Kurds: The Error in Turkey











A massacre against thirtyfour men and boys has been deemed an error. The error lasted six and a half hours. At six pm, the Turkish military assessed that drone images were showing terrorists at its border with Iraq, at seven thirty pm artillery fire began and at ten thirty pm, the last bomb was dropped, leaving the thirtyfour civilians dead. It was an error.

The military court announced on seventh of January that it will not prosecute anyone for the Roboskî Massacre  that happened two years ago, stating that it was an ”error”. The four soldiers under official suspicion were not to be subjected to an investigation because the killings had been “inevitable,” an honest mistake, they implied.

The words “error”, ”mistake”, ”operational accident” are everywhere. Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said that ”the army didn’t bomb Roboski people on purpose.” Surely Kurds would understand that these mistakes happen. Afterall, it is not like Turkey on purpose has committed other mass killings against Kurds except the Lice Massacre, the Muş kilings, the Şırnak Massacre and other countless state-perpetrated killings.

Some will perhaps object and say that these examples are from the 1990s, that Turkey has since improved but it is not that simple to draw a clear line between then and now and claim that the change is more than superficial. A state-perpetrated killing is a state-perpetrated killing and very similar to the 1990s, a massacre that no one will take responsibility for. The Roboskî massacre took place two years ago, only two years ago so how has Turkey changed since the 1990s? The general condition of human rights in Turkey is deplorable.

What is the error in Turkey? Reports of ongoing human rights violations like torture, killing and sexual abuse, the lack of real effort to investigate the injustice committed against the Kurdish people during the 1990s and prosecute those responsible and the empty reforms presented this past fall as an improvenment for Kurds indicate that the error in Turkey as seen by the state is the Kurds. There is no real intention to include them as equals when no regard is given to their life.

In an interview with Alliance for Kurdish Rights, Ferhat Encü, a relative to those killed in the massacre, said:

AKP does not listen to our messages of peace and dialogue but focuses the attention on its own interpretation of what happened on the night of the massacre. This massacre has been decided, planned and executed by the Turkish state.

The prime minister and other members of the government each have their version of and explanation about the massacre that contradict each other. I have no faith in the government to do anything.

If you listen to the last speech made by Prime Minister Erdogan, you can hear him justify the massacre and making it insignificant. He said: “There were terrorists among them. Not all were civilians. It is not a situation that demands an apology.”

With this statement he has ruined the last bit of hope.

They were all civilians yet Turkey’s Prime Minister dismisses it as is the habit: some of them were terrorists. The worst part is that he gets away with it. He can fight and kill ”terrorists” but he cannot be a terrorist himself because he is head of a sovereign state and state terrorism does not exist, at least not according to him, probably many others but also a man like Kofi Annan. The former UN Secretary General said in 2005: “It is time to set aside debates on so-called ”state terrorism.” The use of force by states is already thoroughly regulated under international law.”

This should never be accepted as an unrefutable truth. Turkey, a country that prides itself with being friends of the oppressed and a democratic country, is inducing terror in the Kurdish areas. When will the next ”operational accident” happen and who will order it? The real error in Turkey is the mentality that a people with no weapon but their voice are the terrorists and that a state quelling this voice is not. Who causes terror and who suffers terror? It is not the state that shivers in the office: it is the Kurdish mother in the village. It is not the state that is trembling with fear: it is the Kurdish girl in the prison. It is not the oppressor that fears for his life: it is the journalist writing about Kurdish issues.

Umit Ozdag, head of the 21st Century Turkey think tank, said:

It is very clear that this decision to carry out this operation was given directly by the prime minister. On the day of the incident, there was the National Security Council meeting. The intelligence provided suggested that a key PKK commander, code-named Feroz, was among that group crossing the border into Turkey from Iraq. And the prime minister authorized this cross-border operation. If it had succeeded, Erdogan would have announced it victoriously. Since it did not end with the expected outcome, the chief of General Staff took the burden. Nothing will come out of the courts on this issue.

That his how the ”non-terrorist” state of Turkey acts and that his how we can expect it will continue to act for there is no peace process between the Turkish state and the Kurdish people although there are people who insist there is. Maybe, somehow, somewhere, someone saw a flicker of what could be a historic peace process between Turkey and the Kurds. That person was obviously delusional.

Erdogan said on May 25, 2012 that “whoever is still bringing up the Uludere [Roboskî] issue is actually related to terrorist organizations.” Demanding justice for the fact that 34 innocent civilians, many of whom were mere children, were killed is apparently equated with “terrorist” activities, the same activities that made Turkey the #1 jailer of journalists worldwide.

What happened was unforgivable and unforgettable. Whoever dismisses it is by far the real terrorist here.

If these are Turkey’s answers to questions we have been asking for decades, then come kill the rest of us Kurds, Erdogan. Make it look like an error. No one will raise an eyebrow.

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