Turkish justice: Gülen’s recent response to Uludere massacre

By Dr. Aland Mizell:

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”

― Frederick Douglass, American slave, abolitionist and author.

 Almost two weeks ago, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) killed 35 Kurdish civilians from Uludere village in an operation along the Iraqi border. The official statement argues that these 35 villagers were killed because the military thought they were terrorists. The military knows everything about the smuggling business. It appears that the military has all the information on who crosses the Iraqi border and when they return. If they knew that information, why did the military think they were members of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), as they alleged?   Who massacred 35 Kurdish young people and why? This massacre shows one more time that military action is not the solution to the Kurdish problem. When is the Prime Minister going to apologize to the victims’ families and to the Kurdish people? When is the Prime Minister going to acknowledge that military action is not the solution? When will the Prime Minister stop blaming the Kurds all the time and treat them with respect?

Power gives choices. It is fair to say that trust for Gülen and for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) among the Kurds is diminishing, and even among the Turks because trust correlates with how they use the power they have. In the past, people, like myself, believed that  Gülen and his followers represented the truth.  Now many people who know  Gülen’s movement raise questions about their motives and especially the reason that so many people who do not agree with them end up in jail. Today Gülenists’ image abroad and in Turkey is slowly becoming shadier, mainly because of a lack of transparency, accountability, human rights, freedom of expression and the like.

For me the ultimate tragedy is not the oppression by the Turkish Armed Forces and cruelty by the bad people but the silence of the good people, of the international community, of the United States, of the European Union and even of the Barzani and Talabani leadership not pressuring Erdogan and Gülenists enough to stop their aggressive campaign against the Kurdish people. The Turkish media lost its credibility, because not until after two days were they able to report the massacre; the first massacre news came out via twitter and Kurdish Roj TV and was broadcast from the Netherlands. Parenthetically, for a long time Turkey has tried to pressure the Danish government to close Roj TV because of its defending Kurdish rights and being the only Kurdish voice. It is a shame for the Netherlands to close the Kurdish Roj TV because, according to the UN’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers. The media has the decisive role of distributing information and framing events, which are subsequently interpreted by the audience.

The Turkish media’s content has never been objective; there is always one view that dominates the others. Since many Turkish media organizations do most of their reporting from outside the Kurdish region, there is a belief within the Kurdish territories that the media’s agenda is being dominated by the view from the government and Gülenists. Deceptively showing the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) as merely a terrorist group yet failing to apply the same standard when it comes to describing the Turkish actions is typical of the mainstream media and it shows the lack of journalistic investigation and in-depth reporting in the news stories.

Today the international community remains mute against the Turkish government’s dismissive attitude. This recent disaster was one in which the most advanced aircraft killed innocent Kurdish civilians. Clearly, no matter what the Kurdish people do, they will be killed.

If you don’t stand against oppression, you stand for it. It does not matter whether it was deliberate or accidental; the result is the same –35 innocent Kurdish civilian lives have been lost, and this can be perfectly identified as an act of the state killing its citizens. This clearly shows that the military is not the way to solve the Kurds’ problems but that the way to solve Kurdish problems is via the negotiation table with the PKK and the BDP as guests at the table, so that the ruling power must listen to what the Kurds want. The reason the Kurdish people continue to be massacred is because the Turkish government has wrongly defined the Kurdish problem as a security matter rather than a social, political and economic one. The Turkish government must resurrect its conscience and offer an official apology.

The Turks also claim that the Kurds hate the Turks. They claim that Kurds are angry at the Prime Minister and angry at the governor who thanked the Turkish military for the operation. Who would not be angry if your own government killed its citizens and did not care, but instead after 20 hours went on TV to make a statement about the issue? Who would not be angry that, when one Turk gets killed the administration flies the flag of Turkey at half-mast, but when 35 Kurds get killed, people crazily celebrate the new year while the Kurds are mourning? The Turks and Gülenists are accusing Kurds of dividing Turkey but do not realize that they are guilty of that charge; instead they think that everybody is blind like them — blind that they divide all others into camps. Recently Gülen issued a message incorrectly charging that the Kurds declared war on them because of their organization’s ethics, and that they will not tolerate this behavior. I am wondering what kind of ethics they are talking about. Is it ethical to kill citizens? Is it ethical to be silent against wrongdoers?  Is it ethical to kill anyone you see on the grounds that you perceive them as terrorists? Where is the justice – in the Islamic sense of justice – that says if there are nine guilty in a boat and only one is innocent, that boat cannot be destroyed nor be sunk because one person is innocent? Is it ethical or justifiable to use any available means or methods to achieve a goal, because they believe their end will result in good for the whole? Is it moral? In 1993, when Serbs were killing Bosnians during the New Year, Gülen and his follower were crying and Gülen ordered the Zaman to give full coverage, saying “Bosnia weeps blood, so we cannot celebrate the New Year, we cannot have fun.”

Did Gülen and the Gülenists’ news media do the same thing when the Kurds were massacred by the Turkish military? We hear a resounding “No.” Instead, Gülen accused the PKK of perpetrating the massacre. Instead, Turkish police increased raids on Kurdish house and offices, instead, Prime Minister Erdogan congratulate Turkish generals for doing their job. Kurds must embrace their pain and burn it as fuel for their journey against cruelty and oppression. Blaming others is a way of avoiding the need to accept one’s own responsibility. The blame game continues as Turks have blamed one group after another group for all their problems. This kind of war will provoke more Kurdish citizens and lead them to the edge of an uprising. Young people keep dying, so that the problems keep becoming more complicated and the Kurdish civilians’ trust for the Turkish government is withering.

In a speech broadcast on the website Herkul.org, Gülen expressed that the PKK distorted his previous speech about measures that should be taken for the Turkish army to kill all the PKK bandit group, but he failed to express his grief for the innocent Kurdish civilians and failed to express the view that the Prime Minister of Turkey and the Turkish army should apologize. The Islamic regime’s treatment of the Kurds will not be any different from previous regimes’ treatment of them. Under the previous regimes Kurds did not have problems so long as they denied that they were Kurds, and Gülen has factored in the same formula under the current Islamic regime.  As long as you do not say, “I am a Kurd,” you are welcomed with no problems. Today in Turkey the Kurdish Parliamentarians, the BDP members, were democratically elected by the Kurdish people and given a victory, but the Muslim administration is not happy and it is using intimidation to attack every front, such as putting Kurds in jail one by one, charging them in court, financially and spiritually harassing them, as well as trying to lower their morale, so that they will give up. They are using many kinds of tactics to justify not just the end, but also their means.

The real plan for  Gülenists and the Turkish government is to replace the BDP with Kemal Burkay, a Kurdish writer and the founder and former Secretary General of the Kurdish Socialist Party, who fled Turkey in 1980. He received asylum in Sweden, where he has been living since.  They want to replace the BDP with him and want him to establish a new Kurdish Party that will agree with the Gülenists and the AKP. That is why right now Turkey is using the Union of Kurdistan Communities (KCK) as an excuse to close down the BDP. This is the kind of ‘Justice’ and ‘Peace’ that the ruling Turkish government seeks to accomplish. Kurds should demand a thorough investigation in the full view of the world’s eyes.

 Dr. Aland Mizell is with the University of Mindanao School of Social Science, President of the MCI and a regular contributor to The Kurdistan Tribune, Kurdishaspect.com and Kurdish Media. You may email the author at: aland_mizell2@hotmail.com

One Response to Turkish justice: Gülen’s recent response to Uludere massacre
  1. Kuvan Bamarny
    January 16, 2012 | 01:15

    Fatullah gulen and his followers are claim to be pure modren sect of islam that chants the slogans like justice , equallity and respect for all human beings regardless of race ,relgion, and ethnicity.Yet we saw how thier recent crime proved that thier slogans do not match thier actions.It seems more like they are a bunch of rich busnisss men that that in the name of Islam want to control the region and expand thier business markets across the region and bring back the glourous days of Ottoman empire.
    If they really are pure muslem then they should deal with kurds on the bases of this verse of Quran:
    “O you who have conformed to Islam,charge yourselves with equity and recourse to the principles of justice and exercise your authority and power in maintenance of right, though it may be against yourselves, your parents, or your kindred, and do not be inclined to favour the rich for a gain nor the poor for sympathy. Rich or poor as they may be, Allah is He who is more capable of guarding their interests. Therefore, do not be influenced by emotion nor let the ruling passion conquer reason and sway you from justice. And if you should swerve from this course of action or turn a deaf ear, you must realize that Allah has always been ever aware of all that you do.” (Quran ,verse an-Nisa` 4:135).

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