MGK paid academics to write on ‘kart kurt theory,’ commission report says

November 25, 2012, Sunday/ 16:51:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

The parliamentary coup and Memorandum Investigation commission has stated in its report about its findings about the past coups in the country that the National Security Council (MGK) paid several academics to write books to support a theory denying the existence of Kurds and Kurdish culture.

According to the theory, also dubbed the “kart kurt theory,” the word Kurd came from the “kart kurt” sound people in the Southeast made when they walked in the mountains in the snow. Former President Kenan Evren, the ex-chief of General Staff who led the Sept. 12, 1980 coup, was the first person to make mention of the theory after the coup was staged. His comment was interpreted as an attempt to deny the existence of the Kurdish culture and to assimilate Kurds.

According to the commission's report, the Turkish state attempted to solve the long-standing Kurdish question through ignoring the existence of Kurds and “melting Kurdishness inside Turkishness.” “Books were written by academics and men of science on the ‘kart kurt theory.' The MGK gave the orders for the books, and paid for them,” the report stated, according to a news story that appeared in the Radikal daily on Sunday. The commission report is based on the testimony of political scientist Doğu Ergil, who spoke to members of the commission in October about his recollections of the 1980 coup.

In the middle of this year, the commission began hearing the testimonies of dozens of individuals as part of attempts to investigate the four past coups d'état -- staged on May 27, 1960; March 12, 1971; Sept. 12, 1980 and Feb. 28, 1997 -- and the military memorandum of April 27, 2007. The commission finished probing the Feb. 28 coup and wrote a report covering its findings. A prosecutor's office currently investigating the coup may benefit from the findings, but the report is not binding on the office.

The commission stated in its report that Ergil said the MGK proposed he “lead a project to melt the Kurdish identity inside Turkish nationalism.” “I warned them that such a project would lead to the emergence of micro-nationalisms, which would eventually damage the unity of the state and country,” Ergil reportedly told the MGK and refused to take part in such a project. And the MGK later made many academics and men of science, mostly professors, write books denying the existence of Kurds and Kurdish culture by paying them. “They were writing books for money and they were being rewarded. They must be called to account. How could they [MGK members] spend the money the people paid to the state in taxes on such nonsense?” Ergil also told the commission.

Call for search into cosmic room

The commission also made mention of the Special Forces Command's top secret document archive, also dubbed the “cosmic room,” calling for a search to be initiated in the archive so that evidence could be obtained to shed light on unsolved murders.

The archive is used to store documents that are classified as state or military secrets. It remained closed to civilian supervision or monitoring for many years until a judge managed to enter it in 2009 as part of an investigation into a suspected plot to assassinate Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç.

According to the commission, the documents relating to unsolved murders, which are known to have played a significant role in laying the groundwork for the coups, may be stored at the Special Forces Command's archive. The commission called for a search at the archive by civilian prosecutors to see if such documents really exist in the cosmic room.

There are numerous unsolved murders in Turkey's past and they were mainly committed, according to rumors and findings by prosecutor's offices, to lead to military intervention in politics. Hundreds of people are known to have been killed and the perpetrators of the murders are yet to be captured.

“The Special Forces Command has not been opened to civilian supervision. A judge managed to enter the cosmic room as part of an investigation into claims of an assassination plot against Bülent Arınç, but he was not allowed to do anything but take notes about the room. Documents about murders which have remained in the dark and which are known to have played a role in the preparation of the groundwork for coups should be searched for in the cosmic room,” the commission stated in the report.

The commission, in addition, stated that the military coups, which took place once almost every 10 years, suspended democracy and prevented Turkey from turning into a country governed by the rule of law. “For Turkey to take more steps towards civilian rule, the National Intelligence Organization [MİT] should also be civilianized,” the commission report noted. The report also said the General Staff should be subordinated to the Ministry of Defense and the activities and budget of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) should be supervised by a civilian body in order to avert possible coups in the future.

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