Firat News: Let Us Meet at the Barricades for Peace – Ertuğrul Kürkçü

The co-President of the HDP Ertuğrul Kürkçü, speaking at a meeting of HDP MPs, told those assembled that what suits the Gezi youth is to be demonstrators for peace, not soldiers, and that “we will not die nor we will kill nor will be soldiers for anyone” – according to an article in today’s Özgür Gündem. He went on to call for people to see Abdullah Öcalan as a “peace maker” and someone who wants to set up the conditions by which people from different communities and walks of life can live together in harmony.

Kürkçü went on to criticize the characterization of the problem in Turkey as one of ‘terror,’ as well as the seeming inability of many to grasp with the full scope of problem, arguing “The great professors, without knowing anything, are putting all their money into a garbage bin, asking that the state put an end to terror. Oh let something hit you in the head. Can we call this society healthy if a professor gives everything she has to a scammer in a single phone call because she was told this would help to fight terrorism? This kind of lunacy can only exist during war. The Kurdish people have learned to cope with war and despite war they have learned to be human beings. Now it is the work of others to learn this.”

Kürkçü went on to speak to the dangers facing the peace process, saying “we are worried. The most significant consequence of the negotiation process not being continued is that the pullback has stopped. The guerillas are no longer pulling back. And if shooting breaks out? What kind of mechanism is there no to prevent this? The government doesn’t have one. If they do then the freedom movement has one too.” Kürkçü emphasized the need for pressure from Turkish society so that the peace process would continue, saying “In order to get on with this process society and NGO’s should take peace initiatives independently. Without there being a need from a call from Öcalan and the ‘Wise Ones’, people need to roll up their sleeves in order to establish structures like peace parliaments. What are socialists, democrats, and populists waiting for? The building of peace barricades and the closing of the road to war is more important than anything else.”

On the Media

Kürkçü also addressed the failure of the media to support peace, asking the assembled press “What did you do for a journalism of peace? Compared to the past how much have you emphasized those who are pursuing peace? Wherever we look we still find the same threatening discourse. In fact the government and the capitalists allied with it have taken control of seventy-five percent of the media. You are not obligated to make everything that comes out of the government’s mouth into news. Wherever there is an opportunity for peace you should look there. We expect that you will write about the new organizations that are emerging in order to develop negotiations and work toward equal citizenship. Peace is a serious issue that cannot be left to the state or the government.”

The Government is Exploiting Nationalist Sentiments

Kürkçü reminded his audience that he wanted Öcalan to be understood as a force for ‘peacemaking’ and that if he had not made his call on Newroz the process would not have come this far. Kürkçü continue by saying “We do not stick up our noses at Öcalan’s judgement that peace is the proper path. To walk this path is a clean and honest mentality and is tied in with throwing out of the equation all those elements that will break this balance.” Kürkçü went on to accuse the government of exploiting nationalist sentiments and claimed that nothing more than a “sneeze” emerged from its reform package.

“If there is no solution in Kurdistan there will be none in Turkey”

Kürkçü explained that Öcalan was attempting to establish the conditions by which peoples of different backgrounds could live together peacefully, and argued that “the government prefers to meet with hand-picked individuals from Southern Kurdistan. That Barzani was hosted as an official guest in Diyarbakir is certainly important in the sense that it moves beyond the old prejudices. However we did not arrive at such days easily.  Both the peace initiative undertaken by Öcalan and the popular revolution in Rojava have changed the status quo in the Middle East. For that reason we want the same generosity that was shown in hosting Barzani in Diyarbakir to be shown to the PYD leader Salih Muslim. We also want this to be shown to the legal spokespeople of the Kurdish people in Turkey, the BDP co-presidents Kişanak and Demirtaş. If there is no solution in Kurdistan there will be none in Turkey. That old story about how that village over there belongs to us is left over from the 1930’s. We will go over to that village over there and will be together with them.”

“It is important that the HDP go to İmrali”

Kürkçü explained that the issue was not simply one of committees being sent to İmrali Island, where Öcalan is currently imprisoned, saying “with Sırra Süreyya Önder we were involved with these meetings from the first day. It is important that our friends such as Sırra Süreyya Önder are part of the negotiation committee and that the HDP go to İmrali. We have been made a party to the peace negotiations. The HDP rests on this foundation.” Finally Kürkçü affirmed that this by itself was not a enough and that the people needed to step in, arguing “that which is fitting for the Gezi youth is to be demonstrators for peace, not soldiers. We will not die nor we will kill nor will be soldiers for anyone. The government’s operation against the youth is because of this. This has nothing to do with traditional morality but is the approach of a crusader mentality that wants to push the youth aside. Is it possible for a government that approaches young people this way to continue? Attacks on student residences are attacks on the whole of society. It is the product of an attitude that says I will do anything to those who do not think like me. The people is responsible for its own morality.”

* Translation by The Rojava Report

ANF – Ankara
13 November 2013