Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kurdish struggle for Identity, Turkish struggle for Unity

Some twenty-five millionKurds are divided between southeastern Turkey, northeastern Syria, northern Iraq, and northwestern Iran. And in Turkey the ethnic Kurds compose a significant portion of the population. Unlike the Turks, the Kurds speak an Indo-European language. The Kurds live across all of Turkey but the majority live to the East and Southeast of the country, from where they originate. Since the 1930s, Turkish government policy has aimed at forcible dissimilation and Turkification (or purification) policies of the local Kurds. Since 1980 the Kurdish population resists this policy through both peaceful political activities for basic civil and cultural rights for Kurds within Turkey, but also a violent armed rebellion for a separate Kurdish state by the PKK, an armed terrorist group which has its roots in Lenin Marxism.

The U.S. rulers' military victory in 1991 in Iraq and Kuwait put the international spotlight on unresolved fight for some kind of self- determination in the region – especially that of the Kurdish people. Prior to the Gulf war the Kurdish struggle had largely been in retreat, having been dealt repeated defeats over the past half century by the Iraqi, Turkish, Iranian, and Syrian ruling classes, with the complicity of Washington, London, Paris, and Moscow.

In Turkey, where the majority of the ethnic Kurds are living the performance or recording of songs in the Kurdish language was banned in Turkey between 1925 and 1991. And the period immediately following the 1980 Turkish coup d'état was particularly oppressive (not just in respect to ethnic Kurds), when use of Kurdish language in public was banned. This led to an influx of Kurdish political asylum seekers in Europe.
The ban was lifted in 1991 during the presidency of Turgut Özal, who was of partial Kurdish descent. Turkish remains the only official language until today, and the use of any other language is not allowed in political life or public services. In 2003, the Turkish Parliament eased restrictions on Kurdish language rights in Turkey; however Kurds are largely banned for example from giving their children Kurdish names until recently...(see part two of this article)

There are estimated around 13.000.000 Kurds living in Turkey on a population of 73.000.00. Most Kurds are Alevi’s who has been profoundly influenced by humanism and universalism but denigrated as non-Muslim by mainly Sunni and Shit Muslims. The relationship between Alevis and Sunnis is one of mutual suspicion and prejudice dating back to the Ottoman period. Sunnis have accused Alevis of heresy, heterodoxy, rebellion, betrayal and immorality. Alevis, on the other hand, have argued that the original Quran does not demand five prayers, or mosque attendance, or pilgrimage, and that the Sunnis distorted early Islam by omitting, misinterpreting, or changing important passages of the original Quran.

At the moment the Turkish Grand general assembly consists of 4 political parties and a handful of independents. The AK party is the largest and is ruling Turkey since 2002. They have their roots in political Islam. The DHP is the Kurdish party and are often accused of having direct links with the PKK. The opposition parties are the CHP, a quasi stalinist party with ditem polit bureau (and the party of the secular Turks) and the MHP, a quasi fascist party which are related to the Grey Wolves, a Para militia organization which are responsible for the death of many.

Tomorrow: Turkish move regarding the Kurdish ‘issue’.

Day Opening - August 22

'Venetian footprints', Methoni, Peloponnese, Greece (Venetian Castle)