Finding truth and justice
Mustafa Karasu, 04.07.2011
Journalist Cengiz Candar has prepared a report, Leaving the mountains: How the PKK may laydown arms? However, the report is founded on the ending of violence and endto the guerrilla struggle. Initially it is important to highlight the fact that this is a wrong approach because problems are not solved without demands beingmet. When demands are met then problems will be solved and there is no moreneed for resort to armed struggle. Cengiz Candar also concedes that “we didn’t touch upon the subject of demands and a solution,” however this does not justify him.
The source of the problem is neither the PKK nor the guerrilla forces. When the Kurdish issue is solved in the political arena, the problem ofarms and ending the guerrilla struggle can be solved immediately. Nobody isinsistent on continuing their existence in these different conditions. Greatbeliefs and ideals are needed to endure these conditions. Therefore Cengiz Candar has begun the argument from the wrong perspective.
It is important that he has said that the problem will not besolved without the PKK and Kurdish Peoples' leader Abdullah Ocalan. However,this can only be achieved by being in control and exercising political will.This is why it is meaningless to speak of an end to the armed struggle withoutfirst setting out the political road map to a solution.
Candar has said that he had to balance many things in thereport, that he took a balanced approach. However we must protest: where thereis a problem you cannot reach a solution by taking this route. You must be onthe side of justice. And there are universal measures to achieve this. Problemscannot be solved without expressing this honestly. This is why we must actaccording to our conscience and moral outlook. Cengiz Candar needs to approachthis issue impartially; how would he approach it if he was writing about anotherpeople numbering 20 million and living in the conditions that Kurds live in, inanother country? Not much is being asked for; we only want the approach atypical democrat would show.
On the other hand there are things in the report which do notbelong there. Whether they are correct or false, these types of reports need tohave a certain level of quality. The report leads readers to believe that thePKK is involved in drug smuggling. The report creates the perception that rebelgroups traffic in narcotics. This claim against the PKK is founded on a reportby the USA; if this is true then don’t the Turkish authorities need to have adocument proving this? These types of insinuations are not befitting of CengizCandar.
There are interesting evaluations, comments and quotes regardingthe inner-workings of the PKK. In the section where Candar covers an end toviolence, he questions the existence of those that are preventing it. Ratherthan saying that the Turkish state’s policy of deadlock is the reason for thecontinuing violence, he has connected it the supposed ‘warlords’ within the PKK. Although he does this with quotes from other people and sources, the factthat they are in the report is significant and done deliberately. As if theconditions for a peaceful solution have developed, the state has takenimportant steps in solving the issue and there have been people in the PKK whohave prevented this! What can using quotes to create this type ofinterpretation mean?
We cannot claim that Cengiz Candar is an inexperiencedjournalist. It is impossible that he does not know the function of the magazine ‘Aksiyon.’ It is not a secret that this magazine is in direct contact with thestate’s intelligence services and instigates psychological warfare against thePKK. It is interesting that Candar has used this magazine, which lies andmanipulates knowingly, as a source for his report. In places Candar says,“certain approaches will block a solution, attempting to divide the PKK orcreate the perception of a divided PKK will not work,” but he is also carefulto add quotes from magazines like ‘Aksiyon.’
The most shameful and ugly part of the report concerns the Aleviidentity of certain PKK members and Candar’s analysis that they act in certainways because they are Alevi’s. Certain prejudices have been expressed andcomments made regarding this issue. This approach is neither scientific norobjective and damages the respectability of the report. Candar continues thisshameful and obscene analysis in his recent reportage with the ‘Taraf’newspaper. To speak of such things at a time when an historical issue such asthe Kurdish issue needs to be solved is at best superficial.
During the elections the Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoganreferred to CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s Alevi identity in a derogatorymanner. He used it as a political weapon. This is what we call dirty politics,below the belt politics. The policies of the CHP and Kilicdaroglu can becriticised heavily, but to attack them using the religious identity of itsleader is unacceptable and will not resolve any problems. I find the things inCandar’s report as poor as this. I suspect Cengiz Candar saw this as anAchilles’ heel. Others are trying to further manipulate what was said in the reportand then reportage.
We know why AKP supporters within the press try to manipulateand use these issues. It has become difficult for the AKP to use religion as aweapon against the Kurdish people since the people began praying behind theirown imam’s during Civil Friday prayers. The Kurdish people are no longerlistening to the prayers of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. Now that theKurdish people’s religious sensibilities are no longer being manipulated by theAKP, the press supporting the AKP have embraced Cengiz Candar’s commentsregarding Alevism and the PKK.
What can be said! Cengiz Candar continues to serve the AKP andits supporters. We excuse him. It is difficult for Candar to take sides againstthe AKP and its supporters. This time he will be warned in a different way ifhe doesn’t. In fact he may even be discarded in a more brutal manner. This iswhy he is taking a balanced approach; because if he is criticised by the AKP,then criticism of the PKK is a way out for him.
Cengiz Candar has the right to take a balanced approach. This ishis choice. However this does not make a person consistent. When Oya Eronat(AKP MP who took the place of imprisoned Hatip Dicle after he wasn’t barredfrom the right to take up his seat) was given her mandate Candar criticised herheavily to demonstrate his democrat credentials. He accused her of having nomorals and rightly so. Following the reaction from AKP supporters Candarretreated and began criticising the BDP. He even took it as far as claimingthat the boycotting of Parliament by the BDP meant that they were taking thesame side as the Ergenekon supporters. These words by Candar were expressed inreturn for his criticism of Oya Eronat.
We do not think things should be done in this manner. Thisinconsistency is not acceptable. To see-saw between your democrat conscienceand the desire to please the AKP and its supporters is a difficult art. It mustbe tiring and also spiritually destabilising.
Cengiz Candar accepts that the KCK trials are unjust. However,when the BDP reacts against this injustice he evaluates the party as standing onthe same side as the Ergenekon. This is neither right nor just.
Candar says that the BDP need to partner the AKP! This is verywrong. What is needed is a democratic AKP who comprehend the BDP and have thepolitical will to solve the Kurdish issue. The appeal by Candar is the wrongway round. If an appeal needs to be made it should be made to the AKP. They arenot the victims of an injustice.
It is easy to criticise the BDP, but difficult to criticise theAKP, especially in the current climate.
Turkey needs courageous journalists to criticise the AKP at thispoint. Democratic willed intellectual writers need to criticise the AKP just asthey are criticising the CHP and MHP. If this deficiency is not rectified thenit will be very difficult for democracy and freedom to take root in Turkey. AnAKP that is Muslim and democrat only to itself will create a Turkey that isalso only Muslim and democrat to itself.
From all this it is clear that Turkey has not overcome thisculture of consecrating the powerful. When one sovereign is replaced byanother, this consecration continues unquestioned. The culture of democraticpolitics still has not taken root. A Turkey where the powerful is always deemedright continues. Political forces such as the CHP and MHP have been uncoveredand there mentalities regressed. If this happens to the AKP, who are now thenew state party, then the road to democracy will be opened in Turkey.
We will continue with our evaluation of Cengiz Candar’s report.