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Kurds crack Erdogan’s Islamic armor

By KANI XULAM 14/4/2017
Victory can sometimes spring from the jaws of apparent defeat.

That happened last month in Turkey when a pro-government group seized control of the human rights group MAZLUMDER.

A sympathetic “judge” had already cloaked their sinister intent with an underhanded ruling that clearly violated the bylaws of the association, asserted deposed president Ahmet Faruk Unsal.

The new president, Ramazan Beyhan, gutted MAZLUMDER right away, closing sixteen of 25 branches — twelve of them in Turkish Kurdistan — and moved the main office from Ankara to Istanbul.

“I want to reboot MAZLUMDER to its factory settings,” he told the mouthpiece of Erdogan administration, the daily Yeni Safak.

The organization was founded in 1991 by a group of conservative lawyers, journalists, authors, publishers, and businessmen to eliminate all forms of oppression. 

It initially focused on the right of pious women to wear headscarves at public buildings such as universities. That precious right for the faithful had been snatched away by Turkey’s busybody founder, Mustafa Kemal, or Ataturk.

As the organization grew in members and stature, it also tackled other vexing issues, including the forbidden Kurdish language, the original sin of Ataturk’s republic.

One of its presidents, Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu, told a reporter last month that his own work with the Kurds mercifully cured him of Turkish “smugness.”

With sensible and humble Turks like Mr. Gergerlioglu spearheading MAZLUMDER, conservative Kurds joined it in droves, giving it a bi-national character.

For a while at least, I even dreamed of Kurds freely speaking their language in Turkey and eventually filing for an amicable divorce from Turks, enabling us to have a birthday of our own in a free and independent Kurdistan.

That would have been like the happy, peaceful, and auspicious separation of Slovaks from Czechs. It would have also marked the first non-violent parting of two Muslim nations in the history of Islam.

But Erdogan’s cronies at MAZLUMDER refused to make the Islamic world proud — and wanted to muzzle those members capable of imagining the example of Czechoslovakia.

Their opportunity came when Kurdish youth raised barricades in Kurdish urban centers across Turkish Kurdistan and forced Turkish authorities to dislodge them by force. As many as 30 town and city centers were turned into “empty moonscapes and vast parking lots,” says the latest United Nations report on the conflict.

In one town, Cizre, a 78-day lockdown was aggravated by the suspension of basic services. Trapped and injured civilians, waving white flags to surrender, were murdered, such as Miray and Ramazan Inces.

Their death may be called collateral damage, an accident of war, but the deliberate murder and burning of 189 civilians in three basements is a war crime no different than what Milosevic executed in Bosnia.

MAZLUMDER, as was its custom, sent its own delegations to examine ravaged Kurdish towns, consulting survivors and authorities for their first-hand accounts.

“Our reports bothered both sides,” noted the director of Diyarbakir branch, Reha Ruhavioglu. “Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) criticized our Silvan briefing and President Erdogan shook his finger at our Cizre report.” 

For members of MAZLUMDER, who took their cues from Erdogan, the message of the wagged finger was unmistakably clear. They slandered the report as one-sided and urged their colleagues to disown it.

They went even further and said the right of self-determination did not apply to the Kurds, even though Turkey had agreed to it when it was first announced as a UN declaration in 1948.

The Turkish-Kurdish war in Turkish Kurdistan sparked the conflict between bigoted Muslims and pious Muslims inside MAZLUMDER. When bigoted Muslims won, pious Kurds were left with no choice but to conclude that Islam has become an instrument of oppression in the administration of the Turkish state.

Hollow are the pronouncements, for the Kurdish ears, that there are no master races or subject ones in Islam. “We fought the Crusaders together,” signifies nothing for the Kurds when their own God-given language is still cruelly shackled by Muslim Turks.

In Turkey, liberal Kurds and Turks have already parted company with the rise of Peoples’ Democracy Party (HDP) in the Kurdish body politic.

HDP’s counterpart in Turkey proper, Republican People’s Party (CHP), cannot offer anything new to Kurds and gets no votes in Turkish Kurdistan.

With the demise of MAZLUMDER-like organizations, we are witnessing the beginning of the end of the cooperation between Muslim Turks and Muslim Kurds.

Kurds don’t have a conservative party like the Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP), but if they did, they would vote for it instead of its Turkish version. That is as many as five million votes, a crucial block, on its way to breaking Turkey into two states, Turkey for the Turks and Kurdistan for the Kurds.

That’s why, although I am saddened by the coarsening of relations between Muslim Turks and Muslim Kurds, I welcome their separation for the sake of greater good, greatest happiness for the greatest number of people in their respective countries.

Kani Xulam is a political activist based in Washington D.C. He runs the American Kurdish Information Network (AKIN) 
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Rudaw.


kurt basar | 14/4/2017
Mr. Erdogan, who is Salafi Muslim & leader of the Muslim brotherhood & trade partner of the cruel ISIL savages is going to pay for his heinous crimes, which he committed against the Kurd's soon or later, even if he became a bird & fly at highest peak of the sky or became a smallest bug & hide at the deepest hole in the earth or became a frog & hide at the deepest lake, because that is law of the almighty. Mr Erdogan not only destroyed the 30 Kurdish towns, he made the Kurd's pick up their dead among the rubles of their houses, made them to identify their loved ones char bodies at the primitive morgues & preserve their dead babies body at their refrigerate, his Muslim Turkish gangs used Kurdish children's & toddlers for their target practices, killed their Animals and drag those injured Kurd's behind their armored cars for to teach the Kurd's a lesson & show them true Turkish barbarity under watch of the supposed to be civilized world. You have to wonder, which nation would allow their children's to be burnt alive at their basements? you have to wonder.
luke | 15/4/2017
The original sin of Ataturk,s republic was not how it failed the Kurds but how it murdered over a million Armenians and stole there lands - property and wealth . For some reason Rudaw never seems to publish any comment that recalls Turkey's genocide of it's Armenian people,s = those of Western Armenia ( between the black sea and Kurdistan and Cilician Armenians .
Kurdo | 24/4/2017
These 5 million kurds you talk about, i dont know if they voted for HDP but if they all did then Kurdistan would be free. Our ancestors didnt become muslims because they wanted, they did it to survive. Look what ISIS (Islam) did to Ezidi in Shingal, look how turks are destroying Ezidi cemetery in Turkey, happend 2-3 days ago. Turks even force circumssion on Ezidi in 1999 and forced Ezidi to become muslims. Islam is not our religion, we kurds, armenians and iranians where a brotherhood before Islam destroyed us all. Of course Persian Empire wasnt always nice to Kurds but look what Islam has done. Stop doing circumssion on boys and girls, in Hadith it say that Mohammed wanted circumssion on both genders but do not cut whole clitoris, acording to his wife Aisha the daughter of the first caliph Abu Bakr after their prophet Mohammed.

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