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Tale of Two Countries: Macedonia and Turkey
by Rick Rozoff [1 September 2001]
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Despite the heavily biased tone of the 'Reuters' dispatch, reprinted below, which has the U.S. State Department's fingerprints all over it, enough of the truth gets through to make an interesting contrast between how NATO deals with issues of ethnic rights in Turkey, a key NATO member, and in Macedonia, a designated colony.

The large ethnic and linguistic Kurdish community in Turkey is denied even a modicum of civil and cultural rights, even the right to print and broadcast in their own language - even the right to publicly declare themselves to be what they are, Kurds.

Contrary to the disinformation contained below, the main Kurdish political party, the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK), has for years now disavowed the goal of independence and has instead struggled solely for what the rest of the world would consider the most basic of rights. Nothing more.

Also, the 'Reuters' piece intentionally misleads readers by repeating the Turkish government's claim that PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is guilty of "leading a campaign...that cost over 30,000 lives."

In fact, the vast bulk of those deaths are those of Kurds, massacred and hunted down like animals both in Turkey and Northern Iraq by Ankara's military, trained and armed as it is by NATO, the United States, Germany and their allies.

However, when Western intelligence-trained, underworld-funded, racist separatist insurrectionists go on a rampage in Macedonia - as in Kosovo before that - the West, NATO in the first place, insists that the government under siege negotiate with the assailants, share power with them, and even incorporate them into the state security apparatus; yet NATO's Lord Robertson is conspicuously missing when it comes to the Kurdish tragedy in Turkey, where his NATO spearhead into the Caucasus and the Caspian Sea is left to sort things out on its own: Through repression, murder and ethnocide.

NATO of late appears to have discarded the cynical misuse of terms like 'humanitarian intervention;' with good reason, as there's nothing humanitarian, humane or even human about their intents and their actions.

Ask the Turkish Kurds if there is in any doubt.

-- Rick Rozoff

Friday August 31 12:17 PM ET

Turkish Police Disperse Pro-Ocalan Demonstrators

DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (Reuters) - Turkish police in the mainly Kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir fired into the air to disperse up to 3,000 people chanting slogans on Friday in support of Kurdish rebel leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Protesters hurled stones at police, who advanced with batons or took cover behind riot shields. Diyarbakir police said in a statement 25 people were detained in the protest while 11 policemen and eight protesters were injured.

The crowd had gathered in the city center, preparing to board buses to travel to the capital Ankara for a demonstration planned for Saturday by the country's only legal Kurdish party, the Kurdish People's Democratic Party (HADEP).

The demonstration by HADEP, facing a possible ban over charges that it serves separatist Ocalan's guerrillas, aimed to bring 100,000 people together from all around the country.

The Interior Ministry has refused permission for the rally, but activists still plan protests.

World Peace Day on September 1 has become a traditional protest day for Kurdish activists who seek cultural rights, or independence, for Turkey's 12 million Kurds. Immediate demands include use of Kurdish language in education and broadcasting. They also want the death penalty to be scrapped. Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) leader Ocalan was sentenced to death for leading a campaign for Kurdish self-rule that cost over 30,000 lives.

He is now jailed on a Turkish island and awaiting the result of his appeal to a European Court.

Turkish authorities see "Apo's" call after a 1999 death sentence for a switch to peaceful political campaigning as a ruse to escape the noose and refuse to negotiate with the PKK.

"Police intervened when the crowd began shouting 'Long live Apo, long live peace, long live the PKK'," an eyewitness said.

Police later fired into the air and the protesters withdrew to nearby narrow streets.

Violence has declined markedly in the region over the last two years, but there is little sign of political progress in defusing remaining tensions. Several major cities in the area have elected HADEP mayors.

(c) 2001 'Reuters' - Repritned for Fair Use Only

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