In the west and by certain groups in Turkey, PKK or HDP, which refuses to put a distance between itself and the PKK terror organization are insistently being labeled as “the Kurdish movement” or “Kurdish politics”. They are portraying a terrorist group as if it’s a “people’s movement” or “legitimate politics”.
PKK is a terror organization which carried out constant terror attacks in Turkey, Syria, Iran and Iraq under different names and occasional individual attacks in many western countries. Thousands of civilians-soldiers, women, children and even babies were killed and millions of others had to relocate because of PKK terror attacks. As the tool of global powers that want to redesign the Middle East, PKK’s effort to market itself as the representative of Kurds could be in line with their political agenda. We can even find it understandable for embedded academicians and writers that want to serve the security of Israel with a terror state founded by Kurds, who had along with Turks and Arabs served as flag bearer of Islam.
However, this false claim can have neither rational, nor scientific or social response. Can we define all of Germans, Arabs or Turks as followers of a single political movement? This is not a rational or scientific approach; the same is valid for Kurds. Considering an ethnic group with millions of members and countless differences as a single body and mind is a totalitarian angle. If we move forward from “the Kurdish politics”, we should mention that first of all that all Kurds are not only the ones inside Turkey. We are talking about a community that expands beyond Turkey to Iran, Iraq and Syria and western countries. Yes ,we can mention states, but can we name it as Italian, French and Turkish policy? The policy of Turks? If the intended message is the policy of Kurds inside Turkey, as is the case in all civilian and democratic society, we cannot talk of a single, unified body. Kurds are also fragmented into different politics. As is the case in all societies, not all Kurds have to be interested in politics. Not all of those interested in politics are casting their votes. Not all of those casting a vote are voting for People’s Democratic Party (HDP). AK Party is as popular as HDP amongst Kurds in the country. Although low in percentage, HUDAPAR can mobilize millions of people behind them. In conclusion, not all voters of HDP are in approval of the terror attacks of PKK.
In short, we cannot use a label, which we cannot use for any community around the world, for Kurds, as if they stand together as a single tribe. It’s a derogatory and ideological expression.
Personally, as one of the many sensible people in Turkey, I am in favor of opening space for civilian politics of HDP and not identifying HDP with PKK. However, at a time when HDP officials are saluting the terrorists in the mountain, what we think becomes irrelevant. When politics is not used as a tool for democracy, freedoms and civilian life, but rather for the benefit of the terror organization and its totalitarian oppression, it means there’s no path to march on in democratic and civilian life. So, when things don’t look that complicated, what could be the reasons of this persistent distortion of portraying PKK and HDP as the “Kurdish movement”? Why are people surrendering to the tone and language of PKK and imperialism? This distortion effort can also be seen in other countries in the region.
Let’s dwell on some of the possible reasons:
The fear of PKK: People like us, who lead a democratic, liberal and pluralist life tend to forget the oppression and deadly fears inflicted by terror organizations, because we talk about terror organizations only when they carry out a terror attack and after a while they drop out of the agenda.
However, terror organizations have methods of inflicting fear, creating oppression, and targeting some people directly. Therefore, efforts of labeling all Kurds under the “Kurdish policy” could be coming out of the fear of PKK. It is known that PKK assassinates Kurdish intellectuals or civilians who speak against PKK actions or discourse.
Comrade oppression: A significant portion of people using the term “Kurdish politics” are in the Turkish leftist circles. Prominent Turkish left figures come from a revolutionist background. These efforts of the Turkish left can be seen as a revolutionist solidarity as PKK comes from a Marxist-Leninist tradition. One of the reasons of these people with totalitarian approach is that they couldn’t purify themselves from their revolutionist approach and couldn’t internalize well enough concepts like democracy, freedom and pluralism.
The state of being integrated with anti-Turkey international circles: We see that some of those who persistently use the term “Kurdish politics” are integrated with anti-Turkey international circles. Funded by these circles, these people seem to be aligned with those circles.
Government opposition: We can say that anti-government position can be explanatory for the discourse of some intellectuals. Some people can go as far as defending a terror organization that sells drugs and kills children just out of opposition against the government and Erdogan.
Intellectual alienation: This can also be called opposition to society. Intellectual alienation is the sad story of non-western societies for the past 200 years of westernization. Poet Sezai Karakoç speaks of this sad story in his “Fairytale” poem. Many of the figures who were sent to western countries to learn about western science, industry and technology came back as alienated, lovers of the West. What happened in the Republican era is totally breaking ties with our own culture, civilization and history and surrendering to the Western culture.
In summary, calling PKK and HDP as “Kurdish politics” is only as logical as labeling DHKPC a leftist terror organization with mostly Turkish members as “Turkish politics”. Labeling PKK and HDP as “Kurdish politics” is an affront against liberal, proud and peaceful Kurds. Those who identify themselves as intellectuals should stand against this effort and speak the truth rather than surrendering to the discourse of terror and imperialism.
This article was written by Prof. Dr. Kudret Bülbül, Dean of the Faculty of Political Sciences at Ankara Yildirim Beyazit. University.