A few days ago, the head of Turkey’s far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Devlet Bahçeli made a statement:
“It should be known that if there are efforts to start a new peace process in Turkey, the Turkish nation will never drink this virulent poison.”
The peace process was the negotiations between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s government and jailed leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, Abdullah Öcalan, which many had hoped was the best chance yet of ending a 30-year ethnic conflict. The negotiations were announced publicly in 2012 and ended in 2015.
Bahçeli says a new peace process – in which no one died — would be suicide for the Turkish nation. He supports the ongoing conflict, violence and destruction. He must be thinking this is patriotism; war, violence and destruction should protect the Turkish nation.
Yes, the Turkish nation will be protected by imprisoning Kurdish deputies and mayors, destroying Kurdish cities and cemeteries, leaving their dead bodies on the streets, banning the Kurdish language and culture, and appointing mayors in the place of elected ones.
When the “jin, jiyan, azadi” (women, life, freedom) slogan is censored in the parliamentary assembly, the Turkish nation will be protected!
Not only within the borders of Turkey but also outside Turkey’s borders, the Turkish nation will be saved when Turkey fights “for the Kurd not to see his mother”.
The saying originates from a well-known bitter joke. A Kurd on death row is asked his final wish, and he says, “To see my mother.” Then a Turk facing death is asked the same question and he responds: “For the Kurd not to see his mother”.
Erdoğan, speaking at a badge-pinning ceremony for Turkish commandos said last week:
”If God allows it, very soon, with the support of our commandos wearing their badges today, we will rout the terror nests to the east of the Euphrates.“
The Turkish nation will be protected by destruction. It will be protected by the dead bodies of young Turks and Kurds in the prime of their lives. Now, municipalities are preparing cemeteries in case soldiers die. The Turkish nation will be protected by filling these graves!
“I see every young man as a potential commando candidate,” Erdoğan continued at the same ceremony. The Turkish nation will be protected when you see young people as commando candidates rather than potential engineers, doctors, lawyers, artists, academicians, scientists or architects.
If the president of Turkey talks like this, would the Minister of the Interior, Süleyman Soylu, refrain from doing so? He wouldn’t and says:
“From Jarablus to Afrin, to Azaz, from Kato to Gabar, Cudi, Pülümür, Kutuderesi, Tendürek and Ağrı, we are calling the shots.”
It is true. So, what decisions do you take?
No need to go too far. It is possible to see the effects of your decisions of death, hatred, polarisation all over society.
In many cities of Turkey, from the west to the east, it is possible to see the consequences. In the lush green valleys of Rize and Ordu, you can see houses carrying the Turkish flag.
When you approach these poor, wooden houses, you will see old parents mourning for their children who died in their boots.
You will see the same scene in Niğde, Karaman, Aksaray, where I went from village to village. If you go to the eastern parts of Turkey, you will hear the same lament from the houses of the Kurds, and you will see the defiance, the fury and the anger.
When you say you call the shots, a poison is coming out of your mouth. That poison is spreading throughout society.
Everybody has spat blood on each other. Everybody focuses on each other’s negative side. They are humiliating and attacking each other. Just as the government has done, people are also swearing not to give each other peace.
It doesn’t matter if you are a Turk or a Kurd. We have long lived in this poison as a society.
A small minority of people are struggling not to get poisoned.
Yes, nothing should be resolved, peace should never come, young people should die, everyone should fall out with each other, no one should like each other, mothers should always cry because we protect the Turkish nation!
But it is clear that the nation can not be protected this way. While I was finishing this article, there was breaking news in the media. There was an explosion of military ammunition in the south-east corner of Turkey’s Hakkari military base and four soldiers were killed, seven soldiers were missing and 25 soldiers were wounded.
All these young people, all these lives…
Let me conclude with a statement made by columnist Ümit Kıvanç on social media in response to Bahçeli’s words:
“Let’s die, kill, let us see no peace, let’s imprison everyone, let’s make everyone upset, let’s swim in the poison, let’s turn into poison, but not drink the poison.”