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    Ertugrul Ozkok:Kurdish policies within and without Northern Iraq

    Hürriyet Haber
    15.08.2006 - 09:49 | Son Güncelleme:

    Something occured in recent months which really touched me. I didn't mention it, mostly because I don't enjoy going after these sorts of things. But I did share it with a few friends I trust. What I did was simple: I talked about a reality which, though everyone discusses, no one has the courage to actually write about. In short, I wrote this: "The honor killings which all of the West knows and complains about is actually a Kurdish problem."

    And in fact, judging from the last 20 years of statistics on these honor killings, this is the truth.

    * * *

    In any case, after I wrote a column on this theme, I received many messages, both supporting and opposing me. But some of them truly stayed with me. Some people accused me of racism. Many of the messages accusing me of racism came from Kurdish people living in Germany. Others came from people who see themselves as "Turkish intellectuals." And since then, I have wanted to say the following to their faces:
     
    "In the West, it has been said for years that Turks are the ones carrying out these honor killings. But it never occurs to any of you to accuse those making these comments 'racist.' But when I come out and simply state statistics, I become a racist."

     
    What an honest stance, right?
     
    * * *

    Anyway, now I would like to draw your attention to another observation of mine: there is another reality which everyone is aware of, but which no one wants to speak about. While the Israeli attacks on Lebanon were occuring, there were demonstrations throughout the world. Even in Israel, there were demonstrations against the goverment. But in one place in the world, there was not a sound heard. There were no photos of protests from this place. There were no words spoken from the leaders of this country. The people were also silent. Can you guess where I am referring to?

     
    * * *

    Let me tell you, if you still haven't guessed; the place was Northern Iraq. And what about the PKK? Did they make any comments in protests of the Israeli attacks on Lebanon? I assert here that the Kurdish leaders and organizations were "uninterested" in the Israeli-Lebanese situation. Perhaps we could even go as far as to say they were "passive US supporters" in this all; this passive support was the Kurdish policy for this particular situation.

    * * *

    Before the start of the Persian Gulf War, I had written about this three or four times, in quite an open style. In many countries throughout the Middle East, the Kurds had carried out what was perhaps the most successful politicking in history during the war. They marched with American flags in their hands within the borders of Northern Iraq. But inside Turkey, organizations sympathetic to the PKK carried out violent shows of "anti-American and anti-war" propoganda. This was the division of labor.
    It was a clever and sneaky politicking which meant that within the borders of Northern Iraqi, Kurdish sympathies lay with cooperating with American forces, but within Turkish borders, they fought Turkish efforts to send soldiers to Iraq, protesting against America and the war in general.

    * * *

    In any case, they were very succesful with this policy. And unfortunately, Turkish intellectuals believed what they heard and saw here. Or mabye it was just easier to stay silent. In any case, now you can all call me a racist.

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