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06 03 12 - Kurdish Conference Marked with Controversy over Zana
A panel discussion on the Kurdish issue in Turkey was hosted amid hot and strange opinions on the Dolapdere campus of Bilgi University in cooperation with the Helsinki Citizens Assembly and the Empathy Group.

Described by some as the Southwest issue, and described by others as the Kurdish problem, participants struggled to find a common ground to share. There was hot debate between Ahmet Turk, the former deputy of the defunct Democratic Party (DEP), and Umit Firat, one of the organizers of the conference during the second session titled “Organizations and Experiences” that took place in the morning. Mr. Turk criticized Umit’s interview with Hurriyet, a Turkish daily, that contained angry statements over the refusal to invite those who chose violence to the conference: “Not long before the conference began, discussions began over Leyla Zana being refused an invitation to this conference.” Firat responded by refuting Hurriyet’s news report. Sefa Kaplan, a Hurriyet reporter, who interviewed Mr. Firat, and who also attended the conference, claimed he had evidence to confirm the news article was true.

Sertac Bucak, the founder and former president of the International Center for Human Rights of the Kurds, pressed the terror organization PKK, the Kurdish Worker’s Party, for disarmament during the first session titled “The Evolution of Kurdish Issue and its Historical Background” when he said: “Armed resistance fits well in with the policies of status quo in Turkey. The last three days of bombings, like those in Van, are a clear indication of what I just said now. However, anyone who acknowledges the existence of the Kurdish issue should not be claimed a separatist.” When Ali Bayramoglu, a journalist, asked about the allegations that the Kurds committed the murder of a massive number of Armenians, sociologist Ismail Besikci responded by saying: “The Intelligence Service contained many Kurdish people. Freed from the prison, promised possession, the Kurds were coaxed by the then government into participating in the Armenian genocide. The Kurds then did not act on their own free will. In the killing of many Kurds such as Musa Anter, the Kurds were again used to trigger violence.”

Professor Ahmet Insal argued during the session on nationalism that nationalism is an exclusionist discourse when he said “nationalism is impossible to integrate with peace." Mumtaz’er Turkone, professor at Gazi University, and a Zaman columnist, argued in response that the Turkish nationalism is not propelled by the Turks. “Perhaps the Kurds contributed more to the Turkish nationalism than the Turks did,” said Turkone, “It is the Macedonians and Circassians who founded the Republic and they created the nationalism in order to protect the state. Ziya Gokalp, the author of The Basics of Turkish Nationalism, was also of Kurdish origin.”

On their way to Bilgi University, the participants were protested by Artist Bedri Baykam and members of the Patriotic Movement, a radical right-wing movement in Turkey.

NATIONAL 03.12.2006 Sunday - ISTANBUL 14:42
Kurdish Conference Marked with Controversy over Zana
By Erkan Acar, Cagri Cobanoglu, Serbest Ozden, Istanbul
Published: Sunday, March 12, 2006


Il sito è curato dall'Arch. Vahé Vartanian e dal Dott. Enzo Mainardi;
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