Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Joint Call for Dialogue on Kurdish Conflict

Writer Kemal emphasized the historical bonds between Turks and Kurds in his opening speech of the two-day conference on Kurdish conflict. 500 academics, journalists and politicians gathered for a debate for a peaceful solution to the years long conflict.

BIA News Center
15/01/2007 Irfan AKTAN BİA (Ankara) - Kurdish and Turkish politicians, academics, activists, prominent writers and journalists gathered together for a two-day conference last weekend, titled "Turkey Looking for Peace".

The conference aimed at sparking a debate on the century old Kurdish conflict in southeastern Turkey.

While a unilateral ceasefire continues, the guerilla warfare of the pro-Kurdish group PKK marked the last 20 years of the history of Turkish Republic.

Writer Yasar Kemal emphasized the historical bonds between Turkish and Kurdish people in the opening speech of the conference.

From another respect, the reaction from Turkey to Kurds projections to determine their own future in northern Iraq is frivolous, he said.

Kurds-Turks, friends for thousand years

Addressing to 500-fold crowd, Kemal said:

"The Kurdish conflict caused a great cost for our country. Of those who fought, 30 thousand are dead. The conscience of this land is scarred with armed rangers, civilian fighters whose numbers reach up to 70 thousand.

Thousands of villages were forcefully evacuated, people scattered around the country. Murders whose perpetrators never surfaced became only normal, a part of the war. This war wore Turkey down. We became a country that fights its own people".

Kemal noted the growing nationalist sentiment in Turkey, saying, "There are racist who go undercover in a nationalist suit. They constantly repeat that 'there's no friend to a Turk other than a Turk'. One can't say something worse than this to a group of people. I want to relieve my nationalist friends from their misery:

Kurds and Turks have friends since 1071, when Turks entered Anatolia. Our rulers say that if Kurds get their independence in northern Iraq, this should be grounds for war. Why is that so? Whatever they say, I want to remind those racist nationalists that if you have one friend in this world it's the Kurds who sit on those oil reserves in the south. But Kurds in Iraq want a federation; this is what benefits them".

No military solution

Writer Vedat Türkali gave the opening speech on the second day of the conference and he insisted that a military solution wouldn't be the solution to the Kurdish conflict.

"For 28 times in our history, there were uprisings and they were repressed but the problem still stays on".

Reminding army chief of staff General Buyukanıt's words that "fight will go on until no terrorist is left on the mountains", Türkali said without a comprehensive solution there'd always be those who prefer to join the guerillas.

Ceasefire must stay

Turkish Physicians' Association (TTB) chair Gençay Gürsoy noted that this is the first time that a meeting on the Kurdish conflict realizes without any distraction.

This ceasefire period is precious and crucial for a solution and we've to insist for a political debate, only a total rejection of violence can sustain this environment, he added.

Turkey's Revolutionary Workers Unions Confederation (DİSK) chair Süleyman Çelebi said neither denial of differences nor an insurgence would solve the problem. Stating that a unilateral solution is impossible, he proposed leave of arms and the official recognition of the Kurdish identity.

"Solution rests in the country"

Democratic Society Party (DTP) co-chair Ahmet Türk voiced claims that PKK will end ceasefire in May and his hopes for a democratic and civil initiative for a solution to arise to disarray such claims.

Türk said that the government is unwilling to take initiative and PM Erdogan doesn't have a realistic idea of the problem. He urged the government to favor domestic relations instead of searching for ways to cooperate with the US for a military solution. "The solution rests with me and with you", he said.

Fair representation

Turkish Foundation of Human Rights (TİHV) chair Yavuz Onen and journalist Altan Oymen said that comprehensive policies are needed for peace.

Onen warned that the conflict is getting commonplace in all levels of the society while Oymen raised the issue of fair political representation in the parliament.

Journalist Ragıp Duran, Freedom and Solidarity Party (ODP) chair Hayri Kozanoglu, Gaziantep's former mayor Celal Dogan, Party of Labor (EMEP) chair Levent Tuzel, True Path Party (DYP) Diyarbakır provincial chair Galip Ensarioglu, Mothers for Peace member Emine Ozbek, journalist Berat Günçıkan, writer Altan Tan, journalist Dogan Tılıç and Prof. Dr. Melek Göregenli were among the participants of the conference.

Writer Memed Uzun's speech was read because of his absence due to health problems.

Declaration issued

By the end of the conference, participants issued a declaration outlining the political, social, economical and cultural suggestions for a solution

The declaration expressed hopes for an organization that would lead to the establishment of social peace through debate and dialogue.(İA/EÜ)


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