The Importance of What Is Happening to the Kurds

We publish an article by Hungarian philosopher Gâspâr Miklôs Tamâs who calls for support for the Kurdish cause, saying that especially Turks should support their Kurdish brothers and sisters, as neither oppression nor freedom have a race or an ethnicity.

The ongoing tragedy of a great people should preoccupy us all. When Hitler was asked by his acolytes whether posterity will be horrified by what the Nazis have done to the Jews, he answered, nobody remembers how the Armenians were killed in 1915. He was quite right, nobody much remembers the Armenian genocide (1.5 million dead) and the world is full of Holocaust-deniers, not to speak of those would like to complete it. The Kurds are – like the Armenians and the Jews were then – a stateless people. Kurds are scattered in Turkey, Iraq, Iran, Syria and other countries where they constitute a distinct, autonomous minority, with its own complex politics and culture, but without the protection even the worst states are extending to their denizens. They are bravely defending themselves against a host of enemies but, under international law, they have no rights, as the Armenians and the Jews had none, with the results we know.

The Armenians and the Jews were abandoned to their fate by the Western powers – at the infamous international conference of Évian-les-Bains (6-15 July 1938) with the exception of the Dominican Republic no state would accept Jewish refugees, the Jewish representative, Golda Meir was not even allowed to speak, and the Nazi press wrote, see, no one is willing to put up with the Jews – and so are the Kurds.

We all know about the murderous attack of President Erdoğan and his Turkish army on the Kurds of Syria. But this is not all. We should keep in mind what goes on in Turkey itself where a perfectly legal parliamentary party is treated in the following way, according to a recent report:

‘On 15 October 2019, the police raided the municipalities of Hakkari, Yüksekova, Nusaybin and Erciş, and detained the co-mayor of Hakkari, Mr Cihan Karaman, the co-mayors of Yüksekova, Ms Remziye Yaşar and Mr İrfan Sarı, the co-mayors of Erciş, Ms Yıldız Çetin and Mr Bayram Çiçek, and the co-mayors of Nusaybin, Ms Semire Nergiz and Mr Ferhat Kut. On17 October, the co-mayors Cihan Karaman, İrfan Sarı, Remziye Yaşar, Semire Nergiz and Ferhat Kut were arrested with the typical charges of “making terror propaganda” and “membership in a terrorist organization”. On 18 October, the Minister of Interior appointed “trustees” to replace the mayors of Hakkari, Nusaybin and Yüksekova, which increased the number of “trustee-run” HDP municipalities to eight. On 21 October 2019, the suspended co-mayor of Diyarbakır Metropolitan Municipality, Mr Adnan Selçuk Mızraklı was detained together with Kayapınar Municipality’s Ms Keziban Yılmaz and the co-mayor of Bismil Municipality, Mr Orhan Ayaz due to an “ongoing legal investigation” against them’ – and so on. These people are alive, but we should not forget for a second that the struggle is going on at all fronts, in spite of questionable ‘ceasefires’ and other Erdoğan tricks.

The Kurdish people is strong, but in the absence of an internationally recognised common state it cannot indefinitely defend itself in the face of some of the strongest armies on earth. As it does not own a sovereign state, the international legal rules against aggression – which is illegal – cannot be applied in its case. This obstacle could have been overridden by Europe, if it did not submit to Erdoğan’s blackmail, threatening to ‘unleash’ a plague of refugees on the continent, a thought unbearable to racist governments and to nations infected by the racist germ. The contemptible European Parliament has just voted down a proposal aiming to support rescue attempts in the Mediterranean, the majority is apparently in favour of people drowning while trying to escape from violent death.

The situation could not be worse and the moral quality of the main ‘democratic’ players on the world stage is as despicable as it has always been in similar cases. I am sorry to add that ‘my’ government, the Hungarian one, was not even hypocritical, it supports openly and loudly Mr Erdoğan’s initiative. We have protested in Budapest against this and we shall protest again on the 7th of November, when the Turkish president will have the effrontery to visit Hungary in these circumstances and the Hungarian prime minister, Mr Orbán will be impertinent enough to welcome him. But this is just a detail.

The main thing is that all men and women of good will should support the Kurdish cause in the whole world – and even more important that Turks should support their Kurdish brothers and sisters, as neither oppression nor freedom have a race or an ethnicity. No national solidarity – or, to put it more clearly, complicity – is sufficient to excuse support for cruelty, injustice and murder. These are, of course, commonplaces, but they happen to be true.

It is a mere nothing that we are thinking of you and we are not forgetting you, as we have no power, this does not help. But believe me, these governments who have left you in the lurch, will pay for it: the hour of reckoning is nigh.