The Failures of the Turkish State to Move Away From Genocidal Policies

Smoke billowing from behind the mountains of Matin in the town of Chiladze following a Turkish bombing attack (Photo by AFP)

By Arian Mufid:

Turkish leaders have occasionally boasted about learning from their violent history of grave injustice towards indigenous minorities, however ‘Operation, Claw-lock’ (endorsed by the Kurdish KDP) has exposed how empty those claims are. On the anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and following Turkey’s latest military operation in Kurdistan, it is worth reflecting on Turkey’s deliberate failures in moving away from its genocidal roots. Despite becoming a NATO member and often trying to assert itself as a forward-thinking Muslim country in Europe, Turkey never truly moved away from the legacies of the Ottoman Empire. Protecting Ataturk’s enablers from punishment and integrating them into the new Turkish military state set the tone for Turkey’s stance towards minorities.

Unfortunately, Erdogan’s regime chooses to further its animosity towards the Kurdish identity by carrying out military offensives even outside of Turkey’s borders. In South Kurdistan Turkish soldiers and commanders are raping and murdering Kurdish civilians. Turkey must revise its policy on the Kurdish question and the Armenian genocide if it is to learn from its own history, unfortunately Erdogan chooses to spend billions on artillery and weaponry rather than initiate reconciliation with the 25 million Kurds in Turkey.

Erdogan is arguably one of the worst war criminals of the 21st century for his continuous war against the Kurds which he routinely takes beyond Turkish borders. Erdogan continues to misjudge the high hopes and aspirations of the Kurdish people by believing it is something he can eliminate with a continuous war against the Kurds. Despite certain aspects of the assimilation process being successful (many Kurds being robbed of the ability to speak their mother tongue), a resilient Kurdish movement remains and will continue to unless the international community move away from the modern nation states model adopted across the globe.

In recent decades Turkey has built first class hospitals in Istanbul and Ankara whilst creating a thriving tourist economy, however, walking through the eastern parts of Turkey, its Kurdish region, the landscape tells a different story of suppression through economic marginalisation. In 2018, the Turkish state’s military budget reached 19 billion, with the main objective being the annihilation of the Kurdish movement. The very money that should be invested in strengthening infrastructure in Turkey’s Kurdish region is used to disenfranchise and dehumanise Kurds in their own homes.
The continual denial of the Armenian genocide and Kurdish rights suggest that Turkey is not committed to establishing peace but rather it is committed to rewriting and producing a deceptive history; a persuasive narrative of a nation constantly defending itself from terrorism on multiple fronts. A history Turkish civilians believe. Few would be aware of Turkeys role as aggressor in Syria, Azerbaijan, and Iraq. Perhaps Turkey may find it more fruitful to look at their fellow NATO members like the UK, who ended their century long war with the Irish Republican Army and their political wing via table negotiations. Finally, the KRG and Barzani leaders, should remove themselves from being complicit in Erdogan’s war against their own people.

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