Saturday, February 18, 2006

Is it Time for Israel to Embrace PKK?

Here is something from AP on Kurdistan Observer, which I got from Mizgîn at Rastibini .

I will put it up in its entirety because I think it is an interesting question. There are some who feel that PKK could be better analogized to the Irgun, early Zionist freedom fighters.

I would appreciate any comments.

It Is Time For Israel To Embrace PKK

Turkey Rejects Israeli Criticism Over Hamas
Associated Press
Feb 18, 2006

A visit by the exiled political leader of Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, to the Turkish capital has triggered a new diplomatic rift between US allies Israel and Turkey, two years after the Turkish premier accused Israel of engaging in state terrorism against Palestinians. Turkey yesterday rejected Israeli criticism of the visit of Khaled Mesha'al and said an Israeli spokesman's comparison of the Palestinian group to Kurdish guerrillas in Turkey was an "unfortunate statement."

Mesha'al met Thursday with Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul, prompting Israel's government spokesman Ra'anan Gissin to condemn the visit in an interview with Turkey's private NTV television. "How would you feel if we got together with Abdullah Ocalan?" Gissin asked NTV, referring to the imprisoned leader of the outlawed Kurdish guerrilla group fighting for autonomy in Turkey's southeast.

Turkey's Foreign Ministry said yesterday that the Israeli spokesman had made "an unfortunate statement." "We think the comparison in this statement is totally baseless and wrong," the ministry said. "We relayed our discomfort and dissatisfaction with this statement to Israel yesterday." The ministry also suggested that the Israeli remarks were prompted by Israeli "domestic political concerns."

Ocalan's rebels have been fighting for autonomy in the largely Kurdish southeast since 1984 in a war which has claimed more than 37,000 lives. Both Ocalan's Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, and Hamas are branded as terrorist organizations by the US State Department.
Turkey, which has close ties with both Israel and the Palestinians, has been urging Hamas - which won a landslide victory in legislative elections last month - to reject violence as it assembles a new Palestinian government. The US and the European Union have threatened to cut off aid to the Palestinians unless Hamas - which has called for Israel's destruction and killed hundreds of Israelis in suicide bombings - recognizes Israel and renounces violence. Hamas has given no indication it will change its ideology, but has said it would stick to a long-term cease-fire if Israel reciprocates.

Turkey said Thursday it had urged Mesha'al to meet international expectations and adopt a more conciliatory and flexible attitude. Israel and Turkey, an overwhelmingly Muslim state, have long had strong military ties and important trade links. But relations grew strained in 2004 when Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose party has its roots in Turkey's Islamic movement, accused Israel of state terrorism in an interview with Israel's Ha'aretz newspaper.

Asked whether he considered Israel's actions against the Palestinians "state terrorism," Erdogan responded: "How else can you interpret it?"
Relations thawed after both Gul and Erdogan visited Israel last year, expressing hope that Turkey could act as a mediator between Israel and the Muslim world.

But Deniz Baykal, leader of the main opposition Republican People's Party, said yesterday that the visit by the Hamas delegation would damage Turkey's image severely. "It would lead to questioning of Turkey's determination against violence and terrorism in the world," Baykal told a news conference. "It would have grave consequences for Turkish foreign policy."

Ilnur Cevik, editor in chief of The New Anatolian newspaper, said Turkey should have kept its contacts with Hamas silent and avoided contact with Mesha'al. "But it seems someone in Ankara couldn't resist the temptation to conduct the contacts with Hamas so openly and thus win points with the conservative masses of Turkey, who have deep sympathies for the Palestinian cause," Cevik said

The Foreign Ministry on Thursday said the Hamas delegation was allowed to visit Turkey "as the representatives of a group which won elections," as part of Turkey's efforts to further peace process. "If Turkey doesn't get the clout of the EU behind itself and can't arm itself with the consent of the US and Israel, then how it can perform the function as 'interlocutor valuable'," asked Cengiz Candar, a political analyst with The New Anatolian.

"It, all of a sudden, may find itself in the awkward position of promoting Hamas rather than playing such a role."


Juanita said...

Get this:
The Dalai Lama on Wednesday urged Hamas to renounce violence, but refused to take sides in the increasingly bloody dispute over cartoons of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.

At the start of a five-day visit to the Israel and the Palestinian areas, the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader also said he is optimistic about talks between his envoys and Chinese government officials. An emissary of the Dalai Lama arrived in China on Wednesday for the fifth round of meetings since 2002, and the Dalai Lama said the atmosphere has been improving.

The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet more than four decades ago during a failed revolt against Chinese rule and now lives across the border in India, brushed aside reports that China is upset with Israel for allowing him to visit.

Israel Radio reported that the Chinese consul in Tel Aviv had sent a letter of protest to the Israeli authorities, comparing the Dalai Lama to the head of the Islamic militant Hamas, which is sworn to Israel's destruction. "If China would let the head of Hamas visit, Israel would be angry," the radio station cited the letter as saying.

Mizgîn said...

Hehehe. . . the Dalai Lama is like the head of Hamas??! Good one. The Chinese must be talking to the Turks.

As for Israel embracing PKK. . .

I agree with the Turkish foreign ministry. Gissin's statement is "totally baseless and wrong." I agree that there is NO comparison.

The Israeli government has not ethnically cleansed over 3 million Arabs nor has it destroyed some 4,000 Arab villages. But the Turkish government HAS ethnically cleansed over 3 million Kurds and HAS destroyed some 4,000 Kurdish villages.

The Israeli government has allowed the Arabs to organize politically. The Turkish government has closed one Kurdish political organization after another, has imprisoned or extrajudicially murdered the members of those organizations. Or placed them on "terrorist list." Or prevents them from having any place in parliament, due to the 10% threshold. Or, if Kurds do get into parliament, they are imprisoned for 15 years for speaking their mother language in the parliament.

The Israeli government has not prevented journalists from going to the Arab areas, but the Turkish government, by declaring a "state of emergency" in Turkish-occupied Kurdistan, HAS prevented journalists from going there to report on the situation during the years of the "dirty war" (1980-1999).

I also think the Israeli leadership should look at a relationship with PKK, not on a tit-for-tat basis to get back at Turkey, but because the Kurdish cause is a just one, especially in light of the fact of cultural genocide that has been, and continues to be, engaged against the Kurds of Turkish-occupied Kurdistan.

Stella said...

An excellent article, coupled with erudite comments!

Mizgîn said...

I forgot something. . . it is not, and has never been, PKK's policy to wipe Turkey or Turks off the map. Just let the TSK and the Turkish government get the hell out of Kurdistan.