Wednesday, 31 October 2007


Preface: By no means do I want people to take this article as a justification of terrorism, it is simply a criticism of how governments deal with it.

So we all know that Turkey's happily planning to invade Iraq in order to crush the PKK.

Certain Turkish blogs have been justifying this military action saying that the PKK are a terrorist organisation who are threatening the stability of Turkey, using roadbombs and blowing up buses.

And that's all perfectly true - but Turkey's strategy of invasion and repression will only increase the violence - it seems to be true with every terrorist organisation - the only reason people go out and kill other people in this way (terrorism) is because they are very pissed off, and they normally have good reason to be very pissed off. For example, Palestinian terrorists suicide bomb Israel on a regular basis, killing innocent civilians and causing a horrible amount of violence - but they do it because Israel's army bombs the shit out of them, shoots little girls in the head and messily executes suspected criminals via rocket in crowded streets. Israel does all this in the name of self defence against the terrorism that these activities are causing. This is a vicious circle that can only be stopped when the organised, governmental side of the fight looks at the diplomatic options instead of an attempt to crush the terrorism (which only fans the flames). Almost all terrorist organisations prefer diplomacy to more bloodshed.

Turkey invading Iraq will only reaffirm the Kurdish populations suspicions of Turkey, that they are out to get the Kurds - and now they've come to Iraq, to attack the same villages that Saddam Hussein gassed, in order to do there what they did to Turkish Kurds in 1997 - mass evacuation of Kurdish villages, the murder of tens of thousands of Kurds, acts of torture and terrible violence. The survivors of this military action will be very angry indeed, as I'm sure you will imagine, after having been driven out their homes, made refugees, watched friends and loved one die. Angry enough to take up arms and fight back. That is how terrorism is born.

In the 1990s, just before the monstrosity I described above, Turkey almost ended the fight with the PKK, through diplomacy. Turgut Özal managed to negotiate with the PKK, convincing them to lower their demands from an independent Kurdish state (which they understandably wanted, as the Kurds had been trying to get one before Turkey even existed) to a negotiated settlement. But after Özal died of a heart attack in 1993, everything went to shit, and the Turkish army decided to chuck more fuel on the fire by killing Kurdish community leaders, political activists, and carrying out the mass exodus of Kurdish villages I've already mentioned.

I think history has shown (100 years of it) that the approach Turkey - and many other countries, including (but not limited to) Israel, the US and the UK - is now taking will only increase the violence, not tackle it. To end a fight you have to put your guns down and open a negotiation.

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Anonymous said...

Very well put. The vicious circle is also reinforced by the fact that it's not always people with good reason to be pissed off who fight - these causes also attract thugs who want to see their own problems in 'the other' - who is always to blame. Once you start having people like that 'on your side', it becomes very difficult to disentangle your organisation from them.

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