MARKAR ESAYAN

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MARKAR ESAYAN
February 17, 2013, Sunday

Kurds, Muslims and neo-nationalists

It is not easy to confront state crimes, to prosecute these crimes and to be sure that the state is rid of that mentality. Above all, there is still a certain group within the state that believes the corrupted and criminal state order is the proper choice. That state order is the product of longstanding practice. This order has completed its vertical and horizontal organizational evolution and has perpetrated its offences through this organization. Further propaganda was used to tell the people that this way of ruling and governing is the most proper one and it attracted a great deal of popular support. In a world where we are surrounded by enemies and traitors, the state has to be strong and remain unaccountable for its actions.

True, there is an accomplice in the center of the deep state, but this is our view. The deep state or Ergenekon, according to the neo-nationalists who present it as a good thing, is the expression of the determination that the state is supposed to show. The state has to be deep. When the fundamentals of the republic are jeopardized, democracy should be suspended, the military should stage a coup and protect the republic.

In fact, only the command center at the heart of the deep state knows that there is no such danger. There is no danger of Shariah or partition of the country. However, keeping this fear alive pays off well. This fear can be used as a pretext to legitimize and justify the coups and to maintain full and constant control of the rule of the country.

The founders of the republic viewed two social groups as serious risks: the Kurds and the conservatives. The minorities would be eliminated up until the 1950s; however, these two groups were large in population and mostly Muslim, and for this reason, it was not easy to entirely eliminate these people.

This is why attempts were made to assimilate the conservatives via a sort of Islam blended with state secularism that was represented by the Religious Affairs Directorate and the Kurds via policies of Turkification. The two groups constitute a large part of the population of the country but had social codes inconsistent with the social engineering project of the Kemalists.

They believed that they could do this because of their self-confidence associated with the fact that they were founders of the regime. However, strong popular uprisings took place in 1925, 1930, 1937 and 1938. These uprisings were brutally repressed. The Kurds did not become Turks; and Muslims did not adopt the state religion. The Kemalist elites, on the other hand, have always feared that one of these two social groups would end their rule and that they would cooperate against the state regime. In an attempt to popularize this fear, they raised arguments that the nation would be partitioned and that Shariah rule would be introduced. And they did this with some success. Society perceived the non-existent threats to be real and extended support to the coups. Or at least they did not oppose them.

This is the story that lies behind the fear of Kurds and Muslims. We have been experiencing attempts for the reinstitution of these people's rights that were once taken away from them. For this reason, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), the party of the religious people, and the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), the party of the Kurds, have reached an agreement on the making of a pro-freedom constitution. This is why the AK Party is able to promote a mentality that would address the Kurdish and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) issues; they had suffered from a similar story of victimization.

This is the primary reason for the eagerness of the religious people and the Kurds to confront the past and for the resistance of the same by the Kemalist status quo represented by the Republican People's Party (CHP). They have difficulty admitting that the fears were not realistic and that a new Turkey is being created because they believe that the “butler” of the house is now taking it away from them. Let us hope that they will come to believe in equality and that those newly in power will not do the same injustice to them.

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