The unbearable vileness of attacking Kurds

The unbearable vileness of attacking Kurds
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Attacks on Kurds in Europe over the years display a clear pattern; European inaction and impunity for perpetrators facilitate further attacks.

DOGAN OZGUDEN- After meeting with Albanian, Assyrian, Belgian, Algerian, Chinese, Armenian, Greek, Italian, Cameroonian, Congolese, Kurdish, Rwandan, and Turkish friends of mine who are administrators and educators at the Sun Workshop (Gunes Atolyeleri) to celebrate the ending of 2022 we returned home, where I began to read the new documentary novel by author Medeni Ferho, titled Dr. Rifat.*

Medeni Ferho, who had discussed the unknown aspects of the 1915 Assyrian Genocide in his earlier book titled “Seyfo – Gebro Isa Zette Celma Anlatiyor” unearths the threat of genocide and plunder against Assyrian, Kurdish, and Yazidi citizens in Midyat connected to the aggressive hysteria of tensions brought about by Cyprus in 1964 in his new book.

While reading about how another genocide and plunder was prevented 58 years ago thanks to the foresight and intervention of Assyrian and Kurdish people in the city, Dr. Rifat Yenigun first and foremost among them, a painful bit of news that appeared on the breaking news section on my computer screen brought me back to our time:

“Armed attack on the Ahmet Kaya Kurdish Cultural Center in Paris… Three Kurds massacred…”

Incredible… Chatting with the Brussels Kurdish Institute Chair Derwich Ferho, we had talked at length about how European institutions were abiding by Tayyip’s blackmail, creating difficulties and obstacles for the legitimate resistance of the Kurdish nation… One of the most shameful examples of this submission for Europe is the fact that the investigation regarding the massacre of three dissenting Kurdish women, Sakine Cansiz, Fidan Dogan, and Leyla Saylemez at the Kurdish Information Bureau in Paris by a trigger man of the Turkish State has not been concluded for 10 years.

Is that the only massacre?

The Rue Bonnels offices of the Brussels Kurdish Institute, with which we have fought against both fascism in Turkey and xenophobia in Belgium for nearly half a century were torched by the Grey Wolves stirred up by the Turkish State on 17 December 1998, before the watching Belgian police. The same night, an Assyrian business on Rue Verbist was vandalized.

Even though they had the video records of the incidents, broadcast on one of Turkey’s most popular television channels, where the perpetrators could be easily identified, no legal action was taken against Turkish diplomats who egged on the Grey Wolves, the Turkish foundations and media under their guidance. On top of that, none of the assailants were sentenced at the so-called trials that went on for a few years, with the exception of single young man who was considered an instigator and sentenced to “a few months of public service at a foundation”!

They have attacked Kurds in other European countries

Following the attack that resulted in the killing of artist Mir Perver, woman activist Emine Kara (Evin), and Abdurrahman Kizil, the Firat News Agency provided important data regarding the murders, massacres, and fascists attacks in European countries organized by the regimes in Turkey from the 1970s until recent times:

5 May 1974: 30-year-old forestry engineer Neset Danis, an intellectual, was beaten severely by MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) fascists during the Hamburg Turkish Workers’ Community Congress elections. The attack took place as representatives of the Turkish Consulate and Turk-Is trade union observed; Danis lost his life two weeks later at the hospital.

5 January 1980: 36-year-old socialist union organizer Celalettin Kesim was killed by MHP fascists while distributing leaflets in the Kreuzberg neighborhood of Berlin.

31 December 1994: TKP ML-TIKKO (Turkish Communist Party Marxist-Leninist – Liberation Army of the Workers and Peasants of Turkey) members Nurettin Topuz, Mustafa Akgun, and Mustafa Aksakal were massacred at a coffee house by an MHP fascists at Germersheim, a town in the Rheinland Pfalz province. It was later revealed that the murderer, whose identity was kept secret for a long time while he was detained and then released by the court, was an MIT (National Intelligence Organization) agent who had worked at the “counter-terror” unit in Yozgat before 1980.

3 September 1995: A 21-year-old Kurdish young man called Seyfettin Kalan lost his life after an attack by a group of Turkish fascists in the town of Neumunster. Gaining confidence from the inaction of the police, the Grey Wolves launched a wave of attacks against Kurds all over Germany. Kurdish locations in Ulm, Bielefeld, and Mulheim were torched. The Grey Wolf who killed Kalan and wounded two young people only received a sentence for illegally carrying a firearm, and was released after a while.

3 January 1997: A young Kurdish man called Ercan Alkaya, a member of the Alevi Cultural Foundation in Kiel, was killed by Turkish fascists.

4 July 1999: Erol Ispir was murdered by MHP fascists while keeping watch at the German Immigrant Workers’ Federation (AGIF) locale in Cologne.

12 September 2015: A fascist supporter of the AKP (Justice and Development Party)-MHP drove his vehicle into a crowd of demonstrators who were protesting Turkey in Bern, the capital of Switzerland, wounding five people. Even though the Bern Prosecutor’s Office asked for a sentence of eight years of imprisonment, the case was closed by the local court in 2021 with no consequences.

On the same day, a Grey Wolf called Celal A. wounded four people in Hanover, Germany, yelling “All Kurds must be cut down.” He was tried for attempting to kill four people, with the prosecutor’s office asking for six to 10 years of imprisonment, but he was found not guilty by the court and acquitted.

27 October 2017: A bus that went on a tour of Europe with the slogan, “Freedom for Abdullah Ocalan” was attacked by Turkish racists in Antwerp, Belgium. Then, AKP-MHP supporters who were also members of Osmanli Ocaklari (Ottoman Hearths), UETD and Grey Wolves arrived in Antwerp via buses, trains, and private vehicles, and attacked Kurdish shopkeepers. The Belgian police took no action during the attacks where many Kurds were injured, and their workplaces were destroyed.

24 June 2020: AKP-MHP supported fascists groups terrorized Austria’s capital, Vienna. The incidents that began with attacks on the demonstration organized by women of Kurdistan and Turkey lasted four days.

28-29 October 2020: Fascist pro-AKP-MHP groups went on a hunt for Armenians in cities such as Viennes, Decines, and Dijon in France, where many Armenians live. More than 250 people carrying Turkish flags kept yelling, “Where are you, Armenians?” and “We will kill the Armenians,” calling for violence.

3 April 2021: Turkish fascists targeted the Kurdish foundation in Lyon. Over 20 fascists with face masks attacked foundation members with iron rods and knives, wounding four, two of them seriously.

The shameful silence of Europe

While these truths are evident, the AKP-MHP government, and especially Erdogan keep talking about Kurdish organizations as “criminal organizations” in their dealings with European governments, trying to get them banned, and their members extradited via threats.

For example, three days before the Paris massacre, on 20 December, Director of Presidential Communications Fahrettin Altun made a speech in Ankara at a panel titled “Turkey-France Relations: Opportunities and Challenges,” where he said, “Turkey-France relations should not be sacrificed for cheap and short-term political calculations that make terrorist organizations or anti-Turkey lobbies happy. Turkey is not receiving the support it deserves. This being the case, we shall continue doing what is necessary for our national security, and proceed with determination in fighting terrorism with all our capabilities.”

Following the latest massacre, Kurdish organizations staged protests in Paris and the police intervened; newspapers under government control that reported on the incidents used these headlines: “The PKK that they fostered is now attacking the Crusaders,” “The PKK that it fed has attacked France,” “Foster terrorism and it will come back to bite you,” “The scorpion they have protected is now stinging Europe...”

Not to be outdone, Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin announced on his social media account: “This PKK in France is the same terrorist organization you support in Syria. The same PKK has murdered thousands of Turks, Kurds, and security personnel in the last 40 years. Now they are burning the streets of Paris. Are you still going to maintain your silence?”

What about Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu?

He was issuing a challenge to the entire world at an opening ceremony in Erzurum, where Erdogan was also present:

“The Black Sea is perfectly cleansed. The Amanos (mountains) from Hatay to Adiyaman are cleansed. Tendurek is cleansed. Erzurum’s countryside is cleansed. The day we enter the Century of Turkey, there will be no terrorists left in the mountains of this country. Tayyip Erdogan will cleanse not only Turkey from the terrorists, but the entire world.”

What about the Turkish State’s endless attacks on not only the Bakur Kurds within its borders, but also the Basur and Rojava Kurds beyond its borders, using weapons of mass destruction?

I am reminded of Milan Kundera’s famous work, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” as I watch these vile attacks on the just struggle of the Kurdish nation, the shameful behavior in the face of the murder of three Kurdish patriots with a decade apart, the silence and even criminal complicity of European governments on this matter.

I am adapting it with a sense of outrage, and shout this in the face of what we have just witnessed:

The unbearable vileness of attacking Kurds…

*Medeni Ferho, Dr. Rıfat, Sitav Yayınları, Kasım 2022

** Medeni Ferho, Seyfo, Yeni Anadolu Yayıncılık, Eylül 2022

Starting in 1952, Dogan Ozguden has worked at Ege Gunesi, Sabah Postasi, Milliyet, and Oncu newspapers in Izmir, moving to Istanbul and working as the Editor-in-Chief at Gece Postasi and Aksam. Starting in 1967, he published the socialist Ant Journal with Inci Tugsavul, Yasar Kemal, and Fethi Naci. He had administrative roles in the Journalists’ Union, Journalists’ Association, Press Honor Board, and Workers’ Party of Turkey. After the coup on 12 March 1971, he left Turkey and founded the Democratic Resistance Organization, Info-Turk News Agency, and Sun Workshops, as well as the Union for Democracy after the 12 September 1980 coup. He was stripped of his Turkish citizenship along with his spouse by the Evren junta. He has books titled “Turkish File” against the 12 March regime, “Black Book” against the 12 September regime, and a 2-volume book titled “Vatansiz” (“Heimatlos”) in English, where he talks about his life in Turkey and in exile, as well as books titled “Journalist” and “Writings in Exile” that were published in Turkish and French. He has been writing for Arti Gercek since its creation.