Turkey: Government accused of “cultural genocide” in Kurdish region
In a 46-pages article, a British author describes the situation in the Kurdish region of Turkey as a “cultural genocide” and states that in numerous cases the new anti-terror law in Turkey is being misused against freedom of expression
“It needs to be understood that in this US backed ‘War on Terror’, schoolchildren, students, poets, musicians, writers, publishers, human rights campaigners, academics, lawyers and artists are all being targeted in a manner that surely must be questioned and opposed,” writes British human rights activist and author Desmond Fernandes in his article, ‘Turkey’s Us Backed ‘War On Terror’: A Cause For Concern?’
As far as musicians are concerned he mentions four examples:
1) A group of students from Nigde University were on trial for separatism and terror, because they watched Kurdish television and listened to Kurdish music.
2) Members of KESK Music Group were charged with having sung in Kurdish during a festival organised by teachers’ union Egitim-Sen in Diyarbakir in 2002, and a court case was restarted on 2 April 2004.
3) In a European Commission 2004 report, it was confirmed that “in March 2004 The Radio and Television Supreme Council ordered the closure for 30 days of ART TV, a local television channel broadcasting from Diyarbakir, on the grounds that it had violated ‘the principle of the indivisibility of the state’ when, in August 2003, it broadcast two Kurdish love songs”.
4) The Radio and Television Supreme Council issued a warning to one tv channel which had shown a music programme with songs in Kurdish. This was based on a provision which prohibits programmes that are ‘in breach of the general principles of the Constitution and national security’.
It has become apparent, Desmond Fernandes writes, that because PKK is labelled a terrorist organisation and is making propaganda for the right to use the Kurdish language, consequently, anyone who advocates the right to use the Kurdish language is guilty of supporting (‘aiding and abetting’, Article 169 of the Turkish Penal Code) a terrorist organisation.
“Kurdish organisations, Kurdish associations and even the Kurds themselves and their ‘pro-Kurdish human rights supporters’, to many within the Turkish ‘deep state’, are the ‘terrorist parasites’ who are to be targeted in the name of this US backed ‘War on Terror,” writes Desmond Fernandes.
Kurds represent approximately 20 percent of the population in Turkey.
About Desmond Fernandes
Desmond Fernandes is the author of ‘The Kurdish Genocide in Turkey’ (which is to be published in 2007 by Apec Press, Stockholm) and has written a number of articles on genocide, Turkish state terror, tourism and the ‘Kurdish Question’. He was a Senior Lecturer in Human Geography at De Montfort University in Bedford from 1994 to 2006, specialising in Genocide Studies, Sustainable Development, Globalisation and Imperialism. He is currently a member of the Consortium for Research on Terrorology and Political Violence (CRTPV). CRTPV is a consortium of academics operating under the auspices of NASPIR (The Network of Activist Scholars of Politics and International Relations) and the Public Interest Research Network (PIRN) on issues relating to the ‘War on Terror’.