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Gülen and a new paradigm in the Kurdish issue

Today's Zaman. Markar Eseyan, October 27, 2011

We are experiencing hard times. This country has so many ignored problems that are affecting us; they do this sometimes as a group, sometimes individually and sometimes as a collective whole.

Waste of time and money may be compensated. But how about the loss of lives? Or what about those who have experienced the anguish of losing a loved one.

In the Çukurca attack, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) martyred 26 of our soldiers; subsequently, a military campaign was launched against the PKK camps in Çukurca and the Zap area. The number of PKK casualties reportedly runs in the hundreds.

At this time, Van, the pearl of the east and a city that I love, was hit by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake. The number of dead in the quake was 432 at the time of this writing. I hope number this does not rise. But our pain is so big. I lost two acquaintances in this quake, and my heart is bleeding. May God have mercy on them and may they rest in peace.

Regardless of whether they are soldiers or PKK militants, these are our people. Their mothers are the citizens of this country. We call this a Kurdish issue, but some of the soldiers murdered in Çukurca or elsewhere are of Kurdish origin. And those who killed them are Kurdish PKK militants. There are even incidents where a martyr’s body and the body of a militant were prepared for burial at the same house. This issue has become so complicated that we have no option other than resolving it. Obviously, the PKK is trying to drag the state into the mountains of northern Iraq. It thinks that in this area with which it is familiar, it will be able to defeat a group of soldiers who have received only a two-month training. The PKK is in a state of complete arrogance. The PKK feudal lords do not even care how many young people perish. They even hold that the more blood is spilled, the stronger they will become because, up to now, the state has given them everything they asked for. The state has burned and destroyed the villages without making any distinction between the PKK and average Kurdish people, killing the civilians and committing murders. The organization exploited the rage and fury associated with this.

But how will we resolve this problem?

The remedy is to get out of this paradigm as a people with the political establishment not falling for the trap of the PKK. In a country where the word “Kurdish” has been banned up until recently and where Kurds are still denied many of their rights, the only way to deal with bloody organizations like the PKK, which focuses solely on consolidating its power, is to recognize the rights of Kurdish citizens without attempting to make them part of a negotiation. And we, as the state and the people, should even apologize to them because of the brutality they have been subjected to since the 1920s. The only thing that pleased me during the Kurdish opening was the legitimization of the Kurdish identity and the empathy that the public had for the pains of the Kurds. The people understood from the recently revealed documents of the dirty war in recent years that deep structures within the state and the PKK have been waging this war hand in hand because this war gives them power and economic benefits.

Fethullah Gülen, in a recent lecture titled “Terror and suffering,” published on the website, made some very important observations. I would like to quote some of his statements here:

“When making recommendations for establishing a university called Medresetü’z Zehra  in Van during the years of constitutional monarchy, Bediüzzaman [Said Nursi] said Arabic [as an academic language] should be fard [mandatory], Turkish wajib [necessary] and Kurdish jaiz [permitted], and that all three should be taught at the same time. He referred to Kurdish as recommendable. We have not been able to spell this out. … Why was not Kurdish language allowed in the schools? It would have developed as a language within your system. In this huge country, the United States, Hispanics speak their own language and Italians theirs. You are also allowed to open your own schools where you offer Turkish language as an elect course. Nobody does anything about this...”


“All who care about our country and our people ... should remain calm and exercise restraint against agitations and provocations, and avoid retaliatory actions. This problem cannot be resolved by reactions and slogans, ‘Martyrs are immortal, the homeland is indivisible.’ Those who would like for the provocations and seeds of discord to be prevented may peacefully express their opinions through solid and sound reports and declarations that could be forwarded to the authorities as guidance for others.”

The Muslims, over the past nine years, have been the main dynamic of the change in Turkey. They have questioned their ties with nationalism, militarism and the status quo. These points that Gülen underlined are extremely important. He clearly and precisely identifies the reason of the problems and offers advice.

This is what I mean by a new paradigm: the right to coexist in equality and freedom. To submit to this mentality will resolve all problems. In this sad week, the remarks by Gülen raised hopes and consoled me.

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