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Iraqi Kurdistan: Welcoming Separatism Cautiously
by Kurdish American Education Society (repost)
Wednesday Feb 9th, 2005 11:34 AM
Recently the media has been talking about Iran as another potential war zone. Some might wonder what the role of the Kurds would be in such a situation. Foremost, I hope and assume that because of being the victims of genocide, war, and abuse, the Kurds wish that no one goes through their bitter experience!

A quarter century ago hopeful Iranian youth was receiving loaded messages from different political groups. The ruling monarchists and the oppressed clergies were calling each other the puppets of the west; they both were calling the left, the agent of the east, and the liberals, the agents of the wind. All were calling the oppressed but assertive Kurds, the betraying separatists and welcomed their suppression with all means. Above all every social, political, and economical misery was attributed to the influence of an external factor, America, ’the great Satan’. The ultimate winners were clergies who mobilized fundamentalists.

Under the influence of propaganda, some Iranians conformed to the power of force, some lost their lives, and some lost their hope and found refuge in addiction or in a foreign land.

Since then, the fundamentalists further stirred up the Middle East, spread their ideas to other countries, murdered many who had found refuge in the free world, and created a competition for violence to the point that one of its fractions destroyed the world trade center in a city that symbolizes freedom, tolerance, and prosperity! Surprisingly, ’the great Satan’ still trusts the fundamentalists in their new Mecca, the artificial Iraq, and follows their lead; at the same time she ignores the plight of the Kurds, who have been described by some of those fundamentalists as ’Satan worshipers’. A fraction of US leaders seem to follow their fears than their hopes. It seems as if the US is afraid of losing the support of some allies, who look at the Kurds the way the Nazis were looking at the Jews or the KKK were looking at the blacks.

Likely it is based on such fear that the current secretary of the state and her predecessor, who should know the history of second class citizens, assure the status of the dominant groups in the Middle East; they both seem to have one thing in common, ignoring the plight of the Kurds to the point of avoiding the words such as Kurds or Kurdistan in their vocabulary in the name of unity.

Since unity suggests a higher stage of development, any establishment considers separatism as taboo or something undesirable. There is not much indication that the third world is at such stage of development to value and respect equality yet. Considering the lack of conscience and development in the mind of many of the leaders of their counterparts, the Kurds should break the taboo and welcome separatism as the most appropriate alternative at this stage.

As an imbalanced unity can cause separatism, developed separate entities could unite as well. Since Iraqi Kurds have passed through the initial developmental stage of statehood and might not be betrayed by the US this time, they should claim their independence now and help other parts of Kurdistan to go through similar stages. For the Iranian Kurds, who have much in common with other Iranian ethic groups, the most appropriate peaceful step now is likely to keep a cautious balance between remaining within Iran and developing close ties with other Kurds until the public is ready to accept a democratic referendum for independence vs. federalism in Iran!
by Kurdistan Observer (reposted)
Wednesday Feb 9th, 2005 11:35 AM
What is threatening Turkish National Security: Independent Kurdistan, Kirkuk, or Freedom?

By: Amed Demirhan

Feb 6, 2005

Turkish Politician, military leader and jingoistic media for years have been focused in Southern Kurdistan and Kirkuk issue in Iraq. Almost every word they use in this context is shameful and racist except they don’t have guts like Western countries racist openly stands for their primitive inhuman ideology. In fact despite using “Turkishness” as an identity they are biggest enemy of the Turks and every statement they make in regards to the Kurds they further divide Kurds and Turks and other ethnic groups. The Kemalist Republic from its foundation has declared Anatolian people as enemy of the state by calling them “Islamist = Irticaci”, declaring Kurds as separatist, strongly prohibiting Alavi religions practices, going as far forcing people to give up their traditional dress and way of life, and enforcing a perverted uniformity; in the name of modernity. Therefore the Kemalist state has never been representative of free will of people of Turkey and they don’t have legitimacy to speak on behalf of Turkish people. Let see if their claim makes any sense to any reasonable person?

The claim if Kurds in Southern Kurdistan (Iraqi Kurdistan) declare independent this will threaten Turkey’s national security: How come a newly independent country with five – six million population will threaten a country relatively developed and with 70 million population and member of NATO? One wonders if any one could find any rational in this statement? OK, I can hear one will ask about what about Kurds in Northern Kurdistan? As long Turkey is not willing to share the state and let Kurds, other ethnic, and religious groups become stakeholders in the state they will be against state regardless what happened anywhere far or near. They will try to free themselves from oppression and tyranny. The fundamental fear here the freedom for Kurds on the other side of border and free Iraq.

Claim of Turkmen’s right in Kirkuk: No one can claim that Turkmen in Kirkuk or any where in Iraq has less rights now than under Saddam’s regime, like vast majority of Iraqi and Kurdistani Turkmen’s have more rights now than before. In fact Turkmen in Iraq has more rights than Turks in Turkey because unlike Turks in Turkey they have freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of worship the way they choose. Turkmen never had this kind of freedom in their modern history like most Iraqis. Turkish government never defended Turkmen’s rights against Saddam’s oppression.

Pre Minister Recep Tayip Erdogan (RTE) in his 2/01/2005 statement in regard to Iraq stated: “…. we don’t approve domination of any ethnic groups over the other. We have stated that we don’t think its right for any religion sect to dominate other sects…” I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Pre Minister but he was talking about wrong country – Iraq, he should have said this for Turkey. In liberated Iraq every social, ethnic, cultural, religious, and political groups had chance to participate in free election despite terrorist threat. For example religious parties in Iraq did not have to pretend they are not religious like Mr. Pre Minister and his party, every ethnic groups in Iraq including Turkmen proudly displayed their ethnic heritage with out fear from the state and with out pretension to be something else. No Iraqi politician was jailed or prohibited for running for office because of his or her political, religious or ethnic background except those who committed crime during Saddams regime. Does any one could honorably claim this set of freedom exist in Turkey?

It is no wonder that Turkish government has been most critical government against Iraqi liberation and has been supporting and prorogating for the terrorist in central Iraq. In my knowledge Turkey is only Middle East country that have frequently organized protest demonstrations against Iraqi liberation and founded organizations openly collecting money for the terrorist in Iraq. The jingoist media is full of falls stories against American lead coalitions liberation forces and free Iraqi forces. Freedom is most powerful human desire and no government can stop that for too long. Free Iraq is already becoming a source of inspiration for people in the region and hopefully in near future people of Turkey will have the same freedom: The Alavi, Kurds, Yoruk, Turkmen, Arabs, Cherkez, Laz, Bahai, Jewish, Armenian and all other groups will be able freely express themselves, freely worship or not worship, and young Turkish women will be able proudly dress like their mothers or grand mothers if they choose so in Universities or work places. For the freedom loving people in Turkey and Kurdistan “freedom is forward marching” and it has reached to next door, listen you will hear it. Don’t let those oriental despots mislead you with their racism, and jingoism, we are going to be free, soon.

Amed Demirhan

e-mail: ameddemirhan [at]

Florida, USA
by kurdmedia
Wednesday Feb 9th, 2005 11:36 AM
If Kurds are not free, Tayyip Erdogan will not be free either…
07February 2005 (Translated)
By Ahmet Altan

It seems as if it is very difficult for Turks to understand that they are not the only race on the face of the earth and that they do not hold the divine power to decide how life evolves.

Since they are not interested in their own recent past, they are not aware of where this chain of “unreasonable decisions” is dragging this country.

If they just read what was being said here before the Balkan war, maybe they could better understand what the curse of empty words can do to a society.

Just when it had started to look like things were improving a bit for Turkey, we faced the Kirkuk problem.

Led by the prime minister, there were such storms that even Zeus behaved more modestly compared to our guys when ruling the world from the Olympus Mountain.

Apparently, we do not want the establishment of a Kurdish state there.

Why exactly don’t we want that?

They give many reasons.

We are apparently protecting the rights of our ”kin” the Turkmen there.

Do our leaders ever question themselves?

Are we a society based on kinship? If that is the case, we are a nation built on the bond of blood. And anyone who is not a Turk cannot become our citizen.

But if we are to take our constitution seriously then we have to concede that what is important is not “kinship” but instead “citizenship”. If citizenship is important, how does one explain our exclusionary stance taken towards millions of our Kurdish citizens and their “kin” in Northern Iraq?

Wouldn’t taking the side of the “kin” of Turkish citizens, against the “kin” of Kurdish citizens, openly divide our society while trying to give some sort of an order to Northern Iraq?

Another claim that will go down as the strangest in history is that Kurds will take control of Kirkuk and become rich with the oil there.

Apparently, them becoming rich will make our “poor” Kurds want to join them.

If a Kurdish state established there can offer our citizens a richer and happier life than a country that is the inheritor of an empire of six hundred years and the owner of an eighty year old republic, then there is nothing you can do, Kurds will go there.

If you want to prevent this, the way to do it is not to prevent the Iraqi Kurds from becoming rich but to take precautions so that your own Kurdish citizens in the Southeast can live as well as your citizens in Istanbul.

The mentality, which says, “I do not possess the talents to make my own citizens have quality lives, therefore I cannot allow anyone around me to be successful” is against the course of history and cannot achieve results.

If you had the power to prevent prosperity around you, then your own citizens would already have quality lives.

But the real cursed question are not these, the real cursed question is this:

If you, through Northern Iraq, attempt to reorder the Middle East on your own and give the impression that you are tying to take control of the oil in Kirkuk, what will the Western world and the countries of the Middle East say?

Will they allow it?

If they don’t allow it, do you have the power to fight and the power to come out victorious?

How will such a fight affect your economy and political stability?

I do not believe that there is a potential for victory for Turkey if it attempts intervene in Northern Iraq and against Kurds.

As far as I can see, the real aim of those who make a big thing out of the Kirkuk issue is not directly related to developments in Northern Iraq. Their real aim is for Turkey, through such an ill-advised move, to lose its bonds with the world and subsequently with the West.

Turkey will again turn inwards and diverge from the path of democracy, allowing developments to emerge so civil authorities can once more be replaced with “interim regimes”.

It is easy to understand that those whose aim is to establish an inward-looking fascist government here scratch the Kirkuk and Kurdish scabs.

This is in line with their aims.

In fact, tomorrow they could go to America and secretly agree, saying, “let us take over the power and we can forget Northern Iraq.”

What is difficult to understand is Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s eagerness, through bizarre statements, to assist those who want to end his administration, in fact his political existence. Turkey’s insistence on, “I will not allow Kurds to live free and prosperous lives”, will in the end change Turkey not Northern Iraq.

We will experience events worse than you can imagine.
It will be amusing to see the Prime Minister helping those who want to topple him by exaggerating the Kirkuk issue.

But if something like this takes place, there won’t be anyone left to laugh at these events.

Translated from Turkish by Welat Lezgin for The above article by Ahmet Altan was published on the popular Turkish political commentary website on the7 th of February.

Ahmet Altan is a journalist, political commentator and one of Turkey’s best-selling novelists.