AKI is reporting that Turkey is miffed with Denmark for broadcasting a Kurdish language television channel. Turkey claims it’s sending out “separatist propaganda” to Turkey’s Kurds.
The report fails to mention that Turkey doesn’t permit the use of the language of the Kurds and has been squelching it for generations:
The request was made by Turkish foreign minister Ali Babacan in his meeting with his Danish counterpart Per Stig Moller in New York, on the sidelines of a UN summit on Monday.
The satellite TV channel in question, Roj TV, has been broadcasting from Denmark for several years.
In the meeting, Babacan stated that Turkey submitted proof of Roj TV’s separatist line, as requested by authorities in Copenhagen.
“We have provided this evidence long ago and we now want you to take action” Babacan said.
Moller said that an investigation was still underway and asked Turkey to be more patient.
The news report says that Babcan’s statements were an echo of that of General Ilker Basbug, who is singing the age-old tune about “the rise of ethnic nationalism.”
The breakup of the Empire following World War I and the emergence of the modern Turkish state led to attempts on the part of the Kurds to secure their own nation state. There was no general agreement among Kurds on what its borders should be, due to the disparity between the areas of Kurdish settlement and the political and administrative boundaries of the region.
The outlines of a “Kurdistan” as an entity were proposed in 1919 by Serif Pasha, who represented the Society for the Ascension of Kurdistan (Kürdistan Teali Cemiyeti) at the Paris Peace Conference. He defined the region’s boundaries as follows:
“The frontiers of Turkish Kurdistan, from an ethnographical point of view, begin in the north at Ziven, on the Caucasian frontier, and continue westwards to Erzurum, Erzincan, Kemah, Arapgir, Besni and Divick (Divrik?) ; in the south they follow the line from Harran, the Sinjihar Hills, Tel Asfar, Erbil, Süleymaniye, Akk-el-man, Sinne; in the east, Ravandiz, Baskale, Vezirkale, that is to say the frontier of Persia as far as Mount Ararat.”
As it turned out, the Kurds got nothing, but they’ve never given up. And Turkey remains just as adamant about their removal, eighty years later:
“We will not let the formation of artificial distinctions and the introduction of these topics lead the country to polarisation” Basbug said in a speech in the Army war college.
So every year, in the Spring, Turkey masses its troops on the northern Iraqi border to get rid of these “artificial distinctions” (as if culture and language are artifical) and skirmishes with the Kurds. The Turks usually end up with more casualties, but more Kurds are routed from their homes and their lives are disrupted. Meanwhile, in Turkey itself, the Kurdish language and culture of Turkey’s own Kurdish citizens continue to be suppressed. It’s no wonder the Turks want Denmark to follow suit.
Basburg doesn’t like the U.S. either: we’re not doing enough against the “separatists” in Northern Iraq to satisfy Turkey. Actually, I don’t think we’re doing anything about them at all. It’s not in the job description, and besides we have a full plate in Iraq already. The northern Kurdish areas are relatively and prosperous now that Saddam has been dispatched.
If only the rest of Iraq were as quiet as the Kurdish areas. On the other hand, the foreign terrorists are in no hurry to go up against the Peshmerga soldiers. The terrorists may be violent and callously murderous, but they’re not stupid. They pick off the primitive tribes in northern Iraq like the Yezidis– the ones who are least likely to be able to defend themselves.
If the rest of Iraq were like the Kurds in the north, we could go home.