The Accepted Genocide of Kurds in Turkey

Since the Armenian genocide, Turkey has done very well to hide and disguise its dark history from the international community. But a shady past rarely dawns a bright future. Instead, Turkey is re-branding itself with Europe-friendly terms to essentially get rid of what it has always wanted to be rid of. Turkey’s tidy up of its language: words with a distinct Kurdish origin wiped out and replaced. Indeed, anything that is not strictly Turkish has been linked to "terrorism" – a trigger word guaranteed to win the sympathies of the international community. The Turkish constitution does not recognize Kurds in Turkey, and so often labels them as terrorists, providing a convenient scapegoat for military uprisings and other political issues. Thus, "terrorist" becomes a synonym for Kurds. Turkey frequently argues that the PKK is a terrorist organization; hence all Kurdish organizations are banned for what they may imply. Turkey is desperately in need of an imaginary threat to its "national security", "territorial integrity" and "sovereignty", achieved by "separatist/terrorist" Kurds. The scale of the suffering Kurds and destruction of Kurdish homeland does not fit into any "terrorist" definition. In 1999, the death toll of Kurds killed in Turkish military operations increased to over 40,000. According to the figures published by Turkey’s own Parliament, 6,000 Kurdish villages were systematically evacuated of all inhabitants and 3,000,000 Kurds have been displaced. This sounds like an elimination of a people, a culture and a homeland. If Turkey is genuine in its elimination of terrorism, it must take brave steps, accepting Kurdish people and their homeland, Kurdistan, and ending its history of oppression. Professor Noam Chomsky called the Turkish response to Kurds an "ethnic cleansing", resulting in the death of thousands, the emigration of over two million people and the destruction of approximately 6000 villages. In fact, these methods by which Turkey has sought to oppress the Kurdish people are similar to those used by Saddam Hussein in the recent past, including the destruction of Kurdish land, mass evacuation and deportation. In some other areas, Turkey has used more oppressive methods to achieve its "Final Solution" of the Kurdish Issue. Some have found this unsurprising, given Turkey’s Ottoman ancestry. During World War I, for example, the Ottoman Empire allied itself with Germany, and in the conflict’s immediate aftermath conducted a program aiming to exterminate the Armenia’s, Greeks, Yezidis and Alwis. To date, however, Turkey denies these genocidal campaigns. The oppression of Kurdish people within Turkey can be defined as genocide in various ways; cultural, linguistic and physical all play a part in the cleansing of Kurdish ethnicity from Turkey itself, and are still embraced by the Turkish constitution. The head of the British Parliamentary Human Rights Commission, Lord Avebury, said of Turkish atrocities in 1996 that, "Just as many people in western Europe turned a blind eye to Hitler’s preparations for the Holocaust in the thirties, the democratic world ignores the evidence of incipient genocide against the Kurds in Turkey today." As history has shown in Iraq, Turkey cannot attempt to solve the Kurdistan issue with violence and oppression; the days have well passed in which campaigns of genocide can be "successfully" conducted, and Turkey must look to the future, realizing that modern Kurds are not as Kurds from the dark ages.

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