Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Case Commentary: Preparing the Kurdish Case in Turkey

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Kurdishaspect.com - By Karim Hasan*

A simple introductory comment for Dr. Ralph D. Fertig - in reference to his

An accurate description of the “Kurdish case” for the right to self-determination will be helpful for the Supreme Court of the United States making a decision, the government (Attorney General) represents the States’ interest, and the attorney acting on behalf of Kurdish people’s right to self-determination in that part of Kurdistan -Turkey. First the definition and description of the case are required, and then let us begin by the following questions, which will provide a number of definitions central to Kurdish case:

Who are the Kurds?

Kurds are the people who speak Kurdish language as a native language of the ethnic Kurds – who have been living in Kurdistan proper for thousands of years. Kurdish language consists of two main dialects: the north and southern Kurdish.

What is their population count/census?

There is no accurate census of Kurdish population. According to most creditable sources about 30 – 40 million Kurds live in “Kurdistan proper: one of the most accurate map of Kurdistan proper http://www.ardalan.org/images/sine.jpg” (parts of Kurdistan divided between Iraq, Syria, Turkey, former Soviet Union, and Iran) and outside.

Where do the Kurds live?

90 up to 95 percent of Kurds live in “Kurdistan proper: one of the most accurate map of Kurdistan proper: http://www.ardalan.org/images/sine.jpg”.

What is the Kurdish case?

The Kurdish case is not the case of a specific organization and political party. It is the case of Kurdish people: 30 – 40 million Kurds for the right so self-determination. Precisely, “The Kurdish case is the case of the right to life, liberty, security and property for the Kurds. Almost 100% of conscious Kurds of all ages, gender, classes, and locals…etc. agree such rights can not be guaranteed by other means than formation of an independent Kurdish state in “Kurdistan proper”. The following brief history is the main logic, which has given "the Kurdish case" credibility and viability in many international forums and the United Nations:
During the Ottoman and the Persian empires the Kurds lived and coexisted with the Turks and Persians – they (Kurds) governed local regions of Kurdistan through provincial types of governments mainly connected to the centre of the imperial powers in Istanbul or/and Teheran and other Persian imperial capitals until the first world war, when the Ottomans and the Persians lost in the war.

After the first world war, modern state system emerged in the Middle East. Current states of Iraq, Iran, and Syria Turkey…were formed and recognized in the League of Nations. Kurds were granted a state of their own under sections of Severs Treaty in early 1920s – they (Kurds) were not successful in establishing an independent Kurdish state. In 1923 the Lausanne Treaty replaced the Severs Treaty, and the Kurds were left without a state of their own.

As a nation without an independent state of their own, Kurds have never accepted the rule of the governments of those states. The main reason has been, all those states have subjugated Kurds to slavery of exploitation and Kurds indiscriminately were deprived of the basic rights to “life, liberty, security and property” contrary to the full rights of the dominant ethnic groups of those states: Turks, Persians and Arabs.

Since the foundation of the modern states system in middle in 1920s, countless cases of human rights violations, genocide, mass-expulsion, mass deportation, forcible migration, linguicide, ethnocide of the Kurds have occurred under the rulership of those states. Thus, the logic of the Kurdish case has been in formation since the foundation of modern state-system in the Middle East.

Kurds in Turkey: Turkey has been objecting to the recognition of the “Kurdish case”. It is the objection and denial of the Kurdish case, the incrimination of the Kurdish of Turkey who work for the recognition of the Kurdish right to self-determination has to be changed. Last year the Turkish government banned peaceful and legally operating Kurdish political party Democratic Society Party (DTP), arrested 100s may be 1000s of high ranking members of the party which was legally operating. The United Nations Security Council and the United States government have to reject and deny the incrimination of innocent Kurds who are working for their “right to life, liberty, security and property” through peaceful means of political and civil society institutions.

The Turkish government has been incriminating any actor or entity which recognizes the “Kurdish case” both as the “Kurdish right to life, liberty, security and property” and in its final solution form “the formation of an independent Kurdish state”. The preamble and the first 4 sections of the Turkish constitution deny the recognition of any other ethnic identity except Turkish ethnic identity in Turkey.

Thus, the Kurds of Turkey must be de-labelled and not-blamed, de-incriminated. For lack of justice and recognition of Kurdish and other ethnic identities in turkey and their basic rights the Turkish government must be criticised, blamed and ordered by the United Nations’ security council, United States government, the European parliament to change its laws and practices towards the Kurds. If Turkish government changes its approach and accepts Kurdish rights and
freedom grounded on the rights to nations and universal declarations of human ritghs, there will be no-threat to Turkish sovereignty; in fact Turkey may become s just-democratic and a progressive state.

A sovereign is acceptable and has validity only when provides for its constituents full "rights to life, liberty security and property" and acts in their best interest. If a sovereign does not guarantee these rights to its subjects, its rulership will be challenged in various capacities as it has been in Turkey. Thus, the Turkish government is not a legitimate sovereign with which the Kurds agree.

The Turkish government has used two main methods against the Kurds:

1) Regard less of work method; the Turkish government has intimately incriminated any political organization and civil society institution which have been advocating Kurdish rights and freedoms. For example since early 1970s the Turkish government has banned over 20 Kurdish political parties for various alleged reasons. The parties represented the Kurdish legitimate rights and freedoms which every nation enjoys. The work methods of those parties for obtaining those rights and freedoms were peaceful and legal by all united nation's standards - but they were banned.

2) A number of Kurdish political parties took up armed campaign, which were automatically banned and labelled violent.

The conclusion is: it has not made much difference whether the Kurdish political parties in Turkey mobilized a violent method or peaceful democratic methods of politics for obtaining Kurdish rights and freedoms, the Turkish government banned the parties, as we know recently in October - November 2010 the banning of Kurdistan Democratic Society Party (DTP).

The project of supporting/accepting Kurdish right to democracy, to self-determination and removing Kurdish liberation movement in Turkey from violent list, based on the principles set out in the universal declarations of rights of nations can not succeed - if the court does not lawfully with due diligence accept the realities of the injustice and violations of Kurdish “right to life, liberty, security and property” by the Turkish government.

* Karim Hasan is an independent Kurdish scholar: