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 What the Turkey's Sirnak Kurdish Massacre Reveals

  Opinion — Analysis 
  The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author


What the Turkey's Sirnak Kurdish Massacre Reveals  5.1.2012    
By Dr Sardar Aziz

Sardar Aziz has a PhD in Middle Eastern studies from University College Cork, Ireland. He has taught orientalism at School of Asian Studies, University College Cork. 
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January 5, 2012

The number of those who lost their lives while crossing the border from south of Kurdistan [northern Iraq] to the north [southern Turkey] is varied -- 35, according to official statements, 50, according to the Kurds.

As the information indicates, they were all young in their twenties, were not carrying any weapons and did not have the slightest intention of terrorizing anyone.

They were doing the impossible -- crossing the border at night, amid minefields -- to earn money for their families. One doesn't have to use their imagination to realize how much this says about the unbearable life in the north of Kurdistan.

They were carrying petrol, or cigarettes according to the BBC. The price differential for these goods between the two sides of the border is huge.

According to media reports, they were initially spotted by an unmanned plane and later bombed by F16 jets. Both are from the United State of America.

So far, the military is insisting on their story that the people who were killed were PKK members. The Turkish government regards what happened as an “error.”

The Turkish media are suspicious of provocation, and the Kurdish political parties are describing it as a massacre. The truth is somewhere among these two.

Setting aside all of these descriptions, justifications and condemnations, is the sober question of what this reveals. What happened to this group of people at that place and at that time of the year reveals a great deal about nature of life, circumstances, political situations, military rule and being a Kurd in Turkey.

Why are these young people risking their life to cross the border in this dangerous zone? This is the question asked by Turkish nationalists, but alas answered wrongly.

For Turkish nationalist supporters, the question is rather rhetorical. However, when the same question is asked from the Kurdish perspective, the answer is clear.

They were forced to risk their life because of the harsh economic condition in the region, which is a direct result of the political situation for the Kurds in Turkey. This reality is the result of the decade-long political,
www.ekurd.net economic and social discrimination from the state. There were many among those who were killed crossing borders to make enough money for their forthcoming exams; an adventure to be able to leave a life of deprivation.

Last summer when I traveled to Turkey I witnessed the harshness and humiliating situation for anybody who crosses the border legally, let alone illegally. I spent a whole night sleeping in a car in the middle of the border bridge waiting for the soldiers to let us in at the end of the bridge.

Let's examine calmly what the massacre reveals. First, and above all, it reveals the contemptibleness of Kurdish life in Turkey, especially from the military point of view. Secondly, it reveals the level of injustice and discrimination against the Kurdish people in Turkey. Thirdly, the war which is occurring in Kurdistan is not against the PKK alone; it is against the Kurds indiscriminately.

Despite the use of high technology and the best intelligence from the United State of America, what is going on is a dirty war by all standards.

The claim by the Turkish media that those who were killed were “Turkish citizens” is a smart language game to cover up their Kurdishness. It is at best misleading.

The massacre reveals that not much has changed throughout history. The number of deaths and the fact that the victims were villagers remind us of the “33 bullet” incident in 1943 when General Mustafa Muğlalı ordered the execution of 33 Kurdish villagers who smuggled some livestock out of the region in a barracks located in Van’s Özalp district. Has anything changed in the past 70 years? There is still a long way to go for Turkey to deal with its racist institutions.

Sardar Aziz has a PhD in Middle Eastern studies from University College Cork, Ireland. He has taught orientalism at School of Asian Studies, University College Cork.

Copyright © 2012, respective author or news agency, rudaw.net


The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author


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