Articles

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Two State Solution for Turkey?

Imagine a European Union member nation which represses an ethnic minority that makes up a fifth of its population. Now imagine the EU being forced to take sides in a domestic civil war within its own union in which ethnic cleansing is the order of the day. That is the fate awaiting the EU if it admits Turkey as it is.

Turkish intolerance of ethnic minorities resulted in the Armenian genocide. And in the ongoing repression of its Kurdish population. Turkish prisons are full of Kurdish political prisoners, some who have done nothing more than use the Kurdish language in the wrong place or sing a Kurdish song. Kurds have fought back against Turkish state repression with a political and militant struggle. And despite what Turkish authorities are telling their European counterparts, that struggle is not over.

The same elections that gave the Erdogan regime another term, also racked up political victory for Turkey's Kurds. Meanwhile chaos in Iraq and Syria may be setting the stage for Kurdish independence in both those countries. Iraq's Kurds already enjoy partial autonomy. Should Syria's Kurds achieve full or partial autonomy, then Turkey will be left to stand alone in its isolated policy of denying Kurdish rights.

From bombings by PKK militants to marches and political activism in occupied Northern Kurdistan,  it is increasingly clear that there is no way forward for Turkey except through political autonomy in Northern Kurdistan. The Erdogan regime has filled its prisons and staged incursions into Western Kurdistan in Iraq. It has even been accused of using chemical weapons against civilians. But the Turkish perpetuation of the cycle of violence has not changed the determination of the region's Kurds to win their independence.

The Kurds remain a ticking time bomb inside Turkey. And no responsible European leader can accept Turkish entry into the EU until the Kurdish situation is resolved. Slightly relaxing the oppressive cultural restrictions is not enough. It is time that the Erdogan regime be made to understand that it faces a choice between maintaining the occupation of Northern Kurdistan and joining the community of nations.

After a generation of fighting the PKK, Turkey is no closer to defeating it. The PKK is not going away and neither is the dream of Kurdish independence. If the Erdogan regime wishes to maintain its borders in the face of Kurdish independence in Western Kurdistan, then it will have to negotiate with the same leaders it has been throwing in prison. Only by allowing an autonomous Kurdish state within the borders of occupied Northern Kurdistan, will Turkey gain stability and peace.

Accepting Kurdish autonomy in Northern Kurdistan will allow Turkey to avoid a full fledged civil war and a two state solution which will see portions of its territory annexed to Kurdistan. While the Erdogan regime is confident that Europe and the rest of the world will continue turning a blind eye to its repression of the Kurds, there is no doubt that this will change in the event of a civil war. The world will not stand by and witness another genocide carried out by Turkey. And it will certainly destroy Turkey's prospects for EU membership.

Autonomy or a two state solution is in Turkey's own best interests as well. Kurds have a higher birth rate than ethnic Turks do. Almost double. And that means that if Turkey fails to separate itself from the larger portion of its Kurdish population-- then all of Turkey will eventually be Kurdistan.

Ending Turkish occupation of Northern Kurdistan will also leave the Turkish economy in a better competitive position and reassure international observers concerned about its stability. It will also end the need for cross-border incursions which will sooner or later lead to war.

The Turkish government has a limited time frame in which it can advance a constructive solution. Its tactics of repression have failed, its cultural band aids will only encourage a burgeoning desire for independence and instability in Iraq, Syria and Iran mean that the creation of a Kurdish state on its border is only a matter of time. Now is the time for the Erdogan government to sit down with the political representatives of the Kurdish people and their resistance in pursuit of a negotiated solution.

Neo-Ottomanists within the Erdogan regime may still dream of an expanding empire, but there is no place for such thinking in any nation that wishes to be part of the European Union. And it is up to the European leadership to make it clear that Erdogan and Davutoglu must choose between imperialism and democracy. That Turkey's relationship with Europe depends on a negotiated settlement of the Kurdish question, as well as a recognition and restitution of the Armenian genocide, the termination of its occupation of Cyprus and eventual withdrawal from its occupation of Northern Kurdistan.

Turkey's economic successes should not be confused with political stability or human rights. And the admission of an unstable country at risk of fighting a bloody civil war against a fifth of its own population remains untenable. It also raises serious questions about the long term future of any foreign investment in Turkey. Particularly in conflict areas.

The Erdogan regime should not be allowed to imagine that like China it will be able to buy its way out of any uncomfortable questions about human rights using economic leverage. Turkey is not China and its high level of debt increase mean that it will not be able to outproduce and outexport its troubles. With budget deficits as high as 20 percent of its GDP and a troubled bond market, the Turkish future is not as bright as the AKP's oligarchs like to pretend. And domestic instability in the form of a large scale Kurdish uprising could easily bring Istanbul's house of cards tumbling down.

European leaders have spent too much time flattering the Erdogan regime and its oligarchy to share with them the hard truths that Turkey has no future without meaningful reform. And beneath all those reforms is the inescapable question of ending the occupation and achieving a settlement with the Kurdish people.

Turkey must be willing to choose between Kurdish autonomy or a withdrawal from occupied territory to pave the way for a Kurdish state. There is no third option. Maintaining the occupation and repression is not sustainable. And has no future.

If Istanbul really wishes to move forward, then it is time to begin holding peace talks that address the national and political rights of Kurdish citizens living in the occupied territories of Northern Kurdistan. With Turkey increasingly dependent on IMF aid, that aid should come with preconditions, including Turkish willingness to participate in a peace conference with legitimate representatives of the Kurdish people.

If Erdogan chooses to continue the repression of the Kurdish people, then Turkey will join the likes of Burma and North Korea as a rogue state, an Apartheid regime that will be brought down when the aspirations of the Kurdish people are finally achieved in a state of their own.

19 comments:

cornholio said...

What about returning Cyprus to the rightful inhabitants? What about Turkey compensating the victims of its ethnic cleansing of Cyprus? What about compensation for the families of the victims of their genocide/enslavement of upwards of 2.5 million Armenian/Assyrian Christians (instead of the present denial)? What about the systematic, state-sponsored persecution of people of other faiths? Turkey has a LOT to answer for and very little to say about any of it.

Lemon said...

I think a two state solution for Turkey is a great idea and the quicker the better.

I like Turkey stuffed myself.

Bennet Cerf said...

Diner to waiter: This turkey is terrible. Go call the boss for us.

DP111 said...

Quite apart from the "world", more specifically, Russia has a bone to pick with Turkey.

Anonymous said...

Turkey also ethnically cleansed its bulgarian and greek populations during the 20th century, this is why Turkey is a 99.8 percent muslim state today.

Anonymous said...

Turkey committed a Genocide against the Bulgarians, Armenians, Greeks, Serbs, Dersim Kurds, Yezdis, Assyrians, Chaldeans, and Maronites. The Jews would have been next had Turkey not been kicked out of the Levant by the British forces in WWI. One day they'll get theirs.

cornholio said...

@Anonymous

Yes, that was what the Istanbul pogrom of the 1950's was all about --
the one the world ignored/ignores.

Anonymous said...

I am organizing a flotilla which will be setting sail shortly for the turkish riviera. If any of your readers have any used or useless crap, could they please send it to us at the international solidarity movement? thanx knish

-- spanky

John K said...

The rise of Islam in government will mean that Turkey will never accept defeat against the Kurds. It's hard to imagine Iran, Syria, or even Iraq letting go of the Kurds either. I think in the new Turkey, even EU membership takes second place to Muslim supremacism, domination, and imperialism.

SabaShimon said...

The huge gorilla sitting in the corner of this room represents all those so-called leftists of the world who are soooo concerned for the falsehood that is the "Palestinian People" and their made-up history, yet can't be bothered to support the rights of a REAL People, with a REAL history, and a REAL culture. Unlike the "Palestinians" who have always (in their short history) been more dedicated to destroying Israel than they have ever been towards Statehood, the Kurds aren't trying to annihilate Turkey, Syria, or Iraq, and (again, unlike the Pals) are truly deserving of REgaining their independence.
Once again the base anti-Semitism represented in the double standards of those supporting "Palestinian rights" is clear to all those willing to see it.

Guy Macher said...

Either way, two states or one, Turkey is not European and lost its chance to be European when it was infested by Islam.

Only those in custodial care and the traitorous dhimmi ruling elite think bringing Turkey into the EU is a smart idea.

Anonymous said...

As a Kurd from South Kurdistan (Kurdistan of Iraq), I thank the writer of this piece for his daring article to show a glimpse of Turkish brutality on our Northern brothers.

Indeed Turkey has committed countless massacres and genocides on every people wherever they have been, from Bulgarians to Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, and last but not least, us Kurds.

In 1925, after a small scale rebellion by a Kurdish leader, the Turks started their usual killing spree in which they brutally massacred over 100,000 Kurds. Also in 1937-8, they committed genocide on the Dersim Kurds and killed over 80,000.
In fact, even in the late 80s and early 90s of the last century, the Turks killed over 40,000 Kurds and destroyed some 3500 villages, hence forcibly deporting over 3 million Kurds from their homeland to western parts of present-day Turkey, in an attempt to assimilate them. This barbaric act was not only a racial genocide, but in fact was also a cultural genocide which aimed at uprooting the Kurdish way of life.

Repression on the Kurds still prevails on an unimaginable scale, Kurds can't speak their language in courts or other governmental buildings, restrictions on almost every Kurdish cultural activities, and thousand of Kurdish intellectuals, journalists, politicians and even elected mayors have been imprisoned in the past several months alone!

Indeed we Kurds want independence for all four parts and we consider it our basic right, for us to rule our homeland in peace and live in our own legitimate country in harmony and in a brotherly manner with every other nation on the globe.

Again I want to thank the writer here for shedding some light on our dilemma in the region and how others relentlessly oppressed and repressed us. But to their dismay, Kurdish demands for equal rights are stronger than ever, and its all thanks to those people who support our rightful cause inside and outside of Kurdistan, including people such as Mr. Daniel Greenfield.

but pygmies said...

daniel -- is this satire? I mean, everything you wrote is all too true. But are you writing this to demonstrate the insanity of the world re: Israel?

cornholio said...

How does the Muslo-nazi quote go?
"It was me in opposition to my brother; me and my brother against our father; my family against my cousins and also the clan; the clan against the tribe; and the tribe against the world, and all of us against the infidel.”

Leon Uris, ‘The Haj’

Yeah, the Kurdish Muslo-nazis are my heros...NOT.

Anonymous said...

SO given this disgusting history of this filthy country called Turkey, why did PM Bibi and his munchkin ( barak ) wish Erdogan the best on his recent victory? The same reason that Bibi ( according to Ha aretz) is open to a 2 state solution: he is a composite of Bill Clinton/GWB II. A mystery seeking to feather his own nest when he is no longer PM a la Tony Blair. I hope that Johnathan his heroic late brother is waiting for him in heaven with Hank Aaron's baseball bat. And I hope he puts it to good use.

SabaShimon said...

Great thought anonymous, but if Yonatan is going to use anybody's bat, it better be Hank Greenberg's!
In fact, let's just let "The Hebrew Hammer" do the deed himself.

Keli Ata said...

Anon==

"SO given this disgusting history of this filthy country called Turkey, why did PM Bibi and his munchkin ( barak ) wish Erdogan the best on his recent victory?"

Political eitquette. Terrorism, porgroms just aren't spoken of in polite company. Bibi isn't the only world leader of this either.

I often wonder if it's truly political eiquette or support of oppressive regimes at play.

Anonymous said...

Israel should send a freedom flotilla to the Kurds and see how Turkey likes it.

cornholio said...

Favoring the Kurdish Muslo-nazis over the Turkish Muslo-nazis is kinda like picking the SA over the SS.

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