turks do not want you, they are your enemies”. This has prepared fertile ground for the PKK.

The great majority of our Kurdish citizens in the Southeast are loyal to the death to their country and very fine and devout people with all the moral virtues of Anatolia, and that is a fact that cannot be ignored. May God forbid, if a referendum were to be held in the region, in a manner in which there were no threats of violence or the use of arms, the Kurds would be the first people to refuse to see the country broken up. A report concerning the Kurdish problem by Dr. Salih Akyürek from the Wise Men Center for Strategic Studies (BILGESAM) revealed that more than 90% of the people of the region were opposed to autonomy or federation. Kurdish and Zaza citizens were asked, “Would independence for the Kurds in Turkey be a solution to the Kurdish problem?” and 90.1% of Kurdish citizens answered “No”, saying that they did not want independence. Asked “Would the Kurds being given federative rights lead to a permanent solution to the Kurdish problem?”, 92.7% of Kurdish citizens said. “No”. 134

It should be known that we have no intention to surrender our Kurdish youth and Kurdish citizens to communism. The PKK never and ever represents the Kurds. It is definitely a requirement to differentiate the Kurdish people from the PKK.

Since the PKK is also aware of this fact, it is trying to establish dominion over the people by way of intimidation, aggression and pressure. It is therefore essential to strongly oppose the idea spread by some circles, and particularly the PKK, that Kurds=PKK and to defend our dear Kurdish brothers’ rights down to the bitter end. It is absolutely essential to differentiate between Kurds and the PKK and to clearly and determinedly disseminate the distinction. This information must be disseminated in a determined manner, particularly in Western communities, and people must be told of the differences between the devout, spiritual, well-mannered and noble Kurdish people and the cowardly communist organization that is the PKK.

The only thing the PKK represents is treachery. On the contrary, our Kurdish brothers represent honor, integrity, and superior morality. To name the perfidious PKK terrorists as Kurds would only be defamation against being a Kurd.

There can be no solution without love

The pains of the past have without doubt left deep scars. Looking at the present, however, the important thing is this; the climate of lovelessness and insecurity that has grown up can be rectified. However, that is only possible through love and freedoms.

Since the Kurds are religious, deep and well-mannered by nature, they are also a very noble people. They are radiant and honest. They attach great importance to humanity and friendship, and have an immaculate conception of respect. They live by the moral values of Anatolia in the most perfect manner. Such virtuous people therefore deserve to be treated in the best way under all conditions and circumstances.

The Turkish government and public have different responsibilities on this subject. The government and public need to develop a special language prioritizing the Kurds in order to redeem the sufferings of the past. The love the Kurds never received in the past must now be shown to them by everyone. That is how to pay the debt from the past.

The responsibility of the government

Before turning to recommendations on this subject, it needs to be made clear that throughout the 13 years of AKP rule, between 2002 and 2015, the party signed up to major new policies for the Southeast, policies which had never been implemented previously. In summary:

  • The state of emergency was lifted.
  • Obstacles to citizens giving Kurdish names to their children were lifted.
  • Party closures were made more difficult.
  • The ban on Kurdish-language broadcasting was lifted.
  • Kurdish-language courses were permitted.
  • Radio and TV broadcasts in different languages and dialects were permitted.
  • Advertising in different languages and dialects was permitted.
  • TRT 6 began 24-hour Kurdish-language broadcasting.
  • The name TRT 6 was changed to TRT Kurdi on 10 January 2015.
  • Private TV and radio organizations were permitted to broadcast 24 hours a day in foreign languages.
  • Universities were permitted to open departments, institutes and elective classes in foreign languages. Departments of Kurdish language and literature were opened.
  • Universities were allowed to establish Kurdish studies libraries.
  • The decision was taken to support cultural activities in different languages. Kurdish-language films were supported.
  • Detainees in prisons were allowed to enjoy mother-tongue family visits.
  • Call centers were allowed to provide services for non-Turkish speaking citizens.
  • Settlements were allowed to readopt their former Kurdish names.
  • Political propaganda in different languages was permitted.
  • Various important Kurdish-language works were published by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
  • Mountain pastures were reopened for use, and people began returning to the villages.
  • The Kurdish language appeared in parliamentary documents for the first time.
  • A commission of inquiry was set up to look into incidents in Diyarbakır Prison.
  • Permission was given for Kurdish-language stage plays to be performed.
  • Kurdish-language music albums were brought out.
  • Local religious figures were allowed to be employed by the state.
  • Defendants were allowed to present their defenses in their mother tongue.
  • The Turkish Language Institute published a Turkish-Kurdish dictionary.
  • The Anadolu News Agency began publishing in Kurdish.
  • On March 8th, 2015 the government announced a Southeast Anatolia Project (GAP) action plan. The plan involves 115 projects with a budget of 26.7 billion aimed at regenerating the Southeast, in fields from agriculture to tourism and from education to health.
  • The Holy Qur’an was published in Kurdish.
  • Large numbers of dams, airports, hospitals and schools were built in the region.
  • Dozens of laws were amended in terms of democratization and the Peace Process.

These matters alone make it very clear that historic progress and major advances were made.

A beautiful view from the city of Şanliurfa.

The current government has adopted very different measures than the governments that have gone before it, made major steps toward improving the well being of our Kurdish brothers and stood up for Kurdish rights. These advances apply not just to the Kurds, but also to all other ethnic groups living in Turkey, as well as Alawites and other minorities. These are all sources of pleasure and pride. They are also a requirement of greater democratization. In addition to all this progress, efforts also need to be made to fill a deficiency inherited from the past; that deficiency is love. Alawites, Greeks, Armenians, Jews, Christians, in short all ethnic and faith groups that were once neglected, must be included in this policy of love in order to make up for the past. Since our subject here is the Kurds, however, we shall be looking at this matter separately.

It is crucial to dignify the people of the Southeast with their due worth. A policy providing all the means to expedite their living in peace and welfare in the region should be implemented firmly.

The building of roads, airports and bridges in the Southeast of Turkey of course represents important progress. It is even more important, however, to win the hearts and minds of the Kurdish people. Activities based on a policy of love must be arranged for that purpose, and our Kurdish brothers must be made to feel they are both protected and loved by the state. As can be seen from the steps taken by the Turkish government concerning the rights and liberties of our Kurdish brothers, we fully believe that this policy of love will be put into operation as a matter of urgency. However, the priority issue on this subject is for PKK terror and terrorists to be eliminated from the region. Although various measures are being taken today, all the terrorists in the region need to be caught and detained through a more wide-ranging and organized campaign. This is essential for the security of the people of the region.

We also need to pay attention to another important point; great care must be taken that the governors and officials appointed to the provinces of the Southeast by central government are not arrogant, proud, haughty, loveless or lacking in empathy. Such people must not be appointed, and if any are identified they must be immediately removed from their posts. Governors who reflect the love and affection of the state, who smile and are respectful and full of love, who are wise and driven, who are well-mannered and high-quality, who know how to praise beauties and do not look down their noses at the person in front of them must be appointed. The government must engage in a range of activities in these regions in order to weld the population together. It must contribute to their education and in such areas as art and science, and it must make the people feel the love and backing of the state at every moment.

The idea of Kurdish governors for Kurdish regions must also be abandoned, and any impression of isolating the Kurds as an ethnic group must be eliminated. Care must be taken to weld everyone together in a single nation by also appointing Kurdish governors to other parts of the country and governors from other parts of the country must be appointed to the Southeastern provinces.

It would also be a good thing for the government to support various civil society organizations in the region so they can act freely and effectively, as well as local religious leaders, tribal leaders, local radio and TV stations and intellectuals who advocate Islamic Unity against the communist and the fascist philosophy with a language of love.

It is important for conferences, films and documentaries to be held and produced concerning national unity and brotherhood with the help of that backing. Policies encouraging people to think about God, the Qur’an, signs leading to faith, the miracles of the Qur’an, science, art, quality, culture and love must be adopted, rather than cultural bigotry. A major mobilization by way of the internet and media is needed for that to happen.

This mass grave showing the persecution implemented by the Saddam regime represents only a portion of the nightmare that our Kurdish brothers have passed through.

When the whole world turned their back to refugees, Turkey was the first country that opened its hearts and gates to our refugee brothers amongst whom there were Kurds. Turkish soldiers welcomed our Kurdish brothers with true compassion.

Mobilization aimed at encouraging the idea of a Great Turkey and Islamic Union must take place in the social media, through love and a peaceable, modern, high-quality vision. There must be no room for lack of quality, lovelessness, hatred or fanaticism, nor for nonsense and later fabrications.

All TV and radio channels affiliated to The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) must take part in this mobilization.

When Saddam was persecuting the Kurds, when al-Assad was committing slaughter or when the PYD was suppressing them, it was always Turkey that stepped in to protect them. All their needs were met in an honest and proper manner. Our Kurdish brothers from Kobane have been given a proper welcome in Turkey. All these facts must be set out in detail with full supporting historical information and documentation. People have to be told persistently that the loveless attitude of the past toward our Kurdish citizens derived from the twin scourges of the Ergenekon terror organization and the PKK, with their very different aims. Our Kurdish brothers need to feel that they are always under the protection of the Turkish state and nation.

The responsibilities of the Turkish people

Racism is a mental illness beyond ignorance. All people in the world descended from Hazrat Adam (pbuh) and Islam has unquestionably condemned racism. For that reason our Kurdish brothers should not give ear to the policies of so-called "White Turks", who are only few in number in our country.

Some people who describe themselves as “White Turks” hide behind that term to engage in horrifyingly racist rhetoric, under which not only the Kurds but also other ethnic groups are unwanted.

Racism is a mental disturbance that goes far beyond mere ignorance. Everyone in the world is descended from the Prophet Adam (pbuh), and everyone is therefore created equal. People who adhere to the mindset that regards itself as superior, under the influence of Darwinism or for other reasons, are both ignorant enough to believe in the nonsense of Darwinism and also sufficiently ill to speak words of hate deriving from it. It is therefore wrong to think of someone who engages in racism as normal and rational and to have any dealings with him.

Our Almighty Lord reveals in the holy Qur’an that superiority lies solely in piety, not in ethnicity:

Mankind! We created you from a male and female, and made you into peoples and tribes so that you might come to know each other. The noblest among you in God’s Sight is the one with the most piety. God is All-Knowing, All-Aware. (Qur'an, 49/13)

Some people who describe themselves as “White Turks” and who regard Kurdish culture and identity as unbecoming, whose eyes and souls have been atrophied by pride and arrogance, and who imagine that superiority can be endowed by material possessions and education, would like Turkey to consist of its Western areas only and foolishly see nothing wrong in the Southeast breaking away. These people care not one jot whether our Kurdish brothers fall into the clutches of the communists and end up being oppressed. So long as nothing untoward happens to them, they will remain stewing in their own selfishness and living a loveless life in their materialist world.

It must not be forgotten that some of these “White Turks” behave in an arrogant and condescending way, not only toward our Kurdish brothers, but to all the minorities in the country, but even toward the poor and the rural classes, toward people with a low level of education and even toward the sick and disabled. The main reason for this is surely the terribly negative state of mind and weakness of conscience caused by the materialist mindset to which they have fallen prey. These people are the ones that actually suffer from the loveless spirit they have, as this lack of love inside them hurt themselves.

Now, it is time to leave behind the days of oppression, pressure and tears dominating over our Kurdish brothers. Removing the communist threat, we will live peacefully and brotherly in an environment with no cries.

Our brothers praying at the Great Mosque of Diyarbakır.

It is also the case that the people whose views we have outlined above do not represent the majority of the Turkish population. The majority of our people are aware that Kurdish people are a very superior society in terms of honesty, nobility and decency. The honorable nature of the Kurds is a role model for the entire nation, and these brothers of ours represent the very loftiest moral virtues. They never lie, never do anything dishonorable and never make the slightest concession when it comes to honesty. The experience of suffering down the years is a fine teacher, and this makes them best able to exhibit kindness and love toward others who are suffering. The Kurds are therefore many times more worthy than many other people.

The responsibility of our nation is to stand up for the Kurds in such a way as to neutralize the claims and demands of the “White Turks”. Through the love they display, their writings and campaigns in the social media, people can easily neutralize the evil ideas of this loveless minority. Our people must work to show that they share the sufferings of the Kurds down the years and that they are actively opposed to the PKK and the evil apparatuses of the deep state.

The responsibility of our Kurdish brothers is to attach no credence to the words and ideas of this foolish minority. God will always cause the truth to reign. Those who are cruel, heedless of their weakness in the Sight of God and who behave arrogantly will inevitably be defeated under the law of God. Our Kurdish brothers must therefore continue to behave properly and honestly and always collaborate with the goods. There are many true and honest people of good conscience in the country who advocate the rights of the Kurds.

It must not be forgotten that every suffering can only be rectified through love and greater liberty. We are ready to act to make that restitution through love and liberty. We will employ all the means at our disposal for that purpose. What is now needed is a brand new beginning in alliance with all people of love. Islamic Unity is a great cause that will include everyone, regardless of ethnicity and religion. Our Kurdish brothers must share that cause with us, and we must together build a new age of justice and tranquility, where the wicked have no power and no injustices remain. As our Lord reveals:

...By His Words God wipes out the false and confirms the truth. He knows what the heart contains. (Qur’an, 42:24)

Footnotes

131. Bedran Akdağ, Dağın Ardındaki Gerçekler (The Facts behind the Mountains), Ozan Yayıncılık, 2012, p. 35

132. Ibid., p. 36

133. Ibid., p. 37

134. Dr. Salih Akyürek, Kürtler ve Zazalar Ne Düşünüyor? Ortak Değer ve Sembollere Bakış (What Do the Kurds and Zazas Think? A Look at Common Values and Symbols), BİLGESAM, report no. 26, Istanbul 2011, http://www.bilgesam.org/Images/Dokumanlar/0-91-2014040810rapor26.pdf

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