Republican People's Party (CHP) İzmir deputy Birgül Ayman Güler become the target of harsh criticism this week after saying that “the Kurdish nation cannot be equal to the Turkish nation.”
All columnists condemned Güler, describing her remark as racist, while some point out that Güler's mentality is exactly what brought about the country's decades-old Kurdish issue in the first place.
Sabah's Emre Aköz says Güler's remarks should be condemned, but we also have to clarify a point so as to not deceive ourselves. Güler is right in a way, he says. “We live in a country where everyone is forced to be a Turk. Our current Constitution includes the statement of “Kemalist nationalism,” which is based on Turkish nationalism. The history taught in schools is about how Turks came to Anatolia from Central Asia. Kurds, Circassians, Abkhasians, Georgians, Albanians, Bosnians, Arabs or non-Muslims who lived in Turkish lands are never mentioned in history classes. That said, are the Turkish and Kurdish nations really equal in Turkey? And was this inequality between Turks and Kurds not the exact reason why the Kurdish issue or the terrorism problem emerged in the first place? The basic question is this: Will we continue with this perception of nationality or will we make reforms to recognize other ethnic groups and to restore their rights? Güler is surely from the first group,” Aköz says.
Mahmut Övür, another columnist from Sabah, on the other hand, writes about his theory that Güler's remarks are part of a larger plan of the party. Övür says he came up with this idea after hearing party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's speech on Tuesday. The party head was expected to voice his and his party's opposition to Güler's racist remarks on Tuesday; however, he ended up kindly warning Güler and then blaming the media for making a big deal about her remark. Övür believes the party aims to create further tension between Kurds and Turks and so to derail the ongoing peace process the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has launched to end the terrorism and eventually the Kurdish issues, which will most likely make the AK Party more popular than ever. The CHP once again showed its pro-status quo face, the columnist says. It doesn't matter to the party if the Kurdish issue, which has been the biggest obstacle in Turkey's road to democratization, is being solved. The only thing the CHP cares about is that the AK Party weakens, he says.
“As long as the CHP maintains its nationalist perspective, it is impossible for the party to become a truly social democratic party,” Gültekin Avcı says in his article in the Bugün daily. It is not normal for the CHP to have deputies of such opposite stances as Hüseyin Aygün, who recently attended the funeral ceremony of a terrorist and who described the terrorists that abducted him as “good friends,” and radical nationalist Güler, Avcı notes.