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 Kurds need Obama’s support to gain rights in Turkey

  Commentary — Opinion
  Kurd Net does not take credit for and is not responsible for the content of news information on this page

 


Kurds need Obama’s support to gain rights in Turkey  15.6.2012  
By Delovan Barwari, President of the American Kurdish Council
Ekurd.net








U.S. President Barack Obama. Photo: Reuters
Read more by the Author
June 15, 2012

President Barack Obama’s leadership and bravery for supporting the aspiration of the people of Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria for overthrowing the dictatorial regimes, as the Arab Spring unfolded, is certainly commendable. Yet his silence about Turkey’s tyrannical policies on its sizable Kurdish minorities, over 20 million, is a contradiction not only to the former, but also to the very principles that our nation was built upon.

The United States of America was founded on the basis of freedom. Our founding fathers struggled to defeat tyranny and injustice, which laid the foundation for a democratic and plural society that we are enjoying today. Thereby, as a nation, we must uphold the very same principles that we once fought for and condemn oppression anywhere it may be.

Since the partitioning and annexation of Kurdistan into Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria after World War I, Kurds have been subject to genocide, forced assimilation policies, violent repression and denial of basic human rights and their identity at the hands of the aforementioned countries.

On the one hand, in recent years, Turkey has made a number of superficial reforms to meet the Copenhagen criteria, a set of preconditions for entering the European Union. On the other hand, it has intensified its repressive policies against the Kurds in Southeast Turkey. Since 2011, as many as 7,000 Kurdish politicians, activists, academics, journalists and ordinary citizens have been arrested for peacefully demanding equality and basic human rights. Moreover, on March 24, a Turkish court sentenced Leyla Zana, a prominent Kurdish lawmaker and a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, to 10 years in prison for expressing her belief. African-Americans resisted centuries of oppression in the eras of slavery and segregations, which ultimately led to the emergence of the civil rights movement to gain their rights; African nations struggled to rid themselves from subjugation under colonialism; Nelson Mandela, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, waged a liberation movement to eradicate the apartheid system of segregation in South Africa. As an American president of African decent, Obama should be able to perceive tyranny in the lens of an oppressed nation. By this means, he is obliged to uphold the essence of the American spirit, and understand the fundamental causes of the Kurdish resistance against despotism and authoritarianism.

Dignified leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela were once criticized as extremists. Today, they are internationally respected icons for human rights. Moreover, the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference were characterized as radical organizations and encountered attacks for challenging the tripartite system of dominations in the United States. Today, Turkey is using similar tactics to arrest prominent Kurdish leaders and to eradicate Kurdish organizations that are peacefully struggling for democracy, peace and human rights, closing every door to a peaceful solution.

We are living in an era where dictatorship, oppression and racism have no room. Globalization and advancements in technology have helped transcend the ideals of democracy and human rights across the globe. Moreover, social movements such as the Arab Spring illuminate that autocracy and oppression are no longer sustainable: Every human wants to live in harmony and with dignity. By the same token,www.ekurd.net the Kurdish struggle is an outcome of the extreme injustices that Kurds continue to experience, which is a natural response by humankind. With that in mind, the only viable solution is the full recognition of Kurdish rights and adherence to democratic principles.

Turkey is a NATO member and a strategic ally of the United States. Its repressive policies are contradictory to United States’ founding principles. In September 2010, a constitutional referendum on numerous amendments passed with 58 percent in favor of bringing changes according to European Union standards. Currently, Turkey is in the midst of drafting a new constitution. Therefore, it is critical for President Obama to exert pressure on Turkey to draft an inclusive constitution that acknowledges the Kurdish demands and respects the inalienable rights of Kurds living in Kurdistan of Turkey.

Without a doubt, today, the world is more than ever interconnected and interdependent. Hence, resolving the Kurdish question in Turkey will positively influence the Kurdish predicament in the other parts of Kurdistan and it is considerably instrumental in achieving peace and stability throughout the Middle East.

In the words of Martin Luther King, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

By Delovan Barwari is a San Diego resident and president of the American Kurdish Council and a regular contributing writer for Ekurd.net. First published at www.utsandiego.com

Copyright © 2012 ekurd.net  

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