Problems in Turkey?

  • #76
EnumaElish
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Who's election results?
The Kurdish National Congress of North America said:
Press Release

Turkish Elections

History in the Making

Since 1994 Kurdish politicians have been unable to win any seats in Turkish Parliament, because of the 10% barrier. Based on Turkish laws, to win seats in parliament a party must have a minimum of 10% of the national vote. The Kurdish parties failed to attain the 10% required by law.

However, in this recent election the Democratic Society Party (DTP) successfully managed to go around this law by asking their candidates to participate in the election as independents. Although the Kurds should be represented by 25-30% of the representatives, Kurdish candidates won 20 seats, a number great enough to create the first Kurdish block in Turkish parliament.

The success serves as an important test of the democratic environment in Turkey for both DTP and the Turkish public's political maturity.

...

We anticipate that their presence in the Turkish parliament will bring new hope and changes; where the voice of our nation will be heard clearly to bring changes to the Turkish constitution democratically ...
http://www.kncna.org/docs/k_viewarticle.asp?date=8/1/2007

I reitereate my earlier point: the deeper divide right now is between individuals (Turks and Kurds) who believe in the constitutional democratic processes and those who don't believe in them and who may attempt to sabotage them.

EURASIANET.ORG said:
EURASIA INSIGHT

TURKEY: KURDISH PARTY PREPARES FOR RETURN TO PARLIAMENT

Yigal Schleifer 7/27/07

Using a successful campaign strategy that saw all its candidates running as independents in order to circumvent Turkey’s high election threshold, the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) managed to get 22 of its members elected in the recent Turkish elections, enough to allow the stealth candidates to regroup in parliament under their party’s banner.

Although some forecasts had predicted the party winning as many as 35 seats in the July 22 election, the seats won represent the largest electoral victory ever by a Kurdish party and the first time a pro-Kurdish party will sit in parliament since 1991.

The victory, analysts say, serves as an important test of both the party’s and the Turkish public’s political maturity. It will also present a good opportunity for making progress in resolving the lingering Kurdish problem. [For background see the Eurasia Insight archive].

"If we had from an earlier date allowed the Kurds representation in parliament, I think we would have been much more successful in integrating the Kurdish demands into the parliamentary process, so this is a new window of opportunity to do that," says Sahin Alpay, a professor of political science at Istanbul’s Bahcesehir University. "But there is also a risk of them becoming a source of conflict in the parliament."

Added Alpay: "The fact that their views and demands will be heard in parliament is a welcome thing. … It’s another important step forward towards the consolidation of the democratization of Turkey."

The DTP’s presence in parliament, though small, is certain to test Turkish public attitudes, especially coming at a time when the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been increasing its attacks against security forces in Turkey’s predominantly-Kurdish southeast, and the Turkish military has threatened to invade northern Iraq to go after the organization’s bases there. ...
http://www.eurasianet.org/departments/insight/articles/eav072707a.shtml

kach22i said:
That link was just to remind us of some history, when Turkey is prevented from going west (entry into the EU this time) it attacks to the east.
That's an incisive insight. IMO it is an argument for backing Turkey's EU membership, although you may feel differently.
 
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  • #77
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RE:
http://www.eurasianet.org/index.shtml [Broken]

Interesting news site, I've bookmarked it.

Until today by reading the articles posted, I did not even know how the Kurds got representation and the 10% law.

Progress is slow moving but it happens sometimes.
 
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  • #78
EnumaElish
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Turkey seeks arrest of rebel commanders

Associated Press said:
...

On Monday, President Bush met Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington and promised him that the United States would share military intelligence in the hunt for PKK rebels. Turkey credited U.S. help in the 1999 capture in Kenya of Abdullah Ocalan, the founder of the PKK who is now serving a life sentence on a prison island in Turkey.

Without providing names, the Pentagon also has said 10 PKK members are in a U.S. "most-wanted" database, meaning American forces have had standing orders for some time to pick them up if they are found. Citing Iraqi officials, Turkish media have said Turkey delivered a list of 150 alleged PKK members to Iraq and demanded their extradition.

The PKK, which launched guerrilla warfare in 1984, started out with a Marxist ideology mixed with Kurdish nationalism, but it later softened its demands and dropped the idea of an independent homeland. The rebels now say they seek more rights for Turkey's Kurdish minority, which lives primarily in the country's southeast and in immigrant communities in large cities.

The United States and Europe label the PKK as a terrorist organization. Turkey dismisses the group as a murderous gang and refuses to negotiate with it.

Ocalan drew comparisons with Stalin for his harsh control over the group, often killing or imprisoning members who deviated from his edicts. ...
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071107/ap_on_re_mi_ea/turkey_rebel_leaders [Broken]
 
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  • #79
Art
I wonder if this could develop into a civil war in Turkey? Albeit probably fairly one-sided as the Kurds are such a minority though the Islamic factor could complicate things making it a 3 way conflict.

BBC NEWS
Cold welcome for freed Turkish soldiers
By Sarah Rainsford
BBC News, Istanbul

The release of eight soldiers after two weeks held hostage by the PKK has not been celebrated in Turkey.

Some here have branded them cowards - even traitors.

Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin told an audience at Ankara University on Monday that he could not be entirely happy about the soldiers' release.

They were captured in an ambush by the PKK close to the Iraqi border on 21 October. Twelve other soldiers were killed in what was the worst clash of its kind with Kurdish separatists in many years.

"No member of the Turkish armed forces should have found themselves in such a situation," the minister began.
<snip>
Unlike recent hostage crises involving Israeli and British military members, here in Turkey the government, military and media played this one very low-key.

One explanation is concern, in the current nationalistic climate, about the potential for clashes between Turks and Kurds in Turkish cities.
<snip>
n a further blow to Turkish pride, pictures from the handover of the eight soldiers have now made their way into local newspapers.

They show three members of the Turkish parliament from the pro-Kurdish DTP party standing beside a poster of Abdullah Ocalan, the imprisoned PKK founder. In others, the MPs are seen greeting the hostage-takers with handshakes and kisses.

Though the DTP insist they were present for humanitarian reasons, to aid the soldiers' release, they are now being investigated on suspicion of supporting a terrorist organisation.
 
  • #80
EnumaElish
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I wonder if this could develop into a civil war in Turkey? Albeit probably fairly one-sided as the Kurds are such a minority though the Islamic factor could complicate things making it a 3 way conflict.
Is what you are asking "can/will Turks massacre Turkey's Kurds?"
 
  • #81
Art
Is what you are asking "can/will Turks massacre Turkey's Kurds?"
I'm not suggesting they would set out with that as a premeditated goal but I could see how it could end up that way through a process of escalation. Civil wars are notoriously nasty.
 
  • #82
EnumaElish
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Reuters said:
The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), whose bases in north Iraq Turkey has threatened to attack, said on Friday it was open to a dialogue that could lead to its downing arms, a news agency close to the rebels reported.

Turkey, like the United States and the European Union, condemns the PKK as a terrorist group and has always refused to talk to PKK guerrillas. It had no immediate response to the party's statement, carried by the Firat news agency.

"We are open to dialogue on starting a process that would totally exclude weapons, based on a political project," the PKK statement said.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071109/wl_nm/turkey_iraq_pkk_dc [Broken]
 
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  • #83
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071109/wl_nm/turkey_iraq_pkk_dc [Broken]
TUNCELI, Turkey (Reuters) - The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), whose bases in north Iraq Turkey has threatened to attack, said on Friday it was open to a dialogue that could lead to its downing arms, a news agency close to the rebels reported.
Terrorist laying down their arms?

The end must be near.:rofl:
 
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  • #84
EnumaElish
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Reuters said:
Eight Turkish soldiers freed last week by Kurdish rebels have been charged by the military with disobeying orders in a way that could have led to "catastrophe," a defense lawyer said on Sunday.

...

The soldiers have faced criticism at home since their return and have been accused by some of aiding PKK propaganda.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20071111/wl_nm/turkey_military_soldiers_dc [Broken]
 
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  • #85
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I reitereate my earlier point: the deeper divide right now is between individuals (Turks and Kurds) who believe in the constitutional democratic processes and those who don't believe in them and who may attempt to sabotage them.
That is a valid point. On one hand, we have people who want to close DTP, on the other hand, DTP does not pronounce PKK as a terrorist organization.
 
  • #86
EnumaElish
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That is a valid point. On one hand, we have people who want to close DTP, on the other hand, DTP does not pronounce PKK as a terrorist organization.
I think I agree with the Turkish Prime Minister when he says that DTP should be free to carry on its politics within constitutional limits.
 
  • #87
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Dang, this is no good.

You know why Turkey would not let the US military pass though that corner of Iraq for the invasion?

As NPR reported at the time and with audiotapes; Turkey had 60,000 troops already there to prevent waves of refugees, which massed there in the first Gulf War.

What was on the audiotape was the sound of Turkish attack helicopters attacking Kurds on the Iraqi side of the border. No one really knew if it was PKK positions or just Iraqi civilians, everyone in town with a gun shot up to the sky to ward off the attacks just the same.

Also reported at the time of the US invasion was that in Iraq at an abandoned airbase there were as many as 100 Turkish tanks standing by. Some think just to intimidate the PKK; others think to stand off the possibility of tens of thousands of fleeing refugees.

No Turkish officials would comment, but Turkish families said their sons had been sent into Iraq and stationed there.

This operation is much more open and meant as a political statement.

UPDATE: 12/18/2007
Turkish army sends soldiers into Iraq
By YAHYA BARZANJI, Associated Press Writer
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071218/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq [Broken]
It was not clear how long the Turkish soldiers who entered Iraq on Tuesday would stay, but a Turkish government official said they were sent as "reinforcements" to existing Turkish troops stationed further inside Iraq.

"They are going there as reinforcements, they are not returning," the official said on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

About 1,200 Turkish military monitors have operated in northern Iraq since 1996 with permission from local authorities. A tank battalion has been stationed at a former airport at the border town of Bamerni and a few other military outposts were scattered in the region. Ankara rotates the troops there.
Everything I said has been proven true and accurate. I just did not recall the name of the border town of "Bamerni". Maybe the name of the town was never in the original radio report on NPR a few years ago, don't know, and not a major issue.
 
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  • #88
EnumaElish
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Apparently today's border-crossing operation has been withdrawn.

Officials: Turkey withdraws from Iraq

By YAHYA BARZANJI, Associated Press Writer 9 minutes ago

KIRKUK, Iraq - Turkey sent hundreds of troops about 1 1/2 miles into northern Iraq early Tuesday in an operation against Kurdish rebels but then withdrew them later in the day, Kurdish officials said.

Jamal Abdullah, a spokesman for the regional Kurdistan government, told The Associated Press that the Turkish troops had withdrawn in the evening.
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071218/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq;_ylt=AiT7JYPAyLyJuDbRjpr3qoNvaA8F [Broken]
 
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  • #89
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Apparently today's border-crossing operation has been withdrawn.



http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071218/ap_on_re_mi_ea/iraq;_ylt=AiT7JYPAyLyJuDbRjpr3qoNvaA8F [Broken]
We only know what they tell us.

Looks like the original 12,000 troops and all those tanks are still there.

Right?
 
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  • #90
EnumaElish
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We only know what they tell us.

Looks like the original 12,000 troops and all those tanks are still there.

Right?
I thought you posted 1,200. Is it 12,000? Or 1,200?

Regardless, the article you posted said they are there "with permission from local authorities."
 
  • #91
Astronuc
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Turkey Set to Invest in Better Relations With Kurds
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/12/world/europe/12turkey.html

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey’s government is planning a broad series of investments worth as much as $12 billion in the country’s largely Kurdish southeast, in a new economic effort intended to create jobs and draw young men away from militancy, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.

The program is intended to drain support for the militant Kurdish group, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, by improving the lives of Turkey’s impoverished Kurdish minority, Mr. Erdogan said in an interview with The New York Times on Tuesday.

As part of the push, the government will dedicate a state television channel to Kurdish language broadcasting, a measure that Kurds in Turkey have sought for years. The Turkish state has imposed severe restrictions on the use of Kurdish, arguing that allowing that freedom would strengthen the Kurds’ desire to form a separate state.
I hope it works. Seems a better and more productive approach than a civil war.

Kurds should be allowed to use their own language and indulge in their own culture, as should any minority.
 

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