Erdogan, Dersim and the KCK


How convenient for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to throw the Dersim massacre apology on the table precisely on the days in which “law is being murdered” to quote BDP co-chair Selahattin Demirtas.
It has become a routinely fashion for the PM when there is a poignant issue on the table to switch the attention to something else.
So the failures and disastrous dealing of the earthquake in Van have soon forgotten replaced by the “more urgent” (according to the PM) KCK question. Out the dead and debris of a region which (it is worth to remember it) is still paying a heavy price, in terms of lives to the quake: every day a tent burns down, kids die of hunger or cold. So out that failure, in the peculiar running of justice according to the AKP. Hundreds of people, mostly Kurds, are being arrested every day all over the country. Politicians, activists, human rights defenders. Their crime ? Allegedly being part of the KCK (Kurdish Communities Union), which for the AKP government (and most media) equals being members of the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party) and therefore of an illegal organisation and therefore liable of being put behind bars.
What everybody in the establishment circle as well as in most of the media, do fails (deliberately ?) to explain is what exactly the KCK is but more to the point what exactly the accused and jailed people have done to deserve being put in prison? In other words, which crimes have they committed ? Because, unless Turkish law  does it differently, it is internationally recognised that a) one is innocent until proven guilty, and b) let’s face it: to be put in jail something a bit more consistent than a speech should be produced as evidence.
In Turkey, no. It does not work – apparently – like this. Certainly it is not working following international legal standards when it comes to the KCK case. We could go through the 7000 names of people arrested in the last 7 months and you would see that no one is actually in prison for a blood act or, even, for resistance to a public officer. The point here is that the people currently in prison are behind bars mostly for speech they have pronounced to this or that “peace meeting”. And indeed if you go even deeper and allow some time to read the text of the speeches made by BDP executives, or human rights activists, you will find nothing inciting to war. On the contrary the speeches talk of peace, dialogue, need for a truth commission, negotiation, sitting around the talks table as equal parties, road map…
Academics have been the next to be hit by the judiciary.
First in this KCK theorem were the politicians (party executives as well as democratically elected local administrators and members). So, one could say, first to be hit has been the ‘arm’, those who put in practice ideas (and ideals), new policies for the local governance and work hard everyday within the public administration as well as in the streets not just to try and solve the problems and needs of the people, but also to try and implement a new local governance (a common governance, as Toni Negri would call it). Indeed this attempts have a name, Democratic Autonomy. Not a different, separate state, nor a state within the state, but another way of governing cities, regions. Something scary, yes, for the centralised and bureaucratic minds of those in Ankara who like a Pavlov reflex see everything different and new as a threat to the status quo. No matter how but and not working the status quo is. So the Democratic Autonomy has been perceived as threatening from the beginning by the State and government alike. Why? because it challenges, theoretically and practically the status quo. More, it proposes a different model to replace in time the agonising (or is it dead?) nation-state model.
Unbearable and therefore must be eliminated.
So second in the row have been the intellectuals, the academics. Their crime ? To articulate what and how the Democratic Autonomy is and functions. Again, it is worth to notice that like the politicians, the academics were essentially talking. So words are deemed a crime in Turkey.
The third in the row have been the lawyers. A difficult step to take, because considering that huge outrage has been expressed after the arrest of the academics, it was safe to think that to arrest dozens of lawyers could provoke the same reaction. So here comes Dersim and the apology of the PM for the 1938 genocide. Erdogan has carefully chosen the subject. Not a coincidence that he decided to use the one issue which, he knew it, will send the opposition party, the CHP (Republican’s People Party) in a panic. “You were the only party at the time of the Dersim massacre – he said – yet I would apologise for it, being the PM now”. But – he added – you should show some guts (he did not say that exactly but this was the message) and make a public apology. The stone was thrown in the lake. The CHP fell in the trap and is now ripped up in an internal feud. While all the media are talking about that as well, eagerly waiting if the CHP leader will be ‘sacrificed’ on the Dersim altar.
Everybody busy, then. Just the right condition to go on with the third phase of the KCK case. The lawyers. Arrested in their dozens. Sent to prison. Their crime? Here it must be said the prosecutors managed some show of ‘creativity’. Most of them, it must be recalled, are acting as lawyers for the Kurdish leader Abdullah Ocalan. So what the prosecutor accused them of ? To talk with Ocalan. Sadly is no joke. So talk to your client, for a lawyer, becomes a crime. Of course the prosecutor elaborated on that, it was not just “visiting and talking” to your client it was also “taking orders” from him. Orders which then were passed on to unspecified people who would implemented them. What the prosecutor conveniently forgot to say was that indeed all of Ocalan’s meetings with his lawyers have been duly recorded by the prison authorities.
BDP co-chair Demirtas has warned that the next in line are the MP. And indeed the circle is closing around the neck of the Kurdish people.
The international community as usual is rather quiet. Turkey has established itself as a credible ally and above all as the bridgehead (or Trojan Horse) in the turmoiled region. So, it seems a more and more devastated Europe is unwilling and unable to rise its voice. Yet the international community should say something and should say it quickly. Before the murder of law and democracy in Turkey is made.

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