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August 21, 2012, Tuesday

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar!

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, had a profound ability to interpret human behaviors and their meanings. According to Freud, perplexities, dreams, jokes and many other things have some meaning, all revealing unconscious desires and feelings.

However, there is a widely shared view that Freud went a little too far in his interpretations of human behaviors, and especially in connecting these behaviors to repressed sexual instincts and desires.

There is also a story showing that the great master himself agreed that some interpretations of him and his colleagues were just great exaggerations of ordinary and otherwise meaningless things. The story goes something like this:

Freud stormed into a room in Vienna which was full of doctors who all knew his theories about psychoanalysis. When these doctors saw that Freud had a huge cigar in his mouth, they looked at each other and started to laugh. Freud of course immediately understood why his colleagues were laughing: His smoking a cigar was taken as a symbol of his own theory of “oral obsession.” Freud protested this over-interpretation with these immortal words: “Gentlemen, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

There are some people in Turkey who try to find “meaningful” explanations for every word and action of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). But sometimes things may have no other meaning than what is presented, like what happened in the eastern province of Gaziantep near the Syrian border on Monday. A car laden with explosives was detonated (allegedly by the PKK), killing at least nine people and leaving 68 others wounded.

The car was left at a bus stop, an action that deliberately targeted ordinary citizens. Some may come forward with many different explanations for these actions. They may talk about the greater strategic “ambitions” of the PKK and its “rightful war.” However, sometimes a terrorist act is just a terrorist act. And sometimes this means the PKK may do huge harm to the goals that it is allegedly trying to achieve.

What happened on Monday in Gaziantep cannot be justified by any “great goal” whatsoever. Nine innocent people, including one woman and four children aged 18 months, 4 years, 11 years and 12 years were killed in this bloody attack.

Nowadays the PKK has also developed a habit of denying some of its actions. When they meet with serious condemnation they either say that they did not do this or that, or that it was done on the initiative of their local agents without the consent of the leadership. Therefore, it is never possible to condemn them for their actions; they take no responsibility for anything.

I started this piece with a story of Freud because I wanted to calm myself down. However, I, like many other people living in this country, am really fed up with the PKK’s violent and bloody attacks.

Yes, Turkey is not a first-class democracy. Yes, it is true that the Turkish state carried out many atrocities against Kurds in the past. Yes, it is also true that Turkey still denies some inalienable rights of the Kurds, such as the right to receive education in their mother tongue. But there are many channels in this country through which Kurds and other repressed groups can make their voices heard and get the results they desire quite efficiently. However, it seems to me that the PKK has a single device at their disposal, and that is violence.

They want everyone to speak this language. They just want to create a kind of civil war in Turkey to justify their constant use of violence. And as I have repeatedly said in this column in the past, there are certain groups in Turkey who have refrained from criticizing the PKK, whatever this organization does. We all need to say STOP the violence! This is really all we need to do.

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