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Turkish Media Ramps Up
Anti-Kurdish Attacks

By Martin Zehr

06 June, 2007

As the sectarian warlords seek to undermine governments around the region, the Turkish media and the military in Turkey seek to escalate the level of criticisms leveled on the Kurdish Regional Government. It is seeking to define the Kurdish liberation movement as equal to the political Islamist terrorists, like al-Qaeda. It has sought to define the PKK as a terrorist group, rather then a national liberation struggle with broad-based popular support. In spite of the accusations of PKK involvement in the recent bombing in Ankara the PKK leadership has denied any involvement. Even initial reports in the New Anatolian, could not establish any link between the bomber of the shopping mall and the PKK. The article stated: "Asked whether Akkus, the suicide bomber, was a member of any organization, Onal said that they could not find out such a link and it was not clear if Akkus was affiliated with the PKK."

Beyond attacks on the PKK in Turkey, the Turkish media is trying to discredit the Kurdish Regional Government, so it can justify military operations against the people and the nation of southern Kurdistan. The media, such as the Turkish Daily News seek to deny the legitimacy of the Kurdish Regional Government to justify military operations into Kurdish Autonomous Region. Such actions would constitute a violation of Turkish-Iraqi borders and would be an escalation of Turkish military operations against Kurdish peoples.

Those media outlets that are not following along with the program, such as ROJ TV, the Kurdish Satellite Channel, have recently been exonerated by the Media Secretariat of Denmark. In a statement, ROJ TV stated: "We welcome the decision of the Media Secretariat of Denmark dated May 4, 2007. This decision shows that the complaints filed by the various Turkish organizations are untrue and unfounded. ROJ TV has not been found to have violated the rules and guidelines of broadcasting. "However, it is quite unfortunate that, despite being unsuccessful, such attempts cripple the already fragile democracy in Turkey. The Kurdish Satellite Channel is not the cause of the Kurdish question in Turkey, Iran or Syria. Therefore, the Kurdish question can not be resolved, made to go away, disguised or denied by attacking the only television station that voices the reality of the Kurdish people in these countries.

"The trial of the 54 Kurdish mayors for writing a letter to the Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen so that ROJ TV is not closed down continues in Diyarbakir. This letter has outraged the Turkish state and government and all 54 Mayors are being charged with being members of a terrorist organization and 7.5 to 15 years of imprisonment is claimed. This alone is an example that law in Turkey is unfortunately being oriented through political motives."

This issue is deserving of a mass and popular support of recognition for the Kurdish nation and peoples. One thing not needed right now is another invasion and a new Turkish-Kurdish military conflict. People in the United States should particularly send letters to their Congressional delegation and support the withholding of any military aid to Turkey until it withdraws its troops from the border region and engages the KRG in direct negotiations. The Turkish government should be pressured to drop the charges against the 54 Kurdish Mayors. Other stories in Turkish press have sought to create an illusion that there is no unity among Kurdish peoples for national independence and that the KRG is seeking to turn over members of the PKK to the Turkish military. In the New Anatolian, it was alleged that Abdullah Ocalan, founder of the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) had renounced the matter of a unified Kurdistan: In this article Selim Sadak a former Kurdish Deputy imprisoned for 10 years in 1994 after being kicked out of Parliament by the Turkish government by the Turkish government in 1991 was purported to have stated: "He [Ocalan] has given up the idea of a united Kurdistan. This is a brave move. If anyone else agreed to his the people would not have listened to them. But they agreed to Ocalan."

It should be positively noted that the Journal of Turkish Weekly DID have an article regarding the rally of public concern in France. It noted: "Several thousand people protested in the French city of Strasbourg on Saturday against the alleged poisoning of the imprisoned Abdullah Öcalan, leader of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), by Turkish authorities, demanding that Ocalan be examined by independent doctors." The rally was organised by the PKK."

The New Anatolian article did go on to quote Sadak regarding the Turkish government punitive actions action legitimate Kurdish political representatives within Turkey: "He said the attitude of the authorities are pushing the country towards polarization. He said while the deputies in Parliament could not agree on many constitutional amendments they managed to bring together 430 votes when it came to approving a constitutional amendment which was designed to block the election of Kurdish independent deputies. "The authorities are still debating whether the former Kurdish deputies who served prison entences can run for the parliament. There are no legal obstacles but they are trying to create hurdles. These are double standards," "Sadak stressed that the laws are not applied to everyone equally. "Look at the case of the Cizre mayor (of Kurdish origin) who is in prison awaiting trial on charges that may bring him a two year jail term form making a speech. This man came to office winning 67 percent of the votes. They put him in jail, pending his trial which will take place today in Diyarbakir.

Then there is the former Minister Koray Aydin who is at court facing a 146 year jail term but he has not been put in prison pending his trial. Is this equality?"

There are many things that are not clear. One thing is clear, and that is that statements from the Turkish media have their own agenda. Statements made by the KRG should be referred to in order to confirm or deny such stories officially. There continues to be an expression of a wide variety of views on Kurdish ezines. This is also important in the conversation, so that open input remains a fundamental principle. Likewise, there need be no panic regarding the contents of various articles until they are confirmed. It is becoming clearer every day that the intent of such rumors and stories is to undermine the unity that exists in all of Kurdistan today. People referring to will benefit from their timely reports made daily. It continues to demonstrate responsible journalism and the highest caliber of integrity in behalf of the Kurdish people and nation.

Martin Zehr is an American political writer whose articles on the Kurds have been published by the Kurdish Regional Government, Kurdish Aspect, and Conservative Voice

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