“I call a cat a cat.”
Because of the facetiousness surrounding the Treaty of Lausanne, the Turkish Republic only recognized two ethnic groups: Jews and Greeks, because of a long-standing animosity between Jews, Greeks and ethnic Turks. These ethnic groups are protected under a regime that give them the same rights as Turks.
The question remains what Turkey has to say about Kurds, Nogais, Zazas, Ossetians, Laz, Arabs, Georgians, and Armenians who are not recognized by the treaties. Minorities in Turkey are discriminated against not just in practice, but also in legal writing. Did you know that speaking Kurdish was still an illegal practice in Turkey until 2003? The Turkish penal code has many other problems, which is why Turkey cannot enter the EU. But what to make of the new 24-hour Kurdish-speaking television news station?
It may seem like Kemal is smiling upon the Kurds at last, but the Turkish Republic is full of secrets and many disguises. This is probably the most salient feature of the country I realized when I visited in July of 2007: the country is rife with conspiracy theories. For every Turk I talked to, I heard at least three conspiracy theories. The generals did not trust the politicians, the politicians did not trust the intellectuals or the military, and the intellectuals did not trust anybody. Everybody else is caught in the crossfire of propaganda.
The ruling political party, AKP, chose to use wicked brute force in the Eastern region settled by the Kurdish separatists, starting about a year ago. The raids and the campaigns have not ended. Now they want to give Kurds a television station, just before an election cycle.
That is the context. So, is it not the case that the television stations is not merely a television station? Perhaps it is a way to create divisive feelings amongst: between Kurds who see it as an act of kindness and Kurds who see it as an act of appeasement. Those who see it as an act of appeasement truly believe Kurdistan must be separate from Turkey politically. Those who see it as an act of kindness are sellouts: they can be bought by the government into the Turkish political system.
You cannot look at the situation and say, “Either way, Kurds win”, because even though they have a television station, it comes at the expense of many Kurds being won over by bribery. It comes at the expense of Kurdish political capital. The AKP party is set to win these elections again, which means the Eastern Kurds will have to endure more bombings. The TV channel, since its state-owned, might then become just another mouthpiece for the government. And that, my friends, is why the government is kicking your asses.
Separatists will never get anywhere if the people they defend are constantly giving into concessions.