Erdoğan’s Kurdish policy isn’t about the Istanbul elections – it’s about the Syrian thorn in his side

By propitiating the Kurds, Erdoğan could destine the new elections in Istanbul in his favour, some people think. It is assumed that this is why he ended the confinement in isolation of the Kurdish leader Abdullah Öcalan. But if that’s the case, why then did he simultaneously start an offensive against PKK fighters in the north of Iraq?

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The Dutch version was published at the site of magazine Vrij Nederland. Read it without paywall here!

Undermining the peace process

It is not very likely concrete political steps will be taken in the peace process between the PKK and the government in the months to come. That has everything to do with the local (Spring 2014) and presidential elections (Autumn 2014) coming up. However frustrating that is for Kurds, who are longing for peace and constitutional rights, you could consider it part of the political game. Relatively fast peace processes, like in South Africa, are inspiring, but also exceptional. But a peace process doesn’t only contain political steps. Crucial for it to succeed are serious efforts to restore trust. The government is doing exactly the opposite. Continue reading “Undermining the peace process”

Will hunger strikers die in vain?

What’s going on?
Since 12 September an increasing number of inmates in Turkish prisons have been on a hunger strike. Recently, on 15 October, a huge new group of prisoners joined in, exactly how many is not clear, but at least 628.

Who are these prisoners?
Continue reading “Will hunger strikers die in vain?”

‘It’s time to take the fingers off the triggers’

‘If the PKK lays down its arms, the military operations will stop’, Prime Minister Erdogan declared this week. The fighting between the army and the PKK has been extremely heavy this summer. When I read between the lines, I think Erdogan wants to make it appear as if the PKK is totally worn out by all the violence and is somehow begging for mercy. Erdogan wants to make it look as if he is about to give the PKK the final blow, unless they lay down their arms now. But of course, Erdogan knows the PKK will not lay down its arms now. The PKK didn’t react to his words. The fighting continues. The death toll goes up. Continue reading “‘It’s time to take the fingers off the triggers’”

From Tansu Ciller to Tayyip Erdogan

Today, the biggest court case against journalists in the history of the Turkish republic starts. No less than 44 Kurdish journalists are being tried for ‘membership of an illegal organisation’, namely the KCK, the Union of Communities in Kurdistan. To cut it short: they are not members of any group, there is no proof against them whatsoever, the indictments are full of nonsense. They are being put on trial just because of their writing about the Kurdish issue. Continue reading “From Tansu Ciller to Tayyip Erdogan”

The KCK suspects you never heard of

‘I see him, I see him!’ says Delal. She, her sisters and mother go up the stairs of the public gallery to see him better. By “him” they mean their father and husband, Kemal Seven. He is one of the accused on trial in KCK probe which started yesterday inIstanbul. ‘Does he see us?’ Delal’s sister asks. Yes, he does. They wave to each other like crazy, as do the other accused, around 140 of them altogether. Continue reading “The KCK suspects you never heard of”

‘Maybe we’ll get into trouble for studying here’

Müjde is twenty years old, and she is finally learning her mother tongue. Even though she has been speaking Kurmanci ever since she was a little girl, only now is she learning the grammar, the proper words, and the stories of her native language. ‘Do you know that since I’ve been studying here, I have found out that almost half of the words that I thought were Kurmanci were actually Turkish?’ Continue reading “‘Maybe we’ll get into trouble for studying here’”