Lieberman to Guantanamo?

Israeli Parliamentary thug Avigdor Lieberman has done it again, clumsily threatening Turkey with arming the US terrorist group-designated PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party, as well as using the Armenian genocide despicably to ignite the US congress against Turkey. These threats are likely to backfire heavily against Israel amongst the Turkish population who support their leaders’ firm stand on the Palmer Report. Erdogan consistently has demanded Israel apologise to the families of those it killed on the Mavi Marmara, pay them compensation and lift its illegal blockade on the people of Gaza. [UPDATE: Nutanyahoo has distanced himself from Lieberman’s extravagant threats.] {UPDATE 13/9/11 The PKK isn’t keen on Israel either: “PKK leader Murat Karay?lan told the pro-PKK Firat news agency on Monday that his group is a “principled organization” and that it is not a movement that “could be used against any state”]

As Israel strengthens its anti-Turkish hasbara, it is useful to be aware that some political interests in Turkey are either in concert with Israel and or use Israel for their own political ends against Erdogan and his party, the AKP. Turkey’s leaders have been explicit about the regional plan – the ‘zero problems with neighbours‘ policy – they are implementing. Maturely, the Turkish leadership is setting up strategic economic cooperation in order to harmonise and stabilise the region. These moves seem calculated to integrate with US hegemony and security concerns. Some of Turkey’s critics trivialise these initiatives as ‘neo-ottomanism’.

Turkey has a strategic interest in minimising Israeli belligerence which runs counter to regional security. Yet also, present Turkish leaders have displayed in common with the populace generally, an undeniably visceral reaction to Israeli crimes, notably on the international public stage from Erdogan’s walk-out at Davos following Israel’s Operation Cast Lead massacre.

Political analyst, Levent Basturk, explains the ethno-political context of PKK moves against the AKP-led Turkish government.

“This ethnicity issue in Turkey is definitely a “regime” issue. Unfortunately, the years of violence between the Kemalist regime and the PKK, which actually helped the cause of the status quo more than the Kurds, have created some sort of discontent among different groups, but seeing this conflict in terms of Turks vs Kurds is totally wrong.

First of all, the two populations are extremely mixed with each other. I am originally one of Eastern towns which is mixed with Kurds and Turks. If you look at the AKP leadership today, Erdogan is NOT ethnically Turkish; he is a Georgian. His wife is an Arab and he says this openly and publicly in demonstrations in mostly Turkish populated towns. And he is not losing votes, he’s gaining votes. The ministry of treasury, what could be the most valuable to a country other than this, is Kurdish, who addresses people in the local TV sometimes in Kurdish. I would say, at least one third of Erdogan’s cabinet are Kurdish. Don’t get me wrong. Turkey have always had Kurdish cabinet members. But here is the difference: these are the Kurds who don’t deny their Kurdishness, they even declare it proudly. AND the AKP party hierarchy includes many Kurds who don’t deny their Kurdishness. Let me add Erdogan’s advisors too. At least half of them are Kurdish. And one more note: outside Turkey, everyone is calling the Mavi Marmara victims Turkish, yet half of them were anti-PKK Kurds (pro-PKK Kurds in Israel celebrated the Mavi marmara massacre in front of the Turkish embassy in Tel Aviv, youtube has the video).

Today, the city with most Kurdish population is NOT Diyarbakir or Erbil. It’s Istanbul. In Istanbul, the AKP is the most popular party among the Kurds. In the area which the PKK map shows as Kurdistan, in many cities the PKK-supported party doesn’t have even a serious presence. The area where they are popular is mostly the southeast. Even there, AKP is ahead of BDP in popular votes.
What has happened with minorities in Turkey has nothing to do with the Kurdish-Turkish divide. The problem was the nation-building project of the Young Turks in the last decade of the Ottomans and Mustafa Kemal following them. This is a complicated matter, which requires a book to explain. Amazingly, the ethnic Turkishness of some of the people who put this project into practice is a matter of dispute too! But they had a view of the world and wanted to design their society in accordance with it.

During the Mustafa Kemal era, after 1923, this project had two major components: secularism and being a Turk. Still, being a Turk was not again an ethnic category. It was actually being a good citizen and living in conformity of the norms of the new republic. If you were an ethnic Turk and didn’t fit those two categories, you were doomed too. Of course they denied the practice of any language other than Turkish. BUT they destroyed Turkish too. Today, a young person cannot understand books written 25 years ago properly. And don’t even mention the books written in the 60s, 50s and before. The idea, they said, was that the Persian and Arabic words must be eliminated from the Turkish language to create a national language. In fact, the main goal was to create a secular nation devoid of its historical Islamic roots and devoid of ties with the Islamic world because, otherwise, Turkey would not be able to catch up with contemporary western civilization. They were influenced by the French idea of “citizens of republic” not any sort of ethnic nationalism. This French idea of citizenship accepts every citizen as equal but denies the difference because you don’t need to be different if you are equal.

The issue is deep, so it’s impossible to explore it in every detail here. Let me mention the PKK version of the story: the PKK actually is an almost identical Kurdish imitation of the Kemalist model. That’s why it’s not very attractive to many Kurds as Kemalism has not been very attractive to many Turks. Those who call the PKK’s fight “Kurdish cause” are unfortunately looking at it from a certain ideological angle without looking at the reality on the ground.

Erdogan has done many things for the Kurdish issue; he says that they were not enough. BUt he says this clearly: the time of negation and assimilation is over. And he’s planning to have more reforms. There is criticism of him that he has been in power for almost a decade, yet he has done so little. This argument is missing a lot of things. Without depreciating the power of civilian and military bureaucracy he could not be able to do anything. There have been 7-8 coup attempts against him! Moreover, due to the violence since 1984, there is a discontent in the public. That must be handled carefully too. Today, the aim of the leadership of the BDP that refuses to take the oath in parliament is NOT really Kurdish rights! Their goal is to get the PKK leader, Ocalan, out of jail and they are playing with the Kurds for this purpose. Erdogan has mentioned many times: ‘I will have a new constitution and I want to negotiate with you’. But like the kemalists had Ataturk, the BDP has an atakurd, who is Ocalan. For them, the Kurdish matter is associated with getting him out of jail. Well, sorry foxes, this may happen perhaps 4-5 years later, but now, it’s almost impossible for the 90 percent of the people including more Kurds than the ones supporting Ocalan. There’s a lot to say, time is limited, space is not enough. These are my instant thoughts without giving much though about what I would say. So, if you don’t like them, don’t be quick in your judgement.

BUT LET ME SAY THIS CLEARLY: if anyone thinks Erdogan is acting as a Turkish nationalist or an ethnic Turk, they are wrong. He’s not an ethnic Turk and he has never been a Turkish nationalist in his life. Turkey is acting now this way under his leadership because Turkey has had a great social transformation within the last 3-4 decades. The old codes of society and state have changed. If you use the same parameters to judge Erdogan’s Turkey with old Turkey, you are wrong. He still has not entirely won his battle. That’s why you will see sometimes backward and forward steps. He may fail too. The fight is not over and the others want to return to power. Look at the criticism of the main opposition party CHP/RPP regarding developments after the Palmer report. They want to come back and their choice is Israel. I don’t think the PKK stands on the side of change in Turkey. It’s using the international public’s lack of information about what’s going on Turkey by giving an image that it’s same old turkey. No, the PKK is actually is part of the old Turkey with the Kemalist model it imitates and is on the side of Israel like the Kemalist party RPP/CHP.”

Related Links

Right-wing Israelis and the Kurds

These Israelis, Zionists and their friends only remember Kurds when their relations with Turkey are strained and when they are criticized by Turks. In other times, they are busy applauding Turkey, enjoying strong relations with and engaging in military co-operation with Turkey.

What is more, instead of supporting Turkish democracy in one way or another, these right-wing Zionists have always preferred to work with the anti-democratic Turkish generals and bombarded them with medals. These Israelis do not have any moral right to remind us of the Kurdish problem. Not because it does not exist, but because we are the ones who keep writing about it and criticizing what Israel’s good old friends in Turkey, the Kemalists, have done to the Kurds.

Netanyahu’s office distances itself from Foreign Minister’s planned measures against Turkey
Here comes the hasbaristic whining to divert from Israel’s crimes against humanity. Israel: Turkey threat of warships to Gaza ‘grave’ – and soon enough, the source of this hasbara is revealed by Today’s Zaman – this time it’s Al Jazeera and Reuters who have cobbled together Erdogan’s quotes out of context.
Palestinian civil society welcomes Turkey’s Decision to Suspend All Military Ties with Israel and Lower Diplomatic Relations
Why Turkey is bombing the PKK
Israel already arms the PKK according to this report
Palmer Report Release : Turkey Still Adamant
Waiting for the Palmer Report : Turkey Remains Firm
Good job IHH … Among possible suspects for flotilla criminal prosecutions: Peres, Netanyahu and Ashkenazi – Report: Turkey obtains names of flotilla raid soldiers

Palestine / Israel Links

Not content with exiling and impoverishing Palestinians, Jewish pro-Israel organisations want to prohibit their children’s art. h/t @Shunracat